Fall 2014 Anime Preview: Symbiotic Alien Hands Don’t Make Good Pets

Time rolls on and it’s fall once again. You could go out and enjoy the changing leaves, or carve a jack-o-lantern, or try to block out all the inexplicably pumpkin spice-flavored products that spontaneously appear at this time of year like snails on the sidewalk after a rainy night. Or you could avoid the whole mess and watch a brand new roster of Japanese cartoons.

After bidding a fond farewell to an exceptionally good summer season (I miss you already, Nozaki-kun), we’ve got quite an eclectic fall. Highly anticipated adaptions of Parasyte, Your Lie in April, and Fate/stay night debut, and so far manage to not suck. Rage of Bahamut stomps onto the scene with CG dragons and a rooftop chase on horseback. If you fancy a bit of time travel, Tomino’s Gundam Reconguista in G will take you straight back to 1979; or if you’re looking for a more recent nostalgia, The Seven Deadly Sins and Akatsuki no Yona both recall nineties favorites. And let’s not forget sequels: For those looking for their cyberpunk fix, Psycho-Pass returns with a new cast and a new writer. For lovers of robots and fun, Gundam Build Fighters Try delivers both just as effortlessly as the first season. For the sports crowd, Yowamushi Pedal is back and feels like it never left, while Log Horizon returns for the RPG fans. And for those who like good anime, the always lovely Mushishi returns for its final season.

With simulcasts a click away, there’s no need to wait—here are five of the best new anime premiering this fall that you can watch right now.

Parasyte -the maxim- / Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Shinichi Izumi is an normal high school student until one day a mysterious girl falls from the sky—just kidding. Shinichi Izumi (Nobunaga Shimazaki) is a normal high school student until one day a parasitic alien consumes his right hand and forces him into a bizarre life of coexistence with an extraterrestrial symbiote. Calling itself “Migi,” the parasite (Aya Hirano) explains to Shinichi that it is only one of many creatures of its kind that have invaded earth, and that the parasites are taking over human bodies and consuming other humans to survive. Caught in the crossfire is Shinichi’s crush Satomi Murano (Kana Hanazawa), from whom Shinichi must hide his new alien hitchhiker.

Based on an extremely well-regarded manga penned by Hitoshi Iwaaki in the nineties, Parasyte is both a long awaited and highly anticipated adaptation. Luckily, the first episodes don’t disappoint: Parasyte fields an excellent premiere and follows it up with a strong second episode. Production by Madhouse (Hunter x Hunter, Chihayafuru) is visually solid, and the grotesque transformations and body horror element is definitely enhanced by the animation. Shinichi himself is a compelling protagonist as he tries to work through what’s happened to him, and watching the relationship develop between him and Migi, whose curiosity about humans certainly doesn’t extend to sympathizing with them, is so far fascinating. With strong source material behind it and a full twenty-four episodes ahead, Parasyte is undoubtedly one of the most promising shows this season.

For fans of: Tokyo Ghoul, Level E, Kemonozume, hands that look like certain other male appendages…ahem

Watch it now on Crunchyroll

 

Your Lie in April / Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Fourteen-year-old Kousei Arima (Natsuki Hanae) is a former piano prodigy who stopped playing when his mother, who was also his instructor, passed away three years ago. When his friends Tsubaki (Ayane Sakura) and Watari (Ryota Ohsaka) introduce him to free-spirited violinist Kaori (Risa Taneda), Kousei begins to see the world, and music, in a different light.

It’s hard to talk about this show without acknowledging the obvious parallels to it’s Noitamina predecessor Nodame Cantabile. Is this, as many people (including myself, I’ll admit) have been dubbing it, “Nodame Cantabile in middle school”? So far yes, it pretty much is, but that’s not a bad thing by any means—along with the music, the relationships between characters in Nodame were what made it so wonderful, and if this show is giving even a hint of that then it must be doing something right. Your Lie in April is a treat for the eyes and ears, featuring beautiful art, lovely pastel backgrounds, and of course plenty of classical music. The main cast is so far quite a pleasant bunch for a group of fourteen-year-olds (it probably helps to have the extremely likable Hanae as the lead here), and I’m quite looking forward to seeing Kousei’s relationship with Kaori develop, both romantically and musically. For those looking for coming-of-age drama and/or classical music, Your Lie in April is a must-watch.

For fans of: Nodame Cantabile, AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Kids on the Slope, teen angst

Watch it now on Crunchyroll

 

Rage of Bahamut Genesis / Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Rage of Bahamut Genesis follows our “hero” Favaro Leone (Hiroyuki Yoshino), a roguish ginger bounty hunter with a questionable moral compass and a flair for the dramatic. Favaro spends his days hunting criminals for quick cash and dodging his rival/nemesis Kaisar Lidfort (Go Inoue), an uptight former knight who has been reduced to bounty hunting through some unknown misfortune. At least, that was how he spent his days until he runs into Amira (Risa Shimizu), a mysterious girl who fell from the sky. Overhearing Favaro boasting about his travels in a bar, Amira coerces him through magical means into acting as a guide on her journey to a foreign land.

Rage of Bahamut has a hyper-generic swords and sorcery setting and the dubious distinction of being based off a cellphone card game. That’s right, a cellphone card game. Happily, that doesn’t stop this show from being both well produced and extremely fun. Director Keiichi Satou (Tiger & Bunny) brings tremendous energy to the show, while animation studio Mappa (Kids on the Slope, Terror in Resonance) so far delivers dynamic action scenes and character animation that is expressive and full of personality. Favaro’s swashbuckling, devil-may-care antics and the grandiose action set pieces have led quite a few to liken Rage of Bahamut to Pirates of the Caribbean, and I can’t say I disagree with that assessment. The surprise hit of the season, Rage of Bahamut is starting out as a whole lot of fun, and it’d be a shame not to see where it goes.

For fans of: Tiger & Bunny, Samurai Champloo, goofy hairstyles

Watch it now on Hulu and Funimation

 

Akatsuki no Yona / Yona of the Dawn

Yona (Chiwa Saito), princess and sole heir to the throne of the kingdom of Kouka, has led a pampered life in her father’s palace. She spends her days pining over her handsome cousin Soo-won (Yuusuke Kobayashi) and being teased by her bodyguard and childhood friend Hak (Tomoaki Maeno). But all this changes on Yona’s sixteenth birthday, when a tragedy that will change Yona’s life forever forces her to flee from the palace.

There is a distinctly retro feeling to Akatsuki no Yona. Based on a historical shoujo manga set in pseudo-Korea, the show follows in the grand tradition of such classics as Fushigi Yuugi and Saiunkoku Monogatari. And you know what? I can’t say I’m not a sucker for it, even if it does feel like 2002 in here. Yona is so far a pretty decent lead—though she hasn’t much to do in the first two episodes besides be a sixteen-year-old girl and react to events around her, a flash-forward prologue hints at dramatic development for her down the road. While the direction and animation from Pierrot (Tokyo Ghoul, The World Is Still Beautiful) isn’t what I would call impeccable, it’s strong enough for the material, and the whole is considerably bolstered by a musical score from Ryo Kunihiko (Saiunkoku Monogatari, The Twelve Kingdoms). Surprisingly engaging so far, Akatsuki no Yona is worth a look for those itching for a nostalgic historical romance.

For fans of: Saiunkoku Monogatari, The Twelve Kingdoms, Fushigi Yuugi, Arata Kangatari, reverse harems

Watch it now on Crunchyroll

 

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Shirou Emiya (Noriaki Sugiyama) is a high school student with an aptitude for magic. Raised by a powerful mage, Shirou longs to use his powers to redress the injustices he sees in the world, but has little skill in anything other than repairing small gadgets. Shirou’s mundane life come to an abrupt end when he accidentally summons the heroic spirit Saber (Ayako Kawasumi) and is drawn into the Holy Grail war, in which powerful mages summon heroes of old as servants to help them battle for the ultimate prize, the Holy Grail.

While it’s hard to qualify Fate/stay night as “new,” it’s certainly impossible to go without mentioning it. Based on a wildly popular visual novel, Fate/stay night received a first TV adaptation by animation studio DEEN in 2006 and a film in 2010. If you had the good fortune to miss both of those, then you may know it from Ufotable’s 2011 adaptation of Fate/stay night’s prequel, Fate/Zero.

I know, it’s all very confusing, and you’re probably wondering, “Can I watch this if I haven’t seen any of that and don’t know who Gen Urobuchi is?”. Well I’m here to tell you yes, I rather think you can. There’s certainly enough information in the first two episodes for a newcomer to get a good grip on the mythology and characters in this new interpretation. What’s more, I think it’ll be worth it: Ufotable has, in the immortal words of John Hammond, spared no expense, starting with a double-length prologue and first episode to situate the viewer in the story. The action scenes, as in Fate/Zero, are a flashy highlight, but the regular character animation isn’t lacking either. And as always, the Fate series’ mythology is strangely compelling—it’s hard to turn down a premise where heroes from all ages fight in a magician’s battle royal. If this sounds like your thing, you probably won’t want to miss Fate/stay night.

For fans of: Fate/Zero, Kara no Kyoukai, any other past or future incarnation of Fate/stay night, lining Type-Moon’s pockets with endless yen

Watch it now on Crunchyroll

 

What are you watching this fall? Let us know in the comments!


Kelly Quinn wrote this entire post while listening to the Gundam Build Fighters soundtrack on loop. She can also be found on Twitter.

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