We’re around 5-6 weeks into 2015’s Fall Anime Season, and we’ve had a chance to watch a few episodes of each of the shows. My wife – who also happens to be my editor, web-designer, post-processor, and co-contributor under her pen name Anne – and I would like to each share a couple shows each from this season that we have particularly high hopes for based off of these first episodes.
RWBY – Season 3
The third season of RWBY is finally airing, despite the unfortunate loss of its original creator Monty Oum, and it is every bit as amazingly eccentric and crazy as the first two. RWBY is a fairly short show, with episodes lasting from 8 to 20 minutes, but each minute is absolutely packed with action, excitement, and story. These first two episodes of season 3, despite only being a combined 30 minutes in length, had more information and content than many shows can manage to fit in 3-4 full length episodes. This breakneck pace can make the show feel genuinely tiring to watch… but, in a way, that’s a big part of the fun they manage to capture.
Beautiful Bones – Sakurako’s Investigation
Picking a second show was a bit tough. There are a lot of pretty standard fantasy shows this season, and while they all feel distinct and many of them are quite good – like the two Anne recommends below – I wanted to try to aim for something on a different page. Beautiful Bones is a character driven mystery show about a strange girl – Sakurako – who loves to study and analyze bones, and is possessed of an extraordinary intellect accompanied by a general dislike of people.
What makes the show intriguing for me, and what makes me want to watch more than the few episodes I’ve seen so far, is a strange dichotomy. The main characters feel very natural – their conversations flow well… and yet, the show has this absurd love for excessive melodrama. So you have these ordinary seeming conversations happening, and then suddenly you’ll get this almost magical girl-esque ‘transformation’ scene as Sakurako puts on her gloves to start investigating something. It feels so out of place and yet so perfect at the same time. And it is moments like this that have made me eager for more.
The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water is a show that has so far proved to be enjoyable, but very strange. The reason for that strangeness? It’s uncannily similar to last year’s Bladedance of Elementalers, right down to the hair colours of the main cast, but without any of the OTT harem qualities that made Bladedance something of a let-down.
Our hero, Ayato Amagiri, is the typical overpowered and underestimated newcomer to Seidokan Academy. There he quickly befriends a varied group of girls, most of whom seem to harbour at least a slight attraction to him – except for our female lead and First Girl, Julis van Riessfeld, who perhaps might protest a little too much. The action sequences are excellent, the magic system seems to be pretty well-developed so far, and I for one will definitely be interested to see where this show goes.
Another stand-out of the first few weeks of this season is Utawarerumono: The False Faces. We meet Haku running through a snowy forest, dressed in hospital pyjamas in what it soon becomes clear is not the human world his clothing implies. The world is populated by people with tails, animal ears, and apparent superhuman strength (at least, compared to Haku), and Haku himself has no recollection of his past or his own name, and finds the world around him to be as strange to him as it is to us. We’re not very far into this show and it’s still early in its simulcast, but so far the premise and the characters have piqued my interest – while Haku lacks the physical strength of the demi-humans around him he demonstrates a marked intelligence, and an intriguing resemblance to a character in the opening who appears briefly in episode 3. I’m intrigued to find out what exactly is going on here, and hope it keeps up the bar it’s set for character depth and development.