It’s that time again. This season doesn’t have many ultra strandouts, aside of the stellar Stars Align, but there are a lot of strong midtier offerings. Like last season, I’m including links to every premiere review, not just mine.
Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes without also having any significant caveats we need to tell readers about.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm (Episodes 1-2): A grounded lady-led isekai with an upbeat tone, driven protagonist, and undercurrents of capitalist and social critique. Potential for an uncomfortable romantic subplot involving the lead (an adult reborn in a child’s body) and one of her new friends (an actual child), but nothing concrete yet.
- Stars Align (Episode 1): A middle school sports anime with excellent character animation and writing, including an unusual degree of class consciousness. Content warnings for depictions of abuse.
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.
- Assassins Pride (Episode 1): A potentially strong heroine with the power to stand on her own and a gentleman hero. The setting is cool and the story promises to be more than a simple action-adventure. The main pairing, however, is that of a student-teacher relationship and the show takes an inordinate amount of time focusing on the calves of the female cast.
Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.
- Actors: Songs Connection (Episode 1): A male idol show with a supernatural twist made mainly for those already invested in the subgenre.
- After School Dice Club (Episode 1): This cute-girls-playing real-life-board-games series has enough charm and nerd appeal that it may go beyond just fans of the genre.
- Outburst Dreamer Boys (Episode 1-2): A teenage girl stumbles into being friends with the school’s dorkiest boys. Positively bursting at the seams with energy and humor, plus there’s the possibility of plot twists lurking under the surface.
- Special 7: Special Crime Unit Investigation (Episode 1-2): A solidly executed (if somewhat unoriginal) supernatural crime series; stars two male leads, but treats its supporting female characters well thus far.
- Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth (Episode 1): There’s nothing to hate about this half-baked gacha game adaptation, but there’s nothing to love or even like about it either.
- Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun (Episodes 1-2): A sweet (demon) school comedy with a bright Halloween aesthetic and a dark comedic undertone.
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.
- Ahiru no Sora (Episode 1-2): Basketball anime with a lot of energy and some spunky supporting female characters that undercuts itself by having the male leads peep on and harass the girls.
- Babylon (Episodes 1-3): Political thriller where all the female characters thus far are either evil manipulative seductresses or never speak. Includes depictions of suicide and discussions of “right to die” ethics
- Blade of the Immortal (Episode 1): Adaptation of a beloved ‘90s series with buckets of gore and some fetishized violence toward women.
- Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (Episodes 1-2): An isekai that stands apart thanks to excellent comedic timing. The female characters wear skimpy outfits, but the camera is more focused on their (very silly) facial expressions. The female lead is thirsty for the male lead to a creepy degree at times.
- Chidori RSC (Episode 1): Cute girls shoot rifle-shaped laser pointers. Occasionally talk about their boobs. Yawn.
- Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia (Episode 1): The Chaldea Project must travel back in time to stop everyone’s favorite asshole, Gilgamesh, from screwing up all of history. Some fanservice shots and skimpy outfits.
- NO GUNS LIFE (Episode 1): Noir cyberpunk about a gun-headed loner (it somehow works) stumbling into a found family. Some fanservice.
- Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle (Episode 1): This anime of the popular MMORPG is an unremarkable mix of standard sci-fi and fantasy tropes; a lot of the female characters wear cleavage-y clothes.
- Z/X Code Reunion (Episode 1): Potentially fun premise with yuri undertones is too blandly executed to be enjoyable; some light fanservice.
A whole lotta yikes.
- Africa Salaryman (Episode 1): Gag comedy about animals as office workers that goes in heavy with the misogynistic jokes and rehashing victim-blaming myths.
- Azur Lane (Episode 1): Military vessels as cute girls waging war. Heavy fanservice, including of children.
- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? (Episodes 1-2): Isekai with a likable main cast dragged down by fanservice and pedophile “jokes.”
- High School Prodigies Have it Easy Even in Another World (Episode 1): Mayonnaise.
- Case File nº221: Kabukicho (Episode 1): Fifty-percent wild, weird, fun mystery show; fifty-percent rampant queerphobia.
- Kandagawa Jet Girls (Episode 1): Ostensibly a sports series, but really exists to be wall-to-wall fanservice.
- Kemono Michi: Rise Up (Episodes 1-2): The Isekai Adventures of Horny Bisexual Wrestler Furry. Some fanservice; male-on-male sexual assault played as a joke.
Pit of shame
These shows need to go to their room and think about what they’ve done.
- ORESUKI Are You the Only One Who Loves Me? (Episode 1): A sociopathic story thinly disguised as a romantic comedy. Features incels and stalkers. Seems to know that its characters suck, but that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant to watch.
- Val x Love (Episode 1): Old-school harem fanservice anime where the female cast are all literal objects forced to become the protagonist’s lovers.