Five Must-Watch Anime For Autumn 2016

Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

It's the mid-point of the Autumn anime season and the perfect time to take a look at which of the season's 58 new anime you absolutely should not miss. After spending more hours than I'd care to admit watching your recommendations for the season's best anime, in addition to some additional ones that just happened to catch my eye, I'm finally ready to dish out my recommendations for the five you should definitely be watching.

Of course, keep in mind as you read that these are simply the anime that should not be missed this season. There are many more airing currently that are perfectly watchable — and many that are downright enjoyable. The following, however, are the cream of the crop.


Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)

Studio: White Fox

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 25)

Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Ultraviolence

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: When coming home from a convenience store, teenage gamer Subaru finds himself magically transported to a fantasy world. At first, it appears to Subaru he's living the "otaku transported to a fantasy world where he is the destined hero" cliché. After a few hours, his new life takes on the shape of a romantic comedy making fun of the aforementioned cliché. It's about the time he finds his guts spilling out on the floor that he realises he's in a different genre altogether. Now he has no choice but to relive the same day again and again until he manages to survive it.

Why You Should Watch It: Re:Zero is an anime that takes a genre-savvy protagonist and puts him squarely in the wrong genre. As much as he wants to be the hero of a fantasy tale or the protagonist of a rom-com, he is instead a fish-out-of-water in a world where brutal violence is the norm. Yet his time travel ability allows him as many second chances to bend the story towards his goal as he needs — if he's willing to go through a painful death each time to achieve it.

This story wouldn't work if you didn't care about the characters, Subaru included. And thanks to great banter and likeable personalities, it's hard not to like every member of the extended cast. Of course, this is all part of the author's own sadistic trap. You can rest assured that you, alongside Subaru, will face more than your fair share of mental anguish watching these likeable characters meet their grizzly fates again and again. And the final twist of the knife? There's always hope that the next loop will turn out better — and the fear that it won't.

Watch It If You Like: Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, Brynhildr in the Darkness

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Koutetsujou no Kabaneri)

Studio: Wit Studio

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)

Genre: Steampunk, Zombies, Samurai

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: In a world where a zombie outbreak spread across Japan in the middle of the industrial revolution, the dwindling survivors live on in heavily fortified "stations". Their only contact with each other comes in the form of armoured trains. But when young engineer Ikoma's station falls to the zombies, he and a score of panicked survivors pray their damaged train can make it to the next station where they hope that safety can be found.

Why You Should Watch It: It's Attack on Titan meets Snowpiercer. This anime deals with all the social aspects you'd expect in a zombie apocalypse: mistrust in the ranks, a fascist government and the ever-present threat of zombies. Then pack all that expected unrest onto a train full of terrified people and you get a powder keg continuously on the edge of exploding, with our heroes doing everything in their power to stop it from going off — and often making the situation even worse.

The inclusion of the Kabaneri — human-zombie hybrids who have the unkillable body of the zombies but the mind of a human — add yet another layer to the train's plight. While the Kabaneri are perhaps humanity's only hope, the fear they elicit in the normal humans is both understandable and counterproductive. All in all, it makes for an anime that takes the best from zombie stories, sets it in feudal Japan and adds a steampunk twist.

Watch It If You Like: Attack On Titan, Empire of Corpses, The Walking Dead

Where You Can Watch It: Unfortunately it's currently only available on Amazon Prime Instant Video, so Australians will have to wait for it to get distribution.


Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (Sakamoto Desu Ga?)

Studio: Studio Deen

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 13)

Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Sakamoto isn't your average high schooler. Rather, he is the coolest high schooler in existence. Everything he does, he does with such style that there are only two possible reactions to his presence: admiration or jealousy. Between the bullies out to bring him down a peg and the scores of girls vying for his affection, Sakamoto faces challenges around every corner — not that that bothers him. After all, he's far too cool to do anything other than just take it all in stride.

Why You Should Watch It: When it comes down to it, Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto is one singular comedic setup repeated again and again in various situations: No matter what is going on, Sakamoto will have the coolest possible reaction. The fun of the series comes from discovering what "the coolest possible reaction" will be for each scenario.

Sometimes it's rather mundane — like posing in a window or baseball sliding under a teacher to make it to school on time. But more often than not, Sakamoto shows off the true meaning of "cool" by going completely over-the-top — be that flying through a hurricane on an umbrella or sword fighting with a hornet. In an anime that lives or dies based on the coolness of its main character, the anime, like Sakamoto himself, doesn't make a wrong step.

Watch It If You Like: Over-the-top, short-form comedy.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, The Anime Network


Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia)

Studio: Bones

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 13)

Genre: Superhero, Coming of Age

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: In a world where roughly 80 per cent of the population has some sort of superpower, middle schooler Izuku does not. Despite this, he still dreams of being a superhero. And after a chance encounter with his idol (and the world's greatest superhero) "All Might", he gains the chance to turn his dreams into reality.

Why You Should Watch It: My Hero Academia is a story about what is most important in a hero: the heroic spirit. Though lacking in physical powers, when push comes to shove Izuku has what's needed on the inside. He runs toward danger rather than away from it, willing to sacrifice his body or even his future. He has the power to inspire and make those around him, even full-fledged heroes, give that extra bit of effort to do the right thing.

Moreover, this isn't an anime about solving your problems by hitting a villain really hard — though that's not to say it's lacking in action. Rather, it's about how the combination of brains and hard work can overcome any obstacle — even the strongest of superpowers.

Watch It If You Like: One Punch Man, Superman, Batman

Where You Can Watch It: AnimeLab


Five Must-Watch Anime for Spring 2016

The Lost Village (Mayoiga)

Studio: Diomedea

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 12)

Genre: Mystery, Survival, Supernatural

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: A group of 30 people decide to take a guided tour to a hidden town. There they hope to start anew, far removed from modern society and their old lives. But when they arrive, they find the town deserted and no easy way back to civilisation. Before long, the group faces not only the breakdown of their new society but something supernatural awaiting them out there in the woods.

Why You Should Watch It: The Lost Village is an anime about people: our flaws, our fears and how both can lead us to horrible things. While each of the 30 guests has the same noble goal to start — making a new life together — it doesn't take much for bodies to start to fall and sides to be chosen.

Alongside the societal breakdown are a score of mysteries to keep you occupied. There is the major mystery — that is, what happened to the previous inhabitants of the village — that becomes more and more complex as the supernatural elements start entering into the series. There are also a score of personal mysteries. Each person in the cast has a past they are running from. Figuring out these mysteries allows you to see why the characters act the way they do, adding another layer to everything that has come before.

Watch It If You Like: Btooom!, Lord of the Flies, Lost

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Comments

    Well i'm already watching the first one and currently on a weekly basis of about 10 - 15 more but i'll probably check out these too.. *chained to the computer

    Sakamoto is not viewable from either of those in Australia, wierd seeing as they note the same for Iron Fortress.

    You can watch it here though; http://hanabee.tv/shows/havent-you-heard-im-called-sakamoto/ You have to sign up but if you enjoy short form comedy its well worth it

    but I live in Australia and I want to watch Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress NOW.

    Wow some good recommendations there. Will check out Sakamoto and RE:Zero for sure.

    This list is pretty good, but as an honourable mention, I'd recommend Space Patrol Luluco. Ever episode is around 7 and half minutes long and it's just straight up Trigger over-the-top-ness .

    Re:ZERO: I've only seen the first couple eps and loved the concept of the genre-savvy (unrealistically fit) otaku getting blind-sided by being in the wrong genre. After the 2nd ep, though, I decided this is something I'm gonna wait to be finished before I binge it all. Just to keep the continuity straight in my head. I like just about everything about it, so far, though.

    Kabaneri is a reliable every-week watch, a strong, no-brainer recommendation.

    Sakamoto is very hard for me to watch. I can't quite handle it without cringing. But it's kind of hilarious in small doses, so long as you're expecting it to be ridiculous.

    Hero Academia made me very skeptical in the first couple eps that it was going to stretch my suspension of disbelief to breaking point with the sympathy for the hero who 'doesn't have any powers' being just as powerful as others... but they neatly addressed that in the 3rd ep and things really started to step up from there. This one's now on my weekly viewing list.

    Mayoiga? Errgh. Well... it's very similar to Btooom! for sure, in that there are no likable characters in it.
    While each of the 30 guests has the same noble goal to start — making a new life together — it doesn’t take much for bodies to start to fall and sides to be chosen.
    Ugh. No. There's no 'noble goal', there. It's a bunch of one-note fuck-ups, running away instead of dealing with their shit, in the most irresponsible way possible (faking their own deaths and taking on new identities). Pure and simple. It's obvious from the first ten minutes that this is a group of misfits who were running away from circumstances at least partially of their own making, and taking the character flaws that define them and are responsible for their misery along with them so they can replicate their suffering wherever they go. A bunch of people to feel nothing but contempt for, being horrible to each other. What fun! No. This is the anime version of the parts of reality TV shows that involve people being bitchy at each other, with some supernatural stuff thrown in.

    Last edited 23/05/16 12:09 pm

      How much of Mayoiga did you watch, out of interest? Because it's gotten pretty good, and the way you're describing sounds like you got maybe 2 episodes in? Besides that, it seems like it's intended to be more like an anime take on Lord of the Flies than anything.

      Re:Zero only has one continuity and it's not hard to follow. Easily one of the best shows this season. Great writing, solid characters and everything. Looking forward to the novels too - they first is due out in English I think in September. I think it might work even better in that format than it does as anime.

      I feel similar to you about Sakamoto. It's funny in short doses, but there's not much to it and it quickly overstayed its welcome for me.

      I dropped Hero Academia after a single episode, thought it seemed like a stereotypical awful Jump show. Might have gone in with the wrong expectations? I was probably hoping it'd fill the void that Fairy Tail left when it ended.

        Yeah, exactly two eps for Mayoiga. I was so turned off by those people and what looked like the show turning into a murder-mystery by way of reality tv show interpersonal politics with absolutely no-one I was rooting for. My theory was that they made every character utterly unlikable so we're not especially upset (or perhaps even perversely pleased?) when they inevitably die. It's kind of what turned me off what I saw of Danganronpa, which apparently everyone else loves, so I dunno, it's probably just a personal distaste for an entire popular genre - similar to horror/torture-porn. (Deadman Wonderland probably fits in there, too.) I mean, I THINK we're supposed to be rooting for apparent protagonist dish-rag potato-kun, but I didn't see anything to like there.

        For what it's worth, I didn't much care for Lord of the Flies. It was useful literature from an academic stand-point, but not someplace I'd choose to go for entertainment.

        Hero Academia also left me utterly turned off after ep 1 by how trite the story looked like it was going to be, and only slightly piqued my interest at the very end of Ep 2 with some trouble-in-paradise hints that maybe not all is as it seems. Those hints were soundly exposed and elaborated on in eps 3-4 and from then on it took that change in direction and ran with it to somewhere I was a lot happier to follow.

        I dunno about replacing Fairy Tail, but there's some similar elements there, I guess? It takes a real long time (like a quarter of a season) to even START introducing you to the non-protagonist characters that it looks like we'll be following for a long time, but they're all getting some pretty decent treatment, which is not what I expected. You know how when you see the Wizards in Fairy Tail and it seems like a bunch of them were only introduced as filler, but you gradually get to see more of them and the series treats them with a bit more respect than typical extras? Seems kinda like the hero class is getting that same deal. Might not happen, but looks like it's just happening slowly. (Similar to how many of the Fairy Tail characters really were 'nothing' extras until thirty eps in.)

          The point with Mayoiga is that all the characters have severe hangups and issues. It's not a murder mystery, and the cast is too big, but it's coming together in a pretty different way to what I expected. Definitely has a horror element in its tone, but it's not making them hard to like because it's going to kill them.

          It's not quite what I was wanting (the initial premise and stuff made me think of Another, and it's not even in the same suburb, let alone same ballpark) but it's not what you're convinced it is, either. However if you wanted to drop it after 2 episodes and it didn't have anything about it that interested you, I doubt it'd be worth going back to have a look.

          Hero Academia's first episode was absolutely horrid. So it gets better rapidly after that? Maybe I should give it a second look.

            I dunno about 'rapidly'. 2nd ep was a bit 'enh'. 3 is where it starts picking up some steam, albeit in a very straight-forward, kinda predictable way.

            My surprise favourite of the season I forgot to mention is probably Flying Witch.

            Last edited 24/05/16 3:58 am

              Flying Witch is pretty good iyashikei stuff. We don't get that style very often, but this year we're getting two! Next season they're doing an adaption of Amanchu, which was by Kozue Amano (Aqua/Aria) and most of the staff involved are Aria veterans too.

    For me, the top five have been Kabaneri, Re:Zero, Mayoiga, Macross Delta and Kuromukuro. Also massively enjoy HaiFuri but it's very much in the center of my personal strike zone and has limited appeal outside of it.

    Re:Zero is the wonderful story of a man who thinks he's been dropped in Final Fantasy slowly coming to terms with the fact he's actually been dropped into Dark Souls.
    From what I know of it and the fact that it's slated to be 24 episodes well... shit's gonna get dark.

    Last edited 23/05/16 12:53 pm

    My recommendations for this season are: Bungou Stray Dogs, Kiznaiver, and Boku No Hero Academia.

    RE:zero sounds similar to Konosuba

      Beyond that it's the tried-and-true nerd-sucked-into-fantasy-world setup, they're massively different.

    Was pleasantly surprised by Re:Zero.

    I'm also enjoying My Hero Academia , it has some godly music

    Currently watching My Hero Academia, Flying Witch, Kiznaiver, Joker Game and Sakamoto.

    All good.

    Especially Flying Witch and MHA.

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