The fall 2018 anime season starts this week with 56 different shows. With so much to sift through, we tried to highlight some that might be interesting for both anime fans and non-fans alike. (Many of these shows are available for viewing internationally a day after they air in Japan, thanks to streaming services like Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon.)
If you like high fashion and fighting
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a bit of a strange series — bizarre, you might say — that follows the lineage of the Joestar family. Each part stands somewhat on its own, focusing on a different person in the family tree, and taking place in its own era and locale. What’s consistent about the series is the family’s curse to fight strange supernatural evils, and creator Hirohiko Araki’s unique fashion sense that makes it look like every character just walked off the runway of a couture fashion show.
Golden Wind is the fifth part in the series. Set in early 2000s Italy, it follows Giorno Giovanna, a middle school student who possesses a psychic avatar called a “stand.” Stands, which often look like people, can only be seen by other stand users, and possess wildly different abilities, like turning things they touch into bombs, or being able to read someone’s mind by opening their face like a book. Giorno plans to use his stand to become a mob boss in order to protect his hometown of Naples, so he joins up with a mobster gang made up of other stand users in order to stop the mob’s drug trafficking from inside the organization.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind starts October 5th on Crunchyroll (subtitled).
If you like the Coen brothers
Golden Kamuy (Season 2)
Not long after the Russo-Japanese War, former soldier Saichi Sugimoto has become a miner in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture. It’s there he learns about $6 million in gold that was stolen from the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, and discovers a map tattooed across the skin of 24 prisoners who’ve recently escaped. Along the way, he teams up with a hunter named Asirpa who is also looking for the man who stole the gold — because he killed her father.
The first season of Golden Kamuy ran for 12 episodes during this year’s spring season, and was one of the best shows that season. It managed to capture the strange tone of the original manga, which is very Coen brothers-esque in its wild swings, mixing brief, incredibly violent moments, calming explanations of indigenous Ainu culture, and poop jokes. While the start of season two is probably not a great time to jump into the series, it is a good time to remind anyone who hasn’t been watching to catch up.
If you like stylish buddy cop action-comedies
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
In the city-state of Lisvalletta there is a drug called “Anthem” that gives users super-human abilities when they overdose. When that happens, it’s up to a special police unit called SEVEN-O to stop them. The investigators in SEVEN-O operate in pairs, referred to as the “Double Decker system,” and the series follows one such pair: veteran Doug Billingham and new recruit Kirill Vrubel.
While the series doesn’t officially start airing until the fall season, Crunchyroll has already started streaming the first two episodes. Judging from them alone, Double Decker! could be a breakout hit this season. It’s a buddy cop show that not only mixes comedic and serious elements well, but it also has a stylish look, evoking a more colorful and technologically advanced version of the 1990s. The series is also narratively connected to perennial favorite Tiger & Bunny, although how isn’t entirely clear just yet.
If you like watching people fight with magic
Seth, like all the wizards in the fantasy world of Radiant, gained his powers after surviving an encounter with a mysterious creature called a Nemesis. But rather than just using his newfound abilities to protect his home village, Seth goes in search of where the Nemeses come from, in order to stop the damage they are causing across the world. Along the way, he recruits other wizards to help him in his quest.
Radiant might be the most interesting adaptation this season in that it’s actually based on a French comic that started in 2013, which was itself inspired by Japanese action / fighting manga. (The comic was localized for Japan starting in 2015, and went on sale in the US in September.) Aside from the interesting cultural exchange, it should also be noted that the production is being headed by the animation studio Lerche. That talented team previously worked on Asobi Asobase and Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World, though Lerche is probably best known for the Assassination Classroom and Danganronpa animes.
If you like beautiful animation or kaiju
High school student Yuta wakes up one day with amnesia, but in the reflection of a computer screen he sees an inter-dimensional police officer named Gridman, who tells him he has a mission to complete. It’s not until Yuta gets to school, and giant monsters start appearing, that he begins to figure out what that mission is, and why he lost his memory.
SSSS.Gridman is loosely based on a ‘90s Japanese live-action show called Gridman the Hyper Agent, which was brought to the US under the name Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad (a show I definitely remember watching as a kid). But the important thing to note here is that it’s being animated by Trigger (Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia), which means this will likely be one of the best-looking shows this season.
If you liked romance or A Place Further Than the Universe
Bloom Into You
Yuu loved romance comics in middle school, and dreamt that one day she would have a boy confess his love for her like they do in the comics. But when a boy finally does, she doesn’t feel anything, and isn’t sure how to respond. She eventually enters high school, where she befriends student council president Nanami. It’s when Nanami confesses her love that Yuu finally feels the way she’s always dreamt she would.
Bloom Into You is based on a manga of the same name by Nio Nakatani. While the series is being animated by TROYCA (best known for making both seasons of Aldnoah.Zero), it’s being written by Jukki Hanada. Earlier this year Hanada wrote one of the best shows of 2018 with A Place Further Than the Universe, and she’s also written the anime adaptations of Sound! Euphonium, Love Live!, and K-On!, to name a few. She’s basically made a name for herself by being incredibly good at writing about young women in high school.
Bloom Into You starts October 5th on HIDIVE, both subtitled and dubbed.
If you like conspiracies and action, or Kankuro from Naruto
When the CEO of a telephone company dies, he leaves his family’s vast fortune to his son, a fifth grader named Masaru. Soon, Masaru is targeted by people looking to steal his money for themselves, but he is saved by a martial artist named Narumi and Shirogane, a woman who fights by controlling a human-sized harlequin puppet. It’s up to the duo to protect Masaru from the machinations of those looking to kill him and steal his inheritance.
The creative team behind Karakuri Circus is compelling. Original manga creator Kazuhiro Fujita is co-writing with Toshiki Inoue, the series writer for both Death Note and Ranma ½. It is being directed by Satoshi Nishimura, who is best known for directing Trigun. The three actually worked together recently on adapting another one of Fujita’s comics, Ushio & Tora, which ran for 39 episodes.
Karakuri Circus is slated to run 31 episodes starting October 10th. It will be streamed subtitled on Amazon Prime Video.
If you like zombies… maybe?
Zombieland Saga is about zombies. I think. But it’s also about seven girls. At least, it probably is. In truth, there hasn’t been much revealed about what this show actually is at all. The production staff has been purposefully secretive about it, and the trailer isn’t very helpful.
What makes it worth being curious about, though, is that it’s being animated by MAPPA (Yuri!!! On Ice, Banana Fish) and is being produced in conjunction with Cygames (Dragalia Lost and Granblue Fantasy), one of Japan’s biggest mobile game companies. There are enough interesting unknowns around this show to make it at least worth checking out.