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The fall anime season has reached its midpoint! And now that the 71 anime of the season have had their chance to show us what they’re made of, it’s time to talk about the ones you absolutely should not miss.

Fall 2016

As fall has started to turn to winter, I’ve spent hour upon hour watching anime that caught my eye. Then came the ones that you all recommended to me in addition to those that Sarah, Toshi, Renato, and Brittany had me watch. With all that watching (and more than a few arguments) out of the way, here are our recommendations for the five you should definitely be watching.

Poll: The Best Anime Series of Fall 2016

Now, keep in mind these are simply our picks for the five anime we feel you should not miss out on this season. That in no way means that the anime that didn’t make this list are bad; it just means that we feel the shows below are the best of the best that this season has to offer.


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Girlish Number

Studio: diomedia

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Anime Industry, Slice-of-Life, Comedy

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Chitose is a struggling voice actor, doing little more than bit parts across different shows. But while she is still just a newbie in the industry, she has the ego of the most seasoned diva. Through luck and her seemingly endless wells of self-confidence, she stumbles into her first leading role. But there is far more going on behind the scenes shaping her destiny than she could possibly imagine; she is just a tiny cog in the grand anime-making machine.

Why You Should Watch It: If last year’s SHIROBAKO is the realistic story of a group of people passionately working to make an anime because they believe in the project and love anime, Girlish Number is the flip side of that coin. Rather than an optimistic look at the anime industry today, Girlish Number showcases a more cynical view, pulling no punches.

Those making anime are not interested in properly adapting the source material, nor do they care about putting out a quality anime–not as long as their own dubious goals are reached, anyway. The voice actors, while professional, care just as little about the work. Some are in it only for the money and fame while others stay popular through nepotism alone.

Girlish number‘s Voice Actress Heroine is an Ass & I Love Her

The inherent pessimism of the anime makes for an exquisitely entertaining dark comedy even as you continually hope that the flawed, self-serving characters wake up and work together to make an anime that is truly great.

Watch It If You Like: SHIROBAKO, Otaku no Video

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, The Anime Network, Hulu, Viewster, AnimeLab (AU/NZ)


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Izetta: The Last Witch

Studio: Ajiado

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 12)

Genre: Historical Fantasy, War

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: In an alternate version of World War II, the Germanian Empire spreads across Europe. With the Brittanian troops falling back across the channel, no one is left to oppose the Germanian Blitzkrieg as they invade the tiny country of Eylstadt. Yet it is then that the world learns the truth: the supernatural is real and Eylstadt is protected by Izetta, the world’s last witch.

Why You Should Watch It: Izetta is a thought experiment built around the simple question: “what if a magically powered witch fought in World War II?” Falling somewhere in between Valkyria Chronicles and Indiana Jones on the historical fiction scale, it shows how one person can change the course of an entire war.

How Izetta’s World War II Stacks Up to the Real Thing

While Izetta herself seems all-powerful, she has weaknesses. What these are, how her allies try to hide them, and how the Germanians work to discover them adds a whole extra level of tension to the story.

But more than all that is the young girl behind the powers. Magically strong, but emotionally fragile, Izetta’s relationship with Eylstadt’s young princess is the heart and soul of the anime. Together, the two try to save the country–even as one friend is forced to use the other as the world’s first superweapon.

Watch It If You Like: Valkyria Chronicles, Allison & Lillia, The Pilot’s Love Song, Strike Witches, Indiana Jones, alternate history World War II stories

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


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Occultic;Nine

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Psychological Horror, Mystery, Modern Fantasy

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: On March 1, 2016, there is an apparent mass suicide where 256 people drown themselves in a single night. Occultic;Nine follows nine very different people in the time leading up to this horrific event and how their lives change in its aftermath.

Each of the nine has a strong connection to the occult. One owns an occult-centric aggregate blog–though simply as a get-rich-quick scheme. Another is a teenaged fortune teller who does predictions live online. Still another draws manga that seem to predict gruesome murders.

Of course, the mass suicide is far from the only strange occurrence in this small corner of Tokyo. A prominent occult figure is murdered, a devil terrorizes anyone cursed by a young girl, and a pale young boy walks the streets at night, full of evil intent. How all these characters and events fit together is the story of Occultic;Nine.

Why You Should Watch It: From the creator of Steins;Gate, Occultic;Nine is one part occult horror mystery, one part psychological thriller. It has a cast of diverse characters that each have their own wants and goals, yet are all tied together through one terrifying event. Who is a hero? Who is a villain? Is the supernatural real or are they are just insane?

Richard’s Most Anticipated Fall Anime

Moreover, Occultic;Nine is an anime that doesn’t hold your hand–it expects you to pay attention and use the clues it gives you to figure out what is really going on. Instead of a chronological narrative, the story is equal parts character driven and thematically driven in the way it is told. The story constantly jumps back and forth through time following various themes and characters. It can be confusing, but when the “ah-hah!” moment comes and everything suddenly falls into place, you’ll be scrambling to rewatch it to catch the subtle, yet obvious (in hindsight) hints sitting in plain view all along.

Watch It If You Like: Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head, Chaos;Child, Robotics;Notes, Durarara!!, Psycho Pass

Where You Can Watch It: Daisuki, Crunchyroll, AnimeLab (AU/NZ)


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©Ikki Kajiwara, Naoki Tsuji/Kodansha, TV Asahi, Toei Animation

Tiger Mask W

Studio: Toei Animation

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 39)

Genre: Professional Wrestling, Sports

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: After their mentor is crippled wrestling the masked villain Yellow Devil, two young men set out to get revenge in the ring. One joins the Yellow Devil’s shadowy organization, planning to learn all its secrets and destroy it from the inside–along with the Yellow Devil–as Tiger the Dark. The other chooses the path of light and takes up the mantle of professional wrestling’s greatest hero: the legendary Tiger Mask.

Why You Should Watch It: If you are (or ever were) a wrestling fan, Tiger Mask was made for you. In the world of Tiger Mask, professional wrestling is as real as it gets. There are no scripts or shoots–there is no such thing as “kayfabe.” All of wrestling’s most over-the-top aspects are treated as a real part of the sport. A hero can be trained by climbing cliffs shirtless in the Himalayas or by fighting bears. A villain can palm the hero’s head, squeezing it so hard his eyes bleed. The simple act of wearing a mask makes it impossible for even the best of reporters to discover your identity–even if your accompanying manager doesn’t wear one.

The Real Life Pro-Wrestlers of Tiger Mask W

Tiger Mask shows the world of professional wrestling as we want to believe it to be instead of the lackluster reality we have to live with. It makes for a wild ride of danger and betrayal, where the stakes inside the ring often are truly life and death. In the end, it isn’t just a great anime, but the most entertaining wrestling program I’ve seen in a good long while.

Watch It If You Like: Tiger Mask, Ultimate Muscle, WWE, TNA, Lucha Underground

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


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Yuri!!! on ICE

Studio: Mappa

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 12)

Genre: Figure Skating, Sports

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Yuri Katsuki is a world-class figure skater, who after a devastating defeat on the road to the world championships, returns to his out-of-the-way hometown to reconsider his love and passion for skating. After performing the world champion’s own routine in front of his childhood friend, Yuri is shocked to find that a video of his performance has gone viral–and is even more shocked when the world champion, Viktor Nikiforov, shows up in person with the intention of training Yuri himself.

Why You Should Watch It: Yuri!!! on ICE is the story a young man who has spent his whole life training for one thing and has then failed at it. To those in his hometown, he is a hero. But to himself, he is a failure. He is forced to face that those he grew up with have their own established lives while he alone seems to be stuck in the past.

Yuri!!! on ICE Cuts Deep… Real Deep

Yet with the arrival of Viktor, Yuri’s longtime idol, Yuri is able to see why he fell in love with skating in the first place. Viktor takes Yuri out of his comfort zone–forcing him to tap into feelings he’s never had before and become the skater he never even dreamed he could be.

It also helps that the figure skating animation itself is visually stunning and the next best thing to watching it live yourself.

Watch It If You Like: Ginban Kaleidoscope, Endless Night, figure skating

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


The Must-Watch Short-form Anime of Fall 2016:

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To Be Hero

Studio: Emom

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 12)

Genre: Comedy, Superhero

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: To Be Hero is the story of a ladies-man single father who is one day sucked into a toilet and turned into a fat superpowered slob by Super Mario.

Why You Should Watch It: Unlike most transforming superheroes chosen to protect the world, our hero is unable to return to his normal form. Moreover, he finds that he is unable to divulge anything about his true identity, spouting perverted pickup lines instead whenever he tries. This leads to any number of problems as his daughter is left wondering who the pervert is that keeps invading her house and where exactly her father has disappeared to this time.

In To Be Hero, Super Mario Turns Men into Fat Superpowered Slobs

Add to this formula a suitably perverted next-door neighbor and an invading army of weak, yet egotistical aliens, and you get a comedy that rolls more than its fair share of laughs every short episode.

Watch It If You Like: One Punch Man, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

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