Perhaps to make up for lost ground in the summer, this year’s fall anime season is expanding its scope. There will be approximately 60 new series premiering between the last week of September and mid-October. With so many options to choose from, the Anime News Network editorial team has narrowed it down to their two most anticipated picks. To find your own “must-watch” series, join the Trailer Watch Party on Wednesday at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT and read the Preview Guide when it launches on September 29.
Most Anticipated: Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is not just the most anticipated series of the season, but also of the year for me. In fact, it’s my most anticipated series of the decade. I’ve written about Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End multiple times on ANN, and I genuinely believe it is the greatest manga I have ever read. Every chapter moves me to tears. At a glance, this story appears to be about what happens after the hero’s party defeats the Demon King and saves the world. However, that’s merely the backdrop. The true plot revolves around the beautiful yet tragic tale of Frieren, an immortal elf mage in the party, and her realization of the personal significance of the 10 years she spent on their quest, only realizing it decades too late. As an immortal, Frieren experiences time on a completely different scale. A decade to her is like a week to us, and she never considered that this “week” could have changed her life. It’s only after the death of Himmel the Hero that she realizes all the time she wasted, time she could have spent getting to know him. So she embarks on a new journey to connect with people better and, over the years, discovers how the party impacted her, passing on her lessons to the next generation. Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End is a profound exploration of what it means to be human and the significance we find in our short lives. It’s a bittersweet tale filled with laughter, tears, action, and drama. From top to bottom, it is simply astonishing, and I can’t wait to see how it comes to life in full-color animation.
Runner Up: The Eminence in Shadow (Season 2)
The Eminence in Shadow is one of those shows that takes familiar isekai tropes and deconstructs them in a darkly hilarious way. In any other season, the return of The Eminence in Shadow would be at the top of my list. The first season was not only a great adaptation, but it also added new elements to the story, prominently featuring supporting characters and developing the first season’s climax in unique ways. Unlike the slapstick humor of the manga adaptation, the anime takes a more serious approach, turning it into a dark comedy through the protagonist Cid’s inability to realize that he is living his dream of being the head of a shadowy organization. The absurdity of how everything aligns with his delusions adds to the amusement. While this season may adapt a less interesting arc, I have hope that it will once again elevate the story to new heights, just like the first season. Even if it falls short, watching Cid and his friends battle vampires, zombies, and crime lords promises to be immensely entertaining.
Most Anticipated: Spy×Family Season 2
I am eagerly awaiting the second season of Spy×Family because I hope to see Yor, who was overshadowed in the first season, finally get her time to shine. The first season was a fantastic adaptation of the manga, especially in its portrayal of Anya as the heart of the story. However, Yor didn’t get as much focus, which felt somewhat unfair. The upcoming season presents an opportunity to explore more of Yor’s actual career and witness the bombastic action scenes of the cruise arc, alongside Anya’s new shenanigans. I’m excited to see how Yor’s character develops and to experience the full scope of her story.
Runner-up: The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You
This season offers numerous good-looking shows, but I have chosen The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You as my top pick. As a fan of harem anime, this series embodies the perfect and ultimate evolution of the subgenre. Unlike other harem series that turn love into a competition among a few girls, 100 Girlfriends embraces the power of a polycule. It goes all-in on the concept, with a commitment to reaching 100 girlfriends that is limited only by the creators’ mortality and the physical limitations of manga pages. The series is hilariously ludicrous and ingeniously stupid in a way that defies conventional notions of “good” or “bad” taste. Its cast of bizarre yet lovable weirdos forms a hilarious and endearing ensemble. Amidst the harem insanity, the series manages to offer astute observations about romance, such as loving somebody because of their faults rather than despite them. It also believes in the infinitely positive power of love. I eagerly anticipate each volume release and cannot wait for the anime to introduce more people to the Rentaro Family.
Runner-up: The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 Part 2
I am delighted that the second half of The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 is coming so soon. While the first half was slow in terms of plot progression, it created a compelling new setting for Chise and Elias to navigate, introducing a host of new characters and their stories. With the groundwork laid, I look forward to delving into Philomela’s conflict with her family and uncovering the twisted mysteries and emotional ties woven into the world of sorcery. Chise’s story, now that she possesses great power and presents a threat to her enemies, also intrigues me. It’s a dynamic shift that she’s not entirely comfortable with if it means taking lives. Above all, I am excited to be reunited with the captivating world and characters, ready to immerse myself in its enchanting and terrifying atmosphere. After that, I’ll need to adopt Rentaro’s dedication to his many loves to keep up with the other offerings this season. I can’t wait to see what the animation team behind Bocchi the Rock! can do with Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. The manga is already phenomenal, and I anticipate an equally amazing animated adaptation.