Brief impressions of the Fall 2020 anime season so far
As before, it's time for my current views on how this season has shaken out so far, following up on my first episode reactions. At this point I've watched four episodes of everything I'm following, which is long enough for shows to establish themselves and usually for my views to stabilize. After a drought that kind of started when I abandoned the fall 2019 season, I'm apparently back to watching plenty of anime.
(I have some thoughts on that but I'm not sure they fit within the margins of an entry I want to write.)
- Warlords of Sigdrifa: This is my surprise of the season, because
it's unreasonably good (well, for its genre);
the third episode was an especially good standout, but it
has great touches all through (including in incidental background
details). As I put it on Twitter, the show might have good fights but
it's about people, and that's what gets me hooked.
(With that said, it's not an entirely serious show.)
- Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear: This is a fundamentally charming story that
I'm enjoying for that, and also for Yuna's faces and periodic nature
as a little gremlin. I have an advantage in that I've been exposed
to the story in manga form, where I also enjoyed it, so I'm happy to
see it animated even if this is not a top notch flawless adaptation.
Unfortunately the various flaws of this probably mean that people who
don't know the story (and aren't fond of isekai in general) won't like
the show at all.
- Akudama Drive: On the one hand, the setting and most of the
characters here are ludicrous in a stylish cyberpunk way, with the
redeeming virtue that the show commits wholeheartedly to it (and has
the animation to make it look good). On the other hand, I have gotten
steadily more caught up in it every episode, as it reveals another
twist and turn, and it does have one normal character that we can root
for and care about as she gets caught up in everything. This has
definitely become engaging watching where I care about what happens
- Jujutsu Kaisen: So far the show is well executed shonen action
with aspects of horror, which is basically what I was expecting from
its genre and pedigree. It's adopting an ongoing Shonen Jump series,
so I'm expecting lots of battles, little progress in any overall plot,
no real conclusion, and a decent chance that I'll get bored with it
before it ends. It has one solid female protagonist, but I'm also
not expecting the show to treat her well, because shonen action shows
(and manga) almost never do.
- Assult Lily Bouquet: This is another 'fighting girls' show, and as
usual I have slightly conflicted feelings. Overall I'm enjoying it
and I find a number of the characters appealing; it's pretty well
made and it knows how to do action and how to make action interesting
(which aren't quite the same thing). It's also got a surprising streak
of subtlety in its storytelling (both visual and in dialog). On the
other hand, it is playing to a certain degree of fanservice and is
somewhat over the top even for its genre.
As an instance of its genre, it's pretty good, and I happen to like its genre when it's done well. However I don't think it has much appeal if you're not a fan of the genre and it certainly has some peculiar aspects if looked at objectively.
On the edge:
- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle: This is lightweight and only
has one core joke, but so far it's managed to remain both funny
and charming (sometimes through unexpected twists). It's been an
entertaining way to pass some time so far, although I wouldn't be
surprised if I grew tired of it eventually.
(It helps that each episode is divided into several segments, so the jokes move along fairly briskly.)
- Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: This is reasonably fun, has a
cast of female protagonists in an action series, and I like some
of the characters. On the other hand it has all of the stately
pacing and lack of a real spark that I expected from a follow up
to Inuyasha, although this is an anime only thing so we have
some hope of a conclusion. I'm casually enjoying it so far but
I rather expect I won't make it all the way through (especially
if it's more than one or maybe two cours).
- By the Grace of the Gods: This is a pretty wholesome isekai and
also quite bland and ordinary, in characters, situation, animation,
and directing. That makes it basically a time filler. I'm apparently
willing to keep watching for now but I'm probably going to wind up
(If it was the typical power fantasy type thing I would already have dropped it, but it's just charming enough to hang on for now.)
I don't currently have any urge to watch more than this (or to watch less), so I probably won't have any mid-season pickups. If I did, Adachi and Shimamura is the leading candidate for a look. There are other fantasy and isekai shows and I like the genre in general, but I think I have enough of them as it is this season.
PS: My ongoing impressions of each episode of the shows I'm watching are linked in a Twitter thread from my first episode reactions for each show. Twitter works better for these quick reactions than blog entries do, at least for me.
My (Twitter) reactions to the first episodes of the Fall 2020 anime season
As before I'm collecting here all of my tweeted reactions to the first episodes I've seen (in the order that I saw them). Although I was pretty dormant in anime watching for the past two seasons (or longer), this time around I seem to have woken up with a new enthusiasm for watching things.
- Jujutsu Kaisen episode #1: That was a pretty good action show first
episode, although I probably cheated by reading the first three chapters
of the manga beforehand (that's what's free online). It definitely
leaves me intrigued and wanting more, which is its job.
- Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear episode #1: If I didn't already know and like
the story here, I'm pretty sure I would have bounced off this
episode. It's rather flatly made and kind of incoherent, since it's
starting part way into the story with no background.
- Assault Lily BOUQUET episode #1: That was a decently done instance
of its genre, with more interesting and better staged fights than
usual. I even chuckled a few times, and it's not made the protagonist
into a complete potato; she has some interesting bits.
- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle episode #1: That was definitely
lightweight but also reasonably entertaining and funny. I can see this
wearing out the joke soon enough, but for now I'm interested enough
to watch another episode.
- By the Grace of the Gods episode #1: That was decidedly ordinary,
by which I mean 'bland'. I'll likely watch some more, mostly because
it's there and I like the genre in general, but I suspect I'll drop
it before the end of the season.
- Akudama Drive episode #1: That was fun and crazy and stylish, and
I like our protagonist, but it's not flawless. Most of the characters
are deliberate cliches, this episode tells us nothing about what
the show is about, and the whole thing is over the top in a slightly
- Yashahime episode #1: As someone who has only a glancing exposure
to Inuyasha, most of this episode was pretty empty and relatively
opaque. It was also pretty bland and only okay as an episode of action,
with a pretty empty monster of the week core.
(Much like Kuma Bear, the second episode was much better.)
I was considering looking at Wandering Witch, but the commentary I've seen on Twitter suggests that it's not my kind of thing. Talentless Nana has some good reviews, but fortunately I've been spoiled on its shock twist because the shock twist shifts it into a genre I'm not interested in. It's possible I'll try out some other shows as junk food, but that's about it for things that look actually attractive.
(Adachi and Shimamura is somewhat tempting because I very much enjoyed Bloom into You, but I'm not sure if it would recapture Bloom's magic.)
And a surprise update:
- Warlords of Sigrdrifa episode #1: That was really good in general but what completely sold me are all of the good characters and the character interactions. This might have had good fights but it was about people, and that makes all the difference in the end. →