Top 10 Most Promising Anime of Fall 2016

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The Fall 2016 Anime Season is shaping up to be quite a jam packed season. Not only because of the record quantity of anime titles airing, but because of the sheer number of quality titles. In this Top 10 list, we’re exploring some of the most promising of these titles. Keep in mind that this list will only contain new series. Let’s be honest, continuations would fill the list easily!

Girlish Number
Gi(a)rlish Number
Streaming: Crunchyroll, TheAnimeNetwork

girlishnumberfeatFrom the creative mind of Wataru Watari (creator of Romantic Comedy Snafu), Girlish Number gives a very cynical viewpoint of the animation industry from the perspective of an up and coming voice actress named Chitose. While she assumes the world is destined for her greatness, as she enters her first big job, it’s obvious things are going to train wreck very quickly.

What’s obvious from the get-go for this series is that Wataru Watari, who has gained success from his Light Novels, is possibly pouring some personal experience into this series. With a very judgemental gaze at how adaptations are viewed, how light novels are dismissed, how the authors and artists are stepped on, and how the staff can really screw up if their focus is wrong. While it may not be Shirobako levels, I really do get a similar feel from this series. If it offers nothing in the end, it’s been a fantastic (if not overly cynical) look at the anime industry.

Izetta the Last Witch
Shuumatsu no Izetta
Streaming: Crunchyroll

izettafeatSet in an alternate history World War II setting, Izetta the Last Witch is an exciting and magically grounded world that shows a great deal of promise. Opening up, we meet a strong willed princess named Finé who seeks to aid her country by looking for allies in other countries. Although, what she finds is an ally in a childhood friend and witch, Izetta.

What makes Izetta the Last Witch stand out from the crowds is it’s ability to create both a believable alternate history and exciting conflict that you want to see through. Add to that the struggle of Finé leading a country and Izetta fighting tradition for the sake of her treasured friend. It’s a cast you want to support and see victorious. Plus, watching a semi-modern day witch throwing tanks around like playthings is just awesome.

Flip Flappers
Flip Flappers
Streaming: Crunchyroll, TheAnimeNetwork

flipflappersfeatEasily the surprise gem of the season, Flip Flappers works on multiple levels to create quite an exciting ride each week. While the overall plot is nothing to write home about (so far), it’s the feeling of exploration and adventure that makes me glued to my screen. It also helps that the show carries a simple, yet extravagant and artistic animation that is constantly impressing me.

In this series, the normal life seeking Cocona is confronted by a fun loving Papika and the two are constantly sucked into an alternate dimension where they fight to survive. Seems simple, but the world in which they arrive in is always different and chaotic. Better yet, they are themed. Mad Max, Alice in Wonderland, The Shining, Corpse Party, and other mediums constantly blend to make for some interesting mishmashes. It’s a blast every week and I can’t wait for more.

March Comes In Like A Lion
Sangetsu no Lion
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Daisuki

marchcomesinlikealionfeatEasily one of the most anticipated series for this season, Chika Umino of Honey and Clover fame, offers up a story of a Shogi player whose life is quite bitter and dark. SHAFT takes the reins in adapting this manga, and because of that the sheer amount of symbolism and artstyle shifts brings the protagonist’s constant shift of emotions to a visual life.

In this series, Rei Kiriyama dropped out of school to pursue a professional career in shogi after parting ways with his adoptive father who trained him. Engulfed in depression, the only light seems to come from a family of 3 sisters who welcome him into their home. However, as bright as things may seem, everyone seems to have their own struggles and darkness to overcome. It’s an emotional ride for sure, and watching how they will overcome their trials is definitely the reward for this series.

Magical Girl Raising Project
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
Streaming: Crunchyroll

magicalgirlraisingfeatBeing kept under the measuring stick of Madoka, dark magical girl series often get more flack than they deserve. While Raising Project may have showed off its cards far too early, it gains a bit of respect when it does clever things with the mechanics of a magical girl.

In this world, magical girls come in many shapes and sizes, breaking from the mold of “Middle School Girls Need Only Apply”. Being forced to strive to be the top 8 to keep your powers, Raising Project so far leans on a mix of brutal fight for survival and clever backstabbing that could lead to some excellent moments for this series.

Ninja Girl and Samurai Master
Nobunaga no Shinobi
Streaming: Crunchyroll

ninjagirlandsamuraimasterfeatGasp! A show with Nobunaga in it! It HAS to be trash right? Quite the opposite actually! Despite the bad English title selection, this 3 minute series is short, simple, hilarious, and adorable all at the same time. Bringing a smile to my face every week.

Following the newly hired Chidori, who begins working for the famous Nobunaga Oda, the series plays off simple but well timed comedy surrounding both Nobunaga and Ninjas. While Chidori is extremely skilled, she’s also a bit overly determined and focused. Leading to misunderstandings and silly victories over missions.

Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri!!! on Ice
Streaming: Crunchyroll

yurionicefeatMAPPA has been an incredible studio to follow since it grabbed my initial attention with Rage of Bahamut. With each new project, they seem to set the bar higher with style shifts and quality in animation. Yuri on Ice is no different as it features not only great portrayal of the story in character emotion and actions, but also great animated choreography from the figure skating.

The story joins a figure skating medalist Victor with one of his long time admirers Yuri in a competitive team that seeks to shake the world of the Gran Prix Finale. Watching each performance as MAPPA matches tone, music, and animation has me speechless every second.

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
Streaming: Funimation, Daisuki

regaliathethreesacredstarsfeatWhile this series has been running since Summer, it faced a great deal of delay and even a rebroadcasting. What makes it promising however is the sense of pride the studio seems to have for this work. Touting that their aim is to create a fully hand-drawn mecha anime has my old 90s mecha blood pumping for some great action.

What’s even more surprising was the fact that the original broadcast looks great, and if they thought that wasn’t up to snuff, I can’t wait to see what they have in store going forward. Mecha summoning girls, a princess protecting family and nation, and crazy themed robots. Call it trope, but I call it a blast so far.

Poco’s Udon World
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
Streaming: Crunchyroll

pocosudonworldfeatWhile it’s hard to defend a show that advertises a Prefecture, it’s a bit forgiving when the story has something truly loving to say about such a location. Poco’s Udon World definitely likes to highlight the niceties of the Kagawa Prefecture but it’s done in a way that hits home for the lead Souta and what he misses most about his hometown.

In this story, Souta returns to Kagawa following the death of his father. During this time he runs into a child name Poco who ends up being a Tanuki disguising itself. While taking care of Poco and cleaning his dad’s shop for sale, Souta rediscovers his past and the home he left behind. It’s sweet and definitely makes one a bit nostalgic for your own hometown.

Occultic;Nine
Occultic;Nine
Streaming: Crunchyroll, Daisuki

occulticninefeatWhile Occultic Nine was off to a very rough start out of the gate, leading to subtitle reading eyeball fatigue from even veterans of the Monogatari Series, the glimmer of hope was in it’s dark, mysterious, and weird world. While impossible to blame anyone from being turned off by it, sticking with it has proven interesting.

The series, so far, is a culmination of multiple people’s seemingly random and mysterious stories that all seem to connect in some way. If each individual story is examined, their stories are quite simple, however together they are a mess. Watching them come together is probably one of the more rewarding elements and the style cannot be dismissed. Just watch out for the mountain peaks… which I don’t think anyone’s apologizing for…

That does it for the Fall 2016 Anime Season’s most promising show! If you have a series you’re excited for, make sure to leave a comment below. Also, be sure to check back at the end of the season as we give our reviews for these and many other shows this season!

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.