Our resident otaku gazes into the future and chooses four shows to watch that keep getting left off others’ “most anticipated” lists.

Some people feel a certain bittersweet emotion as they stare at a late August sunset, with gradually cooling temperatures heralding the end of summer. Not our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa, though. Seiji can’t wait for the fall season, because he can’t wait for the fall anime season.

In preparation for the new crop of shows, Seiji has been looking at online poll results for the most anticipated anime debuting in fall 2021, but he can’t help but feel they don’t tell the whole story. The top-rankers, i.e. the ones that get the most votes, are the series with the broadest appeal. As a veteran otaku, though, what Seiji’s more concerned with are finding series that hit right in the center of his particular strike zone, and what he’s done is put together his own list of his preemptive picks for the four best anime that’ll be premiering next month.

Let’s take a look into his crystal ball for what he believes are going to be the four best anime of the upcoming season, in no particular order.

1. takt op.Destiny

It’d be difficult enough to read even without the invisible S, but Seiji promises there’ll be more to “Takt Ops Destiny,” as it’s pronounced, than funky linguistics. The original anime portion of the new takt op. animation/game mixed media project, the official website describes the premise as “a fragilely beautiful and fateful tale of girls fighting with the power of music in a music-less world.”

There aren’t a lot of concrete story or character details yet, so why is Seiji so confident this will be worth watching? “Because the series creator is Oji Hiroi, who also created Sakura Wars and Tengai Makyo/Far East of Eden,” two of the most popular video game series in the 1990s in Japan. There’s more ‘90s-solidified pedigree with the involvement of animation studio Madhouse, who’s teaming up with the highly respected MAPPA to produce the visuals, so odds are we’re in for something with a grand scale and gorgeous art.

2. Deep Insanity THE LOST CHILD

“A near-future dystopia where a strange disease ravages humanity” may be a baseline premise that’s been done before (arguably most recently by real life since the start of the pandemic). It’s all in the execution, though, and once again Seiji is betting on the people behind the project, anime studio Silverlink and director Shin Onuma, whose previous credits include the light-hearted Baka and Test. Onuma has also handled stories with some darker sides to them too, though, directing Watamote and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, and it’ll be interesting what he does with an especially gritty setting.

3. Muv-Luv Alternative

Seiji has been a big fan of the Muv-Luv anime and game franchise since way back, and he’s happy to see the Alternative arc of the series get the anime treatment. The source-material visual novel game was released back in 2006, and given the lengthy, optionally branching storylines of the genre it’s a given that not every possible scenario will make the jump to the anime, but Seiji’s keeping his fingers crossed that his favorite scenes will.

4. Megaton-kyu Musashi

And finally, we come to another series that doubly ignites Seiji’s twin otaku and gamer souls, as Megaton-kyu Musashi is getting both an anime and a video game from developer Level 5, whose resume includes Ni no Kuni, Professor Layton, Yo-kai Watch, and Dark Cloud. The “kyu” part of the title means “class,” and while Seiji isn’t sure what the exact parameters of a megaton-class mecha are, he’s still excited to see the robot power up and leap into action in what looks like it’s also going to be an emotionally moving series.

Now, of course, no true otaku are going to limit themselves to watching a mere four shows per season, and Seiji has plenty more on his viewing schedule. These are the ones he wants to check out first, though, and he has a hunch he’ll be sticking with them through the whole fall season.

Top image: Press release
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[ Read in Japanese ]