2022 Fall Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist October 19, 20220 Comments
A girl chilling on a cloud with a dog

A bustling season with some good josei food and great heroines!

Which shows do you review? 

We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or (generally) for very young children. Anything not licensed and/or immediately available is off the table as well, though we do our best to offer premiere reviews for “Netflix jail” shows once they become legally available. Shows with late release dates will be reviewed separately.

While shows may change category as they continue to air, for ease of reference this is the order that will be used when discussing shows on our mid-season and wrap-up podcasts. Please note that any shows released in batches/by cour rather than weekly will not be discussed on the mid-season podcast.

A pink-haired girl lying dazed on the floor, drawn in stark sketchy lines. Subtitle text reads: And thus, Hitori Goto turned to dust...

How do you write the reviews?

Meru, Vrai, and Alex took an even split of shows, with Chiaki, Lizzie, and Dee stepping in to pinch hit.. The titles were divided by each reviewer’s preferred workload and choice. Caitlin pitches in on the Anime News Network Preview Guide, so you can see her take on the new shows over there.

Once we have more funding, we’d like to change our current model to provide a wider range of perspectives on more episodes. We’re a long way from that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury

What do your reviews focus on? 

This varies by writer to some extent (some of us are more focused on visuals, others on narrative, and so forth), but as a feminist site it’s of course essential that we raise any issues of feminist interest.

When you read an AniFem review, you’re likely to learn about female character designs, queer representation, analogies to real-world marginalization, and so on. If you think we missed something, please comment under the review and let us know!

Gaojun takes Shouxue's hand and says "But you are human, are you not?"
Raven of the Inner Palace

Why do you categorize them?

The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, information to help you decide if you want to try a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find series you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show that contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, queerphobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.

Individuals can find value in any series, and we will never lead a boycott of a particular show, but we want to make it easier for you to get the most out of your limited time. In our digest, feminist-relevant themes and ideas take precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.

Premieres that seem to contain progressive themes are at the highest end and those featuring regressive ideas (or out-and-out hatefulness) are at the lowest. We expect some disagreement and welcome debate, so if you have any objections to our lists then by all means let us know in the comments!

New maid Nagomi accidentally makes a mess while serving up omurice.
Akiba Maid War

I found a show I’m interested in! Where can I watch it?

This will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse Yatta-Tachi’s Fall 2022 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!

Fall 2022 Premiere Digest

The following titles are organized by categories, then alphabetically. Note that, because of the way premiere dates are staggered, particularly this season, we’ve had the chance to watch multiple episodes of some series. To give you a fuller picture of how much information we were working with when creating these rankings, we’ve marked how many episodes of each show we’ve seen.

Feminist potential

Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes and executing them competently. Please check individual reviews for more detailed content warnings.

  • Akiba Maid War (Episodes 1-2): Mash-up of yakuza narratives and 90s otaku maid culture; campy and gory, but shows promise of using its absurdity to dig into moe as performance.
  • BOCCHI THE ROCK! (Episode 1-2): Though it may feel over-the-top cutesy to some, this music hobby show contains an earnest depiction of anxiety. 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury (Episodes 0-3): Swinging for the fences with themes about disability, capitalism, and the horrors of war, and a lot of sparks between the heroines.

It’s… complicated

Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, the show may be biting off more than it can chew or in danger of fumbling its chosen themes.

  • Chainsaw Man (Episodes 1-2): Hyper-gory commentary on dehumanization under capitalism and trauma, as long as the adaptation doesn’t add in a bunch of fanservice or cut its pro-labor sentiments.
  • Housing Complex C (Episodes 1-2): Might be using cosmic horror to critique xenophobia and colonialism, but at the expense of racial othering and indigenous death.
  • I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss (Episodes 1-3): A villainess isekai that folds societal sexism into how its ambitious heroine came to be seen as “evil”; tragically rushed, and somewhat dismissive of women outside of Aileen.
  • Raven of the Inner Palace (Episodes 1-2): Shoujo/josei court fantasy series with an interest in exploring oppressive power structures that’s somewhat undercut by making the emperor a pushy love interest.
  • Reincarnated as a Sword (Episode 1): Power fantasy about an emancipated catgirl becoming a powerful fighter, but hampered by the titular sword being weirdly possessive of her.

Neutral zone

Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.

Yellow flags

Premieres that weren’t actively hateful at the premise level, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.

  • Beast Tamer (Episode 1): Gotta-catch-em-all beast girl fantasy; the catgirl heroine voluntarily forms a contract, but the “taming” concept is worth a side-eye going forward.
  • Bibliophile Princess (Episode 1): A historical fantasy that attempts to set its protagonist apart from “other girls” with her bookish intelligence, giving her shallow characterization along the way.
  • BLUELOCK (Episode 1-2): Says a lot about toxic masculinity, but much of that feels inadvertent as part of its cynical “death game” take on why the teamwork and camaraderie of sports series Suck, Actually.
  • The Little Lies We All Tell (Episode 1): Ensemble school comedy that has maybe the least-bad take you could manage on the “secret crossdresser” trope, but that doesn’t fully divest it of harmful implications.
  • Shinobi no Ittoki (Episode 1): Dull ninja series that treats women as disposable fanservice vectors.

Red Flags

A whole lotta yikes.

  • The Eminence in Shadow (Episode 1): Uses a sexual assault survivor as a vehicle to make the latest power-seeking isekai protagonist look good.
  • The Human Crazy University (Episode 1): Unpleasant and baffling; anything that might be critical about the prison system gets lost in other clumsy choices.
  • Urusei Yatsura (Episode 1): Shiny update of an influential ‘70s/’80s classic; it knows its lecherous main character sucks, but a lot of the jokes still hinge on sexual harassment followed by slapstick.

Pit of Shame

These shows need to go to their room and think about what they’ve done.

  • Love Flops (Episode 1): Bases its central “joke” around false sexual harassment allegations.
  • More Than a Married Couple but Not Lovers (Episode 1): A heteronormative dystopia passed off as the set-up for a rom-com; riddled with fanservice and sexist tropes.

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