2023 Fall Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist October 13, 20230 Comments
Frieren bending down to look at the huge book her apprentice Fern is reading

Let’s dive into the many offerings of what might be the biggest season ever!

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; series that are dropped in batches (the binge/Netflix model) won’t receive are a premiere review but are eligible for recommendations at end of season. Shows with late release dates will be reviewed separately from the digest.

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.

Closeup of Ange glaring into the camera, gripping a fork and looking murderous. Subtitle text reads: The guild won't be able to decline my next request for extended leave!
My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-Rank Adventurer

How do you write the reviews?

Lizzie, Alex, Vrai, Cy, and Caitlin split the majority of shows, with Chiaki and Toni stepping in to pinch hit. The titles were divided by each reviewer’s preferred workload and choice.

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.

Konoha's passion for the famous visual novel Kanon comes pouring out.
16bit Sensation: ANOTHER LAYER

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 intersectional 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!

Shy with overwhelmed swirly eyes

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!

Umika fantasizing of running into a group hug of welcoming aliens
Stardust Telepath

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 2023 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!

Fall 2023 Premiere Digest

The following titles are organized by categories, then alphabetically. Note that, because of the way premiere dates are staggered, 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.

  • 16bit sensation: ANOTHER LAYER (Episode 1): Time-travel story about a woman game developer and her relationship with eroge. 
  • Power of Hope ~Precure Full Bloom~ (Episode 1): Now-adult magical girls struggle with keeping their youthful ideals against complex adult worries; climate change is one of the central issues.
  • SHY (Episodes 1-2): A familiar but well-executed superhero story with a varied cast of female leads; some skimpy-ish leotard-style hero costumes, but no fanservice per se.
  • Stardust Telepath (Episode 1): Sweet sci-fi yuri about an anxious girl bonding with a psychic alien.

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.

  • I’m In Love with the Villainess (Episodes 1-2): A yuri fantasy romance that holds potential, but is also (at this early stage) mired in uncomfortable gags about the protagonist ignoring her love interest’s boundaries. 
  • My Daughter Left the Nest and Returned an S-rank Adventurer (Episodes 1-2): Cozy fantasy with a variety of capable female leads and an amputee deuteragonist; based on some dialogue, it’s uncertain how respectfully his disability will be treated by the narrative and other characters.
  • Our Dating Story: The Experienced You and the Inexperienced Me (Episode 1): Explicitly discusses consent and mutual respect but has a lot of baggage around assumptions that women can’t enjoy casual sex and leans into the trend of watering down the gyaru into a consumable archetype.

Neutral zone

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

  • Berserk of Gluttony (Episode 1): Edgelord power fantasy that so far lacks the slavery apologism and shock-value sexual violence common to the genre.
  • BULLBUSTER (Episode 1): A work-com about a struggling business that designs monster-fighting mechs; nice variety in the female character design.
  • Firefighter Daigo: Rescuer in Orange (Episode 1): Firefighting story styled like a sports anime complete with a homoerotic rivalry between male protagonists; there’s a female firefighter desperate to prove herself, but how much will she get to do?
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End (Episodes 1-5): Quiet, moving story of an elf rekindling her attachment to life after outliving her fellow world-saving adventurers.
  • I’m Giving the Disgraced Noble Lady I Rescued a Crash Course in Naughtiness (Episode 1): A demon lord helps an exiled noble girl reclaim her sense of self-worth, but his methods lean into “comical” manipulation so far.
  • I Shall Survive Using Potions! (Episode 1): Competent but unremarkable reincarnation isekai; bobble-headed women versus more varied and realistically designed men.
  • Kawagoe Boys Sing! -Now or Never- (Episode 1): Middle-of-the-road school choir story.
  • Migi&Dali (Episodes 1-2): Surreal, eerie comedy about adopted twins pretending to be one person in order to avenge their mother’s death.
  • My New Boss is Goofy (Episode 1): A sweet and gentle workplace comedy about healing from abusive workplace PTSD that seems to be calculated for maximum fujoshi/fudanshi bait.
  • OVERTAKE! (Episode 1): Lively, well-animated take on Formula racing with character designs by Shimura Takako; completely fails to acknowledge the existence of female racers.
  • Paradox Live THE ANIMATION (Episode 1): One of two mixed-media properties about rap groups having hallucinatory battles; no female characters, but the main group has a transfemme nonbinary member.
  • A Playthrough of a Certain Dude’s VRMMO Life (Episode 1): Lifeless VRMMO series about a purposefully unremarkable guy who’s secretly awesome.
  • Ragna Crimson (Episode 1): Middling dark fantasy shounen of a guy who fights dragons with abilities from his future self to avert the death of his female partner; 12-year-old female deuteragonist is happily not sexualized and their relationship is nice.
  • A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special (Episode 1): A time-traveling fantasy story with terrible pacing issues; depictions of (melodramatic) grief and loss, some schoolyard bullying.
  • Shangri-La Frontier (Episode 1): A story about a protagonist who enjoys playing bad VR games and eventually enjoys playing good VR games.
  • Tearmoon Empire (Episode 1): Marie Antoinette reimagined through the lens of a villainess isekai; nothing super deep or refreshing happening thematically, but also nothing too heinous either.
  • The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons (Episode 1): A quiet, touching family story about grief; English subtitling issues have now been fixed.

Yellow flags

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

  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really Really Really Really Really Love You (Episode 1): Despite the harem rom-com premise, the show has not crossed into outright sexual harassment territory as is typical for the genre. Still, fanservice comes as a staple. 
  • The Demon Sword Master of Excalibur Academy (Episode 1): A demon lord wakes from hibernation in a prepubescent body; fanservice involving his new teenage companions.
  • KamiErabi GOD.app (Episode 1): Death game by way of Yoko Taro. Includes a lot of dark subject matter, but it’s too soon to say if any of it is thematically relevant or just being used for shock value.
  • MF GHOST (Episode 1): Racing spin-off of Initial D with shallowly written female characters.
  • Protocol: Rain (Episode 1): Esports story with two main female characters, one of whom is mildly objectified by her male friend; remains to be seen how story handles the disabled younger sister.
  • Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions (Episode 1): Poorly constructed mystery show featuring a whacky detective and his hapless sidekick with a twist that arguably dehumanizes criminals.
  • Under Ninja (Episode 1): Ninja assassin alternate history with vaguely nationalistic undercurrents.

Red Flags

A whole lotta yikes.

  • The Family Circumstances of the Irregular Witch (Episode 1): The central joke turns around sexualizing and adultifying a Black-coded teenage girl versus her shorter, pale-skinned mother. 
  • UNDEAD UNLUCK (Episode 1): An unkillable man tries to finally die by seeking out the world’s unluckiest woman…and constantly groping and harassing her.
  • The Vexations of a Shut-In Vampire Princess (Episode 1): A teen vampire has to bluff her way through commanding an army; the show’s queer elements revolve solely around older women humiliating and/or forcing unwanted attention on the heroine.

Pit of Shame

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

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