Fall 2019 Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist October 16, 20190 Comments
The protagonist from Outburst Dreamer Boys sits at her desks and looks over her shoulder in surprise as a hand reaches out, offering her a flower.

Fall rolled out a buffet table full of new shows, some that wowed us and some, uh… not so much. Now that we’ve finished our premiere reviews, let’s take a look at the season’s full menu.

Which shows do you review? 

We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or for young children. Anything not licensed and/or immediately available is off the table as well. This left us with a hefty 27 premieres in about two weeks.

A boy with multicolored eyes smiles slightly and says "Mayonnaise."

How do you write the reviews?

AniFem staffers Vrai and Caitlin handled most of the write-ups, with fellow editors Dee and Chiaki swooping in to help out here and there. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but we respect and support one another’s positions and critiques.

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.

Rigel stands before Azumi and holds out her hand.

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!

A teen boy looks through a magnifying glass and says "Your power level's pretty amazing!"

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, homophobia, 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!

The high priest puts a hand over Myne's mouth and says "No spoilers, fool!"

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 2019 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!

FALL 2019 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 without also having any significant caveats we need to tell readers about.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm (Episodes 1-2): A grounded lady-led isekai with an upbeat tone, driven protagonist, and undercurrents of capitalist and social critique. Potential for an uncomfortable romantic subplot involving the lead (an adult reborn in a child’s body) and one of her new friends (an actual child), but nothing concrete yet.
  • Stars Align (Episode 1): A middle school sports anime with excellent character animation and writing, including an unusual degree of class consciousness. Content warnings for depictions of abuse.

It’s… complicated
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.

  • Assassins Pride (Episode 1): A potentially strong heroine with the power to stand on her own and a gentleman hero. The setting is cool and the story promises to be more than a simple action-adventure. The main pairing, however, is that of a student-teacher relationship and the show takes an inordinate amount of time focusing on the calves of the female cast.

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

  • Actors: Songs Connection (Episode 1): A male idol show with a supernatural twist made mainly for those already invested in the subgenre. 
  • After School Dice Club (Episode 1): This cute-girls-playing real-life-board-games series has enough charm and nerd appeal that it may go beyond just fans of the genre.
  • Outburst Dreamer Boys (Episode 1-2): A teenage girl stumbles into being friends with the school’s dorkiest boys. Positively bursting at the seams with energy and humor, plus there’s the possibility of plot twists lurking under the surface.
  • Special 7: Special Crime Unit Investigation (Episode 1-2): A solidly executed (if somewhat unoriginal) supernatural crime series; stars two male leads, but treats its supporting female characters well thus far.
  • Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth (Episode 1): There’s nothing to hate about this half-baked gacha game adaptation, but there’s nothing to love or even like about it either.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun (Episodes 1-2): A sweet (demon) school comedy with a bright Halloween aesthetic and a dark comedic undertone.

Yellow flags
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.

  • Ahiru no Sora (Episode 1-2): Basketball anime with a lot of energy and some spunky supporting female characters that undercuts itself by having the male leads peep on and harass the girls.
  • Babylon (Episodes 1-3): Political thriller where all the female characters thus far are either evil manipulative seductresses or never speak. Includes depictions of suicide and discussions of “right to die” ethics
  • Blade of the Immortal (Episode 1): Adaptation of a beloved ‘90s series with buckets of gore and some fetishized violence toward women. 
  • Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (Episodes 1-2): An isekai that stands apart thanks to excellent comedic timing. The female characters wear skimpy outfits, but the camera is more focused on their (very silly) facial expressions. The female lead is thirsty for the male lead to a creepy degree at times.
  • Chidori RSC (Episode 1): Cute girls shoot rifle-shaped laser pointers. Occasionally talk about their boobs. Yawn.
  • Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia (Episode 1): The Chaldea Project must travel back in time to stop everyone’s favorite asshole, Gilgamesh, from screwing up all of history. Some fanservice shots and skimpy outfits.
  • NO GUNS LIFE (Episode 1): Noir cyberpunk about a gun-headed loner (it somehow works) stumbling into a found family. Some fanservice. 
  • Phantasy Star Online 2: Episode Oracle (Episode 1): This anime of the popular MMORPG is an unremarkable mix of standard sci-fi and fantasy tropes; a lot of the female characters wear cleavage-y clothes.
  • Z/X Code Reunion (Episode 1): Potentially fun premise with yuri undertones is too blandly executed to be enjoyable; some light fanservice.

Red flags
A whole lotta yikes.

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

  • ORESUKI Are You the Only One Who Loves Me? (Episode 1): A sociopathic story thinly disguised as a romantic comedy. Features incels and stalkers. Seems to know that its characters suck, but that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant to watch.
  • Val x Love (Episode 1): Old-school harem fanservice anime where the female cast are all literal objects forced to become the protagonist’s lovers.

Editor’s Note: This article was edited after publication to add an additional content warning for Babylon

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