Fall 2020 – First Impressions


It’s that time again! A new season is upon us, and that means a whole raftload of new shows to talk about. Hit the jump and let’s run ’em down.

The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italicsstrikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.

Assault Lily BOUQUET

First episode of the new season… and it was awful. Painfully generic, right down to the squeaky voiced, pink haired, spunky MC-chan with a predictable backstory.

By the eyecatch, I was bored. By the ED, I was painfully bored and badly in need of a drink.

First episode verdict: Dropped without a backwards glance or a shred of regret.

Rail Romanesque (Crunchy, Funi)

Um, wait… What? What did I just watch? It’s a short, and first episode introduced a ton of waifu bait characters, but didn’t tell us much about the series. So, I guess I’ll keep it for a bit?

First episode verdict: Sure, why not. But on a trial basis only.

TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You (Crunchy)
Tonikaku Kawaii: Fly me to the Moon


So… They end up married, and basically just starting to date? That does have all kinds of possibilities for rom-com shenanigans. That’s without considering Tsukasa’s mysterious nature. (She has a habit of walking off into the full moon – given the Princess Kaguya references, that’s in no way accidental.)

But if Nasa says “but she’s totally cute” too many more times, I’m going to be tempted to throw something. (And do you know how hard it is for a space fan like myself to not type NASA?)

My wife has read the manga and says it gets a lot better once it gets rolling.

Status: Keeper.

With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun (Crunchy)
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii


An insanely fast paced short-short (the episode was only 1:30!). But I loved it, and the cat is a complete *sshole – but so far the star of the show. Probably going to be a one-line-and-a-screenshot review, but how can I not?

Status: KEEPER!!!!

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (Funi)
Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai


If I was impressed by one thing in this episode, it was this: They didn’t mention μ’s or Aquors. Not even once. Not even by reference. Is the franchise finally confident enough to let a series stand on it’s own? <Crossing fingers>

Other than that, it’s way too early to say much more than I’m at least a little bit interested. The production is a little clunky, and we already know there’s going to be an ensemble cast… But we haven’t seen enough to really tell how it’s going to flow.

One thing I did find interesting is how both performances has a strong fantasy component about them… The first from the POV of the spectator, the second from the POV of the performer (and also the spectator?). It’s a refreshing change from Sunshine!!‘s unfortunate directorial choice to air-drop music videos into the episode rather than in-world performances.

Status: Too early to tell really, could go either way. Tentative keeper.

Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls (Crunchy)


Pretty much the first episode of every sports anime in the history of ever… Enthusiastic newbie prodigy faces off against the hard bitten hard ass experienced player. Completely and totally paint-by-numbers in plot and characterization.

Worse yet, in terms of competency of execution, I’m getting Hanebado vibes when I was hoping for Harukana Receive.

Sport Climbing would improve immensely if it turned itself down a notch or two and took itself much less seriously.

Status: Against my better judgement, very tentative keeper.

The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc (Funi)
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen

Of course the American character is blond and busty… and a bit of an incompetent airhead considering what she’s supposed to be.

Mahouka is a show I don’t think I’ll have much to say about other than the occasional snark. It’s not deep, it’s not complex, but it does take itself way too seriously.

Status: Keep.

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina (Funi)
Majo no Tabitabi


Artistically, hands down the most beautiful anime of the season… This is the kind of stuff I’d expect from P.A. Works or to find in a big budget movie. I hope they can keep it up…

But I was somehow kinda unsatisfied with the episode being a prologue. Probably not Elaina‘s actual fault, it just had the bad luck to come on the heels of a long stretch of fairly standard first episodes. So, I’m going to take a mulligan and give it an episode or two to settle in… For some reason I badly want to be in love and I’m going to indulge that.

Because otherwise, there’s just not much to say here.

I do want to put into the record that there’s a fan theory that the mother is Nike… settled down and raising a family. That theory makes a lot of sense given how the town witches responded, and that a famous witch could be summoned from another country. Who else could do that but a famous and influential witch herself?

Status: Waiting to see the first real episode.

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*Whew* Eight shows… and there’s more yet to come. That’s a lot of shows, even if there’s only one real standout so far. Even if it turns out to not be a great season, it could still be a busy season.

My schedule page has been updated with what I’ve watched, and most of what I’m anticipating. (And yay, pretty much everything I had any interest in got a legal stream!) It’s woefully incomplete because I haven’t put in any shows below the “interested” level. That would be a pain considering how many shows I’ll be checking out “just because”.

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Off on a tangent… It’s a cruddy video, but I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and have been playing Genshin Impact. I’m not so good at these kinds of games, but I’m having fun so I’ll be sticking with it for the moment.

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Anyhow, there you have it – the first batch of Fall 2020 premieres. I’m caught up through Saturday (PST), so feel free to comment on these or any other shows that have aired so far. Drop a comment and let’s chat.

6 thoughts on “Fall 2020 – First Impressions”

  1. I loved Elaina’s premiere. ANN reviewers mentioned that the books didn’t start with her origin story, so that’s already a change. I think I might’ve preferred introducing her as an adult and trusting the audience to buy in, but I still really enjoyed it. The magical combat was a real highlight for me.

    Nijigasaki was surprisingly chill for a Love Live premiere. The vibe almost felt like more like one of those low-stakes slice of life club shows. I guess they wanted to firmly establish Yu and Ayumu’s friendship, and they did, but OG Love Live had no trouble establishing Honoka, Umi, and Kotori’s friendship without wasting five minutes on scenes of them feeding each other lunch. My favorite scenes were Rina’s introduction, which was also was the only scene I remember making me laugh, and Setsuna’s performance (note: Setsuna’s song was previously released, while Ayumu’s was brand new for the anime). I’m still committed, and I’m very happy that I didn’t see any warning signs of the vaudeville comedy shtick that plagued Sunshine, but I really want to see more energy. It looks like Kasumi is the featured girl next week, and she has more personality than Ayumu (who even in-game is a fairly generic “hard-working nice girl” type), so hopefully that’ll help pick things up.

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    1. OG Love Live had no trouble establishing Honoka, Umi, and Kotori’s friendship without wasting five minutes on scenes of them feeding each other lunch.

      And don’t forget shopping! Yeah, there was an awful lot of what felt like padding in this episode. (We get it! They’re BFF! ) You’re spot on with the vibe… But it’s not impossible that’s the angle they’re playing? Something along those lines? I know nothing about the mobage, so I don’t know what to expect.

      re:Elaina: I didn’t hate the premiere… It was more of straw-and-camel’s back situation and no fault of the show. I was thinking it needed more framing (such as her looking back) or this being the 2nd ep/flashback even before the comment on ANN’s preview guide.

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      1. Nah, the game’s story isn’t that fluffy. The optional event side stories lean more towards silly SOL shenanigans, but the main story has a real ongoing narrative and some legit dramatic stakes for both Yu and the club, and there are also individual side stories for the characters that do a good job of adding more personality layers to the Niji girls in particular, including issues and challenges they’re dealing with in their personal lives. So no, I wasn’t expecting such a casual vibe.

        That being said, I do feel like despite the quiet start they did a good job of planting the seeds for plot elements that I expect to become relevant later on. We definitely got some foreshadowings of things to come with Rina and Setsuna, and possibly with a few of the other girls, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m still confident things will pick up, but I don’t know. I might have a jump on being familiar with the characters, but this premiere already diverged enough from the beginning of the game’s story that I’m guessing almost as much as you are when it comes to what they’re going to do with the plot.

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  2. @Assault Lily Bouquet: …yeah. What’s there to say? I’m not sure why, but I can see myself going on with it; we’ll see. Someone pointed out that our protagonists are called Yuyu and Riri, so if you intertwine them you get yuri yuri. They’re really pushing the yuri on the meta, so I kind of wonder if they’ll stick to their guns for once ratherthan maintaining plausible deniability. My money’s on no.

    @Rail Romanesque: I don’t get it either, and I have practically zero interest in story or characters, but I love the way it looks. I was never so relieved to find that a show’s a short before. I wouldn’t watch a standard show just for the visuals… or would I? I think there might have been precedence, though I can’t remember a title off-hand.

    @Tonikawa: I loved the entire episode. That’s two weirdos getting together: Nasa goes to the moon, hun? It would have been so easy to make Tsukasa into some kind of ideal, but she doesn’t come across as that at all. I also really like how the show looks, and while I’m no expert it feels like it’s not a hard look to animate: very simple character designs that should move easily, and lots of large space in the background (like the moon). Most of it seems to be framing and/or colour. There might, of course, be things I’m missing, as I’m not an expert.

    @Dog/Cat: That was quite fun. By the way, this show’s both written and directed by Seiji Kishi (Angel Beats, Tsuki ga Kirei, Assassination Classroom, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, and many more). I only found out about this from Guardian Enzo at Lost in Anime.

    @Sports Climbing Girls: It’s a sports show. It’s pretty much exactly a sports show. I quite liked it. Nothing special, but it’s okay. The problem is the camera, and its not the service angles. The way the camera moves can at times give me severe motion sickness. It was bad in the first half of the show, but I was fine once the climbing started. I’m definitely not going to watch the opening again, though. If it gets worse, I’m out. I remember dropping Prince of Stride because of motion sickness, but that was a show about running fast through city scapes, so I sort of understood that the camera move like that. Here? It’s just a slow creep/turn at all the wrong times. Why?

    @Majo no Tabi Tabi: Ooh, after Tonikawa this is the second premiere I loved. First, the visuals are every bit as good as I expected and then some. And I find Elaina pretty charming, too. Love her mum, too; that’s an interesting theory about her: it would make sense that the Stardust witch cam to “see someone”. (By the way, I loved her hat full of stars, and how the show just let it be without making a big deal of it, or even commenting on it.)

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    1. As a general comment, yeah, there’s some interesting/well done animation this season… The exceptions (so far) are Love Live (chained by it’s now decade old designs) and Sports Climbing Girls. The latter seemed to drift a bit between styles and two main girls kept going off-model.

      re: Majo no Tabi Tabi Agreed, 100%. I loved pretty much everything about the show except it’s narrative structure. (I should have made that clearer.) Unless her mother’s opposition comes to play some story role, it was an odd choice to open with. Doubly so since the source material doesn’t.

      Majo no Tabi Tabi is, next to Tonikawa, the show I have the highest hopes for this season. I see Sport Climbing and Romanesque as the weakest. The former mostly because it’s just so generic…

      re: Seiji Kishi. And Yuuki Yuuna too! And you know how much I love that franchise.

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