Fall 2019 Anime Guide: My Hero Academia, Psycho-Pass, Food Wars, And More (US)
2019 is ending on a decent note with follow-up seasons to popular shows.
The Fall 2019 seasons sees the continuation of some of the most popular anime in recent years. It's a packed market, but that isn't stopping the debut of several new series and movies, though--culminating in a list of dozens of anime to watch. If the full line-up of new anime in the US across Crunchyroll, Funimation, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hidive, and Hulu looks daunting, don't fret--we've got you covered. Read on to see our must-watch anime of the season.
In 2019, we've seen age-old classics--like Fruits Basket, Dororo, and Boogiepop--return in brand-new remakes of varying quality, as well as long-awaited titles aimed at the evolving shonen demographic, such as The Promised Neverland and Dr. Stone, reach new audiences. If you want to catch up, look to our previous anime guides for all the must-see series and movies.
Other 2019 Seasonal Anime Guides
My Hero Academia (Season 4)
Let's get the obvious show out of the way first, shall we? My Hero Academia became a worldwide phenomenon in only a few episodes, riding on the fervent fandom of those who enjoy superheroics and high-stakes battles. After a decent Season 1 and much better Season 2, the anime truly came into its own in Season 3, delivering one of the best superhero battles between the main rivals of the story--setting up intriguing opportunities for character growth in Season 4.
My Hero Academia follows the story of Izuku Midoriya, a Quirkless boy born in a world where most humans possess superpowered Quirks. Midoriya's fate is changed forever when he impresses his idol, All Might, which convinces the professional hero to give his powerful ability to the boy and make him his protege. The series follows Midoriya's growth as a hero and his evolving rivalry with childhood friend and bully Katsuki Bakugo. The fourth season will see Midoriya and his allies join All Might's former sidekick, Sir Nighteye, in battling a brand-new threat: the Yakuza. You can watch My Hero Academia on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.
Like the best in the sports sub-genre, Chihayafuru excels at delivering compelling characters and interesting storylines to introduce you into the captivating world of a sport that's probably not well-known to most people. So even if you've never played karuta before--or have no interest in getting into competitive poetry memorization--Chihayafuru does a good job explaining why the game is important to certain people and what it takes to be good at it, before then utilizing the sport as a narrative device for a gripping tale of motivating yourself beyond failure.
Chihayafuru follows Chihaya Ayase, a once talentless elementary school girl whose entire world is turned upside down when she meets transfer student Arata, a gifted karuta player who tells her that she has the potential to become truly great at the game too. She begins playing with Arata and her best friend Taichi and continues to play even after the two change schools--convinced that they'll all meet at the national level someday. Now in high school, Chihaya is a skilled karuta player, and she forms an after school club with some of her former rivals and other aspiring players in hopes of becoming the karuta industry's next "Queen." You can watch Chihayafuru 3 on Crunchyroll.
The crime thriller Psycho-Pass has had a tumultuous history, with a beloved first season and a mixed reception for the second. It makes recommending Season 3 a bit tricky, especially since protagonist Akane Tsunemori (who I love a lot) is no longer the focus of the series. However, the expanded Psycho-Pass universe proves that the franchise can excel even without Akane at the forefront, and director Naoyoshi Shiotani--who helmed the first season but had no part in creating the second--has returned to direct Season 3. So I'm remaining cautiously optimistic that Season 3 will be a welcome return to form for the cyberpunk police drama. It doesn't seem like you need to have watched the first two seasons to enjoy Season 3 given all the new characters, but it's still too soon to tell.
Taking place in a futuristic dystopia, Psycho-Pass follows criminal investigations in a city where violence has become almost nonexistent. Every human in the city is monitored by omnipresent sensors that alert authorities if someone is likely to commit an illegal act. Criminals are typically locked away for life, but the more stable among them can also work as investigators called Enforcers. Enforcers are managed by Inspectors, law-abiding citizens who rely on their human "hunting dogs" to do the dirty part of police work. The third season of Psycho-Pass follows the investigations of Arata Shindō and Kei Mikhail Ignatov--the new partner Inspectors of Division 1. You can watch Psycho-Pass 3 on Amazon Prime Video.
Sword Art Online: Alicization - War Of Underworld
Though a similar set-up to previous seasons, Alicization finally nails the premise Sword Art Online has been trying to sell: being trapped in a virtual prison. Alicization manages to make it work by stripping badass protagonist Kirito of everything that makes him special, transforming him into a more relatable character. There's something so human in the way he occasionally just breaks down and cries over the hopelessness of being entirely alone with no way to get back to his wife, daughter, and friends. And because of this new characterization, the Sword Art Online formula just plays out a lot better. Seriously, if you're not a fan of Sword Art Online, Sword Art Online II, or Gun Gale Online, consider giving Alicization a chance.
In Sword Art Online, people somehow keep getting trapped in video games where if you die in-game, you die in real life. That's of little worry to main character Kirito, though, as he's so good at video games that death is never a possibility when he plays. All of that changes in Alicization, when Kirito awakens in an actual virtual reality (not a video game). With no clear way to escape, and now trapped in a prison that obeys the laws of reality (getting stabbed can't be quickly healed with an item, for example) Kirito has to make a new life for himself and spend years of time in a fantasy world. War of Underworld is the second half of Alicization, picking up after the first half's tragic cliffhanger of an ending. You can watch Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld on Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.
Ascendance Of A Bookworm
Ascendance of a Bookworm is an isekai that's less about saving a fantasy world and more about learning how to live in it. Main character Myne is no savior; she's a good person who gets stuck in a pretty sucky situation and decides to make the most of it. This makes her much more relatable in comparison to isekai protagonists who are reborn as powerful heroes or god-like individuals. Myne's story is a very human struggle, one that's initially born out of selfishness but transforms into something positive for her new community. Even if Ascendance of a Bookworm goes to some pretty dark places, it's ultimately a feel-good story.
Told initially as a flashback, Ascendance of a Bookworm starts in our world with recent college graduate Urano, who loves books more than anything and is about to fulfill her dream of running a library. However, she dies in an earthquake and her soul is transferred into the body of Myne, a frail peasant girl who died in an alternate, fantasy world. Unfortunately for Myne, books in this new world are incredibly rare and those that exist are reserved for only the most elite of nobles. Desperate for the chance to read again, Myne decides she's going to figure out a way to make her own books--ones that are cheap enough for peasants to buy and read. You can watch Ascendance of a Bookworm on Crunchyroll.
Blackfox takes the basis of a ninja-inspired revenge plot and blends it with superhero origin tropes to deliver an almost Batman-like story. The villains aren't all that unique to the superhero genre (there's even a bald dude who's giving off so many Lex Luthor vibes, it's almost funny), but the two main protagonists are well-rounded--both carry the story forward, keeping you invested even in its more campy moments. The ending of Blackfox implies it's only the first chapter of a much larger superhero story, and I so hope that it is.
Blackfox follows Rikka, the eldest child in a ninja clan known for their talents in assassination. Despite being extensively trained in the art of ninjutsu from a young age by her grandfather, Rikka doesn't want to kill, preferring to instead follow in the footsteps of her dad, a talented researcher and inventor. However, one day, Rikka returns home only to find the walls covered with blood. A trail leads her to her father and grandfather, who are both murdered in front of her. Vowing vengeance, Rikka adopts a new name and begins working as a private eye during the day. At night, she dons a fox mask and becomes a costumed vigilante--utilizing both her and her father's brilliant inventions to accentuate her ninjitsu. You can watch Blackfox on Crunchyroll.
Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
Remember how an anime-inspired game surpassed Fortnite to be the most talked about game on Twitter in 2018? Well, that game is Fate/Grand Order, and one of its better chapters is now an anime series, Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia. If you like other Fate series, chances are you'll like Babylonia too. Everything that makes the franchise great is here: snippets of history, magically explosive battles, convoluted but intriguing storylines, and top-tier best boy and girl candidates. Just be warned going in if this is your first Fate series--it's technically standalone, but the cause of the problem the heroes are trying to fix can be pretty confusing without prior knowledge of the franchise.
In Fate/Grand Order, it's revealed an extinction-level event will hit humanity within a year. To stop it, a grand order is formed, one composed of mages (Masters) and powerful heroic figures (Servants), like Leonardo da Vinci and Galahad. Master and Servant teams travel back in time to change key historical moments and save humanity's future. In Babylonia, Master Ritsuka Fujimaru and Servant Mash Kyrielight travel to the final point in history that needs fixing, B.C. 2655, when three goddesses are preparing to wipe out the last humans on earth. You can watch Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia on Funimation.
Babylon is the exact opposite of any anime described as "it just starts slow," jamming numerous twists and turns into its eerie story. Smartly written with wonderfully realized characters, Babylon is a fictional story that's just crazy enough to definitely not be real, but also realistic enough to be probable one day. Each episode ends on more of a cliffhanger than the last, creating a crime drama that's very easy to binge.
Babylon starts out simple enough. Special investigation team prosecutor Zen Seizaki and his assistant Atsuhiko Fumio are assigned to look into a pharmaceutical company charged with bribing universities during a drug trial. During their investigation, they accidentally stumble upon an unimportant piece of paper. However, closer inspection reveals the document is stained with blood, as well as human skin and hair. From there, things begin to spiral as the duo try to piece together where the document comes from, which in turn leads to a staged suicide that ties to a mayoral election, a prositution ring, and a mysterious nameless woman who is animated and framed in a delightfully creepy way. And that is before we even get halfway through episode two. This anime is wild, but in a chilling, captivating way that leaves you staring at your ceiling at 3AM trying to piece together the mystery. You can watch Babylon on Amazon Prime Video.
Food Wars: The Fourth Plate
Food Wars has long existed in this weird trifecta of cooking, action, and comedy. But damn if it doesn't somehow nail the best parts of those subgenres and seamlessly weave them together with an excellent story of cooking-focused battles and hilarious slice-of-life hijinks. The narrative is helped along by the wonderful cast, all of whom possess well-written character arcs that see them face and overcome all kinds of threats--both external, like literal food wars, and internal, like the emotional fallout from an abusive relationship.
The story of Food Wars follows the evolving friendship of aspiring teenage chefs that attend an elite culinary school where students are allowed to challenge each other in cooking competitions. Soma Yukihira, the cocky but exceptionally talented son of a world-renowned chef, may be the star, but Megumi Tadokoro and Erina Nakiri sell the show. Megumi isn't nearly as good a cook as Soma and is quite shy, but over the course of Food Wars we've seen her grow in both culinary ability and confidence. Erina is presented as vindictive fairly early on, but she's since grown into one of the show's most well-rounded and beloved characters. You can watch Food Wars: The Fourth Plate on Crunchyroll and Hulu.
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