We are now six weeks into the fall anime season, and with 50 shows on the air it can be more than a little difficult to know which new ones to watch. Luckily, we at Kotaku East are here to help with our recommendations.

Over the past few weeks, I have spent hours upon hours getting fully caught up on all the most well-recommended new anime (thanks to the readers of TAY and Ani-TAY)—and of course on some other ones that just happened to catch my eye.

Now, I know it’s a vain hope, but by putting the following sentence in bold, perhaps I can cut off some angry comments before they get written. Because there are so many high quality anime this season, there will not be any sequel/prequel/sidequel anime series on this list. Rather, they will get their own recommendation guide at a later date (likely in a week or two). Instead, this guide will focus on the new franchises making their anime debut this season.

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And, as always, keep in mind as you read that these are simply the new anime that should not be missed this season. There are many more airing currently that are perfectly watchable. These, however, are the cream of the crop.


Parasyte –The Maxim–

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 24)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: One day, high school boy Shinichi wakes up to find that his hand has been possessed by a talking alien parasite. Although he and his parasite are able to form a reluctant symbiotic relationship of sorts, the other parasites on Earth have taken over their hosts' bodies completely. Moreover, there are brutal murders happening all across the country. And while the police are baffled as they look for a killer, Shinichi is the only one who knows the truth: It's not a serial killer. It's the parasites feeding on human flesh.

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Why You Should Watch It: Few anime are able to balance humor and horror as well as Parasyte. Largely this is thanks to Migi, the parasite possessing Shinichi’s right hand. As Migi is a purely logical alien being, human morals and emotions don’t even factor into his worldview. This can make for some comical scenes—like Migi pestering Shinichi about the specifics of human procreation—or horrific ones—like when Migi suggests using a group of students as a human shield to protect them from another parasite. Simply put, as Parasyte presents a conflict with no easy solution that is bolstered by life or death stakes, tension is always high and the tone always tinged with darkness even in its lighthearted moments.

Watch It If You Like: Tokyo Ghoul

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Lord Marksman and Vanadis

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 13)

Genre: Low Fantasy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: In a battle with a neighboring kingdom, the young Count Tigre is captured by Ellenora, the opposing side's general—a mystical knight with a sword that controls the wind. Having seen Tigre’s skill with a bow in battle, Ellenora wants him to defect to her side. However, she discovers he is steadfastly loyal to his duty to protect his lands and the people living there. Unfortunately, with Tigre's capture, a neighboring territory within Tigre's own Kingdom sends an army to take over his countship and murder his vassals. Thus, Tigre is left with only a single desperate gamble to save all he holds dear.

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Why You Should Watch It: This is an anime with the concept of medieval war at its center. It focuses on battlefield tactics and the building of political alliances as much as it does on its characters and their interpersonal relationships. Each battle scene in the anime uses chess pieces to quickly explain each side’s plans, formations, locations, and movements—thus avoiding unnecessary, time-wasting exposition. And while this is a low fantasy setting (i.e., mages aren’t a dime a dozen and magic doesn’t replace technology), the presence of dragons and the rare magical weapon serve to mix it all up from time to time. Add on top of this a core group of strong characters and a bit of looming romance, and you have a war story adventure that’s as cerebral as it is emotionally enjoyable.

Watch It If You Like: Valkyria Chronicles

Where You Can Watch It: Funimation, Hulu


Your Lie in April

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 22)

Genre: Romance, Music

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Kosei, a former child prodigy, quit playing the piano after suffering a mental breakdown following the death of his mother. However, after two years of avoiding the instrument, he meets Kaori—a young violinist who seems hellbent on bringing him back into the world of competitive classical music whether he wants to come or not.

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Why You Should Watch It: Your Lie in April is about two things: loss and love. Kosei is living a life without joy stemming from the weight of his mother’s expectations and his inability to live up to them. And while he has grown used to this pitiful existence, we see how love can change your entire way of seeing the world through his interactions with Kaori. The other striking aspect of this anime is its use of color and music. The visual contrast between the world before Kosei meets Kaori and after is a sight to behold and a highlight of the series so far. And even if you know nothing about classical music competitions, the anime does a great job of using musical examples to let you hear what the characters are talking about instead of just expecting you to take their word for it.

Watch It If You Like: Nodame Cantabile, NANA

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, Hulu


Rage of Bahamut: Genesis

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)

Genre: Fantasy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Favaro is a bounty hunter only concerned with catching his target, blowing the reward money on a night of debauchery, and then doing it all again. However, one night in his drunken boasting, he attracts the attention of Amira, a girl who has recently stolen one half of the key needed to free the most destructive force the world has ever known—the dragon Bahamut. Now Favaro’s life is a bit more complicated as he finds himself cursed to travel with Amira as the minions of heaven and hell hunt them across the world.

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Why You Should Watch It: Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is a fun fantasy adventure—and a beautiful looking one at that. Favaro is the very epitome of a plucky scoundrel with Amira filling the role of the wide-eyed innocent—though both are far deeper than they appear on the surface. Moreover, the world they travel across is filled with inventive creatures and entertaining side-quests. If you are in the market for an excellent bit of lighthearted escapism, this one is worth a watch.

Watch It If You Like: Chaika: The Coffin Princess, Slayers

Where You Can Watch It: Funimation, Hulu


SHIROBAKO

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 24)

Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Back in high school, five friends were in the animation club together. Now they each work (or are in the process of breaking into) the anime industry. One is a production assistant, one a key animator, one a 3D animator, one a voice actor, and one an aspiring script writer. But their lives are far more hectic than the days they spent making anime together as students.

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Why You Should Watch It: Shirobako does a great job of showing the utter chaos that is the making of an anime in Japan. There are meetings, checks and re-checks of all the storyboards, problems with the artists both on and offsite, voice recording sessions, ridiculously tight and complex schedules—and that’s all before the director has a sudden change of heart about some character’s motivations and demands a scene be re-animated in its entirety mere days before the airdate.

In other words, if you are interested in how an anime is made, this is the show for you.

Watch It If You Like: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun, Genshiken, Bakuman.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Bonus Pick: The Short Form Anime You Should Be Watching

I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: At 25 years old, Kaoru finds herself newly wed to a man she loves but rarely understands. After all, while she is just a normal Japanese office worker, he is a hardcore otaku.

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Why You Should Watch It: This anime is full of humor built on two levels. One is Kaoru trying to accept and understand her husband's otaku idiosyncrasies while the other is her husband and other otaku he knows trying to act normally around her—and often failing spectacularly. Thus, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is hilarious whether you are an otaku or not as you can easily empathize with at least one side or the other—and often both at once. And as this is a short-form anime, the comedy is fast and furious—it feels like 22 minutes of humor crammed into 4 short minutes.

Watch It If You Like: Big Bang Theory

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Now that you've read my recommendations for what anime you should be watching this fall season, you may wonder why your favorite series is absent. There are four potential reasons: (1) I think it is terrible (or at least not quite as good as the five above); (2) it is the second/third/fourth season of an anime—and those are getting their own guide post in the near future; (3) it is an anime continuing from last season; or (4) it simply didn’t cross my radar.

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But if you feel I have left out an anime that’s something special, feel free to give me a heads up in the comments and tell me why you feel that way. Or pop over to Talk Amongst Yourselves: ANI-TAY and post your thoughts on your favorites.

Oh, and if you feel the need for even more anime to watch, be sure to check out the five anime of the summer season you should have watched and our picks for the top five anime of 2013.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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To contact the author of this post, write to BiggestinJapan@gmail.com or find him on Twitter @BiggestinJapan.