In Part 1 of my fall anime preview series, I highlighted some of the most exciting new anime coming next month. This installment is all about sequels in all of their shapes and sizes, from international mega-hits finally receiving their long-deserved ending to a certain promising sci-fi/fantasy spinoff and a noir mystery story that has plenty of potential. Let's hop right in and see what's coming up in the tried and true department!
Starts: 10/3 on Nihon TV
The highlight of the fall season for many American anime fans is the long-awaited closure to Rumiko Takahashi's fantasy epic InuYasha. VIZ Media knows this, and has already announced InuYasha: The Final Act for American distribution. It's likely that this series will get the One Piece and Naruto Shippuden treatment, with subtitled episodes available online shortly after the Japanese broadcast. That's great news for fans who have already had to wait five years since the end of the original InuYasha anime for a real ending.
For newcomers to the series, InuYasha is a fairy tale starring a modern schoolgirl named Kagome Higurashi, who finds herself in feudal-era Japan after being attacked by a monster and dragged down a well. She is forced to free the half-demon InuYasha from his imprisonment in order to save her life, and after the two of them shatter the Jewel of Four Souls to prevent its robbery, they embark on a quest to recover its pieces. Between InuYasha's quest to become human, frequent clashes with his arrogant half-brother Sesshoumaru, and the machinations of the demonic mastermind Naraku, Kagome has a lot of obstacles in her way before she can return home... that is, if she really wants to return home in the end.
InuYasha The Final Act will give fans the ending they've wanted for years, as InuYasha and Kagome's friends finally put their personal demons to rest, put the Jewel of Four Souls back together, and, most importantly, resolve the volatile relationship between InuYasha and Kagome!
Starts: 10/9 on TBS Japan
Darker than Black deserves some extra notice on this list for one reason: it's not an adaptation of anything. The original Darker Than Black series was not adapted from a manga or a light novel series, but went straight from concept to storyboard to anime. It wasn't perfect, as the first series left a whole lot of questions unanswered, but the neo-noir mystery/thriller set in a world of superspies and assassins known as Contractors was an unmitigated success. FUNimation is currently releasing the first series in English, and it's definitely worth checking out.
The second series takes place two years after the events of the previous season, when the Contractor Hei and his assistant Yin escaped the clutches of the shadowy Syndicate. Hei and Yin meet a Russo-Japanese girl named Suou Pavlichenko, and through her they get wrapped up in a war between Contractors and the many intelligence agencies that employ them. Hopefully some of the unresolved questions from the first series will be resolved, but even if they don't, the new Darker than Black promises a lot of solid action and suspense that will make it worth watching.
Shugo Chara Party
Starts: 10/3 on TV Tokyo
The third installment of Shugo Chara, along with Kobato, is the highlight of what would otherwise be a barren season for fans of magical girl anime like Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura. The ongoing story of the popular series picks up where the second season left off, as Amu Hinamori and her Guardian Characters Miki, Ran, Su, and Dia struggle against the evil plots of the Easter Company. The villainous and cold-hearted Easter Company seeks to plant sorrow and doubt in the hearts of the world in order to create "X Eggs" and find a special heart egg called The Embryo, and it's up to Amu and her Guardian friends to keep their plans from reaching fruition! Meanwhile, back in real life, Amu needs to find the courage to be her true self, and deal with the attentions of an ever-growing number of boys!
Shugo Chara is a shining example of the magical girl genre, blending fantasy adventure with the kind of drama that young girls can relate to easily. Adults have been drawn in by the excellent character designs, high production values (especially the music!), and surprisingly complex emotion and character depth. If you aren't afraid to watch a show that's ostensibly for tweenie girls, you will find Shugo Chara to be a sweet and light little drama that doesn't burden itself with the over-the-top soap opera antics of other shows. The only problem is that this season, Shugo Chara Party! will have a short live-action component, which might lead to some embarrassing moments if certain people catch you watching 11-year-old Japanese girls in pastel costumes.
Starts: 10/2 on Tokyo MX
Unlike the other shows on this list, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (A Certain Scientific Railgun) is not a direct sequel to To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index). The show is a spinoff to the popular modern fantasy anime, focusing on the life and times of the most popular character from its parent work, the psychic Mikoto Misaka.
To Aru Majutsu no Index drew a lot of attention with its setting, with its use of Clarke's Third Law to build a world where the supernatural has been distilled into science and is studied in classrooms by students with psychic or magic powers. One of the few things that dragged down the Index series was the main character, Index, so taking the most entertaining parts of the previous show and cutting the chaff could make Railgun a winner.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza
Starts: 10/6 on AT-X
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (Haruka Nogizaka's Secret) is the heartwarming story of the "perfect" girl, her covert nerdiness, and the boy who ends up having to help hide her many hobbies from a disapproving world. The second season of the otaku hit will adapt more of Yuusaku Igarashi's romantic comedy light novels into animated form, continuing the misadventures of Yuuto Ayase and Haruka Nogizaka as Yuuto helps fend off the scorn of "normal" people while dealing with a legion of classmates who are jealous of the time he spends with the school idol.
How much you enjoy the Nogizaka anime rests entirely on whether or not you like the female lead, and she's not for everybody. The series has sucked in plenty of fans in Japan with the fantasy of a girl who is beautiful, fabulously wealthy, musically gifted, intelligent, and a huge manga/anime fanatic. If that contradiction appeals to you, you'll love Nogizaka - if you're not interested in the secret exploits of a rich girl, you'd be better off staying away.
Those are the five big sequels coming up this October. Are you going to be checking any of them out, or will you be watching the newer shows instead?
Join me next time, when I cover a few sleepers that might become hits.