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Our 12 most anticipated anime new to the fall 2021 season

A look at the very best series premiering this season

Tanjiro Kamado holding a sword on a green/blue background Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: Ufotable

2021 has been bursting with exciting new anime premieres all year long. From returning favorites such as Beastars, Fruits Basket, Megalobox, and My Hero Academia to surprising original series like Odd Taxi, Sk8 the Infinity, and Pui Pui Molcar, it’s been a terrific year to be an anime fan in 2021 — and there’s still yet more to come.

This fall boasts several highly anticipated new anime premieres, from the second season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean to Platinum End, the latest anime from Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, and Lupin III: Part VI. We might even see the long-awaited premiere of MAPPA’s Chainsaw Man anime co-directed by Ryu Nakayama (One-Punch Man) and Makoto Nakazono (Jujutsu Kaisen, SSSS. Gridman) and written by Hiroshi Seko (Mob Psycho 100, Dorohedoro).

So here are our picks for the top 12 anime premieres to keep your eyes on this fall. Check back for updates when streaming platforms announce final simulcast premiere dates.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus

Adult Swim’s long-awaited spin on the Blade Runner universe is almost here. Set 13 years after the events of the original Blade Runner, Blade Runner: Black Lotus follows the story of Elle (Jessica Henwick), a mysterious woman who awakes to find that she has no memory. She does have a tattoo of a black lotus — pure noir fodder. With no-one to turn to, Elle must traverse the seedy underbelly of a dystopian Los Angeles in search for answers. Directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), the 13 episode series is executive produced by Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe and features performances by Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games), Brian Cox (Succession), Stephen Root (Office Space), and more. —Toussaint Egan

Blade Runner: Black Lotus will premiere this fall on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll.

Blue Period

Yatora Yaguchi is a smart high school student who skates by, partying in Shibuya with his friends every night, living without a care in the world. He stumbles upon a huge, beautiful painting by his classmate and it stirs something inside him. From here on out, he dedicates his time to learning how to paint and create art.

Blue Period is a great series, with a twist of realism that makes your heart ache. Watching characters experience imposter syndrome and feel inadequate during their artistic journey can be hard — and for some, too relatable — but the way that writer Tsubasa Yamaguchi has presented it makes it one of the best series to hit serialization in a long time. —Julia Lee

Blue Period will premiere in Oct. 2 in Japan and stream Oct. 9 on Netflix.

Chainsaw Man

Denji is a teen boy who lives day-to-day, working off a debt to the yakuza left by his dad. With nobody but his chainsaw dog Pochita by his side, he has dreams of being a normal teenage boy who can touch boobies and live a fun life. Things take a turn when he nearly dies, and he makes a contract with his demon dog in order to live and become Chainsaw Man. He then gets picked up by the Public Safety Division, led by the dazzling and mysterious Makima, and tries to live his life with a sense of normalcy.

Chainsaw Man is one of the highest anticipated series after its manga became a smash hit. While things seem goofy and Denji appears to be a drearily horny idiot at first, the series goes from zero to 100 really fast, with the story ramping up quickly. The characters are lovable, the plot is gut-wrenching, and honestly, how can you say no to that adorable little orange chainsaw puppy? With MAPPA (Jujutsu Kaisen, Sarazanmai) animating it, it’s definitely going to be a feast for the eyes. —JL

Chainsaw Man’s premiere is still to be announced, but may premiere this fall.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba season 2

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was the breakout success of 2021. With a record-breaking global box office debut and a best-selling manga series, the next season is easily one of the most anticipated shows of next year.

The story follows Tanjiro Kamado, a young warrior who seeks the power to rid his sister of a demon curse. Along his journey, he meets new friends and hones his techniques as a swordsman. The second season will pick up after the events of the recently released movie, Mugen Train where Kamdo and friends met the Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku. Ufotable revealed a brief teaser which showed the upcoming Entertainment District Arc, which the second season will show, and prominently featured Tengen Uzui, a powerful fighter and leader known in his world as the Sound Hashira. The Entertainment Disctrict Arc is expected to run for at least 26 episodes and will air this fall until the end of winter 2022. —Ana Diaz

Season 2 of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba will premiere Dec. 5 on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

86 EIGHTY-SIX season 2

86, the military science fiction romance drama based on the light novel series of the same name, premiered this past April and introduced audiences to the warring factions of the Republic of San Magnolia and the Empire of Giad through the perspective of Lena, an aspiring major in the San Magnolia who uncovers an unnerving secret at the heart of the conflict. The anime’s second half, now rebranded as its second season, is set to premiere this October and delve even further into the plight of the mysterious population of people known as the “86s.” —TE

Season 2 of 86 EIGHTY-SIX will premiere on TOKYO MX in Japan on Oct. 2.

The Heike Story

Dubbed “a story of prayer that transcends 800 years,” the latest from Science SARU, director Naoko Yamada (A Silent Voice), and series composer Reiko Yoshida (Violet Evergarden) tackles the epic account of the Taira and Minamoto clans’ war for the soul (and control) of Japan. Adapted from acclaimed novelist Hideo Furukawa’s translation/reimagining of the 14th-century text, the new anime promises visual splendor and a deep sense of poetry tied back to the earlier days of Japan. Little else is known about the show outside the trailer, but Funimation announced key cast — Aoi Yuki as Biwa and Takahiro Sakurai as Taira no Shigemori — in advance of its surprise fall release, which will see the entire series streaming before broadcast in Japan. —Matt Patches

The Heike Story will premiere on Funimation on Sept. 15.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean

David Production returns with yet another installment in its critically-acclaimed adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s supernatural adventure fantasy manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Season 5, titled Stone Ocean, follows Jolyne Cujoh, the estranged daughter of recurring series protagonist Jotaro Kujo, as she is falsely implicated and convicted for murder. Sentenced to 15 years at the Green Dolphin Street Prison in Florida, Jolyne soon learns she was framed by none other than a disciple of the family’s longtime nemesis DIO and must learn to master her supernatural “Stand” powers in order to thwart their nefarious plot and reclaim their freedom. —TE

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean will premiere in December on Netflix.

Komi-san Can’t Communicate

Shouko Komi is a teenage girl who has a hard time communicating. (Wow, that’s like, the title!) Though seen as an elegant beauty by her classmates, she has no friends due to her social anxiety. After meeting her perfectly average classmate Hitohito Tadano, she makes a promise to make 100 friends. It turns out that their classmates also have their own quirks and communication habits and they all want to be friends, too.

Komi-san Can’t Communicate is a tremendously popular romantic comedy manga for good reason: It’s relatable, sweet, and mostly wholesome. —JL

Komi-san Can’t Communicate will premiere on Oct. 7 in Japan.

Lupin III: Part VI

Gentlemen thief Lupin III and his merry band of criminal cohorts return this fall in Lupin III: Part VI. Directed by Eiji Suganuma (Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King) and penned by Part V scenario writer Takahiro Okura, the sixth television adaptation of Monkey Punch’s action heist comedy series finds Lupin facing off against the Sherlock Holmes after being implicated in the murder of his longtime partner, Dr. John H. Watson. To clear his name, Lupin must elude the legendary master sleuth long enough to unveil the true culprit and their employers: the shadowy organization known only as Raven. Just another day in the life of a guy who had to fight a clone of Leonardo da Vinci. No biggie. —TE

Lupin III: Part VI will premiere on Oct. 9 in Japan and stream on HIDIVE.

Platinum End

The team from Death Note and Bakuman have reunited to make Platinum End, the anime adaptation of the manga from writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata.

The show, currently being made by Signal.MD, follows Mirai Kakehashi, a student who attempts suicide only to be saved by his guardian angel, Nasse. After saving him, Nasse tells Kakehashi that he’s one of 13 candidates chosen by different angels to take the role of God, who is supposed to retire in 999 days. Kakehashi doesn’t want to participate in the contest to become God, but that won’t stop the other candidates from giving it their all to become God. —AD

Platinum End will premiere on Oct. 8 on Crunchyroll.

Ranking of Kings

Based on Sōsuke Tōka’s comedy manga series of the same name, Ranking of Kings follows the story of Bojji, the Deaf prince of powerful king and heir to the throne. Silently taunted by the subjects of the kingdom and Bojji’s own relative, the young prince struggles to find his own way ... that is, until he befriends Kage, a mysterious living shadow who somehow understands Bojji when others cannot. With Kage by his side, Bojji sets off on an adventure to defy expectations and claim his birthright as the greatest king in the world. Co-directed by Yousuke Hatta (One-Punch Man) and Arifumi Imai (Attack on Titan) and written by Fruits Basket scriptwriter Taku Kishimoto, the trailer for the series looks as visually impressive as it is whimsically hilarious. —TE

Ranking of Kings will premiere on Oct. 15 on Funimation.

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: The Second Act

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon is the sequel to the beloved anime classic, Inuyasha. The show follows Towa Higurashi and Setsuna, Sesshomaru and Rin’s twin daughters, and Moroha, Inuyasha and Kagome Higurashi’s teenage daughter from the original show as they set off on another time traversing journey to restore the memories of their past.

A trailer released in August shared some plot details of the upcoming season, including a touching scene where the stoic Sesshomaru holds the faces of his twin daughters. —AD

Season 2 of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon will premiere on Oct. 2 on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.