We’re back again with this season’s summer anime content! I’ve streamlined the list a little bit this time around, and with that comes a few notices I should probably add: this time we’re not looking at mini-episodes, both to save time and because presumably most people aren’t interested in four minute shorts. Secondly, I’ve ditched the hype portion of my lists and condensed that into the thoughts portion for brevity’s sake.
This time we’re joining the season already in progress, but it’s still more than early enough for anyone interested to catch up!
Island: Urashima is a beautiful island far away from any mainland countries, but the people there are trapped by a complex past and long-established traditions. Essentially forgotten by the mainland, the denizens of the island have almost given up hope when Setsuna, a young man claiming to be from the future, washes up on the island. Setsuna has lost all of his memories except for a certain mission. To save the island, Setsuna needs the help of three girls from the three major families of the island: Rinne, Karen, and Sara.
Thoughts: From what I’ve heard about the first three episodes this series is probably going to wind up terrible. It’s one of those shows where the more optimistic people try to give it a shot even though the beginning isn’t really good at all. It wants to do this deep, important sci-fi story but it’s leaning so deep into ecchi territory it can’t get anything done. Plus too many of its characters are underaged for my tastes so…hard pass. If it turns into an Erased-level classic, that’s on me.
Premiering: July 1st.
Hanebado: Ayano Hanesaki is a freshman at Kanagawa Prefectural Kitakomachi High School, and is excellent at badminton ability but refuses to play. That is until she meets Nagisa Aragaki, a third-year student who practices to become the best player in Japan. Inspired, Ayano starts playing herself and the two work together against rivals across the country!
Thoughts: Even though I’m not really a fan, one thing I love about Japanese manga/anime is how devoted they are to making sure literally every sports has an anime. Badminton? You don’t even remember that’s a sport unless you spend too much time in Wal-Mart and happen to see some shuttlecocks while wandering around the athletic department pretending you’re about to start working out at home. It’s only twelve episodes, but I bet it ends up being a breakout hit and gets a season two.
Premiering: July 2nd.
Senjuushi: After a nuclear war that nearly destroys the entire planet, everyone falls to the rule of the World Empire. But while most people acquiesce to their demands, a band of resistance fighters seek to fight back, even though they’re not allowed to possess any weapons. They challenge the World Empire with antique weapons, and the souls of those weapons awaken, known as Musketeers, in order to fight alongside the resistance.
Thoughts: This is a show about pretty boys doing cool things. If that’s your bag, then you should love this. But I’m a little uncomfortable about this world where a bunch of dudes realize the only way they can save the world is with a bunch of guns.
Premiering: July 3rd.
Back Street Girls: Gokudolls: After a trio of yakuza blow yet another assignment, their boss gives them two options: commit suicide, or undergo sexual reassignment surgery to become “female” idols. After a year of training, they have their debut as idols and become hugely popular.
Thoughts: I’m not even sure where this is airing or I might’ve found a way to cover it. Still, I’m not sure if this particular idea of “former crime bosses turned into idols” is a hilariously ingenuous idea or horribly insensitive. I can’t even say wait for the execution, as they’re clearly playing this whole thing for laughs. Though admittedly, watching a bunch of idols get wasted and bitch about their jobs is appealing.
Premiering: July 4th.
Middle Manager Tonegawa: A spin off of the popular gambling series Kaiji, this series follows Tonegawa, the second in command under Kazutaka Hyoudou, president of Teiai and owner of a bunch of gambling tournaments. Bored, he asks Tonegawa to create a gambling tournament involving stakes as high as possible–a game of death.
Thoughts: This isn’t my thing, but…it’s from the creator of Kaiji, so you’re in good hands if you want an over the top comedy with strong psychological elements. It’s also being animated by Madhouse, so the animation is probably going to be on point pretty much it’s entire run.
Premieres: July 4th.
Caretaker of Sunohara: Aki Shiina moves to Tokyo to go to middle school because in his old town he’s constantly treated like a girl thanks to his feminine appearance. When he arrives to his new home Sunohara-sou though, he finds himself living with four women–including three members of his middle school’s student council! How will he handle this?
Thoughts: Ah, another series where a character has legitimate confidence and body issues and desperately needs counseling to deal with a broken society that prioritizes masculinity over literally every other aspect of self…but nevermind that, we’re gonna solve it with boobs! And I mean, a healthy love life can do a lot for most people…but that’s not where we’re going with this, and I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least one girl on this show who didn’t beat the main character up for being remotely popular with women. These things honestly never do enough with the relationship aspect of the show to keep my interest, so I’m out.
Premiering: July 5th.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord: Sakamoto Takuma is a player so revered in the MMO Cross Reverie that he’s called the “Demon Lord” by many other players. His skill is seemingly so great he gets summoned to another world as his MMO avatar by two girls who claim to be summoners. They try to enslave him, but his in-game ability of reversal activates and the girls wind up enslaved instead. Trapped in a new world and lacking proper social skills, he decides to roleplay his character Diablo, beginning a new adventure.
Thoughts: All the nopes in the world. I mean on the one hand, the girls trying to enslave someone and failing is the best kind of karma. But on the other, the last thing I need is someone attempting to do No Game No Life with animation that isn’t as good and with a slavery angle added on to it. Plus there are more than enough “trapped in a video game” series that I can skip this one and not feel like I’m missing out in the least.
Premieres: July 5th.
100 Sleeping Princes & the Kingdom of Dreams: A young girl living a normal life is invited to become the princess of the dream world, a world where people live off the energy of dreams themselves. But when the dream world and the princes there are attacked by something known as a dream eater, the heroine is forced to wake them up to save the dream world from destruction.
Thoughts: It’s like a gender-flipped version of Sleeping Beauty? I will admit I admire how these otome games/anime series are both simultaneously unabashed power fantasies while going as over the top with the settings as possible. I feel like the male version of these have been stuck in the same gear since 2005. This is still a pass for me, but it looks like it would be an entertaining enough watch if this genre is your thing.
Premieres: July 5th.
Banana Fish: Ash Lynx was a runaway who became the adopted heir of “Papa” Dino Golzine, but after being used as a sex toy Ash eventually runs away. Still, Golzine has learned about what drove Ash’s older brother mad in Vietnam, and he intends to use it to his advantage. At the same time, Ash has just met up with Eiji Okamura, a kind-hearted young Japanese photographer.
Thoughts: Sold. It’s got a strong plot, one of the best animation studios in MAPPA, and is based on a manga that completed ages ago so there’s little chance of an unfortunate gecko ending. This reminds me of 91 Days if that series weren’t so freaking edgy, so I’m all in.
Premieres: July 6th.
Shichisei no Subaru: Subaru was a legendary party in the MMO Union. Made up of elementary school kids, the party gained wide renown for their unique abilities taking advantage of the game’s “Sense” system. However, one of the players passed away inside the game, and Union came to an end. After six years, the now high-school aged Subaru logs into a new game known as “Reunion”, meeting his real-world friend Asahi, the girl who supposedly died in game. Is this an error or bug in the game, or is there something more to this mystery?
Thoughts: While I do miss when anime could just do fantasy stories without having to use the world “transported to” or “MMO”, this is a good concept. It stands out enough from Sword Art, Log Horizon, or the half-dozen other shows to grab my interest and I’m probably going to give at least the first episode a shot. I want to hope it doesn’t wallow in being all somber because of the dead character, but I also feel like it won’t be able to avoid it. Still, it looks cute enough to start and I’m digging the art style.
Premieres: July 6th.
Angel of Massacre: Teenage girl Rachel awakens trapped in the basement of an abandoned building. Unsure how she got there, or where “there” is she starts to wander the building, completely lost. Eventually she meets a bandage-covered man carrying a sickle known as Zack. The two start to bond and work together in order to find a way to escape this building they’ve been trapped inside.
Thoughts: Horror series always get a hard pass from me. But on the bright side, this is reviewing pretty strongly for those interested.
Premieres: July 6th.
Harukana Receive: Despite enjoying volleyball, Kanata gave up on the sport because she was short and couldn’t deal with the pressure. But when Haruka invites her to start playing again, Kanata just can’t give up, and the two of them start to work towards winning the junior tournament.
Thoughts: See what I mean? First a series about badminton, now a series about volleyball? One thing I’ll give them is from the trailer alone they’re not leaning too heavily into fanservice–it’s just a really well-animated series about girls enjoying beach volleyball. The trailer actually sold me on giving the first episode a try, though there’s a strong chance I won’t finish it, I’m really taken by the color palettes used and the wholesome aura the show has.
Premiering: July 6th.
Chio’s School Road: This story is about a young girl trying to go to school. …And that’s the entire premise apparently, because while she tries to travel to school she gets constantly interrupted by more ridiculous and unlikely circumstances every day.
Thoughts: This seems like it could be worth a laugh once a week as a series of shorts maybe (which ironically would mean it wouldn’t make it onto this list), but twenty plus minutes around such a repetitive idea? Probably not my bag. Still, just judging from the reactions it’s getting it’s probably worth a watch if the core concept appeals to you.
Premiering: July 6th.
Ongaku Shoujo: When Hanako Yamadaki is first connected with the eleven member idol group Ongaku Shoujo, they’re a low selling group no one’s ever heard of. But thanks to the efforts of their producer Ikebashi, Hanako is brought in with the hopes of taking the group to the next level, and together they start to rise to the top.
Thoughts: Cute girls doing cute musical things. There’s another version of this with the same title, but if you were a fan of that they don’t seem to be connected in the least. I’m not against this, because it does look very cute and wholesome, but there also appears to be a much better version of this airing this season so I’ll probably go with that instead.
Premiering: July 6th.
Zoids Wild: Young Arashi wants nothing more than to be like his father and have a Zoid of his own. So when a Wild Liger escapes from the Death Metal Empire, he puts his life at risk in order to become the one to tame it. Will he succeed?
Thoughts: Having seen the first episode of this, it’s okay but nothing special. It’s absurdly silly villains means it lacks the tension of Zoids: Chaotic Century, but it’s untamed fantasy setting mean it also lacks the shonen centered fun of Zoids: New Century Zero. I’m not sure why they’re riding Zoids instead of properly piloting them, but it automatically gives off a more kiddy vibe that indicates this series probably isn’t aiming for longtime fans of the franchise and is aiming to go after an even younger crowd than the originals did.
Premiering: July 7th.
That gets us through part one of this series. Between summer being a lighter season and cutting out the short-form shows, this will be significantly shorter, and hopefully parts two and three will be up fairly soon.