The temperatures are rising, which means the summer season is finally here. And surprisingly enough the selection of shows available this season is vast. We got at least four high school life with a twist shows and apparently three superhero shows too, only one of them does not suck or have influence from Western animation (Looking at you Stan Lee). This time will be different given that some of the shows that I’ll present here, to the moment of this publication, have not reached a third episode but if something changes between this article and the next episode, I’ll update it accordingly. So let’s get down to business.
Shows I like
I’m not against the “highschool with a twist” trope in anime, but you have to offer something different so the audience does not get bored or cynic about the genre. Kakegurui is an example of that, this time instead of magic or robots, we get gambling. And not your average poker and other games, but genuinely interesting new takes on gambling games and our MC is crazy as hell. The pace of the show maybe it’s too fast but so far, I’m enjoying the story.
Koi to Uso
Once a month you will read an article on how Japan’s population is in decline, it is almost a tradition now. The show is a romantic drama with an approach to that issue. Imagine that the Japanese government had to intervene by selecting your partner for life. We are dealing with young people that in generations have not seen or heard about romantic love. There has been a lot o conflict in the first three episodes and I want to see more of it. The show reminds a bit of “Kuzu no Honkai” which I reviewed before, but it is not as sexual as the latter.
Hajimete no Gal
The gyaru with a heart of gold, a love story that has been explored multiple times in doujins now it gets a lighter show. The animation is unique, it resembles old anime from the 2000s, I’m not saying is a detriment but for some it could be. I want more emphasis in the gyaru character and her friends that the main character which is overshadowed by other members of the cast.
Ballroom e Youkoso
Despite its “Clamp” style of necks and bodies, Ballroom e Youkoso is a coming-of-age story of a young man who wants to find himself something of worth through the world of ballroom dancing. All the characters so far have been likable, we can understand the motives and goals that they pursuit. I wish there were more dance scenes but being the first part we are obviously stuck with practice montages.
Made in Abyss
I’m baffled by this show. At first the synopsis made it sound like the plot of any JRPG you have heard or played before but the show establishes an unsettling and subtle mystery around the world. The rules that are established are more grittier than they are presented through the gorgeous animation style. There’s something behind how the world works and we see them through of orphans that are put to work in an environment that could kill them. Astounding voice acting and a direction that has already settled a bigger universe that is outside of our reach.
Spy game in a cyberpunk London with a jazzy score, what’s not to like ? Well, the first episode was kinda underwhelming but the second one created more questions than answers by showing the story behind our main characters. I like political intrigues and a good mystery and apparently that’s the goal of the show, let’s hope that’s the result of their efforts.
Shoukoku no Altair
Ottoman Empire did nothing wrong, the animation. We are presented a fantastic setting of a re-imagination of the conflicts of the late Ottoman Empire and its relationships with other kingdoms and people who conformed it, if I’m not wrong the show is set during the last decade of the 19th century. My knowledge about this historical period is not that great but the presentation of the conflicts and the main character are interesting enough to give it more than three episodes.
Vatican Kiseki Chousakan
The schlock show of the season. Vatican detectives investigating miracles to prove if they are real or false. So far we have encountered stigmata, virgin conceptions, satanic rituals, exorcism, lots of gore and violence, Vatican conspiracies about drugs, Nazis and human experimentation. I made a joke about the first episode that this show like the X-Files and after the third episode I can assert it’s quite there with a touch of Dan Brown' style of mystery.
Centaur no Nayami
Daily life of Monster girls is back, behind a 1984’s type of state that forces equality among all species. If you disagree, say hello to reeducation centers. It is not as a good-feeling show like Interview with Monster Girls is, or even a comedy like MonMusu. I’m probably biased to this show because I like the character design and it is an interesting take about a world where humans evolved differently and created all the variations of Monster girls. Still something feels off about the show and I cannot put my finger on it.
Mahoujin Guru Guru
Now this is the surprise of the season. A remake of a show that aired twenty years ago which is targeted to a younger audience that have played any kind of JRPG or Dragon Quest-type game, has a decent comedy style. It reminds of Konosuba and Gintama and the art style resembles old shows, something you don’t see that often now. Remakes can be done well if you give it an interesting direction.
A show that has not right to be as funny as it is. Simple premise with an idiot getting in troubles and others who are affected by her idiocy, it works. I’m gonna say it’s 60% voice acting, 40% direction. If it was handle by other people probably the premise would get old quickly, but so far has worked and I have laughed so hard during the viewing of this show that my sides hurt. Being a short anime also helps so we don’t extend some jokes and lost the punch of them.
Boku no Hero Academia
The second cour of the second season of this show that represents what the Western world has forgotten about superhero stories, they are supposed to be campy and cheesy and embrace those elements because of the idea of a guy with superpowers running through the city with a cape and tight pants sounds ridiculous at first but the concept of justice and fighting for what it is right embodies our ideal of a hero. The quality has not decreased and it’s a candidate for a gateway anime.
Enough wimpy characters for a season. I think it’s more interesting to watch shows about the development of games, that watching people playing them. Not a strong premise, it’s a story we have seen before but change games to mahjong, music, soccer, theater, etc.
Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni.
Trapped in another world, but with a cellphone! Also magic and the main character is OP. Lazy, uninspired, uninteresting, and there are better takes of this story.
Battle Girl High School
An adaptation of a mobile game about girls manning robots that fight aliens, I think. It really shows that this a mobile game, you have to pay a microtransaction to get character development.
Fate/Apocrypha (as 28/7)
I’m not really into the Nasuverse and the dozens of spin-offs, reboots, remakes, re-imaginations of the Fate/ series, I might continue to watch it and hopefully the show stands alone among its predecessors, but so far I’ve seen no difference with previous installments of the series. Carnival Phantasm is the best work Type-Moon has ever done and never surpassed since its airing. (DROPPED): As I thought, if you have seen any version of Fate/ you already know what will happen in this show. Not even Frankenstein’s Monster is an incentive to continue watching this Anime.
Nana Maru San Batsu (as 28/7)
Kakegurui works because their characters are strong and well written, something that Nana Maru San Batsu lacks. They put all the tropes in a framework of quiz shows and hoped people will like it. One of the signs if a show is working is that it gets you interested in something you have never cared before. And this is doing the opposite with its presentation. (DROPPED): Somehow it tried to make quiz games more exciting and it failed, better luck next time.
Close to be dropped
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun
Sports anime are not my thing, but the show seemed to be more oriented to its comedy side which I enjoyed during the first two episodes and then the joke got old. I want to like the show but it needs to focus on other characters and step it up its jokes so they don’t get stale.
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e
If we remove the fun from Baka to Test, the brilliant writing of Oreigaru and put characters with the charm of a wooden table, you’ll get a better show than this one. The audience is always two steps ahead of the story, and the conflict presented is easily solvable. As Adam Smith used to say: “This show is boring and shallow”
The Reflection (as to 21/7)
Stan Lee stops a couple of minutes of his endless cameos in movies to create and write a superhero anime show with the direction of the guy behind Mushishi. The first episode presented a “special” kind of animation that tries to blend comic book aesthetic and anime, which it really did not work for the fight scenes. It made the show feel slow and also the presentation of story could have been better (Exposition was thrown to the audience in the last minute). I’ll give it another two episodes and see where this is going.
Isekai Shokudou (as to 28/7)
Finally, something to replace my lack of Wakako Zake. In all seriousness, this a harmless show, each episode we get to know how people from another are conquered by the taste of our food. It should have worked better if the show were shorter, still I’m liking it. (Reason): This show is getting overlooked and sometimes I forget I’m still watching it.