The summer anime season has barely started, and already we have a number of strong contenders for anime that will tug at your heartstrings and mess with your emotions in all of the best ways. In fact, this feels (heh) like the first season in a long time that has had such an abundance of such shows, but also with really high quality across the board. Some people can’t stand the way these shows seem to draw out the drama, but some of us less heartless monsters love the ways these shows take us on a wild ride and leave us devastated yet satisfied by the end. Let’s take a quick spoiler-free look at some of these stronger contenders so far:


Re: Zero

This is a holdover from the spring season, and I’ll try and keep the spoilers to a minimum. If you haven’t been following along, Natsuki Subaru one day finds himself transported to a different fantasy world! But after he finds himself waylaid and killed by enemies, he learns he has a power to rewind time and return to an earlier checkpoint.

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You might remember me going on a (spoiler-filled) rant a few weeks ago about Subaru at that point in the narrative. Suffice to say, since then the show has gone in a really interesting direction, but probably the most emotional and heartbreaking one as well. Rejoice in the suffering of Subaru! My senses tell me it’s not over yet for him.


Sweetness & Lightning

A change of pace from the feelz of Re:Zero, this is sure to bring out the emotions if you’re older, a father, or can just appreciate a wonderfully sweet family dynamic. The story of single father Koukei Inuzuka, his adorable muffin of a daughter, Tsumugi and one of his students Kotori Lida, and their time cooking with and for each other has endeared itself to many of the authors here at AniTAY. Tsumugi is absolutely adorable, and Kouhei’s love, affection and desire for her to live a happier life positively shine through.


Battery

This is more a speculative pick on my part. Takumi Harada and his family move to the countryside right before he enters middle school. He’s a pitcher and loves baseball, and on his first day meets local Kou Nagakura, himself a catcher. Will they form the best battery (the term for the duo of pitcher and catcher. hence the title)?

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Though I haven’t read the source material, the tone and atmosphere of the first episode definitely gave me a melancholy feel, and a sign of potential emotions to come. And a story of middle school baseball players, instead of the usual high schoolers, suggests not a focus on the typical Fight-to-get-to-Koshien! but a more sentimental tale of friendship.


Berserk

Halftime! Just checking if you’re paying attention. Berserk is one of the most beloved manga series of all time and fans have been dying to get a fresh adaptation of the source material in the 20 years since the original TV series. Unfortunately, the movie trilogy only gave a glossy reshine to the content of the series. This Berserk series is the first since the 90s series to go beyond what’s called the Golden Age Arc.

And while this may not elicit the same kinds of feelings as some of the others on this list, the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair by Berserk fans for the CGI in this installation definitely suggests they’re feeling something.


The Morose Mononokean

First year high school student, Ashiya has spent the first week of high school stuck in the infirmary because of a Yokai that has attached itself to him. In his desperation, he comes to meet the “Mononokean” Abeno who helps guide Yokai to their proper place in the underworld.

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You might not have been expecting it, but the first two episodes of this story have had some very surprising sentimental tales about Yokai and the humans Ashiya and Abeno. They’re more heartfelt than dramatic clashes of emotions, but it’s subtle all the same.


Orange

Takamiya Naho receives a letter purportedly from herself 10 years in the future, claiming that it’s trying to help her erase the regrets she has in the future. And while dismissive of the letter at first, it’s strange accuracy, particularly about mysterious transfer student Naruse Kakeru lead her to wonder what she should do, what events she’ll regret and whether she should change them at all!

Now here’s the big one. Though I have not read the source material, everything I’ve read about it and heard from people who have experienced the manga suggests that this will be the big tear jerker this season. We’ve gotten hints of events to come already, and so far TMS Entertainment has done a stellar job with the art, tone and atmosphere.


Are you ready? I’m so ready. It’s going to be a wild season so buckle in and grab a tissue box or two. It’s the summer of feelz, and we are about to get an overdose.