This summer was pretty lame, I’m gonna be honest. Not to say there weren’t any good shows (there were), but very few rose to a level that I think will be remembered in even a year’s time, and most of those few were actually continuing series from spring, like My Hero Academia, rather than new ones starting this summer.
But before I get going, the standard spiel: This is meant to be a quick, low-effort video just to get my thoughts out there on everything I saw, so I’m going to be brisk since we have a lot to get through, and the editing will be far less intensive than normal. Also, keep in mind I will only cover shows which ended this season, because those are what I’ll have a complete opinion on, which means I won’t be talking about Welcome to the Ballroom, Fate/Apocrypha, Magical Circle Guru Guru and more, until next season.
And like usual, I won’t talk about any series I am planning to make a full video on, because in this case that’s only one series and I already made the video. (Go watch it, it’s about Re:Creators.) So besides that, this’ll be everything I saw this summer. There’s probably a couple I missed out on that I’ll check out before the end of the year, like Symphogear, but as of now, this is it. Starting with…
I wanted to hit Princess Principal first because, according to both MAL and my own experience with the community, it seems like not a ton of people watched it (damn you Amazon) which is such a shame. Princess Principal is an action-packed spy show set in a steampunk Victorian England complete with a cast of cute girls, and it’s a great time. Pretty episodic, but there’s some strong anecdotes, good fights, cool aesthetic, phenomenal soundtrack by Yuki Kajiura — this isn’t a series that I think has much to say or is a paragon of the medium, but it just wants to entertain, and in that respect it certainly does. Give it a shot if you want “cute girls doing badass things” for a change — but if you prefer your cute girls doing things of the more cute variety, then there’s always...
The second season to last year’s workplace slice of life comedy about a group of female video game creators. I was positive but slightly lukewarm on the show’s first season, and while it doesn’t exactly soar to incredible new heights here, there’s a slightly increased emphasis on the drama of the job and the cast’s interpersonal relationships that I thought was a very welcome addition. Chances are you already know if this show is your cup of tea by the footage playing in the video, so heck, let’s just keep the slice of life train a-rolling with...
Centaur no Nayami (A Centaur’s Life)
This is a very strange show. “Good”? Debatable, but definitely interesting. It presents itself as a monster girl school slice of life — basically just a normal rendition of the genre except for the fact that no one is human, which is fine. The slice of life itself felt find of basic and phoned in, in my opinion (with some lackluster fanservice to boot) but you’ll quickly pick up on some weird undertones. The society of this series is one of totalitarian equality, strange as that sounds. It’s almost like a cautionary tale of taking political correctness too far, with government agents keeping tabs on the classroom and offhand mentions of correctional facilities for citizens found to be discriminatory. Then layer that with subtle politics and slight threats of war that ever so often peek out from behind the curtain, and it’s just a very odd time. Too much of it is average forgettable slice of life fluff for me to actually recommend the series, but it was a memorable experiment. With a great ED. Seriously, it’s great. And… I don’t have a better transition, so another show with some great EDs is....
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul (Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul)
Controversially, I wasn’t the biggest of Bahamut’s first season. The show won a lot of praise in certain circles for its bombastic, rollicking adventure feel married to some superb animation from studio MAPPA, but personally I felt there were too many issues with the writing, too many rule of cool moments that just didn’t work. But something about this second season, I thought it was stunning — at least in its first half. The direction was endlessly inspired, the soundtrack punchy and emotional, the production values better than ever… I think what really made it work for me was that the show opted for much more of a serious, plot-driven style than its predecessor. Not everyone’s going to like that change, but myself I’ve never inherently been a huge fan of the swashbuckling adventure type of narrative. Maybe I’m just no fun, but I do prefer stories with more of a no-nonsense, dramatic tilt — which is all a roundabout way of saying that Virgin Soul is mostly awesome. It still has some writing issues, especially in its last quarter, but being twice as long as the original, that’s at least like 18 episodes of a great time. Going from twice as long to half as long, we have...
A twelve episode series of twelve minute episodes, and surprisingly but dead seriously — anyone’s who’s actually seen it I’m sure would agree — actually one of the season’s best shows. It really hits it all: it’s a funny comedy with relatable characters, it’s a cute awkward romance with some actual progression, and it’s balanced enough not to feel overlong, splitting our time between several different couples or near-couples that each have their own special dynamic and appeal. I really can’t recommend it highly enough if you at all enjoy teenage romance; just give the first episode a shot, it’s only twelve minutes, so if you don’t like it, it’s not like you wasted much time, and I highly doubt that you will. The other short I saw this season was…
Teekyuu Season 9
Y’know, in the time it’d take me to properly explain Teekyuu, you could literally just go and watch an episode so... do that. It’s a trip. Next up...
Touken Ranbu holds the same appeal as God Eater, Tales of Zestiria, and any other non-Nasuverse ufotable production of the last ten years: the story is generic and forgettable, but damn if it doesn’t look pretty. And that’s honestly all I have to say on the show. If you love the ufotable look, like I do, and that’ll be enough to make it an enjoyable time no matter what, go for it. Otherwise, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend it. As I would with...
Kakegurui isn’t a bad show. It has its appeal; namely, crazy chicks doing crazy things. It sets itself up as a gambling series but it really isn’t. The level of tactics is low to nonexistent, and the main girl seems not to care whether she wins or loses at all. She’s just in it for the thrill, the rush of putting it all on the line. So if you need a dash of psychoticism in your anime, if you just want a show that goes all in on being insane for the sake of it, flush with glowing eyes, extreme close-ups and nonsensically high-octane emotions, by all means. Just don’t expect something that’s like actually well-written. No, if you want that, you should head on over to...
Owarimonogatari Season 2
I say that, but let me be completely honest. Everyone I know lost their shit over this latest season of Monogatari, and I liked it for sure, but... I dunno, I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe it’s just a symptom of Kizu’s release in the interim since the last TV series, but I wasn’t nearly as impressed by the aesthetics and pacing as I wanted to be. The character turns were mostly fantastic, but it didn’t get me as emotionally drawn-in as I hoped. Nonetheless, still a great season that artfully wrapped up several major plotlines. Just make sure to watch Koyomimonogatari first (it’s not on Crunchyroll). And now for the one show I had to have seen that no one else has even heard of...
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
You’re probably scratching your head right now thinking “what the hell is Action Heroine Cheer Fruits”, and I’m completely on your side. I couldn’t tell you why I picked this up, and I only stuck with it ‘cause I stick with everything. The series reminded me of a low budget Love Live, except where the girls are stageplay heroines instead of idols. It goes through the motions of introducing the characters, building a team, putting on performances, and climbing the ranks with some gags and drama in between. It honestly wasn’t an incompetent show; it was just an extremely barebones one. Nothing it does sticks out, and no one will remember it in a month’s time, if they even knew of it to begin with. Every season just has to have the shows like this I guess, the middle of the road experiences that are so blase they’re actually less memorable than shows that are worse. Speaking of which...
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou no Kyoushitsu e (Classroom of the Elite)
*long exhale* I noticed a number of people unironically touting this as one of the season’s best, and to be blunt, I just do not understand. It’s — it’s a light novel show, and worse, one that masquerades as being intellectual, when it’s just as schlocky as anything else. The biggest sense I got from Classroom of the Elite is that it had no idea what it wanted to do. It started by introducing this school where points and status are everything, then gets sidetracked with stupid character twists that don’t actually matter, and then it’s kind of a forced drama, and the main character is a secretly perfect everyman since this is a light novel and there’s all the fanservice and it doesn’t even remotely end and — what the hell, people. What do you see in this? What am I missing? I’m not being rhetorical, seriously, if you saw Classroom of the Elite and liked it, tell me why. I want to know; I don’t get it. But I do get...
Made in Abyss
Everyone’s anime of the season. (I mean, not mine, but everyone else’s). It was a good show. Combining a fascinating setting with great aesthetic sense, clashing the childlike (or rather, literally child) characters and a dark world teeming with danger. It’s just a well-done production that’s hard not to like — but that’s about the extent of my feelings on it. As well-done as it was, I was never all that thrilled to watch it, or excited for the next episode, and I can’t really put my finger on why. Maybe the pacing was a little slow? Maybe it didn’t do enough to endear me to the characters? Probably a mix, but regardless of my vague misgivings, it was definitely one of the season’s best, so give it a shot. And we’ll follow up with…
A PA Works show in the vein of something like Shirobako, with an adult female cast of five that go through their various trials and tribulations over the span of 25 episodes. The main idea behind the story is that these girls are trying to reinvigorate a rural town that’s on the outs. No one cares about it anymore, since all the young folk just go to Tokyo, and in that it actually covers a lot of interesting topics, while admitting that there are no easy answers, with stuff like the need for innovation versus the sentimentality of tradition, the fire of passion versus the cool grip of reality, that sort of thing. It’s a sweet little show, maybe a little slow, but not to the point of boredom, for me at least. The one last slice of life type deal I have to cover is...
Isekai Shokudou (Restaurant to Another World)
This show was odd, but unlike Centaur, it was a good odd. The basic conceit is that there’s this modern restaurant whose door, once every seven days, is inexplicably a portal to a typical fantasy world with elves, dragons, demons and all that — but it’s not like a drama, or an action series. No, this is just part of the chef’s routine, that once a week he serves wizards and fairies instead of passing tourists. Usually the way it works is you’ll get a taste of one particular fantasy character’s life before they stumble on the magic door, have a delicious meal for the first time, and call it a day. It sounds really dull when I put it like that, but the series just had this charming feel to it, a likability to the cast and generally happy atmosphere that I found very soothing. Not for everybody, I suppose, but I enjoyed it way more than I expected to. And last but certainly not least...
Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Season 2
What is there for me to even say? HeroAca rocks. It’s a very solidly put-together action shounen. It hits all the right narrative beats, the characters clash and grow in satisfying but also nicely tangible ways — it’s fun. It’s just fun. This season does a lot to build on the foundation of the first, fleshing out the world and cast, building up to bigger battles and greater stakes. I really hope this is a show that just keeps going. If my math is right, a chapter a week should be enough to sustain annual 25 episode series in perpetuity, so one can dream.
And that’s it. Not a great or packed season, as I said, but not without its certain high points. And since Fall seems to be pretty stacked by comparison, I guess this was just the price to pay.
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