It’s that time of the anime season, folks. Having collectively watched an unholy amount of anime this summer, the AniTAY community has once again taken on the mighty task of collectively deciding which shows we like (and don’t like, but you won’t hear about those here) and compiled them into a handy list.

This time around, we somehow coincidentally arrived at a round number of 10 shows (plus an HM). I’ve taken the liberty of arranging them in alphabetical order for our lovely readers’ viewing pleasure. In my experience, there are two kinds of anime fans: those who give recommendations, and those who receive recommendations only to ignore them and make a much better selection of shows to watch by themselves. Despite this, we did our best to pick out our favorite shows and write about them for you, and since you’re already here you might as well at least take a read anyways.

Note(s):

  1. As always, we have omitted continuing shows and sequels. Only new stuff here. Check out our summer sequel guide below.
  2. Similarly, only shows available for legal streaming are considered.
  3. Just like last time, we have included a ‘where to watch’ section. You’re welcome. Just keep in mind that our listings are based off availability in the United States.
  4. If you disagree with our selections, please send your hate mail to Dexomega. He let this happen and probably deserves it.

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Now, without further ado:


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Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion

Written by: Thatsmapizza

Genre: Historical, Action, War, Seinen

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: In the year 1274, the Mongols launch a campaign to conquer Japan, starting with the small island of Tsushima. Hopelessly outnumbered by the Mongol horde, the leaders of Tsushima island requests reinforcements from the shogun of Japan. So the shogun sends over his most hardened criminals to help with the fight. Can this ragtag band of criminals defend Tsushima from the Mongols or will they be overrun by the Mongols hoard?

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Why You Should Be Watching: In a sea of comedies this summer anime season, Angolmois is one of few action series that is good. If you can get past the garish filter, Angolmois has incredibly dynamic actions scenes that are brought to life by the various tactical explanations sprinkled throughout each of the show’s different battles. Each of the fights in the show has an extra layer to them and it is hard to not pay attention to it when a battle is happening.

Like its action, the cast of Angolmois is layered and fun to watch. It is easy to engage with each of the characters in Angolmois because each of them feel like real people who have goals and values that supersede their respective archetypes. For instance, the lead character Kuchii is an ex-general who was exiled from Japan’s mainland. He first appears as badass action hero who is a loose cannon, but as the show progresses, it expands upon how he views war and fighting. Angolmois gives this type of development to a good chunk of its cast and it got me invested in the fates of all the characters in the show.

If you’re looking for a solid action show for summer 2018, Angolmois will sate you.... If you can get past its filter.

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Recommended by: Koda, Nomadic Dec, Requiem, Thatsmapizza

Asobi Asobase - workshop of fun -

Written by: Koda

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: The Pastimers’ Club is an unofficial club in an all-girls middle school created to solve the wants and needs of three different girls. Olivia is a Japanese national of foreign descent who can only speak Japanese and just wants to play a bunch of games and have fun. Kasumi seems like a typical smart girl, but she struggles with English, so she joins the club hoping to get English lessons from Olivia. Hanako is a naive and somewhat idiotic but athletically-gifted girl from a wealthy family who is absolutely obsessed with becoming popular; she quit a sports club before joining the Pastimers’ Club as it simply wasn’t making her popular like she thought it would. Witness their spiral into absurdity and madness as they seek to accomplish their goals.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Asobi Asobase is one of the funniest comedy series of not just this season, but of the year as a whole so far. The show has mastered the art of absurd humor, time and again taking jokes that were already funny, and then going further with them. The show also has impeccable comedic timing, able to deftly execute both jokes where you can clearly see the punchline it is building towards, in addition to jokes it just drops on you out of thin air. Arguably the two biggest secret weapons the show employs is its use of the characters’ facial expressions, and its absolutely bonkers voice acting, as both of these help sell the over the top nature of the humor in this series. All three of the core characters are hilarious, however Hanako is probably the breakout star of the show, as she is routinely a highlight of any given segment in any given episode. If you just want a show to kick back, relax, and reliably laugh at, there’s few things that can top Asobi Asobase this season.

Recommended By: Kinksy, Koda, Nomadic Dec, Protonstorm, Requiem, RockmanDash12, Thatsmapizza, TGRIP

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Banana Fish

Written by: Nomadic Dec

Genre: Crime Drama, Romance

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Ash Lynx’s life is in serious jeopardy, even by the standards of being a gang leader in New York City. Stumbling upon a man riddled with bullet wounds, Ash is handed a capsule of powder as the man utters one last thing with his dying breath: “Banana Fish”. This mysterious phrase is also all Ash’s near-catatonic brother has said in the twelve years since killing his own squadron during the Iraq War. Determined to discover the truth behind Banana Fish, Ash goes up against Dino Golzine, his own mob boss and sexual groomer. Yet the deep conspiracy draws more and more people into its vortex, including Eiji Okumura, a budding journalist who only came to New York to report on the gang culture, and now finds himself as Ash’s confidante during this perilous time.

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Why You Should Be Watching: First and foremost, Banana Fish is an atypical, engaging tale of criminal machinations and revenge. It has been a year since 91 Days was released, and so crime anime fans are starving. With compelling character conflicts and plotting, Banana Fish is here to whet that appetite. Although transposed to 2010s, the core story and character dynamics of acclaimed 1980s manga are retained—a testament to the strength of the source material and its timelessness. Aided by MAPPA’s sublimely detailed and fluid animation, the grittiness of the 1980s crime story is carefully suffused throughout this modern telling, adding an effective starkness to proceedings without feeling jarringly retrograde.

At the same time, freed from the limitations of the period and no stranger to homoerotic subtext with her work on Free!, Hiroko Utsumi’s sensitive direction firmly centres the heart of the story on Ash’s and Eiji’s relationship. The anime overtly frames the action to emphasise the effect on the two men, illustrating their concern and admiration for one another, as well as their growing closeness. The occasional touches, blushes, and kisses are welcomingly portrayed with a degree of realism and lack of furtiveness that more romance anime could stand to learn from. This all pays narrative dividends: making Ash’s and Eiji’s bond palpable adds further shades to the individual characters, and enhances the drama and conflicts at stake. Consequently, this anime adaptation of Banana Fish is becoming the definitive version of the story, and one that absolutely should be seen.

Recommended By: Kinksy, Koda, Nomadic Dec, Protonstorm, Stinolez

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Cells at Work!

Written by: RockmanDash12

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Shounen

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Effectively Osmosis Jones: The Animation, Cells at Work! is an anime that explores the human body and how different parts of the body work, from quirky red blood cells wandering to deliver oxygen to vicious killer T-Cells. Cells at Work is a light hearted shounen monster-of-the-week-style comedy work that’s fun to watch and full of character!

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Why You Should Be Watching: Cells at Work! is a fun and entertaining work that’s hilarious and charming at every moment. The blessed platelets, amazing KanaHana performances, colorful cast of characters, and interesting interpretations of how our body works keeps me anticipating Cells at Work! every week, and it’s a consistently enjoyable show. It’s an edutainment show that does what it sets out to do exceedingly well, and there are very few shows that have as much character and polish as this does—seriously, David Production of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure fame are killing it with the production values, and the ideas that the show has are shining because of it. If you’re looking for an entertaining or informative show, this is absolutely worth a watch.

Recommended By: Kinksy, Koda, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, Thatsmapizza, TGRIP, Tenshigami

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Grand Blue Dreaming

Written by: ShadowHaken

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Iori Kitahara has just graduated from high school and has entered Izu University. Izu is located in a beach town, so he left his home in order to live his new life living with his uncle and his two beautiful cousins. His uncle’s house doubles as a diving shop, so hoping for a new and exciting life Iori enters the place… only to find himself surrounded by drunk, naked, party guys!?… This is the life of Iori… A life filled with diving, studies, friends and lots and lots of alcohol!

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Why You Should Be Watching: Grand Blue Dreaming is a comedy that for starters gets out of the overused “high school” setting by changing it for the college one, which makes it something new, but still relatable so the change won’t be too big, while allowing the opportunity of seeing the characters handle themes like sex or alcohol. Besides the focus on comedy, the characters evolve and change alongside the events of the story, and how this one unfolds with each episode bringing both character development and a lot of good comedy that will make you laugh more often than not.
Filled to the brim with likeable characters, absurd situations, funny comedy, and a story about opening oneself to a brave new world filled with opportunities, Grand Blue Dreaming contains both a raunchy good time and a story that will make you remember it!

Recommended By: Nomadic Dec, Protonstorm, Rockmandash12, ShadowHaken, Thatsmapizza, TGRIP, Tenshigami

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Hanebado!

Written by: Stinolez

Genres: Sports, Seinen

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Ayano Hanesaki is a first-year student at Kanagawa Prefectural Kitakomachi High School, with a talent to play badminton effortlessly, yet she avoids playing it. On the other hand Nagisa Aragaki, a third-year student, who practices day and night, aims to become the best player in Japan. The clash between these two, together with various other encounters, spirals into a sport drama focusing on both developing the characters themselves as well as their ability to play and compete in badminton.

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Why You Should Be Watching: One of the most striking points in this anime is its animation. Everything is done with a superb level of quality and polish—from the slow start of the match to the most intense rallies. Stop-start movement is used to highlight the most important moments in the exchange, while the image distortion gives it the feel of fast-paced action. The second biggest piece in this show is the drama. It’s about the relationship between Ayano Hanesaki, her mother, badminton, Nagisa, and many more. What this show lacks is little bit of downtime, where all the tension and drama can sink in and be processed by the viewer, but it’s still compelling to see how each character grows with each passed obstacle, until they break down before the next one.

Recommended by: Koda, Nomadic Dec, RockmanDash12,ShadowHaken, Stinolez, Thatsmapizza, TGRIP

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Happy Sugar Life

Written by: Kinksy

Genre: Psychological Horror, Thriller, Drama, Romance

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Satou Matsuzaka is a high school girl who never turned away the advances of men who would approach her. However, this all changed when for the first time in her life she experienced true love, in the form of a young girl named Shio. Clutching on to the new emotions awakened inside her, she works hard to maintain her perfect life with Shio, no matter the cost.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Happy Sugar Life is a rare gem in a genre that usually struggles to make an impact in anime. The core of this series is protagonist Satou, who puts on a mask of a kind-hearted, friendly girl that just wants to live a sweet and happy life, but hiding just beneath the surface she fights her urges to make “bitter things” go away.

The show manages to build tension constantly throughout and leaves the audience wondering when—not if—Satou is going to snap, and what the consequences of that will be. Shio is the one ray of light that gives a respite from the series’ darker moments; she and Satou share a genuine love, and despite the questionable circumstances leading to this situation, they have a surprisingly pleasant relationship.

All this being said, Happy Sugar Life is one of the strongest horror-themed anime we have seen in a good while, and if you’re looking for a show to get under your skin this season, this is the best choice.

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Recommended By: Kinksy, Nomadic Dec, Requeim, Stinolez

Harukana Receive

Written by: Koda

Genre: Sports

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, FUNimation, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Haruka Ōzora has just recently moved to Okinawa and she is taller than most girls her age. She is introduced to the sport of beach volleyball through her cousin, Kanata Higa, a talented player who briefly stepped away from the sport; despite her skills she was hampered by the fact that she didn’t grow in height as much as the other girls she would play against, making her less effective as time went on. Thanks to Haruka, however, Kanata regains her passion in the sport and the two become a duo on their high school’s beach volleyball team.

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Why You Should Be Watching: As much as it would be easy to dismiss Harukana Receive as a fluffier sports series filled with fanservice (it is after all a show about cute girls in tight fitting bikinis, even if there is an actual functional reason for it), the show instead is a sports series that often features genuine pathos. This is mainly in the form of Kanata, as her progression back into playing beach volleyball is a gradual one - she has to struggle with a whole host of anxieties and mental blocks that caused her to quit the sport in the first place. The show is also a very fun and overall relaxing watch thanks to its rather entertaining cast of characters, with Haruka and their beach volleyball team member Claire Thomas being absolute beams of pure energy whose enthusiasm is just infectious. While the show does explain aspects of the sport, it doesn’t go too in depth, instead being a sports series more focused on the characters rather than the sport they play. It may not be as serious or in depth as other sports series this season, but Harukana Receive is nevertheless a well-made and enjoyable series to invest your time in.

Recommended By: Koda, Nomadic Dec

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Planet With

Written by: TGRIP

Genre: Mecha, Sci-Fi

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, FUNimation, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Soya Kuroi, a high schooler with no memories of his past, lives in a small apartment in a Japanese coastal city with a gothic maid named Ginko and an anthropomorphic cat called Sensei. One day, several large, unidentified, and rather odd looking objects emerge and approach several cities across the world, including the town Soya lives in. In response to the mysterious objects, a team of sentai-esque mecha superheroes emerge to combat the threat. Soya however finds himself fighting the superheroes for reasons at first unknown to him, but as he does memories start to come back to him, and the fate of the world becomes increasingly perilous, as things get weirder and weirder…

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Why You Should Be Watching: In a way that’s almost synonymous with anime, Planet With is a crazy concept that just somehow works, and beyond that is superbly engaging and entertaining. This is thanks to a variety of factors, including the overall look of the show: Planet With is packed with crisp animation and cool character designs, from memorable human (and cat) characters, to downright striking 3D animated mechas. Then there are the characters themselves, such as Soya who is equal parts the everyday man who points out the insanity of what’s happening around him, as well as the protagonist with a mysterious past, including his own reasons for why he’s fighting. Then there’s the superhero team, which not only includes a wide range of characters, but also sees to it that each of them gets screen time devoted to fleshing each of them out, whilst detailing their own personal struggles.

The story, while starting out with the viewer largely in the dark, breaks from the norm by instead of keeping them there, actually provides answers to what’s going on at a good, measured rate. From the factions involved, to Soya’s past, to even the machinations behind the founder of the superhero team, Planet With knows when to let its audience in on what’s going on in a way that rarely feels like exposition, and even when it does it’s when it’s needed, instead of when it finds itself stuck in a corner, out of options and ideas [stares at Darling in the FRANXX]. All of this, along with some decent action, an off-but-on sense of humor, and character interactions that feel believable, makes Planet With something you should watch just for its sheer WTF concept, and end up staying with for its overall charm, intelligent storytelling, and presentation. Also, it’s really hard to go completely wrong with a giant mecha cat.

Recommended By: Kinksy, Koda, Thatsmapizza, TGRIP, Tenshigami

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Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight

Written by: Gugsy

Genre: Music, Drama

Where to Watch: HiDIVE

Spoiler Free Synopsis: Karen Aijo is a student at a school famous for its theater and arts program, as she trains alongside her classmates to be the best on stage. But a mysterious audition process has already begun and started wrapping in her classmates as they both literally and figuratively duel to be the star.

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Why You Should Be Watching: There’s one thing we need to get out of the way, right off the bat. The director of Revue Starlight is Tomohiro Furukawa. You may not know his name, but you may know of the director he’s most frequently been collaborating with, Ikuhara Kuniko of the famed Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum and Yuri Kuma Arashi. Revue Starlight is another that follows the same footsteps of those legendary shows, with meaning and symbolism packed into every frame.

The next thing you need to know is that Revue Starlight is actually based on a real women’s only theater school in Japan, where girls train as hard as possible so that they can one day maybe be the star of a theater production. At the actual school, only one girl will become the star who plays the main role for all theater productions for as long as she’s the star.

This isn’t an idol-style show however. In Revue Starlight, the girls literally duel one another to see who has the chops to be the next star, but with plenty of Ikuhara-style seasoning, as each duel has more than meets the eye. Even if you may not catch everything that’s going on immediately, the duels are some of the most impressively animated action sequences of the season and maybe of the year. Some of the best animators in the business have joined forces to create moments that will blow you away in these duels.

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If you like your anime with a lot to unpack and a lot of hidden meanings waiting to be discovered and explored, Revue Starlight will definitely scratch that itch. But even if you like your shows more straightforward, Revue Starlight will still impress and amaze.

Recommended By: Gugsy, Kinksy, Nomadic Dec


Honorable Mention

(Note: Our honorable mention section is reserved for shows that had significant support but at the same time significant pushback during our debates. In order to represent both sides, we include both pro and against opinions for our honorable mentions.)

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How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord

Written by: Requiem (For), Raitzeno (Against)

Genre: Isekai, Adventure, Fantasy, Boobs

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler Free Synopsis: Takoma Sakamoto was a loser, a hikikomori with no social skills. In the real world, anyway. In the MMORPG Cross Reverie, however, he was a stone cold G. There he was known as the massively powerful DEMON LORD DIABLO. One day he is pulled from our world into another, summoned by two girls in a fantasy world...but summoned as his avatar, Diablo! As he lacks social skills, how is he supposed to deal with all these new people? Easy...by playing the role of the Demon Lord. Now Diablo goes forth in this new world of catgirls, well endowed elves, loli bunny girls and more.

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Why You Should Be Watching: I can already hear it. “Another isekai?? BORING” And “look at all those boobs, this show is trash.” Anime fandom can often have this puritan, pearl clutching response to fanservice. OH NO, TITTIES, RUN. Yes, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord has a surplus of boobs, scantily clad females and other fanservice and yes, its it’s another entry in the overstuffed isekai genre. And you know what? It’s still a great show. Imagine that!

Look, there’s trash, and there’s GLORIOUS trash. Bakersfield, CA is trash; Las Vegas is GLORIOUS trash. It’s loud, it’s bright, it’s garish, it’s ridiculous. It’s also a damn good time! How NOT To Summon a Demon Lord is Vegas. It’s loaded with tropes, but it embraces them and has fun with them. The show is fully aware of how spectacularly dumb it is, and gives no fucks. It’s having a great time and invites you to come along.

The key, really, is heart. Yes, there’s a heart beating underneath those boobs. The characters could be one-dimensional vehicles for jokes and fanservice, but they’re not. They’re given arcs and motives and goals of their own. Diablo having to cover his social anxiety by roleplaying a egotistical supervillain never stops being amusing. Rem and Shera, the catgirl and elf, could very easily be nothing more than harem fodder, but each gets enough character development to rise above that, and you end up liking and caring about the characters. It’s not Shakespeare, but it works!

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In the end, Demon Lord is a big, bright, loud, dumb show, and it’s a blast to watch. Give it a shot.

Why You Should Not Be Watching: There’s nothing inherently wrong with anime tits, but like anything else, there’s concepts like taste, mood, tone, and Japan’s own favorite “time, place, and occasion.” When you misuse an abundance of bounce, it can fall flat, and that happens often in HNTSADL. (This show really needs a better nickname.) It becomes a distraction from important plot beats - and yes, I’m aware of the irony of calling tits “a distraction”, but they’re being distracting when they shouldn’t be.

As has been discussed (to death) in previous collabs, poking fun at yourself for overused tropes and cliches doesn’t excuse you from using them yourself, especially when you’re relying on them this heavily. It’s still a tropey mess. It’s also not using its isekai premise in a particularly effective or original way, which is practically required to not be dismissed nowadays.

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Diablo’s mindless OP-ness and success in spite of, rather than by overcoming, his own shortcomings aren’t exactly something to be proud of. Also, you can dress it up all you like, but the premise of the show involves enslaving women. You’re running off of deeply objectionable content from the get-go even without any puritanical fits of the vapors over boobs. Besides, if I was gonna complain about fanservice, Shera barely even stays on my radar; the guild master is far worse, and no amount of “she’s a X00-year old elf!” excuses putting a miniscule tankini on an obviously childish body, especially when Diablo molests the hell out of her.

This show is a guilty pleasure at BEST, and it doesn’t live up to its best most of the time. It’s impossible to give it a blanket recommendation with a clean conscience. If you like fanservicey isekai trash, yes, you’ll like this… but be careful who you watch it with.


Contributors in Alphabetical Order:

This article was a collaboration by several people of the AniTAY community on Talk Amongst Yourselves. You can join the fun by posting your own articles on Kinja with the AniTAY tag.

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If you enjoyed this, please check out our collaboration from last season here:

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Additionally, the AniTAY podcast has returned from hiatus to discuss a few of this season’s anime in detail. Check out the episode here: