The 10 Anime of Summer 2019 You Should Be Watching

Every three months, we are gifted dozens of animated productions from the collective efforts of the hardworking staff of various animation studios across Japan and the world. But these gifts come with a catch: there is only so much time in the day for us anime fans to watch these series every season. In the end, many of us waste time trying shows we don’t care for or, even worse, overlook what would have been one of the greatest anime of all time.

That’s where we at AniTAY come in. Not sure where to start each season? The brilliant(ly stupid, depending on your perspective) minds of AniTAY have come together from across the world to decide on a list of some of the best anime out there that we think are worth watching. This season had several excellent potential anime-of-the-year selections, and there were a couple of instances where some difficult choices had to be made. I hope you all enjoy the final product and, as always, please send all your complaints to Dexomega.

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If you want a deeper dive into our thoughts on currently-airing anime, be sure to check out the latest episode of the official AniTAY Podcast!

Finally, some notes before we get started:

  • 1) As always, we have omitted continuing shows and sequels. Only new stuff here. Check out our spring sequel guide below for information about sequels.
  • 2) Similarly, only shows available for legal streaming are considered. Netflix has complicated what the word “available” means. We included a separate section for Carole & Tuesday since it is not yet available for streaming in all countries.
  • 3) We included a “where to watch” section, but keep in mind that our listings are based off availability in the United States.
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Astra: Lost in Space

Written by: Tenshigami

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Drama, Shounen

Where to Watch: Funimation

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Soon after beginning a school camping trip on planet McPa, nine students are engulfed in a ball of light and transported 5,012 lightyears into deep space. There they find a ship, but it has limited food and water. With no hope of rescue, the group must travel from planet to planet to resupply and have any chance of returning home alive.

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Why You Should Be Watching: If an uplifting sci-fi drama is your thing, then you can’t go wrong with Astra: Lost in Space. Its themes of overcoming hardship and retaining hope are a delightful and resonant combination.

While overcoming hardship is a common shounen theme, not often is it handled as expertly as in Astra. When most people think of shounen, they think of your typical battle anime that takes a shortcut in exploring this theme by pitting its protagonists in epic battles against strong foes. Despite its cast being lost in space, Astra takes a much more down-to-earth approach of fulfilling basic human needs within hostile environments. This gives the cast plenty of room to grow, and grow they do.

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The character growth is easily the best thing about Astra. Everyone aboard the eponymous Astra starts the trip with their own emotional baggage, and it’s through sharing these traumas with each other that the group forms the bonds necessary to maintain hope and stay the course on their journey home. It’s in these moments when Astra really flexes its narrative chops. The uplifting emotional beats that accompany watching each student open up to the rest of the crew has kept me excitedly anticipating the next episode every week.

Recommended By: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, Gugsy, hybridmink, Ishamael, Kinksy, Koda, NomadicDec, Protonstorm, Requiem, Tenshigami, TGRIP, TheMamaLuigi

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Cop Craft

Written by: Requiem

Genre: Action, Fantasy, 80s Buddy Cops, Fairies

Where to Watch: Funimation, Hulu

Spoiler-free Synopsis: 15 years ago, a gateway opened into our world from another: a place of magic, fairies and monsters known as Semanni. Now, in an island city known as San Teresa, millions of people from both worlds make their home and attempt to coexist. Of course, crime is still a problem and is now even more complicated due to magic, so the San Teresa PD do their best to uphold law and order in a chaotic situation.

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After a drug bust involving a fairy-based narcotic goes wrong, gruff human cop Kei is teamed up with a young Semanian knight to track it down. So begins the story of two mismatched partners.

Why You Should Be Watching: The buddy cop comedy featuring mismatched partners trying to work together is a time-honored genre, and Cop Craft is a worthy entry into those hallowed halls. Kei, the jaded, street-smart human cop with the gruff exterior but a Heart of Gold(™) is the perfectly imperfect match for Tilarna, the young overeager knight with a deft sword hand and a hilarious unfamiliarity with Earth and its customs. Think Lethal Weapon, or seminal Chuck Norris masterpiece, Top Dog.

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The show uses its setting to tell a myriad of stories, weaving back and forth between comic and dramatic scenarios, but it shines best when it just focuses on the relationship between the leads engaging in wacky hijinks. That’s not to say the rest of the cast is negligible, because Cop Craft has a number of characters that play on traditional cop media: for example, the kooky coroner, or the tough, perpetually-stressed captain. The setting itself is a highlight, allowing for any manner of narrative fun, from fairy drugs to vampires to Semanians learning about porn.

It’s not without its warts: the more vocal detractors will focus on the clear production issues that rob the action scenes from being as dynamic as they should, and many fans will be justified in mistrusting output from this studio after the atrocity that was Berserk 2016. However, while imperfect, Cop Craft is too much fun to not recommend. In fact, one might say that if you can’t enjoy this show, you might just be a cold-hearted, sad husk of a detective about to retire from an uneventful career. You wouldn’t want to be like that, right? Watch Cop Craft.

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Recommended By: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, hybridmink, Kinksy, Koda, Requiem, Tenshigami

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The Demon Girl Next Door

Written by: Gugsy

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy

Where to Watch: HiDive, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Yuko is visited in a dream by a demon girl. At first brushing this encounter off, when she wakes up, Yuko is surprised to find that her latent demon powers have awakened! It turns out that her family is from an ancient line of demon girls, who were suppressed by magical girls long ago. Now, she has been tasked with defeating other magical girls in order to increase her own power. And what luck, because there just so happens to be another magical girl in school! Except she, Momo, is incredibly powerful and Yuko can barely last on a jog much less use magic. What is Yuko going to do?

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Why You Should Be Watching: First of all, this show is incredibly warm-hearted. While most of the comedy involves Yuko struggling against Momo, at no point does it feel like it is overtly negative and character-diminishing for laughs. After the initial encounter, Momo takes a liking to Yuko and often tries to help her, and a budding—if unlikely—friendship quickly emerges. The comedic timing and setups aren’t overly repetitive despite the source material being a 4-koma. Indeed, this show feels more akin to a regular manga with a real through line for every episode rather than a series of gags. For every magical girl gag, there are also plays on words and even fourth wall breaks, amongst others, to keep things feeling fresh. The art and animation are cute but with an incredibly high quality. JC Staff is doing great work with the presentation here. The Demon Girl Next Door is a delightful, fantastic show that will make you feel good with equal parts laughter and fluff.

Recommended by: Gugsy, Kinksy, Tenshigami, TheMamaLuigi

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Fire Force

Written by: Doctorkev

Genre: Shonen, Action, Fantasy, Superhero

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Shinra Kusakabe is a young man with a hero complex. The sole survivor of a blazing inferno that claimed the lives of his parents, he has dedicated his life to becoming a hero, so that he can prevent others from suffering the same fate. Fire Force follows Shinra’s entry into Special Fire Force Company 8, where he uses his inherited pyrokinetic powers to assist his similarly gifted colleagues in investigating a plague of Spontaneous Human Combustion cases, and fighting the resulting Infernals—human victims transformed by unknown means into powerful, destructive Fire Elementals.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Pure adrenaline-charged fun, Fire Force is a fast-moving and lean addition to the recent stable of decent shounen manga adaptations. Spectacularly animated by David Production (JOJO’s Bizarre Adventure, Cells At Work), every episode is a showcase of pyrokinetic fireworks and bonkers action.

Fire Force is nothing if not focused; we know very little about the main cast’s lives outside their job as Fire Soldiers, bar Shinra’s tragic backstory and nun Iris’s harrowing childhood experiences. So far, each episode has worked to progress the ongoing plot with minimal filler, and the fight scenes never outstay their welcome. Little details about the wider setting are drip-fed to the audience, which helps to maintain an air of mystery around the eight different Fire Forces in Tokyo City.

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In terms of integrating world-building, religion plays a large part in the plot, with the Holy Sol Temple bankrolling the Fire Soldiers, supplying some of the manpower and perhaps manipulating events behind the scenes. The mysterious Temple seems to be a cross between the Catholic Church and ancient Egyptian Sun worship. It remains to be seen how this element will factor into the later story, but it adds another layer of intrigue.

The only problematic aspect of Fire Force is in the show’s prominent and jarring fanservice. It seems no female character is spared the camera’s lecherous, languid gaze over their breasts, butts and hips. The ending sequence has a prominent scene with a nun dousing herself in water so her see-through nightgown clings to her buttocks. Another female character has a skill she calls “Lucky Lecher Lure” that causes any men in her proximity to grope her against their (and apparently her) will. Uh… what? This frequent, lurid aspect does unfortunately limit the wider appeal of Fire Force to those who enjoy or can sublimate this type of content. However, for those who can stomach this more questionable aspect, Fire Force is a propulsive firecracker of a show!

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Recommended by: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, hybridmink, Ishamael, Kinksy, Koda, Requiem, Tenshigami, TGRIP, TheMamaLuigi, Vukir

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Granbelm

Written by: TGRIP

Genre: Battle-Royale, Magical girl, Mecha, Quasi-Isekai

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: A millennium ago, nearly all magic was eradicated. Today, it is but a forgotten art, with only the descendants of those ancient mages being able to wield it. Mangetsu Kohinata is one of those descendants, although she discovers her gift by happenstance after unintentionally being transported to another world where other descendants have engaged in a battle royal. Commanding the magical mecha ARMANOX, these mages fight one another for the title of “Princeps,” the supreme mage. This victory allows them a single, all-powerful wish, but to attain it one must be left standing after all is said and done, and every other ARMANOX and pilot defeated, in the grand fight known as “Granbelm.”

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Why You Should Be Watching: If you’re thinking “I’ve heard of this set-up before”, you’d be correct, and it’s one of this show’s core strengths: Granbelm is a hodgepodge of genres, and despite its mystical world this show is surprisingly easy to jump into. Magical girls, giant robots, otherworldly setting; what’s not to like? While Granbelm’s premise may appear to simply be an amalgamation of popular concepts, what follows after its first episode is a series that polishes and reinvents well-trodden territory thanks to outstanding animation, a unique tone, and a cast of fleshed-out characters each with their own motivations that will keep you watching. It might look like an incredible feat seeing all this being done by the relatively unknown Studio Nexus, but having the director of Re:Zero at the helm makes this an assured production.

While Mangetsu is a student who isn’t particularly good at anything, there’s no hint of resentment from her, but rather disappointment and depression. She just wants something to be proud of, and when she discovers her affinity for magic and mecha-piloting, she’s happy not because of the newfound recognition, but because she is truly good at something. Mangetsu is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with her fellow pilot Shingetsu fighting her own battles (both literal and metaphorical), and the other mage-pilots each warring for their own personal reasons.

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Alongside the interpersonal drama is Granbelm’s outstanding mecha battles: distinct robot designs that look like nothing else out there, fast and brutal fight choreography, and each fighter having their own unique fighting style make Granbelm stand out. The show’s sole weakness is its first episode, which focuses so much on getting viewers’ attention with its action that it doesn’t slow down to let itself breathe, which future episodes do far better. Granbelm might seem like something we’ve all seen before, but at its core it is a confident, hard-hitting, beautiful show with some of the best characters of this season, and an easy contender for mecha show of the year.

Recommended by: Kinksy, Koda, Tenshigami, TGRIP, Vukir

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Given

Written by: Koda

Genre: Drama, Music, Romance

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: One day the talented but unmotivated guitarist and basketball player Ritsuka Uenoyama meets the shy and depressed Mafuyu Sato in his favorite hiding spot at school. Mafuyu is clutching a damaged, but expensive guitar whose origins he’s a bit reluctant to share, but nevertheless asks Ritsuka to help fix it. Slowly, Mafuyu begins to open up to Ritsuka, revealing more about himself in the process. Together, along with the other members of Ritsuka’s band, the two begin to give each other the energy and passion they need to move on and grow, with music being the conduit for their evolution.

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Why You Should Be Watching: So, to get it out of the way, given is a yaoi series, and I know hearing that will instantly make several people lose interest in the show, and I get it. I’m the kind of person that usually passes this genre over as well. However, every now and then a yaoi anime comes along that transcends the stereotypical trappings of its brethren and is able to stand on its own as an amazing piece of entertainment. Think of shows like Yuri!!! on ICE for an example of what I mean. I strongly feel that given deserves to be part of this special group. The writing is phenomenal, with each character being multi-layered. I have to give the show particular praise for how it is handling its various subject matters, especially the homosexual romance aspect.

Beyond the incredible writing, though, the show’s production values are equally as strong. Naturally, being a show about musicians, the music is top notch. But it isn’t just the songs that are great, the show has gone through the effort of recording instruments being played with different equipment and with different skill levels to give an authentic audio experience. I also have to commend Lerche’s stunning animation on display, particularly when characters are playing instruments. The way they’ve animated the hand and finger movements on the guitarists has to simply be seen to be believed. All of given’s strengths coalesce to form a show that far exceeds simply being just another yaoi show — It’s one of the genuine highlights of the year so far, and a standout piece of drama.

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Recommended by: Koda, NomadicDec, TGRIP

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How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

Written by: ShadowHaken and Ishamael

Genre: Slice of life, Comedy, Fitness, Ecchi

Where to Watch: Funimation

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Sakura Hibiki is your average highschool student: friendly, sociable, and dreams of getting a boyfriend. However, she has one problem: her eating habits are making her gain weight. Since following a diet or doing home workouts has proven to be impossible, she joins Silverman Gym. So now alongside the seemingly perfect but in reality muscle fetishist Akemi, the action movie-loving Ayaka, the Russian arm wrestler Gina, and the closet cosplayer/highschool teacher Satomi, they all will be trained by the handsome Macho Machio! Hibiki will get fit and get all the looks from the boys!

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Why You Should Be Watching:

ShadowHaken: Dumbbells is the epitome of edutainment, since from episode one, the main focus has been giving us advice on how to properly exercise and about what and what not to eat. While the quality of the advice might be iffy (regarding the eating advice), the fitness advice is quite informative and useful. In addition, this series has a lot of good humor and likeable characters; everyone has their own traits that makes the distinct and each enjoyable to watch. The chemistry between the characters is something to admire since nobody one-ups the other; rather, they mix so well that seeing them interact is always funny and amusing.

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Ishamael: It is funny and instructive. While educational on proper workout and exercises form and technique (avoid its diet and nutritional advice though), it is simultaneously funny, really funny. With surprisingly good animation for the genre, Dumbbells does not disappoint with its presentation. Its charms continue with each character being engaging and entertaining. The standout being Hibiki Sakura, a girl with an appetite to rival any shounen hero and the hidden strength to match. The series is an easy and enjoyable watch, and you may even learn how to bench press and squat in the process, which honestly is only a good thing.

Recommended by: Dark Aether, Doctorkev, Ishmael, Koda, ShadowHaken, TheMamaLuigi

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Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note

Written by: Dark Aether

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Supernatural

Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Ten years have passed since the Fourth Holy Grail War. Waver Velvet, a participant of the previous war, is now a professor under the Clock Tower for the Mage’s Association. Going by the title of Lord El-Melloi II, he relies on his vast knowledge and deduction skills to solve mysteries and unravel the true nature behind the association. Joined by his apprentice, Gray, along with a number of familiar faces from the Fate universe, a new case is about to begin….

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Why You Should Be Watching: Sharing the same world as Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note picks up right after the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War, which ended with Waver Velvet as one of the few survivors and heavily changed his worldview. Though lacking in magical talent, El Melloi II highlights the title character’s ability to deal with the supernatural using a combination of logic, analysis, and some outside magical assistance from a few other notable Fate regulars.

Despite the misleadingly long title, El Melloi II is a Fate spinoff in all but name. And while that carries some assumed core elements (most of which apply here), rest assured that the show stands out as one of the best standalone titles the series has to offer, especially for those who may feel burned out by the overabundance of media the franchise has generated in recent years. New to the series, El Melloi II is a detective show largely revolving around a number of cases that our titular protagonist asked to resolve ranging from murder to other forms of infighting and political backstabbing within the association. It is this look at the inner workings of the association that showcase the grim reality of being a mage in a Fate story with many of the murders serving as byproducts to other disputes or hidden agendas.

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Then there is the personal look at Waver/El Melloi II himself. Though El Melloi II expects some prior knowledge (specifically Fate/Zero), the show does an admirable job following up on Waver’s time as Iskandar’s (Rider’s) Master and his lingering regrets from that experience. He never truly moved on and is more than eager to reenter the next Holy Grail War, no matter the price. Even without having watched Fate/Zero, El Melloi II continuously highlights the complex and deeply troubled nature of a man who is in the midst of figuring himself out, sometimes to humorous effect. Whether it’s focusing on his motivation to see Iskandar’s dream come true or his breakdown upon hearing his favorite tea shop might close, El Melloi II is not above kicking its protagonist down in various ways.

Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note is another solid Fate side story and a remarkable detective/fantasy tale in its own right. Beyond that, El Melloi II succeeds by expanding a previous side character and exploring their personal struggles a decade later.

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Recommended by: Dark Aether, DilKokoro, Doctorkev, hybridmink, Ishamael, Kinksy, Reikaze, Requiem

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O Maidens In Your Savage Season

Written By: TheMamaLuigi

Genre: Coming-of-Age, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Where to Watch: Hidive, VRV

Spoiler-Free Synopsis: Kazusa, Niina, Momoko, Hitoha, and Rika are the sole members of their school’s literature club. However, rather than read Poe, Shakespeare, or Murakami, these girls decide to read racy “adult” literature — a decision which sparks five separate, yet entirely interconnected coming-of-age stories. O Maidens in Your Savage Season follows the girls as they navigate new realms of sex, sexuality, and budding romance amidst clumsy crushes, online relationships with more than meets the eye, and past emotions made present feelings.

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Why You Should Be Watching: From its premise, O Maidens in Your Savage Season sounds like it has the potential to be a lighthearted ecchi show about how the girls in the literature club stumble their way into their first sexual encounters. What makes O Maidens remarkable, however, is how it takes a decidedly grounded and recognizable approach to learning about one’s sexuality. It mixes top-tier comedy with engaging drama to create a narrative that is as self-aware as it is serious.

One of the series’ most striking aspects is its simultaneous satirization of ecchi manga and smutty novels, and its inability to escape the tropes found in those types of works. By both poking fun at and entirely occupying the space of those works, O Maidens feels more honest, genuine, and engaging as a result. This playing with genres can largely be attributed to the venerable Mari Okada handling the writing and general series composition. Her mixing of melodrama with a genuine understanding of the adolescent mind, with a healthy dose of both overt and subtle sexual images thrown in for good measure, make O Maidens feel like Okada at her most Okada-iest — and her best.

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Each of the five girls are incredibly well-realized and believable, with common traits that unite them as inexperienced high school girls, and unique quirks that set them apart as individual people. From Niina’s yearning to be seen as more than just a sexual object, to Rika’s slow realization that she wants to be seen as a sexual object, each girl is fleshed out in appropriate and recognizable ways. Apart, the girls stand as the different ways we come into our own as young adults and as sexual figures; together, they both mark and explore the critical transition into one’s sexual and personal awakenings, the movement into a new version of one’s self. Along these girls’ journeys, O Maidens in Your Savage season asks viewers to recall their own transitions into adulthood, their own sexual awakenings, and see the embarrassment, the awkwardness, and, most crucially, the beauty embodied within.

Recommended by: Doctorkev, Gugsy, hybridmink, Koda, Protonstorm, Reikaze, ShadowHaken, TGRIP, TheMamaLuigi

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Vinland Saga

Written By: Nomadic Dec

Genre: Historical, Drama, Action, Philosophical

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime US/Prime UK

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Vinland is a myth. At least according to the young Thorfinn in 1004 A.D., as he listens to Leif Erikson’s recollections of verdant pastures and swarthy men wearing feathered headdresses. Were it real, his father, Thors, would have gone there. Thorfinn idolises the towering protector of his small Icelandic village, and while his father preaches peace and diplomacy, Thorfinn is still taken with the image of a fierce warrior, merely dormant. But the drums of war are beating again as the Danelaw meets resistance in England, giving justification for further Viking conquest. So when the mercenary Jomsvikings arrive requesting Thors’ services—in lieu of destroying the village—Thorfinn is excited to sail and fight alongside his father, and stows aboard the departing ship. A stormy sea is not the only chaos he will encounter, however, as blood flows like water in war.

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Why You Should Be Watching: In the context of the show, Vinland might as well be a legend, because the story is preoccupied with the Danelaw and Viking piracy in England and France. Thus Vinland becomes a metaphor for the peace that Thors seeks for himself, his family, his people, and especially his son, Thorfinn. It directs his ethos, much to the Thorfinn’s consternation, too young to understand while living in his idyllic village. However, much like the obelisk that is Thors, his pacifist philosophy looms large, clashing with the realities of death, suffering, and killing that Thorfinn endures to survive.

That thematic juxtaposition mutates into the conflicts that are as much at the heart of Vinland Saga as Thorfinn’s own: what does being a warrior truly entail? What path does a warrior follow? What is the sacrifice of fighting? These questions echo across the battlefields, enriching the dramatic tension of negotiations, and texturing the sublimely-animated action sequences. The fluid motions of each slash and tear of the swords, or the fear and frenzy of Englishmen charging towards Vikings, are all set against the emotional gravity of war and a Norse culture that Vinland Saga deliberately takes time to explore. Each blow has weight, both powerful and atmospheric.

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Ultimately though, Vinland Saga is framed as Thorfinn’s tribulations as he comes of age. The directorial choice by Wit Studio to follow a chronological order of events, rather than through flashbacks, elevates an already stellar piece of work by mangaka Makoto Yukimura. It accentuates the various forces that mould Thorfinn, adding subtext and depth for the audience. It also gives viewers unfamiliar with Danish history in England a clear through-line, because as well-researched fiction, Vinland Saga draws upon both apocryphal and proven history to lay the foundations of the real life socio-political shifts that are sure to factor into the main tale. Yet the attendant time jumps and disparate characters could confuse some people, so being able to latch onto Thorfinn and his journey from the very beginning should quash any reservations that people have about starting this beautiful saga of a boy’s untethered soul.

Recommended by: Dark Aether, DilKokoro, Doctorkev, Gugsy, hybridmink, Ishamael, Koda, NomadicDec, Protonstorm, Reikaze, Requiem, ShadowHaken, Tenshigami, TGRIP, TheMamaLuigi

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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 “for” and “against” opinions for our honorable mentions.)

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Dr. Stone

Written by: hybridmink (For) & DilKokoro (Against)

Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Shounen

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, VRV

Spoiler-free Synopsis: After the world is struck by a mysterious phenomenon that turns all life on the planet into stone, one young scientist awakes from his petrification thousands of years in the future. Senkuu (along with help from his friend Taiju) devises an elaborate plan with the aim to restore humanity in mind. The young scientist will soon learn, however, that he is not the only individual plotting how to handle humanity in this post-apocalyptic world. Buckle up for a scientific race that will impact the future of mankind!

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Why You Should Be Watching: Let’s just get this out of the way—Dr. Stone is filled with two dimensional characters and humor that rarely seems to hit. But honestly, I’m just a sucker for these types of post apocalyptic stories. I’m drawn in by the mystery of the world and its believable science. What happened here? Is there a villain? Why is Senkuu’s hair like that?!

Senkuu (the smart one) is the type of anime protagonist we see all too often. He’s overly confident and seems to never make mistakes. It’s a trope that I’ve grown tired of over the years because you simply can’t relate to a character without flaws. However, the fact that he’s a scientist trying to save the world is enough to make him endearing. I desperately want to know how he’s going to solve the next problem. I need his weird turnip head to explain why bat shit can form nitric acid. Even if he spends most of the episode lecturing me, I still want to know the solution. He’s the cocky teacher you can’t help but like.

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I think Dr. Stone is best described as Food Wars with science substituted for food (which is basically action shounen with cooking substituted for fighting...even though Dr. Stone ALSO has fighting! I digress). Yukihira Soma follows the untouchable protagonist archetype and there are a lot of parallels between his and Senkuu’s character. Soma eventually felt a bit more human over the course of the series so I hope we’ll see similar changes in Senkuu as the story progresses.

Lastly, I really like the look of Dr. Stone. The backgrounds are gorgeous and the characters have a thick lineart and musculature that gives the show a distinct “hard” feel. The production quality has been extremely consistent as well. I wouldn’t say Dr. Stone is worth watching for its animation, but I have no complaints in that department either.

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So overall the characters are tropey and the humor isn’t great, but the mystery of the world and anime science lectures may draw you in.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Watching: For everything Dr. Stone gives in promise, it trips and falls with in execution. The concept of using science to (re)develop mankind sounds incredible at first, but the characters in this series ruin this allure mightily. Instead of giving audiences an entertaining build from scratch, the developments in the show are plagued by both the protagonist as well as the antagonist excessively elaborating why they, in fact, are the smartest individual in town. For instance, the protagonist will be explaining how he invented X and that he was a genius. Meanwhile, the antagonist will be nodding along to the most minute of details in developments from his competition and boast how, by understanding what his rival is doing, he was a genius. This trend is so frequent and obnoxious that it utterly butchers the pacing.

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Furthermore, the actual moments of scientific triumph are smothered to death by immediate exposition and/or conflict. While it is entertaining to listen to Senkuu explain how the group plans on seeing through an experiment, it loses its appeal by the third minute of him going on about how he figured out how to properly complete the aforementioned scientific breakthrough. If he doesn’t drain the scene from this overkill, he immediate pivots into the next plot conflict to finish the job. By being on the move as much as it is, the moments of scientific development lack their power and payoff.

Finally, aside from the pacing, the characters are bland and disappointingly one-dimensional. Enough has already been said about the painfully long ego-strokes that Senkuu provides for the audience, but both his rival and best friend are just as (if not more) guilty of this offense. Taiju starts the show with a very clearly defined reason for his being, and when the show decides that it is tired of waiting on him to see his goals through and just throws it to him in the third episode, he becomes unbelievably horrible. Not only does he go against how he is written to that point, his sole purpose can be defined as loudly screaming in response to literally everything Senkuu says. At the point of writing this, there are only two other characters introduced and one of them is as vanilla as a $1 soft serve and the other has yet to really show anything noteworthy. Hopefully in the coming weeks Dr. Stone picks up because, as it is now, audiences are better off exploring the other shows this season.

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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 article, please check out our collaboration from last season here:

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You’re reading AniTAY, the anime-focused portion of Kotaku’s community-run blog, Talk Amongst Yourselves. AniTAY is a non-professional blog whose writers love everything anime related. Click here to check us out.

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