Summer season anime

So here we are, summer season has pretty much finished. These are some short reviews of the shows I’ve watched from the selection of those avalible on Crunchyroll. I felt as a season on paper it was pretty weak due to the high number of ‘high school’ shows. I guess that’s a reflection in the time of year with students graduating. I still found plenty to keep interested in though!

Relife

Relife was the first series I completed from Summer, it was put on Crunchyroll as a complete set of episodes so you could binge watch it if you wanted to. I really quickly got sucked into this and found the concept to be an interesting one, how you could improve your current life by reliving your high school days. There is a dark side to this show which reveals itself to balance out the more typically lighthearted nature of a high school series. Overall I felt for the characters but felt a bit cheated by the lacklustre ending which stopped it getting a higher score. A

Sweetness and Lightning

I had a lot of fun with this show, I started cooking along to it on a weekly basis and extended my cooking skills quite a bit. Generally the show follows the same format each week with Tsumugi and her Dad learning a new recipe each week. There’s a lot of darkness hidden just underneath this series and it never really explores that. From having read other reviews of this series I think people were disappointed that it didn’t go there but I was glad. I got too attached to the characters to want to see them in such distress! I’d love to see this get a second series to spend more time with the characters. A+

Mob Psycho 100

I LOVED Mob Psycho, apparently if you believe a lot of the viewing polls online this series totally flopped but I didn’t agree with this. It’s really nice to see something so different in a season and it heavily reminded me of the classic Akira. The show was procured by Bones but it could have easily been a Trigger show. The animation in this series is a beautiful diverse range of styles not normally seen in anime including glass painting. The series itself was written by the creator of One Punch Man and does have a very shonen feel. None of the characters are conventionally anime styled but they have a more real world feel to them. Both Mob and Reigen are likeable characters who work well together on screen. If you only watch one show about a psychic high schooler this season make it this one. With One Punch getting another series soon it’s unlikely we’ll see Mob again for some time. A+

Bananya

Ah the cuteness! This was always going to be a must watch for me and it delivered. This series of shorts was really quite sweet. The stories themselves didn’t get very far but that’s not the point. Crushingly adorable, the life of cats who are also bananas. Yuki Kaji was the voice of the bananas who also plays Kenma in Haikyuu. B

Days

Oh dear, oh dear. Where do I start with this? I was so disappointed with Days, as a 25 episode series (why?) it’s still ongoing at time of writing. This means it’ll clash with the start of Haikyuu and by that point will anyone still be watching? The cast size here is so bloated it’s unreal, the lead characters are annoying at best boring at worst. I don’t feel as though I’ve really taken much away from the series. I know football is a common sport but there’s very little explanation of it as a game. I also don’t really like the character design, overall avoid this one unless your a hardened sports anime fan. Not even the great voice acting cast can save this one. D

The Morose Monokean

This show unfortunately suffered by comparison since I was also watching Natsume’s Book Of Friends. It’s a pretty similar series with its weekly Yokai encounters, while Natsume has an air of maturity about it this series doesn’t have that. Despite this I still found it an enjoyable weekly watch and what kept me coming back were the two male leads. Abeno and Ashiya are in some ways the opposites of each other but eventually they come to realise that they’re better for knowing each other. Their two conflicting personalities balance out to create a harmonious friendship. By the end of the series they were queuing this up for a second, you never really get to find out what mysterious dark power Ashiya has so expect more to come. Maybe. C+

91 Days

I found this one a little odd for the first few episodes, a sort of cultural mish-mash bundled into a gangster revenge story. That’s not to say this isn’t a very engaging sometimes tragic show. The pacing of this show is perfect each episode hits on key story points without being really obvious nor rushing it. It’s got a very natural feel, I’ll try not to give away spoilers! You really feel for the two main leads as well their tight brotherly bond makes this tragic tale hit home more. If you like a story with twists and turns you’ll love this one. B+

Thunderbolt Fantasy

I know this isn’t technically anime but this cross cultural Korean/Chinese/Japanese show really caught my eye as something different. The puppetry in this was amazing and I enjoyed the level of characterisation even though they fell into the usual tropes. The story had enough bite to keep you hooked but I wished that this series had either been longer or had full hour episodes. I’d recommend binge watching this to get the full effect. The only other annoying thing was the character names in subs were Chinese which I’m not used to so kinda found it tricky to follow at times. Highly recommended this for lovers of Final Fantasy and Kung Fu films. B

Amanchu

I’ll not lie I loved Amanchu, it’s gentle relaxing and uplifting tone was a perfect end of the working week show. It’s a high school series focusing on scuba diving. It shared a lot of similarities with last summer’s Free!! The series itself is beautiful and I often found myself ignoring the subs to focus on the show itself. Great characterisation between the two girls made this an emotionally deep series exploring an intense friendship. A

New Game

Originally I wasn’t going to watch New Game because I suspected as a series full of cute girls it’d make verge on the hentai side but I was pleasantly surprised. I ended up getting sucked into the energetic vibe of the Eagle Jump staff and while there was plenty of fan service, like the trip to the onsen, I didn’t mind because it felt quite natural! The girls were there to appreciate each other rather than it being specifically for the viewer. The series follows the day to day life of Aoba as a new recruit to the video game industry, while mostly lighthearted the series does brush upon serious issues such as overworking. It is however an otaku fantasy; women wouldn’t work together naturally this well and Aoba’s superiors are surprisingly lenient at times, she’s also more than willing to work the long hours for her employer happily in her ‘dream job’. Also as a series about women in the workplace it is kind of empowering, traditionally in Japan women can become sidelined as employees but here they’re all highly skilled and valued working women. It’ll be interesting to see if this runaway success gets a second series. B

Life of a high school fudanshi

As a series of shorts I couldn’t make my mind up about how effective this series was. I felt I wasn’t getting to spend enough time with the characters themselves even though their dynamic was interesting. It’s a pretty unusual series with a comedic lighthearted tone, the animation at times was pretty ropey but if gets the idea across. The lead character reads BL manga but isn’t interested in being in a male x male relationship himself. At the same time he attracts a female friend and they unwillingly end up in a kind of awkward will they won’t they ‘relationship’. It’s the kind of series that is rife with awkward social issues, it’s a fun little watch for the curious. C

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