It’s that time of year again. The time where we reflect upon all the amazing anime that we’ve bore witness to in the past three months and look to the future and all the wonderful anime that are almost within our grasp.
The reflecting part I did in a previous article so it is time to look toward the future! Now before I start, let me be clear: I make no illusions about this upcoming season surpassing the previous one. Not because I think it’s going to be shit but because the last one was such a powerhouse of quality that it will be near impossible to match, let alone surpass. That being said I do think there’s the possibility for at least one or two of the shows in this season’s line-up turning out to be utter gems.
Because of the vast amount of shows to go through however, I will make a small departure from how I usually go through these lists and instead of talking about each show somewhat in-depth I will be given the vast majority of them a quick mention before diving headlong into the five anime of this upcoming season that I am most excited for.
Let’s start with the two big elephants in the room: both FLCL and Attack on Titan are returning to our screens this season and yes I am just as stoked as you are. Island looks like it could be very interesting if it can stick to its mystery premise and keep the harem antics to a bare minimum. And Happy Sugar Life I hope will be my guilty pleasure for this upcoming season.
Tsukumogami Kashimasu is another anime I plan to check out. Though more for its rather compelling visual style and awesome soundtrack then it’s story which to me sound awfully generic. Satsuriko no Tenshi is a new horror anime that I plan to check out though it will probably disappoint me, like all the other horror anime before it. Grand Blue Dreaming will either help me combat my Amanchu withdrawal or just make it far worse. Hanebad! is a new anime about badminton featuring a team that consists of all girls who, for once…actually look like athletes. There’s also a whole bunch of shows about some bland teenage male getting sucked into a fantasy world and be incredibly awesome at everything but thankfully I don’t have to watch any of it because I’ve already got an actually good show of that nature to watch. Because Overlord is coming back for a THIRD Season! Boy Madhouse! After leaving us hanging for so long you’re suddenly really treating us Overlord fans.
Now to start the list proper
5. Jashin-chan Dropkick
For the better part of my anime-viewing life I’ve merilly avoided these “monster-girl” type shows. That is until winter last year when we got a monster-girl series that instantly won me over with it’s insightful social-criticism, endearing characters and earnest look into what it means to be such a “monster-girl” in everyday live. I am of course talking about the excellent, yet far too brief “Interviews with Monster-girls”. I enjoyed the hell out of this amazing show and to me it singlehandedly redeemed the entire genre. Two months later we got another monster-girl anime by the name of A Centaur’s Worries, which was a completely bland affair without a single original tune in its repertoire. And that was that as far as my journey through Monster-girl anime went. Of course I have on occasion watched shows with Monster-girls in it but those were more fantasy anime with monster-girl in it than full on monster-girl shows. (Dances with the Dragons is an excellent example of this, shameless plug) In theses shows the themes that made Interviews With Monster Girls such a delight to watch are absent. Because in a setting rife with monster-like being monster-girls are hardly the exception and so they did not face the hardships that, monster-girls, would endure if they did exist in our society.
This brings us to Jashin-chan Dropkick, which is not just another Monster-girl show but one heavily steeped in mythology and religion as the vast majority of monster-girls fall into various arche-types from different mythologies and religions. The titular characters is a demoness and the PVs also depict an angel, a dark sorceress and what I assume is an unwrapped mummy or an egyptian goddess.
Granted at this point the series appears to be a straight up comedy without any of the thematic depth I mentioned earlier but perhaps, over time it will manage to work in some thought provoking material into its absurdist comedy premise. Fingers er…tails crossed.
This looks to be a rather different kind of series though getting seemingly less different with each season. This is, in fact, a historical anime. A genre that until recently barely existed in anime but we’re now suddenly getting a steady supply of each season. Not that I’m complaining because while, thus far, I’ve always stated that the thriller genre is my favourite genre in anime, now that historical anime is suddenly an actual thing I am proudly crowning that as my favourite genre in anime. From the stylish and contemplative Showa Rakugo to the hyperviolent and fast paced Golden Kamuy we’ve been swimming in historical anime the last few years! This particular historical anime is also very much worthy of note because you can actually read the original manga for free on Kadokawa’s own Comic Walker website. Not that I have done that, so I am just as much in the dark as to whether or not this series will be any good as you are. (Unless of course you have read the manga, in which case tell me, is it any good?)
But enough about the source material. Let’s discuss this upcoming adaptation. Set in the year 1274, the series depicts the first mongol invasion of Japan. Specifically a single incident that, according to the synopsis “shook medieval Japan” and led to the foundation of the legendary knights order known as the samurai. My hope for this series is to see a variety of people from actual Japanese history duke it out with the mongols in a series of highly entertaining battles.
That being said there are plenty of other reasons to look forward to this series. First of all, it’s a historical anime and while I it is true that we’ve been getting relative barrage of this sort of show lately it’s still rare enough an occurrence to be worth celebrating. Also this is a period of history that, to my knowledge, has never really been touched upon in any medium. While I certainly love my Edo period manga and anime, the thought of having a samurai show taking place in a period of history that we’ve never seen depicted before is something that fills me with a great deal of joy and excitement.
My one major concern though is the studio in charge of this production: studio NAZ. While prior experience has tought me that having a big name studio attached to an anime does not immediately equal a great show, it would have been somewhat comforting to see a show like this in the hands of a studio whom I know will deliver a quality product. The recent production issues of Golden Kamuy have shown that a studio unprepared for a big project such as this taking on something they can’t handle will ultimately hurt the show itself and Geno is a far bigger studio with a far more impressive resume than NAZ is at this point. I’m hoping that this is going to be a showcase of a small studio rising to the challenge and delivering an absolutely mesmerizing product. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if this show ends up an utter trainwreck that will end up on my drop-pile right quick.
3. High Score Girl
This next entry is more of a personal pick rather than one that I think will appeal to a very large audience. The series takes place in the year 1991 and promises to be an over the top yet endearing romantic comedy about two people with a shared love for arcade games. While I strongly doubt the series will present a completely realistic depiction of the decade or the games that were being made back then, as a 90s kid who grew up with arcade games…this premise still excites me greatly. For the younger readers among us, I grew up in a time where virtually no one had a PC or home console and the only way to play games was to go to arcade halls and play them there. No saveslots, no “I’ll finish it after dinner”. If you wanted to finish a game you had to do it then and there.
While I’m glad those times are gone and I can now play games whenever I want to, without having to leave my house at that…I am still very intrigued by this slice of 90s nostalgia. Though as said, I fully expect most people to just ignore this show entirely as it does not appeal to their niche. Hopefully though enough people will watch the show to get someone to license the manga so that when the anime and it was actually as good as I hope it will be I can continue the story in manga-format. Because I think it’s safe to say chances of a second season are slim to none in this case. Still it is really refreshing to see a show that’s geared towards this specific an audience is still made and hopefully I will enjoy it as much as I think I will. And if not…well there’s two other shows I’m even more excited about.
2. Sirius the Jaeger
Continuing this trend of niche shows that most of you will probably want to skip but I am hype as hell for regardless, we have this new anime original that looks like it’s going to be a cross between a historical action series and a monster hunting romp. The series takes place in 1930s Tokyo and revolves around an eternal battle between vampires and werewolves and hints at a larger conspiracy brewing behind the scenes.
There are numerous reasons why I’m highly intrigued by this series. For starters the premise reminds me strongly of another anime original that also happens to be one of my favourite anime of all time: Blood+. However looking at the staff list I think what we can expect from this series will be somewhat similar to another favourite of mine: Canaan. Mostly because Canaan and this show were both directed by Masahiro Ando. And that’s not the only thing these two shows have in common as they are also both produced by P.A. Works. In fact, up until this point Canaan was the only action series P.A. Works had ever done. So my thinking is that these similarities are anything but co-incidental.
Lastly I was highly impressed with the music in the PVs we got so far. Which once again, is not surprising as the person who did the music for this series is none other than Masaru Yokoyama who’s most recent work was Fate/Apocrypha but who for me will always be synonymous with the amazing soundtrack for Iron Blooded Orphans. Yokoyama has this way of composing music that one moment gets you pumped as hell and the next makes you want to bawl your eyes out. And seeing as a series about vampires fighting werewolves is probably going to include at least a few character deaths, he seems like an excellent choice.
1. Banana Fish
So why is this my most anticipated anime of summer 2018? Do you even need to ask? It’s from the director of Free!...Yeah no, though I do find that an interesting choice. However there is a myriad of other things that make this anime look particularly promising to me. First of all there is the source material. Banana Fish started its life as a hardboiled action series that was being published in a shojo magazine in the late 80s. That alone already made me intrigued and as luck would have it I hade the opportunity last weekend to read the first volume while I was at a con. Suffice to say if they’re going to stick close to the source material it’s going to be quite something.
So who is actually in charge of the adaptation? Hiroshi Seko. The same guy that also did series composition and screenwriting for both Ajin and Inuyashiki and wrote the screenplay for the massively underrated gothic horror zombie flick The Empire of Corpses.
Lastly this anime will be airing in Japan on the Noitamina block. A special programming block on Fuji TV which airs anime geared towards those outside the mainstream anime audience. My successrate with this particular programming block is almost 100% making me feel very confident that this show will be to my liking at least to some extend.
What makes this show stand out more than anything else though is that it is, in fact an adaptation of a manga from the late 80s and while these modern adaptations of older manga have a tendency to more often than not fail miserably, I do think a good studio can produce an actually solid modern adaptation of an older work. So who is the studio producing this? Studio Mappa, the personal animation studio of the god of anime Masao Maruyama and in my opinion the single greatest anime studio out there.
That being said one concern I do have as a result of reading the first volume of the manga is that the story, at least at first seems rather thin. After two hundred pages all I gathered was that life in NYC sucks and there’s a drug that drives people insane. It’s certainly original as far as anime and manga premises go but I do hope the story we’ll eventually get will be a bit meatier, so to speak.
And that concludes my list. I’m already anxiously awaiting the next three months and am very curious to see how much my opinion on these shows and the season as a whole has changed by the I do my seasonal review write-up.