While I’ve enjoyed 2019 so far for anime, I have to say the Summer season has so far been my favourite. There’s so many shows I am enjoying. Even some that aren’t all that great but they just hit a soft spot for me and I’m enjoying them immensely. It isn’t all sparkles and kittens though so let’s work through the anime I’ve tried this season and where they are sitting at the half-way mark.
Dropped or On-Hold
Do You Love Your Mom And her Two Hit Multi-Target Attacks
Yeah, no. Dropped. I’m really good without the simpering mother figure babying her defensive and largely irritable teenage child as they prance about fantasy game land and encounter various fan-service opportunities. I get some people are finding some amusement in this one but for me this one was cut after episode three.
- Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka? Dir. Y Iwasaki. J.C. Staff. 2019
I actually don’t dislike this one and will probably finish it. However, with Irina doing the weekly write up I have no sense of urgency about it and as a direct result, I just kind of found myself skipping it and now I’m two episodes behind. That said, I will pick this one up again and finish it off. It is just a busy season with lots to watch.
Want to see more thoughts from Irina on Granbelm?
Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.
In fairness, it isn’t that Demon-Lord Retry is bad (or at least it isn’t a complete train wreck) and more that I don’t find it’s particular brand of self-aware smugness to actually be amusing. With the humour missing the mark for me, visually this one is nothing exciting, the characters are walking tropes (part of the joke) and the story is really not going anywhere. It does however have its moments where for some reason things actually look promising or interesting for a moment or one of the characters says something that does actually seem amusing and so while this one isn’t going to be topping my list any time soon, I probably won’t abandon watching it at this point.
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Images from: Maou-Sama, Retry! Dir. H Kimura. EKACHI EPILKA. 2019.
It’s improved, kind of, from its really awful start but it really did give itself quite the disadvantage when it decided to throw out all the context and actual introductions to the cast. Still, despite the hideous visuals and the characters that make no sense unless you are filling all the gaps in from the source, the last couple of episodes have started kind of finding some solid footing. It is unlikely this one will ever rise above being tolerable and there’s no real justifying the way it started, but I’m pretty much committed to finishing this one if only to see whether it really stays this bad or whether it improves. Plus, I really did enjoy the source so I’d like them to find their feet and make this at least passable by the end.
If you are game, check out more reviews of Arifureta.
Images from: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. Dir. K Yoshimoto. White Fox. 2019.
Are You Lost?
Colour me surprised that a gag comedy short form anime about four girls lost on an island and having to learn survival from the one who has been travelling around with her father is not dropped or at the bottom of my list. This one is definitely good for reaction faces and the short episode length (12 minutes) kind of helps this one not over stay its welcome. While not amazing, this one is a few silly minutes each week that I’m not actually minding.
- Sounan Desu Ka Episodes 1 – 5
- Images from: Are You Lost? Dir. N Nagayama. Ezola. 2019.
Isekai Cheat Magician
I kind of thought this one would be higher up the list by now. It made a perfectly average start and seemed like it was going to be my Kenja no Mago replacement for the season. Not brilliant but comfortable entertainment. Alas, the last couple of episodes feel like this story is losing steam and the characters don’t quite have enough charm to hold it up at the moment. There’s still potential but this one is going from being perfectly average to falling below even that mark and while the show isn’t broken it isn’t doing much to make me want to recommend it either.
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Images from: Isekai Cheat Magician. Dir. T Daisuke. Encourage Films. 2019.
To it’s credit, this is one well made anime. The character designs are distinct (though very reminiscent of Soul Eater), the fights are dynamic, and the animation is fluid. If you are wanting a shonen fighter about fire fighters than this will definitely hit that spot. Yet I just cannot bring myself to care about these characters and once they through in the dominatrix 5th brigade captain my interest just kind of plummeted. I can accept a world where Infernals are a thing but not one where an organisation is in such obvious disarray to the point where it looks like it cannot function in the way it is supposed to. While I’m still watching this one (in English dub even because I haven’t watched a dubbed show in awhile and this one has a simuldub on AnimeLab) it isn’t very high on my priority list and if I fell an episode or two behind I probably wouldn’t mind all that much.
Want more Fire Force reviews from Irina?
Images from: Fire Force. Dir. Y Yase. David Production. 2019.
These Are Fun
It’s a little on the rough side, particularly some of the action scenes, but Cop Craft is giving us a fairly decent buddy cop story with fairies so far. Weird as that combination may seem. I’m kind of hoping it continues to find its feet and as it is starting to expand on the support cast in the last few episodes hopefully it will keep improving toward the season end. Still, if you haven’t tried it yet, this one is worth at least checking out.
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Images from: Cop Craft. Dir. S Itagaki. Millepensee. 2019.
There’s not a lot to say with this one. It is competently made, has a decent premise, and is a largely a very slick production. I’m not as into it as a lot of people are and largely I think that this one is kind of screaming that it is aiming for a younger audience (if I’d seen this when I was in high school my mind would probably have been blown). Despite that, it is still decent enough fun to watch each week and I like the conversation that is going on around this anime after each episode.
Want to follow Senku on his journey to bring back civilisation?
Images from: Dr Stone. Dir. I Shinya. TMS Entertainment. 2019.
If It’s For My Daughter I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord
This one has proved it is more than just sweet toothaches and is actually giving us a pretty nice slice of life/drama as we see Latina and Dale both growing in different ways. While this one still heavily relies on Latina being cute as its base appeal, there’s plenty to enjoy in this series and I’m looking forward to where these two go next. Visually this one is no where near as impressive as Dr Stone or Fire Force and there are some scenes where the animation looks quite cheap, but the heart of the story is solid and these characters are really adorable.
Want to read more reviews discussing how cute Latina is?
Images from: Uchi no Musume no Tame Naraba, Ore Wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru Kamo Shirenai. Dir. T Yanase. Maho Film. 2019.
The last couple of episodes have made quite the comeback for this series after the low point soon after introducing Inosuke and Zenitsu. In fact, the last two episodes would be amongst my favourite of the series. That does give the overall problem of the series feeling a little unbalanced with these intense dramatic moments and then lulls where nothing much happens and what passes for comedy is used to fill the void. Still, I think in a binge watch, that lull wouldn’t feel as intense and empty and now the show has very much rocketed back into life.
Have you missed a review from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba?
Images from: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Dir. H Sotozaki. Ufotable. 2019.
The One’s Within
This one I am very much enjoying but still would struggle to recommend it. It feels like maybe we’re getting somewhere and maybe there’s a point, but I couldn’t really say there is one yet. The characters all have small details about them that as we learn make them more interesting than their one-note introductions may have made them seem, but they are still true to that one-note. The visuals are all over the place with so many different styles competing for attention and working to hide the limited animation. It isn’t great, but I honestly have to say I’m enjoying this one and if it manages a decent ending I could very much see this one in my top 5 for the season. Or it could crash and burn and then we’ll just never speak of it again.
Do you want to read more about The Ones Within?
Images from: Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]. Dir. S Oonuma. Silver Link. 2019.
My Top Picks
This one remains solid and consistent with a generally heart warming and tear inducing tone and characters who make you smile. While the occasional episode or moment doesn’t quite hit the mark, the majority of Fruits Basket is just like having a warm cup of tea handed to you in winter. It’s lovely and sweet and makes you want to have a more positive outlook. While not the fastest pace anime around, Fruits Basket focuses on its emotional depths and generally is succeeding admirably.
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Images from: Fruits Basket. Dir. Y Ibata. TMS Entertainment. 2019.
DanMachi Season 2
The fact that this isn’t sitting as number one is a testament to how many shows I am really loving this season. I’m still loving DanMachi mind you. It is just a fun show to kick back to and I’m certain I’ll be periodically binge watching this season with fair regularity once it is done (I’ve certainly watched the first season to death at this point). That said, DanMachi is not a must watch show, but is largely pop-corn entertainment. It is very good pop-corn entertainment and episode 4 gave us a near to perfect action focused episode for the characters, but there’s plenty of questionable moments in the anime as well. Really good fun, and worth picking up the first season of it you haven’t already tried it.
Want more discussions of DanMachi Season 2 from Irina and Karandi?
Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.
To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts
I don’t know what it is about To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts but I know I really like it. There’s definitely a solid exploration of misery going on in it and characters who are in a really bad situation with no real positive direction to go all of which set to the backdrop of a country recovering from an economy destroying war. Throw in the former soldiers who turn into various supernatural beasts and may be losing connection with their humanity and you’ve got one interesting premise to mine for material and so far Sacred Beasts has been doing a pretty fascinating job of it. Whether we get to a satisfying conclusion remains to be seen at this point but really this one is quite the surprisingly solid watch.
Reviews of To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts
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Images from: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts. Dir. J Shishido. MAPPA. 2019.
Great characters, great music, and great direction… while the animation (outside of the band scenes) hasn’t been all that, with so many other absolute positives this series has really been a breath of fresh air this season and defied any expectations I went into the show with. I will absolutely have to get the soundtrack to Given and honestly I love the four band members and the more we see of them the more I want to know about them. I’m very hopeful that this one will continue this solid effort right until the end.
Want more rambling thoughts from Irina and Karandi on Given?
Images from: Given. Dir. H Yamaguchi. Lerche. 2019.
Astra Lost in Space
And if Given was a bit of a surprise, Astra Lost in Space literally came out of nowhere. I’d never heard the title before and there was no buzz really before the season started. Yet here we have a well paced and interesting mystery with our teens exiled into space trying to make their way home while there’s some conspiracy clearly brewing on Earth. The characters are great fun, each planet they visit has its own thrills and charms, and really the slow feed of clues or possibilities has come at just the right pace to keep us intrigued without giving the game away too soon. Loving this anime so much and every week it feels like I’m just waiting for the next episode to drop.
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Images from: Kanata no Astra. Dir. M Andou. Lerche. 2019.
So, how does the list look? What have you picked as your number one for the season? What shows did you drop? Share your thoughts on the season in the comments.
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