The Summer Anime Season has brought an interesting batch of new series for our viewing pleasure. Although a lot of them are of the high school variety, with which some of you are most definitely rolling your eyes at, these new series manage to bring some interesting twists to the tried-and-true formula. We have several mahou shoujo series, and each of them are very different from each other. This summer also graced us with two of the most anticipated series of the year: Free! and Dangan Ronpa. These two, plus the ongoing Shingeki no Kyojin have created a proverbial holy trinity of anime popularity for the year.
While the season has been rolling on for some time now, if you still aren’t sure what to watch, check out our first impressions for all of the new series for Summer 2013!
Blood Lad (Brains Base) – Genre: Comedy, Demons, Seinen, Supernatural, Vampire
Did you miss Maou from last season? Well, his voice actor is back as a vampire in this new series. Blood Lad follows the story of Staz, the Vampire, as he tries to help a human girl return to her normal self. She accidentally ended up in the demon world and she died during an enemy attack. Staz may look like a bum that spends all day living as a NEET, but he is actually a very powerful vampire. The true appeal of this series is the humor and connection to various mythological creatures. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy comedies that feature vampires, werewolves, and other such things. I would suggest that you watch this series if you are looking for a good laugh.
Watching: Duc, Will
Brothers Conflict (Brains Base) – Genre: Romance, Otome, Reverse Harem
There must be a market for anime based on otome games, because this is the second one that Brains Base has put out in the past year. The story revolves around a young girl who moves in with her 12 new step brothers and finds herself the object of her affections. It’s really unsettling and very, very awkward to watch. I haven’t had much experience with otome games in general, but to me it doesn’t seem any less better than a lot of the ridiculous harems that are already out there. There have been stories about forbidden love before (OreImo anyone?), but this one is tough to watch for multiple reasons. Generic characters, nonexistent plot, and a completely ridiculous set-up make this show very forgettable.
Watching: No one
Choujigen Game Neptune the Animation (David Production) – Genre: Action, Comedy, Parody, Sci-fi, Supernatural
Here is a series that a lot of people were looking forward to. Do you like action, comedy, little girls, and parody? I hope that you didn’t say “yes” to all of those, but if you at least enjoy a good parody, then you will probably enjoy this series. This series features a world that is ruled by four goddesses. Each one represents a major console such as the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and fabled Sega Neptune. The gags are fun and I always get at least a giggle from the game references. I would definitely suggest this series to anyone that likes a good parody and I think that the average anime fan would have a good time with it. The series is loosely based on the Neptunia game series, so check them out as well.
Watching: Bryan, Will
Dangan Ronpa The Animation (Lerche) – Genre:Action, Horror, Mystery, Psychological
Dangan Ronpa the Animation is certainly a popular and highly-anticipated series this season, for good reasons. While it’s done by the same group that just did the Devil Survivor 2 adaptation last season, Dangan Ronpa does not disappoint. So far, the anime has been very faithful to the game’s story and even includes quirky game-interface elements. This adaptation is great fan service for those who have played the game, and has an interesting enough plot to please those who are new to the series. The only downside would be the thirteen-episode limit, which is bound to hurt the pacing at times, but that probably won’t be too detrimental for this series. Definitely give this series a shot if you’re the genre, as this anime is pretty cool.
Watching: Bryan, Duc
Fantasista Doll (Hoods Entertainment) – Genre: Fantasy, Mahou Shoujo
This series isn’t really what I expected, but then again I’m not sure what I was expecting to be honest. It still seems like a really fun series to just watch though. The premise of card battles is too enticing for me to give up. But, some reservations I have about the series thus far are the animation and pacing of the plot. The character designs are nice, but the overall animation values are average at best. Also, the plot pacing feels all over the pace. One second we’re at school fighting and the next we’re taking a bath with everyone, all without any real explanation. Still, I look forward to the next episode to see what happens next.
Watching: Bryan, Will
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya (Silver Link) – Genre: Action, Comedy, Mahou Shoujo
This concept is genius. Even though I’ve only seen Fate/stay night and the first episode of Fate/zero, this first episode of the magical girl spinoff still proved to be quite entertaining for me. I think fans of the series will find much enjoyment in seeing familiar faces in a completely different setting than what they’re used to. Even as a stand alone mahou shoujo series, Fate/kaleid is actually pretty solid, combining tongue-in-cheek humor with cutesy magical charm. It fully embraces the tropes that come along with the genre and makes for a great parody.
Free! (Kyoto Animation) – Genre: School, Sports
One of the most highly anticipated series of the season, Free! has something for everyone. A story about a group of four childhood friends who try to reconnect in high school over some nice competitive swimming. I really like all of the personalities of the characters, too. Watching Haru jump into random bodies of water will never get old. KyoAni really shows off their stuff with some of their slickest animation to date. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far, and it’s a great way to cool off in the summer heat (or heat up depending on who you are, I guess).
Watching: Bryan, Daniel, Will
Gatchaman Crowds (Tatsunoko Productions) – Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi
I have never watched the original iteration of Gatchaman since I was not born in the 70s nor did I ever hear of it until a couple of years ago, but this new iteration is a nice change of pace from all of the other sci-fi actions shows on the air. The series follows a group of people who have been selected to protect the planet from alien criminals. There’s a decidedly modern spin on the Gatchaman concept, with cellphones and computer technology being made a prominent feature within the show. It’s got some good animation, and so far I really dig the designs for the armored suits and aliens. It’s even got a visual style reminiscent of Tsuritama, so already it’s different from the more generic fare. It’s got a lot of potential to be something greater, and so far it avoids becoming another mindless exercise in shounen-type action. Keep an eye out for this one in the near future.
Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou (AIC) – Genre: Action, Mahou Shoujo
Phew, already in the first episode, the pacing is a bit much to handle. I like that they’re getting directly into the meat of the story, but some leadup or explanation would have been nice, I think. That aside, I love the quaint seaside setting as well as the upbeat score with an Italian flair to it, evident by the occasional accordion accompaniment. The art style is pretty unique too, reminiscent of Disgaea or Etrian Odyssey and makes it feel more like a game than an anime series. Overall, I’m intrigued by what the story has to offer, as the first episode has posed some questions that I want answered.
Genshiken Nidaime (Production I.G.) – Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life
I suppose the first thing I should say about Genshiken Nidaime is that it’s actually the 3rd season of the series, but it’s treated more like a new series because it focuses on mostly new characters. In Genshiken, it’s all about the antics of the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Art, abbreviated as Genshiken (i.e. a college anime club). Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the first series, it was still nice to see more of the Genshiken club and even all of the old members making short cameos in the first episode. Whereas the first series focuses more on the stereotypical male-centric otaku lifestyle, Genshiken Nidaime is kind of the opposite with the stereotypical fujoshi side.
Watching : No one
Gin no Saji (A-1 Pictures) – Genre: Comedy, School, Shounen, Slice of Life
Do you like Harvest Moon? Well, this is an anime that is all about farming. Hachiken is a young man from the city that has decided to go to a high school that specializes in agricultural science. Did you know that farm life is difficult? Well, nothing worth having is easy to get. This series talks about real life as we see life on the farm and the science that goes into running a very necessary industry. I kow that I made it sound serious, but this is a light-hearted comedy that is being produced by A-1 Pictures. I would suggest this series to anyone that enjoys slice of life comedies.
Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou (Gonzo) – Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
Ehhhhh, I personally found this series to be strange and mediocre at best. The story revolves around some weird guy who is reincarnated as a dog and lives with his favorite author, who happens to be fairly sadistic. The comedy comes from random silliness and strange interactions between the characters, but it mostly ends up feeling either stale or awkward. Also, I am not a fan of bestiality jokes, so this series certainly is not for me, but others may probably find more value in it than I do. Well, to each their own, so check it out if you find the synopsis of the series to be interesting.
Watching: No one
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (Madhouse Studios) – Genre: Fantasy, Mystery
This is a series that I think may not appeal to everyone. God has forsaken the Earth because heaven and hell have become too crowded. People no longer die unless they are buried by a special race of people known as gravekeepers. The story follows the travels of a young girl named Ai who has the heavy burden of being a gravekeeper. The Earth has become a very evil place since God abandoned it, so you will see a lot of intense and depressing things along the way. I do have a word of warning for prospective viewers. Be prepared for dark scenes and the need to think deeply when presented with heavy questions. I would suggest this series to people that are looking for a serious anime.
Watching: Duc, Will
Kimi no Iru Machi (Gonzo) – Genre: Drama, Ecchi, Romance, School, Slice of Life
So Gonzo has decided to pick up the series from where Tatsunoko left off with the OVAs. It’s rather disappointing that they didn’t simply start from the beginning, as I felt the OVA didn’t do a great job with the pacing and plot adaptation. Gonzo has decided to introduce a different art-style and presentation in comparison to that of Tatsunoko, which I feel is a good thing. The art-style is much closer to that of the manga and the story seems to be better paced, so this new adaptation is certainly more promising than Tatsunoko’s attempt.
Kiniro Mosaic (Studio Gokumi) – Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life
This show started off very strong. The entire first episode was dedicated to setting up the premise, with the production values being turned up to the max. Everything from the animation quality to the music had me convicned that this should have been a full-length movie. I’ve never seen a more heartfelt portrayal of two international friends in an anime before. But then, the settign moved back into the high school, and from there it became yet another slice-of-life about how cultural differences can lead to awkward and amusing situations. I’m a little disappointed that such a great premise is being wasted on cute anime girls being cute, but it’s still entertaining to watch for the most part.
Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku ( Nomad) – Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy
Gag comedies are a mixed bag. There are some that are done very well that bring a good balance of comedy and interesting character development. Unfortunately, this series is already looking very forgettable to me. The jokes aren’t too bad honestly, and there are a few that elicit a chuckle from me. However, I can’t get around the fact that the characters are bland and overused tropes. How many comedy shows have had an ojou-sama character at this point? While not the most memorable nor the most well-done, it’s still a good pick-me-up for those who want to watch something that’s not too dense in plot and development.
Watching: No one
Love Lab (Aniplex) – Genre: Comedy
I was pretty surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Love Lab follows an after school club at an all-girls school who try to learn the intricacies of love and romance. It’s full of awkward moments as we watch these clueless girls trying to figure out what to do in relationships. But the set-up is ripe for lots of good jokes that the writers take advantage of, and the result is a surprisingly funny show about people learning about love and forming friendships in the process. The characters are interesting and the comedy so far has been great at calling out all the tropes of romantic shows. If you want a good comedy this season, this is one to definitely check out.
Watching: Bryan, Daniel
Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist (Dogakobo) – Genre: Comedy, Demons, Fantasy, Shoujo, Supernatural
I never knew that a series that is filled with demons, rich boys, and biblical references could have so much sexual tension. King Solomon conquered 72 demons from hell. Unfortunately, this has put a heavy burden upon the shoulders of his descendant William. William is a realist that must now try to disregard the crazy his natural mindset so that he can elect the interim ruler of hell. This is a pretty interesting series. There is obviously love in the air, but the fight for interim ruler of hell has started quite the struggle. It is still too soon for me to say that I know what direction the series will take. I would suggest this series to people that enjoy shoujo that does not feature a prominent female character.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Shaft) – Genre: Mystery, Supernatural
SHAFT makes good on their promise and delivers with the new “Second Season” of the Monogatari series. This two-cour season brings back our favorite characters to the forefront, rather than focusing solely on the Araragi sisters in Nisemonogatari. Nisio Isin’s writing is as sharp and witty as ever and doesn’t miss a beat, even with our main protagonist Araragi-san completely absent for the season’s first few episodes. It’s also great that SHAFT seems to have found a better balance of fanservice and the supernatural goodness of the first series. I’ve got high hopes for this series, and with such a strong start it looks to be every Monogatari fan’s dream come true.
Watching: Daniel, Duc, Will
Rozen Maiden 2013 (Studio Deen) – Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Magic
So it’s been almost a whole decade since we last heard of this series. This new adaptation of Rozen Maiden tosses out the original adaptation, in favor of following the manga’s plot more closely. The biggest problem with this adaptation is that it focuses on part II of the manga, and simply condenses the first part into one recap episode. This is bound to be confusing to newcomers or those who have forgotten a lot about the series, but I guess reading the manga would remedy the problem. Other than the distasteful start, the series is rather good and faithful to the original story. If you’re an old fan of the Rozen Maiden series, or you find the story to be interesting, be sure to give this one a shot.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear G (Satelight) – Genre: Action, Music, Sci-fi
Fans of the first season of this series should be happy with the new one. The fight against the noise is not over and our three divas are tasked with not only fighting those monsters, but also taking down the terrorist organization that is controlling them. Everything that was loved about the first season is still there. Girls sing while fighting with ridiculous weapons. My favorite part of the series is definitely the attention that is payed to Chris now that we have the time to really get introduced to her character. Unfortunately, I still find a lot of the lines to be cringeworthy. I do not like Hibiki and that is bad for my viewing experience. I would suggest this series to people that like watching high school girls fighting each other with ridiculous battle suits.
Senyuu. 2 (Liden Films and Ordet) – Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen
Did you miss Senyuu.? I sure did and the series is back with its unfortunate run-time. The series is doing an interesting thing where the group gets separated and we are being shown two separate journeys at the same time. All of the great comedy is still there, but I do feel like things are a little scattered in this new season. Fans of the first should be able to enjoy it, but I need the series to get back to one group. Senyuu. is a series that is always limited by its run-time. Luckily, the show still has its classic comedy style and the attention to new characters is pretty nice. I suggest this series to anyone that has five minutes to spare every week for a funny series.
Servant x Service (A-1 Pictures) – Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
This anime series is from the same creator as the Working!! Series, so you can expect some great comedy. Watching the daily lives of civil servants in the office is pretty interesting, with hilarious interactions between the odd characters. Although it hasn’t reached the same level of comedy as Working!!, it’s still an easy and enjoyable watch so far, so I’d recommend it if you’re looking for some light-hearted comedy.
Watching: Bryan, Daniel, Duc
Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu (Gainax) – Genre: Comedy, Military, School
I don’t know what it is about the wide prevalence of schoolgirl anime, but I never seem to get tired of it. C3-bu is the anime industry’s latest addition to this ongoing trope, featuring girls who go to a prestigious all-girls academy who form an airsoft gun club, and promises to be a hilarious ride. Of course, this is definitely not a series for everyone. If you roll your eyes at the slightest mention of a series revolving around schoolgirls, then you’re probably better off passing on this. The rest of us will enjoy the hilarity and exciting action that C3-bu has to offer.
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (TYO Animations) – Genre: Slice of Life
In this first episode of Tamayura series’s second season, we receive a lot of flashbacks that serve as a refresher of the first season. This also allows people who haven’t watched the first season Tamayura ~hitotose~, to easily jump into the action. Of course, I say that ironically because this series probably has the least action out of anything I’ve ever watched. It’s meant to be a completely relaxing anime, much like the Aria series. I feel like all I can say about Tamayura is that it’s a calming anime series, though the addition of “more aggressive” in this new season might imply that there might be a bit more (aggression?) to what was previously introduced in the first season.
Watching: No one
Uchouten Kazoku (P.A. Works) – Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Uchouten Kazoku is PA Works’ new series, with interesting presentation and intriguing scenery. The series draws quite a bit from classic Japanese folklore and presents a curious story. Although I haven’t been able to stay up-to-date with all of the episodes, I must say that it is a fascinating series with a few heart-warming scenes. My only problem is the strange ways the ears look, but that’s more of a personal thing. Give this series a shot if you’re into the fantasy genre and enjoy artistic scenery.
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! (Silver Link) – Genre: Comedy
I’m still completely unsure about how to feel about this show. WataMote follows 15 year old Tomoko Kuroki, an otome-playing social outcast who finds out that she has difficulty making friends in the real world. I like a good underdog story, especially ones dealing with the outcasts and shut-ins of modern Japanese society. But at the moment, I’m still unsure of whether to like or hate this show. It’s really awkward to watch at times, and some of the things that are supposed to make you laugh just make me cringe instead. Tomoko’s character is a bit tough to like as well, since she keeps thinking of herself as superior to everyone else in her head. For now, I’m being extremely cautious with how the show turns out in the end. I’m sure somewhere along the way, she’ll be able to make friends, but whether or not I’ll enjoy the journey towards that conclusion is something I’ll have to wait and see.
The World God Only Knows III (Manglobe) – Genre: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
After a long wait, the series has finally returned with another season. While it’s disappointing that they skipped a ton of arcs in favor of animating the Goddesses Arc, the show hasn’t changed and maintains the quality comedy and style fans have come to enjoy. If you have not heard of this series yet, it would be best that you check out the first two seasons before this one. If you have watched the first two seasons and want to better understand the start of this new one, be sure to watch the OVA and perhaps read the manga to pick up the missing arcs. The Goddesses Arc is a major point of the entire series, so this third season is bound to be good!
Watching: Bryan, Duc