After a scorcher of a spring (and an unusual delay in the previewing process—sorry about that), the summer season is looking down right sleepy. Are anime studios trying to get people to go out into the sticky Tokyo summers? Those monsters! Fortunately there are a few stars lurking amid the sleepers, which means outside activity will not be required. Some of the biggest headliners are hotly-anticipated sequels, from the split-cour continuation of the lich conquering hero protagonist of Overlord III, the return of the glistening swimming boys of Free! -Dive to the Future-, the final season of Gintama, and the third season of the world-shattering hit Shingeki no Kyojin. There are plenty of promising new adaptations as well, such as the crime thriller set in 1980s New York City BANANA FISH, adaptations of the acclaimed Front Wing visual novel ISLAND, the supernatural comedy romance Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san, and a look at the more, uh, dedicated side of love with Happy Sugar Life. There are fewer originals, but I’m keeping my eye on several, including the absolutely bonkers Planet With, a supernatural stint with pretty boys in London in Phantom in the Twilight, and the other anime with jaegers and vampires by the name of Sirius the Jaeger. There’s always more anime to watch, so join us as we tell you all about it. This is the Random Curiosity Summer 2018 Preview!

As a quick reminder, most entries are divided into two paragraphs:

  • A brief introduction to the series and its premise, often with the starring cast of characters.
  • The writer’s impressions, expanding on the plot and highlighting specific points of interest.

This season we’ll continue using the Excitement Levels we introduced last year. Don’t recall why? Because trying to anticipate how a show is going to turn out is a fool’s errand, but we can definitely tell you how excited we are! Just remember that these levels reflect our own subjective excitement for each show, and do not necessarily reflect how each will pan out. For more information, check out the Overall Impressions section at the bottom, which includes an expanded explanation of each category and a list of all shows by excitement level.


Disclaimer: Back in ye olde year of 2012—which is practically ancient history now—previews were done by a single writer, Divine. Since none of the current writers are bonkers enough to take time off of work and/or school to solo this thing, we’ve divided everything up among our staff (Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Takaii, Zaiden, and Zephyr) in order to maintain the quality of this preview. We will try to point out what appeals to us in each series, in the hope that it will help you determine if it coincides with your tastes.

Disclaimer #2: Please note that this list does not reflect all the series airing this coming season. It is meant to be as comprehensive as possible, but omissions have been made for shows that stray from the anime norm or seem to be oriented toward young children. Please check out MOON PHASE for complete listings, syoboi for specific air times, and Fansub DB for a list of potential sources for each series.

I’d also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the entire Random Curiosity crew for working together to finish this preview. This past season has been rocky for everyone, and we ran into several unexpected roadblocks while working on this post that were the cause of its horrific lateness (sorry!), but everyone banded together to get it done. I love you all, and you rock. Special thanks go to Xumbra for encoding the PVs; Zephyr for doing early prep work; Stilts (that’s me!) for editing, people wrangling, and formatting; Cherrie for doing the rest of the formatting, links, and etc; Passerby for proofreading and the shorts section; Takaii for gathering the images; and Zaiden and Pancakes for being swiss army minions who jumped on any extra tasks that were needed last minute. Also, thanks to everyone who wrote previews, which was most of us. For a more Enzo-centric point of view, give a gander to the LiA summer preview for a second opinion on many of these shows.

Finally, thank you to all of you, the readers and community of Random Curiosity. Thank you for sticking with us when the site went down, thanks for having patience while we were working on this preview, and thank to everyone who keeps coming back, even amid the doldrums of the mid-season views/comments slump. We really appreciate everyone who stops by to read, no matter how infrequently, but those who drop by during a sleepy week of episode sevens surely do boost our spirits something extra. We wouldn’t keep doing this if it wasn’t fun, and it’s fun because of you, so thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, on to the anime!

TV Series

Technical Note: The chart below is ordered by the date and time that the shows premiere. The links in the schedule will take you to a series’ corresponding entry and the “Top” links on the right will bring you back. You can also use the back/forward buttons in your browser to jump between links you’ve clicked. All times are given in a 24-hour, relative-day format where times are extended to show which day they belong to. For instance, Friday morning at 1:30AM would become Thursday at 25:30 to show that the episode aired late Thursday night.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Asobi Asobase
21:00 AT-X (7/8)
Jashin-chan Dropkick
22:00 Amazon Prime (7/9)
Overlord III
22:00 AT-X (7/10)
Free! -Dive to the Future-
24:00 MX (7/4)
Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
21:00 AT-X (7/5)
Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho
21:30 BS SKY (8/3)
Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san
23:30 MX (7/14)
22:00 MX (7/1)
Aguu -Tensai Ningyou-
24:00 MX (7/9)
23:00 MX (7/3)
Back Street Girls
25:00 BS11 (7/4)
Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
21:30 AT-X (7/5)
Satsuriku no Tenshi
20:30 AT-X (7/6)
Hataraku Saibou
24:00 MX (7/7)
Planet With
22:30 MX (7/8)
Phantom in the Twilight
24:30 MX (7/9)
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
24:30 Sun TV (7/10)
Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
Web (7/4)
Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama
22:20 AT-X (7/5)
Harukana Receive
21:00 AT-X (7/6)
Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria
25:30 MX (7/7)
24:00 MX (7/1)
Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes
26:05 TX (7/9)
Shinya! Tensai Bakabon
25:35 TX (7/10)
Sirius the Jaeger
23:00 AT-X (7/12)
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
22:00 MX (7/6)
Tsukumogami Kashimasu
24:10 NHK (7/22)
Netflix (6/25)
Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
25:59 ntd (7/3)
24:55 CX (7/5)
High Score Girl
24:30 MX (7/13)
Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3
24:35 NHK (7/22)
Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight
25:28 TBS (7/12)
Ongaku Shoujo
25:00 AT-X (7/6)
Gintama. Gin no Tamashii-hen
25:35 TX (7/8)
Shichisei no Subaru
25:58 TBS (7/5)
Lord of Vermilion Guren no Ou
25:05 MX (7/13)
Happy Sugar Life
25:55 MBS (7/13)
Grand Blue
26:25 MBS (7/13)

* Jump to OVA/Movies or Short Series List.

Baki | バキTop
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: June 25, 2018
Genre: Action Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays
Episodes: 26 Station: Netflix
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @baki_anime or #バキアニメ

Preview by Takaii

Based off one of the longest running manga out there, Baki returns to the small screen via Netflix with a new 26-episode adaptation revolving around the “Most Evil Death Row Convicts” arc from the manga. An arc that, as the name implies, involves some of the deadliest people on the planet who have reached the point of being so powerful they’re trying to die. Which is why when it’s revealed that the star of the show, Hanma Baki (Shimazaki Nobunaga), is training to be stronger than the Strongest Man in the World (his dad), these deadly convicts take this opportunity to travel to Tokyo to challenge Baki in hopes that he’ll be able to completely and utterly destroy them. And when you have the world’s deadliest convicts coming for you, you’ll need a group of friends to watch your back, which luckily Baki has from his travels in the underground fighting scene. Together Baki and his friends will band together to take on these foes with their lives on the line.

I have mixed feelings about Baki. On one hand it has a really unique aesthetic that gives off JoJo vibes but, once you get past the cool factor of insanely skilled buff dudes fighting each other, is there enough substance to keep things interesting? That said, I think action fans and people looking for a fun time of watching insanely strong fighters beat the living crap out of each other will be in for a surprise. For Baki, I think its success will revolve around just how well its showrunners are able to adapt its premise from manga to anime. Luckily, with 26 episodes to work with and a plethora of source material to supplement everything that’s going on, it feels like this series has a lot of good things going for it. Even if the art style isn’t your thing (I wasn’t loving it at first either), Baki might be something to keep on your radar for some unexpected fun.

Watching This: Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Baki Promotional Videos ▼

Animation: feel. Premiere: July 1, 2018
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @island_fw or #anime_island

Preview by Zephyr

From studio feel. comes an adaptation of the Front Wing visual novel Island. Set on an island called Urashima, the story revolves around a series of misfortunes which have led the island to cut off all contact with the mainland. As Urashima falls into decline due to an unwillingness to abandon tradition and a suspicion of the mainland as the origin of a mysterious disease, a lone man washes ashore. Claiming to be from the future, Setsuna’s (Suzuki Tatsuhisa) arrival creates a stir as the island’s inhabitants recall a local legend telling of a tragic love between a boy named Setsuna and a girl named Rinne. With his arrival, individuals with both names are now on the island, making others wonder about the legend’s significance and the role the daughters of the Urashima’s three great families will play in saving the island. Kawaguchi Keiichiro (Hayate no Gotoku!, Minami-ke Tadaima) will direct the series and Arakawa Naruhisa (Outbreak Company, Sousei no Onmyouji) will handle series composition.

Following in the footsteps of the award winning Grisaia franchise, Island is the most recent Front Wing work to receive an adaptation, as well as an official English release of its source material. While I haven’t had the chance to read the visual novel yet, the general reception seems to be good and the fact that they’re taking a chance by releasing it in English without using Kickstarter hints at a novel they feel will succeed on its own merits. A well-received source doesn’t always translate into a good adaptation, however, and I worry whether Island will suffer from the same issues the Grisaia adaptations had early on, given that Island is similarly lengthy (30-50 hours to complete). I’m optimistic given the staff’s experience and the source’s reception, but with the visual novel’s English release coinciding with the anime, there is an alternative to consider if you want the full experience as originally intended.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show ISLAND Promotional Videos ▼

Hanebado! | はねバド!Top
Animation: LIDENFILMS Premiere: July 1, 2018
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hanebad_anime or #はねバド

Preview by Takaii

Badminton fans, rejoice! Hanebado! is a new sports show devoted to demonstrating just how amazing a sport badminton really is. The setup is simple. Enthusiastic high school badminton coach Tachibana Kentarou (Okamoto Nobuhiko) ends up in a sticky situation where his new team dwindles to just a few members. With his back against the wall and the future of his new team (and career) at stake, he has a chance encounter with a student named Hanesaki Ayano (Ohwada Hitomi). A girl who, though at first glance you would never guess, has the physical skill and aptitude of an Olympian. With the key to saving the badminton team in sight, Kentarou tries his best to convince Ayano to join, only to be constantly shot down. However, with a once in a lifetime athlete right in front of him Kentarou refuses to give up, and inadvertently gets the ball rolling when he tricks Ayano into accompanying him and the team to a training camp.

Hanebado! is definitely a tough series for me to pick apart since there are so many things that I both love and hate about it. When it comes to sports anime, I have fairly easy to satisfy requirements: fun and memorable characters, a story that integrates something more than just the journey to the finals, and a shtick or two that you can only do with whatever sport you’re focused on. In Hanebado’s case though, there’s this strange vibe about it that doesn’t pull me in like other shows have, the biggest of which has to be coach Tachibana’s extreme drive to get Ayano to join the team. Unlike other shows where a surprise star player appears to help the team kick things into gear, Hanebado is odd in that it disregards all of its other players in favor of making Ayano feel like this mythical creature that they must have to find success. Sure, as we make our way through the first few chapters of the source material the characters realize that people are people and not URs in a game, but even then it feels like there’s a certain human element missing. That said, I’m hoping the transition from manga to anime means the material can be tweaked to sell the stronger points of the story while downplaying all the negatives. If you’re looking for a badminton show that has a fun group of characters, you won’t go wrong taking a peek at Hanebado.

Watching This: Choya, Takaii, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
Show Hanebado! Promotional Videos ▼

Senjuushi | 千銃士Top
Animation: Zero-G Premiere: July 3, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @senjyushi_anime or #千銃士

Preview by Pancakes

After a devastating nuclear war left the world completely ruined, humanity came together and united through the efforts of the World Government. Sweeping away the ashes of the old, the World Government helped rebuild society, but in the process stripped away all semblance of freedom, regulating down to the smallest of actions and banning personal ownership of any and all weapons. Such tyrannical rule, however, is not without its critics, with a small resistance group called the Kijuushi emerging to fight back and recover humanity’s freedom. Arming themselves with antique guns left behind as art, these fighters inherit the “spirit” of their weapons during battle, becoming incarnations of the very guns they now valiantly wield. The Kijuushi don’t know if this power and their determination will be enough to prevail in their struggle, but they will do whatever it takes to see their mission through.

At face value Senjuushi is a funny one to look at. Based on the mobile game of the same name, this one is an eclectic mix of post-apocalypse shenanigans and Upotte-esque anthropomorphism which runs Enlightenment aesthetics and an all-male cast against a backdrop of authoritarian dystopia. Or in other words, SukaSuka without the fantasy-romance. Especially the romance. Given Senjuushi’s mobile game origins and the quality of similar adaptations, it’s a total crapshoot what manner of story we wind up with, but with a unique military flair and a largely dark plot, the show easily has all the pieces needed to truly surprise. It’d be best to hedge bets as to any dark horse proclamations, but if Senjuushi can stick to seriousness and minimize the structural flaws plaguing similar series like Norn9, it stands a good chance at being one of this season’s more unique fantasy offerings.

Watching This: Pancakes Excitement Level: Average
Show Senjuushi Promotional Videos ▼

Back Street GirlsTop
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: July 3, 2018
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:00
Episodes: 10 Station: BS11
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @inuganekikaku or #backstreetgirls

Preview by Stilts

Back Street Girls is the story of three young yakuza who screw up big, causing their boss to lose millions. Normally said yakuza would have their fingers chopped off, but he decides to have mercy on them since that wouldn’t bring back his money anyway. Instead he gives them a choice: become idols or die. With the decision quickly made, the three men are sent to Thailand for sex reassignment surgery and are promoted as an idol group. Back Street Girls follows the men girls of Gokudolls Nijigumi as they navigate their (unexpectedly successful) careers while trying to hide their true identities from their fans, as well as battle the frustration they feel at having to live two lives they never wanted, both on and off stage.

This is another of those shows that make you say, “Only in anime!” The idea is absurd, but it’s the presentation that will determine whether you want to watch this. First, check out the promo videos. The animation is atypical, and has more in common with a grimy yakuza comic than a slick anime, idol-based or otherwise. The switching between male and female seiyuu for the main characters leads to some fun, though the entire premise has this aura of such depressing frustration and dread that—well, your mileage may vary. It’s a comedy, after all, so what tickles your tongue is unique to you. The main characters are hapless and depressed, but easily riled up and quickly led astray. It’s a heady mixture, and I can’t think of anything else quite like it. Other stories where characters are unwillingly genderbent usually plumb the premise for drama, for the idea is anxiety-inducing to many. Back Street Girls goes in for dark humor instead, so whether you’re on board for that sort of ride is up to you.

Watching This: Choya, Passerby Excitement Level: Average
Show Back Street Girls Promotional Videos ▼

Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa | 中間管理録トネガワTop
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: July 3, 2018
Genre: Psychological, Drama Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:59
Episodes: 24 Station: Nippon TV (ntv)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @tonegawa_anime

Preview by Zaiden

You might have heard about Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, the story of an unlucky man who found himself gambling in life-and-death games aboard an illegal cruise ship. Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa is an off-shoot of Kaiji’s dark adventures, focusing on Tonegawa Yukio (Morikawa Toshiyuki), a middle manager who works at the evil whims of business magnate Kazutaka Hyoudou (Tsukayama Masane). In this precursor to the events of Kaiji, Hyoudou is an extremely wealthy individual who enjoys preying on desperate debt-ridden individuals, and orders Tonegawa to set up secret death games involving these unfortunate victims. Despite the morally objectionable nature of such a task, Tonegawa must now collaborate with his subordinates to create these death games, in order to keep the president in a good mood. Otherwise, considering the volatile and sadistic temperament of Hyoudou, the kind of retribution they might receive would be nigh unimaginable.

Madhouse takes charge and have reunited with veteran director Kawaguchi Keiichiro to continue their work on the Kaiji franchise. However, we should pay particular attention to the original mangaka. I’d highly encourage those who are put off by the art style to give this a chance, because any work by FKMT has substantial depth in its relentless cynicism, which typically levies scathing commentary on the state of society. Fukumoto Nobuyuki (affectionately known as FKMT) takes a back seat as a creative influence this time around, leaving most of the story to his successor, Hagiwara Tensei. Consequently there will be a difference in tone compared with other FKMT works, although the dark humour remains ever-present, alongside the distinctive art style. If it continues along similar lines to FKMT’s previous works, this series won’t be for the faint of heart, as it will strive to showcase the worst in humanity. People get horrifically betrayed to their dooms, greed rules beyond ordinary comprehension, and some individuals take warped delight in seeing people cry and beg for their lives. Pretty disturbing to say the least. But if this is something you can stomach, Tonegawa’s adventures may prove a morbidly engrossing account that keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Watching This: Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
Show Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa Promotional Videos ▼

Free!-Dive to the Future-Top
Animation: Kyoto Animation x Animation Do Premiere: July 4, 2018
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @iwatobi_sc or #tv_free

Preview by Zaiden

The pectorals of young men glisten to the symphony of youth, gleaming with a wet masculine charm, just as they’re about to dive into the swimming pool. That’s right, our boys in speedos are back, and who isn’t excited for Free’s triumphant return? Dive to the Future looks to continue the story of Iwatobi Swim Club’s members: Nanase Haruka (Shimazaki Nobunaga), Tachibana Makoto (Tatsuhisa Suzuki), Hazuki Nagasaki (Yonaga Tsubasa), and Ryuugazaki Rei (Hirakawa Daisuke). Of course, things are never complete without Matsuoka Rin (Miyano Mamoru), Haruka’s eternal friend and rival where swimming is concerned. Join the group on their journey of self-discovery and friendship through the wonderful world of competitive swimming!

There is very little to be gleaned from the visuals and trailers for this sequel, with KyoAni guarding against any leaks that could be considered spoilers. However, it seems apparent that many new characters will be introduced, which suggests a far greater focus on the competitive aspect than ever. As a guy who watched Free! for the competitive swimming, and who felt really invested in the narrative of Haruka vs Rin from the first season, this is exactly what I want from the series. Also, there is absolutely no doubting that KyoAni will put up a visual stunner for everybody to enjoy, even if the content is not to your taste. If you’re new to this series and it caught your interest, I highly recommend marathoning the first two seasons, as well as the movies. But it will be important to note that Utsumi Hiroko left KyoAni after directing both seasons of Free!, which means that the third season will be helmed by another. She’ll be replaced by Kawanami Eisaku, a veteran who directed the Free! movies Take Your Marks, Timeless Medley, and Starting Days. Whether he can live up to his directorial predecessor is one thing, but I’m sure Free!’s loyal fanbase will love this third season no matter what. All that’s left is to wait and see the exact kind of future we’ll be diving into!

Watching This: Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Free!-Dive to the Future- Promotional Videos ▼

Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan | あるゾンビ少女の災難 Top
Animation: Gonzo x Stingray Premiere: July 4, 2018
Genre: Horror, Action Airtime (GMT+9): Wednesdays
Episodes: 1 Station: Web
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Choya

A beautiful girl from Italy named Euphrosyne (Hayami Saori) had been zombified and kept in the basement of a university building for one hundred years. One day during summer vacation, six undergraduate college students accidentally disturb her slumber and steal the “Secret Stone” which maintains her body’s integrity. After they run away, a maid named Alma (Ogura Yui) confronts Euphrosyne to tell her to kill the six students to regain the stone. But as she starts to kill the students, she encounters unexpected counterattacks from them.

Much like Euphrosyne, this series had quite the slumber itself. It was the year 2012, when Kadokawa originally announced the anime adaptation in June and streamed a promotional video a month later. Since then, no new information about the series came out until April 2018, when this anime adaptation was announced for the summer season. Studios Stingray and Gonzo share double-duty as they produce the newly re-announced anime. The story sounds unique as Euphrosyne goes on a violent, dark, and comical—yes, comical—manhunt against college students that rustle through her belongings and wake her up. The set-up is akin to many slasher films, yet the focus on Euphrosyne gives us the chance to see it unfold from her perspective as she must kill her way toward the path to her own survival.

Watching This: Choya Excitement Level: Limited
Show Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan Promotional Videos ▼

Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san | すのはら荘の管理人さんTop
Animation: SILVER LINK. Premiere: July 5, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sunohara_anime or #すのはら荘

Preview by Stilts

Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san is the story of a boy who looks like a girl, and a slightly perverted woman with huge boobs. Shiina Aki (Kitamura Eri) is the boy; back home he was constantly treated like a girl due to his feminine looks, so he decided to move to Tokyo for middle school to change himself. Sunohara Ayaka (Satou Rina) is the woman; she’s the kindhearted caretaker of the dorm. Add in the three female members of Aki’s school’s student council who are also living there, and Ayaka’s busty little sister, and the liquor store owner, and Aki’s older sister, and others, and it looks like Aki is going to have a lively time in his new Tokyo life with the girls of Sunohara-sou.

This is a fun little manga, all the chapters I read were charming, goofy, and made me smile, but the killer selling point is the anime’s staff. I don’t usually focus too much on the studio in charge of production, because it doesn’t matter as much as you think, but combine Silver Link’s house animation style with a bevy of talented, experienced, and just damn damn good staff members with a history working at Silver Link (that helps), and that’s a recipe for success. Oonuma Shin is the chief director. Shimo Fumihiko is on series composition, and just stop and look at his resume right there! I needn’t go on, and I shan’t, save to say that everyone has worked on comedies, romantic comedies, and/or Silver Link productions I highly enjoyed, and for many of them Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya is among that list, which means they’ve worked together as well. Add on a solid source material, luscious animation, and a great seiyuu cast, and I see all sorts of reasons to get hyped up. But of course, this is still a creature of its genre, and I don’t expect it to subvert our expectations and become the next trope-shattering apple of critics’ eyes. I do expect it to execute on the source material faithfully, though. I’m looking forward to this one, and I hope you’ll join me when it premieres as well.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san Promotional Videos ▼

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu | 異世界魔王と召喚少女の奴隷魔術Top
Animation: Ajia-dou Premiere: July 5, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @isekaimaou or #異世界魔王

Preview by Stilts

In the MMORPG Cross Reverie, Sakamoto Takuma (Mizunaka Masaaki) was known as the Demon King due to his overwhelming power, equipment, and skill. Offline he was less impressive, as a NEET with crippling social anxieties and a deep hatred for riajuu (normies), but that’s neither here nor there. In game he was unparalleled—until one day he was summoned to another world with the exact appearance of the game. There, he meets elf Shera L Greenwood (Serizawa Yuu) and pantherian Rem Galleu (Waki Azumi), who both claim to be his real summoner. Takuma is targeted by enslavement magic—but it backfires! His Magic Reflection ring activates, and the two girls are turned into his slaves instead. Now Takuma, in the guise of Diablo, is in a world where he possesses unparalleled power, but he doesn’t have any social skills to speak of. In a panic for how to talk to a real girl, he falls back on the only thing he knows how to do: act the like the Demon King he roleplayed in the game! this is the story of the Demon King (acting) that would soon inspire the world, and his adventures as he takes the alternate world by storm with his absolute strength!

Here’s your isekai light novel adaptation of the season. That might sound dismissive, and it’s true that if you’re skeptical of isekai stories you’re probably not going to be won over by this one, because the parts of the source material I read were rife with the usual tropes. The key to a good isekai story, though, is to lean into the wish fulfillment while making the main character not feel like an insufferable Gary Stu, even if they have the power of one. It’s not easy, but series like Death March show it’s possible by focusing on different elements. Here it’s the Demon King roleplay, where Takuma/Diablo becomes trapped in his persona because he doesn’t know how to operate without it, and the whole setup would be totally depressing if he wasn’t also really powerful while being constitutionally unable to exploit people with his power most of the time. Also the promos show off a whole bunch of ecchi, so it has that going for it. My feeling is that this won’t rock the world, but the animation is nice, the story is undemanding, and series composer Fudeyasu Kazuyuki has one helluva resume. Maybe it won’t light the world on fire, but it could be a fun little story. If you’re predisposed to isekai stories, nothing I’ve seen so far should dissuade you from giving this a watch.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
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Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama | 夢王国と眠れる100人の王子様 Top
Animation: Premiere: July 5, 2018
Genre: Romance, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 22:20
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yum100anime_pr or #夢100アニメ

Preview by Zaiden

The Heroine (Kimura Haruka) is your average girl, who randomly receives an invitation to become the princess of a world powered by energy generated from the dreams of its inhabitants. One day, the dream world is attacked by a dream eater, sending many princes into a catatonic state. Haruka must now rescue their dreams in order to wake them up. Let’s accompany the heroine on her adventure to save the princes and prevent the dream world from being destroyed by the malevolent dream eater!

As of now there is no detail on the production team aside from the entirely novice studio GCREST in charge, so I’ll have to sell you the premise based off its source material. Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ouji-sama is a smartphone puzzle role-playing game that has the manservice dialed up way past 11 as a way of enticing its female demographic. Seeing how it ranked as Japan’s 15th favourite game in the Otamart poll at the end of 2017, I would say it did a pretty good job of meeting that goal. To give you an idea of what it features, demon princes are chained up in shirtless glory, while having a tendency to blush if you take the time to appreciate their exquisite physique. Might I also add that there’s a shota witch, and even a splendid tsundere snow prince? Sounds too good to be true. Fujoshis from all over the world must be delighted with this summer entry, and whether your best boy made it or not should be somewhat alleviated by the good selection you’ll still have to choose from. As they say, different strokes for different folks.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
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Animation: MAPPA Premiere: July 5, 2018
Genre: Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 24:55
Episodes: 24 Station: Fuji TV (CX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @bananafish_tv or #bananafish

Preview by Passerby

1985, New York City. A series of puzzling suicides are baffling the NYPD. But down in the Bronx it is not the law that holds sway, but crime, and mafioso Papa Dino Golzine (Ishizuka Unshou) rules. He is intent on killing off any investigation into these suicides for good, literally, being quite comfortable with murdering whomever pokes their nose into this suspicious business. This heavy-handedness piques the curiosity of Papa Dino’s 17-year-old adopted son and charismatic gang leader Ash (Uchida Yuuma), especially when he is given a vial of a mysterious substance and an address in the dying breaths of one of the syndicate’s latest victims. Pieces start to fall into place when Ash comes across Okumura Eiji (Nojima Kenji), a Japanese photojournalist assisting on a piece on New York’s street gangs. Perhaps the suicides are related to a story from the Vietnam war. Towards the end of the war, one American soldier had gone mad, gunned down his buddies, and then fallen comatose. In brief moments of consciousness he can be heard muttering one thing to himself, over and over: ‘banana fish’.

Banana Fish is based on a manga of the same name by Yoshida Akimi, and boy is it old. 33 years old. That means that it’s from a time when a manga can be considered ‘shoujo’ just because there are gay men in it. Perhaps things aren’t much different now and a target demographic is a target demographic, but don’t be so quick to pigeonhole Banana Fish. At its core it’s a hard-boiled crime drama with a gritty, twisting plot that will keep you gripped. Sure, the cast is basically all male and Free! director Utsumi Hiroko is heading the project, but overall it should be a show with wide appeal. It could well carry itself by quality alone; in addition to the director, we have the accomplished Seko Hiroshi on series composition, and animation studio MAPPA has been doing lots of excellent work. If all else fails, it’s a mature story set in 80s New York City, which is rare enough to stand out. All in all, with all the good things that have been lined up, this is a perfect season for Banana Fish.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
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Shichisei no Subaru | 七星のスバルTop
Animation: Lerche Premiere: July 5, 2018
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:58
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @7subaru_anime or #7スバル

Preview by Pancakes

In the modern world there existed a widely popular MMORPG called Union, and in it a famous party named Subaru. Composed of a bunch of elementary school friends, Subaru did what no one else could, pushing boundaries and exceeding game limits by taking advantage of Union’s unique “Sense” system. At least, until catastrophe struck. After Subaru member Kuga Asahi (Omori Nichika) died while inside the game, Union was shut down and the remaining Subaru members drifted apart. For Subaru’s vanguard Amou Haruto (Takanashi Tengo), this proved devastating, and he spiraled into a six year state of depression which only ends when a classmate convinces him to try Reunion, Union’s rebooted sequel. Reunion, though, winds up being more than simple rehabilitation when Haruto stumbles across Asahi in the game world. Shocked, confused, and more than a little dubious, Haruto doesn’t know whether to believe his eyes, but with Asahi before him once again, he’s determined to find out what’s really going on.

You like alternate worlds? You like mystery? Want more than simple save the world? Well boys and girls, Shichisei no Subaru has you covered. Compared to the recent wave of similar series, SnS takes its thematic cues from .hack and AnoHana, effectively offering up an alternate world murder mystery complete with personal struggles, dealing with regrets, and more than a little drama. It’s your tried and true character-driven story, meaning the game world and its mechanics will play second fiddle to the trials, tribulations, and love triangles of the Subaru cast. SnS’s writing will naturally determine how well it works in practice, but with the talented Yoshioka Takao handling the series composition and Lerche having a good deal of fantasy adaptation experience, a train wreck is probably not on the cards. It may be too soon to bet on it rising to the level of Re:Zero and company, but if there’s one alternate world story to pay attention to this season, this is it.

Watching This: Pancakes, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Satsuriku no Tenshi | 殺戮の天使Top
Animation: J.C.Staff Premiere: July 6, 2018
Genre: Horror, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 20:30
Episodes: 16 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @strk_tenshi or #殺戮の天使

Preview by Choya

Based on the episodic psycho horror adventure game also known as “Angels of Death”, the premise focuses on Rachel Gardener (Chisuga Haruka), a young girl who wakes up in the basement of an abandoned building. Without any memories of what happened to her or where she is, she wanders the building, dazed and lost. That is, until she encounters a sickle-wielding murderer covered in bandages named Zack (Okamoto Nobuhiko). Although they are initially adversaries and they only form a bond based on a strange promise they made with each other, Rachel eventually finds herself learning more about her own identity as the two unravel the secrets behind their imprisonment.

There’s something special about a property that can go from being a freeware game made on RPG Maker to becoming a full-on franchise that is highly inspiring. It’s easy to get a soft spot for indie horror games like this series, where you can create genuinely creepy imagery in a game made by a handful of people with easy assets and talented writing, so it must be exciting to have been involved with the original and see it blossom into an anime series with a high-profile studio and seiyuu lending their talents to the work. It’ll also be fun to see how the anime adapts the story, as the game thrives on the unnerving feeling of diving deeper into the building to witness one terrifying, trippy scenario after another with every new secret revealed. The trailer has an edgy atmosphere to it, but its indie horror cred gives it an eccentric, quirky vibe that is bound to bring a far more amusing and freaky experience to this anime.

Watching This: Choya, Passerby, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
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Harukana Receive | はるかなレシーブTop
Animation: C2C Premiere: July 6, 2018
Genre: Sports Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @harukana_anime or #はるかな

Preview by Takaii

In a world where there’s an anime for just about every sport, in comes Harukana Receive, a new beach volleyball anime that’s going to tackle the intricacies of playing a high-intensity sport on sand with only a third of the players you typically have in a regular volleyball match. For those out of the loop, beach volleyball has a vastly different playstyle compared to indoors volleyball. With a total of four people on the court (two per team), the matches have a different feeling as the players not only compete against each other but the elements themselves. From constantly changing wind speeds to the sand shifting under their feet, it’s almost like you’re watching an entirely different sport.

In Harukana Receive’s case, the story revolves around Oozora Haruka (Yuuki Kana), a second year high school student who has just moved to Okinawa, and her cousin Higa Kanata (Miyashita Saki), who is also a second year student. The two end up becoming partners and play beach volleyball together after Haruka unintentionally takes on a challenge from the current high school national champions. All of which might sound like a pretty standard setup for a sports show, but let me dive into a few points that might help turn your mind around. Just like every other successful sports anime, Harukana Receive understands that it takes more than great “action” moments to grasp a viewer, and there’s a lot of supplemental material to help you learn to love and/or hate characters. One big selling point is the focus on not being the right size for what you want to do. Be it the struggles of being tall and unable to find clothes and shoes, or being shorter and constantly worrying that you’re bringing your partner down due to your physical limitations, the human element thrown into the mix is definitely one we see quite a lot of. The other huge factor (at least for me) is how a show looks and based off of the PVs, and it looks beautiful. From the thickness of the lines to the choice of how eyes are stylized, all the way down to the sound effects whenever a volleyball is smacked—this show will, if nothing else, be fun to watch. All-in-all, this is shaping up to be a great looking sports show that has a lot more than just eye-candy going for it.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts, Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro | ちおちゃんの通学路Top
Animation: Diomedea Premiere: July 6, 2018
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @chiochan_tv or #ちおちゃん

Preview by Takaii

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro is a wild show that revolves around our titular character Miyamo Chio (Oozora Naomi), who without a doubt will end up in some kind of wild situation on her way to school. With each day starting out pretty rough, since she tends to stay up way too late playing computer games, it’s not atypical to find Chio trying to parkour her way around town à la Assassin’s Creed or roughing up a tough biker dude in order to show him how to get back on the straight and narrow. That said, Chio has one major weakness and it’s her need to not draw the attention of others. So when it comes to things that you and I take for granted, like interacting with another human being, Chio ends up doing the wildest things to try (usually in vain) to stay hidden.

In a nutshell, Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro is kind of like the realization of the fantasy anyone who’s ever commuted to school has had. A fantasy where you wish your everyday mundane walk or ride to school could turn into something so much more than just simply … going to school. Instead of just letting societal norms, life, or even reality boss you around, you look any of the three straight in the eyes and tell them that you’re about to do your own thing since you refuse to be late. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how the source material did it, but there’s so much charm oozing from this one that I can’t wait to see it come to life. No matter who’s watching, you’ll be able to see some part of yourself in Chio since she’s such a well fleshed out character. Be it regretting staying up late playing games, being unable to mingle with others because of your social anxiety, or wondering whether or not you’d be able to punk out a rough looking guy because you’ve committed to your act, there’s something for just about anyone here who’s looking for a fun time out of a show that’s managed to take something we’ve all done before and enhanced it through the power of the medium its being adapted to. If you’ve been looking for a comedy that’s a little different from your typical fare, Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro is definitely for you!

Watching This: Choya, Passerby, Takaii, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Ongaku Shoujo | 音楽少女Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: July 6, 2018
Genre: Music, Slice-of-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ongaku_shoujo or #音楽少女

Preview by Stilts

Ongaku Shoujo follows the titular 11-member idol unit organized under Pine Records. Despite abysmal sales numbers, producer Ikebashi and the girls are trying their best to up their game. They decide what Ongaku Shoujo needs is a new member who can be a catalyst for success, so they start holding auditions. That’s when the soon-to-be legendary group meets a girl named Yamadaki Hanako (Fukagawa Seria).

Ongaku Shoujo (TV) was spawned from the short film of the same name, originally produced by Studio Deen for Anime Mirai 2015. The original followed two of the twelve girls from this iteration, though the story is completely different and the character designs have changed so much I can’t tell which is whom, so I don’t think seeing the original is necessary. Or even helpful—it may be more confusing than anything, if those two are only the same in name and seiyuu. That leaves this as a mostly-original series, which means we don’t know much. It’s an idol story, certainly, in the striving-for-greatness sports anime mold, which has always been my favorite type even if we’ve been getting a glut. The staff isn’t chock full of experience, though they are promising, which can be said for several of the seiyuu as well. Animation looks fine, with no hint of CGI so far, though maybe they just left that out of the trailers. The issue with this show is that while it looks perfectly serviceable, it’s not doing a lot to suggest itself either. If you like idols or JPop, then certainly give it a shot, but I can’t say much for everyone else. We’ll have to see if it surprises once it begins airing.

Watching This: No one yet Excitement Level: Limited
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Hataraku Saibou | はたらく細胞Top
Animation: David Production Premiere: July 7, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 24:00
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @hataraku_saibou or #はたらく細胞

Preview by Zaiden

What exactly goes on inside your body? Trillions of cells carry out their jobs to keep us alive, but Hataraku Saibou puts a spin on this concept as the human body is treated like a microcosm of human society. And since we’re talking about the human body, these cells never get a moment of rest. Supplying oxygen to your body parts? Red Blood Cell-chan (Hanazawa Kana) can handle that. Policing out germs and viruses? Let White Blood Cell-kun (Maeno Tomoaki) put them in their place. And little Platelet-chan (Naganawa Maria) makes sure that your body is fixed up shortly after incurring an injury. Between keeping clear of antigens and delivering proper materials to various parts of the body, there is an oddly relatable story in the daily lives of these cells, filled with character and personality that are reflective of the roles they play.

Hataraku Saibou is a manga by Shimizu Akane about all the wonders of the human body, told through an anthropomorphized perspective, with cells characterised as being humans themselves. (Editor’s note: something something Osmosis Jones.) Suzuki Kenichi has been tasked with directing this adaptation, and upon closer inspection, Drifters and Stardust Crusaders both stand out as impressive on his portfolio. So there will definitely be a wildcard type of expectation, provided that action between white blood cells and foreign pathogens take the spotlight, which isn’t too far-fetched when the immune system serves as the focus for the series. That said, I have mixed feelings about the how the series composition might turn out. Kakihara Yuuko presents a worrying flip of the coin, since her scripts can either make a whole lot of sense (Chihayafuru S2, Gakuen Babysitters, Tsuki ga Kirei) or make absolutely no sense even with a great source material (Orange, Unbreakable Machine Doll), with practically nothing in between. Will this be a hit or miss? That’s hard to predict right now, but going by recent track records, this should turn out fine. Even if you dislike biology as an academic subject, keep an open mind and you may be pleasantly surprised by Hataraku Saibou.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria | 百錬の覇王と聖約の戦乙女Top
Animation: EMT Squared Premiere: July 7, 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 25:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ or #百錬覇王

Preview by Pancakes

Suou Yuuto (Sakai Koudai) is just an ordinary boy in an ordinary world. He lives life to the fullest, has plenty of friends, and retains a healthy taste for all manner of urban legend. It’s the latter which winds up wreaking havoc on his life when Yuuto joins his childhood friend Shimoya Mizuki (Uchida Aya) in testing out a local myth. After taking a selfie in front of his community’s divine shrine mirror, Yuuto finds himself whisked off to a Norse-influenced world in the midst of war, with only a solar-powered smartphone for help. This phone, however, gives Yuuto all he needs to find a place for himself in the local Wolf Clan, rapidly rising through its ranks to become its king and suzerain. Now protector of the clan and overlord to several powerful Einherjar, it falls to Yuuto to not only rescue his adopted people, but help save their world from fated destruction.

If there’s one constant for anime these days, it’s that every season will feature an alternate world story adaptation or three, and Hyakuren no Haou continues that time honoured tradition. This one sticks close to the well-trodden formula: we’ve got the overpowered main character, the deus ex machina device, and the ever essential harem of pretty girls to round everything off. It’s your quintessential wish fulfillment story, but HnH does have some things that help set it apart. Unlike Isekai wa Smartphone, problems in HnH are largely solved through Yuuto’s own ingenuity rather than any smartphone shenanigans, and Norse mythos in place of the usual fantasy story and setting gives a good foundation for interesting plot and characters. The main concern is that, with Kobayashi Kousuke being a novice director and Takahashi Natsuko of Isekai wa Smartphone fame handling series composition, we may not be too likely to see much thematic imagination. HnH certainly has the pieces needed to be an entertaining ride, but until we can see it in action, expecting the usual alternate world hijinks is a pretty good idea.

Watching This: Pancakes, Zephyr Excitement Level: Limited
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Asobi Asobase | あそびあそばせTop
Animation: Lerche Premiere: July 8, 2018
Genre: Comedy, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 21:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @asobiasobase_a or #asobiasobase

Preview by Choya

This surreal gag comedy centers around three friends as they play games with each other. Kasumi (Kohara Konomi) is studious at everything but English and a natural at games, but has built up a hatred for them after years of losing to her older sister and being made to do chores with every loss. Olivia (Nagae Rika) is an American girl who was raised in Japan, but pretends to be bad at Japanese. The pig-tailed Hanako (Kino Hina) has a bright personality and enjoys observing games, but has a hard time becoming the normal person she aspires to be and consistently loses against the other two girls. Together, they take on traditional hand games, board games, card games, and anything in-between.

What makes this series stand out as a promising comedy is how looks can be deceiving. The artwork and premise seem like they could fall under a cozy slice-of-life, up until you dive into it and find out how eccentric, hilarious, and clever the chapters get. They weren’t lying when they said it was, above all else, a surreal gag comedy that just happens to be about cute girls bonding. One of the aspects of the show that’s intriguing is the character of Olivia, considering how many anime with Americans or Westerners have them either as side characters or as people in the background as opposed to being in the front seat. It will be cool to see how deep they get into the games they play and if it will be the type of series to indulge and geek out over how fun they can be.

Watching This: Choya, Passerby Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Planet With | プラネット・ウィズ Top
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: July 8, 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 22:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @planetwithanime or #プラネット・ウィズ

Preview by Stilts

Kuroi Souya (Abe Atsushi) lives a peaceful life despite having no memories of his past. But one day, the world is attacked by huge unidentified floating objects that cause a panic (and look like giant cats with five arms, three ears, and a giant back-nose). Soldiers are sent to stop them, but they desert and head home to their families. Then seven heroes arrive to fight the unknown threat, by first flying through the sky in a flash of light and then enveloping themselves in giant robot frames. Souya is dragged into the fight by the cat-like Sensei (Koyama Rikiya) and gothic lolita Ginko (Izawa Shiori). Is this the time for Souya to join the heroes and fight for humanity? No. Apparently he has to fight off the heroes instead.

Coming to us from Mizukami Satoshi (Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer), Planet With is a story only manga and anime could tell. Not because other mediums couldn’t do it, but because they wouldn’t even think to try. The first two chapters of the manga, released in advance of the anime, are bizarre. They weren’t the weirdest thing I’ve read in a manga—that’s a hard prize to win—but Planet With is scratching that itch. The whole thing is a big ol’ “Wait, WTF!?”, which should make for a fun first few episodes even if I have no idea what it will settle down into after that. What I can say is that this was an original I wasn’t all that interested in prior to previewing it, but now I’m intrigued, dammit. Because I want to know why Souya is fighting the heroes—even he doesn’t fully remember—but also because this is a story I can’t get anywhere else. Anime is good when it’s serious, funny, flirty, or mysterious, but it may be the best when it’s flat out weird. That’s the flavor you can only get here. The main character getting swallowed up for a cabbage-eating cat in order to manifest the mecha to fight off the heroes? You have my attention!

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Passerby, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
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Gintama. Gin no Tamashii-hen | 銀魂 銀ノ魂篇 後半戦Top
Animation: Bandai Namco Picture Premiere: July 8, 2018
Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 25:35
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo TV (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Choya

Set in an alternate history where aliens conquer late-Edo period Japan and outlaw carrying swords, Gintama is centered around three characters: Sakata Gintoki (Sugita Tomokazu), an eccentric samurai equipped with a sharp blade and an incurable sweet tooth; Shimura Shinpachi (Sakaguchi Daisuke), a teenager who aims to help out his older sister Tae and keep Gintoki focused on important matters at hand as his apprentice; and Kagura (Kugimiya Rie), a skilled girl with a violent past who finds normalcy in sharing Gintoki’s bad habits, eating pickled seaweed, and taking care of her massive dog Sadaharu. Together, they set up shop in Gintoki’s apartment room as Yorozuya, an odd-jobs company that would do just about any freelance work to cover their monthly rent. Along the way, they form a rivalry with the local police force, meet old comrades from a bygone era, and face off against the dreaded PTA. Will unforgettable bonds be forged through blood, sweat, tears, and laughter? Is it really the final season!? Because I have some ideas to keep the show on-air. We have them fight vampires that consume souls, visit the Land of Tea, or get trapped on an island for an entire arc. I can mail out the scripts I’ve written if you’d like! If that doesn’t sound appealing, take year-long hiatuses every two episodes to play Id*lm@ster or Dr*gon Quest. Please Pierrot, it’s all I have left!

After a brief hiatus, Gintama is back in gear to wrap up its final season. In the process of writing out the synopsis of the anime, it became increasingly difficult to cope with the idea of bidding farewell to Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura. It’s been a highly enjoyable shounen series to follow with how much fun it has with its humor and parodies of pop culture, and how well-done its action sequences and drama have been. Gintama truly is one-of-a-kind because of how it manages to be hilarious with its comedic chapters yet engaging and dramatic with its serious segments. As the story ends, it will be interesting to see what culminates in this last season’s efforts to unite the cast against a common foe, bringing an end to the conflict that stands in the way of their peace. Will their send-off be a tongue-in-cheek wave goodbye or a bittersweet reminder to be less sad that the series is over and happier that the series happened? Hopefully, Gintama’s curtain call will be something special and will give the wonderful cast that’s grown over the years a worthy farewell.

Watching This: Choya Excitement Level: Established
Jashin-chan Dropkick | 邪神ちゃんドロップキックTop
Animation: Nomad Premiere: July 9, 2018
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 22:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Amazon Prime
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @jashinchan_pj or #邪神ちゃんドロップキック

Preview by Pancakes

From the manga of the same name, Jashin-chan Dropkick tells the epic tale of a little demon girl named Jashin (Suzuki Aina) and her struggle to return home. Abruptly summoned to the human world one day, Jashin finds herself in a dilapidated apartment owned by gothic lolita Hanazono Yurine (Omori Nichika), a university student with the taste for the arcane and a serious love of horror. While Yurine summoned Jashin, she had no idea how to send the half-snake demon back, and with Jashin as equally confused over her summoning, both girls wind up forced to live with one another. At least until Jashin comes up with the bright idea to kill Yurine in the hopes that’ll send her back home. Now locked in a constant fight against death, Yurine must find a way to ship Jashin back to where she came before her cute summoning experiment ends up blowing her to hell.

Oh boy do we have a fun one here. If it wasn’t immediately obvious, Jashin-chan Dropkick is pure slapstick comedy, effectively mashing together the likes of Binbougami ga!, Gabriel Dropout, and the monster girl series of the season into one seriously outrageous and gut busting package. Emotional damage, physical abuse, and a whole host of hilarious situations are on feature here, and that’s before getting into Yurine’s terminal case of goth-infused chuunibyou. How well it works will of course come down to personal preference and one’s taste in humour, but with over nine volumes of material to adapt and some equally ridiculous side characters to feature (Medusa, you timid cutie pie, I’m looking at you), Jashin-chan Dropkick will not be lacking for raucous entertainment. It may not be setting any new comedy records, but if you’re in need of a good laugh this summer, Jashin-chan Dropkick more than has you covered.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
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Aguu -Tensai Ningyou- | 悪偶 -天才人形-Top
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: July 9, 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Action Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:00
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @aguu_anime or #悪偶

Preview by Choya

Ai (Matsui Eriko) is an ordinary girl and a dancer whose friend, Machi (Shibasaki Noriko), is superior in her knowledge and dancing abilities. Despite finding Machi’s talent to be disheartening, Aya discovers her secret: the existence of the Aguu, palm-size entities who grant those who hold them talent far beyond those of anyone else. Machi is trapped in her role as a “Seamstress” who makes Aguu, but Ai pushes to rescue Machi by becoming a “Savior”. Because Saviors have been fighting Seamstresses for generations, Ai now finds herself needing to face Machi to free her from the Aguu.

Aguu: Tensai Ningyouhas potential to be a neat supernatural anime. A concept where talents can be given to someone by possessing supernatural entities offers up numerous possibilities on what shapes the people who have them and how they use the talents. The characters’ abilities are put to the test, and their strengths must go beyond what the Aguu can grant them to become either Seamstresses or Saviors. Other factors play into the anime’s intrigue as well, such as the story’s origins as a manhua, the versatility of Studio DEEN as of late, and the character design’s refined yet artistic flair. You might just want to grab onto the Aguu for keeping up with multiple anime by adding this one to your watch list.

Watching This: Choya, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Average
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Phantom in the TwilightTop
Animation: LIDENFILMS Premiere: July 9, 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @phantowa_anime or #ファントワ

Preview by Zaiden

My favourite café in London would be the Rainforest Café next to the Trocadero, because it’s such a vibrant and fun place that brings back happy childhood memories. However, word on the street is that a new establishment has opened up for a very particular niche of customers. Café Forbidden is a mysterious café that only opens at night, where handsome men work to serve coffee, while upholding their duty as guardians of the boundary between humanity and the supernatural world. Bayrou Ton (Hanazawa Kana) is our lead heroine, and a girl who came to London as an international student. After a sequence of unpredictable events, she finds herself accidentally stumbling into Café Forbidden. Her subsequent encounter with the supernatural will be sure to alter the trajectory of her life, as she plunges into a world filled with magic and conspiracies.

If I gave Phantom in the Twilight a chance, it would be down to the fact it is set in my home city, and Kana-chan is voicing the protagonist. Kunihiro Mori has an uninspiring CV as director, but Maruto Fumiaki’s involvement in the series composition gives me cause for hope, given his track record as the writer of SaeKano and White Album 2. We have some aesthetically pleasing character design and the music is guaranteed to be a blast thanks to TOMISIRO, who is highly acclaimed for his role behind Macross Delta’s legendary music score. But since there’s so little that’s been revealed about the premise, it’s difficult to predict how well this might turn out, even with what seems like a highly capable staff on paper. If I had to guess judging by the few trailers, there will be a dose of reverse harem for all the fujoshis out there. So if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy, or simply wouldn’t bother you, then it could be worth checking out Phantom in the Twilight for its considerable dark horse potential.

Watching This: Choya, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes | 京都寺町三条のホームズTop
Animation: Seven Premiere: July 9, 2018
Genre: Slice-of-Life, History Airtime (GMT+9): Mondays at 26:05
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo TV (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @teramachi_holme or #京都ホームズ

Preview by Choya

In this light, antique mystery, high school girl Mashiro Aoi (Tomita Miyu) finds herself working part-time at the “Kura” antique shop nestled in Kyoto’s Teramachi Sanjou shopping district after running into Yagashira Kiyotaka (Ishikata Kaito), the grandson of the store’s owner. The polite yet hot-tempered Kiyotaka is known as the “Holmes of Teramachi” for his keen intellect in solving mysteries within the town, often due to his experience with antiques. With Kiyotaka’s talents as an apprentice appraiser and Aoi’s sharp eye, they solve odd cases together related to antiques and items brought to them by various clients.

True to any anime involving the word “Holmes”, we are taken into the realm of mystery in this anime. However, the tone is calming and light, allowing the show to take on an identity of its own as a charming, mellow, and lighthearted mystery anime. Much of the tone comes from just how cozy the artwork looks, with warm colors and bright lighting, as well as its traditional setting in the elegant, refined city of Kyoto. The chemistry between Kiyotaka and Aoi should also provide for some engaging material as they work together to solve mysteries and learn more about each other. There are other cast members that join along the way, but it will be the mysteries that these two work to solve that will make for a nice relaxing mystery anime.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo Excitement Level: Average
Show Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes Promotional Videos ▼

Overlord III | オーバーロードIIITop
Animation: Madhouse Premiere: July 2018
Genre: Fantasy Airtime (GMT+9):
Episodes: 13 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @over_lord_anime or #overlord_anime

Preview by Pancakes

In the year 2138 after a crazy twelve year run, the leading MMORPG game Yggdrasil is finally set to shut down. Scheduled to turn off at midnight, everyone but the elder lich Momonga (Hino Satoshi), one of Yggdrasil’s strongest wizards and head of the powerful clan Ainz Ooal Gown, has called it quits, leaving him alone to ride the servers until they turn dark. Rather than being thrown out as expected, however, Momonga is shocked to discover he’s still conscious as his character, and more importantly, unable to log out. With all player functions unusable and only the loyal NPCs of Ainz Ooal Gown present with him, Momonga decides to find out what happened the only way he knows how: by taking over this newly transformed game world.

That’s right boys and girls, Papa Bones is back for more. After a successful second season largely spent fleshing out the world building of the first, Overlord surprised quite a few with its sly split cour announcement and reveal that some of the best arcs of the light novel series would see full adaptation. For a show unapologetically devoted to slow but steady development it’s the best possible outcome, particularly with another full cour to work with and the story poised to show (finally) Momonga’s conquering spirit in action. How far we actually get with this new season is an open question, but with all cast and crew returning significant shakeups shouldn’t be expected, and with Madhouse remaining at the helm you can bet any fights will get the royal treatment. While everyone will have an opinion or two on Overlord at this stage (Lizard arc says hi), if the series continues to remain faithful to the light novels and adapts the next set of arcs in the order expected, this season stands a very good chance of being the best material it has put forward yet.

Watching This: Pancakes, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki | アンゴルモア元寇合戦記Top
Animation: Naz Premiere: July 10, 2018
Genre: Action, Historical Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 24:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Sun TV
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @angolmois_anime or #アンゴルモア

Preview by Passerby

The year was 1268. Kublai Khan was growing restless. He was the Khagan of the Mongols — the supreme emperor, the King of Kings. His enlightened reign had swept through northern China and pressed Korea into vassalage. But still the western hordes did not respect his rule, and still the Chinese Song dynasty put up their futile resistance. And now, some island nation to the east dared defy him, too. Twice the great Khan had sent emissaries to Japan, offering them his mercy in return for tribute. Twice he had been rebuffed. They test the limits of his magnanimity, but Kublai Khan was no fool. He knew that to conquer Japan he will need a sizeable navy, one his empire could not afford presently. But in six years, he will be prepared. In six years, the Mongols will bring theses islanders to heel. And Japan will also need to prepare, as exiled samurai Kuuchi Jinzaburou (Ono Yuuki) knows all too well as he comes face to face with the Mongol invasion. For the first time in history, the samurai will need to stop their political infighting and come together in their country’s defence. It is here that they can truly call themselves warriors of Japan.

For a medium so rooted in Japanese culture, there aren’t really all that many anime about Japanese history. Those that are seem mostly preoccupied with the Sengoku Jidai or the Bakumatsu. This is not to fault those shows, as those times make for some great stories, but when an anime goes out of its way to explore other periods we should pay attention. In particular, the Mongolian invasion of Japan is quite relevant for anime fans like us, for it forms the basis of much of the samurai mythology. Samurai basically just fought each other for political power and oppressed the occasional peasant, but the idea that they are the martial face of Japan finds its roots in their defence against the Mongols. And more: the katana came out of this war, as did the idea that Japan was sacred ground that could never be successfully invaded, as did the now familiar word ‘kamikaze’. Now, I don’t know how historically faithful Angolmois will be (perhaps not very, since the first war was basically just Japan getting thrashed until a freak typhoon swept the invasion away). I don’t even know how good Angolmois will be (series composer Yasukawa Shogo is experienced enough, but director Kuriyama Takayuki is completely fresh). But the PVs look good, the show is promising, and the setting alone makes Angolmois worth checking out this season.

Watching This: Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Shinya! Tensai Bakabon | 深夜!天才バカボンTop
Animation: Pierrot Plus Premiere: July 10, 2018
Genre: Comedy Airtime (GMT+9): Tuesdays at 25:35
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo TV (TX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @shinya_bakabon or #深夜天才バカボン

Preview by Choya

A reboot of a gag manga by Akatsuka Fujio, this anime will bring the misadventures of Bakabon (Irino Miyu), his father (Furuta Arata), and his family to a contemporary setting. The story follows a dim-witted boy named Bakabon, an elementary school student who enjoys causing mischief and working part-time to give his mother a birthday gift. His partner in crime is none other than his father, who eventually becomes a central character in the series as the mastermind of the harebrained solutions to otherwise simple tasks the two are involved with. Along with Bakabon’s child prodigy brother, his patient mother, and the devious people that live nearby, the family has their work cut out for them if they want to stick together without getting themselves hurt.

Much of the enthusiasm for the show comes from the resurgence of interest in Akatsuka’s work after two seasons of the highly successful reboot of Osomatsu-kun emerged. Now Pierrot is working their magic again with a modern take on Bakabon’s manga 18 years after its last adaptation aired. On top of a very talented seiyuu cast, the big question will be how the anime will depict the family, as Osomatsu-san went the extra mile by transforming six children identical in looks and behavior into 20-year-old slackers each with their own abhorrent personalities. While it’d be easy not to take as many liberties given how everyone seems to be the same age as before, it’ll be interesting to see if this adaptation shares the distinction of bringing a bawdier sense of humor to the series.

Watching This: Choya, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Sirius the Jaeger | 天狼 Sirius the JaegerTop
Animation: P.A. Works Premiere: July 12, 2018
Genre: Action, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 23:00
Episodes: 12 Station: AT-X
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @sirius_anime or #sirius_anime

Preview by Passerby

Tokyo, 1930. Vampires! That’s basically the gist of Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger, the latest anime original offering from the studio P.A. Works. Apparently, vampires had always existed and had long steered the course of human history. But, there is push-back. An organisation styling itself as ‘Jeagers’ has been rooting out the vampires sequestered within human society. One such Jaeger is a young man named Yuliy (Uemura Yuuto), who happens to be a werewolf. Vampires destroyed his hometown, and now he kills them in the name of vengeance. He and the crew of Jaegers he joined have been chasing one clan all across the globe, finally cornering them in the far ends of the Orient. Here in Japan, the vampires seek a mystical artefact, the Ark of Sirius, with which they will be able to regain their rightful place as the rulers of the world. Whatever conspiracy the vampires are hatching means little to the Jaeger; their hunt continues apace. But even these skilled professionals need to be careful. When the prey are so deadly, it is all too easy for the hunter to become the hunted.

It’s always risky to make too many predictions about an original series. They are, by their very nature, untested, and where Hollywood likes putting the entire movie in a trailer, anime studios instead have a predilection for surprise. Which is great, and we should always encourage experimentation, but sometimes experimentation creates the cure for cancer and other times it sets the lab on fire. While P.A. Works is a studio that puts out a lot of good work, now and again they also manage to make Glasslip (which I will unfairly never let them live down). The most useful prognostication we can do, really, is based on who’s actually making this show; after all, almost any premise is viable so long as it’s matched with skillful execution. The most notable name on that front is director Ando Masahiro, who’s worked on quality anime like Akagami no Shirayukihime and Sword of the Stranger. And, hey, have a look at the PVs. Engrish aside, Sirius the Jaeger simply looks good. If there’s one thing anime does well, it’s stylish period pieces, and 1930s Tokyo, post-Modernisation but pre-War, is an ideal period for style. So at the very least we should have a snazzy action thriller on our hands, and if Sirius the Jaeger aims to be more, that’s just a bonus.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
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Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight | 少女☆歌劇 レヴュー・スタァライトTop
Animation: Kinema Citrus Premiere: July 12, 2018
Genre: Music, School-Life Airtime (GMT+9): Thursdays at 25:28
Episodes: 12 Station: TBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @revuestarlight

Preview by Stilts

Part of Bushiroad’s latest mixed media project, the Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight franchise centers on Starlight, a song and dance revue troupe loved throughout the world. Aijou Karen (Koyama Momoyo) and Kagura Hikari (Mimori Suzuko) made a promise with each other when they were young that one day they would stand on that stage together. Now the girls are 16 years old, and Karen is enthusiastic about the lessons she takes every day, holding her promise close to heart. Meanwhile Hikari has transferred schools and is now far away. But the cogs of fate turn, and the two are destined to meet again. The two friends, along with other Stage Girls, will compete in a mysterious audition to gain acceptance into the revue.

When I first heard about this, I thought it was another idol thing. Then I watched the preview, which has dramatic music and a series of on-stage sword fights, and now I don’t know what to think. This is one of Bushiroad’s mixed media things, which is usually a red flag—and still is, but the really money grubbing-sounding 2.5D live action concerts have already happened, so maybe they’re trying to earn the next round of exploitation with some good storytelling. We can only hope. The trailer animation fluctuates between pretty close-up shots and more cartoony remote shots, while the seiyuu are primarily new faces. My big question is whether the story will be worth our time, and the over-serious trailer has really thrown me for a loop. If this will be super serious, I don’t know if I can hang, but those sword fights were stylish as heck. I’m conflicted. I may have to give the first episode a peek to see what this thing’s about.

Watching This: Passerby Excitement Level: Average
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High Score Girl | ハイスコアガールTop
Animation: J.C. Staff Premiere: July 13, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 24;30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @ or #

Preview by Zaiden

It is 1991, the height of popularity for arcade gaming in Japan. High Score Girl goes back to to relive this nostalgic period through the perspective of 6th grader Yaguchi Haruo (Amasaki Kouhei). A social outcast at school who doesn’t care about his education or chores (much to his mother’s dismay), Haruo would rather spend time playing Street Fiighter II at the local arcade, earning him the epithet “Beastly Fingers Haruo”. But one day, he gets served a sequence of humiliating defeats. His classmate Oono Akira (Suzushiro Sayumi), a rich honour student who looks totally out of place in an arcade, demonstrates her skills as a top-class gamer. She goes about wrecking scrubs using her mastery of Zangeev, in what can only be described as complete and utter domination. Having lost to Akira seven times in a row, and keen to end her 29-win streak, Haruo resorts to cheap and dirty tactics using Guyl. Not only do these underhanded measures fail, they also provoke a well-deserved punch and a kick from the otherwise demure Akira. This incident serves as a rocky start to their dynamic relationship, as she brazenly follows him from arcade to arcade after school, while he marks her as a rival who must be defeated. As they continue to face off, they build a fierce reputation which precedes them wherever they go.

After surviving a lawsuit from SNK Playmore for infringing the copyright for King of Fighters, I’m truly glad to see High Score Girl bounce back and receive an anime adaptation. The magnum opus of mangaka Oshikiri Rensuke, we can look forward to a coming-of-age romantic drama/comedy that examines the unique relationship between its main characters. Outside of their passion for arcade games, as well as having violent tempers, Haruo and Akira are pretty much polar opposites. I can’t wait to see how their seiyuu bring their petty squabbles to life, while catching the nuance of their feelings for one another via subtle interactions. J.C. Staff has entrusted Yamakawa Yoshiki with directing, a stalwart of the industry who has a fantastic record on many beloved shows (B: The Beginning, DanMachi, Little Busters). I’m expecting the sound direction to be stellar with the inclusion of Aketagawa Jin, and the series composition is in the experienced hands of Urahata Tatsuhiko (Kyoukaisen, Monster, Tsurezure Children). With a fantastic premise and excellent staff, I’m highly optimistic for this adaptation of High Score Girl, as it looks to be nothing short of a guaranteed hit.

Watching This: Choya, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
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Lord of Vermillion Guren no Ou | ロード オブ ヴァーミリオン 紅蓮の王Top
Animation: asread x Tear Studio Premiere: July 13, 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:05
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @lovanimation or #lovanime

Preview by Pancakes

Based on the collectible card game of the same name, Lord of Vermilion takes place in a near-future Tokyo rocked by the extraordinary. After a mysterious high frequency sound and red mist knocks several thousand unconscious in the suburbs, Tokyo is forcibly quarantined until those affected miraculously awaken six days later. A rapid return to normality, however, is nowhere in sight, as strange incidents begin plaguing the relieved city while numerous high schoolers start discovering powers long hidden within their blood. Called Hero’s Blood Weapons, the affected teens know little of this power besides its attraction to others possessing the same, and that its awakening is likely due to the “Great Resonance” that disrupted Tokyo so much. Now caught up in a situation growing stranger by the moment, these kids will soon find themselves involved in a struggle where their futures and lives are all on the line.

Card adaptations in anime typically go one of two ways: using the game mechanics as a plot device in of itself (Yu-Gi-Oh), or treating it as flavour in a thematically “different” story (WIXOSS). In this case Lord of Vermilion looks to be the latter, focusing heavily on its conventional fantasy plot of prophecies, fates, and gods with little involvement (if any) of the game mechanics central to its name—don’t expect too much in the way of gritty urban fantasy card battling here. For a card game with minimal lore such a strategy is quite ambitious, but should LoV successfully replicate WIXOSS’s ingenuity in a fantasy-action format, it stands a good chance of being pretty damn impressive. Plus having Kodomo no Jikan’s Sugunuma Eiji serving as director doesn’t hurt either. Scepticism is always recommended when it comes to any type of game adaptation, but should LoV manage to pull off what few game adaptations have managed before, it could easily be one of this season’s biggest surprises.

Watching This: Pancakes, Zaiden Excitement Level: Average
Happy Sugar Life | ハッピーシュガーライフ Top
Animation: Ezo’la Premiere: July 13, 2018
Genre: Romance, Horror, Thriller Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 25:55
Episodes: 12 Station:
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @happysugarlifea or #ハピシュガアニメ

Preview by Passerby

Matsuzaka Satou (Hanazawa Kana) is a model high school girl. She is smart. She is pretty. She is popular. The problem is, her parents passed away when she was young and she has never understood love. So she flits from one boyfriend to the next, saying yes to anybody without care for commitment nor reputation. But one day, she decides to put an end to her frivolous lifestyle. She had fallen in love. Specifically, with a little girl named Koube Shio (Kuno Misaki). To Satou, there is only one thing to do: kidnap Shio and start a new life devoted only to her. Satou makes preparations. She puts in the hours. She saves up money. And in her life with the innocent Shio, she finds bliss. But despite Satou’s efforts, there still seems to be so many people who get in her way. So many rotten souls who don’t understand her love. And that just will not do. Love is sweet. Love is bright. Love is beautiful. It is the highest calling and Satou will do any ugly thing for its sake. It doesn’t matter whom she hurts, how much blood is on her hands, whatever sins she commits. All can be forgiven to protect her happy sugar life.

Happy Sugar Life is an adaptation of a manga of the same title by Kagisora Tomiyaki, and it is this title that we should be paying attention to. In our cynical, post-modern age, not even the fluffiest cute-girls-doing-cute-things slice-of-life would dare call itself something as saccharine as ‘Happy Sugar Life’. Such titles must either be shameless or ironic, and Happy Sugar Life is, for better or worse, the latter. It is not ‘happy’, not ‘sugar’, and the body count disqualifies the ‘life’. Protagonist Satou is a crazy yandere of the highest calibre, but while a criminal sociopath may usually have a villainous role, here one kind of has to root for her, simply because those around her are even more broken — or, perhaps, are not broken enough to have Satou’s steely-eyed clarity. Despite this, and despite Satou’s relationship with Shio being genuinely sweet at times (and making for morbid juxtaposition), Satou’s life is an oncoming trainwreck. But it’s a trainwreck from which it’s hard to tear one’s eyes away, and it makes for a fascinating look into the obsessive and self-destructive ways of this thing humans call love. I’m a tad concerned about the adaptation, though, as neither directors Kusakawa Keizo and Nagayama Nobuyoshi nor writer Machida Touko have particular experience making a show like this, and their actual experience can be dubitable. But the voice cast is star-studded and the premise itself can be enough to carry the show. Happy Sugar Life is genuine psychological darkness, beyond just gore or torture, and that is the kind of twisted mirror worth facing from time to time.

Watching This: Choya, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Happy Sugar Life Promotional Videos ▼

Grand Blue | ぐらんぶるTop
Animation: Zero-G Premiere: July 13, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Airtime (GMT+9): Fridays at 26:25
Episodes: 12 Station: MBS
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @gb_anime or #ぐらんぶる

Preview by Zaiden

Kitahara Iori (Uchida Yuuma) begins his studies for mechanical engineering in the sleepy seaside city of Izu, where he spent his childhood holidays visiting extended relatives. He envisions a fulfilling college life, complete with beautiful girls and good friends. But upon moving into his uncle’s diving store, named Grand Blue, he is met by an inexplicable sight: a dozen or so rowdy and naked upperclassmen, who just happen to be hankering for a freshman victim to join the university’s diving club. After being forced to sign up, there’s just one small problem: Iori doesn’t know how to swim! But is that really an issue when the club’s activities mainly consist of being naked and getting drunk? We’ll soon see. With a new best friend in Imamura Kouhei (Kimura Ryohei), an ikemen otaku who is open about his fetish for little sisters, and his tsun cousin Kotegawa Chisa (Anzai Chika) to look over him, he shouldn’t have problems passing through the crazy ordeals that come his way.

I’m amused that this manga got the greenlight for an anime adaptation, considering that the age of drinking is 20 in Japan, a threshold that most of the characters do not meet in spite of their copious drinking habits. But it seems that Grand Blue might have gotten by on a narrow technicality, with the author claiming that it falls under the ‘isekai fantasy’ genre as follows: Isekai – A world in which the age of drinking is different than the real world; Fantasy – the existence of demi-humans who can chug high-grade alcohol in one go. Even if all else fails, just claim that they are drinking Oolong tea – flammable Oolong tea! But as a big fan of this ‘diving’ manga, you won’t catch me complaining too much, even if all the controversial stuff ends up getting censored. Grand Blue (not to be confused with Granblue Fantasy), is the creative lovechild of Inoue Kenji (writer of Baka to Test) and Yoshioka Kimitake (artist of the Amagi Brilliant Park manga), which means it was destined for spontaneous ingenuity. What sets it apart from most slice-of-life stories is a setting and cast that often go under explored within anime: college and college students. While there are no overt sexual acts on display, talk of it is rampant between the characters, and excessive alcohol consumption occurs irrespective of the time in the day. But don’t let this distract you from the fact that Grand Blue is a diving manga at heart! While the characters don’t spend every waking moment underwater, effort is clearly put into preparing for trips, getting licences, and getting important information about diving techniques and risks. I cannot recommend Grand Blue enough, and if you decide to give it a chance, you will be in for an intoxicating treat.

Watching This: Choya, Stilts, Zaiden Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Grand Blue Promotional Videos ▼

Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san | ゆらぎ荘の幽奈さんTop
Animation: Xebec Premiere: July 14, 2018
Genre: Supernatural, Romance Airtime (GMT+9): Saturdays at 23:30
Episodes: 12 Station: Tokyo MX (MX)
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @yuragisou_anime or #ゆらぎ荘アニメ

Preview by Zaiden

Fuyuzora Kogarashi (Ono Yuuki) has been possessed by ghosts since childhood, granting him spiritual powers. But it has mostly been a source of trouble, leaving him destitute and wishing for a better life. In his pursuit of cheap accommodations, he stumbles across Yuragi-sou, a boarding house with an urban legend behind it. Formerly a popular hot spring inn, it is rumoured that the spirit of a murdered high school girl haunts the place. Kogarashi doesn’t think this will be a problem for him and agrees to become a tenant, immediately setting out to banish this evil spirit. But the ghost turns out to be a dorky 16-year-old girl named Yunohana Yuuna (Shimabukuro Miyuri), who is cute and well-endowed. Instead of exorcising her, he agrees to help her overcome the lingering regret that binds her to the living world, which means they will continue living together in a room for the time being. Soon, Kogarashi discovers that the inn is a hotspot for more supernatural activity than he expected, meaning that his daily life certainly won’t fail to excite!

As a rookie mangaka, Miura Tadahiro wrote a series I really liked called Koisome Momoji. I started following his subsequent releases, and after three years of failing to land a long-term serialisation, he struck gold with Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san, which has been dubbed the spiritual successor of To Love-Ru. This is a weighty claim it fully lives up to. Back in the days, tosh (of Shokugeki fame) was once an assistant to Miura, which should speak to Miura’s credentials as an ecchi artist. And while there’s a lack of timey wimey sci-fi aliens, the supernatural serves as an adequate replacement for the ecchi shenanigans, generously laden with misunderstandings. However, the staff is questionable. As well as having limited experience in the role, Nagasawa Tsuyoshi’s only success as a director came long ago, with Haiyore! Nyaruko-san in 2012, whereas the recent Clockwork Planet sticks out as a sore thumb. Koyasu Hideaki barely has any series compositions to his name, and most of them weren’t memorable. Fortunately, I’m expecting the musical score to be pretty good with both Kikuya Tomoki and Aketagawa Jin on board, so there will definitely be awesome accompanying tracks for the actions scenes. Regardless of staff concerns, I’d say it’s pretty difficult to mess up such a simple and honest premise, where action and fanservice are both tinged by spiritual elements. Expect Yuragi-sou to be a complete package of supernatural fun!

Watching This: Choya, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: Optimistic
Show Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san Promotional Videos ▼

Tsukumogami Kashimasu | つくもがみ貸しますTop
Animation: TMS Entertainment Premiere: July 22, 2018
Genre: Historical, Slice-of-Life, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:10
Episodes: 12 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @tsukumogami_tv or #つくもがみ?src=hash

Preview by Passerby

Cities have historically been dangerous places. Packing so many people and their dwellings in one place invites both disease and disaster, and back in the day one of the statistically easiest ways to lower one’s life expectancy was to move to the city. This was no less true for Tokyo, especially before it was called Tokyo and was instead called Edo, the seat of the Tokugawa shogunate. We may take for granted our modern public health infrastructure and emergency services, but the people of old Edo had little recourse against Japan’s infamous earthquakes and tidal turbulence. In fact, in the Fukugawa ward, fires and floods were so common that, rather than anachronistically invent fire insurance to protect their assets, residents decided to outsource their material possessions. Instead of buying their own pots and futons and clothes — things that will weigh them down when fleeing — they rented them from specialised shops. In Tsukumogami Kashimasu, one such shop, the Izumaya, is run by Okou (Komatsu Mikako) and her younger brother Seiji (Enoki Junya), but their humble store deals in more than mundane household appliances. According to Shinto mythology, man-made items can, after a century of abandonment and disuse, gain life as spirits called ‘tsukumogami’. The sibling can see and talk to these spirits, and sometimes even rent them out to customers. Some of their clientèle have some unique problems, and perhaps can be aided by just a bit of supernatural assistance.

Wow, two-thirds of the shows I preview this season are period pieces. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. Period pieces are one of the more interesting ways to learn history, as long as you consider learning history to be more than just memorising dates. And it is. History is nothing without culture, and that’s what Tsukumogami Kashimasu, based on the novel by Hatakenaka Megumi, provides. As a bonus, the supernatural elements also gives us a look into the mythology of the era, and if any of you are Tolkien fans you’ll understand the fascinating interplay between culture, mythology and language. Besides all the needlessly high-brow stuff, Tsukumogami Kashimasu looks to be a charming little show. Sure, neither director Murata Masahiko nor screenwriter Shimoyama Kento have particularly impressive records, and Telecom Animation Film is not an industry titan by any stretch, but the execution challenge of Tsukugami Kashimasu is not particularly high. It’ll be a pleasant slice-of-life with a dash of the supernatural mixed. Can’t really go wrong with those.

Watching This: Choya Excitement Level: Average
Show Tsukumogami Kashimasu Promotional Videos ▼

Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 | 進撃の巨人 Season 3Top
Animation: Wit Studio Premiere: July 22, 2018
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror Airtime (GMT+9): Sundays at 24:35
Episodes: 24 Station: NHK
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation

Preview by Zaiden

One year after the second season of Isayama Hajime’s blockbuster manga, Wit Studio returns with the third instalment of Shingeki no Kyojin, a prospect that is bound to excite anime fans worldwide. The series takes place in a world where monstrous creatures known as Titans have put humanity on the brink of extinction, with the last vestiges of civilisation retreating behind walled off cities. Following one hundred years of peace, the sudden arrival of a new Colossal Titan leads to the destruction of the city’s outer walls. And on that day, mankind received a grim reminder that they lived in fear of the Titans, disgraced to live in these cages called walls. Having survived the initial onslaught, two children – Eren Yaeger (Kaji Yuuki) and Mikasa Ackerman (Ishikawa Yui) – find themselves at the centre of the fight for humanity’s survival as they join the Survey Corps, a military branch in charge of exploring and reclaiming territory outside the city’s protective walls. At the end of season two, in the face of despair, Eren awakens a power deep inside of him that the Titans seem to be after. Can he use his newfound ability to pave a way for humanity to prevail, or will it spell the end for civilisation as our characters know it?

For those that need an explanation, after its first season in 2013, Shingeki no Kyojin became one of the most popular and recognizable series of the last decade, briefly rivaling the likes of One Piece in terms of sales. As stated by Zephyr in his preview for S2, it rose to fame on the backs of its blade-wielding protagonists, nightmare-inducing enemies, and dramatic plot twists. This was a series whose opening sequence alone inspired a wave of memes and recreations, and it blew up to a point where it was impossible not to stumble onto something Titan related even if you weren’t watching the show. The third season announcement immediately followed the end of the second season, with Wit Studio and the same staff returning for a slice of the action. Consequently, there’s no reason to expect anything different outside of continued success for this franchise, even if some of the hype has cooled down in recent years. As someone who keeps up with the manga, the upcoming arc wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. But with a focus on political machinations that rivals Game of Thrones, in both complexity and brutality, I’m sure my sentiment won’t be shared by the majority of fans.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Passerby, Stilts, Zaiden, Zephyr Excitement Level: High
Show Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Promotional Videos ▼

Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho
Animation: Studio DEEN Premiere: August 3, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Supernatural Airtime (GMT+9): 21:30
Episodes: 12 Station: BS SKY PerfecTV!
Information Links: AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Join the conversation @mahouritsuanime or #ムヒョロジ

Preview by Passerby

Japan has a problem the supernatural. Vengeful ghosts haunt public places, mischievous spirits pester honest citizens, and all manner grotesque beasts pose dangers for civilised society. Mundane law enforcement is not equipped to deal with these supernatural crimes, and thus a new ordinance is passed: to punish magical crimes, one needs magical laws! And obviously, to prosecute magical laws, one needs magical lawyers. Duh. Enter Muhyo Torou (Murase Ayumu) and Kusano ‘Rouji’ Jirou (Hayashi Yuu). One is a young prodigy and merciless executor of the magical law. The other is his friend/apprentice/lackey. Together, they fight crime! Specifically, they run the creatively named Muhyo & Rouji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, where they take on cases brought to them by concerned victims. In this capacity Muhyo is not just a lawyer, but also the judge, jury and executioner, deciding the fate of the spirits he exorcises. Most only need be banished or sent on their way, but there also exists true evil, and there’s only one thing to do: condemn it straight to hell.

The original Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho manga by Nishi Yoshiyuki ended back in 2008, clocking in at a healthy 18 volumes. Now in 2018, a good ten years after, it’s getting a sequel, which means it’s a good time to launch an anime adaptation of the first series to drum up publicity and get new fans up to speed. Which brings us here. The actual story is something of a cross between paranormal mystery and human drama, in which some mundane conflict inevitably leads to a supernatural problem and both need to be resolved jointly. That’s a common enough premise in anime and brought us hits like Bakemonogatari and Mushishi, though in this case it’s a significantly simpler narrative spiced with some magical legalese that brings up themes of tempering justice with mercy. It’s also very ‘shounen’, having strings of monsters-of-the-week that must be defeated with magical powers. Appropriately, we have a shounen director Kondo Nobuhiro in the big chair and Naruto screenwriter Suzuki Yasuyuki on series composition, and they are workhorses who should do well with Muhyo & Rouji. It’s set to be a good time, and if you’ve been interested in the new manga this year there’s scarcely a better way to catch up than a round of anime.

Watching This: Guardian Enzo Excitement Level: Average

Short Series List

Technical Note: As of the Fall 2016 Preview onward, short one-cour series that are being broadcast with irregular duration times (under the 24 minute per episode norm) have been separated from the main preview into their own section. This is to account for the increasing number of short series and to allow for ease of viewing for those who have a preference for one type of series over another. While the list should be complete, two notes: we have excluded shows intended for younger audiences, and there are short series that have been announced very close to the start of a season that may not have made it onto the list. If you notice an anything missing, incomplete, or incorrect, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail Passerby directly.

Air Date Title Series Synopsis
07/02 One Room Second Season | One Room セカンドシーズン
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
‘Virtual anime’
Means first-person perspective.
Still stuck in that room.
07/02 Yama no Susume: Third Season | ヤマノススメ サードシーズン
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
Cute girls on mountains
Makes for pretty good TV
So more is welcome.
07/03 Cinderella Girls Gekijou 3rd Season
シンデレラガールズ劇場 第3期
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
How much more of this
Chibi Cinderella Girls
Can physics sustain?
07/05 BanG Dream! Garupa☆Pico | BanG Dream! ガルパ☆ピコ
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
What is a franchise
If it did not have its own
Weird chibi spin-off?
07/06 Yami Shibai 6th Season | 闇芝居 六期
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
After five seasons
Of Eastern urban legends
Do you still need me?
07/09 Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, syoboi, Wikipedia
A teasing brother
And his violent imouto
Get a season 2.

OVA / Movie


Technical Note: OVAs are sorted by the date they are released. For series that have multiple episodes coming out over the course of the season, please refer to the Notes column for additional dates. More information on each OVA can be found on their respective websites, including promotional videos in some cases. Movie premiere dates are not included since they don’t mean a whole lot to viewers outside of Japan. BD/DVD movie releases are, however. This list is likely incomplete and will be updated as more titles surface (usually by the next season’s preview). If you notice anything missing or incorrect, please feel free to point it out in the comments or e-mail one of us directly (Stilts, Zephyr).

Release Date Title Notes
06/06 Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan | 衛宮さんちの今日のごはん
Vol. 1 BD/DVD Release.
06/08 UQ Holder! OVA
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 17. Episode 3 of 3.
06/27 Hakumei to Mikochi: Neji to Bed to Irori to Bakuchi OVA
ハクメイとミコチ 「ネジとベッド と 囲炉裏と博打」 OVA
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 2.
06/27 Shingeki no Kyojin Movie 3: Kakusei no Houkou | 劇場版 進撃の巨人 覚醒の咆哮
BD/DVD Release.
06/27 The iDOLM@STER SideM: PASSION of the PASSION
アイドルマスター SideM『PASSION of the PASSION』
Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 7.
07/04 Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan | あるゾンビ少女の災難
07/04 Kekkai Sensen & Beyond OVA | 血界戦線 & BEYOND OVA
Bundled w/ Back 2 Back manga Vol. 5.
07/04 Violet Evergarden OVA | ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン OVA
Unaired episode 4.5. Bundled w/ BD/DVD Vol. 4.
07/04 Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san OVA | ゆらぎ荘の幽奈さん OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 11.
07/07 Yakusoku no Nanaya Matsuri | 約束の七夜祭り
Official XFLAG Studio Stream.
07/10 Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san OVA | からかい上手の高木さん OVA
Bundled w/ manga Vol. 9.
07/13 Queen’s Blade: Unlimited | クイーンズブレイドUNLIMITED
07/17 Days: Touin Gakuen-sen! | DAYS東院学園戦!
OVA 3 of 3.
07/19 Kishibe Rohan wa Ugokanai OVA | 岸辺露伴は動かない OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 2.
07/27 Masamune-kun no Revenge OVA | 政宗くんのリベンジ OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 10.
July 2018 Dies Irae ONA | ディエス・イレ ONA
Episodes 12-17.
July 2018 Mecha-ude | メカウデ
Kickstarter Release.
08/02 Infini-T Force Movie: Gatchaman – Saraba Tomo yo
劇場版 Infini-T Force/ガッチャマン さらば友よ
08/09 Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls | 進撃の巨人 LOST GIRLS
Episode 3 of 3.
08/08 Mazinger Z Movie: Infinity | マジンガーZ INFINITY
BD/DVD Release.
08/10 Iya na Kao sare nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai
08/17 Terra Formars OVA | テラフォーマーズ OVA
08/23 Devil’s Line OVA | デビルズライン OVA
Bundled w/ LE manga Vol. 12.
08/24 Tennis no Ouji-sama: Best Games!! Tezuka vs Atobe
テニスの王子様 BEST GAMES!! 手塚 vs 跡部
08/24 Tokimeki Restaurant☆☆☆ MIRACLE6 Movie
劇場版ときめきレストラン☆☆☆ MIRACLE6
BD/DVD Release.
08/25 One Piece: Episode of Sorajima | ONE PIECE エピソードオブ空島
08/28 Macross Δ Movie: Gekijou no Walküre | 劇場版マクロスΔ 激情のワルキューレ
BD/DVD Release.
Summer 2018 Sword Gai: The Animation Part II | ソードガイ The Animation Part II
Netflix Release.

Overall Impressions


Once could be a fluke, but twice is a pattern. After recent summers have been surprisingly strong, it was something of a surprise when summer 2017 rolled around with a relatively weak line up, but now that summer 2018 has pulled the same trick, we shouldn’t be surprised. Yes I, Stilts, the eternal optimist, am a bit down on this anime season. Not because there’s nothing good to watch—there’s always something fun to watch—but because there’s not much of it, and because few shows seem to be reaching for the stars. Maybe the studios tired themselves out in spring, and now they’re unloading their more sketchy offerings. Maybe there are a ton of sleeper hits lurking amid these premises, and time will prove them out. Or maybe everyone didn’t want to compete for attention with Shingeki no Kyojin. Whatever the case, there are still good anime to be had, we all just may need to dig deeper and give more series a chance, or finally work on those backlogs we’re all lying to ourselves about all the time.

As for levels, we’ll continue with the Excitement Levels introduced last year, which includes four main levels plus Established for special cases. Our goal with this change was to make it easier to use the top and bottom of the scale, and to take away the incentive to hedge our bets—after all, we’re not saying these shows will be good or bad, we’re just saying how excited we are. Exciting things can be flawed, and unambitious things can be fun! Hopefully this guide will help those of you with limited time understand which shows to try first, based on our preliminary examination of each show’s staff, seiyuu, and source material. Failing that, it’ll give you another reason to laugh when we get all hyped up about a show that ended up failing in spectacular fashion.

As usual, these levels were arrived at by our regular (and reliably shady) “Excitement Council” of Passerby, Zephyr, and yours truly, Stilts. While we’ve gone to great lengths to consider multiple viewpoints and not get swept away by their own proclivities, these aren’t predictions, and shouldn’t be taken as such. Take these labels with the requisite helping of salt.

Note: Lists are sorted in alphabetical order.


The Rundown:

High excitement shows are the ones we’re truly pumped about. These are the shows we want to watch the most, and which we think have a good chance of being exemplars of their kind — or at least come close. Shows in this category might be sequels to excellent anime, adaptations of highly regarded source material, projects with stellar pedigrees, or even originals that just light up our minds. They don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to feel like something special. If you consider yourself a casual fan who only gets your toes wet every season, then these are the shows we feel you should most keep an eye on.

Optimistic shows are ones that we’re hopeful will be really good, and which we have good reasons to think they might be. The underpinnings of these are generally strong, with a lot to suggest in each of them, but with one or two elements that give us pause and keep our enthusiasm from boiling over. They still have most of the makings of very strong series, though, and many stellar anime will arise from this category. If you’ve exhausted all the High shows, or want to delve deeper into your favored genres, check out these as well.

Average excitement shows look middle-of-the-road to us. They could be good or they could be bad, but they don’t provide much immediate indication that they’ll be amazing in retrospect. This is often the case with shows that are firmly ensconced in their genres’ tropes, or which overly rely on some of anime’s overused plot devices. It can also apply to shows that seem deeply flawed, with elements that could make them amazing, but with so many potential pitfalls that we’re not getting hyped up. However, in many of our experiences these shows still provide a great deal of entertainment, and may turn out a lot better than they appear. Personal taste comes heavily into play, so your mileage will vary.

Limited excitement shows are ones that we simply aren’t all that excited about. They often don’t seem to be striving for much, and choose to focus on more frivolous aspects such as senseless humor and fanservice. Other times they’re doing the same thing we’ve seen a thousand times, with few mitigating signs that they’ll rise above their tropes. That doesn’t mean they’re the bottom of the barrel and shouldn’t get any consideration, but simply that they’re not doing a lot to suggest themselves. Keep in mind what kind of show they are, though, and you might find something you enjoy amid this cohort.

Established shows are any series that has aired for more than 40 episodes or has been previewed three or more times. This can include anything from never-ending shounen and decade-spanning dramas to that quirky comedy that keeps getting renewed season after season. The only commonality is that they’ve aired a lot of episodes, and that they’re the kind of show that most viewers will want to catch up on all the previous content before watching the new. Spin-offs and remakes don’t automatically qualify, since they’re considered new series.


  1. Definitely going to watch:
    – Attack on Titan season 3
    Self explanatory.

    – Free season 3
    I like the previous two seasons. This should be great too.

    – Grand Blue
    I have so much fun reading the manga. This is great for a drinking game too.

    And maybe Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san for guilty pleasure and doujinshi too.

    One Pinch Man
  2. Sequels
    Shingeki no Kyoujin
    One Room
    Yama no Susume

    Definitely watching
    Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegaka (Which, correction, is a straight comedy unlike most of FKMT’s works)
    Ongaku Shoujo (Confession: I irrationally loved the 2015 film)
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    Happy Sugar Life

    Jashin-chan Dropkick
    Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
    Satsuriku no Tenshi
    Harukana Receive
    High Score Girl

    Give it an episode
    Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
    Banana Fish
    Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight

    This season will be an interesting one. I think every sequel or adaptation I was aware of has been crammed in

  3. Dear RC team – thanks for the great preview. BUT please add a note of some sort if new series get added / updates are made to the preview down the line!

    In previous previews, by chance I discovered that that new series had been added – but wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t happened to revisit them. So adding a notice regarding updates would be very helpful.

    1. I think the last time we had to add a show any significant time after publishing the preview was last year, for Mahoujin Guru Guru, but we did make a note of it and we usually remember to do so. That said, whenever you do think we missed something feel free to specify in the comments. That will help us jump on it.

  4. My picks:

    *BANANA FISH (Already considering this but preview really interested me)
    *Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    *Overlord III
    *Grand Blue
    *Yama no Susume: Third Season
    *Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2

    *Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
    *Hataraku Saibou
    *Asobi Asobase
    *Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
    *High Score Girl
    *Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san

    Wait and See:
    *Back Street Girls
    *Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
    *Shichisei no Subaru
    *Satsuriku no Tenshi
    *Sirius the Jaeger
    *Happy Sugar Life

    As always thank you to the staff of RC for all your hard work!

  5. Definite watch for me this season would be
    Overlord – hopefully they go with Vol 7 (with enri’s bits of vol.8) 9 and 10.
    ISekai Maou XD

    and prolly gonna take the opprotunity to binge watch the anime that eneded this season XD

  6. The lead in Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan looks identical to Fatina from the Tower of Druaga anime which Gonzo also produced. For a moment I thought they had slipped a season 3 in there for Druaga lol.

  7. But with a focus on political machinations that rivals Game of Thrones, in both complexity and brutality,

    Don’t ever write something as dumb as this, please.

    Esteban Bonelli
    1. I can’t imagine anyone who has read the Game of Thrones books would ever liken it to Attack on Titan in any sort of way. They’re not even in the same league, not to mention the AoT target demo is teenagers, it’s not written with the same level of complexity.

  8. Definitely
    Happy Sugar Life
    Harukana Receive
    Isekai Maou etc. etc.
    Jashin-chan Dropkick
    Shingeki no Kyojin
    Yama no Susume
    Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san

    Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
    Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
    Asobi Asobase
    Back Street Girls (gotta love that title!)
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    High Score Girl
    Planet With
    Satsuriku no Tenshi
    Sirius the Jaeger
    Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
    Tsukumogami Kashimasu

    I’ll probably end up watching all of them plus a few more for good measure.

  9. I am not much an active viewer of anime in general. I watch about 3-5 in a year, so I don’ t really know which have good potential. Anyways, from this list, are there any that is similar to Hibike Eupho, or Yorimoi?


  10. Looks like a mediocre season. Like every other season, I’ll watch 20+ but only a handful i have high expectations for.

    Back Street Girls
    Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
    Free!-Dive to the Future-
    Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
    Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
    Shichisei no Subaru
    Satsuriku no Tenshi
    Harukana Receive
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    Ongaku Shoujo
    Hataraku Saibou
    Asobi Asobase
    Planet With
    Jashin-chan Dropkick
    Aguu -Tensai Ningyou-
    Phantom in the Twilight
    Overlord III
    Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
    Sirius the Jaeger
    High Score Girl
    Happy Sugar Life
    Grand Blue
    Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san
    Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3
    Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho

    One Room Second Season(s)
    Yama no Susume: Third Season(s)
    Cinderella Girls Gekijou 3rd Season(s)
    Yami Shibai 6th Season(s)
    Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2(s)

  11. Definitely:

    Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (nice ecchi manga)
    High Score Girl (video game tribute)
    Overlord III (good sequel)
    Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 (good sequel)


    Back Street Girls (yakuza gender bender comedy)
    Sirius the Jaeger
    Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho

  12. Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san woah didn’t see a show like that one coming 🙂
    Satsuriku no Tenshi (looks half good half trash)
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (could be ok or not)

    The rest ill let myself get surprised if something decent comes out of the season

  13. You dismissed Yama no Susume to the shorts section and a single senryuu even though it is THE reason to watch this season?! How could you!

    A couple other picks:

    Iseaki Maou etc. etc. is a fun and enjoyable series in the novels and manga, thus far. It’s not going to redefine any genres, but it works well mostly due to having likeable characters. Diablo actually being an introvert with a communication disorder is a nice approach, especially once his party members come to realize it.

    Yuragi Sou no Yuuna-san is a really fun series. I wish it would devote a bit more attention to its story, but, like the above, it gets by by having the whole cast be likeable people. Including the protagonist, which is rather a rarity in an ecchi harem comedy series. Even more than maintaining the quality for the ecchi scenes, what will make or break this adaptation is whether they can protray the characters well or not.

    I’m also on board for Harukana Receive, although I don’t have much to say about it yet.

    Beyond that, there may be one or two things that look mildly interesting, but on a whole this seems like a slow season. I’ll keep my eyes open for surprises, but I’m not expecting much beyond the shows I mentioned already.

  14. Oh dang, how wrong is that information for Tonegawa? His name is Yuzo Sato, not Yuzu, and he’s not even in charge of the spin-off, Keiichiro Kawaguchi is.

    That said, I’ll be watching Tonegawa and Happy Sugar Life for sure, with an added definite maybe towards Banana Fish.

  15. Happy Sugar Life sounds the most interesting. I’ll keep following Overlord and Attack on Titan. Otherwise, in no particular order, each of these will get at least a one-episode watch:

    Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
    Satsuriku no Tenshi
    Harukana Receiv
    Back Street Girls
    Shichisei no Subaru
    Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    Asobi Asobase
    Jashin-chan Dropkick
    Sirius the Jaeger
    Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
    High Score Girl
    Lord of Vermilion

  16. Definitely watching (in order):

    Attack on Titans 3
    Sirius the Jaeger (to Eren’s Jaeger lol)
    Hataraku Saibou
    (an alternate ver of Utena)Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight
    Harukana Receive
    Grand Blue
    FREE 3
    Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
    Satsuriku no Tenshi
    Back Street Girls
    Asobi Asobase

    the rest, i guess am done with templates…same old boring isekai RPG neet stuffs. gonna load my picks with sports animes instead because hey, NATSU GA!

    onion warrior
  17. Kinda surprised that almost noone is hyped for Planet With, considering that Mizukami Satoshi is definitely present on the list of “Greatest Mangaka that Have Not Been Animated”. Considering that he seems to have prepared the manuscript for Planet With for years, there’s no way I won’t be pumped for this.

    That said, this one seems to be closer to Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer, which means the series will starts as a pure WTF. Hopefully that doesn’t stop people to keep watching.

    Of course, I’m also hyped for Oolong Tea and Definitely a Diving Anime. That, and not much else sadly.

  18. Sadly, only overlord and happy sugar live seem to be entertaining for me of this line-up.
    Not sure if that says something about cynical me or of this summer season but even our hopelessly optimistic stilts finds it hard to be optimistic about this one…

  19. Worse season yet, for me.

    Could it be im falling OUT OF LOVE with ANIME??? impossible.

    or are the “GEMS” comming out far less frequently?

    As a RANDOM nobody I`ll simply say this.

    “Cheap CGI will usher in the DEATH of anime”

    BROOKLYN otaku
  20. Here are the series from the list that I’ll watch for sure:

    – “Shingeki no Kyojin” (3rd season)
    – “Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san”

    And the ones I’ll keep an eye on – not knowing if I’ll watch them for sure:

    – “Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki”
    – “Banana Fish”
    – “Satsuriku no Tenshi”

  21. Pretty good season. Look forward to:
    Planet With – just because of mizukami fame
    Grand Blue
    Chiochan no Tsuugakurou

    Everything else, I’ll consider.

  22. As an avid manga reader, there are a few titles on here that I worry anime-only watchers may overlook based purely on their premises. While there is no guarantee that the anime will be good, some are certainly worth trying and even looking forward to.

    1) Grand Blue

    The premise may sound like a more generic slice of life + activity type of show, but it is first and foremost a comedy. And an absolutely hilarious one at that. I can’t recall the last time any other anime/manga made me laugh out loud or even snort, but Grand Blue makes me do so nearly every chapter, due to fantastic comedic timing and excellently drawn expressions. And though diving does play a part in the story, I’d say its definitely much more focused on the college life and college friends aspect, in case diving itself doesn’t interest you (which is the case for me even though i love the manga).

    I look forward to this so much.

    2)Planet With

    The premise for this does make it sound completely out of whack and weird, but anyone deep into manga with a passing familiarity with Mizukami Satoshi knows that all of his works follow that same sort of premise of being both strange and cheesy. However, they would also be able to tell you that he is an absolute master of spinning these strange premises into masterful epics full of everything a good fantasy needs, from epic fights to well developed romances to heartwrenching sacrifices while all maintaining a quirky and humorous tone.

    Having read quite a few of his (completed) series like Lucifer and the biscuit hammer, Spirit Circle, and Sengoku Youko, I can definitely say that every one of these series have left me with a great feeling of satisfaction when they finished. And to be honest, that in itself is an amazing feat, as quite a few shows often follow the opposite pattern of a strong start and weak finish. They are always written in a way that makes you feel the author knows exactly how he wants the plot to progress instead of dragging on. I may not know what this new show will truly be like, but i definitely trust this guy to make it interesting.

    I guess it just surprised me to read so many comments about the weak season when there were so many shows that excited me.

  23. With the release of Banana Fish, I’m hoping one day they’ll have an anime adaption of Mars (one of the 1st manga I read)…. ok… so I’m showing my age.

    I don’t think the season is terribly bad. There are a handful I’m looking forward to:
    Shingeki no Kyojin (duh)
    Shichisei no Subaru (even more so after Pancakes write up)
    Hataraku Saibou (Cels at Work) Looks interesting and educational…what’s not to like?
    Phantom in the Twilight – oooo supernatural…I will definitely give it a chance, Zaiden
    Sirius the Jaeger — Vampires! Love those blood suckers….
    Zoids Wild – Childhood guilty pleasure.

    As always…wonderful preview all! Thanks.

  24. The two I’m looking forward to the most are “Cells at Work” and “Back Street Girls”.

    “Cells at Work” is a fun manga and educational to boot.

    “Back Street Girls” is spot on dead-pan dark humor and I hope they are faithful to the source material.

  25. You may be wondering why I was a bit late with my seasonal “to-watch” list.

    Well, I was busy fulfilling the otaku dream of visiting Japan–which included a “pilgrimage” to Odaiba (to visit the Gundam Base shop and see the awe-inspiring life-size Unicorn Gundam) and Akihabara (browsing the various anime shops and “visiting” my 2D waifus in their homeland) last week. (July 7 to 12. Went home on the 13th–YoshikoYohane’s birthday and also a Friday.)

    Anyway, I’m now back and I have stuff to catch up on.

    Will surely watch:
    Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 – Obviously. (Got a new ear worm of an opening theme?)

    Will try out (three-episode rule):
    Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san – Managed to watch the introductory OAV for this series and… DAAAAAYUMN! Coming off the heels of High School DxD HERO‘s successful run, Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san grabs the baton for ecchi anime this season. Kogarashi is also the second coming of To Love-Ru‘s Rito Yuuki when it comes to “accidental pervert” moments (with a bit of Omamori Himari‘s Yuuto Amakawa mixed in). Meanwhile, Yuuna is reminiscent of Oshizu Murasame (also from To Love-Ru) or Ghost Sweeper Mikami‘s Okinu–except bustier.
    Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki – So this is basically Ghost of Tsushima the anime? Despite the foregone historical conclusion later down the line (the Mongol invasion fleet being sunk by a typhoon–which also coined the term “kamikaze“), I still hope this paves the way for an anime adaptation of Kagano Mihachi’s Ad Astra – Scipio to Hannibal later down the line. (I’ve been wanting a movie/series about the Punic Wars for years!)

    Shorts, OVAs and carryovers:
    Cinderella Girls Gekijou Season 3 – I can only wonder if there are new idols that will be added to this diabetes-inducing show. (Perhaps some cameos from the Shiny Colors girls?)
    Persona 5: The Animation – While I’ve switched over to watching a couple of Let’s Plays of the game, I’m still curious enough to see Futaba’s arc in animated form. (Though I dread the “off-model” moments.)
    Gundam Build Divers – Aya “Ayame” Fujisawa is love… ~<3<3<3 (Bonus points for being voiced by Manami Numakura.)
    Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory episodes 11 and 12 – Xebec… Considering that you’re also animating Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san this season and still working on the next batch of Yamato 2202 episodes, please don’t stretch yourselves too thin.

    Again, thanks for the preview, RC crew. Still trying to find a suitable place to upload pics of my trip. (No face reveal.)

  26. I third that for Revue Starlight.

    An initial impression would suffice but an episodic blogging would be nice. Up to you guys. BUT AT LEAST GIVE THE DAMN ANIME A SHOT. It’s an original production.

    Passerby, you have the eye of a hawk for noticing this. I vote you having the best taste amongst your randomc comrades. Truly, a man amongst men in this blogging site.


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