The summer season is a fickle one. The blistering heat of the blazing sun can be brutal and intense. The cool rain you thought you’d be getting winds up being shrouded in a torrential downpour that makes enjoying the summer heat impossible. For both occasions, you’ll be forced to take shelter somewhere. But while you’re indoors or hunkered down in the shade, why not catch up on the summer anime season?
This is truly a season for sequels, so if you’ve been looking forward to seeing your favorite show return, chances are you’ll definitely find something that you’ve been anticipating in this season’s roster. For light novel adaptations, Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu needs no introduction considering how much hype it has built up since its first season. You can also look forward to new seasons of Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha, Bungou Stray Dogs, and Mononogatari to give you another chance to catch up with some of the newer and more beloved shows from recent years.
Need some peak shonen in your life? The return of BLEACH: Sennen Kessen-hen and two of the best arcs of JUJUTSU KAISEN are guaranteed to feed you well. If you hunger for something funny or romantic, the sequels and spin-offs to Hataraku Maou-sama!!, Masamune-kun no Revenge, Kanojo, Okarishimasu, and Horimiya -piece- may help satiate your appetite.
That’s not to say that new adaptations and originals won’t amaze you. Not when Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead promises to transport you directly into the heat of the action during a zombie rampage. The charming comedy Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta is a promising school-life anime that you might just fall in love with. If intense mind games are more your speed, then Liar Liar might prove to be the hidden ace up the summer season’s sleeves.
There are many more anime to look out for this summer, so, should you choose to spend your free time this season on catching up on new anime, we’ve got your back in recommending all of the hottest shows during the hottest of seasons in our seasonal anime guide. This is Random Curiosity’s Summer 2023 Preview!
Disclaimer: Considering how substantial a task the Random Curiosity season preview is, we’ve divided it up among our active staff (Choya, FJ Freeman, Gabie, Guardian Enzo, Pancakes, Princess Usagi, and Zephyr) in order to maintain the quality of this preview. We will point out what appeals to us in each series, in the hope it will help you determine if it coincides with your tastes. Our Excitement Levels likewise showcase our visceral gut reactions to what we expect each show to be, so remember to check out the Overall Impressions section at the bottom for a general idea of our seasonal thoughts and opinions.
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, seem to be oriented toward young children, or shows being exclusively batch released through Netflix or similar streaming service (refer to the OVA section for mentions on these). Likewise, any shows which have been postponed or currently are not confirmed to premiere have also been excluded. Please check out MOON PHASE for complete listings, syoboi for specific air times, and Fansub DB for a list of potential sub/dub sources for each series. And if we happened to miss something major, don’t hesitate to poke us! Also remember if in need of some differing perspectives to check out the LiA Summer preview for a second opinion on many of these shows.
Above all else, however, many thanks are deserving to you, the entire Random Curiosity community. Whether you read every post or only a handful, whether you’re involved with and/or contribute to our Discord channel, have the desire to donate to our Patreon and Kofi or simply just lurk the site on occasion, it’s your time, attention, and company which keep us going. Honestly without you we wouldn’t be here writing about anime, so here’s to another fun season of it for us to enjoy together!
Technical Note: The schedule below is ordered by the date and time that the shows premiere. The links 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 example, Friday morning at 1:30AM would become Thursday at 25:30 to indicate that the episode aired late Thursday night. Series being streamed and season carryovers are excluded and series lacking confirmed air times are excluded until further airing info is released.
Zom 100: Zombie ni Naru made ni Shitai 100 no Koto
17:00 MBS/TBS (07/09)
Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid 2nd Season
22:00 TOKYO MX (07/09)
23:00 TOKYO MX (07/09)
Genjitsu no Yohane -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR-
23:00 Abema (06/25)
Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu 2nd Season
24:00 TOKYO MX (07/02)
25:05 TOKYO MX (07/09)
Masamune-kun no Revenge R
21:00 AT-X (07/03)
Lv1 Maou to One Room Yuusha
21:30 AT-X (07/03)
Mononogatari 2nd Season
24:00 TOKYO MX (07/03)
24:00 TV Osaka (07/10)
25:00 TOKYO MX (07/10)
Okashi na Tensei
25:30 TV Tokyo (07/03)
Yumemiru Danshi wa Genjitsushugisha
26:00 Abema (07/03)
Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta
23:00 TOKYO MX (07/04)
25:29 Nippon TV (07/11)
Jidou Hanbaiki ni Umarekawatta Ore wa Meikyuu wo Samayou
22:00 AT-X (07/05)
Bungo Stray Dogs 5
23:00 TOKYO MX (07/12)
Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon
23:30 TOKYO MX (07/05)
Shiro Seijo to Kuro Bokushi
24:30 TOKYO MX (07/12)
Undead Girl Murder Farce
24:55 Fuji TV (07/05)
BanG Dream! It’s MyGO!!!!!
22:00 TOKYO MX (06/29)
Hataraku Maou-sama!! 2nd Season
23:30 TOKYO MX (07/13)
JUJUTSU KAISEN Season 2
23:56 MBS/TBS (07/06)
Higeki no Genkyou to Naru Saikyou Gedou Last Boss Joou wa Tami no Tame ni Tsukushimasu.
24:00 TOKYO MX (07/06)
Rurouni Kenshin -Meiji Kenkaku Romantan- (2023)
24:55 Fuji TV (07/06)
Seija Musou: Salaryman, Isekai de Ikinokoru Tame ni Ayumu Michi
26:00 Abema (07/06)
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale 2nd Cour
22:30 TOKYO MX (07/07)
Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru
24:30 TOKYO MX (07/07)
Kanojo, Okarishimasu 3rd Season
25:23 MBS/TBS (07/07)
AI no Idenshi
25:53 MBS/TBS (07/07)
Dekiru Neko wa Kyou mo Yuuutsu
26:23 MBS/TBS (07/07)
Level 1 dakedo Unique Skill de Saikyou desu
22:00 TOKYO MX (07/08)
22:30 Abema (07/08)
Bleach: Sennen Kessen-hen – Ketsubetsu-tan
23:00 TV Aichi (07/08)
23:30 TOKYO MX (07/01)
Ryza no Atelier: Tokoyami no Joou to Himitsu no Kakurega
24:00 TOKYO MX (07/01)
Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha II
24:30 AT-X (07/08)
25:00 TOKYO MX (07/01)
25:30 TOKYO MX (07/08)
Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi
25:30 TV Asahi (07/01)
Jitsu wa Ore, Saikyou deshita?
26:00 ABC (07/01)
Greetings, fellow RC enthusiasts! Today, I have an enthralling tale to share with all of you, one that will transport us to the breathtaking town of Numazu, where ordinary lives intertwine with extraordinary destinies. Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of “Genjitsu no Yohane: SUNSHINE in the MIRROR,” where reality merges seamlessly with fantasy, captivating our imaginations.
Enter Yohane (Kobayashi Aika), a spirited young girl plagued by the delightful affliction of chuunibyou. As an avid anime watcher, I can’t help but be fascinated by the whimsical delusions that make Yoshiko’s imagination soar. Since her earliest days, Yoshiko has felt a profound sense of disconnection from those around her. In the picturesque streets of Numazu, she has always stood apart, yearning for something more, something beyond the ordinary. As an anime enthusiast myself, I resonate with her desire for grandeur and escapism. With unwavering determination and a heart full of dreams, Yohane embarks on an extraordinary journey that takes her to the very depths of a mysterious realm.
Join us as we embark on this spellbinding adventure, where Yoshiko’s misfit journey ignites our own sense of possibility. Through her courage, resilience, and the unexpected alliances she forges, we learn that sometimes, the most extraordinary miracles emerge from the seemingly ordinary.
|Genjitsu no Yohane -SUNSHINE in the MIRROR- Promotional Videos ▼|
History has often (though not always) delegated men to the front pages- for starters, see the number of male compared to female presidents/prime ministers and of course, no female shogun. What if that were to be flipped on its head? Yoshinaga Fumi, explores this through Oooku. When Japan becomes afflicted by the Redface Pox during the Edo Era, the majority of men are wiped out, upending traditional gender roles. Men are relegated to delicate creatures of the back room while the women take on the responsibilities of running their homes, cities, and nation in the face of the chronic plague. Female shoguns now at the helm of the country, the most desirable men are hand-picked to join her Inner Chambers as they leave the life they once knew for palace intrigues.
The flipped perspective on history, diving into the humanity, the ambitions, the heart in a re-imagination of the shogunal line of succession gripped me from the moment I first picked up the manga. I was stoked to see it finally get an anime. Studio Deen is a solid studio and no stranger to historical gems such as Rurouni Kenshin and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, amongst other classics. With it being Netflix, the release timing might be weird, but I hope overall, it will get the production it deserves.
Calling all music enthusiasts! I’m thrilled to share some incredible news with you today. Brace yourselves for the latest addition to the beloved BanG Dream! franchise—an exhilarating anime that promises to strike a chord deep within our souls. Our protagonist, Anon (Tateishi Rin), finds herself amidst a bustling student body, each member already immersed in the enchanting world of bands. Determined to join their harmonious ranks, Anon embarks on a quest to assemble her own musical ensemble. However, there’s a twist in this symphony of events.
Enter Tomori (Youmiya Hina), the peculiar soul known as “Haneoka’s Weirdo.” Unaffiliated with any band, Tomori stands out like a melodic anomaly. Intrigued by Tomori’s enigmatic aura, Anon makes it her mission to connect with her, no matter the obstacles. Little do they know, this fateful encounter will lead them on an extraordinary musical journey, transcending boundaries and igniting their shared passion. Through challenges and hidden talents, Anon and Tomori will uncover the incredible power of music to heal wounds, bridge gaps, and fuel unwavering determination.
BanG Dream!’s latest offering promises an enchanting blend of heartfelt emotions, mesmerizing melodies, and unforgettable characters. Let BanG Dream! guide us through a captivating world where every note carries the weight of dreams, aspirations, and the resounding call of united voices.
|Show Spoiler ▼|
Ishihara Masahi is in charge of the Horimiya adaptation. A great romcom manga adapted by a frontline director should have produced something really special, but ultimately I was quite disappointed by the first season. Ishihara was forced to cut a whole lot in adapting Horimiya in a single cour, which was never going to be ideal. Unfortunately, for me he made a lot of poor decisions about what to eliminate, leaving out most of what makes the manga really special in favor of its most conventional elements. As I put it at the time, it’s like “Ishihara went to a buffet and loaded up on too much dry chicken and stale bread and left the carving station and waffle iron sadly underutilized”.
That brings us to Piece (called “The Missing Pieces” in English), which will be adapting “stories not adapted in the main anime”. So that should be just what the doctor ordered, right? Well, maybe, but not knowing exactly what that means it’s hard to say. There’s certainly plenty of waffles and roast beef waiting to be served up, so in theory this could end up being really good. But it would have been so much better to give the anime two cours in the first place so it could be adapted properly, and even if Piece turns out well that’s still going to annoy me…
|Horimiya -piece- Promotional Videos ▼|
From the well-received game of the same name comes the second Atelier anime adaptation in Atelier Ryza. This particular story is centered on Reisalin “Ryza” Stout (Noguchi Yuri), a young and eager girl living on Kurken Island who only has adventure on the mind. Thankfully for Ryza though, the discovery of an abandoned rowboat lets her and close friends Marslink Lent (Terashima Takuma) and Mongarten Tao (Kondou Yui) to venture to the mainland and achieve that desired adventure. Here the trio quickly wind up in trouble with the local wildlife, only to be rescued by the alchemist Empel Vollmer (Nojima Hirofumi) who, thanks to a little prodding, agrees to take them under his wing and teach them what he knows. For Ryza especially such tutelage is a very good thing, because her new alchemical skills will be needed once she starts learning about the truth of her home.
The Atelier franchise is a funny one to look at overall because it’s probably one of the few long-running JRPG franchises without major anime presence. Ys has a few, Dragon Quest got a full remake, and there’s no need to mention the number of Tales adaptations. But Atelier? Outside Escha & Logy no Atelier there’s nada – and some fans likely wouldn’t complain. Besides the relative uncertainty of the staff involved it’s well-known how much game adaptations are mixed bags, and given Escha & Logy itself was not that impressive it’s hard to envision Ryza really breaking the trend. Couple it with a story debatedly more about looks than plot (Ryza’s thighs do be saving lives) and not hard thinking base marketing here is going to dominate over imaginative adaptation as with Priconne. Of course anything is possible, even for game adaptations, but for franchise fans especially I’d recommend keeping any expectations in check until we see what those first few episodes are made of.
|Ryza no Atelier: Tokoyami no Joou to Himitsu no Kakurega Promotional Videos ▼|
Yanagi Yukito (Yuuto Uemura) is an orphan who is taken to his birthplace on Ayakajima by one of his father’s eccentric disciples. Ayakajima is a cluster of seven islands where it is rumored to be the home of celestial dragons and the mysterious entities known as “Mitama”. When two other disciples of Yukito’s father join up with them, it becomes all too apparent that there is deep discord amongst them. Their secrets, as it seems, could threaten the harmony that’s been cultivated throughout the islands by the disarray caused by this friction. In the pursuit of truth, Yukito might just be able to uncover the answer.
This looks like a fascinating yet mysterious anime. Although it is an original anime with no source material to pull from, director Nagayama Nobuyoshi has often been linked to quite a number of curious anime. While most of his works tend to be comedy, he has dabbled in material like Runway de Waratte, and tends to be attracted to more experimental shows like Happy Sugar Life, Renai Flops, and
|AYAKA Promotional Videos ▼|
Shinozaki(Tachibana Hina) is a helpless officer worker who is often taken care of and coddled by senior team member, Shiori Katase (Tachibana Hina). Despite Shiori’s small stature, she goes out of her way to make sure that Shinozaki’s work experience is made easier by her guidance. Shinozaki worries that she’s fed up with him and merely helps him out of obligation, but this is far from the truth. She doesn’t want to ask him questions, scold him, or look for answers. In fact, Shiori is smitten by the significantly larger man, hoping that her acts of kindness will be recognized by Shinozaki as confessions of her feelings.
I suppose it’s reductive to say that Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi is more appealing to those who want to fulfill the fantasy of being desired by an older woman who looks like a little girl. It will definitely have its fans, and as with a lot of shows about smaller older women, it isn’t as dubious as it seems. For those who want to brave the waters and see the show for what it is as just a romcom, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to give this a fair shake. After all, it’s still a cute, fluffy rom-com where the intent isn’t to get weird with it. In fact, with the way manga readers talk about it, it should prove to be a wholesome slice-of-life story.
|Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi Promotional Videos ▼|
Someone needs to refund their scouter, because the parents of Reinhart, or Hart (Murase Ayumu) were unable to see exactly how much magic he had. When a socially reclusive twenty-year-old is reincarnated as a baby, he has the misfortune of learning that his new royal parents left him for dead because they assumed he was powerless. Little does he realize that his powers are actually off the charts, and were unregistrable because of how broken they were. In this fantasy adventure, watch Hart as he navigates demon friendships, royal feuds, assassination plots, secret superhero identities, and a new little sister.
Isekai and fostering persecution complexes go hand-in-hand, and for Jitsu wa Ore, Saikyou deshita?, being victimized as a rejected infant who is secretly the coolest, most overpowered mage on the planet is far from uncharted territory. But if you’re popping into this one, chances are this scratches an itch you’ve been meaning to have scratched for some time. Everyone has their vices, and for fans of isekai, watching a boy spending his second chance at life fighting adversity, surrounded by adoring girls, and being overpowered sounds like it’d be a pleasure cruise to see. If this looks like it’d tickle your fancy, than consider your fancy tickled as Jitsu wa Ore, Saikyou deshita? sweeps into the summer season.
|Jitsu wa Ore, Saikyou deshita? Promotional Videos ▼|
Mushoku Teseni: The one isekai everyone should be looking forward to. Its protagonist, Rudeus Greyrat (Uchiyama Yumi), is an exceptional character who has been given a second chance at life after dying in a tragic accident. As Rudeus begins to explore his new surroundings, he discovers that the world he now inhabits is vastly different from the world he knew in his previous life.
The world-building is one of the highlights of the anime, with its lush environments and intriguing creatures. The animation is also top-notch, with stunning visuals and epic battles. While the overall tone of the anime can be darker at times, it is balanced out with moments of humor, romance, and heart-warming moments. One of the other selling points that could be considered when promoting Mushoku Tensei is its exploration of complex moral issues. The anime delves into topics such as redemption, forgiveness, and the pursuit of personal growth in a world filled with magic and danger. As mentioned above the anime can be dark, however that certainly is something that could be considered award-winning from a writing standpoint. It should not deter someone who is more accustomed to say something like Tensura.
Moreover, the anime includes a wide variety of characters with unique personalities and backgrounds, making it a rich and engaging experience for viewers. The characters’ individual journeys and development are also well-constructed and often serve as sources of fascination and reflection for viewers. Overall, Mushoku Tensei is a captivating anime that appeals to fans of fantasy and adventure alike. Whether you are looking for a thought-provoking journey or a memorable experience, the anime is sure to deliver. And I couldn’t be more excited for its return; I hope RC readers feel alike.
|Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
Teenage romance is truly a feast or famine experience. For every tale of drama-dripping success there’s the odd one out the guy (or gal) pulling the short end of the stick, something Makabe Masamune (Hanae Natsuki) knows only too well. A pudgy kid, Masamune got the pleasure of perpetual social torment at the hands of one Adagaki Aki (Ohashi Ayaka), a stupidly rich and equally stunning girl who never wasted a change to humiliate Masamune. Vowing revenge, Masamune enlisted the help of his grandfather to give him a total makeover to achieve it, something after eight years he’s now ready to begin. Setting out to make Aki fall in love with him – and then break her heart at the final moment – Masamune’s plan gets off on the right start, but as with all things love one can never fully account for the whims of the heart…
And yet another romance sequel enters the seasonal picture. Back when it first aired in 2017 Masamune-kun no Revenge was a fairly typical (if inventive) romcom which stuck a revenge-based plot at the centre of the usual harem shenanigans. It was even quite fun for the first half or so, but as seemingly wont for this sort of story wound up retreating into tropes, abandoning its stronger aspects, and otherwise devolving into standard-fare anime romance. It’s not to say it was objectively terrible (*looks at Kanojo Okarishimasu*), but certainly lost the charm which let it start out strong, particularly once that divisive cliffhanger is factored in. While this season will be adapting the latter half of the now finished manga, with some utterly chaotic upcoming developments and an equally head scratching ending to look forward to, rest assured the melodrama will not be far away. There may not be any surprises on the part of Masamune-kun no Revenge R, but it’ll certainly check any summertime boxes you got for tried and true romcom trainwreck shenanigans.
|Masamune-kun no Revenge R Promotional Videos ▼|
It has been nary a decade since Maou (Oozora Naomi), the Demon Lord, was bested in battle by the hero Max (Nakamura Yuuichi). Determined to regain his power and try for world domination once again, Maou decides to enter a slumber to recover his strength. Yet when Maou awakes he finds things aren’t as…tall as they once were. Shrunk down to pint-sized kitten (vs. the expected mountain lion) with only a semblance of his powers, Maou also discovers that Max, his most fearsome enemy, happens to be living the NEET life in a dingy one-room apartment. Not at all the future one Demon Lord had in mind, so Maou decides at a whim to move in with Max and turn his life around. After all, what’s a Demon Lord without a proper hero?
If there’s one thing to say about Lv1 Maou is that it wears its influences proudly. In short it’s pure comedic fantasy: Maou seeks to turn Max’s life around, problems arise, conflict is had, and hilarity ensues. It’s basically the successor to Jashin-chan Dropkick and Jahy-sama, where absurdity and comedy go hand in hand to yield a pretty entertaining package – and considering said package comes with the ultimate gremlin voice actress in Oozora Naomi once again voicing the lead, lots of potential for real humour. As is the case for comedy in general this one won’t be for everyone, but with a decent crew and studio in Silver Link pulling production duty, anyone in need a good laugh or bit of wind down material need look no further than this.
Mononogatari grew on me as it progressed. It’s nothing brilliant but the tsukumogami-driven premise is quite interesting, and there are some quietly interesting characters in the cast. I can’t say for certain I’d have covered it if it had aired this season, but based on how summer looks from here it should make the cut pretty comfortably.
Another element of Mononogatari that worked for me was that there was a fair amount of growth for the characters and their relationships over the course of the first cour. The protagonist certainly wasn’t especially likable out of the gate, but his experiences changed his outlook – and in the process, his interactions with the rest of the cast. That’s a nice element to fall back on if you want me to watch a second season.
|Mononogatari 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
When a promising pâtissier, pâtisses away, he is given another chance to fulfill his dream of making the world’s greatest pastry as a nine-year-old named Pastry (Murase Ayumu). As it turns out, his new life isn’t all sugar and rainbows as he encounters unfamiliar hardships in a magical world, ranging from including bandits attacking his domain, malicious and eccentric nobles, an unfortunate financial situation, and land so barren that even water is scarce. Armed with his ingenuity, a love for making sweets, and a go-getter attitude, Pastry must overcome a series of ordeals and learn how to fight, utilizing his confectionary knowledge and discovering magic along the way.
While this definitely feels like it might be a hodgepodge of goofy ideas, the atmosphere of this anime feels like it should be enjoyable. It’s clean, crisp artwork looks very polished in high-definition, and it looks to use its pâtissier premise as a passenger for something a little more action-packed. This might sound like a roundabout way of saying that this should only be for those who enjoy watching isekai to pass the time, but if it is your bag, it should prove to be a good time nonetheless. Yes, it is more of a niche kind of show to watch, but it should prove to fill this niche very well when it begins in the summer season.
|Okashi na Tensei Promotional Videos ▼|
The Dreaming Boy is a Realist follows the story of Sajou Wataru (Miyase Naoya,
Consumed by his self-doubt, Wataru starts distancing himself from Aika, leaving the girl bewildered, wondering if Wataru now dislikes her. Filled with moments of humor and heartache the story explores the struggles of two people as they desperately try to convey their feelings while constantly misinterpreting each other. Join in for a weekly dose of comical mishaps, heartfelt scenes and a rollercoaster ride of emotions as Wataru and Aika attempt to bridge the gap between their hearts. A collaboration between Studio Gokumi and AXsiZ (who also worked together on Shuumatsu no Harem), Yumemiru Danshi wa Genjitsushugisha is based on an ongoing light novel with the same name and it’s the first work of author Okemaru.
|Yumemiru Danshi wa Genjitsushugisha Promotional Videos ▼|
Mie Ai (Wakayama Shion) has a big problem- she forgets her glasses- not just once or twice, but all the time! Her seat neighbor, Komura Kaede (Itou Masahiro) has a big problem- he’s totally crushing on Mie but isn’t sure how to approach her. Luckily for him, Mie needs an extra pair of eyes on the days she forgets her glasses and he just so happens to be the closest one available. You don’t need glasses to see how much more interesting school becomes as these two grow closer.
I am a huge fan of the manga by Fujichika Koume– it’s very funny and Mie and Komura are absolutely cute. Mie is super quirky and Komura is adorably earnest- a winning combination. I was initially pumped about the anime adaptation, until it was announced that GoHands would be doing it, which tempers my expectations- especially with the awful CGI in the first preview. While the visuals are a big deal for me, it won’t absolutely break the show- adaptations like Shinigami Bocchan manage to do a good job telling the story even with eyesore visuals. I’m hoping the same could be true of Megane Wasureta, provided the rest of the production is on point.
|Suki na Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta Promotional Videos ▼|
Move over Truck-kun, there’s a new isekai vehicle on the block. Or shall we say box, as one Boxxo (Fukuyama Jun) finds out the usual alternate world way. A literal fanatic for vending machines and their blessed goods, Boxxo gets the best of all worlds by being crushed by a vending machine and sent off to fantasyland. As a vending machine. Sure, being human is tough, but when you’re dealing with the local monster wildlife with only two products on tap, a constant need for coin, and no ability to communicate except through prerecorded phrases, winding up living the dispensary dream isn’t all that easy. Thankfully, however, Boxxor comes across the young girl Lammis (Hondo Kaede) who helps him out and gets him started, ensuring that this isekai adventure will only be moving forward.
There’s only one of two reactions when looking at Reborn as a Vending Machine: laughter, horror, or a lovely combination of the two. Is that actually three things? Damn rights, because this one deserves it. With isekai already undeniably scraping the bottom of the barrel, going from Sword-kun to literal vending machines is a little jarring if predictable outcome, and that’s probably about as good as you can you can say. Reborn as a Vending Machine is incredibly generic, with the usual group adventure shenanigans a la Tensura accompanied by a story whose conflicts are won through typical MC prowess – just via a vending machine versus some god-endowed powers. Outside of meme-worthy hilarity do not expect perfection on the part of this one, particularly given the lack of source material and middling production crew, but if it can execute decently on its ridiculous premise, there’s a good chance of getting some nice (if crazy) alternate world summer fun.
Everyone knows the Cinderella drill- a young girl is mistreated by her step mother and step sisters until lo and behold- a prince comes and sweeps her away to his castle for a happy ever after. Saimori Miyo (Ueda Reina) doesn’t just know this- she lives it in circa Meiji-era Japan, reduced to a servile status by her stepmother and sister for lacking psychic talent. The prince in question is the intimidating army captain, Kudou Kiyoka (Ishikawa Kaito). Far nicer than he appears at first, Kiyoka offers Miyo the happy ever after of a lifetime and learns to see herself through his eyes.
The story looks like a by the books romance storyline which has the potential to be a nice addition to the genre or a total tanker. I always need a bit of sweeping historical romance in my life and this certainly fits the bill. However, I do worry about the princely savior complex where the female lead “needs” a man to help her embrace herself-that could quickly turn problematic, depending on how they frame it. I am excited that Kinema Citrus is in charge – they’ve done gorgeous work with series like Made in Abyss and if nothing else, the visuals should be lovely.
|Watashi no Shiawase na Kekkon Promotional Videos ▼|
In a Victorian gothic world come alive with vampires, monsters, and killers (oh my!), blood is bound to spill. The game is afoot and a strange detective, Shinuchi Tsugaru (Taku Yashiro), is put on the case after the homicide of a vampire’s spouse. While every detective’s got their signature accessory – Sherlock Holmes has his hat and pipe and Poirot his mustache, this sleuth’s item of choice is rather…unsettling. That’s certainly no bird in that cage- but the head, what is her story and what role will she play – that, my friend, is one of the many mysteries you’ll have to tune in for.
As a huge fan of vampires and the Victorian era, I simply couldn’t let this series preview go unnoticed. With names like Sherlock Holmes, Victor, and Jack the Ripper gracing the character list, the series is going to be leaning heavily into the Victorian gothic vibes, maybe a la Kuroshitsuji, which I’d certainly welcome. No stranger to Kuroshitsuji, having worked on that series previously, Omata Shinichi might be a familiar name to some viewers, as a director for Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai and one of my favorites, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. While unfamiliar with the manga source material, based on the above, it looks like it’ll be worth a watch.
|Undead Girl Murder Farce Promotional Videos ▼|
Welcome to a gripping and hauntingly beautiful tale that will tug at your heartstrings and immerse you in a world where darkness battles darkness. Today, we delve into the mesmerizing world of “Jujutsu Kaisen,” a story that delves deep into the human psyche, exploring themes of hardship, redemption, and the extraordinary lengths we go to protect those we hold dear.
Meet Itadori Yuji (Enoki Jun`ya), a seemingly ordinary high school student with an extraordinary destiny awaiting him. Living a typical life filled with everyday routines, little does Itadori know that the shadows of curses loom menacingly over humanity. Curses are born from the negative emotions that burden us all—hardship, regret, shame—becoming malevolent forces that bring misfortune and even death. What’s more, the only way to vanquish these Curses is through the power of another Curse.
In a fateful encounter, Itadori finds himself facing a life-altering choice when a friend becomes the target of these malevolent entities. To protect his friend, Itadori makes a decision that forever changes his fate—he consumes the finger of the Double-Faced Specter, welcoming the Curse into his own soul. From that moment onward, Itadori becomes a vessel, sharing his body with this enigmatic entity.
Guided by the impenetrable and powerful sorcerer Gojou Satoru (Nakamura Yuuichi), Itadori is thrust into the Tokyo Metropolitan Technical High School of Sorcery. Within the hallowed halls of this institution, a noble battle against the Curses unfolds. Itadori’s journey to exorcise the very darkness that resides within him becomes a test of his resolve, a path that intertwines his own existence with the lives of those he encounters along the way.
The excitement is exceptionally palpable for this season, and expectations are very high. Not a lot of time has passed since the first season and between that time we had an excellent movie to turn us over for those wanting to experience more Jujutsu Kaisen. So how will this second season fare out? Only time will tell – but the outlook is very good indeed.
|JUJUTSU KAISEN Season 2 Promotional Videos ▼|
To a Beam of Light With You is an otome game which features an evil queen named Pride Royal Ivy (Fairouz Ai) whose wicked deeds landed her in final boss territory. Sounds like a compelling character, right? Well, not if you reincarnated as her! Our main heroine, a normal high school student, is reincarnated as an eight-year-old version of Pride and carries the knowledge of her evil transformation. With this in mind, Pride does her best to turn around her poor fortune by vowing to be a kind, benevolent ruler who definitely doesn’t enslave her adopted brother, bind her servants in an eternal contract, and sow despair and destruction across the land. Can she cheat her way into a kinder future with a bevy of love interests, or is she condemned to repeat the same misfortune as her character?
The villainess isekai has emerged as a popular subgenre lately, especially as a girl-friendly alternative to the young male power fantasy that most isekai get lumped into. The uphill battle, however, is distinguishing one villainess anime from the other based on the little differences and intricacies of each. On Higeki no Genkyou to Naru Saikyou Gedou Last Boss Joou wa Tami no Tame ni Tsukushimasu.’s end, it looks like it leans into the darker elements of what a villainess would do. Rather than the villainess being a goofy Bowser type or a comically evil woman who is unceremoniously killed by the heroine, Pride Royal Ivy comes off as purely evil. The bloodstained trailer highlights how much of Pride’s role in the game is to murder and/or subjugate those who defy her rule. It is wishful thinking to see if this will be a lot darker than your standard villainess anime that leans on the video gamey aspects of being trapped in an otome game. But hopefully, it embraces its darkness as it casts a shadow over the summer sun.
|Higeki no Genkyou to Naru Saikyou Gedou Last Boss Joou wa Tami no Tame ni Tsukushimasu. Promotional Videos ▼|
Of all the series I’ve previewed over the years, this one may be the most complicated. I love RuroKen, and it had as much to do with making me an animanga fan as any series ever has.
Rurouni Kenshin had an anime of course – two seasons by Gallup, one by Deen. It also got some original OVAs which I liked a lot less than most people, another original OVA decades letter written by Okada Mari which should be put in the nosecone of a rocket and fired into the sun, and a series of highly successful live-action movies. But it’s the series I was primarily concerned with, and that itself it complicated. It did a fantastic job adapting the Kyoto Arc (which for my money may be the greatest arc in shounen manga), but veered off into original (and often mediocre) material in the third season. That left the manga’s final major arc, “Jinchuu” (Revenge) unadapted. And as it’s almost on par with “Kyoto”, that’s always been a festering wound.
One element that really confuses things here is that we don’t know exactly what Rurouni Kenshin 2023 will be. It’s been assumed it will be some sort of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood style reboot, and it’s certainly starting at the beginning. But we have no episode count. We don’t even know that it will get to “Jinchuu”, though it would be pretty pointless not to. We don’t know if it will include the “Hokkaido” follow-up series at all. We do know it’s a Lidenfilms series, and they’ve been on quite a roll lately. And the previews look great in a very old-school way. But those are an awful lot of important unanswered questions.
As for the herd of elephants in the room, everyone has to decide for themselves what they should do about that. I wish there was an easy answer to this for me, but there isn’t. On some level, I feel as if I can’t not cover this reboot, because RuroKen is so fundamental to my anime experience. But yes, I am conflicted. There is some line where we separate the artist from the art and judge the latter on its own merits, but that line is arbitrary and I don’t care what anybody says.
|Rurouni Kenshin -Meiji Kenkaku Romantan- (2023) Promotional Videos ▼|
One day, Earth’s God of Destiny lost a bet against Galdardia’s Chief God, and had to hand over ten mediocre souls. Of these mediocre souls is a salaryman who was brutally shot to death before earning a promotion. After being violently gunned down, he was reincarnated as a fifteen-year-old healer named Luciel (Kawashima Reiji) in a country where they hate healers. Luciel hopes to join the adventurers guild to keep him safe, but his training is rough and he’s forced to drink a mysterious beverage named “Substance X” to keep himself formidable. The day-to-day life of a super-masochistic, back-from-the-dead healer begins, with his very survival on the line!
While many isekai that have cropped up either become too goofy for their own good or self-indulgent wish fulfillment, Seija Musou leans into the humor of being truly unwanted in a world of wonderment and magic. Where the rite of passage for Luciel winds up being a lot funnier than the uphill battles that other victimized isekai heroes have gone on. It is wishful thinking that this will be a pleasant surprise compared to the usual fare, but hopefully it harnesses the fun, chaotic feeling of the trailer when it arrives this summer.
|Seija Musou: Salaryman, Isekai de Ikinokoru Tame ni Ayumu Michi Promotional Videos ▼|
In the Kingdom of Highland there is no greater occupation than that of Silver Sugar Master. A pâtissier without comparison, the Master creates the finest of sugar craft and can only receive their title at the behest of royalty. For one Ann Halford (Nukui Yuka), the daughter of a famous Master, it’s a position she’s always aspired to, so when her mother passes away and the royal family announces a sugar sculpture competition in distant Lewiston bestowing the title on its winner, she sets out to make her dream a reality. Realizing it, however, requires Ann to purchase the foul-mouthed fairy slave Challe (Mizunaka Masaaki) as her bodyguard because the roads aren’t safe, she isn’t the most skillful of fighters, and fairies like Challe are considered appropriate protective fodder. As Ann is about to discover in a world of slaves and masters, claiming her culinary title might be the least of her concerns.
If there’s one thing to say about Sugar Apple Fairy Tale is that it’s a fairly solid shoujo romance. While its first cour was largely unremarkable (shoujo do be like that), it did play up its fantastical setting quite well and paired it with some decent use of its themes of slavery and growing into your own. For all the fluff and simplicity Ann did have challenges at times, with every cliché development at least accompanied by threads to go off and think about. Couple it with JC Staff providing some very fitting art and animation and it did everything it had to do, even if the romance at the heart of the story didn’t quite live up to all expectations. Pretty much don’t expect much changes this season, but if you enjoyed the first or simply have a fancy for some conventional shoujo romance, make sure to keep an eye on Sugar Apple Fairy Tale.
|Sugar Apple Fairy Tale 2nd Cour Promotional Videos ▼|
The prestigious school of Kimberly is known only for one thing: training Spellblade casters. A deadly and irreversible form of magic, spellblades are second to none, with their casters effectively nobility given the power they wield. It is this world Oliver Horn (Tamaru Atsushi) seeks to enter as a new Kimberly student, yet all the prestige and promises of glory cannot make up for what greets him within the school grounds. Labyrinths, dangerous monsters, opportunistic enemies: Kimberly has many secrets to reveal, something Oliver will find out the hard way. When it comes to the world of magic, nothing is ever as it seems.
Yes, I know, we already got one battle academy this season – but what about a Harry Potter battle academy? Now that piqued the attention didn’t it? While slightly tongue in cheek, Nanatsuma can indeed be thought of as a Japanese Harry Potter, where mysterious, eager, and somewhat naïve kid stumbles across a wider world of intrigue and deception. Magic here simply serves as the vehicle for drama, action, and character development, where the more lighthearted aspects of say Little Witch Academia get replaced by gritty rationalism. Or in other words, a battle academy emphasizing the battle. The main concern here will be adaptation strategy, as given Nanatsuma is the work of Alderamin’s Uno Bokuto there’s strong potential for infodumps and general source material hatchet job. Plus the involvement of JC Staff isn’t something which invites a lot of confidence. Nevertheless first episodes always tell the tale and the PVs are admittedly looking good, so if you’re in need of a magic flavoured battle academy this season definitely consider giving Nanatsuma a whirl. You never know, it might just wind up surprising.
|Nanatsu no Maken ga Shihai suru Promotional Videos ▼|
Freshman Kinoshita Kazuya (Horie Shun) doesn’t have it easy at college. Unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend barely a month into their relationship after asking her to visit the family, Kazuya turns towards a rental girlfriend app to help fill the loveless void – only to get far more than he bargained for in the process. Although Mizuhara Chizuru (Amamiya Sora), Kazuya’s hired date, is perfect on the outside, a negative review he left following some post-date regrets reveals a temperamental personality wholly at odds with initial impressions. And to make matters worse, Kazuya is forced to reveal Chizuru as his “girlfriend” to his family following a medical mishap. It’s not the ideal situation and it leaves Kazuya and Chizuru both in a serious quandary. Unable to tell the truth they must live the lie for Kazuya’s family, all the while dealing with former flings and eager coworkers – and the growing feelings between accompanying the ups and downs.
Alright, be honest, how many thought this one would wind up with three seasons? Not me for one, not when you’re combining the best (worst?) of trashy bottom-tier anime romance with the epitome of romcom tropes in all their gilded glory. Incredible harem chaos? Got that. Ridiculous archetypes with predictable (mostly) developments? Fully on tap. Crazy changes in relationship statuses and love-hate pairings purely for the sake of melodrama? I thought you’d never ask. It might be rude to Kanokari to disparage it so openly, but goddamn does it make it hard not to at times, particularly after the second season one-upped the first in everything which made it so divisive (and admittedly enjoyed by some) to such a degree. In short do not expect any major shakeups or changes, anticipate lots of the same sort of drama, and if you have any aspirations of a proper romance conclusion in the close firmly check those expectations at the door. After all, considering Kanokari’s manga is still ongoing with such a loyal following, a fourth season is definitely not out the question.
|Kanojo, Okarishimasu 3rd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
In the not-too-distant future humanity is no longer entirely human. Over 10% of the population are so-called humanoids, machines endowed with artificial intelligence enough to make them, if not entirely human, human enough to be treated as equals. It is in this brave new world where Dr. Sudou Hikaru (Ootsuka Takeo) practices, helping man and machine both with the ailments arising from daily living. Yet Hikaru’s job isn’t entirely above grade. Moonlighting under the pseudonym Moggadeet, Hikaru takes on risky – and illegal – medical procedures, of which the most recent is rewriting the memory of a humanoid whose husband inadvertently infected her when illegally backing up her memory. It’s a case especially piquing Hikaru’s interest, because could one truly claim to be the same if one’s memory is fully overwritten?
Robots, artificial intelligence, and the pursuit of a universal meaning of existence are a well-trodden field these days, whether you go back to the halcyon days of I, Robot or more modern anime takes in Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song and Plastic Memories. In this regard AI no Idenshi isn’t that particularly unique, with philosophical musings underpinning a thriller-lite setting which leaves lots of room for existential drama and internalized angst. Or if you will, a sci-fi Mushishi with a similar predilection towards largely episodic arcs. Although the PVs and overall character art/design aren’t anything to write home about, with this being a Madhouse production in the hands of a fairly competent crew alongside having quite a bit of source material to work with, it’s one show I wouldn’t write off at face value. Considering the type of story at play, AI no Idenshi is easily one summer show which could pull a dark horse out of its hat.
|AI no Idenshi Promotional Videos ▼|
Saku (Ishikawa Yui) assumed that it was going to be a breeze to take in a stray cat. Little did she know that she was introducing a new housekeeping life partner into her life! Yukichi (Yasumoto Hiroki) isn’t any ordinary black cat. For instance, he towers over Saku, takes pride in his culinary skills, and always seeks out the best discounts at the supermarket. Even if Saku is lagging, she’s got Yukichi to keep her work/life balance in check as he gladly takes care of her home while she hustles at work.
GoHands is more notorious for their vaseline-slathered animation and daytime lens flare effects, so seeing them jump into a slice-of-life comedy about a giant cat is very amusing. It has its own niche as many cat anime tend to do, but as an owner of a black cat, it is another instance where I’m tempted to give this one a shot by virtue of seeing a massive version of my pet in action. Yes, it will likely be something to merely keep on in the background, but if you’re looking for something fun, fluffy, and low stakes, then Dekiru Neko wa Kyou mo Yuuutsu may appeal to more than just cat people when it arrives for this summer.
|Dekiru Neko wa Kyou mo Yuuutsu Promotional Videos ▼|
From the light novel series of the same name comes the next greatest isekai adventure. Or at least you’d think if your name wasn’t Satou Ryouta (Ishikawa Kaito). While getting the chance of a second life after literally working to death for a black company, Ryouta’s alternate world peregrinations hit a major roadblock when he finds out he’s stuck at level one. Permanently. No worries though; for all the lack of innate stat boosting the kid has the fortunate luck of being able to conjure overpowered items on a whim, ensuring his skills are always maxed no matter what. It’s not the most typical of isekai starts, but Ryouta is definitely going to enjoy it for all it’s worth.
Normally with these series I’d go into a spiel about the whole isekai zeitgeist – but yeah, synopsis do be telling the entire tale. It’s not even a slight against Level 1 dakedo Unique Skill de Saikyou desu: it’s conventional isekai, it does the whole fantasy flavoured slice of life harem shtick, and does so with the expected (if not unwelcome) lighthearted comedy approach; hard to fault following the leader when it works so well. For all we’ve seen this sort of thing numerous times before there’s always one or two things which keep the overall story entertaining, and with this one relying on items over abilities for its OP MC shenanigans you can at least bet on some small twists to separate it from the crowd. Or, you know, mostly. Level 1 dakedo Unique Skill de Saikyou desu certainly won’t be topping the charts this summer season, but it will easily fit the bill for anyone craving a bit of simple isekai fun this summer season.
|Level 1 dakedo Unique Skill de Saikyou desu Promotional Videos ▼|
The Mask that we wear in social settings has nothing on the duplicitous nature of Academy Island. When Nature Calls, students must settle every dispute with a “game” where students risk placing their reputations into a Dead Pool for upward mobility and a collection of “star” points. Our main protagonist Hiroto (Nakamura Genta) may look like a Yes Man, but their mind isn’t exactly Spotless. After a Series of Unfortunate Events, their world is suddenly In Living Color as they defeat The Majestic student deemed to be the academy’s strongest empress. But if he wants to remain the Man on the Moon and be Kickass too, he’ll have to live up to his reputation as the pseudo-strongest in the school. Make sure your Cable Guy has your internet set, because you’ll definitely want to have Fun with Hiroto & the girls of Academy Island this summer.
Now that I’ve gotten my goofs out of the way, it’s hard not to root for a ridiculous psychological thriller about risky games. Kakegurui has had its fair share of similar gambling academy anime since it debuted, but Liar, Liar helps to scratch that itch fairly well. Based on the trailer, the anime also seems to lean toward the technological side, so it adds an immersive element to the kind of gambing that the students have to contend with. It looks like it should prove to be a guilty pleasure, if not an overall good time, when it wagers it all on this summer.
|Liar, Liar Promotional Videos ▼|
In the midst of Yhwach’s (Sugou Takayuki) invasion of the Soul Society, Kurosaki Ichigo (Masakazu Morita), the famed substitute Soul Reaper, finds himself in a difficult spot. As his zanpakuto blade, Zangetsu, is shattered, he must confront the truth behind his parents’ lineage to recover Zangetsu in all of its glory. Although he was able to see the light, this brings about further complications as his friend Ishida Uryuu (Sugiyama Noriaki) discovers that his destiny is linked to Yhwach through his Quincy lineage. Will the two come at odds with each other in the Soul Society’s on-going feud between Soul Reapers and Quincies, or will they be the miracle that turns the tides?
Comfort food can be odd. Sometimes, it can be something warm and hearty that feels like you’re right back at home like stews or curries. Other times, it can be unhealthy food that you know is bad for you, but just can’t resist. In a way, Bleach feels like a combination of the two, like any home-cooked meal that’s touched a deep fryer. And nothing gets that point across more than how the anime has handled the Thousand Year Blood War arc. The anime staff had not only given a modern sheen to Bleach’s art, but also fleshed out parts of the story that hadn’t been adapted or included in the manga. The first installment of the final arc felt like a love letter to what Bleach represents as the stylish, rebellious shonen manga that wears its notoriety on its sleeve. And with the news that it will be adapting unseen Bankai, it’s needless to say that I’ll be looking forward to what kinds of additional lore and story will be added to the final arc when it makes its arrival this summer.
|Bleach: Sennen Kessen-hen – Ketsubetsu-tan Promotional Videos ▼|
Editor’s Note: Returning after being placed on hiatus in Winter 2023
Humans, spirits, and even gods themselves: all at some point have succumbed to Anoth (Umehara Yuuichirou), the Demon King of Tyranny. Yet for his conquests there’s just one itch Anoth can quite scratch: boredom. With none capable of giving Anoth what he desires, he chooses to reincarnate in a later age and see what the future holds. And what it holds is very different indeed. Weak demonic descendants, senescent magic; nothing is as Anoth knows, so he thus enrolls in Demon King Academy to correct these faults. Although Anoth’s immeasurable power and unknown status turn him into the academy’s social pariah, fellow students (and newfound friends) Misha (Kusunoki Tomori) and Sasha (Natsuyoshi Yuuko) show him his goal of revitalizing the world isn’t entirely hopeless. And now, after crushing a few enemies and ensconcing himself as the Academy’s up and coming prodigy, Anoth is well on his way to reclaiming his former glory.
Say what you will about power fantasy, but Maou Gakuin shows there’s plenty of juice left to squeeze. This series was a very fun ride back in 2020, owing in part to both its self awareness and willingness to have Anoth set back and let the secondary cast shine. Deadpan comedy? Ridiculous abilities? Lighthearted, tongue in cheek shenanigans? Maou Gakuin featured it all and came out the better for it. The main difference for this sequel, however, is the change in cast; Suzuki Tatsuhisa, courtesy of personal transgressions, is out as Anoth and replaced by Umehara Yuuichirou. This is admittedly not a bad choice (based on the PV), but it will take some getting used to, particularly given how well Tatsuhisa did with Anoth in the more comedic moments. The good news is all other cast and crew are carrying over, so provided Yuuichirou can live up to expectations and this season doesn’t rush through its material too quickly (which, spoiler alert, it’s doing), there should be no derailments for this power fantasy train. Considering how much I liked the first season, I for one really hope so.
|Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha II Promotional Videos ▼|
Akemitsu Akegami (Akasaka Masayuki) dreams of living isolated to avoid becoming a filthy pervert like his father. When he falls in love with a young woman, he is left anxiety-ridden about being led astray from his wishes of isolation. He ultimately decides to cut off society altogether to renounce his worldly ways and take on the humble life of a Buddhist monk, but unfortunately for him, he’s hit with a one-two punch. Not only is the temple he chose full of women, but the same young woman he fell in love with is one of the practitioners at the temple! So begins a new rom-com about the temple life of three adorable triplets and two beautiful freeloaders!
For better or worse, this looks like it’ll be more of a throwback anime of sorts. Where it takes after many harem anime concepts from the 90’s through the 2010’s as a young, hapless guy is roped into the temptings arms of alluring women. That’s not to say that it will only be appealing to those who only want the harem experience, especially considering that it was created by the artist of Grand Blue. With this in mind, I can see it leaning on more of the comedic side, pairing its ecchi leanings with a good sense of humor. Hopefully, it retains that kind of spirit when it debuts soon.
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Most of us have heard about “them”- the exploitative companies that squeeze everything out of their employees for little in return. Tendou Akira (Umeda Shuuichiro) works for one such corporation and falls into what feels like a 6 foot deep rut. Things unexpectedly liven up for him when the townspeople start turning into zombies and he changes into badass zombie survivor mode.
In anime seasons that run amok with demons and vampires, a zombie show is a unique one to throw in the mix. I have a special fondness for zombies, having grown up with Night of the Living Dead, so I am looking forward to seeing how anime takes on the genre. With Seko Hiroshi on series composition, I’m sure he’ll bring his experience with big action-packed shows like Shingeki no Kyojin, Chainsaw Man and Jujutsu Kaisen to add a punch to the overall dynamic Zom100 will pack. I was also intrigued by the exploitative company angle, seeing as how that is a major issue in anime with companies like MAPPA and many more that have come to light. I’m curious as to how far this series will go in addressing exploitation or if it sticks to surface level stuff.
|Zom 100: Zombie ni Naru made ni Shitai 100 no Koto Promotional Videos ▼|
In a season of good adaptations from bad studios, we have Shinigami Bochan to Kuro Maid. This is a manga I really like – maybe a hair less than Suki no Ko ga Megane wo Wasureta, but it’s close. And sadly, J.C. Staff can only be called a bad studio these days. They were never a quality engine on the scale of Bones or I.G. but did more than their share of good-to-great, workmanlike adaptations (and the occasional winning original like Ano Natsu de Matteru, probably their prettiest series). Now they’re mostly CGI (as is Shinigami Bochan), and when they do venture into 2-D animation you wish they hadn’t.
Still, the first season of this show was quite decent to this manga reader, in spite of the crap visuals. As they did with Hi Score Girl – with the same director, Yamakawa Yoshiki – J.C. Staff got the narrative of things pretty spot-on. The material to be covered this time is certainly stronger, though if the adaptation is going to cover the rest of the now-completed manga in one cour, some cuts are going to have to be made. All in all this looks like the closest thing to a safe bet on the summer schedule to me, given the uncertainly about Rurouni Kenshin’s episode count and intentions.
|Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
Once upon a time demons ruled the world, until a mythical hero arose to break the yoke and free mankind. Such was this hero’s legacy that Rosewood Academy was founded, an elite school whose sole purpose was to train the next generation of heroes. It is here at Rosewood where Arnest Flaming (Yamada Misuzu) hopes to make her mark. An incredibly skilled girl with a strong sense of duty, Arnest is the academy’s top performer and well-known as the Empress of Flames. The problem? She’s been personally requested to help new transfer student Blade (Kawashima Reiji), a lively carefree kid who is the complete opposite in personality yet the same in power. Not at all the school life Arnest had envisioned, but for the sake of success she’ll find a way to make this situation work.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: yes Eiyuu Kyoushitsu is generic, and oh yes it’s not going to be breaking with tradition. This one is as unfiltered battle academy as you can get, where cookie cutter characters, simplistic magic systems, and enough plot to explain away the harem teasers all come together to form (ideally) an entertaining package. To Eiyuu Kyoushitsu’s credit it doesn’t necessarily flunk this aspect (at least from the parts I’ve read), but anyone expecting another Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry best check such expectations at the door. The good news though is there’s a lot of source material to leverage alongside a half-decent studio in Actas, so provided all the usual fun of chopping, rushing, and overall adaptation curses is avoided there could be some fun to be had. Eiyuu Kyoushitsu won’t be for everyone, but any fantasy fan in need of some quintessential fantasy anime this season need look no further than this.
|Eiyuu Kyoushitsu Promotional Videos ▼|
As a college freshman young Gentouga Keitarou (Shimazaki Nobunaga) has an interesting yet spooky talent: ghosts love him. In fact ghosts love Keitarou so much that they inflicted an injury upon him that so happened to also catch his friend in the crossfire. It was enough to encourage Keitarou into the NEET lifestyle through which he now seeks to free himself of – though it’s not all that easy. As part of his rehabilitation, childhood friend Houzuki Eiko (Hanazawa Kana) provides Keitarou support and even sets him up as private tutor for her cousin Yayoi (Sasahara Yuu), but Yayoi is also spiritually inclined, and unlike Keitarou wants to seek ghosts out. Enough so in fact that both Yayoi and Eiko wind up dragging the poor guy along on their haunted house tours regardless of opinion and past events. It’s not at all the way Keitarou intended on getting back to society, but one way or another he’ll have to make the opportunity work.
Horror series are always a bit of a mixed bag, usually veering into campy B-grade (or B-grade esque) productions, action masquerading as horror, or leveraging the concept for more psychological and philosophical discussions. In this regard Dark Gathering largely falls into the first category, but don’t let that label deceive you. This one is very much a true horror, with its ghosts functioning more as figurative zombies (spoiler alert) and the mechanisms of overcoming them inherently tied to the real world. Do not expect a lot of supernatural abilities or even major action here: battles come down to wits as much as strength and there’s no serious ass pulls to fan the flames. The few chapters of the manga I read were pretty damn impressive (particularly art-wise), and while there’s the usual production concerns colouring opinions, should Dark Gathering do its source material justice in both animation and series composition, this is definitely one horror show to keep firmly on your summer radar.
|Dark Gathering Promotional Videos ▼|
In the year 2222 humanity is at its end. Brought to the brink of annihilation a decade prior by the Tears of the New Moon, a calamitous rain birthing deformed monsters, the survivors fled to the underground haven of Amasia, the last human city. Yet for all the protection Amasia offers it’s not the most inviting of experiences. Run and controlled by the AI Magnus, Amasia’s citizens live in perpetual uncertainty over whether the rains above or their own engineering marvels below will be the thing to finally wipe them out. It is this fear partly driving the Drifters, oddball scavengers who venture outside the confines of Amasia. The resources and artifacts recovered by these Drifters may not be much for most, but no one knows just what discovery they make which might help keep humanity surviving.
Before any sci-fi lover gets excited at that synopsis, best to know that Synduality is a game adaptation. And not just any game adaptation: an adaptation to a game yet to be released. Oh yes, it’s one of those series. While admittedly preemptive on the judgement front, it’s very difficult seeing how this won’t be another Scarlet Nexus, where the intent is more to promote and sell the source game over releasing a sharp and coherent story. For one it’s another Bandai Namco mixed media franchise, for another the teaser material hints towards the usual production streamlining. Top it off with the same sort of story that these sorts of series love and it’s not hard seeing what the likely outcome will be. I wouldn’t as far to say Synduality is guaranteed to be a trainwreck, but this is one summer show I would recommend hedging any and all bets on.
|SYNDUALITY Noir Promotional Videos ▼|
Editor’s Note: Returning after being placed on hiatus in Winter 2023
Kazamaki Matsuri (Chiba Shouya) and Kanade Suzu (Ichinose Kana) are childhood friends who share in the ability to be able to see, exorcise and interact with ayakashi – or youkai. But somehow, as they enter high school, their relationship starts to deteriorate as their views on ayakashi start to diverge: Matsuri believes they should all be eradicated, while Suzu, who’s also a medium, believes they’re worthy of compassion and love. So far, not an unusual plot line for this genre of anime. The catch? After stumbling upon an inconspicuous looking cat ayakashi (who’s really an overpowered four hundred-year-old spirit), Matsuri gets turned into a girl! Could this be Suzu’s worst nightmare? How is she going to process her romantic feelings towards her childhood best friend now that he’s turned into a voluptuous she-beauty?!
Romcom, ecchi, slice of life-ish, gender bender and a sprinkle of Japanese folklore: Ayakashi Triangle is currently in its 11th tankobon volume while being serialized in Shounen Jump+. Written and illustrated by Yabuki Kentaro, best known for his Black Cat series and for illustrating To Love Ru, this heartwarming romance hits the screen on this winter season to keep you toasty. And considering how its first kick of the can went, I’m willing to bet it’s going to be very interesting in its latter half.
|Ayakashi Triangle Promotional Videos ▼|
The Demon King, a being of great power, and also a poor sucker always defeated at the hands of the hero. Yet for the denizens of this particular demon world it’s also an opportunity for the rules stipulate the next king must be chosen through a tournament, one where martial prowess and magical ability are everything. At least they would be, if not for Helck (Konishi Katsuyuki). A seemingly normal happy-go-lucky human hero, Helck easily bests the competition and quickly rises through the tournament ranks, enough so that Red Vamirio (Komatsu Mikako), one of the demon’s overseer “Four Heavenly Kings” seeks to find out what exactly he’s after. The fate of the world is at stake after all, but it’s anyone’s guess if Vamirio can figure out the mystery before Helck takes the title.
Helck is one of those series where it’s hard to believe it’s actually getting an adaptation – and no, not because it’s cookie-cutter bottom of the barrel bad in any way. This one is a fairly old (for the current production committee adaptation strategy) manga, ending back in 2017, but is also one which was a very fun ride. Pretty much take a lighthearted fantasy premise with a nice chunk of comedy, add in some nifty twists and turns, and have it executed very well and you have yourself a story easily hitting above its weight. Although Helck isn’t without its imperfections (most notably a rushed ending) and does keep to fantasy conventions, it’s one of those examples highlighting just how important execution is when it comes to overall strength. With two confirmed cours to work with, a fairly solid crew, and decent cast, I wouldn’t anticipate this one falling off the rails, and with that completed story to adapt, a good chance of avoiding the usual adaptation cliffhanger. Helck may not be the absolute greatest fantasy tale of late, but any genre fan would do well this season to give this one some serious attention.
|Helck Promotional Videos ▼|
Still an ongoing publication (as of today with 23 published volumes), Bungo Stray Dogs comes back for its 5th season. At this point, I’m certain most of you know about this anime, but in case you glazed over this one in the past (like me), here’s a breakdown on what’s been happening in the world of Asagiri Kafka and Harukawa Sango:
In a city filled with extraordinary abilities, Atsushi Nakajima (Uemura Yuuto) is a young orphan plagued by misfortune who finds himself caught in a series of bizarre events. After encountering the eccentric members of the Armed Detective Agency, a group of gifted individuals with unique powers, Atsushi, now working alongside Dazai Osamu (Miyano Mamoru), discovers that he possesses an ability tied to a legendary white tiger. With Yokohama as its backdrop, Bungo Stray Dogs is a coming of age story that takes you on a thrilling ride through the dark and mysterious underworld of supernatural detectives. A tale of struggling with your own demons, forging bonds of trust and discovering the true meaning of friendship and loyalty, it comes as no surprise that this series has amassed a dedicated following. And listen, this could be the sign for you to binge the first four seasons!
|Bungo Stray Dogs 5 Promotional Videos ▼|
Meet Lawrence (Ishikawa Kaito, the diligent local pastor who shoulders the responsibility of guiding townsfolk to the church in order to visit the revered “Saint” – a beacon of moral guidance who offers heartfelt advice to her parishioners: Cecilia (Sawada Hime. However, Cecilia’s perpetual drowsiness and penchant for slacking off make her job “very tiresome,” leaving Lawrence to shoulder the church’s responsibilities all on his own. But amidst their contrasting natures, a unique bond begins to blossom. And as the line between affection and admiration blurs for the adoring Saint, what shall she do?! Does Lawrence’s feelings echo hers?
Based on the ongoing manga created and illustrated by Kazutake Hazano, The White Saint and the Black Priest is a delightful and charming tale, with poignant moments and enough levity to make it a comfy watch. Join the beloved Saint Cecilia, whose elegance and wisdom captivate the townspeople during the day, only to transform into a hopelessly scattered soul when the church empties, and Pastor Lawrence as he takes on the challenge of keeping Cecilia together, even if it means enduring her mischievous tests and a lot more than what he signed for.
|Shiro Seijo to Kuro Bokushi Promotional Videos ▼|
As the demon lord, Satan (Oosaka Ryouta) hasn’t had it easy. Defeated by a hero and vanquished to modern Japan, he must work by the sweat of his brow at the local MgRonald’s disguised as Maou Sadou purely for the sake of basic living. Yet not all is lost: Maou knows a little hard work can go a long way towards dominating his new world, and by coming across and re-recruiting some old companions and close friends lays out the board to make such plans reality. Of course it must mean first overcoming the challenges posed by enemies both new and old, but as Maou has proved time and again, he will do whatever is needed to ensure a future of peace and prosperity is a sure thing.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. When Maou-sama received its sequel almost a decade after first airing, many including yours truly were undeniably thrilled for it. Top-shelf fantasy romcom (and one of the first reverse isekais to boot!) with a nice story and excellent production values: what could possibly go wrong? Yet went wrong the sequel did, effectively shredding everything which made Maou-sama’s first kick of the anime can so much fun. Weird directing decisions, source material chopping, lackadaisical writing: the ubiquitous adaptation curses we all know and love were on full display, intensified by some of the more questionable developments within the season’s adapted arcs. I wouldn’t go as far to say it was a total trash fire, but the sequel certainly left a lot to be desired. Given most of the same crew are returning with Studio 3Hz again at the production helm I wouldn’t go all in on the hype train, but provided this season can do justice to the material now up for adaptation, it might be worthwhile for series fans and the curious watcher both to keep one eye on Maou-sama this summer season.
|Hataraku Maou-sama!! 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
Shiguang Dailiren II A late entry to the preview – a July start date was just confirmed, with a world premiere at Anime Expo – but a big one. It would certainly be no exaggeration to say that Link Click is by far my favorite donghua (Chinese animation) ever. I was disappointed no one ever subbed the eventual Japanese version of the first season, but the original Chinese cast is very good (something I haven’t always found to be the case for me). This sequel was announced way back in 2021, so it’s been a long wait. But if S1 is anything to go on, it should certainly be worth it.
That first season was something I came to late, not being someone who normally watches much donghua. If I had watched it in real-time and made it eligible it would certainly have been in my 2021 top 10, probably top 5 – it was that tremendous (I have it my “Honorable Mention”). This is sci-fi on a par with the best of modern anime – two mismatched friends in their early 20s can effectively time travel using photographs using their perfectly matched superpowers (for lack of a better word). The writing was great, the situations emotionally powerful, and the visuals often surprisingly beautiful. Shiguan Dailiren was one of the best shows of 2021 period, full stop.
The question of whether one should include it in year-end anime “best of” lists is an interesting one. At RC and LiA they’ve always been anime lists, but it’s not like that’s ever codified that (that I remember). I’ve never put a live-action on my list, never a Western cartoon – should we treat Chinese animation any differently? I mean, it’s not anime (some may disagree, but I’m quite comfortable on that point), but it’s as close in many ways as it’s possible to be. None of that would matter if the second season isn’t as superb as the first, but there’s no obvious reason to expect that to be the case.
Following its successful winter release, Spy Classroom comes back for its second season! Set in a world where espionage reigns supreme as governments resort to covert operations to protect their interests and prevent catastrophes, the story follows a spirited young girl named Lily (Amamiya Sora) from the Din Republic. Despite her struggles with Academics, Lily’s ambitions of becoming a skilled spy are never deterred, and as an unexpected opportunity arises, she scores a spot in the renowned spy team, Lamplight. Guided by the enigmatic Klaus, the group of girls consisted of Lily, Grete (Itou Miku), Enra (Minase Inori), Thea (Uesaka Sumire), Sibylla (Touyama Nao), Monika (Yuuki Aoi) and Annett (Kusunoki Tomori) embark on mysterious and daring missions.
Adapted from the ongoing Light Novel series written by Takemachi, spanning nine volumes and counting, the show rests on the talented hands of studio Feel. Immerse yourself in the world of spies where alliances are tested, secrets abound and the fate of nations hangs in the balance!
|Spy Kyoushitsu 2nd Season Promotional Videos ▼|
|07/07||Hyakushou Kizoku | 百姓貴族
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi
|07/07||Ikimono-san | いきものさん
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList, Syoboi
|July||Yami Shibai 11 | 闇芝居 11
AniDB, ANN Encyclopedia, MyAnimeList
|06/07||Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: First Kiss wa Owaranai
Kaguya-sama: Love is War – The First Kiss That Never Ends
|06/14||ONE PIECE FILM: RED
|06/28||Kagami no Kojou
Lonely Castle in the Mirror | かがみの孤城
|06/29||Ooku: The Inner Chambers | 大奥
|06/30||Tenchi Muyou! GXP: Paradise Shidou-hen
|BD Volume 2 Release.|
|07/02||Fate/strange Fake: Whispers of Dawn
|07/12||Shuumatsu no Walkure II Part 2
Record of Ragnarok II Part 2 | 終末のワルキューレII 後編
|07/26||Hanma Baki: Son of Ogre 2nd Season | 範馬刃牙 SON OF OGRE
|Netflix Release. Part 1 of 2.|
|07/27||Azur Lane: Queen’s Orders | アズールレーン Queen’s Orders
Episode 2 of 2.
|07/28||Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken Movie: Guren no Kizuna-hen
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The Movie – Scarlet Bond
劇場版 転生したらスライムだった件 紅蓮の絆編
|07/31||Bastard!!: Ankoku no Hakaishin – Jigoku no Chinkonka-hen
Bastard‼ Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy Season 2
BASTARD!! -暗黒の破壊神- 2
|08/10||Kyoukai Senki: Kyokkou no Souki | 境界戦機 極鋼ノ装鬼
|08/23||Nanatsu no Taizai: Ensa no Edinburgh Part 2
The Seven Deadly Sins: Grudge of Edinburgh Part 2
七つの大罪 怨嗟のエジンバラ 後編
|08/24||Hanma Baki: Son of Ogre 2nd Season | 範馬刃牙 SON OF OGRE
|Netflix Release. Part 2 of 2.|
|09/02||5-toubun no Hanayome∽
The Quintessential Quintuplets~ | 五等分の花嫁∽
|TV Broadcast Release.|
|20th Anniversary Special. 4 Episodes.|
|09/06||Houkago no Breath
Pokémon: Paldean Winds
|ONA Episode 1 of 4.|
|09/12||Argonavis AXIA | 劇場版アルゴナビス AXIA
|09/13||Hi no Tori: Eden no Sora
|09/20||Suzume no Tojimari | すずめの戸締まり
|09/21||Kengan Ashura Season 2 | ケンガンアシュラ