Summer 2018 Anime First Impressions
The summer season has officially begun and, what originally looked to be a lackluster season has started off on a surprisingly okay note.
While only one show really stands out as something that could contend as a standout at the end of the year, summer's batch of series are more entertaining than expected. We've gotten a female sports series with some amazing animation and match choreography, an adorably bloody yet educational series, one of the closest things to an ultra laid back Sherlock Holmes anime we'll ever get, and so much more.
While the series below aren't all the season has to offer, they're some that definitely deserve to be highlighted.
The last few seasons, there hasn't been a show that's immediately hooked me like Banana Fish did. Even after the first episode, when I give most shows a pass since they have to do a little world-building, MAPPA's latest series made me ache when the credits started to play. The original manga is critically and commercially acclaimed, and now those of us who never read it are finally being shown why this story is so good. I'm so happy that this is slated for 25 episodes because I'm already desperate for as much as I can get.
Free!: Dive to the Future
Free has finally graduated from high school! While it's a little weird to see Haru, Makoto, Nagisa and Rei split up, Free needed a fresh new spin, and Dive to the Future has given it that. I didn't watch Free: Take Your Marks, which was supposedly made to set up this season. I'm not sure if that was a good or bad decision yet, since it seems like there were a few things that happened between Eternal Summer (season 2) and this season. However, the team at Kyoto Animations has done a good job so far making sure they provide just enough information to keep even the casual Free viewers like myself in the loop. Aside from that, I don't know what else to tell you. It's more Free. If you love Free, you're probably already watching this season.
Coming into this season, Hanebado was one of the series that I was worried about. While a badminton anime sounds like an awesome idea, especially considering sports anime are one of my favorite types, the previews showed one aspect very clearly: female characters with large, bouncy boobs. Female-focused sports anime are often plagued by the sexualization of their characters, and Hanebado's character designs made me nervous that this show would fall into the same rut. However, I've been pleasantly surprised. Not only has LIDENFILMS kept the boob shots to a minimum, but they've proven that they're committed to making Hanebado a serious, character-driven series. Hopefully this series will keep their momentum throughout the season and stake its claim among the more well-known sports series out there.
Ready for this season's adorable show? Want your seasonal adorable show to be oddly educational? Well then, Hataraku Saibou is for you. Actually, it's really for everyone. No matter what you like, you should give this series a shot. It's an adorable look at how the body works on a cellular level that also includes some action and blood. If a series like this would have been shown in school, maybe I would've been a little more interested in biology.
Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes
Do you like the idea of Sherlock Holmes, but think his cases are a little too stressful? Have you ever wished his stories were set in picturesque Kyoto instead of London? Ever just wanted Sherlock Holmes, the anime? If yes, then Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes is perfect for you. Yagashira Kyotaka is the grandson of an antiques shop owner. His unmatched intellect and perception make him not only one of the most trusted appraisers in the area, but also causes people to give him the nickname "Holmes" and seek out his help in solving local mysteries. From finding out who sent a girl threatening letters to discovering who and why someone burned three brothers' inheritance scrolls, Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes focuses on Holmes solving small-time mysteries while also subtly showcasing Kyoto. It's the closest thing to a healing show this season, which is why its managed to keep me coming back for more so far.
Satsuriku no Tenshi
I didn't know what Satsuriku no Tenshi was about coming into this season, but I'd seen the visuals and I didn't think I would like it. Dark, gory shows usually aren't my thing, and this series seemed like it was going to be exactly that. What I actually ended up watching was something completely unexpected. Take the weird mystery aspect of the original Danganronpa series, add a dead-eyed little girl, then sprinkle just a bit of Niizuma Eiji's iconic squealing laughter, and you've got Satsuriku no Tenshi. The floor system gives the series a regular opportunity to provide a new threat against Zack and Rachel's lives, but I'm wondering how long the series can go before it starts to feel repetitive or too predictable. I guess I'll have to just wait and see.
Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama
From the start, Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama (talk about a mouthful) was guaranteed to go one of two ways. Either it would be a classic reverse-harem show where the main focus was how the huge cast of male characters all loved the bland self-insert female protagonist (like the Uta no Prince-sama series), or it would be a show that focuses on developing a cast of unique and interesting characters who all interact with the female main character, but not necessarily in a romantic way (a la IDOLiSH7). In the first three episodes, Yume Oukoku has proven to be more of the later, using the female character as a sort of center point that brings the cast of characters together. It's not completely free of the romance, obviously, but the focus is more on helping each new character overcome their personal problems and less about everyone vying for nameless main female's attention. The show's plot is about as close to predictable as you can get, and the characters aren't anything all that unique or different, but if you're looking for a show to just sit down and enjoy for enjoyment's sake, Yume Oukoku is an alright choice.