Summer is done and now comes the task of ranking all the shows I watched. Overall it was a great season, not the strongest I’ve ever watched but by no means the weakest. In total I watched 20 shows, 18 new ones and two hold-overs from the Spring 2019 season which I’ll be listing from least favourite to most favourite, also I’ll be giving my quick overall thoughts on each one. Anyway, let’s get to it!
Iskeai Cheat Magician
For those following my seasonal anime reviews, you may remember I straight up dropped this show ‘round Episode 7 for the crimes of being tone-deaf, generic and kinda sexist (yeah, I know) but guess what I binge watched the remaining 5 episodes after the season was over and… yeah, this show still is overwhelmingly disappointing because it never did anything outside of the expected ‘isekai’ genre despite having honestly fun, charismatic and enjoyable characters who frankly deserved to be in a better show.
If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord
I couldn’t really pinpoint anything really negative about this show at all but likewise nothing particularly remarkable either. Dale was the show’s weak point, likewise his overacting and overreactions while Latina was the undoubted bright spot, everything else was window dressing to an entertaining but otherwise uneventful series.
Demon Lord, Retry
This show had a rough journey but ultimately ended up a very positive experience not the least because of how unexpected and unconventional so many of its elements were–especially in comparison to other isekai series. There was something fluid and improvisational about this show’s narrative that could easily be mistaken for laziness or unfocused narrative stylings but I found it consistently refreshing in its inconsistencies. Also it was damn funny at times too, which counts for more than you might expect at least in my estimations.
Do You Love Your Mom And Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
Despite some early signs that this series would veer into ecchi territory, it became evident by the midway mark that this show was more interested in telling a story about familial bonds and the importance of connecting and understanding one another rather than MILF’s and big boobs. And I mean take that as you will, it at least was very good at one thing (even if it’s not the thing I had a preference for) and that’s probably something worth recommending.
The titular (pun intended) Magical Sempai of this series was this shows massive (pun–again–intended) saving grace as, while a funny series on the whole, it was kind of ~slight~ in almost every other regard (pacing, character development, narrative structure). There were moments of true excellence that showed this series had the potential to be more than just a gag anime, but there were far more moments were it was clear that was the extent of its ambitions.
Are You Lost?
At its best, ‘Are You Lost?’ managed to flawlessly fuse together ecchi comedy with genuine survival techniques and a palpable sense of danger about these girls’ situation. And while the show remains frustratingly unresolved at this point, it was still a really enjoyable experience to undertake. Like ‘Survivor’ only you actually like all the characters involved.
I couldn’t help but be deterred by this show’s slow initial pace and frustrating characterisation around Mafuyu, I knew it was leading somewhere deeper and darker but that doesn’t excuse such a dragging narrative development. Thankfully every other character more than carried the series throughout its rough points and once it finally hit its emotional stride it was a pretty compelling and honestly touching romance series that presented a same sex relationship as natural and beautiful as any other–exactly as it should be!
An anime cop procedural is such an obvious fit and adding in the fantastical element of a gate to another world into the mix and the various dramas that arise of two different species interacting not only on the societal level but on the personal level as our Earth based detective is partnered with an “alien” from this other world and they solve crimes together and learn to accept each other is a recipe for a damn good TV show. And that’s exactly what this is, it’s not without its hiccups, and the overarching plot is less interesting than the individual stories but it’s easily an anime I could recommend to almost anyone just because of how competently entertaining it is.
How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?
An anime about exercising seems like a ludicrous idea, until you realise there’s already been several previous to this one, but none of them were full length anime and that’s indeed one of the most interesting and impressive things about this series is its near fearless commitment to its general conceit and making it not only interesting but downright compelling at times. At times an uneven experience, with some episodes being less interesting due to their focus away from our main girls but for the most part it’s a tremendously fun show with a terrific sense of humour.
Are You Willing To Fall In Love With A Pervert, As Long As She’s a Cutie?
The title kind of says it all, and yet this show surprised again and again by being so sincere with its seemingly jokey premise. In a lot of ways this series was reminiscent more of 80’s Hollywood teen romantic comedies by the likes of John Hughes, than any specific anime which lent the series a refreshing framing that a lot of harem anime lack. I’m not saying this is preferable to the norm, just that it was different enough to be compelling by itself.
Re:Stage! Dream Days
I have a patchy (at best) history with ‘idol’ anime, so imagine my surprise when an unassuming series like this manages to connect so immediately with me. I think a part of the appeal of this series in general was how earnest it was while never taking itself too seriously–it struck the right balance throughout and delivered a surprisingly emotional story but with plenty of laughs and silliness that made the dramatic moments hit harder.
Fruits Basket (2019) (Episodes 13-25)
At this point there’s not much more that needs to be said in favour of this wonderful reboot as its garnered acclaim and fanfare across all corners of the internet. And even from someone as sceptical and disconnected from both the original anime and manga source material I eventually found myself spellbound by this series. It wasn’t ‘love at first sight’ though, as I reiterate that the series’ first cour was slow and occasionally annoying to the point of distraction but the amount of sheer ‘hits’ among the ‘misses’ was well in favour of the positive as it wrapped up its second cour. Believe the hype, ‘Fruits Basket’ is truly a great series once you get past its early problems.
YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love At The Bound of This World (Episodes 13-26)
Based on a visual novel from the early nineties its evident the mark this property has played in so many subsequent VN’s and likewise anime, especially the likes of ‘Steins;Gate’–which was heavily influenced by this story. So with that in mind its kind of surprising more people aren’t treating this anime adaptation with the reverence it deserves, sure it’s not perfect but its indelible mark means its worthy of praise in just how well it executes such a complex and high-concept story with dozens of characters and just as many convolutions throughout.
Wasteful Days of High School Girl
As far as outright ‘comedies’ go, nothing made me laugh like ‘Wasteful Days of High School Girl’ did this season. With the absurdity and inanity pushed to eleven the comedy was a given but this show managed to back up its gut-busting comedic stylings with more than a few genuinely compelling character turns and significant development of likewise to prove itself as an anime to be reckoned with!
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2
The only way is up, and that’s true enough for many sequels but especially one where its slow but steady escalation of romantic intimacy between its two leads means eventual but substantial development is made. Truthfully a lot of this second season feels frustratingly similar to the first but that only seeks to heighten the brief but impactful moments where Takagi and Nishikta’s relationship evolves into something more.
Is It Wrong To Try and Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? II
While on the subject of sequels (see previous entry) the second season of ‘Is It Wrong To Try and Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon’ improves on a lot of what made the first season great while also doing something unexpected in the grand scheme of things by having almost all of the series take place outside of the titular ‘dungeon’ that served so much of a setting for the first season. As a result, the world feels bigger, the stakes feel more real and the series in-of-itself feels more liberated which is only a good thing for this show going forward.
The Demon Girl Next Door
I love this show, but more than that I adore our titular demon girl Yuuko who is one of anime’s perfect characters–and that’s not a statement I make lightly knowing the sheer calibre of characters that exist out there. Aside from Yuuko’s distracting brilliance this show excels in being the kind of endearing buddy comedy ‘Odd Couple’-esque that so many shows aim for but fall short of. Not here though as the magical girl x demon girl interactions between Momo and Yuuko are absolutely flawless.
Fire Force (Episodes 1-11)
‘Fire Force’ is the kind of show I want to run forever the same way that ‘One Piece’ seemingly exists in perpetuity, I know that’s an unlikely dream but there’s something that’s so indelibly compelling about every single part of this show–from its visual styling, to its characterisation, to its personality, to its fan-service–that makes me want more.
O Maidens In Your Savage Season
This series managed and almost flawless run from beginning to end, only tripped up in its penultimate episode by racing a hairsbreadth from jumping the proverbial shark. That mild fumble aside ‘O Maidens’ sold the complexities and intricacies and intimacies of the modern high-school relationship in such a wonderfully messy and unflinching way that it was kind of a wonder to behold–even if the climax was never quite as strong as the build-up.
Arifureta: From Commonplace To World’s Strongest
So, there’s a lot I could talk about this show, about how fans in the West completely and unjustifiably overreacted to its significant first episode deviation from the source material and decided to make it the whipping boy for the season–picking apart everything it did wrong and ignoring everything it did right. I could spend pages comparing it to other shows that didn’t get anywhere near as much hate, showing examples of how it’s far more unique and compelling than almost every other isekai out there. But now’s not really the time, simply put I love this show–I love its characters and their interactions with each other, I love the world and story-telling, I love it’s quirky sense of humour and unpredictable nature. Maybe I’ll write up a full post about this series in the future because it’s genuinely stolen my heart and mind and not only is it my anime of the season but it’s also in my Top 5 anime of all time.
And that’s what I thought of all the anime I watched in the Summer 2019 anime season! Let me know what your favourites were and thank you for reading!
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