Summer 2016 Anime Preview – Bring The Heat

5 Jul , 2016,
Panther
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Ayase Eli

Summer has come upon us, and for many, the heat this year may be at its hottest yet. Whether or not the same can be said for the anime season however, remains to be seen. At the very least, have a Summer Ayase Eli from Love Live! above, done by 6U, as the starter image to this post as we preview the choices for the summer season.

The almost-full summer preview can be found over at Random Curiosity, and I thank them for their efforts in the post. I am obviously rather late by now, as the season has actually already started some 5 days ago. I have not seen any shows except one however, which I will note below as to which. I do not like writing up previews after having watched new shows.

As a disclaimer, this post represents only my thoughts, and therefore my sole opinion alone, on what I wish to and will watch for the season, and therefore does not cover shows I have no intention of watching. I do, however, wish to leave a note regarding some series that I am not covering.

I have never watched or read Berserk, which I know many are anticipating this season. While I did watch the first Danganronpa season, friends who played the game told me it was largely a watered down version of the actual game’s plot, and quite frankly, with not one but two Danganronpa anime series this season, I feel disinclined to bother with it at all, which is why neither is in this preview. Lastly, while I was into Love Live!, I decided that I would not go into the new group that they formed, and thus will not be viewing Love Live! Sunshine.

With that out of the way, let us move on to the season preview. Once again, the format is divided into first the sequel section for any sequels of shows I have watched before, then the new shows section.

*****

Sequels

Farangis

Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu
The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance
Starts: 3rd July JST

You will have to forgive me for using Farangis as the image for this show, since she perpetually outshines almost everyone else in the show by far. Arslan Senki returns for its second season, which was already announced at the end of its first. As a war epic, Arslan Senki has been pretty average, but it also depends on how you see it I guess. I have heard the manga actually has not revealed a particular spoiler about Etoile, while the anime did at the end of its first season. I could still be wrong, and in the time since the first season, that same spoiler has been revealed in the manga.

In any case, Arslan Senki might be a hit-or-miss for many. Due to it being a war epic, it is slower in development, and can be rather slow at times for those more accustomed to action series. At the very least, the animation quality was kind of shoddy throughout the first season, but the plot has been fine for me. If you did not watch the first season, then it might actually be better for you to skip this. This is the only show that I have watched before doing this preview for the season.

Nanatsu no Taizai

Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi
The Seven Deadly Sins: Signs of Holy War
Starts: 28th August JST

Technically not actually a sequel, but since it is set after the first season anyway, why not? This is quite likely the series I am the most hyped for this entire season, despite it being only 4 episodes long. The Seven Deadly Sins was so good in its first season, I ended up chasing after the manga and have been keeping up with it avidly to this day. The series is just that good. The protagonist may be overpowered, but the antagonists are even more so, especially of late.

This season is supposedly an original work by the author as well, not shown in the manga, and will likely take place after the first season but before the next major arc that came in the manga after the end of the first season. All I can say is, if you like them shounen action series done well, then look no further than this one. The first season followed the manga pretty closely, leaving out only a few details, and so you will not miss anything by watching it first, and then watching this. If any series can be said to be good already this season, it would be this one for me.

*****

New Shows

Fukigen na Mononokean

Fukigen na Mononokean
The Morose Mononokean
Starts: 28th June JST

The tale of Ashiya Hanae is not a good one – he is constantly tormented by a curse set upon him by an evil spirit. In an effort to get away from it, he contacts local exorcist Abeno Haruitsuki, who is the owner of a small tea room known as the Mononokean, which guides spirits from this world to the next. It turns out Abeno is also Ashiya’s classmates, and the two begin an unlikely pairing featuring adventures with spirits in and around their school.

Honestly, while the premise itself is just…average for me, the studio behind it has me going for this. Gangan Online brought us Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou (The Daily Lives of High School Boys) and Barakamon, both of which were great series for me. Add to that the fact that this will be a comedy, and it might just be another good slice-of-life series this season with a supernatural flavor. I am not holding out strong hopes, but I do have some anticipation for the show thanks to the studio.

ReLIFE

ReLIFE
Starts: 2nd July JST

Kaizaki Arata thought he had it all planned out – graduation from college, a steady job, and a wife by twenty-five. But like so many of us who would have thought it would all go as planned, at twenty-seven, he has no luck landing a job, no girlfriend, and may even have to go back to stay with his parents. That is, until he meets Yoake Ryou, who offers him a pill to go back to the first year of high school as part of a social experiment.

This is, by itself, quite an interesting premise already. So many of us want to go back and re-do many things, and this is one chance to see exactly how it will work out for someone who gets the chance. He may have no luck, but now that he is given this chance, how will he go about it? These are the questions the viewer will pose to Kaizaki as he undergoes tribulations once more as a seventeen-year-old high school boy. His memories will be erased as well after the experiment, so there might be some tearful moments at the end as well. A great slice-of-life premise to start off with, and one I hope will carry the expectations out to the best of its abilities.

orange

orange
Starts: 3rd July JST

There are some of us who write letters to ourselves in the future, from the past selves in order to guide our future selves. But what about the opposite? Takamiya Naho instead receives a letter from her future self, asking her to prevent a string of misfortunes from happening that she will surely regret, starting with the transfer student Naruse Kakeru. Will Takamiya be able to prevent the misfortunes from repeating and thus regretting her decisions, or will she be able to use this second chance to start over?

There seems to be quite a few slice-of-life series this season with great premises that are not super extraordinary, but just enough to get me booked. This looks like it will be a tearjerker, and has the potential to be a really good one at that. Even though it is a shoujo series, I feel that its reach seems to be able to extend beyond borders of genre, and I highly recommend people who have been even remotely attracted by the premise to give it a try.

Saiki Kusou no Y Nan

Saiki Kusuo no Ψ Nan
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Starts: 4th July JST

Saiki Kusou was born with an amazing array of superpowers, and you would think that made for some real easy living, or at least a good life. Not so for Saiki. He cannot even eat curry properly because he bends the spoon, and other small but irritating things that come with having these superpowers make him wish for nothing more than a normal life. Unfortunately, with his ridiculous parents and classmates, one can only guess exactly when he will actually be able to lead a “normal” life.

I must say, just the premise alone with superpowers working against our protagonist is making me laugh. This has quite the potential to be a great comedy based on how the characters play themselves out against Saiki, and I can only imagine what sort of ridiculous levels the people around him will rise to throw his life into further chaos. Saiki himself is voiced by strong veteran Kamiya Hiroshi, and he is supported by quite the cast, so there will be no lack of great voice work as well in this show.

Sweetness & Lightning

Amaama to Inazuma
Sweetness and Lightning
Starts: 4th July JST

It might be a sign of aging that I am starting to prefer slice-of-life shows with potentially good character and plot development over what I might have used to choose. Sweetness & Lightning features a broken family by Inuzuka Kouhei, who recently lost his beloved wife, and his daughter Tsumugi. Trying to take care of her without knowing anything around the house meant convenience food from the convenience store, and one day Tsumugi declares she wants to write a letter to her mother for delicious food. Seized with guilt, Kouhei carries her out and ends up at a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Iida Kaori. It turns out Iida herself is also lonely as her parents are divorced and her mother is hardly home, and the three decide to cook up some delicious food.

This has all the workings of a great series already, touching upon the broken family theme that we are all too accustomed to nowadays. This heartwarming drama is led by Nakamura Yuuichi and Hayami Saori, both strong veterans in their own right, and Tsumugi herself is voiced by a kid, Endou Rina. The amount of emotions this show will probably evoke in me and like-minded viewers will be no small matter, and I urge all of you to give this series a try.

Taboo Tattoo

Taboo Tattoo
Starts: 4th July JST

 So we have another guy with real strong powers this season, reminiscent of the preview I did for Big Order. This time though, he is caught in the fight between two of the worlds’ superpowers in an alternate universe…or something. I am really, really wary of this show now that Big Order has left me completely and utterly disappointed (I dropped it at the 5th or so episode), but I will still give it a go to see if it might be any good. I mean, if the setting was done better, and executed with more flair and production quality, Big Order could have been something good. It remains to be seen if Taboo Tattoo can beat Big Order, though that really is not going to be hard. With the bad taste Big Order has left behind though, it will take a hell of a lot more for me to follow through with this one.

Regalia

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
Starts: 7th July JST

Another original mecha series where we have very little information to go by, Regalia already caught my eye some time before this season. However, as with all original series, I am very cautious now with how it might go. It looks to be two sisters getting caught up in a mecha war, but exactly how far the plot can go with an original series starting with such a synopsis is something that can be easily debated. Thus, this will likely get a 3-episode test just like the show right before it above, and I am not holding out high hopes for this either now that, in recent years, original mecha anime series have been nothing worthy of note.

Handa-kun

Handa-kun
Starts: 8th July JST

Handa-kun is a prequel to Barakamon, which I did not watch while it was airing, but did finish it in a marathon viewing session thereafter. Barakamon was seriously good as a slice-of-life show, and Handa-kun follows the tales of Handa Sei before he became famous in the calligraphy world. It seems that this man can just do things right without intending to in his youth, and with respect to how others interpret his actions, it can even be elevated to the level of strong emotional impact for those he affects.

I have high hopes for this show, primarily because it does follow the tale of a show that I know was good. If you missed Barakamon and are thinking about whether or not to watch this first, I would advise you to probably watch this first, as this probably just connects with one aspect to Barakamon.

Alderamin

Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin
Alderamin on the Sky
Starts: 9th July JST

A strategic and tactical genius, Ikuta Sorouku, wants nothing more than to spend his days lying in the sun, looking at beautiful women, and generally enjoying life, refusing to take the proper examinations to become an officer. Yet, a few years later, he is one of the greatest commanders of the country in a war between two nations. We have little else to go by except that the war has taken a toll on both nations, and Ikuta and his fellow soldiers must now prepare themselves for the horrors of an extended war.

The art style is certainly different from the norm nowadays, and that is a good sign. Unfortunately, even with the premise being a possible clincher, RandomC has mentioned that the staff behind the show is inexperienced. This could still lead both ways, disaster or greatness, so I shall just bank on the latter and hope the show brings itself to the fore this season. Alderamin was on my radar some time ago as an original show, but at least it deals with war, something that not many anime series can engage in properly with the viewer. Hopefully, Alderamin will be better than the average.

91Days

91Days
Starts: 9th July JST

Hot on the heels of a spy thriller last season in Joker Game, set in the 1940’s, comes another show which is set in the early 1900’s. 91Days follows the legal ban of alcohol that allows the black market to flourish, and the mafia naturally take over this dirty business. Avilo loses his parents and brother in a mafia attack, and goes into hiding for 7 years, re-emerging to join the mafia, intent on avenging his family. However, consumed by rage and vengeance, he slowly falls into darkness himself.

The same studio animating this show did Durarara!!, and lesser known to many but oh-so-much-better, Baccano! in 2007. It can therefore be assumed that 91Days, despite being an original series, will likely follow the same format as the two predecessors from the same studio, in the sense that we will likely have time jumps all over the place. If done well, like in the case of Baccano!, it can truly be a treat, so I hope they manage to pull it off properly once more. This show likely will pull no punches, so if you like looking into the dark side of humanity, then this might just be for you.

Hitori no Shita

Hitori no Shita: THE OUTCAST
Below One: THE OUTCAST
Starts: 9th July JST

This show, despite being a zombie show, caught my attention for a simple reason. The original web-manga is Chinese, and has amassed three hundred million views. This production, like Reikenzan two seasons ago, will be a combined Japanese-Chinese production, with the animation being done in Japan. Zhang Chulan is a normal college student until he gets attacked by a horde of undead taking a stroll in a rural village, and is saved by a mysterious girl who warns him of impending hardships. True enough, he starts descending into hell…

I normally do not really like zombie shows, but it is also true that in Japan, the zombie genre is not given as much attention as others in the horror category. I am still hesitant as to whether this show will catch my eye, but it is quite likely that the source material is really good. Like Reikenzan, I will likely look for the Chinese-dubbed version in order to enjoy the show more. Viewers who are interested in the zombie genre can definitely give this a try. There is likely no harm done in doing that.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100
Starts: 12th July JST

From the creator of One Punch Man comes another series with an overpowered protagonist this season! I am genuinely excited as OPM was seriously good in its animation, and I heard the manga is tons better. Mob Psycho 100 follows a psychic called Kageyama Shigeo, otherwise known as Mob. While a very powerful psychic, he has no ambition, and only helps a con artist with some odd jobs in order to earn a living. However, he has fallen in love with a girl at school recently, and has begun to believe he can change. Yet this will bring him into conflict with delinquents, gangs, and all sorts of villains it seems. Additionally, if his emotional capacity reaches 100%, he will explode. What will happen when something takes over his entire body at the time he reaches 100%?

There are definitely similarities between this show and OPM, but for the most part, I will probably simply sit back and enjoy this potentially really good gem for the season. The action will likely be great, and the art style is, once again, different from the norm that we are used to nowadays, though closer to OPM I would suppose. This is one show to be watching this season for sure.

*****

And that ends the summer season preview! I really must apologize for getting it out so late this time round, as real life has prevented me from doing much till now. I hope you manage to find a good show or two this season to follow.