Ah, summer. The best time to watch anime because the sun punishes those who dare step outside their doors.
Since every anime I’m watching is now at least six episodes in, it’s time to take a look and list them from the one I’m least hype for every week to the one I’m most hype for. Essentially, my least favorite to most favorite. This season I almost got an Amazon Anime Strike subscription, but those greedy SOBs can suck it. Also, Netflix seems to hate their subscribers who like anime, so nothing from there either.
Let’s get to it.
8) Knight’s and Magic
Some nerd dies in a car accident in our world, but–as in so many other anime–that’s not quite the end for him. He winds up being reincarnated as the androgynous son of a noble family, Ernesti Echavalier, in another world where knights pilot mechs called Silhouette Knights to fight demon beasts. Somehow Ernesti’s vague recollections of his past life building mech model kits make him a savant of sorts as he designs, builds, and pilots these magic mechs better than everyone else. And he’s 12.
Okay, so, on the plus side time passes quickly. I think over a year has passed in the first six or seven episodes of Knight’s and Magic (that title will never not bug me). Also, whenever the kid surprises everyone with his magic and mech mastery, it can be cool. Other than that, this is pretty basic. It’s an isekai show. Down to the letter. Nerd becomes surprisingly cool badass in fantasy land and all kneel before his superior nerdery.
I guess it’s harmless for the most part.
7) Restaurant to Another World
There’s a quaint little eatery called Western Restaurant Nekoya situated in an unimpressive nook in a shopping district. The patrons love the food, though, thanks to the owner’s impressive cooking skills. Nekoya’s closed to its normal clientele on weekends because every Saturday the door to the restaurant appears in various locations in another world populated by elves, demons, dragons, and the like. These denizens of this fantasy world also love Nekoya’s food and treat it as a neutral zone if usual enemies happen to be dining at the same time. This is all extremely fascinating to Nekoya’s first waitress–a demon girl named Aletta–since she’s never been met with such kindness nor tasted food so wonderful.
Don’t let its spot so close to the bottom discourage you. Restaurant to Another World is a perfectly competent show. It blends the isekai genre with the fresh, flourishing food-porn genre of anime. It looks good, and the characters are all likable. (Especially the dragon Red Queen…. What? I have a weakness for redheads.) The reason it’s this low is that nothing really happens. People come in and eat. We get some backstory to flesh out the magical world a bit, but that’s it. There’s no story or development so far. And yeah, you could argue that’s just slice of life, but even that genre has a goal or a growing relationship that brings the audience back. This just has fantasy beings eating omelets and cutlets and whatnot.
It’s a fine cooldown anime, but I just wish there were more meat on this bone. (Get that? That’s a food joke right there!)
6) Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
Three years ago, Yuushi Inaba moved in with his uncle’s family after his parents died in a car accident. Although they loved him, Inaba knew he was a massive strain on his uncle’s family. Now that he’s entering high school, Inaba has chosen a school with a dorm so that he can move out of his uncle’s house. As luck would have it, though, the dorms are burnt down and will take six months to be rebuilt and reopened. The poor kid is finally able to find an affordable apartment in the old building Kotobuki-so. It almost seems to good to be true. His room is cozy, the food is delicious, there’s a cute girl who lives on his floor, the ghosts are friendly, the…wait.
Maybe it’s just me, but Elegant Yokai Apartment Life feels like it was supposed to come out in the early aughts. The designs for the humans and otherworldly beings, the music, the tone, the eyecatches, etc. Like, this is something I would’ve seen on Adult Swim or Tech TV or something. Anyway, I’m enjoying it so far. I admire Inaba’s drive to strike out on his own, and the residents of Monster House are a lot of fun. I also appreciate how the show is not afraid to get super dark at times. I do wish the animation was better and that everything would just flow more smoothly.
If you’ve been hankering for some cute occult anime, then you could do a lot worse.
5) My First Girlfriend Is a Gal
Junichi Hashiba isn’t exactly a piece of sh*t, but he’s pretty close. His friends are actual excrement, and even though he frowns on their shenanigans, he tends to go along with them. One such shenanigan sees his three sh*tty pals put a fake confession letter in the locker of the gal in their class, Yukana Yame. Junichi shows up to the promised confession location hoping to at least get pity sex from the allegedly easy gal, but there is no such luck for him. She pretty much sees right through him and taunts him for being a virgin, but there’s something about the way he carries himself and the way he acts that Yukana can’t help but find funny. To the shock of Junichi and the school the next day, the beautiful Yukana actually agrees to go out with him, so now both of them have to figure out how the whole relationship thing is supposed to go.
Full disclosure here, My First Girlfriend Is a Gal might objectively be the worst show I’m watching this season. There’re not really any fan-service, jokes, or characters here that haven’t been done better elsewhere. But, somehow, the show has a certain charm to me. Despite the super dubious base of their relationship, I do enjoy seeing Junichi and Yukana get closer. Yukana obviously likes him, and Junichi is finally seeing past her looks and realizing he likes her as a person, too. Then the other characters happen. Two of the other three female characters are fine, but the giant-breasted loli is a trope so tired it should be put to sleep. Also, Junichi’s friends can just f*ck right the hell off. The show would actually be good without them. Especially the fat guy. I don’t know who thinks he’s funny, but they should nix that character.
At no point can you call it good, and I don’t even think many could call it entertaining. I can’t say I don’t look forward to it every week, though.
4) A Centaur’s Life
In a world not vastly different from our own, evolution took a different path. Everyone the world over has horns or tails or wings or just straight up resembles what we consider mythological creatures. Even here, the high school centaur girl Himeno Kimihara just lives her normal life. She worries about her body, finding love, and doing well in school. Nothing too major. Just hanging out with her winged friend Nozomi Gokuraku and her horned friend Kyouko Naraku. That’s her life.
I know I didn’t sound that enthusiastic last paragraph, but I do legitimately look forward to A Centaur’s Life every week. I genuinely never thought I’d care for the monster girl genre, but here we are in 2017 and some of the most interesting anime we’re getting fall under that umbrella. The art style was the first thing to get me, the characters are fun enough they interested me, but the world-building is what’s kept me. There was a great amount of thought and care put into figuring out how this society works and how these races co-exist. Every little bit of info we get just fascinates me more and more. Plus, the Antarctican snake people are really cool. I do wonder why the mermaids have thighs before they have fishtails, though.
I know slice-of-life and monster girl anime aren’t everyone’s bag, but there’s so much love and charm put into this world. It’s a great cool-down anime. Even if it does have some pretty dark implications casually thrown out every now and then.
3) Fastest Finger First
Pidge…er…Shiki Koshiyama has always preferred books over people. This has left him with a great deal of knowledge but not much in terms of people skills. That’s why when he’s randomly selected to compete in a quiz competition at the beginning of his first year of high school he’s unable to buzz in despite knowing the answers. Furthermore, he’s impressed and intimidated by his classmate Mari Fukami who is able to buzz in long before some of the questions finish! Shiki quickly realizes she’s determining the answers by listening for key phrases early in the questions and winds up answering an extremely difficult one himself to everyone’s surprise. The thrill was nice but Shiki goes back to his books as soon as it’s over, but Mari’s seen his potential and tries to recruit him for the school’s competitive quiz team. Sit down and buzz in if you want to become The King of Quizzes!
So, I might be a little bias here. I was on my school’s academic team for three years (and captain for the last one of that three), and Fastest Finger First is essentially just that. We met up, answered questions, went to competitions, and buzzed in to answer questions. This is the first sports/competition anime I’ve watched where I have a legitimate connection to the subject matter. But hey, this is definitely a sports anime. Ragtag group that our hidden master protagonist joins, a whole new world of events to win, rivals appearing out of the woodwork, and so and so forth. It would be higher if the last couple episodes hadn’t felt so filler-y, but them’s the breaks when going by the first half-ish (you know what I mean) of an anime.
Quite a bit more academic than other sports anime, but it is sports anime nonetheless. Also has a cool OP.
2) Classroom of the Elite
The Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School was established by the Japanese government in order to educate and foster the future generations who will be responsible for supporting the country. Within the walls of the giant school, the students are almost completely autonomous. They live by themselves, can wear whatever styles they choose, and they even receive a monthly stipend of points that can only be used on school grounds. There is a catch, though. The points a class receives depend on how well those students are doing. First year D-class–the lowest of the classes for all three years–finds this out the hard way when they get no points their second month after goofing around for the first. This is the predicament protagonist Kiyotaka Ayanokouji finds himself in. He aims for average and often attains it in order to stay out of everything. The determination of his desk neighbor, Suzune Horikita, to move up to A-class by any means necessary begins to rub off on him, though. Operating from the shadows as best he can, Kiyotaka begins making D-class look a whole lot better.
Can’t remember who, but I saw someone describe Classroom of the Elite as Assassination Classroom but starring the core cast from Oregairu. As a bare bones premise, yeah, that’s pretty close (they even have a smoking-hot smoking teacher). It’s kinda hard for me to explain why I like this show so much, though. I think Kiyotaka walks that fine line of self-insert protagonist and legitimate compelling character you want to know more about. Same with Suzune, Kikyou Kushida, Sakura Airi, and most of the rest of the cast. The tension inside the school is also built really well, and the mental games of chess the students play as they try to out-gambit each other are tons of fun.
The set-up is pretty cookie-cutter, I’ll admit. Watch the first couple episodes, though, and there should be enough things to get you hooked.
In his second year in high school, Keita Amano still doesn’t have any friends…but he has his games! He plays games of all sorts and loves them for all their different aspects. This is what catches the eye of the most popular girl in school and president of the Gaming Club, Karen Tendo. She invites him to join her club, and the poor kid is just awestruck by his crush asking him to join anything. Little does he know Karen kinda has a thing for him, too. The other players waiting in the lobby to join the game are the top guy in Keita’s class Tasuka Uehara, Tasuku’s adorable girlfriend Aguri, and super gaming nerd Chiaki Hoshinomori. Press A to begin and get ready for a true comedy of errors.
This is one of those I wasn’t going to watch because the premise sounds about as basic as a rom-com can get. Gamers! relishes in that, though. The anime takes the tried and true tropes of the genre and, well, plays with them. Everyone is almost completely mistaken about everyone else’s motivations and actions, but it’s played for so very much comedy. I have found myself laughing repeatedly in every episode. Also, the cast is an immensely likable group of dorks. These goofballs and their misunderstandings are just wonderful. The art style is really cool as well, and the soundtrack is solid fun.
This is easily the anime I look forward to the most every week. I adore everything about it. If Shakespeare made an anime, it’d be Gamers!
And that is gonna be it for this time around. I am so happy to see one of these Seasonal Sawce posts not dominated by second seasons and the like. This is all stuff I wasn’t familiar with at all before starting this season. Hell yeah.
Hopefully my next post will be a continuation of the Summer of Anime, but until then….
Peace out, and stay bizarre.