It’s summertime! And you know what that means? A new season of anime! And my recommendations for this season are sizzling. Sports anime! Sports anime! And more sports anime! But also a little bit of magical realism and Japanese mythology to spice it up. That seems to be what’s dominating this upcoming season, including four brand new shows and two shows presenting additional new seasons.
Welcome to the Ballroom
Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something – anything. Unfortunately, he’s about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku’s not the neighborhood watch, though. He’s a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will never be the same (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
Ballroom e Youkoso or Welcome to the Ballroom looks amazing! I mean, it looks like Yuri!!! on ICE, right? But with dancing! And seeing as the original manga was written and drawn by a woman, Tomo Takeuchi, this anime is sure to please.
I haven’t read the manga, so I can’t be sure if my predictions are correct, but the main character, Tatara, seems similar to Yuri, in that he also finds purpose in his art/sport. The main difference I see, so far, is that Tatara is in high school, while Yuri was in college; this may tone down the themes, including the romance, but perhaps not. Also, given that Tatara will have a female dance partner, I’m hoping we get more interesting perspectives from some lady characters.
In the end, however, I’m most looking forward to all the dancing and learning more about the competitive ballroom dancing world. Isn’t the animated dancing in this preview stunning?
Welcome to the Ballroom will be available to watch on Amazon Strike.
The series revolves around the Mizuki Diving Club (MDC), which is on the verge of closing down after having financial troubles. The club’s new coach persuades the club’s parent company to stay open on one condition: that the club sends one of its members to next year’s olympics as part of Japan’s olympic team (Synopsis from MyAnimeList.net).
Do you remember when the internet, especially Tumbler, went bananas for Free!, calling it the “Swimming Anime” and creating fanart and fanfiction around the characters before it was even released? Well, I wonder if there’s a similar fandom growing around Dive!! (I’m not on Tumblr anymore, so I can’t be sure.) Because it looks just like Free!, but with divers instead of swimmers!
Similar to Ballroome Youkoso, Dive!! is based on a series of novels written by a woman, Eto Mori. This, to me, increases the likelihood that I will enjoy the series. (I mean, look at those lovely guys?) And while I’m looking forward to Ballroome Youkoso, because I’m hoping it will be like Yuri!!! on ICE, I’m almost looking forward to Dive!! more, because I’m hoping it will be like Free! (And I’m not sure anything can be as good at Yuri!!! on ICE.)
But another swimming anime? I think it could probably match the quality of Free! In the end, my enjoyment of the show will all depend on the dynamics between the different characters, so we’ll have to wait and see if viewers will fall in love with this new group of swimming athletes as much as they did with Free!
Dive!! will be available to watch on Amazon Strike.
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun
The handsome young soccer genius named Aoyama is a Japan representative. His play style is “cleanliness.” He doesn’t tackle and doesn’t head the ball. If he’s doing a throw-in, he’ll only do it if he’s wearing gloves (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
So, I promise that this is the last sports anime I’ll recommend for a while (probably). Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun or Cleanliness Boy! Aoyama-kun is a little bit different from Ballroom e Youkoso or Dive! Or, at least, it feels that way to me based on the previews.
Aoyama, the main character, is undoubtedly quirky. While one of the previews starts by showing him in a packed stadium playing soccer (or football, if you will), the preview quickly switches to showing him at school, dashing about cleaning, because Aoyama is “clean!”
That being said, I wonder if this show will be more about him, his unique personality, and his relationships with people at school than about soccer. Because, if that’s the case, I probably won’t enjoy it as much as Ballroom e Youkoso or Dive!, which definitely look like they center on the sports more than anything else.
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun will be available to watch on Crunchyroll.
Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi no Togi
Somewhere in the vast sea of the Internet, there’s a website that can only be accessed at the stroke of midnight. Known as the Jigoku Tsushin, rumor has it that if you post a grudge there, the Jigoku Shoujo will appear and drag whoever torments you into the inferno. Very little is known about the girl—all we know for sure is that she lives with her equally enigmatic grandmother, that three magical straw dolls accompany and serve her, and that whenever a posting on the Jigoku Tsushin moves her, she becomes the Jigoku Shoujo (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
Finally, I want to recommend the fourth season of Jigoku Shoujo or Hell Girl. Obviously, it would be better to watch this season if you’ve already seen the first three seasons of this show, but given the formulaic-nature of Hell Girl, you could actually watch this new season without having seen the rest and pick up on what’s going on.
I watched the full run of Hell Girl back in the late ’00s. The last season was released in 2010. The story “focuses on the existence of a supernatural system that allows people to take revenge by having other people sent to Hell via the services of the mysterious title character and her assistants who implement this system.” It is a dark anime that will get you thinking about human nature.
Each episode presents a new character, their predicament, and the revenge they wish to commit and why. Then, the episode usually ends with that character dying and finding themselves being dragged down to hell by Hell Girl. “Curses, like chickens, come home to roost,” she always tells her victims. Later episodes reveal Hell Girl’s past and why she’s forced to live within this hellish system and carrying out the task of taking people to hell for their revenge for all eternity.
Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi no Togi will be available to watch on Crunchyroll.
Made in Abyss
An enormous pit and cave system called the “Abyss” is the only unexplored place in the world. Strange and wonderful creatures reside in its depths, and it is full of precious relics that current humans are unable to make. The mysteries of the Abyss fascinate humans, and they head down to explore. The adventurers who venture into pit are known as “Cave Raiders.” A little orphan girl named Rico lives in the town of Ōsu on the edge of the Abyss. Her dream is to become a Cave Raider like her mother and solve the mysteries of the cave system. One day, Rico starts exploring the caves and discovers a robot who resembles a human boy (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
All I can say about Made in Abyss is that it looks beautiful and so cute! A mix of fantasy and steam-punk, it might just be the anime I need to fill my fantasy story cravings.
Made by Kinema Citrus, a studio I am very unfamiliar with (I’ve only watched Barakamon, which I highly recommend), Made in Abyss might be about children, but has the potential to take even the stuffiest adults on an adventure. The visuals feel like a Ghibli film, and one of the main characters, Rico, appears to be a strong-willed girl, so perhaps, like From the New World, it won’t matter that the characters are still in their youth.
A little dose of overly cuteness can be fun, every now and then, but hopefully it won’t overwhelm the plot; however, the original manga was written with a seinen audience in mind.
Made in Abyss will be available to watch on Amazon Strike.
Owarimonogatari 2nd Season
During the month of October of his third year in high school, Koyomi Araragi is introduced to a transfer student named Ougi Oshino by his underclassman Kanbaru Suruga. Ougi tells Koyomi that she has something she wishes to consult with him. When she draws the map of Naoestu High School, she finds something peculiar. This discovery reveals a tale that wasn’t meant to be told, and this makes Koyomi’s high school life totally different. This is the story that brings to light “what” makes Koyomi Araragi. This is the story that reveals the “beginning” of everything (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
The Monogatari series is back with the second season of Owarimonogatari (“End Story”). The last time we saw Koyomi was in 2015, with the first part of this series, that is, unless you went to see Kizumonogatari Part 3: Reiketsu (“Defective Article Story”), which was shown in select U.S. theaters back in April. (I saw it, and I wouldn’t recommend it. It was awful.)
I’ve discussed the Monogatari series before as being a problematic favorite, and I’m sure that this upcoming season will be just as good and just as problematic as past seasons. Still, if you’ve watched the show this far, you have to keep going. What’s going to happen? Who is Ougi Oshino? What are Araragi, Suruga Kanbaru, and Izuko Gaen up to? And is this finally the end of the show?
Unfortunately, it was recently announced that Owarimonogatari 2nd Season is going to be a two episode special rather than an entire second season, and it is not known if it will be simulcasted in the U.S. or U.K.
What simulcasts will you be watching this summer?
Rine Karr is an Anime Writer at Girls in Capes. She’s a writer and aspiring novelist by moonlight and a copyeditor by daylight. Rine loves good food, travel, and lots of fiction, especially novels, anime, manga, video games, and films. She’s also the Chief Copyeditor and an occasional contributor at Women Write About Comics.
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