Anime Summer Season 2018: First Impressions

2018 summer anime first impressions

 

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our First Impressions of the summer anime season that just started~

And since the third season of Shingeki no Kyojin is premiering later than the rest of the shows on this list, our first impressions of that will be added in later.


Happy Sugar Life
Studio: Ezo’la • Genre: Drama, Horror

happy sugar life anime
So what do we have here? Yuri title of the season? Check. Super cute characters? Check. Disturbing story? Check.

Wait, what?! So the ones who already read the manga knew what was coming. For others, it might have been a huge shock. I usually love shows with some shock value. Ones that lead you into believing they are something different and then just hit you with what they truly are, like Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, or in one way or another, Asobi Asobase, too. Now add in some yuri and it should be the perfect combination, right? But somehow, it’s not quite.

As much as I love this type of show as well as age gap, and, of course, yuri, I guess the age difference here might be a bit too big or rather, one of them is simply too young for me to actually get into this and find it okay. On the other hand, from only having watched the first episode and having read about three chapters of the manga, the love shared here might be a little more on the sisterly side, but do correct me if I’m wrong.

All in all, I am surprised of how well the adaptation turned out so far. I might not be the biggest fan of the story, and I might as well not really be there for the yuri in this one, but I’ll definitely stick around to see where the story goes from here.


Asobi Asobase
Studio: Lerche • Genre: Comedy, Drama, School

asobi asobase
I’ll be honest, I didn’t bother doing any research beyond looking at the key visual for this one before watching. I see three girls and I think to myself, maybe it’ll have yuri. What can I say? I’m simple. Anyway, this was not what I expected. At all. But that’s a good thing, since this was stupid fun and really entertaining to me.

Whether it was Chio-chan or Jashin-chan, the comedy in both of those shows was kind of iffy, but the first segment of this show might’ve been funnier than both of those episodes combined. Consisting of four segments, I’d say that all four were winners, so I’d be hardpressed to choose a favorite. What we have here is a fast-paced slapstick comedy that’s far more ridiculous than an already outlandish show like Chio-chan, and I’m sure some people (like myself) will love it while others will hate it with the fire of a thousand suns. The stupid faces everyone makes are absolute gold, and they’re a perfect indicator of how ridiculous this show is.

There are only three characters (and the teacher) shown in this episode, but all three make a really good first impression, and their over-the-top personalities lend themselves perfectly with this style of comedy. As for yuri, I can’t really see it happening. Olivia, Hanako, and Kasumi would rather harm each other than love each other, and even though the OP makes it seem like yuri is in the cards, it’s a bait-and-switch, and this anime isn’t like that at all. Dman! Still, this and the next show we’ll be talking about are leading the way for me this summer season, which all of a sudden doesn’t seem as barren as it did a few days ago.


Banana Fish
Studio: MAPPA • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

banana fish anime
Since the spring season was a little light for me on action anime, I thought that this one seemed like it could be worth watching, if the MAL score for the manga was any indication. Speaking of the manga, it began its serialization way back in 1985, so it’s a bit odd that an anime adaptation is happening after all these years. Regardless of the reason why it’s finally being made now, the first episode got off to a good start, and this looks like a promising entry for the summer season that might cause me to come down with banana fever.

Set on the mean streets, episode one sets up an intriguing story revolving around a strange drug, and you get the sense that the story in this one will be the kind of gritty mob thriller drama that makes for a pretty compelling story. Many of rhe characters make good first impressions, especially Ash, who’s one of those good bad guys that encompass some of the better qualities of each. It’s looking like his partner in crime will be the polar opposite of him, a Japanese student whose naiveté will certainly get him and Ash into even more trouble, and in this first episode, it already has. Coming from MAPPA, it’s no surprise that this looks good, and it seems like the old-school nature of the manga has translated into the art style a little bit.

From what I’ve read about the manga, expect plenty of BL in this one, but to me, a good show is a good show, so whatever. Something like Yuri!!! on Ice (also produced by MAPPA) just wasn’t something that I was interested in, but a crime thriller is more my style. So even if the inevitable romantic undertones happen between guys instead of girls, it’s starting to look like Banana Fish could be an anime that even non-BL fans might still enjoy, as long as they don’t mind a darker tale. It’s too early to say for sure, but the show has a lot going for it, and if the first episode is any indication, this could very well end up being a real contender for anime of the season.


Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
Studio: Diomedea • Genre: Comedy

chio-chan no tsuugakuro
The PV for this show looked random as hell, so my curiousity got the better of me and I had to check it out. Well, the first episode was pretty random, all right. The entirety of episode one consisted of Chio encountering all sorts of obstacles on her way to school, and it somehow managed to be pretty entertaining. You’d think that a concept so simple would get repetitive really quickly, but things were just weird enough that I didn’t really get bored. Out of the two segments—with one being an Assassin’s Creed-inspired path among the rooftops and the other an awkward encounter with a classmate—the former had to be my favorite, though they each had their quirky charms.

The comedy seemed solid but not spectacular, however, Chio seems entertaining enough, so I’m looking forward to seeing if this anime can keep things going in the right direction. I’d be more confident in this show if it were a short, but the first episode was fun and strange, and in an anime season that looks short on sure-fire hits, I’m hoping this can turn out to be a decent diversion that keeps you wondering what pitfalls Chio will encounter next. We’ll see.


Hanebado!
Studio: LIDENFILMS • Genre: Sports

hanebado anime

Correct me if I’m wrong, but so far, this is the first badminton anime I’ve ever seen and known. Who knew this could actually be pretty entertaining?

So, yeah, I started out with pretty low expectations, since I’m usually not a fan of sports anime in general, but the first sequence alone made me realize that this might actually turn out great. Awesome animation, fluid movement, and well… high ecchi levels, but oh well.

Two episodes in now, I can totally feel the yuri vibes this gives off, and I have my eye already set on quite a few characters that in the future might get shipped hard, but let’s see how that will turn out. The main girl is still pissing me off with her strict and non-understanding attitude, but I’m sure this will change, maybe thanks to a certain female friend of hers? Heh. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


Jashin-chan Dropkick
Studio: Nomad • Genre: Comedy, Supernatural

jashin-chan dropkick
Upon learning of this show, I got flashbacks of Gabriel DropOut, a pretty entertaining cute girls doing cute things show that was basically about bad angels and good demons, and that’s the biggest reason that I picked this one up. Through the first episode, Jashin-chan sort of feels like a discount version of that show. It’s only a small sample size, but I don’t think that the characters or comedy stack up well against Gabriel, though I do like how both of these shows have unique settings and situations compared to other similar shows.

I don’t know if you can call a goth loli and a demon girl with the tail of a serpent trying to kill each other “cute”, but it is kind of amusing. Despite the look, this isn’t really a slice of life, and it’s a little more violent than I expected. For me, that’s when the first episode was at it’s best, when Jashin would plot to kill Yurine, only to mess things up and have Yurine turn the tables on her. Unfortunately, the more casual moments were a bit bland for me, despite the show having the most adorably weird girl of the season, Pekora, in tow.

As with anime with an all-female cast (Baphomet doesn’t count as male :P), you gotta be on the lookout for yuri, but there was no sign of it during the show. However, the ED does show some lady who seems to be getting touchy feely with Jashin-chan (much to her dismay), so we could have a little something here. Overall, I think the quirkiness of this comedy helped mask the averageness of everything, but it doesn’t seem to be the strongest of seasons, so maybe now is the right time for something like this. Regardless, it’s different from the other shows on this list, and I’m hoping future episodes are a little better than this first one. Oh yeah, they don’t actually watch Sakura Trick. Such a pity. 😛


Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3
Studio: Wit Studio • Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Military, Mystery, Super Power

shingeki no kyojin season 3
With how great the second season of Shingeki no Kyojin was, the highly anticipated third season has a lot to live up to, and this first episode was… a start. Episodes five and twelve of season two are still burned into my memory, but both of those episodes were very heavy in drama and action, and this first episode of the new season is very different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however.

For me, some of the appeal of the series has always been the humans versus Titans struggle, but now more than ever, the infighting between different factions of the human resistance is apparent. Personally, I hope things don’t lean too heavily in that direction this season, even though it would be nice if we can still uncover the truth behind more secrets. Eren and Historia seem to be the chess pieces at the center of the conflict, and they factor in heavily during this episode. There might not be other Titans in this episode, but there’s still some drama and action to be found, including the introduction of Kenny. Him and Levi have some history, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out (I have a feeling it’ll be even bloodier than what we see in this episode).

And from what I’ve heard, I don’t really expect anything on the YumiKuri front this season, but I’d love to be wrong about that. All in all, I’m not sure I’m liking the direction that the story seems to be going, but I think it’s still too early to definitively make that assertion. For two seasons now, this series has been great, so I’m not going to lose faith over what I perceive to be questionable story direction. Shingeki no Kyojin has been appointment viewing for me, and no matter where the story goes, I don’t really see that changing this season. But just give me more Titan action, okay? 😛


Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight
Studio: Kinema citrus • Genre: Music, School

shoujo kageki revue starlight
After how great Made in Abyss was, I’m now a firm believer in Kinema citrus, so this was definitely one of my most anticipated shows of the season. The Hibike! Euphonium vibes certainly didn’t hurt either, and this seemed like an anime that yuri fans would have to keep a close eye on. What I didn’t expect though, was Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight to turn my preconceived notion on its ear in such dramatic fashion.

Taking place at an all-girls music academy, the first 70% of the episode seems like your typical music anime such as Love Live! or The iDOLM@STER, with the main exception being that acting also plays a major part in the girls’ training regimen. Still sounds normal, right? Well, then things take a turn for the bizarre, once we see what happens in the underground theater below the academy. The role that dramatic theatre plays in this anime is what really separates it from other music anime, and the action-oriented stage scenes give this a dramatic and big budget feel that you just don’t get in shows like Love Live!.

And the yuri hype was real. Karen and Hikari have some history and were childhood friends who have reunited after a dozen years, and their childhood promise to become stars together will no doubt create some drama in their relationship. And then there’s Mahiru, who seems to have a crush on Karen. Do I sense a sort of love triangle on the horizon? Hmmm. There are no male students (or teachers :P) to get in the way, so things are shaping up quite nicely for yuri fans~

The twist towards the end was strange yet awesome, and I’m even more excited about this show now then I was before watching the first episode. You still have the familiar feel of other music anime, but the underground performances shake things up so much that I’m really looking forward to seeing how this anime turns out.


Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger
Studio: P.A. Works • Genre: Action, Historical, Horror, Supernatural, Vampire

tenrou sirius the jaeger
Vampires and werewolves. As soon as I read that, I was sold on this anime. Yeah, I’m really super simple. But everyone knows that vampires are badass, and from the awesome Hellsing Ultimate to the less-than-awesome Owari no Seraph, you pretty much know that there’s gonna be some good action to be had.

Yuliy, the main character (and werewolf), is the kind to shoot first and ask questions later, and he seemed kind of… meh. Well, this first episode wasn’t the greatest showcase for him, as it spent quite a bit of time setting up the story—which is the familiar tale of vampires and vampire hunters—but you get the sense that the arrow is pointing up for him and the rest of the show. This is definitely the best-looking anime on this list, and the action scenes are pretty impressive, even though I would have liked to have seen a bit more of them. That’ll come, and as long as the story isn’t too predictable, this should at least be something that action fans are pretty happy with.

Since this is from the director of Canaan, among others, this has a lot to live up to for me. Right now, I’m pretty optimistic that despite the slowish start, business will continue to pick up and Sirius the Jaeger will scratch that action itch for me and many others. If not, I’m looking forward to making a really bad vampire pun in our Final Thoughts post at the end of the season. 😛


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12 thoughts on “Anime Summer Season 2018: First Impressions

  1. It’s seeming like a really strange season to me. But I’ll elaborate!

    Firstly, Banana Fish! There’s an anime producer that, since she first joined the industry, wanted to get her favourite manga, Banana Fish, adapted. Now she’s got the connections and the quality in MAPPA, she finally felt it’s time. If you didn’t know, Banana Fish was a best-seller of sorts that really influenced the BL genre, so this is more of a homage. And, it’s also like… really really good? Crazy. Obviously, this is a yuri page so I’m not sure how much we’ll get to talk about BL, but I’m low-key a fan of that too 😉 when the pairing had a certain scene in episode 3 I was squealing

    Revue Starlight. This one’s kinda complicated, but here’s a quick rundown https://twitter.com/andrearitsu/status/1018943007922507776 of the Takarakuza, an all-female acting troupe from the early 20th century. Because they are all female and don’t necessarily make themselves into men for the parts and do lots of classically romantic stories, they’ve been hugely influential on yuri and Kunihiko Ikuhara, who based much of Revolutionary Girl Utena and Yuri Kuma Arashi on them as well as naming Sailor Neptune and Uranus after members. So naturally, we sort of have to keep our eyes on this one, especially as it’s directed by a man that’s worked with Ikuhara on YKA (even directing the finale!) and Penguindrum and is also a huge fan.

    But even aside from that, Starlight is amazing, isn’t it? Phenomenally directed, brilliantly animated, and so damn hype! Episode 2 had a duet?! It’s like Revolutionary Girl Utena meets Symphogear at this point, with equal amounts of yuri to both and easily claiming my yuri show of the season thus far.

    Because Happy Sugar Life is just a bit too… uncomfortable? It feels like it’s a yuri show on a technicality, but isn’t really rubbing me the right way. Its relationship is sort of sweet but not in a romantic way. It’s kinda cool as a yandere show, but I’m not sure I’d give it props as a yuri anime and probably won’t. Though it’s really funny looking at Shio – she’s the spitting image of Black Rock Shooter xD

    Speaking of other yuri shows, Aru Zombie is a shit B Horror Flick (80 minute movie) that aired this season, but it *might* just be worth watching as a yuri fa (there’s even a kiss between the leads! Semi-romantically too), if you like a bit of silly slasher gore and don’t mind it looking pretty poor.

    Sadly I just couldn’t get into Dropkick, but the comedy quota is being fulfilled just fine with Asobi and Chio-chan. If I’m gonna be honest, Asobi’s shtick of hilariously over-the-top-reactions is sadly getting a bit old, whereas Chio-chan is staying fresh throughout its runtime and just gets funnier and funnier as more characters are introduced. After 1 episode I’d agree with your assessment that Asobi is better, but now I’ve seen more I’m not so sure.

    Hanebado is one that just made me feel a bit exhausted with its saturated melodrama, so I put it on the backburner (will gladly pick it up if it gets gay, but I’m seriously concerned about Coach-kun). The other sports anime of the season, Harukana Receive is… well… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Lots of boobs and butts (though while the sport is happening the camera doesn’t get too pervy, it absolutely does when not). It’s going really hard on the idea of “pairings” so has some potent yuri undertones. It’s nothing special, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Banana Fish will at least get mentioned again in the Final Thoughts post at the end of the season. And I’ve only seen the first episode of every show in the list, so I can’t really speak of that scene, but I’m looking forward to what made you squeal. 😛

      Woar! That’s really informative and all, but the real question is… where’s the real-life talking giraffe?! 😀

      But seriously though, I had no idea that it was so heavily based on real-life stage productions. Not knowing had to have helped with the surprise factor, but it was still a pretty awesome way to start things off, and the show just might show up again on our end-of-year awards post.

      As for Happy Sugar Life, I just can’t get over the age difference of the girls. The murder and kidnapping, that’s cool and all, but the little one is like eight. I’d like it more if that wasn’t the case, but at least the first episode wasn’t bad…

      And I’ve never heard of that, but even though the MAL score is low, it might be worth watching for yuri fans, you say? Sounds like a small investment for a potential review, so I’ll probably end up watching it soon. Thanks for the heads up~

      I did see the second episode of Asobi Asobase, and I didn’t think it was quite as good as the first episode. Hopefully it has legs and doesn’t get too old. We’ll see.

      The coach took a beating in the first episode of Hanebado!, so let’s hope that continues! Or better yet, he wises up and doesn’t pull that again. 😛

      Ehhh, I’m already watching too much, so unless something drastic happens, probably no beach volleyball for me. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a hardcore Shingeki No Kyojin fan who reads the manga in addition to watching the show, and I’ll say that this season it will do a couple of major pivots that you will either love (like me) or profoundly dislike depending on what you were expecting SNK to be. And the twists towards the end of the season will literally blow your mind into tiny chunks. Seriously, you might want to put down a tarp before you get to that point.

    As for Ymir x Historia… well, I want to say something about where it goes but I don’t know how you guys are about spoilers in the comments. Is it OK to put mild spoilers if I give a warning first?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My body is ready! Let’s hope my mind is as well… 😀

      I’ve heard some fans mention some things about what happens with those two, so I’m prepared for anything.

      And I guess it’s okay. We can always edit the comment afterwards, so go on ahead. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for replying, but I think I’ve changed my mind. SNK is so good that spoiling anything about it is a crime. I’ll talk about the Ymir X Historia stuff after it comes up in the show.

        Like

          • The part I’m thinking of happened at least a year ago in the manga, so it’s on a wiki somewhere if you really want spoilers. But the less you know about the twists to come the better they’ll be!

            Like

  3. I love “Happy Sugar Life” so much! At first I thought I would watch one episode just for the heck of it and then drop the show, as the yandere genre isn’t my thing… but by the end of episode one I was hopelessly hooked.

    This isn’t really ‘yandere’ as we know it. The usual ‘yandere’ is about meaningless over-the-top violence played for fun, so exaggerated it’s impossible to take it seriously. This show is *realistic* both in setting and story — and there is no gratuitousness: everything the MC does is done for a good reason. Crazy? maybe… but the flip only happens when it’s exceedingly obvious that the situation demands it. There’s no “hurting people for fun and laughs” in this show.

    And then of course there’s the yuri. Onee x loli for the win!!! This anime is “Yuzumori-san” set in a world of darkness, and I’m enjoying every bit of it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can’t say I like the loli part, but what you said is absolutely true (so far).
      I enjoyed how the yandere theme was not used for pointless violence but to shock in a different way.

      So far, I’m still kinda impressed with it.

      Like

  4. Ive had a few unintentional laughs with Happy Sugar Life so far. Even tho ive already read the manga, I still can’t take seriously how edgy and sometimes cringy the show is. Don’t get me wrong, I like both the anime and the manga, but some scenes or situations are rather unintentionally funny or the voice actors are just overacting.

    Despite what i’ve said, I think the anime being sometimes unintentionally funny adds to the experience (at least for me), lets also not forget this anime is the closest thing to yuri we will get this season (despite it being loli).

    As I’m right now too busy re-watching Naruto, I guess I’ll wait and see how the other shows of this season turn out and only watch those who end up with some yuri. The only exception to this is Overlord and SnK, those shows are sacred for me.

    Great article as always ^^

    Like

  5. Happy Sugar Life looks thoroughly interesting. I haven’t really read the manga but I will have to change that to get a feel for the anime. Other than that not a whole lot this season that really catches my interest though. Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight might be something worth keeping an eye on at least. I am just counting down the days until the release of the Bloom into You anime! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chio-chan is awesome! I’m reading it now, and enjoying it bunches for how wacky it is.
    There’s some subtext in a few of the chapters too.
    Am also reading Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight, and I also think it will be a promising one. So many cute pairs!
    As for Happy Sugar Life, well, I am reading it and I think that is all I can handle for this one. Instead I will probably watch Shingeki No Kyojin for my edgy show this season.

    Like

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