Anime Summer Season 2019: First Impressions

2019 summer anime season

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our First Impressions of the 2019 summer anime season that just started~

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?
Studio: Doga Kobo • Genre: Comedy, Ecchi

dumbbell nan kilo moteru anime
This anime sounded unique, and oh was it. Basically, this is an anime about a girl wanting to lose weight, so she joins a gym in order to achieve that, but she gets a lot more than she bargained for. The first episode was just over-the-top and absurd, yet I liked it a lot!

Hibiki’s a big eater, so you know this will all be a struggle for her, and that’s where a lot of the comedy comes in. Things get further ratcheted up thanks to a classmate of hers that has also joined the gym, Akemi. On the surface, Akemi seems perfect, but Hibiki is shocked to find that Akemi has a muscle fetish, so the gym is basically heaven for her. Akemi reminds me a lot of Yumeko from Kakegurui, but instead of getting off on gambling, Akemi gets off on muscles. Yeah, she’s pretty great. 😛

Between Hibiki and Akemi, this show already seems to have two really entertaining characters, and despite being a little crude, I think the comedy is really enjoyable as well. Also, this anime is somewhat educational about exercise, but not in a heavy-handed way, and even those scenes remain surprisingly entertaining, thanks to the characters. This show may be kinda dumb, but I think it’s funny, so I’m hoping it can keep this up for the rest of the season~


Granbelm
Studio: Nexus • Genre: Fantasy, Magic

granbelm anime
Going in to this, I didn’t really know what to expect from Granbelm, but what we ended up with was a lot of mecha fights in this first episode. The mecha designs might’ve been simplistic, yet the animation was surprisingly good, as was the soundtrack, and this had a bit of an epic feel to it. There was some backstory given regarding this illusionary world that Mangetsu and Shingetsu find themselves in, but because of all the fighting, we didn’t learn very much about the characters themselves.

As for the story itself, I think it might be too soon to predict how it might turn out. The idea of Granbelm, this sort of big monthly battle for supremacy involving mages, sounds kinda meh to me, yet I think there’s some potential there. Looking ahead to the next episode, the preview almost made it seem like a completely different show (set in the “real world” and lacking much action), but hopefully that’ll lead to the story becoming more clear and focused. This is an original anime (and it’s not yet known how many episodes it’ll have), so it should be interesting to see where things go from here, and I think this is definitely an anime to keep an eye on.


Machikado Mazoku
Studio: J.C.Staff • Genre: Comedy, Magic, Slice of Life

machikado mazoku
You can’t have an anime season without a lot of magical girl anime, and Machikado Mazoku is yet another one. But unlike Granbelm and Symphogear XV, Machikado Mazoku doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed this first episode so much. A totally inept demon girl trying to get stronger in order to vanquish a super-strong magical girl sounds pretty dumb—and it is—but it’s also a lot of fun.

Yuko, or Shadow Mistress Yuko, as her mom labels her, seems like the worst candidate possible to become a demon girl, as she’s just physically and emotionallly weak. But Yuko’s failures end up being pretty funny, as is Momo’s complete refusal to take Yuko seriously as a demon girl. Momo is the magical girl, and by all accounts, she’s just a really good person that wouldn’t simply annihilate Yuko like that, even if she is her arch enemy. Their interactions were pretty amusing, and it looks like their relationship should end up being pretty entertaining.

It’s a different kind of show, but after one episode, I think Machikado Mazoku seems more promising than a show like Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san. Most of the time, I prefer my comedies to be absurd and a little offbeat, and that’s a good way to describe this anime. There’s still a long way to go, but a solid foundation has been set, so let’s hope that Machikado Mazoku can keep up the fun and silliness for the remainder of the season.


Maidens of the Savage Season
Studio: Lay-duce • Genre: Drama, School

maidens of the savage season
Just from the synopsis alone, this was an anime I was looking forward to, and this first episode started with a bang (so sorry for the bad pun :P). As you might have heard, this show more or less revolves around sex, but the way it gracefully handles this touchy subject feels refreshing. There are sex-related jokes here and there, but I don’t think it feels raunchy at all, and given the state of things, that’s really surprising to me.

This may all sound salacious, yet it’s not like that. It’s about the girls of a literature club discovering the topic of sex in the more mature titles they’re reading, which sets off their adolescent alarms and pushes them towards that scary thing called adulthood. It’s only been one episode, but you get the sense that this coming of age story is going to be full of ups and downs for these characters—and that if episode one is any indication—it’s going to be pretty entertaining. Thus far, there’s nothing to suggest that any of the five main girls may be interested in girls, so just be aware of that. And there is at least one boy that’s being positioned for a prime role in all of this, specifically, a prime role in Kazusa’s coming of age story.

With topics like adults who are romantically interested in kids being touched upon on recent anime [Exhibit A] [Exhibit B], it’s easy to judge this book by its cover (so to speak) and assume the worst, but Maidens of the Savage Season seems like it could be a somewhat tasteful and down-to-earth story of the burdens of adolescence, and I think anime could use more thoughtful character-driven stories like that.


Senki Zesshou Symphogear XV
Studio: Satelight • Genre: Action, Music, Sci-Fi

symphogear xv
It’s been a couple of years since Symphogear AXZ, but that’s not long enough to make me forgot how disappointed I was with that season. But here we are again with another season, and I think XV is actually off to a promising start.

It only took a few minutes for the singing and fighting to start, and I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed that moment. Singing while fighting is something unique to Symphogear, and it seems it’s as enjoyable as it ever was. Story-wise, the Bavarian Illuminati are nowhere to be found (thankfully), although it’s mentioned that there are survivors. Still, no Adam and no Tiki means that things are already looking up for this season, and in the brief glimpses we get of some potential villains, they don’t seem that bad. The action is as over-the-top and frenetic as ever, and it was great to see all of the girls back and fighting (and singing) against an enemy. It’s only one episode, but what was revealed makes me optimistic that the story will end up being better than that of AXZ, so that’s something to get excited about.

Aside from all of the fighting, there’s a little bit of fluff thrown in there, and we got a nice little scene between Hibiki and Miyu, which hopefully bodes well for some yuri subtext in future episodes. Kiri and Shirabe don’t do much more than fight in this episode, but let’s hope that they eventually get in on the action as well. All in all, Symphogear XV is looking like it might be an upgrade over AXZ, and with seemingly another season of little yuri to get excited about, this very well may end up being our best hope this season.


To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts
Studio: MAPPA • Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy

to the abandoned sacred beasts anime
What triggered my interest in this show was seeing that MAPPA was behind it, and through the first episode, things have gotten off to an okay start. The prospects of a long, drawn-out civil war wasn’t really filling me with a lot of confidence, so I’m glad that the double plot twist at the end of the episode changed things up. I can’t say they were too surprising, especially the second plot twist, but I think things are probably more interesting than they were at the midway point of the episode.

The Incarnates seem kind of cool, as does Hank, that Wolverine-looking dude, but the story seems a little familiar. Aside from Hank, I’m unsure how much I’ll end up liking some of these other characters, however, that girl at the very end of the episode might be worth keeping an eye on. Going forward, my expectations are realistic, and I’m not expecting this anime to be anything special, so as long as we get some cool beast fights and as long as the story isn’t too cliché, this should be a decent enough reason to stay away from the sweltering heat.


Vinland Saga
Studio: Wit Studio • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Historical

vinland saga anime
Upon learning of this anime, my first reaction was “Why aren’t there more anime about vikings?” I don’t know of any, but maybe they do exist. Anyway, as you’d expect of an anime about vikings, the first episode was pretty violent, but unlike Shingeki no Kyojin and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, which were also from Wit Studio, the first episode of Vinland Saga was low-key in comparison.

I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that the whole setting is somewhat grounded in reality, yet this first episode didn’t really scream “must-watch anime” to me. I thought it was fine, don’t get me wrong, it was just a little less exciting than I thought it would be, and it doesn’t have that instant gratification of something like SnK. More than anything, it seems like episode one was more about introducing us to the world and the characters, rather than hitting us over the head with an insane amount of bombast, and that’s fine. This anime is listed with twenty-four episodes, so I’m definitely expecting business to pick up at some point, and having a strong attachment to these characters would be the ideal scenario.

The manga this anime is adapted from is well-regarded, so I have high hopes that this might turn out to be one of the best anime of the year, but we’ll just have to wait and see.


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25 thoughts on “Anime Summer Season 2019: First Impressions

    • To me, it already looks better than last season, at least in terms of depth and variety. But we’re still missing that yuri fix, though… 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I will watch Senki Zesshou Symphogear XV for sure. Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? also looks like it will be a silly good time! That survival anime also looks like it will be a haven for heavy yuri fan service! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh! I just saw that yuri kiss in the PV for that survival one. Seems I’m going to have to watch it at some point now… 😀

      I’m still not expecting it to be that good, but hopefully some yuri can make up for that. 😛

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What? AXZ was awesome (better than GX at least)! Though it was clearly part of a duology, unlike S1, G, or GX, so a lot of its plot bleed to (or need to be finished in) this one. And you do realize that the three girls, who are talking when the gear unconscious, are remnant of Bavarian Illuminati, right? So saying “the Bavarian Illuminati are nowhere to be found” is a bit weird.
    Still, from the first two episodes, I do find XV has more yuri than the last two season at the same period (G has Gear Miku in later episode, so all argument is invalid), so I agree that it looks like to be an upgrade.

    I watched four Mahou Shoujo this season. Of course Symphogear is first, so the second one is Granbelm. which seems to be pretty well made. I find the Madoka-esque jewel in opening to be ominous (I find a lot of show trying to be grimdark usually end up being rushed to focus simply on the angst), but as long as the show manage well, this should be a fine ride. Also the second episode has a lot of lily. So yeah, the shows clearly knows its demographic.

    The third mahou shoujo is Star Twinkle Precure. But aside from saying that it has a lot of element from Mahou Tsukai Precure (easily the gayest Precure to date), I won’t say much. So the fourth is Machikado Mazoku, which is interesting take on Mahou Shoujo because it comes from the monster perspective. And for our Mahou Shoujo, this is clearly her second season (she has defeated the final boss afterall), and our MC is clearly the target for her “befriending”, and she is clearly OP beyond measure (she stop Truck-kun for freak sake). Can’t wait to see how their “friendship” bloom.

    Aside from Mahou Shoujo, there is Re:Stage, which is an idol anime, so episode one is yuri AF. You need to watch this. And speaking of music, Carole & Tuesday is continuing from last season and has quite nice subtext, here and there (there is one yuri couple that only briefly appear last season, plus a yandere lesbian, but that is a different discussion).

    Finally Sounan Desuka. The first anime I watched this season and I’ve waited for this one for quite a while, and to me this would AOTS, if not for the fact that Symphogear is here. It is mostly fanservice, but they are on top of actual survival tips (apparently the mangaka was a survivalist), and well, there is kiss. In the first episode. So it is anime for yuri hall of fame.

    Last season was really dry (when Precure was the gayest show in the town, you know it was really dry season. Except when MTP aired, because that was an exception in term of yuri) to the point that I kinda wondering if I am grown numb for yuri in anime (that is yuri manga adaptation) instead of the season being dry, but nope, this season is like a wellspring of yuri that refresh my nerve and shows that I still find pleasure from yuri in anime.

    So yeah, TL:DR from this season I watched Symphogear XV, Granbelm, Machikado Mazoku, Re:Stage, and Sounan Desuka, and I find them to be satisfactory for my yuri needs. Thus, combined with STP and Carole & Tuesday, this season looks really bright to me.

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    • I guess I view the series kind of like a roller coaster. To me, the first couple of seasons were the lead-up to GX, which I kind of view as the peak of the series so far. After that, the story reset took the wind out of my sails, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as before (a lot of that has to do with the characters), but I’m liking XV more already~

      That’s a lot of magical girls. I never got into Precure, probably due to the length of the seasons and how it looks to be skewed towards a younger demographic.

      Guess I’ll have to pick up that music one then. 😛

      And another mention of Sounan Desu ka?. I’ll have to watch that, too. Oh man, I’m already dreading how huge this season’s Final Thoughts post is going to be… 😀

      After last season, I was doing some research and wondering if this year could end up being one of the worst years for yuri anime on record, but it sounds like this season is already better than last season (not that much of an accomplishment), so maybe those are just unnecessary thoughts.

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      • I was looking at anime chart few weeks ago, and fall 2019 is probably a wasteland for yuri…

        This season is good for yuri. It lack easy to spot Slice of Life (Machikado is SoL so far, but it also Mahou Shoujo. Sounan Desu Ka has the survivalist gimmick [and soon, there will be plot], so not quite SoL), and because SoL anime has been the source of yuri for years now, I guess it is understandable if people thought there is not enough yuri.

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        • Yeah, there doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon that’s going to radically change things, unfortunately…

          Slice of life is better than nothing, so sign me up. 😛

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  3. I was in the same boat as you were when it came to Vinland Saga with hearing the high regards of the manga and the studio creating it and yeah ep 1 was lacking, a lot. Eps 2 and 3 really play up or MC Thors’ reputation as a total badass (currently a gentle giant) and ep 4 looks like we’ll finally get to see him as a badass. I’ll have to check out Machikado Mozoku, idk how I missed this one, you made it sound worth giving a try. So far I’m a big fan of If it’s for my Daughter I’d Even Defeat the Demon Lord (these names nowadays) since the daughter, Latina, is just the cutest thing ever. I thought there would be more action but so far it’s just the MC Dale doting upon his daughter…but it totally works. Dumbbells is a surprise like from me, the characters are good and the comedy is fairly good as well.

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    • Crap I forgot about Are you Lost? I’ve read the manga beforehand and there are definitely some yuri subtext in the manga/anime but so far nothing serious and I don’t expect there to be (but I’m still hoping) and it’s pretty funny seeing their messed up priorities in the situation they’re in.

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    • I’ve still only seen the first episode of Vinland Saga but sounds like I have something to look forward to watching~

      I thought the first episode of Machikado Mazokuwas pretty entertaining. Who knows if that’ll continue, but it seems promising to me. And those names are annoying! I always see some upcoming show with a ridiculously long name on ANN, and I almost instantly just disregard it, solely based on the name.

      I thought about picking up that show, but I just had too many shows already, and I knew I was going to eventually have a hard time watching them all. But just looking at some pictures, she does seem super adorable. If we weren’t a yuri blog, I think we’d have to have a tournament to decide who the cutest anime character is. It would be a bloodbath of cuteness. 😀

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  4. Have been viewing all of these works which The Rock recommends, and would like to comment on just three:
    1) Vinland Saga – This has to be The Revenant(2015) of the anime world, some of that old
    Ultra Violence. The animation is spectacular, and beautiful, but be aware that blood flows in copious amounts, and extremely evil men abound with plots and counter-plots. I don’t know if any romance at all could squeeze into this work even edgewise. So this could very well be a very rocky ride.

    2) Machikado Mazoku (The Demon Girl Next Door). Yuko Yoshida comes into her destiny, grows horns and a tail (which nobody seems to mind at school), and becomes the neighborhood demon charged with destroying the local magical girl. But she is weak and inept, and has to be constantly helped at being a demon by Momo Chiyoda (the local magical girl). The relationship is not yuri but very sweet and funny. Machikado is a parody of Magical Girl and also a subtle dig at a certain type of anime where the evil antags are the protags of the story(names withheld to protect the you-know-who-they-are). Machikado is fun!

    3) Granbelm is my fav on The Rock’s list. This is a serious take on the isekai type as sweet and pure Mangetsu is transported into the monthly realm of Granbelm to do battle with other magical girls, some of whom are rather fierce. But she is saved by Shingetsu and there is a very Yuri chemistry going on between them. The Rock’s review of Granbelm was based upon EP1 which was all action, mecha type battle from beginning to end. But EP2 is almost all narrative, and there are clear yuri thingies going on here. At one point, Shingetsu saves Mangetsu, takes her back to her home, removes her clothes, and places her naked in her own bed. It is not clear if she sleeps with her. Later Shingetsu sees clearly the purity of Mangetsu, and in being attracted to her, tries to prevent her from joining the fights that take place. There is obvious emotional chemistry going on between these two girls and is underlined by the narrative when Shingetsu transforms a vase into a bowl of blooming Lilys. The Japanese word for Lily is Yuri and we are now above subtext. This is then countered by Mangetsu who turns the same bouquet into an enormous flowering of Lilys as some sort of “I will see you and raise you” for the narrative. The design of the animation is extremely colorful, and in fact, color is used more than form of physical design to indicate conflict among the girls or just emotional context. And then in the patio, Mangetsu embraces Shingetsu in a utterly beautiful scene where she changes the patio into all flowers, and surrounds both of them as if they were just two flowers together in a much larger bouquet. You need to see this to appreciate it’s artistry and it’s very, very Yuriness.
    Granbelm is my favorite on The Rock’s excellent list (all of them are good to excellent in various ways). Granbelm may be pointing to a serious romance among all the girls, but having been disappointed before, you get kinda archy about the future which remains opaque.

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    • There’s quite a bit of good stuff to watch this season. Kind of makes me wonder if the fall season will be the victim of all this anime wealth we’re currently seeing…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! True! There is more good anime and manga being released now than I have time available to read or watch. And that’s just new release. There is also a huge vault of this art with so many works that I probably will never even get to them in my lifetime! I am very optimistic about this Fall without even knowing what might be in the works because of the quality and quantity of the art which seems to be increasing. I literally cannot track what is going on or coming down. That is why I have come to rely so heavily on experts such as yourself to guide me through this jungle of great art.

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