While we’ll be sampling the usual host of brand-new series, Summer 201
34 will be a season of returns. Mahouka will return immediately for its second cour (Chaika is taking the Summer off). After a Spring hiatus, Space Dandy will return for a second season.
A season after perhaps their most sweeping, moving series to date, P.A. Works is returning with their tenth series, Glasslip. After two years off, Sword Art Online returns. And most notably, for the first time in seventeen years, a new Sailor Moon series will be airing on TV.
Needless to say, we’re quite excited about the promise of all these returns. Many of these shows have big shoes to fill, and while we can’t predict they’ll all succeed, we can at least hope for a better Summer season than 2013, which was, barring a few exceptions, pretty meh.
Oh, one more thing: We’re aiming to bring back Car Cameos, so all authors have been instructed to keep their eyes peeled for real-world vehicles that appear in this Summer’s shows.
Note: All picks are subject to change before, during, and after the Season starts.
1. DRAMAtical Murder (DMMd) – Nitroplus/NAZ (Action, Sci-Fi, Psychological) – Jul – Yeah, that’s kind of a silly (if memorable) title, but with its futuristic setting featuring AI and VR gaming, this looks like a grittier rival to SAO II.
2. Rail Wars! – Passione (Action) – Jul – I don’t know a lot about it or who will be doing the voices, but the idea of “an alternate world where Japan didn’t privatize its railways” sounds like it could be a lark. Also, I love trains, so hopefully they’ll be well-animated.
3. Space Dandy 2nd Season – Bones/Bandai/FUN (Comedy, Sci-Fi, Space) – Jul – Not sure exactly what’s in store for season two, but if it’s anything like the first, there will be flashes of inspired brilliance mixed with more pedestrian efforts.
4. Zankyou no Terror – Aniplex/FUN/MAPPA (Psychological, Thriller) – The promo art kinda reminds me of Tokyo Mag 8.0 and Coppelion, but this latest effort to blow up Tokyo looks like it will focus on those doing the blowing up.
5. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) – Prod. I.G./TOHO (Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life) – Well, I certainly can’t fault this show for knowing what it is. The two leads will be Kaji Yuki and Uchida Maaya, two solid choices. If it can approach Sukitte Ii na yo levels of quality, I’ll be happy.
6. Glasslip – P.A. Works/Lantis (Slice of Life) – From a threatened world split between land and sea, P.A. Works shifts to…glass-blowing class? But while Nagi was overflowing with drama, this looks to tell a smaller, story focusing on the very specific dream of a certain girl (with a rookie seiyu).
7. Hanayamata – Madhouse/DIVE II (Slice of Life, Seinen) – The House of Mad counters P.A. Works’ extracurricular Slice of Life with one of its own. Instead of the girl pursuing her dream, she has the dream thrust upon her by a “foreign girl”, and instead of glass, it’s yosakoi dance.
8. Jinsei (Life)– Feel. (Slice of Life) – I don’t know who’s voicing anyone, but I do know this is being helmed by the director of SKET Dance, which is enough for me to give it a look. Like SKET, it will follow a club dedicated to “life consultation”, in the fields of science, literature, and sports.
9. Majimoji Rurumo – J.C. Staff (Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen) – Consider, if you will, a scenario somewhat similar to TWGOK, only the guy is into real girls, not just dating sims, and the demon he’s contracted with is a witch, or rather a fallen witch trying ot get back in the game. We’ll see if it’s smart or just irritating.
10. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Madhouse/Aniplex (Magic, Romance, School, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Supernatural) With a huge cast expanding ever outward and a relatively leisurely pace, Mahouka needed a second season to say what it wants to say. I’ve seen enough good things so far to afford it that chance.
11. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Crystal) – Toei/Starchild/Viz (Demons, Magic, Romance, Shoujo) – I have to confess: I’ve never read a single page nor watched a single episode of the Sailor Moon of yore, nor do I plan to. Crystal’s bi-weekly offerings will be my introduction into this iconic mahou shoujo universe, much as it will be for many younger anime fans. I don’t know the director (who helming his first full series), but I do know the all-star quartet of voice talent that will be backing up Sailor Moon (Mitsuishi Kotoro): Kanemoto Hisako (Mercury), Koshimizu Ami (Jupiter), Satou Rina (Mars), and Itou Shizuka (Venus).
12. Sword Art Online II – A-1/Aniplex (Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance, Shounen) – SAO had marvellous world and system-building, exciting battles, a decent, if simple, core romance, and strong female characters. It also had a very dull, overly-evil villain at the end and totally sidelined its female lead and focused too much on unrequited brother-love. But with a new online game to explore and the excellent Sawashiro Miyuki voicing the all-new female lead, I’m still looking forward to the sequel.