Sour Cream Social and Summer Season Rundown

June 25th, 2021

Just in time for my coast to be consumed by a fiery hellstorm.

Welcome to another season. Not quite as depressing as last summer's whopping 10 total new shows, thanks to the pandemic, but there are still about half a dozen sequels/spinoffs I'm not mentioning here, and scarily, half are idol shows, and half are reincarnation power fantasies. At least that makes it very, very easy to be secure in my decision. I will note that both Scarlet Nexus and Sonny Boy have had pre-air episodes, which I have half-watched and meant to cover earlier in the week, but life had other plans. And by life, I mean pizzas left in ovens that turn into blackened hockey pucks that belch smoke contributing to my own procrastination and laziness on top of episodes that failed to hold my attention. Anyway, onward to the draaaaaaaaaaama. I assure you, that we start with the worst categories and gradually work our way up is just a coincidence.

The Dramatic Springtime of Youth

Opera Girls!
https://kageki-anime.com/
Studio: PINE JAM
Genre: Drama
Premieres July 3rd

Show Premise: 
Girls go to opera school.

Random Thoughts:
I would make a snide remark about this being the only idol show this season, but there are at least three others which are sequels/spinoffs. We came so close to no new idol shows, and yet still failed. Maybe next season. Oh, talk about this one? It's girls going to idol school to be idols. It, uh, has more of a shoujo vibe? Because opera is more artistic and serious, I guess? Yeah,the silly costumes really sell serious. The promo is nothing but a girl stepping out on stage. That's as much effort as I want to put in too.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Into the capsule with you.

RE-MAIN
https://re-main.net/
Studio: Mappa
Genre: Drama
Premieres July 3rd

Show Premise: 
Teenagers play water polo.

Random Thoughts:
Mappa's obligatory shiny-boy series for the year. It's an original, so naught to go on but the world's most generic sports show promo and its somewhat bizarre hook spat out in the second promo. See, the dude didn't quit water polo or anything. He suffered a severe brain injury, was in a coma for seven months, and has amnesia from when he was a champion polo player, and so wants to re-learn his former love of polo. That's, uh… certainly a backstory all right. And that's all you're giving us to go on? Well, okay.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Can greatness ever truly be recaptured, man?

Remake Our Life
http://bokurema.com/
Studio: feel
Genre: Drama
Premieres July 3rd (One hour premiere)

Show Premise: 
Dude working at a failing video game company travels back in time and gets a second chance.

Random Thoughts:
He uses his knowledge of the future to… go to school. Wow. It's almost insulting the lack of ambition here. But at the risk of spoiling things, let me make it worse. He abruptly transports back to the future, learns that he sucked the passion for art out of everybody's life, so goes back in time again to re-re-do it. That seems fine, until you find out that's not a summary of the first light novel, it's a summary of all eight put together. Dude. Put $10 in Bitcoin,or hell, Amazon stock, and then you can buy everybody their own private island of happiness while still doing the “I'm gonna save ART” schtick and not using your knowledge of the future to prevent any of the unspeakable tragedies we know are to come. They're not mutually exclusive choices. Have a little damn perspective.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And still lets his tamagotchi die in every time line.

Life Lessons with Mr. Uramichi
http://uramichi-anime.com/
Studio: Studio Blanc
Genre: Comedy
Premieres July 5th

Show Premise: 
A deeply cynical man puts on a happy facade to host a children's show.

Random Thoughts:
Is this really a gag to build an entire show around? “What if Krusty the Clown?” Hell, even Azumanga was doing this schtick. If you can't get enough of jokes in the formula of “If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! (I'm not clapping)” then great news. This will give you as many of those as you can endure before choking on them. At least I suppose it is sort of a comedy. From the manga though, it only has the one joke, and goddamn, if it isn't going to run that one into the absolute ground until it's a bloody slurry.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

A neverending sense of vague anxiety.

Aquatope of White Sand
https://aquatope-anime.com/
Studio: PA Works
Genre: Drama
Premieres July 8th

Show Premise: 
Girls try to save an aquarium from closing.

Random Thoughts:
Wow. Has it really been almost three years since the last corny PA Works coming of age melodrama about teenage girls learning to love a local mundane attraction or activity? I did not miss them. It has all the things you'd expect; endless shots of overly detailed scenery that literally sparkles with the magicalness of youth, girls yelling about how they're going to do their best, saccharine piano going at full blast,etc. Now with an aquarium instead of anime production, or hotel management, or a generic tourist trap. You've seen one of these, you've seen them all.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And yet, contains no narwhals.

Pure Unabashed No Bones About It T&A

She's Also My Girlfriend
https://kanokano-anime.com/
Studio: Tezuka Productions
Genre: Boobs
Premieres July 2nd

Show Premise: 
Dude decides to date multiple girls.

Random Thoughts:
It's just a harem. As in they literally could not think of a premise, so the premise is “Dude has a harem.” No magical excuse. No zany odd couple situation forcing them together. No gimmicky club with a wink and nod that it's a coincidence there's one dude and all girls. Just “a harem exists. Consume.” The PV is just just the VAs screaming “DATING TWO PEOPLE AT ONCE!?” with literally no animation or even art, which really helps drive home how much thought went into this.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Money now, please.

Dorm Mother of the Goddess Dorm
https://megamiryou.com/
Studio: Asread
Genre: Huge Boobs
Premieres July 14th

Show Premise: 
Dude becomes the caretaker of a dorm of goddesses.

Random Thoughts:
The promo is literally nothing but him walking in on them naked and/or in the bath, or accidentally groping them. Have I time traveled back to 2005? I thought we escaped you, curse of Love Hina. You know me. I'm fairly fine with fanservice. It can add a pleasant spice to an otherwise barely passable (or less than passable) show. Then again, the opening theme is the cast singing about how much they want to have sex with him, so I'm pretty sure that T&A isn't the extra spice on a slapstick comedy or soap opera action, but the only thing to be found.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Say fuzzy pickles!

The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!
https://jahysama-anime.com/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Small Boobs
Premieres July 31st

Show Premise: 
The demon lord Jahy is defeated and forced to live like a regular girl.

Random Thoughts:
Yet another in the very, very long line of fanservice heavy shows about a vaguely magical girl constantly bemoaning regular life. One can only hope it lives up to the high standards set by its predecessors like Squid Girl, Devil is a Part Timer, Wanted to Be a Hero, Gabriel Drop Out, so on and so forth. But beng an exact carbon copy of Dropkick on My Devil is probably not a great start. No promos to speak of, so we look to the manga and see… fanservice and the titular character yelling that she should be powerful, but she is not. Comedy writers, eat your hearts out. Fantastic.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Ew, I reminded myself Gabriel Dropout existed.

Summoning Teenagers to Humiliate the Locals

How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom
https://genkoku-anime.com/
Studio: JC Staff
Genre: Power Fantasy
Premieres July 3rd

Show Premise: 
Dude appears in a fantasy world. Entire kingdom immediately falls at his feet and venerates him for his overwhelming wisdom.

Random Thoughts:
His wisdom like: “If the kingdom needs money, just sell the valuables,” or “Don't fight a land war in Russia in the winter.” Was this written by Ben Shapiro? He, of course, also has a unique magic power and every woman in the world throws themselves at him to be part of his literal harem of wives, so not so much Connecticut Yankee as every other goddamned power fantasy in this vein with an extra helping of "Man, people in fantasy kingdoms are stupid savages who need the leadership of Johnny Everyteen." The promos are close to unanimated and just explaining his awesomeness anyway. Everything I read about it comes off as bad armchair quarterbacking from a 13 year old about how he'd totally kick the butt of Ghengis Khan with one simple trick.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

And yet, Waluigi still can't get a gritty detective series.

Spirit Chronicles
https://seireigensouki.com/
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Genre: Small Boobs
Premieres July 5th

Show Premise: 
Dude is reincarnated in a fantasy world with super powers.

Random Thoughts:
Stop me if you've heard this before. Slave wife harem in slave world but its okay because he's one of the good slave owners, cheat powers that let him embarrass the strongest people in the realm, fanservice all over the place, etc. Not even decent animation in the promos either. As near as I can tell, its 'unique hook' is that most characters are 13-16, but that just makes having a harem of them even creepier, even before tacking on that the main slave wife is in her twenties.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Your mushroom is so girthy, onii-chan!

Drugstore In Another World – The Slow Life of a Pharmacist with Cheat Powers
https://www.cheat-kusushi.jp/
Studio: EMT Squared
Genre: Boobs
Premieres July 7th

Show Premise: 
Dude is summoned to fantasy world with super powers.

Random Thoughts:
You can literally copy the above. Okay, so maybe not a SLAVE harem this time, but when the main heroine refers to the protagonist as her master, you're not fooling anybody. This also fancies itself more a comedy about accidentally drugging mostly women instead of a serious story like the above, but come the bloody hell on. Japan, find a new goddamned schtick. It also only takes like ten chapters before the characters are plotting up ways to drug people into conversion therapy, so that's a thing too. Yes, that's an actual early chapter in the manga. "I'm worried my brother is gay. Please make a potion to fix him." "Welp, I've got to help her, so here you go! Secretly drug the gayness away." The gag at the end being that an overdose also made him ugly, so only use it in moderation. Be better than this, anime.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Another brick in humanity's collapse.

Moonlit Fantasy
https://tsukimichi.com/
Studio: C2C
Genre: Yet More Boobs
Premieres July 7th

Show Premise: 
Dude is summoned to fantasy world, but is told that he's too ugly to be its hero.

Random Thoughts:
You will be absolutely shocked when I tell you that he immediately discovers that he's a living demigod (independent of the summoning, which was just a coincidence), needing to take special measures just to keep his overwhelming power from leaking out, and quickly amasses a harem of literal slave wives. Shocked, I say. I guess at least it fancies itself a comedy rather than a gritty drama, but that just means there's 300% more shouting and the faces have goofy backgrounds intead of ugly crying. The PVs are far from promising on the animation front, but do make sure to highlight how he is endlessly ending up in wardrobe malfunction situations with his slaves, so we're not hiding what this is really about. Let's, uh… just move on and be finished with the worst side of this season.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Are you insinuating that King K. Rool can't get it? Because he can Get It.

The Dungeon Sweatshop
https://meikyubc-anime.com/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Comedy
Premieres July 9th

Show Premise: 
Dude is summoned to fantasy world and forced to be a slave miner.

Random Thoughts:
Well, at least he doesn't start out with demigod powers. No, this fancies itself a subversion by having him repeatedly scream that he's being cheated by this messed up other-world situation. But hey, we've got slaves, we've got women, we've got obnoxious self-aware yelling trying to pass itself off as satire. I'm not going to quibble over the details here. Just not having demigod powers does put it a notch above its fellows. This does have a couple of Silver Link's vets who have done decently with both comedy and action shows in the past. Its worth being cautiously optimistic about, but emphasis on cautious, because the promos were definitely all in on the screaming about what a subversion its premise was.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Mining for comedy is a forelorn task.

Magical Teenagers and Swarms of Monsters

Peach Boy Riverside
https://peachboyriverside.com/
Studio: Asahi Production
Genre: Adventure
Premieres July 1st

Show Premise: 
Princess Sally travels the world, slaying oni with the power of peach eyes.

Random Thoughts:
The only thing really notable about this is that it got itself kicked out of the kids magazine it originally belonged to by being too gory and had to move up to the one for 13 year olds. While the promos do have some blood, they very much do not have animation, which undercuts any hope of being a fun action show pretty majorly, instead trying to sell itself of people grinning sadistically while their eyes glow with peaches in the retinas. Because that's what turns blood cold and gives people the chills, fruit in the eyes. Asahi is a pretty poor studio, and both director and writer have few successes (worked together on Actidol a couple seasons back), so I don't expect much.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

A peach colored eye is far more creepy.

Scarlet Nexus
https://snx-anime.net/
Studio: Sunrise
Genre: Action
Premieres July 1st

Show Premise: 
Teenagers with super powers fight magical aliens.

Random Thoughts:
Based on the game released just this week, although the first episode did have a pre-air. It was quite underwhelming and felt like it came from about five years ago at the height of the generic light novel “teenagers fighting random monsters” craze. Granted, I now miss those days given the cheat power slave harem alternative, but even compared to things like… I don't know, Black Bullet or Unbreakable Machine Doll, that episode was extremely mediocre, which is a little weird considering it's from Sunrise, although by staff, it looks like it was handed off to a team that more works on Saturday morning shows for selling toys. Which may be appropriate? I don't know. The game came out literally today and is definitely not an AAA blockbuster. The action in the first episode was far from impressive, even making allowances for dudes fighting giant flowerpots with legs.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The monster design is either trying way too hard, or not nearly hard enough.

The Detective is Already Dead
https://tanmoshi-anime.jp/
Studio: ENGI
Genre: Action
Premieres July 4th (One hour premiere)

Show Premise: 
Teenagers with super powers fight magical plant aliens.

Random Thoughts:
Reading anything about this light novel is like staring into the mouth of madness. Dude was saved from a plane hijacking via tentacle monster by a magical girl and went on to fight the Illuminati,which are plant aliens, with her until she died, and now does the same with the girl who got a heart transplant from her and has multiple split personalities, but nobody's actually dead, the story is split between both time frames, and there are also cyborgs which might be part alien plant. It is, of course, a harem. Yes, one of them is a world famous idol. The promos aren't too bad, promising at least a tiny bit of girls twirling and shooting oversized firearms, but they're also far more focused on "Hey, look at all these cloying girls, lavishing their attention on you." When a promo gets me to thinking "Man, maybe I was too harsh on shows like Dragon Crisis," that's probably not a great first impression. 

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The owls are already perplexed.

Magical Teenagers and Swarms of Magical Teenagers

The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace
https://idaten-anime.com/
Studio: Mappa
Genre: Action
Premieres July 22nd

Show Premise: 
Gods banished demons 800 years ago, but now the demons are back. They fight.

Random Thoughts:
Weirdly, this is the noitaminA show for the season. Mappa's certainly taking a distinctive art style with this, and the promos are nothing but kids kicking the crap out of each other, so that's a good foot forward. The manga it comes from is rather graphic, and yet also spends pages upon pages explaining how the gods are tulpas in true bad Jump fashion (though not a Jump franchise), interspersed with explicit images of the rape and murder of a random girl. This is some rando instead of one of Mappa's usual action directors, and a head writer who's been much more focused in more obnoxious shounen stuff (eg Attack on Titan, Seraph of the End, etc) so there are red flags. Still, Mappa's had a pretty good track record lately, and an impressive PV gives me some hope that at least the action will be slick. Just keep the rest from being too awful, both in the exposition department, and the gratuitous sexual violence department, which I suspect are both hopes that will not go fulfilled.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
     
An unclear situation, but .

The Case Study of Vanitas
https://vanitas-anime.com/
Studio: Bones
Genre: Adventure
Premieres July 2nd

Show Premise: 
Dudes hunt vampires to cure them.

Random Thoughts:
Written by the same dude as Pandora Hearts, so use that as your baseline. Which is to say excessively overcomplicated, exceedingly melodramatic, and full of glistening twinks. The promo was surprisingly mediocre considering that Bones is handling the animation. It's not usual Bones staff either, with a Shaft dude handling the direction. It'll probably turn out better than Pandora Hearts just because Bones is a better studio than Xebec, but it's still a show about glistening boy pop stars pretending to be vampire adjacent. It doesn't help that the big thing that they seem to be pitching is that Yuki Kajiura is doing the score. Okay, it'll probably have solid music then, but it's not even the only Yuki Kajiura show this season and the other one is chasing the pirate ninja fanservice instead of glistening, shining vampires.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
You face the power of the third most generic anime!

Battle Begins Five Seconds Later
https://dea5-anime.com/
Studio: SynergySP
Genre: Action
Premieres July 12th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers with super powers are forced to fight in a battle royale.

Random Thoughts:
At least the protagonist isn't a demigod. He's just the smartest person in the world, literally ranked as such, with the power of having whatever power he can trick people into thinking he has. Suck on that, girl with the power of… sugar-kinesis. Yes, that's an actual power in the source. Another show that feels like it's chasing a trend from about a decade ago that I would be harsher on, if not for the half dozen slave wife harems this season. The promo has even less fighting and action than even Darwin's Game though, and you're not in a good place when you're being unfavorably compared to that. Also, SynergySP? They haven't made a show on their own for half a decade now, and even before then, mostly made Beyblade and baseball dramas. This is your big return to headlining production on a show? Good luck with that.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The power of a border collie's blank stare.

Sonny Boy
https://anime.shochiku.co.jp/sonny-boy/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Confusion
Premieres July 15th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers end up in probably purgatory where they're forced to obey democratically chosen rules.

Random Thoughts:
The first episode had an early airing, and it's not easy to sum up, especially with me dipping in and out of the episode, but more because the end of it goes all twisty and confusey. It's far artsier and geared more towards something like King's Game or Danganronpa than just kids with super powers or kids poofed to a magic world, although the ending of the first episode suggests that maybe they're in tropical purgatory instead? It's certainly aiming for the surreal angle at any rate. It's definitely better directed than animated though, even taking rough animation as a stylistic choice, a plethora of stills are never a good look. Maybe sufficient weirdness is all you need in a season full of copy/pastes.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
The prawn has spoken.

Fena – Pirate Princess
http://fena-pirate-princess.com/
Studio: Production IG
Genre: Adventure
Premieres Sometime, Probably?

Show Premise: 
A European princess and her crew of ninjas are pirates.

Random Thoughts:
Crunchyroll announced it was streaming this “This summer” as a series simulcast weekly with Adult Swim. The actual site in Japan announced it would premiere in October. I'll just cover this here to be safe, although I assume the latter is specific to Japanese terrestrial broadcasts. It's an original anyway, so it'll just be a paragraph on two sixty second promos, one from a year ago. Slick, action packed ones, I won't deny that, which already puts it in the top ranks for the season, but not a lot past that. Can't help but chuckle at the director's resume. Fatal Fury: The Movie. A little gay porn. B – The Beginning. We should all aspire to be so eclectic and still end up directing an action show about pirates who are ninajs in a medieval kingdom, escorting some random girl and her magical (?) glass cellphone case while being chased by the British navy and at least one attempted rapist.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
Actually contains virtually no pirates nor princesses.

Wrapup:

Hopefully a few things towards the bottom of the list will pan out, but I have few to no hope for much of anything in the first half. I will be technically out of town for a few days around the 4th of July, just as a semi-regular trip to the family not-quite-a-time-share in the mountains for a change of scenery. I'm considering doing a weekly sort of catchup on various Western shows I've watched but not covered, like Invicible, Helluva Boss, various DC animated things that I just sort of fell out of the habit of covering, but we'll see how this season goes. It's far from the worst I've seen at first blush, just from a thankful lack of idol and heavy drama shows.

Posted in Season Preview | 8 Comments »

8 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • NeclordX says:

    Can’t we just get back to traditional fantasy? Or at the very least have these reincarnated guys go out on a quest to slay some demon lord instead of sitting in a town brewing potions?
    If neither can we at least get a new flavor? Like ancient greece or wild west, or isekai IN SPAAACE!
    If we are stuck with it at the very least give them something that makes it slightly different, I could literally mix an episode of one of these shows inside another show and no one would notice. Even battle magic school harems had more variety than this.

    • Aroduc says:

      Fun fact: Some Japanese short story contests started banning “sent to another world” stories because they’re so sick of them.

      …Starting in 2016.

    • LUNI_TUNZ says:

      Imagine Star Wars, but Luke is constantly talking about video games, and a loud narrator keeps banging on about experience points and HP.

    • Anonymous says:

      isekai sometimes has effort in it but otherwise is predominately effortless genre. it takes effort to do some new setting that is not medieval rpg world. rpg setting guarantees some stability and since MC is reincarnated one does not have to account for change in morality or write from the point of view someone actually living in those worlds.

      It kind of reminds me of romance anime from 00s where all MC had to do was show minimum decency. “you dont think I should kill myself and you are not going to physically abuse me? take me now “

  • Ark noir says:

    The deity one interests me. The rest are getting the 1.5x speed watching treatment. Nexus maybe.

  • sp33 says:

    With the possible exception of Getter Robo this season seems like a fine opportunity to knock out some backlog

  • Anonymous says:

    She’s Also My Girlfriend might be fresh if they are actually dating and exploring the whole harem dynamic because non of the harem shows actually do that (I doubt it will)

    How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom
    I read some of the manga. seemed pretty boring. When I was young I did not think I would miss Maoyu

    The Case Study of Vanitas/Fena – Pirate Princess
    Im interested but I can also almost smell the lack of budget and misplaced focus.

    so much isekai so little variation. if they are going down the medical path, why not Isekai Yakkyoku. How about those ones were guys can go back and forth, one buys stuff with his lotto money and in another the guy brings in his friend on the deal and they make money on interdenominational trade. How about that one were the ugly guy is MC’s uncle and his isekai stories turn out to have been true. There are many things one can do beyond guy is teleported, wonders around and hooks up with 5 girls.

  • Gamen says:

    Spirit Chronicles – it turns my stomach that they’re adapting it into an anime, much less one that only covers the three book prologue, so I’m not suggesting anyone watch it… But “Slave wife harem in slave world but its okay because he’s one of the good slave owners” sounds nothing like it. “Dark and brooding superman repeatedly leaves behind girls who show interest in him while searching for his homeland” is better, at least for the anime.
    That said, the prologue does start about 9 years before the main story so it’s more like most of the heroines are between 7 and 16… because they’re the same age as him so start as children as well. Except for his teacher, who’s five years older, and that girl in the image who’s a few years younger.

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