Summer 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

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There are no two ways to cut it, the Summer 2021 Anime Season has been a real hot mess. On top of two previous seasons that felt too stuffed for their own good, a lot of the shows this season felt like they were made and powered by the energy of burned-out/overworked/underpaid animators and storytellers having to put together multiple stories that had potential to be great, but many fell flat. This is not to say there weren’t any great anime, but it’s more inconsistent this season. Even some of the better shows run into some execution stumbles. Still, I’m going to give my impressions of the new anime this season. I’m skipping over the Scarlet Nexus anime since it’s basically an advertisement for the game that’s already out (the show is fine), and that dormitory ecchi/softcore porn anime will not be touched here. As usual, I’m only talking about the new seasonal anime, and no returning or sequel shows. 




Slice of Life


Girlfriend, Girlfriend (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the manga by Hiroyuki, this anime adaptation is directed by Satoshi Kuwabara, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Tezuka Productions. I’m always a bit hesitant to get into harem anime due to how they usually end up, and on paper, the premise of this one sounds so off-putting. A rom-com about a guy who ends up getting two girls to agree to date him? How do they pull this off? Well, with them all enjoying each other’s company in, of course, an overly comedic way, but in a way that makes for a real mixed bag of comedy. It helps that all of the characters want to be with one another, but they keep falling into the drama of one individual not being okay with being in a multi-partner relationship. It gets tiring when the best part of the show is when the three individuals, plus the future girl-partners enjoy their friendship and company. I will say that after seeing a little more of the show past my usual three episode rule, I was glad that they talked it out. It’s a vibrant show with amusingly dumb characters, and while a lot of the jokes do include yelling, there are a few legit laughs. It’s a show where your mileage will absolutely vary with how your experience unfolds, but compared to the slice of life rom-coms of the previous Spring season (outside of Nagatoro of course), I would rather watch this than Koikimo

Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Gaku Kuze, this adaptation is directed by Nobuyoshi Nagayama, written by Toko Machida, and produced by Studio Blanc. Do you know those rumors of hosts of children’s shows being unhinged behind the scenes? Where you were told the kind friendly persona they put on is hiding a dark side? Well, that’s essentially the premise of this show. This anime about tired, worn out, jaded, and cynical late 20/early 30-year-olds working a show they aren’t really into, revels in its dark comedy and there is something so charming about it. It might not have the flashiest animation this season, but how they executed it makes the jokes and punchlines land harder due to how snappy the facial expressions are. It’s also diving more into the mindset of the main characters, and I’m so happy that it’s not relying on one joke. Now there is definitely going to be a side of this show that will rub people the wrong way due to how, well, relatable the lead characters are and that feeling of not doing enough with your life at this point in time. I can totally see why some people may find this show off-putting, but I also understand why people enjoy it, and that includes me. With punchy character interactions, funny jokes, and a delightfully twisted sense of humor, there is a charm to this show that is unlike any other this season. 

The Aquatope of White Sand (Crunchyroll) 

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This is another original anime this season from PA Works that is directed by Toshiya Shinohara and written by Yuko Kakihara. This show caught my eye early on before the new season of anime dropped with its gorgeous visuals, and the setting of two girls taking care of an aquarium with friends over the summer. It might have a very straightforward story, but the devil is in the details with how they execute the themes and topics covered in a premise like this. With a low-key atmospheric tone, a likable cast of teenagers/young adults, and an experience that feels more fully realized than most anime this season, The Aquatote on White Sand is easily one of the season’s best so far. 




Other 




The Detective is Already Dead (Funimation)

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Based on the light novel and manga by Nigoju, the anime adaptation was directed by Manabu Kurihara, written by Deko Akao, and produced by ENGI. After last season’s incredible Odd Taxi, I was excited to find the next mystery anime, and sadly, well, this is what we have. I have heard the light novel is popular, but I’m wondering how popular it is for its detective elements, because much of the show is constant repetitive dialogue of things we already know, and the overall world-building is confusing and unrefined. It feels like a show that was made by combining a bunch of elements and not knowing what to edit or cut down on. I’m usually down with a weird sci-fi mystery experience, but this sure isn’t it. If you like the source material, that’s perfectly fine, but if this wants me to purchase said source material, it’s doing a bad job at it. 

Night Head 2041 (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the 1992 drama, this anime adaptation is directed by Takamitsu Hirakawa, written by George Iida, and produced by Shirogumi. What we essentially have is a mix of Equilibrium, Scanners, and Blade Runner, but with none of the interest that those films offer. It was incredibly difficult to jump into this show because it did such a poor job at explaining exactly how everything worked, and it kept throwing things into the formula that made it even harder to follow. It has some points of interest, but those promising elements are not enough to distract from the fact that this show seems to want to be the next Akira, both metaphorically and literally. Seriously, take a shot every time this show has someone reading an Akira manga. The CGI looks fine, but the whole art direction this show takes looks like every other bog-standard sci-fi series we have seen since Ghost in the Shell. Overall, so far, Night Head 2041 is fine, but I don’t have any real drive to go back to it. 

Peach Boy Riverside (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the manga by Coolkyousinnjya, this anime is directed by Shigeru Ueda, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Asashi Productions. I have no idea why they had to tell this show’s story out of order and have two different release strategies, because you will probably end up confusing your viewers about details and story beats. It’s really hard to feel invested in this world when I do not know how the story is supposed to be told. It’s not Pulp Fiction. Otherwise, I have enjoyed the first three episodes of this show due to some of its characters, action, and world. I wish I cared more because how the story is told is pulling me out of it. Maybe I’ll keep watching it, but I’m not sure. 

Re-Main (Funimation) 

This is an original anime this season that is produced by MAPPA, written by Masafumi Nishida, and co-directed by Nishida and Kiyoshi Matsuda. The story of a water polo champion getting into an accident and losing his memory makes for a promising plot point, that is unfortunately not too much of the focus of the show. You would think this would make for a compelling drama-driven show, but it has to share the room with the typical sports anime cliches, and it seems to be taking itself a touch too seriously. Maybe it’s because last season’s Bakuten was such a breath of fresh air for sports anime, but Re-Main feels too formulaic for its own good. It either needed to focus more on the effects of losing three years of memories and what that does to the lead, or feel fresh or interesting with the sports elements. Still, even with all of this said, the animation is gorgeous, the opening song is a banger, and what’s driving this series home is the cast of likable characters and their dynamics. Thankfully, it does dive into some bits of the main character’s memories after the three episode mark, but I’m sure some people were hoping for it to have as much screen time as the sports drama bits. It might not be MAPPA’s best series, but I am still enjoying this a lot more than their other series that we will get to next time. 

The Case Study of Vanitas (Funimation) 

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This is based on the manga by Jun Mochizuki, this adaptation is directed by Tomoyuki Itamura, written by Deko Akao, and produced by Bones. I found myself overall charmed by this drama of vampires and humans. It’s a compelling watch as it focuses on a curse that plagues vampires, and this maybe/maybe-not human doctor who wants to cure the vampires of the world with the power of a sacred book. The core appeal of this show is the dynamic between our two male leads as they try to uncover the mystery while fighting an omnipotent force that absolutely creeps the heck out of me. The show does try to balance out more serious story beats with comedy, and while it can and does work a lot of the time, when it doesn’t, it falls flat. It’s a disappointment in that regard due to what one of the leads does to a female character in the third episode that happens to be a little too reckless for its own good. It’s like it tries a little too hard to have the characters be reaffirmed that they are straight when the vibe, tone, and how dialogue sequences are handled tell another story altogether. Still, I love this take on vampires, but it needed a little something to polish out the tone. I’m glad I decided to watch a few more episodes after my cut-off, since it does dive into the world more. The action is pretty good, and the animation is gorgeous. It’s a touch uneven at certain points, but I enjoyed this series, and the dub is out now! 

Kageki Shojo! (Funimation) 

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Based on the manga by Kumiko Saiki, this adaptation is directed by Kazuhiro Yoneda, written by Tadashi Morishita and Miyako Matsumoto, and produced by Pine Jam. I know there are plenty of manga and anime that revolve around the setting of an all-female performing arts school that leads into being cast in huge performances, but since I’m not too familiar with those anime, this is the first one that I have seen set in that, well, setting. I love the distinct look of this anime with its human designs and vibrant colors used for the characters and the outfits they wear. It has some familiar elements for a drama/love story between two girls with one of them being closed off to the world, and the other being this ball of energy, but I do enjoy their chemistry. It’s also a drama that will heavily drench its story with as many dramatic plot points as possible that include abuse, stalkers, eating disorders, and the insane difficulties of working in this specific industry. It’s a bit much and it’s not all handled well, but I respect that this anime isn’t just fluffy best friends forever kind of anime and wants to dive into the darker sides of the industry. I may not have seen similar anime to Kageki Shojo, and its execution of drama could use some work, but even with its flaws, like a few other anime this season, it’s one of my favorites. 

Sonny Boy (Funimation)

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This is one of the few original anime this season by One Punch Man Season 1 and Space Dandy director Shingo Natsume. This anime is written and directed by Natsume and produced by Studio Madhouse. What may look like another battle royale-style anime with students with powers, ends up being less action-focused and more philosophical and metaphorical with its setting. A bunch of students being stuck in random worlds that aren’t connected to theirs’ results in a ton of story beats, commentary, and all wrapped up with some great writing and one of the most distinct visuals of any anime this season. It’s a touch clunky right out of the gate with setting everything up, but by the third episode, I was hooked. It’s easily one of the best anime this season, and I hope it doesn’t fall flat when the final episode drops. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

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