by

It’s that time of year again, and another season of new anime is upon us. While looking over the lineup for this summer, I thought they all looked pretty generic (even more generic than Spring 2012’s lineup). But there were actually a few standout shows this season that really surprised me, and now I have a few programs to be excited about this summer. Which ones are they, you ask? Well, let’s find out.

Kokoro Connect

This show has been described as, “boys and girls getting together to magically swap genders and experience life on the other side,” and likened to a mixture of Haruhi and K-ON!. I dunno if I’d compare it to those two shows, but it definitely does involve gender swapping. One day, the members of this high school club just start swapping souls with each other, at random, for no apparent reason. It only lasts about a half hour or so, but it’s really freaking them out.

The animation is pretty standard and it has an interesting enough premise with boys and girls switching bodies for no real reason. I am definitely curious as to why it’s happening to them, and if as the show moves on, they’ll be stuck in each other’s bodies for longer than thirty minutes at a time. It’s pretty funny but I’m not sure where I expect the series to go with the story line. I wonder how long it can keep on being interesting.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfmunTxdQ4Y']

Who should watch this show: People who like high school comedies with a gender bending twist.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: Not that great. I might watch one or two more to see where things go, but probably not.


Sword Art Online

I feel like this show is kind of like a combination of Accel World from last season and the .hack series. The story is about people who end up getting trapped in a virtual reality online game. If they die in the game, they die in real life as well. The only means of escape is to complete the game by advancing up levels in the world. Of course, there are one hundred of these levels for the players to slog through. The game creator has trapped them there himself, and he seems like a fairly demented fellow.

The show seems pretty interesting so far but I dunno how they plan to make watching someone play through a VR MMORPG interesting all the way through the series. We’ll see. I imagine I’ll be all about this show in the beginning, but I fear my interests may begin to taper off if the show starts to get a bit repetitive (as MMORPGs themselves tend to do).

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv8u5bY8Now']

Who should watch this show: People who like shows like Accel World, .hack, action, or just MMORPGs in general.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching another one or two just to see how things develop. There might be some potential here.


Tari Tari

This show has been described as, “the daily lives of three high school girls who are too young to be adults, but don’t regard themselves as children anymore.” It kind of makes sense, I suppose. The main girl is frustrated with her choir club at school because the faculty won’t allow her to sing, and is determined to get others together to create a new club with her where she can sing to her heart’s content.

One of the first things I noticed about this show is the nice music they have playing almost all the time. It gives the show a light and happy feeling which I like. Although it seems pretty generic, it feels kind of refreshing – like a nice summer anime. It’s pretty funny too. I also really like the character designs. I don’t expect that this is the sort of series where I’ll be getting excited for each subsequent episode, but I think it’ll be nice every once in a while. It has a sort of charm to it.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei4clsa91RY']

Who should watch this show: People who like high school comedy anime centering around music and singing and all that stuff.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: I’ll probably watch it lazily if I still want to watch more anime after watching my other picks from the season.


Kono Naka ni Hitori Imouto ga Iru

The premise of this show is kind of weird. A young man is forced to transfer to a prestigious all-girls’ school as a condition of his late father’s will, so that he can find a wife. However, he also receives a creepy phone call revealing that one of the young women trying to seduce him is his younger half-sister. The show seems to be just one big messed up harem.

As wacky as this premise sounds, the show is actually pretty boring. It seems pretty silly and a bit stupid. There were a lot of times during the show where I was just like, “Oh, come on! Really?” out of disbelief and frustration. This show is definitely out there. And the whole little sister stalker thing is pretty creepy. Especially with her voice sounding like a possessed children’s toy. It makes me uneasy.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_WWbYU6ukk']

Who should watch this show: People who like goofy hard-to-believe harem type anime.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: This kind of anime is not my cup of tea, so I definitely won’t be watching any more of it.


Binbou-gami Ga!

This show is about a girl blessed with good looks, fortune, talent, and gigantic boobs. Apparently she was born with too much good fortune, and now leaches fortune from all those around her. Therefore, she excels at everything while those around her are held back for lack of fortune. And this is where a goddess of poverty and misfortune comes in. It’s her job to bring some misfortune into this lucky girl’s life and redistribute that fortune to those around her.

I was honestly expecting this show to be super dumb. I was very surprised when the opening scene had me cracking up and the opening song and animation was awesome. This show is weird in the greatest of ways. I love it. I really like the animation from this show as well. It’s also absolutely hilarious. This show is definitely the funniest of the season, hands down.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVSLbVQGfx8']

Who should watch this show: People who like totally awesome off the wall goofy anime humor.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: Absolutely. I’m definitely going to watch more, especially if subsequent episodes are as great as the first one.


Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

This show takes place in a world where humanity seems to slowly be going extinct, and the world’s last public school graduate has been appointed as UN liaison with a bunch of weird little fairy creatures who seem to be taking over humans as the dominant race in the world. It’s weird. Where is the story going? I don’t know.

I don’t really like the animation in this show and the colors are really bright and unnatural, even for an anime. The show definitely has a lot of lolwtf moments. And those fairies I mentioned earlier? They are both hilarious and creepy as hell all at the same time. This show is weird. Like really, REALLY weird.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agm-_culDz8']

Who should watch this show: People who like moderately mind blowing out there anime that is strange and jaw dropping.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: I wouldn’t say I want to watch any more of this show, but the weirdness factor does intrigue me. So, maybe.


Natsuyuki Rendevous

This one started off pretty generic then really surprised me. Probably because I didn’t read any of the summaries for it, so I’ll do my best to give you the courtesy of not spoiling them for you as well. **SPOILERS** The main character can see his love interest’s dead husband’s ghost. I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but it seems like a pretty cool twist on the traditional love triangle set up **END SPOILERS**

The show largely takes place in the flower and plant shop where everyone works. Since they’re around plant life all the time, there are a lot of pretty colors going on in the show so it’s nice to look at. It’s not bad, but not great either. Seems decent.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeHLuPyRFwQ']

Who should watch this show: People who like romantic anime with a twist.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: Not too great. While it is a bit more interesting than the run of the mill romance shows, its lack of comedy makes it not stand out to me because the romance itself just isn’t quite interesting enough.


Oda Nobuna no Yabou

This show is an alternate history anime taking place in the time of Oda Nobunaga, except most all of the main players from that history are now women (i.e. Oda Nobuna). It’s actually pretty cool and a lot more interesting than I was expecting it to be. What’s more is that the main character is a student from the future who absolutely loves Japan’s civil war history and happened to get teleported into the past. He helps along with the progression of the story by occasionally making predictions and intervening making for an interesting mix of genres.

I was actually very surprised by how much I liked this one. It definitely has one of the best styles and animation out of the season in my opinion. I really like how it looks. It’s a good mash-up of history, action, comedy, and time travel. It’s pretty cool.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8te_7g9D-sA']

Who should watch this show: People who like time traveling, comedic, action anime with historical influences.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: I’ll definitely watch a few more episodes. It seems pretty cool so far and with Japan’s civil war as a backdrop for story, the show has potential to stay very interesting until the end.


La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia

This one is about a group of people making up a mafia type family who take care of a small coastal town as vigilantes. They all have unique arcana powers that they use to fight villains. The premise for the season is set when it’s announced that they will all be competing in a competition to determine who will become the new head of the family once the current leader retires.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but it turned out to be pretty average. It was interesting enough to watch all the way through, but I’m not really excited about seeing another episode or anything. You don’t really get to see many of the powers in action in the first episode, so who knows how cool this competition will be. Guess we’ll find out.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUuvpp76gcM']

Who should watch this show: People who like mafia family anime with arcana powers and a tournament mixed in.
Likelihood of me watching another episode: I doubt I’ll be watching another episode of this one, it just didn’t really grab me.


Shows That Just Weren’t That Great

Muv-Luv: Average animation. Doesn’t really grab you. Nothing special. Slow moving. Watch if you like generic mecha anime with female pilots in skin tight suits. I’m not interested enough to watch any more.

Joshiraku: I don’t really like these kinds of rakugo shows. It’s just five girls talking about random stuff. I just found it to be pretty boring and not all that interesting. It’s not funny enough to hold my interest. I actually didn’t find it funny at all, so I turned it off halfway through the show.

Campione!: This one seemed kinda silly right from the get go and didn’t really grab my attention. Even though there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in the first five minutes, it just seems pretty generic and not very interesting. Maybe my initial impression is wrong, but I just didn’t feel like watching this one.

As usual, there were also a handful of shows that I just didn’t check out and a handful of sequels that I never watched the original for (sorry!).

Bottom Line: Binbou-gami ga!, Oda Nobuna no Yabou, and (maybe) Sword Art Online all had great starts and are definitely worth watching this season. I heartily encourage you to check all three out.


So tell me, what are your favorite anime shows this season? Think I should check out a show I didn’t review above? Have you seen Binbou-gami ga! or Oda Nobuna no Yabou? How do you like them so far? Let me know in the comments!


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  • http://www.facebook.com/ltsiros Luciano Tsiros

    I need to watch something new after being disappointed with Sakamichi no Apollon (12 apisodes only? Come on!). I’ll pick something from here, maybe…

  • MrsSpooky

    Oh no, you didn’t like Sakamichi no Apollon?  I know it was way too short.  Those types of stories aren’t my usual cup of tea (nothing explodes), but I found that I fell in love with those characters and even though it did get frustrating at times, my friends and I adored it.

    My current favorites are Uchuu Kyoudai and Shirokuma Cafe. 

  • http://twitter.com/testyal1 William Sumners

    Kokoro Connect is piquing my interest, but Binbougami ga is pretty much destined to be my favourite of this season. I have a love of comedy. All others I’m watching this season seem to be fairly niche. 

  • http://mkaito.github.com Michishige Kaito

    We still have Hyouka, so at least I have something to watch without padding with too much older anime.

  • Estraven

    Muv-Luv makes half sense if you played the VN, as the characters are different. Apart from that “yet another mecha vs aliens”.

  • http://twitter.com/SakuyaFM 765Pro | SakuyaP

    KonoNaka = keeki is safe.
    Sword Art Online, Tari Tari, and Joshiraku are the ones I’m following, with the first two being a for sure this season. Joshiraku, I’m used to the random topics and overall random feel of the show (Arakawa and Lucky Star sorta thing), but the puns and obscure references aren’t the most thrilling things. At least the ED is so much love.

  • piderman

     I wish there were some more quality anime like GitS SAC or Mushishi or something like Eden of the East. Most anime these days seem so meh.

  • 古戸ヱリカ

    Oh man, I got all excited for the gender-swap sengoku show, but then I read about the main character being some time traveling self-insert sounding guy. I’ll try it, but I’m extremely cautious of anything that sounds like it was adapted from some harem-type visual novel.

  • averygoodgame10

    As always, it’s really cool to have a good little review of new anime to enter my brain before I waste time watching another terrible series. But there’s one thing that I’ve been wondering.

    With all of the praise for J-dramas being used for learning Japanese, in some instances saying that they should be used instead of anime for their realistic quality, then why would you have seasonly reviews of anime seasons and not J-dramas? I appreciate it and of course I can just go find out other things by myself, but it’s just an idea.

  • ジョサイア

    When I saw it I was thinking*Did someone make another haruhi spin off*

  • John

    Drama episodes are three times as long as anime episodes and there’s like a bajillion new ones each season. I can handle watching some bad anime episodes that are 20 mins long, but I prefer not to do the same with hour long drama premiers, lol. I just don’t have that kind of free time xD If I still watched tons of drama on my own like I used to, then I’d be happy to post about it, but I just don’t keep up with the J-dramas like I used to. If I happen to run across one show that I think is really awesome, I’ll be sure to post about it though!

  • Guest

    Natsuyuki Rendevous intrigues me for the simple fact that the lead female has really, REALLY short hair – that’s something you just don’t see too often in anime, where long, flowing locks are next to godliness.

  • http://twitter.com/shollum Shollum

    I was so happy when I heard that Binbougami ga! was getting an anime!
    If you ever have the chance, I’d definitely recommend the manga. It’s hilarious and interesting which is quite the feat! And the faces! I hope those turn out well in the anime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001462817558 Michael Baltazar

    Sooner or later they’re going to run out of plot ideas…
    Anime has been around since, when… the 1970’s?
    More than 10 animes show each season, with four seasons in a year…
    Ah, the good old days… 2002-2005 was prety awesome, Full Moon o Sagashite and Nanoha were IMHO the greatest that time.

  • John

    lol, I’ve never seen the manga, but so far the anime is priceless.

  • John

    I think it slowly grows out over the course of the series, but yeah I totally agree with you.

  • Ashley

    Can I marry you?

  • Sebastian

    I’m just starting to watch anime. Can you guys tell me where I can get it? I mean, how do YOU get it? Get a DVD, stream online (where?), pay-per-view? C’mon I’m expecting insider knowledge not easily found on Google!

    Thanks ;)

  • Foozlesprite

    I found myself really enjoying Joshiraku.  I’m a huge pun whore, and being a Japanese student I found that knowing it was full of puns forced me to pay more attention to the Japanese dialogue than I usually would.  I caught more of the jokes than I thought I would, and that was enough for me to find it pretty hilarious.  Being up on Japanese history (in addition to the language of course) really helps enjoy this show; if you don’t know much about Japan’s territorial conflicts with China, the Koreas, etc., you wouldn’t find the joke sequence at the end of ep.1 funny, for instance.

    It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re learning Japanese and you like humor, I’d at least give one episode a try to see if it’s for you.

  • MeowMix

    Where can I watch these anime??? I absolutely LOVE anime and I REALLY WANT TO WATCH THEM

  • John

    Too bad I didn’t watch until the end of the episode then, lol.

  • John

    Moi? You’d have to ask my master, Koichi.

  • Ramego

    I think you forgot to mention two anime that are a MUST if you like action & ecchi with almost no sense:
    1- Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai
    2- Hagure Yuusha no Estetica

    Bye!

  • rabbi_jstu

    Kokoro Connect was better than I expected it to be. I half expected it to be cheesy, but is was interesting and quite funny. I’m really curious to see where they will go with this one.

  • rabbi_jstu

    They will just start remaking old ones, like we do with movies nowadays. Much like Cyborg 009, that is being remade.

  • Bernadetteleigh

    Kids on the Slope was amazing.

  • Cell

    Kokoro connect deserves way more praise after the second episode (you should check it out if you haven’t already seen it). Really the surprise of the season for me.

  • Ouria

    Well you can try crunchyroll, they got plenty of anime and some dramas as well.

  • averygoodgame10

    That’s understandable xD
    Especially since I know what it’s like to balance school, learning Japanese, and spending hours reading through the majority of Tofugu. I wonder if I’ll finish someday ._.
    But it was just a cool thought. I had a really cool idea about it, though.
    If Koichi has a blog in Japanese, maybe he could make a post there to ask for reviews about the season’s good dramas, written in English so those who want to study it can practice it. On Lang8. Then they post a link to their review :D
    And then the job would be to go through the bunch of reviews and pick those who were corrected pretty nicely or something and then put them on here. Maximum the brainstorm.

  • MeowMix

    oh, and Kokoro COnnect should get more credit, as its amazing

  • HokkaidoKuma

    Gotta admit, going through these seasonal new anime run-down posts has reinvigorated my interest in Anime. I both hate you and love you for this John.

    Really enjoying, 宇宙兄弟, Sword Art Online, and 貧乏神. Going to check out Accel World soon. I feel like such an Otaku *Facepalm*

  • Charle

    Animestream.tv is my go-to site. Full episodes in DVD quality? YES PLZ.

  • John

    hahaha, happy to help.

  • hikaru1412

    I actually really like Muv-Luv (called it TOTAL ECLIPSE til I read about it here. lol). I could care less about skin-tight girl suits, etc, but then again, I have really only seen Gundam Wing, and Code Geass (and possibly a few others) when it comes to Mecha, so this is more new to me. AND OMFG, I LOVE Sword Art Online!! It’s so awesome! Any anime with VRMMORPGs is typically awesome to me, cuz I want it to be real. :D Oh, and random question John-san. What are your western and eastern zodiacs?

  • John

    I just watched the second episode and it’s still not doing much for me, haha sorry.

  • John

    Can’t say I feel the same way, haha. Oh well! To each his own. Glad you enjoy it :D

  • John

    Yeah SAO is pretty great. I’m really enjoying it so far. And I’m a Scorpio and a (yang fire) Tiger. Why do you ask?

  • John

    I suppose I should probably get around to finishing that one.

  • Santiago

    Bah! It annoys me how generic looking all this shows are! I’m starting to get into anime again but the generic anime style is a big turnoff for me. I’m all for Studio Ghibli though,( Who isn’t?). I was fortunate enough to find Space Brothers, which is all about the characters and the story. It also helps that it’s not reeking with fan service.
    Found a few amazing movies like Mai Mai Miracle and Colorful. And some who I ended up watching The Tatami Galaxy which caught me of guard but was pleased to see.
    Looking forward to the next Roundup having something entirely unique.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.odwyer Bill O’Dwyer

    I really love these Anime Roundup posts :) Thank you for saving me from having to trawl through all the anime that each season has to offer! ^_^
    If you could do one for drama, that’d be awesome ;)

  • hikaru1412

    I’m a (air/venus) libra and a (yang/earth) dragon (dragons and tigers naturally butt heads and libras and scorpios never agree and rarely get along). Now I understand why I disagree with so much that you say. LOL. I was just like WHYYYY? it was bugging me why I rarely agreed with you. Won’t stop me from reading anything you post. You are still a great writer anyways! :D

  • John

    hahahahaha xD

  • heiwajima shizuo

    Sorry I don’t agree on Kokoro Connect. Its definitely not a high school comedy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ltsiros Luciano Tsiros

    Well, I also think it lacked some intensity. Feels like it was cut to 12 episodes midway through. Glad you liked it though :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1800174516 Spook MrsSpooky

    Oh wow, my friends and I thought it was plenty intense (of course, two of us are chicks which may have had something to do with that :). I agree it was much too short, but we were very satisfied with the ending. Oh well, not everyone is going to love everything. :) That’s ok, I just wondered what there was for someone not to like.

  • Sasuke

    Naruto is good