First Impressions of the Summer 2019 Anime Season

A collage of anime airing this season (Arifureta, Dumbbell , Cop Craft, Fire Force)

Introduction

We’re now two weeks into the Summer 2019 anime season, and I have seen enough to say it has one of the best lineups of the last few years. We have a few long anticipated manga adaptations as well as some original series from a large variety of genres, and I’m watching nine currently airing shows.

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest

The elephant in the room that I should address first is Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. This is an isekai light novel adaptation and is probably the biggest disappointment of the season. The source material has a cult following, so I was rather excited to see how the anime would play out, but I’m afraid the first episode was a bizarre, poorly directed, confusing mess.

Arifureta‘s anime adaptation begins in the other world, unlike the manga and light novel, and the show utterly fails to explain how the protagonist ended up in his situation. The show constantly uses flashbacks in poor attempts to explain what’s happening, and the CGI animation actually made me laugh out loud.

I cannot believe this version of the show was approved and I feel sorry for Ryou Shirakome, who wrote the original light novel. It must be awful to see your work turned into such a dumpster fire.

Anime YouTuber Digibro has uploaded a video analysing the first episode, and he comes to the conclusion that the show is so awesomely bad that he’ll keep watching for the humour value.

Personally I have already dropped it, but if you’re interested in torturing yourself, its available to stream on Funimation.

How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift?

I’m not the biggest sports anime fan, and I don’t take exercise all that seriously. I’m a healthy weight, stick to a good diet and do a lot of walking, but I dislike sports and have never made a conscious effort to build my body up. Therefore, I wasn’t planning to watch this show at first, but a friend eventually convinced me to give it a shot.

Was it worth it? Yes! This is a really fun, motivational series featuring a pair of very likeable (and perhaps relatable) main characters – a girl called Sakura who joins a newly opened gym in order to lose a bit of weight, and her friend Souryuiin who, err… Seems to have some kind of strange muscle fetish.

There is no overarching plot, and the show certainly has its flaws. Sakura (pictured at the top right of this blog post’s image) is presented as being super overweight, when in reality she’s not so bad. This isn’t something that bothers me too much, but I don’t want it to encourage anorexic behaviour.

Nevertheless, its great fun, the comedic aspect has made me laugh a few times and I have found myself reperforming a couple of exercise techniques used in the show, which does suggest it has motivational value.

I would definitely recommend watching the first episode of How Many Kilograms are the Dumbbells You Lift?, even if it doesn’t sound massively appealing. This is another show that can be streamed on Funimation.

Cop Craft

I went into Cop Craft completely blind, and safe to say, it did peak my interest. It starts off in a rather dark setting, introducing the viewer to a pair of police officers in the US. We soon learn that there is an isekai element to this show, but thankfully it doesn’t use the tired trope of characters dying and being reincarnated in another world. Instead, there is a portal of sorts that people can use to travel between the human world and the fairy world.

Honestly, I liked the idea of a dark and gritty anime cop drama set in America, but I’m not a fan of the isekai element. I’ll keep watching because there are some unique ideas and the source material author also wrote Full Metal Panic, which I binge watched in a few days.

It has a super funky opening that I reckon is a contender for best of the season, and the characters do seem fairly likeable so far, however their development will be key in whether or not I end up liking the series.

Yet again, Funimation has the license to this show and it can be streamed on their website at this link.

Fire Force

Fire Force has to be one of the most anticipated series of the season – the manga recently saw a boom in popularity, and the promotional videos looked fantastic. Its set in a future version of Tokyo where specialist fire brigades are fighting against the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion – in other worlds, humans going up in flames at random.

The show follows a team of firefighters, mostly focusing on Shinra Kusakabe, who has the ability to emit flames from his feet. Plenty of characters have some kind of power, and I have to say it reminds me of My Hero Academia. Shinra in particular is kind of similar to Bakugo, both in design and attitude, and both shows are about heroes saving people.

Shinra also seems to have a dark past, some of which is addressed at the end of the first episode. However, its clear his heart is in the right place and he really does want to help others.

You can watch Fire Force on Crunchyroll.

Are You Lost?

Also known as Sounan Desu Ka?, this is an ecchi series with 13 minute long episodes. It follows four girls who end up stranded on a small island during a school trip, and the best way to sum it up is, Bear Grylls: Anime Girl Edition.

The girls have to survive by themselves until they are rescued, and the island contains very little, which means eating bugs and drinking some pretty gross liquids. Not a show for the squeamish, it must be said.

Its a million miles away from being a literary masterpiece, but the production value is decent, the animation looks good, its fun to watch the relationship between the girls develop and the fanservice scenes aren’t bad.

If you like survival stories and ecchi, I would say there’s no harm in checking it out. Again, the series is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

Dr. Stone

Refreshingly unique concept that looks at how human civilisation could be rebuilt if everyone in the world was suddenly turned to stone. Not particularly realistic, but a lot of the science is accurate and I liked the first episode.

No strong opinions on Dr. Stone so far, but it brings something new to the table and I definitely recommend taking a look at it. Also available on Crunchyroll.

Vinland Saga

The last show I’m writing about in detail has opted for an unusual release schedule – the first three episodes are already out, but we have to wait another three weeks for any more, which is a shame because the beginning was awesome!

The manga for Vinland Saga has been incredibly popular for years, and I’m surprised its taken this long for it to receive an anime adaptation. Its a dark adventure series about vikings, and is somewhat educational – dealing with real historical events and people, and taking place in a variety of countries. So far we’ve seen Iceland, Norway, England, and the Faroe Islands. Greenland and Denmark have also received mentions.

I loved the first three episodes to bits, and I’m reliably informed it only gets better from here. If you live action anime and European history, its a must watch. The animation is beautiful, especially the water and fight scenes. Do yourself a favour and start watching Vinland Saga on Amazon Prime today!

Other Shows

Also deserving of quick mentions are the That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime OVA, Danmachi II (which has yet to begin airing) and The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II (a sequel to Fate/Zero). All worth watching, but make sure to watch the original series first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.