Shadow’s Six – 2014 Summer Anime Showcase

We’re about one month into the summer season, most of the season’s shows are somewhere around the 5-6 episode mark. Nearly halfway through this season, it’s time to share my six favourite shows thus far – the shows that I rush to watch the second they’re available. Let’s get this summer anime showcase started.

6) Locodol

Locodol is an adorable slice of life show about two high school girls from a small town who take on the task of being small-town idols – ‘local idols’ or locodols – and the girl who plays the city’s mascot Uogoro-kun. It’s hard to say a lot about a slice of life show… but the characters are charming, the humour is clever and cute, and it is just a great drama anime so far. I’m looking forward to seeing these three come into their roles and grow over the course of the season, especially Nanya… sorry Nanako.

5) Aldnoah.Zero

When I first started watching Aldnoah.Zero I had a pretty clear picture of what I was expecting. Mech animes so frequently follow the same pattern… but Aldnoah.Zero surprised me. Things fall apart much quicker than I’m used to seeing which was refreshing. Also, and far more notably, the fact that our underdog protagonists are truly underdogs and are forced to figure out solutions despite this is really nice to see. There are no Deus Ex Machina here – at least not so far – everything is logical and well thought out. It’s off to a good start so far.

4) Sailor Moon Crystal

I’ve heard the criticism and the complaints just like you all probably have… and while I will admit the animation is not the most fantastic I’ve ever seen, there is a reason for that. In order to differentiate this from the wildly successful original anime, for this reboot they’ve decided to stick to the same style and story as the manga. And I for one appreciate this decision – it gives it a very artistic quality and a unique style that is different from almost anything else you’ll see nowadays. The show, so far, has eliminated all of the fluff the original series had and, while it is only 3 episodes in, it is doing a great job of pacing so far.

The only real problem I have so far is that it’s only airing every second week…

3) Akame ga Kill

Akame ga Kill is about a tyrannical empire, fallen from grace as the current lord and his Prime Minister abuse their power and turn what should be a prosperous city into a depraved hell-hole. Our main characters form the assassin group Night Raid who target the evils among the upper echelons of society. The first episode really sets the mood for this show – people are not what they seem, the action is brutal and unforgiving, and the characters are extreme to a point that is almost parody. This is not a show for the faint of heart, but if you can tolerate violence, gore, and brutality… Akame ga Kill is turning out to be a very unique and entertaining show.

2) Sword Art Online II

It’s no surprise that I’m excited for SAO II. Afterall, I’ve written about Sword Art Online a few times before and it’s definitely one of the things this year I was most excited for. It would be #1, but it has gotten off to a strangely awkward start. I’m still enjoying it, but I think there has been a bit too much time spent solely on establishing premise – it could have been done much quicker and had more of the character development happen a bit later on. That being said, the world of Gun Gale Online looks incredible, and I’m enjoying the show a great deal. If you haven’t watched the original SAO, go do so now… but if you have, then what are you waiting for? GGO awaits.

1) HaNaYaMaTa

Before this year, if you’d told me I’d be enjoying slice of life style anime this much I’d have thought you were crazy, but HaNaYaMaTa is absolutely amazing. It’s a junior high school anime focusing on a group of 14-year-old girls who pursue the costumed dance form known as Yosakoi. It is silly, it’s cute, it’s charming, and these characters are so interesting and well-developed that it is impossible to not be moved by this show. Every single episode of this show so far has been really good, and I simply keep waiting each week for my new peek into this adorable anime. It is, without question, the anime that has had the best start this season, and it is just such an absolute joy to watch that I couldn’t put this anywhere but #1. Oh… and the opening is incredible.

 

Honorable Mention: The Irregular at Magic High School

I left Irregular off because it isn’t a new title in the summer season but it absolutely deserves to be on this list aside from that. As you saw in my recently published review, it is a show that I am enjoying for what it is, but excited for what it could be if they live up to the potential I see in it.

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