So the Summer Anime season of this has more or less come to a close, with many of the Autumn shows having already started, so it’s time for me to share my top 5 shows of the season I guess.
I know I’m a little later with this than usual, but I wanted to get through a few more shows first before coming to my conclusions here. That, and I’ve been… Going through some… Mental health stuff that has made writing difficult. Sorry.
But anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get into it.
As always, these are just my own personal picks and as such there’s a high chance that they may not reflect your own picks.
Also, I haven’t seen everything, so there’s also a high chance that something that could have made this list if I did watch it, did not. Because I didn’t watch it. Sorry, I’m only human and I don’t have the ability to watch everything. I sure wish I did though…
5. Dr. Stone
So yeah, it’s probably not surprising to anyone who knows me and my tastes, but Dr. Stone has been a really great series so far and one of the more enjoyable Jump adaptations in recent memory.
With an interesting and unique setting, and some really interesting ideas, it’s been a very fun ride so far, and has adapted the source material fairly well too. It’s a bit of a slow burn in the beginning, but the pay off is very worth it in my opinion and it’s definitely worth getting to the later parts that have been adapted so far.
My only gripes with the series are with its animation and episode count. The presentation is lovely, but the animation itself isn’t always quite as good as I feel it shold be, especially given the impressive artwork of the Manga. And only 24 episodes? We can only hope for a second season or continuation down the line.
But in spite of these issues, Dr. Stone is very good and is definitely worth watching. If you gave it a miss, or dropped it early due to the slow pacing, I strongly recommend giving it a look!
4. Fire Force
I wrote a First Impressions post for Fire Force back when it first aired and my current thoughts remain more or less unchanged since then.
Visually, Fire Force is one of the best looking shows of the season and is simply beautiful to look at. David Production really have done all out with this one, with some very impressive animation cuts and breathtaking shots that stick in memory long longer than most. The fight scenes in particular have been a real treat to the point one wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking this for a top tier Bones adaptation.
In terms of story and characters, things are pretty great too. The setting is interesting and the characters are all a blast with excellent chemistry. The series has unfortunately received quite a bit of backlash for how it’s handled its female characters. By “handled”, these people actually mean “the show fan-service that you can find in almost every other Shounen Anime ever”. I can see why people have a problem with these moments, but I personally find it not all that intrusive, nor do I find it to be even that out of place compared to what we’re used to seeing from the genre, or Anime in general.
But hey, I also like Anime titties. So what do I know?
Anyway, with that rant aside, Fire Force is a very good show. If you’re willing to accept the fan-service for what it is, mostly harmless, you’ll find a very entertaining fighting Shounen series with an interesting setting, a cool cast, creative fight scenes and some of the most stunning visuals and directing from Anime this year. I highly recommend it.
3. Danmachi Season 2
Hurr durr another generic isekai that isn’t actually an isekai but everyone thinks it is beca-
Yeah, Danmachi finally got it’s second season, and while I haven’t seen all of it yet, what I have seen has been absolutely incredible and a worthy continuation of what I consider to be one of the greatest adventure series in Anime.
Bell’s story remains as compelling as it ever was and continuing to see him grow into an amazing adventurer is just as satisfying as it was 4 years ago. And with Season 3 having been immediately announced, we already have more of this to look forward to!
With a charming cast of characters, an awesome, gameified setting and some of the best character progression I’ve seen from an adventure series, Danmachi’s second season is a fantastic sequel to one of 2015’s best shows. And I look forward to more.
2. Vinland Saga
As a fan of the original Manga, I’ve been waiting for an Anime adaptation of Vinland Saga for years. But in the back of my mind, I was always worried that the series wouldn’t translate well to Anime, due to its extremely detailed art style and deliberately slow pacing. Much like Berserk, Vinland Saga is a large scale story, with a lot of moving parts, that focuses heavily on the life of its main character, following him through various stages of his life, as he grows through his experiences. It’s the kind of story that needs to take its time in order to deliver the intended result, and I was worried that an Anime adaptation would speed things up or skip over important details to “get to the good bits”.
But thankfully, Wit Studio did not do any of this. And the original spirit of the Manga, both in its presentation and in its story pacing, has been kept intact. At least from what I’ve seen of the Anime so far.
The art style obviously doesn’t hold a candle to the Manga, but for what it is, it handles it very well. This is the best result we could have asked for in terms of visuals, and is easily among Wit Studio’s best looking works. They were the perfect studio to handle this adaptation. It has been absolutely stunning so far.
As for the story, I’m both pleasantly surprised and relieved that they kept the pacing intact. Nothing of real importance has been skipped over (at least from what I’ve seen) and the Anime doesn’t rush through anything, deliberately taking it’s time to set up important story elements and develop the setting and all of its moving parts. This is the treatment that a story like Berserk deserved for its Anime adaptation, and I’m glad that Vinland Saga is being done justice.
As for the contents of the story itself, it’s one of the best written stories of the year, with extremely complex characters, a fantastically developed, historical setting and… It’s about fucking vikings. Vikings are awesome. What more do you need?
If you’ve skipped over this series, I strongly recommend you give it a look. It’s one of the best Anime of this year so far and deserves your attention.
1. Sword Art Online
It’s Summer after all, and with Sword Art Online being the Anime of the Summer how could I finish this list with any other se-
Wait what’s that? Sword Art Online didn’t air this season? But it’s Anime of the Summer goddammit! #SAOAnimeofthesummer!
…Alright. I guess I’ll need to give it to something else then… *sigh*
What else came out this season…? Anything worth talking about? There’s gotta be something I can pick here, right?
Oh! That’s right! There is this one show…
1. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
If you’re a seasonal watcher, then you’re probably asking “is this a joke?”, “Why is something as generic as Arifureta at the top of your list?” or something to that effect.
So let me shut that down right now. No. This is not a joke. Arifureta is my top show of the Summer season and is arguably a strong contender for one of the best Anime I’ve seen this year.
Where do I even begin here? I feel like this show has been both unfairly criticised and shat on since day one for the most daft of reasons. It’s the seasonal isekai punching bag, only for some reason this time it’s been taken to the most ridiculous extreme. People don’t just dislike Arifureta, there’s a genuine hatred for this show and everything it represents. Which is a crying shame, because it’s one of the most refreshing viewing experiences I’ve had from Anime this year.
I’ve seen complaints that the show is “generic”, yet when watching it I found very little of what it presented to be generic. What I got instead was an extremely unique isekai story with some of the best though out character progression I’ve ever seen from the genre. Hajime is a fantastic protagonist, who’s development is handled gracefully, and watching him grow into a competent badass in the first handful of episodes was extremely satisfying. His companion Yue, is both an interesting character in her own right and provides a very entertaining and heartwarming relationship with Hajime, their interactions showcasing some really fun and impressive character chemistry.
The fight scenes, while not the best in their presentation due to the heavy use of CGI, are still well choreographed and well thought out from a writing perspective. Could they be better? Sure they could, but that doesn’t make them outright terrible nor does it lessen the emotional impact of some of the more dire scenes that result from them. That, and the 2D art is very good, with the character designs in particular being extremely memorable.
Light Novel readers has been quick to dismiss this adaptation for skipping over important story details, and have argued that the adaptation is confusing as a result. And I’ve seen plenty of Anime-only’s also complain about being confused due to the abundance of disjointed flashbacks. But… I can’t say there was ever a point during Arifureta where I ever felt confused or didn’t understand what was going on. And as for the “important” story details, while I’m sure they are important, I can’t say I felt like anything was “missing” when I was watching the series. As someone who hasn’t read the source, and probably never will because I don’t really have time to read books nowadays, the Anime felt as complete as it needed to be for me. I’m sure the books are great, and they’re probably “better” for including these extra details, but we’re not talking about the books. We’re talking about the Anime. And as an Anime, the Anime is good. It’s very good. Great even. Amazing. One of the best shows I’ve seen all year.
I strongly suggest that everybody who avoided this show because they were told the CGI was terrible or that the story was “generic isekai trash” give this one a look. Ignore the hate. Ignore what people are saying and give the series a try. Come to your own conclusions. You might just find something worth your time or, like me, the best Anime of the season.
And with a second season now announced, I can’t wait for more.
Share your favourites:
What were your favourite shows from the Summer 2019 Anime Season? Feel free to share yours in the comments!