Summer 2022 Bite-Size Menu

Sitting inside in the protection of the AC in avoidance of a record heatwave, it feels like summer is definitely here attempting to cook me alive. There are far too many new series this season to try, as well as a handful of sequels both expected and unexpected. I’ll be outlining in full my thoughts on all the shows in our upcoming preview podcast; what’s included here in this particular blog post are the newly debuting shows that excite me this summer.

Sequels: Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun; SHADOWS HOUSE 2nd Season; The Devil is a Part-Timer! Season 2.


Lycoris Recoil

When I first saw the promo art for Lycoris Recoil, I had the misguided assumption that this was just another cute girl action show with very little substance. Instead, what we have here is probably one of the most popular shows of the season not only because of its cast, though they certainly are fantastic enough to warrant most of the applause, but also because of the setting and writing. This is truly one of the better shows of the season, giving appropriate attention to the ample action scenes—so many wonderful Chisato dodging bullets and Takina trigger-happy moments—as well as showing us a world protected by actual school girls. Think Gunslinger Girl, but hopefully with far less trauma.

I’m excited to see where we’ll go from here now that we’re a quarter of the way through the season. Why does this world rely on school girls to fight from the shadows? Who is that man who’s so interested in Chisato and looks to have a hand in the crimes we’ve seen thus far? I’m having so much fun with this show that I’m afraid that this single season won’t be enough to answer all my curiosities.

(Watch on Crunchyroll, VRV)

The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting

Softer views on the notorious yakuza aren’t fresh anymore, but I still appreciate a good take when I see one. One of my favorites in recent memory was The Way of the Househusband, and The Yazkuza’s Guide to Babysitting is well on its way of giving me yet another main character to secretly adore. Rather than a wife and little cat to mind house for, Kirishima Tooru is given the task of protecting the leader’s grade school daughter. Each episode brings with it another unexpected situation resulting in Kirishima showing consideration and even affection for Yaeka. I’m not sure what the end goal is, but I hope the Sakuragi family makes it together intact and more appreciative of the little things in life within and outside of the yakuza world.

(Watch on Crunchyroll, VRV)

YUREI DECO

Enter a world blending reality and the imaginary, dubbed Hyperverse, capable of both virtual and augmented reality encompassing every aspect of life. Residents of island city Tom Sawyer (hello, obvious much?) live in and for their colorful “deco” completely unaware of the outside world. I used to find this kind of multiverse fascinating, desirable even. Who wouldn’t want to live out their fantasy appearance, tweak every single ugly thing into something beautiful?

Berry is a kid happily living in Tom Sawyer, but her malfunctioning eye shows her a window into life without the Hyperverse. She meets Hack and a whole community of similar outsiders to the system, “yurei” with no records. She’s placed in a particularly unique role with parents who work for the corporation perpetuating the continuation and growth of the Hyperverse and friends both inside and outside of the system. And then there’s the mystery of Phantom Zero the vanishing monetization, Love, seemingly striking at random throughout the city. While I agree it’s important to not forget about the real world and its natural beauty, I also want to believe in a world where technologies like Decoration Customization can increase everyone’s quality of life. I’m excited to see where YUREI DECO will take Berry and these currently opposing views.

(Watch on Crunchyroll, VRV)

Call of the Night

The ED song is AMAZING: Yofukashi no Uta” (よふかしのうた) by Creepy Nuts

Hotaru, is that you? From the maker of Dagashi Kashi, Call of the Night’s lead girl shares an uncanny resemblance to our favorite candy fanatic. This title couldn’t be more aptly chosen with all our scenes so far taking place in the romanticized blacks and purples of the evening hours. Kou Yamori, an insomniac, wanders the city alone and stumbles across Nazuna, a playful girl who also turns out to be a vampire. Their chemistry and the atmosphere takes what I would normally find too aimless of a story and electrifies it with curiosity and play. She loves the taste of his blood, while he desperately wants to become a vampire like her. They both obviously desire a human connection. The interesting requirement for his transformation that hinges on the human being in love with vampire seems like it’ll be both easy and difficult. How can you not fall head over heels for Nazuna? But also, how can someone so young find true love, particularly in what would be his first love?

(Watch on HIDIVE)

Phantom of the Idol

With other idol shows to choose from this season, it’s going to take something particularly unique to make one stand out from the others–Phantom of the Idol fills that role. I can’t really fathom the reality of a job in an area as prominent as entertainment working out for someone who doesn’t care for the arts or audience, but that’s exactly the type of main character we have in Yuuya Niyodo. Scouted for his looks and paired with an enthusiastic partner, he should have what it takes to succeed. However, his disinterest and even distaste for tedious work results in expressionless performances and fan interactions. While his avoidance of routine results in an extraordinary ability to learn and master almost anything quickly, he still faces termination from his contract after subsequent dispassionate performances. Thankfully, a chance encounter with the ghost of a former up-and-coming idol, Asahi Mogami, gives him a golden opportunity to maintain his job with far less effort.

In addition to the novelty of a ghost taking possession and performing with Yuuya’s body, there’s an added surprise of Asahi’s experience as a female artist learning to adjust to a male body. She makes note of the differences in costuming and his increased freedom of movement. No short skirts means less restriction and exposure. Asahi gives this anime the needed spark to offset Yuuya’s deadpan personality, though I expect over the course of the season she’ll start to influence him towards a greater range of expression.

(Watch on HIDIVE)

Shine on! Bakumatsu Bad Boys

The Shinsengumi are firmly entrenched in the annals of Japanese history and frequently re-imagined in fiction. I used to find these stories entertaining, but over time they’ve become tiresome. The same costuming, the same names, the same events all patterned from show to show—it’s enough to turn my head away whenever a new series with the same setting airs. When I learned Bakamatsu would yet again feature the Shinsengumi, I figured it would get the usual single-episode trial before quickly getting chopped in favor of fresher content; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the visuals and creative take on the characters and their intentions.

Instead of the typical historical fiction, we have magical swords possessed by their former masters. In place of the usual cast of samurai are criminals given new identities and purpose. Of particular note is Ichibanboshi, whose only reason for taking on commander Kondou Isami’s role is because of a mutual interest in the murderer of his family and of the original Shinsengumi, wearers of the demon masks. He’s your usual overly optimistic protagonist with quick convictions and assumptions, but he still makes for a good balance with the rest of the criminal crew each with their own reasons (avoiding death, for one) to work together. The colors are vibrant and the action frequent so viewers bored with the same old as well as new to the history may both find interest in Bakamatsu Bad Boys.

(Watch on Crunchyroll, VRV)

UNCLE FROM ANOTHER WORLD

It was only a matter of time before we’d get a story like this one with the never ending supply of isekai each season. We’ve seen all manners of crossing of worlds, but what about after the adventure is over and our main characters grow up? Uncle from Another World tells the story of an isekai protagonist, Yousuke Shibazaki, who lived his life in his new world only to end up right back where it all began in his original one, decades older and far behind on the histories and technologies of home.

While I love the premise of this anime and seeing a much younger nephew, Takafumi, educating his seemingly “crazy” uncle about everything he missed while in a coma for the past several years, I do wish the show looked a lot better. The simple lines and animation do suit the drabness the uncle must feel being back in a world devoid of any magic but his own, but it started to bother me halfway through he first episode. I’m not sure yet whether this annoyance will fade as the season goes along, but as of now the writing is doing all the heavy lifting.

(Watch on Netflix)


Let me know what you think about my choices, and if you’re watching any other shows I haven’t mentioned!

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