Sometimes anime catch you off guard. You go into it thinking that it is going to follow the route you have predicted or have a similar setup to shows x, y, and z and you assume this new one will be the same. Usually, as we become seasoned anime fans, this happens. You learn how to delve between all of the shiny advertising and pick out shows that you can call. You also learn how to find the shows that you know you are going to like and avoid those that look like they are not going to cater to your tastes.
However, there are always at least a few shows, that catch you off guard whether they happen each season or year. This time around, there are shows that we are finding are better than our expectations of them and we want to let you know about them as well in the hopes that you either check them out and find them interesting, and maybe even start watching them. Welcome to today’s article. Let’s not wait and just go!
Kakegurui is about Yumeko Jabami as she transfers into a new school. Hyakkou Private Academy is known for its prestigious title and its vicious social class system. Here, the students may study subjects, but everything is based on and controlled by how good you are at gambling. As soon as classes are over, it is time to gamble and put everything on the line. We are not talking about 5 bucks here and some 1s there, but millions of yen. If you lose a lot of money and your ranking goes down enough, then you will be demoted to housepet status and be put down lower than everyone around you and forced to clean. Yumeko transfers in and in a strange twist of fate, is preyed upon by a powerful girl in her class…
Kakegurui already looked good from the beginning, but considering how quickly moods change, people become terrifying, and the art shifts from so-so to high quality, the series is really outdoing itself. Gone are the safe, stable, and boring moods set by shows like Sangatsu no Lion and Saki, and in its place is this utterly invigorating and thrilling anime. The sheer intensity of the thrills of watching Yumeko not only become hooked on the promise of a gamble, but how intense she becomes, makes it captivating. I was slightly worried about this becoming dull at parts, but the pace kicks up really fast and just keeps going. Kakegurui already had a good promise, but to see an anime properly make it thrilling, interesting, and captivating is rare. If you are not watching Kakegurui already, I urge you to because well-done anime like this do not come around often.
2. Vatican Kiseki Chousakan
Vatican Kiseki Chousakan is known as Vatican Miracle Examiner, an office within the Vatican itself where priests are dispatched to get the bottom of supposed miracles within churches across the world. Two priests are partners within the league of Miracle Examiners. Their names are Kou, a genius scientist, and Robert, a paleography and cryptanalysis expert. Together, they are dispatched to investigate tears that fall from a statue of Maria and stigmata appearing on people. However, it seems that that is not all they will uncover while they are there.
I’ll admit it, I relegated Vatican Kiseki Chousakan to just another Bishounen fodder anime with a feeble plot when I first saw it. I decided, because I love conspiracy theories about the church, that I should at least watch one episode of the series before I pass on it. I watched all three in one sitting. It was so good and I was so wrong. The characters are interesting, the story is well-thought-out, there is real danger, and above all else, the characters actually sound like they know what they are talking about. As an added bonus, actual parts of history are sprinkled about like with the Nazis escaping to South America post-WWII. There is real danger, people are dying, something supernatural appears like it could be at play and honestly it feels like I am watching an episode of Hellsing Ultimate; of which, I will never ever turn down. Even if they spend this whole season searching for what is going on at the Church, I could watch this for 10 more seasons easily. While we do not get massive revelations each episode, the story is moving well enough and fast enough that I am hooked. Check it out because you will not be disappointed.
3. Jigoku Shoujo
Hate someone in your life? Hate them enough to see them fall into hell? Hate them enough to wager your soul? If so, Jigoku Shoujo aka Hell Girl might be the person for you to call upon! If you harbor hatred in your heart and access a website known as Hell Correspondence, you will be directed to a simple window where you can enter the name of the person you hate. Should your hatred be strong enough, Ai Enma will appear before you. Giving you a straw doll, you have two choices, pull the red string around it’s neck, or don’t. If you don’t then nothing will happen. If you do, the person you hate will be whisked away to hell immediately. You will be cursed with a mark that means when you die, you too go to hell. Dig a grave and two holes are dug. This season, everything seems to be up to par, but there is a new being that has appeared named Michiru. She tells Ai that what she is doing is wrong and she should stop, but revealing nothing else about herself, Michiru disappears. Ai and company need to figure out what is going on, because the last time someone interfered with them, it did not go well for that person…
The 4th season is back and literally I was crying and shaking as I read about it. The stories are still fairly episodic, but that is not really a problem since anime is meant to be watched on a weekly basis and not back to back, which is why a lot of anime fans get burnt out on anime and episodic anime has a bad rap. This season however, the story has really gotten dark. I mean much more than a little girl sending people to hell. People being bullied via online messaging, families are abusive, and there are just darker, overall more realistic, stories this season. In fact, the family abuse episode was so bad, I had to go watch something upbeat and happy for about an hour to recover. Watching that girl have her organs deleted as well when she was going to hell was very, very intense. For not being on the screen for 10 years, Jigoku Shoujo has come back swinging. Now, I do believe that they have intentionally made it dark in order to stand out more against the rest of the shows this season that it is up against, and I think it works. There are very few shows that I appreciate this season to watch when it comes out, but Kakegurui, Vatican Kiseki Chousakan, Boku no Hero Academia, and Jigoku Shoujo compel me to drop everything for another quick fix. It’s worth it every time! Plus! The OST is kickass!
4. Aho Girl
There is no one quite like Yoshiko who is actually quite stupid. She even gets 0s on all of her tests when she’s trying. However, Yoshiko enjoys every day with her childhood friend, A-kun, and all of the crazy antics they (mostly Yoshiko) get into together. From playing with children to hanging with the school discipline committee leader, every day is fun with Yoshiko.
When it comes to anime humor, I am more likely than not to dismiss them. There is only so many of the same jokes that you can hear, right? However, Aho Girl was a surprising anime that really stands above the rest in terms of comedy. This season is full of comedy anime that are surprisingly good, but it is Aho Girl that is great! You get a genuinely stupid main character who is basically a parody of so many different main characters. The slice of life elements in this anime are punctuated with even more humor as Yoshiko has to react to all of them. Then there’s the contrast between Yoshiko and Akuru, which is just so perfect. I think of Aho Girl as the way my friends and I interact with one another and that’s just what takes it over to the top for me. Aho Girl is a stupidly hilarious anime and there’s no way we won’t recommend it (double negative is a must to drive home the point).
5. Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou
To avoid being a burden to his extended relatives, Inaba Yuushi applied for a high school with a dormitory. However, before anyone could move in, the dormitory burned down so Yuushi had to find someplace else to stay if he wants to move out of his relatives’ place. Since Yuushi is an orphan with few funds, he finds himself at a special apartment that’s a bargain, but sometimes things are too good to be true. At this new apartment, Yuushi is surrounded by youkai who all live together under one roof. This is not what Yuushi signed up for, but maybe it won’t be so bad?!
Youkai anime are more common than not, but Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou, otherwise known as Youkai Apartment, is a great anime that really knows how to warm your heart. The overall premise is similar to ones like Fukigen na Mononokean, but Youkai Apartment is enjoyable in its own way. It’s all about learning to accept and love the youkai as each youkai has its own story. This idea also applies to many of the human characters as well, who are just looking for a place to be accepted in this world. The overall feel of the anime is lighthearted, but there’s some deeper aspects to Youkai Apartment that I really enjoy. The summer anime 2017 season is full of great anime, but Youkai Apartment has to be one of my favorites!
6. Princess Principal
There are five special girls who currently attend the notable Queens Mayfair School. These girls are, in fact, spies who all have special abilities of their own. These five girls work together, sharing their special abilities, to get their assignments done all while maintaining her innocent facades at Queens May Fair School in London.
With a name like Princess Principal, I didn’t know what to think, but I’m glad I decided to give it a shot. Princess Principal is set in the 19th century, which that alone is enough to pique my interest (Black Butler, anyone?). However, the theme of female spies is also quite enticing. Like most anime, I expected these female spies to rely only on their sex appeal to get their jobs done, but I was sorely disappointed. Only Dorothy relies on her sex appeal to distract men, although to be fair, she’s not a minor (a rarity in the world of anime). It is very impressive to see how these spies get their missions done, even when they don’t exactly happen as you’d expect. Especially in the first episode where you are led to believe that the main character is male, but the tables turn quickly. I really love Princess Principal so far, especially with its strong female characters who are both smart and clever, and they don’t have to rely on just their “assets” to be useful. Princess Principal is a surprisingly great anime and I highly recommend that you take the time to watch it!
There you have it! These are the anime that we are finding to stand out really well this season, but we would love to hear from you, the readers! What are you loving? What is standing out for you? Is anything making you drop whatever you are doing to watch it? Let us know below!