Best new anime shows to watch in summer 2021

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The anime summer season is in full swing, and there are now dozens of new anime streaming each week for viewers to choose from. With so many shows, it can be easy for your eyes to cloud over and be unable to determine which ones you even want to watch. Luckily, I’ve watched each first so you don’t have to. Here are the top four first releases from this season’s selection of new anime.

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Aquatope on white sand

An aquatope still on white sand

Image via Crunchyroll

After making some sacrifices for a coworker, Fuuka Miyazawa finds herself fired from her dream job of being an idol, excited and ready to return to her hometown. But at the last moment, she decides to take an impromptu trip to Okinawa instead, wandering the beaches and contemplating her future. Eventually, she ends up in a local aquarium and meets a girl named Kukuru who works there. Inspired by Kukuru’s dedication to the aquarium as well as her desire to delay coming home and admit defeat, Fuuka tries to work in the aquarium herself, only to find that making someone’s dream come true. another can be even more difficult than his.

Aquatope on white sandThe description of Fuuka’s struggle immediately struck me. The conversation she has with her mom who is waiting for her train home is really awkward, Fuuka feeling anxious and guilty about losing her job, while her mom doesn’t seem to understand how much it affects her. The aimless walks she takes in Okinawa and the sudden fascination she has with the creatures in the aquarium, though not previously interested in them, ring true to the feeling of being lost and trying. to find something, something to hold onto, to have lost the one thing she had spent so much time and effort on before. Her new friend Kukuru acts as her foil in this regard, similarly capturing the feeling of pursuing a vague future that you want but cannot fully define. If he does nothing else, Aquatope on white sand perfectly captures the feeling of being between stages of life, lost but in search.

Kageki Shojo !!

A photo of Kageki Shojo !!

Image via Funimation

In 1913, an all-female Japanese musical theater group called Takarazuka Revue was formed and would become extremely popular and influential. Kageki Shojo !! is about two girls from very different backgrounds who join the cast of Kouka actors, a counterpart in the real-world Takarazuka magazine universe. One is a tall, outgoing girl named Sarasa who has a background in kabuki, a form of theater that is usually reserved for men. The other is her new roommate, Ai, a socially anxious former pop idol who was fired after a bad encounter with a fan.

Kageki Shojo !! is steeped in cultural references that also inform its history and drama, but so far it has done a good job of ensuring that those who may not be familiar with Japanese musical theater will always understand what is going on, and maybe even learn a thing or two. The main conflict has to do with Sarasa’s goal of playing Lady Oscar, the protagonist of The rose of Versailles. In Takarazuka, where women play all the roles, Oscar is one of the most important roles; being born female but raised male, she almost represents the very core of Takarazuka. Despite Takarazuka’s progressive character, he is also imbued with his own application of gender norms; Notably, Sarasa is considered too tall to play Oscar, or any other female role for that matter. This kind of conflict between the expectations of society and the characters’ desire for expression is at the heart of Kageki Shojo !!, and it promises to be an interesting dissection of these questions.

To rebuild our life!

A photo from Remake Our Life

Image via Crunchyroll

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you made a very different decision? Kyoya, 28, is lucky enough to live this fantasy. After quitting his comfortable office job to pursue his dream of working in the gaming industry, his project is closed and he also loses this job. While wondering what his life would have been like if he had gone to art school instead, he wakes up and finds himself ten years in the past with the chance to change history and date the school he dropped out.

While I normally find these kinds of wish-fulfillment time travel stories a bit played out, To rebuild our life! doesn’t just give Kyoya the chance of a (second) life. During his studies, Kyoya found the creative life much more demanding and complex than he expected, but also rewarding. He also finds that the talented people he once sought out have many of the same insecurities and struggles as he does. To rebuild our life! admires and respects creative people and the work they do, but is also down to earth about the realities of working in these fields. The characters Kyoya has met so far all have interesting perspectives that also stem from their specializations. It’s refreshing to see a show that loves the creative but doesn’t glorify the process.

Sonny boy

A picture of Sonny Boy

Image via Funimation

Shingo Natsume, a talented director who made his biggest success by leading the hugely popular Man with a fist, is back with an original anime for which he also wrote his own script. At the level of the plot, Sonny boy takes a lot of benchmarks from Lord of the Flies. He follows 36 high school students who appear to have been separated from the rest of the world, trapped in their school surrounded by nothing but a black void. On top of that, many of them suddenly developed supernatural powers. This frightening situation, along with the pretty literal power dynamics at play, is the perfect storm for tense conflict between children, a classic push-and-pull between those who want freedom, those who want order, and those who want order. just want to control.

In terms of manufacturing, Sonny boy is by far the most ambitious show of this season. The compositions are dynamic in a way that only animation could achieve, capturing the claustrophobia of the school lost in the dark and the tension between the students inside. The writing is crisp and tight; Shingo Natsume plunges us into the middle of the story with the certainty that we will be able to reconstruct the basics of the set ourselves, allowing his world to breathe. The dialogue is of an impressive naturalism and rewards your attention; the characters don’t really say what they feel or want, but their interactions give us a lot to glean about them anyway. It all comes together to create a fascinating cast of characters in a world that feels real and lived. Yes Sonny boy keep it up, this will be one of the best shows of the whole year.

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