It only took Cells at Work three episodes to cement itself as my favorite comedy of the summer. This goofy, could-be-too-educational anime that seems like a spoof of Osmosis Jones is hilarious while somehow staying pretty scientifically accurate. Unlike Osmosis Jones, the human body of Cells at Work isn’t full of conniving politicians and nightclubs — it’s an idyllic society where personified cells fight off anime villain-esque pathogens and platelets are adorable children.
Based off of the 1980s shōjo manga series written by Akimi Yoshida, Banana Fish is set on the streets of modern New York City. Ash Lynx is a 17-year-old New York City gang leader picked off the streets as child and groomed as both a mob successor and sex worker. After being given a mysterious drug and an address by a dying man on the street, Ash attempts to get to the root of the eponymous “Banana Fish,” the name of the drug and the only words his now-unresponsive older brother utters after being drugged and...
One of Netflix’s numerous original anime offerings, Aggretsuko made a splash simply because it was so ... well, relatable. Running contradictory to her adorable appearance, the generally submissive Retsuko lets at her frustrations about her dead-end job, misogynistic boss and love life every night through Death Metal karaoke songs.
Retsuko’s rage isn’t just a gimmick. Throughout the series, she navigates loneliness, misogyny and being single less than gracefully, but everything she experiences and expresses...
If you wanted to ever watch a more relatable romance anime, this show is for you. Wotakoi focuses on four friends who work standard office jobs and are also “otaku” (hardcore fans of anime and games). The anime is filled with heartwarming scenes and moments that are so relatable, I wasn’t sure if I should cry or laugh. Seeing the two main characters, Narumi and Hirotaka, clash on tastes and deal with the struggles of dating is enjoyable as the conflicts in this show don’t last for more than an episode, unlike...
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (SAO: GGO) is a spinoff series of Sword Art Online (SAO). Both series are set in a world in which virtual reality technology has progressed to the extent that individuals can fully immerse themselves in their favorite games; most often, massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs). SAO: GGO takes place in the same MMORPG — unsurprisingly, Gun Gale Online — as the third arc of SAO.
My Hero Academia’s third season was split into two cours (note: a cour is 10 to 14 episodes of an anime that air during one season) airing in both the spring and the summer season. The series, which has been airing since 2016, takes place in an alternative universe in which 80% of the population has “quirks” — essentially, superpowers — and being a hero is a real, paid occupation. Izuku Midoriya aspires to become a hero, but was quirkless until he was gifted with an all-powerful quirk. The show balances school...
Megalo Box is a show about Megalo Boxing, a fictional sport in which competitors go head to head in the ring with not just their fists but also augmenting technology that enhances their speed and strength. Junk Dog is scouted from an underground ring by Yuri, the current Megalo Box champion. In order to challenge Yuri in the champion’s ring, Junk Rat enters Megalonia, a worldwide Megalo Box tournament, under the name Joe, and works to fight his way to the top.
OK, seriously, hear me out here — Uma Musume: Pretty Derby is about horse girls, but they are good horse girls. The story follows horse girl Special Week and her journey to be the #1 horse girl in Japan. All of these horse girls attend a special school and also train to race in a derby. Special Week catches a race on her way in and notices Silence Shizuka, another racer who can’t be beat by anyone. The two quickly become friends and rivals. This show feels just like a sports anime, but with cute horse girls...
Pop Team Epic is regarded by many as a “shitpost disguised as anime.” With its quirky and bizarre humor and ever-changing voice acting cast, I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily false. The anime is a bunch of shorts mashed together following the antics of the violent Popuko and the protective Pipimi. They’re best friends that get involved in an assortment of weird antics, from taking down the yakuza to flying around with a real life voice actor in front of a green screen. Each episode is split into two parts...
Director: Atsuko Ishizuka
Series composer: Jukki Hanada
Character designer: Takahiro Yoshimatsu
Animation production: Madhouse
If we’re talking about proudly sentimental anime, A Place Further Than the Universe is also an excellent example of loud delivery of emotions not necessarily erasing their...
Director: Tomohiro Furukawa
Assistant director, Revue and weapon designer: Takushi Koide
Series composition: Tatsuto Higuchi
Character designer: Hiroyuki Saita
Animation production: Kinema Citrus
Revue Starlight, a true multimedia franchise with beginnings as a musical, needs to be...
Director: Ayumu Watanabe
Series composer: Deko Akao
Character designer: Yuka Shibata
Animation production: WIT
Behind a dubious age-gap romance premise hides a beautiful, introspective tale about finding a new reason to live at two very different points in life. Akira Tachibana’s injury...
Director: Taichi Ishidate, Haruka Fujita
Series composer: Reiko Yoshida
Character designer: Akiko Takase
Animation production: Kyoto Animation
Having lost the parental figure that meant the world to her, and dwelling on her single role as a tool of war, Violet finds herself with no purpose. Pushed into accepting...
Director: Youhei Suzuki
Author, Series composition, Original drafts: Satoshi Mizukami
Animation character designer: Kazunori Iwakura
Animation production: J.C.STAFF
Manga artists tend to take more of a passive role when their work is made into animation. However, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer’s author Satoshi Mizukami is an exceptional...
Director: Kei Oikawa
Series composition, script: Keiichiro Ochi
Character designer: Kanetoshi Kamimoto
Main animators: Tetsuya Takeuchi, Ryo Araki, Kuniaki Masuda, Kenrou Tokuda
Animation production: feel.
The hedonistic life of a greedy member of the yakuza takes a turn for the bizarre when...
Director, Writer, Animator: Rarecho
Animation production: Fanworks
While the marketable cuteness of their designs never changes, Sanrio's many properties have taken over the entertainment world with enduring aesthetic icons like Hello Kitty and all sorts of TV shows casually promoting their IP. Aggretsuko comes from the same mold, although its edge is notoriously sharper. Its modest origins were as a series...
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Series composer: Ichirou Ookouchi
Character designer: Ayumi Kurashima, Kiyotaka Oshiyama
Animation production: Science Saru
Beloved auteur Masaaki Yuasa has been quite active ever since he co-founded Science Saru, but he hadn’t had a chance to direct a full-length series at his new studio until...
Director, concept design: Yoh Moriyama
Script: Katsuhiko Manabe, Kensaku Kojima
Character designer: Hiroshi Shimizu
Animation production: TMS Entertainment 3xCube
Initially conceived as an anniversary project for the classic boxing series Ashita no Joe, MEGALOBOX mirrors many beats from its iconic predecessor while comfortably standing...
Director: Koji Ogawa
Series composition: Hiroshi Oonogi
Character designer, chief animation director: Sorato Shimizu
Animation production: Toei Animation
Though it’s never been all that popular overseas, GeGeGe no Kitaro is quite the historic franchise in Japan, the 2018 series being its sixth full animated series, leaving...
Director: Shinpei Ezaki
Series composition: Yosuke Kuroda
Character designer, Chief animation director: Satoshi Kimura
Chief animation director: Makoto Iino, Shuji Maruyama, Kazuo Watanabe
Action animators: Masahiro Tokumaru, Naofumi Hashimoto, Katsunori Kikuchi
Animation production: LIDEN FILMS
Director: Yoshiaki Kyougoku
Series composer: Jin Tanaka
Character designer: Mutsumi Sasaki
Animation production: C-Station
While not extraordinary on paper, Laid-Back Camp is one of the most inspired takes on the popular premise of a group of teenagers focusing on a specific activity. Lone-wolf...
Director: Eisaku Kawanami
Series composition: Masahiro Yokotani
Character designer, Chief animation director: Futoshi Nishiya
Animation production: Kyoto Animation
It’d been four years since the latest TV iteration of this franchise, but it always feels right to have Free!’s passionate swimming adventures back for another summer. The...
Director: Tomoyuki Kawamura
Series composer: Shougo Yasukawa
Character designer: Takumi Yokota
Animation production: Silver Link
Kotoha a game-loving child who, despite being very sharp, can't clear any video game with all the cheats in this world; Yui, a leader who might break into tears at any moment...
Director: Masashi Kudo
Series composer: Takashi Aoshima
Character designer: Atsuko Nakajima
Animation production: Studio Pierrot
What could have been one of the most disingenuous product placement series ended up being... a very soulful product placement series. The massive corporation Sanrio once again...