The new season started a while ago but I wanted to first dive into a bunch of different shows before I’d write about it. After having watched a few episodes of each of these shows, I wanted to talk about five shows in particular that are really really good… and that you gotta watch. Right now. Go for it! I will go into some other shows I’m watching later but before that, here are five definite recommendations!
Dance Dance Danseur
“Junpei is happily snoozing away during his sister’s ballet recital when a male ballet dancer steps onto the stage. Moved by the strength and skills the dancer displays, the boy discovers his love for this art” – (from MyAnimeList). Sadly, though, after becoming passionate about the art of ballet, Junpei’s father – a stunt coordinator – dies in an accident and Junpei ends up pursuing martial arts instead of ballet. When his passion is eventually reignited, he finds himself in an odd position between what he deems “manly” and what he, deep inside, actually wants to do. It’s a Drama/Seinen show about pursuing your own wishes instead of caring about outward appearances. It’s about fragile masculinity, in a way, and I found it incredibly interesting, especially due to the animation art style and the interesting characters in the show. The show may be about ballet, but in my eyes, it feels like it’s about so much more and as I haven’t read the source material, I’m incredibly excited to see whether Junpei will be able to pursue his passion or whether his image of “manliness” gets in his way again.
Spy x Family
Spy x Family (MAL) tells the story of the agent known as “Twilight” who is operating as the fictional country Westalis’ master spy, trying his best to prevent extremists from sparking a war with the neighbouring country, Ostania. His last mission is to investigate the Ostanian politician Donovan Desmond by infiltrating his son’s school, the prestigious Eden Academy. “Thus, Twilight faces the most difficult task of his career: Get married, have a child, and play family.” As “Loid Forger”, he quickly adopts the unassuming orphan Anya and gets married to the absent-minded office worker “Yor Briar” to create a very normal and not at all suspicious family. What makes this show so entertaining is that each member of this pretend family does their own part to keep it entertaining. Yor Briar, the mother, is actually an Ostanian assassin. Anya is an esper and able to read people’s minds, allowing her to quickly uncover everyone’s true identities. Obviously, Loid and Yor have to keep their true intentions secret but as Anya knows it all, it creates these interesting situations between the three (and their later dog), resulting in a lot of over-the-top spy action as well as entertaining and surprisingly wholesome moments. As someone that did read a lot of the manga, I can’t wait to see it all as animation.
“Nagomu Irino returns to his Kyoto home for the first time in ten years when his father is hospitalized. Nagomu is eager to take over Ryokushou, the family’s Japanese sweet shop, but he’s instead asked to be a father figure to Itsuka Yukihira, the girl everyone calls the successor.” (MAL) – Deaimon is about a lot of things from taking responsibility to finding your way to family – but more than anything, it’s incredibly fun, entertaining and wholesome. It’s the kind of Slice of Life goodness that I needed this season as most of the other Slice of Life shows are comedy anime that didn’t really have anything else going for them apart from… jokes, I guess? Deaimon, however, very much gives me those Barakamon vibes where both the main character, Nagomu, as well as the other characters that work at or are involved with Ryokushou, are trying to find their way or their goal in life. Yukihira is supposed to be the successor to the story and Nagomu is supposed to be some sort of parent to her as hers have abandoned her. The show gets somewhat serious at times with its topics but I still found it to be a show almost as sweet as some of its wares.
In Tomodachi Game (MAL), Yuuichi Katagiri is friends with four other people at his school who all are arguably well off. He himself struggled with financial hardships all his life but due to his diligence and perseverance, he was able to save up enough money to join his friends on the upcoming school trip. Sadly, though, the money that everyone paid for the school trip has been stolen and after being called to the school at night, Yuuichi and his friends are kidnapped and brought into a mysterious room where they now have to play a game in order to “pay back the debt”. This one’s a primarily non-violent psychological thriller where the “players” of the “Tomodachi Game” are supposed to clear their debt by winning games. These games, however, reveal their true colours and can both clear the debt and also increase it, which is why Yuuichi has to constantly be careful about who he can trust and who he can’t trust. I like this sort of stuff especially because of the mind games but I’d argue that this one could potentially not be for everyone due to its contents and due to some of the manga turned out.
“After his parents died, Shinpei Ajiro lived with the Kofune sisters, Mio and Ushio, but he has since moved to live on his own in Tokyo. But after Ushio drowns while trying to save the young Shiori Kobayakawa, he returns home to mourn her departure. However, bruises around Ushio’s neck bring her cause of death into question. Taking a step back, Shinpei becomes convinced there must be another explanation. Dangerous entities roam among the islanders, and a vision of deceased Ushio asks him to “save Mio” as her final request.” – Summertime Render (MAL) is a supernatural murder mystery show about shadows that attack people and… time travel? I’m not exactly sure and the first episode left me puzzled and intrigued. I’m incredibly looking forward to watching the next bit – but since Disney+ acquired the rights to stream this show, I may have to just read the manga. If you do have access to the episodes, I highly recommend giving it a watch!
Apart from these five, I’m also following the third season of Ascendance of Bookworm and Kaguya-sama. Ascendance of Bookworm is still one of my favourite Isekai to day, so I’m so excited that the third season is out already. Meanwhile, Kaguya-sama is still comedy gold with lots of great romance in it. The Rising of the Shield Hero’s second season also is airing at the moment and while the plot is alright mostly, I’m just so excited to finally listen to more of Kevin Penkin’s beautiful sound design! Apart from that, there are a lot of good comedy shows airing this season but none of them stood out too much, in my opinion, and I even lost interest in a few of them after the first episode, frankly because you can only do so much with some of their premises. There are two other Isekai shows that I’m watching though – Skeleton Knight as well as Otome Game Sekai wa Mob – although I’m not 100% sure if others may like those. Skeleton Knight follows a character that got reincarnated into a game he’s been playing where he’s a holy paladin of sorts… but he’s also a skeleton… the manga is great, so I’m excited to see it being animated, but it also starts off with a very graphic assault scene, so I’d recommend skipping the first two minutes or so. You won’t miss out. :) Otome Game Sekai wa Mob portrays a very unlikable character being trapped in a very bad Otome game and, again, the manga is quite good but the show is a bit… average? At last, Case Closed is getting a spin-off in the form of “Zero no Tea Time” that I will watch once all episodes are out. I’m stoked for that one but I still have to catch up with the newer episodes of Case Closed, so I’d like to wait on that show until I caught up some more.
Overall, this season started off with having lots of comedy – and then all of the good shows started airing. So, while I was a bit on the fence about this season at first, I now am quite excited about a lot of the works. There are some interesting shows here, some very good shows, and the continuations of other great shows. If you like Ascendance of Bookworm, you’ll love the new season, so I won’t have to tell you that, obviously. If you liked Kaguya-sama, you’ll watch the new season. If you liked Shield Hero,… you get my point. Hence, I figured shining a spotlight on these five shows, in particular, would be quite important as I’m sure many of you will love them!