Best of Summer 2021

From left to right top to bottom. Kobayashi S2, Fena Pirate Princess, Sonny Boy, Love Live Superstar, Aquatope, Bokutachi no Remake, Pharmacy in Another World, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, Heion no Sedai Idaten-tachi, Kanojo mo Kanojo

After an almost perfect Spring Season, can Summer compare?

Summer does in fact bring some interesting shows that are sure to attract even the most veteran anime fans. Bear in mind that this list is just meant to be pure recommendations. This is not meant as an end-all be-all list. Maybe you find some new and interesting anime to watch, maybe you’ve already seen all the ones on this list, either way, there’s something for everyone. So check it out!

Here we highlight some series that were standout during Summer 2021, they surprised me in one way or another, or simply go above and beyond what is usually expected, not everything here on the list can be considered exceptional in the terms of animation, but at least the list provided here contains some exceptional stories, that are sure to keep you interested in most of your bing watches. Yes, I’m talking about How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom but that series has a twist on not only isekai but also on political dramas as a whole. Taking a whole new direction that we don’t usually see.

The anime here provides some form of content that goes beyond the norm in one way or another. Nevertheless, let’s get on with the list.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon S | 小林さんちのメイドラゴンS
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S 

© Kyoto Animation

Studio: Kyoto Animation

“This doesn’t just prove Kyoani still has fighting spirit, this proves they have an internal reluctance not to give up!

A maid, a human, and a loli child walk into the bar. I’m kidding! Kobayashi Maid Dragon is a show about – wait for it – a maid dragon. More like a companion really, who sometimes cooks and does stuff for Kobayashi, when in reality she is in love with her. Yes the character designs are a little exaggerated, mainly in the booba department, but don’t let that stop you from watching this show, you’ve probably already known about it or have heard about it. This is great animation here, Kyoto Animation really did pull through, some scenes are incredible and mesmerizing and just take your breath away. It’s really just one of those shows that take your breath away. Really the overestimation in that department stops being an issue when you just kinda gloss over it and take this show for everything else that it is. It’s really super wholesome, there’s never really a moment where echi things happen, and if they do it’s very soft never actually going the full way. It’s never gross. My one complaint is that Thoru and Kobayashi should really just get married already, I mean accept the homo!

Anyway, this second season really pulled all the strings, and to this day I still have the OP and ED on my Spotify, and listen to them constantly. The bottom line is this show makes me happy, and I want to share that feeling with everyone, I don’t watch this show because the characters are well developed, I watch this show because I see Kanna as a little girl, I see Kobayashi as the masculine side of the relationship and I see Kobayashi as the pretty lady that’s super nice and cooks for you every day. And yes they have dragon powers but who cares, you can land on the roof of your work building and Thoru even has cloaking powers so no need to worry, no one will see you flying through the air on a giant dragon, I mean embrace the power already Kobayashi! I would so totally abuse it. But that’s another part of the charm, it’s really about these powerful mythical dragon beings taking a human form and living within Japanese society. And hey, even Kanna wound up in New York this second season and learned English to boot! Kyoani really makes this show special!

Kaizoku Oujo | 海賊王女
Fena: Pirate Princess 

© Production I.G.

Studio: Production I.G.

Fena Pirate Princess is the love child between Crunchyroll and Adult Swim, harboring a new kind of story with a strong female lead, and her pirate assailants.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really watched much of Fena except maybe the first couple of episodes, but what I have seen has been incredible, there is no shortage that Fena takes a different route with its storytelling. The show opens with Fena working at what I can only assume is a brothel, she is quickly asserted as a strong female, harboring resentment towards the patriarchy. With her a small translucent thick piece of transparent glass. It’s a relic that has been passed down from generation to generation in her family, and now she has it. Not knowing exactly what it is, she keeps it safe as it is her most valuable possession. She grew up in the slums after a terrible accident at sea. Years later, she meets with that same boy who put her on a life raft that fateful night. Now he is much older and more serious to boot. A cold-hearted killer-samurai. Oh yes, there are samurai in this show. This isn’t totally wild since this show is based during the Edo Period. But it opts to show a more European side of things.

That same night, she meets the boy who saved her and now she embarks on a journey to the forsaken island where they live and also train, they are meant to go and find the secrets of the treasure Fena has been keeping safe. A production between Crunchyroll and Adult Swim, this one might be a little weird for some as it doesn’t traditionally follow anime standards of the new world. But it certainly holds that formulaic, being on the edge of your seat, every episode type of deal. Fena will certainly hold close to those that are willing to go along for the ride with it. It’s the perfect series to sit down on a Saturday night with great food and maybe some great company and watch it through. Fena is certainly worthy of a binge-watch to know at least what it’s all about.

Sonny Boy

© MadHouse

Studio: MadHouse

Sonny Boy is a cerebral and at times confusing anime about young boys and girls adrift in a reality not their own.

Cerebral get in your head type of anime, certainly, at times Sonny Boy doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but the ideas and creativity at work here is present non the less. The basic premise of this series is as follows: We follow a group of teenage boys and girls as they find themselves adrift in their school, it seems the sky has become black and, their school is sinking? It’s up to them to find out the rules of this new world and how it all works exactly, on top of that it seems some of the students are awakening to new power’s what exactly is going on and how are they all going to survive with no adults around.

The basic premise doesn’t really do justice to this anime, as things get a lot weirder as time goes by. Things don’t really make sense at first unless you start really thinking about them, the series is poised with intellectual subtext that permeates in everything the characters do. It’s a little confusing at times, but it’s one of those series you might want to watch over and over. Unlike Eva for example, Sonny Boy delivers a convoluted plot through the drama and interactions of the characters. Meanwhile, you learn more and more about this world and the student’s that inhabit it. Will they be able to come home? Or will they be adrift for the rest of their lives?

There’s a lot to unpack here, and it certainly comes with its fair share of twists and turns. Give Sonny Boy a try if you like your anime with a bit of pretentious high-brow intellect while at the same time making no fucking sense. You won’t be just confused by the end of each episode, you’ll struggle to make sense of it all, and end up with more questions than answers. Yet the quality and animation here are top-notch! Sonny Boy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it deserves its fair share of high praise.

Love Live! Superstar!! | ラブライブ!スーパースター!!

© Sunrise

Studio: Sunrise

Love Live! Superstar!! is a return to form for the Love Live franchise.

If a return to form is what you wanted, Superstar!! sure delivers, many have praised this as exactly what it should be. A return to form to the original series. There’s really nothing else to say, a couple of girls form a school idol project in order to save their school, outstanding animation is present here, and the 3D CGi, looks better than ever, you won’t even notice it if you’re not paying attention to it, or know when it actually comes on. If you’re a veteran of the Love Live series then you’ll feel right at home, and even invigorated with this new series, I’m actually covering this series over on RandomC so go check it out if you’re interested, none the less this certainly is a series to watch if you’re into cute girls doing cute things, or just idols as a whole.

Yet there’s no fan service or bad takes in this anime, everything the girls do serves the bigger plot and I really appreciate it for it. Other than that, it’s really one of those series you have to watch in order to really appreciate it. Or you hate it just by its initial premise, whatever the case. Whether you watch this so that you can live vicariously (like me!) through the characters or you just enjoy watching girls dishing it out to achieve the winning mark in the Love Live! give Superstar!! a try because it’s one of the better ones this Summer 2021.

Shiroi Suna no Aquatope | 白い砂のアクアトープ
The Aquatope on White Sand

© P.A. Works

Studio: P.A. Works

Shiroi Suna no Aquatope tells the story of 18-year-old girl Kukuru Misakino who is chasing her dream by working at an aquarium threatened with closure, and Fūka Miyazawa, a former idol from Tokyo who has given up on her dream and escaped to Okinawa.

If that premise wasn’t interesting enough for you, this is a series directed by the same guy who did A Lull in the Sea so of course, sea theme plot devices were bound to happen, except this one is about people living above sea level and not below it. However interesting that latter might be, this one also proves to be extremely interesting. Following a former 18-year-old idol named Fûka, one day after quitting her idol job she decides to throw everything out the window and get on a flight to Okinawa where she wanders around and finally finds an Aquarium, after meeting the owner a girl named Kukuru, she asks Kukuru to let her work in the Aquarium. Kukuru has no other choice but to accept and teach her the ways of the job.

That sometimes with some trouble as Fûka’s idol past comes chasing her down. But of course, the aquarium is in trouble of closing down, and this might be the last summer everyone who works there might see this one through. The series cover’s a lot of basis about what it’s actually like working in the Aquarium, and you learn with Fûka as she tries her best to not get in the way of other people. Like how they have to care for the animals and stuff like that, it’s honestly riveting and totally worth the watch. It’s a little bit more of on the side of drama, but it’s good non the less.

I haven’t watched a lot of this one but I’d wanna include it anyway. Gives Aquatope a chance if you’re into stories that deal with the human side of running a business. And if you’re generally interested in seeing the behind-the-scenes of how Aquarium works.

Bokutachi no Remake | ぼくたちのリメイク
Remake Our Life!

© Feel

Studio: Feel

A behind the scenes look at how game developers come together to create the works of art we know and enjoy!

Much like Aquatope I went into this one completely blind not really knowing exactly what it was about, I was pleasantly surprised to come to an understanding that this series was actually about making video games, all be it with a time-traveling premise. This isn’t Erased or anything like that, there aren’t big tear-jerk-er moments here. Instead where the core of the series lies for me is in the ability the protagonist has to move things forward. Whenever the cast hits a roadblock, or they don’t know how to continue, he’s the one who saves the day. A director through and through, and that’s what made me love this series.

Yes, there are some fan service moment’s here and there, but nothing too major, just a little bit of spice. On the other hand, everything else that happens here is all about video games, and it really captures that aspect, making games is hard, and you will inevitably come across some roadblocks. And all of that is presented here in tremendous awe. I really liked this series for that, as it presented things in a realistic manner, even if the protagonist had to travel back in time to actually be able to make them.

The anime comes to the point where they even make a game, and you get to experience all of the troubles and tribulations that go with it. And for that, this series is great for me. The animation might not be the most expressive, or out there. But it does the job. It’s never bad where models deform or anything like that. It’s just plain and simple. And it deserves its own praise for that. Are the character’s a little (or a lot) sexualized, sure. This is a self-aggrandizing story, so of course, the cast was going to be the best that it can be. Try to set all of that aside and watch the series for the plot dammit!

Chīto Kusushi no Surō Raifu: Isekai ni Tsukurō Doraggusutoa | チート薬師のスローライフ ~異世界に作ろうドラッグストア~
Drugstore in Another World: The Slow Life of a Cheat Pharmacist

© EMT Squared

Studio: EMT Squared

Reiji Kirio, a Japanese salaryman, is transported to a different world where he opens a drug store in Kalta village to make and sell potions with werewolf girl Noela as store mascot, and ghost girl Mina Fleuret as shop assistant and housekeeper. Reiji creates a potion that cures exhaustion and is delicious, compared to most potions which are foul. Mr Alf asks to stock the potion in his store, spreading word about the potion so both stores make huge profits.

The tamest of the bunch that’s for sure, but there was something incredible wholesome about this anime, and I really liked it for that. Sure things are a tame, there isn’t anything that will blow your mind, instead this was a comfy watch for me, and that’s why I’m including it in this list. At some point I convinced myself that it’s really all about the conventional family unit and the friends we make a long the way. But instead it’s just that the ghost girl can’t leave the house. Reiji the pharmacist gets transported to another world and he opens a drug store. Big deal right?

Not really. The story follows in a medicine of the week type deal, you get to watch as he comes in and out of his shenanigans with an out the people around town. You get to meet an eclectic cast of character’s and maybe you hate some you love some, I didn’t find anyone to be absolute annoying, but you might. And the drugs are kind meh. One time he makes dish soap, dish soap I say! He makes potions and stuff like that of course, but nothing that will make you scream out to the heaven’s and say best shit ever.

This anime knows it’s place and it never tries to hard to impress you, but certainly welcomes you into it’s cozy atmosphere with the cast of characters you’re bound to fall in love with one or another. Give this one a try if you want a cute anime where you can chill and just let time fly away.

Genjitsu Shugi Yūsha no Ōkoku Saikenki | 現実主義勇者の王国再建記
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

© J.C.Staff

Studio : J.C.Staff

The story follows Kazuya Souma, a humanities-student-turned-hero as he pulls on his knowledge of realism and machiavellianism in order to rebuild the kingdom.

That’s right, another tame one, with not exactly great animation I have to be honest, yet the story of this one is what caught my eye. Another isekai but this one tries to be different by having it’s hero be an absolute unit when it comes to political science. And that’s what attracted me in the first place. This series goes hard in that type of stuff. And because I know literally knowing about how to run a country, I was caught in a net by it’s premise, and just couldn’t look away. There is magic in this series, but that doesn’t deter it from being the anime it wants to be. A super hard political science anime bout a realist hero who rebuilds a kingdom with literally nothing to his name. It’s good if you like that type of stories, it’s really bad if you can’t have anime with sub-par animation.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-tachi | 平穏世代の韋駄天達
The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace


Studio: MAPPA

It has been 800 years since the incredibly fast and powerful gods of battle known as the Idaten had sealed away the demons after an intense battle. Now, that battle is just considered a myth or a fairytale. While the current generation of Idaten who have never even had to fight are enjoying their peaceful lives, someone awakened the demons once again! Armed forces, ingenuity. politics, and intrigue. If you’ve got it, use everything you can! This three-way battle royale with no rules and no limits is about to begin!!

Before anything, I would like to take some time to speak about the series as a whole. Heion, was one of the small hidden gems this season. Every single term there are these precious anime gems, that somehow even though the world might be in a state of emergency, these studios keep producing adaptations of unbeknownst manga, except to those really digging deep through the archives, or staying up to date with new releases. Last season (Spring 2021) was no exception, heavily packed with gorgeous-looking animated shows, with crips butter-smooth animation, and outstanding lavishly produced quality and great immersive stories to boot. Summer was a little bit of a letdown, in days of yore Summer used to be the season where all the hottest shows would arrive, the most commercial and best-selling shows would start airing during this time. Nowadays, it’s more during Spring and Fall that shows with more production value start airing. Studios are no more interested in the season show’s air than knowing if they produce something good, fans will stick with it, even if it means staying up that extra half hour one day a week. Anime is honestly trending downward, people want quality shows while paying the bare minimum.

So it’s incredibly refreshing to see a series like Heion not afraid to take risks, without condemning the product to a blurry overall of censoring effects, while still managing to be one of the most compelling and interesting show’s this season. Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt, I’m just a nobody on the internet, writing a blog post on a website. But the animation on display here is clearly crafted with love and affection for the craft. This final episode proved that, maybe, just maybe, the creators of this animated piece of media are in accordance with the manga. There’s a spark here, and you don’t want to miss the fireworks.

At some point, the show turns a little bit of a political drama, but it’s is a logical progression towards that goal that makes it interesting. The betrayals and death are along the way make this a show comparable to something like GoT.

Kanojo mo Kanojo| カノジョも彼女
Girlfriend, Girlfriend

© Tezuka Productions

Studio: Tezuka P

The series follows Naoya Mukai, who had recently begun a relationship with his childhood friend Saki Saki. Nagisa Minase, his classmate, decides to confess her feelings to him as well, and after some initial hesitation, he accepts her request to be her boyfriend as well.

Why is this here you ask? Well this one was certainly a comedy in all the sense of the word, even though it dealt with a heavy subject such as polygamy it managed to do so with a sense of humor and wit that I found really enjoyable. It’s not really a series I would recommend to my friends, because a wrong google search of it’s name can quickly delve into hentai. But other than that, it’s an enjoyable watch with some really funny over-the-top moments. And I really appreciated it for that. Other than that – there’s nothing really special about this one, but it’s a standout from the bunch. Give it a try you might enjoy it.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little look back at Summer 2021. Hope you found something new or changed your mind about something here and there, for now that’s all! Stay tuned for more Premiere‘s and more features here on the blog! As always remember this list is subjective, it’s meant as a recommendation. So take it with a grain of salt! These are just my picks! Fret not! Put your picks down in the comments! 🙂

Author: FJ

A young fantasy writer during the night, motion graphics and illustration during the day. Currently living in Mexico. Aspiring to make a feature film.

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