Most of my summer was spent pursuing the goal of relaxation. Learning how to unwind and take it easy is not something that I’ve been very good at. As someone that likes to stay immensely busy all the fucking time, I knew that with the new semester looming around the corner, understanding how to relax would become a vital tool in my daily repertoire. Luckily for me, most of the anime that I watched helped me to do exactly that!
I only watched about nine serials, with two of them being re-watches. They were all entertaining to various degrees and in different ways, and a couple of them even surprised me with how much I grew to adore them by their finales, so much so that I plan on adding them to my personal collection in the near-ish future.
Check out my wrap-up below. I’ve linked any relative reviews, recommendations, or discussions for the listed anime, and have also included basic content warnings, plus where I streamed or accessed it. If you’d like specific information that isn’t offered here, feel free to visit the anime’s AniList page (linked via the titles) or you can drop me a comment below and I’ll answer accordingly if I’m able to!
Astra Lost in Space(2019) [Funimation]: A shōnen, sci-fi adventure series about a group of teens that are supposed to go to a separate planet as a sort of training camp gig. But in the process, they encounter unexpected trouble and find themselves suddenly transported into the vastness of space. This was part of the AniTwitWatches event that is hosted by Jon Spencer. Astra became one of the best anime surprises for me in 2021. It’s filled with an abundance of fabulous characteristics that shall make it appealing to an array of anime watchers, not merely fans of sci-fi. I have a recommendations post that goes into detail about this, but as it stands, I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to watchers of adventures, slice-of-life, and just wonderful friendships in unlikely places. CW: Theft. Violence. Mildly intense paranoia and anxiety. Caution advisory for claustrophobia, kenophobia, acrophobia, and nyctophobia. Mild language. Preparation and consumption of food. Bullying. Psychological child abuse. Mass illness. Animal death and dead bodies. Body amputation. Blood.
Ouran High School Host Club (2006) [Blu-Ray]: A shōjo, rom-com series about a bookish genderqueer person named Haruhi that stumbles into her academy’s Host Club by accident while searching for a place to study. In the process, she breaks something extremely valuable and must work as a host member to pay the exuberant debt. Ouran is one of my favourite anime serials to watch when I just need mindless laughter and silly vibes. Every character is an endearing dumbass in their own ways, and while I understand why some folx don’t like the humour (it satirically pokes fun of all popular tropes in shōjo media), it knows how to hit the spot on a spectacularly horrible day. It’s a gem of my heart. I plan on doing a recommendations post for this in the comings weeks, but if you like comedy and if you like anime that doesn’t shy away from unapologetically making fun of itself and everything around it, then you may get a kick out of this. RECOMMENDED. CW: Strong sexual innuendo and homoeroticism. Some bullying. Some action and violence. Brief attempted sexual assault. Some strong language. Some gender and sexuality jokes that are mildly offensive. Preparation and consumption of food.
Sirius the Jaeger (2018) [Netflix]: A seinen, supernatural mystery series about the only surviving member of a magical clan that is tasked with protecting an incredible weapon from vicious vampires. When the mysteries of this weapon start to surface, those who hunt vampires race to protect it from falling into enemy hands. The animation quality for this looked so fantastic and that is what prompted me into watching it. The violence and action sequences are absolutely beautiful and the dynamics of the underlying story are quite fascinating, however, its execution left much to be desired. This is one of those anime that suffered from poor storyboarding and a short episode count where the longer 24 or 26 would’ve suited the narrative much better. I’ve a discussion for this coming up soon, so keep an eye out for it. All in all, though, I’d say I’m INDIFFERENT about it. It’s such a pretty anime, but it can be rather unsatisfactory and leave you wanting so much more by the end. CW: Graphic sequences of violence, blood, gore, and body mutilation. Some strong language. Some sexuality and innuendo. Mass murder. Suicide. Preparation and consumption of food. Alcohol consumption and smoking.
Ghost Hunt (2007) [Funimation]: A shōjo, supernatural mystery series about a group of psychic researchers that investigate paranormal incidents and try to resolve them where they can. Craving a ghostly, horror series, I picked this up because it’s been on my list for ages and it was available on Funimation. This is the anime that surprised me the most (pleasantly) from everything else I’ve seen. My expectations were of something cheesy and godawful, and while it does have some corny characteristics, overall, it was very interesting. The series is cut into separate arcs, which are about two to four episodes long, and each one is different in their own ways. There is a small air of predictability to them, but overall, it can keep you on your toes. I can’t wait to add this to my collection one day as supernatural, ghostly anime serials are my absolute favourites and this was no exception to that! The suspense and creep factors, especially, were so much fucking fun. RECOMMENDED. CW: Disturbing imagery of corpses, ghosts, and demons. Some strong language. Some sexuality and innuendo. Suicide and attempted suicide (on-screen). Mass Murder. Brief discussions of rape, child abandonment, and domestic abuse. Deaths. Preparation and consumption of food. Smoking.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (2021) [Netflix]: A seinen, zombie horror anime series that revolves around a government conspiracy and the sales of bioorganic weaponry. I wrote a discussion on this not too long about that went into detail about all the things I vehemently disliked about Infinite Darkness. I’m a die-hard Resident Evil fan and I tend to passionately love every aspect of the franchise, no matter how fucking awful it seems to other folx. But this… was the line that I struggled with the most. It was so horrendously disappointing and also heavily frustrating to say the least. I would only recommend this to other die-hard fans like me that don’t want to miss out on any morsels of the franchise. Otherwise, I would NOT RECOMMEND this anime at all. CW: Graphic violence, action, blood, and gore. Strong language. Mild sexual innuendo. Depiction of terrorism. Suicide. Food and alcohol consumption. Smoking.
Vampire Knight Seasons 1 & 2 (2008) [Netflix]: A shōjo, supernatural romance series about a young teen girl that was saved by a handsome vampire boy when she was a kid. As she grows older, she gets caught between her admiration, respect, and feelings for him, and her sense of loyalty to her best friend, whom she helped years ago. This is one of those indulgent anime serials that I like to re-watch when I just want a bit of trashy, smutty goodness that is as taboo as it is wickedly compelling. (I’m not typically a fan of love triangles, as in I fucking loathe them usually, so that should tell you how indulgent this series truly is for me.) The animation quality has definitely aged, and the overall premise would definitely bust some brains in today’s politically correct and polished environments, but I still love it in all of its problematically steamy and inappropriate goodness. I’m going to chock it up to the haemophiliac within me. If you don’t mind darkly angsty romance with themes of incest (I know…), then I’d recommend this to you, but honestly, given the content, my rating is INDIFFERENT as I understand it’s a very polarising series.
The Big O Season 1 (1999) [HiDive]: A seinen, tech-noir anime series that takes place in a metropolis that is steeped in mystery. Forty years ago, an event occurred causing a massive memory wipe for all residents. The only thing that is known is that the city used to produce massive robots. Enter Roger Smith, a contract negotiator who is hired by various parties to assist them with their various issues. This is a cross between Batman: The Animated Series and Robot City. I wrote a first impressions that talks about this and how it works so damn well in the anime, but long story short: The Big O is an excellently crafted exhibition of the ramifications of trying to pretend the past doesn’t exist due to horrible human mistakes, and it’s also supremely underrated. If you’re a fan of noir and mecha serials, then you have to watch this. I plan on doing a full review for this once I am finished with the second season. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Strong action and violence. Suicide. Some strong language. Some mild sexuality. Suicide. Graphic animal experimentations and cat death (one specific episode). Human experimentation and oppression. Consumption of food. Alcohol consumption and smoking.
Gun Sword (2005) [Funimation]: This is a shōnen, dystopian series that follows a stranger in a tuxedo and a fancy hat that is trying to hunt down the man who killed his wife. When he comes to a city and discovers that the murderer is also responsible for kidnapping a young girl’s brother, he allows her to tag along with him on his quest so long as she doesn’t get in his way. Gun Sword is a series that had a lot of great things going for it with a couple of extremely bizarre, “what the fuck” episodes. I’m still processing the ending for this and, honestly speaking, I feel like it should’ve taken a bit of a different direction. That is really the only unsatisfying part of the anime for me. Everything else, even the über strange nonsense that was the “beach episode” was entertaining and quite curious. My first impressions goes over the fun titbits more. Learning the various motives of the different plots going on and seeing how they ultimately connected was like seeing the pieces of a mystery coming together, which I always like to read and watch. All in all, I’d RECOMMEND this to people that watched and enjoyed shows like Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, and Samurai Champloo. CW: Strong action and violence. Deaths of loved ones. Preparation and consumption of food. Some strong sexuality and sexual innuendo (one specific episode in particular). Extremist political beliefs. Mild language. Depiction of terrible illnesses.
Trinity Blood (2005) [Funimation]: This shōnen, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic series follows a future where vampires and humans are enthralled in war. The Vatican decides that it needs help from outside sources to help balance the scales, which includes a vampire that only drinks the blood of other vampires. Out of this whole list, Trinity Blood is probably my biggest disappointment. The vampires were intriguing, especially the political strife and conflicts between them and humans. The inclusion of the Vatican was something that intrigued me initially but as the series went on, it all just started to get a bit too convoluted for my tastes, and I lost interest. The story just wasn’t as tightly cohesive as I would have preferred for a tale of this calibre. Fans of vampire action fiction will more than likely enjoy this a bit more than I did, especially if one is into non-fetishised vampires. Overall, though, I’m INDIFFERENT about the series as an entity. CW: Strong violence, action, and blood. Some sexuality and sexual innuendo. Cannibalism. Preparation and consumption of food. Some non-consensual sexual advances. Mass deaths. City-wide destruction via terrorism.
With Summer officially behind us, my hopes for the Fall season is to continue watching things from the 1990s and early 2000s as the aesthetics and vibes have been completely satisfying my moods and strange tastes as of late. I’m also going to keep partaking in the ADHD experimentation thingy that I began a few months ago. It’s been reaping some fantastic mental benefits and if something works well, there’s no reason to change it. As they say, don’t fix what isn’t broken! At least, I think that’s the saying…
What did you watch during the summer season? What was your favourite anime from the summer, either old, new, or films of sorts?