There are 30 new anime series starting this summer season, which is a lot of content for anyone to wade through. So here’s a list of seven particularly outstanding new summer shows, suitable for newcomers or longtime fans. Most of these shows are available for viewing internationally the day after they air in Japan, thanks to streaming services like Amazon, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Netflix.
In addition to these seven shows, three series (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Fruits Basket, and Carole & Tuesday) from our spring anime preview are continuing through the summer.
If you liked the non-magical parts of Game of Thrones
Set mostly in Danish-controlled England during the 11th century, the story follows a small band of Vikings under the command of Askeladd. Traveling with their mercenary band is a young man named Thorfinn, who is constantly trying to kill Askeladd for murdering Thorfinn’s father in front of him long ago. But this small company of Vikings gets unwittingly drawn into the battle of succession between the two princes of Denmark when they’re hired to help with the Danish invasion of London.
The Vinland Saga manga seemed more likely to get a Western live-action adaptation than an anime rendition, both because of the subject matter and because of its detailed, meticulous art. But Wit Studio is up to the job. Between Attack on Titan and The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the studio has shown a penchant for being able to depict old European settings. On top of that, the series is being adapted by Hiroshi Seko who wrote the series composition for both seasons of Mob Psycho 100 (one of 2019’s best shows) and Ajin (a great supernatural political thriller).
Vinland Saga will air on Amazon Prime Video starting on July 8th.
If you like DIY or science explainer YouTube videos
A sudden flash of light turns everyone on Earth into stone. Thousands of years pass, and after nearly all remnants of modern civilization have been reclaimed by nature, Japanese high school student Taiju manages to break free from the petrification. A message carved on a nearby tree leads him to his old friend Senku who’s also managed to free himself. Senku wants to use his science knowledge to rebuild civilization, free the others still petrified, and discover what caused the flash of light.
The Dr. Stone manga started running in the American version of Weekly Shonen Jump a few years ago, and it’s a fascinating series, largely revolving around Senku showing how to create the things they need to survive. Not just fire, or simple tools like axes, but things like glass, gunpowder, and batteries. Seeing how complicated and difficult it is to make things we often take for granted is immensely interesting, even if the speed at which the characters can do things is a bit fantastical.
If you liked Backdraft and Soul Eater
In an alternate-universe future version of Tokyo, firefighters battle fire monsters called Infernals, created by spontaneous human combustion. Shinra is a third-generation Infernal: rather than being a walking inferno, like first-generation Infernals, he and others from his generation can create and control fire. He joins Special Fire Force Company 8 to help extinguish out-of-control Infernals while looking for answers to the fire that killed his mother and brother when he was a child.
Fire Force is based on a manga of the same name by Atsushi Okubo, who is best known for his fantastic genre-bending action series Soul Eater. It was apparent early on that the manga was perfectly suited to animation. Okubo has a great design sense that waffles between cute and creepy, and the series is full of action setpieces that should look stunning in motion. The series is being animated at David Production, which has spent the last seven years making a name for itself by adapting the stylish, action-packed JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures. It’s an ideal studio to handle Fire Force, which hits similar action-horror-comedy tones.
If you want to watch a modern-day mage pine for Alexander the Great and solve mysteries
Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note
Lord El-Melloi II is a professor at the Clock Tower, a London school run by the Mage’s Association. Ten years ago, he fought in a Holy Grail War against seven other mages, including the first Lord El-Melloi, who was killed during it. Although not a member of the El-Melloi family, he became the family’s temporary head until the first El-Melloi’s daughter became old enough to take over. So between his teaching and the demands of the El-Melloi clan, he’s drawn into magical mysteries that are occurring around London, and he investigates them with some of his students.
While this series is part of the expansive Fate franchise, it seems like it will be fairly friendly to newcomers, as it doesn’t directly deal with too much of the larger world’s lore. Luckily, an “episode zero” for the series is already streamable, and it seems to suggest the series will mix magical-school politicking with magical mysteries and action setpieces. The series is being animated by TROYCA, which animated both seasons of the mech-war series Aldnoah Zero as well as one of 2018’s best shows, Bloom Into You.
If you want monster-fighting action that’s also a bit forlorn
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts
Using dark magic, the northern side of a civil war turns some of its soldiers into Incarnates, which are humans with monstrous abilities, in order to compensate for their dwindling forces. Years after the war ends, the Incarnates find ways to become part of normal society. Nancy, an Incarnate’s daughter, goes in search of the Beast Hunter who murdered her father and learns some harsh truths about the world.
The description and trailer for To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts story look interesting. Better yet, the series is being animated at MAPPA (Yuri on Ice), and the adaptation was written by Shigeru Murakoshi, who wrote the series composition for another of 2018’s best anime series, Zombie Land Saga. That series was also animated by MAPPA, which just finished a great anime adaptation of the demon-fighting action / drama classic Dororo.
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts will start airing on July 1st and will stream on Crunchyroll.
If you liked PEN15 or Booksmart
O Maidens in Your Savage Season
To learn more about each other, the five girls who make up a high school’s literature club decide to break the ice with some seemingly innocuous questions. Then, one of the girls asks, “What’s one thing you want to do before you die?” and another blurts out, “Sex.” This one word sets these new friends down the clumsy but relatable path toward becoming adults.
Both the original manga this series is based on and the anime adaptation are written by Mari Okada, a prolific anime writer with work ranging from slice-of-life gag shows like Sketchbook to dramatic rom-coms like Toradora to military action shows like Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. She’s worked on a wide variety of shows, but they’re often thematically about the social anxieties of trying to understand and connect with other people. This one looks like it’ll be a combination of funny and painfully relatable.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season starts on July 5th. It will stream on HiDive subtitled.
If you liked Star Trek: Voyager
Astra: Lost in Space
In the year 2063 when spaceflight is an everyday occurrence, a group of high-school students set out on a camping trip to a nearby planet. There, nine of the students encounter a strange object that teleports them across the galaxy to an unknown planet. They find an old, abandoned spaceship called Astra, which they use to try and make their way home.
The series is being animated at Lerche, which has a really good track record lately, having recently animated Radiant, Asobi Asobase, and a new adaptation of Kino’s Journey. The studio’s work tends to be a good balance of lighthearted storytelling and darker dramatic elements, which seems spot-on for Astra.