It’s a brand new season of anime, and you know what that means: sifting through the tons of new content to find the show that’s just right for you. This season is looking pretty good, with a mix of magical action, slice of life comedy and drama, and plenty of people punching things in a wide variety of settings.
Of course, along with finding the show you love comes dodging the tropes you don’t. Of course, anime tropes aren’t bad in themselves. But maybe you’re fed up with certain ones or, for whatever reason, you’d simply like to avoid them.
So instead of recommending anime based on what you want to see, I’m taking a look at this summer’s docket with an eye to what you don’t.
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Struggling with pervy high school anime? Try O Maidens in Your Savage Season
Anyone who’s been a high school girl knows that, yeah, high school girls talk a lot about sex. You’re getting to a point in your school career when pretty much all worthwhile literature has at least low-key erotica in it, crushes are starting to happen, and your peer group is becoming more vocal about what they get up to. So technically when a show like My Girlfriend Is Shobitch or Ao-chan Can’t Study comes along, they’re not entirely out of left field.
Still, shows like that usually get it wrong. They’re largely a catalogue of pervy jokes aimed at male viewers, and (with a few exceptions — there’s all sorts of people in this world, after all) don’t really reflect how girls talk to each other at this age.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season comes from a manga by Mari Okada (Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms), and former high school girls will feel right at home with it. All the same topics are discussed just as frequently, but in a way that’s much truer to the mindset of characters of that age. Some cover their embarrassment with anger; others struggled not to be shocked because they feel they aren’t meant to be. Some speak freely; others feel undereducated and treat it like a new area of serious study.
It comes with all the humor, awkwardness, and honesty that this stage of growing up really does come with, as opposed to scene after scene of busty, shiny-kneed girls getting splashed in the face with yogurt. Because girls be like that… but not necessarily like that like that.
Tired of nerds and jocks fighting? Try Dr. Stone
We assume a lot of things to be at odds in our society that aren’t necessarily opposing forces: STEM and the arts, sports and geek stuff, and so on. But the prevailing rivalry that really doesn’t have to be one is nerds vs. jocks. If you’re as tired of it as I am, Dr. Stone is proving that brains and brawn work best in harmony.
The new shonen manga adaptation takes place in a distant future, thousands of years after a mysterious Event turned the world’s human population to stone. Bitter brainiac Senku Ishigami and cuddly tough guy Taiju Oki are the first to break free of their stone prisons, and together they’re going to speed-run human evolution.
The two have a very comedy duo dynamic, but it’s clear they respect each other and their personal strengths. Each episode includes real science facts from Senku, with his experiments enabled by Taiju’s strength and quick thinking. And opposing them? The equally strong and clever Tsukasa — showing it’s not what you’ve got that makes you a better person, but how you use it.
Wish guys didn’t get all the giant robot fun? Try GRANBELM
It is a truth universally acknowledged that chicks dig giant robots. And yet, despite this, female characters are woefully underrepresented as giant robot pilots in anime. With the exception of shows like Gunbuster, Evangelion, and Magic Knights Rayearth, you’ll get maybe one female mecha pilot in your show at best… and she’ll probably be relegated to a support unit or early death.
Fortunately, this season has GRANBELM, in which everyone’s a magical girl and they all have giant robots. In particular, they live in a version of our world where magic was done away with centuries ago, and heirs to the last remaining magical families do battle in magically-powered mechs for dominance.
If the character designs look familiar, it’s for good reason. The series, which itself is completely original, comes from the director and original light novel illustrator of Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-.
Need idol anime with a kick? Try Symphogear
Although, honestly, just try Symphogear no matter how you’re feeling.
The music-centric series is the brainchild of Noriyasu Agematsu, a founding member of music production group Elements Garden. Agematsu and his company have worked on idol anime including BanG Dream! and Uta no Prince-sama, as well as producing music for lots of other series and games.
Basically, Symphogear is what would happen if Macross just cut to the chase and combined the robots and the girls. Idol singers summon armor that weaponizes their singing to fight the alien creatures known as the Noise. Idol fangirl Hibiki ends up getting a piece of Symphogear armor lodged in her chest when one of these idols dies defending her, and goes on to take up the mantle herself.
The mix of awesome music and intense action has earned Symphogear a massive fan following, though it’s only this year that the series has gotten an official US release. Which means you have plenty to watch before you run out!