From delayed titles to unexpected twists, this is shaping up to be one unusual season.
Which shows do you review?
We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or for young children. Anything not licensed and/or immediately available is off the table as well, though we do our best to offer premiere reviews for “Netflix jail” shows once they become legally available. Because many series slated to air this summer were delayed due to COVID-19, that left us with just 12 series to review over the past two weeks. And that includes two Netflix releases.
How do you write the reviews?
This season, new staffers Mercedez and Alex jumped onto the review scene alongside Vrai and Caitlin (and did a pretty great job, if we say so ourselves!). The titles were divided evenly and by the reviewer’s choice.
Once we have more funding, we’d like to change our current model to provide a wider range of perspectives on more episodes. We’re a long way from that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.
What do your reviews focus on?
This varies by writer to some extent (some of us are more focused on visuals, others on narrative, and so forth), but as a feminist site it’s of course essential that we raise any issues of feminist interest.
When you read an AniFem review, you’re likely to learn about female character designs, queer representation, analogies to real-world marginalization, and so on. If you think we missed something, please comment under the review and let us know!
Why do you categorize them?
The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, information to help you decide if you want to try a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find series you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show that contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, homophobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.
Individuals can find value in any series, and we will never lead a boycott of a particular show, but we want to make it easier for you to get the most out of your limited time. In our digest, feminist-relevant themes and ideas take precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.
Premieres that seem to contain progressive themes are at the highest end and those featuring regressive ideas (or out-and-out hatefulness) are at the lowest. We expect some disagreement and welcome debate, so if you have any objections to our lists then by all means let us know in the comments!
I found a show I’m interested in! Where can I watch it?
This will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse Yatta-Tachi’s Summer 2020 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!
SUMMER 2020 PREMIERE DIGEST
The following titles are organized by categories, then alphabetically. Note that, because of the way premiere dates are staggered, we’ve had the chance to watch multiple episodes of some series. To give you a fuller picture of how much information we were working with when creating these rankings, we’ve marked how many episodes of each show we’ve seen.
Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes without also having any significant caveats we need to tell readers about.
Deca-Dence (Episodes 1-2): A sci-fi thrill ride about toxic capitalist systems; no major warnings, and to discuss it too much is to ruin the surprise.
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.
BNA (Episodes 1-2): Action mystery with a teen tanuki girl uncovering a conspiracy; comes with the usual thematic pitfalls of writing oppressed fantasy races. Child trafficking in ep. 2.
Japan Sinks: 2020 (Complete): A disaster narrative that emphasizes the importance of multiculturalism to Japan’s future but leans heavily on disaster porn and shock value, eventually to near self-parody; realistic gore/death, sexual assault, depictions of racism.
Rent-a-Girlfriend (Episode 1): Comedy of errors with a horny streak, with potential for discussing the power dynamics between sex workers and their clients. Your enjoyment may depend on your tolerance/sympathy for the Sadboy protagonist.
SUPER HXEROS (Episode 1): Bug aliens sap humans of their sexual energy, and can only be fought by a team of extra-horny teens. Surprisingly fun with a more mature understanding of human desire, but has some fan service and attitudes that marginalize asexual folks.
Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.
GIBIATE (Episode 1): Also the story of a global pandemic, but with monsters and time-traveling samurai. It is as funny as it is grimly serious; scenes of violence and minor body horror.
Lapis: Re:LiGHTS (Episode 1): High fantasy iyashikei that mixes idols and magic in a world that -while not breaking any molds- feels fun, colorful, and inviting. While Re: LiGHTS most likely won’t delve into the darker side of Japan’s idol industry, so far, it’s a fun watch that has avoided fan service completely.
Mr Love: Queen’s Choice (Episode 1): A sci-fi otome game adaptation with high production values and a literally unnamed heroine.
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.
The God of High School (Episodes 1-2): Fighting anime with an international cast and crew that starts with the tournament arc; every lady has huge boobs, but there’s no overt fanservice; “thug” stereotype side character.
A whole lotta yikes.
The Misfit King of Demon Academy (Episode 1): Former demon king is reincarnated and attends demon high school. Incredibly unlikable protagonist, and female deuteragonist does nothing despite ostensibly being super-powerful herself.
Monster Girl Doctor (Episode 1): There’s monsters, there’s girls, there’s monster girls, and there’s just so many boobs and very loud moaning that you’ll easily forget that this is supposed to be a “monster patient of the week” show and not softcore porn. Expect fan service galore and the usual tropes that come with busty monster babes in both ep. 1 and 2.
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! (Episode 1): Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl mocks and belittles her love interest for being an introvert. Fan service and physical comedy aplenty; gaslighting and emotional manipulation from the female lead.