Summer 2018 Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist July 18, 20180 Comments
Haruka grins evilly, with stars in her eyes and flames behind her, and says "All right! I'm getting fired up!"

A new season is upon us, which means fresh new anime hot out the oven! There are still a few stragglers this season, but now that we’ve gone through the main premiere rush, it’s time to get them all in one room together.

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 (‘sup, Netflix) is off the table as well. This left us with 26 eligible premieres in 14 days.

Please note that this summer season has a couple latecomers: Tsukumogami for Rent (July 22) and Bureau of Supernatural Investigation (August 3). We’ll review those when/if they become available in the U.S. and retroactively add them to this list.

Jashin folded in half lying on the floor. caption: my spine's totally crushed
Dramatic reenactment of the team getting buried beneath the premiere pile

How do you write the reviews?

AniFem staffers Vrai, Caitlin, and Dee divvied up the long list of titles to tackle. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but we respect and support one another’s positions and critiques.

Once we have more funding, we aim to set up our own version of ANN’s Preview Guide, to give our readers a range of explicitly feminist views for each premiere. We’re a long way off that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.

A girl in glasses and a blonde girl play Thumb War.
Dramatic reenactment of the team competing over who gets to review each show

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!

A teen girl in a uniform that's like a cross between a school uniform and a member of the royal guard; she has a red coat flung over one shoulder, a sword in one hand, and is standing in front of a mass of spotlights.
Dramatic reenactment of the team shining a spotlight on exciting new series

Why do you categorize them?

The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, enough information so you can decide for yourselves whether or not to watch a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find anime you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show which contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, homophobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.

Individuals can find value in the unlikeliest of places, 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 merit takes precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.

Shows containing feminist themes are at the highest end and those containing anti-feminist themes 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!

Ton spreads her arms and says "We're in a new world!"
Dramatic reen… actually, no, this is pretty much exactly what we look like when we see a new show we like

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 2018 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!

SUMMER 2018 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.

Feminist Potential

  • Phantom in the Twilight (Episodes 1-2): Urban fantasy series with an active female protagonist, a legendary heroine, and some well-meaning (albeit supernaturally old) paranormal pretty-boys.
  • Revue Starlight (Episode 1): Fantastical series about teen girls training to become Takarazuka actors; features some pretty heavy yuri undertones; seems likely to be about both cooperation and competition between women.

It’s…Complicated

  • Banana Fish (Episodes 1-2): Adapted from a classic 1980s shoujo manga featuring a queer romance, but despite setting the story in modern times, it still has a lot of the same issues the original manga did: fridges a Black character for shock value, conflates pedophilia with queerness, and Ash’s backstory includes being forced into child porn.
  • HANEBADO! (Episodes 1-2): A lady-led sports series that takes its female cast seriously, but also contains distracting boob animation and a male coach with no sense of personal space.

Harmless Fun

  • 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episodes 1-2): A lady-led isekai about an office worker awakening princes so they can fight off attacking “dream eaters.”
  • Cells at Work! (Episode 1): Has some (likely unconscious) gender essentialism built into its world, but the female lead is treated with respect.
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 1): Multiple female characters but none that have gotten to do much yet in the set-up; little to no fanservice.
  • Mr. TONEGAWA Middle Management Blues (Episode 1): No speaking roles for female characters and mild fanservice; otherwise fine depending on your tolerance for the woes of rich businessmen.
  • Planet With (Episodes 1-2): Gleefully absurd mecha series mostly focused on male characters, but treats its female supporting cast like individuals with their own quirks, goals, and interests.
  • Seven Senses of the Re’Union (Episode 1): Functional but predictable fantasy MMO series.
  • The Thousand Noble Musketeers (Episode 1): Bland pretty boys talking at each other.

Yellow Flags

  • Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 1): A historical drama about a ragtag group of soldiers fighting off a huge invading army; one, possibly two female characters; unclear how much the show will dehumanize or show nuance to the invading soldiers (so far, the Worthy Rival is blond).
  • Asobi Asobase (Episodes 1-2): Comedy about three trash girls behaving badly; some of the crude humor veers into uncomfortable territory, such as body weight or sexist stereotypes.
  • Chio’s School Road (Episodes 1-2): Two teenage girls give each other shit and admire one another’s terribleness; sex jokes, boob nonsense (only in Episode 1), and the implication of a predatory lesbian character in the opening theme; might be made better or worse by some ship teasing of the protagonists.
  • Dropkick on my Devil!! (Episode 1): Moe character designs and Looney Tunes-style violence, characters trying to kill each other is basically the whole joke; possibly a Gay Panic character foreshadowed in the ending theme.
  • Harukana Receive (Episodes 1-2): An upbeat shounen-style sports anime with yuri and fanservice elements; one of the cousins seems to find the other attractive.
  • Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 1): Laid-back mystery about Japanese antiques has its charm marred by adult men flirting with the teen protagonist.
  • Late Night! The Genius Bakabon (Episode 1): Pop culture reference-based comedy with pacing issues and material that’s insensitive to trans folks.
  • Music Girls (Episode 1): An idol series with a creepy manager and a noticeably all-male, all-adult audience.
  • We Rent Tsukumogami (Episode 1): Gorgeously animated but narratively disjointed historical fantasy series; uncritically contains Edo-period practices that may trouble modern viewers, such as a potential romance between adopted siblings.

Red Flags

  • Angels of Death (Episodes 1-2): Schlocky survival horror/weird buddy comedy. Often puts the young female lead in danger and deals with many sensitive topics (but pretty darn ineptly).
  • Grand Blue Dreaming (Episode 1): Loud comedy featuring “jokes” about incest, college boys preying on teen girls, and peer-pressure binge-drinking; the main female character is routinely objectified and/or humiliated.
  • ISLAND (Episode 1): Dating sim adaptation where the girls all look about twelve; high likelihood of time travel incest.
  • The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar (Episode 1): Straight male power fantasy that treats its female characters slightly better than these stories typically do, but the patronizing use of “big brother” and “father” to refer to the protagonist lends an extra-special level of “ick.”
  • Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs (Episode 1): Old-school harem series with a hapless male protagonist and a lot of non-consensual nudity/fanservice.

Pit of Shame

Normally we put one show in this category and one in the one below it. This season, though, the bad was just that bad, so…

Anime Was A Mistake

  • Happy Sugar Life (Episode 1): A teenager kidnaps a grade schooler and keeps her as her “beloved;” fetishizing framing hiding behind an excuse of (badly done) horror; sexual assault; misogyny. Lolita called and it demands an apology.
  • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 1): Power fantasy where a shut-in computer bro gets pulled into a game and winds up with two girls as his slaves; incel bait with heavy fanservice and coded sexual assault.

[Editor’s Note: This post was updated at different times to include (1) a link to Yatta-Tachi’s chart of legal streaming sites and (2) a review of We Rent Tsukumogami.]

 

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