Summer 2018 anime from Weakest to Strongest (Quick Summaries and Tumblr Links)

I watched six anime during the Summer 2018 anime season and I’ve now written full length reviews on tumblr for each of them! So here my personal rankings of what I watched from weakest to strongest. Each anime title links to my in-depth review of said series, so feel free to click! For all the reviews at once, please see my anime overview tag here.

I wouldn’t call any of the anime on this list bad, nor would I give any a blanket anti-recommendation for any of them. It’s just some of these series were weaker than others in my opinion and there’s ups and downs and things to warn for. Hope you enjoy and find it useful!

Banana Fish (episodes 1-12)

Eiji meets a seventeen-year-old gangster named Ash Lynx on a trip to New York and is quickly pulled into a world of violence and conspiracies.

When we judge this series as an adaptation, its definitely the weakest thing I watched, because the modern update of this 80s manga is almost entirely superficial and that can be quite jarring. We’re supposed to believe this is set today, but the narrative is extremely 80s and some of the conversations the characters have don’t make much sense in a modern setting. Though the story is something that’s fascinating and valuable taken in the context of its place in the history of shoujo manga, removing it from that context doesn’t do it any favors.

There’s charm to both the characters and the sweetness of the romantic relationship between Ash and Eiji, but a lot of the content is both endlessly and melodramatically tragic and also potentially triggering. Definitely be prepared for a TON of rape, csa, abuse, violence and murder if you watch this.

Phantom in the Twilight

Bailieu Ton arrives in London expecting an exciting college life, but instead ends up on a quest to rescue her best friend who has been kidnapped by demons. She finds allies in a gang of supernatural young men who were acquainted with her magically powerful great-grandmother.

While the plot is mediocre and the animation even moreso, this series shows its value in being an otome story that has a truly awesome leading lady. Ton is dynamic, self-possessed, has a strong friendship with another girl and she kicks a TON of ass. She has a fun relationship with her squad of boy-toys and is always on equal footing with them and the few times any of them try to act controlling they are called out hard.. So if you want a reverse-harem story/paranormal romance that features a more active heroine and jettisons the more toxic tropes that pervade the genre, this is a good choice, even if the narrative itself is nothing to write home about.

My Hero Academia (episodes 52-63)

Izuku Midoriya continues his quest to become the greatest superhero and takes his hero provisional license exams.

This is probably among the weakest arcs MHA has had so far, though it still has its fair share of entertaining and worthwhile moments, not to mention one truly excellent episode. The characters introduced at the very end of the season have potential too. Mostly it was an enjoyable enough watch, but definitely didn’t live up to the high-stakes thrills of the arc before it.

Cell at Work!

Anthropomorphized cells do their best to keep the body they inhabit alive and well.

This is an extremely cute edutainment show. It’s nothing mindblowing, and the narration can be a bit much, but if you want an adorable, fun time that teaches you a little something about the human body, this is a good choice. Also I want to marry NK Cell.

Planet With

Soya Kuroi is an amnesiac boy living with with a weird cat monster and a cheerful but mysterious girl dressed like a maid and his life gets even stranger when he’s told to jump in a giant robot and  fight the local superheroes.

These 12 episodes contained more plot and climatic moments than a lot of anime has in 50 episodes and despite the breakneck pace and huge amount of events packed in, it was extremely cohesive and solid story throughout. The characters were lovable and varied, there was a loft of thematic heft to the series exploration of pacifism and freedom vs justice and security, it was goofy and weird while also being emotional heartbreaking at times…I definitely recommend this show. It’s the full Wacky Space Mecha Anime experience in a compact package. Also, it has cool ladies.

Revue Starlight

Karen Aijou is doing her best at her Takarazuka theatre school, only for everything to change when her childhood friend Hikari suddenly transfers in. She follows Hikari down a mysterious elevator and discovers her friend is engaged in a bizarre swordfight competition to become the “Top Star”, preceded over by a talking giraffe.

If you love Takarazuka, theatre, sword fights,lesbians, weird metaphors, Revolutionary Girl Utena and other Ikuhara work or all of the above, I definitely recommend this show.. The series surreally and smartly explores Takarazuka, show biz and adolescence with lots of creative, beautifully animated musical fight scenes and contains a lot of twists and turns along the way. While I think it could have stood to be a bit longer, more in-depth and bit stronger with its characters, it’s definitely a series that’s fun to analyze and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the discussion that’s come out of it (see some linked in my review). Strap in for a wild ride and enjoy one of the Top Stars of the season.

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