After watching the first episode of 30 new shows, here are the ones he’s intuitively calling out as winners.

Meet our Japanese-language correspondent Seiji Nakazawa. When he’s not busy channeling the spirit of Yngwie Malmsteen or engaging in zany new sports, he’s serving in the role of our resident otaku by binging new anime and letting us know the greatest of the latest.

While the summer 2022 lineup of shows includes new seasons of past hits like Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth, Seiji was also curious to check out the completely new shows that premiered earlier this month. After watching the first episode of 30 new anime, he’s selected the six works that he feels have something special going on. Let’s call it his sixth “otaku” sense and see if the coming weeks prove him right.

Uncle from Another World / 異世界おじさん

Known as “Iseoji” for short, this new anime is based on a manga by Hotondo Shindeiru (a penname which means “Almost Dead”). It revolves around college student Takafumi Takaoka’s uncle, who was in a coma for 17 years but was actually in another world during that time. A lot of factors back up this pick for Seiji. Namely, he was drawn to the story because while there’s a proliferation of anime out there about other worlds, very few of them explore the aftermath of what it would be like after returning from one. For example, there’s plenty of dark humor as the uncle attempts to fit in to modern society. Seiji now looks at people deemed “misfits” by society as perhaps having just returned from another world.

Phantom of the Idol / 神クズ☆アイドル

Idol Asahi Mogami died but still lingers as a ghost because of her love for the job. Idol Yuya Niyodo is alive but only sings for the money. They decide to let Asahi possess him during performances to make everyone a winner. It’s a fun premise, but Seiji’s main love for this show is that Asahi is voiced by one of his favorite voice actresses, Nao Toyama. She does amazing work, particularly for extremely energetic characters, and makes them so ridiculously cute that no one should be able to resist.

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? / それでも歩は寄せてくる

Usually stories about shogi, or Japanese chess, are focused on the thrills of victory and defeat. This one, however, focuses on Ayumu and Urushi, the only two students in a high school shogi club, and Ayumu’s efforts to defeat Urushi so that he can confess his feelings to her. There’s plenty of game strategy at the forefront as well. Seiji notes that the first episode of the anime bears a striking resemblance to Teasing Master Takagi-san in overall atmosphere and contains plenty of sweet, youthful moments.

Shine On! Bakumatsu Bad Boys! / ブッチギレ

The Shinsengumi, a real-world military force assembled from 1863 through 1869 to protect the Tokugawa shogunate from imperial forces that wanted to restore power to the emperor, has been at the center of many an anime over the years. In this newly reimagined version, apart from Heisuke Todo, all of them are already dead. To hide the truth, others are secretly recruited to be their replacements.

This take definitely spins the real history on its head and Seiji couldn’t help but grin at some of the wilder changes. With character designs by Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King), he also felt right at home as someone who grew up with this particular art style in the pages of the late ’90s Shonen Jump.

Call of the Night / よふかしのうた

Seiji considers anime with seamless ending theme song cut-ins to be masterpieces–especially those that begin playing the music at the climax of the episode, which makes them 100 times more memorable. He thinks the most well-done example of this out of all of the new anime he watched is this show about an insomniac who meets a beautiful female vampire and must fall in love with her in order to become one himself. It actually gave him goosebumps at how perfectly it was executed.

Lycoris Recoil / リコリス・リコイル

“The characters are cute, drawn with clean and simple lines,” voices Seiji. In fact, he even stopped to stare at a poster for this new show on his way to work one day because he was so enraptured. While designs are by Imigimuru (This Art Club Has a Problem!) it’s the directorial debut of Shingo Adachi, whom you might know as the character designer for Sword Art Online. Seiji thinks The atmosphere of this show about a Tokyo cafe serving the usual fare, plus a side of additional world-saving services, has a lot of promise.

Time will tell if Seiji’s predictions are right or if he’s focused on flops. Either way, he’s also looking forward to any dark horses who break out of the pack mid-season. To check out his track record, see Seiji’s preemptive picks for the fall 2021 anime season.

Featured image: YouTube/アニプレックス YouTube チャンネル 
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[ Read in Japanese ]