One of my favorite things to do in the world is work really hard at not working, and this new series is a direct reflection of all that hard not work ethic. I asked myself the question “Why would you make a different post for every pilot when you could simply put them all in one?” And the answer was, I shouldn’t. In the Round-Up, I will simply be taking all future Pilot Reviews that I do, and putting them in a single post. I know, it’s amazing that I’m the first person to ever think of doing this.

All of my Round-Ups will be simple and pretty much self-explanatory, so I’m going to explain it anyway. Below you will find a list of all the titles I intend to try for the summer 2019 season Nope, scratch that; too much. I’ll add them as I go. As I watch them, they will each get a small description and a rating of how likely it is that I will continue watching it on a scale that will change depending on my mood that day (as that is the most reliable way to scale things). The list will be in alphabetical order (by English title), not order of interest I already changed my mind. The list will be in order of viewing (you know, to keep the actual content on the top). I’ll also post some AniList links for the try-curious of you.

I’ve chosen a lot of anime to try this summer, but I suspect less than half will survive the first few episodes. Or who knows? Maybe I’ll be super surprised and have to spend all my time watching anime just to keep up. And so we begin our first (but not our last, unless I find/one of you tells me of a better way to not work) Round-Up.


BEM

BEM is essentially anime Batman. BEM should stand for “Batman Except Mnot.” It’s the immediate vibe that you get when the show begins. You’re following a rookie cop who is transferred to the worst part of the city as penance for not listening to her superior officer, and now she has to adapt to living in the slums of Gotham. She’s green and it becomes very obvious she’s going to have to make some changes to her worldview when very early on her car is stolen. Honestly, I absolutely loved everything about this pilot. I wasn’t kidding when I compared it to Batman (see if you can spot the hidden batman symbol!). Even the villain felt like a classic Batman freak. The music and dreary atmosphere drudged up all the same feelings I had when watching a show like Batman The Animated Series from the 90s. Plus, they added in some cool twists and mysteries that look like they’ll be a lot of fun to watch. This was definitely one of the lower shows on my radar for this season, but I’m glad I decided to give it a try anyway.

Likelihood to finish: This is now my most hyped Sunday show

AniList


Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II

If you read my review about season 1, you already know how excited I was for this one to premiere. Right off the bat the pilot is taking a different tone and direction than the previous season. Rather than focusing on Bell and his adventures in the dungeon to become stronger, the immediate adversary is now a rival family. Different or not, though, the anime still has all of it’s classic characters and their personalities, including all of their quirks. Bell is still hopelessly in love with Aiz (though interestingly, Crunchyroll changed her name from Aiz to Ais. Probably just a preference thing?). Because the pilot seems to be setting up some sort of grand first arc, it left a lot to be desired as far as plot progression goes, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You might just consider waiting a week or two before starting so that you can watch whatever battle their setting up all in one go.

Likelihood to finish: Roughly 101%

AniList


Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?

Yes, you read the title correctly. That’s what this anime is called. And if you thought that just because it has a weird long title it must be a strange anime, you’d be absolutely correct. While I can tell you that I didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about this one way or another, I can say that I lean more on the bad side than good. On the one hand, you have a sort of interesting premise about a kid who gets to beta test a new type of video game and his mom is along for the ride (parental ignorance about video games and all), but on the other hand, where is this even going? The pilot really felt like it was missing solid direction. The jokes were only OK. The dialogue was only OK. Just about the only thing that it did well was the art, but the art alone isn’t going to make this a good anime.

Likelihood to finish: If I were to wager a guess, probably not.

AniList


The Demon Girl Next Door

We finally did it. We got our cute girls doing cute things summer anime. Recent cute girls doing cute things anime have been hit (Hitoribocchi) or miss (Ms. Vampire Who Lives In My Neighborhood) for the past few seasons. Luckily, this pilot appears to be one of the hits. You have the comedic timing of Kohara Konomi (Chika from Love is War), an entertaining concept and a lot of fun animation. The show definitely falls on the optimistic slap-stick side of conflict between a demon girl and magic girl, but this isn’t a bad thing; it allows for a fun dynamic that demonstrates the “kill them with kindness” saying. Overall, the show’s best quality is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, choosing instead to give you a bright little light for your day.

Likelihood to finish: I already had a lot of fun with this one. I don’t expect that to go away.

AniList


Isekai Cheat Magician

This season seems to be flooded with generic isekai. It’s obviously a popular genre that is going to attract a lot of attempts, but it’s precisely that popularity that makes it hard to stand out. Unfortunately, even Isekai Cheat Magician does little to advance beyond a passable isekai. The pilot was devoid of anything that could drum up excitement and only barely managed to create some mystery at the end; unfortunately, the lack of excitement about what happened also makes it hard to feel any investment in the plot, making that mystery a lot less attractive. I can’t even confidently say the show has promise at this point. Like Demon Lord, Retry!, the entire thing just feels forgettable.

Likelihood to finish: I’m not giving up on it just yet, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in where it’s going

AniList


Cop Craft

The year is “the future” and a gate has opened over the pacific, connecting our world to another filled with elf-like aliens. This has sparked a huge city filled with seedy individuals and high crime rates. Of course, our protagonist is a detective with a prejudice against the aliens because one of them killed his partner, but he’ll have to overcome his racism when his new partner is announced as none other than one of those other-world aliens to track down “human” trafficking criminals (in this case, a high profile fairy). The episode eventually climaxes with the alien agent showcasing some pretty cool abilities, leaving us with a cliffhanger before giving us any actual fighting. The two new partners have the inevitable antagonistic attitude towards each other, resulting in some friction during their investigation. It’s a tale as old as time, but it still interesting to watch, especially in combination with the unique atmosphere they’re crafting. So long as it doesn’t devolve into nothing but buddy cop cliches it should be a fun watch.

Likelihood to finish: The odds are better than not.

AniList


Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest

I think this is another isekai, but only because of what I read in the show description on AniList; I don’t remember the pilot indicating one way or another. It seems to be a world filled with magic users who enter some sort of labyrinth to battle monsters and make themselves stronger. Unfortunately for our protagonist, he’s super weak and becomes separated from the group (thanks to some betrayal). But, he’s desperate to survive and takes extreme measures that alter his DNA (and his personality); those changes take him from every day Joe to the strongest in….ah…I get it now. The dialogue from this show isn’t going to win any awards with writing like “I’m pissed off because I’m so angry!” But, when the dust settles, the rushed pilot appears to be setting up and what could be interesting revenge story. Honestly, it would be cool to see it take this path and watch a struggle from his friends to redeem him and bring him back into the fold.

Likelihood to finish: Depends on how bold the show is with it’s direction

AniList


Hensuki: Are you willing to fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s a cutie?

Sometimes when you watch a pilot, it’s exactly as good as you expect it’s going to be; sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing. I’ll give you one guess (no) on if it’s a good (nope) thing in this case (it isn’t). This pilot is exactly what I expected: poor quality animation and storytelling that only exist to deliver copious amounts of fan service. Now, I’m not knocking fan service as an idea; there are some really good anime out there that deliver both great plot and storytelling along with great fan service. But in the case of this pilot, you can actually see the rushed production and poor decisions come to life before your very eyes (just watch all the way to the basketball scene if it isn’t immediately apparent to you). I spent the whole episode really looking for an excuse to keep watching this show. That isn’t a good thing. Even the dialogue seems off. In the end, I was left entirely unimpressed, even by the fan service.

Likelihood to finish: I have already dropped this one

AniList


The Ones Within

It was inevitable given our current online culture that we would eventually get an anime about Let’s Play gamers. This anime centers around a bunch of online personalities pulled into a single facility where they have to participate in a Hunger Games-esque battle for survival to get to 100,000,000 million stream views and earn their freedom. On paper, it’s a borderline ridiculous idea for a plot, but the execution was actually pretty entertaining. I never found myself getting bored or criticizing the show silently in my head; I was actually rather entertained by the cast and game ideas. Each Let’s Play personality that has been pulled in plays a different style of game (puzzle, horror, fighting, etc) and they all (predictably) have attitudes and personalities to match their chosen genre (like I said, predictable but it works well enough). For the first game, the participants were chosen seemingly at random from the group (not all of them had to participate) and given a task to complete as it was streamed to the world. Their job is to complete the game and make it interesting enough to draw in an online crowd. Between the fun characters and the suspense and execution of an almost tired “battle for my entertainment and your freedom” idea, I’d say we have a pretty solid anime on our hands.

Likelihood to finish: At least for now, I’m eagerly waiting for more.

AniList


Vinland Saga

The surprises keep coming this season (or maybe I’m the only one surprised to see an anime about Vikings). Vinland Saga takes place (so far) on the island of Iceland, following famous Viking figures like Leif Erikson and Thors (I assume some association to the god of hammers thunder, but I could be very wrong). The first three episodes were actually released simultaneously today, but I have only seen the first one, so this is a true pilot impression. They aren’t releasing another episode for a couple more weeks, so I plan to space them out between Sundays just to have something to watch. As of right now, my feelings on this particular show are iffy. The setting is cool and the episode opens with a fun Viking fight, but the story was a tad slow with little solid direction so I had a hard time getting absorbed in it. They did set up enough of a backstory to showcase some bad blood between different viking villages, so I’m sure we have that to look forward to. I didn’t dislike this one, and I’ll watch for at least a couple more episodes.

Likelihood to finish: Not confident enough to say either way.

AniList


Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note

I’m not sure even the most experienced anime lore masters out there could unravel the mystery that is the Fate series and it’s watch order. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what Fate series exist beyond the two that I’ve seen. Luckily, I have seen Fate: Zero, which appears to be an origin story for the protagonist in this anime. We’re continuing the story of Waver Velvet, the mage who summoned The Rider for the Holy Grail War. 10 years have passed since that war, and now Velvet teaches at the academy where he once was a student. I watched both preview Episode 0 that was released a while back and Episode 1 that aired today. As with all the Fate series, there’s a lot to take in at the very beginning (a lot of names, ideas and quick dialogue to digest); episode 0 does it’s best at a small introduction and showcase of our characters while also creating a little bit of mystery intended to draw the viewer in to watch the series. Episode 1 builds on those introductions and then gives us the back story of how we got to where we are now. It’s an interesting departure from the traditional Grail War battles I’m used to seeing between powerful heroes; instead we’re treated to slow intrigue and mystery. While I’m obviously not a Fate junkie (seeing as how I’ve only bothered to watch Fate: Zero and Fate: Stay Night), knowing the history of Waver Velvet from the Fate: Zero series is enough to make me want to see where this one goes. If you haven’t watched Fate: Zero, I’m not sure this show will have the same appeal since it’s already pretty flashback heavy. While I think they do a fine job at a passable explanation to keep newcomers from feeling totally lost, I doubt it will be enough to keep most of them around.

Likelihood to finish: I’d say the odds are pretty favorable at this point

AniList


O Maidens in Your Savage Season

This is another pilot this season where the content was completely unexpected, at least for me (remember, I only dabble in manga so most of the content I watch is new to me). I’m not sure exactly what I expected, but a combination of heartfelt and comedy wasn’t it. There seems to be a genuine attempt to engage the audience with a meaningful look into the life of high school students who are starting to experience things like sexual desire for the first time. It’s not done in a crass or unrealistic manner and it isn’t just about jumping right into a bunch of sexual relationships, so don’t come here looking for that kind of entertainment. It’s much more likely to make you go “hmmm” than anything. I was left both intrigued and curious about what the future for this show holds. This one will definitely become part of my regular line-up.

Likelihood to finish: 99%

AniList


Fire Force

The pilot for Naruto Fire Brigade Fire Force was definitely a unique concept among the anime that I’ve watched. I can only imagine the pitch meeting for this one. “They’re fire fighters, but some of them can control fire, called pyrokinetics.” “Sounds cool so far.” “And they’ll team up with a nun from the church…” “OK…” “…to cleanse the souls of humans who have combusted into fire demons!” “We’ll order 24 episodes.” There’s a great sense of comradery in the small Special Fire Force team that we follow, something that is vital to their success; if they can’t depend on each other absolutely, they could easily be overwhelmed and killed by the dangerous enemies they have to fight. In the very beginning of the episode, it does seem just a tad too grandiose with the fighting and spectacle they’re using as their hook, but by the end of the episode it evened out and gave the show a lot of character while also filling in a sufficient backstory for the protagonist. Originally I had intended not to try this one, and I’m glad I changed my mind.

Likelihood to finish: While I can’t say I’m definitely all in at this point, I really hope this one convinces me to stay around.

AniList


Granbelm

I don’t normally get really hyped for a mecha anime. It’s just not a genre that typically appeals to me (with a few exceptions), so I honestly cannot tell you how good this is compared to other mecha anime. But holy crap was I hyped by the end of this episode, leaving us with two possibilities: either this is an incredibly good mecha anime, or it’s so generic that it appeals even to me. I think I remember reading that Granbelm had a theatrical debut in Japan as an early showcase, and I can understand why. This episode was a showcase for squatty little robot fights (seriously, they are strangely proportioned), high energy music and lots of pretty colors and explosions. Plus it does a nice job of setting up what looks to be a fun little mystery filled with ancient feuds and intrigue. If this show wasn’t airing right now, I’d already be all aboard the binge train.

Likelyhood to finish: 4 squatty little robots out of 5

AniList


Dr. STONE

Imagine a world where every living person turns to stone in an instant; the rest of nature, both plants and animals, isn’t affected (apart from some birds, which were petrified before humans in what I can only assume was a trial run by whoever is behind it all). But the humans weren’t necessarily killed. They are conscious and waiting to break free from their prison. 3700 years later, two high school classmates break free, thanks to SCIENCE. One of these characters is a screaming meathead who’s talents include manual labor and looking after the statue of the woman he loves, the other a scientist (and boy do they beat you over the head with how much he loves science, even going so far as to put E=mc^2 on his jacket; it’s painfully on-the-nose). On the one hand, the yelling from the meathead really digs deep into your bones and grates on your nerves, on the other hand, his sincerity is still kind of endearing so it’s hard to hate him completely. The episode focuses on them working tirelessly over the course of roughly a year (via montage of course) conducting experiments to eat through the stone shells and restore society. Finally, by the end of the pilot, we have our first breakthrough. It’s a fun idea with some potential, I just hope we don’t introduce too many extreme personalities. While it definitely highlights variety, if they go overboard with it, it can make the characters feel incredibly one-dimensional and boring. But, it’s just a pilot, after all, and the promise of a good story built on an interesting concept is all I need to feel hopeful.

Likelihood to finish: I will probably end up enjoying this one, though nothing is set in stone.

AniList


Wasteful Days of High School Girls

Like every other person who craves nothing but popularity in high school, Tanaka Nozomi believes that high school is where she will peak, especially in terms of popularity with boys. Unfortunately for her, she accidentally chose an all girls high school. While I am still not completely sold on this one, the second half of the pilot did a lot to help what otherwise felt like a pretty generic episode. The jokes didn’t always land and sometimes the drama felt a little over-the-top, but it left and overall positive impression, especially after a particularly fun little love confession montage from our boy-crazed protagonist (something something ah, youth). If I’m being completely honest, the show currently feels like it would work better as one of those 12 minute sketch filled shows. Hopefully it’ll get a little more depth as it continues.

Likelihood to finish: Shakey

AniList


If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord

I have seen my fair share of demon anime, but I think this is the first “demon child adopted by a human” story I’ve watched. It’s unsurprisingly wholesome and lighthearted, given the subject matter. A young adventurer discovers an orphaned demon girl in the forest and she quickly grows attached to him. The first episode focuses on that attachment and the struggles of communicating through a language barrier. Our adventurer already has a small support system in place and they quickly rally around caring for the new demon girl like a new member of the family. I can’t tell if this anime will be more about the action or the relationship at this point because of the title (though my money would be on the relationship), but I’m excited to see where it goes.

Likelihood to finish: I’m very optimistic about this one.

AniList


Astra Lost in Space

Like Rising of the Shield Hero did for its winter 2019 premier, Astra opened up with a double-length pilot episode at around 47 minutes. There is a little bit of tone confusion, switching between survival space epic and “maybe the real space survival camp was the friendships we made along the way”, but by the end of the episode I was actually fully on board with whatever they’re selling. All of anime’s tropes are on full display for this one: the genius, the tsundere, the imouto, the airhead, the resentful past, the nervous wreck, the eager beaver, the golden boy, and the one with purple hair. If this show can keep this kind of excitement up, it’s a full contender for my favorite new show of the week.

Likelihood to finish: Barring some disaster, I will almost definitely finish this one.

AniList


How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?

Sometimes the shows I watch with little to no expectation that they’ll be any good surprise me the most. This pilot qualifies as one of those shows. I’m fairly certain the thought “Let’s watch this to see how dumbbell (heh) it is” went through my mind when I was putting it on my list. I’m not ashamed to say that this has been one of my favorite pilots of the season so far. This show had me laughing out loud a lot more than I usually do, even for comedies. Plus it seemingly answers the question nobody knew they should be asking: What would it be like to have Darkness as a workout buddy?

Likelihood to finish: At this point, highly

AniList


Demon Lord, Retry!

This was my first isekai of the season, a favorite genre of mine. Unfortunately, it felt incredibly generic, at least for the pilot. A video game creator is summoned into another world as his online Demon Lord persona where he meets blonde Rem, defeats a calamity level boss with ease and begins his journey. Unfortunately, it’s not just the story that feels generic; the art, voice acting and music were also lacking anything to help them stand out. While I love isekai, I feel like this might end up the same as last season’s Wise Man’s Grandchild, that is to say, forgettable. At this point, the best I can do is remain cautiously optimistic that it was just a rough first episode meant to establish a baseline that will improve.

Likelihood to finish: I might finish it, but not because I’m in love with it.

AniList


Are You Lost?

I’m not even sure where to begin with this one, truly. What initially appeared to be a fun story about surviving on an island (with some slight ecchi touches) turned into something so much…weirder? I’m not even sure how to describe what I watched. Are we supposed to believe it isn’t common knowledge among high schoolers that you can’t drink ocean water? How many excuses can we come up with in 12 minutes to have the girls act out lewd scenes in various states of undress in the name of Bear Grylls? I have to say, I’m really disappointed in this show so far.

Likelihood to finish: I will eat my own shoe if I make it past next week’s episode.

AniList


Magical Sempai

Continuing the 12 minute Tuesday ecchi lineup is a show about a school magic club president who can’t actually do any magic. Luckily, this one seems more about the gag comedy than anything. It certainly isn’t groundbreaking and it won’t win any awards, but some of the gags are solid and the voice acting really sells the characters. Initially I expected to be really turned off by obnoxiously distracting censorship cards thanks to the trailer (especially since it was obvious they weren’t censoring actual nudity), but luckily those aren’t present in the show and you can enjoy your non-nudity to the fullest.

Likelihood to finish: We’ll see. I give the odds 50/50 at this point.

AniList


To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

What initially looked to be a story about cool overpowered anime X-men animorphs fighting a war turned into something a little different. Most of the fighting look place in a montage after their initial introduction, and instead we were spoon-fed plot via very on the nose dialogue. This one did a lot of “tell don’t show”. By the end, it seems to be broadcasting a lot of “monster of the week” flags, which is a bit of a turnoff. I plan to give this one at least one more episode, but no guarantees beyond that.

Likelihood to finish: Not super optimistic.

AniList


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