Summer 2015 Anime Roundup: Fantasy Series

Welcome to the Summer 2015 Anime Roundup series! New fantasy anime shows that are not in the video game subgenre have been hard to come by for quite some time. Anime fans were pleasantly (and perhaps skeptically) surprised at how much fantasy came out in the Summer 2015 anime season. Here’s some highlights for the shows I’ve seen thus far.

Arslan Senki

Arslan Senki

Arslan is the crown prince of a country called Pars which has recently been taken over by the neighboring kingdom of Lusitania. After his army suffers a major defeat to Lusitania due to treason within the ranks, he goes on the run. The show follows Arslan’s attempts to pull together a group of advisors and warriors in order to save and hopefully better his country.

I know that this is a carry-over series from spring, but I felt compelled to include it because it continues to be an excellent watch. It’s refreshing to pan over a battlefield and have the hundreds of cavalrymen be moving and fighting instead of panning across a still frame. The characters, politics, battle tactics, and moral discussions on topics such as slavery and religious zealotry are all excellent.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Snow White with the Red Hair

Shirayuki is an herbalist who chooses to flee from her home country rather than become the concubine of a prince obsessed with her red hair. She ends up befriending Zen, the prince of a neighboring country, after an unfortunate run-in with the hair-obsessed prince. She decides to train to become a court herbalist in order to be worthy of staying in the palace with Zen.

I’m a sucker for fairy tale adaptations and I can’t wait to see if they do any more with it other than the obvious references in episode one. Even if they don’t, the show looks amazing and Shirayuki is selfless and determined. She doesn’t just wait around for other people to take action, choosing to help herself whenever possible as she has done at least once in each episode thus far. She knows she has a lot more to learn to get where she wants to be, and she is ready to do the work necessary to meet her goals. I’m really enjoying the slice-of-life aspect of the show and hope it blossoms into a sweet romance as well.

For more on Snow White with the Red Hair, keep an eye on Matthew McCrary’s “Anime of the Week” posts, as he has been impressed with it as well.

Bikini Warriors

Bikini Warriors

This show is primarily about panning across women with huge breasts while they are in sexy poses for four minutes (which is the length of the show). Secondarily, you might think, “Haha, yeah, this joke about MMORPGs hits the mark.” Mostly, though, it’s about close-up shots of lady parts. Since it’s worth at least a chuckle, I’ll probably keep watching the show. It’s so short it hardly takes up any time during my week.

Chaos Dragon: Red Dragon Campaign

Chaos Dragon

Ibuki is the prince of Nil Kamui, which was recently taken over by two neighboring kingdoms. He is content to go into hiding to try to save his country from war. Unfortunately, the red dragon that is supposed to be protecting his country goes berserk and chooses Ibuki as a sort of avatar. Ibuki is forced to kill one of his friends every time he needs to access the red dragon’s power to save everyone else. He dislikes this, so he reluctantly joins a party to hunt down the red dragon.

Does the story of a young prince saving his war-torn country sound familiar at all? Well, it should – and I recommend everyone to just watch Arslan Senki instead. Chaos Dragon has bad CG and a whiny protagonist. It’s painful to watch him try to not make friends when we all know he’s going to make friends anyway. The show relies heavily on the “kill one to save many” gimmick to make it interesting instead of the complex world building and character interactions that make Arslan Senki so compelling.

GATE

GATE

A gate to another world opens up in Tokyo’s Ginza district, and Tokyo is invaded by an army of men and monsters. The Japanese Defense Force fights off the invaders and crosses over to the other side to quell the invasion and hopefully make peace with the natives. The show primarily focuses on officer Youji Itami and his reconnaissance team.

It is nice to have a show with an adult protagonist, and it is even better that Youji Itami is an otaku but still has a personality aside from that. When Tokyo is invaded he doesn’t act like a coward or lash out like an amateur and kill people with luck alone. He steps up and protects the city and its people. When faced with silly fantasy tropes (such as naked elf women), there are no nosebleeds or other over-the-top reactions. The show feels a bit more realistic than most.

Rokka no Yuusha

Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers

The Braves of the Six Flowers are heroes chosen by the deity of fate to battle the Demon God each time he awakens. Adlet, the self-proclaimed “strongest man in the world”, has been chosen as a Brave time time around. He sets out with Princess Nashetania, a fellow Brave, to meet with the rest of their group in the Land of the Howling Demons and defeat the Demon God. There are rampaging fiends, an assassin who has been picking off some of the most powerful people in the land…and, apparently, seven Braves instead of six.

I really like the animation style in this series even though it can get rough around the edges, and the action is great. Right now we are mostly looking at character interactions as the Braves meet each other. I have seen other viewers say this show is boring, but I haven’t had that problem because I think there is enough action to offset the dialogue. I am willing to concede that since I can’t think of anything more specific to say about the show, I am mostly watching because the characters intrigue me and I am interested in where this story will go.

Overlord

Overlord

Instead of logging out of the MMORPG called Yggdrasil, the powerful guild master Momonga decides to “go down with the ship” and stay logged in until the very last second. Imagine his surprise when instead of being kicked out of the game, he seems to have physically and mentally become the skeleton character he created! The NPCs guarding his fortress have become sentient, and the fortress itself has been transported to an unfamiliar location. He has decided to call himself Ains Ooal Gown and try to spread word of his existence in this new land, hoping to help any other Yggdrasil players that might be there.

I wasn’t going to include this series because it is yet another “trapped in a video game” show. The first two episodes were fairly boring, and I was forced to listen to two women simper and bicker over Momonga for longer than I’d have liked while nothing of consequence happened. However, episode three finally got around to actually getting some overlording done, and there was no ridiculous harem-simpering to be had. I’ll give this show a few more episodes to see if it keeps up the more serious tone or if it degrades back into harem antics too often for my taste.

Next Time on The Summer 2015 Anime Roundup

Hang on to your pants, because next time, we will be covering some of the darker and more adult shows of the season!

Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
Prison School
School Live!
God Eater
Gangsta

Jennifer Valure
Jennifer Valure
Jen is a web developer and anime enthusiast from the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is the proud mama of a future geekling and enjoys yarncrafting, especially if it involves a pop-culture project.

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