Summer 2015 Anime Roundup Part 4: Action and Shounen Series

Welcome to the last installment of the Summer 2015 Anime Roundup series! This time we only have four shows to cover since the rest of the action was rounded up in other posts. Don’t worry, though – I’ll make up for it by giving you more information.

Aoharu x Machinegun

Aoharu x Machinegun

This series airs on Crunchyroll and updates Saturdays at 1:00am.

Director: Hideaki Nakano (has not fully directed anything until now)
Anime Production: Brain’s Base (One Week Friends, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Penguindrum)
AKA: Aoharu x Kikanjū

Hotaru Tachibana is a brash action girl with a strong sense of justice. Unfortunately, she is often mistaken for a boy. She goes into a fit of range when she thinks her best friend was swindled by a host at a club, who turns out to be her neighbor, Masamune. He challenges Hotaru to a survival game duel. Survival games are played with toy guns that fire plastic bullets.

Hotaru not only loses the duel – she causes a lot of damage to the club. Instead of forcing Hotaru to pay off the debt, he suggest she work it off by joining his survival game team because she is strong and has fast reflexes. Unfortunately, Masamune’s team is males only. Hotaru ends up enjoying the thrill of the games but must continue to masquerade as a boy to play on Masamune’s team.

This show easily could have been under last week’s comedy post, but there is enough action to warrant it being placed here instead. The action is very silly. Hotaru will just push off the ground in a jump and destroy the ground with the force of her foot digging in. It even happens on tile!

Aoharu x Machinegun - Dead Tile Floor
She did this to move a few feet. Why? WHY?

I know this show isn’t that great, but I keep laughing at it and I enjoy the action, so I guess I’ll just be calling this one my guilty pleasure of the season even if it isn’t ecchi like Shimoseka. I would go so far as to say this series would be enjoyed more by women than men because it can creep into reverse-harem mode, even though her teammates think that Hotaru is a boy.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Food Wars

This series airs on Crunchyroll and updates Fridays at 3:25pm.

Director: Yoshitomo Yonetani (Brigadoon, Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning, Tiger & Bunny: The Rising)
Anime Production: J.C. Staff (Excel Saga, Ikkitousen, Shakugan no Shana, Witch Craft Works, and many more)

Soma Yukihira has worked all his life in a small but successful diner with his father, Jōichirō Yukihira. They often compete to see who can make the best dish, with those dishes often eliciting sexy and bizarre reactions from the judges. After Soma saves his diner from being sold with one of his amazing dishes, Jōichirō decides to pack up shop and sends Soma off to Engetsu Teahouse Culinary Academy, a cutthroat cooking school.

It turns out that only a small percentage of students ever graduate from Engetsu, and they often have food battles (called shokugeki) and challenges similar to what Soma and his father always did in the diner. Soma not only has to pass entrance exams to get into the school. He must earn a place in a dormitory, survive “hell week”, participate in shokugeki, and more, all with his continued enrollment on the line.

Food Wars started last season, and you have probably heard a lot about how it is “food porn”. Well, it kind of is. The food looks delicious and often times when someone takes a bite of food, you enter a mindscape where the diner’s clothes have burst off and they are writhing around like they’ve had a roll in the hay. However, this doesn’t happen every time, and many times you just guffaw out loud when, for example, someone compares what they are eating to getting a kiss from the Prince of Apples.

Food Wars - The Prince of Apples

This show is a true shounen. At first it may not seem like Soma is going to get any growth or character development. He starts out really full of himself. But as the show goes on, he experiences defeat at the hands of people other than his father, begins to understand that he has a lot to learn, and gains rivals who cause him to want to improve himself. Isn’t that what a shounen is all about? Well, besides crazy fighting skills. In this case, we have crazy cooking skills, so that aspect is still there, too!

RIN-NE

Kyoukai no Rinne

This series airs on Crunchyroll and updates Wednesdays at 3:00pm.

Director: Seiki Sugawara (D-Frag!)
Anime Production: Brain’s Base (One Week Friends, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Penguindrum)
AKA: 
Kyoukai no Rinne

Sakura Mamiya has been able to see spirits ever since she was tricked into visiting and eating food in the otherworld when she was a child. She finds out her classmate, Rinne Rokudou, is “sort of” a shinigami. He helps spirits pass in and reincarnate. Because he is poor, he has a donation box set up at school for offerings in exchange for his help, and often ends up asking Sakura (or other characters) for assistance.

This is a Rumiko Takahashi series that started last season, and I would say if you enjoyed the hijinks of Ranma 1/2 but kinda wished Akane wasn’t such a harpy or that Ranma wasn’t completely socially inept, you might like this show. There isn’t anything new about it, but it is nice to have “good guy” characters that are a bit more mellow than usual for their stereotype while still retaining enough characteristics to make you laugh. For example, Akane would just see or hear what she wanted and interpret it as perverted. Sakura still has this “selective seeing” and remembers Rinne holding hands with someone else even though it didn’t happen that way. However, Sakura doesn’t kick Rinne into outer space for it. Therein lies the difference. I’d say the only character who is over the top for a character stereotype is Rinne’s father. Oh man. He’s Genma + Miroku. I’ll let you think about what this means.

Kyoukai no Rinne has silly attacks.

This show is cute and charming. I love the it when ridiculous things happen (find the fun Ranma 1/2 homage in episode 17). I love the silly attack names and items. I love the antics of the villains and rivals. I don’t mind that there is no overarching storyline aside from the threat of the Damashigami, who try to trick the living into the otherworld for reincarnation so they can hit a quota. I hope the series goes on for a long time so I can giggle at it every week.

Ushio and Tora

Ushio and Tora

This series airs on Crunchyroll and updates Fridays at 10:30am.

Director: Satoshi Nishimura (Trigun, Fighting Spirit)
Anime Production: Studio VOLN (this series only), MAPPA (Zankyō no Terror, Kids on the Slope, Punch-line)

Ushio Aotsuki finds out the crazy stories his dad tells about youkai are true when he finds an ancient youkai (whom Ushio later names Tora) pinned to a wall in their temple with a spear. He was initially inclined to leave Tora there, but the Tora’s aura attracted lesser demons to his house. Ushio was forced to free Tora to kill the other demons and save his friends. As it turns out, the spear is called a Beast Spear and gives the wielder aspects of a beast, allowing the person carrying it to fight demons more effectively. So long as Ushio holds the spear, Tora is afraid to act against Ushio. The two end up fighting other demons that show up in the area, though Tora is mostly reluctant to do so.

This series is based from a manga released in the early 90s, and it shows (in a good way). The designs definitely look like they come straight from the 90s without looking dated. The banter and tropes come straight from early 90s stereotypes, and they make me feel nostalgic. The opener is basically 90s punk and is awesome. Plus, the characters have the best expressions. Especially for Tora. He can look super evil, and super silly, and super cute. I would own a Tora figure, and right now I don’t really own any anime figures.

Ushio and Tora - Tora has the best expressions

I’ve heard people say this series doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Well, it kind of doesn’t. It’s from the 90s and already had one anime adaptation already. But if you want action, the nostalgia factor, and enjoy the “friendly enemy” trope with all the banter it entails, this series is a great fit for you.

More to come!

While the Summer 2015 Anime Roundup has come to a close, there will definitely be other roundups and reviews between now and the Fall 2015 season. Stay tuned for more!

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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