Summer 2020 Anime Guide: Our 6 Must-Watch Series

As we head into July, the summer anime season officially begins. The current pandemic has delayed production on a lot of anime, so this is one of the most sparse summer seasons we’ve seen in a while. But even so, there’s still a few new shows that are worth your time if you’re looking for something to watch.

As a reminder, this list is not the best anime of the season–it’s far too soon into the season to make that distinction. These six shows have just managed to catch our eye and are also based on well-received manga or light novels. Essentially, these are the six anime we’re most excited to keep watching going forward, so we hope you’ll join in and watch them with us. If there are any anime you think we missed, let us know in the comments section below. And if none of these shows catch your fancy, we recommend looking at the most popular picks in our best anime streaming services guide.The God of High School

Are you a fan of tournament arcs in anime? Because if so, you’ll love The God of High School, as the show just begins with a tournament arc. You’re not going to get anything profound from The God of High School’s overall narrative or characters–the themes and tropes present in this Crunchyroll Original have all been touched on in other anime to some extent. That doesn’t make The God of High School any less exciting though. This show is packed to the brim with well-choreographed battles, all of which are animated to capture the high-stakes action and dance-like movement of the combatants.

The God of High School follows a tournament where participants are allowed to compete with any form of martial arts they desire. The winner is granted any one wish by the organizers of the event. The show primarily focuses on 17-year-olds Mori, Daewi, and Mira–all of whom happen to meet and become friends prior to the start of the tournament. All three have joined the tournament for their own reasons, as have the wide cast of fighters that they each must go up against in order to win. You can watch The God of High School on Crunchyroll.Deca-Dence

Following its work on Saga of Tanya the Evil and FLCL Alternative, anime studio NUT is taking a crack at its own original story in Deca-Dence. As an original anime, there’s not much to go on for Deca-Dence other than its initial episodes. But in a season where there’s not much to look forward to, Deca-Dence stands out as having one of the better premieres for Summer 2020. I love the show’s protagonist, Natsume, who aspires for her dreams with the same gusto as most action-focused sci-fi anime heroes, in spite of persecution at the hands of her physical disability. In the very first episode, an adult tells her outright that she should give up on her dream job as it requires someone of sound mind and body (he puts a lot of pointed emphasis on it) and her clunky-looking prosthetic arm would likely be looked down upon as a hindrance. I have no idea if Deca-Dence will tackle the struggles of someone with a physical disability with any sort of nuance, but I’m eager to find out. This is the anime I’m most looking forward to this season.

Deca-Dence sees the remains of humans retreat into a mobile fortress following the appearance of dangerous monsters called Gadoll. While most humans remain in the fortress to maintain its upkeep, those born into warrior families are trained to battle the Gadoll and drain the monsters’ blood, which acts as the fuel source for the fortress. Though she wasn’t born into a family of fighters, Natsume dreams of escaping her economic class and becoming one of these warriors after an incident with Gadoll in her childhood resulted in the loss of her arm and death of her father. Instead, she is assigned to work as an armor repairer who maintains fortress upkeep by cleaning Gadoll guts off the hull. Though she works hard, she refuses to give up on her aspirations to one day join the fight against the Gadoll. And then Deca-Dence pulls a pretty big twist that adds an interesting wrinkle to an already compelling set-up. You can watch Deca-Dence on Funimation.BNA: Brand New Animal

Okay yes, BNA: Brand New Animal premiered in the west on June 30, which technically means it came out on the last day of the spring season. But this is my list where I get to make the rules so I’m giving it the leeway to count as a summer anime. Studio Trigger’s latest anime is very Studio Trigger. If you’ve watched the likes of Kill la Kill and Promare and thought, “I love this,” then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll dig BNA: Brand New Animal–this is an anime that uses fantastical elements to craft a narrative of the societal conflict between the haves and the have nots.

In BNA: Brand New Animal, a species of humans, known as the beastmen, have become public knowledge in the wake of humanity’s expansion destroying most of the habitats where the beastmen have long lived in secret. Beastmen face violent persecution at the hands of humans, so they’re forced to live in Anima-City, a place kept isolated from the rest of the world. Protagonist Michiru is a normal human girl without a care in the world, until she one day transforms into a tanuki beastman and is forced to run away from home and find sanctuary in Anima-City. Convinced her transformation is some form of disease, Michiru begins to look for a cure so she can return to her human life. You can watch BNA: Brand New Animal on Netflix.Japan Sinks: 2020

I cannot stress this enough: Huge trigger warnings for this anime. Japan Sinks: 2020 deals with death of family members and friends as well as feelings of isolation during the events of a society-destroying natural disaster. Granted, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t quite the same as a massive earthquake but the themes of Japan Sinks: 2020 hit very, very, very close to home for what many people are going through in the real world right now. This is a gut-wrenching anime that does not shy away from showing–in graphic detail, I must add–the hardships that someone faces in the wake of a disaster and the emotional and mental toll that such hardships can have on a person. It’s a great modern-day anime adaption of the 1973 novel, Japan Sinks, but it is also depressing as hell.

Japan Sinks: 2020 sees a massive earthquake strike Japan following the Tokyo Summer 2020 Olympics. When the shaking finally relents, high school track star Ayumu Mutou awakens to see her fellow teammates crushed and misshapen, one of which is still alive and begging for help. Meanwhile, her younger brother, Gou, desperately tries to claw his way out of the family home after suffering a severe head wound. At the same time, their parents rush home in hope that their children will safely meet them there–construction worker and father Kōichirō is already in Tokyo when the quake strikes, but mother Mari was in a plane when catastrophe struck, forced to watch as pieces of Japan were swallowed into the sea. Thus begins one family’s struggle to reunite and survive a rapidly sinking Japan. You can watch Japan Sinks: 2020 on Netflix.Fire Force Season 2

Fire Force returns for a second season this summer, which sees Shinra and the rest of Company 8 go up against new threats. Fire Force is your traditional shonen anime, but it’s got some impressive animators and sound designers behind it–especially when it comes to the fire effects, which both visually and audibly explode on the screen to convey the wild and unpredictable nature of each character’s abilities.

In the world of Fire Force, a major event triggered the emergence of individuals with pyrokinetic abilities. The first generation of these people can’t control their powers–resulting in their flames sparking out of control and transforming them into demonic entities known as Infernals. However, the second generation can control fire in different ways, and third-generation individuals can both create and control fire. With traditional fire fighters unable to deal with Infernals, eight special firefighting units are created, with each assigned to address the threat in their own way. While some are all about research or experimentation, Company 8 takes a more direct approach in fighting fire with fire and deploying a mixture of normal humans and both second and third generation pyrokinetics to kill Infernals when they get out of control. You can watch Fire Force on Crunchyroll and Funimation.Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World Season 2

After four years, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World has returned. One of the more well-known isekai out there, Re:Zero rises above its peers with its protagonist. Yes, Subaru Natsuki is your standard shut-in who finds great power by dying and being reborn in a fantasy world, one that happens to include a fair amount of cute girls. But Subaru’s great power is much more of a curse than a boon, and the mental and emotional suffering he must undergo to save his friends and loved ones is far more severe than your typical protagonist. Re:Zero is also a well-written, character-driven story, as seen that there are now several spin-off light novels that focus on people beyond Subaru. Even when the main characters aren’t in the spotlight, Re:Zero is still incredibly compelling, which is a lot more than you can say for most isekai anime.

In Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, high school shut-in Subaru dies and is summoned to another world. Deciding to pursue a new life in the world he finds himself in, Subaru unfortunately dies again–only for his life to reset to the exact same spot and time he first came to this new world. With this, Subaru realizes he’s basically been given the superpower of a video game protagonist where his life now autosaves at certain checkpoints, causing him to revert to his last save when he dies but still retain all his memories of his previous run through the world. Over the course of Season 1, he uses this ability to slowly befriend and save the group of individuals who will go on to be his allies, none of them the wiser that he’s lived the same days with them many times over. Season 2 begins with Subaru’s biggest challenge to date: His latest checkpoint is saved after one of his closest friends is erased from known existence, so no matter how many times he kills himself, he can’t go back and change what happened. You can watch Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World on Crunchyroll.

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