Summer 2017 Anime First Impressions

So far Summer 2017 has had some great romances and some pretty trash ones. Below are the shows from this season that I think you should both watch and avoid for various reasons. I’ve included series that you can find on Crunchyroll and Anime Strike if you have those services. If there’s anything I missed that may not be on either of those, let me know! Also let me know in the comments below what you thought about any of these. If you’d like to talk about non-romance anime I’m watching this season, you can head over to my Facebook page and drop a message there. Without further ado, here are the new romance animes of the Summer 2017 season.

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Convenience Store Boyfriends (watched: 3 episodes)

AKA: Konbini Kareshi

Studio: Pierrot

Director: Hayato Date

This anime I would categorize as “meh” for me. It’s basically romance-light with no real serious conflicts, no real comedy to balance that out either, but has fairly good animation to make it at least moderately appealing. The story revolves around two main pairs of high schoolers who meet and fall in love with their crushes at a convenience store near their school. The story continues to follow them as they deal with their everyday life troubles and try to confess to their crushes. When I first heard of this series, I envisioned a short-form that showed snippets of their lives exclusively at the convenience store, and I almost wish that was the case now.

As it stands, Convenience Store Boyfriends will probably not have enough of a story or interesting characters to keep me engaged. In the three episodes that have been posted so far, I found myself having trouble grasping who the main characters were as people, especially one of the main girls. The characters just don’t have enough depth to them right now and the story itself will probably remain light and fluffy to the point of boredom. The only way I can see myself watching more of this is if the characters become the backbone of the show and get developed a lot more.

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Love and Lies (watched: 3 episodes)

AKA: Koi to Uso

Studio: LIDENFILMS

Director: Seiki Takano

Love and Lies is one of the two on this list that is found on Anime Strike. It is also the one I am the most on the fence about. The story follows an alternate universe Japan where the government has implemented assigned marriages in order to combat the falling birth rate. Starting at age 16, each person will get a notice informing them who their future bride or husband will be and must marry them as well as refrain from other romance outside that relationship. The main character falls in love with his classmate and confesses to her the night before getting his notice to marry a different girl. The story progresses from there into both an interesting and slightly convoluted love story.

As someone who is actively studying Japanese gender, sexuality, and culture in my free time, I can understand where the premise for this show is coming from. However, by the third episode it becomes this weird almost harem show where the main character has to deal with three potential love interests while also dealing with societal and governmental expectations. On the other hand the characters are interesting enough that I haven’t felt like I was actively slogging through an episode to make it to the end. Studio Lindenfilms also does a fantastic job on the animation, giving us a really vibrant show where your attention can get easily drawn into their characters detailed eyes. In the end, I feel like I might give this show a few more episodes to truly make a decision on it.

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Tsuredure Children (Watched: 3 episodes)

AKA: Tsurezure Children

Studio: Gokumi

Director: Hiraku Kaneko

You may have seen my review of the 4-Koma manga that this anime is based off of, so you may understand how excited I was about this anime finally coming out. Tsuredure Children doesn’t have much of a cohesive story as it is based off of a gag manga, but it does follow a couple pairs of couples as they both fail and succeed at love. What makes this series fun is just how different these couples are from one another because each character has their own personality. It also lends itself well to the short format with episodes running for around 12 minutes each, packed with short gags and entertaining romantic moments.

I would highly recommend checking out the manga though, if you haven’t already as I think it is a little stronger than the anime especially when you take into account the art style of the anime. From what I’ve heard of other people’s opinions on this, they found the animation lackluster, which I kind of agree with. But it is also coming from a 4-Koma that only ups its art quality occasionally for gag purposes. If you enjoy short gag-orientated show, I would say to give this one a try. I don’t exactly think the gags hit as hard as they do in the manga but the show is still entertaining and the different characters are interesting enough to keep me coming back.

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Netsuzou Trap (Watched: 3 episodes)

Studio: Creators in Pack

Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa

Sub-genre: Shoujo-ai

Netsuzou Trap is another short form being simulcast on Crunchyroll with episodes running for about 9 minutes each. It is also another that I’m considering dropping but am on the fence for various reasons. The story revolves around two girls and their boyfriends as well as the secret relationship the girls are developing. After getting her first boyfriend, one of the girls asks her friend for relationship advice sparking a secret affair that may begin to spell trouble for their relationships. This show is very much a shoujo-ai, and while I’m trying to watch more in this genre, I’ve never been able to find one I’ve liked. I have much the same reaction when it comes to this show. Most of my negative reaction centers around the amount of fanservice in this show and the fact that it feels vaguely like a shorter and worse Scum’s Wish.

Besides the fanservice, what makes me not like this show is probably the character of Hotaru. She’s the one that instigates their secret relationship, pushing her desires onto her best friend and pushing her friend’s own relationship to a precarious point. The other main character, Yuma, obviously likes the guy she’s dating — from what I could see in the first three episodes — and the story begins to revolve around how Hotaru can keep tricking Yuma into sexual encounters that she passes off as teasing. It looks like it’s going to move more in the direction of the girls realizing they have real feelings for one another, but like with Scum’s Wish, the sex and fanservice become a detriment to the story.

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Hitorijime My Hero (Watched: 2 episodes)

Studio: Encourage Films

Director: Yukina Hiro

Sub-genre: Shonen-ai

Hitorijime My Hero is the other anime on this list that you can find on Anime Strike. It also looks like this will be the only Boys Love show of the season. The story follows a wimpy kid, Setagawa, who is being used as an errand boy by one of the street gangs in the area. But when the street-fighter turned high school teacher Oshiba defeats his gang, Oshiba takes him under his wing for protection. Over time they become closer, despite Setagawa confessing he has no interest in men. The anime also follows another pair of high school boys who were childhood friends but when one moved away, their friendship shattered. Now as they try to reconcile, they must come to terms with the fact that one of them wants more out of their relationship than before.

It’s fairly common in shonen-ai series for there to be multiple stories going on at once, but from the first two episodes it seems as if this second story is going to be a fairly prominent one. Of course this could change in later episodes, and I’m interested to see where the main relationship goes. Though I am being thrown off a little bit by the fact that Oshiba’s voice actor is Haru from Super Lovers, of which I am not a fan. The first episode of Hitorijime My Hero was kind of confusing for me as I think there was just a lot of story going on, but it seems to have leveled out in episode two. There’s not really much I can say about the series at this point in time as I don’t think the story has really picked up enough yet, but I’m interested enough to keep watching.

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Gamers (Watched: 2 episodes)

Studio: Pine Jam

Director: Manabu Okamoto

Sub-genre: Comedy

Gamers was not something I thought to put on this list initially, but I absolutely could not resist talking about it after watching the first two episodes. The story revolves around a highschool boy who is passionate about gaming. While at a game store, the most popular girl in school comes up to him and invites him to her gaming club at school. What ensues after is a lot of comedy-packed moments with enough romance to keep me interested. Both the characters, story, and animation are all up to par and I highly encourage you all to check this one out yourself if you haven’t already.

What made me watch this show initially was the comedy element surrounding people playing video games. It’s something I can easily relate to, and I definitely was not disappointed when it came to the characters. So far, I’ve found the main characters to be the draw of the show. They’re all unique and I can see hints of depth even in the first two episodes and their interactions produce some of the best comedy this season. I’m going to say now that this is my top must-watch of the season in terms of romance. Give it a watch and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Dropped: My First Girlfriend is a Gal (¼ an episode watched)

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