Summer 2019 SF Anime Preview

It’s almost time again to open up the latest shipment of animated sf from Japan. The swing toward non-sf high school comedies and sports shows continues, so we’ve got another relatively small season. But don’t worry, the fantastical world is going overboard on a trend too!

As always, click through on the title to see the official sites, with more info (some of it even in English), promo videos, and more.

Arifureta Shokugyō de Sekaisaikyō (The World’s Strongest Mundane)

The premise: A whole high school class is transported to an RPG-like fantasy world and given awesome powers, except for the one guy who’s already being bullied for catching the eye of the hottest girl in school.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Why yes, it’s yet another portal power fantasy, with a dose of the light novel “worst is actually the best” cliché. At least it doesn’t look like it’ll descend into valorizing slavery the way Rising of the Shield Hero did recently?

Premiere: July 8

Astra Lost in Space

The premise: Students headed to an interstellar camp in 2063 suddenly find themselves 5,000 light-years from home, near a mysterious abandoned spaceship.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: The source manga is a finalist for this year’s Seiun Awards (Japan’s equivalent of the Hugos).

Premiere: July 3


The premise: Three monsters fight other monsters raised by a strange miasma, and work their way toward becoming human.

Derivative factor: Remake of classic series

The buzz: Remakes of 1960s series have had a range of outcomes lately. This could be another Megalobox, or it could be another Dororo, but either way it sure does look cool.

Premiere: July 7

Cop Craft

The premise: He’s a hard-boiled cop in a fictitious Pacific city. She’s a magical knight from a world which opened a gate to ours 15 years ago. Together, they fight crime.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: At least it’s something unusual, but expectations are muted.

Premiere: July 8

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

The premise: A secret government program throws a hardcore gamer into an RPG world, along with his mother, who is such a talented fighter that she completely overshadows him.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Of all the terrible-looking shows about being in a gamelike fantasy world this season, this is the one that everyone is desperately hoping will turn out to be surprisingly good.

Premiere: July 12

Dr. Stone

The premise: Thousands of years after everyone on Earth was turned to statues, two teenage boys are restored to life and vow to rebuild civilization from the ground up with science.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This is based on a shōnen manga, so it’s somehow going to have to be extremely fighty science. This should be one of the more interesting shows this season.

Premiere: July 5

Fire Force

The premise: In an alternate or future Tokyo, people who control fire fight demonic forces that cause ordinary humans to spontaneously combust.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Pairing a well-realized setting with some nifty animation, this should be one of the standouts of the season.

Premiere: July 5


The premise: Magical girls control giant fighting robots.

Derivative factor: Original

The buzz: It was only a matter of time before someone got around to combining these two genres. Not a whole lot of excitement about it, though.

Premiere: July 5

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

The premise: An expert adventurer in an RPG-like fantasy world adopts an adorable little demon girl.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: This looks like the place to get your cute overload. Although, word on the street is that later in the series, the girl grows up to marry her adoptive dad.

Premiere: July 4

Isekai Cheat Magician (Alternate-World Cheat Magician)

The premise: Two friends are transported to a fantasy world and given magic powers.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: If you had a burning desire to watch the most generic transported-to-an-RPG-inspired-world story ever, here it is.

Premiere: July 10

Machikado Mazoku (Street-Corner Demon)

The premise: A girl just scraping by wakes one morning with demonic horns, a tail, and a mission to take down a local magical girl.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: It’s nice to see the magical girl genre being subverted in a non-grimdark way. Could be fun.
Premise: July 11

Maō-sama, Retry! (Dark Lord, Retry!)

The premise: A game programmer who likes to play as an evil character finds himself whisked into the game world.

Derivative factor: Light novel adaptation

The buzz: Yup, it’s another one of these. No reason to believe it’ll be any better or worse than the others.

Premiere: July 3

The Ones Within

The premise: A bunch of gameplay streamers find themselves trapped in a survival game that can kill them for real.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: Whether you enjoy this may depend on how you feel about Twitch streamers and Let’s Play-ers.

The premiere: July 7

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts

The premise: A woman hunts mutant super-soldiers left over from a civil war until she starts to see things from their perspective.

Derivative factor: Manga adaptation

The buzz: This looks very much like last season’s Fairy Gone, which wound up disappointing most viewers. But hope springs eternal.

Premiere: July 1

And in continuing series:

I have to say I’m looking forward to finding out what the Seiun voters are onto with Astra Lost in Space, what’s become of an old fannish term in BEM, and the sheer weirdness of the premise of Dr. Stone. What’s at the top of your list?

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