It’s summer, which means escaping the heat by hiding inside with a new anime series. If you’re interested in catching up on Netflix’s 2019 summer anime releases, here’s a guide!
For this list of anime series to watch this summer, I reviewed the current slate of Netflix original animes. I didn’t include animes with sequel seasons released this year, like Castlevania and Kakeguri. This review covers the animes that have already been released this year and what you can look forward to for the rest of this season.
Warning: Some spoilers ahead!
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Tsuburaya Productions
- Created by: Eiichi Shimizu, Tomohiro Shimoguchi, Eiji Tsuburaya
- Release Date: Apr. 1, 2019
Decades after an alien came to earth to bond with a human fighter and save the world, a new threat faces the world. Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman, is tasked with saving the world. Ultraman is about a superhero coming into terms with his superpowers and his father’s legacy.
Ultraman has a very “Sailor Moon for boys” feel to it. If you don’t know anything about the long history of Ultraman, the show works with you and won’t leave you behind, which is nice. Scaling it down to two fighters that are both human-sized is a bold move.
I think the scale of this anime works well, and it shows in the fight scenes. The realistic combat modeled after actual wrestling looks really cool. There’s also a very distinct sense of impact when the characters hit each other.
That being said, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the animation. I noticed a few times when objects would clip into each other, which isn’t a great look. Having two characters that have similar looking armor was also a risky decision. The art style didn’t nail it for me.
The main character is interesting. Shinjiro is a boy who’s coming into powers he doesn’t fully understand and a world he didn’t know existed. He’s sensitive, but not overly so. At times the plot can overshadow his personality, but I wasn’t ever hating him. It was a passable main character in an anime that’s more about fist-fighting aliens than complex character relationships.
For a more in-depth review, check out our official series review here.
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Toei Animation, Electric Shadow Films
- Directed: Tomasz Baginski
- Release Date: July 19, 2019
Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac is a remake. The show follows a group of Saints, warriors with magical powers that fight for a goddess. Saiya, the title character, must obtain the Bronze Pegasus armor to save the world and find his long lost sister.
This anime already has a fair bit of controversy it’s stirring up. Netflix made the decision to turn one of the main cast members from a boy to a girl. While the decision was made with inclusion in mind, a lot of fans of the original series take umbrage with this choice. The character they decided to change, Shun, exhibited many traditionally feminine traits originally; pacifism, sensitivity, and kindness. A lot of fans see the move as regressive rather than subversive.
The anime also uses the cell shading popular this year among Netflix originals. I want to make it clear that I don’t hate 3DCG animation styles, but these releases don’t have anything really original to them. When I look at animation, I want it to have a specific style. This anime doesn’t have that.
That being said, I have some interest in the show. Netflix has done well on remakes historically. Hopefully, this is another positive entry to the streaming service.
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Gonzo
- Directed: Yukio Takahashi
- Release Date: June 28, 2019
When scientists predict the upcoming apocalypse, a group of humans is cryogenically frozen. These humans are released in the distant future after the Earth is determined to be stable. They struggle to survive on a planet they hardly recognize. The last humans have to work together and find each other in a wasteland that was once their home. The Netflix anime series is adapted from the manga by Yumi Tamura.
This is one where I only have the trailers to go on. From what we’ve already seen, 7Seeds has a beautiful animation style with more traditional draws. While there may be some CGI, the animation is based in 2D style. 7Seeds, by necessity, will be a character-driven story.
Netflix has shown the ability to write nihilistic stories like this in the past. If they maintain a steady pace with 7Seeds and write interesting characters, this could be a very thoughtful piece. Netflix has a good base to start with.
- Episodes: TBA
- Studio: Larx Entertainment
- Directed: Seiji Kishi
- Written: Makoto Uezu
- Release Date: July 31, 2019
Tokita Ouma, nicknamed Ashura, is a modern gladiator. In his world, unarmed combatants settle disputes. Ashura catches the eye of business moguls who want him to fight on their behalf.
Since this anime hasn’t been released, this is another anime I can only judge based on the trailers. From what I’ve seen, the animation of this anime is a mix of 2D and CGI that’s somewhat jarring to look at. The style was clearly influenced by the manga, which was influenced by early 90’s titles. This style in animation looks very interesting in the brief clips shown already.
Netflix seems to do well when they drop all pretenses and present something in their wheelhouse. Violence and gore fit into their strong suits. If they can maintain a fast pace and give out good, violent fun, Kenghan Ashura could be a good anime in their 2019 lineup.
I’m excited to see what Netflix does with the character-driven stories it is doing this summer. Stories that focus on relationships have always been Netflix’s wheelhouse, along with blood and gore. I’m excited to see some new styles and some fun adaptations.
Did you have a favorite anime from the 2019 releases? Tell us what you thought by tweeting @geekgalsco!