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The Most Anticipated Anime of Summer 2024

by The ANN Editorial Team,


This upcoming season looks to be an interesting one. However, returning big names like Oshi no Ko and Tower of God and newcomers like Suicide Squad ISEKAI and Alya Sometimes Hides Her Feelings in Russian are only the start of what will be airing. So here are the ANN editorial team's picks for the series they are most excited to watch this summer.

Nicholas Dupree


Most Anticipated: Senpai is an Otokonoko

I'm more or less going into this season blind. While there are some sequel series I'm excited about, nearly all of the new titles are total enigmas to me. That's not a bad thing! Part of the fun of every season is waiting to be surprised by something I never saw coming. Basing my pick entirely on what sounds potentially interesting, I decided to go with the cross-dressing romcom.

I'm unfamiliar with the original web manga, nor have I heard much about it from existing fans. However, I am a sucker for earnest and cute romances, and the added intrigue of a character going through Gender Feelings promises a show that can bring some dramatic heft alongside the warm fuzzies. Given the comical nosebleed from our female love interest in the trailer, I'm not expecting a particularly deep or complicated exploration of gender presentation. However, having a lead who struggles with being their authentic self under the pressures of society and family is still a really engaging hook. Romance lives or dies off the strength of its character writing, and knowing that there's already more to this cast than a simple will-they-won't-they love triangle gives me a lot to look forward to.

My one hangup is the staff behind this production. Both the director and writer strike me as pretty workmanlike across their combined portfolios, and none of the trailers so far inspire much confidence in the visuals. This doesn't strike me as a show that needs particularly strong animation to work, but I'd hope it can at least have some thoughtful scripting and direction if it's going to deal with such a potent topic sincerely. If nothing else, I pray this doesn't follow in Whisper Me a Love Song's currently incomplete footsteps.

Runner-up: Mayonaka Punch

I can't tell you much about Mayonaka Punch, but it looks really cool and has all the elements necessary for a raucous comedy with a rather unique premise. As anime slowly catches up to the trends of the past decade, we're liable to see more and more shows about aspiring Internet Celebrities, but this one seems to have a read on how absurd and obnoxious you have to be to build your career around a view counter. If nothing else, the trailer promises a suitable number of trash gremlins for a comedy about girls trying to make it big on YouTube, and that's exactly the right kind of energy for this setup. It's got a loud and colorful art style that promises a ton of great visual comedy, and director Shū Honma has already proven himself a fantastic comedy director with Ya Boy Kongming!.

Is there plenty of room for it to fall flat on its butt? Sure, but that uncertainty is part of the fun of the original series. The thrill of the unknown, of getting to hope, ponder, and speculate where this is all going, is nearly as important as the show itself. So, I'll happily stick my chin out to test how strong a punch this series is packing.

For honorable mentions, I'm looking forward to Dahlia in Full Bloom for the novelty of an isekai heroine who has to deal with fantasy world divorce rather than being a villainess or whatever. P.A. Works' other original, Narenare -Cheer for you!-, has some lovely character designs and fantastic-looking animation for its cheerleading sequences. The Elusive Samurai has equally strong design work, and I'm excited to see Yūsei Matsui's insane historical re-imagining in motion. Giji Harem looks like it was animated during the artists' smoke breaks, but I won't say no to a whole show dedicated to Saori Hayami's voice. I'll even give Too Many Losing Heroines! a shot, even though the last several dozen hyped-up light novel shows have been mid as hell. Most of all, I'm looking forward to the second act of Sengoku Youko and finding out how the hell they plan to follow up that cliffhanger.

Rebecca Silverman


Most Anticipated: Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest

We all have a shonen series we love without remorse, even knowing it has plenty of issues. For me, that series is Fairy Tail, and I am delighted that its sequel series is being animated. The original series wrapped things up well enough that we knew that the characters would all be fine, so it was hardly imperative that we learned what came after. Still, it makes perfect sense that the answer to that unasked question would be "Team Natsu takes on the fabled 100 Years' Quest." It's just the sort of grandiose, over-the-top task they'd be utterly confident they could handle (or at least Natsu and Happy would be confident they could handle), and paring the cast back down to its core group is appealing. Natsu, Lucy, Erza, Gray, Wendy, Happy, and Carla are a nicely balanced team, with brains, brawn, and various degrees of insanity all coming together to make a fun gang to follow, and Lucy's particular brand of magic also allows for other favorite characters to pop in and out as needed. This new quest also means they get to explore the story's world further, which is the sort of swords and sorcery place it's entertaining just to be exposed to, like the world of Slayers back in the '90s. Will Lucy and Erza have a hard time keeping their clothes on? Almost certainly. Will Natsu defy the conventions of stupidity? Also, almost certainly. But will it still be a good time with some surprisingly dark moments? I'm hoping yes because this is the shonen series I just can't let go.

Runner-up: Twilight Out of Focus

This series first came to my attention when Amazon declined to carry the e-book version of volume one, presumably because of the explicit gay sex scene towards the back. The story is much more than that, however, as it follows several queer romances at a high school across its volumes. The anime looks primed to do the same, rather than just focusing on the couple in the first and third volumes. I'm a little leery of how well the show will balance things out and how it will deal with the sex scenes, which I'd argue are important to the plot rather than just there for titillation. However, the story itself is interesting as it touches on questions of sexuality and attraction, and I like how the anime character designs have adapted the manga's look. It's a bit like Classmates in the way it moves between couples, and while I wouldn't put it on the same level as that manga (and film), it should still appeal to the same reader/watchers. BL seems to be doing a bit better in the anime adaptation sphere, so I'm tentatively hopeful that this will be good.

Finally, I'm also cautiously looking forward to Moriarty's Perfect Crime, I presume to the surprise of exactly no one. It's not so much the Arthur Conan Doyle link that intrigues me, but the way Sherry and the original Moriarty combine. It has the potential to be very dark – the preview shows Sherry about to hang herself – and I'm concerned about the whole "light anime" label, but even Conan Doyle realized that Moriarty was an underused character in the original series (not that he cared; Moriarty came in specifically so that he could kill off Holmes), and I'm curious to see another take on the character in anime form.

Christopher Farris


Most Anticipated: My Deer Friend Nokotan

There are some cultured contenders on the horizon this coming season. Oshi no Ko returns for its second round. The highly anticipated animated adaptation of Too Many Losing Heroines! drops. And amongst all these contenders, what am I here happily waiting for? This goofy-looking gag show about a girl with antlers. Deer god, save us all.

Look, I love a marvelously composed masterwork as much as the next guy, but sometimes that quality goes hand-in-hoof with being the wildest, weirdest anime anyone can muster. Masahiko Ohta has been here before—he gave me Gabriel DropOut, which I dug the heaven and hell out of! But My Deer Friend Nokotan's mile-a-minute madcappitude is going further, greatly giving off vibes of similarly supernatural comedy cohort Dropkick on My Devil!. This series looks cut from a very particular cloth of comic anime that jumps square into the headlights and dares viewers to label it as some crazy, random Japanese cartoon. But there's clearly a way shows like this: push the envelope, run it through the shredder, then set the shreds on fire. How am I to refuse a trailer that promises, with cinematic certainty, that "THIS SUMMER…EVERYTHING BECOMES DEER"? It's a piece of art where the titular deer girl detaches one of her antlers to reveal it's a surreptitious banana bunker. If Wit Studio, Ohta, and all his pals play their cards correctly, I'll be dealt a detonating deer delight to spice up my week all summer. Don't fear the deer.

Runner-up: MONOGATARI Series: OFF & MONSTER Season

If I shamelessly highlighted the deer shitpost anime as my most anticipated, you know, I'm sure as hell not apologizing for looking forward to this one either. It only feels fair, after all this time. Owarimonogatari, one of many "endings" the messy Monogatari franchise has reached, was the very first series I picked as a "Most Anticipated" anime back in my humble beginnings writing for this website. And while it was a satisfying closure of sorts for ol' Ararararagi, I'll freely admit that the wicked world of this supernatural series certainly seemed like it could be teeming with an outsized amount of additional occult tales. Big finish as it was, Owarimonogatari wasn't even the best entry from that late stage of seasonal sequelizations (that would be Hanamonogatari—and I can't be biased because Kanbaru is, objectively, the best). There's more to explore in Nisio Isin's roundabout stories of teenagers rambling about first-semester existentialism and horny non-sequiturs. I have my trepidations about defining series steward Akiyuki Simbo stepping down from the chief director's chair to cede the role to Midori Yoshizawa, but there's still steady experience there. And what better way to ring in a "new" round of Monogatari than with some actual new direction? It'll never win over the haters, regardless, and I don't need it to. Monogatari enjoyer, I really don't need much at all, including for the animation to be finished. I'm ready for the summer of a new SHAFT slide show.



Most Anticipated: My Deer Friend Nokotan

There are a lot of good slice-of-life anime coming out next season, so no matter what, I think I will probably be eating well during the summer. But no promotion video grabbed my attention more than My Deer Friend Nokotan. I grew up on shows like School Rumble and Sgt. Frog. I love the nonsensical comedies that make me look out the window and contemplate, "What the hell did I just watch?" I think the last time we had a show relatively close to that tone was Pop Team Epic, but this is potentially setting itself up as something even crazier than that. For one thing, it's got the benefit of having a rather unique premise and a presentation that makes me feel both disturbed and impressed at the same time. Some so many bizarre settings and situations make no sense out of context, but I want to see if they make sense with context. Even if I don't end up laughing at what I'm watching, I know I'm probably going to be met with punchlines and imagery that I don't think I will get anywhere else. In this day and age, it's tough to come across experiences that you can call unique, but I have high hopes that My Deer Friend Nokotan will be able to meet that threshold.

Kevin Cormack


Most Anticipated: MONOGATARI Series: OFF & MONSTER Season

For my first choice of upcoming Summer 2024 anime, it could never have been anything else. It's been over five years since Akiyuki Simbo and Shaft presented us with their adaptation of feted Japanese novelist NisiOisin's Zoku Owarimonogatai, the concluding volume of the final season of Monogatari series books. This concluded a nine-year run on the franchise, with Simbo and his directorial team producing around a hundred episodes and three movies. A couple of years ago, I wrote here on ANN about how much I loved the series despite its many potentially alienating aspects.

NisiOisin is a famously prolific author fond of complex, multi-layered Japanese wordplay. If any writer could find a way around the very concept of a "final" season of books, then it would be him. So, barely stopping for breath, NisiOisin embarked on the four-volume Off Season and six-volume Monster Season, both of which were confirmed for anime adaptations from Shaft. Even this isn't the end – NisiOisin's currently at work on a sixth season of novels!

Shaft's Monogatari adaptations elevate the original novels with the use of sheer virtuoso creativity, not to mention a neck-breaking frequency of trademark neck tilts (those poor Monogatari girls all desperately need good chiropractic care). Interspersing brutal, bloody violence with provocative fan service and lengthy humorous conversations with swirling, vivid visuals, almost nothing else looks or sounds like Monogatari.

While nominal protagonist Koyomi Araragi can be a polarizing character, with his often extreme horniness and wandering eyes, he has always been faithful to his frankly terrifying, sharp stationery-wielding girlfriend, Hitagi Senjougahara. She's a big highlight of the show, along with a large and varied cast of other fun female characters, all with their bizarre character quirks. I am very much looking forward to spending more time with them all in their bizarre but oddly compelling world.

Runner-up: NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a Season 2

Generally, if something has Yokō Tarō's name attached to it, I will run screaming towards it. I might then run screaming away again (such as with last year's KamiErabi GOD.app), but I'm usually extremely excited to experience anything his seriously twisted mind produces. NieR:Automata was one of the best video games of a packed 2017, with an exceptionally strong story filled with wonderful characters, mysterious settings, and existential heartbreak.

Anime adaptations of video games aren't generally successful – for every excellent Princess Connect! Re:Dive, there's an abysmal Bayonetta: Bloody Fate or Devil May Cry. Thankfully, the 2023 first season of NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a was one of the best game-to-anime adaptations yet, likely due to creator Taro's direct involvement. Not content to merely squeeze the game's complex narrative into anime form, he integrated aspects from the tie-in novels, manga, and even the stage play! This left viewers, even if they were familiar with the game, unsure of what would happen next. Taro even added anime-only episodes, in addition to changing many details of the game's story.

Season one adapted up until NieR:Automata's endings A and B. Players know this is only around half the narrative. What Taro plans for the second season is anyone's guess, but it's doubtful to be a straight adaptation. The troll-like Taro relishes messing with his audience's expectations. Perhaps this entire season will be nothing but the cute little post-credit puppet versions of the characters messing around. Perhaps Taro will kill everyone by turning them into white Lunar Tear flowers, introducing a completely new cast of mask-wearing hobbit-sized droids. Who knows? I can only hope that A-1 Pictures don't melt down during production this time...

James Beckett


Most Anticipated: Suicide Squad ISEKAI

I have a very…interesting relationship with DC Comics' Suicide Squad franchise. I've read a fair amount of comics involving the characters, though I'm not really a "fan" of any of the Squad members themselves. The original movie from 2016 is on the shortlist not only for the worst superhero movies ever made but one of the worst films I've ever seen period. On the other hand, the sequel that James Gunn directed in 2021 is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time, and it was directly responsible for blessing the world with one of the best superhero TV shows ever, Peacemaker. Now, here, in 2024, the Suicide Squad has me genuinely stoked to watch a triple-length premiere for an anime with the word isekai right in there in the title. Will the wonders never cease?

What do you want from me, though? It's coming from Studio Wit, for one thing, and they earned a lifetime cache of goodwill from me for producing Attack on Titan, Ranking of Kings, and the first season of Vinland Saga. Also, that trailer looks like a damned good time, all around, with the great character designs and kinetic action that you'd expect from a Suicide Squad anime. As for the "isekai" thing, well, my biggest gripe with the whole subgenre is the way that cheapo light-novel adaptations have used the framework to indulge in the laziest wish-fulfillment fantasies imaginable. I don't think we'll have to worry about that in the case of Suicide Squad ISEKAI. I see nary a potato-kun protagonist nor a harem of interchangeable waifus in sight.

Runner-up: NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a

I'm going to keep it absolutely real with you: I am a total simp for anything Drakengard/NieR related. When you combine Yokō Tarō's witty and subversive direction with Keiichi Okabe's masterful musical compositions and the incredible artwork from legends like Akihiko Yoshida, I am required to obsessively love whatever the result is. I even put an embarrassing amount of hours into the NieR: Reincarnation mobile game that was so unjustly shut down by the misers at Square Enix earlier this year.

This is why, despite being burned by the production nightmares that completely botched the rollout of NieR:Automata Ver1.1a's first season, I am still just as excited as ever to dive back into the multiverse of Androids, Robots, Piss-Covered Dragons, and Time-Hopping Robot Mercantile Clones. Is this the ideal way to experience the story of NieR:Automata? No, of course not. Go play the game if you haven't already; it's one of the landmark works of fiction of the 21st century. Can I guarantee that we won't have to endure multiple weeks/months of delays for A-1 Pictures to figure their shit out? Nope. I can only pray that those poor animators are getting the rest and compensation that they deserve. Still, NieR:Automata is one of the best-goddamned things I've ever experienced, from any medium, at any point in my life. So, regardless of how it turns out (again), there is no way that NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a won't still be one of my most anticipated shows of 2024.

Richard Eisenbeis


Most Anticipated: NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a Season 2

"I don't aim for bad endings—they just naturally come out." - Yokō Tarō

From the twisted mind of Yokō Tarō comes the continuation of a story without a single human character that nonetheless tells a gut-wrenching story about the nature of humanity.

I went into the first season of NieR:Automata Ver 1.1a with high expectations. I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that the original NieR:Automata is one of the most impactful games I have ever played. Even if the first season had covered the story beat for beat, it would be worth watching. However, that's not what the first season did.

While all the expected story beats are there, large chunks of episodes are spent on new, original tales focusing on random robot enemies and their attempts to understand various aspects of humanity. But more than that, parts of the NieR apocryphal, most notably the NieR:Automata prequel stage play YoRHa, are adapted as well.

However, what takes my anticipation for this second season to the next level is the elephant in the room: The ending. The true ending of NieR:Automata is something that can only exist within the interactive media of games. It's not something that can be animated; it's only something personally experienced. It is the heart, soul, and moral of the game. It's what turns the story from one of unending tragedy to one of hope—hope that things can be better if we all step up together and make it so.

So… what are Yokō Tarō and the anime team going to do? How do they plan to end the series? I have no earthly idea, but I am beyond excited to find out.

Runner-up: Makeine: Too Many Losing Heroines!

Regular readers of this site will be well aware of how much I love it when stories play around with the common tropes of fiction. This anime is based around one such trope: that, in romance stories, the childhood friend always loses the game of love. In the end, the protagonist always chooses the new girl over the one who's been devoted to him (and secretly in love with him) for years.

The story follows Kazuhiko, a normal, if slightly anti-social guy who is obsessed with rom-com stories. One day, he inadvertently becomes emotional support for one such "losing heroine" after her love triangle resolves. As the two continue to encounter each other, they find themselves stumbling upon other cliché love triangles—befriending the losing heroines in each. The popular girl? The shy bookworm? The sporty girl? They're all there.

What comes from this is a fun little rom-com that both pokes fun at the young teen romance genre and makes its own young teen romance story at the same time. It's got more than a few laughs, and the cast of "Losing Heroines" are all cute and enjoyable in their own right. If you like rom-com anime even a little bit (especially those grounded in reality), this one is a must-watch.

Lucas DeRuyter


Most Anticipated: My Deer Friend Nokotan

My Deer Friend Nokotan looks like it'll be weird, stupid, and deeply unserious. I desperately need it in my life! Evocative of Nichijou - My Ordinary Life, and not just because of the deer scene in that anime, My Deer Friend Nokotan seems like it's going to be one of the most madcap subversions of slice of life series yet. Do I expect it to be as touching as the bizarrely similarly premised Nichijou - My Ordinary Life manga? No, but I imagine there will be enough laughs from this anime's off-kilter humor to compensate.

I'm intrigued by this anime's willingness to play with its animation style and incorporate photorealistic deer into its visuals. I'm a sucker for anything that plays it fast and loose with conventions inherent to an artistic medium, but if My Deer Friend Nokotan gets anywhere close to as wacky as Pop Team Epic, it'll be a frontrunner for my Best Of pick for next season.

Also, and this is my selfish reason for being excited for My Deer Friend Nokotan, a deer girl anime means we have a chance for crossover merch with the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team!!! It is not fair that mid-market teams always get sidelined for these novel opportunities, and the brand synergy between my home state's basketball team and My Deer Friend Nokotan could not be stronger. I have a marketing pitch in my back pocket about how this anime could take Buck's logo back to its cute/queer/femme origins, but that's off-topic. By now, I hope I've thoroughly demonstrated why My Deer Friend Nokotan seems like it'll be the most "for me" anime of the year and why I'm so excited to watch it.

Runner Up: Kengan Ashura Season 2 Part 2

I'm in too deep with Kengan Ashura. As my reviews of the anime's three past installments note, the anime isn't very good, and I don't care for it, but I've now given it too much of my time, and I've become emotionally attached! I'm seemingly three-fourths of the way through what could be the entirety of this anime's run, and I have to see it to the end. Will it ever get its act together? Will it finally land on a consistent animation style? Will it ever lean so hard into billionaires being awful that I can convince myself that their presence and appreciation in the story is satire?

I don't know! But, due to the psychological effects of the sunk cost fallacy, I need to find out! If nothing else, Kengan Ashura has become my psychic anchor. It's not enriching my life, but it's consistently middling at best in a way that gives my life some much-needed routine. I'm a creature of habit, and, on some level, I know I'll enjoy watching this back half of season two and penning a review that'll likely match the tone of my previous write-ups.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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