It’s a summer full of strange relationships, conniving students, and magical wars. And even though we’re totally loving every second of it, sometimes we need to chill out with something a little less serious. This week’s installment of The Hook takes a look at two summer simulcasts to check out when you’re in the mood for something cheerful and silly. Whether it’s a magical RPG world or the awkwardness of high school romance, we’re sure you’ll get hooked on these summer anime!
Magical Circle Guru Guru
This isn’t the first time Guru Guru the manga has been adapted into an anime, but it’s the first time an adaptation has seen an official release overseas! The original series ran in 1994, followed by a film and sequel series, and this modern iteration definitely has the flavor of a 90s-era children’s anime. Granted, it’s for somewhat older children and has plenty that adults will love, but this is a hyperactive, upbeat series.
Our protagonist is Nike, a young boy living in a fantasy RPG world. When the evil Lord Giri breaks a 300-year-old magical seal to wreak havoc on the world again, Nike’s parents boot him out into the world to become a Hero. He teams up with the young mage Kukuri, and together, the last known practitioner of a type of magic called “Guru Guru.” It was this magic that sealed Lord Giri away, and hopefully will defeat him again.
The problem is, Nike doesn’t want to be a hero. That was his dad’s idea. But now that he’s accompanied by the adoring Kukuri and spurred on by his parents, he doesn’t have much choice.
The Hook: Oh, and also a magical box in the king’s castle showed that Nike is destined to be a legendary hero. So there’s that. Add in the fact that Nike is pretty agile in battle, and it starts to look like maybe he really is what the kingdom needs.
That’s the narrative hook. But the overall hook is the humor. A lot of the pacing and visuals are aimed at kids, but the gaming send-ups and genre savviness of the characters adds a whole other level of entertainment. For example, a lot of the narrative is done in onscreen text, there are Pokémon-reminiscent music stings, and the plot follows exactly the course you’re expecting if you know your fantasy games.
Who Is It For: Gamers, especially those who got into RPGs in the 90s. Though if you like referential humor and just want something silly to watch, this should be right up your alley. As an added bonus, it should entertain any kids in the house, too!
High school romance is The Most Awkward. Confess to your crush. Pretend to actively hate your crush. Try to figure out whether someone likes you before you risk saying anything to them. All of these and more are present in Tsure x Dure Children, a half-length series based on the web manga of the same name.
The Hook: What’s interesting about this show over others is we aren’t following a central couple. Rather, we bounce through a series of couples, all of whom interact with each other differently. These two have mutual crushes on each other but are both too shy to say so. These other two are from different social strata of the school. None is less important than any other. But since we don’t focus on one set, we’re invited to associate less with the characters and more with the events.
It’s almost like walking past several different scenes during a day — you aren’t familiar with any of the people, but you can empathize with aspects of all their scenarios.
Who Is It For: Since it’s only about twelve minutes long to start, it’s safe for anyone to give a go. If you aren’t much for high school rom-coms, it may not tick all your boxes. But give it a try even so, because it’s an inventive spin on the genre.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.