Anime always has a way of making everything look appealing, even the hot and melting summers. When the mercury is raising more than the 40s, there might be a very unconventional way to deal with the problem; try to forget about the heat while binging on some pleasant anime. It not only reminds us of the beauty of the season but also makes us look at the littlest things that make Summer bright and beautiful.
Listening to the song of the cicadas, relishing a fresh watermelon, and sucking on an ice cream bar while watching a good anime make for a perfect summer. So, here is a list of the 25 most binge-worthy animes to beat the heat this summer this June.
We might think that visiting a small island to spend the summer is a good idea, but the talented calligrapher Seishuu Handa absolutely does not. Though a superstar on the rise, his hubris does drag him down to Goto Island. When a senior caligrapher tags his work as “without a heart”, Handa doesn’t know any better than to punch the poor guy. As a result, he is sent away by his father from his life in the bustling city of Tokyo to the peaceful yet uneventful island to help him clear his head.
Watch Handa find his lost inspiration among noisy kids, nosy middle schoolers, and peculiar adults in what once seemed like a peaceful countryside. Enjoy the scenes filled with crystalline water and green nature as the calligrapher who has fallen from grace finds himself and his heart somewhere in the daily hustle and bustle of Goto.
Be sure to check out the prequel, Handa-kun.
Summer Time Rendering, 2022
What would you do if you were stuck in a loop and the day kept repeating, but only you could save your friends? With the summery island as a backdrop, Summer Time Rendering is a gripping murder mystery that Shinpei Ajiro sets out to solve. Shinpei returns to his hometown after two years for his friend Ushio’s funeral, who dies saving a kid.
He is soon informed that there might be some evidence that indicates the cause of death might be otherwise. Ushio’s death might not be just a drowning as there are some supernatural forces at work on the island. Soon people from the island start disappearing. The day of 20th July keeps repeating for Shinpei, and it is up to him to figure out what is actually going on save the people of the Island.
The thrilling mystery should be on everyone’s to-watch list for the summer. Every episode hooks you in, which makes the series super binge-able. What starts out to be a slice of life about a person reuniting with his friends back home soon changes its tone to a gripping curious case.
Horror stories are the easiest ways to experience a chill down the spine, so Mononoke might just be what you are looking for on nights the air conditioner is not working. A spin-off of the “Bakeneko” chapter from the Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror anime, Mononoke is the journey of the “Medicine Seller” across feudal Japan. During his travels, he crosses paths with various spirits who have ill intentions, and he must exorcise them. But it is only after understanding these spirits fully he can defeat them.
Mononoke is an eerie anime, particularly because of its art style and animation. The motions are not fluid and have multiple jump cuts, making the scenes look jarring to our minds, which is very much intended. The art has a lot of texture and design, which really makes this anime stand out.
Give Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror a try if horror is right up your alley.
Yuri!!! On Ice, 2016
This banger of an anime won the Animation of the Year award at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2017. Yuri On Ice is a sports anime from MAPPA. Yuuri Katsuki, an ice skater in his 20s, loses a few matches consecutively, which leaves him spiraling on thoughts about his seemingly dying career. He flies back to his hometown to get his head clear and decide on his next few steps. Surprisingly, he is soon greeted by his idol Victor Nikiforov who comes to coach Yuuri all the way from Russia after seeing a video of Yuuri skating. Not all is well just because he is under Victor’s mentorship. Yuri Plisetsky, an upcoming teenage ice skating superstar, is preparing to defeat Yuuri.
There is nothing better than ice to cool us off. So, enjoy the visuals of ice skating rinks, beautiful gliding motions on ice, and the spirit to never give up.
The Stranger By The Shore, 2020
What better than an LGBTQ+ story to celebrate pride month? Set in a coastal town, Stranger By The Shore is a romance anime that sets out to tell the story of Shun Hashimoto and Mio Chibana. Shun is a novelist who is rejected by his parents after he comes out to them. Mio is an orphan high schooler. The two find solace with each other in their lonely life. All seemed well until Mio left. He makes a surprise return three years later and confesses his feelings to Shun.
The anime movie is perfect for a summer vibe with its blue oceans, fresh flowers, and blooming youthful romance. You can also read the manga before watching the anime to get a better understanding of the story.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, 2011
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day manages to make the viewer feel a range of emotions, from anger to sadness to the joy of life. One fine summer day, Jinta Yadomi is visited by the ghost of his childhood friend, Menma, who asks him to fulfil her last wish. Jinta and his friends had grown apart after Menma’s death. To fulfil the promise he had made to Menma, Jinta has to bring all his friends together again. The story is an emotional journey of a group of friends who help the ghost of Menma to find peace while also discovering their own happiness.
The entirety of the anime is set in the summer season. Not only is summer a background for Anohana, but it also becomes a character in its own right. Jinta shares his experiences during the summers as a child and compares how the summers have become harsher now that he is older. The anime deals with death, friendship, and moving on. It will definitely leave you in tears.
If you like the anime, you can check out the movie and the various spin-offs.
Samurai Champloo, 2004
It is a time for samurai, a time for honor, and it is time for hip-hop. Did we read that right? Time for hip-hop? Yes, hip-hop. Mugen is a samurai whose fighting style is influenced by break dance, while his nemesis Jin has a more traditional way of fighting. After a series of unfortunate events, Mugen and Jin are hired by Fuu as her bodyguards, and that is to help her find the samurai with the scent of sunflowers. Set in an alternate Edo Japan with a very hip-hop soundtrack, Samurai Champlin showcases the journey of these three whacky characters.
Samurai Champloo is known for its music and its blend of modern and traditional. The visuals of the anime are also very striking, with bold black outlines. It comes as no surprise that it is a product of Shinichirō Watanabe, the creator of Cowboy Bebop. The sword-slashing action, the well-timed comedy, and the background of Edo Japan make this a remarkable watch.
Mai Mai Miracle, 2009
Mai Mai Miracle is based in the Hofu City of Yamaguchi Prefecture, which was once the capital of Suo no Kuni. The place is spotted with historical traces. Set in 1955, the anime is about Shinko and a new transfer student, Kiiko, from Tokyo. Shinko loves to explore the fields of Hofu and listen to her grandpa’s stories about the historical city. She often gets lost in her head, daydreaming about the Heian Period (year 794-1185) when the city was in its prominence. One day, Shinko gets connected to a princess from the Heinan Period, and both are in search of a best friend.
This film flies under the viewing radar as it is underrated, but Mai Mai Miracle is a critically acclaimed film that has won multiple awards. Viewers can enjoy the 1950s Japanese countryside along with Heian Period as well. There are visuals of luscious green fields and blue skies which is certainly a treat for the eyes.
My Dress Up Darling, 2022
Wakana Gojou is a high school student who is into making Hina dolls which are used for the Hinamatsuri festival, also known as Girls’ Day. Gojou wants to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and make expert clothes for the Hina dolls and become a professional kashirashi (people who make Hina Dolls). He crosses paths with Marin Kitagawa, the popular and confident schoolgirl. The unlikely pair soon become friends as they discover that, like Gojou has a thing for sewing and making clothes, Marin’s hobby is cosplaying. They soon start spending time together and help each other out with their hobbies.
My Dress Up Darling takes place during the summer season. The anime is fun to watch if you want to experience the classic anime tropes, like visiting a beach and enjoying the summer festival and fireworks.
The second season of My Dress Up Darling is in the works.
Grand Blue, 2018
Everyone looks back at their university days and thinks about the fun times. Iori Kitahara just started his first year at his university, so he moved to the coastal town of Izu and took shelter in his uncle’s scuba diving shop named Grand Blue. Iori soon joins a wacky group of people who are part of a diving club that frequents the shop.
Be ready to fall in love with the ocean blue and the golden beaches that the anime has plenty of. Not only is it a perfect respite for June, but Grand Blue is sure to make you feel a part of the eccentric group of people and make you miss the good old university days. The youthful comedy will certainly give chuckles throughout the 12 episodes.
Free! is a sports anime about swimming, friendships, and rivalry between old friends. Haruka, Rin, Nagisa, and Makoto used to swim together back in elementary school. Now, all four of them are in high school, and they decide to swim together once again, but Rin has grown distant and competitive to join forces with his old friends. So, the three friends start a swim team together and recruit a new member, Rei. The story focuses on their friendship, hard work, and their love for water.
Most of the scenes in the anime are filled with shots of the pristine and inviting swimming pool which makes the viewer want to go for a dive desperately. The slice of life has a few comedy reliefs sprinkled here and there, which makes Free! An unmissable watch for this June.
If you enjoy Free!, you are in for a good time as the anime has a second season, Free! Eternal
Summer, along with two movies and a special.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, 2021
The refreshing taste of soda on a hot sunny day feels as important as oxygen itself. Yui Sakura is a reserved fellow and finds it easier to express himself through tweeting haikus. Yuki Hoshino is a young influencer who hides her face because she thinks that she does not look cute with braces. They meet while working part-time during the summer vacation. The two youngsters set out to hunt for an old vinyl record for old Grandpa Fujiyama before he loses his memory completely.
Laced with the fresh feeling of cold bubbling soda for the heat, the anime movie has everything one loves about summers, from the air conditioners and ice creams to the rush one feels during summer festivals. From the creators of Your Lie In April, the anime has a very distinct art style despite the simple but sweet plotline.
Hanasaku Iroha, 2011
Hanasaku Iroha shows the thrilling and unpredictable aspects of working in the service industry. Ohana Matsumae has called Tokyo her home all her life until her mother decides to run away from debt collectors and leaves Ohana under the guardianship of her grandmother, who resides in the countryside. Life, as she has known, comes to an end, and Ohana finds herself working at her cold grandmother’s inn. She has to learn to juggle school and work, make friends and gain her grandmother’s approval.
The Workplace anime is a fun watch set in the pretty views of rural Japan. Viewers will also enjoy scenes of traditional Japanese inns and the hospitality they provide. It has a lot of spirit and hope at its core. Though it aired more than 10 years ago, the animation doesn’t seem dated at all.
If you quickly finish Hanasaku Iroha, you can watch the 2013 movie Hanasaku Iroha Movie: Home Sweet Home.
A Letter To Momo, 2012
Momo Miyaura leaves her comfortable life in Tokyo and moves to Shiojima island after her father passes away. While Momo struggles to adjust to her new life in the old town, which is new to her, her father’s unfinished letter with only two words, ” Dear Momo,” adds to her restlessness. One day Momo finds an old book about various Youkai. Things start getting even weirder when she starts seeing these creatures that no one else seems to see. She finds herself a group of friends in the youkai.
Wrapped in the old-world charm of the small island, A Letter To Momo is a heartfelt coming-of-age story. It is a visually appealing film with shots of beautiful blue water, grasslands, and wooden buildings. The film is a must-watch for people who enjoy summertime nostalgia and simplicity.
Junji Ito’s Collection, 2018
Whether you are a horror manga noob or a pro, it is likely that you have come across the works of Junji Ito. Based on the stories created by the master artist himself, Ito Junji: Collection is an anthology of some of Junji Ito’s best works. If you do enjoy the artist’s works, check out the most recent Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, released earlier this year in January.
This horror series’ are absolutely binge-worthy and will give you goosebumps when you least expect it, especially when you least expect it. You need to have a strong heart to stomach it, and to give a fair warning; the amines are rated to be 17 and above viewing.
Many viewers and critics argue that Ito’s work is best enjoyed in its original manga form and that the animation medium cannot do full justice to the madness.
Fishing may be seen as a boring hobby for old people, but this anime is sure to change your mind. The introvert Yuki Sanada moves to the seaside town of Enoshima with his grandmother and hopes to get a fresh start in life. His hopes are soon disrupted by the entrance of the quirky Haru. Yuki, Haru, Natsuki, and Akira soon befriend each other and spend their days fishing together.
A light-hearted series, Tsuritama is an immersive experience and makes you feel like a part of the town itself. We witness their friendships grow as they themselves spread their wings and discover their own selves. Oh, and there is a duck. Its name is Tapioca. It is an anime about a bunch of high schoolers with a duck friend who fishes together. Tsuritama is a good mix of wack and everyday life. Give it a go.
You can also watch the side story, Tsuritama: Harikitte Contest.
Natsume’s Book of Friends, 2008
Natsume is a lonely kid to lives in foster homes, and the fact that he can see Youkai doesn’t help him either. One day, he unknowingly breaks an invisible barrier that lets Madara, a spirit in the cat form, free. Madara is quick to notice Natsume’s resemblance to his late grandmother, who was also an outcast but was a mighty demon slayer. She had created a Book Of Friends of the demons she had slayed, and it now belongs to Natsume. With the book’s power, Natsume can call upon any demon from the book to help him. Rather than using his newfound power, Natsume decides to free the demons locked inside it.
Natsume may be surrounded by youkai, but it is a very human story of the kid slowly accepting himself and adjusting to the human world.
You can also watch Natsume’s Book Of Friends Season 2 and Natsume Yuujinchou: A Day Out in Hitoyoshi Kuma.
Summer Ghost, 2021
The urban legend goes that the Summer Ghost is a young lady who took her own life and can be seen at a particular place but only by people who are nearing their own death. She only appears when fireworks are set off. Tomoya Sugisaki, Aoi Harukawa, and Ryou Kobayashi do indeed meet the Summer Ghost. Despite being very different from each other, the three unite in search of the Summer Ghost. There is a lot that the three unpack after meeting the ghost.
The runtime of the movie is 40 minutes so the story is fast-paced with believable simple characters. It is a quick watch that leaves a lasting impact. One can enjoy the colorful scenes with fireworks and bask in the summer warmth.
Penguin Highway, 2018
What is the first image that comes to mind when we think of penguins? Penguins in the icy Antarctica perhaps? Penguin Highway plays with our ideas on a penguin’s natural habitat and drops the flightless birds in the midst of the very tropical Japanese islands. Aoyama might be in the fourth grade but is no less than a scientist for his age. When the mysterious penguins start appearing in his area, he and his dentist friend march on for a summer adventure. Even though the penguins seem all cute and cuddly, not everything is safe when a potential danger is lurking.
Penguin Highway takes place in a sleepy town and has notes of adventure and science fiction. The anime is riddled with metaphors and is not always to be taken at face value.
Visuals of this gorgeous anime will stay in your mind rent-free for a long, long time. It’s summer break, and Touko Fukami and her group of friends come across a new transfer student Kakeru Okikura. Touko’s family are glass artisans, which inspires her to take up glass blowing as a hobby. But 18-year-old Touko hides a secret; she can see fragments of the future.
Glasslip is confusing in most parts but has its moments of feel-good. The visuals of glass blowing and the seaside town during the summer more than make up for the lacking story and characters.
Summer Wars, 2009
The sci-fi film was released in 2009 but is very much a reality now. It features an Oz system that connects everyone virtually, and people can do various stuff on it, like play live games, shop, and do healthcare while also monitoring their activities. Kenji is an Oz moderator and notoriously a mathematics genius. Natsuki Shinohara is the girl he likes, and she convinces him to join her and her family in their summer villa. The magic of the weather and nature doesn’t stay for long as Kenji is tricked into spreading a virus in the Oz, which makes virtual problems appear in the real world.
Summer Wars won a bunch of awards at various international film festivals. By the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the anime captures the essence of drama that ensues when all family members are together for the summer vacation.
Waiting In The Summer, 2012
Summer vacations are a great time to try something new and explore your hobbies and interests. That is exactly what Kaito Kirishima and his friend Tetsurou Ishigaki decide to do. They set out to produce a film and are soon joined by Takatsuki Ichika, Remon Yamano, Tanigawa Kanna, and Kitahara Mio.
The story takes place in a small town set between the hills, giving us the ideal summer feeling. Coming from the director of AnoHana, the series is often compared to Waiting In The Summer is called Ano Natsu in Japanese. There is a stark difference between the two, though. Waiting In The Summer has an umbrella sci-fi theme in the midst of the slice of life. Rediscover friendship and the joy of creating something beautiful together.
Non-Non Biyori, 2013
Hotaru Ichijou has to uproot her life and move to the remote village of Asahigaoka. The place is so isolated that there are only five students, including her, in the entire school, and they all study together. This also calls for a very tight bond that is formed among the students Hotaru, Renge, Suguru, Koshigaya, and Komari. The friends spend time together exploring the rich countryside where nature is untouched.
The anime shows the everyday life of these children and their simplicity. Based in a place where there are no convenience stores, no doors on locks, and no shopkeepers in the shops but an abundance of flowing rivers and trees, Non-Non Biyori is an easygoing but effective story. For those who enjoy a slow-paced story, don’t skip this one. Non-Non Biyori also has sequels and side stories that one can watch.
Tari Tari, 2012
This school-life anime is about a group of friends who come together to form a music club to perform at their last recital before they graduate. Of course, this seems like a task without many hurdles in theory, but even recruiting all the members for the club was hard for Konatsu. As they are in their last year of school, there are various other concerns that go through the teenagers’ minds, but the one thing that unites them is music.
Tari Tari follows the very classic pattern of a school/university club anime. Needless to say, the show certainly has its own charm. The group of friends all individually shine. The antagonist, though, is the Vice Principle of the school who doesn’t want them to perform instead of a rival team which is a fresh take. Let’s be honest, a group of friends, school life, and music, what more can we ask for?
Dagashi Kashi, 2016
Dagashi is traditional candies and snacks. Kokonotsu Shikada has to start working at his generational dagashi shop despite not wanting to. Young Kokonotsu wants to become a manga artist and does not wish to inherit. Hotaru Shidare arrives at this countryside dagashi shop to recruit Kokonotsu’s father in their family company which is an international candy manufacturer. His father is reluctant at first but later makes a deal that he would gladly join, but only if his son agrees to inherit the shop.
Dagashi Kashi is a chill and laidback story without any major drama. It is a feel-good show with comedy sprinkled all over. The anime is known for its character design. For more fun, watch Dagashi Kashi Season 2 as well.
The weather might be hot but anime is sure to give us a good time while we spend our time indoors. We don’t always need to step out in the heat to experience everything bright and beautiful about summer. Let’s take some time to appreciate these summery anime with a bucket of ice cream.