By Tom Speelman
Since its founding in 2007 by producer Hayato Kaneko, and recruitment of one-time Shaft wunderkind director Shin Onuma as its primary director in 2009, SILVER LINK. has produced some of the best-looking anime to date, season after season.
And with the exciting Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World airing this season, SILVER LINK. seems poised to continue that winning streak.
To celebrate the incredible work of SILVER LINK., we thought we’d look back at the many gems this studio has turned out in just 13 short years, from the light novel adaptation Baka & Test, to the magic of Wise Man’s Grandchild.
And, of course, you can stream each of these series right here on Funimation, or find them for purchase in The Funimation Shop. Let’s dive in!
Baka & Test – Summon the Beasts – (2010)
Based on a light novel series by Kenji Inoue and Yui Haga, the first production directed by Onuma for SILVER LINK., with scripts by Katsuhiko Takayama and music by Nijine, has an apt title: Baka & Test – Summon the Beasts –.
Akihisa Yoshii is a moron among morons, even among the lowly Class F at the strictly hierarchical Fumizuki Academy, who have the worst facilities because they’re the worst students. Akihisa is considered not-so-smart and is given the title of Probationary Student.
But that gives him an advantage. See, the ways students can advance their class rank and secure nicer things for themselves at the academy is by initiating “Test Wars” with another group, where chibi Avatars of each student battle it out based on knowledge of a selected subject. Essentially Cromartie High School meets Beyblade meets Tron, this show is incredibly silly with its rat-a-tat, joke-a-second nature.
Onuma’s direction, coupled with his team’s work, is really fun. This team sells the whimsy of the whole situation while being charming and inventive in how it approaches the mechanics of the “Test Wars,” with a particular highlight being the Avatars going from chibi to hyper-detailed combat with a warning sign on the screen, flashing “Does not represent actual gameplay.”
If you’re looking for silly hijinks and compelling characters, be sure to give this SILVER LINK. starter a shot.
Another light novel adaptation, C³ is based on a series by Hazuki Minase and Sasorigatame. This show, directed by Onuma and written by Michiko Yokote, follows high schooler Haruaki Yachi, living alone in an idyllic country town while his roving archaeologist father travels the globe, sending strange things back to Japan.
The show begins with Yachi receiving one such strange thing—a giant metal cube with a glowing orb in the center. Not knowing what else to do, he puts it with the rest of his dad’s stuff and forgets about it. Later that night, he’s awakened by a naked girl standing in his kitchen, eating rice crackers.
Said girl turns out to be the cube. Named Fear (and given the last name Kubrick so that she can attend school, even though “it has nothing to do with the movie director!”), the girl is actually a sentient torture device developed during the Inquisitions and used to murder hundreds of people.
Believing she is only a “Cursed Tool,” Fear was sent by Yachi’s dad to him specifically because the land he lives on is powerful enough to negate curses and Yachi himself is immune to them.
Hitting the ground running, this is a cool concept of an action-comedy that’s carried toward being highly watchable by virtue of its stylized, memorable art direction by Minoru Maeda. Still, as with all anime, it’s the compelling characters that carry the day. The dynamic between everyone is highly entertaining, and at just 12 episodes, this show is a gripping ride!
Restaurant to Another World (2017)
We’ve all drooled over the many lovingly prepared bento boxes or marvelled at the desserts prepared in our favorite anime, so the appeal of a show like this is pretty obvious from the outset.
Based on a series of light novels by Junpei Inuzuka and Enami Katsumi and adapted by writer-director Masato Jinbo, Restaurant to Another World focuses on the staff of the Western-style restaurant Nekoya, which during weekdays is a normal Tokyo restaurant, but on Saturdays, secretly plays host to all manner of magical creatures from another world, who delight in its signature dishes like pork loin cutlet, beef stew and chocolate parfait.
The show opens with Nekoya’s current owner and chef, only ever named “Master,” discovering the itinerant demon girl Aletta sleeping in his kitchen. An outcast in the other world due to the prominent goat horns on her head, Aletta was sleeping in a ruined church when she came across one of the many doors to Nekoya scattered in the world. Starving, she invited herself in.
The good-hearted Master hires her as a waitress for the Saturday crowd and, together, they aim to serve their many fantastic regulars—like the shape-shifting, beef stew-loving dragon Red Queen, or the teriyaki-craving swordmaster Tatsugorou.
Like Great British Bake Off or Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Restaurant to Another World is comfort food through and through. Sweet, charming, and with solid animation and performances throughout, this is a great show to watch over dinner. And who knows: you might be tempted to try some of the foods on screen yourself!
Wise Man’s Grandchild (2019)
Another isekai show centering on an adult—and based on a series of light novels by Tsuyoshi Yoshioka and Seiji Kikuchi—this series follows Shin, a salaryman reborn into a fantasy world after being hit by a truck. Remembering all of his past life, as a baby in this new world, Shin was rescued from the remains of a destroyed carriage by the Earlshide Kingdom’s greatest hero, sage wizard and Wise Man Merlin Wolford, who adopted him as his grandson.
Given that he was not only raised by the kingdom’s greatest hero, but also taught creation magic by its greatest guru Melida, and sword fighting by the former Knight Order General Michel Collins, by the time Shin is 15, he’s essentially a magician-warrior savant.
But, as Merlin belatedly realizes at Shin’s coming-of-age party, he never taught his grandson any common sense or indeed anything about the ways of the world—Shin doesn’t even know what money is.
At the suggestion of King Diseum, Shin is enrolled in the Magic Academy and sets out on a path toward making friends his own age and learning there’s more to life than killing demons.
Fun and fleet, with fluid action animation by director Masafumi Tamura and likable characters as written by Tatsuya Takahashi, this show never overstays its welcome and is always interesting to watch.
BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. (2020)
With a full title like BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense., it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that, yes, this is another light novel adaptation (here based on a series by Yuumikan and Koin) that involves gaming.
Newbie gamer Kaede Honjo (Maple) joins the popular VRMMORPG NewWorld Online at the request of her IRL best friend Risa Shiromine (Sally). Not wanting to get hurt at all, Maple chooses the shield class and puts every point she has into defense, leaving her with no magic skill and mega-slow foot speed.
But she’s basically invulnerable as a result, taking damage without attacking until her opponent is weakened enough to kill (on purpose or by accident).
And so, Maple takes her first step into not trying to beat the game, but simply play it the way she wants to…which happens to be so unorthodox and crazy that she eventually becomes the bane of the dev team’s existence. Also, at one point, she gets a familiar named Syrup, a turtle who can only say “turtle” and, yes, it is the best thing you’ve ever seen.
Directed by Onuma and Mirai Minato, and written by Fumihiko Shimo, BOFURI was one of the highlights of this past spring season. With charming animation and fresh comedy, this is a loving parody of video games and the gamers who play them.
Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World (2020)
Based on a light novel series by Kei Sazane and Ao Nekonabe, this latest effort from Onuma, Minato and Shimoyama seems perfectly poised to continue SILVER LINK.’s excellent batting average of great anime.
In a world eternally ravaged by war between the scientifically advanced Empire and the witch-led nation of the Nebulis Sovereignty, Imperial swordsman Iska and witch princess Aliceliese are sworn to destroy each other as the hope of their respective sides.
Yet, despite being bitter enemies at first sight, they each find themselves drawn to the other…
Who knows how this star-crossed romance will play out, but one thing’s for sure: it will definitely look and sound great!
There’s plenty more in SILVER LINK.’s portfolio, of course, so hopefully this list gives you enough of an idea of just how varied the studio is, and what makes their shows so engaging to watch!
What are you waiting for? Dig in!