Unlike last season, there are fewer short-form shows like this one. This 5 minute show follows three high school friends and shows “what happens when nothing is happening.” And they mean it as the first episode was bare on any sort of narrative. On the plus side, the art is beautiful to look at even for a short series like this one, with nice character designs and beautiful watercolor backdrops. However, the short duration of each episode makes it difficult to flesh out the characters or form any semblance of a narrative thread.
Aku no Hana (Zexcs) – Genre: Psychological, Drama
I haven’t seen a show become this controversial in such a long time. This show follows a misunderstood high school student who, out of impulse, steals his crush’s gym clothes and gets blackmailed by the most unstable girl in his class. It’s a psychological drama that really gets under your skin and makes you feel uncomfortable. A lot of criticism has been directed towards the show’s use of rotoscoping, giving the animation an unusual and often distracting quality. The narrative is slow in the beginning, but if you can get past the animation, I’m hoping later episodes can really capture the tense psychological atmosphere of the manga.
Arata Kangatari (Satelight) – Genre: Action, Fantasy, School
Watching: No one except DungTranAnimeFan
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is a series that really surprised me. I thought that we were going to get a simple romance, but we actually got a murder game. Although most of us may not be familiar with this kind of series, I think that it will appeal to people that enjoyed things like Mirai Nikki and Another. The series looks nice and I am enjoying the action, but I think that the fetishes that are thrown out at you may be a little much for some people to handle. I would suggest that you check out this series if you enjoy the intensity that comes along with a murder game, but casual viewers may want to try out something else.
Date A Live (AIC Plus+) – Comedy, Harem, Mecha, Romance, School, Sci-fi, Shounen
I have been describing Date A Live to my friends as a mix of The World God Only Knows, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Strike Witches. Although some of that may seem like a stretch, I think that some people may agree with me if they watch all four series. In a world where foreign entities threaten society, and conventional methods are ineffective at best, the unconventional approach of seducing the spirits must be implemented. I think that the action in this series will be taking a back seat to the harem element, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would suggest this series to anyone that is looking for a harem anime and is possibly a fan of dating sims.
Watching: Bryan, Will
Devil Survivor 2 The Animation (Bridge) – Genre: Supernatural, Survival
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W (Xebec) – Comedy, Parody, Romance, Sci-fi
This is the official second season in the Haiyore! Nyaruko-san series. Describing this anime to people can be difficult because it is a story that takes the creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos, turns them into aliens, and has them take the form of moé high school characters. On the plus side, fans of the first season of this series should definitely enjoy this continuation. The harem continues to be the most prominent part of a series that tries to act serious at times, but will often turn to comedy before it starts to look like something that it’s not. I would suggest that fans of the first season give this a try and I think that fans of ridiculous harems with a prominent parody element should try out the series from the beginning.
Hataraku Maou-sama! (White Fox) – Comedy, Demons, Romance, Shounen
I am pretty sure that if there is an anime that revolves around a demon king that is doing things that demon kings don’t do, then I have to cover. That being said, these series continue to surprise me. A demon king and his general flee their realm in the midst of a wartime retreat that results in them being stuck in Tokyo. This is obviously a romantic comedy with its focus on a demon king working at McDonalds and the things that come with having your enemy following suit. I suggest this series to anyone that is looking for a fun comedy that will end up being a casual watch in the middle of your week.
Watching: Bryan, Daniel, Will
Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties (Manglobe) – Genre: Comedy, Harem, Parody, School
Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. (J.C. Staff) – Genre: Comedy, Romance, School
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Sunrise) – Mecha, Sci-fi
When it comes to Sunrise venturing away from its trademark Gundam series, they have given us gems such as Scryed and Code Geass. I had similar hopes for this series because the animation is crazy good at times and we haven’t really had a good mecha series in a while. I will say that a lot of the stuff that we have gotten so far can be a little difficult to digest because the writing seems a little off at times and that isn’t just due to the fact that I feel like I am watching Gundam Seed every other scene. I am guessing that Sunrise enjoys the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality. I suggest that fans of Gundam watch this series because I don’t think that this is a good gateway into mecha, but it definitely appeals to established fans of the genre.
Karneval (Manglobe) – Genre: Action, Mystery, Fantasy
This first episode just totally blew my expectations out of the water. I’m not sure why I had doubts because I have quite a history with liking anime series that featured an all-male cast (Tsuritama, Kimi to Boku., Kuroko no Basuke, etc.). I am greatly surprised (even though I really shouldn’t be) at how much I enjoyed this first episode. I like the character designs, and the setting is very diverse. The plot also has me intrigued, and I can’t to meet the rest of the members from Circus.
Watching: Bryan, Will
Mushibugyou (Seven Arcs) – Martial Arts, Shounen, Supernatural
I have been waiting years for another great samurai anime and I think that we may actually have one on our hands. I would like to warn everyone that wants to watch this series that our cast of heroes fight against giant insects, arachnids, and whatnot as the major part of the story, so people that won’t like seeing things like giant spider should definitely avoid this series. I guess that the best way to describe this series is that Edo is in trouble and it needs saving. Also, this is one of those series where death can be taken lightly at times because of the sheer number of people that get slaughtered by the bugs. I would suggest Mushibugyou to fans of fun samurai anime that are looking for a good action series.
Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san (Tatsunoko Productions) – Comedy, Slice of Life
I guess that we are always going to be given a short comedy that makes uncomfortable sex jokes. The whole mermaid thing isn’t really new, but I do enjoy the delivery. We get an odd amount of historical jokes that range from the French witch trials to the sinking of the continent of Mu. The one problem that I have with this series is the art style which just finds a way to piss me off while I am watching it. I would suggest this series to people that are looking for a comedy without a whole lot of depth, but only if you can handle head designs that look like they were made specifically to piss me off.
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. (A-1 Pictures) – Genre: Comedy, School
Watching: Bryan, Will
The premise of this show, which is based on a popular dating sim, seems simple and innocent enough. A high school student gets a camera from his father and develops close relationships with the various girls he befriends through photography. Things get weird thanks to the supporting cast of the Photography Club, which uses their photography skills to try and get “tasteful” pictures of girls. It’s got the usual tropes of a harem comedy, with a clueless protagonist and a large cast of girls. However, the creep factor really brings the narrative quality down and the cluelessness of the protagonist only makes him less likable.
RDG: Red Data Girl (P.A. Works) – Genre: Fantasy
This is one of the wild cards of the season, in my opinion. The story, about an introverted girl with the ability to destroy any electronic device she comes in contact with and the boy tasked with protecting her, is intriguing from what I’ve seen so far. The narrative chooses to focus on the conflict between the clashing personalities of the two protagonists as they are forced to work together. Focusing on the character development is good for drama, but I hope they go more in depth with the supernatural elements of the plot. Again, it’s finding that delicate balance of drama and plot progression that will make or break this one.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Production I.G.) – Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Production IG has one of the season’s most anticipated shows. The story takes place in a world where giant beings called Titans threaten the very existence of human beings. The narrative is filled with drama and the action looks like it’s going to be top-notch. The art is heavily stylized and gives it a unique look that really brings out the intensity of its characters. With a thrilling and impactful first episode, things will likely get even more exciting in the coming weeks.
Watching: Bryan, Daniel, Will
Suisei no Gargantia (Production I.G) – Mecha, Sci-fi
My prayers seem to have been answered. Not only does this series look fantastic with its great blending of regular animation and CGI, but the story that we have been given is fantastic. Humans fled to the stars in order to escape the next ice age only to be caught up in a war with an alien race while the ice melts away and human life has taken new shape on top of the newly formed ocean planet. I have been searching for the next great mecha series ever since Sunrise decided that making Gundam Age was a good idea and I think that this series has way too much potential to be overlooked by anyone and that includes people that don’t usually watch mecha anime. I think that people who are looking for a quality series, regardless of its style, should definitely give Suisei no Gargantia a chance.
Watching: Bryan, Will
Watching: Bryan, Daniel
Yuyushiki (Kinema Citrus) – Genre: Comedy, School, Slice-of-Life
It’s really common to see at least one slice-of-life comedy every season. Taking after shows like Lucky Star and YuruYuri, Yuyushiki centers on three best friends who spend their time talking about random topics and going to the Data Processing Club. A lot of the laughs come from situational humor as well as the random topics that they talk about. The characters are at least amusing and the art is just fine. It doesn’t reinvent the genre but it still manages to be charming in its own way.
Watching: No one