The Honorable Mentions:
A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd (Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai)
Written by Raitzeno and Dexomega
Genre: Romance, School
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Kakei Kyoutarou just wants to read in peace. Unfortunately, when you've got minor fits of precognition and a school full of busybodies, peace and quiet aren't easy to come by! But when Kyoutarou saves a fellow student, the shy but upbeat Shirasaki Tsugumi, she drags him kicking and screaming into her Happy Project, an attempt to make friends and brighten people's days through community service, counseling, and other general do-gooder activities. But while Kakei and Shirasaki make new friends and piss off the library management, students across campus are receiving mysterious emails from "The Shepherd" that know way too much about everyone's present and future. Who is this Shepherd, and what is, or will be, Kakei's connection to them?
Why You Should be Watching: It's a laugh riot. It knows how to do serious scenes (as long as the club's cat isn't around) but the antics of Kakei's clubmates are always worth a chuckle at a bare minimum. The standout surprise character in the show is Kodachi Nagi, a bombastic redhead who steals the show frequently and has a very engaging backstory, not to mention much more complex motivations than the common one-note harem show female. While Librarian is based off a VN, it's focusing more on Kakei's own growth rather than his romantic relationships with any of the females. I feel like it's avoiding a lot of the standard harem hangups (shallow characters, excessive fanservice) while keeping up an impressive mix of humor and mystery. I am consistently entertained every single episode, and I've found myself looking forward to it each week more than almost anything else on my list this season.
Why You Shouldn't be Watching: A Good Librarian Like A Good Shepherd is very much a generic romance anime. It's complete with all the usual tropes and plot points you've come to expect from a show that's a romance involving a school and group of girls. It's not doing anything that's particularly noteworthy.
Denki-Gai no Honya-san
Written by Meph and Rockmandash12
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Denki-Gai is a lighthearted comedy centered around the employees of the Uma No Hone manga store. Most of the show takes place in the Una No Hone manga store as we follow the employees in the day-to-day work of stocking shelves and getting new releases ready for sale. It also provides a kind-hearted view into manga otakus as each employee is a fan of a different genre of manga, and one employee is even an expert at knowing the perfect manga to match each customers taste. Besides the manga store slice-of-life, Denki-Gai also provides some rom-com moments as relationships start to form amongst the employees.
Why You Should be Watching: Denki-Gai has several things going for it that make it a joy to watch. First, it has to be one of the nicest views of otaku culture presented in an anime. The characters are not seen as freaks for their love of manga and they are all fully functioning members of society. Second, Denki-Gai has a set of great characters who interact well with each other. You want these characters to succeed as each is endearing and charming in their own way. Third, it gives you insight into the daily routine of a Japanese manga shop and a small window into manga creation as well. Lastly, Denki-Gai is one of those shows that you can watch at any time and have it put a smile on your face. There is a lot of great anime that either takes you on a suspenseful journey or gives you a ride on the proverbial feels train. But after a hard day, sometimes you just need to watch something that puts a smile on your face and doesn't ask for anything big in return.
Why You Shouldn't be Watching: Denki-Gai can be a very entertaining show, if you are in the right demographic. It's a slice of life show about otaku running a show in akihabara full of crude humor and lampshading, so if you are not into slice of life, not interested in Otaku culture, not a fan of crude humor, or you don't know typical anime tropes, you may want to avoid this show. Also, the jokes can be repetitive at times, the show doesn't really try to stand out, and the presentation is nothing special so you those may drag down your experience if they bother you.
Written by Aestevalis and SeanStan
Genre: Sports, Slice of Life, Comedy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: The story follows the live of five girls who were together in the Animation club of their high school and promised to each other to work in the Anime industry in the future. Fast forward some years and we find our characters already working on it (well some of them, others are still in the process) only to experience how hard and demanding is to work on the Anime scene.
Why You Should be Watching: If you were ever curious about how Anime is made and how many people are involved in the process, this show has answers for you. The five girls all work in very different fields: One is a production assistant, one is an aspiring voice actor, one a 3D animator, one a key animator and one a script writer in the making so we get a glimpse of all the different roles that are involved in order to make an Anime. Not only that, but the show mainly follows production assistant Aoi Miyamori, which is a smart move thanks to the fact that her role involves pretty much being present at every stage of the process; from checking the storyboards, the voice recording sessions and solving all kinds of problems that arise during production (and there are a lot) all while tying to comply with the ridiculously tight schedules . It helps that the director of the series worked in Genshiken Nidaime, and the screenwriter (well, the three of them) in Genshiken and Comic Party so it feels like the series knows what's doing. It's a pretty informative Anime about making Anime.
Why You Shouldn't be Watching: Shirobako isn't for everyone. The fact that it is very technical and realistic makes it too much like real life. If you come home from long day at school or work, you probably don't want to sit down and watch a show that practically makes you feel like you're right back to where you came from. The pressing deadlines, commotion, confusion, and clear display of anxiety can all be very off-putting. If you're not someone who can sit through multiple episodes of unpleasantries before one ounce of pay-off, then you probably won't like this show. Even out of the people that wouldn't mind this show, not all of them could enjoy it to its fullest. If someone watches the first episode without any idea of how anime is actually made, they'll be lost. In a sense, it requires a certain amount of experience with anime before it can be appreciated.
This article was a collaboration by several people of the Ani-TAY community on Talk Amongst Yourselves. You can join the fun on our Sunday Cafes or by posting your own articles on Kinja with the Ani-TAY tag.