Today Ani-TAY fires back with a list of ten anime this season to watch, collated from the opinions of twenty collaborators this time, topping our last by four people. We've got nine new shows and one sequel that just might strike your fancy.
This list is a collection of recommendations from the people of the Ani-TAY community. After a short round of recruiting, the list was collaboratively built over the course of two weeks through three rounds, each designed to narrow down the anime of this season to watch. Each show entry is written by one of the collaborators.
Written by Rockmandash12
[Editors Note: Due to ethical considerations, we must disclose that Rockmandash12 really, really loves Fate/stay night.]
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural, Drama, Thriller
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works follows Emiya Shirou as he is dragged into a Fight-to-the-death tournament called The Fifth Holy Grail War, where people known as masters fight with Heroes throughout history, known as servants, for a chance to get the Holy Grail, which grants their wishes. This version of Fate/stay night is an adaptation of the Visual Novel route with the same name, and in comparison to the Fate route which the 2006 anime by Studio Deen adapted, it focuses more on action, and the main character. Also, Rin Tohsaka is the main heroine of this route/anime in comparison to Saber from the Fate route/2006 anime.
Why You Should be Watching: Throw out all the misconceptions you may have gained from the previous Fate/stay night animes; instead of Deen doing the adaptation, Ufotable is handling it this time, and they are making up for the screw-ups deen has made. Like in Kara no Kyoukai and Fate/Zero, The production values in Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works are sky high, with some of the best visuals that anime has to offer, awesome fight scenes, and a solid soundtrack. Ufotable's been doing such a great job visually that people have been calling this show Unlimited Budget Works, due the insane production values that they keep on cranking out, episode by episode. The story doesn't fall behind as well, with the source material having an absolutely fantastic story full of action with the main character struggling with himself about his ideals, and the anime is staying pretty faithful. The interactions between characters are great, and the expressions that this show creates are priceless.
Also, Rin Tohsaka is an amazing tsundere, and the show is worth watching just because of her.
Recommended By: Aestevalis, DeadlyFatalis, EvenSteven02, FruityDrinks, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Meph, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, Protonstorm, SeanStan, Stranger, The Messiah
Written by Koda89
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: The king of the Valiante Kingdom launches a witch hunt under the advice of his advisor. The problem is the "witches" in question are actually Makai Knights and Makai Alchemists, people who wield magical armor and spells to fight demonic Horrors to keep the land safe. A female Makai Alchemist named Anna Luis is sentenced to burn at the stake in a grand execution that even the royal family attends. But she wasn't the only one who would burn, as she was pregnant with a son. Anna gives birth while being burned and her Makai Knight husband, and the father of her child, German Luis breaks out of his prison cell and rescues their son. German then escapes capture and spends the next seventeen years training his son Leon to use his Makai Knight powers as the Golden Knight Garo.
Why You Should be Watching: Because GARO: The Animation is a great throwback to old school action-fantasy anime from the '70s, '80s, and even '90s. This even carries over to the art style used in the show, especially when it comes to the character designs. Really the only thing "modern" about the show is the use of CGI on the armor for the Makai Knights, and while that would normally be a clashing of styles, it works in GARO because it makes the armor look magically created, which it is supposed to be. GARO: The Animation also shows a great look at a fantasy world parallel to Spain during its infamous Spanish Inquisition. Lastly, German and Leon make for one of the best father/son duos in anime…even if their personalities are polar opposites.
Recommended By: Dexomega, Exile, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Meph, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, RyomaNagare, SeanStan, Stranger, Thatsmapizza, The Messiah
Written by Protonstorm and The Messiah
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Action
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Shinichi Izumi is just your everyday high school student with few friends and a quiet demeanor. However, one night he wakes up to find a worm-like creature burrowing into his veins in an attempt to take over his brain. He manages to stop it and falls back asleep, only to find out the next day that his right arm has been taken over by the parasite, which appropriately dubs itself Migi (Japanese for Right) and has started living in symbiosis with him. This event throws him into a world where parasites like Migi are taking over and devouring the human race. He has no choice but to fight to protect other humans and even himself from these interlopers, as they would gladly destroy him once they realize his human brain has remained intact.
Why You Should be Watching: Parasyte is a clever show that takes its premise beyond what you might expect. The parasites themselves are extraodinarily clever creatures with an equally extraordinary set of abilities. This builds a very high level of tension, as some of them learn to adapt to society and are able to hunt Shinichi in the shadows. The fights themselves also have a large amount of suspense and action, since the parasites have morphing powers and can change into a variety of organic weapons when necessary. Although Shinichi fights to save his own race, over time a question develops: if the parasites are just eating humans in order to live, then is it really justified to kill them? Overall, Parasyte is a show that does something few anime manage to pull off: it actually fits into the horror genre it claims to be in.
Recommended By: FruityDrinks, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Meph, Nomadic Dec, MainProtagonist, Protonstorm, Rockmandash12, RyomaNagare, SeanStan, Stranger, Thatsmapizza, The Messiah
Written by thatsmapizza
Genre: Action, High Fantasy, Comedy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Welcome to the world of Mistarica where humans, gods, and demons reside. Two thousand years in the past, Mistarica was nearly destroyed by almighty dragon, Bahamut. With each race working together, they manage to seal Bahamut's power and put him into a deep slumber. Fast forward to the present, we meet the bounty hunter, Favaro, being chased by his fellow bounty hunter, Kaisar, who wishes to repay Favaro for past grievances. Using his wit and sharp tongue, Favaro eludes Kaisar to get back to his regular life of bounty hunting and partying. After successfully turning in a bounty, Favaro begins to chat up some women by bragging to them about all of his accomplishments. Unfortunately, one of these accomplishments attracts the attention of a mysterious woman, Amira, who holds one half of key that can unseal Bahamut. Soon enough, Amira places a curse on Favaro and forces him to guide her to Heleim, a frigid land of ice where Amira's mother supposedly is. What follows is a rousing adventure of sword fighting, magic, and something more sinister.
Why You Should be Watching: Simply put, Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is stunning in almost every positive way possible. The animation in this show is amazing. Every motion looks crisp and well defined and combined that with amazing shot choreography, the action scenes look epic and awesome. Also, this show probably has one of the best uses of 3D animation I have seen in an anime ever because the 3D creatures blend incredibly well into the 2D animation and the models look great too boot.
Bahamut is no slouch in the story and character department either. Though the story seems like it's simple adventure show, each conflict in the show has much wider implications that what was shown. You get this sense that there is so much more to learn about the world while being shown why it's interesting. It's so easy to get invested in the world because there is just so much to learn about it. Also, the characters are fantastic. Every single one of them has a certain charm to them that sets them apart from similar character in the same genre. For example, Favaro seems to be a selfish rouge who only cares for himself, but he's willing to put his life on the line for certain situations while still retaining his mischievous attitude. It's just plain fun to see each character in the series because each one of them adds a certain flavor to each scene they're in, making most scenes in the anime memorable. Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is high octane fantasy that takes the trappings of this genre and raises them to the bahimax.
Recommended By: Aestevalis, DeadlyFatalis, EvenSteven02, Jonuiuc, Koda89, MainProtagonist, Meph, Nomadic Dec, Protonstorm, Rockmandash12, RyomaNagare, SeanStan, Stranger, Thatsmapizza, The Messiah
Written by Exile
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Harem
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Arata Kasuga is a seemingly normal teenager who actively appreciates the days he spends alongside his cousin/childhood friend Hijiri, gaining contentment from what he has and not wishing for very much more. When he realises that life, and Hijiri, actually vanished before his eyes several days earlier and he has been living in an illusion, he is prepared to do anything to get it, and especially her, back. Told of the existence of mages by a mysterious woman who threatens to kill him unless he relinquishes the grimoire Hijiri pressed into his hand before disappearing, he takes a third option; to become a mage himself. Travelling to the school of magic the woman, Lilith Asami, teaches at, Arata is introduced to the workings of magic and the girls of the Trinity Seven; the most powerful practitioners within each branch of spellcasting.
Why You Should be Watching: Trinity Seven is another harem anime that attempts to do something different with the formula; in this case making the vast majority of the cast abject trolls who actively seek to turn every situation into snark-inbued display of deadpan humour. Much of the humour relies on innuendo and the show is very fanservice heavy, however it could rarely be considered gratuitous and the humourous payoff usually justifies it; especially given the times that Arata demonstrates he does actually care for people, not bodies. There is much more to T7 than its insouciant nature would belie; the mechanics of the magic system have profound ramifications for the characters, the lack of fucks displayed by the majority of the cast is not indicative of their true depth and for all the references to "irrationality" there's little unnaturally forced drama just to keep the plot moving. Primarily though this show is about the comedy, and if the type of humour it offers works for you then Trinity Seven consistently delivers.
On a quality level, given how vital the humour is to this show it is fortunate that the work of the VAs is magnificent. Whilst the animation can be janky and the pacing is just a little slow, Trinity Seven can stand as testament to how important vocal work can be; many scenes would fall completely flat were it not for the delivery of the characters selling the situations. Especially since Arata is voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, otherwise well known as Kirito (fun exercise; try swapping Arata and Kirito within their respective plots. It's amusing how well it works).
Recommended By: Dexomega, Exile, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Meph, Raitzeno, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Stranger
Written by Dexomega
Genre: Action, Romantic Comedy, Parody
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Gonna be the Twin-tail! is the the story of a normal new high school student named Souji, with the exception of his love of Twin-tails. One day, monsters from another world appear on Earth with the intention of stealing all the Twin-tails! Souji is mortified by the idea of losing Twin-tails and receives the means to defeat these monsters from a mysterious woman named Twoearle. He and his team of Twin-tail warriors must fight against the monsters to secure the safety of Twin-tails everywhere!
Why You Should be Watching: You're looking at that synopsis skeptically. Admit it, you're skeptical. Well enough of that! It's Win-tail hype time!
Remember when you watched Power Rangers and/or Super Sentai when you were younger? What if I told you that Gonna be the Twin-tail! is that show with a whole ton of absurd humor? That's the draw of Twin-tail, it's a sentai show that uses fetishes as the focal point. Souji loves Twin-tails, Aika turns into an unstoppable force when her berserk button is pressed, Erina is an exhibitionist, and the list goes on and on. It's absolutely over-the-top and fun in just how absurd it gets. It's definitely a comedy that will outright confuse some, but many more will just fall out of their chairs laughing at how far past eleven they've taken it.
Recommended By: Dexomega, Exile, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Stranger, Thatsmapizza
Written by Jonuiuc and Meph
Genre: Comedy, Harem, Slice of Life, Superpowered Fantasy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: What if you suddenly acquired amazing superpowers? Without warning or explanation, that is what happens to the five members of the Senko High School Literature Club. For Jurai Ando, a chunibyo (so-called eighth grader syndrome), these new powers are a dream come true. Ando has practically been preparing for superpowers his whole life. However, the four girls who are the other members of the literature club do not share Ando's chunibyo-ism and must now learn how to deal with their new found abilities (as well as Ando's antics) in their everyday lives. With no enemies or known purpose for their powers, the five friends decide to practice using their new abilities by playing games and generally goofing off. However, even this small use of their powers provides opportunities for the characters to learn about themselves and each other.
Why You Should be Watching: When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace or Inō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de (shortened to Inou Battle from here on out) is another gem from studio Trigger. Studio Trigger produced last year's standout, Kill la Kill, and their proficiency in using varying types of animation to accentuate every scene; from crazy action, to hilarious comedy, to more serious moments, is really on display within the series' first few episodes. Inou Battle's clean art style is a bit more subdued than the more over the top Kill la Kill or Gurren Lagann, but it works well for this series' more typical high school setting. The music and sound are also excellent, which is a given for a Trigger show. The series' character designs may not stand out at first, but each cast member's personality is unique and fits well into the ensemble. In particular, the performances of the voice actors are fantastic and key to much of the comedy and drama. The dialog in Inou battle also is wonderfully entertaining. Technical merits aside, the characters and their interactions provide the real draw for the show. All the members of the Literature Club are likable and will pleasantly surprise you once you get to know them. The series is a good mix of high school comedy and super powered hijinks with occasional (but well done) character moments. Though this series can technically be classified as a harem, many of the negative aspects of that genre are sidestepped, especially fanservice which is essentially nil. If you are looking for a fun, funny, and well scripted show that uses some of the most creative animation done today, give Inou Battle a shot.
Recommended By: EvenSteven02, Exile, Jonuiuc, Koda89, MainProtagonist, Meph, Nomadic Dec, Raitzeno, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Stranger, The Messiah
Written by SeanStan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Spoiler-free Synopsis: The Kingdom of Kouka is broken up into five tribes: Wind, Fire, Water, Earth and Sky. Yona, our protagonist, is the princess of this land. Her upbringing is pure and genuine due to her loveable and caring father, King Il. A normal day for the princess does not involve anything too strenuous, and she is almost always protected by her guardian and general of the wind tribe, Son Hak. Yona is at an age where she should start worrying about her future. Luckily enough, there are a few men in her life that would be suitable for her. Although Hak is dependable and always with her, it is evident that she has eyes for Soo-won, her cousin and childhood friend. On her sixteenth birthday, Yona attempts to convey these feelings, but that night her future is radically altered with the assassination of the king. Now, Yona must abandon the capital, and with it her old life.
Why You Should be Watching: If there's any one reason for you to watch this show, it would be character development. The first episode introduces us to a pretty princess whose primary concern is her future husband. Someone with this demeanour is bound to change after their father is murdered and they're forced to live nomadically. The ensuing trials would change anybody, and with revenge as a fuel, it would most likely change them into a badass. Yona's development is ensured because the show purposefully reveals her in the future, and it is apparent that she can fight for herself. The bridge between then and now couldn't come any sooner. In terms of presentation quality, the show delivers as well. The opening to the anime is entirely instrumental and is the theme music of the show. The decision to do such a thing signifies artistic purity, a purity that translates into the animation style as well. The animation is naturally beautiful because of this. A show that starts out as a romance but evolves quickly into an action/adventure reaches a vast audience, so most people should easily find something they like about the show if they were to try it out.
Recommended By: Dexomega, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Thatsmapizza
Written by iamstucklockedout
Genre: Music, Drama, Romance
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Kousei was a prodigy Pianist who became unable to play piano anymore after his mother, who was also his teacher died 2 years prior to the start of the story. When fate crosses his path with a free spirited violinist, Kaori, he is forced to confront what his past the he left for dead, and find what it really meant to him.
Why You Should be Watching: You should be watching Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso because it stands and squashes your doubts. Clichés show up and dissolve, the humor doesn't feel inserted and is well connected. None of the genres it floats in are jarring, obnoxious or overbearing. Depth and growth are woven straight into the storyline and plot which evolves instead of tripping over itself or making unnecessary side trips. This a slice-of-life to make you reconsider your top slice-of-life.
Recommended By: Aestevalis, DeadlyFatalis, EvenSteven02, iamstucklockedout, Jonuiuc, Koda89, MainProtagonist, Nomadic Dec, Protonstorm, Rockmandash12, SeanStan
Written by Nomadic Dec
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Shounen, Mystery
Spoiler-free Synopsis: In the aftermath of the devastating battle between and aboard the Stratus and Soara battleships, we left Chaika and company resolving to continue reclaiming the magically-imbued pieces of Arthur Gaz's corpse. Indeed Chaika follows through on this promise, but the revelation of her origin continues to plague her, leading her, Toru, Akari and Frederica further afield and astray than they could otherwise anticipate.
Why You Should be Watching: Why should you be watching Chaika? Because Chaika. Chaika is not simply the heroine whose speech pattern initiated some of anime's most quotable and hilarious dialogue anymore. That is still there (prepare for yet another onslaught of clips on Youtube), but as with the latter half of the first season, Bones has taken the opportunity to explore the psychology of the beloved coffin princess and the effects of her predicament, all the while using it to satisfyingly expand the storyline well beyond the original fetch-quest. Chika Ansai deserves awards galore for the subtlety of her performance and brilliant delivery, both comedic and dramatic.
Lest you worry that the focus on Chaika has upset the fine balance that made the first season so addictive, do not fret: Akari is still vigilant about her brother's promiscuity and an infallible badass, Frederica is still one with a sharp quip and an even sharper claw, and Toru is still the master tactician. The interplay between the characters, animation, plotting and pacing are impeccable, even with multiple returning fan favourites and a host of new characters to service. Chaika is as entertaining as ever and so the real question is not why you should be watching, but why are you not already? Shocking truth!
Recommended By: Aestevalis, Exile, Jonuiuc, Koda89, Meph, Nomadic Dec, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Stranger, Thatsmapizza The Messiah
Here are our honorable mentions; these are the shows that had some significant support in the discussions, but for one reason or another fell off the list. We explain both why should and shouldn't be watching.
- Dexomega (@Dexomega)
- EvenSteven02 (@EvenSteven02)
- Koda89 (@KodaKazar)
- Nomadic Dec
- The Messiah
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.