Admin’s note: wow, this post is still very popular! You’re welcome to read on but for our current seasonal collaboration of anime you should be watching, check this out.
Once again on the heels of Richard Eisenbeis, the community of Ani-TAY is back with another twelve anime this season that you should be watching with sixteen collaborators this time, up from our previous seven. We’ve got ten new anime and two sequels for you to watch.
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. We’ve got another ten new anime to watch and two sequels. Each show entry is written by one of the collaborators.
Written by Protonstorm
Genre: Action, Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Akame ga Kill! centers around an assassin organization, Night Raid. Tatsumi, a young man from a small country village, travels to the capital with two other youths but they are seperated during the journey. When he arrives, Tatsumi discovers that the capital is a center for corruption. The king is under the thumb of an evil prime minister, and the population suffers. After being refused from the army and swindled out of his money, Tatsumi falls prey to another kind of corruption, one far darker which will lead to his run-in with Night Raid. After joining, he is given assignments to assassinate corrupt individuals within the capital, and grows close to his fellow assassins, who include a variety of interesting characters. But will it last?
Why You Should be Watching: Akame ga Kill! is about assassins eliminating citizens and government officials corrupting the capital. The show is able to switch masterfully between an incredibly dark tone to a lighter, comedic one. Sometimes, the fanaticism of enemies puts both of these into effect at the same time, and the result is both terrifying and thoroughly gripping. Viewers will grow familiar with each member of Night Raid over time as they get individual periods of development, which helps add consequences to fights, during which no one in Night Raid is safe. (Don’t become too attached to characters!) While everyone seems to believe that they are the good guys, the truth is that they are essentially fighting fire with fire. These assassins are terrorists. Is it really right to leave the decision of who lives and dies to a small group of people?
Recommended By: Protonstorm, SeanStan, EvenSteven02, Aestevalis, Koda89, Stranger, thatsmapizza, MainProtagonist, DeadlyFatalis
Written by thatsmapizza
Genre: Comedy, Shounen, Slice of Life
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Imagine you’ve just won first prize in a national calligraphy contest. Your friends and peers are complementing you on your win and work, but then an elderly gentleman appraises your work and finds it rather lacking. So, lacking in fact that he wonders aloud how an amateurish work like this got first prize. Blood rushes to your face, the memories of all the heart you put into that work rush before you. All sounds are drowned out and you find yourself punching this gentleman who had slighted you. Relief spreads through out your body and you can feel the adrenaline coursing through you. Unfortunately, the man you just punched was the owner of the art gallery your work was being shown in. Now you would know how Seishuu Handa feels.
After this potentially career ending fiasco, Handa decides to take a vacation to the Goto Island to get away from the drama of his life, focus on his calligraphy, and take time to understand his passion. Unfortunately for him, the residents of Goto Island aren’t a quiet bunch. The residents are nosey and frequently disturb Handa, but as time goes on, he starts to form close bonds with them and soon enough he starts growing more as a person.
Why You Should be Watching: Barakamon is such an amazing show because it is focused around finding one’s passion, or in other words, finding what one loves. From the beginning to the end of each episode you can feel the joy permeating throughout this anime. It’s impossible not to feel happy while watching each episode because every single character in the show is having a good time. Sure there are a few dark and personal moments in the show, especially surrounding Handa’s growth, but it acknowledges those dark elements and takes a positive out look on them. Also, Barakamon has some of the best children characters portrayed in anime. At times it feels like they came straight out of My Neighbor Totoro as they have boundless energy and steal almost every scene they’re in. Special mention must go to Naru, the blonde haired girl in the image above, because she is one of the most endearing characters I have seen in anime. She’s always positive and helping in her own innocent way and she always brings a smile to my face when I see her. But what makes Naru so special is that she is very intelligent in her own way. Even though Naru is less than half Handa’s age, she often helps him overcome his problems by helping him take the first steps to solve his problem. Barakamon is my favorite anime of this season because it got me invested in its characters with its great humor and tactful writing, but what makes it the best for me is that it makes me have as much fun as the characters in the show do when I’m watching it.
Recommended By: thatsmapizza, SeanStan, Raitzeno, Dexomega, Rockmandash12, Exile, Koda89, MainProtagonist, iamstucklockedout, FruityDrinks, Protonstorm
Written by Dexomega & Rockmandash12
Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Harem, Ecchi
Spoiler-free Synopsis: At Aresishia Spirit Academy, young maidens have the power to form contracts with spirits, beings of power, and it is here where they hone their skills as spirit contractors. Kamito is a boy that can also form spirit contracts, a feat thought impossible to many, who ends up going up to the Spirit Academy for his own reasons. He’s quickly swept up in drama surrounding him and the girls that slowly congregate around him. Where will this journey take us?
Why You Should be Watching: This show is a fantasy and tsundere-heavy comedy that has no shame whatsoever. It’s basically Infinite Stratos: Fantasy Edition with an entire cast of tsundere characters. There are few ways to describe this show beyond just saying, “It’s a harem made of tsundere and ridiculous comedy”. It helps that there’s actually an overarching plot that ties into Kamito’s back story that I’m relatively interested in seeing unfold. That said, let’s be clear, it’s kinda a guilty pleasure, but it’s on the way to being one of the best guilty pleasures of the year. If the plot ramps up just a bit more, it could be a great harem show.
Why You Shouldn’t be Watching*: How much fanservice can you tolerate? If your answer is “not a lot”, stay away. Bladedance is all the negative stereotypes of anime thrown into one show: stupid harem, angsty lead, annoying and boring cast of stereotypes, annoying situations and FANSERVICE. All over the place. The worst offender is the sword spirit, who’s a loli who almost always pops up nude. The fanservice is invasive, and it will drive away most people.
Underneath the fanservice is a pretty solid fantasy story with an interesting backstory for our main character, but the rest of the cast cast is annoying and is an overload of tsundere. I’m a person who loves a good tsundere, but this is too much. It’s an extremely poorly done harem, doing nothing special, and the interactions between the characters are grating and annoying. Most of the comedy falls flat on it’s face; Kamito’s ability to get into stupid situations is almost to the proportion of Love Hina, but due to the tsun, it’s no where near as enjoyable. It’s an ecchi fanservice show with nothing special, and there’s very little reason to watch it.
Recommended By: Dexomega, Exile, Raitzeno
*Special Section due to contention during Discussion
Written by SeanStan
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Our story starts with our main protagonists: Kou and Futaba, who attended the same middle school. Futaba was ladylike and competent, traits that made her vary appealing to boys, but gave reasons for girls to avoid her. Kou was soft spoken and his actions were benevolent. His kindness led to the development of a mutual interest between Futaba and himself. Everything seemed like it was going as planned, but after a regrettable remark by Futaba, Kou transferred. Now in high school, Futaba deliberately downgrades her image, becoming gluttonous and incompetent in order to make friends.
However, unbeknownst to Futaba, Kou attends the same high school and is keeping tabs on her. One day, Futaba realizes that Kou attends her high school too and she tries to resurrect what they used to have. Kou blatantly disregards her due to her fictitious appearance, and immediately takes on his own superficial identity, imposing on himself an uncaring stance. In the midst of these jumbled personalities, ideas of what could have become of the past still fall through. Thus begins the story between an uncaring, yet benevolent boy and an incompetent yet capable girl.
Why You Should be Watching: In an anime world filled with cliche romantic comedies and harems, regularly with fan service bursting at the seams (literally), it’s not often enough that a season throws a genuine romance in to the crowd. This is reason enough for a fan of romance anime to watch this show. For people who are iffy about the genre or have just never tried it out, Ao Haru Ride is sure to deliver. From stunning visuals to an appropriate original soundtrack, this show covers the perceptional basics of an anime worth recommending. As for the content, it maintains the notion that romance doesn’t have to be all bubbly and cute, and can rather put it’s emphasis towards building the characters and progressing the story. This show generates character relations that are original, yet believable, and will take the viewer on an emotional roller-coaster ride from start to finish.
Recommended By: SeanStan, Dexomega, Rockmandash12, MainProtagonist, iamstucklockedout, FruityDrinks
Written by Koda89
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Naru Sekiya is a shy 14-year old girl who is obsessed with fairy tales, but aside from also practicing kendo she has no other interests. This is a cause of great concern for Naru, but she lacks the confidence and the drive to branch out and try other things. Her life gets knocked off course when one night she is out walking near a shrine and sees a “fairy” dancing on top of the torii inside the shrine. The fairy in question is in reality a girl from New Jersey named Hana N. Fountainstand who transfers to Naru’s school. And much like how Naru is obsessed with fairy tales, Hana is obsessed with yosakoi, a style of Japanese dance that incorporates small handheld clappers called naruko. Hana tries to form a yosakoi club at the school, and in doing so pulls Naru into the world of yosakoi.
Why You Should be Watching: HaNaYaMaTa is a genuinely cute and funny series that does several things to make it stand out from the rest of the Cute Girls Doing Cute Things crowd. For starters with Madhouse as the studio behind it, the series is just simply beautiful to look at. Secondly, there is very little fanservice in the series to speak of. At this current point the only true pieces of fanservice has been the quick shot in the opening credits of the two oldest girls in the club practicing while in their school swimsuits and a visualization of an “older” Hana. On top of that there seems to be an actual story here, the girls are building to a goal they want to accomplish. Most CGDCT shows are just a loose collection of episodes plucked from various points in the year. Lastly, the show goes to great lengths to show just how passionate the girls are about doing yosakoi. With Hana being the clear standout in this regard, as it is clear that yosakoi means everything in the world to her.
Recommended By: Koda89, SeanStan, Aestevalis, thatsmapizza, DeadlyFatalis
Written by Aestevalis
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural, Romance
Spoiler-free Synopsis: (Based on the Manga by Wataru Watanabe of Yowamushi Pedal fame) Shibaki Kōta is a high-school student branded as the biggest pervert in all the campus, causing all the girls to avoid him like the plague. One day he happens to find a book about how to summon witches. He tries to make a wish as a joke, but it turns out, the book is the real thing, and he ends up summoning a witch called Rurumo, who grants his wish for a very hefty price: His soul.
After certain circumstances, Shibaki ends up helping Rurumo, and so she refuses to take his soul, but by doing so Rurumo is punished and demoted to an apprentice. To regain her status as a witch she has to get Shibaki to use 666 magic wishing tickets, and Shibaki realizing he’s responsible for this, wants to help Rurumo in any way he can. But that night Chiro, Rurumo’s cat familiar, appears before Shibaki to tell him something even Rurumo doesn’t know: Those tickets represents Shibaki’s own life: Whenever a ticket is used , his life will be shortened, and once they run out, he will die.
Torn between making wishes to help Rurumo become a witch once again or ignore the tickets and try to live a long life, Shibaki now has Rurumo’s future and his own life in his hands.
Why You Should be Watching: While the synopsis may sound a little grim, the fact that Rurumo herself doesn’t know about the consequences of using the tickets and Shibaki’s kind-hearted nature, leaves the initial focus of the show in the Comedy. The interactions between perverted Shibaki and almost-emotionless-and-blunt Rurumo are absolutely hilarious (think Yōto and Tsukiko from “The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat”) and the comedic timing is almost flawless at all times. Most importantly, Shibaki and Rurumo have that special ingredient needed to make a good romantic comedy: Chemistry. The show take its time to show why they are meant for each other, and is nice to see their friendly relationship slowly growing into something more.
But not everything is sunshine and roses, and the show can get serious once in a while to remind you that life is something irreplaceable, adding more depth to the story. Also the ending sequence is one of the sweetest things ever.
Recommended By: Aestevalis, SeanStan, Koda89, Rockmandash12
Written by Exile & EvenSteven02
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Failing at confessing your love to someone and receiving their autograph is bad. Botching a second attempt only to be invited back to his house as he’s been “unable to get anyone else lately” – also bad. Spending four hours inking sections of a manuscript before realising he’s a manga artist and took you for a fan... still doesn’t make Chiyo Sakura the most oblivious person of this series. After returning home and matching the signature of her giant, stoic crush to the work of a very popular girls romance author, Chiyo proceeds to encounter the inspirations and processes that go into Nozaki writing his manga, meeting the eclectic group of people that help him out and continuing to hope that, one day, Nozaki-kun will notice her as more than just an assistant.
Why You Should be Watching: Adapted from a 4-koma manga, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a delightful parody of shoujo, romance and the people who write about it. For this is not a show about shoujo itself, but rather those who create it.
Staying light-hearted throughout, the various relationships between the diverse cast of characters provide ample comedy; be it through misunderstandings, lampooning traditional gender roles or the dichotomy between expectations and reality. Rarely playing anything straight (even in-universe), each character is both the source of humour and the straight man for others in turn, and consistently high animation quality and use of sound, both music and vocal, support this series in being TAY’s most popular new anime of the season.
Fun fact: The author of Nozaki-kun, Izumi Tsubaki, once wrote a shoujo manga called “The Magic Touch.” A number of reviewers said it was one of the worst shoujo series they had ever read and that the plot was resolved too quickly and conveniently.
Recommended By: Exile, EvenSteven02, SeanStan, Protonstorm, Raitzeno, Aestevalis, Rockmandash12, Koda89, Stranger, MainProtagonist, FruityDrinks
Written by Raitzeno
Genre: Action, Comedy, Slapstick
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Momoka’s life is derailed on her first day of high school when she runs into trouble on the subway. She’s fully prepared to give ‘em hell... but instead she’s “saved” by a mysterious older girl brandishing a pistol! Momoka’s high school debut is hijacked as this gun-toting beauty, a third-year student named Miou, forcibly recruits her into the Survival Game Club. Filled with oddballs and ammo, the club might just be a great fit for Momoka, who has a not-very-secret mean streak a mile wide... and the kind of reflexes other survivalists would kill for, if they could!
Why You Should be Watching: This show may be adapted from a manga in a shoujo magazine, but there’s very little sugar to be found. Momoka is petty, cruel, vindictive, and smart-mouthed, the kind of girl that would be the villain in a typical shoujo manga. The other club members are lovable weirdos, and Momoka’s budding skills and excellent athletic talent are enough to make them tolerate her even as she playfully abuses them. Even one-note side characters bounce brilliantly off Momoka, especially when they give as good as they get from her often-childish verbal abuse. However, above and beyond any of the onscreen characters, the narrator steals the show every time he pipes up. His deadpan, sarcastic humor and constant insistence that these violent acts are imaginary help rocket the show from amusing to utterly hilarious.
Recommended By: Raitzeno, EvenSteven02, Aestevalis, Dexomega, Rockmandash12, Exile, Koda89, Stranger, DeadlyFatalis
Written by Dexomega & MainProtagonist
Genre: Psychological, Thriller
Spoiler-free Synopsis: In an alternate version of our reality, Tokyo is suddenly hit by a terrorist attack that baffles the nation. The only clues are left online by a cryptic pair of teenage boys. Paranoia spreads as the police attempt to track down this pair of boys while the two boys carry out their plans in secret. The pair, nine and twelve, (names indicative of their past) are known as “Sphinx”, whose goal is to wake the nation at any cost to their reality.
Why You Should be Watching: Terror in Resonance is a show worth watching for several reasons. Firstly, it is directed by the legendary Shinichiro Watanabe, who is also responsible for Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope (I like to forget about Space Dandy). Second is that the show’s soundtrack is composed by Yoko mothermotherfumotherfucking Kanno, and it is AMAZING. Third is that the animation is absolutely fantastic, with borderline movie quality fluidity and detail. But, while those are nice, the best reason to watch this show is the fact that its main characters inhabit a moral gray area. It is very rare to find an anime in which the characters’ motives are not “good” or “evil”, and it is even rarer for a show to do it well. The end result is a gripping drama/thriller in which you don’t know who to root for. Should you cheer on the protagonists, who cause turmoil and destruction despite trying not to take any lives? Or should you cheer on the veteran cop who is slightly unhinged from reality? And what about the other characters, who i won’t mention for fear of spoiling anything. This uncertainty is what makes Terror in Resonance so appealing and enthralling; not watching it means you’ll be doing yourself a disservice.
Recommended By: MainProtagonist, SeanStan, Protonstorm, EvenSteven02, Aestevalis, Dexomega, Rockmandash12, Koda89, Stranger, FruityDrinks
Written by Protonstorm
Genre: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Tokyo Ghoul is a show about an alternate modern Tokyo that is filled with vampire-like creatures called Ghouls, which survive by consuming humans. The protagonist is a bookish young man named Ken Kaneki, who has a fateful incident with a crazed ghoul that he only survives by pure luck. Afterwards, he is taken into a hospital to be cared for due to extreme injuries, but the doctor gives him organs of the ghoul that attacked him, effectively turning Kaneki into a half-ghoul. The story revolves around Kaneki’s acceptance of himself, his interactions with other ghouls (both friendly and evil), and the government inspectors called ‘doves’ who hunt them.
Why You Should be Watching: Tokyo Ghoul manages to take an extremely dark subject and turn it into something much more than just horror. Characters such as Touka, a female ghoul Kaneki works with who has a dark past, are varied and interesting. Even minor characters get explored as they interact with Kaneki, and he faces many horrific circumstances that could only occur in a world where ghouls exist. Fight scenes are made interesting not only by the skills of the fighters but also by the sophisticated weaponry of the ‘doves’ and the interesting Kagune, a predatory organ of the ghouls used to fight that looks similar to tentacles. Morality is also a primary focus, as the show dives into a subject that is very sensitive: if you have to survive by eating humans, is it right to do so? Is it right to kill ghouls just for trying to live? Dramatic battles and emotional deaths will keep viewers entertained and on the edge of their seats the entire time.
Recommended By: EvenSteven02, Dark_wint3r, Protonstorm, Rockmandash12, SeanStan, Koda89, thatsmapizza, MainProtagonist, DeadlyFatalis
Written by Exile
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Almost one year after surviving the death game that took the lives of nearly 4000 people, Kirito finds himself co-opted into an investigation of mysterious deaths occurring within another VRMMO. ‘Asked’ to act as bait to draw out the one claiming credit for the deaths of prominent gamers, he thus enters the world of Gun Gale Online, far from his fantasy home. But within its violent, dystopic setting, Kirito will be forced to face a past not yet put behind him.
Why You Should be Watching: You know all that mention of Kirito up there? Yeah, that’s not why you should be watching. You should be watching SAO II for new cast addition Sinon. Carrying a weight of issues unrelated to Aincrad and seeing Kirito more as a rival than as a heroic love interest, this aggressive sniper both expands the world of SAO and returns to us a badass female lead. Although the series starts slow, once within GGO things begin to move right along and whilst Kirito remains as overpowered as ever his abilities are less inexplicable; grounded in experience, genre savviness and his defining reflexes. The standard response to the anime continues to be “Well, in the Light Novels...” and Asuna remains sadly sidelined, but the murder mystery element is a good hook (it gets Kirito involved after all), Sinon does well to return agency to the female gender within the franchise after the Fairy Dance arc and we see Kirito himself as more human, rather than the literal Designated Hero he was in Sword Art Online.
Now keep your fingers crossed GGO is followed by Mother’s Rosario...
Recommended By: Dexomega, Exile, SeanStan, Protonstorm, EvenSteven02, Raitzeno, Aestevalis, Rockmandash12, Koda89, FruityDrinks, DeadlyFatalis
Written by Dexomega & Aestevalis
Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Superpowers
Spoiler-free Synopsis: The story of Hamatora continues with a second season. It’s been three months since Yokohama and things seem to be settling down. Investigations and life ensue for Murasaki and Hajime while Art and Nice have an encounter. Mystery ensues.
Why You Should be Watching: The first season had its ups and downs (and to tell the truth it was not too good), so they decided to change the animation studio. Having learned from some of the mistakes they committed in the first season, the change in the tone and direction of the series is visible from the start, even when the staff (aside from the studio) is practically the same. One of the bright points of the first season was its charismatic big bad, which was probably the best part of the show, but surprisingly the new main villain manages to surpass him. Discovering little by little about the mysterious circumstances that surround him is always interesting, and every time he’s on the screen the show gets more exciting. On top of that, our heroes are being affected by a strange phenomenon and their powers are starting to malfunction if used for too long. So, whenever they fight, the stakes are raised, as they can malfunction at any moment and our main villain would not let a chance like that pass.
They’re also teasing that one of the most neglected characters of the first season is playing a big role in the chapters to come and it’s looking very promising.
Recommended By: Dark_wint3r, Aestevalis, Koda89
Our honorable mentions section has been expanded. The mentions are now in another article alongside this one that both explains why you should be watching them and the arguments that ended up taking them down.
- Dexomega (@Dexomega)
- EvenSteven02 (@EvenSteven02)
- Koda89 (@KodaKazar)
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.