Five Anime You Should Be Watching This Season

We are now about halfway through the Spring anime season of 2013, and for weeks now I have been bombarded with the question, “What anime should I be watching this season?”

Well, with a good chunk of episodes under my belt from many of the different series, I feel it’s now safe to answer that question.

Now keep in mind, these are the anime that should not be missed this season -- but that doesn't mean all the others are objectively bad; it just means that the following five series are a cut above the rest.

Attack on Titan

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 25)

Genre: Low Fantasy, Steampunk

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: In a medieval world where giant Titans roam the lands, the last remnants of humanity hide behind a series of enormous walls. But should the Titans ever break the walls, it is up to the army to stop them with their specialised steampunk technology.

Why You Should Watch it: Attack on Titan is a heart-pounding adventure like few others before it. It feels like a cross between the steampunk world of Full Metal Alchemist and the violent, low fantasy world of Berserk. The mystery behind the Titans is compelling and the characters are well-developed -- not to mention interesting. And unlike many similar stories about a group of underdogs, the violence and danger are treated realistically -- to put it another way, the heroes are all too mortal.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Adventure, Mecha

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Many years after the majority of humanity had evacuated Earth, a young soldier crashes upon the watery planet. There he finds himself upon a floating city where he learns about a culture and lifestyle far different from his own.

Why You Should Watch it: Written by Gen Urobuchi (the author of Madoka Magica), Gargantia is, at its heart, a tale of personal growth through the introduction of new ideas. It also looks deeply at the implications of being a one-man super weapon and the danger that position holds for not only the young soldier but also all those around him.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

Valvrave the Liberator

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)

Genre: Mecha, Sci-Fi

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: When his neutral space colony is invaded, a normal high school student pilots an experimental mobile suit to fight off the invaders -- but at a terrible cost.

Why You Should Watch it: From the creators of Gundam comes... well, Gundam (only this time it's called Valvrave for some reason). While the basic story setup is hardly original, the way the series plays with that framework is new, original, and often over-the-top awesome. It really looks at how a war in space would be perceived in a world with widespread social media and how a Gundam pilot would be treated by the populous at large -- in addition to how major governments would act toward him. More than that, it's a series that pulls out surprise after surprise that you'd never expect -- making it an enjoyable ride you won't be able to stop watching.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, Hulu

Red Data Girl

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Japanese Fantasy, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: A young girl has led a normal -- if sheltered -- life in a small mountain town. Yet, odd things happen whenever she touches electronics, causing them to be destroyed. But little does she know that entering high school will take her into a world of spirits and magic -- a world hidden within our own.

Why You Should Watch it: Just as Harry Potter merged western magic and wizards with the modern world, Red Data Girl does the same with Japanese magic and shamans. When it comes down to it, it's a coming-of-age story about finding one's self. Though it is not as action-filled as the other anime on this list, it is still drama-filled -- yet, manages to never descend into overly melodramatic territory.

Where You Can Watch It: Funimation, Hulu

The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 13)

Genre: Comedy, Western Fantasy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: When the Demon King is defeated by the Hero, he and his last minion escape their fantasy world and land in modern Japan. But with no marketable skills and running low on magic, the Demon King is forced to get a fast food job and begin his conquest of both worlds from the very bottom of the pecking order.

Why You Should Watch it: The Devil is a Part-Timer! could have been nothing but your standard fish-out-of-water comedy. Instead, the whole scenario is turned on its head by continuously showing how well acclimated the Demon King is to his new life. The resulting story is a comedy satirizing not only fantasy world clichés, but also life as an entry level employee in modern Japan.

Where You Can Watch It: Funimation, Hulu

Want a second opinion? See what our friends over at io9 had to say about the anime this season.

Stay tuned to Kotaku East for our article coming later this week on the other anime this season (and why you can skip them). And if you would like to chat about all things anime, head over to Talk Amongst Yourselves: ANI-TAY.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @BiggestinJapan.


    Attack on Titan is a great anime.
    I read through the manga prior to watching it, despite being someone who never reads manga.
    Quite funny how much character development is skipped in the anime.

      I might just read the manga...

      the anime plans to blow through the chapters

      the first five episodes are like 5 volumes of manga

      Valvrave is not any better, but its not so much about the story pace, but more so about the plot holes (too many, make the story move too fast)

      Spoiler alert
      I find it extremely weird and awkward that he went crazy psycho killer after seeing his crush get "crushed". They didnt build up enough premise or deep connecting relationship for them to justify his reaction. I mean its something id do too. But within the first 10 mins of the first episode before we have even gotten a chance to grow a connection to the characters?? seriously??

        Actually, the first five episodes of Attack on Titan were adapted using the first five chapters of the manga

          thats moving really fast for 5 chapters...they barely scraped in the character development lol

      I'm missing this one, I don't like stories of people being eaten :(

        the eating compliments the story, to emphasise the mortality of the characters.
        its not the focus

        Pretty much every anime suggests that heroes can do crazy stunts or take crazy damage and come out unscathed

    Are any of these dubbed in English....and before you all dig into me about "subs are better", English dub is a personal preference and i like it more that reading subs.

      Not yet I believe. You're stuck with subs unless you wait it out for someone to licence it outside of Japan.

      Anime doesn't get dubbed until half year to one year after japanese release. You have to wait until next year to watch them. That is IF it get dubbed.

      Probably not. Unless there are fandubs.

      They're all currently airing in Japan. Dubs happen way later.

        Bugger, thanks for the replies everyone.
        Wasn't aware they are brand new shows, thought some of them have had previous seasons.

          Well now you have more things to look forward to then :D

      Don't stress man, I'm the same. I watch a lot of stuff in bed before going to sleep and it's easier to listen than read subs persistently.

    I believe they are all screening at the moment in Japan so they don't have a dub release yet. Need to wait for the western TV or DVD release.

    Thanks for this article.
    I find most new anime to be clones of others, or just not interesting at all.
    There's just so much anime around, it's good to see some kind of filter or recommendations for a slightly more Western audience.
    Hope this becomes a regular thing per season.

    I prefer the anime with under dressed school girls and a big bar of coco butter.

    Quick glance: io9's list swapped out Red Data Girl and Valverave for Flowers of Evil and Space Battleship Yamato 2199.

    Thanks, but I think I'll stick to 'Working!!'.

      Wait, is there a new season of Working? I only saw a run that finished a year or so ago and I was pretty taken in by its charms. :)

        No, I don't think so. ;__;

        I'm just watching the first season at the moment, since I'm an anime noob. Pretty much everything is new to me at the moment, regardless of when it was released, as I haven't watched a whole lot.

          Awh. Nerts. I am sadface.

          I hear you on being an anime n00b though. I have a brother who's very heavily into anime, bit of an otaku, and I'm always pretty late on taking up his suggestions. Not that he seems to mind. A while ago I finally got around to watching Kaichou wa maid-sama and my coming back to him to enthuse about how satisfying it was an ask about a second season gave him inspiration to rewatch. Just like I am probably going to re-watch Working!! now.

          (Oh, the same studio did another anime not long after which was a bit of fun. OreShura for short, can't remember the full name. I'm going to have to start looking up anime by the studio that does it, so I can track ones which do series I like.)

    No mention of railgun season 2 :(
    latest ep was awesome!

    Ive still got another 100 eps of One Piece before i can think about watching another anime :/

      If you're watching One Piece, you don't really need any others.

        Sanji and the princess are about to bust the gang out of Crocodiles cage. Shits about to go down!

      just stop, One Piece is just a waste of time

        Unless he is 10 years old lol

          She* dude.

        I like it and will watch it! *folds arms*

          heh, gotta admit I did like Naruto

    Can't tell if its wrong or maybe crunchyroll doesn't give everything to Australians but i can't find Attack on Titan on that site

      Yeah, we don't have the license. I tried to not pirate it goddamn you! I tried!!

      That first one.

      Crunchyroll have gotten a lot better over the last couple of years in licensing material for other territories but there are usually several shows each season that are licensed in the USA but not Australia. Attack on Titan is one of those shows.

      Given the level of interest in the show, it's probably a good bet for Madman (or Siren, or Hanabee) to license eventually. Madman often stream their shows before publishing lately, so that may eventually become an option.

    If you speak french you can get Valvrave and Attack on Titan via in Japanese with French subs. If you don't speak french ...then you probably didn't get beat up at school.
    *runs away crying*

    I will watch them when they end.. I cant sit and wait week to week for a series i will get bored and wander off before then

    no! dont tell me more about animes!! i already have heaps on my to watch list!! oh well adding these anyway =D

    From what I know, Valvrave is written by the creator of Code Geass. But is he the same person who made Gundam?

    Thank you for introducing me to Attack on Titan it one of the best anime series I have ever seen.

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