The Five Anime Of Q2 2014 You Should Be Watching

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

There are a lot of new anime on the air right now -- 47 of them to be exact -- and it can be more than a little difficult to know which ones to watch. Luckily, we are here to help with our recommendations.

As we hit the halfway point of the season, it is time for me to finally pry my eyes away from my TV set. I have spent the last month getting fully caught up on all the most well-recommended new anime from this season -- as well as a few other ones that just happened to catch my eye.

Keep in mind as you read that these are simply the new anime that should not be missed this season. There are many more airing currently that are perfectly watchable. But that said, these listed here are the cream of the crop.

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

Witch Craft Works

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Modern Fantasy, Comedy, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Takamiya is your average high school boy who just happens to sit next to Kagari, the most popular girl in school -- though he finds this situation troublesome, more than anything else. One day, he is suddenly attacked by a witch and her army of bunny golems -- only to be rescued by Kagari who then informs him that she is also a witch as well as his magical bodyguard.

Why You Should Watch It: This anime is based on inverting typical gender roles in a classic fantasy structure. In Witch Craft Works it is the beautiful woman who is the ever vigilant "knight" and the young man who is the "princess" in need of constant rescue. Moreover, for the most part, the dialogue is written exactly the same as it would be if the "princess" were female and the "knight" male -- which only adds to the fun of the gender inversion theme.

And beyond that, the anime is still quite enjoyable. The visuals are excellent, the humour light-hearted, the characters distinct, and the world more than a little crazy and over-the-top. In other words, Witch Craft Works is a lot of fun.

Watch It If You Like: Anime that play with gender roles.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

Sakura Trick

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School Life

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Haruka and Yuu have been inseparable best friends all through middle school. However, upon entering high school, the two girls find themselves sitting on opposite sides of the classroom -- causing Haruka to nearly go into hysterics, convinced that it is only a matter of time before Yuu moves on and replaces her with new friends. Thus, to prevent growing apart, the two girls decide to do something special -- something that they have never done with another friend. The two share a kiss -- and in doing so begin a relationship of another kind.

Why You Should Watch It: Sakura Trick is an anime that begins -- not ends -- with the start of a romantic relationship. It presents two young people clearly in love and dedicated to their relationship -- but who have absolutely no idea what they are doing. Thus mistakes and misunderstandings happen often. Yet, instead of getting bogged down in heavy drama, the story is presented in a lighthearted matter -- often alternating between the comical events of their school life and the romantic moments the two share. All in all, it makes for an enjoyable romantic comedy, full of the romantic payoffs most anime are so keen to hold back on.

Watch It If You Like: The idea of a light-hearted lesbian love story.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

Wizard Barristers

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Action, Mystery

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: In a world much like our own, the most dangerous criminals are those born with magical powers. Common people live in fear of magic users and racial tension between them is always high. So, when a magic user is accused of a crime, the deck is very much stacked against them in the magical court of law. Thus enters Cecile, the youngest wizard defence attorney ever -- and a girl with an impending destiny that even she is unaware of.

Why You Should Watch It: Wizard Barristers takes the idea of people having magical powers in the modern world and plays it straight -- creating a world built around the fear that a single criminal with magical powers can kill dozens with little to no effort. On top of this is a varied cast with interesting mysteries and backstories all their own that are explored alongside the series' case-of-the-week.

Another other strong point of Wizard Barristers is just how beautiful it is -- which is unsurprising as it comes from Yasuomi Umetsu, the man behind Kite and Mezzo Forte. The anime is almost worth watching on looks alone.

Watch It If You Like: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Kite, and Mezzo Forte.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

The Pilot's Love Song

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Karl is a young man on a mission of revenge. To get it, he joins a flight school on a floating island city on a course for the end of the sky. As the days go by, he makes friends and even falls in love. However, the day is ever approaching when he will have to choose between his new life and the vengeance he seeks.

Why You Should Watch It: The Pilot's Love Song is an excellent tale of love, hate, and forgiveness. Told largely through an exploration of the characters' back stories, the anime has a deep and well-developed main cast, several great revelations, and a believable love story.

But the real star of The Pilot's Love Song is the setting and the art style that supports it. The flying island is stunning and the imaginative pre-World War II style aeroplanes steal practically every scene they are in -- especially once the dog fights get started.

Watch It If You Liked: The Princess and the Pilot, Porco Rosso, or Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

World Conquest Zvezda Plot

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 13)

Genre: Comedy, Superhero

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Asuta is a middle schooler who one day decides to run away from home. It is then that he meets eight-year-old Kate who invites him to become her henchman and help her take over the world. While at first thinking this is a game of pretend, he soon learns that she does indeed lead a team of superhero-battling villains who are conquering the world one small piece at a time.

Why You Should Watch it: World Conquest is a great comedic twist on Japanese superhero tropes and clichés -- i.e., those common in shows like Kamen Rider, Power Rangers, and Gatchaman. By telling the villains' side of the story, we get to see how they spend the down time in between battles, how they interact on a personal level, and the more mundane -- as well as the more fantastical -- problems they must overcome in the running of an evil organisation.

But the best part of World Conquest is Kate herself. While indeed the unquestioned leader of the group, a lot of the show's best humour comes in those moments when she acts like a normal eight-year-old girl. Though, in all honesty, it's equally funny to see a child talking like a Bond villain about her plans for world domination.

Watch It If You Like: The idea of seeing a Japanese superhero show from the villains' point of view.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, Daisuki


Bonus Pick: The Short-Form Anime You Should be Watching

The Five Anime of Winter 2014 You Should Be Watching

Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 13)

Genre: Comedy, School Life

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Rumi is a responsible high school girl just trying to get the best out of her education. Unfortunately for her, the titular Seki sits in the desk next to hers and she can't help but be distracted by the astounding ways he finds to keep himself entertained in class. You know, instead of learning.

Why You Should Watch It: Told entirely through Rumi's point of view (complete with her running inner monologue) Tonari no Seki-Kun presents the most basic, yet perhaps most entertaining, anime of the season. Each seven to eight minute episode shows one of Seki's ways of killing time -- be that setting hundreds of erasers on end like dominoes or creating an intricate samurai war story using nothing but shogi pieces. Each episode is hilarious not only in what Seki does, but in Rumi's reactions as she finds herself drawn into his antics despite her best efforts.

Watch it If You: Have a vivid imagination and/or have ever slacked off in class.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll


Now that you've read my recommendations for what anime you should be watching this fall season, you may wonder why your favourite series is absent. There are four potential reasons: (1) I think it is terrible (or at least not quite as good as the five above); (2) it is the second/third/fourth season of an anime and I haven't seen the first; (3) it is an anime continuing from last season; or (4) it simply didn't cross my radar.

But if you feel I have left out an anime that's something special, feel free to give me a heads up in the Comments and tell me why you feel that way.

Oh, and if you feel the need for even more anime to watch, be sure to check out our picks for the top five anime of 2013.


Comments

    Witch Craft Works - I agree. This is worth a watch. Slow start, but is starting to get into the plot proper now.
    Sakura Trick - Just go watch some H anime instead.
    Wizard Barristers - Avoid! Seemed good to begin with, especially with Norio Wakamoto involved, but quickly got boring.
    The Pilot’s Love Song - Just go watch the Miyazaki movies it's ripping off
    World Conquest Zvezda Plot - Avoid! Pure Lolli crap!
    Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time - Worth a watch for a 5 minute giggle.

      Sorry Richard, but this guy hit it pretty spot on!

      The Pilot's Love Song does share quite a few similarities with Miyazaki movies, but seemed pretty decent in its own right (gets better after episode 1, reminded me a bit too much of Miyazaki movies). But yeah, overall I'm not a big fan of the list.

      Except that The Pilot’s Love Song and Sekai Seifuku – Bouryaku no Zvezda are the best animes this season and Sakura Trick is actually a well made and balanced 4-koma adaption.

      But yeh, Wizard Barristers is shit.

      Have to disagree with you on Zvezda... it is one of the funniest shows I have watched in years. Give it two eps. If you still don't like it then you probably won't but I found it very amusing. Apart from the creepy battle outfit they put Zvezda in. Euuuuuch.

        I give every anime 4 eps to get my into it, then start dropping as they lose my interest.

    No Hamatora? I personally would have put it at No. 1 for this season.

    JUST WATCH KILL LA KILL

      Kill La Kill is really nowhere near as good as the hype train makes it out to be. It's like a not great Gurren Lagann with too much flcl to be completely coherent. The tone is all over the place, the echi stuff is really weirdly out of place, the story is silly but not always in a good way, the animation goes from gorgeous to awful and then back again.

      It's just not that great.

    The actual five you should be watching:
    - Witch Craft Works
    - Silver Spoon S2
    - Noragami
    - Nobunaga the Fool
    - Nisekoi

    And also if you're not already watching Kill la Kill you're probably doing it wrong.

    It's actually a really poor season. The best stuff running is either stuff that started last season (eg Log Horizon, Nagi no Asukara, Kill la Kill) and carried over, or is a new season of some pre-existing franchise (eg Silver Spoon, Saki, Magi)

      @negativeZero -i agree with all on your list but i would of had "Hamatora: the animation" on there somewhere. i dont know what id replace it with, but i reckon either silver spoon or witch craft works. the rest is solid!

      as for the actual article list here...no. witch craft works is the only one that is worth putting it on the list, but its one of the weaker good animes this season. meaning that its an anime that can be replaced in a top five list more easily than the rest

      Excellent tastes. Wizard Barristers is a little weird, still not sure what to think of it. I've also got Kuroko, Ace of Diamonds and Tokyo Ravens on my currently watching list

      i also would of added buddy complex on the sidelines

      do you mind explaining whats good about silver spoon? is it anything like moyashimon

        It's a bit like that, but not really. Similar sort of tone I guess. But it doesn't have cute microbes everywhere, and it's more character-focused.

        Basically the main character is a fairly decent student from a suburban school but in order to escape from the pressures his dad puts on him, he decides to move to an agricultural high school in the middle of nowhere. So it's all about the experience of culture shock he has, since all the other kids there are from rural families and are there primarily to learn how to run their family's farms or similar. But because he comes from a completely different perspective, he sees a lot of things that those around him take for granted or never really think about and sheds a different light on them. One of the central elements of the first season for example is him trying to sort out his feelings as he spends time caring for a piglet that grows up into a full-sized pig as things progress, knowing that that pig will be sent to the slaughterhouse. And obviously the meta-story is about him trying to figure out his place in the world and sort out his strained relationship with his father.

        It's interesting and thoughtful, but also retains a lot of the tone and the amusing school hijinks of Moyashimon. I was initially skeptical as well, since it just sounded like a ripoff, but having watched it they're different enough and I definitely think if you liked one you'd like the other as well.

          this sounds good
          thanks
          The art style is similar which is a good thing

          Any romance angle in this?
          Moyashimon only had the girl in their group but they didnt really follow the romance angle until later in the series and only hinted at it.
          And the TV series just butchered the gay friend angle

            there are hints of romance between the main character and one of the girls. but nothing has really happened per say to up their relationship. This anime is really good because it makes the main character work. He doesn't just magically get motivated and everything turns out perfect, no, bad things happen to him, and makes for a very realistic anime.

    Kill la Kill is from the last cour and Silver Spoon is a second season, so aren't counted (and this has been brought up in earlier anime season reviews.)

    Not sure Witch Craft Works is really all that unusual - that trope (the 'dude in distress') is pretty overused at the moment.

    Last edited 19/02/14 11:15 pm

    I don't see Nisekoi, Magi, Tokyo Ravens, Hamatora, Noragami or Space Dandy.... What is this?

    I haven't seen anything good besides Nisekoi,Space Dandy,Chuu2, Kill La Kill.

      Have you checked out Kuroko no Basket yet?

    how is Space Dandy not on this list? its from the guy who created Cowboy Bebop and also one of the guys from Full Metal Alchemist (side note; same lady who wrote FMA is also writing Silver Spoon). I'm enjoying Hamatora, it sometimes reminds me of Psycho Pass, and is much better than Sakura Trick.

    also, jumping on the Kill La Kill bandwagon

      Probably because Space Dandy went from potential anime of the season to being very hit and miss with it's stories. Plus the constant ending of Dandy dying is getting pretty lame quickly

    Guys, been a while since I've watched any anime, few years, where should I start l. Any completed series I should start with? Cheers. Tastes are open, always give it a crack first

      Depends on what kind of genre you feel like watching first.
      Sword Art Online - it's a series about an mmo where the players are trapped in game and if they die in the game they die in real life.
      Attack on Titan - if only so you can finally get all those memes and jokes that have been flying around. A sort of medieval/renaisance era show where humanity has been forced to live behind giant walls due to the human eating giants known as titans
      Or otherwise just jump on Crunchy roll and pick something at random

      As Kami said, it depends on what you like to watch.

      Sword Art Online will appeal if you like the newer "Stuck in MMO" genre with a love story attached.

      I'd avoid Attack on Titan like the plague, but that's just me. If you MUST watch it, then you can skip a lot of episodes in the first half. I used to have a list of key eps for that part, but I can't remember it

      The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - Excellent story arc, incredibly tight writing, every small detail matters. Characters are really entertaining, despite some silly cliche business.

      Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Mecha anime for people who don't like mecha. A very silly story with very silly characters that somehow becomes one of the most watchable character dramas in recent memory. It also has giant robot fights all over the place and an amazing soundtrack

      Lucky Star - If you can handle stupid, cute anime about high school girls, this show is hilarious. Give it a few episodes, though. The first 4 or so are really hard to get through. They changed director at about that point and it became hilarious. Special mention for finishing the series at the best possible time. (If you like this type of thing but less over the top, try Hidamari Sketch)

      Azumanga Daioh - One of the most deceptively clever comedies around. It plays itself off like a slow and quiet version of the school girl comedy thing, but is consistently one of the most strange and entertaining things around. Everybody should watch this show.

      Hellsing - Dracula is in the service of the British government's secret Anglican vampire destruction agency. He has a giant pistol, figths the Roman Catholic church along with world-wide vampire conspiracies and is also Dracula. Lots of really good horror elements and engaging characters. He's basically an evil super hero. It's really awesome. The series got screwed around by money problems, but the OVAs are excellent. For real, though: Super Dracula.

        Gotta love Gurren Lagann, though it gets to the point that the giant in giant robots almost needs to be put in bold due to how insane it gets.

      Have to agree with some of the previous recommendations. Specifically Gurren Lagann and Hellsing. But for some reason nobody recommended Fullmetal Alchemist which you should definitely give a go if you've never seen it specifically Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood as that follows the Manga. Eureka Seven is good as well and also give Fate/Zero a look.

    Woah woah woah, it's only February, where did Q2 come from?!

    Also Hamatora should be in this list, just sayin...

      Q1 is the Nov-Jan season in Japan
      Also, as I've said above, Hamatora started well, but it's villain of the week style story killed it quickly

    Why You Should Watch It: Sakura Trick is swell if you hate shows with any substance whatsoever but like to jerk off to cartoon lesbians kissing.

      yea it is, the show likes to shove anime boobs in your face

    Even though it started last season, Log Horizon is easily better than any of these choices. I'm liking it more than Sword Art Online now.

    No love for Onee-chan ga Kita?

      Why? Might as well go watch some Lolli H instead.

    Is anyone else watching Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha? I feel that's worth a mention!

      I'm quite liking it. Don't think I have enough to pick a top 5 out of the new, non-returning anime (Watching 10, might drop 5, could pick up 3), but my top 4 currently would be:
      Witch Craft Works
      Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha
      D-Frag
      Mikakunin de Shinkouke

    Space Dandy: some plotless(at the moment) crazy one-story a week show.
    Buddy Complex: It's a Gundam-like show by Bandai, enjoyable if you like Real Robot shows.
    Hamatora: don't know how to sum this up in a sentence, I personally like it but...
    Hozuki no Reitetsu: Is this called Deadpan humour? Watch the first half of episode 1 and see if it's right for you.
    Magical Warefare: Pretty bland high school with magical powers show, I'm dropping after 6 episodes
    Noragami: Decent if a little slow in telling the main story.
    Wake Up Girls: Surprisingly not horrible story of an start-up Idol group. Slice of Life/Drama style?

Join the discussion!