The Five Anime Of Q2 2014 You Should Be Watching

The Five Anime of Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

There are 60 new anime on the air this season, and so it can be understandably more than a little difficult to know which ones to watch. Luckily, we're here to help with our recommendations.

As we hit the halfway point of the season, it is finally time for me to shave off my bushy beard and rest my bloodshot eyes. 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.

But before we get to the list, 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 Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

No Game No Life

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Brother and sister combo Sora and Shiro are a pair of shut-ins who do nothing but play games all day. Online they form the legendary guild "blank" that goes from game to game, mastering it before moving on to another. Be the game an MMO or online chess, the pair has never lost a match. Then, one day the two find themselves transported to a fantasy world where everything from robbery to world politics is decided not through violence or diplomacy but through games.

Why You Should Watch It: No Game No Life is a comedy about smart gamers. It's equally about how to best play games and how to best cheat at them. This concept is personified in the two main leads.

Shiro, the little sister, is a genius who can "read" the game before her -- and thus calculate odds and see many moves ahead. Sora, on the other hand, can read the players and is able to see how they think -- often enabling him to cheat or at least exploit loopholes to his own advantage. Together they make a perfect team. But in a fantasy world where their enemies have magic and cheat with reckless abandon, it's an entertaining adventure to watch them outthink their rivals week after week and secure victory against overwhelming odds.

Watch It If You Like: Smart characters and gamer humour.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

Brynhildr in the Darkness

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 13)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Ultraviolence

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Ryouta is the only member of his high school astronomy club. When he was a kid, he was best friends with a girl that believed she had seen extraterrestrial life. Sadly, she died in an accident. Now, in her memory, Ryouta is driven to become an astronomer and find aliens himself. But then one day, a mysterious transfer student appears who looks exactly like an older version of his friend. Yet while this girl, Kuroha, claims not to know him, she indeed has a strange aura about her. However, that is not because she is an alien -- as you might expect -- but rather because she is a witch on the run from a secret government research lab that has tagged her for extermination.

Why You Should Watch It: Brynhildr in the Darkness is set in a world where danger is very real and people can (and do) die in horribly gruesome ways. However, because of the cliché "long lost love" setup, the characters continually treat their world and story more like that of a romantic comedy. Of course, the inherent darkness of the world keeps getting in the way of the light-hearted story, often bringing it crashing back to reality -- thus making the violence and life-and-death stakes all the more thrilling.

The other great aspect of the series is Ryouta himself. He is an intelligent protagonist who thinks things through and understands the implications of his actions. In a world of magic and constant life-threatening dangers, it is his quick thinking that saves the day far more often than brute force or magical hijinks.

Watch It If You Like: Elfen Lied, Blood-C, Madoka Magica.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

Blade & Soul

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 13)

Genre: Action, Eastern Fantasy

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: After her master is killed by chaos-powered mage Jin Varel, Alka, the last remaining assassin from the Clan of the Sword, hunts the murderer and her allies across a fantasy world -- while being hunted herself. Along the way, she sells her deadly skills to anyone willing to give her a roof for the night, to part with a few coins, or to get her closer to completing her mission of bloody vengeance.

Why You Should Watch It: Blade & Soul is a non-stop action anime that feels torn straight out of the '90s. There are gloriously choreographed fights every episode (more than one in most cases), and the anime doesn't shy away from adult levels of violence. But as amazing as she is in battle, the anime is careful to play it straight. Aluka is only one woman and while she is able to defeat seemingly anyone one-on-one, she can only be at one place at any given time.

But perhaps the best aspect of this anime is that it is blessedly free of most modern anime clichés. There are no high schools, angsty teens, tsundere girls, ignorant audience proxies or stereotypically "moé" characters. And while the overall "hunting my master's killer" series plot and the numerous samurai/western episodic plots are far from original themselves, they not only provide for situations rife with action but also allow the strong and silent Aluka to develop as a character through what she learns as a guest in other people's stories.

Watch It If You Like: Ninja Scroll.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, Hulu

The Five Anime of Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

One Week Friends

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Romance, School Life

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Hase has always wanted to befriend Fujimiya, the silent, hard working girl in his class with no friends. But when he finally works up the courage and makes the attempt, he learns her secret: Every Monday morning, when she wakes up, she loses all memory of her friends.

Why You Should Watch It: One Week Friends is an anime that uses its amnesia plot device as a tool to explore love, jealousy and friendship. Each episode focuses on a week or two in the lives of Hase and Fujimiya and is thematically centered around one aspect of their growing relationship -- be that their first fight or getting to know friends of friends. All in all, it is a touching story that will tug at your heartstrings every week as the two develop and grow despite the memory reset at the end of each week.

Watch It If You Like: Golden Time, Sakura Trick.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

The Five Anime of Spring 2014 You Should Be Watching

Ping Pong: The Animation

Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)

Genre: Sports, Coming of Age

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Ping Pong is the story of two best friends, Paco and Smile. Ever since they were little, the two have played ping pong on a competitive level, with Paco the stronger of the two and Smile happy to stand in his friend's shadow. However, upon entering high school, they learn that natural ability can only get you so far.

Why You Should Watch It: When it comes down to it, Ping Pong isn't really about ping pong (nor is it your typical sports anime with nearly supernatural special techniques and matches that take up multiple episodes just to stretch out the drama). Rather it's an anime about the relationship between talent and hard work -- and how that relationship affects the main characters.

Paco has always been so talented that he's never had any real challenge before and has thus never had to deal with losing. Smile, on the other hand, is even more talented but has never wanted to stand out and cares little if he wins or loses. Moreover, the two have never had to work hard and react to the prospect of it in two totally different ways. Watching them grow as people from this starting point -- as they begin to deal with the sport on a much more competitive level -- is the heart and soul of the anime.

Watch It If You Like: The idea of a series free from all the typical shonen anime clichés that's as much about coming of age as it is about sports.

Where You Can Watch It: Funimation, Crunchyroll

Now that you've read my recommendations for what anime you should be watching this spring 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.

Oh, and if you feel the need for even more anime to watch, be sure to check out the five anime of Q1 2014 you should have watched and our picks for the top five anime of 2013.


    Every Monday morning, when she wakes up, she loses all memory of her friends.

    That's a very specific memory loss problem.

      Reminds me of 50 first dates, she loses memory when she wake up in the morning. They missed the opportunity to show the funniest moment which is when she wake up every morning to see herself suddenly pregnant hahah. The movie skipped all the way until the kids are big :(

        What I don't get is if that is a time or sleep affect. Why couldn't she have just stayed up all night? You could tell her on the first day, let stay awake as long as she can, eventually fall alseep but only lose the memory of the last day, not the time where she was told of her problem. You can help fix many issues by doing that. She'll always retain the memory of her problem, even if she loses the memory of her last day.

          There is a book called "All You Need is Kill" by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, a military sci-fi short novel, which has a similar hook. The book is coming out as a movie called "Edge of Tomorrow" in a few weeks.

            There's a good manga, too, if you haven't read it.

          Just a stupid plot to make it interesting? Suzumiya Haruhi has one of the dumbest plot but funny to watch haha

          Actually, she doesnt lose memory of her last day, she loses every memory she gained from the time she had her accident when she was young until the present, so her brain pretty much can't store any new memories. So staying up an extra day wont help, the moment she falls asleep and the brain does its reorganizing, back to square one,

        I have not heard of this movie, who is the star of it?

          Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore a movie in 2004

          Last edited 15/05/14 11:31 am

          Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It's terrible.

            It's not that bad, it's a nice movie. I watch with my gf all the time. It is a great couples film.

              Sat through it with the gf. It's pure garbage. Pure, sloppy, juice covered garbage.

              Out of question, what do you mean by 'all the time'? Twice a year or something?

              Because that's in line with my biannual viewing of Predator.

              Man I love Predator.

              Last edited 15/05/14 2:10 pm

                That's like my biannual viewing of Evil Dead 2.

                Romantic comedies don't have to be awful, they just are. Almost without exception. The good ones are so damn rare that they drown in a sea of Jennifer Anniston being kooky and Hugh Grant being all British. Who needs a decent three act structure, coherent story, likable characters, or clever dialogue when you can make fat jokes and have Adam Sandler yell at shit?

                Not bitter.

                  I quite like some romantic comedies, but have long since given up on Adam Sandler. Whenever I see him on the cast list it's an instant dismissal.

                Quarterly realistically.

                Biannual is once every 2 years (like how the bicentennial was 2 centuries). Twice a year is semiannual.

                  Nah man Biannual is twice a year. Google it.

                  Adam Sandler rom com wise I didnt mind Spanglish.

    Nope. Not gonna watch any of those. I'm watching full metal alchemist brotherhood at the moment and I can say it is awesome.

      Is that the one with the Nazis plot twist or the one that follows the actual story?

        Actual story. I've seen only 19 eps so far yet it has moved so far already. Not many fillers. Story is solid and moves at a steady pace. New characters are introduced and get killed off as you get to know them and find connections. Very well done in my opinion.

        You say that like the original one with the nazi's isnt the one that actually made it famous and popular.

        The manga was at like novel 4 by the time the anime had finished and people did not give a shit about the manga story.

        I'm not convinced brotherhood is much better, it seems to just do a naruto and add a ton of usless side characters. I'm also not convinced the ending is really better than the nazi one.

    I actually dislike every show on this list.

    May I suggest shows like;
    -Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou (Romcom, great supporting characters)
    -Akuma no Riddle (School life with assasins)
    -Break Blade (it is a remake of the mecha movie in show form)
    -Hitsugi no Chaika
    -M3 ~Sono Kuroki Hagane~ (Scifi, psychological)
    -Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (Tries to explain magic through technology, school life)
    -Mekakucity Actors (Interesting visuals)
    -Sidonia no Kishi (Pretty much Attack on Titan in space, expect a lot of characters to die)
    -Black Bullet (Psycho little girls, light on the comedy but still satisfying)

    Last edited 15/05/14 2:12 pm

      Mahouka is so damn good. I'm rather enjoying Black Bullet at the moment too.

        I knew I forgot something, thanks for reminding me.

      Side-vote. You make fantastic recommendations that I'm enjoying, but I'd rate No Game No Life at the very high end of any list including them, all the same.

        See I bad as I watched the first episode and it didn't seem to offer me anything, but a lot of people have said positive things about it, so I might need to go back at some point and give it a second try.

      Having watched almost every new series in this season I have to disagree. While everyone has different tastes, the 5 listed are close to the best in their "fields". If you like those fields or not is up to each person.

      I have Ping Pong and No game(this is at my very top atm) above almost every one of those, even blade and soul to a degree.

      Bokura has a terrible main character, I don't why why but he just annoys me, greatly. The rest I quite like.

      Akuma No riddle is possibly the Worst of the still half decent shows this season (It takes something truly awful to be worse than damidaler). I liked the first few episodes but then its quickly jumped of a cliff.

      Black B, Mahouka , M3 and Chaika are all great, Loving them so far.

      Mekakucity is an odd one. I loved half the episodes and then the rest were just fing weird. So I can't rate it too highly yet. Once they all get back together I think it will really take off.

      Personally I would Also Recommend Baby Steps (tennis) and Haikyuu!! (volleyball) as two more very good shows to watch this season. There is also Yowamushi pedal which is airing though it didn't start this season.

      Last edited 15/05/14 3:28 pm

        Look I won't lie, sport animes are not my thing, but I feel even less interest in it knowing that its just not all that pretty (Read. graphic w***e). As for No game, it was a weird case of what seemed like boring characters, a weird focus on what will be future incest and characters that are apparently so good in their field they have nothing to lose; that said I did only get around to watching the first episode so it may mean that I need to give it a second chance.

        As I said in my list Bokura has great support characters, it is almost built on them. I honestly don't even pay attention to the main characters as Shiro and Mayumi are pure gold.

        I enjoy Akuma, the only gripe I have with it is that it doesn't seem like enough characters are kicking the bucket; which tends to make it feel like passive fan service as they don't want any of the characters to die as that would alienate a small part of their viewers each time.

        Makakucity is interesting in that I really hated the first episode, but then a girl I am seeing forced me to sit down and watch a couple more episodes, I am now quite into it. I feel like it is the perfect show for people who are waiting for more Monotgari.

        As I said at the start.... NOOOOOOOOO MORE SPORTS. Just thinking of them is tiring me out.

        Last edited 15/05/14 5:07 pm

    Isn't there a new ghost in the shell out? Sorry, I'm a few years out of sync with anime.

      Hey guys, have you heard of this new cartoon called Pokemon?

      There's been two (?) movies Ghost in the Shell: Arise and Ghost in the Shell:Arise 2 in the last 12 months.

        Set after second season I would assume?

          Complete reboot actually Hydroleks.

          Could be considered a prequel of sorts though.

    Personally, the Ping Pong manga is one of my all-time favourite sports manga, so I will be watching this show.

      Ping Pong is my favourite of the season, most other shows playing atm are something we have seen time and time before.

      I'd been giving a bunch of sports-themed shows a really honest go at getting me in after I was pleasantly surprised by Eyeshield21, but after so many non-starters the last couple years I've ignored the genre. Gave the cycling and volleyball ones a shot recently... did you try & like those? (If so, I'm going to have to write-off your ping pong recommendation. :P)

        Anything by Mitsuru Adachi is brilliant, if you don't mind romance subplots (and like his sense of humour). For sure, Eyeshield's a hard one to top :)

        In terms of sports-themed shows I rather enjoyed watching Kuroko's Basketball, been meaning to try some other ones though.

          I missed that one, I'll have to look it up.

            I'm in the same boat as you, until recently I always fooled myself into thinking a sports anime couldn't possibly be compelling.

            Then I watched Ping Pong and I was instantly converted. I then immediately downloaded Yowamushi pedal, then Baby steps and Haikyuu!! The first two of which are very nice shows to watch

            Now I'm onto prince of tennis and Kuroko's basketball as well. Though I'm having a hard time reconciling the special shots that break the laws of physics in Prince of tennis atm.

    No Game No Life is a personal favorite so far. They started managing a Kingdom using stuff they learned from Civilization games, which are my favorite, so I squealed a little.

      No Game No Life is fantastic! I enjoying watching it more than most recent anime I can think of.

    Soul Eater Not! is pretty good. People just need to let go of their hate that it's Not Soul Eater.

    I could not recommend any of those in the article. People in the comments section seem to have a good idea of what to watch this season. I believe that Richard has no clue as to what anime are good these days and is very out of touch.

      If you think No Game No Life doesn't belong on the list, I personally believe your 'no clue' accusation needs to be spun back on you. :)

    ...Knights of Sidonia?

    I don't understand why people from Kotaku would be uninterested in No Game No Life. Doesn't all the game references & game theory interest you guys? They actually referenced the "Arrow to the Knee" meme in the latest "Next Episode" section. I laughed.

    Just finished the Golden Arc Saga of Berserk. My word that Guts is an angry, angry young man with a very, very big and blood soaked sword.

    Where's the love for The World Is Still Beautiful?

    I admit, having her sing the same song almost every episode is a slight turnoff, but the characters & setting more than make up for it.

    My current must-watches are The World Is Still Beautiful, Mahouka and No Game No Life, in roughly that order. There are a few other series I find sort of interesting but I'm not really tracking.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now