QED Winter 2014 Season: Top Anime of the Season

Another new season of anime is kicking off, the Winter 2014 season, and so we get to sift through another batch of premieres to find what’s Quality, what’s just Entertainment and what’s dropped. The list will be updated until final decisions are made on all shows, and my current watchlist can be found here. Let’s get to it!

Log Horizon

Quality

  • Log Horizon
      • A welcome carry-over from the Fall 2013 season, Log Horizon has proved itself to be a fascinating blend of fantasy, MMORPG and socio-political elements. Although a little slow paced at times, the anime never fails to be interesting and compelling. It has gotten better as time has gone on, and if that trend continues, it should easily rank as one of the better anime from this season. Recommended watch, especially if you like thinking & theorizing.
  • Silver Spoon
      • No need to wait for the season premiere as Silver Spoon was one of the best shows of Summer 2013. Well-written, thoughtful and heartwarming, Hachiken and the crew have been missed during their season-long hiatus. Here’s to Hachiken x Mikage becoming official in this season! Recommended watch; a quality show from top to bottom.
  • Witchcraft Works
      • An surprisingly refreshing concept from a show based around high-schoolers with magical powers, Witchcraft Works has an excellent first episode, with a little action, a little comedy and a lead heroine with serious Medaka vibes. For me, that’s an awesome boon for this show, as Medaka is one of my favorite female leads, ever. Witchcraft Works is a recommended watch.
  • Nisekoi
      • Hugely hyped pre-release and I had no clue after. After the first episode, I understand. Nisekoi is instantly likable, impressively produced (thanks SHAFT) & has monumental amounts of potential. This looks like a potential top 10 show for me. Nisekoi is a highly recommended watch.
  • Nobunagun
      • Flashy and awesome in the first episode, Nobunagun provided the substance I wanted in the second episode, so I’m rewarding it with a bump up into the quality tier. Nobunagun Episode 1Besides the craziness, the emotions of the show are handled very well and the artistic choices being made in the animation and art style are very impressive. Nobunagun is a recommended watch.
  • Wizard Barristers
      • While it remains to be seen if Wizard Barristers will go the tragic way of Galilei Donna, I’m not going to blackball the series after what was a very good first episode. The animation is probably the best of the season (excepting the character designs), and the concept is very interesting. Focusing on a supporting community, rather than the magic using community itself is a cool idea, so here’s hoping they can sustain the story going forward. Wizard Barristers is a recommended watch, if only for the originality of the concept.
  • Wake Up, Girls!
      • While Wake Up, Girls! is probably mostly here by virtue of the personal connections it made with me during the movie and first episode, it’s certainly not a bad anime. If they can accurately portray the struggles, joys and companionship offered by creating something beautiful with other people, this anime will have my attention and my love. Wake Up, Girls! is my personal pick for the Quality category.
  • Tonari no Seki-kun
      • Perfectly scripted as a short anime, Seki’s hijinks combined with Yokoi’s narrations and observations make for a brilliantly done bit of comedy. Funny, and very well executed. Recommended for the laughs.
  • Kill la Kill
      •  Episode 13 relieved my fears that Kill la Kill had lost its way, both thematically and story-wise. Twists abound, and though it sometimes feels a bit recycled to me, it’s still a blast to watch. How this one ends up is anyone’s guess, but I’m guessing it will be really good. Don’t stop watching; you might miss something incredible.
  • Noragami
      • First two episodes provided a really likable and fun protagonist, a non-love interest-y (for now?) female lead and some nice animation courtesy of Bones (the purification animation for the phantoms is nicely reasonable and good looking). I really like this show. Recommended watch.

Entertainment

  • Buddy Complex
      • Weird title notwithstanding, Buddy Complex actually managed to deliver a fairly good episode, although it definitely gives off the feeling of “I’ve seen this before.” But it’s bright and colorful & the time travel element seems to, at least for now, add in a little extra spice to the mecha formula. However, this feels like a false in media res, an introduction posing as conflict, with the real conflict (formulaic?) still to come. Give Buddy Complex a chance, at least for now.
  • Magical Warfare
      • From a genre perspective & a personal enjoyment perspective, I really liked the first episode of Magical Warfare. It looks to have a lot of potential to go deeper than the generic magic fantasy anime, and the magic side of things is well done. The episode flew by for me, in a good way, so Magical Warfare should more up to the Quality tier with a few more good episode. Potential to go deeper; give it a least a few episodes.
  • Tokyo Ravens
      • Ok, so Tokyo Ravens isn’t the most elegant, original or deep anime of the season. That’s fine. It’s still a very enjoyable, very likable mix of fantasy, romance and school elements; a blending that has always appeal to me. It’s pretty well written and good for laughs here in there. A strong showing in the genre, watch it if you like the genre.
  • Engaged to the Unidentified
      • After a charming first episode completely devoid of fanservice (WUT), Engaged to the Unidentified has set itself up to be a fun rom-com, complete with very likable characters and a great show dynamic. Much better than it was hyped to be, it’s a definite watch from me and would probably have been the top rom-com of the season if not for NisekoiAnother genre recommendation; if you like the genre, you’ll like the show.
  • Hamatora
      • Falling after the second episode, getting close to drop territory. I’ll be keeping it for a little longer, but it will have to show more than it did in the second episode. Could be a drop if it doesn’t ramp up the quality.

Hamatora Poster

  • Strike the Blood
      • Generic, sometimes very weird, but not bad. Strike the Blood doesn’t really have a ton of redeeming value, other than the fact that its fairly fun to watch. Nothing special enough to merit catching up, but not bad enough to drop.

Dropped

  • Space Dandy
      • Pretty lame twelve minutes of opening, complete with those fourth wall jokes I hate so much. And then fanservice and general distastefulness. Boring, lame and not worthy of anyone’s time. I expected better from Bones. Dropped halfway through episode 1.
  • World Conquest: Zvezda Plot
      • The loli conquerer Kate just didn’t do enough for me in the first episode, and although I’m slightly intrigued by this show, it wasn’t enough to get me really excited about it. Dropped after episode 1.
  • Strange+
      • I guess I like the premise, but fourth wall jokes just aren’t funny anymore (were they ever?). It’s a short, but even for the very small time investment, the payout doesn’t seem to be very good. I’ll give it a few more episodes, but I expect Strange+ will be a drop.

Strange+ Butts

  • Nobunaga the Fool
      • Let this be a warning to all anime using historical figures. You ruin the the most exceptional historical figure in all of Western history by turning her into a fanservice character and giving her a stereotypical helpless anime girl personality, I will drop you. Dropped after episode 2.
  • Recently, My Sister is Unusual
      • Just spare your soul from this trash. Most people complained about censorship, but I was very thankful for how much there was in an extremely and uncomfortably racy first episode. There’s just no good reason to put yourself through this junk. It’s somewhat a shame about the blatant use of sex as an appeal strategy, because the concept of learning to live with a new step-sibling is actually worth exploring. Dropped after episode 1. 
  • SUPER SONICO THE ANIMATION
      • Well, knowing that the animation was based off a mascot, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this anime. But I didn’t expect SoniAni to be so…boring. Sonico is a total bimbo which, coupled with her ever-present “don’t-look-at-me-but-look-at-me” facial expressions, created enough annoyance for me to be bored and mad at the same time. Dropped after episode 1.

One thought on “QED Winter 2014 Season: Top Anime of the Season

  1. I feel like Nobunagun has a huge, huge range; it could as easily be a less-fillery Needless as it could be a more colorful Duel Masters. I’ll be watching at least until next week for the colors and to see if Ghandi is anywhere near as aggressive as civ3 Ghandi.

    Like

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