As my twitter feed has reminded me over the past few days, the winter anime season is already well off and running in another 3-month journey through tales of magic, romance, and drama. Even in weaker seasons like this one, I always find it exciting during the first few weeks of starting new shows, meeting characters for the first time and exploring new worlds and dreamscapes. But the beginning of a new season isn’t just a chance to pick out a set of new shows to follow over the coming months. For me, it’s also a chance to plan out shows I’d like to complete from my ever-growing backlog of unfinished and unstarted shows – maybe it’s a good time to start that one show that’s been in my plan-to-watch for ages, or perhaps finishing up some carryovers from the fall season would help lighten the burden of adding 10 new seasonal shows at once. At any rate, for someone like me who likes planning ahead and setting out watch priorities, it’s one of the most fun times to be an anime fan.
One of the things that’s helped me plan out each upcoming season is ranking shows not based on how much I’ll necessarily like or dislike them, but how much I expect them to be consistently enjoyable for me to watch. Shows like Rakugo and Zestiria are relatively known quantities and I’d expect to continue with them regardless of a weaker opening, while shows like Masamune-kun and Fuuka could be surprisingly great or disappointingly awful. Usually I list these predictions by how long I would choose to watch the show before becoming too frustrated to continue: for example, Hibike! Euphonium from last season was a show that I was expecting to (and did) watch the whole way through the season and so I gave it a “full-cour” expectation, while Kiss Him Not Me was something that needed to impress me in its early episodes with a “3-episode” expectation, and failed to do so.
Based on those metrics, I’ve listed out the shows I’m looking into watching as the season begins, as well as my thoughts for many of those shows. I haven’t included staff information for these shows, but if you’re looking for that info you can find some for many of the airing shows in the Sakuga Blog’s season preview here. I’ve ordered shows by how likely it is that I’ll watch the show to completion, although my predictions could be totally off and I could be dropping a high-tier show just weeks into the season (let’s hope that’s not the case!). And like I mentioned above, I’ve also thought about some of the non-airing shows I’m hoping to start, finish, or continue watching over the next few months and wrote about those following the seasonal shows on this list. In a few weeks, I’m hoping to check back in with what made (and didn’t make) the cut for this season (since there’s no way I could watch everything I list below), and if all goes to plan you’ll hear updates from me on my thoughts on both airing and non-airing shows I’m watching multiple times over the next few months. Enjoy my very late preview to the upcoming season, starting out with my most anticipated shows premiering this week!
Full-cour (near-certainty of watching the whole show)
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu S2 – Rakugo isn’t exactly a show I get excited for, at least in a traditional sense. It’s a period drama, with grounded conflicts and complex characters; the stakes may be high for the characters, but the world isn’t going to be shaken by their story. Yet there’s something so captivating about watching Rakugo – performances that can be both laugh-out-loud funny or edge-of-your-seat thrilling, drama that feels understandable and real, characters with dreams and motivations and hurts that make sense. The first season was a stellar standout in a relatively low-key season, and I could not be more happy to see Yakumo’s story reach its conclusion in this second (and likely final) season.
Little Witch Academia – It finally gets a whole TV series! Trigger’s short film series comes to the small screen this winter for more fun with Atsuko, Sucy, Lotte, and the Luna Nova gang. My favorite Trigger works are actually their more restrained ones: Kiznaiver is easily my favorite, with the original LWA films and Inou-Battle following behind. There’s a lot unknown about this series – a lot of the staff has changed and who knows what will actually be covered in the show’s story. But at the end of the day, the series should be more of the same fun that the films covered, and is one of the titles I’m most looking forward to watching
every week as soon as Netflix decides to stop keeping it away from us (cries about Netflix holding LWA hostage).
Half-cour – Slice of life version
Note: Unlike most other tier-listings I set for myself, slice-of-life and moe shows aren’t really shows I drop during the season; so even though some of these shows may not be something I look forward to every week, it’s unlikely I’ll drop any show I do end up choosing to start this season.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – KyoAni may not have a masterpiece on their hands for this one like they have in the past for Hyouka and Eupho, but more than any other studio there’s a certain standard of quality that I feel I can expect from every one of their productions. The source material for this show is legitimately funny in my opinion, and with a pseudo-Nichijou-esque visual style (or at least distinctive from their usual visual design) this show should be at a minimum enjoyable from week to week and at best a surprise gem from this season.
Urara Meirochou – Strong character designs and an interesting premise make this show appealing on the surface for me. Whether or not that’s something that continues into the season remains to be seen – the OP released for the show gives me vibes of Is The Order A Rabbit? which I actually didn’t like as much compared to other CGDCT shows, and streaming only available on The Anime Network is an unfortunate situation second only to a show being held hostage for the whole season (here’s looking at you, Netflix and Amazon). Still, this is one of those shows I definitely want to give a try for a decent amount of time, and like I’ve noted above it’s likely I’d choose to continue with it even if it wasn’t my all-time favorite.
Other shows in this tier: Gabriel Dropout (DogaKobo goodness), Interviews with Monster Girls (a less fanservice-heavy monster girl show? Sign me up)
Half-cour (expecting to watch whole show barring major disappointment)
Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish) – From what I know of the source material, this isn’t a show that’s going to be happy or pleasant to watch
from week to week whenever Amazon chooses to release a new episode (ugh….). But I’m really looking forward to it, mainly because I have this impression that the show will do a really great job exploring similar themes to what Oregairu had – stuff on our desire to connect with others, on who we are and what we’re really seeking in life, on how our burdens affect us and weigh us down daily. Whether or not it actually hits those themes is beyond me, but it’s something I’m looking forward to all the same.
Konosuba S2 – I enjoyed much of the first season of this show back in winter last year, but as the show continued the content began wearing me down. In particular, episode 9 (the succubus episode) was something I found incredibly offensive and unfunny, and dampened my hype for the whole show as a result. And yet, the show was fun for many parts and had a strong final episode, so I’m going to do my best to let myself be swept up in the hype for this show yet again and hopefully the second season lifts my opinion of the series once more.
Other shows in this tier: Tales of Zestiria S2 (second cour of the enjoyable video game adaption from Summer 2016), Seiren (I don’t watch pure romance series very often so I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a low-key and enjoyable weekly watch)
3 episodes (hope to watch whole show, but could be dropped after poor opening episodes)
Masamune-kun’s Revenge – This series has the potential to end up a bunch of different ways: it could end miserable for everyone, or with cliches I’ve come to expect from more plot-driven romance comedies. But if this show manages to avoid those and other pitfalls, or if I simply find a lot of what it’s trying to do amusing or engaging, then it’s something I could see myself watching and enjoying for the whole season. At this point though, having not read any of the source material, whether that actually ends up being the case for me is anyone’s guess.
Idol Jihen – The premise for this show is just wacky enough to sound like an absolute blast in a way that only anime can really manage. I’m not expecting this to be the next iM@S or Love Live, but hopefully Mappa can pull some stuff together after the insane production of Yuuri on Ice and make a fun and endearing series rather than a strange, misshapen mishmash of random ideas that this could also become.
Others in this tier: ACCA and Onihei (both of these will likely be decent, but I’m not very sure they’ll appeal to me much – similar to 91 Days back in summer, they’re simply just not my cup of tea for what I like to watch)
1 episode and Meme-Watches (this needs to have a stellar opening episode)
Fuuka – Seo Kouji’s infamous (and I believe still ongoing) manga series gets an adaption, and honestly I’m conflicted on whether I want to watch it having been spoiled for many of the upcoming events of the series. I feel really bad saying it, but I’m honestly interested in keeping up with the show simply to see how others react to future events in the story. It feels like a really weak reason for continuing the show, and also a bit mean-spirited, so I would say it’s more likely I’ll drop the show if I don’t find it engaging on my own in the first episode or two.
Rewrite S2 – Oh Rewrite. I foolishly had such high hopes for you back in summer, and then you became.. something else. Well, I don’t know if I’ll stick around for long this time even though this part of the series should be covering what I think people consider the best parts of the VN, but I hope you redeem the hopes of any who stick with you for the duration of your second TV run.
Other shows in this tier: Handshakers (maybe when I first watched K I’d be interested in this but nowadays I can’t quite say the same), Chaos;child (as soon as I get confirmation to whether or not I need to watch Chaos;head before watching this, I’m moving on to something else)
3-Gatsu no Lion – I love this show, but it’s not always an easy show to watch and I fell behind partway into the first cour of the show. I’ve been working on catching up in the past few days, and I’m hoping to get all the way caught up soon and continue watching this series on a weekly basis to the show’s finale at the end of the season.
Magical Girl Raising Project – I don’t feel like I should find this show fun at all, not with the whole ultraviolent “magical girl death game” concept and missed opportunities for some really cool thematic development (they could’ve done a lot more towards exploring how each character has their own personal idea for what it means to be a magical girl). Yet this show remains a lot of dumb fun to watch, and with only a couple episodes left I’m hoping to finish this one up soon with a hopefully entertaining conclusion.
Other shows in this category: Girlish Number (I actually like the other 4 main cast notably more than Chitose, which makes this an odd-but-still-good watch), Izetta (I wanted to like you so much but why were you so boring to watch at times..), Lostorage (I actually may drop this one still, it simply doesn’t hit the same mark as Selector did), Regalia (never really forgot about this, but poor Actas..)
Fall Late Starts
BBK/BRNK S2 – The first season of this show wasn’t spectacular, but was entertaining in a similar way to Arpeggio of Blue Steel by the same studio. I’ve heard great things about the second season though, so here’s hoping that things pick up quickly in a series that I really want to enjoy.
Stella no Mahou – The CGDCT show that no one talked about, I really like the colorful artstyle in the pictures I’ve seen of this show, and it seems like a better take on the Saekano “let’s make a doujin game” concept than Girls Beyond the Wasteland was back in winter of last year. Am I expecting another New Game or Anne-Happy? No, but like other CGDCT shows it should be a decent enough time watching this one once I get around to it.
Other shows in this category: Occultic;Nine (I’d like to see another few episodes, but I’d probably need to watch the first episode again to do so..), Fune wo Amu (why didn’t I watch this last season? Oh yeah Amazon, that’s why..), Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume (I’ve heard this one hyped enough to at least want to check out the fantastic animation)
“I have BDs for these shows, why haven’t I watched or finished them yet?”
Hanasaku Iroha – It’s hard to believe this show came out, what, 3 or 4 years ago? Maybe even more than that? It looks great, and has a strong cast that’s mighty enjoyable to watch. It looks great on BD so far and I only have around 10 episodes to go, so I’m hoping to get through the rest of this one soon.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan – I actually really like the manga for this series: Nagato was probably my favorite character from Haruhi and I like the concept of the spinoff. So even though I know that the anime isn’t super well regarded, I’m looking forward to watching this one soon thanks to the BD in the Haruhi Collector’s Edition.
Non-airing shows to finish
The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls S2 – For a while, I wasn’t super crazy about this compared to the original, and then it rattled off a string of what might be some of my favorite episodes from either iM@S series (which I wrote a bit about here!) I love what I see in this show that sets it apart from the original iM@S; it also has Ranko, which instantly bumps it up a couple more notches in my eyes. I have only the second (more well-received) season to go, and it’s one of my higher priority shows for the next few months.
Houkado no Pleiades – There are cool moments scattered throughout this show which make it really interesting to me – moments with Minato in the observatory, or cool scene direction that reflects the perception of events of the main cast. It’s not a show I’m super enthusiastic to watch compared to other shows, but hearing Jao praise it on twitter definitely raises it up a bit for me.
AKB0048 – As I mentioned in my 2017 Goals post, I’m going to be starting on writeups on AKB soon! I’m still doing a bit of thinking on where I want to go with those writeups, but as soon as I’ve figured them out I’ll be looking to putting them out likely on an episode per week basis. Stay tuned!
Other shows in this category: Ano Natsu de Matteru (why does no one talk about this show? I think it’s pretty decent to be honest..), Hidamari Sketch (finished season 1 recently, so looking to start the S1 specials and x365 soon), Unlimited Blade Works (the guiltiest of guilty pleasures), Love Live S2 (I’ve basically figured out how the rest of the season and the movie are gonna go and I’ve been putting off the feels trip that’s gonna result from that..), Kara no Kyoukai (I only have movie 7, Epilogue, and Mirai Fukuin left, but movies are a more daunting watch)
Kiznaiver – A show I mentioned in my 2017 Goals post, I’d like to revisit this show to see again if what I enjoyed about it carries through better or worse than what I realized, and to see if moments that didn’t quite stick out to me emotionally on the first watch are more present on a second watch. It’s still likely my favorite Trigger show by a lot, but I think there’s more to explore that I didn’t quite catch on the first time through.
Nichijou – Praise Funimation, we’re getting licensed BDs of Nichijou! I probably won’t hesitate to rewatch this as soon as I’ve picked it up, and I’m excited to watch one of my favorite comedies for the second time, and this time through legal means.
Other shows I started recently or would like to start soon
Neon Genesis Evangelion – I’ve missed out on this one for awhile now for a couple reasons, chief among which is that I’m not a big fan of mecha shows. But it feels like an important show to watch, even as I find a lot of the mecha and alien designs (technical moreso than visual) unsettling. I’m also watching this as part of my goal to watch 3 pre-2000 anime this year, but mainly it just feels like the right time to finally get in the robot with this one.
Sasami-san @ Ganbaranai – This show feels super-Shaft, and I love super-Shaft. But for real, I find both the comedic and dramatic parts of this show entertaining and enjoyable to watch, and I’m already halfway through the show after only starting it a couple weeks ago, so it’s likely I’ll finish this one soon.
Code Geass – There’s a new season coming soon, I haven’t seen it, and I have a friend that wants me to watch it. Those are 3 pretty big motivators to get me to start watching a show, and although I don’t expect this to live up to the expectations others have placed on it, I’m certainly hoping for something decently entertaining to watch.
Other shows in this category: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (started it on a whim, another part of my “older anime” goal for the year), Inari Kon Kon (I randomly stumbled on this title a couple of months ago and it’s stuck around near the top of my priority list), Kekkai Sensen (another show with a new season coming soon), Koufuku Graffiti (loved the first episode for this, also more Shaft goodness), Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (hovered on the low end of my priority list before being bumped up by a few twitter recommendations)
The Major Goal for Winter 2017
Kizumonogatari Part 3 – Everything in winter season builds towards completed anime #200, which I’ve set aside for the final Kizu film. Between now and around the beginning of March, I have 21 shows I need to complete so that Kizu will be that major milestone. Monogatari is one of my all-time favorite shows, and having majorly enjoyed the first two Kizu films as well as the novel, I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy in a few months.
If there’s anything you think I’ve missed, or you’re curious for more details as to why I’ve added or excluded a show on this list, feel free to let me know in the comments below. Happy Winter Season!