Anime Winter 2019: What to Watch this Season

Ever since anime blew up several years ago, the amount of shows coming out every season has continued to increase. New studios seem to pop out of nowhere—multiplying like the ceramic gnomes in my grandma’s garden—and the quality of the shows they produce is currently on the rise as well. In recent history, gems like Banana Fish, Devilman Crybaby, and Made in Abyss have taken the anime community by storm and shown just how much anime is capable of in terms of visuals, soundtrack, and storytelling. This year, so many great animes are coming our way—let me tell you exactly what I’ll be watching, and what I think you should watch.

 

New Series:

 

The Promised Neverland

Despair, suspense, and horror! The story follows three main protagonists—Emma, Norman, and Ray—who are all at the age of 11, making them the oldest orphans at Grace Field House. Taken care of by a sweet woman called Mama, these three—along with the other young orphans—live as a beautiful family, waiting for their adoption. They cook together, eat together, play together... but one thing they must never do is go past The Gate. However, one day Emma and Norman disobey and discover that the world in which they live is nothing like they had imagined. Struck by horror, the orphans must find a way to escape the orphanage and their terrible fate before it's too late. If a gripping story with an intense plotline is up your alley, definitely check this anime out. Based on the first few episodes, the character design and pacing is well done, and an inevitable emotional rollercoaster is just beyond the horizon.

 

Dororo

Hyakkimaru is an unfortunate soul. Born to a samurai lord, he is offered to demons in order to secure his father’s dominance in battle. He is blind, deaf, mute, and limbless—a child with no hope of surviving, taken from his mother, and discarded by his father. Miraculously, he survives and an old medicine man takes mercy on him, constructing useful prosthetic limbs for the boy. Sixteen years later, and Hyakkimaru is on his journey to defeat the demons, reclaim his body, and face his father, all with the company of a little thief named Dororo. So far, the story seems very well paced, with little bits of information slowly being revealed to the viewers as they watch and learn about Hyakkimaru. Not to mention, the OP is bomb.

 

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

This anime is just adorable. No need to prepare your psyche before each episode, or bring a box of tissues—just get ready to smile. This story revolves around Kaguya and Miyuki, two elite students working together in the student council. The two have feelings for each other, but in true competitive style, they refuse to confess their love. To them, it is a battle, and he who confesses first loses. Join them as they put plans and strategies into motion to force each other to confess. It’s a perfect anime to relax to after school—let all that stress just melt away.  

Boogiepop Never Laughs

After a slew of disappearances involving young girls at Shinyo Academy, a mysterious figure called Boogiepop appears to find the solution. Monsters, conspiracies, extraterrestrials… What exactly is going on at Shinyo Academy? Now, right off the bat, this anime won’t be for everyone. What I can tell you, without revealing the details, is that it is pretty unique. I haven’t really seen anything else with this kind of concept, executed in this way—however the downside for some may be the reliance on heavy dialogue and the odd pacing of the story. The pacing is difficult to describe, but as it switches from characters, it seems to create an eerie and unhinged ambiance, which (given the context) can be effective. If you have a bit of time on your hands and you’re willing to try out something new, this will be an interesting watch.

 

The Rising of the Shield

With the popularity of Isekais lately (anime where the main character is transported to another world), it’s no surprise that this year brings another anime of the genre. Some might say it’s overdone at this point, but not me. An Isekai is always a good indulgence when done well, and ladies and gents, The Rising of the Shield is promising. Naofumi Iwatani is your typical otaku, living and gaming at home. On a visit to the library, he discovers an old looking book detailing the tale of four heros from other world, each wielding a particular weapon—a sword, a bow, a spear, and a shield. In moments, he is transported to an unfamiliar castle, another realm, and as the shield hero no less. With him are his three companions, wielding the sword, the spear, and the bow respectively. As a hero called to the kingdom in a desperate time of need, you would think he would be respected, but the shield hero is ignored and overlooked—thought of as weak for his lack of offensive ability. Still, Naofumi manages to stay positive… until he is utterly used, betrayed, and ultimately cast out. In a moment of anger, he vows to get stronger, and becomes the beloved anti-hero character we all love. My only critique is regarding the sudden 180 degree turn the character makes in his personality by the end of the first episode. Aside from that, the series seems to be headed in a good direction.

 

Honourable Mentions:

 

I didn’t mention these in the list above because they are returning/continuing series, but as two shows with a special place in my heart, I just had to include them somewhere.

 

Mob Psycho 100 II

Who needs LSD when you’ve got animation? While Devilman Crybaby may be slightly more suited to this remark than Mob Psycho 100, it still stands that this show has an incredible and unique animation style that makes my heart palpitate everytime I see an episode. Besides the visuals, there are some beautiful characters in this show—Reigen, the scammer who really knows how to make the most out of an opportunity; Ekubo, the little green apparition who secretly plans to recover some semblance of his former glory; Ritsu, Shigeo’s brother and the exact opposite of Shigeo (talented in every area but the supernatural). Then there’s the main character, Shigeo, the supernatural superstar, the boy born a hero, whose powers could give him popularity and fame, but who doesn’t want to use them. Despite his talent, he fails at everything normal, and only wants to be a regular student. He’s a shy, weak yet strong, incapable yet capable, and endearing character with a kind heart. This anime’s storyline, characters, and animation are all done beautifully in my opinion, and I’m a massive fan of the show. 

 

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Another Isekai that originally confused some of my friends when it was announced to air last season has slowly made its way to my heart and become a favourite of mine. As an Isekai with a strange title, there were some doubts floating around what content it might have. Would it be a boring and superficial story of an overpowered character travelling to another world and charming all the girls? Or would it be something fresh, unique, and gripping? While the character is overpowered, the story charmed many viewers in a way I think none of us expected. Rimuru Tempest, killed by a robber in his past life, is reincarnated as a gelatinous blue blob (in my favourite shade, by the way), otherwise known as a slime. He explores this new world, makes friends with goblins and orcs and other dwellers of the forest, and easily forges a beautiful alliance with the ultimate goal of spreading peace. But, as he expands his connections and knowledge, he learns that there is something sinister brewing somewhere in the land. This sounds like a stereotypical storyline, right? Very flat, and bland… Yet, it’s not. Between Rimuru’s character and the concept of  the story, this anime makes for a really nice feel-good anime. And I really think Rimuru’s character has a lot to do with the success of this show—he’s such a good guy. While others in his position, in other animes, have taken the opportunity to form harems and take over the world, Rimuru purely wants to help everyone. Whether you’re into the Isekai trend or not, I’m sure you’ll leave this anime feeling at least a little better than you did before.

 

Wow! So many shows and so little time. With horror, action, adventure, comedy, it looks like there’s something for everyone this season. Whether you’ve been watching anime for a while, or you’re looking to get into it, there’s no time like the present. Pick something that sounds appealing, and give it a go! Happy watching!