It's hard to believe we're already halfway through yet another anime season.
The Winter Season is rarely a great one, but it tends to show more prominently when it follows a great Fall Season, as was the case this year. In fact, if it weren't for the unusual amount of carry-over titles, this would be a very lackluster season indeed.
The A-List Candidates:
Yes, that's right. There's one series in the A-list. Why? Partially because I'm not counting carry overs, and partly because Chihayafuru is the only anime that is well-rounded enough this season to fall into this category. This is an intense, well-written, and just plain great anime in nearly every way possible. It hardly feels like a sequel/continuation at all, and it excels in nearly every category I can think of. Great seiyuu work, a riveting soundtrack, beautiful animation, humor, great characterization, etc. It may just be one great title, but it's so good it almost all but makes up for the rest.
The Follow Ups:
Kotoura-san is a really good anime. Really good. There's only one reason this isn't on the A-list, and that's the pacing issues that the series has been dealing with since episode one. Normally I'd overlook that, but occasionally character development is cut short at the expense of that pacing and that's unfortunate. Regardless, this is the only non-sequel or carry-over series that really shines out of the new crop of shows and I enjoy watching it immensely, especially whenever Manabe is involved.
Maoyū Maō Yūsha
Maoyuu is not a great or wonderful series. It is, however, a thoroughly enjoyable one; a light snack, if you will. It's not philosophical or particularly intelligent, but it is a lot of fun to watch if you like something simple and clean-cut once in a while. Maoyuu is actually pretty good at developing atmosphere, and while it is conventional and full of fanservice, there isn't necessarily anything horribly wrong with it. As infuriating a couple as Yuusha and Maou can be, they're still a nice relationship to watch over, and the whole medieval/RPG aesthetic is quite lovely to look at. Not exactly a hit, but certainly pleasing to finish up the week with.
I don't hate Amnesia, but I certainly am disappointed by it. I had a faint hope that Brains Base and Kaori Nazuka together could make this series into more than just another harem, but I suppose I was wrong. Even more unfortunately, the characters in this aren't exactly riveting or interesting to watch and it can almost feel like a chore to get through. However, I do find myself captivated by the mystery and darker elements at play, so I won't be dropping this, at the least.
Another somewhat disappointing series. I actually prefer Oreshura over Amnesia if only because Masuzu is so much more interesting than any of the characters in the latter, but this series is also sticking to its harem roots quite determinedly. I don't know if the anime plans to end in a winner or not, but if a girl does win out, I'd like it to be Masuzu.
Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Desu Yo?
Interestingly enough, this is in the Alright category because I liked it more than I thought I would. Contrary to my first preconceptions, this isn't much of a harem at all, though it has its fair share of fanservice. Everyone is a little too overpowered for my taste, however (it's like watching a trio of Kiritos running around), and I'm not entirely sure if there's supposed to be a deeper plot other than the restoration of the "No-Names" and the competitions surrounding "Gift Games". It's a "just turn off your brain, watch, and enjoy" kind of series, and it's nice to sit down with it after a weekend full of Psycho-Pass, Shinsekai, and the like.
Sometimes I really like Tamako Market, and other times I don't. I'm aware that this is a slice-of-life along the "cute girls just hanging out" lines, and sometimes that's kind of interesting. Dera certainly makes things more enjoyable whenever he pops up, but I do get tired of the blatant moe-ness from Tamako and her friends, and sometimes things get plain boring.
Yeeeaaah... I really don't know. There are times I seriously hate this, and times I just sit there, transfixed, wondering why the hell I still watch it, but never quite stopping the video. Maybe it's that Jinrui-esque vibe about the weirdness, but so much, much less enjoyable than that.
Cuticle Tantei Inaba
Sometimes, just sometimes, this actually makes me laugh.
Because I have nothing better to do on Sunday nights.
I do have to wonder if the season is so average because of the high quality carryovers. If it weren't for Shinsekai, Zetsuen, Psycho-Pass, and to a lesser extent Little Busters, perhaps there would be more quality in the upper ranks of the season. Or perhaps it would feel even more gray than it already does. At the least, Spring is almost here, and when a year is a boom or bust, Spring is usually the season to test the waters with.