Winter 2014 Season Preview

Wow! This season looks awful!

…yep, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been spoiled the last few seasons, or maybe Winter seasons just really are always that bad, but dear lord this season looks weak. Let’s run down the bright spots!

Chuunibyou Season 2

Chuunibyou S2

No surprise here. Chuunibyou S1 is actually my personal favorite of all of KyoAni’s productions, and the second season promises to center on that rarest of anime curiosities – a couple in an actual relationship. If you haven’t seen the first season, catch the fuck up – this show is romantic comedy done right, infused with KyoAni’s relentlessly perfect comedic timing and actually telling a convincing romance/drama along the way. Tatsuya Ishihara will once again be directing (one of the core KyoAni directors, who helmed Haruhi S1, Clannad, and Nichijou), and he’s already indicated that there won’t be any love triangle shenanigans injecting this season with artificial drama. All in all, I’d be fairly surprised if anything dislodged this show as my favorite of the season. That said, if anybody’s going to go toe to toe with Chuunibyou, it might as well be…

Space Dandy

Space Dandy

Good luck not dancing, motherfuckers. Shinichiro Watanabe is back (again), and he’s bringing a funky scifi comedy exploitation show. This doesn’t actually seem like my kind of thing, but I tend to like Good Things in most genres/aesthetics, and Watanabe is incredibly good at making Good Things. And he’s shown no signs of slowing down – I actually think 2012’s Kids on the Slope might be the most flawless of his shows, even if it lacks the inspired genre-fusing and worldbuilding of Cowboy Bebop. Hell, if the soundtrack in general is half as hypnotizing as Viva Namida, that’ll pretty much do it for me. I’d say if you like space monsters, wacky adventures, great music, or bulletproof direction, you’ll probably find something to love here.

…and that’s where my “legitimately excited” tier ends. I told you, this season’s awful. Moving along, we still have…

Sekai Seifuku

Sekai Seifuku

Alright, I admit it, I’m a little excited for this one. Mainly because it’s a total mystery with exactly the right set of ingredients. First, it’s an original production, which almost by itself makes any show worthy of notice – it’s not designed to sell manga or LNs, it’s not forced to warp its narrative structure to fit some specific number of volumes, it can tell a complete story if it wants to, and it can be designed to actually take advantage of the animated medium. Second, the studio behind it, A-1 Pictures, actually has my respect. They make many, many things I have no interest in, but they also scatter their schedule with a variety of interesting/polished original productions, and last year they committed to the clear financial liability/equally clear artistic achievement Shinsekai Yori. Finally, the show’s released information makes no goddamn sense. A secret organization dedicated to taking over the world led by a little girl and costumed in utter insanity. Good studio pedigree + original production freedom + what the fuck is even happening = yeah, I’m on board.



After suffering production difficulties (apparently related to DEEN’s unwillingness to back down on the graphic content, which… well, sweet) that pushed it back a season, it looks like we’ll finally be seeing the incestuous body horror story we’ve always wanted. I don’t actually have any serious expectations for this, and I’ve heard that this will actually be a series of five minute episodes, but we just don’t get many good horror stories in anime. Something to keep an eye on.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Dipping into the wildcards here. I know nothing about the manga this is being adapted from, and the director’s two biggest credits seem to be directing Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Kimi ni Todoke S2, neither of which were exactly renowned for their visual flare. But this seems like the kind of thing I like – a story that uses fantastical elements in a very grounded way, a slice of life with some dashes of real conflict, and a focus on actual adults. No real expectations, but another one I’m keeping in mind.


Akiyuki Shinbou (Monogatari, Madoka, and a million other Shaft productions) taking on a Shounen Jump romcom. The phrase “Shounen Jump romcom” kind of makes my teeth shiver, and I’ve heard it does indeed spin in pointless yet financially lucrative narrative circles, but I do like romance and Shinbou, so I’ll be giving it a try. No promises on how long I last with this one.

Tonari no Seki-kun

This show will be very unambitious comedy, but the manga is actually charming. File under “pleasant.”

To Aru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

I’ve heard good and bad things about the first anime adapted from this author’s works, so… yeah, not that helpful. Anyway: romance, aerial combat, a fantastical quest in a fanciful world. This all seems quite reasonable to me! As far as crew goes, the highlight seems to be scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida’s tremendously stacked resume, which wanders from The Cat Returns to Rec to maybe half the iyashikei of the last ten years. So yeah, I’ll at least be checking it out.

Overall, that’s actually a decent number of shows, but the vast majority of them are basically “well, this could not be bad.” Two highlights, a couple more potentials, and thank god Kill la Kill/Log Horizon/Nagi no Asukara are continuing.

22 thoughts on “Winter 2014 Season Preview

  1. To be honest, while I’m certain Space Dandy is going to be fantastic (not to mention that Masaaki Yuasa is supposed to direct an episode!) I’m probably most curious about Sekai Seifuku. The director did Darker than Black, which I haven’t seen, but more importantly the other writer (Hoshizora Meteo) wrote Forest, an old visual novel by Liarsoft that is probably my favorite alternate take on the Alice in Wonderland story. Assuming that Meteo brings his A-game to this (and that it isn’t a stopgap to bide his time until Girls’ Work is aired at some point in the far future, if that’s even a thing anymore) we could be in for something MENTAL. (For comparison, Forest involved: time loop tea parties, Nazgul, a sex worker who plays Settlers of Catan and consistently breaks the fourth wall, a train morphing into a dinsosaur, a practically Lovecraftian take on Winnie the Pooh…I think you get the idea.) Fingers crossed!

    Otherwise I’ve heard that Hoozuki no Reitetsu was nominated for an award a while back so hopefully it stands a chance of being good, Studio WIT being flush with Titan money. Not a big fan of the Pupa source material but I definitely admire the staff for sticking to their guns.

    • Thanks for the info about Seifuku’s writer – I didn’t know any of that, and it definitely gives me one more big reason to expect good things. The money WIT should be swimming in is also a good point – regardless of how good a show is, I’m generally decently entertained by watching money get thrown at things.

  2. I’m there with bells on for Space Dandy (obviously), and also for Pupa (finally) as well as the Sailor Moon remake (if it actually comes out this time). I really liked the first season of Gin no Saji too, so I’ll certainly be watching this second one. The only other show on the winter chart that’s making me curious is Noragami – mostly because studio Bones.

    • Bones is another studio I should probably be paying more attention to. Their catalog is pretty much full of stuff on my plan-to-watch list…

  3. I’m betting on Sekai Seifuku as dark horse of the season. A friend of mine said good things about the writer, Meteor Hoshizora; seems like he wrote some great VNs.

    But yeah, weak season. I don’t expect to keep up with more than five shows.

    • Seems like a solid bet – Wendeego said the same about the writer in another reply. It seems like every season offers at least one great dark horse, and the director for Seifuku is pretty highly regarded, so I’m ready to be impressed.

  4. I thought Winter 2013 looked a little underwhelming as well minus a few titles. I guess it might have something to do with Fall having so many 2-cour shows this season so there isn’t much room left for new shows. With that said, Spring will hopefully bring in a lot of amazing new series.

    • Yeah, it does feel similar to last year in that regard. Given how many of the holdovers I’m on board for, I can’t really complain – Kill la Kill and Samurai Flamenco are already two of the shows I most look forward to each week.

  5. Regards

    I can not see next season (january 2014) so negatively as most people see them. Of course, technically, there will be many slots crying for mercy.

    On a very personal level, I am waiting for such works as the second season of Silver Spoon, the remake of Sailor Moon (if it becomes true this time), Saki II (with the final national tournament mahjong) Chuunibyou 2 and four other works in longing to see.

    Anime which will continue with its sequels, Kill Kill her and Nagi in Asukara will be doing a good role for me. At least so I think.


  6. Like everyone else Space dandy and Sekai are the ones I have the highest hopes for.

    But I also plan to watch Puppa and Robot Girls Z the first for it’s eldritch nature and the second because I loved Shin Mazinger so I’m curious plus it’s shorts so it could be funny and cute (though I predict I might get bored fast)

    Also I’ll keep an eye on that other Bones show, Magical Warfare (Madhouse). Also Nobunagun cause I herd it has the potential to be pretty crazy.Uh and maybe Hoozuki if it turns out to be hilarious.

    • Hm, Magical Warfare. I generally don’t associate Madhouse with those generic light novel adaptations, but they’re good enough that it could definitely be worth seeing. Haven’t heard anything about Nobunagun myself, but again, I’ll be checking out whatever people are raving about over the first couple weeks.

  7. Sekai no Seifuku… Now where did I see that font… Oh, right, DtB/DtB2. Explains Russian word in the name, too.

  8. You know what’s funny? That we consider a season with 8 shows that are interesting to be a “weak season”. Of course, some of these shows may still fail us – but a season where we end up enjoying 8 shows is more than sufficient. I’m reminded that back in Spring 2013 I thought watching 7 shows weekly to be a lot…

    I found Summer very promising, but many shows are failing me, by not being consistently entertaining. Part of it is likely related to how many of them are 2-cour and gathering speed up.

    I am interested in basically all the shows you listed minus Hoozuki no Reitetsu which is likely to be too slice-of-life/zany, and if I want that I’ll just watch Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei or other such shows. Also, all the recent demon shows soured me >.>

    I’m also going to pick up Gin no Saji season 2 obviously, and I have 5 shows continuing from this season(!!!) – as such, I for one would actually be pleased if we get a weak season or two >.>

    • Eight shows is way above average in my book, but this list is more like “eight shows I don’t dismiss outright purely based on the synopsis/studio,” which is a little less encouraging. I’m hoping to actually like maybe four of these, including the top two I know I’ll like.

      …which actually still adds up to eight given the four shows I’m carrying over, so I guess my argument is still invalid.

  9. I have no faith in Nisekoi. Shinbo requires source material that stands to benefit from his style, and ugh, Sasami-san@Gambaranai (which came off as trying to be the more fetishtastic Haruhi) was one of the worst shows I’ve ever watched. “Shounen jump romcom” by Shinbo does not bode well.

    • I wasn’t a fan of Sasami-san either, but that one just didn’t seem like my kind of thing. I’m kinda just hoping Shinbo plays incredibly loose with the source material, so we at least get something interesting even if it isn’t great.

  10. The show that pips my interest the most is actually Super Sonico. Not because of “plot”, but because I want to see which direction WhiteFox is going to take it. I just wonder if they are able to create something that’s full of heart like their last work again, despite the initial appearances. Granted the chance of that series being good is probably less than 10%, but since it’s WhiteFox I’m willing to give it a try

    • Good call – I’d kinda forgotten what their name implies, but their catalog is excellent. I’ll be checking that out as well, then!

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