As promised, I've compiled my listing of the five anime of this season that you should be watching. I'll be honest with you all, it's been a bit of a rough season so far. There's a lot of potential but even I can't predict the outcome of this season.
My aptly titled "Dex's Five Anime of Fall 2013 You Should Be Watching" was a bit of a rushed endeavor that I slapped together in under a day, but I've learned from that experience and made an effort to be better prepared for this one. I've viewed a large portion of the current season's shows, for better or for worse.
As usual, these reflect my opinions and tastes, but I've tried to avoid it when possible with objectivity. Do enjoy and post your own suggestions in the comments and on Ani-TAY!
Of course credit goes to Mr. Richard Eisenbeis for the general format of this article.
Genre: Aviation, Drama, Romance, Adventure, Fantasy
Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)
Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Kal-El (laugh it off now) is a prince that lost everything he knew at a young age. Today, he embarks on a dangerous expedition across the world to find "The End of the Sky" with no guarantee of return. Along with his fellow pilots, Kal-El sets off on a fantastical aviation adventure across the blue sky. A romantic setting indeed.
Why You Should Watch It: The Pilot's Love Song is set in a romanticized fantasy world with airships and cool planes. This setting immediately invokes the indisputable romantic feeling of the series. In addition to the excellent setting, the series has also managed to characterize its main cast quite well in a short amount of time, particularly Claire and Kal-El. While the plot has been slowly building so far, all signs point to it accelerating in the coming weeks.
The great characters and adorable romance make this one a must for fans of the genre. This is one of the most promising anime of the winter season as I was predicting. It's my undisputed favorite of the bunch.
Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mecha
Currently at: Episode 6 (of 24)
Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: From the mind of the creator of Macross comes a new mecha show called Nobunaga the Fool. There are two planets, the East and the West, constantly divided by war. One "heretical girl", Jeanne Kaguya d'Arc, has seen visions of the "Star Messiah" who will save the world from destruction. She leaves for the Eastern Planet under the watch of Leonardo da Vinci to discover the identity of the "Star Messiah".
Could the Star Messiah be Nobunaga the Fool?
Why You Should Watch It: Nobunaga the Fool is easily the inheritor of Valvrave's "crazy awesome" mantle this season. The more I learn of Nobunaga the Fool's world, the more I love it. This world consists of crazy anachronisms like spaceships and mecha juxtaposed next to samurai and archers. In addition, this world has historical figures like Oda Nobunaga, Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, King Arthur, and Magellan making an appearance, which creates a very strange anachronistic historical drama. There's plenty of action and steampunk-like worldbuilding going on in this series. If you have any historical knowledge on the people that show up in the show, then it will be even better. While anachronistic, the show mimics many of the personalities and events of reality in strange and new ways.
In a nutshell, it's a crazy anachronistic action-packed drama that only Japan could deliver us.
Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural
Currently at: Episode 6 (of 13)
Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Shio Ogura is a student like any other... that is until a fateful trip to Taiwan. While there, Taiwan is attacked by monsters! Agents from the supra-national agency DOGOO arrive; called "E-Gene Holders", these agents wield powerful weapons against the unknown enemy.
Why You Should Watch It: The best way to describe Nobunagun is to take the dark, off-beat comedy of shows like Kill la Kill and fuse it with Pacific Rim. It has an over-the-top sense of humor and violence. Much like Nobunaga the Fool, Nobunagun deals with the reincarnation of various historical figures like Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and Jack the Ripper. Unlike Nobunaga the Fool, the rationale for these historical figures being here is far clearer from the get-go. It's easier to understand.
The action is big and it's more than a little bit reminiscent of Pacific Rim so far when it comes to the plot. It's over-the-top nature will make many fans of shows like Kill la Kill feel right at home.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Currently at: Episode 5 (of ?)
Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Raku Ichijou is the heir to the Shuei-gumi Yakuza family. Ten years ago he made a promise to a girl he met... so he remembers. They promised to one day "get married". He's continued through life since then, keeping the locked pendant the girl gave him safe. On a seemingly normal day like any other Raku meets Chitoge, a transfer student. Hilarity ensues and they are forced into becoming a fake couple to stave off a Yakuza turf war. Although his heart lies with another, Raku has to pretend to be Chitoge's boyfriend.
Why You Should Watch It: It's a pretty funny romantic comedy. It is. The main characters have a weird dilemma to deal with in their lives indeed, which leads to all sorts of weird shenanigans. Let's not forget that the two main characters seem to have no chemistry whatsoever and constantly fight! It's a riot when it manages to get it right.
While comical, there are also deeper subplots involving the characters glimpsed here and there, so it has the potential to become even more.
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Supernatural
Currently at: Episode 5 (of 12)
Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Yato is a minor god. He aspires to be one of the greatest gods on the planet, but first he needs to make money to build a shrine. His shinki, a spirit that takes the form of a weapon, has just left him too, making his job that much harder. Later we meet Hiyori, a high school girl, who gets caught up in the action in... unexpected ways.
Why You Should Watch It: It's an odd sort of show that mixes the modern world, gods, and action into a very watchable package. The main characters are well developed and their personalities are fairly well fleshed out (even at this point). The overall plot seems to be lingering and not going very fast, but it's a good show to watch in your spare time.
Buddy Complex has promise and I like it. The characters aren't bad, the soundtrack is good, the animation is spotless, and the action is great. Unfortunately I don't think it will have enough time to pull off the plot believably at all. We're five episodes into a thirteen episode season and the main plot is just kicking into gear. Heel-face turns need time to work, I don't think they have it.
Magical Warfare started pretty good and then the plot slipped. Badly... really badly in fact. The battles became anti-climactic and the characters began to mysteriously acquire the knowledge to take on powerful wizards. The plot threads started scattering all over the place and it almost feels like the plot is schizophrenic. It's disappointing since I had some hopes that they'd pull it off. Lots of style and not much substance.
Pupa... just stay away. The pacing of this show is all sorts of crazy and nothing is making any sense. It is terrifying to watch in the wrong way.
Sakura Trick is another romantic comedy out this season. This one is shamelessly Yuri though. I'll be honest and say that this is a guilty pleasure of mine. It's a fun little comedy with good voice acting and good episodic plots.
Tonari no Seki-kun is a school comedy that has very good comedic moments and a great main character. It's a good palate cleanser for the end of the week.
Wake Up, Girls! is a slice-of-life music series that follows the lives of the idol group "Wake Up, Girls!" in the midst of troubles at their agency. It's a solid show, although I don't think it's quite to the point where it can make the list.
Witch Craft Works is a fantasy action series that has an odd mix of comedy and action. It nearly made this list but I ended up cutting it. It's a strangely solid show about witches, though its really weird sense of humor has me confused. I'm not really sure how I feel about it thus far.
That's all for now everyone. Thanks for reading!
If you want more suggestions on what to watch anime-wise, I invite you to look at my Anime Marathon 2013 and Anime Marathon 2014 review series. There are many reviews out with plenty for a wide variety of people.