There's only a few series left to debut in this winter anime season, and none of them look promising enough to wait on before delivering my final verdict. The winter anime season is bad, but it could have been much worse. For the first time in forever, I have no motivation to add any of the new series to my anime rankings. None of the series airing can match Gundam, so what's the point? Even if they can't make my rankings though, there are some watchable shows coming out this season.
I've already mentioned Mikakunin de Shinkokei, Sakura Trick, and Wake Up, Girls!. All three are series about cute girls being cute, but they vary wildly from there. One is straight out yuri, another is a romantic comedy, and the third is an idol show. Girls can be cute in many different ways, it turns out, just like diamonds can come in many different colors, all of which are beautiful.
But I'd like to add to that total, Tonari no Seki-kun, which is just an adorable and amazingly imaginative comedy series. My only complaint is how short each episode is. My favorite part is that Hana Kanazawa pretty much solo narrates the whole show, who's perhaps my favorite seiyuu in the industry. I usually don't bother with short series but when they're particularly good, like Seki-kun or Yama no Susume, I can make exceptions.
I'd also like to add in Nisekoi. Nisekoi's plot is pretty similar to Love Hina's, and the purpose is the same -- for the guy to hang out with lots of cute girls in a harem-like romantic setting. It's not a very good plot, but it isn't an awful idea either. For instance, it's a lot better thought out than the plot behind Buddy Complex, or the ridiculous Nobunaga the Fool. Making up for the lackluster plot is beautiful artistry on the part of Shaft though. It's a shame we have to watch Nisekoi instead of more Monogatari, but Shaft is still good no matter what show they're animating. Also, let's not forget that the original character designs for these girls by the manga-ka were gorgeous to begin with. He also made his valuable contribution to the effort. So long as I can look at pretty, well drawn girls and nice background scenery, I don't mind a ho-hum story that goes nowhere and does nothing.
So in total we have five new additions to the normal immortal shows, plus the fantastic return of Saki we've been waiting years for, which brings the winter anime season up to 9 shows. In order of how excited I am about their next release each week, this is how I'd rate them. Note this is a much different rating than comparing the entire body of work of a long show versus a short one, because it's just a direct ep-to-ep comparison this time around:
1. Saki Nationals
2. Doki Doki Precure
3. Hunter x Hunter
4. Wake Up, Girls!
5. Sakura Trick
6. Mikakunin de Shinkokei
8. Tonari no Seki-kun
Nine seems small, but then again this fall season only had 11 watchable shows so it isn't that big a change. I just hope I don't have to drop any additional series and can at least keep it at a healthy size of 9. By being more picky at the beginning, I won't have to get disappointed and give up on so many shows like I did during the fall season last time. Then again, who could have imagined how suddenly bad Samurai Flamenco was going to become. . .
In any event, this winter season is just an appetizer for a truly amazing spring season. It's just been announced that Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii is getting an anime starting this April, another candidate for my anime rankings based on how good the manga is reputed. With this powerhouse joining the fray alongside all the others, this Spring season is looking to set records. By then, hopefully One Piece will be back out of filler world and can rejoin the living again. With One Piece and Fairy Tail coming back at the same time, life truly is good.