Blade and Soul: Terrible anime. Showing off blood, nudity and piss is not the formula for greatness. It's just revoltingly vulgar, a race to the lowest common denominator. Making everything on the screen so dark you can hardly see does not improve the atmosphere. In addition, making your main character an unmoving, untalking, unthinking doll does not add to the show's gravitas. I could care less about the city's woes and whether it's saved or not. The fighting is ridiculous -- why would people still live in a fantasy world alongside other people using modern guns? I don't even want to bother to find out that mystery. Fail.
Selector Infected Wixoss: I don't like Pokemon, C: The Money of Intelligence, Accel World, Fantatista Doll, or any other version of this exact same story. Random people get random powers to do mock fights with surrogates who suffer in their stead. Which means they never risk anything themselves. They don't suffer when they fight, instead they make some innocent bystander suffer for them, but they still get to reap all the rewards. It's slavery, simply put. I hate this sort of halfhearted fighting world. I wish they would stop making this entire genre of stories. It's terrible. It shouldn't exist. People should stop supporting it already. Fail.
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou: This could well be the worst anime ever. A stalker pervert, a raving pervert, a drunk pervert, and an innocent girl who has to live with all of them? What a great idea. Except no. That's a terrible idea. Why not just watch her getting raped every episode instead? There really isn't much difference in concept at this point. Calling this a comedy is a joke. What's funny about evil people making good people suffer? I fail to see the joke. Fail.
Akuma no Riddle: This show has a very Danganronpa feel. I kind of liked Danganronpa, until I came to hate it and dropped it due to its excessive sadism. I suspect I'll do the same for this show, but at least it survives my first cut. The two main characters are interesting, even though all the villains are just over the top madwomen. If they keep the insanity and survival game aspects down and the relationship aspects more in the foreground, I could see this series being watchable. Pass.
Soredemo, Sekai wa Utsukushii: A wonderful first episode that propels you right into the middle of the new setting and gives you a well characterized, heartwarming and humorous protagonist from the very start. This series shows how much can be done in just the first episode when the producers actually put their mind into it. I'm firmly attached to this series already. I predict it will eventually join my rankings. A show that mixes serious social issues with a flippant sense of humor is balanced perfectly for a good delivery. I wish more series were like this one. By concentrating solely on one character throughout the first episode, you had a much firmer grasp of her than any other show that's constantly darting around, trying to introduce the whole cast at once. The fact that she's nobility voluntarily going to her own arranged marriage shows just how strong she is of heart and spirit. She isn't one to let these things get her down, and is already figuring out how to make the best of it. It also makes her an empowered figure that's charting her own destiny, as opposed to a damsel in distress, a hero of suffering, or some other lame poster child for why arranged marriages are wrong. It's kind of interesting that the best show of last season, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, was also about arranged marriages working out. Arranged marriages are just that awesome, every show they appear in becomes an instant star. Pass.
Seikoku no Dragonar: In contrast, this show manages to waste all of your time on characters you don't care about from beginning to end. Our main character male is an idiot who throws a temper tantrum over every little thing anyone says about him. If this is supposed to separate him from the generic 'nice guy everylead' people complain about, it's really not working. Now he's just a generic guy with an annoying attitude to boot. Even though the show is supposedly about dragon taming, it may as well be about chemistry for all that it affects the plot. What's important isn't the dragon taming, but people's pecking order in their peer groups, as determined by how well they perform in class, how they look, what exact tone they use and what choice of words they have in every conversation, and so on. The relentless judging has everyone under a microscope and prickling over every little thing. It's like some sort of hellish middle school. Dragons are just an afterthought. The fantasy setting is just an afterthought. Honestly, probably the only reason they're even here is an excuse for nudity to be rampant to provide male viewers their obligatory fanservice.
For a show about dragon taming, not a single person seems to care about their dragons. Instead, all they care about is the status their dragon taming skills can provide for them amid their peers. None of them have any goals except to reach the top of the class totem pole. There is nothing going on in any of their heads. It's just an empty fishbowl up there. Fail.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: This show suffers from the "I'm a badass" syndrome. The male main character has zero sense of humor. Absolutely none. He's a completely unemotional asshole who deigns to interact with his lessers from a pinnacle of complete detachment. He just does whatever is socially acceptable in order to be left alone by the outside world, showering them all with equally uncaring cold, dead eyes. However, it's not like he's afraid of them, or hates them, or anything. He feels nothing for anyone because he's so much better than everyone they may as well be an anthill crawling beneath his feet. He's the smartest person in the school. He's the strongest person in the school. Every girl likes him instantly. He could probably wipe the whole school out with a wave of his magical hands. There is nothing likable about this main character. The fact that the whole story will revolve around how badass he is and how the whole world trembles before his feet, and how every plot event is bent to his will due to his overwhelming power, fills me with bored dread ahead of time.
The setting is somewhat interesting, though not actually believable. The costume design is really pretty, though strangely the art/animation itself isn't very good. The only thing I like about the show so far is the imouto. All imoutos tend to be adorable, no matter what franchise they're in. But in this case, the imouto actually has a heart, which is a remarkable improvement over the rest of the cast. She actually shows emotions, cares about things, and acts on impulse. She isn't a walking automaton of coolness like her older brother. She's a human being! I'm not sure why she has such an incestuous crush on her older brother, who has made it quite clear he's not interested in her in that way over and over. Maybe in the year 2045 these things are publicly acceptable so it's no big deal if she makes public displays of affection for him or not. Who knows. But it is just as annoying for a girl to keep pursuing an uninterested boy as it is for a boy to keep pestering an uninterested girl. It's just common courtesy to take 'no' to mean 'no.' Just because a girl is cute doesn't give her special permission to disobey all common sense and common courtesy. Morality applies even to blushing maidens.
The light novel series is popular for some reason, so just like Jojo's and Shingeki no Kyojin I'm willing to give it a longer chance. Still, this was not the beginning I expected. This was a huge disappointment, considering the hype leading up to this point. Oh well. There's always Gun Gale Online next season. Pass.
Isshukan Friends: If this show aspires to be as poignant and memorable as Ef, Clannad, or Little Busters, it's already failed. A show about people fading from your memory has to be constructed just right for the emotions they want to evoke to actually gush forth. Sort of like mining for oil doesn't mean just digging a hole any old place in the Earth. Still, as a first episode it wasn't bad. Nothing directly offended or annoyed me, which is a huge step up from, say, Dragonar Academy. If it continues to be intriguing then I'll keep watching it, though there's really no telling what can happen from here in terms of plot development, given the week is going to repeat forever, thus making no progress in plot development ever again. Oh well. Maybe things will change over time, who knows. Pass.
Gokukoku no Brynhildr: An actually promising start to a new series! Perhaps this is the dark horse show of the season. I had no expectations going into this show, but by the opening song I was hooked. This show has everything you could ask for. A unique setting, likable, believable characters, action, mystery, romance, humor, and great art. So long as this show doesn't drop the ball and become another Psycho Pass I'll be happy. You can never trust these sci fi shows, they always turn into dystopic nonsense at the flick of a switch. The future does not immediately equal despair you know. . . Pass.
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara: To be honest, I simply do not understand the physics behind the protagonist's flag powers. I don't understand what he's doing or how he's doing it. This doesn't much matter, because in the end the flag system is not the core of what makes this story great. What I love about Kanojo ga Flag is the 'kanojo' part. The two girls introduced so far seem really cute, fun, and humorous characters to be around. There looks to be many more kanojos where that's coming from, and everyone so far looks great. This reminds me of the appeal of Noucome, but instead of a curse our hero is blessed with a superpower -- though like Touma from Index it seems to also carry with it an equal amount of despair that curses those around him with bad luck. Kanojo ga Flag is surprisingly as close to Madoka Magica as it is to Noucome. Kanojo ga Flag reminds me of so many good series because it's a good series itself, it's just that simple. If it keeps up this pace it might become the sleeper hit of the season. Pass.
Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to: A gag series based on ecchi situations/conversations. The issue is handled delicately and innocently enough, however, to keep its appeal. This show is much better than its theme would originally suggest. Because the people in the show are respectful towards each other, the humor goes down much better than most coarse conversations would. Since the girls are cute, the ecchi aspect isn't exactly unwelcome, either. So long as the jokes remain fresh I'll keep watching. Comedies struggle to maintain their quality throughout a season, but Kitakubu managed so hey why not Mangaka-san. Pass.
Still to come: Black Bullet, No Game No Life, Atelier Escha and Logy, M3, Gochuuman wa Usagi Desu ka?, Hitsugi no Chaika, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, Sidonia no Kishi, and Mekaku City Actors.
Already, we're looking at seven new good series, plus many old good series -- Happiness Charge Precure, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece, Soul Eater Not, Dragonball Kai, Fairy Tail, Hanamonogatari, Love Live, Jojo's, Break Blade and Tonari no Seki-kun. That's 18 shows worth following so far, with many more still to come. If Naruto comes back from filler, that would make 19 shows, with many more yet to air. I think my excitement about this spring lineup has been pretty thoroughly justified already. I can't wait for the remaining shows to make their triumphant debuts.