Akiba's Trip the Animation: This show is almost decent, despite my enormous prejudice against its entire premise. The characters are somewhat likable, the art and animation is good, even the plot is a little entertaining. If this show were about anything other than stripping girls in order to exorcise their evil spirits, if it weren't just a blatant excuse for endless sex and violence, it would be a genuinely good series. But there's no way I can endorse a show, however well executed, that operates on such an infantile level of the brain. Fail.
Masamune-kun no Revenge: I don't like the heroine of this story. I also think it's unrealistic that so many guys would keep confessing to a girl who treated other guys so horribly right in front of them. But whatever. Silver Link is doing the animation, so it looks great. The situation is sufficiently humorous to make for a good love comedy. The support cast is interesting and gets me to want to know more about them. At least for a first episode this show displayed enough goods to keep on watching. Pass.
Fuuka: Fuuka has already released two episodes and both were good. I don't actually like Fuuka much, or the main boy, or the strangely obsessed with main boy celebrity singer. I don't actually like the author of Fuuka either, who has made multiple other works, none of which I ever liked. But I do like the solid plot and down-to-the-earth situation these characters find themselves in. It's nice to have a story that at least remotely parallels reality every now and then, instead of the ridiculous, larger than life characters of, say, Masamune-kun no Revenge. I doubt I'll watch this show all the way to the end, but for now it's above average. A solid start like this is all that's necessary for a pilot episode (or two). Pass.
Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu: I vacillated a lot concerning this series. The art is very pretty, from the girls to the bikes to the scenery. Everyone is cute and likable, though the sugar is piled a little too high in this vein. I've tried watching many cycling anime and they've all been insufferably boring so far, so I don't see why this one would be any better. "Moe + cycling" is a bad formula for storytelling if past series are to go by. At the same time, I actually like real life cycling and have enjoyed watching any number of tour de france's and Olympics, so I don't see why cycling anime have to be boring by necessity. The voice acting is a little too overly dramatized, but it can be borne with. The live action sequence at the end was cute and informative, so I have no objection there. In the end it all came down to the end card, which was an amazingly beautiful picture of our main heroine all decked out on a bike saluting us, the watchers. If this anime has more end cards like that, I'd hate to miss them. As a result, I'll rate this one as a just-barely-pass. Next episode will have to do the same or better to keep my interest from flagging. Pass.
Schoolgirl Strikers: If you're down for some mindless fan-service, Schoolgirl Strikers is definitely the place to be. Not only are all the girls scantily clad, with zoom-ins to all their nicest features, but they have stereotypical moe appeals, like the cool quiet girl, the energetic twintail, etc. I'll probably tire of this show eventually, but I have to admit the girls and the scenery are pretty, and the mindless explosive action sequences against inter-dimensional invaders keep things sufficiently energetic. Pass.
Youjou Senki: What if Shuumatsu no Izetta were about a young blonde girl instead of a redhead? What if she fought for Germany instead of Switzerland? What if it were WWI instead of WWII? Then you'd probably have something a lot like Youjou Senki. Except this story is a little grimmer and darker, and includes a silly reincarnation from the modern world twist. But all in all, it's again awesome world war with witches action, which has worked every single time it's been tried. I expect this series to be great too, possibly even better than Izetta was. After all, I'm a fan of Germany, it'd be nice to see them win once in a while. Pass.
Seiren: From the same people who made Kimikiss Pure Rouge (good), Amagami SS (great), and Photo Kano (terrible), comes Seiren. What will this one end up being? It's too soon to tell but like always the art at least is fantastic. If I had to hazard a guess I'd say this will end up in my great anime rankings. The boy lead is attractive, he has such natural good relationships with his sister and best friend, and he's someone I can respect. Starting from there, him bagging a dozen girls, one after the other, doesn't seem strange to me. If I were a girl I'd be falling for him too. Pass.
Urara Meirochou: I have zero interest in fortune telling, but this is fortune telling in a fantasy world where magic really exists, so that's fine. As for the rest, take Ojamajo Doremi, age the characters up a few years, then add in super sexy continuous fan service, and you get Urara Meirochou. Since I love Ojamajo Doremi, and I love super cute, super moe, super sexy fanservice, this show really can't go wrong. Pass.
Spiripact: This isn't even an anime. Another animated Chinese story, and Chinese story-tellers are no match for Japanese story-tellers. That's why China is still a dump while Japan is the best country on Earth. I couldn't get past the first few minutes. Everyone was rude and ugly and the music was gay. Who does this crap appeal to? Fail.
Demi-chan wa Katari-tai: Exquisitely animated cute high school girls will always make for a good show. The fact that they're cute vampires, dullahan, yuki-onna and so on can only improve the situation. Think Rosario Vampire, but with no fighting and instead just maximized comedy. The harem situation seems just as prominent though. I guess when the main male lead is voiced by Junichi Suwabe, it's only natural for all the high school girls to instantly fall for him. Pass.
Chain Chronicle: This series is totally crazy. In the very beginning of the first episode, there's already a full party assaulting the Maou's capital alongside a confederacy of freedom-loving kingdoms and demi-humans. However, the Yuusha loses and his mascot fairy is vaporized(?). All the heroes give up and go their separate ways. The world is doomed to a shadowy blight which destroys all food, and all hope is lost, until a thief joins the party, which was clearly the missing link to the complete strategy to take down the last boss (didn't he play FF IX?) (Is it even possible to defeat Tales of Xillia without Leah's steal against Gaius?). Now their fortunes are looking bright again, so I guess it's time to save the world after all(?). Or maybe they should go retrieve their missing fairy first(?) In any case, I don't appreciate being thrown into the middle of a story, but the art and animation is fantastic and I like fantasy settings, so I guess we'll just have to go with it. Pass.
Little Witch Academia: I like the main heroine, Akko. I like Lotte for helping her out. I don't like the murderous bitch third party member. And what I hate most of all is Trigger studios. Everything they make looks awful, over-dramatized, and annoying. Shapes never keep their form, reality is always twisting and bending, color is thrown around at random, and the animators are clearly having a ball, completely and totally at we the watchers' expense. Throughout the episode I thought -- maybe this was the first Trigger studio show I would be able to stand. But alas, it wasn't to be. In a season full of so many good alternatives, I don't have time for Trigger studio crap. Fail.
Eidlive: From the creator of Hitman Reborn, a new show that's very much like Hitman Reborn. I never liked Hitman Reborn, so why should I watch this show? There's only one reason, the Happy-like mascot character, voiced by Rie Kugimiya, Doru. Rie Kugimiya is already the greatest voice on Earth, and when her lines are cute, random things like "bright. It's bright." "this is fun." "something round!", well, we've reached a new level, a whole new order of audio fan service. I could listen to her say random stuff all day. Pass.
Idol Jihen: This show follows much the same premise as Osananajimi wa Daitouryou, which is a much better story everyone should check out. However, Osananajimi wa Daitouryou never got an anime, and this did, so we'll just have to be content with watching Idol Jihen. I thought the first episode was brilliant, the characters are amazing (as are their character designs), and that we might be looking at the next AKB0048, Love Live!, or the like. It's really pretty, the plot's fun and gripping, what's left to complain about? I could easily see this show reaching my rankings, it could even be better than Yojo Senki. Pass.
Nyanko-days: Too short to bother with. Fail.
This covers over half of the new winter shows. Part 2 will cover the remainder. But so far, as you can see, it's a fantastic season. Eleven new shows passed already, and there's still a 2nd half of shows to sieve through. There will be over 20 shows worth watching per week by the end of all this. Many of them even have a chance of entering my top anime rankings. I couldn't ask for anything more. Except for the remaining shows of the new season to air already! My anticipation for what new delights await me, after getting such a tremendous haul so far, is unquenchable.
The scariest thing is, aside from Spiripact, which was truly awful beyond words, even the shows that failed might have passed if I'd been feeling more lenient. If this had been a scarce season with little to watch, I probably would have resorted to Little Witch and the rest, so even the failures were entertaining, positive experiences. I don't think I've ever seen a season with such a high average quality. Never mind how many are truly great or not, just all of them being mediocre is amazing. We're witnessing a little miracle right before our eyes to start off the new year.
And is it just me, or is the quality of the art, never mind the story or music or whatever, but just the budget and effort they put into all these shows, at an all time high? I can't shake how beautiful everything has been up until now, even for the completely throw-away shows like Schoolgirl Strikers. I can't imagine how hard everyone is working behind the scenes to get all these shows done at once. And we haven't even reached the Kyoto Animation show of the season! (maidragon).
If 2017 is going to stay this good, watch out 2016, your title of 'best year ever' may be stripped away in a single swing.