New year, new season of anime, and a new group of finished series that people will either quickly forget having existed (Juuni Taisen) or will be relieved are finally done (Children of the Whales) so they can finish wasting their time waiting for these series to “get good” or were part of the select few that were good enough people will spend the upcoming months/years hoping for a sequel to be made (Houseki no Kuni). I hope to get to a proper look back at the best anime of 2017 soon; for today, we are focusing on the new anime that began airing for the Winter 2018 season.
Traditionally, the winter and summer seasons are considered the weaker seasons of the year with winter being the weakest overall. Outside of a couple obvious must-watch series it looked like the Winter 2018 season was going to follow the narrative and I would be able to do some catching up on my anime backlog. Then, as it has often occurred in the past, when I started watching the series I thought I would be able to write off, I discovered many of these series could not be so easily dismissed.
I don’t think I’ll find the time this season to tackle my anime backlog and I have the feeling that I still am missing a series from this season I should be watching. So, instead of asking the people reading this to recommend an old show, I’ll be asking which series I should be watching this season. Read on to see which three series the potential pick-ups.
In a perfect world, every anime would receive the budget, time, and talent needed to reach it’s full potential. This, of course, is not a perfect world. Instead we have put up with all the accommodations that anime has to make when the lack one or all three. Sometimes an anime series can rise above and turn out stronger as a result – Shaft’s delectable visual style comes from having too little time and money to animate in a more conventional style, for example. For the vast majority of other titles, we get an inferior work.
I mention this because sometimes whole seasons of anime will pass by without any noteworthy and satisfying animation to be found. Earlier this year, I had not realized how thirsty I had gotten for good quality animation until Studio Trigger’s Little Witch Academia was released and I watched it.
No matter how strong or weak a season of anime appears to be at the onset, one can always count on at least a couple of gems each season. As a result, I’m not at all surprised that, once again, the makers of anime continue to defy their prophesied doom by creating several series that are well on their way to excellence. What does astound me is the width and depth of quality displayed by this season’s roster of anime series. I could trim out the four best series (so far) and this season would still be a very strong one. In fact, it would take trimming out 7, maybe 8, of the best series before this season would look merely decent with the resulting group of series. I can’t remember another season this strong in the last 6+ years that I’ve been following new anime by the season.
Before I get to the awesomeness, I feel the need to get a little meta.
A quick look at the previous post’s title shows that I haven’t written anything for The Null Set in roughly 3 weeks. This was entirely unplanned and was the result of several factors falling into place at exactly the wrong time. The first was a general sapping of enthusiasm towards anime brought on by looking forward and discovering that the next season just looks appallingly abysmal. (The new series by Gainax and Shaft will probably turn out good and that’s probably it.)
I think the above screenshot speaks for itself but, since I’ve never believed the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” saying, I’ll add some of my own and post more screenshots of the best character in Panty and Stocking.
Earlier this year Gainax shocked many (including me) with Hanamaru Kindergarten; first because it was so un-Gainaxy and then because it was so good. It was like Gainax decided to show that not only they could be masters of giant mechs and frantic action but they could also outdo J.C. Staff’s watercolor-look, slice-of-life/light comedy anime series. Fast forward a couple of seasons and Gainax is back and this time they’re on a mission to showcase their mastery of contemporary American-style animated shows.