Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

17 February 2014: Belated season introduction to winter 2014 shows

Pilder fucking on!

I should probably put together a season introduction for Winter 2014, considering that half of it has already passed. At this time, I'm still following 14 15 of the shows currently airing this cour (Jesus Christ, fourteen FIFTEEN?), and may add Gundam Build Fighters if I ever get around to starting it. I present the following shows in order of their precedence on the chart at the time I started writing this sucker, but you shouldn't put too much weight on their positions or particular ratings because this ain't anime titration, you know.


According to my undisclosed (but assuredly impeccable) scientific principles, Tonari no Seki-kun is easily the best show of the season. It is a half-length gag comedy consisting almost entirely of Yokoi's monologues as she incredulously observes the unlikely shenanigans her classmate enjoys as he whiles away the tedium of school. As such, much of your enjoyment will likely depend on how susceptible you are to the Hanakana Distortion Field.

Cure Sword
You shall not pass!

Because these ratings only include the three final episodes of DokiDoki! Precure, its position here is probably misleadingly high. That said, I appear to have enjoyed DokiDoki! Precure a lot more than the collective anime heads I follow on The Twitter. Nevertheless, I concede that in ranking the 10 years of Pretty Cure titles, I have to list DokiDoki! second-to-last, ahead of only the lamentable Suite Precure! (which I wanted to like). The biggest advantages DokiDoki! holds over Suite are its superior ending and its integration of Cure Ace vice Suite's Cure Muse. I do like the DokiDoki! ending with its separate battles in episode 48 and the epilogue in episode 49 where a hilariously overpowered Cure Heart solos the final boss. All that jazz about feelings is still straight bullshit, though.

Adélie and Dandy
I guess this makes Adélie the Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV.

I'm not sure if I'm necessarily "grudgingly" enjoying Space☆Dandy or if I'm just overly wary of it given the enormous hype I encountered prior to its first episode. Certainly its pedigree is impeccable, but I do try to divorce shows from their lineage so I can view them on their own individual merits. (See, for example, all that Yamakan baggage.) I've only been watching the subtitled Japanese version of Space☆Dandy, so I can't comment on its Cartoon Network counterpart, but (through six episodes) the execution has been excellent with entertaining episodic canned adventures every week.

Shimada Mayu knows the score.

I went over KILL la KILL, Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) season two, Wake Up, Girls!, and Golden Time already.

Now with more raglan shirts.

I'm much more impressed with Noragami than I thought I would be. This is another show that benefits from sharp execution, although Hiyori's intense charisma doesn't hurt. The only real drag on the show is Yukine, yet another example of Kaji Yuuki as anime cancer. If he's supposed to sound grating to make his whiny characters unsympathetic, then I guess he's going a bang-up job. Yukine isn't too bad, but you have to at least acknowledge that he takes one particular trauma rather worse than Shinji did. Noragami also has Toyosaki Aki playing a very high-test genki pink-haired character if you know what I mean. All of her appearances thus far have been golden. (But I still consider Medaka to be Toyosaki's best role. No, really.)

Grendizer, Mazinger Z, and Great Mazinger
Such nice hats.

The forces responsible for Robot Girls Z seem to know what anime fans want. And how. I'm not actually well versed in super robot lore, so I'm surely missing all sorts of references and tributes. However, there's no real requirement to get any of that in order to enjoy the show itself. Miss Mazinger Z commands a sort of brazen, boundless authority that's rather quite easy to accept in a confident teenage anime girl clad in a cape-dress and armed with a Rocket Punch. If I understand the schedule right, there will be three eight-minute shorts released every three weeks or so. So there have either been two episodes so far or six, depending on how you're counting them (not including the PVs or episode zero preview). They've all been good, and I look forward to their wacky not-quite-robot antics, even though I don't always know the What or the Why. At least I can tell you unequivocally that this show has the best God damn hats of the year. Pilder on! indeed.

Cure Lovely and Cure Princess
Prepare to be disappointed, Cure Lovely.

After only two episodes, it's too soon to say how HappinessCharge Precure! is going to pan out. The numerous comparisons to Heartcatch Precure! are justified, but I think it's safe to predict HappinessCharge will find its own identity. I'm not putting too much weight on that whole "Pretty Cure is famous around the world" bit until I see something more than token references to newsworthy events occurring outside of Japan. HappinessCharge Precure! is different enough and noteworthy enough to justify a separate entry. Hopefully I'll have that cranked out in a month or so.

Let's ignore the fact that Conan does this knowing
he's being recorded by a security camera.

Detective Conan is Detective Conan. Whether I keep up with the show this cour depends on whether or not the fansubs keep pace each week or not.

Kotomi, Aria, and Shino
This was important to the plot. Okay?

Seitokai Yakuindomo * is good, but it is rather repetitive. It's basically the same sex jokes and short jokes told over and over and over again with minimal variation, but the execution remains decent. It's probably a lot better to a native speaker, because so many of the jokes are puns or wordplay of some sort. Still, the characters are endearing and the show just looks so damn good. It almost seems a waste for GoHands to make such a simple show stand out so much. We SYD fans do appreciate it, though.

Kasumi, Honoka, and Kagari
If she points a finger, it means you're a rival. [P.S. Spoilers.]

Witch Craft Works currently occupies a deceptively low position here on this list due to one or two somewhat sullen efforts. However, episodes four, five, and six have been outstanding. Really, Witch Craft Works deserves its own entry because it has impressed so much. I had very low expectations for the series based on its description and because of many (undeserved) negative reactions to the first episode. The short explanation is I gave episode five a try because I heard there was a MAMIKORE character in it. From that episode, I determined the Ayako Doctrine was invoked and also discovered Kayano Ai in full-on intensified bitching mode. But really, Witch Craft Works is turning out to be much more fun than I was led to expect. It's inconsistent because there were some unremarkable episodes early on, but the last three have been a joy to watch.

Bring back the idol antics, No-Rin.

I mentioned No-Rin already, but my enthusiasm for the show is waning. Minami is not a nice person, and the show is taking too long to address Ringo's torrid idol past. I wish the show were about Ringo reconciling her stage persona with her real self, rather than this dull indictment against kuudere types and this bit about Ringo's sudden-onset anime autism or whatever.

Nobunaga ass shot.

I covered Nobunagun and Nobunaga the Fool already. I'm still watching Nobunagun, but I've noticed the show isn't very interesting when it isn't about Nobunagun herself. I've also dropped Nobunaga the Fool, but I may pick it back up if I learn it goes off some Kawamori deep end.

Mayu, Nanami, Kaya, Yoshino, and Minami
I love how Mayu is just shrugging off these tough practices.
You don't get to be an I-1 Club center for nothing.

Yeah, I'm watching entirely too many shows. Plus I keep getting telegrams telling me to watch this and that or the other. I'm enjoying all of these to some degree, but the shows I look forward to the most are Wake Up, Girls!, Golden Time, and Witch Craft Works even though they aren't necessarily the "best" shows airing or even my current favorites, if that makes any sense.

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