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The winter anime season is now half done. So now is the perfect time to look at the the 46 TV anime series of the season and talk about the ones you should absolutely be watching.

Winter 2017

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent hour upon hour watching anime that caught my eye along with the anime you all recommended and those that Sarah, Toshi, Renato, and Brittany insisted I watch. With all that watching (and more than a few arguments) out of the way, here are our recommendations for the five you should definitely be watching.

Poll: The Best Anime Series of Winter 2017

Now, keep in mind that these are simply our picks for the five anime we feel you should not miss out on this season. That in no way means that the anime that didn’t make this list are bad; it just means that we feel the shows below are the best of the best that this season has to offer.

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Studio: Silver Link

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Murder Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Six years after a series of bizarre serial killings, Takuru, the president of a high school newspaper club, stumbles onto a surprising revelation: The murders have begun again. Eager to make a name for himself, Takuru begins looking into the crimes making him, and those around him, into potential targets. But as with many things in this world, there is far more to these killings that he could have ever imagined.

Why You Should Watch It: Taking place in the same universe as Steins;Gate, Chaos;Child presents a complex mystery using Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district as a backdrop. The series begins weird and only gets more so as the story continues. As opposed to a mystery where only the important clues are shown, Chaos;Child bombards you with possible clues–leaving it up to you to sort out what is important, what isn’t, and how they all connect to the murders.

But the mystery itself wouldn’t be half as enjoyable without the characters in it. None of them are as simple as they appear on the surface. Each character has his or her own motivations and secrets–and some are far more connected to the serial killings than they would seem at first glance. Thus, it is hard to know who to trust–which, with the complex nature of the mystery, keeps the tension high as the danger grows and grows.

Watch It If You Like: Steins;Gate, Chaos;Head, Occultic;Nine

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, FUNimation

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Interviews with Monster Girls

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Slice-of-Life, Modern Fantasy

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Tetsuo is a middle-aged high school biology teacher who has always been fascinated with demi-humans–i.e., humanoid creatures of myth and legend. And while their existence in the modern era is common knowledge, they are carefully protected by the government (so that the demi-humans themselves can lead normal lives). Much to his chagrin, Tetsuo has never even met one. But on his first day in a new school he discovers that he has a Vampire, a Dullahan, and a Snow Women as students–and a Succubus as a fellow teacher.

Why You Should Watch It: While Tetsuo is obsessed with demi-humans, he technically only knows what we know–the various stories told about them. Unexpectedly, however, the demi-humans tend to know even less about themselves than he does. This, of course, is the source of many problems in their lives. So on one level, the story is about mapping out the “rules” that govern the demi-human’ powers as Tetsuo and the four “demis” attempt to sort through what is fact about demi-humans and what is fiction in a series of cute, fun vignettes.

On another level, the anime is a personal tale about the problems that come from being different–in this case, the hardships caused by the powers the demis possess. Each wants to be “normal,” but each also knows they aren’t and can never be–a fact made worse by them not understanding the ins and outs of how supernatural abilities work. By helping them get a handle on their powers, Tetsuo helps the demi girls understand the non-human part of themselves–which in turn lets them accept themselves for who they are as humans. Moreover, a fair amount of time is also spent following the non-demi-human friends and family of the various demis and how they strive to look out for their loved ones. All in all, it makes for a surprisingly deep anime that remains heartfelt and introspective even as it brings a smile to your face.

Watch It If You Like: Cute girls doing cute things, Monster Musume

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, FUNimation

Image Copyright: ©2017 Natsume Akatsuki • Kurone Mishima/KADOKAWA/KONOSUBA2 Partners

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2

Studio: Studio DEEN

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Months ago (in season one), shut-in otaku Kazuma died in our world and was transported to a fantasy world along with one item of his choice–he chose the spoiled, selfish, mocking goddess who had transported him there. Soon, the two found themselves tied to two other companions, a mage who can only cast one (massively destructive) spell every day and an ultra-masochistic knight who gets off on being abused–by both her companions and the monsters they fight. Now, this group of unlikely “heroes” would like nothing more than to relax and live in luxury, but their massive egos, flawed personalities, and inability to consider the consequences of their actions keep getting them in trouble.

Why You Should Watch It: There is no other anime this season that comes close to being as hilarious as Konosuba. What started as an anime making fun of tropes commonly found in “otaku becomes hero in a fantasy world” stories has transformed into comedy born from four incredibly selfish personalities crashing into each other with side-splitting results.

While friends they may be, each almost always acts to his or her immediate individual benefit given the opportunity–screwing over the others (and sometimes themselves) in the process. This, in turn, means that most of the problems they face are of their own doing. They are trapped in a constant cycle where the solutions to their problems only cause larger ones down the line. In the end, it makes for an anime that rarely gives you time to catch your breath between fits of laughter.

Watch It If You Like: Ixion Saga DT, Bikini Warriors, Sword Art Online, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, AnimeLab (AU/NZ)

Image Source: 「幼女戦記」アニメ公式 on Twitter

Saga of Tanya the Evil

Studio: NUT

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 12)

Genre: War, Magical Girl

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: Tanya is a nine-year-old girl fighting on the front lines of a war similar to our World War I–except with one major difference. Tanya and those like her have magic powers, letting them fly and charge their bullets with immense destructive energy. To many, Tanya is a hero. But a few of those among her allies have caught glimpses of the truth: Beneath the facade of an innocent girl is an evil, calculating mind that cares nothing for anything beyond herself and revels in the destruction of friend and foe alike.

Why You Should Watch It: Tanya is a captivating character. Tiny nine-year-old she may appear to be, but she is absolutely cutthroat in pursuing what she wants. However, what she wants isn’t fame or glory–rather, it’s a cushy desk job of no importance, far from the front lines.

Two things keep interfering with her reaching that goal. The first is her tremendous ego mixed with her calculating nature. She is very good at knowing what is expected of her and how she should perform . However, she has a bad habit of getting caught up in what she is doing and accidently surpases expectations to such a point that she becomes far too valuable to waste on a desk job.

The second reason she fails is a bit more supernatural–“God” literally has it out for her. This omnipotent being wants nothing more than for Tanya to worship him. And because people turn to faith in times of crisis, the so-called “Being X” is pulling no punches in making sure Tanya’s life is full of danger and turmoil. Of course, Tanya is as self-centered as Being X and each setback causes her to dig in on her position even harder. So while it has all the trappings of a war story, Saga of Tanya the Evil is, at its core, a battle between a sociopathic little girl and a conceited, self-important god–everyone else is simply trapped in the middle.

Watch It If You Like: World War I, Valkyria Chronicles, Izetta: The Last Witch

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll, FUNimation

Image Source: アニメ『クズの本懐』公式@放送中! on Twitter

Scum’s Wish

Studio: Pierrot

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Coming-of-Age

Non-spoiler Plot Summary: High school girl Hanabi loves her childhood friend turned teacher. Hanabi’s male classmate Mugi loves his former tutor and now music teacher. Knowing that their love for their respective teachers will never be reciprocated, the two high schoolers start “dating”–but are in reality pretending the other is the partner they can never be with.

Why You Should Watch It: Scum’s Wish is an anime that follows two teens who, instead of letting go of their first unrequited crushes, double down on their feelings and enter into a destructive relationship built around a fantasy. Of course, they are not the only ones with unrequited loves nor are they the only ones in destructive relationships–some even seek them out. Or to put it another way, it is a grounded look at two teens entering into the complex world of real romantic relationships and discovering that it is nothing like the childhood ideal they once believed in.

It is also an anime about romantic relationships outside of the traditional norm. It covers everything from underage sexual relationships and friends with benefits, to homosexual relationships and habitual cheaters. And it doesn’t shy away from the complex thoughts and emotions tied up in each, making for a both deep and drama-filled look into the different paths romance can take.

Watch It If You Like: White Album 2, Flowers of Evil, Izetta: The Last Witch

Where You Can Watch It: Amazon Anime Strike, Amazon Prime Video (UK)

Comments (8)
  1. *Peaks his head around corner*
    Don’t you mean Winter 2017?
    *Bashfully runs away*

    • You know, you’d think two months into the new year I’d stop typing 2016 automatically. Thanks for the catch!

  2. I must be getting better at spotting the good ones, I starting reading these lists of yours, 2, maybe 3 years ago, and I almost never had already watched any of them. Now, I’m already watching 3 of these, crazy.

    • Interesting that our tastes have started to align. I have clearly trained you well.

  3. Chaos;Child has just gotten to confusing to me but I am loving Fukka and EDlive this season

    • Oh? What is it about EDlive that grabs your attention?

  4. In my opinion this article should have the Anime Recommendations tag.

    Love the suggestions. I look forward to checking out Chaos;Child and hopefully it is able to keep a consistent level of quality across an entire season unlike its predecessor.

    • Anime Recommendations tag… I knew I forgot something.

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