With the new season well under way, it’s time to take a step back and see which anime stand out so far.
Having had the chance to peruse every new series airing this season, I’ve narrowed my list down to 10 shows (excluding sequels) worth watching this season.
In this part 2 of my list, I’ll be covering comedy and slice of life series.
Sweetness and Lightning
Mondays on Crunchyroll
“Kouhei Inuzuka is a teacher who has been caring for his little daughter on his own since his wife’s death. He’s no good at cooking, so he and his daughter Tsumugi have been eating packaged meals from the convenience store. A series of events lead him one evening to a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori. Her mother isn’t there, but Kotori does her best to feed them both. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.” –MangaHelpers
If you’ve read my review of Usagi Drop, you probably know exactly why I think this series is awesome.
Family-centric slice of life series are one of several ideas in this genre that give it incredible narrative potential, and the bonds between all of the characters in this series, whether strong or newly formed, make this a truly heartwarming experience. At its core, this is a story about a family growing closer together through the bond of food, and so far it’s pulling off this idea beautifully. Also, Kotori’s addition to the situation feels very natural rather than intrusive, with her own circumstances making her very endearing.
The technical aspects of this series are on-point as well, with a colour palette that’s bright and colourful in an almost childlike vision of the world.
The unique and well-crafted character designs and welcoming set layouts further cement it as a series that wants nothing more than to draw you into its world with a warm embrace. Normally I don’t talk about this next part, but the voice acting for this series is simply phenomenal, from rising star and personal favourite of mine Saori Hayami (Shirayuki, Snow White with the Red Hair) as Kotori, to child voice actress Rina Endou as Tsugumi. Coupled with some mild and upbeat music, the sound end of this series is nearly perfect.
Though I will admit I’m much less partial to slice of life than other genres, I cannot deny that this series is incredible and a definite AOTS candidate. I can highly recommend this one to pretty much anyone who wants a very cute, but very heartfelt family comedy.
Fridays on Crunchyroll
“Hikari Kohinata is a cheerful 15-year-old girl who lives near the ocean and she spends much of her time diving as a result. On her first day of high school, she meets a teacher who also likes scuba diving. There’s also a 16-year-old classmate, Futaba, who gets dragged along in Hikari’s maelstrom as soon as they meet at school.” –MAL
The rising popularity of the iyashikei (healing) branch of slice of life has brought a whole new feeling of calmness and serenity to the seasonal charts.
Shows like Flying Witch that are designed for almost nothing else besides lulling you into a state of relaxation are more than welcome in my book, and, in my opinion, Amanchu! may turn out to be the best one yet. Aside from its serene atmosphere, this series also has a really solid set of characters, from the bouncing ball of energy Hikari, to the shy and reserved Futaba who’s trying to adjust to life in a new town.
As for animation, I am absolutely adoring J.C. Staff’s work so far.
The character designs are very detailed and extremely gorgeous, the background art feels open and refreshing, and the cinematography is surprisingly complex for a series of this nature and grabs some pretty cool underwater shots. The music also plays its part in mellowing out the viewers as well with its blend of acoustic guitar, piano, and pitched percussion. The atmosphere that the animation and sound create is, in my opinion, the most important part of an iyashikei anime, and Amanchu! has it nearly perfected down to the last detail.
So far this seems to be the most under-appreciated series this season in terms of initial ratings, as I do think it has AOTS potential.
I know not everyone is a fan of iyashikei, but if you need some healing after a long, stressful day at work, or you just want to watch something really fun and relaxing, then this series is exactly what you need.
Fridays on Crunchyroll
“The story revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush Momo. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy.” –AnimeNewsNetwork
In an industry inundated with unfinished, mediocre rom-coms that are all about getting to the relationship and then just stopping for some reason, having one about the relationship itself is extremely refreshing.
While there’s nothing excessively engaging about this particular couple, watching them grow and try to understand how to make each other happy gives me a ton of warm, fuzzy feelings. The characters themselves are a bit odd, especially concerning Kurihara’s obsession with Momo, but that just ends up lending to their endearing nature once they start interacting with each other. The supporting cast also provides a lot of entertainment as well, and the way they either tease or support Kurihara and Momo throughout the series is very charming in a way.
The animation isn’t really anything special, but it does its best to make the story as cute as possible.
The character designs are petite and adorable, and the colour palette has a solid pink and green base to work off of. The set design can be fairly impressive at points as well, going out of its way to create enough variation for it to be memorable amongst the thousands of anime school settings. There’s really not much to say about the soundtrack, but there’s nothing inherently bad about it either.
Momokuri will probably fly under most people’s radars, but I do think it has a lot going for it simply by being about two kids in an actual relationship and acting extremely cute. If that sounds like your thing, give this one a shot.
Mondays on Crunchyroll
“The main character Suzukaze Aoba graduates from high school and joins a game company. The person who made the game that Aoba loved as a grade-schooler just happens to be Aoba’s senior at the company. The story follows girls who work and aspire at the Eaglejump company.” –AnimeNewsNetwork
Though not as impressive as last season’s Sansha Sanyou, New Game! still stands on its own as a solid comedy series.
It also has some really fun character moments as Aoba does her best to get better at her new job as quickly as possible, and her determination to improve her craft and her love for the medium she works in make her extremely endearing.
As mentioned, Dogakobo is heading the animation for this series, and it’s pretty great so far.
With masterful colour work and excessively cute character designs, the animation is built from the ground up with cuteness and visual appeal in mind. The set design is very meticulous and filled to the brim with detail, bringing this office environment to life in so many ways. Even the cinematography has some pretty strong points, an area that’s often overlooked in less interesting slice of life shows. The soundtrack also stands out pretty well and adds a unique flavour to each scene.
While it doesn’t feel like AOTS material so far, it’s still a very fun and lighthearted series with cute girls and a great sense of humour, so I can definitely recommend this one to those who are looking for more cute girls doing cute things.
“Onara Gorou follows the everyday life of Gorou, the “most admirable of farts,” as he solves problems in ways that only a fart can.” –AnimeNewsNetwork
Clearly, we are now looking at an unrivalled masterpiece of the animation medium, leaving classics such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Neon Genesis Evangelion in the dust as vague memories of an obsolete era. Truly this is the very pinnacle of entertainment!
In all serious though, this series is exactly what you think it’s like: low budget to the point of hilarity and a script so bizarre and weird that your mouth will be left agape by the end of each episode. It’s not an extremely hilarious series though, so a lot of the time I’m just left staring in awe at a fart doling out life advice. The animation is seven levels below what you’d expect the bare minimum to be, though this often works in its favour comedically.
I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but for now this is simply one of those moment where you just throw your hands in the air and exclaim “Wow, Japan. Just wow.”
That’s it for this season’s preview guide. Be sure to check out part 1 if you haven’t yet, and let us know what shows you plan on watching this season.