With the new season inundating me with a ridiculous number of shows to watch and write first impressions for, most pretty bad, I haven’t had much of a chance to make a Top 5 list for my favorite anime of the Winter Season. In order to put off Medaka Box as long as possible, I’ll take care of that now and cover my five favorite series of last season that I didn’t lavish ridiculous amounts of attention and praise on. So here you go, everything except Nisemonogatari, it’s your time to shine!
5. Senki Zesshou Symphogear
I won’t pretend that Symphogear was actually a good show. It was a stomach churning mess, notable in that it had one of the most needlessly and unexpectedly convoluted plots in recent memory. With what started as a simple “Girl saves the world through song” story began ravaging everything in its path, leaving the mangled corpses of subtlety and finesse in its wake. Soon, government conspiracies became involved, allegiances turned for no apparent reason, hilarious Engrish was made on a regular basis, and a particle cannon was constructed underground to blast a hole in the moon by the reincarnation of an ancient priestess. If you haven’t seen it and the last two events haven’t made you click on the nearest download, then I’m afraid you’re a lost cause.
4. Inu x Boku SS
Everything about the main pairing in Inu x Boku was, to be frank, shit on shit pancakes. Every other scene involving Ririchiyo and Miketsukami either had the latter fawning over the former with an almost Annie Wilkes-esque level of obsessive devotion, or the former flustered over her feelings for the latter. If it were just this for 12 episodes, it would’ve been dropped long ago. Thankfully, thanks to the magic of brilliantly crafted side characters, the show was saved from mediocrity as we saw the S&M-related antics of Ririchiyo’s eccentric fiancée and the bottomless, adorable pit of Karuta’s stomach. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without them.
A carryover from Fall isn’t cheating, right? Right. Anyway, Chihayafuru has eluded my scrutiny for too long, but now it’s time for it to receive the praise that it so rightly deserves. If there was any show this past season that never ceased to captivate, it was easily this tale of a karuta-obsessed ditz with a heart of gold and an idealistic streak the size of Olympus Mons. What it lacked in… oh what the hell, it wasn’t lacking in anything. I daresay that Chihayafuru was one of only two consistently excellent shows from last season, one that made the characters feel real. It’s rare that a show can actually make me doubt the outcome of a competition, and even rarer when it acts on that doubt to completely flip my expectations around. Also, Chihaya is the uncontested most precious character in anything ever.
2. Daily Lives of High School Boys
I was hesitant to place this on the list, because I have a tendency to be a contrarian and ignore popular series in favor of more obscure ones. However, Daily Lives of High School Boys was just so magnificent, so dead on, that leaving it off this list would’ve been a horrible offense. The comedy genre hasn’t had a good skewering like this in a long time, something that it definitely needed, and just the sheer number of excellent gags kept me roaring with laughter week to week. The world needed Funky High School Girls and Literature Girl, and it may need them again at a later date, in all their horrible glory. Never stop being funky, girls. You’re the real face of moe.
1. Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Yeah, this is a bit of a copout. But c’mon, it’s Natsume. If there’s anything that’s been continuously enrapturing with absolutely no letup, it’s been this sequel of a sequel of a sequel. While we got less of Nyanko’s amazing expressions, something that I was a little disappointed in, that was nonetheless made up for by some truly touching moments. While it may never rival the second episode of Zoku with the statue gods and the snow bunnies, it still filled some very big shoes, and it did so with enthusiasm. Plus, this had probably the only Natsume OP that I really liked.
Honorable Mentions: Aquarion Evol, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Mirai Nikki (Not over yet), and Mouretsu Pirates. And as much as I loved Nisemonogatari, I felt other shows deserved a fair shot.
Well, there we have it. Until Mirai Nikki finishes, this will officially be the last that I write about the winter season for a good long time. While it gave us quite a few good shows, I think I can echo most everyone’s sentiment by saying thank god it’s over.