Can you believe we’re only a quarter of the way through the year? With all the anime coming out, you’d think we’re halfway! Winter 2019 gave us not just a lot of good series, but great series, and Spring is looking promising as well. We’ve compiled what we think are the 10 best anime of Winter 2019, and 5 Spring series that show promise. This list includes leftover series but not specials/OVAs, so apologies to Pop Team Epic.
One of the most overlooked anime of the past year, this all-ages horror show is as good as it’s ever been. Kitaro’s adventures to help people with supernatural problems have been told for almost 60 years, and this series is able to update it for a new generation. Despite being labeled a kids show, it tackles serious issues with earnestness and depth. It’s an art to make a spooky series work for all ages, and the people on Kitaro are masters.
How do you make a harem comedy stand out? By making the main guy a distinct character. Futaro Uesugi is a broke high schooler obsessed with studying. He takes a job as a tutor for a wealthy family. Little does he know that he’s tutoring quintuplets that are in his class! He thought there was 1, now there are 5 of them! Things get out of hand quickly, and harem ensues. Most harem protagonists are self-inserts, but the show goes out of its way to make Futaro a strong character. But who will he choose!?! Who will you choose?
Despite the strange title, this is one of the better isekai shows to come out in some time. The title explains the plot: guy dies, guy becomes an overpowered slime in a fantasy RPG inspired world. But where other shows like Overlord take a pessimistic route, Slime is much more positive. It’s got slice-of-life pacing with strong action to keep everyone entertained. No character is simply who they appear to be, which allows for some unexpected depth. A nice surprise.
A retelling of the light novels, this adaption is a tight psychological thriller. Touka is just your normal high schooler, until a series of bizarre murders at the school brings out the spirit Boogiepop. Using Touka’s body, Boogiepop investigates the supernatural reason behind the killings. Madhouse brings their signature madness to the series, and the plot has a puzzle-like structure, letting the viewers put the pieces together. Make sure to check out the original anime, which cover stories that happen after Boogiepop and Others.
Oh Jojo, you never stop being amazing. Part 5 of Jojo's Bizzare Adventure follows Giorno Giovanna, the son of the Joestar’s main rival, Dio Brando. Well, that’s only half true. You see, Dio possessed Jonathan Joestar at the time of Giorno’s conception, so really Giorno is a Joestar. But that’s all prologue. The show focuses on Giorno rising the ranks of the Italian Mafia, hoping to make Italy a peaceful place by force. It gets weirder from there.
Remember in high school when you could never confess to your crush? What if you knew they liked you too, but instead of sharing your feelings, you made a game out of getting the other to confess first? That’s what happens with Kaguya and Miyuki, the leads in Love is War. It’s a fun set-up that leads to hilarious Death Note-esque mind games. The premise could get old real quick, which is why the show has a strong supporting cast. With one of the best ending credits this season, the show is immediately addictive. We’ll be doing the Chika dance for a long, long time.
What can I say about this show? No really; talking about the plot or premise is all spoilers. Let just say this suspense tale about kids living in an orphanage has a dark underbelly. The direction is tight, with the close-up framing and stark editing leaving you to feel uneasy the whole way through. You never know what’s going to happen next, and the characters will constantly surprise you. It was one of the most hyped series for a reason and a contender for anime of the year.
Like Kitaro, Dororo shows classic manga stories can still leave audiences raving. Based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka, it’s an action thriller about the main character, Hyakkimaru, literally finding himself. Before Hyakkimaru was born, his father made a deal with demons for wealth and power. The price for that power was 48 body parts from his next child. Guess who the baby was? One of the darkest series this winter, it’s a fantastic series for those looking for more serious fare.
This anime about a group of college kids trying to win a relay marathon was a surprise when it came out last fall. It’s finale this winter cemented the sports anime as a great series. I’m a sucker for character-driven sports stories; Ping Pong is one of my favorite series of all time. Wind doubles down on that aspect, making each character an inspiration in their own right. It’s also nice to see a story set in college instead of the usual high school setting. Give this series the love it deserves!
The first season of Mob Psycho 100 is one of my favorite seasons in anime. We’ve talked about it in another blog, saying we liked the awesome animation and hilarious comedy. This season elevates everything by adding more nuance to its characters and the theme of growing up. If Mob wants to be who he wants to be, he has to make his life his own. That means making his own decisions and having his own opinions. It’s fun to see Mob grow, and even more fun to see the action sequences, which blow the first season out of the water. Truly a series that exceeds expectations.
Promising Spring Anime
The crossover that no one asked for but everyone wants! Chibified characters of Re:ZERO, Overlord, The Saga of Tanya the Evil, and Konosuba are transported to another world (again) where they are high school students. In-jokes and meta-references ensue, which should be to the delight of isekai fans. Whether you’re a fan of all the series or one, this is worth checking out
Dread it, run from it, Fruits Basket still arrives. It’s been a long time coming, but the classic shoujo romance is getting the proper adaption it deserves. The previous one in 2001 resulted in a product the mangaka was not happy with and ended without a proper resolution to the main conflict. Now, this retelling will go from beginning to end, all at the mangaka’s approval. Nothing is stopping this hype train, so get on board!
This one is looking to be the shounen action series of the season. Tanjiro lives a wonderful life with his family selling charcoal. One day, almost his entire family is murdered by a demon. His sister is the only survivor, but not unharmed; she’s been turned into a demon! This tale of revenge and redemption is animated by Ufotable, the studio behind the excellent Fate series, so expect some A++++ battle scenes.
Revolutionary Girl Utena director Kunihiko Ikuhara is up to his usual shenanigans in this new series. Drawing from the legends of the yokai Kappa, Ikuhara has created a series about identity, shame, and other things we won’t figure out until later. Plus lots of butt jokes. Lots and lots of butt jokes.
Do you like sports shows that aren’t about sports? Mix is just for you! From acclaimed author Mitsuru Adachi, it focuses on step-brothers who help bring a high school baseball team to former glory. Adachi’s other series, Cross Game, is one of the best sports anime and a must watch/read. Mix looks to continue the torch and focus on the struggles of legacy and the unfairness of life. There’s also baseball; they have to play a game or two, right?