As the ‘Winter Season’ comes to a close, it’s time to reflect back on all the anime that had the opportunity to air at this time of the year. While ‘Winter’ is generally known to fans as the weakest season of the year it nonetheless has given us a couple of standout series that absolutely deserve a shot.
And so I present to you all my personal favorites of the season. Scroll down below to check them out:
4) Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Adapted from the manga by ‘Cool-kyou Shinja’ and animated by the ever masterful ‘Kyoto Animation’, ‘Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’ provides this snow-cold season with a solid ‘slice-of-life’ that wonderfully capitalizes on its studio’s strengths to give way to an amusing, relaxing and often heartwarming show that at its core is simply a story about a bunch of widely different individuals coming together and enriching each other’s lives in a familial way (with an element of the fantastical thrown in for god measure).
The series starts off with our titular character helping out a Dragon from another world causing said Dragon to become indebted and determined to repay this puny human. Soon Kobayashi has Tohru, a ‘Dragon Maid’ living with her which is just the beginning of her abnormal situation. As the series moves forward many more characters, both humans and Dragons, are introduced in this tale.
While its cast may consist of Dragons, the series is fairly grounded in its execution focusing more on the mundanities of everyday life with a little bit of mystical flavor to spice things up. The show’s main strengths lie in the charm of its characters, their oftentimes alien and odd approach to things and the bonds they share with each other. These strengths are further enhanced through beautiful and vibrant character animation along with the marvelous expressiveness in its art design.
‘Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’ has been able to firmly maintain and convey these qualities throughout it run which allows it to secure a strong recommendation for any fan.
3) KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2
The surprise hit of the ‘Winter 2016’ season returned for another round of classical fantasy ‘adventures’ and laugh out loud shenanigans as Kazuma and his party (by which I mean JUST Kazuma) find themselves in some major trouble following the grand battle at last season’s end.
This season follows in the same veins as its predecessor providing us a solid cast with great chemistry and a plot-line that mostly serves as background for all its comedic predicaments. The show also follows suit in the technical department, providing fluid animation with art ranging from fine to downright wacky which may turn off those who prefer higher standards in the technical department but perfectly suits the tone the anime is going for. The comedy also continues to deliver with its heavy reliance on the quirkiness of its cast and their generally mean-spirited attitude towards each other though when push comes to shove they’re there to help each other out (most of the time anyway).
Overall ‘KonoSuba 2’ provides a myriad of laughs and giggles with just a tiny bit of heart to top it all off.
2) Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
‘Blue Exorcist’ finally graces our screens 6 years after its predecessor aired with a season that easily rivals the original .
Following off Episode 17 of the original adaptation with some messy but necessary rectonning, the ‘Kyoto Saga’ starts off with Rin being outed as the ‘Son of Satan’ to his friends and members of the ‘True Cross Order’. This leads to some strangled relationships for our main hero and it is those relationships that lie at the heart of the ‘Kyoto Saga’. While there is a big bad present for our heroes to conquer, it is but a side plot to their personal struggles.
The majority of the season spreads its focus over our core cast, taking the time to show us their worries, growth and most importantly the moments of the triumph that follow. This causes the anime to have somewhat of a slow start with the action being mostly concentrated only in the last couple of episodes. The slow pacing can definitely have a negative impact for some people but I personally enjoyed having the time to absorb everything the show presented and this also allowed it the necessary buildup to make the big climatic moments really shine.
‘Blue Exorcist’ rallies forth with its sequel providing some high tier ‘Shounen’ anime that rivals some of the medium’s best.
‘Gintama’ returned this ‘Winter’ for its penultimate season and longest ‘serious’ arc yet, delivering all the thrills and laughs we’ve come to expect from it. This season lasts 12 Episodes and covers the manga’s ‘Battle on Rakuyo’ arc which sees the ‘Odd Jobs’ journey to the desolate planet ‘Rakuyo’ where they clash with some of the series major recurring antagonistic forces from ‘The Harusame Pirates’ to Kagura’s crazed brother, Kamui.
Since the ‘Gintama’ anime entered its final stretch last year , it’s been pulling out all the stops, delivering high octane action and strong storytelling with each of its subsequent arcs and this time is no exception. The stakes have never been higher as major plot points such as Utsuro’s grand plan as well the history of the anime’s infamous ‘Yato’ family are finally revealed. While the season does have some issues ranging from the production quality being inconsistent to its pacing in certain scenes being a little too fast, the staff absolutely delivered where it counted providing some of the series best and most epic moments yet.
‘Gintama’ has been going strong for 11 years now and has been one of the greatest shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching. It currently sits at 328 Episodes with still more to come and the task of consuming it all must be undoubtedly daunting to a new watcher. Nonetheless I implore you to give it a shot as you’ll soon find one of the most hilarious, weirdest, crazy and incredible shows you’ve ever seen and for those that have seen and loved the previous seasons, to you I say “What the hell are you waiting for ? Go watch this NOW”.