Anime Winter Season 2014: First Impressions

This is the first time for me to pick up that many shows in a new season. I’m usually someone who finds and starts watching specific anime when they are already done airing.

So for me, this season is pretty special. 
I’ve picked up about 10 shows and after watching the first few episodes of each of them, I already know that I’m keeping a lot of them.
I think it’s not only thanks to Sakura Trick that I love this anime season, even if we disregard this show, there are still a lot of other great and promising ones out there.
So let’s start with the first one I picked up.
And what show might this be?

Of course it’s Sakura Trick.
I’ve made a whole blog entry dedicated to my first impression of this specific anime already, so click here if you wanna read it.
After episode 3 I’m still pretty happy with how things are going.
The anime very much sticks to the manga version, which is a very good thing.
Still, since there are only 6 chapters of the manga translated yet, I can’t really predict how this anime is going to continue. Is it going to stay the cute and ecchi “girls doing cute and random stuff” show or is it going to develop an actual plot with a real conflict?
I can’t really see the latter happening, but it’s still possible, isn’t it? I think I wouldn’t mind either way as long as the amount of sweet kisses won’t decrease~

Next let’s come to an anime with a quite heavy amount of yuri action, at least for a seemingly hetero show. What I’m talking about is Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga, or short ImoCho, an anime that has caused quite some uproar thanks to one specific yuri scene that happens during the very first episode.
But first things first, the anime starts out pretty normal.
Mitsuki, the protagonist of this show is quite unhappy with the recent changes in her life. Since her mother remarried, she’s forced to move into a new home and now also has a step brother that she refuses to get along with. So far so good, nothing suspicious happened up until this point.
But then, all of a sudden, a random ghost girl appears, Mitsuki is suddenly wearing a chastity belt and said ghost girl starts sexing Mitsuki up. Yeah, that all happened pretty quickly and I wasn’t prepared…
On top of that, the sex scene was pretty… intense, at least for a non-hentai show. It rather felt like a scene from an Eroge and to be honest, I was strangely ok with it.
Well anyway, I don’t think this anime will keep up the yuri action for much longer, but let’s just see about that.

Next let’s come to an anime that I solely picked up, because the characters and the art looked so nice in the preview.
I’m talking about Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha:
Fushimi Inari is a shy, not-so-bright middle school girl living in Kyoto’s Fushimi ward. She has a crush on her classmate Tanbabashi, but cannot express her feelings. One day, as thanks for helping a fox pup, the deity Ukanomitama-no-kami grants her the ability to change her form.
(Source: MAL)
The first 2 episodes pretty much confirmed what I thought this show would be like; a cute and fun anime. It is visually very nice to look at, probably one of the greatest anime of this season, at least in this department.
Up until now, there is no real yuri action going on. The main character Inari is obviously head over heels in love with her male classmate Tanbabashi, but even though this is made so obvious, I can’t help myself but ship her with basically every other female character.
It’s funny how well she matches her friends or even the girl she primarily thinks of as an obstacle standing in the way of getting closer to her crush. Hell, I even ship Inari with the deity Ukanomitama, even though she clearly takes a motherly role for Inari.
I’ve never really seen a character match so many other characters, and despite the fact that I know that it will probably not head into the yuri direction, I can’t help but hope for it to happen.

I only started watching D-Frag! because a friend of mine recommended me to do so, and I’m very glad I did.
Here’s a short summary:
Kazama Kenji likes to believe he is something of a delinquent. Moreover, others seem to like to agree that he is. Of course, Kenji’s gang finds their way to a group of four not-so-normal girls—Chitose, Sakura, Minami and Roka—and all at once, whatever reputation he may have is nothing compared to the outrageous behavior of the girls. Shanghaied into joining their club, what will happen to his everyday life from that point on? (Source: MAL)
This is probably my favorite comedy show this season. It’s seriously hilarious and the characters are just great.
Well, despite the protagonist Kenji, all of the already introduced girls are somehow a little, or in some cases pretty damn crazy, but in a good and very entertaining way.
The first few episodes were great so far and this show already made me laugh a lot, so I’ll definitely keep this one.

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei was one of the greatest surprises for me this season, but before I’ll explain why, here’s a summary:
Yonomi Kobeni, an ordinary girl, finds out on her 16th birthday that she is betrothed to Mitsumine Hakuya, a boy the same age as her. Hakuya moves in from the countryside and starts living with her, bringing his younger sister who is still a primary school student with him. Also added is her older sister who is already living with Kobeni and is two years older.

The story revolves around these four people and their identities as “couples” and “sisters-in-law.”
(Source:MAL)

In know, the description sounds a little lame, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much, but as soon as Kobeni’s sister Benio made her entrance, I already knew that I would definitely keep this show. Benio is already one of my favorite characters this season; 
She’s a lolicon, loves her sister a little too much and she rocks the whole school with her brilliance on a daily basis. Needless to say, the combination of Benio, her sister Kobeni and their loli sister-in-law Mashiro already looks very promising and I love all three of them.

Next up is Nisekoi:
Raku Ichijou is an average high school student. He also happens to be the sole heir to the head of a Yakuza Family called the Shuei-gumi. Ten years ago, Raku made a promise… a secret promise with a girl he met. They promised one another that they will “get married when they reunite”. Since then, Raku never let go of the pendant the girl gave him.

Then one day, a beautiful girl named Chitoge Kirisaki transfers into Raku’s class. Their chemistry was more than off. There was not a moment where they were not fighting. But by a weird turn of events, Raku and Chitoge agree to become fake lovers. Although his heart is really interested in his classmate Kosaki Onodera, Raku must continue pretending to be Chitoge’s boyfriend.
(Source: MAL)

This is one of my favorite shows this season and I don’t even know why. I mean, even though I can’t name any other anime like this, I’m sure other shows with a similar plot already exist. Still, somehow this one feels very intriguing and interesting and well… I love the characters, so of course I’ll keep watching this one.

Noragami was another surprise for me. I don’t even know why I started watching this in the first place, but I’m glad I did. Here’s what it’s about:
Yato, a minor god, dreams to become the most revered deity in the world with big shrine and all. However, being a penniless god that he is, he has a long way to go and his shinki leaving him doesn’t help matter. Later, when he does his job, a high school girl named Hiyori Iki pushes him out of the way of a speeding bus; unaware of his status as deity.

Things get complicated when this incident triggers abnormality in Hiyori’s soul, causing her to make an Astral Projection whenever she falls unconscious. To turn herself back to normal, Hiyori must help Yato becoming a better god who can fix the problem, along with Yato’s new shinki, Yukine.
(Source: MAL)

I don’t have much to say to this one. It has an intriguing story, interesting characters and it just started out pretty nicely. 
Well, I have no idea how things will continue, the opening of course gives some hints, but I’m not really sure what to expect. However, since I enjoyed the first 3 episodes, I’m definitely going to follow this story and see what this has to offer.

Next up is Mahou Sensou:
In this modern magic action story, Takeshi Nanase is an ordinary high school boy who has a somewhat dark past. Due to certain circumstances, he formed a “fake” couple with his childhood friend Kurumi Isoshima, but otherwise, he lives a normal life. However, one day, he comes across a girl named Mui Aiba, in a uniform he has never seen before, collapsed on the school campus. This encounters changes Takeshi’s destiny completely. Mui tells Takeshi that she is a magician, and she apologizes, for she turned Takeshi into a magician, too. What Takeshi once knew as one world is actually two—the world where magicians live and the world where humans live.
(Source: MAL)
Just like the title lets us predict, this is another anime focusing on some random people using magic, nothing new here. Neither the characters nor the story seem all that interesting so far, so I guess this is the show I’m most likely to drop. Still, I somehow like the setting with the two different worlds and the upcoming war, but that’s about it.
Well, I don’t feel like I should judge this just yet, but I have a feeling that this will just not turn out that nicely.

Go! Go! 575 is a show that I don’t really understand and that I simply picked up because my great neighbor OG-Man showed me its yuri potential.
I’m not really sure whether the description of this short anime will help you understand what is going on, but here you have it anyway:
Go! Go! 575 adapts the Project 575 games for PlayStation Vita and iOS, which allow anyone to create songs using the traditional Japanese 5-7-5-syllable meter found in haiku and tanka poems. (Source: MAL)
This one comes with only 4 episodes that are each only 3 minutes long, so yeah it’s almost over and nothing really happened… Still, Yuzu’s yuri delusions make this a short, but kind of nice watch for us yuri fans.
Last but not least I also picked up Saki: Zenkoku-hen, even though I still haven’t finished the first season.
I highly doubt that I will actually finish this anytime soon, so I thought why not just sneak a peek at this season. 
As it seems, Zenkoku-hen will focus on the Inter High School Mahjong Championships, and the first episode already made it pretty clear what to expect.
They introduced tons of characters, I’m not even sure whether those were all characters that we should already know from the first season, or whether there were some new ones too. For me it was simply too much. But that doesn’t come as a surprise; I still have to watch at least 10 episodes of the first season, so I most likely don’t know all the characters yet.
Please dear Saki fans, don’t hate me for this, but I’m not really into the show, even though there is some more or less obvious yuri going on. I just don’t like Mahjong and their way of playing it might be a little too much for me, so I’m not really sure whether I will continue watching this.
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16 thoughts on “Anime Winter Season 2014: First Impressions

  1. To be honest, this has got to be the weakest Saki season yet. It's enjoyable, but it's similar to Achiga's start and doesn't feel very stand out compared to the original season.

    Some great picks on there! I dropped Mahou Sensou after getting halfway through episode 3.

    I need to get back on watching 575. I have the raws for 2 and 3 on there, but just haven't gotten around to watching them yet.

    Mikakunin de Shinkoukei (AKA Engaged to the Unidentified) has been my Anime of the season so far! I just can't help but be increasingly excited every episode!.

    Sakura Trick has been great so far, but it needs to put a little more effort in with comedy/other stuff to get up top. Still, it's definitely been great~

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  2. After watching the most recent Mahou Sensou episode I'm also starting to think that's I should just drop it… The romance that is thrown in just annoys me.

    Haaa Mikakunin de Shinkoukei on the other hand is sooo great! With each and every episode I love Benio more~

    You seem to have mostly picked the yuri shows, huh? Not that I'm complaining, we got so many yuri and yuri-ish anime this season, it's just wonderful 😉

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  3. When I first watched Saki, I never understood mahjong and even today I barely understand anything of it. But even with that, I love Saki for its mahjong. The execution is GENIUS. It does a lot of crazy stuff when they play mahjong like the special effects and flashbacks and stuff but it's a lot of fun to watch. It's not like the other sports anime that just seemed corny when they do crazy stuff.

    I did not enjoy Achiga-hen's mahjong. They overdid the superpower stuff. I still liked for its yuri undertones though. hah.

    The first few episodes of Zenkoku-hen are quite underwhelming. It's just not the same. Hopefully it gets better because this franchise is one of my favorites.

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  4. I also didn't know a thing about Mahjong when I started watching the first season and even to this day, I still pretty much know nothing about it 😛

    The characters are interesting, not necessarily the two main characters, but a lot of the supportive characters like Hisa and Mihoko are pretty nice.

    But well, I really don't like the way they play Mahjong, it just seems ridiculous, even though it would probably be totally boring if they didn't do like that…

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  5. Although I don't know the most animes you mentioned….

    Saki is not popular among western audiences since mahjong is quite difficult for them. Yes, it is difficult even for asians. I can play mahjong (both Chinese mahjong and Japanese mahjong), and I enjoy playing Majong, so besides yuri, I can find more enjoyment in this show. But the power that the characters in Saki have are… yeah… quite unrealistic.

    It is true that there're tons of many characters. It's hard for me to recognise them sometimes. I like the animes that contain few characters, such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Generally, the fewer characters the anime contains, the more vivid and replenished the figure settling is.

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  6. Yup I agree, in some cases it's better to only have a handful of characters introduced instead of introducing a handful of new ones each and every episode.

    But well, I haven't even finished the first Saki season so I shouldn't judge it just yet.

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  7. I watched d-frag and it's really hillarious XD the main heroine looked like an absent-minded person and sometimes turn in to chibi to add the tsukkomi efdect is just so funny. And yeah, maybe Mahou sensou will be a better anime if they're just drop the triangle-love-story. Until now i waited for Mikakunin and Sakura trick every week ><
    For Inari, i don't really excited with it when the first episode aired. I mean, look at the heroine, a clumsy yet airhead person who fall in love with a cool (?) Boy, that's a mainstream plot for shoujo manga. But in the second episode, maybe increase my curiousity (?) Side a little bit. I read Nisekoi manga and followed it, i liked it at first but now it just turns out to be some mainstream harem manga, the earlier chapter barely told the story about the childhood promise anymore and i was some kind of dissapointed to read it (though i still followed it :v)
    My favorite animes this season are : Sakura trick (of course), Mikakunin de shinkoukei, Noragami, Hamatora, Nisekoi (yea i like the anime)…
    I watched wake up girls! But now i have dropped it

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  8. You picked some pretty good shows 😉
    And I agree, Inari KonKon really didn't start out that great, but it only took me 2 episodes to fall in love with it.

    It's actually the opposite with Nisekoi. The first few episodes were really interesting and good, but now, since it's heading into the harem direction, I start liking it less.
    It's still funny and all, but I really like Onodera x Ichijou, so it feels kind of wrong to me that he all of a sudden starts liking Kirisaki as well.
    Well, I guess it's a good thing I didn't read the manga.

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  9. Oh no… Ichijou should stay with Onodera. The rest of the girls should just fall in love with Kirisaki. That would be really great, but I should stop fantasizing about stuff that won't happen 😛

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