Okay, I’m pretty late with this one since we’re well into the Spring 2014 season already. In my defense, I was really unsure of which Winter 2014 anime series I’d strongly recommend to pretty much anyone. The season was arguably a bit weak but contained many strong continuing series from the fall season. However, I think I’ve decided on a few recommendations now!
Gin no Saji S2
Normally I wouldn’t recommend a sequel since it creates a barrier to entry for many viewers. However, Gin no Saji is my top pick for anime of the season. The series follows Hachiken, a teenager who has recently enrolled in a school specializing in agriculture. Hachiken had no prior experience to the farming life since he came from the city with parents who emphasized the importance of academics and getting into a top school. Hachiken begins to experience a completely different lifestyle that he’s never even considered. Even though it’s tagged as a slice of life, Gin no Saji actually has some plot progression as the students move along in their school year. They introduce a large cast of characters but most of them have their moments where we get to know them better (so they actually have a personality). Gin no Saji manages to juggle comedic, peaceful, and emotional moments within the series. I strongly recommend this series to anyone but don’t forget to watch the first season before starting the second one!
You can watch Gin no Saji S2 on Crunchyroll (may not be available in all regions)
I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant to recommend a series that is the textbook definition of a harem. Despite that, I really think that Nisekoi stands out from the other harem shows despite having all of your typical cliches. The synopsis can be read on the MAL page for Nisekoi since I can’t think of an easy way to explain it. Overall, the series is fun to watch even without having any sort of a deep plot behind it. The thing that makes the series for me is the likeable cast. As the series progresses, Raku’s harem continues to grow. Each girl is given a bit of time to develop her character and relationship with Raku. On top of that, the art and animation for Nisekoi is different from most series. Since it’s produced by SHAFT, you can expect a lot of symbolic and artsy scenes. I’m finding it pretty difficult to come up with an appropriate sales pitch for Nisekoi. It just has a certain charm to it that makes it an enjoyable series to watch and one that I would recommend.
Noragami is the third series from the winter season that I’d recommend. The premise involves a God who goes around taking trivial requests from humans in exchange for payment. His goal is to eventually build his own shrine and become a well respected God across the land. A young girl, Hiyori, crosses paths with him one day and ends up with a near death experience. After her incident, she’s able to see spirits and other supernatural beings.Together, Hiyori is exposed to a completely different world that she’d never been aware of. How Gods and their servants exorcise evil spirits from the land and how they interact with each other. Overall, Noragami is a series that manages to balance comedic aspects with serious and action packed moments beautifully. The characters are also well fleshed out throughout the course of the series where we get to see the different sides of each character. Unfortunately, this is only a one-cour series so it serves as a sort of introduction and set up to their world. Despite that, I still believe it’s worth the watch and was one of the top anime of the Winter 2014 season.
You can watch Noragami on Funimation (may not be available in all regions)
Those three are the main series from the winter 2014 anime that I would recommend. There were several other series I really enjoyed such as Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, D-Frag!, and Nobunaga the Fool. However, I don’t think they’d appeal to as wide range of an audience as the three I recommended did. I don’t think too many shows really stood out for me in this past season. I found that the shows I was looking forward to the most would be the fall 2013 carry overs. I previously did a recommendation post for the Fall 2013 anime season which can be found here.