The Winter 2019 anime season is winding down, and it’s a good time to look back and see which shows entertained us, made us cry and, most importantly, share memes on the Internet. Let’s take a look at J-List’s Winter 2019 anime wrap-up, where I give my thoughts on the best shows, and why I liked them.
The J-List Winter 2019 Anime Wrap-Up
Gotoubun no Hanayome / Quintessential Quintuplets
A harem anime involving five quintuplets, who are all bad at studying. A fun show, but perhaps the best example of an anime that blew its budget on top-name voice actresses rather than animation. An enjoyable series, though lacking some of the quality writing and structure that other shows this season have sported.
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari/Rising of the Shield Hero
When I wrote the Top 10 Anime from the Winter 2019 Season J-List Will be Watching post, I correctly predicted that fans would embrace racoon girl as their new sexualized waifu, and I wasn’t wrong. The show has been adorable, with great characters and a story I enjoy watching. The plot is certainly better than How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, which was hilarious when it tried to create an actual plot when fans were only there for the “plot.”
Some might have been turned off by some of the events in the series (the MC is accused of rape and generally abused by the other heroes), but we hope everyone will look past these elements to the excellent story and characters. The show is still ongoing for the next cour, so start it now, if you haven’t yet!
Wataten! An Angel Flew Down to Me
An anime about a female university student who has massive social anxiety issues, yet is a genius when it comes to sewing and cooking sweets, develops an unhealthy obsession with her younger sister’s elementary school-age friend. Sounds totally wholesome, right? Despite its questionable premise, it’s quite an adorable show, similar to Uzamaid! but without the level of dark humor.
It never fails: the minute I blog about the scarcity of Buddhist themes in anime and pop culture in general, along comes Dororo, a remake of a 50-year-old Tezuka Osamu manga and anime about a baby whose bodily organs are sacrificed to demons, requiring him to kill the demons to get them returned to him after he grows up. An outstanding story, and one of the best reboots/re-imaginings ever, this anime basically gave me hope that, 300 years from now, people might be watching anime just like we are now, since all the great stories can always be rebooted for future generations.
My Roommate is a Cat
Another hidden nugget from this anime season is My Roommate is a Cat, about a man whose parents are killed in a bus accident, so he tries to pull out of society entirely. Happily, he picks up a stray cat, who adopts her new human and loves him. Each episode is told in two halves, from the point of view of the human, then again from the view of the cat. It’s fantastically written and very uplifting, despite its simple premise.
Manaria Friends/Mysteria Friends
The only thing I know of the Rage of Bahamoot series is that it’s made by Cygames with the boatloads of money they get from their mobile card games, and that I don’t have time to get into any huge Fate-style world that expects fans to get a Bachelor’s degree in the lore of the show to properly enjoy it. Happily, Manaria Friends (alternately distributed as Mysteria Friends for some reason) is a simple and fun side-story that doesn’t ask you to learn anything else about the universe.
It’s a slice-of-life yuri story about a cute princess and her half-dragon girlfriend. It features fabulously good animation and a charming story, despite literally nothing happening in terms of active plot. Go watch it, now!
Kaguya-sama: Love is War
One of the shining stars of the current season, every episode has been a treasure, and if you’ve been following the J-List Twitter account, you’ll have seen the many memes and gifs and video clips we’ve shared. Basically, Kaguya and Miyuki love each other, and each is obsessed with trying to trap the other into confessing his/her love first. And so…months go by with no progress in their relationship. It’s kind of like my high school life, but without the smart and attractive rich girl hanging around.
Domestic na Kanojo
Natsuo is in love with his teacher but ends up losing his virginity with a random girl he meets while singing karaoke, who wants to get the experience of sex. The next thing he knows, both his teacher and the girl he slept with have become his step-sisters, thanks to his father’s marrying their mother. It’s a twisting and convoluted story, but thoroughly fun, and predictably, has been a treasure trove of memes for social media, which I use as an actual measure of popularity. Plus, the show might give you a new fetish you never thought you’d get.
An anime about orphans who live in a facility called Grace Field House. Life is perfect for them, until the children realize they’re actually living on a farm, and they’re the livestock, raised as food for a race of demonic creatures.
This show has been the best new series this year for me. The skillful pacing, the high drama, the anxious twists and turns that await us at every turn, have been a real joy. It’s like Attack on Titan in terms of people trapped in a situation as they try to understand it, but with far better pacing and drama.
Continuing Series in this Anime Wrap-Up
We naturally had a lot of shows that were continuing from the previous cour, and I followed several of them.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind
The show that finally made me a Jojo fan, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind has been an incredible joy. When it comes to anime, I strongly dislike 100% “combat”-based shows, which have characters endlessly pose and battle episode after episode, without any actual story development or resolution, because how could we fill next week’s episode? I secretly blame Dragon Ball Z for starting this trend, though it might have started earlier.
However, Jojo is frankly amazing. The way each 1-on-1 battle progresses is unreal, each unfolding like a chess game between to master players, that I was drawn in before I knew it. And not just me…Mrs. J-List also fell in love with the show, and wants to watch each episode with me.
JoJo brings people together.
That Time I Was Reincarnated as a Slime
While isekai series are more common than dishonest politicians these days, this was frankly the best isekai I’ve ever seen, and I was thrilled with every twist and turn of the story. In my post about how the original creator of the isekai anime genre is none other than Mark Twain, I pretty much used Slime as the one series that all other shows in the genre should be measured against, in terms of how it defines and fulfills its own genre.
A Certain Magical Index III
Having a beloved show like this come back from the dead after so long was such an amazing event, I knew I had to watch it. Like many fans, I’m a bigger fan of A Certain Scientific Railgun, because…well, the character Index isn’t in it. Happily, Index is rarely in this series, only showing up in a few episodes. Somewhat less happily, it’s one of those endless fighting series I discussed above: battle after battle, screaming, blood everywhere, lots of posing and monologing, yet very little actual progression in the story and few characters ever dying.
Bonus Anime: Space Battleship Yamato 2202
Not really a part of the Winter 2019 anime season because of the creators’ decision to adopt a “movie theatre limited release” followed by Blu-rays, but I’m watching it now, so I thought I’d put it here.
There’s something about trilogies that requires the 2nd part to be the most awesome entry in the series. The Empire Strikes Back. Godfather II. Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Toy Story II. And so it was with the second season of Space Battleship Yamato (shown as Star Blazers around the world), the Comet Empire arc. Season one required the Yamato (the Argo in English) to travel 186,000 miles to Planet Iscandar and back within one year in order to get the Cosmo Cleaner (Cosmo DNA), a device that could clean the radiation from
Hiroshima the planet Earth in time to save humanity. But season 2 was even better, with the Yamato crew-members required to steal the Yamato and go rescue a super-evolved being known as Teresa of Telezart (Trelana in the English version), and do battle with their strongest enemy yet, the Comet Empire.
The series reboot, done by director Nobuyoshi Habara and with music score overseen by Akira Miyagawa, son of the original composer, has been so close to perfection I am speechless. Imagine having something so beloved from your childhood come back and actually be better than the original? They’ve taken such care to make every episode good, and even added in episodes from the 1974 original that were cut at the time due to budget constraints. And Yamato 2202 has been a treat, too, with a well-thought-out story and all our favorite characters back again, including updating the story and adding in female characters, because we need more of those to feel a proper emotional connection to the story.
J-List’s Winter 2019 Anime Wrap-Up
Well, now you know the shows we enjoyed in this season. Did you see anything you want to start watching? If so, awesome! If you have any feedback on this list, chat us up on Twitter!