There’s over 40 anime airing this, so I took the responsibility and whittled the lineup down to the must-watch shows. No need to thank me.
But in all seriousness, not everyone has the time or inclination to watch everything that’s airing this season — and that’s okay. The following eight have made the strongest impressions so far and should entertain most fans! For simplicity sake, leftovers (like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime) weren’t considered for the list.
8. My Roommate is a Cat
As a shut-in, I relate to this series on a spiritual level. Subaru just wants to write a novel while ignoring the world, and Haru is a stray cat. It’s literally my life, but just replace the cat with a dog.
What follows is a wonderful iyashikei story about two loners experiencing happiness and slowly opening up to the world around them. See, not every cat owner is a crazed psycho!
7. Domestic Girlfriend
Let’s get trashy but elegant. Domestic Girlfriend is kinky like that!
So, Natsuo wants some extracurricular studies with his teacher. Seeing as how he can’t, he goes to a mixer and plays Legos with Rui. Since fate has a cruel sense of humor, the sex buddies learn that they are now step-siblings and Natsuo’s hot teacher is his step-mom.
Now that is the set up of hentai, but Domestic Girlfriend isn’t terribly pulpy. Human emotions don’t always make sense, and there’s no doubt that our horny trio will make terrible (and hilarious) decisions to move the plot forward.
6. The Rising of the Shield Hero
The Rising of the Shield Hero is a lot like Nickleback. They use edgy and provocative themes to catch your attention, but underneath is a fairly sterile product.
A lot has been made about the anime’s depiction of women — Naofumi’s first encounter is to be framed as a rapist and then he goes out to purchase a slave girl. Once you get past the initial shock value, you’ll find that The Rising of the Shield Hero is a hit list of isekai tropes.
An uncharismatic otaku gaining lady companions? The pathetically weak weapon being the key to saving the world? Seeking vengeance? Table-top RPG elements like “character classes”? It’s all here. The Rising of the Shield Hero is everything you love or hate about the genre, but just with some bite to get your attention.
5. Mob Psycho 100 II
It’ll hold you over until One Punch Man. What, you want more reasons to watch this?
Mob Psycho 100 II features more of the great comedy from season one, but with more focus on Mob and Reigen’s relationship. It’s weird, funny, and sometimes creepy — everything ONE fans have come to expect!
4. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland is the most hyped show this season, so it may or may not live up to your expectations.
The Promised Neverland has just the right amount of edge. The orphans are constantly in peril but have enough wit and agency so it doesn’t come off as torture porn. It also helps that the mystery and world building is intriguing; this drip-feed style is addicting!
There’s plenty to gush about here — CloverWorks’ animation is stellar, the voice actors are doing a bangin’ job, and the twists hit at just the right time. However, your mileage may vary depending on how much stock you put into the preseason hype.
3. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Winter is light on romance, because who the hell wants to fall in love in the cold? Luckily we have Kaguya-sama: Love is War to fill us with the fuzzies until spring.
The series is an intriguing blend of rom-com tropes and wit. It gleefully pokes fun at common setups because our two lovebirds (Kaguya and Miyuki) are too prideful and smart for that crap. Instead, they use mind games in an attempt to coax a confession from the other — except they are too derpy for that crap.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is a feast for the eyes and is arguably the most artistically unique anime this season. We just wish the narrator would quit explaining every joke.
The early contender for “most underrated” anime that your hipster friend won’t share with you — probably because they don’t have Amazon Prime Video.
Those that are able to watch Dororo will enjoy a mature, old school story about a samurai gathering his stolen body parts. It all makes sense with context!
Dororo follows a simple “monster of the week” format to deliver an effective tale about the evils of human ambition. The actions scenes are also, like, totally cool too. Fans can enjoy it on a deep or simple level — just give it a shot.
1. The Quintessential Quintuplets
Yeah, I’m basic — so what? The Quintessential Quintuplets doesn’t do anything new, but we can’t all be unique.
Take the simple five girl lineup from every rom-com possible, but make the girls sisters! But get this, let’s give the main guy an actual reason for talking to these cuties. He’s a tutor and they are less than smart. Brilliant, now I feel unique!
The Quintessential Quintuplets isn’t the prettiest show this season, but it’s one of the funniest. It also helps that Uesugi isn’t a cardboard cutout, and seeing him gain the trust of the sisters is entertaining. Plus, Yotsuba is life.
What shows do you think everyone should watch this season?