2024 winter animes, ranked from my favorite to least favorite (Part 1)

Time for another ranking, ladies and gentlemen, and this time this will even be a top 10 ranking.

Well, sort of. It's a top 10 ranking in the sense that this will have 10 entries ranked from best to worst but, with that said, I have only watched 10 TV shows and no more.

This season I've watched 10 anime TV series concurrently, and boy was it a huge hassle.

The only days of the week when I had nothing to watch were Tuesday and Friday. Every other day I had to watch at least 1 episode every evening (on Saturday I had to watch 3 episodes from 3 different TV series).

Suffice it to say, I was a bit exhausted every week trying to keep up with all of this content, but I am happy to report that, despite the overwhelming quantity of episodes that I had to regularly keep up with, almost all of the TV shows I have watched were pretty damn good.

Honestly, given the volume of episodes I have consumed these past 3 months and their high quality, I will say that this winter was enough to warrant my yearly Crunchyroll subscription already; and keep in mind, the year just started. This is only the first season of the year. We still have the spring, summer and fall lineups waiting for us.

All I can say is that I'm very excited for the future. We're off to a very good start this year.

But enough about that! Let's get to the ranking!

1. The Apothecary Diaries (Season 1, part 2)

Maomao looking at a trail of smoke rising into the sky

What is it with 24 episode animes and always ranking among top places?

Clearly studios put a lot of effort into shows that they decide to give a second part to.

This blog post will be about the second half of season 1. If you want to read about my thoughts for this season's first half, you can check them out here.

This season will continue on with Maomao's role at the Imperial Palace.

She will continue to solve mysteries for Jinshi and all the higher ups there and, interestingly enough, we will also be introduced to her past and learn about her parents this time around, as well.

She will be involved in new cases, this time covering the death of the palace's metalworker who passed away without imparting crucial knowledge about his craft to his three sons but who did pass them on seemingly random items through his will, a mysterious explosion at one of the warehouses in the palace, an odd task that a higher up strategist named Lakan will give to Jinshi to procure blue roses for a ceremony during a time when roses are out of season and, the most interesting of all, a well planned first degree murder where an agent will try to kill a high ranking official of the palace by meticulously planning multiple steps along the way and trying to make it seem like an accident.

Needless to say, there's a lot of good stuff in this second half.

If anything, I'd even go so far as saying that this second half is even better than the first half, as it got even more creative with the mysteries that Maomao now has to solve.

Granted, the issues which I highlighted for the first half also apply to this second half as well, mainly the issue that Maomao is a Mary Sue in this story.

She continues to solve everyone else's problems through her intelligence and deduction skills, she continues to be humble about it and she continues to be the center of this story.

However, like I mentioned before, these aren't really big problems anymore since, thankfully, the mysteries and their twists overshadow the fact that Maomao is always the one that figures everything out, every single time.

That, and in combination with the ancient Chinese theme of the show, makes this particular TV series a big departure from many other anime.

Overall, I'm a big fan of this show. I adored it so very much and I am so happy to have found out that a new season of this has been announced to air in 2025.

The show was very interesting and creative with its story, the visuals were very appealing and high budget, the music pleasing and, most importantly, the show knew how to make things beautiful when it needed to.

There's a particular scene that I'm thinking of, in the last episode, when Maomao practices dancing in a dress that she had received from a courtesan. I can't talk too much about it without spoiling stuff, but I will say that that dancing sequence, under the lightning of the moon, was very well animated, fluid and expertly designed to appeal to the eyes.

Maomao in a beautiful dress dancing in the night

It was, in simple terms, one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen this season; a genuine treat to my vision, and a highlight of how beautiful Maomao's character can be.

Anyways, that's it for this blog post. See you again for season 2 of this masterpiece (assuming it will be available on Crunchyroll too).

2. The Witch and the Beast

Naked human body in a field of white flower petals

This one should be fairly straightforward, honestly.

Simply put, this is a very entertaining show, but the main reason that I enjoyed watching it as much as I did was simply due to the fact that this is the very first gothic anime TV series that I've seen in a very long time.

Before this, the last goth anime that I watched, I believe, was Pupa from a full decade ago, and even that wasn't a full fledged TV series, but rather a collection of TV shorts, which had only 5 or 10 minute long episodes (I can't remember which).

Far more recently, I did play a visual novel called Ballad of an Evening Butterfly, which is also in the gothic style but isn't even an anime (although it is a Japanese product).

To be clear, I find it kind of surprising that I haven't encountered more gothic themed anime over the years, until now; and a bit disappointing.

Now that I got my hands on this, I feel a bit better about it.

Then again, maybe the word gothic isn't particularly fitting for this show, as the style of the show, the visuals and the characters are by no means inspired by the fashion trend of that name. When I say gothic, I'm talking, specifically, about the style of story telling, the motifs of the show and the dark, sober nature of it. I'm referring to its ties to gothic literature rather than anything else.

But let's first discuss about what happens in episode 1.

A conspicuous duo of a tall handsome man carrying a large coffin on his back, named Ashaf, and a blonde young woman companion of his named Guideau arrive, one day, in a town that has a dark history.

They are in search of a witch, a powerful woman with an elongated lifespan and very potent magic powers, and have heard from rumors going around that this particular town houses one.

As they're gathering information from the folk there, trying to find this witch, the town is attacked by a giant shark with legs that's destroying the buildings, only for the said witch to arrive and use her magic to defeat the beast and save everyone.

This particular witch, apparently, has a good reputation around town, her having acted for the past many years as a sort of guardian towards everyone there, using her magic towards everyone's benefit and protecting the town from monsters and the like.

Because of this, everyone there love her and support her.

The duo is suspicious of all of this and Guideau, there, goes one step further even by outright attacking this witch, whose name is Ione, although she only defends herself.

This infuriates the townspeople, who start yelling at Ashaf and Guideau for attacking their protector, and the two have to flee from the crowd.

Later on, as a group of young women arrive at Ione's manshion to have a party there for an anniversary, Ashaf and Guideau arrive there as well, and warn Mary, Ione's apprentice, that something is very suspicious about everything there and that things might not be what they seem at first glance, effectively telling her not to fully trust Ione.

There's a bit more going on in that episode, and this particular conflict gets resolved, but I don't wish to spoil this episode for you.

Generally I'm fine with spoiling the first episodes of TV series that I talk about, just to get the point and plot across as well as I can, but this time I'd rather not talk too much about what happens at the end.

Suffice it to say, there is more than meets the eye.

Looking back at that episode, after watching the entirety of season 1, I genuinely feel like that episode is arguably the least interesting of the entire season.

This isn't to say that that episode is not representative of the series as a whole, but merely that I find the villain and the outcome of it to be quite lackluster and unimpressive, although, to be fair, it's meant to act as an introduction to the show's formula and nothing more.

Said formula can be summed up as this: Ashaf and Guideau travel to a new town looking for a witch, they get involved in some magical shenanigans happening there that may or may not be caused by a witch, they solve the problem, they move on to the next town. Rinse and repeat.

That's the formula for most of the show.

Admittedly, there will be episodes that won't focus on that duo, but on other members of the Order of Magical Resonance (specifically I'm talking about Phanora and Johan), but for the most part, this is about Guideau and Ashaf's story.

Guideau and Ashaf basically act like the order's problem solvers, effectively solving any problem that is of a magical nature, for other people.

What I like most about this show is its world building. And there's a lot of it.

This world, that's meant to look like 18th or 19th century Europe, has a lot of things going on in it: from necromancers reanimating human bodies either legally or illegally, to demon swords that have the power to destroy the world, to executioners sent by The Global Holy Church to execute witches that are malevolent (or not), to much much more.

This world is very rich in background and lore, and I like how well fleshed out these concepts and ideas are, in this story.

The motifs of the show are also refreshingly dark, with the show talking about betrayals and trust, corruption of love, the macabre and exploitation of the helpless, and just, simply, the ugliness of human nature.

I also like the main characters, who I find to be very colorful and work well, off each other.

Guideau's backstory is quite interesting, and I do feel sorry for her, knowing what had happened in her past. I find it very logical that she developed a severe grudge against witches after what had happened to her.

With that said, I appreciate that the show wasn't as simple as just being “All witches are evil and should never be trusted”, like the first episode seemed to imply at first.

Future episodes will mix things up a fair bit and will show benevolent witches that simply get roped into a lot of trouble, simply for being a witch.

But what I like most about this show is that it is particularly dark in its story, going in areas that would make a lot of people uncomfortable, but never becoming gory or exploitative when doing so. It's dark and gruesome, but in a tasteful and even poetic manner, which I find very refreshing.

Also, to make this clear as early as possible: this show is NOT a horror TV series.

It has elements and scenes that play up the horror genre a fair bit but those happen very seldomly and the show tries its best to emphasize on action and thriller elements even from episode 1, moreso than anything else. With that said, it did have some moments when I felt genuinly creeped out to a significant degree.

This is the type of dark thriller that I wish more anime TV series would adopt, but for some reason I don't see this nearly as often as I would like.

The style and story make me uncomfortable, but in a good way, the action is quite exciting and heart pounding, and the world building is exquisitely done.

This is a perfect example of an anime TV series that's only 12 episodes long (at least as of the ending of season 1), but that's perfectly serviceable.

It had a very good and interesting story to say, it said it very well and the execution was immaculate.

The ending left me wanting for more but also made me satisfied with what I already got.

Sure, I will be very disappointed if a season 2 never continues this story, but I feel like, even if a season 2 never gets produced, I will never complain for having watched season 1. It still left me with a very pleasant taste in my mouth.

For the record, in case you were wondering, this is among the few shows I would not recommend children to watch. Like I said, it doesn't get very gory or sexual in any way, but the themes and suggestions for what might happen or had happened, are pretty gruesome nonetheless. This is one of those shows that, if I had to use the US movies rating system to rate, I'd probably classify this as a genuine PG-13 kind of TV series. It's dark enough that children shouldn't watch it, but not so dark that would scar teenagers.

3. A Sign of Affection

Gorgeous shot of Yuki walking while surrounded by falling snow

This one shouldn't surprise anyone that knew the anime lineup for this winter.

I'll be honest, I can easily see many people complaining that this is a “woke” anime that is highly overrated, critically acclaimed but that's too hard leaning towards inclusiveness and political correctness, to an extent that annoys them.

I know there will be that subsection of people that will talk smack about this show just because of that and, for what it's worth, I'm not going to bother to deter those people from doing that.

However, personally, I'm usually very critical of shows that try to use that strategy to their advantage and, for that reason, I like to think that I'm quite good at noticing that type of manipulation before it takes any hold over me.

But, with that said, I'm not going to pretend that I didn't absolutely adore this show.

Yeah, it's a politically correct show, I agree with that. It is an inclusive show that talks about deafness and the people that suffer from it. That's just the way it is.

If that, alone, is enough to bother you, chances are you're not going to like this show. As such, my suggestion would be to not watch it.

As for everyone else that stays around, let me just say, this show was a blast to watch.

I know that different people might have different feelings about a TV show that talks about disability and some might feel uncomfortable about this particular subject. I understand that and I can see where those people are coming from. And, if the show tries to use such subjects to gain a following and manipulate its audience into liking it just because it does talk about deafness, I'd honestly feel disgusted and give it the bashing that it deserves.

However, I never got the feeling that I was being manipulated by this.

This is a slice of life romance anime, at its core, and everything in this show genuinely felt like I was getting to see a glimpse into Yuki's life. Nothing felt manipulative about this. It was simply a show that was telling the life story of a deaf person. That's pretty much all it was about.

But enough about this! What is this show about?

Well, to put it simply, the show is about a newly enrolled college student named Yuki Itose, who suffers from congenital hearing loss. Her condition makes her practically deaf, although she uses hearing aids on her ears to at least become aware of some environmental sounds around her, even though she still cannot hear people's voices or make out almost anything from them.

She makes a friend in her class a girl named Rin Fujishiro, who helps her take notes during it.

Yuki, due to her disability, cannot hear what other people say to her. Because of this, she uses sign language, lip reading or, sometimes, writes notes on her phone to speak to others. Due to her disability, she also never speaks at all.

One day, while traveling by train through the city, Yuki encounters a man that tries to talk to her in, what she assumes to be, a foreign language. Since she doesn't understand what he's saying, she's trying to tell him that she's deaf but, thankfully, another young man nearby assists her and gives the stranger the directions that he needed.

This young man that helped her is a 22 year old named Itsuomi Nagi, and Yuki recognizes him because she's seen him before in the Cultural Exchange Club that Rin also attends.

Yuki thanks him for his help and Itsuomi quickly picks up on the fact that Yuki cannot hear.

He becomes very interested in her and, reciprocally, Yuki herself appears to be touched by his kindness.

Later on, Yuki and Rin talk at college, where Yuki shows Rin a picture that she had taken of Itsuomi's face, and Rin quickly idenfities him from that. She tells Yuki that Itsuomi works as a server for his cousin at a local cafe and bar and that he, from the money that he makes there, travels a lot abroad as a hobby.

Rin picks up on the fact that Yuki seems to have a crush on Itsuomi after that brief encounter on the train that they had, and suggests that the two of them should visit that cafe where he works at during his shift so that she can meet up with him again. Rin, herself, has a crush on the owner of that establishment, Itsuomi's cousin.

Together, they decide to visit the bar, have a couple of drinks together and Yuki gets to know a bit more about Itsuomi there and, at the end of the day when the bar is about to close, Itsuomi offers to escort Yuki to her house, as it's late into the night.

The two of them walk together to the train station that would take Yuki to her house, Yuki gets to be protected by Itsuomi from an incoming car that she hadn't noticed due to her deafness, and the two begin to split up when they get near the station.

But just before they can split up, in response to Yuki's text message to Itsuomi's phone that reads “Do you think the world is a big place?”, Itsuomi responds with a “Yeah, it's huge” and then also sends a “Let me be in yours”. That last message touched Yuki so much that she begins making outward gestures of happiness to Itsuomi by waving to him, which makes him smile.

Thus ends episode 1.

While, on the surface, this episode might seem very mild and even boring, the way it is very nicely animated, the attention to detail given to each frame and the beautiful background music which enhanced the experience were expertly done, on every level.

This show gives attention to detail to a lot of stuff, from the clothes which are seasonally appropriate for every character, to each gesture that they have, from simple facial gestures like smiling or frowning to animating their hands when they make hand signs.

Oh yeah, that's another detail that I liked about this show. I cannot speak to whether the hand signs that they were making were accurate to real life, but they definitely seemed genuine, to a significant extent.

It amazed me how sincere they tried to make the hand sign communication be.

Couple that with stunning colorful visuals that they give to Yuki whenever she seems happy or ecstatic and this show made me fall completely in love with it.

Oh yeah, and despite being adapted from a romance manga which, as I previously said, are normally very slow and boring when it comes to relationship progression, this show thankfully doesn't share that problem. If anything, I'd even say that the romance between Yuki and Itsuomi progresses a bit too fast in this show, in my opinion, which is the first time I've had this problem in anime. That was a very pleasant surprise, and I cannot overstate how happy I am that this show actually made progression in their main couple, by moving them through the process of intimately holding each other, to dating, to kissing. This made me feel like I was watching a mature show, telling a mature story about mature characters.

This is in contrast to other manga-based romance stories where, when they get adapted to anime form, it takes an entire full season for them simply to hold hands together.

Oh yeah, and Itsuomi and Yuki's romance isn't the only one that this show covers. It will also include to show romantic progression between Rin and Itsuomi's cousin, Kyōya, and even a third romance story between two of Itsuomi's friends that he had known since high school, Ema and Shin.

Granted, the two other stories aren't as well fleshed out as the main one, but it's still a nice touch to give us these perspectives into these characters' lives.

This is, in essence, a slice of life drama with strong romance overtones. It had just the right amounts of drama, comedy and romance to make me completely satisfied and it made me genuinely surprised how much they managed to cover in just twelve episodes.

The last episode, which I'm not going to spoil, had a very beautiful scene of blooming flowers that I have to say, was perfect to showcase how human and relatable Yuki is, that allowed me to connect to her character on a more personal level than I can describe in words. And yes, the flowers were stunning to look at, despite being drawings in an anime.

A beautiful shot of wisteria flowers hanging down from tree branches, above Yuki

While I hate to use the term “whimsical” when describing a TV show, I genuinely believe that that's the most fitting word that I can use for this particular instance. And while this show was still not enough to dethrone my absolute favorite romance anime of recent years, Call of the Night, it might actually have gained a place in my heart as my favorite romance anime that's available in Romania on Crunchyroll (Call of the Night isn't on Crunchyroll, as far as I know).

Obviously I can't say for certain if it deserves that honor since I haven't watched all the romance anime on this particular platform to compare it to, but, as of right now judging from the current shows that I've finished watching on it, I'll say that it's my most favorite one out of all of them.

Honestly, I can't even say that I wish for a season 2 of this show. Season 1 was so expertly crafted that I fear that if a second season were made, it might not live up to season one's standards and ruin the experience for me.

I know that that fear is unjustified, but it's still a fear I have. Still, if a season 2 does get announced, and if it will be available on Crunchyroll as well, you can be sure that I'll watch it, nonetheless.

4. Bucchigiri?!

The genie Senya

OK so, despite this and A Sign of Affection being literally adjacent to one another in this ranking, there's a huge gap between them in terms of quality.

This show doesn't even hold a candle to it, and I'll be the first one to admit, I think that I cannot emphasize enough how big this gap is.

This show has been very polarizing on Crunchyroll, as far as I've seen in the comments.

There have been people that liked it enough and thought it was OK, and others that think it was complete trash.

I'm in the former category, obviously, and I think that, while it had its flaws, it also had a lot of good things going for it.

Let's start out by describing episode 1.

Arajin Tomoshibi is a teen that's returning to his home town to live, once again, with his mother at her restaurant.

He's moving schools and, while hoping to impress all the girls in his new class on his first day, realizes that the class that he will be learning in is filled to the brim with strong bullies that look very much ready to beat his ass up.

While running away from them, Arajin ends up stumbling upon his childhood friend, a friendly and very strong young man named Matakara Asamine.

Matakara tries to be helpful and acts very kindly to Arajin, who responds with being cold towards him, though.

It seems that Arajin has had a falling out with Matakara, in the past, although that's not explained very much.

This particular town has two main rival gangs that live in it: Minato Kai (of which Matakara is already part of) and Siguma.

Arajin immediately falls in love with Mahoro, who is literally the only girl in his class.

Mahoro is a gorgeous young girl that's used to getting things done by using her charms.

Later on, Arajin gets to be chased by the NG Boys, a smaller third party gang that's roaming around town, and he is chased up until he enters an old local abanadoned shrine.

There, he stumbles upon a small toy handgun which he tries to use on the guys that were pursuing him, only to miss them and have the rubber bullet hit him in the head, leaving him unconscious on the floor and prompting his pursuers to leave him alone.

Upon waking up, Arajin triggers the bullet that's now stuck to his head to emanate a strange smoke around him, that morphs into a large flying apparition of a muscular man.

This apparition says to him that he's a genie and that his name is Senya. As he's been summoned by him, Senya wishes to grant Arajin his wish.

Arajin proclaims that he wants to lose his virginity to Senya, only for Senya to answer that he cannot grant that wish, but that they can, instead, merge their bodies, if he wants to become stronger.

Arajin leaves the shrine, confirms that other people cannot see Senya at all, and returns home.

Senya talks to Arajin about becoming Honki people, that pertain to a local legend about people that attain great power by training in the art of unarmed hand-to-hand combat.

Arajin doesn't believe in this legend, thinking of it as mere childish delusions, and instead of focusing on that, he decides to invite Mahoro out on a date.

Mahoro happily agrees to go out with Arajin, making him happy.

As they are out on their date, a strange muscular young man with green hair and piercings called Marito, approaches Arajin and Mahoro, trying to pick a fight with the former.

Marito is the leader of Siguma, which also means that he's the strongest fighter in their gang, and that he has business with Arajin.

Arajin immediately chickens out and tries to pull Mahoro away from him but, surprisingly, Mahoro pulls him back and asks him to fight for her, as she reveals to him that Marito is actually her brother, who's there to beat up her new “boyfriend”.

Marito proceeds to beat the living shit out of Arajin, who takes it because he's very weak, which only disappoints an onlooking Senya, who was hoping for Arajin to be stronger and be able to defend himself.

But as Senya is about to leave permanently, Arajin's thirst for life awakens as he's being beaten, and he proclaims to everyone there, while drawing from Senya's power, that he wishes to lose his virginity, before summoning Senya's strength to punch Marito incredibly hard, so hard that the boy collapses onto the street.

Thus, Arajin the newcomer, defeated, in one blow, the leader of the Siguma gang, one of the toughest gangs in town.

Thus ends episode 1.

Yeah, this show is crazy.

I can see why people hate the show, mainly because the main character is pretty much a simp for Mahoro.

He pretty much does everything that she asks him to do for her, without ever questioning why she does the things that she does.

Also, the fact that Arajin is very cold towards Matakara, who's constantly supportive and trying to reignite their old friendship, only serves to make this show's fans hate him even more.

I get that complaint about this show.

Still, with that said, this show is a prime example of how a series can have a very shallow and unlikeable protagonist and, even in spite of that, still be very good and entertaining. The protagonist doesn't make the show.

And I had a real blast watching this show.

From the funny antics that Arajin's mother constantly has about her boy losing his virginity and becoming a man, to a recurring gag in every episode in which Arajin's wimpy school teacher ends up going into a shady establishment where he keeps paying to meet up with a woman named “Jasmine” where it's never shown what they do (at least not until the last episode), to the constant fights between Minato and Siguma and all the subversion that a third party will enact in order to subdue the both of them, to the literal deterioration of Arajin's and Matakara's friendship, this show had a lot of good things in store for me.

I cannot overstate how much I loved the very simplistic shallow-minded characters.

All the characters in this show are so flavorful, so colorful and so unique, that I love them; from Marito becoming obsessed with Arajin from being punched by him, to Kenichiro also becoming enamored with him, and even Mahoro being completely obsessed with her brother, there's a lot of shenanigans that you can expect from this show.

There's so much personality to this show that I simply loved it.

My one complaint that I have about it is that the show became a bit cliched towards the end, particularly the last episode, where it played out very by-the-numbers and very predictably, and also it was a bit too happy-go-lucky then, with too many problems just getting resolved out of blue, just because the script needed to end all the arcs in a convenient wrap up.

But, I cannot emphasize enough that the show also has good drama in it, so much so that, in the second to last episode, when I saw a specific character beat one of his former friends up after falling into the dark side, that moment was so well done and so gut wrenching that I felt genuinely impressed, how well the show managed to manipulate me.

Sure, certain things are a bit cliched, and this show does suffer from common Shonen Jump tropes, like the protagonist just drawing enough power from Senya at the last moment to win, or about old grudges that come back to life in unexpected ways and stuff like that.

But overall, I really enjoyed this.

I appreciated that the protonist, Arajin, was just a simple asshole punk with nothing noble or impressive about him, how he started being a small and pathetic wimp, but eventually learned to stand up for himself and grow strong when he needed to fight for his loved ones or his friends.

Its these types of character growths that I really appreciate.

And the end, let's just say it was cliched but satisfying nonetheless. The end was the weaker part of this show, I feel, but it got the job done and it was perfectly serviceable.

Honestly, if you like fighting animes that are a bit cliched but still mostly action packed and funny at the same time, you'll probably enjoy this quite fine. Just be aware that you'll have to stomach a very unlikeable protagonist for a very large portion of this show, so that's something you need to be aware of.

And seeing how this is an original anime, with no source material to draw from, I very much don't think this will get a season 2, as they wrapped pretty much everything already.

If a season 2 will get announced, though, I will watch it.

5. Delusional Monthly Magazine

Jiro, Taro, Saburo and Goro all falling from the sky while a MOParts hits Taro in the head

This is going to be a strange entry.

In fact, this is the strangest anime in this entire ranking, by a long shot.

I know that there will be many people who will read this and ask themselves Really? That show is on here? and roll their eyes when they see this entry.

Honestly, I don't know what to tell you.

Yes, this entry is here and yes, I will be talking about this show.

I know that many people probably looked at the preview for this anime and didn't know what to think of it. Hell, I, myself had no idea what to expect after seeing that preview.

Normally, when that happens, I check episode 1 and see if it's my cup of tea or not, but even that didn't help matters in this case.

The show, intentionally so, is weird; very very weird. And it does its best at trying to be both a memeable but, more than just that, it also tries to be a very fun time.

I'll be honest, I decided to give it a chance even though episode 1 left me bewildered and, now that I fully finished season 1, I think that that was for the better.

So, what's this show about?

28 year old Taro Suzuki is single and is trying his best at finding a romantic partner for himself, even going so far as to enroll in a matchmaking company to find the woman of his dreams, even though he still seems to be completely out of luck.

His insistence on quitting his job as soon as he finds his match and then becoming a stay-at-home husband while his would-be wife earns an income might have something to do with women's general aversion of dating him, perhaps.

One day, while Taro is walking through the city, he stumbles upon a, I don't know how else to put it, green leprechaun dressed, science obsessed, 18 year old man with corns in his shoes named Goro Sato, who's looking for the Moso Monthly Science magazine office, a popular magazine that talks about supernatural phenomena around the city, to talk with the staff there.

Unbeknownst to Goro, Taro is actually part of the editorial team for that magazine. However, Taro fails to tell Goro this because, for some strange reason, Goro seems to emanate a very strong supernatural aura around his body that makes Taro nauseous while being next to him. Due to this, Taro just tells Goro where the editorial office for that magazine is, just to get rid of him as fast as possible.

Goro thanks him, finds the building of said editorial office but, it turns out that the building actually is a small cafe.

There, Goro meets up with a 10 year old boy named Jiro Tanaka, who has secret healing powers, and his dog, a male dog named Saburo who seems to be able to understand human speech and barks whenever someone asks him a question.

Turns out that Jiro is also part of the editorial staff for said magazine despite being very young. They, along with Taro, all work under the guidance of the mysterious and constantly away editor-in-chief Catherine Sue.

When the entire staff of the magazine are together (i.e. Jiro, Taro and Saburo), Goro asks them whether it's possible for them to write up an article in their magazine about the Mo Continent, a legendary ancient continent that is said to have hosted an advanced civilization that perished a long time ago when the Mo continent sunk into the ocean.

Various artifacts and ancient manuscripts exist around the world talking about the continent, although most people nowadays think of it as no more than a legend.

However, Goro reveals that he has been working for some time as a scientist at a nearby research institute and that his research on the Mo continent hints at the fact that the continent and its ancient civilization might actually have existed, in the past.

To prove this, he extracts from his backpack a small piece of an ancient rune, which Goro calls a MOPart.

The staff seems skeptical of Goro's claims and, because of this, they are unwilling to go along and publish an article about the Mo continent in their magazine.

Seeing how he didn't manage to convince them, Goro leaves the cafe, only to suddenly begin being chased by random shady individuals in trench coats for no apparent reason.

Soon after, on a phone call from Catherine, the staff back at the cafe are instructed to, by her orders, go along with Goro and publish his story about the Mo continent, leaving Taro and the others without a choice. How she even knew about Goro and his story, seeing as how she wasn't even there to hear it, they don't know.

They hear a large explosion that shook the cafe, though, go to investigate it and then, at the site of the explosion, they coincidentally meet up once again with Goro, who's still in the process of being chased by a huge group of people.

Goro runs up to them, causing the group of shady people to start chasing all of them as well.

They suspect that the reason that Goro is being chased to begin with is due to the MOPart in his backpack.

While they are struggling to get away from their pursuers, the MOPart from Goro's backpack just so happens to fall out and hits Taro on the forehead, which triggers a strange transformation scene in which Taro turns into a large, muscular, humanoid bipedal tiger.

The tiger goes on a rampage, attacking their pursuers and warding them all off, before collapsing due to exhaustion and reverting back to Taro's usual human form.

Later on, back at the cafe, Taro is recovering from severe body aches and claims he has no memory of ever transforming in the first place.

They wonder what that was all about before, out of nowhere, Goro arrives at the cafe once again, proclaiming that he doesn't work as a scientist anymore and will, from now on, work as part of their editorial staff for the magazine.

Thus ends episode 1.

If the synopsis that I just wrote looks very strange and random, the reason for that is that this show is, by design, very random.

It tries its best at being unpredictable in the episode and usually it succeeds quite well.

It feels like the entire script that the episodes are composed of are intentionally made of non sequiturs that are added in just to confuse the audience.

There is, however, a formula to each episode: the staff hear about a paranormal event that happens around their city, they go to investigate it in an attempt to publish an article about it and it turns out that the occurrence is due to a new MOPart that was causing the strange phenomena, one way or another.

Along the way, they will encounter enemies that will try to steal the MOPart from them.

The basic idea behind the show is that all supernatural phenomena usually have scientific explanations behind them (if you can accept the fact that ancient parts of a stone rune from an ancient civilization have other-wordly properties to them is, actually, scientific).

Yeah, the show is weird, and you might wonder “Why does Taro transform when he's hit with Goro's MOPart?”, or why do random people want the MOParts anyway? What is the truth about the Mo continent, and why does Jiro have healing powers, or why can Saburo understand humans? And why is Taro capable of sensing supernatural auras around others?

All of these questions will be answered this season and, really, the ending of this show was surprisingly well done and answered pretty much all the things I was wondering about the plot.

And yeah, this show tries a lot to be as memeable as possible. There are times when you know, deep down, that a specific scene is animated entirely so that people can clip it and share it online as a meme background.

I don't hate it for that; if anything, it makes it establish its own identity even more.

And the constant mysteries and enigmas of the show were quite effective, as each episode I was constantly asking myself “But why did this character say this?” or “How did this even happen, exactly?”. And, to give credit where credit it is due, the show explains why that is, sooner or later; maybe it won't explain something in this episode but it will do so in a latter one, instead.

But, most importantly, I like this show for being funny and having seemingly random but well timed jokes all around.

The show does its best at trying to be light hearted, and I can respect it because of that.

Out of all the entries on this list, so far at least, this is the first show that doesn't take itself very seriously and tries, instead, to have fun with itself.

And I can respect that.

Sure, sometimes not taking oneself seriously can seriously hamper my enjoyment of the show. This, thankfully, isn't one of those times because, while the story feels like it was made as a second priority initially and the episodes feel more comedy-driven than anything else, the comedy is there and the jokes are funny; random, yet funny.

And the story, while taking a backseat to the comedy and the random nature of the show that tries to make itself be appealing to the internet, will come back. In fact, towards the last episodes the plot comes back in full swing, and a lot of the questions that you were probably asking all throughout will suddenly begin to be answered little by little, one by one.

I liked that.

Sure, the show has some flaws, and the formulaic way that the episodes were getting, talking about paranormal when, in fact, it was almost always because of a new MOPart, was getting annoying.

But all the stories were creative, such as the story of a mysterious masked man that would suddenly appear out of nowhere on the highway while skating, or about another story that's all about a popular man that keeps having troubles with large swarms of cats that appear outside his house every night and causes issues to him because he's very allergic to them.

The show was just fun, and I really loved it.

And, in case you were wondering, no, Taro won't be the only person in this show that will transform; there will be many more.

Exactly why the characters that transform can do so, in the first place, that is another mystery that the show will explain, in due time.

But I think I've rambled enough about this show for the time being.

My guess is, as usual, just give the first episode a watch. If you'll like the humor from it, you'll most likely like the whole show as a whole.

If you find the weirdness and randomness of the episode off-putting and undesirable, chances are you won't like the other episodes either.

6. Sengoku Youko

Tama trying to lecture the group of bandits

Well, might as well get this show out of the way as well.

This is one of those shows that, again, I can see a lot of people praising and calling it a “hidden gem”.

A lot of comments on Crunchyroll called this show underrated, and that it's a shame that it doesn't have bigger of a following.

Honestly, I really don't know what to say to that.

On the one hand, I do agree that the show is above average and is executed somewhat well, and that it probably didn't get as big of a following as it should have.

On the other hand, though, even I didn't enjoy this show as much as I expected, and that's for a multitude of reasons.

But before we get into any of them, let's talk about this show's episode 1.

During Japan's Eiroku period, a swordsman-in-training young man named Shinsuke Hyoudou is plotting to attack a group of bandits that have been causing travelers issues for the past months to acquire glory for himself, only to be beaten to it by two strange travelers: a seemingly very young looking blonde fox girl named Tama and her younger brother, a young sage named Jinka.

Jinka uses talisman sorcery to defeat the bandits very quickly and easily, and this prompts Shinsuke to decide to follow them for a bit.

He gets discovered almost immediately by them, though, and helps them by revealing to them the hideout of the main bandit group, nearby.

Tama reveals herself to be a fox spirit, a youko, a wise being of immense spiritual power and wisdom, that lived for a very long time, and who wishes to bring order and peace to the world of humans. To that end, she and Jinka travel around, enacting justice to all those that are wrongdoers.

They quickly figure out that Shinsuke is just a swordsman that's training and who's trying to make a name for himself by defeating bandits, but he still decides to join their group in dispatching of the nearby bandit threat.

After a confrontation with said main bandit group, it's revealed that their leader was actually a katawara helmet controlling a human puppet all along. Katawara are otherworldly creatures, inhuman beings of great strength.

To combat said threat, Tama bites into her hand to draw blood and then allows Jinka to drink from said blood, activating spirit transformation which turns him into an incredibly fast and strong superhuman, that immediately disposes of everyone there.

After dealing with that situation, Shinsuke decides to continue following Tama and Jinka around, seeing this as an opportunity for him to grow stronger.

At an inn where they are staying in, for the night, he encounters a man that describes, in fear, about a terrible giant beast that he had encountered previously, which the Dangaisyuu there immediately identify as Shakugan, a katawara of immense power. The Dangaisyuu are an order of demon hunting Buddhist monks of great spiritual power, who are quite renowned around those places.

Jinka, who idolizes katawara and hates humans despite being a human himself, has issues with the Dangaisyuu monks' decision to pursue and hunt down Shakugan, but before him and Tama could extract any more information from the monks about Shakugan, they are attacked by him and forced into combat.

Thus ends episode 1.

Now, let's get a couple of things out of the way, first.

Despite this being on 6th place on this ranking from best to worst, I really don't hate, nor even dislike this show.

In fact, I find this show to be quite entertaining, on more levels than one.

I like this show's world building. There's a lot of stuff in this world that are nice, but given that this is about a period in Japanese history that's a really long time ago, you can probably guess that there are a lot of constraints about what that world can contain.

Obviously this isn't to say that this TV series tries to be particularly historically accurate, given that we have cursed swords with magical abilities, demons of gigantic proportions that wreak havoc on the land and talking beasts of myth, as well as gods of the land, but it does at least offer some grounding into a semblance of reality, knowing that this took place in the distant past.

In the same veins where I don't see many anime fans talking about Inuyasha as being a particularly good anime that recreates historical Japan, I don't see this show very different from that, either.

This show is pretty well executed. I liked a lot of the ideas that it had, and the ending of part 1 was stunning, to say the least.

Studio Whitefox seems to choose among the more interesting source materials to adapt into animation, and they did it again with this property.

Between this and Re:Zero, I will say that I'll choose to watch Re:Zero any day of the week, but I can safely say that both are quite entertaining.

However, you may ask, now that I said all of this, how did this entry get so far down the list?

To put it simply, the shows that got a better ranking than this one were just that much better. Simple as is.

There may be some of you who will roll their eyes when reading that, thinking Really? Delusional Monthly Magazine was a better show than THIS gem?, judging me for placing that above this, and I can understand your skepticism.

Simply put, I can see a lot of people thinking that, and I will contend that I really needed a lot of time to think this through for myself. However, this is simply the result that I came up with.

The first three spots in this list (i.e. Apothecary Diaries, The Witch and the Beast and A Sign of Affection) may not be masterpieces in the classical sense, but I genuinely feel like they are as close to genuine pieces of art as you can get, and I wholeheartedly don't feel like this show even comes close to them in terms of quality. So putting this below them in this ranking was pretty much a given.

And as far as Bucchigiri and Delusional Monthly Magazine are concerned, that's a bit more debateable, although I will still defend my stance on this.

Maybe, in terms of objective quality, one may be able to make the argument that this show is higher quality and infinitely more interesting, and that it deserves a better spot than both of those two. Really, I'm not going to defend them when talking about which show might be the more competently made and interesting one.

Even in terms of music and animation, I can see many people say that this one is better than those two, as well.

But this ranking isn't about quality or any objectivity whatsoever, it's about my subjective experience of how much I felt like I enjoyed them, as a whole.

And, from that perspective, I will defend my decision on saying that I liked those two more than how much I liked this show.


Because, as far as Bucchigiri is concerned, I found the characters to be more interesting and relatable than in this show, a lot more vibrant and colorful. Sure, Bucchigiri had a lot of unlikeable characters in it as well, but just because a character is unlikeable doesn't mean it's poorely written. In fact, I'd say that the amount of character growth that the protagonist of Bucchigiri went through is way more than the amount of growth that Shinsuke went through in this first 13 episodes (which isn't to say that he didn't grow at all, but merely to say that he didn't grow as much).

Also, the story of Bucchigiri felt way more dynamic and interesting in terms of plot twists compared to this show, where all that the main characters do is just travel. Sure, they end up fighting a lot of characters along the way, but outside of defending themselves from said attacks, they don't do much else.

In Bucchigiri, the characters go through way more drama and twists.

And say whatever you will about how nonsensical Delusional Monthly Magazine was. The fact is, I laughed so much during that show and how creative all the episodes got, compared to how much I enjoyed the fights here.

I'm not going to say that Delusional Monthly Magazine put in harder work into its story than this show it in its story, because I don't think that is the case but, at least, I enjoyed the comedy and the surreal nature of that show way more than the bland historical Japan that this show had.

That and also, I think it's easier and requires way less effort to make a comedy work, because all you have to do is to tell funny jokes, compared to how much you have to put in to make a serious show like this work.

The serious show is gonna have to focus a lot more, and for a very good reason, to have an interesting plot and very well written character development, just so that it can compare, in terms of enjoyment, to a comedy where all it had to do was be original in its jokes.

It's not the same thing, obviously, but comedies can work for far less effort, in my opinion, than non-comedies. And this show, even though it tried a lot, didn't do enough to make itself stand out.

It barely has an identity. The fight sequences, while intriguing and very well animated, are pretty standard otherwise, in my opinion.

The characters, while they do go through significant growth even throughout season 1, don't become particularly interesting, nor deep. In fact, with the exception of Shinsuke and maybe Jinka, I really can't say there's been much character growth, at least as far as the first season is concerned.

The world building, to be fair, did a lot of heavy lifting to make me like this show, and they did put a lot of effort into it. That's the one thing I can say I absolutely loved about this show, was that it had a significant amount of world building that was done semi-decently.

And the story, well, that's a mixed bag. The ending of season 1 was very well done, and I can say I absolutely loved it. In fact, the last 3 episodes of this show really turned it around and made me respect it for being unconventional.

With that said, though, anything before episode 11, with the possible exception of a particular character death in episode 7, was very standard and boring.

Really, if I had to say one complaint about this show, it's that the first few episodes really didn't grab me, at all.

I couldn't care any less about Shinsuke and his quest to become more powerful, nor about Tama's plan of making the world a better place.

I liked their characters, but not enough for me to care much about them.

It wasn't until that the world building grabbed me and made me interested in everything that was going on that I started to care, and even then only marginally, until a particular character died in episode 7.

It was only after that that I started to say “You know what? Maybe this show is worthwhile”. And, even then, it was only the last 3 episodes that really drove the point home that the show had potential.

Basically, what I'm trying to say was that, this show is good, it has potential and it's definitely above average, I will concede on those points.

But, as far as the first season was concerned, it really was a slow grower. It grew on me, for sure, but had I dropped this show during episode 6 or earlier, I wouldn't have felt bad about it. The fact that I stuck with it was what allowed me to see its potential, but boy, did it take a long while to get there.

All in all, I am curious about it now, and I will absolutely want to see how the story will move, going forward, so I will stick with it.

It's just that, when I think about people saying that this show is underrated, I'll always say that, even though I don't like it, it is underrated for a good reason.

7. The Foolish Angel Dances with the Devil

Akutsu in his demon form

Oh boy, I can see a lot of shipping fanfiction stories derived from this show.

This one's a bit odd, I'm not gonna lie. Its sense of humor is a bit wacky, and I can see some people being turned off by how over the top it is but, personally, I've found it quite charming.

This is among the three romance TV series that I watched this season, the other two being A Sign of Affection and Hokkaido Gals are Super Adorable!. While this show couldn't hold a candle to A Sign of Affection, given that that show was absolutely a masterpiece in animation, I won't even attempt to compare it to that. Still, it was an overall enjoyable experience, and I would still recommend this show to any newcomers that are fans of romantic comedies.

So, what's this show about?

Long story short, Heaven and Hell have been in a raging war against each other for a long time, with angels having the upper edge in the battle against demons. Humanity, for its part, exists outside this battle, unaware of their existence, as a complete third party that's independent from them.

In order to bolster morale of Hell's troops, a male demon teen named Akutsu Masatora is sent as an undercover high school student to the human realm, in order to find a charismatic human that he can ally himself with to take back to Hell and have him rally up their army.

He transfers into a regular high school class where he meets up with a beautiful blonde girl named Amane Lily, whom he immediately falls for due to her beauty.

Later during that day, as he is walking home from school, Akutsu just so happens to walk into Lily on the street again.

Lily suggests they should go out for a tea together.

In the process of walking together, Lily almost gets hit by an incoming truck but Akutsu manages to stop that from happening by suddenly turning into his demon form and stopping the vehicle just in time, saving her.

In doing so, he gave away the fact that he wasn't human, to Lily.

They run away together from the scene and then, in a local park where they were alone, Lily inquires about Akutsu's demon form.

Seeing how the cat's out of the bag, Akutsu tells her the truth about the waging war that his race has against angels, and admits to her that he wishes to take her to Hell with him as the charismatic ally that he wanted to recruit.

Lily, at first, appears worried about this, since this is all very new and sudden to her.

Akutsu tries to hold back and let her make a proper decision by herself but, soon enough, Lily summons long magical chains around Akutsu and ties him up with them, out of nowhere.

Akutsu is very surprised by this development but then, realizes, embarrassingly enough, that Lily was an undercover angel all along, who had also been, coincidentally, sent to the human realm, in her case to hunt for demons.

Realizing that he had blown his cover to his enemy, Akutsu tries to fight her and avenge another demon that she had revealed to have exorcised a bit earlier that day, but is overpowered by her angel powers and gets chained up again.

Amane initially wants to exorcise him too, as per her mission but, when realizing how powerful he is, she changes her mind at the last second and decides to, instead, enslave him using a special magical collar of her making to force him to work for her in her mission to hunt demons.

Apparently Akutsu is capable of sensing other demons when they are nearby and so, with this power, Amane would be able to find other demons more easily to hunt down.

Akutsu, naturally, is resistent to the idea of betraying his own race by working for an undercover angel but, seeing how he has no choice in the matter and not wishing to be exorcised as well, he concedes and gets the magical collar that allows Amane to control him with, put over his neck.

Now, the demon Akutsu will have to assist the angel Amane in her mission of hunting demons, at least until he finds a way to free himself from her shackles.

That's the synopsis for episode 1.

Many comments on Crunchyroll were saying that the first episode of this series was the weakest out of all of them, and that people who dropped this show because of this episode were missing out, as the show gets better over time.

Honestly, I don't agree with them at all. In fact, I'd argue that this episode was a very good example of the style that the show was going for.

The plot twist of the episode, which was that Amane was an angel, was a nice one and I've found it quite unconventional, as an idea.

Still, even in spite of all of this, the show worked on a lot of levels.

It's got an interesting premise but, most important of all to remember is that this is a romantic comedy at its core. And the romance, unsurprisingly enough, focuses on Akutsu and Amane's relationship.

Because yes, they are enemies to each other, and this is highlighted by the fact that Amane forces Akutsu to betray his own kind in her favor, but the fact that they have to work together is a good excuse to have them spend time together and get to know each other more.

I also liked the premise, as Akutsu, despite being a demon in nature, isn't in any way evil or mischievous at all. He's just simply a hard working guy that wants to help his race in their war against the angels.

Amane, despite being an angel, is actually very deceitful and cunning and, predominantly, prideful.

She enjoys seeing Akutsu, her enemy, suffer defeat by her and she lavishes at the sight of controlling him and keeping him under her foot.

Initially I was worried that Amane would turn out to be straight up evil, and I was also curious about Akutsu and wondered how he would reconcile the fact that he has to betray his own race because of Amane's control.

While I won't spoil what happens next, I will say that I liked the direction that they went to make their fractured and seemingly impossible relationship, work out in the end.

And I also have to say that, I absolutely loved the chemistry that these two have with each other.

Once all the cards are on the table and their undercover personas are revealed for what they are, their genuine interactions and dynamic are very fun to watch.

The show also is quite original in its jokes, albeit with a very strange humor.

For example, at one point, both Akutsu and Amane decide that they will try to outsmart each other by seducing them. As such, Akutsu goes to great lengths to appear as manly and gentlemanly as possible, while Amane has to act all bashful and girly and cute all the time, despite both of them being enemies to each other (not to mention very prideful and stubborn). In parallel, the show depicts two boxers engaging in fights against each other on the ring, symbolizing each character's struggles.

The jokes they have to make to make this dynamic work were quite original and very funny and creative.

And also, I really like that the show didn't resort only to sex jokes all the time, like I was scared it was going to do.

Sure, there are the random innuendos that the show plays with, from time to time, even in episode 1 but, to give it credit, all the jokes are done in a tasteful manner and they are very creative. Even more so, it also has other types of jokes, as well, playing different gags, such as with their overly serious teacher being bald, Amane being overly cruel and sadistic despite being an angel, or Amane's and Akutsu's friends always being around the corner to accuse them of being a couple, even though they'll always deny it.

And the action sequences for when Amane and Akutsu do get to fight are pretty engaging and suspenseful, always leaving me wondering who would win.

But, with that said, the show is not without flaws.

Particularly towards the end, I felt like it got pretty cliched, with a villain that mistreats Amane and forces Akutsu to come out to protect her, how Akutsu loses control of himself and unlocks new powers when seeing Amane get hurt, how Amane has to knock his senses back into him etc.

This type of stuff I really dislike, since I've seen it before in other romances and, chances are, I'll see it again many more times again.

I think the last time I saw a similar trope done was in a show called Vermeil in Gold, back during the summer 2022 lineup. Vermeil was a much more cliched and, in my opinion, worse, show than this one, but it still played the same beats towards the end.

But this show made up for its lackluster final arc with its last episode, where it compensated for it with a nice and sweet ending that made me happy.

I won't spoil the ending but I will say it made the experience worthwhile.

So, would I recommend this show?

Well, it depends. Its comedic style is a bit out there and it is over the top when it tries to be funny, which might put some people off. Personally I've seen shows with even wackier senses of humor, so this didn't bother me too much but I can definitely see others having an issue with this.

I'd recommend giving the first episode a shot. That's a very good showcase of what the humor would be like for the rest of the season.

If you can digest the first episode, with all its humor and still end up liking it, chances are you'll like the rest of the episodes as well.

If not, consider a different show of the same genre, maybe.

This is just part 1 of my ranking. For part 2, please click here.