sickVisionz (Level 24)

I'm realizing that I have NO CLUE about what's airing in Winter 2014 and no idea what to watch.
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In the past few years of my life as an anime fan, I find myself watching more and more shows online. Sometimes it's a simulcast and other times it's something from an archive on sites like Hulu or Crunchyroll.  One problem, albeit an awesome one, is that these shows have huge archives of content to shift through.  In my search for content to watch, I always thought that it'd cool if some kindhearted otaku was out there gathering links for cool shows that I could watch right now.  Well, today I've decided to be the generous otaku that I've been searching for. 
 
Sorry, but everyone and their mom knows that you're online.
Sorry, but everyone and their mom knows that you're online.
Every week I plan (keyword being plan) on highlighting one or two shows that I'm watching or have seen that are also available legally online.  Ideally they'll be free to everyone, but if they aren't i'll be sure to make a note of it.  I'll try to avoid shows that I think are super popular because, in all honesty, these shows have more than enough eyes on them and don't really need yet another person pointing them out.  So that means, no Naruto, no One Piece, no Haruhi, etc.  It's cool if it does, but I don't really intend for this to introduce a new person to anime and make them a fan.  I'm trying to introduce anime fans to shows that they might not have seen or heard of.  So with no further ado... 
 

Jyu-Oh-Sei (Hulu Link)

The Basics 

Jyu-Oh-Sei is the tale of two kids who find themselves caught in a political situation that results in them being kidnapped and sent to an overgrown planet where survival of the fittest is law.  
 
Described in Anime
Bishounen pretty boys brutally fighting to the death on the Blue Gender planet while getting into Nana/True Tears relationships (with women, just in case you were wondering) when they aren't killing each other.  People make cold and lethal calculations that would make Lelouch or Light Yagami proud.  Oh yeah, and the last few episodes give the story an ending that about as "cheerful" as Saikano.  And yes, that "cheerful" is sarcasm.
 

Why I Like It 

Don't let the pretty boys fool you; they break faces and hearts with ease.
Don't let the pretty boys fool you; they break faces and hearts with ease.
This show somehow manages to balance two things that don't seem like they'd fit: super melodramatic and bittersweet romances with assassinations and battles to the death.  If you like violent/harsh anime this show has a lot to offer.  Important characters die, people get stabbed up on screen, it's not rare for a plant to rip someone in half and children fight to death.  Yet with all of that violence, the show still manages to work in these sweet little romances filled with tear jerker moments that keep you anticipating an eventual confession or official boyfriend/status.  It does both of these aspects well and it gives them equal screen time.  Even if you love one genre and hate the other, it never goes for too long without giving you something satisfying in either.  To top it all off it ends extremely bittersweet, which always floats my boat. 
 

Hyakko (Crunchyroll Link)

I figured I'd balance out the bittersweet and violent Jyu-Oh-Sei with something that's neither.  The first thing that came to my mind was Hyakko.  While it's not super unpopular or unknown, it's a title that I don't see mentioned too often.  

The Basics 

The series is a comedic slice-of-life story focused around four girls at a high school. 
 

Described in Anime 

Imagine if Haruhi Suzumiya and her gang of misfits attended the same school as Nagi Sanzenin.  Reduce the outlandishness (ie no talking tigers or aliens) and you have Hyakko.  
 

Why I Like It 

I'll be the first to admit it, Hyakko isn't reinventing the wheel and it includes about every stereotype character you can think of such as: 
  • The really assertive girl
  • The new girl who's overly nice
  • the super duper shy girl
  • the kid who sells photos of other students
  • the teacher with no control over their class
  • the rocker chick
  • the not so in the closet closet lesbian.
  • the guy who secretly likes one member of the main cast but is totally oblivious on how to talk to her
  • the rich and arrogant girl who really has a heart of gold
 
 The whole is greater than the sum of its parts... which is impressive considering how many parts this show has.
 The whole is greater than the sum of its parts... which is impressive considering how many parts this show has.
But the great thing is that the show seems to be totally aware of these character types and often parodies them or sets them up in really funny situations.  It never breaks the 4th wall but it seems to be totally aware of what it is and what it's doing.  Because each episode is broken up into small segments, all of the characters in the series get fleshed out and well developed, which is pretty amazing considering how short the series is and how many of them there are.  You get to see all of their quirks in detail as they interact with the main cast and after a few episodes I found myself eagerly anticipating what crazy situation they were going to find themselves in or what combination of characters were going to be in the next segment and how they'd clash with or play off of each other.
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