Best winter anime of 2024 - SciFiNow

Best winter anime of 2024

We sift through this season’s mountain of anime and emerge with an eclectic selection of shows.

It’s January, which means we’re on a diet, and while we’re doing our best not to eat any junk, there’s certainly plenty of it to watch when it comes to this season’s anime offerings. Winter season can often be a little light on high-quality anime, with a lot of shows falling squarely into the ‘mid’ category. Not terrible, but just very average and only worth your time if they really hit your spot. And, with 82 shows to choose from this season and very few heavy hitters on offer, even if you had the five hours a day, every day of every week you’d need to keep up with everything, it really wouldn’t be worth it.

We’ve rifled through this season’s selection of shows and emerged with a handful that might just tick your boxes. Not all of them are top-tier, but there’s entertainment for all to be had within our picks.

Villainess Level 99: I May Be the Hidden Boss but I’m Not the Demon Lord

This is certainly not the biggest show of the season, but it might just be our favourite. You can’t go wrong with a good villainess anime, and when you throw isekai and an overpowered protagonist into the mix, you’re serving up the tastiest of tropes.

After hitting you with a level 99 bait-and-switch in the first episode, we meet Yumiella Dolkness – she has been isekai’d into the world of an otome game she was playing, and she’s the secret boss. But she just wants a quiet life, which goes out the window on the first day of college when it turns out she’s accidentally hit level 99 and discovers this in front of everyone at the entrance ceremony. Cue arrogant aristocratic students thinking she’s a liar and acting like arseholes towards her, while Yumiella proves she’s the real deal and tries not to accidentally kill them in the process.

There’s nothing new or special here, but Villainess Level 99 tickles our brain just right, and we love it. It’s funny, it’s cute, Yumiella is a badass, and we’re very much invested.

We say: Villainess Level 99 doesn’t do anything new, but it does everything right, and we love it

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Solo Leveling

This season’s biggest hitter, Solo Leveling, based on the Korean manhwa, serves up a heaped helping of power fantasy, and who doesn’t like a bit of that?

In our world, mysterious gates to fantasy dungeons start appearing, filled with monsters that can’t be killed with conventional weapons. At the same time, supernatural powers start awakening in certain humans, and these hunters are the only people who can kill the monsters, defeat each dungeon boss, and prevent a dungeon break from happening, where they can spill into our world. Depending on your magical power, you are ranked from S down to E, which is where we find Jinwoo Sung, “the weakest hunter of all mankind.” There’s no way to level up once you’ve been assigned your rank, so he struggles along as best he can until a near-fatal dungeon raid results in something mysterious choosing Jinwoo and giving him the ability to grow stronger. And it’s certainly off to a strong start.

There’s some solid action, a great soundtrack, and a surprising amount of gore thrown into the mix. It’s definitely entertaining, and we’re keen to see how Jinwoo’s story plays out and how Solo Leveling manages to keep its OP MC interesting as things progress.

We say: A solid power fantasy with plenty of action and some interesting twists

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

‘Tis Time for “Torture,” Princess

There is an awful lot of food-based anime this season, and ‘Tis Time for “TorturePrincess is without a doubt the wackiest offering of the lot.

Meet the Princess, who’s not having a great time as she’s been captured, along with her magical sentient sword, Ex, by the Hellhorde, and they’re making her life hell with daily torture sessions to try and get information out of her. Except that the torture usually involves cooking delicious food in front of her and tormenting her until she breaks. And gives the demons useless information, and then they all have fun together cooking and eating the food. Or cuddling with a baby polar bear. Or playing computer games. In a fantasy world. And one time, the sword was relaxing in a hot spring.

What is even happening in this show?! That is what goes through our head multiple times during every episode. It’s absolutely ridiculous and so dumb, and yet we can’t stop watching. It shouldn’t work, and it shouldn’t be as entertaining as it is. But it’s precisely thanks to the fact that it knows it’s stupid, embraces that, and just runs with it, is why it’s so much fun to watch.

We say: Possibly the dumbest show you’ll watch this season, and we defy you not to love it

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Delicious in Dungeon

Now we come to a show that we’re not particularly in love with, but we’re sure some people will enjoy, so we’ve included it here.

Delicious in Dungeon follows adventurers Laios, Chilchuck and Marcille – after a disastrous dungeon battle against a dragon where Laio’s sister, Falin, teleports everyone away before being eaten by said dragon, the trio are determined to save her before she’s digested. And because all their gear was left behind in the dungeon and they’ve got no money for provisions, they decide to cook and eat all the monsters they encounter on their rescue mission. And that’s it. That’s the whole show. Kill monster, cook monster, Marcille moans about having to eat monsters, the monsters turn out to be delicious. Repeat for 24 episodes. Profit.

Sadly, it’s just rather dull in dungeon – it’s not that funny, the characters aren’t great, and it’s all so leisurely that we forgot all about poor Falin probably not having a great time in that dragon’s stomach. It’s not without its charms, though, and the food is fun and delicious-looking. If you’re hungry for another fantasy adventure anime, give it a shot.

We say: A laid-back dungeon cooking show that serves up a fair amount of fun

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Mr Villain’s Day Off

Earth is under attack from evil aliens intent on wiping out all of humanity, with only the Rangers to stand in their way and protect the planet. Except not for today, because today is the General’s (the eponymous Mr Villain) day off, and he wants to go to the zoo and look at pandas. And that’s what he’s going to do. For 12 episodes.

Much like Delicious in Dungeon, this is a show which delivers pretty much the whole experience in its first episode. The General spends his days off looking at pandas, stroking bunnies at the petting zoo, avoiding his alien co-workers, and calling a truce with the rangers. It’s very light, very fluffy, and makes for very easy watching.

It’s not going to rock your world or change your life, but it’s a charming little slow-paced show, and if you’re struggling with the general misery of another January, this might be just what you need to put a smile on your face.

We say: A light, cute, easy-going anime offering that will make you smile

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Gushing Over Magical Girls

If someone walked in on you watching Gushing Over Magical Girls, you’d just switch over to porn because it would be easier to explain and less embarrassing. We’d heard this show was lewd, but very early on, just minutes into the first episode, we realised it’s actually just hentai with extra steps.

There is, at least, a plot. Utena Hiragi’s city is protected by a trio of magical girls, the Tres Magia, and she’s a big fan. So when a magical floating creature approaches her and offers her the chance to become a magical girl, she jumps at the chance. Unfortunately for her, not only is her new outfit less than demure, but she’s actually become a member of the villainous evil forces, and Venalita, the magical creature, is now blackmailing her into fighting the girls. And while she’s initially very reluctant to hurt her beloved Tres Magia, her powers create very kinky creatures to fight on her behalf, and it quickly transpires that she’s actually a massive sadist who suddenly gets very, very into her new role.

Let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to watch this for the story, but it’s actually quite good – we like the characters, we love the twist on the traditional magical girl trope, and it’s often hilarious. It’s genuinely good, and we hate that we just said. That being said, we can’t possibly recommend this show with a clear conscience, but if you’re a filthy degenerate who wants to watch magical schoolgirls getting restrained, groped, spanked and lots more, then fill your boots. Even if just typing the title into a search engine will probably get you on some kind of watch list…

We say: Lewd, depraved, only degenerates need apply – y’all need Jesus. And so do we…

Where to watch it: Don’t – honestly, don’t do it, but if you really want to, Hidive has got you, fam…

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