With January halfway over, the Winter anime season is well underway. 2019 introduces a bunch of series to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hidive, as well as several movie premieres to see in theaters. Below, you'll find our top five recommendations for the season, as well as a list of every other anime we know about that's coming out in the United States between January and March. Keep in mind, these recommendations have been made based on these series' first few episodes and--if available--corresponding source material.
Be sure to check out our recommendations of what to watch from last season if you're looking for an older show to binge. And if you haven't already, submit your votes for Crunchyroll's third annual Anime Awards. The deadline is January 18.
On its first episode alone, The Promised Neverland is set to be one of the best series of the season. The anime brings to life one of the greatest Shonen Jump manga from the past few years and implements minor changes that up the tension of an already fairly pulse-pounding thriller. I really don't want to spoil anything about this show, as its suspenseful twists are best experienced without any prior knowledge. However, it's worth noting that the anime reworks the beginning of the manga's story for the better by implementing details from later narrative arcs to improve the portrayal and growth of its characters. Hopefully this decision to tweak important people continues throughout the season--the manga has a problematic portrayal of black women that definitely should be improved in some way--without too much being done to Emma, the best female protagonist that Shonen Jump has ever seen. As is, the show's animation already perfectly captures the abrupt shifts in the characters' state of mind, and the use of sound really hammers home those transitions.
Also this Winter, there's Mob Psycho 100 II, which is the second season to one of 2016's most popular anime. Made by the same folks behind One Punch Man, this series continues to deliver more hilarious misadventures of the young boy who's one of the world's most powerful espers as he tries to live a normal life. Seeing incredible, colorfully animated sequences in this second season isn't surprising. However, we didn't anticipate just how beautifully wholesome this season's plot is already shaping up to be. Catch up on Mob Psycho 100 if you haven't already, because this second season might turn out even better than the first.
Anyone who knows a story that's focused on a beloved pet can probably guess almost every plot point My Roommate is a Cat is going to explore. However, despite the cliche nature of the anime's story--a socially awkward man finds the push to open up to others after adopting and befriending a stray cat--the show is still compelling to watch. Through the anime, we see the same set of events through both the perspectives of a man and his feline friend, and it allows for moments of both hilarious misunderstanding and heartfelt connection between the two. They're both lost souls that learn to love again by being together. Yes, My Roommate is a Cat is super cheesy, but it's absolutely worth watching too.
My Roommate is a Cat is on Crunchyroll and an English dub is scheduled to premiere on Funimation on January 30.
In terms of action-focused series, consider checking out Dororo, a remake of the 50-year-old anime of the same name, which takes place in feudal Japan and is about a ronin outfitted with prosthetics after his eyes, nose, ears, tongue, skin, and limbs are all ripped out of his body by demons. This anime's first episode pulls you in with the unsettling origin of its antagonist, and it respects the viewer enough to lay the groundwork for its two protagonists without the use of clunky exposition. Despite being a rehash of a half-century-old story, this series breathes fresh life into its narrative with well-animated action sequences and adjustments to the backgrounds of certain characters. It's good that the anime is willing to change too. Progressive for its time, the Dororo manga handles its main characters--a man with severe physical disabilities and a boy who is assigned female at birth but aggressively identifies as male--rather poorly, so this new series should only use the original story's ending as a loose template. Based on what's been shown in this new anime so far, I'm optimistic Dororo will pull a Devilman Crybaby and modernize a classic series for the better.
Dororo is an Amazon Prime Video exclusive.
Our final recommendation goes to Boogiepop and Others, which has nothing to do with the first Boogiepop anime and follows the original light novel instead. It's an excellent jumping in point for anyone who's missed out on the past 20 years of this critically acclaimed supernatural series. Don't let the first episode of this anime turn you off. Boogiepop leaps between multiple points of view to slowly deliver bits and pieces of its spooky narrative, so you'll need to watch at least the first two episodes to realize there's way more to this story than a high school girl with an androgynous-looking split personality, her boring boyfriend, and a cannibalistic serial killer.
Boogiepop and Others is on Crunchyroll and an English dub is scheduled to premiere on Funimation on January 18.
Even though neither made this list, I'd be remiss to not at least acknowledge both The Price of Smiles and The Magnificent Kotobuki. Unlike the other anime listed above, these two are original stories that aren't based on pre-existing literature or media. Neither has done anything yet to truly stand out, but they've both done enough to earn a "keep your eye on this" recommendation. In both series, I see the potential for something special--similar to 2018's A Place Further Than the Universe or 2017's Princess Principal.
There's over three dozen anime releasing in the United States this season, and we've listed them below. We'll update this article if additional titles are announced.