One of the more unique series that started airing in the past winter season (not that that says much since more than half of them were sequels, but okay) was Genji Monogatari: an adaptation of a novel that’s about 1000 years old by now. While that sounds a bit strange at first, the unique flavour comes from the director Osamu Dezaki, who managed to turn this series into a feast for the senses, although it’s obviously not for everyone.
Genji Monogatari is romance. It’s about a prince called Genji who ends up screwing countless of women, call him the Japanese version of Don Juan if you want. This anime stands out because of its specific style of storytelling: the pacing is kept tight, with a lot of focus on emotions and bringing these out of the viewer and the characters. The animation is full of visual effects, and overly present filters and sparkling overlays, sound effects are either overly present or kept completely quiet, depending on the situation. And in the end, it works: although only 11 episodes, Genji Monogatari is a consistent emotional ride from start to finish.
But yeah, the style of this series is a double edged sword, because as easy as it is for some to like it, it’s also a style that’s very easy to dislike. The character-designs are nothing like your average bishie or moe cute girl, so if you absolutely need those in your anime, you’re going to find a hard time liking this series. The visual effects can also very easily become grating if you’re used to quiet and simply drawn series.
Still, I personally liked this series a lot, even though I’m not easily impressed by romance shows. A glorified harem show it may be, but the visuals, fast pacing and the fact that in eleven episodes, many years pass that allow us a great look at a period of Genji’s life set this series apart from all the others. If you’re looking for something different (and know Japanese or Chinese, since it’s probably going to take a while for this show to get subbed) then this here is a pretty good recommendation.