Best of 2015

2015 has been a really weird year for me in my anime watching career. This was a year that I would say was definitely a low point in all the years I’ve watched. Only because this was the year where I actually scored a show a 1/10 on MAL and an F- minus that wasn’t an OVA, Special, or a short anime that was completely unfinished. On top of that, I never gave a show a 9 and the 2s and 3s appeared my frequent than any of the years I started this. I wouldn’t say that this was an overly terrible year but it definitely was the hallmark that I was hoping for. But with that said, I can’t say there was a shortage of great shows; in fact there were some surprises that cropped during the seasons. So sit back and see me count of the winners and runner ups of the best of 2015 that ended its broadcast this year.

Best Animation

one-punch-man

Winner: One Punch Man

I wasn’t aware of One Punch Man when this show came about. In fact, I had to ask a few of my friends why this is getting a lot of hype when it first came into fruition this Fall. Adapted from a manga that adapted a web comic which had shitty artwork and made it better, you can see the transition between the mediums and how the show makes quirky remarks to the shoddy artwork from the web comic. Pulled off with quirky finesse, and also the great action set pieces spliced in, One Punch Man was definitely eye candy that made the Fall season less vapid.

Runner up #1: Fate Stay Night Unlimited

I’ve already touted Studio Ufotable’s ability to create beautiful action set pieces in its character movements to death on a couple of reviews. So I won’t beat that dead horse any further other than to say that Ufotable knows how to create spectacle with the rare opportunity of a high budget with the Fate series. Which is ironic considering how awful the original Fate Stay Night from 2007’s animation was.

Runner up #2: Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki

I put the sequel to Sidonia on here only to show how Polygon Pictures took its time to improve the animation from all the jerky CG that was present on occasion from the previous season. The character movements in this feel more fluid as well as the mech fights. Also the facial expressions feel more alive and less robotic than the first one, makes the comedy less awkward in that respect.

Honorable Mentions: (Gate Jieitai Kanochi nite, Noragami Aragoto, Shokugeki no Souma,Anasatsu Kyoushitsu, Etotama)

 

 

Best Art

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Winner: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

If there was anything that was notable about Akagami no Shiryuki-hime, it was the fact that the art was extremely beautiful to look at. Almost similar to Studio Ghibli’s character design in a TV budget, the character designs were so colorful in a pastel aesthetic that looks like they were painted with a paint brush. Of course the backgrounds look the same way as well, giving a peaceful atmosphere as a result.

Runner up #1: Gangsta

Grimey looking urban architecture in an italian-like city and detailed looking characters definitely gave Gangsta the atmosphere it needed to show a dark criminal thriller. Just looking at a character smoke and seeing how the smoke looks in an environment gives off so much tension with such small detail.

Runner up #2: Prison School

Coming from someone who has not read the manga but has seen snippets of it on the web, I found myself really intrigued in reading the source material just from the art style alone. All of the characters have a distinct feel to them from how their facial expressions look to their eyes. Their fucking eyes man.

Honorable Mentions: (Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??, Monster Musume, DanMachi, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, Owari No Seraph)

 

 

Best Male Character

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Winner: Hachiman Hikigaya

Okay, I’m going to amend my rule that no characters from previous years are allowed in these lists just this once for Hachiman. Only because I feel as though in the 2nd season of Oregairu we got a new sense of the character than what we originally thought before going into the season. Here we definitely have Hachiman grow as a dynamic character than just one that spouts off alienating quotes here and there. It’s a great evolution that made me think that a good character just became exceptionally legendary.

Runner up #1: Kiyoshi Fujino

I know many people will say that Takehito Morokuzu is the best male character in Prison School, but I thought Kyoshi Fujino was more relatable for me. I looked at him and though, “Yeah that would probably be more like me if I was put into this situation.” If only I was in this situation…

Runner up #2: Koro-sensei

Assassination Classroom had the makings of a zany action comedy anime and Koro-sensei is one character that managed to make that distinction quite clear. With his really unique character design and great performance by Jun Fukuyama, they definitely solidify his crazy presence in an animation format.

Honorable Mentions: (Decim, Ikki Kurogane, Worick Arcangelo, Takehito Morokuzu, Bell-kun)

 

 

Best Female Character

Maria-the-Virgin-Witch-Episode-1-Maria-Faces

Winner: Maria

A lot of people did not talk about this character or the anime Junketsu no Maria in general. Sad to see this but Maria in my money is probably one of the strongest and fun female characters that graced us this year. Her relatable mindset and character arc make for a hilarious and melancholic performance that made me feel so attached to her and the struggles she faced.

Runner up #1: Shirayuki

Another strong female character that made me feel attached was Shirayuki. Ironic considering how the rest of the characters paled in comparison to her. Voiced by the gentle talent of Saori Hayami, Shirayuki definitely felt like an angelic character that had so much depth just from her personality and presence in the world.

Runner up #2: Aoi Miyamori

Seeing a character evolve from one point in the story to the next can be very powerful to see when you look back at watching the show. Aoi Miyamori fits that characteristic accurately considering how close I felt with her goals because of how well developed they written her to be.

Honorable Mentions: (Stella Vermillion, Umaru Doma, Hestia, Hana Midorikawa, Kurumi Ebisuzawa, Ayame Kajou, Alex Benedetto, Kurokami no Onna)

 

 

Best Cast

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Winner: Gakkougurashi

When you have a claustrophobic setting in an emotional story, sometimes a small cast of characters fits that setting with great effect. Gakkougurashi’s cast can be pointed as having stereotypical tropes but I think that all of their chemistry adds so much emotional impact in how the story progresses. It was one of the few moments this year where I felt like the friendship between these girls felt really genuine, thus my attachment to the psychological turmoil, despite it being a little far-fetched at times, that they go through grew with every episode.

Runner up #1: Monster Musume

My favorite harem cast of the year, which wasn’t that hard considering this was the only original harem cast that didn’t suck ass. The rest of the great ones were already part of seasons before this one. I guess the fact that the girls are monsters makes Monster Musume unique to some degree. But I have to give credit to the male protagonist who managed to make me laugh and not zone out like the rest of the ones this year.

Runner up #2: Shimoneta

One of the things that makes a great cast of characters is variety. For Shimoneta, there is a large array of characters that feel very different and distinct to one another. All of them having one characteristic that make them quirky and lovable.

Honorable Mentions: (Gangsta, Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Prison School, )

 

 

Best Sequel

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Winner: Grisaia no Rakuen

Now this is one sequel that I didn’t expect to like. Considering how underwhelming the first season was, I didn’t think much of this one before I started it. What I found were story arcs that felt more focused and strong compared to the ones back in the first season. There was a bigger emotional feedback from the characters and gives Yuuji Kazami more depth to his characterization than I think the first season did in just 4-5 episodes.

Runner up #1: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??

Jokes and growth of the cast felt more concise. Plus it helps in furthering the adventures of these lovable girls with more heart to it.

Runner up #2: Oregaiu 2nd

Adds more development and pulls in some amazing moments that are quite ballsy for a slice of life anime.

Honorable Mentions: (Noragami Aragoto, Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd, Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru, Non Non Biyori Repeat)

 

 

Best Story

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Winner: Death Parade

While episodic in some parts, the world and character growth that the plot dives into really made Death Parade a powerful experience. Emotions run high in almost all of the plot arcs that make us feel for even the side characters that only in appear in one or two episodes.

Runner up #1: Grisaia no Rakuen

Again, didn’t expect a powerful story for a sequel of an anime that was average at best. Though it was rushed in a few spots, it didn’t ruin my experience tremendously once it was over.

Runner up #2: Prison School

A very unique story is hard to come by these days. Prison School can be chalked up as your typical prison escape story, but the ways in which they tell it through interesting takes on ecchi and school cliches.

Honorable Mentions: (Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Gakkougurashi, Oregaiu 2nd, Shirobako)

 

 

Best Action

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Winner: One Punch Man

For an anime that tries to satirize action anime cliches, it certainly became the thing it was trying to satirize quite bluntly. Regardless, because the animation was so well done, that it complimented well enough to be an exciting action anime that does some of the most memorable of this year.

Runner up #1: Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 2nd

Just as ufotable is great at high budget animation, this is always evident with its action set pieces of which there were plenty to go by in this season in particular.

Runner up #2: DanMachi

Entertaining battles with monsters alongside the boob goddess herself.

Honorable Mentions: (Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Gangsta, Ushio to Tora, Gatchman Crowds Insight)

 

 

Best Comedy

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Winner: Himouto Umaru-chan

Can’t account all of the hundreds of times that I’ve gone crazy with laughter when watching Himouto Umaru-chan. On account of Umaru-chan being one of the lovable and funniest anime characters to come out in recent memory, it also should be noted that the other characters fill in the comedy just as well. Its great satire on otaku culture goes into full wacky mode that it also feels relatable in some scenarios.

Runner up #1: Shimoneta

Shimoneta is another similar situation, only just barely missing the winner mark. Anna’s hilarious stchick on love juice, Ayane’s tirade of using inappropriate language, and Otome drawing weird perverted fan fiction all combined together make for a perfect comedic amalgamation.

Runner up #2: Monster Musume

Seeing a harem anime with monsters in it provide a different spin in the genre that proved to be an exceptional change of pace that I’m used to. Miia saying darling and that tail shedding scene will always get to me.

Honorable Mentions: (Prison School, DanMachi, Nisekoi:, To Love Ru Darkness 2nd, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka)

 

 

Best Slice of Life

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Winner: Non Non Biyori Repeat

Renge-chan makes all the difference in slice of life, doesn’t she? More of the same, but then again, it still manages to make me smile and reminisce about childhood like in the previous season.

Runner up #1: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??

Moe girls deserve their place in slice of life. Life itself has cute girls, so why not? The more the merrier.

Runner up #2: Oregairu 2nd

Sure, I may like Slice of Life with girls in it more than this. But don’t mistake my cute intentions with any further bias. Oregairu is the pinnacle of the representation of young adult life and I’m thankful it exists.

Honorable Mentions: (Danna ga Nani)

 

 

Best Ecchi

monster-musume-episode-4

Winner: Monster Musume

Sexy papi booty, adorable snake girl, sadistic spider, kawaii mermaid wanting to be married, and Suu…..just Suu. All situations are extremely heart inducing lewd and adorable with these wonderful girls and their attractive monstrous bodies. If an ecchi makes wish you could be wrapped around tightly by a snake, it should certainly be awarded with a winning mark.

Runner up #1: Shimoneta

As much as there was more crazy ecchi moments in Shimoneta than in Monster Musume, the latter had more heart to it than the former. Shimoneta does its ecchi in a more witty way to make a satirical point about society in some fashion, which does it well in most cases. All I want is Anna’s love juice cookies, that’s all I want.

Runner up #2: Prison School

My only minor nit pick was Meiko’s constant sweating that felt really off at times. Regardless of that, the whole kissing scene with Hana-chan alone could tickle my ecchi bone than all of the scenes combined. Great artwork of the girls and the one instance where we get to see, for the first time, a close up of an asshole in an anime show. First time for anything as they say.

Honorable Mentions: (Bikini Warriors, Shinmai Maou no Testament, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, To Love Ru Darkness 2nd)

 

 

Best Short Anime

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Winner: Anitore! EX

Short anime are always great when the subject matter fits well with the time. Doing a short exercise anime with cute girls is something that I’m surprised hasn’t been done as much. It did definitely influence me to do some push ups with the girls and the ending song was really infectious that it made me hope that the singers really have a strong idol group career for them.

Runner up #1: Danna ga Nani

The one thing that can be summed up about this show is, “Awwwww!” A cute married couple that I honestly could watch for hundreds of more episodes.

Runner up #2: Okusama ga Seitokaichou

Incredibly sexy for a short anime series. Ayana Taketatsu needs to have more perverted roles in the future like Ui Wakana and Ako Kuminoe. Pleeeaaasssee!

Honorable Mentions: (Bikini Warriors)

 

 

Best OVA/Special

One-Punch-Man-Road-to-Hero

Winner: One Punch Man: Road to Hero

Giving a nice backstory to Saitama to see how he became a superhero that was desperately needed after the hours of bland satirical self-awareness.

Runner up #1: Grisaia no Rakuen Specials

It has Amane-chan and Kazuki Kazumi naked and giving a massage with their bodies. Need I say more?

Runner up #2: Senran Kagura Estival Versus – Shoujo-tachi no Sentaku

It’s Senran Kagura in a nutshell. Nothing more nothing less.

Honorable Mentions: N/A

 

 

Biggest Surprise

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Winner: Grisaia no Rakuen

Again, didn’t think I’d like this considering how the previous season was quite meh. But again, that’s what I love about starting any anime: I love to be surprised by things. This was no exception.

Runner up #1: Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry

What’s interesting is that this didn’t really surprise me much until the half-way point. I expected this to be just another bland tournament-esque action show. Which, honestly, was exactly that. But with a slight twist. A romance arc that actually made me care for the couple and their relationship. Ever thought of that Asterrisk?

Runner up #2: Gakkougurashi

Everyone else didn’t know how this show was going to be until the end of the first episode. I, unfortunately, didn’t see this anime until later in the year so I knew bits and pieces of it. Yet, despite this, I was surprised by how close I was to these characters and emotionally invested in the story from the end of it.

Honorable Mentions: (Junketsu no Maria, Bikini Warriors, Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite)

 

 

Biggest Regret

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Sometimes I can’t make room for a year and I would either forget to back to them later in the year and didn’t think they would be prominent in my list. So this is a list that I regret not getting into sooner before it was too late.

Winner: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

Runner up #1: Akatsuki no Yona

Runner up #2: Arslan Senki

Honorable Mentions: (Saenai)

 

 

Best Anime of the Year

death-parade

Winner: Death Parade

Puzzling, dark, gripping, and beautiful, Death Parade wowed me to my core in the beginning of 2015. Sad to say that no other show matched the same quality. Nevertheless, it was something that I knew was special right from the first episode. I was hooked and thankfully it kept me hooked until the very end and now I want more.

Runner up #1: Prison School

One of the more unique experiences I had with an ecchi anime in a while. Very forward with its ecchi moments and great characters that serve a memorable story that hopefully will continue on to see more of these characters.

Runner up #2: Himouto Umaru-chan

The ultimate anime to make you put a smile on your face. If Umaru-chan doesn’t want to make you go wild with laughter and cuteness, I don’t know what to tell you. Oddly enough it makes me wish that I was her onii-chan despite the headaches that might go with it. I guess I’m a sadist that way.

Honorable Mentions: (Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??, Monster Monsume, Shimoneta, Oregairu 2nd, Shirobako)

 

So there you have it my friends. The best of 2015 that I have compiled. Will try to put in the Worst of 2015 tomorrow night, hopefully.

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