Top Nine Anime Series of 2015

Another year has come to an end, and with it a bevvy of shows, of which I’ve sampled over 40, and finished about half of these. Not as good as past years, but there were a couple of pretty underwhelming seasons this year. You’ll note there are 9 shows in this post, not ten. I’ve decided to go back to my 2013’s list method, and have as many shows as I think deserve being on the list, be it 3 or 13. And this year has 9 such shows, for me. There’d be “Notable Absentees” and “Honourable Mentions” at the end of the post, so if you don’t see a show, keep on reading!

Only full series had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).

9. Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)

Hibike! Euphonium / Sound! Euphonium anime episode 11 - Kousaka Reina and Oumae Kumiko look into one another's eyes - Top anime shows of 2015

Euphonium is not a perfect show, which you can tell from its position on the list, but it’s still good enough to make the list. Ironically, even though it’s not a split-cour show, it feels more like half of a grander show than actual split-cour shows I’ve watched this past year. It tells a small and coherent dramatic story, while hinting at much more to come. Its characters, of which there are many, range between fully-realized to not fleshed out sufficiently yet, but they feel real, and they, and the show, carry the charm of the so-called “KyoAni Mastery of Small Moments.” The show had several highlights, and was consistently good after its first arc. Recommended, but I’d recommend waiting for the 2nd season, myself.

You can read my editorial on the show and its ensemble nature here.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 8-9 (Anime Power Ranking)

Still busy with real life schoolwork, but here’s what I think of the past two weeks’ worth of anime episodes I’ve watched. Still need to catch up on Sidonia, but hey, we watch what we can! Some stuff was great, and some stuff was terrible, that’s how this season is.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episodes 8-9 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 8 anime - Crying Hikigaya Hachiman wants something genuine

Episode 8 was the dramatic core of the entire show up to this point. This is the big conflict everything was building towards. Hachiman overcoming his biggest enemy, his fear, his own self, and comes right out and declares to his friends, to the world, and to himself, the truth he’s been hiding from – that he’s scared of being alone and not understanding others, and that it hurts. And his friends hurt because they suffer from the same issues (Yukino), or because their friends are hurt (Yui). We also had a chat from Sensei where the author took time to explain to us how relationships work, how hurt works, and that once you grow past something that seems all consuming, it doesn’t seem nearly that bad. The author also explained almost every character in that scene, from Tobe and Ebina, to Hayama, to… everyone.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 7 (Anime Power Ranking)

I’m sort of busy right now in real life with many assignments being due for school (ah, the grad student life), so there might not be an overview next week. Well, with how I’m feeling about this season, maybe it is for the best.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 7 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 7 anime - Yukinoshita Yukino throws Hikigaya Hachiman old words back at him

This was an interesting episode. While it didn’t have the high drama of episode 2 with Hachiman’s self-sacrificing fake-confession and his friends’ disapproval, nor Hayama and Haruno’s scenes with him in episode 4, outright calling him a “Monster of Rationality” or telling him to stop sacrificing himself, but this episode might have been more powerful in its quiet moments. This episode shows us the results of a season and a half of Hachiman trying to grow, of admitting how much it is a mask he’s maintaining, and how he’s ready to admit it’s not the best thing for him or those around him.

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Spring 2015 Anime Midseason Overview

Mid-season of the anime season of Spring 2015 is upon us, so time to round up how I feel about the shows I’m current on, or decided to put on hold. A round-up telling you what I think is worthy of your time, or not, and where it’s at. This season I decided to pick up less shows than usual, and hold off what I expected will be “averagish”, so let’s see how it panned out.

Tiers are in-order of enjoyment/evaluation. Within each tier the order is alphabetical. Also, each show will get a couple of words about how the past week’s episode had been, because I’d rather jot these down.

Great:

OreGairu Season 2 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 4 anime - Hayato Hayama is trying to help Hachiman grow up

If you keep at things for long enough, things will boil over and drama will ensue. The light atmospheric comedy of the first season is rarely seen, and instead Hikigaya Hachiman is brought to task over the way he “solves” things. It’s as if the finale to the Cultural Festival arc was stretched into an entire season. Yes, Hachiman is still allowed to perform his “cool martyr” act, and people who really want to can still believe it’s everyone around him who sucks, but the show, and Hachiman know it’s he who suffers. A very sharp take on human interaction and loneliness. If you liked the first season for “cool Hachiman” and the more standard RomCom antics, you might be disappointed, but otherwise? Pretty great.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 5 (Anime Power Ranking)

A lot of words spent on how things don’t always work for me this week. OreGairu worked, Ore Monogatari did too. It’s something about “My” (Ore), I guess. More seriously, aside from stand-out moments this week had a lot of moments I enjoyed, even as most episodes were underwhelming.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 5 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 5 anime overview - Yukinoshita Yukino thought Hikigaya Hachiman would understand her

This has been the show’s weakest episode this season aside from the very first one. It also means it was stronger than all but one episode in the first season, and stronger than most anime episodes out there in general. Just like every other week, I wrote a full episodic-notes post for the episode, where I break down all the interactions. This episode in particular had several moments of interest, and of hope, and then despair.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, another batch of episodes. Going to be shorter about most this week, as I’ve wasted some time elsewhere. Some shows are finally “starting”, while most others are going as they did before, for better and for worse.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 4 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 4 anime overview - Hayato Hayama is trying to help Hachiman grow up

Another episode of OreGairu S2, another monstrously long and in-depth breakdown by myself? You don’t say! I might have gone overboard, as I think this is my longest episodic write-up to date. Just like with NagiAsu back in the day, breaking down social interactions is interesting. It’s something we all live and breathe in, and take for granted, so supposedly it shouldn’t take much space. But, there’s nothing that’d take more space were you to actually break it down.

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Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

This was not a good week. Not for my mood, and sadly, this week’s bounty of shows had done very little indeed to improve my mood, with most shows being underwhelming if not flat out bad. Knights of Sidonia episode 2 wasn’t watched this week, so it’d appear in next week’s write-up.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 3 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 3 anime overview - Yukinoshita Yukino wants Hachiman to change

Well, another episode where I had a lot to say. This seems to be the trend with OreGairu this season. Thankfully, the other trend is that the show continues to be very good this season, building on everything that went on up to this point, and taking it further, without holding back its punches.

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