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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Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch Episode 12 (Finale) – Everyday Salvation: Change

So, love is here! War was stopped, in this one section, but as we learned earlier, war always continues elsewhere, because you merely move the fighters, rather than stop their reason for fighting. So, Michael, Maria, and Joseph, what will happen?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) For Whom?:

Maria the Virgin Witch / Junketsu no Maria anime episode 12 notes - Maria as part of the world

1) Michael is asking Maria if she’s now acting for her own happiness, rather than the world’s. But of course, the state of your surrounding, and those who live around you, also affect your own situation.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 9-10 (Anime Power Ranking)

This write-up covers two weeks, because the episodes didn’t necessarily give enough to describe for one episode lately. The shows are ordered based on how much I liked the episodes in question or thought were good.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Death Parade episodes 8-9:

Death Parade anime episodes 8-9 - Onna is angry

It should’ve been obvious by now, and episode 8 did all but say it, and then came along episode 9 and truly did say it – this isn’t about the people being judged, it’s about Decim. We judge the people we see, we judge their judgments, and most of all, we judge the one who passes the judgment, trying to figure out if he made the right decision, and if he made it for the right reasons. This reminds me of the Gorgias Socratic Dialogue, where what I often found problematic in the dialogues was actually brought out.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Week 8 (Anime Power Ranking)

The write-up this week is a tad delayed, due to me rewatching the entirety of Chihayafuru (50 episodes) and other obligations, but I decided not to skip this week’s post. I didn’t watch last week’s Tokyo Ghoul Root A episode, and I might not care enough to resume watching it. It’s just not fun.

As always, links in title are to full write-ups (for very few shows this time around), while the shows are ordered by how much I liked the episode, compared to the others.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Shirobako episode 19:

Shirobako anime episode 19 overview

An episode where we think of the past and how we can never recreate it, but also of how the present can seek to pass it, and how the present is predicated on the past. We see past legends, and hear reassuring words – they did not set out with a plan, they did not set out to become “legends”. They just did the work that was in front of them, and forty years down the line, it turns out that they’ve erected a mountain behind them, a legacy.

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Winter 2015 Anime Midseason Overview

Mid-season of the anime season of Winter 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. I also happened to appear on a podcast discussing these shows with Flawfinder and others, which you can check out here.

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:

Death Parade:

Death Parade anime - Winter 2015 Anime Season Overview

Death Parade is a show where I don’t know what to expect from each episode, except for it to be both entertaining and quite good. We see humanity, and we see humanity pushed to the limit. Then we see said humanity judged by someone with next to no understanding of what it is he observes, which the show is aware of. We see judgments, and sometimes we do not. We see slices of lives, of the people judged, and of the judges. What is the true focus of the show? To show us slices of humanity? To show us the judgment, and make us think what decisions we would have made in their place? To try and understand the inhuman and quite child-like Decim behind his cold facade?

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Weeks 4-6 (APR)

This was supposed to go up on Wednesday, but between my cat having surgery (4 teeth removed), and me finding myself busy with all sort of things, it was delayed. I’m going to cover 2-3 episodes of each of the currently airing shows I’ve watched over the past three weeks, the cutoff is this past Wednesday. Next week will hopefully have an editorial, the mid-season post, and then we’ll go back to normal, including a post on Hyouka and another on rewatching Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Shirobako, The Rolling Girls, and Tokyo Ghoul Root A.

Shows listed roughly in order of how much I liked the episodes in question.

1) Durarara!!x2 Shou episodes 3-5:

Durarara!! X2 shou episodes 3-5 overview

I love Durarara!!, and I love the way in which its stories are told, how they are just presented, and it’s not the action through which the story is told, it’s not necessarily the events occurring, but the way characters and storylines intersect. We have an increasingly large cast of characters, and rather than dilute the broth, or mean things take longer to occur, it feels as if the opposite is taking place, with me feeling as if one episode contained enough material for three distinct episodes, and none of it feeling rushed or ignored.

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Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Week 3 (APR)

Week 3 of the Winter season, but most shows only had two episodes. Still, we’re starting to see the season (of Durarara!!’s return!) shape up, and it’s not at all bad! There won’t be Yuri Kuma Arashi (Lily Bear Storm) this week, because being sick, I postponed watching it. The write-ups this week are pretty long, so I’d like to hear your thoughts – would you rather have a single paragraph summary of my thoughts, perhaps with a link to the 3-4 paragraphs detailing more thematic breakdown, or do you like all the text?

As always, links in title are to full write-ups (for very few shows this time around), while the shows are ordered by how much I liked the episode, compared to the others.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2,  Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano), Shirobako, The Rolling Girls, and Tokyo Ghoul Root A.

1) Durarara!!x2 Shou episode 2:

Durarara!!x2 Shou anime episode 2 overview

So, let’s start with the obvious question – how is it relevant for us to hear of all the new Raira academy students in order to understand what’s up with Celty and Shinra? And it’s obvious, because all the stories in Durarara!! connect to one another. Celty’s money was found by the twins, who ran into the man Shizuo smacked silly (and here we see the “Damn thieves!” moment from the previous episode), and who might end up being treated by Shinra. Everything relates to the Dollars, and Mikado is going to meet with the other student who wants to be in the dollars, and is now involved with the twins…

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