Top 5 Anime of 2015 (Anime of the Year)

Well? What are the top 5????

Well? What are the top 5, Tora-chan? I’ll buy you a ham-barker if you tell me.

There was a surprisingly large number of shows I wanted to include here and I even bumped up what was originally the top 3 to top 5 just to have a couple more – it all just goes to show what a good year this was for the medium. That’s not to say there wasn’t a LOT of bad shit, but the number of outright fantastic shows was unbelievable and felt like were a decade back in time yet with all the modern advances in the industry helping push things even further. It’s a weird way to word it, but it felt like we had a lot more anime feeling anime this year than we’ve had in the past several combined.

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gundamu

5. Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans

Gundam Orphans isn’t actually finished yet, so I’m putting it at 5th place. This year had a lot of great stuff and I could have just not included this, but what we’ve gotten of it in the half we’ve seen? Fucking fantastic. This is easily the best Gundam series in, well, maybe ever honestly – but as I’ve openly admitted before I was never hugely into the franchise. I can’t fucking stand most of the older titles aside some of the Zion mech designs (but the shows as a whole were total fucking trash) and really the only one I’d say is better than “alright” would be 08th MS Team. So, I’m aware I might be alone in feeling this way, but Iron Blooded Orphans for me is the BEST thing this entire franchise has ever pushed out. It takes all the conceptually good aspects of the series and actually executes them properly for once instead of fumbling around like it’s retarded predecessors. Mari Okada’s writing talent mixed with Nagai’s almost unbelievable directing skill proves, yet again as they seem to like working together, to be a true “match made in heaven”.

[HorribleSubs] Mobile Suit Gundam - Iron-Blooded Orphans - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.31_[2015.12.31_17.30.03]

The action is top notch and yet it’s used intelligently and spaced out instead of turning this into an action series, the politics are interesting, actually thought out, important, and used in a very important way, and the character drama – Okada’s favorite thing to focus on – is incredibly well put together in both subtle and very in your face ways. Orphans finally reaches that perfect mix Gundam has always tried to have yet never delivered until now of all these elements without any being half-assed. On top of that we also have the heavy and unique aspect of a story entirely about child soldiers, as well as dealing with the emotions and moral issues that brings along with it. I also really love the mech design so far, the Barbatos is really cool and the choice of going with a huge mace instead of guns or energy laser sword things was fucking great (albeit he’s seemed to have traded it in for a sword recently) and made a lot of sense for the reality of what’s going on (big armored things fighting – much like knights – would do better to use blunt weapons). The Graze and that frog-looking over-armored fat-zaku-esque thing are both cool too.

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rokka

4. Rokka no Yuusha

Rokka was a huge surprise for me, it was promoted as a mystery set in a fantasy world with the twist being “there is at least one traitor among us and trying to kill us”. That alone hooked me in without much effort, it sounded great and really interesting, it all hinged on whether or not the show treated us as part of it in terms of not telling us information we’d be lacking otherwise – a common issue with ‘mystery’ stories in film, television, and anime wherein you know the culprit or are given hints you SHOULD NOT HAVE. Rokka avoided that, in fact it kept me not only unsure of who it was until the final reveal, it had me guessing nonstop and continually hashing out why it HAS TO BE x or y character and then the very next episode – or even literally the next scene – realizing there’s no way it’s them, then by the next episode wondering if maybe it is them after all. My trust in these characters was never solid or long lasting and I never felt anyone was safe with anyone else. Hell, the only character I never once doubted was one who outright said “I’m here to kill all of you” from the get go, otherwise even THE MAIN CHARACTER was someone I considered as a possible suspect at one point or another.

Then, oh, surprise! Not only do we have a traitor, but after a few episodes the ENTIRE SHOW ends up as one single locked room mystery that takes place in one central location they’re all trapped in. It gave not only a unique story for us, but a perfect one for what it was trying to achieve. By being stuck here the characters all have legitimate reasons for being the way they are, including very suspicious things they may do or say, because they’re all incredibly tense and desperate to blame someone. Without being stuck, without the reason they’re stuck being how it is, and without the traitor in our midst, the entire concept would be broken – and if any of that wasn’t handled perfectly it would have failed as well, luckily this felt like it executed it perfectly.

(Plus it has Fremy)

(Plus it has Fremy)

This is a show with one of the most solid actual mysteries I’ve ever experienced in any format both in the actual question at hand and the way it works out episode to episode never giving you too much information and yet giving you exactly what it needs to to manipulate you entirely every step of the way. There is absolutely no way you will feel certain in who the traitor is even up till the very last moments before it’s fully revealed, and that felt really fucking good. It’s doubly fun if you have someone to watch it with and try figuring it out together and discussing your theories.

The very final two minutes or so of the finale after the mystery is concluded did sour it quite a bit, but it was more of a shitty tie-in to make you interested in buying the source material – however it didn’t have any meaningful impact on anything or obscure any of the story so I didn’t think it was enough to mess up the show for me as it was like a commercial tacked on at the end. It was enough to keep it out of my top 3 though, I just can’t pretend the entire show up to then was not one of the most entertaining, immersive, and fun rides of the year purely because they tacked on an advertisement in the 120 seconds or so.

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babysteps2

3. Baby Steps 2

The AOTY from last year luckily returned this year with another season and it definitely earned itself a spot in the top 3, honestly I really wouldn’t feel bad putting it as the AOTY again either. However, it’s here at 3 because I think overall I enjoyed the next two just a bit more. Something about Baby Steps is just really special, I know a lot of things about it I love the hell out of but there’s something above it all that adds this irresistible undeniably wonderful feeling to it that you just can’t find anywhere else.

natchanhold2

Nat-chan still has her big ol’ muscle arms from all the tennis.

Everything I said last year still stands, it all either continued at the same top quality or got even better. The romance aspect especially took a huge step up, in fact it went further than many romance anime are even willing before their final episodes. Not only are Natsu and Ei finally officially going out as a couple, but we get to see the moment it happens and it was really sweet, cute, and perfect for what’s been going on the past season and a half-ish. At the same time the tennis is of course as great and surprisingly enjoyable as it was the first time around and the matches even more intense and exciting than before. I love it, I really do, and the only bad thing I can say is that Natsu ends up promising a date after the tournament (with her finally boyfriend~) and we never actually get to see it, as the show – again – is focused on the tennis and the season just didn’t have enough episodes left to finish the match, go to a date, and conclude everything for now.

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onepunch2

2. One Punch Man

One PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANCH!!!!

A satire of shows I fucking hate that also ends up unironically being them in some ways along the way. Hmmm. What’s this doing here? I actually had very little interest in even picking this show up to begin with and went in to the first episode reluctant and expecting to drop a fat shit all over it. Instead, well, here it is as the runner up for my top anime of the year and something I will definitely remember in the years to come. One Punch Man is something hard to really explain what makes it so fucking cool and fun, but it boils down to hot-blooded HAM-as-fuck action mixed with a lot of great comedy and lovable characters. It’s witty, smart, knows what it’s poking fun at very well, and yet manages to surpass just being a parody or satire and becomes it’s own impossible not to enjoy crazy over-the-top story about the world’s biggest badass who doesn’t give a shit about BEING the world’s biggest badass.

[HorribleSubs] One-Punch Man - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.44_[2015.12.22_02.08.25]

I very highly recommend this to absolutely anybody, even if these types of shows are not your thing, as this very much transcends the genre it’s making fun of and becomes one of the most hilarious and awesome things possible.

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AOTY

jitsu

Jitsu wa Watashi wa

With comedy that is undeniably on par with some of Gintama’s best episodes, romance that is compelling, touching, and incredibly fun to watch develop, and a cast without a single person that’s less than fantastic in it, Jitsu wa Watashi wa, or “Actually, I am…”, was the perfect show for me (aside the actual title being one of the worst of all time). It has everything I love, executes it all at the highest quality possible, and is one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve gotten to spend my time with in years. It took me back to 2005 or so, everything about it from the art and design choices to the actual writing and character types, and even the OP and ED which both felt like they were from a decade ago in style and sound (not to mention the ED sounding a whole lot like Rapbito who isn’t even really around anymore) felt like seeing an old friend again even though I had never even heard of it prior. It’s not nostalgia for some so-called “golden age” or anything retarded like that which make me love it so much, it’s just that in being so familiar to a time period where much of my favorite shows were coming out and such it gave me a really wonderful reminder of what it is that made me fall in love with anime to begin with. I’ve been into the medium since I was 8 or 9, far before those years, but it’s when anime like this were the most abundant that I realized how truly fantastic this entire medium is. This and Danmachi (which probably should be on here instead of Rokka) both gave me that same fantastic feeling that I haven’t had in a long time.

A vampire girl with a scary dad, who would have guessed she meant DIO?

Even DIO liked this enough to do a cameo.

Beyond that though, the show is just perfect at everything it’s trying to be and released with perfect timing when there was a lull in this type of show in general. The art is really crisp, vibrant, and super consistent – it also features some of the most hilarious facial expressions ever. The music is great, there is one very stand-out song that has variations of it used throughout once per every episode with vocals and all – essentially the main theme – that I really love. The voice acting is perfect to the point that as far as original audio, I’d probably put this in the top 30 voice casts overall. The story is thoughtful, can evoke all sorts of feelings throughout at will, and keeps you invested from the very beginning – and the comedy is fucking hilarious and has the PERFECT timing at every turn.

AKARI

Jitsu is one of my favorite all time comedies, favorite all time rom-coms, and has some of my favorite all time characters and voice actors. There was just something about this series that made it feel like one of the most perfectly crafted shows I’ve ever seen and one of the most enjoyable experiences anime overall has to offer. Plus, it has Aizawa so there’s that too.

pls no bully about my picks

pls no bully about my picks

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16 responses to “Top 5 Anime of 2015 (Anime of the Year)

  1. Pingback: Mayoiga The Lost Village – Review |·

  2. Hehe, seems like you’re the only one liking DanMachi atm. (According to MAL).

    I’m watching atm, at EP 6, but I’ve to say:
    I checked twice if the genre really isn’t harem..
    And I think ecchi is missing.

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    • I can only assume people didn’t like Danmachi due to either going in expecting it to be a softcore porn level of ecchi and being disappointed or simply rating it low without watching it based on assumptions from the title and promo art.

      I could understand just not liking it cuz they don’t like it, but that wouldn’t explain nobody liking it at all when it’s such a good show – at least “fine” show at worst. Nothing about it to actually justify all the negative opinions on it.

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        • I’m not gonna say anything you said is outright wrong at all – but I think it’s sometimes important to consider the budget and length of stuff when viewing it. SAO may have the things you mentioned, but it’s also now, what, 48 episodes and will probably continue on. It’s a series they planned on making long from the get go, had the money to, and started with a full 20 something episodes. Danmachi was a 13 episode “let’s adapt the first portion of this light novel series” situation where it was made primarily with the goal of presenting story, characters, and settings to promote the light novel.

          That doesn’t undo it’s faults, that’s true, but sometimes for me at least I feel wrong if I don’t consider the purpose behind the anime because not all anime are just “anime” and many have other reasons for being made. For example, one of my favorite in 2014 shows was Nanana’s Buried Treasure – and yet the story is convoluted, a clusterfuck of a billion characters and groups and events, and never got to an actual end point. The show was made to promote the light novel.

          Danmachi is, sadly, another one of those, and so problems like an unresolved romance and main story along with not very fleshed out cast members happens. It comes with the territory, that DOESN’T make it somehow GOOD for it those are definitely negative traits, I just feel like keeping that in mind everything we DID get was splendid and really did make me interested in seeing more (which just isn’t possible without knowing Japanese, but that is their audience afterall).

          Actually, you do seem to kind of understand that. The thing is, JC Staff isn’t the one that decided “let’s make this 13 episodes” – the people paying them to animate it did, and only paid them enough to make it that long as well and only got them that many timeslots. Like you have to pin the blame on the right people at least, JC Staff has no control over episode length – they were told 13 episodes, told what content they had to cover, and then left to fulfill that – and I think they really succeeded with what they were given – and I believe that’s what matters, they made something really fun and enjoyable even with the limitations they had and I didn’t feel like it left me high and dry at the end. The same goes for the goal of “promoting the LN” – that wasn’t JC Staff’s goal, it was the publisher who came to them and told them to do that’s goal because that publisher is gonna make money from more LN sales, not anime sales.

          I’m glad you’ve at least enjoyed it some though – even if not a LOT but still, it’s pretty fun and it’s nice to know I didn’t end up recommending something you wasted time on and ended up hating.

          Also, I do agree about the ecchi, I would have preferred if the show cut down drastically on that stuff, but it felt like they had to include it because the light novels pushing that aspect so much from what I’ve heard.

          Unrelated, i really wish commenting on my blog worked better, this is super tiny and long now and i don’t even know if you can reply to it anymore. I need to fix this some day.

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        • and I dunno, i just really loved the setting – there’s a big difference (to me) between a .hack/SAO style MMORPG world and a sci-fi fantasy world that happens to really exist in a way we’d see similar to video games. I thought it was really charming and unique in how that was all done.

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      • Unfortunately I can’t reply there anymore, so I’ll do it here.
        Yes I definitely liked DanMachi more then SAO, I’ve even switched over to SAO during the last EPs just to see what’s different.
        Result ? I’ve had to turn of SAO directly because both main chars were kinda too unfitting for me and something threw me off, going back to DanMachi. YES the setting is much better. (I’ve tried to bring this up with the “pain” thing, in SAO I’ve never had the slightest feeling for them getting some damage where as in DanMachi the fights had much more weight.) Also: it’s a day later I should do something for my finals had to turn on the PC so see what you’ve written ;) and can’t get DanMachi out of my mind, something a good anime should reach!
        And I was blown away at the beginning, first time I’ve seen it, seen the JC Staff logo in the second EP and shouted “okay now I know why this style looks so good and familiar”.

        Yes SAO reached this story and love story telling with 24 EPs and concluded it even more with the second season, at least for the first EPs.
        I would LOVE more of DanMachi, and I think, comparing it to SAO, they would have a chance to tell the story to the end with at least 13 more episodes. But I honestly don’t think that’ll happen.
        The other problem is: They’ll have to get Bell away from Hestia, be it joining Aiz group, forming an own with her or getting Hestia to accept (what about a punch?) that it’s his decision (and that’s it’s like humans and animals if she would progress any further), with whom he want to go out. She still would seem him anyway, a little bit like Misaka and Kuroko.
        At the moment I don’t see this coming, as they let her interfere until now, up to the point where I wanted to punch her.

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        • Also: The fights, if only for the intense fights I would watch more of it.

          (funny I can comment to my own comment, to this level but not to other ones. Also the css “fixes” itself then because the comment box widens the comment section.)

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    • No idea what you’re talking about, the only people who hate Danmachi are those pretentious hipster bloggers everyone seems to like.

      Oh wait, that explains why people don’t like it, they actually listen to those idiot’s opinions.

      hurp durp this an ecchi harem shit show SAO with big tit lolis.

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      • SAO has big tit lolis, though I’ve to give credit to Hestia in terms of being more annoying then nearly every character I’ve seen until now

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        • I’d have to really disagree with Hestia being nearly as bad as anyone in SAO. Absolutely everyone in that immediately wants Kirito’s dick obsessively within seconds of being introduced/meeting him, even his own cousin, and none of them have a single ounce of personality outside of “I want Kirito’s dick so bad”. Hestia is definitely a big fanservice character, but she’s also an actual character – the girls in SAO are barely more than animated drawings filling the role for you to self-insert as Kirito and imagine they love you.

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        • Yes the characters in SAO where only place holder sometimes. But let’s take the red haired smith, it was a nice side story and in the end she accepted his real love. No one got in the way of their progress to the point where you don’t know if the author just decided that he want to cut their bindings and form a new couple.

          The sister thing was at least drawn out well enough that you could believe it, at least that’s what I think.

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        • The red haired smith who just completely out of nowhere wants Kirito’s dick? Great character with great development – within a whole 3 seconds she, with no reason whatsoever, is completely in love with the main character.

          At least Hestia has reason to be possessive of Bell (he’s her only family and they’ve been living together for years now), nobody in SAO has any reason for their massive amounts of feelings for Kirito the moment they meet him or the drama surrounding those feelings that shouldn’t even exist.

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  3. Wow OH, I didn’t expect Jitsu was as your anime of the year? I was goin oh I bet he’s gonna put kamisama kiss 2 there BUT THEN OH. You SURPRISED me? I mean it totally makes sense and I almost put it there myself, but it ended up in the opposite positions with one punch.

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    • Oh oops, that’s probably what should have been in Rokka’s spot, it would have been AOTY but I think I liked season ONE a lot more of kamikissies? Season 2 was still great and I loved it, but it wasn’t AS GOOD as the first season with the focus in this season being so much on the tengu and all that so I felt weird about giving 2 a spot when I liked 1 a lot more (though I gave both 10s). I did want to give the first season AOTY but it was years old – I just happened to not watch it until this year…which means it should have been on my best new to me old anime thing in the other post but I forgot oops. Well, it’d only be runner up for that anyway, Shin Sekai Yori definitely deserved the top spot for that category.

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