The year of Our Madokami two-thousand and fifteen has come to a close, which means bloggers and critics across the internet have an excuse to post countdown listicles! And being incredibly lazy myself, I am no exception. Overall, 2015 was a huge improvement over 2014. Last year I struggled to even round out a top ten list, and ended up with some of the lower spots going to the few shows I’d actually finished that weren’t actively bad. This year, I struggled to trim the list down to just ten. I said in last year’s post that you’d have to stay tuned for Parasyte and UBW, but it turns out I’m a liar. After some late-game stumbles and a stacked Winter season, neither one is making a showing after all. Woops. Even KimUso and MonMusu, shows I thought were rather solid, didn’t make the cut this year. It feels a little like watching your favorite sports team end a losing season with a blowout win. Anime really needs to spread the good shows out a little better. Anyways, before we get into the nitty gritty, I’ll go over the typical disclaimers: First of all, this is my list; my totally biased, inherently subjective list. If Your Favorite Anime didn’t make the cut, I probably didn’t see it, or didn’t like it. Sorry. Feel free to tell me how wrong I am down in the comments. Second, only series that ended in 2015 were eligible for this list. This list also does not include films, as I find they are just too different in terms of structure and production to be meaningfully compared to TV series. OVA series will be counted, but on-disc bonus episodes will not be considered in the rankings. Lastly, there may be stray Spoilers wandering about these paragraphs, so read with caution. With all that in mind, let’s get started with…
Aoi Miyamori and her friends Misa, Ema, Shizuka, and Midori dream of making an anime together. After screening their club’s short film for the Cultural Festival in their last year of high school together, the girls are determined to chase their dreams with renewed passion and vow to turn their short into a full-fledged anime one day. However, the reality of the working world doesn’t allow for much dream-chasing. Two full years after debuting their club’s film at school, the girls find themselves struggling to even make ends meet in a grueling industry. Stressed-out and unsure of herself, Aoi works as a Production Assistant at the floundering Musashino Animation studio. After a long hiatus, Musashino has plans to make a big comeback with their new show, Exodus. They’re banking everything on Exodus being a hit, and it’s sink-or-swim time for Aoi. Nothing is ever easy, though. As mounting problems threaten to throw the entire production into chaos, Aoi will have to hold onto her sanity and take charge if she and her friends ever hope of making their dreams come true…
Here it is at last, everyone’s favorite aniblog staple! The venerable Top Anime List! I’d originally intended this to be a 6-month anniversary post for the blog, but it ended up being a much more massive undertaking than I’d intended. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it turns out I just can’t shut the hell up about shows that are this good. This list is probably the largest single post I’ve ever written about anime, so I hope it’s at least a worthwhile read!
The Summer season is in full swing, and… it’s pretty average. Which may actually be a blessing in disguise since I got totally burnt out trying to cover the insanity of Winter. I ended up taking all of Spring off, which Euphonium almost immediately had me regretting. I would have liked to write about that show more, but I just couldn’t drum up the motivation. To try and combat the problem, I’m probably going to be nixing weekly write-ups in favor of a first impression/midseason/final impressions format, with extra stuff like reviews and editorials in-between. I still haven’t got the whole blogging thing ironed out yet, so I want to experiment with some stuff. At least until I can find a schedule I can function on, and still produce content I’m actually happy with. But enough about that, let’s get on with the cartoons!
As you may or may not be aware, my local anime convention, Anime Boston, was held over the weekend in well, Boston. Of course I say “local”, but AB is actually one of the largest anime cons on the East Coast, which draws people from all over the country(and even out of the country). Last year saw over 25000 attendees, and I would not be surprised if the number was even larger this year. This was my fifth year going to the con since 2009, and this was definitely one of the better years, for a bunch of reasons.
It’s June of the year 1983, and Keiichi Maebara has recently moved from the bustling big city to the quiet mountain village of Hinamizawa. A town so small, it only has a single schoolhouse with a single teacher. Keiichi manages to make fast friends with his new schoolmates, Mion, Rena, Rika, and Satoko, and ends up joining them in their after-school game club. As Keiichi slowly adjusts to his new surroundings, he comes to learn that Hinamizawa may not be the sleepy rural paradise it appears to be. Dark secrets, both ancient and new, shroud the village’s history. Secrets that Keiichi was never meant to discover. As the day of the yearly Cotton Drifting Festival approaches, Keiichi’s paranoia grows and his sanity begins to wane. The deadly curse of local mountain-god Oyashiro bears down upon Hinamizawa, bringing an end to the peaceful everyday lives of Keiichi and his friends. When the cicadas cry in Hinamizawa, death and mayhem surely follows.
Hikigaya Hachiman is an antisocial high schooler with no girlfriend, no regular friends, and no real desire for either one. He wallows away his youth laughing to himself as his classmates live out their high school lives in ignorant bliss. But Hachiman knows the truth: that chasing after the fabled springtime of youth is nothing but a fool’s errand. Hachiman is determined to live out his youth in comforting isolation, but an enterprising young teacher is equally determined to sabotage all of his efforts. She forcefully enlists Hachiman into the “Service Club” alongside its sole member, the beautiful and intelligent Yukinoshita Yukino. Can Hachiman maintain his composure in the presence of this ice-cold beauty, or will his time in the Service Club finally break him out of his own self-inflicted downward-spiral?
Manatsu Daichi is an average 2nd-year high schooler, living with his uncle in the wake the of his astronaut father’s tragic death in a shuttle accident. On the eve of his Summer vacation, Daichi sees a strange circular rainbow on the news and is immediately struck by an uneasy nostalgia. He finds himself drawn back to Tanegashima, the island of his childhood. Deep within the island’s abandoned aerospace complex, Daichi finds an enigmatic young girl and a strange gun called Livlaster. As a malevolent alien force rushes towards Earth, Daichi is faced with a life-altering choice and a single pressing question: “Are you a Captain?”
Sorry again for the late post, but I had something of a small emergency this week. But enough about that. Nobody actually reads this section of the post anyways, do they? Let’s just get to the cartoons. Seeing as this is right after mid-season, most shows were busy setting up new conflicts this week, and it was honestly kind of dull. I had a hard time even remembering most of these episodes after I watched them. The problem with plotty-plot episodes in anime is that they are rarely graceful or exciting. Well, let’s run down this week’s episodes while I try to remember what the hell actually happened in any of them.
Hajime Ichinose is a normal, albeit mildly eccentric high school girl with an obsessive passion for stationary and scrap-booking. One day while preparing for lunch on the school roof, she is approached by an enigmatic figure who tells her that she is to become “the wings that protect the Earth”. The creature rips a strange notebook out from Hajime’s chest and declares her a Gatchaman, a secret warrior for justice that defends the Earth from alien threats. Hajime takes this revelation with about the same nonchalant exuberance with which she approaches basically everything else. Little do the Gatchaman know that their bubbly new recruit and a mysterious lurking darkness are about to challenge everything they’ve ever believed, and the world itself is never going to be the same…