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The Best of Anime 2015


Now that 2015 is officially over, it’s time for our yearly pitchfork skewering foray into annoying everyone with our questionable opinions, the Best of Anime 2015 post! As with last year, the post will be a collaboration between the two writers who watched the most series this year (and also had the most time on their hands). Relative newcomer Samu takes the place of Stilts, who had a little too much to drink this time around. The total series watched list for both writers ended up at about 100 this year, and while we won’t guarantee total objectivity (like such a thing exists), we’re generally well-informed about whatever we’re wrong about.

Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous (fun stuff), Genre, and Notable Others. Returning to the post this year will be the Fan-Service and Category-Defying categories, which will be joined by two prior additions in the Sports and Short categories.

2015 follows last year’s pattern, meaning that Samu (@its_samu) and I (@ZephyrRC) will be doing our picks separately for each category (cue a throwback to the 2009 version of the post), which was done to ensure we keep what little sanity we have left a greater range of pick coverage, and cut out the dozen or so hours of deliberation that would’ve been necessary to strike some sort of consensus. Some categories may only feature commentary from only one writer however, in which case the author with the most affinity, expertise, or experience with that category was given carte blanche. In this regard, Stilts makes a sneak appearance with solo picks in the Male Seiyuu, Female Seiyuu, and Trap categories. The encoding and videos for the OP/ED/Song categories were done by resident cage master Xumbra, who was gracious enough to assist us despite an increasingly busy schedule, so here’s a shout out (thanks!) for him and everything he does for the site behind the scenes. Included at the end are the final results of the Reader’s Choice Poll.

 

Disclaimer: As always, disclaimers abound. Please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for us isn’t necessarily best for you, and that’s perfectly fine. This list shouldn’t be taken as some kind of inviolable truth, but rather the opinions of two guys who had too much time on their hands and spent it conjuring up a list of picks based on all the anime they watched. Think of them more as a recommendations influenced by our own tastes, experiences, and personal impressions. Before you go bashing one of our choices, please make sure you’ve at least seen it and know where we’re coming from. Finally, all we ask is that you respect our opinions and the opinions of others in the comments, just like we respect yours. Thank you.

Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Zephyr) and Samu, save for where otherwise noted, and their choices were made from the series they were able to watch before year’s end. Zephyr has all of his honorable mentions listed alphabetically aside from his Best Of picks, while Samu has listed his all of his in ranking order. Thank you for your understanding.

Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll, which stipulates that the series must have concluded in 2015 for it to count. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it has to have released BD or DVD in 2015, so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.

 


Production


Animation

Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as we’re trying to think of the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

Zephyr: When it comes to this category, I like to think of a series’ animation in regards to the overall visual experience it gives to viewers. Sharp details, crisp movements, consistency, the meld between animation and its background, and the overall impact all net a series extra points, and it’s for these reasons that Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works ultimately takes the cake here. The fact that ufotable has taken breaks between seasons to work on production demonstrates the care they take with the series’ they create, and like their prior works in Fate/Zero and Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works hits all the right marks in the creation of a series that was a pleasure to watch visually and stayed that way throughout the entirety of the run. Following closely behind is the similarly consistent KyoAni with Hibike! Euphonium—who can forget the visual impact of its eighth episode in particular?—and GoHands, which makes a triumphant returns to the category with their trademark visuals and unique artistic style in K: Return of Kings.

Honorable Mentions: Charlotte, Hibike! Euphonium, K: Return of Kings, One-Punch Man, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Samu: There have been plenty of remarkable pieces of animation this year, from the endless sakuga action of One-Punch Man, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works’ blend of polished 2D and impressive 3DCG, the striking art direction in both Kekkai Sensen and Death Parade, and the explosive Kyoto festival scene in THE ROLLING GIRLS. However, above all them is Hibike! Euphonium, Kyoto Animation’s best-looking anime to date. Director Ishihara Tatsuya intentionally framed Hibike! Euphonium as if it were filmed through a camera lens, immersing us in a world that feels lived in, focusing on the tiniest details; from the nervous tapping of a character’s foot to gorgeous backgrounds that look more beautiful than life itself. The scene between Kumiko and Reina atop the hill overlooking the festival lights below is too gorgeous for words to describe, and the scene in the penultimate episode where Kumiko sprints across the bridge, screaming that she wants to improve, is arguably the best animated scene in TV anime. Not only that, there’s also the many hand-drawn instruments as well, which are so precise and well-researched, proving why Kyoto Animation are the best at what they do.

Honorable Mentions: One-Punch Man, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Kekkai Sensen, Death Parade, THE ROLLING GIRLS

 

Story

As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

Zephyr: One of the hallmarks of a great story are the lasting impressions it leaves you with, and the fact that I still remember Death Parade despite its winter origins makes it a clear winner in this regard. This was a story that seized the attention of its viewers with its game-like take on the afterlife, only to lead us on a journey that made us question the meaning of life, what it means to be human, and the value of a human life. Death Parade was a series that wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions, and it sacrificed nothing in its depictions of death, the tragic circumstances that led to them, and the back story of those involved. At the same time, it emphasized how important it is to try and understand someone before judging them, and often times, viewers had their initial impressions flipped upside down as a result. The fact that it may be impossible to perfectly understand one another is but another major theme in a story filled with them, and it’s hard to exaggerate the lasting emotional impact Death Parade leaves you with. Not unlike Shin Sekai Yori of years past, the story of Death Parade was a testament to the heights anime can reach in this regard, and joining it are other entries whose stories were well executed, had a lasting impact, and/or possessed notable themes worth watching for.

Honorable Mentions: Arslan Senki, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Owarimonogatari, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Samu: Truth be told, ‘Best Story’ could have gone to many titles this year. Death Parade managed to turn an already impressive one-off special into a series of smartly interwoven tales. Many of 2015’s sequels improved on the stories of what came before, with Owarimonogatari delivering plenty of fascinating conversations that told so much about its characters, and Gatchaman Crowds Insight, which focused on the importance of technology and social media in running a country, and of course, Noragami ARAGOTO, which delivered the much-anticipated Bishamon arc. However, SHIROBAKO takes the top spot for managing to focus on a different side of the animation production process with each episode, balancing its massive cast, various character arcs, and all whilst telling two in-universe stories. It was a treat to see both Exodus and The Third Aerial Girls Squad come alive onscreen, made even better by their OVA counterparts. Over the course of its run I grew attached to those fictional characters that were created by another set of fictional characters. The whole package is educational and inspiring, but the stories-within-a-story is what puts SHIROBAKO above the rest of the pack.

Honorable Mentions: Death Parade, Owarimonogatari, Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Noragami ARAGOTO, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

 

Soundtrack

What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.

Zephyr: While its overall selection isn’t as large as some of the other entries for this category, Kiseijuu’s soundtrack more than makes it up with an assortment of memorable compositions. Complete with dub-step for added emphasis—I never thought I’d see this being used successfully to such a degree—almost every track here makes you remember a key moment from the series, and this was a soundtrack that but elevated it associated material to another level. The fact that this Arai Ken’s first anime soundtrack makes it even more impressive, and I won’t be forgetting tracks like “I AM,” “HYPNOTIK,” and “NEXT TO YOU” anytime soon. That said, I actually flipped Kiseijuu with another soundtrack multiple times before writing this entry, and the always notable Kato Tatsuya comes in as a very close second with his dramatic work for Shokugeki no Souma (60+ tracks spread across 2 soundtracks!). Rounding out the category is Iwashiro Taro’s dramatic orchestral composition for Arslan Senki, Shikata Akiko’s three soundtrack compilation (with vocals from Mizuki Nana) for Cross Ange, and Elements Garden’s work in Symphogear GX (a soundtrack and 8 character albums). Notable exclusions include ALDNOAH.ZERO 2 and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works‘s soundtracks, which were good in their own right but had many similarities to songs from either the previous season or other iterations of the franchise respectively, and thus didn’t offer as much in terms of original compositions.

Honorable Mentions: Arslan Senki, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Shokugeki no Souma

 

Opening Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso OP
Death Parade OP

Zephyr: Known for their catchy and upbeat songs, Goose house made their anime debut in last year’s Gin no Saji and followed it up with yet another great production for Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. Filled with lyrics that captured the series’ major themes of a fated encounter and overcoming trauma, “Hikaru Naru” was the kind of theme we’ve come to expect from Goose house, and it was supported by a beautifully animated sequence that made it worth watching over and over again. This was a sequence I didn’t dare to skip, and its delayed selection (the sequence technically aired in 2014) doubles as much deserved recognition for Goose house in general. Rounding out the category are sequences that distinguished themselves on the basis of their epic nature, powerful vocals, catchiness, and/or superbly animated sequences. Barely missing the cut are the openings (click the series name to see the OP sequence) to Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, Shokugeki no Souma OP2, Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST, and Sidonia no Kishi—just to name a few.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO 2 OP, Death Parade OP, Charlotte OP, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works OP2, Owari no Seraph OP

Samu: To me, a good opening has to be catchy. But a great opening has to be catchy and force me to watch it every time it starts up. It’s far too easy to be partway through a show and you just can’t be bothered watching or listening to the OP song anymore. Death Parade is the exact opposite. I actively looked forward to watching this OP every week, and it never failed to put a smile on my face – probably because all the characters are smiling in it? BRADIO’s “Flyers” is such a memorable tune, even 9 months after Death Parade has ended. It’s a joyful song which you’d think wouldn’t work with the death and horror of the show it represents, yet it couldn’t be a better match. I loved seeing the entire cast bouncing to goofy choreography, as our two leads take an opportunity for some ballroom dancing midway through. It’s so out of character for them all, but that’s why I love it. Death Parade did have its moments of humour, but for the most part is was a very serious show that tackled many difficult topics and dealt with plenty of twisted individuals. But no matter how dark it got, the OP was ever-jovial and ever-catchy, which is why it’s my top pick of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Yuri Kuma Arashi OP, Yoru no Yatterman OP, Plastic Memories OP, Owari no Seraph OP, Gakkou Gurashi OP

 

Ending Sequence

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series, though sometimes they’re completely irrelevant to the actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that we enjoyed more than others.

Arslan Senki ED
Kekkai Sensen ED

Zephyr: As with any other year, 2015 was home to an immense list of potential winners. SHIROBAKO stayed true to its roots by showing us how their characters were drawn while giving us one of the year’s catchiest themes, NoisyCell one upped their work in Barakamon with another strong showing for Death Parade, Maaya Sakamoto hit us again with one of her magical melodies for Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, and Tokyo Ghoul √A highlighted the grief, regrets, and resolve of its cast while providing us with a fabulous montage of Sui Ishida’s distinctive character art. Ultimately though, the winning pick goes to Arslan Senki first ending (the second one’s just as good), and it’s a choice driven by Aoi Eir’s powerful vocals, fitting lyrics about the journey unto which Arslan has embarked, and a melody that highlighted the epic nature of a series that exceeded expectations. As a side-scrolling image montage it isn’t as flashy as many of the endings out there, but the scenes depicted and the character art are second to none, and I ultimately lost count of how many times I repeated the sequence just to see their dramatized depictions of the main cast. Barely missing out are the endings (click the series name for the ED sequence) to Owarimonogatari, Plastic Memories, SaeKano, and Sidonia S2—just to name a few.

Honorable Mentions: Charlotte ED, Death Parade ED, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk ED, SHIROBAKO ED2, Tokyo Ghoul √A ED

Samu: Clearly I have a thing for OP/EDs that feature the entire cast of characters dancing to some happy tune. There’s nothing better than a feel good ED after the dramas of the episode that precedes it, and “Sugar Song and Bitter Step” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN is just that sort of song. When I heard that UNISON SQUARE GARDEN were doing the ED for Kekkai Sensen, I was thrilled to hear it, and the result managed to exceeded my expectations. I can’t think of many EDs that gave me as much joy as this one – like Death Parade, the characters are dancing away, but this time it feels completely in-character, and it’s not a slick choreographed performance. The cast is put on display to show their dance moves, allowing you to get a real sense of their personalities. Whether they’re off the beat, flapping their arms about, or are stiff in shoulders, you get a feel for how different all of these character are from one another. But I also have a love for slow, mellow EDs that make use of a different art style, like the celebration feast in Shokugeki no Souma’s first ED, or Punch Line’s colourful ED with its well-used autotune and sweet and cute character designs.

Honorable Mentions: Shokugeki no Souma ED1, Punch Line ED, Junketsu no Maria ED, Arlsan Senki ED, Subete ga F ni Naru: Perfect Insider ED

 

Song

With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something we never got tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was any good, we’re simply picking some of our favorite songs that were featured in an anime.

Persona 3 the Movie 2: Midsummer Knight’s Dream
– “Fate is in Our Hands” (Lotus Juice)
Hibike! Euphonium
- “Mikazuki no Mai” (Reina Trumpet Solo Ver.)

Zephyr: I don’t always listen to songs of the rap genre, but it’s likely that if I am, it’s a song by Lotus Juice. His works for Persona 3 were one reason I loved the game as much as I did, and it’s only fitting that he returns for its animated adaptation. The latter doesn’t capture all the glory of one of the best RPGs to ever grace the PS2, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the themes that come with it, and the opening theme from Lotus Juice is more of the usual: epic, catchy, and stylistically representative of Persona 3 and everything that entails. Following close behind is Aimer’s “Last Stardust” (the insert theme that highlighted one of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works more memorable fights), Ling Tosite Sigure’s opening to the PSYCHO-PASS Movie, and three additional inserts—one that heralded the rise of K’s newest King, one used great effect in almost every other episode of the Jitsu wa Watashi wa, and one that highlighted the emotional turmoil of the characters in Tokyo Ghoul √A.

Honorable Mentions:Last Stardust” by Aimer (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works), “Hologram” by MINMI (Jitsu wa Watashi wa), “Flame of Red” by Horie Yui (K: Missing Kings), “Who What Who What” by Ling Tosite Sigure (PSYCHO-PASS Movie), “On My Own” by Yutaka Yamada (Tokyo Ghoul √A)

Samu: This one was a given. Kitauji High’s final performance is the moment the whole series was building up to, and it was a beautiful piece made even more poignant by how it tied in with everything that came before it. Hazuki lost her seat on the band, and Kumiko struggled to play as best she could, but it was the battle for the trumpet solo that made this so exciting. While Kaori delivered a note-perfect rendition of the piece, Reina brought life to the music in a way that can only true talent could. It’s a powerful piece with its fair share of delicate moments, to the loud and passionate playings of a few dozen instruments all at once. On it’s own, it’s relaxing to listen to, but when watched with the accompanied visuals it’s an entirely new experience – watching the bandmates anxiously standing on stage waiting for the cue to begin, their sweating fingers gripping their instruments, and the cuts to every player getting their chance to shine. It manages to make the heart swell in the way that music should. And while it may not be the sort of music I would typically listen to if given a choice, Mikazuki no Mai was powerful enough that it left a lasting impression on me.

Honorable Mentions: “Miraikei Answer” by TRUSTRICK (Ore Monogatari!! OP, “Yume no Tsuzuki” by Ganbare! Victory (Baby Steps 2 ED), “Gentle Hope” by Saori Hayami (Akagami no Shirayukihime OP), “Tutti!” by Kitauji Quartet (Hibike! Euphonium ED)

 


Miscellaneous


Character

Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

Zephyr: When you consider that this epic sequence of events is but one small glimpse of his true capabilities, it becomes easy to see why Daryun (from Arslan Senki) makes it as my personal pick for this year’s best character. Capable of causing enemy fighters to run from his mere presence, Daryun was the man among men in a series filled with capable fighters, and his actions showcased how one person can indeed change the tide of a battle. Fiercely loyal to boot, Daryun was a warrior of lore, and it’s not a stretch to say that he played a significant part in my enjoyment of a show I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. Following closely behind is the red-haired Shirayuki, a heroine who earns her way onto the list due to her accomplishments and attitude in the face of adversity. She has a knight in shining armor waiting by her side if she ever needs him, but the fact that she often doesn’t—and often outshines even him—makes her an interesting character that maintains her feminine side while defying gender stereotypes in a story archetype that normally does nothing but the opposite. Rounding out the list is the always lovable Tsumugi (she made Sidonia’s Second Season worth watching by herself), the tragic heroine that ultimately finds her way and returns her debt in epic fashion (Bishamon), and the one who defied all expectations as the center of Subete ga F ni Naru’s mystery: Dr. Magata Shiki.

Honorable Mentions: “Kurokami no Onna” (Death Parade), Magata Shiki (Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider), Shirayuki (Akagami no Shirayukihime), Tsumugi (Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki)

Samu: It’s no surprise that I love a well-written female character – especially when they’re not crafted in a lab of tropes, made purely to pander to an otaku demographic by being a walking-talking fantasy that can be boxed into a single character archetype. Thankfully, Oumae Kumiko (from Hibike! Euphonium) is not that sort of character. Not only is she a remarkably relatable and totally believable; she is fickle and contradictory, like any real person should be – cynical, yet conforming to expectations; introverted, yet capable of standing up for herself when need be. Her narrative voice is prominent and essential to the story; she begins determined to open a new chapter in her life, while still complying with the fashion trends of her classmates, styling her hair in a way that doesn’t feel natural to her – yet when she lets her curls loose, no one seemed to take notice, because there’s nothing wrong with the person she was before. Throughout the course of the series she learns to love herself and not be ashamed of being a euphonium player. Kumiko is more real than most female characters are ever allowed to be, and her journey of self-acceptance and rekindling her inspiration in music makes her one of the best main characters I’ve seen in anime in a long time.

Honorable Mentions: Miyamori Aoi (SHIROBAKO), Yona (Akatsuki no Yona), Korosensei (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Tamura Reiko (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu)

 

Seiyuu

As the natural extension of characters, the seiyuu who voiced and gave them life deserve some attention. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so we’re here to highlight those whose acting we enjoyed time and time again. A variety of roles tends to showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, but sometimes all it takes is one unforgettable role to get our pick. Below are our favorite male and female seiyuu this past year.

Stilts: I love Hosoya Yoshimasa’s voice. It’s deep and masculine enough for him to play a man like Daryun, but not so mature-sounding as to prevent him from playing high school protagonists like Taimadou’s Takeru, which is good because that’s the only way he’s going to keep getting the best roles. But I also enjoy his acting, which, from DanMachi to Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, allows him to fully inhabit his roles even as his distinctive voice reminds you that he’s there. Osaka Ryota comes in second by a whisker, and is an entirely different seiyuu—one I didn’t realize had so many good roles (Akagami no Shirayukihime Zen, Sidonia’s Nagate, Rakudai’s Ikki) until I looked him up. He’s a man to watch out for. Eguchi Takuya takes third with only two major roles, but they’re big ones—Gouda Takeo and Hachiman. Those shows wouldn’t be the same without him.

Honorable Mentions: Osaka Ryouta, Eguchi Takuya

Stilts: No one else did what Yuuki Aoi did this year. I love an actor who can disappear into a role, but I also love those rare seiyuu who can bring a role to life through sheer force of will. Yuuki Aoi is the only one who made me say something like this: “New rule: If Yuuki Aoi is voicing someone who’s moderately-to-seriously unhinged, I’ma watch that shit.” Her roles as Clementine in Overlord and Tatsumaki/Tornado in One-Punch Man won her this category easily. Few seiyuu working today can chew the scenery (trope!) like Yuuki Aoi, to the point that I will watch a series just to hear her act. But crazy isn’t all she has—from Diane in Nanatsu no Taizai to Fremy in Rokka no Yuusha and Nina in GANGSTA., she has range above and beyond the hyper-cute chirp that made her name. Minase Inori almost took the win with roles like Hestia (DanMachi), Yuki (Gakkou Gurashi!), Chino (GochiUsa), and Aizawa Nagisa (Jitsu wa Watashi wa), whereas Matsuki Miyu ranks half because of Prisma Illya’s Sapphire and Shimoneta’s outrageous Anna, and half because she won’t get to compete again. Rest in peace, Miyuyu.

Honorable Mentions: Minase Inori, Matsuki Miyu, Ozawa Ari, Ichimichi Mao

 

Plot Twist

This is the replacement for the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. We’re looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that caught us off guard and delivered sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has people talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not anyone found it agreeable. Below are the plot twists we have in mind.

Show Plot Twist ▼

 

Death

This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as viewers. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re basing our selection on.

Show Death Picks ▼

 

Trap

“It’s a trap!” and by that we mean a guy cross-dressing as a remarkably cute-looking girl. Gender bender is also acceptable since we’re simply looking for the character who gave off a disturbingly unsettling feeling with how well they portrayed the opposite sex. In short, the character who managed to deceive others (and us!) into thinking they’re actually a cute girl, if even only for a moment.

Stilts: While previous years had several obvious candidates, at first I was having trouble even thinking of any traps from this year. Eventually I realized there were several—they just weren’t as blatant as in previous years. I could give the award to High School DxD’s Gasper again, but the shock has worn off. Nagisa-kun and Takanashi-kun both earn honorable mentions not because they fooled us, but because they were so good at cross-dressing—which is particularly impressive for Takanashi-kun, since he’s neither tiny or cute like Nagisa-kun. The twins Fiore & Fiora from Overlord did manage to surprise me, since I completely mistook their genders at first, whereas Tetora-chan … well, anyone who watched Log Horizon 2 will know what’s going on with her. But the winner has to be Iridatsu Yuuta. Nowhere was the reveal as surprising, nor as plot-important, as it was in Punch Line, and the lack of cheap jokes at Yuuta’s expense feels like a huge step forward for trap-kind.

Honorable Mentions: Gasper (High School DxD BorN), Nagisa-kun (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Takanashi Souta (WORKING!!!), Tetora-chan (Log Horizon 2), Fiore & Fiora (Overlord)

 


Genre


Short

In the genre section, the goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for our best anime of the year.

First up is a relatively new category, Best Short. Shorts tend to get a bad rap. Where once they were mostly low-budget productions not worth your time, nowadays many shorts are of very high quality, with stories and situations exceedingly well-suited to their short run times. This category is for any series with a run time of less 15 minutes or less that defied the stereotype and gave us a good show.

Zephyr: In a year that saw me watching more short series than ever before, Danchigai comes in as the best on the basis of its visual appeal and the adorable nature of the pranks played on Haruki on a weekly basis. Each episode tended to leave you off with at least a laugh or two, and although real-life interactions between siblings aren’t likely to be as amicable as those presented here, it certainly makes you wonder about how great things could be if you had multiple siblings and got along with all of them. The story of an adorable Wakaba and her culture shock comes in as an honorable mention, along with Wakako and her eating/drinking excursions (this is more of a hit with the full-time working crowd)

Honorable Mentions: Danna ga Nani wo Itteriu ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me, Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!, Teekyuu 4+5+6, Wakaba*Girl, Wakako-zake

Samu: I could make a case for plenty of the short anime that aired this year. Kowabon’s take on the caught-on-camera horror sub-genre works wonderfully with the short episode lengths. Meanwhile, the Teekyuu train continued at full speed with three new seasons and a spin-off in the form of Takamiya Nasuno Desu!, whilst Fushigi na Somera-chan captured the same hilariously fast-paced comedy. Whether you want to be scared or to be entertained with a hundred gags at once, there were many short-form anime that had you covered. However, Wakako-zake was something else entirely. Coming in at 2 minutes per episode, it’s probably the shortest short of the year, yet I anticipated watching it every week. It follows a simple office lady who goes into various bars and restaurants trying out various dishes and alcoholic beverages to see what goes together. It’s perfectly relaxing, giving you a warm sensation as you watch this googley-eyed woman get drunk and gush over how delicious her meals looks after a long shift at the office. It was a wonderful and unexpected treat and I wouldn’t mind some second helpings, should it be on offer.

Honorable Mentions: Kowabon, Fushigi na Somera-chan, Teekyuu 4+5+6, Takamiya Nasuno Desu!: Teekyuu Spin-off

 

Action

Action, action, and more action! The action genre ranges anywhere from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha shows. For battles, choreography plays a huge role, so that was definitely taken into consideration.

Zephyr: Following its 48 episode run, the third major chapter in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure comes in as my personal pick for best Action series. The arrival of our cast in Egypt heralded the debut of ever more spectacular villains based on Egyptian deities, and the sense that the best was yet to come was realized in the form of the latter’s ridiculous abilities and the ever more ingenious methods needed to take them down. The flurry of beat downs only gave way to the ultimate of showdowns, and without saying too much, let’s just say that the final battle was one for the ages. Ultimately, this was an action series highlighted by its memorable journey, a diversity of villains, and a cast of characters that fit together perfectly to deliver the greatest (and sometimes most hilarious) of endings to the most nefarious of villains. They didn’t take down their enemies in the same way that One-Punch Man dispatched of most of his, but they did so in a manner that appealed to me more than the latter, and this was a close race that came down purely to personal preference. One-Punch Man certainly deserves much of the accolades heaped upon it, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as many people seemed to.

Honorable Mentions: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, K: Return of Kings, One-Punch Man, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX

Samu: If there’s one anime that deserves the title of “Best Action” this year, it’s One-Punch Man. While many of the fights end with a single punch (as is the namesake of the series), even those brief moments of action go way beyond what many other shows attempt to pull off. And when we do get real fights that last entire episodes, it’s nothing short of incredible. Saitama’s climactic battle against Boros is the first time he actually had to punch his opponent several times before he defeated them, and what a fight it was. The animation was endlessly epic and there was something very satisfying in seeing Saitama land all of his killer blows. But the best action has to be the fight with the Sea King. Saitama came in to save the day at the very end, but the attempts by Genos and Mumen Rider were so brilliant to watch, making it one of the best and most emotional anime episodes of the whole year. Other than that, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works was packed with plenty of brutal fights, and the mecha showdowns in Gundam Build Fighters Try were among the best I’d seen in the entire franchise.

Honorable Mentions: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Gundam Build Fighters Try, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt-hen, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

 

Romance

Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationship between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.

Zephyr: Love was in the air for 2015, and this was a year filled with its fair share of romance. Plastic Memories emphasized the importance of seizing the moment, Jitsu wa Watashi wa gave us a romance wrapped in a comedic basket, and Yuri Kuma Arashi followed up by challenging viewers to think about the definition of love and the societal values that we place it. The fight for the best boils down to Akagami no Shirayukihime and Ore Monogatari!! however, and both were romances that were as touching as they were well done. Each of them made you root for the characters at the center of their respective stories, and truth be told, I’d be fine with either series winning here. One does have to be chosen though, and Akagami no Shirayuki-hime edges out the latter with a fairy tale inspired story that excelled despite its avoidance of anything over-the-top. There was a kind of elegance to the way the story was told, and its presentation of a female heroine who was every bit as capable as her knight in shining armor bucked the usual tendencies of a story with this backdrop. This a rare story of a relationship between two characters who were equal in everything except social status, and even then, part of the series’ charm relates to how they manage to respect the difference while never really paying any heed to it unless they had to. Ultimately though, you can’t go wrong with watching Ore Monogatari!! either, especially if you’re fan of romances involving two great people that deserve one another.

Honorable Mentions: Jitsu wa Watashi wa, Ore Monogatari!!, Plastic Memories, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Yuri Kuma Arashi

Samu: These past two years have been a blessing for shoujo anime, particularly of the romantic sort. This year had three shoujo fantasies with three brilliant leads (Akagami no Shirayukihime, Kamisama Hajimemashita◎, and Akatsuki no Yona), but as lovely as they all were, this one goes to Ore Monogatari!!. So sweet it’s almost deadly, Ore Monogatari!!’s manga has been popular since it first published, and this anime adaptation was always a given. Expectations were high, and they were most certainly met. Every episode was the perfect balance of cotton candy sweetness, endearing gags, slice-of-life goodness, and the occasional drama to spice things up. Takeo and Rinko truly feel like they were made for each other, despite how different they appear. Once you get past the ridiculous size difference and try to work out how a relationship like this would actually work in the real world, you can’t help but love this show. Not only that, there’s also Suna’s love life to consider – will he eventually find love, or is he content without being with someone else? It’s an interesting question, and one I’d like to see answered should we ever get a second season.

Honorable Mentions: Akagami no Shirayukihime, Plastic Memories, WORKING!!!, Yuri Kuma Arashi, Kamisama Hajimemashita◎

 

Drama

A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.

Zephyr: His was a story of a lost parent and a lasting trauma. Hers was a story of body that couldn’t always keep up. Brought together by an inability to walk away from the music they loved, their meeting would signal the beginning of an April that would change everything. In what’s likely to be a controversial pick for a difficult category, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso comes in as my personal pick for 2015’s Best Drama, and it does so on the basis of a dramatic story highlighted by its two main characters and their attempts to overcome their respective traumas and fears. The addition of its side characters, love triangles, misunderstandings, and the realization of feelings that come with growing up only added to the drama, which often extended out of the series into discussions regarding of the series itself. The show did have its shortcomings, but this was a series that was downright mesmerizing when it was at its best, and it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as any of the other notable dramas of this year.

Honorable Mentions: Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, Hibike! Euphonium, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu, Shokugeki no Souma, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku

Samu: This was a toss up between three titles: Hibike! Euphonium and its well balanced band drama that always managed to remain engaging and never over-the-top, Oregairu Zoku improved upon its first season in every way possible, making the drama between the characters feel that much more important, but in the end SHIROBAKO takes it. Every episode presented a different problem (which usually turned into several problems if the staff didn’t do their jobs properly), yet each week it felt fresh. What could have been a rehash week-on-week felt like a string of serious dilemmas that I don’t think any of us would have wanted to tackle. But poor, brave Miyamori always came through it in the end, proving why she’s so good at her job. What I liked about the drama in SHIROBAKO is how it felt like a real workplace, and what would happen if those things really did go wrong in real life. We truly get a sense of what screw-ups can occur when producing an anime, as is proven by all those times when episodes are delayed or released with subpar animation, or missing in-betweens. These problems are very real, and seeing them tackled head-on like this was what made me love SHIROBAKO so much.

Honorable Mentions: Hibike! Euphonium, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku, GANGSTA., Plastic Memories, Owari no Seraph

 

Sci-Fi

When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation. However, that’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.

Zephyr: The Sidonia continues to fly along with its second iteration, and although it had more of an eye on harem antics compared to its first season, there’s no denying its Sci-Fi foundations. The fact that the newest addition to the Sidonia family comes in as the product of genetic modifications is a testament to this fact, and it adds to the post-apocalyptic backdrop still rife with conspiracies and an alien menace. The Captain’s decision to take the fight to the Gauna highlighted a key theme of the genre in regards to human resilience and ingenuity, and it was a fight supported by an uptick in animation quality near the end that made many of its combat scenes even better than the first season. Its continued accuracy in regards to the depiction of motion (with all the physics it entails) gives it bonus points in the view of the science-oriented, and this was a space opera that generally continued where it left off. As for the other candidates—Classroom Crisis came in with a politics ridden take on the near future, Gatchaman Crowds Insight brought with it a commentary on technology and its role in society, Plastic Memories gave us world where androids are indiscernible from humans, and Punch Line came in as a candidate wielding a Sci-Fi staple in time-travel.

Honorable Mentions: Classroom Crisis, Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Plastic Memories, Punch Line

Samu: 2015 was a great year for original Sci-Fi anime. Plastic Memories told very human stories about terminally ill androids in a future metropolis, whilst Punch Line opted for a confusing time travel tale that actually managed to make sense by the end. There was also Gatchaman Crowds Insight, the sequel to the 2013 franchise reboot that exceeded all my expectations from the first season. However, the Martian political drama in Classroom Crisis had them all beat. Originally advertised as a “romcom”, Classroom Crisis proved to be much more, even if few stuck out till the end. Packed with the twists and turns you’d expect with any good Sci-Fi, Classroom Crisis made use of its interesting setting and had me hooked with it’s political storyline. There were various subplots going on at the same time – some better than others – but the highs definitely outweighed the lows, making this not only the best Sci-Fi of the year, but also one of 2015’s most underappreciated titles.

Honorable Mentions: Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Plastic Memories, Punch Line

 

Horror/Thriller

The best horror shows are those that incite visceral feelings of shock, fear, and pulse-pounding dread. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.

Zephyr: It’s another typical day until an alien parasite tries to take over your body while you’re sleeping and you end up being forced to work with it to survive. That’s Kiseijuu in a nutshell though, and with a backdrop of merciless killings and grotesque Parasytes, this was a series that was as horrifying as it was thrilling. Every episode kept you wondering what was going to happen to Shinichi next, and often times it was anything but good. Being thrown into the fire as an alien/human mix only made him a bigger target, and a great soundtrack by Ken Arai only heightened how little time he had to either adapt to his situation or be cut down in a hurry. Following closely behind is a series whose name says it all (Death Parade), a series that might’ve missed the mark in its overall execution, but provided a dark backdrop worth mentioning (Tokyo Ghoul √A), and a slice-of-life that hid with it a sinister twist (Gakkou Gurashi!).

Honorable Mentions: Death Parade, Gakkou Gurashi!, Tokyo Ghoul √A

Samu: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu has this one in the bag. While I’d consider Death Parade the better show overall, there’s just no beating a classic like Kiseijuu in either horror or thriller. It always mystified my why this 90’s hit never received an anime adaptation despite its many acclimations and its significance in the genre, but there’s no use complaining now because what we did get this past year was as good an adaptation as we could have hoped for. From the opening scenes, it was evident this was going to be a bloody ride, which was bound to appeal to those who crave that sort of violence. However, Kiseijuu’s core story for survival was what stood out, as Shinichi faced off against many terrifying parasytes in all shapes and sizes. Plenty of characters were killed off, and it always felt like something could go horribly wrong at any moment – and most moments that’s just what happened! Gripping till the end, Kiseijuu is a nightmare worth watching, if you think you can stomach it.

Honorable Mentions: Death Parade, Gakkou Gurashi!, Kowabon

 

Mystery

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Thought-provoking storylines that keep inquisitive viewers watching and speculating on where things are headed? Yes, please. They don’t necessarily have to have a horror element to them either, as all we’re looking for here is a blend of detective/crime fiction.

Zephyr: Normally a barren wasteland in terms of candidates, 2015 was an interesting year for a perennially under-explored genre. Rokka no Yuusha threw us for loops in the hunt for the traitorous seventh Brave, Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru taught its viewers the value of one’s past and the role they can play in mysteries of the present, Death Parade explored the question of what it means to be human while unraveling the stories of its cast, and Punch Line led us on crazy journey to unravel the reasons behind Earth’s impending destruction. Ultimately though, there was no series more representative of the genre than Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider, and there’s much to be said about its locked-room mystery backdrop, its protagonist duo, and the latter’s Holmes/Watson dynamic. It dragged a bit longer than some would’ve liked, but there’s no denying that the series is a rare beast in regards to its award-winning source material and the fact that it—unlike many animated mysteries these days—avoided the supernatural as the conduit for plot progression. This was a mystery made compelling precisely by its ability to be solved by logical deduction and attention to detail, and Subete ga F ni Naru was a demonstration of the charm a classic take on the genre can have, and the viability of a mystery novel being adapted into an animated form. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the only iteration of the novels we end up getting.

Honorable Mentions: Death Parade, Punch Line, Rokka no Yuusha, Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru

Samu: I had the luxury of blogging what I’d consider the best mystery of the year, and managed to remain unspoiled right until the very end. Rokka no Yuusha is a mystery first, and a fantasy second. The fact that we got a closed-room case in an Aztec-inspired fantasy world was enough to grab my attention. Most of the series took place in one room and one forest, as we got to know all of the braves, distrusting all of them, knowing one of them was lying all along. I still do think that the result was a little predictable, as I had called it many episodes before, hoping it wouldn’t be the final outcome. However, it was handled much better than I could have hoped, presenting us with even more questions to keep us hooked for a second season that will likely never come (due to poor sales). Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider would be my second pick, if only because the final revelation was so out-there that I couldn’t help but be impressed by all the details leading up to it.

Honorable Mentions: Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider, Yuri Kuma Arashi, Punch Line, Death Parade

 

Fantasy

Where science fiction seeks to explain the remarkable happenings of its universe via technology and logic, fantasy is less concerned with that. Wizards, dragons, and Tolkien-esque adventures are what usually come to mind, but those aren’t mandatory. As long as the focus is less on what makes the world tick and more on using magic and wonder to tell a story, it’s probably a fantasy tale you’re looking at.

Zephyr: With over a dozen candidates making their case this year, fantasy was certainly 2015’s cup of tea, and it’s interesting how many of its front runners ended up sequels (Noragami ARAGOTO, Owarimonogatari) or new takes on series that already received an animated adaptation of some sort (Arslan Senki, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works). DanMachi and Kekkai Sensen are the lone candidate exceptions (on this list anyway) to this categorization, and when you consider that their inclusion meant that series such as Durarara!!x2, Log Horizon 2, and Rokka no Yuusha missed the cut, you realize just how impressive the field was. That said, it would have easy to pick Fate/stay night as the winner on the basis of its wide-appeal and popularity, but to do so would be to ignore what I felt was one of the better arcs of the Monogatari series. As such, Owarimonogatari comes in as what’s likely to be a controversial winner for this category, and it does so based on the strength of its Sodachi Riddle arc—one that was as disturbing as it was different. The supernatural led to a story’s development rather than actually being the story’s centerpiece, and it ultimately served to give us perspective on how Araragi became who he was and why he constantly runs into various oddities. Cue in the typically witty dialogue, enjoyable banter, head-tilts, and fan-service, and it was generally another good iteration in a modern fantasy franchise that keeps on going.

Honorable Mentions: Arslan Senki, Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Kekkai Sensen, Noragami ARAGOTO

Samu: This was possibly the toughest one to call, as I could have listed fifteen or so honorable mentions, but in the end I’d narrowed my picks down to the shows with fantasy worlds that swept me off my feet and transported me to their foreign lands. There were plenty of historical-fantasy that did a fantastic job in presenting their magical worlds: Akatsuki no Yona with its Korean inspirations, Arslan Senki’s Iranian/Persion tale, Rokka no Yuusha’s Mesoamerican world, the French witch wars of Junketsu no Maria, and Sanzoku no Musume Ronja with its medieval-Scandinavian setting. However, the winner has to be Akagami no Shirayukihime, for delivering a high fantasy world that had me enthralled from the minute it appeared on screen. All flowers and fairytales, the kingdoms of Tanbarun and Clarines feel similar to Medieval Europe, though it’s hard to say exactly. While Akagami no Shirayukihime doesn’t have characters with magical abilities or epic stories of dragon slayings, the fact that this is set in a peaceful world not ravaged by war is what makes it so appealing. All the conflicts comes from our strong selection of characters, and they all truly feel part of that world. If there’s one fantasy universe I’d love to step inside, it’d be this one; it’s ever charming, and it certainly seems like a nicer place to live than most war-devastated realms that fantasy often presents.

Honorable Mentions: Akatsuki no Yona, Arslan Senki, Rokka no Yuusha, Junketsu no Maria, Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

 

Comedy

The ability to make you laugh until you cry – that’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.

Zephyr: At times so brutal it made you cringe, Prison School was a series that made a living on the misfortune of its main cast. Beatings were the norm, mistreatment the standard, and diabolical schemes the expectation. Yet through it all, laughter was aplenty, and it had everything to do with how unrelenting the series with its ridiculous antics. It didn’t appeal to everyone as a result, but those able to look past the craziness were treated to a comedic exchange that could only come from two groups desperately trying to fend off one another. Each episode featured increasingly desperate attacks being met with even more remarkable comebacks, and let’s just say that nothing was sacred in their fight for survival. Many sacrifices were made before it was all said and done, and they were all worth it from a comedic standpoint. In this sense, Shimoneta deserves a mention (may you rest in peace, Matsuki Miyu) as a similar series in regards to its ridiculousness, and it’s joined by both the obligatory (Himouto! Umaru-chan, WORKING!!!) and the underappreciated (Jitsu wa Watashi wa, Re-kan!).

Honorable Mentions: Himouto! Umaru-chan, Jitsu wa Watashi wa, Re-kan!, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai, WORKING!!!

Samu: Much like last year, 2015 was a great year for comedy. There were plenty of anime worth laughing over (and not just the laughably bad), with WORKING!!! being the contender for not just best comedy series of this year, but the best period. This third and final season was the best yet, taking us back to the family restaurant of Wagnaria. What makes WORKING!!! so enjoyable is that every single character is easy to like – there isn’t a dud amongst them, and with an ensemble as strong as this, you can’t ask for much more in a comedy anime. Even better is the fact that every subplot was wrapped up and several romantic developments were made. It’s sad to see it end, but the fact this got a full adaptation (which is rare for most anime nowadays, never mind comedies) is all that matters. Two other comedies that stood out to me were the hilariously outrageous Prison School, which never seemed to know where to stop the torture, and Takahashi Rumiko’s latest, Kyoukai no Rinne, which always managed to make plenty of gags of shinigami and the awaiting afterlife.

Honorable Mentions: Prison School, Kyoukai no Rinne, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, One-Punch Man, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai

 

Romantic Comedy

The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often – but not always – in harem-like scenarios.

Zephyr: In a sparse year for the category, Oregairu’s second season comes as 2015’s easy winner. Ever more than just a rom-com, this was a season filled with character development and emotional confessions, and one could argue that it might’ve been a better fit for the drama category instead. To classify it as merely as a drama would sell the series short though, and its inclusion here is a testament to the fact that series with a rom-com foundation can be much more than having a harem and never settling on any one romantic interest. There’s nothing wrong with the latter however, and Nisekoi: comes in as an honorable mention on basis of its ridiculous harem-centric antics. Rounding out the category is an interesting entry in Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, which gave us we expected from a rom-com while seemingly making jokes at the expense of those tropes at the same time. It’s arguable how well the series executed its intent in the end though, and it’s an argument likely to continue in 2016 with the airing of its second season.

Honorable Mentions: Nisekoi:, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

Samu: Now, this was an easy choice, if only because there weren’t many impressive romcoms to choose from this year. I do have a soft spot for Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo, having read the manga before blogging it, and Saekano’s meta take on the genre and its overused character tropes always had me entertained. But for me, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku is on a whole other level. I must admit, I wasn’t as big of a fan of the first season as many others appeared to be, mainly because I did not sympathise with Hachiman’s way of thought back then. But with Zoku, he, and everyone else, is forced to change. Developments are slow, and conversations are aplenty, but this felt like a step-up from the first season, managing to tackle some seriously dramatic turns whilst sticking to its romantic comedy roots. And best of all, I like everyone equally enough that I wouldn’t mind who wins in the end. It could go either way, and I’d love to see what future developments change the story yet again, should we get a third season when there’s enough source material to adapt.

Honorable Mentions: Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

 

Slice of Life

A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.

Zephyr: Endlessly discussed and well received all around, SHIROBAKO was a series that gave its viewers a rare glimpse into the process of anime production and the people behind it. Along the way, it captured the hearts of its viewers with great interactions, a memorable cast, and made you appreciate the mind-boggling amount of effort and coordination necessary to complete a single episode. This was a series many of us never knew we wanted, and it exceeded the expectations of many by not only being the quintessential slice-of-life, but also a great source of insight into an industry that isn’t particularly transparent about its inner workings. That said, this was one of the best years for this genre in recent memory, with more candidates than any other genre making a case for their inclusion. As such, don’t be too disappointed if your own pick didn’t make it this year, as it’s likely the only reason that happened was a difference in personal preference.

Honorable Mentions: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??, Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Non Non Biyori Repeat, Ore ga Ojousama Gakkou ni “Shomin Sample” Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken, WORKING!!!

Samu: No anime perfectly defines ‘Slice of Life’ like Non Non Biyori Repeat. I adored the first season when it first aired, and Repeat gave me exactly what I wanted. Non Non Biyori is one of the most relaxing anime to watch. If you’re ever feeling down then put this one on and allow yourself to step into the idyllic Japanese countryside. All the characters are charming and funny, each providing a different style of humour (whether deadpan or forever being the misfortunate one), and seeing them wander around the rural streets, playing in the forests, helping on the fields, and taking the bus to their tiny school gives you that warm feeling inside. It never fails to make me laugh or smile, and that’s exactly what I want out of a Slice of Life show. Yuru Yuri San☆Hai! also went for the SOL approach rather than slapstick comedy, while Gakkou Gurashi! twisted our expectations of the genre, and Sore ga Seiyuu! gave some valuable insight into the seiyuu industry. The only reason I don’t choose SHIROBAKO for this one is because I feel its core story and dramatic moments are where it most excels, rather than its SOL elements. That being said, I loved seeing the girls at the end of a long shift gathered round a bar chugging bears as they talked about their day. Truth be told, you can’t go wrong with any of these shows.

Honorable Mentions: SHIROBAKO, Sore ga Seiyuu!, Yuru Yuri San☆Hai!, Gakkou Gurashi!

 

Sports

Eagerly requested and the newest addition to this post, this category seeks to celebrate the competitive past times many of us cherish—at least, the animated equivalents of them. Chances are you’re no Roger Federer or Lebron James, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine ourselves as him or enjoy watching people like him play, and this category seeks to include those series that gave us a great take on a particular sport, with bonus points given to quality animations, insight into mental aspects of the game, and other athletic intangibles.

Samu: As an avid sports anime fan, I’m always on the lookout for the next big adrenaline-pumping show. 2014 was the best year for sports anime as far as I can recall, with plenty of commercial hits and niche shows hitting our screens. In comparison, 2015 was filled mainly with sequels to those already established titles. The first season of Diamond no Ace came to an end, only to begin the following week with its second season; Baby Steps 2 was even better than the first season; and the ever consistent Haikyuu!! Second Season carries over into next year. Of the sports anime that ended this year, Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road takes first place. I liked the first season, but found myself thoroughly enjoying Grande Road much more than I ever expected. It was constant action, rarely pausing for a breather, giving us plenty of dramatic flashback sequences and keeping us on the edge of our seats right up until the final stretch. It was truly awesome, made even better by the announcement of a third season coming in 2016.

Honorable Mentions: Baby Steps 2, Diamond no Ace

 

Fan-Service

While fan-service-filled affairs tend to go hand-in-hand with comedies, that’s not always the case. In addition, fan-service doesn’t only constitute breasts in your face, nor an abundance of needless upskirt shots. The only criteria here are character interactions suggestive of a sexual-related context, regardless of how revealing the scenes may actually be.

Samu: I’m not the sort to actively seek out a show filled with fan-service, though I can respect when it’s done creatively, and in a way that aids the story. As it turns out, there were plenty of titles that did just that this year. While there was dozens that did much the same over and over again, shows like Shokugeki no Souma came along and gave us equal opportunity fanservice of both genders in the form of hilariously over the top foodgasms. As a fan of the manga, I knew whenever they were coming, but they were captured so brilliantly that I think they surpass their source material counterparts. Prison School also gave us an abundance of grossly sexy shots that never failed to make me laugh, which the censorship of Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai worked wonderfully in its favour, given the focus of the show itself. Punch Line also managed to prove it was more than panty shots (even if it was the heart of the story), whilst Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST went all out, pushing the boundaries of what could air on television.

Honorable Mentions: Prison School, Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai, Punch Line, Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST

 

Category Defying

Also known as the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Memorial Award, this is the category for those shows that deserve to be on this list, even if we don’t have a clue where they should go. Many series cross into multiple genres, which is why you see shows being featured in multiple categories in this section. These series defy genre. They twist and squirm, evading our attempts to label them and are just themselves, as well as good. This is the category for shows that deserve recognition, even if we aren’t rightly sure what they were.

Samu: No anime better defines “Category Defying” than Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou. Even after watching it, I still don’t know how to describe it, but I’ll give it a shot, just to show how out-there it is. It’s set in an alternate Japan in the Showa Era (1960~), drawn in an art pop style, depicting a world where superhumans and paranormal phenomena of all kinds exist. There’s magical girls from the underworld, aliens trying to save the Earth, a ghost stuck in a child’s body, time travelers, android detectives, talking darumas, giant robots, giant monsters, a race of endangered prehistoric bugs – all laced together in a narrative that is told out of sequence and never fails to confuse. Wildly creative, Concrete Revolutio refuses to make it easy for its audience, but whenever you do understand what’s happening (if only for a brief moment) you get a rush of euphoria and immense appreciation for the creative minds behind this work. With a second season coming in Spring of 2016, things are likely to get even more confusing, as we try and get to the bottom of this supernatural mystery that’s unlike anything else airing right now.

Honorable Mentions: Yuri Kuma Arashi

 


Notable Others


Most Underappreciated

There are numerous shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because they’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. We make a point of watching and covering series that tend to be overlooked, so this is intended to highlight the series that more people should have checked out but probably didn’t.

Zephyr: For one reason or another, there are always a handful of shows that just never really get the exposure they deserve. 2015 was a year filled with such series, and Yuri Kuma Arashi takes the pick as the series I felt had the biggest gap between the end result and the excitement it generated. Granted, it was easy to dismiss given its bizarre style, seemingly nonsensical premise, and crazy antics, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise considering this came from the guys that made the similarly strange Mawaru Penguindrum. Either way, Yuri Kuma Arashi ended up being a treasure trove of symbolism, ideas, and commentary on topics ranging from tolerance to exclusion, societal values vs. individual values, and the notion that having an opinion radically different from most people tends to result in backlash. It questioned whether or not one would be able to have unwavering faith in the face of adversity, and it’s an interesting thought given the lengths some would go to in order to get you to either change your beliefs or make it so you couldn’t follow through on them. Following closely behind is the Persian-inspired epic of Arslan Senki, the Sci-Fi series that combined political intrigue and day-to-day antics (Classroom Crisis), the Valvrave-like train wreck that turned out decent (Cross Ange), a more funny than anticipated Jitsu wa Watashi wa, and the always entertaining Symphogear GX.

Honorable Mentions: Arslan Senki, Classroom Crisis, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, Jitsu wa Watashi wa, Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX

Samu: For whatever reason, there are plenty of shows that slip by people’s radars every year. I confess, some shows I judge prematurely and end up missing out on something special. Thankfully, I’ve learned from my previous mistakes and now tend to come across some seriously underappreciated titles. Classroom Crisis, for example, is a show I feel should be much more popular than it actually is; Sanzoku no Musume Ronja is every bit Ghibli as any of their previous works, and I would urge viewers not to dismiss it because of 3DCG; Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou is pure madness that’s too confusing for some; Garo: Honoo no Kokuin’s franchise reboot didn’t get the appreciation it deserved; and THE ROLLING GIRLS proved much better than most give it credit for. There are many show that fall under this category, but none more heartbreaking than Yuri Kuma Arashi. Having blogged this back in Winter, I saw the adverse reactions to the first episode, causing many to instantly dismiss it, only to miss out on one of the most touching and thought-provoking anime of 2015. It may seem like everything is a metaphor for sex, but with themes like conforming one’s sexuality, appreciating your own individuality against societies expectations, and being haunted by the past – Yuri Kuma Arashi is the one show I’d highly recommend everyone give another shot if they were scared off by the first episode.

Honorable Mentions: Classroom Crisis, Sanzoku no Musume Ronja, Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin, THE ROLLING GIRLS

 

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedent established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

Zephyr: First and foremost, let me emphasize that I don’t think any of this year’s picks are on the same level as prior disappointments such as Coppelion, Glasslip, or Mahou Sensou. Some of the series here are actually watchable depending on one’s preference and expectations, so it’s important to consider that this year’s picks didn’t necessarily make it on the list because they were bad, but because there was a significant gap between the expectations placed on it and the final product. Leading the pack in this regard is Charlotte, whose odd pacing gave its insignificant events a much larger spot in the limelight than its significant ones. Attachment to its characters was non-existent as a result, and for a Maeda Jun story, it didn’t hit the heartstrings anywhere near as much as one expected it to. ALDNOAH.ZERO 2 follows closely despite its first season lowering expectations dramatically, and the series can be summarized as a flashy action series balanced out with cliché developments and cop-outs that had people doing nothing but Slain-e and Inah(o)-robot jokes. Rounding out the pack is a series that never came close to the epic nature of its predecessors (Aquarion Logos), and Comet Lucifer—a series whose potential to rise above the pack never really materialized.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO 2, Aquarion Logos, Comet Lucifer

Samu: While there were plenty of disappointing titles this year (like Comet Lucifer and Chaos Dragon), we can only count those that we stuck with until the end, even if it meant strapping ourselves down and screaming for our lives. Funnily enough, this is the easiest choice of any of these categories, because Gundam G no Reconguista was awful in almost every way – bar it’s character designs and vibrant art. You know a series is bad when the creator himself (in this case Tomino Yoshiyuki – the creator of Gundam) admits it, apologising to all the staff who had to work on it. He has confessed to its poor and nonsensical writing, as well as his tendency to get lost in the action scenes, and rates the show “15 points out of 100”. If the creator is only willing to give something 1.5/10, then what do you expect from your audience? Gundam G no Reconguista has many flaws: it’s characters don’t have proper motives, they just do things on a whim that make no sense; the audience is always left confused about what’s actually happening; the world-building is impressively detailed on paper, but horrendously convoluted when on screen. It’s not even fun to watch, it’s just one disappointment after another, especially when you consider this is Tomino Yoshiyuki’s first Gundam series in 15 years. In comparison the (dis)honorable mentions aren’t near as bad, though the second season of ALDNOAH.ZERO was a big letdown, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace was a mystery without the mystery, Yoru no Yatterman’s middle half was severely lacking, and Log Horizon 2, while not a bad show, did not live up to the standard of the first season.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO 2, Yoru no Yatterman, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, Log Horizon 2

 

Exceeded Expectations

Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. Our picks here don’t necessarily mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.

Zephyr: If there’s a series I’ll gladly admit I whiffed on in terms of expectations, it’s Arslan Senki. Given the fact that series of the historical fiction genre tend to miss the mark for me personally, I didn’t think much of it at the time of its airing, and almost didn’t watch it at all. Thankfully I watched it after a few recommendations down the grapevine, and it turned out that Arslan Senki was every bit the legend it claimed to be. By presenting the story as if it were a legend of a far-gone era, its characters were imbued with an almost mythical trait to them that made them a joy to watch, and its battles filled with a gravitas that seemed to scream at its viewers that they were witnessing history in the making. What’s remarkable is that we technically were, as the series clearly references at least the Persian Empire and key topics such as slavery and religious fanaticism to boot. To say the least, Arslan Senki was a series that was enjoyable to watch on a weekly basis, and I for one am glad that another season is in the works. Rounding out the category are two other entries in Rokka no Yuusha and DanMachi, with the former’s ability to keep its viewers in suspense made it reminiscent of another series that exceeded expectations from years back (Zetsuen no Tempest) and the latter showing that there’s still room for simple stories about those wishing to becoming heroes.

Honorable Mentions: Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka, Rokka no Yuusha

Samu: I love it when a show proves me wrong; when I go in with low (or modest) expectations and end up genuinely surprised. I went into Prison School expecting to loathe it, because from what I’d read and glanced over, it did not seem like my type of show. Still, everyone was talking about it, so I gave it a go… and I loved it. I was constantly laughing and cringing at every horrible thing that was being flung at the characters. Everyone is both likeable and hateable, which was refreshing, and even if it was a rushed adaptation, the standout moments were all there, and all felt as game-changing as they should have. I once described Prison School as ‘Piss Porn and Prison Escapes’, and I stick by that statement. It’s gross, hilarious, and completely unsexy even with all its in-your-face fanservice. SHIROBAKO and Sore ga Seiyuu! also managed to prove impressive insights into the anime/seiyuu industry, while Gatchaman Crowds Insight ended up far more focused and poignant that the sporadic first season.

Honorable Mentions: SHIROBAKO, Sore ga Seiyuu, Gatchaman Crowds Insight

 


And Finally…


Best Anime 2015

The be-all, end-all of the year. This pick is always a hotbed of controversy, so here’s the exact criteria we used to make it: if we were to meet an anime fan for the first time and they were to ask us to recommend a show that aired in 2015, what would it be? Without knowing the person’s tastes, we would naturally default to the show that did the most things right, one that had wide appeal and deserved it, that had superb animation and told its story well, and above all else, that we enjoyed. The winner of this category should be a high anticipation show that supremely deserved it, or a dark horse that blew everyone out of the water. This is subjective as hell, but you can find a list of our best picks below.

Zephyr: For those of you that have been following along with my picks through the past few years, Death Parade selection here should come as no surprise. The series that tend to win the category for me are the ones with the great, consistent narratives, and this was a series that weaved a potent story around the notion of death and everything it entails. Tough questions about the meaning of life and what it means to be human were the forefront of Death Parade’s many thematic foci, and emotional farewells brought up the rear to give its viewers an experience not often received in this medium. This was a testament to the heights anime can reach from a story-telling perspective, and I feel silly having ever worried about the series’ ability to expand upon its 2013 OVA debut. Aside from Death Parade though, 2015 felt like open field otherwise, and personal preference ultimately plays a bigger part here compared to previous years. Starting out the line of honorable mentions is SHIROBAKO, which warrants mention due to its unique perspective on anime production and wide-spread appeal. Shokugeki no Souma follows closely with its epic food-centric battles and dramatic soundtrack, and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso comes in as a flawed series that nevertheless featured some of this year’s best moments. Kiseijuu was a solidly executed two-cour series that represented the best of the horror/thriller genres, and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works brings up the rear as a series I originally didn’t intend on including, but deserves credit for its wide-spread appeal and overall production values.

Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): SHIROBAKO, Shokugeki no Souma, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Samu: For me, the best of the year has to be SHIROBAKO. It arrived with modest expectations, and delivered one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve felt from watching anime. Balancing a cast five times the size of your typical show, SHIROBAKO is an inspiration to anyone who considers themselves an artist, allowing the audience to step into the world of anime production. Through the highs and lows, showing all these characters in their element, doing what they love to do, this is a confident tale made by those with first-hand experience in the industry. With each episode focusing on a different aspect of the production process, we get an insight into the jobs of every single character, bearing witness to their art blocks and moments of inspiration. While filled with plenty of stress to keep you on edge, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel; it’s a wonderful feeling to see Musani Productions bring their works to life, from concept art, seiyuu casting, the trials of key animation, to the delivering the work on time. It’s a joy to watch, and I’d recommend any anime fan try it out. If you love anime, then there’s very little stopping you from loving SHIROBAKO. Coming in at a close second, Hibike! Euphonium is a gorgeous story filled with band drama and visuals unlike anything I’ve seen in TV anime before, making it one of Kyoto Animation’s best titles to date.

Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Hibike! Euphonium, Death Parade, Akagami no Shirayukihime, Shokugeki no Souma, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu

 

Best OVA/Movie 2015

The same as above, except for the not-regularly-broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but we’ve each had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eyes.

Zephyr: None of 2015′s individual series hit the same heights as the winners of previous years, but given that we received a plethora of well-made theatrical sequels, had multiple OVAs that continued with better entries, and welcomed the return of a childhood classic—I can’t say there’s much to complain about. With that in mind, my pick for best OVA/Movie of the year goes to the PSYCHO-PASS Movie, which picked up the series following a disappointing second season and gave us the return of one of the original series’ best characters. The original PSYCHO-PASS remains the franchise’s best iteration, but credit needs to be given to a movie whose solid animation supported an action-packed backdrop that gave us additional insight to the series’ universe and also continued the story line regarding the Sibyl System and its evolution. Rounding out the category is the theatrical send-off to popular series that exceeded expectations throughout its run and had me considering it as the category winner (Love Live! The School Idol Movie), a movie whose development gave us the climatic rise of a new King while bridging the gap between its seasons (K: Missing Kings), a movie that captured much of the charm behind one of PS2’s best RPGs (Persona 3 the Movie 2), an OVA that inspired a wave of nostalgia (Digimon Adventure tri.), and yet another movie that offered a more modern (albeit less enticing) take on one of Sci-Fi’s more legendary franchises (Ghost in the Shell (2015)). Barely missing the cut are the conclusion to Naruto’s tale, Little Witch Academia’s sequel, Tokyo Ghoul’s Jack OVA, and the second episode of Gargantia’s Meguru Kouro, Haruka—just to name a few.

Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Love Live! The School Idol Movie, K: Missing Kings, Persona 3 the Movie 2: Midsummer Knight’s Dream, Digimon Adventure tri., Ghost in the Shell (2015)

Samu: I think it would be fair to say that the end of Mushishi marks the end of an era in anime. Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku is a tale of giving back to nature and accepting the loss that comes with life. It’s taken ten years to complete this adaptation, after a painful wait since the original 2005 series, but I don’t think we could have asked for a better note to end on. There exists nothing else like Mushishi, with its quiet storytelling, deliberate pacing, and its ability to say so much while doing so little. We’re brought back into this world for one more story, only to be washed over with grief because it’s the last time we’ll experience something like this again. Mushishi aside, there were plenty of OVAs that caught my attention this year, with two strong returns to the Universal Century timeline in the dramatic prequel: Gundam: The Origin, and the bombastic action of Gundam Thunderbolt. Hori-san to Miyamura-kun is another ONA series worth honorable mention, proving that you don’t need flashy visuals to make a touching story; Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku gave us some valuable insight into the past of Levi – everyone’s favourite titan-fighting solider – in a build-up to the second season coming in 2016; whilst Digimon Adventures tri. delivered the best nostalgia trip of the year for those who were fans of the original series.

Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Gundam: The Origin, Hori-san to Miyamura-kun, Gundam Thunderbolt, Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku, Digimon Adventures tri.

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2015

Your choice for 2015. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.

The Top 5:
One-Punch Man – 2159 (12.21%)
Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works – 1,353 (7.65%)
Death Parade – 758 (4.29%)
Shokugeki no Soma – 733 (4.15%)
Hibike! Euphonium – 588 (3.33%)
Total Number of Votes – 17676
Here are the full results.

Excerpt by

It comes as no surprise to see that One-Punch Man is the top voted anime of 2015. Before it even aired people were claiming it as ‘AOTY’, and if this poll (and many others) are anything to go by, then they weren’t wrong. It’s a surefire hit, perhaps more so amongst Western audiences, and it’s easy to see why. The parody of the superhero genre and typical shonen titles is well-executed through its wonderfully animated fight sequences and its colourful, eccentric cast that always manage to crack a joke from time to time. It’s the perfect formula, and its popularity is just as expected. Saitama is a ingenious main character that everyone can get behind, and Genos is as a great sidekick who provides plenty of hilarious moments. All that waits to be seen now is whether or not a second season will come anytime soon, and if it does, whether or not it will end up first place on this poll once again! The runner-up is the newest addition to the ever popular Fate franchise, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, which ended with a bombastic and bloody second-cour packed with many game-changing revelations. The much-acclaimed Death Parade comes in strong in third place, followed by the foodgasm goodness of Shokugeki no Souma, and perhaps one of KyoAni’s finest anime to date, Hibike! Euphonium.

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2015

Your OVA/Movie choice of 2015. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching them and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2013, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.

The Top 5:
PSYCHO-PASS Movie – 505 (6.14%)
Digimon Adventures Tri – 428 (5.20%)
One-Punch Man OVA – 385 (4.68%)
Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 3+4 – 379 (4.61%)
THE LAST -NARUTO THE MOVIE- – 291 (3.54%)
Total Number of Votes – 8224
Here are the full results.

Excerpt by

And here we are with the post’s final category. Narrowly edging out Digimon Adventure tri.’s first chapter is the PSYCHO-PASS Movie, which arrives as the Reader’s Choice for best 2015 OVA/Movie. Seeing as the original PSYCHO-PASS was immensely popular at RC during its initial run, the victory of its theatrical sequel comes as no surprise. The fact that it came at the heels of a disappointing second season and heralded the return of a fan favorite likely played key roles in its enjoyment, and this was an iteration that saw UroGen return as script writer to boot. The difference was noticeable to say the least, and it’s quite telling when you consider how he chose to use the first season’s ending theme rather than the second. The runner-up in Digimon Adventure tri. needs no introduction as the return of a classic many viewers on the site likely grew up watching, and it’s joined by the OVA of the immensely popular One-Punch Man and the third and penultimate episodes of the Code Geass side story (its original iteration was also exceptionally popular). Making its way in as the fitting final member of the top 5 is the conclusion (at least of its main character’s story) of one of the most memorable shounen series of all time in THE LAST –NARUTO THE MOVIE-, and ultimately you know 2015 had a fair share of enjoyable series when you see how the remaining series in the top 10 are each separated by less than a dozen votes.



 

Excerpt by

When it comes down to it, 2015 was a year that didn’t have any one AOTY that everyone could agree on. It made up for its lack of masterpieces with a variety of great series however, many of which came in genres that don’t historically receive much coverage. Mystery and Romance come in as two examples of such genres, and they were joined by an impressive array of Fantasy and Slice of Life series that made the genres seem even more stacked than usual. Unique comedies were also in vogue, followed by an OVA/Movie assortment that was notable for the return of an age old classic and more movie sequels than any year in recent memory. With the latter in mind, 2015 relied much on sequels and retakes on series that already received adaptations, and it’s an interesting phenomenon that could be worth keeping an eye on.

Ultimately, 2015 was a year that saw much happen from a personal standpoint. Taking a hiatus from blogging was difficult choice made necessary due to time constraints resulting from my full-time occupation, and much of my anime viewing came in marathons and staggered segments rather than as they aired. As such, many of my personal picks came independent of outside influence for the most part (this means that I didn’t really have the chance to be caught up in any of the major hype or criticism laid on various shows), and the fact that Winter/Spring series were fresher in my mind than prior years were the likely reasons behind any differences my picks might have had with those of you viewing this post right now. One would hope that between Samu and I however, most of the series worth watching this year were mentioned at some point or another, and that you were able to get a list of series that didn’t consider before but end up loving by the time you complete it.

Looking forward to 2016, I’ll ultimately echo Stilts’ sentiment from last year in that I’m optimistic once again. A new year brings with it a new slate of series, and the Winter comes in as a season notable for its lack of low expectation series. The arrival of a new Macross has me excited in particular, and one would hope that we have another year filled with great series on the horizon. With that in mind, we also hope you’ll continue visiting Random Curiosity as well, so we can find out together and have a good laugh while we’re at it.

January 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm
185 comments »
  • January 3, 2016 at 12:14 pmstarss

    When that scene in SHIROBAKO finally came… I cried like a baby. It propelled the anime as my favorite of the year.

    • January 3, 2016 at 6:46 pmdanes256

      which one ?

      • January 3, 2016 at 9:14 pmstarss

        The moment depicted in the SHIROBAKO image under the Most Dramatic category. Yeah, that moment happened like at the end of the anime, so I should stress that there are a lot of other great moments that uplifted me and inspired me to do better in my work.

      • January 3, 2016 at 9:32 pmtrippwire

        Episode 23. The ending is a feels train unlike any other.

    • January 3, 2016 at 6:59 pmdanes256

      so, you guys disagreed on everything except yuri kuma arashi, oregairu zoku, and kisejuu.

      • January 3, 2016 at 7:00 pmdanes256

        sorry wrong reply on the latter comment

    • January 4, 2016 at 11:53 amSeya-san

      Is this really so good? Trailer with crazy driving girl and, especially, different kind of cute girls and generally looking guys as main characters pushed me away from this show. What can you say about second reason?

      • January 4, 2016 at 12:08 pmSamu

        I think it’s very easy to mistake Shirobako as another ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show if only because the 5 girls give that impression… but that last about 1 minutes into the first episode before that’s thrown out the window. Aoi is the main character and the other four (who were her highschool friends) come and go depending on the current storyline, or if we’re just checking up on them. The characters with the most screentime likely don’t feature that much in the trailer, and I think the characters are all individual enough that you’ll grow to love them. I wasn’t sure at first because of the sheer size of the cast, but over the course of the show you’ll realise how distinctive and likeable they all are.

        Aside from that, I think it’s educational, inspiring, entertaining, stressful at times, but incredibly fulfilling to watch. If you have any interest in anime (which you obviously do) then I honestly can’t see how someone couldn’t like Shirobako. If you want to read over more specific examples of why I think it’s great then check out the excerpts I wrote for Best Story, Best Drama, and Best Anime, as well as Zephyr’s pick as Best Slice of Life.

      • January 4, 2016 at 5:09 pmSeya-san

        Thank you for answer. I’ll watch it.

      • January 4, 2016 at 7:30 pmstarss

        If you can get past the very moe principle characters, the show is actually a very enthralling peek into the stress and emotional roller-coaster of animation production. Each of the huge cast of characters has a personality, are appealing, and their own problems plague their work. By the end, you want to route for them all. Along with a few trouble-making antagonists who aren’t redeemed (for the most part). It raises important points about art in general, points which can be applied to productions all over the world.

  • January 3, 2016 at 12:32 pmMike

    I believe Junketsu no Maria was also one of the most underappreciated anime!

    • January 3, 2016 at 9:51 pmQuack

      Seconded. Junketsu no Maria was a little diamond in the rough- strong lead, endearing supporting cast and and a fresh romance between between Maria and Joseph. After Gingitsune, Hisako Kanemoto and and Kensho Ono have once again proved that they have good vocal chemistry together

      (I admittedly had a few issues with the way the show tackled the topic of religion, but on the whole, I’ll remember the show very fondly.)

  • January 3, 2016 at 12:35 pmUrahara

    Death parade is the righteous owner of the title , no surprise there
    Gotta wonder though am I the only person who watched Ranpo kitan ??? Because you cant watch that and not pick it as “Biggest disappointment” ! I have watched Charlotte and most of the anime listed and I gotta say nothing came close

  • January 3, 2016 at 12:36 pmsithstormjedi

    One day id like to see people talk about the Fafner series. Sure its long, maybe confusing and kinda old looking. But its one of the best mecha anime i’ve seen in a while. Especially the second season which continually had high tension such as as much of the runaway refugees alive from human and alien forces, multiple character deaths, character growth and other things. Id classify Fafner as a war story of attrition and of pyrrhic victories.

    as for the list, i cant argue with it. Although i couldnt find the same enjoyment who chose one punch man and death parade as their top picks.

    • January 3, 2016 at 12:58 pmZephyr

      I had the original series ready for when I had free time, but alas, didn’t have that much this time around to get to this year’s iteration of it. There are multiple people that mention the series whenever we do posts such as these though, so at the very least it seems like people are watching it.

    • January 3, 2016 at 3:22 pmOkadam

      At this point, the only time Fafner is going to be discussed is one when it’s no longer the Fafner you know and love.

    • January 3, 2016 at 5:09 pmGoodwill Wright

      Fafner didn’t even get an honorable mention in under-appreciated. Don’t worry Fafner, I will always remember you.

      Also, no mention of Monster Musume? Not even in comedy?

    • January 4, 2016 at 6:12 amInclemens

      Please give it a go Zephyr, you don’t know what a great series you are missing out on.
      I’ll shamelessly copy pasta my text from the monthly impressions post:

      The lack of love for Fafner is the worst thing there is. It’s an amazingly good series and Exodus was easily the best mecha to come out in the last couple years.

      The world building, the chracters and most of all the dedication by it’s staff are tremendous. Couple that with gorgeous animation, the best CGI produced in an anime (seriously Orange, how the hell did you do it with the budget of a mere series?) and a truly interesting and emotionnal story and you get a true masterpiece.

      Exodus was not without flaws, but they were so insignificant compared to the full product that they don’t degrade it. The ending felt rushed, yes, but it also left open the possibility for another series or a movie to truly wrap up the story. And I’m not yet ready for the ride to end.

      I truly wish it would have gotten some (dare I say any?) coverage on RC because a site like this has the potential to influence a lot of viewers. Fafner (which is hugely popular in Japan) has very few followers here in the west and could have used the boost of viewers to reach the awareness it deserves. Sure you can’t just jump into Exodus, you need to watch the first series, the ova and the movie, but dammit is that worth the time.

      I just hope some people here read this and decide to give it a go. If you do remember the following: Watch series 1 first (it takes a while to get going, but there was a writer change and that made it GOD-tier), watch the OVA, watch the movie and THEN watch Exodus. Also prepair for feels…. lots and lots of feels.

    • January 4, 2016 at 2:54 pmLyfe

      Although I’m sad to see Fafner Exodus so low down on that list, I’m alright with it as long as it continues to be popular enough in Japan to get further seasons. Infact, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Xebec announced another season this year.

  • January 3, 2016 at 12:48 pmExukvera

    Despite how much I enjoyed Adventure Tri, I wonder if it should be in the 2015 poll because so far only the first part was released and there was not much info about the whole plot on it.

    • January 3, 2016 at 12:56 pmZephyr

      I see what you mean, but as it’s generally the path of the typical OVA, it’ll probably just end up having entries over multiple years (similar to Geass’ Akito).

  • January 3, 2016 at 12:53 pmCarVac

    My favorite role of Yuuki Aoi this year was Yurizono Mitsuko in Yurikuma Arashi. Very awesome performance.

  • January 3, 2016 at 1:18 pmGouka Ryuu

    Good list guys. I find I agree with Samu more often than not here though.

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:42 pmSamu

      Me too!

  • January 3, 2016 at 1:19 pmWanderer

    Aw, neither of you even mentioned Komori-san wa Kotowarenai under best short? I am a sad Wanderer. :(

    • January 3, 2016 at 1:24 pmZephyr

      Actually, thanks for reminding me. I was going to swap that in this morning but forgot to add it in.

  • January 3, 2016 at 1:44 pmPyon

    Absolutely love your picks guys, as both Death Parade & SHIROBAKO are my favourites from this year.
    With most categories I pretty much agree, talking of animation, definitely Hibike! Euphonium was for me the most beautiful anime from 2015 (nice to see it getting the right admiration for story and characters too!), but titles such as Death Parade, Charlotte (such a shame with story though) or Shigatsu are surely in top. Also some great romantic comedies this year (Oregairu, Saekano, Nisekoi:, Yamada).

    My top picks this year (in order, nothing from fall as I haven’t got to watch these series yet): SHIROBAKO, Death Parade, Hibike! Euphonium, Kuroko no Basket 3, Oregairu Zoku, Shigatsu wa Kimi no uso

    Some things I was surprised
    - wouldn’t really call Aldnoah Zero 2 such a disappointment, sure it wasn’t really good but not that bad for me
    - no Nanatsu no Taizai or Owari no Seraph for best soundtrack, maybe they weren’t the best works of Hiroyuki but still would mention them (also ED from Owari is amazing)
    - no Kuroko no Basket 3 in sports category, even honorable mentions?!

    Also maybe someone could help me out – I really wanted to get into Fate/Stay series, but I heard many different opinions on in what order should I watch each installment – could someone advise me about that? I only watched Fate/Zero some time ago and loved the animation and story

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:02 pmZephyr

      I’d say if you watched Fate/Zero then you can just go ahead and watch the recent installment of Fate/Stay Night’s TV series.

      Aside from that, unless you’re planning to give the visual novels a go, there’s actually nothing else at the moment, as the Fate/stay UBW Movie’s rendered moot by the better and more detailed TV version. After that you can wait on the Heaven’s Feel adaptation of an alternative F/SN route, but that won’t be available for a little bit.

      Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya’s is based on one of the characters that appears in F/SN, but the plot line is generally separate from either F/SN or F/Z and can be watched any time, though you’ll appreciate its occasional comedic value a bit more if you caught F/SN before.

      • January 4, 2016 at 11:13 amDorian S.

        Actually… About it not having any connections…

        <_< Season 3 is going to blow your mind if it ever gets animated.

      • January 4, 2016 at 11:49 amStilts

        3rei already greenlighted, baby, and presumably coming in summer (if the pattern holds). Woo!

      • January 4, 2016 at 4:59 pmZephyr

        Now now, I didn’t say completely unrelated. Just “generally separate.” You’ll note I ultimately emphasize it’s better to watch F/SN before watching Prisma Illya. :P

  • January 3, 2016 at 1:45 pmMormegil

    “When it comes down to it, 2015 was a year that didn’t have any one AOTY that everyone could agree on.”

    Yeah, I completely agree. It was such a diverse year that it was very difficult to pick a consistent top 5. Hell, I went back and forth on my own choices over and over, and I still don’t know if I agree with my choices in the end.

    Nice to see Yurikuma Arashi in the Most Underappreciated Award. I remember before it even aired, people were calling Ikuhara a “hack” and stating how pretentious he is. And then when Yurikuma aired, it certainly got a lot of hate. Like Ikuhara’s previous anime, I found myself loving it from beginning to end. And it was a lot of fun reading people’s theories and analysis all over the internet. I hope Yurikuma will be one of those anime that in ten years down the line or so, people will pick up on a whim and actually appreciate it. We don’t have too many anime auteurs left, so directors like Ikuhara are needed. But anyway, thanks to the both of you for selecting it! And for giving it a few honorable mentions.

    Awesome choices overall. Thanks for all the work you guys do every single year, RC.

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:59 pmZephyr

      And thank you for reading!

  • January 3, 2016 at 1:46 pmxxvan

    There should have been Best Anime Couple 2015 section

    Cause Ikki Kurogane and Stella Vermilion

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:00 pmStilts

      I submit Takeo and Rinko from Ore Monogatari!. Also, every couple from WORKING!!!. And so many others!

    • January 3, 2016 at 5:08 pmTakaii

      Ikki x Stella

  • January 3, 2016 at 2:00 pmPhnx

    I’m happy to see Death Parade so highly rated, but at this point I should watch Shirobako. At this point, the avalanche of praise it gets is becoming undeniable.

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:04 pmZephyr

      Yeah, if you haven’t watched it yet, it’s certainly a series you should watch just to see what the hype’s all about.

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:39 pmSamu

      You should definitely check it out. It won the Animation Kobe Television Award for 2015 for a reason. It’s popular with Western audiences and the was 6th best selling anime series in Japan last year. Basically, it’s the rare combination being acclaimed + massively popular. As I said, I think any anime fan can love SHIROBAKO. You’d have to try very, very hard not to like it.

  • January 3, 2016 at 2:05 pmGurogane

    Another year passes; has anyone besides Enzo and Samu watched Hunter x Hunter?

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:41 pmSamu

      I’m pretty sure Takaii did! As for the rest of them…. *rings bell* shame… *rings bells* shame… *rings bell* shame…

    • January 3, 2016 at 5:07 pmTakaii

      Um. You mean all 148 EPISODES?
      That I somehow watched in the span of like, 2 weeks?
      And fucking Leorio?

      Because, holy shit, Leorio is the fucking man.
      And so are like 20 other characters.

      //crawls back into cave

      • January 3, 2016 at 5:09 pmTakaii

        Did I mention I’m going through the 1999 version too?
        -dies-

      • January 4, 2016 at 12:57 amUrahara

        You need rehab my friend , you are past the danger point

  • January 3, 2016 at 2:13 pmJagster

    Samu, Zephyr: you guys misspelled Akatsuki no Yona ED2 for Best Ending.

    • January 3, 2016 at 2:24 pmZephyr

      I was about to say that I didn’t see that mentioned in the ending sequences, but I see that was your intention.

  • January 3, 2016 at 3:18 pmOkadam

    The Japan Animator Expo

    Disclaimer:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Not like I expected anyone to notice… Gainax has really fallen when Khara’s pet project doesn’t even get a single mention. Even the shitty stuff gets attention – for being shitty! What does it mean to be forgotten altogether then?

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Goes to show. Even Me!Me!Me! – the perfect attention seeker – failed to fixate people’s focus onto JAE. Tits and asses too distracting I suppose. They even made Me!Me!Me! 2nd episode (less d*ks and even more v*g*n*s), but the hype train has already left. Just like with NGE – fans will consume the service and ignore what it has to say. Its like black hole – every attempt to go against the flow is only exacerbating the effects (physics joke, nvm).

    Nerv & Utena times are over. We have Wille & yuri bears now.

    Anno vs. Ikuhara
    1997 = 1:0
    2015 = 0:1
    2016 = ?:0

    The promised time has come. Is 3+1 > EoE ? Some exciting times. The final impact, the zettai apocalypse, the yuri ending – approved.

    PS: sequel theory is BS, its just a meta-narrative/troll.

  • January 3, 2016 at 3:19 pmSherylfan

    My biggest disappointment is definitely recongista G. I was really enjoying the beginning, as it felt a lot like how turn A started and I loved that, it was kinda weird presentation. But the more i watched, the more it felt off. As it went on it was obvious that it wasn’t the style that seemed off but a sheer disaster in story telling. Shame as the actual animation and art style I absolutely loved, especially the main characters. Also was excited that a girl was piloting the other gundam, I don’t think there has been a main female pilot since war in poket, and cagalli. I mean real legit main characters not supporting, obviously not too frequent in this franchise.

    Cross ange was definitely this years valvare, pure entertainment, was a blast. meanwhile aldonoah was lunacy as well but it was grating and brought out hatred rather then joy.

    I’m usually a sci-fi fan so classroom, Soukyuu no Fafner DA and sidonia are my favs, but this year the fantasy shows really stepped up their game, arslan, yona, maria, fate, monogatari, noragami were all great. But my fav fantasy/romance was definitely Akagami no Shirayukihime.

    Also I’m glad we got some stellar shows like subete, death parade, Kekkai Sensen, Kiseijuu. Although not my personal favs, I feel like they were just awesome, the reasons I loved anime are shows like these, especially kiseijuu. Also phychopass movie was good.

    I think fafner is definitely under appreciated. I guess it got drowned out by sidonia, cross ange and aldanoah ie more fancy mecha animation. I know it looks old but fafner to me is for mecha fans. Also it was a good sequel, I guess not many watched the original.

    All in all a very enjoyable year.

  • January 3, 2016 at 3:37 pmsealouse

    Man that Kekkai Sensen ED. How do you top something like that?

  • January 3, 2016 at 3:50 pmShirocat

    For me Shirayuki is like Mary Sue, who do things like too perfectly and I find it boring as hell. Can someone ( and I’m serious and curious ) tell me, what people really like in her? It’s not like I want her to have disadvantages, but she is too predictable and too schematic female protagonist to be likeable, at least for me.

    • January 3, 2016 at 4:27 pmStilts

      Well, fairy tales are popular for a reason. Some people like a good idealistic story from time to time. As for Shirayuki in particular, she’s a nice mix of a female protagonist who is competent and has agency, while not being a “I can do everything myself” badass action girl (it’s not that kind of series, but you know what I mean). Yeah, she’s not broken and doesn’t have as much potential for growth because she starts out fairly competent and wise, but that’s in keeping with the other characters in the story as well.

      If I had to summarize, I’d say she fits the story she’s in, and is a quasi-wish fulfillment character without pandering (i.e. she’s NOT a Mary Sue, though that term has experienced such linguistic drift as to be rendered meaningless).

      Though as always, YMMV. Akagami no Shirayukihime is a story that younger Stilts would have scoffed at, but older Stilts loves. Which isn’t to say that it’s a more “mature” show, just that’s my personal (suspected) journey with this kind of story.

      • January 3, 2016 at 8:15 pmlalunafelis

        Amen.

        I really don’t get it sometimes. I honestly feel like a character has to be some broken embittered Byronic Hero to not be considered a Mary Sue. Then again, as you said, the term has become meaningless because IMO, it has become a shorthand for “character that doesn’t suit my (subjective) tastes”(let’s face it, our standards for a well-written character ARE beholden to our personal tastes).

      • January 3, 2016 at 10:03 pmStilts

        It’s not quite that meaningless. Usually it’s used to mean something like “They’re too competent” or “Everything is happening too easily for them” or “They breeze through every challenge” or, occasionally, “They’re actually a wish fulfillment author insert/Kirito.” But those are all different from the original meaning, or the more similar last meaning I mentioned.

  • January 3, 2016 at 4:26 pmMistic

    All in all, after taking a look at this list and being reminded of many great series, I must admit that 2015 has been a very good year for anime.

    Let’s hope 2016 will be equally good.

  • January 3, 2016 at 4:45 pmOne Pinch Man

    2015 is a great year for anime! Here are my thoughts about my top anime this year.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 3, 2016 at 4:53 pmklark

    I expected being angry after reading this list but I ended up agreeing for the most of the entries. Yay! For some Concrete Revolutio, Garo, Death Parade, Punchline and OreGairu love. Now, where is Noragami Aragoto?

    • January 3, 2016 at 5:09 pmSamu

      Noragami ARAGOTO is a tricky one for me. I’d definitely put it higher than the first season but I felt when it comes to directly competing with other shows they had it beat. I gave an honourable mention in Story, and Zephyr did for Fantasy, but both were seriously tough categories and the fact that it was mentioned in both shows how good it was. Not the best perhaps, but still very, very good. Personally I thought the Bishamon arc was fantastic, whilst the Ebisu are was just ‘good’, which evened it out. At the very least it came 6th in the reader’s poll, so it has it fair share of love!

      But I’m glad you agreed with most of our choices.

      Edit: I wasn’t correcting your spelling, you had it right in the first place! I was just capitalising the title as that’s how I’m used to writing it.

      • January 4, 2016 at 4:07 amklark

        So I’ve been misspelling Aragato for the last three months?! Zetsuboushita! My whole life is a lie. Hahahahaha. Thanks for the correction by the way.

        Well, I give that anime hats for consistency since all episodes ranged from good to great.

        As for Shirobako, I bawled as much as Miyamori when I saw Zuka-chan being the VA of young Catherine. That was just cathartic.

  • January 3, 2016 at 4:57 pmUrizithar

    This year in almost every category I strongly agree with at least one choice. A year ago… nop, not at all. It seems this was much less dividing year or change from Stillts to Samu made the results so much closer to my taste. I would say 2015 was better than 2014. Not a lot better but I liked it more.

  • January 3, 2016 at 5:07 pmWollMasst

    My top 5 are something like this
    5. Unlimited Blade Works
    4. Shigatsu
    3. Parasyte
    2. Oregairu s2
    1. Death Parade

    1 and 2 are practically interchangeable, I loved both of them so much. Honorable mentions are AssClass, Shokugeki no Soma, Owarimono, Perfect Insider, Kekkai Sensen, and Yuri Kuma. Need to finish Punch Line

  • January 3, 2016 at 5:40 pmchestnut_rice

    I’m sooooo happy Shirobako got the awards it deserved. I feel like I’ve grown to know each cast as a real person enough to make me want to congratulate them ^_^

  • January 3, 2016 at 6:04 pmRaiu

    Those 93 RC readers who voted for Soukyuu no Fafner – Exodus as one of their best animes in 2015 are the most priviledged ones last year.

    They’ve watched an almost perfect weaving of story, character development, OST, animation and plot twists that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat every episode. If only Zephyr or Samu just had the time to watch the series, Exodus could have ended up as a conterder or even a runaway winner for some categories.

    • January 3, 2016 at 6:56 pmfragb85

      I’d say Fafner would be on the best Sci-Fi and the best Death scene for

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • January 6, 2016 at 1:14 amRaiu

        Coz there is always Toumi Maya to fill the void that she left, dude. Both are best girls in my book.

    • January 4, 2016 at 6:14 amInclemens

      It’s the curse of being a Fafner fan. Here in the west people don’t know the show or haven’t given it a shot yet. Fortunately for us fans it’s popular in Japan so atleast we’re assured the possibility of future projects.

      Also it’s kind of fun being a fan of an unknown gem.

    • January 4, 2016 at 9:32 pmSK

      Fafner seems to be mentioned a lot, and always in a positive way, except that it essentially locks out anyone who hadn’t seen the previous material. I haven’t watched any of it, though I’m considering it as a possible marathon at some point. From an outsider’s perspective, though, I think both aspects are linked together. I’ve seen too many shows try to broaden the scope so that more people can jump in at the start of a second season, but that tends to dilute the product with repetitive introductions and explanations of Stuff You Should Know. If its popular enough in Japan, I think they can afford to lean more towards making a series better for veterans at the expense of drawing in new fans. I believe too many shows lean the opposite way, which ends up in a product that the old fanbase feels is meh, while the potential new fans can’t experience why people loved the show in the first place.

      • January 5, 2016 at 2:15 amInclemens

        This is true, but it’s also the reason why Exodus was so good. It didn’t try to be anything other then a reward for its fans. It’s a direct continuation and it doesn’t waste time on over explaining things for newcommers. If you are planning on watching Fafner sometime do it in the release order (1 series, OVA, Movie, Exodus) and don’t forget to download the extended first episode of Exodus. Have fun

  • January 3, 2016 at 6:14 pmlegwkio

    Rakudai anyone?

    • January 3, 2016 at 9:39 pmtrippwire

      Here here!

    • January 4, 2016 at 9:18 amMentar

      Aaabsolutely. If I see that true disasters like e.g. Log Horizon 2 honestly placed above Rakudai in the ratings, I can only conclude: The readers don’t watch to many different shows nowadays.

  • January 3, 2016 at 6:17 pmPasserby

    I’m glad to see that you two disagreed on absolutely everything save one some. I’d like to interpret that as indicative of the strength of the anime industry.

  • January 3, 2016 at 6:43 pmPTYW

    Kinda sad that no one in RandomC took a look at Fafner. I would say it would be a strong contender for top Sci Fi.

    Another year, and another whole lot of anime going by. Good times.

  • January 3, 2016 at 6:47 pmkawaiigendo

    Yippee, the most overhyped turd of the last 2 years wasn’t the Reader’s top choice. Thank the stars randomc voters still have good taste in anime.

  • January 3, 2016 at 7:14 pmKuma Kuma

    As far as the Most Underappreciated reward goes, I believe it should be Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus. One of the best Mecha series of the year which only watched by maybe 5% or less of Randomc community and not even a single Randomc writer seen it.

  • January 3, 2016 at 7:33 pmdanes256

    Kiseijuu’s Ost is memorable and really good, but my favorite is definitely shigatsu’s soundtrack. japanese people liked it so much that it’s first Ost, Boku to Kimi no Ongakuchou tops the japanese classical music billboard, the first time an anime Ost did so. and it’s second Ost, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, gets itself into no. 6 at the billboard.

  • January 3, 2016 at 7:47 pmRapidash

    Wow Fate UBW did not win either Best Anime by editors choice or fan choice nor did it dominate the polls like I expected it would. Kind of surprised with how it seemed like the absolute be all end all title for what feels like the last year and a half or so.

    • January 3, 2016 at 7:50 pmRapidash

      Also pleasantly surprised to see the pretty great Arslan Senki get acknowledged a fair bit as well which I think was one of the most under-appreciated titles of the year and for something other than generic Sawano/Kajiura OST or Theme #507 to be acknowledged for music.

  • January 3, 2016 at 8:01 pmMatroid

    IMHO, these shows…
    26 Kuroko no Basket Season 3 217 1.23%
    34 Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken -Stardust Crusaders- Egypt-hen 157 0.89%
    44 Baby Steps 2nd Season 87 0.49%
    46 Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road
    61 Garo: Honoo no Kokuin 53 0.30%
    64 Diamond no Ace 46 0.26%

    and this movie
    18 Ghost in the Shell (2015) Movie 169 2.05%

    really deserve higher ranks.

    The OP sequence of
    Garo: Honoo no Kokuin,
    Cross Ange,
    Kuroko Season 3,
    Noragami Season 2, and
    Tai-Madou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai
    also deserve honorable mentions.

    • January 3, 2016 at 8:59 pmMi-Chan

      I agree on Garo. Really most underrated imo.

    • January 4, 2016 at 10:37 amWarriorsHeart

      Kuroko no Basuke season 3′s second opening is definitely my favourite.

  • January 3, 2016 at 8:13 pmMX3

    I was surprised at the choice of Akatsuki no Yona as having one of the best plot twists, the twist itself revealing in the first episode. However, I was not surprised at this “twist” at all. There was too much foreshadowing already that such a thing would happen, even the OP already revealed it in a way. Of course, if one was expecting this series to be about a royal court drama with a love triangle, the element of surprise will be there, but for someone who is more discerning of each scene, it wouldn’t come as a surprise. Even the opening scene itself was already a clue to this twist. I do however, agree with Cross Ange. They piled twist upon twist, although it took time to reveal itself such that some people already dropped it. I initially dropped it at episode 6 but was prodded by some peers to see it through and was rewarded with some of the twists.

    I’m also surprised with the love Prison School as well as Yuri Kuma Arashi are getting. I guess those were really not my type of show. But I might check it out once again because of this list. Alas, outside of the Mushishi standalone final episode, I was not able to watch the movies recommended, but I am now more interested with the PsychoPass movie having dropped the second season at around episode 4.

    • January 3, 2016 at 9:04 pmZephyr

      I will say that Prison School and Yuri Kuma Arashi are both shows that will not appeal to everyone. I feel they’re worth watching regardless, but just to set the expectations properly before you start.

      As for the PSYCHO-PASS Movie, it’s generally your stand affair in regards to animated theatrical sequels, but it’s solidly executed and has Kougami returning as well, so you should like this more than the second season hopefully. Best part is you don’t really need to watch the latter to enjoy the movie either.

  • January 3, 2016 at 8:34 pmMi-chan

    I can’t really think of the animes mentioned on the list connect anyway with my impression of best of 2015 xD Best is when an anime you watch impacts viewers in a way you’d remember for years to come. Usually at least I’d connect by a minimum 20% margin, but 0% for this year’s :p But One-pun man as reader’s choice is highly agreeable.

    Anyway, good effort! M

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:58 amBobodori

      I think because both reviewed have similar tastes there’s really no variety too

    • January 4, 2016 at 5:04 amDrDre

      Ikr shame no nanatsu or noragami or garo , nnoragami ed was the best even sounded like zelda music

      • January 4, 2016 at 5:15 amMi-chan

        I totally forgot about Noragami’s ed!! I totally agree it was very unique, with my Scottish background, the sound in the background was way too relaxing. I loved it! I suddenly remembered the VA for Bishamon, by far had my insides turning.

        Nanatsu had an amazing op too. I’ve watched like many animes this year so I somehow forgot about that! Ty!!!!

  • January 3, 2016 at 8:46 pmyxs15

    i havent watch Shirobako yet, i will give it a try this week :)

    • January 3, 2016 at 9:00 pmZephyr

      ( `ー´)八(`ー´ ) HI5

      Tell us how it goes.

  • January 3, 2016 at 9:38 pmtrippwire

    Thank you for picking Yuri Kuma Arashi as most under-appreciated. It really was. The show was fantastic and delved into a relevant and timeless issue in a really unique, intriguing way. It got me interested in Ikuhara’s other works.

    Also, Shirobako #1 :)

  • January 3, 2016 at 9:39 pmotaku19

    Don’t usually post but I have been following this site for years and I always love the best of anime segment you guys do. Just gotta say I love the site and keep up the great posts and reviews. I’m sure I speak for most of us here when I say we really appreciate it.

  • January 3, 2016 at 10:12 pmNoragami!

    - Wow surprised Kekkai Sensen didn’t even get an honorable mention in best OST. And neither did Death Parade. I guess it’s just because I’m partial to jazz but both OSTs contributed so much to the show. Parayste’s OST was good, but I think used inappropriately in the beginning of the series with the dubstep, but the cooled it down in the end.

    - Noragami Aragoto ED is one of my honorable mentions, only because of how subtle it is in portraying the growth of the characters, and I love Tia. (I think me being obsessed with the show and an avid reader of the manga doesn’t help as well.) Kekkai Sensen not winning at least once would be a horrid crime though lol. Zephyr y u no mention. Also I’m very delightfully surprised that Aragoto was apparently #6 on the poll. That’s awesome to me :D

    - I’m also surprised about the Fate/Stay mentions. I haven’t watched it but I only heard bad things about it. Different opinions I guess.

    - Yahari is bae but I still think it’s more drama than comedy, despite the preach it girl. A lot of the episodes that season focused on the drama more than the dry wit of the previous season.

    - Curious, how did Kekkai Sensen and Yahari do in the reader’s poll? So much solid anime this year.

    - My only major disagreements are all these Classroom Crisis mentions and that Root A mention. I forgot people liked Root A. :L

    • January 3, 2016 at 10:16 pmNoragami!

      Wow Im dumb you posted the full results lmao

  • January 3, 2016 at 10:16 pmLonghaul

    I honestly don’t understand the complaints about G-Reco, the story was easy to follow and the characters acted ‘in character’.

  • January 3, 2016 at 10:45 pmkawaiigendo

    I’m disappointed Monster Musume wasn’t given at least an honorable mention in the fanservice category.

    • January 4, 2016 at 3:23 pmMormegil

      Poor Monster girls…
      :(

    • January 6, 2016 at 1:08 amRaiu

      Sssssh… Like Fafner, Monmusu is out of the RC bloggers radar.

  • January 3, 2016 at 10:56 pminfo600

    So, I just realized my own list looked VERY different. Only because of the fact I have not saw majority of the nominated list, but I ended up with a very different and randomish list requirements.
    Thus,
    My Mecha ranking list:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Please note the last 2 to 4 entries would be on my VERY disappointed list…

    And then here’s my OVERALL list if I included every other entry that I have watched (Please note I was still changing my rankings all the way to the end):
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Yeah, a rather lackluster year for mecha (in comparison to how much fantasy shows I’ve ended up watching.

    OTOH, my even shorter OVA list:
    Gundam Thunderbolt
    PSYCHO-PASS

    …in hindsight, I think I may have missed a few OVA/movies…W/E.

    Here’s hope to a better 2016.

    • January 6, 2016 at 12:22 aminfo600

      poll-addendum:

      It’s surprising how far up Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus was without any blogger-exposition other than the season preview(s) – And bunching up with Cross Ange as well as Gundam Build Fighters Try on the polls result(with ALDNOAH.ZERO Season 2 and Sidonia no Kishi’s second season placed way higher the those three).

      ps. Aquarion Logos, one of the other shows that got no blogger coverage despite some okay-ish reactions in the comments, did not do as well (It still got more votes than Comet Lucifer. Go figure.)

  • January 4, 2016 at 12:47 amornehx

    I think One Punch Man got a handicap for AOTY being aired at the end of the year where the impact was still very fresh in the minds of everyone. And also being an action oriented anime, its easily acceptable by the masses.

    Death Parade on the other hand was like a fleeting warm memory on a winters days. It’s fantastic but its impact has been reduced as it aged and overshadowed by the rather new OPM. Also its theme of questioning about life and death was not an easy topic for the masses to swallow.

  • January 4, 2016 at 12:58 amShushiholic

    I agree with Fate UBW only getting the Best Animation pick this year. Some of the episodes had slow/weird pacing. Fate/Zero was a masterpiece in animation and story while UBW is pure animation joy.

  • January 4, 2016 at 3:13 amMb

    DanMatchi & Nanatsu no Taizai are rated to low here. In my opinion.

    • January 4, 2016 at 10:34 amStilts

      To be fair, neither of them watched Nanatsu no Taizai. Takkun and I both did, though, and I loved it.

    • January 4, 2016 at 12:02 pmSamu

      Hey, I have watched Nanatsu no Taizai! But I’ve also been reading the manga since it first came out so the anime adaptation didn’t really give me anything new. My take on it is: “What if you mashed Fairy Tail and Dragonball Z together?”. It’s good at what it does, but I personally don’t think its exceptional in any way. That being said, I will be watching the second season this year.

      • January 4, 2016 at 5:23 pmStilts

        Wait, it’s getting a second season? \o/

      • January 4, 2016 at 7:42 pmPancakes

        It’s true Stilts, IIRC the expectation is a Summer or Fall airing this year.
        NNT is not amazing, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t fun. Gives me a good bit of hope regarding the quality this year if NNT of all things can manage a sequel so quickly.

      • January 4, 2016 at 9:11 pmStilts

        Nanatsu no Taizai reminds me of something one of my author colleagues said once. It’s not the best series evar, but it is the kind of series you want to have a beer with. It’s laid-back, exciting, and fun. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

    • January 5, 2016 at 12:18 amMb

      DanMatchi & Nanatsu no Taizai “delivered in my opinion” and exceeded expectations. When I see how you ranked “Shokugeki no Souma” in compare — well :)

      DanMachi Episode 3, 6, 8 ~ etc. did you guys see it actually ?

  • January 4, 2016 at 3:52 amEspada

    Wow shiity normalfags and kids visiting rc
    OPM won? Kek overated

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:11 amklark

      Go home somewhere in Hueco Mundo. You’re drunk.

    • January 4, 2016 at 3:22 pmMormegil

      Go back to /a/.

      • January 4, 2016 at 4:22 pmZephyr

        It’s interesting cause last I saw OPM won there too.

  • January 4, 2016 at 4:09 amGouka Ryuu

    Also, just want to say I totally agree with Stilts on Yuuki Aoi. While she became big for Madoka she really showed her range as a VA this year. Will definitely look forward to seeing her in more shows in 2016.

  • January 4, 2016 at 4:33 amSamu

    For all those interested in how many wins/honorable mentions each show received but don’t have the time to count it up, I’ve already done the hard work for you. I also counted the 2nd-5th place poll results as honorable mentions.

    Totals (Wins):
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Totals (Honorable Mentions):
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 4, 2016 at 5:19 amfideldesu

    I have to agree, OPM is famous among western audience. As an Asian growing up with 80s & 90s anime, for me, OPM is normal. If any, OPM hype among western audience is the same as SAO. OPM = SAO

    I have to agree to on Death Parade as best anime for 2015.

  • January 4, 2016 at 5:31 amDvalinn

    Looking back on all these titles, this really was a pretty good year. While my picks would’ve been different (more Gakkou Gurashi! and less Shirobako, for one), they’re all still solid shows and I enjoyed quite a bunch of them. Usually there’s more of a divergence there. And yeah, Aoi Yuuki played the shit out of her roles – Clementine really was one of the best seiyuu performances I’ve seen all year.

    Funnily enough, the picks I’d disagree with the most would actually be the worst shows. Because while Charlotte was a mess, it was an entertaining one for me, and nowhere near the worst of the year. I’d give those honors to stuff like Aldnoah.Zero 2 (which did get mentioned, luckily) but also Gangsta or Fate: UBW. Because the former started out promising but went to hell in its second half and gave an ending that was basically a middle finger to the viewer, whereas the second was a massive borefest that I had to force myself to finish – and I loved F/Z, mind you.

    And no Monster Musume in the fanservice category? Awww. That show was easily the best harem series this year.

  • January 4, 2016 at 6:04 amNyast

    I must admit I’m a bit puzzled by the ranking of Death Parade, which seems to be on everybody’s top list and even won AOTY ( I do agree about the catchy OP though, I really liked it ).

    It was a good show and I enjoyed it but I didn’t think for a second that it’d rank that high. I personally thought it was a bit pretentious and the lack of explanations about the setting made it frustrating at the end.

    As for Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider winning the mystery category, I’m dumbfounded. Ofc everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but there seems to be a strange gap with PasserBy’s impressions. The conclusion was bad, Shiki’s motivations remained cryptic, the main lead seemed bored all the time and none of the secondary characters were developped, which left little doubt about the murderer’s identity half-way through the show. I thought Rokka no Yuusha was so much better, entertaining and had great twists..

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:50 pmZephyr

      Compared to the other series of the year, Death Parade had what I felt was the best story, one of the most notable farewells, and executed well with its content in regards to what I felt like it tried to do. It was certainly the most complete package compared to many series this year, which gives it its high place in my book. That said, I’m curious as to what explanations you felt were lacking, and what you thought should’ve ranked higher.

      As for pretentiousness, that’s a personal viewpoint that really can apply to any series depending on perspective so I won’t talk much about that, but honestly there’s a lot of other shows with psuedo-intellectual talk and other things that would certainly fit the bill a lot more than Death Parade in my opinion. Interestingly enough, I actually could see this being applied more to Subete ga F instead.

      As for the latter, the gap can be generally explained by my appreciation of the slow burn and the more classic take on a mystery that didn’t ultimately rely on the supernatural for progression. It’s a rarity these days for a genre that tends to have very little on an annual basis as is, and it has its own charm for me as a fan of the genre who wants to see more come out of it. I will admit that the method of development isn’t something for everyone however, which could explain a lot of the difference in impressions. That said, you’ll note I also put in Rokka no Yuusha as an HM, so that ultimately boils down to personal preference.

      • January 6, 2016 at 5:22 amNyast

        @Death Parade:

        Past the first episode, which was really good, I thought Death Parade’s story was too formulaic. All the episodes after that were pretty entertaining on their own but I didn’t think they brought much in terms of “value” to the story. The most interesting elements and secondary characters, like this fed between Nona and Oculus (the “god” that was playing billiard), the setup of the “tower” with the different floors, the origin of Decim.. were pretty much untouched. I also want to criticize the lack of consequences to that story, ie. excepting the death of Chiyuki at the last episode, it didn’t look like anything changed.
        Business as usual.

        It was a good show, I enjoyed it and it might even make it to my top list. But AOTY ? No way. Which is why I was surprised at the good reception, not just by you, but also looking at the comments, it seems like the majority is in agreement. Which makes me feel I’ve been missing something…

        As for shows I’d rank higher than Death Parade, assuming we’re talking about the Story category, I’d definitely rank Arslan Senki, Rokka no Yuusha, Sidonia no Kishi, Junketsu no Maria, Noragami, Gakkou Gurashi, Parasyte, Shingeki no Bahamut (that one seemed to have been forgotten by everybody, for some reason. I’d definitely put it in exceeded expectations, at the very least) and probably a lot more than I can remember. Point being, I didn’t think Death Parade had a better story than any of these shows and once you got past the concept of the first episode, was too formulaic to win AOTY.

        @Subete ga F ni Naru:

        Okay, IMO a good mystery show needs to address 3 things: who, why and how.

        On the three, Subete only got one right, and that is “how”. By not developping any of its secondary characters, it pretty much ensure the “who” had little mystery. When the big reveal came about the identity of the murderer, I doubt any viewer was particularly shocked. As for the why”, it was a clusterfuck and indeed quite pretentious, it tried to be intellectually deep but failed to get past the believability stage. So one hit and two misses can’t make for a winner IMO. In comparison, Rokka no Yusha got two rights (the who and how kept the viewer on edge all the time) and didn’t pay much attention to the why, but that alone is enough to make me want to rank it much higher than Subete, maybe even win the mystery category. I do agree that Subete’s no-fantasy setting was refreshing, but that wasn’t enough to redeem the stupidness of Shiki’s motivations IMO.

    • January 4, 2016 at 9:33 pmAJ

      Agreed. I thought Death Parade was average. I only really enjoyed the comedy episode with the idol. The rest of the show was stuff I’d already seen done better elsewhere. The idea that “people will reveal their inner darkness when they’re backed into a corner, but that doesn’t mean people are bad” was presented as this fascinating revelation, but it isn’t one. That’s obvious. And it wasn’t presented in a remotely interesting way. I also thought Chiyuki’s arc at the end was pretty bland. Show Spoiler ▼

      Not very interesting stuff. None of the characters who worked at the bar were developed outside of Chiyuki and Decim, either.

      Subete was bad. Shiki’s philosophy makes no sense. The resolution of the mystery was boring. And I felt nothing about Souhei and Moe’s relationship, except mildly sorry for her because she’s the only reasonable person in the show, and she shouldn’t waste her time pining after some nihilistic loser. It was really boring to watch too. Don’t understand what anyone sees in that show.

  • January 4, 2016 at 6:16 amNeoAnkara

    Where is Kuchizuke Diamond? Why didn’t it get even honorable mention?

  • January 4, 2016 at 6:51 amzeroyuki92

    I would also remind that one factor of why OPM is winning the Best Anime Category for readers is the voting method. People are asked to pick 5 best, so having OPM in the top is expected. It’s fresh, widely popular, and easily likeable — great material for top 5 pick. I would also put it in top 5, but if the voting is about “the best one”, the result might be a little bit different.

    Seconded for Kekkai Sensen in Top OST category, at least in honorable mention. You don’t get that kind of OST much nowadays.

    About the whole result itself, the top list for this season is more agreeable indeed. Even if you don’t agree with the best result, you most likely will agree with the honorable mentions.

  • January 4, 2016 at 7:08 amAmazing11

    Need to watch Death Parade. FSN UBW got best animation and many honorable mention, now I can sleep in peace

  • January 4, 2016 at 7:50 amklark

    Here are my personal choices this year. The anime list is in order.

    Animation: One Punch Man, Sound Euphonium!, Kekkai Sensen, Charlotte, Fate Stay Night: UBW

    Story: Death Parade, Garo: Crimson Flames, Concrete Revolutio, Shirobako, Shimoneta

    OP: Death Parade, Charlotte, Your Lie in April, The Perfect Insider, Noragami Aragoto, Yuri Kuma Arashi

    Character: Hikigaya Hachiman, Kumiko (Sound Euphonium!), Alfonso (Garo: Crimson Flames), Shirayuki (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime), Yona (Akatsuki no Yona), Korosensei (AssClass)

    Plot Twist: The transition of the genre from fantasy to mystery at the fifth episode (Rokka No Yuusha)

    Death: Chiyuki (Death Parade), Megunee (School Live!), Kaori (Your Lie in April), Ebisu (Noragami Aragato)

    Trap: Yuuta (PunchLine)

    Action: Garo, One Punch Man, Noragami Aragato, Punch Line, Mobile Gundam: IBO

    Romance: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (nothing follows since I didn’t like Oremonogatari!!)

    Drama: OreGairu Zoku., Shirobako, High School Star Musical

    Comedy: Assassination Classroom, Shimoneta

    Sports: Kuroko no Basuke, Season 3

    Slice of Life: Shirobako

    Romantic Comedy: Oregairu Zoku

    Mystery: Rokka No Yuusha, Owarimonogatari

    Fantasy: Kekkai Sensen, Owarimonogatari, Concrete Revolutio, Garo: Crimson Flames, Maria The Virgin Witch

    Shorts: Kagewani

    Underappreciated: Garo: Crimson Flames, Kagewani, Concrete Revolutio

    Exceeded Expectations: High School Star Musical (Seriously, this idol show is one of the best in its genre)

    ANIME OF THE YEAR: Death Parade, Oregairu Zoku, Noragami Aragato, Sound Euphonium!, Punchline

    • January 4, 2016 at 7:53 amklark

      I forgot to add. That was out of 57 shows I saw this year. :)

    • January 4, 2016 at 2:35 pmMi-chan

      good list, I rank mine very closely with yours!

  • January 4, 2016 at 8:36 amArchiepiscopus

    Samu, thank you so much for remembering Shirobako and telling the truth about G-reco. I agreed with 80% of your picks.

    I am sorry that I previously insulted you. I am sorry, I apologize for my mistakes publicly.

  • January 4, 2016 at 10:27 amMikhei

    :/ dissapointed on picks, this blog used to be better, even Code Geass or Gurren Lagann wouldn’t stand a chance with the new staff. One Punch Man? Really? the show is stupid, the story isn’t even good, Just good animation.

    • January 4, 2016 at 10:39 amStilts

      That’s probably why OPM won for animation and action, not story. It was the best reader pick. It didn’t rank for either Zephy or Samu on Best Anime.

      And trust me, Tengen Toppa gurren Lagann would stand all sorts of chances with our current staff. Because it’s amazing for one, but also because I love it irrationally, and I’m very, very loud.

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:27 pmZephyr

      ^ What Stilts said.

      As for Code Geass… It wouldn’t stand a chance? Quite the contrary. I loved the original series so much I re-watched it multiple times.

    • January 4, 2016 at 6:50 pmklark

      Wait… Didn’t Code Geass and Gurren Lagann win in this site as the AOTY and the runner respectively? Eh? What are you talking about?

      HENCE, OPM won in the action and animation category. It’s not seen in the best anime of 2015. It’s just the reader’s choice. To be fair, it’s one of the hyped shows that somehow fulfilled it.

      • January 5, 2016 at 11:48 pmJin

        In the past this blog was run by omni/divine (gone now) and they were the ones who picked those shows as aoty. This blog is still great but the abortion of a blog on shigatsu nearly killed rc for me. I can understand why some people would be turned off though since there seems to be some disconnect between writers and readers based on the polls.

  • January 4, 2016 at 10:32 amIzumi Aiikyo

    After reading this. I have several conclusions.
    1. I’ve conclude my next watch are Arslan Senki, Akagami no Shirayukihime and Psycho Pass Movie.
    2. This is the first time of year, that I’ve already watched shows that you guys mention a lot in this post (before 2015 ends; well not all of them but mostly). I’ve learnt my mistakes, picking shows solely based on polls are only make me regretting it.
    3. Every year, RC’s writers amaze me with their recommendations. In 2014 with Tonari no Seki-kun and Zankyou no Terror. In 2013 with Shin Sekai Yori and Uchouten Kazoku. I’m glad I’ve picked them after reading this blog’s BOA posts. Those shows are not really popular but have special space in my heart.
    4. I’m actually a big (and loyal) fan of Noragami Aragoto and Hyouka. These shows quite do well in Polls but not in Award thing like this. But I’m glad that they’re in Honorable Mentions.
    This year (again), I overally agree with your picks. I understand that you already have 13 genres in this (and that’s a lot). But I will be really really happy if you add Supernatural next year. Last thing I want to mention is:

    There exists nothing else like Mushishi, with its quiet storytelling, deliberate pacing, and its ability to say so much while doing so little. We’re brought back into this world for one more story, only to be washed over with grief because it’s the last time we’ll experience something like this again.

    Yeah, Samu I’m totally agree with you. Mushishi is one of a kind and I’m a fortunate person that able to watch that.

  • January 4, 2016 at 10:46 amWarriorsHeart

    Can’t argue with Daryun being the best character, he was my favourite character from Arslan Senki, slightly edging over Narsus because of his unyielding loyalty. Hosoya Yoshimasa definitely had a good year and I really like his distinctive and manly voice with a natural projection.

    • January 6, 2016 at 12:58 pmZephyr

      I’ll say that Narsus crossed my mind, but ultimately his actions in the background versus Daryun’s front and center actions tilted the scales toward the latter, who did much more with his own hands than Narsus did overall, even if the magnitude of the results might’ve been the same.

      And yeah, I agree completely. His loyalty is especially notable and played a part in my pick too.

  • January 4, 2016 at 12:11 pmErimaki

    Got to agree with most of these picks. The ones I don’t agree about are mostly shows I didn’t watch so I couldn’t form an opinion about them.

    Here’s my personal picks for each category, with some comments when I felt them necessary:

    Animation – Fate/Stay Night UBW

    Story – Shirobako

    Soundtrack – no opinion, except that I should pay more attention to them

    Opening – Subete ga F ni Naru: I really liked the bare bones, polygony visuals on this one. There was just something hypnotic about it. Also I just liked the song. (Death Parade and Shigatsu wa kimi no Uso were fighting over this one to the very end). Death Parade’s opening wins an entirely different category for me though.

    Ending – Kekkai Sensen: I just want to add to what Samu said that there aren’t many endings that can consistently prevent me from missing stuff happening afterwards, but this was one of them.

    Song: Hibike Euphonium‘s Mikazuki no Mai

    Character – no pick: this category is just too hard for me to choose for.

    Seiyuus – Yuuki Aoi and Hosoya Yoshimasa: I don’t know enough about seiyuu to give educated pick. I’m a massive Yuuki Aoi fan ever since Gosick though, and Stilts sold me on Hosoya so they get this category.

    Not going to details on Plot Twist and Death, but giving them to Gakkou Gurashi and Akatsuki no Yona, respectively

    Trap – Kotori-chan from WORKING

    Short – Wakako-zake: man I feel so happy to see this little gem get some love it deserves.

    Action – Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works: I didn’t watch JoJo or One-Punch Man

    Romance – Ore Monogatari

    Drama – Hibike! Euphonium

    Sci-fi – no opinion, didn’t watch any

    Horror – Gakkou Gurashi: the only one I watched
    (I’m really bad with horror and sci-fi just generally isn’t for me)

    Mystery – Rokka no Yuusha

    Fantasy – I want to give this one to Rokka no Yuusha for the sheer love for the series I have, but since the show is more mystery than fantasy, I feel like that would be wrong. So giving this to Danmachi instead for being a generally a feel-good series that had nice character development, not-so-standard standard LN protagonist and never failing to make me smile by the end.

    Comedy – Working

    RomCom – Oregairu

    SoL – Non Non Biyori Repeat

    Sports – Baby Steps 2

    Fanservice – Shokugeki no Souma

    Most underappreciated – Jitsu wa Watashi wa

    Biggest Dissapointed – Ranpo Kitan: failed expectations; I thought it would be a mystery show, but it was a completely different (weird) animal.

    Exceeded Expectaions – Danmachi: I wasn’t expecting much but the characters really made the show for me.

    Best Anime 2015: Death Parade

    Also:

    anyone who watched Log Horizon 2 will know what’s going on wPunch Lines plot-important

    Is it just me or is something missing there?

    • January 4, 2016 at 12:19 pmStilts

      Thanks. Had some kind of copy-and-paste fail there. Fixed it.

      …whereas Tetora-chan … well, anyone who watched Log Horizon 2 will know what’s going on with her. But the winner has to be Iridatsu Yuuta. Nowhere was the reveal as surprising, nor as plot-important, as it was in Punch Line, and the lack of cheap jokes at Yuuta’s expense feels like a huge step forward for trap-kind.

    • January 4, 2016 at 2:59 pmLyfe

      I thought Ranpo Kitan was quite well done/written. It was more a detective series with a twist.

      • January 4, 2016 at 5:08 pmErimaki

        It might be good at what it did (to be honest I dropped it around halfway so I wouldn’t know), but what it did was so far from what I expected that it was just a dissapointment for me. I also found it mostly tasteless when I assume it tried to be clever or shocking. It was too far out there for me to enjoy.
        In short: different tastes.
        Though now that I think about it, maybe I should have given that show the honors of having the best trap…

  • January 4, 2016 at 12:32 pmhjerry

    Yeah, I gave up on Reconguista pretty early, and it seems like I made the right decision. Nothing seemed to make sense to me. Aside from the animation, everything just felt wrong. It’s really a shame that I haven’t been able to have a Gundam series that I’ve truly liked since 00 (fav Seed). I’m kinda enjoying Orphans, but even that is kinda disappointing.

  • January 4, 2016 at 12:34 pmReite

    Added Death Parade, Shirobako, Kekkai Sensen and Shirayukihime to my To-Watch list. Thanks guys!

    I am slightly dissapointed Comet Lucifer didn’t win the Biggest Dissapointment category. But maybe it’s meta – the last disappointment of Comet Lucifer. It’s just doomed to fail at everything.

    Thank you Samu for including Yowamushi Pedal! I feel its fandom is small even for sports anime, so I’m glad to see it getting acknowledged.
    As a manga fan, I am sure the third season will be glorious.

    • January 4, 2016 at 4:30 pmZephyr

      Ultimately if it’s mentioned in the HM, it all goes down to personal preference, so I can see where you’re coming from, but Charlotte was just more disappointing to me than Comet Lucifer was.

  • January 4, 2016 at 2:21 pmNishizawa Mihashi

    ELLOW BOIYHZ!!! How’s everybody’s new years’ been eh? Fun? Not so fun? Mundane? Feel-sy? In any case, just ‘tuh letcha’ know I, Nishizawa, wish you folks a very Happeyh New Year straight from Malaysia: a medium-sized, often criminally-overlooked country which I deem to be the ‘America of the East’.

    Anyways, let us get down and dirteyh with some thangs that I wanna say regarding 2015 in Ayy-neh-muu~~~ Malaysian perspective included.

    [Click on spoilers to read more! And no, no actual spoilers included!]

    {Nishizawa POFIT series: Impressions/Thoughts/Feelings/Perceptions/Observations}
    {Ayy-neh-muu introduced are in alphabetical order}
    {Also, making this comment took quite a long time, so I hope that I’m still in time to express my POFITs before this post goes dead, and that I’ll be splitting the totality of this comment into several different replies down below due to length. Once again, I AM GOMEN}

    Anime: Anime de Wakaru Shinryounaika

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2 Sure-me

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Death Parade

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Digimon Adventure tri. 1: Saikai

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Durarara!!x2 Shou & Ten

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Budget Works

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Gakkougurashi!

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: Gangsta.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anime: GitS: Arise – Alternative Architecture

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 6, 2016 at 12:58 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Oh man, I was getting worried that the Best of post would go dead suuuper soon compared to the other ones, but at least there’s some fresh new comments coming in.

      In any case, I’ll continue with the rest of my thoughts on the various shows. I mean, now that we pretty much know what are Zephyr’s, Samu’s and Stilt’s picks are for their chosen categories. Hope we could get more discussion going on for some of these shows that I plan on talking about, and I noticed the “comment waiting moderation” thing going on as well. Maybe it’s the amount of spoiler tags I used, but seriously rest assured that there are almost no spoilers, like even if there are, it’s like 0.1~0.05% of the content.

      So like yeah, I’ll continue RIGHT NOW.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Anime: La sorcière vierge Maria

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Anime: Kagewani

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Anime: Parasyte

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Anime: Log Horizon Season 2

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Anime: Love Live!: The Movie

      Show Spoiler ▼

      And with that, I’ll end this second part right here. Will be continuing later tonight, or in the day, after adjusting for time zone differences. Damn, I really wanna know what people think of all these other shows. Or perhaps, there’s nothing else worth mentioning about them at all?

  • January 4, 2016 at 2:57 pmLyfe

    Only 8 votes for Wakaba Girl? LOL. Where’s the love? I liked this series too. I’d like to see a second season, but I’m expecting nothing.

    • January 5, 2016 at 1:40 pmZephyr

      Shorts in general tend to have less people watching it, so that plays a big part.

      I did make sure to mention it in the shorts category at least though.

  • January 4, 2016 at 3:38 pmmaiku

    owarimonogatari ?

    it was a fuuu— disapointment

    UBW doesn´t have the places it deserves

    • January 4, 2016 at 5:00 pmZephyr

      UBW received multiple mentions in Animation, Action, and Fantasy, meaning it got a mention in every genre it was associated with, and it got the Reader’s Choice 2nd Rank as well.

      That seems like a good haul to me.

  • January 4, 2016 at 5:17 pmHanabira.Kage

    No mention of Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso’s 2nd ED for good music? :/

  • January 4, 2016 at 7:24 pmnhel

    Did everyone suddenly forgot about Overlord? I thought it was damn enjoyable, the OP is pretty good too.

    • January 5, 2016 at 1:38 pmZephyr

      I enjoyed it, but as it was a loaded category for action and fantasy in general (the latter had over a dozen candidates), it just missed the cut when it was all said and done.

  • January 4, 2016 at 9:15 pmIchigomaru

    *Animation: Fate UBW, Hibiki Euphonium!;
    *Story: Owarimonogatari, Shirobako, Grisaia no Rakuen;
    *Male Character: Souma (Shokugeki) for sure, he is funny, badass and he wasn’t a sore loser. Kazuma Yuuji (Grisaia);
    *Female Character: Senjougahara (Owarimonogatari), Stella (Rakudai Kishi), Momo (To Love-Ru Darkness);
    *Action: OP Man, Nanatsu no taizai, Rakudai Kishi;
    *Best Couple: Rakudai Kishi, Noragami Aragoto (yato x hiyori <3);
    *Romance: Shirayuki hime;
    *Exceed expectation: Prison School, Shirobako, Cross Ange;
    *Ending Sequence: Asterisk War ED – "I'm waiting for the rain", Tokyo Ghoul root A – "Amazarashi";
    *Opening Sequence: Rokka no Yuusha OP2/3 – "Black Swallowtail", Hidan no Aria "Bull Eyes", Nanatsu no Taizai – "Man with a Mission";

    Best overall:
    3) Fate Unlimited Blade Works
    2) Shokugeki no Souma
    1) Owarimonogatari

    Honorable Mentions: Shirobako, Rakudai Kishi, Grisaia no Rakuen, Noragami Aragoto;

    Final Considerations: this year surprised me a lot, there was a lot "Exceed expectation". When Fate UBW was released I thought it would be the anime of the year but maybe we expected too much… anyway it was a great anime and I love the plot twist. Grisaia was kinda underappreciated, it has a different and adult story, well I liked a lot. 2015 was a joyful year for anime, let's see what 2016 gonna bring to us!

  • January 4, 2016 at 10:34 pmSmeef

    I agree with a majority of the review, especially most of the picks by Samu. But one thing irks me: there wasn’t even a mention of Shigatsu under best song. The show’s most prominent piece, Yuujin A kun wo Watashi no Bansousha ni Ninmei Shimasu, heralded the best and most redeeming moments of the anime. A bit disappointed it wasn’t mentioned.

    • January 5, 2016 at 1:35 pmZephyr

      I thought about it actually, but ultimately there was that and the other song “Again” on the same CD that felt equally worth mentioning, so I felt that the best thing to do what to mention it on the soundtracks category to give recognition to all the songs in general while giving an extra spot for other songs I felt other people may not have listened to from less watched series.

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:23 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Music is probably the most subjective creative medium out there. While there are specific criteria that can be used to gauge how well-performed, how successfully experimental, or how well conveyed the themes found within the music are, ultimately in order for one to accurately assess music, one must assess within a certain pool so as to narrow down choices- for there are ludicrous amounts of musical pieces in various genres out there today, thus making assessment exceedingly difficult. Usually the best musical pieces are the ones that successfully push the very limits of the boundaries, while still maintaining cohesive themes or ideas and featuring highly technically proficient instrument playing or vocals. Perhaps I shall sample the musical piece you mentioned and see whether they meet the criteria so that I can accurately determine if it’s really something special.

  • January 5, 2016 at 6:03 amion42

    When I saw Charlotte as the biggest disappointment, I couldn’t help but chuckle and agree with it. I remember seeing the trailers and expecting it to be awesome. After a while… meh…

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:48 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Also, in terms of G no Reconguista, it doesn’t help that, from what I’ve heard, Tomino didn’t even originally intend it to be a “Gundam” series (just something with obvious Gundam and other mecha influence), but was convinced to make it one which could be why things felt so “off” for it being a “Gundam” series, and with only very loose Universal Century references, but no explanations for them.

  • January 5, 2016 at 4:18 pmgrayne

    in the past ‘Best Anime’ felt more like a somewhat objective (of course not completely), critical appraisal of the year’s anime series to determine the best ones.

    this year (for the first time I’ve noticed) it feels like it’s just zephyr & samu’s personal favourite picks from 2015, without any sense of a systematic thought process for determination of the picks. while there is nothing wrong with doing that (and I enjoyed reading it), retaining the title ‘Best Anime of 2015′ feels inaccurate and rather misleading.

    renaming it ‘Favourite Anime of 2015′ would be more accurate IMO.

    • January 6, 2016 at 1:28 amUrahara

      You seriously think death parade and Shirobako dont deserve the title ??? which anime does then ??? Objectively

      • January 6, 2016 at 9:08 amgrayne

        the point is that there doesn’t appear to have been any critical, systematic approach in trying to determine the best anime in each category. while this can never be fully objective, in the past years’ ‘Best Anime’ posts, they appeared to at least attempted to do this.

        this year it is simply a list of the personal favourites of individuals. again – there is nothing with doing this, but then ‘Favourite Anime of 2015′ would have be a more appropriate title.

        it doesn’t really matter which anime is or isn’t the best, personal opinions are rather beside the point. it’s about the approach and reasoning used to reach the conclusion that that particular one was the best.

      • January 6, 2016 at 12:42 pmZephyr

        I must say that I’m curious as to what exactly is being looked for in this regard…?

        I noted multiple reasons as to why I felt it deserved the pick, going into detail about its narrative, how it presented its characters, and the many themes it tried to touch upon. It’s still subjective in the end, but I made a point to refer to tangible, analyzable, and discussable areas of the series (and in series in general) that tend to be as objective in nature as possible given the circumstances.

        Ultimately, it’s the same system I’ve used for the past few years, and you’ll note that I lauded the narrative for both Shin Sekai Yori and Uchuu Kyoudai as well as primary reasons for their selection, so your comment strikes me a bit odd as I didn’t personally change anything in regards to how I did things this year.

        That said, I will note that I haven’t blogged weekly for a few months now, so it’s possible that perhaps the way I wrote the entry this year framed it in a more subjective context than I intended…?

      • January 6, 2016 at 2:03 pmStilts

        Don’t take this as an insult, but you’re giving your subjective opinion that someone else’s opinion is subjective rather than objective based on no concrete evidence (which isn’t a knock against you, because there’s no concrete evidence to be cited).

        Of course they’re subjective. Everyone is informed by their own biases and worldview. The important part is to try to be as objective as you can, knowing full well that you’ll fail. That’s why I couldn’t pick Sakurasou as the best anime a few years back, even though it resonates with me more than anything else that year. But my choice then, and their choices now, might not have been strictly objective.

        Which is impossible. It’s only important that they tried really hard. Which they did.

      • January 6, 2016 at 2:49 pmSamu

        And for the record, if this were ‘Favourite Anime of 2015′ then I’d choose Hibike! Euphonium in a heartbeat, like Stilts would have picked Sakurasou in 2013, but I didn’t because I thought Shirobako was the ‘better’ anime.

      • January 7, 2016 at 11:14 amgrayne

        haha i’ve really stirred the pot haven’t I. but none of you seem to have grasped my point – maybe because i haven’t articulated it very well. so i’ll try to elucidate.

        an individual can simply state their favourite of a particular item in any given class of things (and then give the reasons why they like it best). it is a different matter to make a reasoned critique of each of the items in that particular class of things (not every single one in that class, but whichever ones the individual has experienced), and then through comparison of those critiques (which are of course personal and vary between people, but have an systematic thought process element), determine which one is best.

        of course this is unique to an individual and varies between people. but there is a systematic, critical appraisal that is not present in picking a favourite. e.g. my favourite anime of the year may be X because I liked a, b and c things about it; but if I critically evaluate each of the animes I’ve seen this year, I may arrive at Y as the ‘best’. so the anime that I determine as being the ‘best’ may not be my favourite – I may not even like it. equally the best may just happen to be the same as my favourite.

        the personal impression I get this year there wasn’t any rigour in terms of usage of some kind of critical approach to evaluating the animes of the past year which has then lead to the determination of the best ones. in the past years I got the feeling such an approach was used, to some extent at least, which resulted in rather more balanced and better reasoned picks for the best in each category IMO.

        i note you that you mentioned this year there wasn’t the same deliberation that took place in previous years, for time-saving purposes. perhaps the process of deliberation and reaching a consensus with multiple individuals, served as a tool of critical appraisal even if it wasn’t being done consciously, as such a process decreases the emphasis on individuals’ personal opinions in favour of a somewhat more objective methodology (in the sense of being more balanced and less skewed by individual tastes, but yes not ‘truly’ objective – please don’t shoot me stilts).

        TL;DR – a critical process of determination with emphasis moved away from (& not skewed by) individual tastes/likes, as opposed to an individual’s favourites. but maybe difficult to do by oneself and/or easier to do with group deliberation & consensus. nothing to do with the actual picks themselves. and yes, it isn’t objective (but that isn’t the point).

      • January 7, 2016 at 11:21 amgrayne

        slightly clarification/change to TL;DR:

        a critical process of determination with emphasis moved away from (& not skewed by) individual tastes/likes, as opposed to an individual’s favourites (which are significantly influenced by individual tastes/likes).

      • January 7, 2016 at 11:48 amgrayne

        a final note:

        this is just the FEELING that I PERSONALLY get from reading this post, and i make no claims that this is anything more than merely my own impressions. i hoped i had make this quite clear in my initial post. however, some of you seem to be taking this rather personally – i intended only to express my personal thoughts and possibly stimulate a little discussion.

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:10 amNishizawa Mihashi

      I’ve been noticing that a lot lately among a lot of different reviewers, be it whether if they’re reviewing anime or some other form of creative multimedia. In fact I find that it’s very important to compartmentalize and accurately label personal favorites vis-a-vis technical proficiency/level of craft. Now, while they do provide separate categories to indicate the level of craft over in this RandomC post, it is most probably the framing of how ‘The Best Overall Anime’ was selected that established its highly subjective nature to readers.

  • January 5, 2016 at 6:04 pmEdgewood

    >Death Parade
    >Best Anime 2015
    See, Zephyr gets it. :/

  • January 5, 2016 at 6:14 pmdrn

    85 Houkago no Pleiades 21 0.12%
    I’m really surprised by the fact that 20 other people voted for this anime other than me.
    FeelsPo-warmMan

  • January 6, 2016 at 8:40 amThe Story You Don’t Know

    I barely watched or even finished any series this year.

    This year was a bad year… Yep, I must be getting old T^T

    • January 6, 2016 at 11:12 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Hmm, okay. Well then, what kind of story would you like to see be animated then? Surely there’s something out there or deep inside that ignites the imagination and the passions somehow?

  • January 6, 2016 at 9:12 amlebleu

    best female seiyuu: hirano aya (Migi from Parasyte)

  • January 6, 2016 at 9:48 amRequiem

    I gave Shirobako the 3-episode rule but I just can’t seem to find anything remotely interesting about it. Hell, I don’t even know how some of the staff haven’t been fired like the wishy-washy director or the annoying blond guy production assistant. It was just plainly ordinary. Just my opinion so please don’t flame me :(

  • January 6, 2016 at 1:42 pmDone with Randomc

    I will not recognize a site that doesn’t have Yuru Yuri mentioned anywhere. I am deleting this from my favorites and not coming back again.

    • January 6, 2016 at 1:55 pmSamu

      But…

      Yuru Yuri San☆Hai! also went for the SOL approach rather than slapstick comedy

      Honorable Mentions: SHIROBAKO, Sore ga Seiyuu!, Yuru Yuri San☆Hai!, Gakkou Gurashi!

    • January 6, 2016 at 2:06 pmStilts

      A perceived slight to a story you enjoyed is not an insult to you in particular. It’s not even an indictment of you if you’re the one who wrote it, unless specifically noted—and even then, most critics are talking out of their asses.

  • January 6, 2016 at 5:44 pmSylae

    Where can I found this Hibike! Euphonium song version plz ? it’s so great <3

  • January 6, 2016 at 6:14 pmxClueless

    Yay for Death Parade! Many thanks again to Cherrie for covering the series! Would never have found this anime if not for her posts :)

    • January 6, 2016 at 8:01 pmCherrie

      Awww… you’re sweet =) Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the show as much as everyone else did.

  • January 7, 2016 at 10:51 amlaaa

    Well weak year for my taste. When aldonaoh and tokyo ghoul ended it kinda cut there till gundam iron blooded orphans
    May be next year gona fit my taste better

    • January 7, 2016 at 10:59 amlaaa

      That end note about new Macross. It gave me headache in 2 min and I rage quit it. Good luck watching it

  • January 7, 2016 at 3:31 pmHunter-Wolf

    While i agree with most choices (and that both Death Parade and One Punch Man deserve AOTY) there are some categorizes that i strongly disagree with, and here is why.

    First, I totally disagree with the choices in Fantasy, both choices can hardly be considered fantasy, and Akagami more so than Owarimonogatari, and the later is just more of the same that has already been done in the previous Monogatari series and isn’t fresh or new or that interesting to begin with, Log Horizon 2, Overlord or Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka fit the bill a lot better and do “feel” like actual fantasy series, and in terms of creativity and interesting fantasy settings Dungeon takes the cake, more so because while its world feels a bit like a video game it actually did something interesting and instead of doing the now typical people-trapped-in-MMORPG they made the fantasy world itself feel like a video game and has some video game rules but they exist in a real persistent world rather than a virtual one and are explained as magic (plus their addition of a pantheon of Gods from all different characters), resulting on the focus not being trying to find a way back to the real world or even the fish-out-of-water phase where the characters try to adapt to their new world and its rules, it goes straight into the story, the subversion of this common fantasy trope and the epic fights (specially the last big battle) really make this show deserving of best Fantasy IMO.

    ===================================================

    Second is the Most under-appreciated series category, come on .. both of you chose Yuri Kuma Arashi and ignored Punch Line even in the honorable mentions, seriously!!! this show is the MOST under-appreciated show this year because of how it setup its premise and the timing of its mid-show twists, watching it using the 3 episodes rule would make you think it’s just a nonsensical comedy with lots of mindless fanservice, pandering and nothing else, i’m pretty sure a lot of people never reached ep 6 where you realize the true nature of the show and what’s really going on from the very start, and suddenly everything will be turned on its head and the weird/bizarre and even perverted stuff happening will all make a lot of sense, that’s an achievement not many shows can pull off like this one did.

    You can blame the makers of the show for pushing the fanservice too hard into the forefront and filling the opening with panty shots and even the pun in the title itself for making people quit before giving the show any real chance, but i say its craziness and creativity are on par with Concrete Revolution but on a much smaller scope (as well as how crazy its cast of characters actually are and how they are much more than they seem at first, can’t say more because it will spoil a lot), Punch Line deserved far more publicity and attention that it received and it should IMO have won at least one of the positions in most under-appreciated anime category, or even an honorable mention which it didn’t even get.

    ===================================================

    Third, i think Kekkai Sensen should have won Best Music, seriously .. any time Jazz music and anime get together there is nothing but awesomeness .. whether it’s Cowboy Bebop, Baccano or the new Gundam: Thunderbolt Jazz music always works so damn well with anime for some mysterious reason, Kekkai Sensen might have had few problems here and there but if it was flawless in one category it’s the freaking music, at least we agreed on the ED being one of the best this year.

    ====================================================

    All in all a great year for anime and thanks for you coverage throughout the whole year, here is hoping 2016 will bring us even better anime (Attak on Titan S2, fingers crossed), and i wish a happy new year to all staff and regular readers here.

  • January 8, 2016 at 3:34 amgreenT

    I just wanted to thank you ;Zephyr, samu and everyone that is involved with this site for the continuous making of these articals. I’ve never really posted here but i’ve seen the highs and lows. Its good to see that everyone is, at the end of the day doing what they love!
    All the best wishes to everyone, hope to be reading best anime of 2016 when that time of the year comes

    • January 8, 2016 at 12:49 pmZephyr

      Welcome!

  • January 8, 2016 at 4:18 amPikachu

    >The total series watched list for both writers ended up at about 100 this year, and while we won’t guarantee total objectivity (like such a thing exists), we’re generally well-informed about whatever we’re wrong about.

    I agree there no such thing as objectivity in review. Even all the Best of Anime in previous years are all subjective and this is what happen when you review something objectively.

    http://www.destructoid.com/100-objective-review-final-fantasy-xiii-179178.phtml

    An objective review is just summary.Sadly, many anime fans are ignorant about this and know nothing about objectivity.