There are precious few familiar faces, but some are rather precious.
This may be the briefest sequel/carryover post I’ve ever written thanks to a shortage of sequels, some odd licensing issues, and personal viewing preferences. Still, the few there are have a lot of fond memories attached to them, so that should be a good sign going forward. Hit the jump for fairy tales, thieves, and urban legends.
Having some good old-fashioned fun in the sun.
Summer might not have had the most groundbreaking or ambitious of series, but what it lacked in artistry it made up for in pure enjoyment. This season was just plain entertaining, chock full a variety of genres from high fantasy to crime drama to horror to comedy. Well-executed (or awesomely bad) pop fiction was the name of the game, and I was genuinely excited for the next episode of even the lowest-rated series on this list.
That isn’t to say there weren’t some excellent ideas and characters to be found among the batch, mind you. While “entertainment” was the primary focus, many of the top series featured strong character writing, showrunners who knew how to develop unique atmospheres through art and music, and an understated but insightful exploration of social issues such as power imbalances and bigotry.
School-Live and Gangsta dealt with trauma in nuanced ways, and Snow White and My Love Story depicted some of the healthiest relationships in shoujo memory, promoting communication and quietly but consistently challenging traditional gender roles and genre stereotypes. Part of the reason I had so much fun this season was because I wasn’t having to constantly roll my eyes at some trite or harmful characterization, but could just get swept along in a bunch of great (or hilaribad) stories. And that makes this a pretty strong season in my book.
Styles keep a-changin’, the world’s rearrangin’, but some shows are timeless to me.
As is custom, I’m popping in to let everyone know the sequels and carryovers on my calendar. We’ve got (re)meet ‘n’ greets for those who’ve returned to the anime schedule (some from a very long absence), and a quick blurb for the rest. Hit the jump to welcome them all back.
I’ve never been so sad to see the end of winter.
Real talk, dear readers: This was the best anime season I’ve experienced since I started regularly watching simulcasts a few years ago, positively jam-packed with not only quality adaptations but also tremendous original works (a relative rarity these days). As a result, creating this list was torture, because there were simply too many great or good series, full of tightly woven plots, provocative themes, and captivating characters. So take the numbers with a grain of salt and, if you’re looking for a new show to watch, pay closer attention to the grades and premises.
I like to talk season trends in these retrospectives, and Winter saw a couple fascinating ones: Well-written female characters, and an exploration of binaries (male/female, life/death, Madonna/whore, geeky/sporty, etc.) and seemingly irreconcilable cultures and social groups. The top seven shows all feature diverse, layered lady protagonists; in five of those shows said protagonists are the main character; and two of them (Yurikuma Arashi and Maria the Virgin Witch) are overtly feminist works, portraying and challenging society’s expectations/treatment of women in both reality and fiction.
There’s a mess of complicated, morally gray, thought-provoking stuff here, but more impressive still, these ideas are generally paired with complex characters and compelling stories, leading to a gripping cocktail of the intellectual and the emotional, a winning combo of Dem Thinks and Dem Feels. In short, Winter was a damn good season, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Hit the jump for some spoiler-free mini-reviews, final grades, and Totally Arbitrary Rankings.
Hello Ikebukuro, my old friend.
There’s a flipping mountain of sequels and carryovers this season, so I won’t spend a ton of time on them all, but I did want to touch base with the shows that came back, and let everyone know what I will and won’t be watching (at least for the time being – if the new winter shows prove disappointing, it’s not impossible that I’ll finally get around to trying out Log Horizon or Fafner, but I wouldn’t put any bets on it).
Familiar faces below the jump!
Shifting gears a bit, we move from bicycles to motorcycles as the Seven Days of Summer continues with: