The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2015: Part 2 (#1-5)

One last hurrah for the best and brightest of 2015.


Did you miss out on Part 1? Fear not! You can click here for the year in review and the bottom half of the Top 10, including honorable mentions. Or, if you’re ready to check out the cream of the crop, you can hit the jump and read on for more.

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Glancing Upstream: Fall 2015 Retrospective and Review

The autumn colors were certainly on display, I’ll give Fall that, at least.


This was a slim season for me in terms of overall series completed, and would have been a pretty disappointing one if not for a couple happy surprises and a pair of standout shows from the ever-reliable Studio BONES. Still, there’s good variety here, with a strong focus on action/adventure titles, so there’s a pretty good chance something out there will speak to everyone’s tastes.

One thing Fall did have in droves was plenty of style. From the jaw-droppingly dynamic animation of One Punch Man, to the ’60s comic book-inspired design of Concrete Revolutio, to the painted landscapes of Seraph, the glowing monsters of Noragami, and even the washed-out color scheme and bursts of acid-trip weirdness in Perfect Insider, a lot of creative teams threw themselves into making the shows this season visually striking, and they by-and-large succeeded.

While ultimately I’m the kind of viewer who needs a developed set of characters and a meaningful (or at least entertaining) narrative to keep me invested in a story, that should by no means take away from the sheer amount of hard work and talent on display this Fall. Animation is art, and (narrative content notwithstanding), these creators have made that abundantly clear.

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Noragami Aragoto – Episode 13 (Season Finale & Review)

Yes, I’ll have one order of Season Three, please?

Noragami gets back to basics as it returns the focus to its central cast and wraps up its second (but hopefully not final) season with an emotionally satisfying finale and a big teaser for what comes next.

As usual, I’ll spend the first part of this post providing a specifics-free review and the second part discussing the episode itself. I’ll be sure to let any newcomers know when to close the window to avoid spoilers, so don’t hesitate to hit that link and read on for more.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Noragami Aragoto – Episode 12: “Your Voice Calls Out”

A god by any other name…


After last week’s bumpy ride, Noragami is back to doing what it does best: Character-driven storytelling, slick-looking battles, and moments of simple yet profound emotional resonance. And if there appears to be a little mist in my eyes, I assure you it’s just from the dust our battling gods kicked up this week. Definitely just that.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Noragami Aragoto – Episode 11: “Revival”

A God of Fortune always pays her debts.


I spent a lot of the Bishamon Arc praising Noragami for its tightly woven, character-driven narrative, where every scene fed into the next and every plot point developed naturally out of individuals acting in ways true to their (limited) perspectives and experiences. This—I guess we’ll call it the Ebisu Arc—hasn’t been as strong structurally: There are gaps in the cause-effect between one event and the next, unexplained motivations, and sometimes people behave in ways that seem designed solely to move the plot or another character’s development forward rather than out of an organic extension of their own personality, desires, or what have you.

The hodgepodge plotting has been mitigated and at times hidden entirely thanks to great production values, strong emotional beats, a good sense of comedic timing, and some fascinating character details (particularly where Yato is concerned), but it really comes to the forefront during the first half of this episode, which I can only describe as a nonsensical way to mark time before the finale.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Noragami Aragoto – Episode 10: “A Certain Desire”

A little wishing goes a long way.


Aaaand we’re back! Last week was fraught with emotional turmoil for our heroes and filled with pineapple beers and basketball games for yours truly, but now it’s time to put all that behind us and focus on getting everyone’s favorite trio back together again. Massive thanks to Setsuken for covering for me last week! I was with you all in spirit (and Feels) if not in blog posts, and am now rested, rejuvenated, and ready to take us all through the final stretch of Noragami, however tense, amusing, or painful it may be.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Noragami Aragoto – Episode 9: “The Sound of a Thread Snapping”

BONES is punishing me for taking a week off from blogging, aren’t they?


I was on break this week (although my Feels sure weren’t), but Setsuken was kind enough to cover the episode for me. Click here for his full post on Anime Evo!

I did provide some livetweet commentary for this one, so just for funsies, I thought I’d chuck that up here for your enjoyment. Hit the jump and grab some syrup to put on these hottakes.

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Noragami Aragoto – Episode 8: “God of Calamity”

Out of one Lucky Gods’ frying pan and into another one’s fire.


Our idyllic interlude is predictably short-lived, as Noragami chucks us in to its next major conflict(s) and promises (or at least heavily teases) some major movement in terms of revealing more of Yato’s backstory and his long, messy relationship with Nora. This is largely a table-setting episode, introducing new antagonists and complications and prepping us for the potential calamities to come. And rest assured, it’s looking to be one packed table indeed.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

Panning the Stream: Fall 2015 Midseason Review

The trees outside are looking almost as sparse as my watch list.


It’s a fairly quiet season on my end, as I’m only keeping up with eight full-length shows and one short(ish), as compared to last season’s whopping thirteen. While that’s partly out of necessity (there’s nothing like a packed month of travel and writing projects to make you shed shows), it also speaks to the kinds of series airing this season. I wouldn’t even call it a bad season, just one with a lot of mid-range shows that don’t appeal to me personally. Sometimes that happens.

A packed month of travel and writing projects can also tell you a lot about your own preferences, turns out, and mine are pretty solidly turned towards character-driven writing and/or offbeat or ambitious narrative structures. The general craziness of my schedule as of late has also led me to seek out lighter, sillier shows, which is likely why this list is so heavy on the comedies and over-the-top “dramas.” Never let it be said that personal tastes and circumstances don’t affect judgment, because oh man, do they ever.

Hit the jump to see what’s stuck, what’s slipping, and what has the chance to be truly special.

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Noragami Aragoto – Episode 7: “How to Worship a God”

Noragami makes it rain in more ways than one this week.


It’s a quiet week by recent standards, one-part Bishamon epilogue and one-part (I assume) prologue for the next arc, with a little Delivery God mission tucked up in the center. The series gets to stretch its comedy muscles and remind us that it’s just as good at humor as it is at action and drama, but if you thought that meant they were going to let our feelings breathe after the emotional rollercoaster of the past few weeks, boy howdy, do you have another thing comin’.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!