Glancing Upstream: Spring 2015 Retrospective and Review

Well, that was certainly a season of anime.

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Okay, maybe I’m being too hard here. Winter 2015 was a nigh impossible act to follow in terms of sheer depth and breadth, and it’s not like Spring didn’t have its fair share of light, fun series. Plus there were a few clear standouts along the way as well, particularly if you enjoy more realistic YA-style fiction. Still, I’m finding that, while last season I was recommending just about everything to just about everyone, this season is a lot more about “Well, if you like {Genre}, you’ll probably enjoy {Title}.”

Weaker seasons tend to tell you more about your own tastes than the stronger ones, and now that I’ve officially blogged a full year’s worth of anime seasons, I think it’s safe to say that I have a wide range of genre and story interests and will watch just about anything so long as I can get halfway invested in the characters, whether that’s through humor or emotional drama. There are some definite clumsy and/or questionable shows on this list, but I stuck around largely because I liked hanging out with at least a portion of the cast and wanted to see what became of them. So, really, this season’s list is as much about who I liked as it is about what I liked.

Hit the jump for the best characters of the season (and their corresponding series).

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Panning the Stream: Spring 2015 Midseason Review

Time to peek in on the Spring line-up and see how our new team’s holding up.

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The word for this season so far is “light,” and I don’t necessarily mean that in terms of the number of shows I’m watching (although there is that, too). Unlike this past winter, which was jam-packed with ambitious stories, social commentaries, and questions with no easy answers, Spring is more about kicking back and having fun, whether you’re engaging in rom-com shenanigans, trying to make it big in an anthropomorphic CG band, or swearing vengeance against those damn dirty vampires. And while I’ve grumbled about the weakness of this season, there’s something to be said for good old-fashioned escapism sometimes, too.

Lightness notwithstanding, there’s still one major standout, a couple solid sequels, and a few new series which are growing well and showing signs of real potential—including some that should have never worked for me and yet draw me in a little deeper each week. This is either proof that execution trumps premise, or that my taste is getting worse by the minute and it’s all cat girls and panty jokes from here on out. Remember me as I was, not as I am. Then hit the jump to get a rundown of our current roster.

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Rule of Three Review, Dark Horse Digest: PUNCH LINE, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches – Episodes 2-3

Well, this is unexpected.

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I didn’t expect either of these shows to earn a full meet ‘n’ greet, never mind this Rule of Three Review. More surprising still, both are staying on the watch list for now, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing where they take their stories.

The “how” and “why” of it mostly boils down to solid writing, something that other shows which looked better on paper have struggled with this season. Likable characters and engaging (or at least bizarre) scenarios go a long way all on their own; throw in some energetic animation/direction, and you’ve got yourself the two most pleasant surprises of the season. Both could fall off a cliff at any moment, and I’m halfway expecting it to happen, but they’re still with me for now, and in a season this sparse I’ll take whatever I can get. Hit the jump for details, concerns, and early praise.

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Panning the Stream: Blood Blockade Battlefront, PUNCH LINE, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

I’ll give Spring Premiere Week this much: It sure didn’t end on a boring note.

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As if to make up for a few of my previous posts, this one has three whole meet-n-greets, and two of them surprised even me. Has my brain overloaded from a long week of watching and writing about premieres, thus seriously hampering my judgment? Or is there actually something worthwhile in each show of this batch? Well, they’re only premieres, and I am pretty exhausted, so the jury’s prob’ly still out on that one. But you’re welcome to hit the jump and decide for yourself.

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