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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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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Rule of Three Review: The Perfect Insider

In murder as well as mystery, execution is key.


In keeping with this season’s trends, I’m going to start another post by saying that X genre can be a hard sell for me. The genre this time is mystery. I love a good mystery integrated into my stories, mind you—who’s this strange person, what’s the relationship between these two characters, why’s all this weird stuff happening in town, and so on—but your straight “whodunit” stories? Not so much. The question “who committed this crime?” simply isn’t enough of a draw.

So, if you want to hook me with a mystery, you need to accomplish at least one of two things: Compelling character drama, or an atmosphere so thick you can cut it with a knife. Fortunately for the rather sparse fall season, The Perfect Insider is two for two in that regard.

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Panning the Stream: The Perfect Insider, Anti-Magic Academy, Shomin Sample

Throw another potential gold nugget in the season’s li’l pile, at least.


I sat on this post for a bit because there are still technically a couple premieres left, but none of them are available for legal streaming as I write this and I’ve got a packed weekend ahead of me, so I figured I’d go ahead and queue this up now. Consider it the last batch of new fall shows—I’ll throw up a post tomorrow for the extensive number of sequels (and “sequels”) I’m watching, and that’ll wrap up for the madness that is premiere week. If any of the stragglers catch my eye, you’ll hear about it in a Rule of Three.

As for this final batch, it features one of my favorites of the season and two more to add to the stack of unremarkable-to-ohGodwhy LN adaptations flooding our streams this season. Hit the jump for praise and headshakes alike.

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