Glancing Upstream: Summer 2015 Retrospective and Review

Having some good old-fashioned fun in the sun.

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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.

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Rule of Three Review, Boys’ Club Digest: Ushio & Tora, Rampo Kitan – Episodes 2-3

It’s all fun and games until someone gets turned into a chair.

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These two shows have exactly one thing in common, which is a male-dominated cast. Okay, two things: Both are pretty visually striking. Okay, three things: They both like to put damsels in distress, although even then the way they do it is pretty dramatically different. Past that, though, Ushitora and Rampo couldn’t be less similar, so it’s no wonder my reactions to the two are kinda disparate, too. Hit the jump to hang with the guys and see whose company is most welcome.

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Panning the Stream: GANGSTA, Ushio and Tora, SHIMONETA

It’s okay to be a little GARish sometimes.

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Summer shows continue to run the gamut in terms of genre and content, and so it’s unsurprising that today we turn to series that look nothing like anything else we’ve seen so far this season: A criminal underworld drama and a classic shounen action/adventure. Oh, and a weak attempt at satire which earns a spot as my first official dropped show of the season. But mostly the first two. Hit the jump for even more summer series that caught my eye and popped with potential.

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