Glancing Upstream: Winter 2015 Retrospective and Review

I’ve never been so sad to see the end of winter.

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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.

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Yurikuma Arashi Recap & Review: Episode 12 – “YURI KUMA ARASHI” (Finale)

Let’s go, Miss Kureha! To the outside world!

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I thought I’d start this with a spoiler-free review, for those of you scrolling past and wondering if you should give this strange little series a try. Hit the jump to read on, and I’ll let you know when the spoilers kick up again.

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A Tokyo Ghoul Retrospective; Or, “Waiter, There’s a Tragedy in my Horror Anime!”

Looking back over the Tokyo Ghoul anime, its protagonist’s journey, and that gut-punch of a finale.

I’m forgoing my usual review format for a messier, off-the-cuff analysis/reaction, because damn, that finale got to me and my brain is full of cluttered thoughts. Needless to say the following contains major spoilers for the entirety of Tokyo Ghoul, including the Season Two (Tokyo Ghoul √A) finale. Hit the jump at your own risk.

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