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.
I’ve never been so sad to see the end of winter.
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.
Let’s go, Miss Kureha! To the outside world!
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.
Bear hugs make everything better.
This post is coming to you on holiday, two time zones and a primary laptop away from my usual writing location, which means I’m lacking both my reaction gif archive and a whole mess of available writing time. So while this post is still plenty long on account of all the Lulu (#BestBear), I do apologize if it’s a bit sparser (and lower on terrible puns) than usual.
Finders, keepers, losers, bear food.
And I thought Jack-in-the-boxes were creepy.
I may never be able to listen to “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” the same way again.
And here I thought winter was supposed to be the quiet anime season.
A solid mix of carryovers, sequels, and newcomers has (so far) made this the best winter anime season in recent memory, filled to the brim with engaging shows of varying styles and genres. The fall trend of arealism continues as almost every series on this list has at least some fantastical element to it, but perhaps most happily, there’s a sense of people taking risks – or, at the very least, having fun – this season, both in the art/animation and in the storytelling.
There are a surprising number of original series on the list (a relative rarity these days), and while it’s often messy and unpolished, it’s not the same ol’ blend of tropes and story lines churned out without imagination or even enjoyment. Energy and enthusiasm can make up for a lot of imperfections, and this season has me thoroughly engaged because of the amount of sheer excitement splashed across these frames. Here’s hoping that continues through the second half of winter, too.
A picture book nestled in a memory nestled in a flashback nestled in an episode. Well. Things must be getting serious, then.
Because Yurikuma was becoming just a liiiiittle too straightforward, this week sees us jumping back and forth through time like a Gallifreyan kangaroo. To help keep everything coherent (and avoid clogging this thing with the written version of establishing shots), I’ll be using bolded cues so everyone knows where we are in time. Allons-y!