So marking my first year end at Ani-TAY I’ve decided to do a top list for anime I watched this year, but rather than making a single large top anime list for the year I’ve made 5 small lists. To qualify for one of my lists, a series must have finished in 2015, so shows that started in fall 2014 count but shows that aired in summer and fall 2015 that won’t finish until next year will not.
One small note: shows I generally watch steer towards Action, Comedy, Horror and Sci-Fi; I tend to avoid Slice-of-Life, Sports, and ecchi anime. With that out the way...
My Top 5 One-Cour Anime I watched this year
- One Punch Man
- School Live!
- Death Parade
- Noragami Aragoto
Noragami barely touched my top anime list from last year but regardless I was happy to see it getting a second season. And It basically took what I enjoyed about the first season and improved on it in every way. While the comedy in the first season was enjoyable, Aragoto dials it down slightly and focuses instead on developing its characters and world. The ending of this season left me starving for more - seriously, watch after the credits of the last episode and try to contain your hype!
Dominating most of this list is Madhouse. This year they have made 4 of my favourite anime including Overlord, which gave a new spin to the “Trapped in a video game” storyline, and Death Parade, which I’m honestly struggling to sum up in one sentence so you’re better off just watching it yourself. But of course this season’s One Punch Man, being an Action/Comedy with some of the best fights of the year, takes the top spot for me.
The final show here, School Live!, was actually going to be my top pick until the final episodes of One Punch Man convinced me to put the latter above the former. It takes what appears to be a Slice-of-Life comedy and throws it head first into the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, and it is my favourite horror-related show of recent years.
My Top 5 Two-Cour Anime I watched this year
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: Battle in Egypt
- Parasyte: The Maxim
- Your Lie in April
- Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Assassination Classroom
Carrying on from above with the last Madhouse show I watched this year: Parasyte. Based off a manga I had partially read, this was my hype show from last year’s autumn season and it definitely didn’t disappoint me. The other show I watched that carried over from fall 2014 was Your Lie in April, which is a show I found I could relate to on multiple levels. As a student of classical piano from a young age, both the soundtrack and performances were some of my favourites of the year.
From the shows that started in the winter of this year: Assassination Classroom, like Parasyte, was a show I was hyped for coming into the year, and it’s a show I would recommend to anyone for Koro-sensei alone. Not that the any of the other teachers or students are bad characters, mind you. The series was one of the most enjoyable of the first half of the year. However, It wasn’t the show I enjoyed the most this year…
Truth be told, the reason I split this list from a Top 10 into two Top 5 lists is because of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. This is currently my all-time favourite anime and this season featured the second half of Stardust Crusaders, including three of my favourite battles in the entire Jojo’s saga. From the D’Arby brothers to the final battle between Jotaro and DIO this show ticked every box for me and I can’t wait for part 4 coming next year.
The top 5 Anime I didn’t watch this year
- Ore Monogatari
- Non Non Biyori Repeat
- Food Wars!
- Literally every single sports anime from 2015
Obviously, because I haven’t watched any of these shows, I can’t comment on any of them. Even while praising everything Madhouse this year, I still didn’t watch Ore Monogatari despite near constant praise from a friend and others on Ani-TAY. Shirobako is a show I definitely am interested in watching but I haven’t found time to catch up on my backlog. The other three shows this season fill the genres I mentioned above that I usually avoid.
5 Anime that were a pleasant surprise
- Gatchaman Crowds Insight
- Punch Line
- Seraph of the End
- Shimoneta (A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist)
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight
As this has been my first year on Ani-TAY, some shows were suggested to me that I wouldn’t usually watch. The first one of these shows was Punch Line, a show with such a laughable premise of pantyshots causing the world to be destroyed. However after hearing praise of the show after the anime ended I decided to give it a chance, and it turned out to be one of the most impressive shows of the year; despite its poor start the show ended fantastically and is one of my top original shows from the year.
The other show I watched in the gap between the spring and summer season was the original Gatchaman Crowds from 2013, in preparation for Gatchaman Crowds Insight. The original series with its great soundtrack and clever world and characters (especially Hajime) made me very excited for Insight, and also made me wonder why I hadn’t watched the show back when it was airing. However, for the first few episodes I found Insight to be a lot less interesting than GC and I found the series to be quite a struggle. However, after forcing myself to get past the few dull episodes in the middle, the series payed off fantastically for me, and the final few episodes rocketed Gatchaman Crowds up to being a new favourite of mine.
Of the many shows I watched in summer, Shimoneta was the only ecchi show, and even though it was filled to the brim with dirty jokes and fanservice, the show was much smarter than I would have thought from its outward appearances. Finally, moving on to the autumn season, I had two shows that impressed me despite both having less than stellar starts. Seraph of the End’s first season did not start strong but it improved by the end of the first cour, and the second cour really upped the stakes and action; it turned out to be a surprisingly good action show with characters that developed considerably from an almost completely unlikable bunch in the first season to a well organised team of friends in the second. Similarly, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, despite initially putting me off in the first 2 episodes, was probably the most enjoyable magical high school show since 2013. The fact it had a romantic plot line that actually went somewhere for once and a likable protagonist and lead heroine also were a big plus point for me.
The 5 Worst Anime I watched this year
- Gunslinger Stratos
- Tokyo Ghoul √A
- Ranpo Kitan
I have gotten a reputation for myself on Ani-TAY and amongst my friends for watching bad anime. I watch enough bad anime and read enough traumatic manga/visual novels to have been labeled an “Animasochist”. Last year I watched Blade and Soul, Pupa and Magical Warfare, the Madhouse show so bad it took a year and a half for me to watch another magical high school show again (See Chivalry above). The bad anime this year were certainly not as bad as some of the shows I watched last year (bar one).
With that said, Ranpo Kitan only barely makes the cut for this list as while I would not call the show bad, it was the most disappointing show for me this year that I still considered good. The same cannot be said for the next three on my list. Dragon Ball Super has had consistently poor animation; the characters and new enemies are just not as interesting to watch as they were when I originally watched Dragon Ball Z as a teenager. The fact I am still watching it every week does not mean that I am enjoying it and it speaks more for my completionist habits at several points than the show being at all watchable.
The second seasons of Tokyo Ghoul √A and Aldnoah.Zero both aired at the start of this year, and while I enjoyed the first season of Tokyo Ghoul, the second season took the reverse Noragami approach: it took everything that was good about the first season and removed it. The plot of the original manga? Gone. The great opening song? Replaced by a terrible mess. The show was a struggle to get through practically its entire run.
Aldnoah.Zero on the other hand took its terrible first season and ran with it into the abyss. It retconned the ending of the first season in the opening god damn episode. Although Tokyo Ghoul was more boring to sit through, Aldnoah was a show I hate-watched from start to finish.
However, Aldnoah.Zero isn’t the worst show I saw this year. One anime managed to be so bad it managed to be only beaten by last year’s awful shows, which I mentioned at the start - Pupa and Magical Warfare - as being the worst anime I’ve ever seen.
Combining a plot that literally had no engagement, characters flatter than vinyl and being incredibly boring to boot, it combined all the worst aspects of Aldnoah.Zero and dumbed them down even more. The first episode trapped me with an interesting looking sci-fi setting, but from the 4th episode onwards, it descended into shit. Not to mention that A-1 Pictures really phoned in the animation for this series, and to make things even worse, it doesn’t even have an opening or ending song that I remember. I honestly can’t recall a single positive trait about this show and it should be avoided at all cost.