Every season comes and goes, and everyone has their own favorites. While the Anime Worth Watching articles do a great representation of shows that the people in AniTAY would recommend, I think it’s nice to be a bit more specific: Welcome to my Top 5 Anime of Spring 2015.
So, What are the rules of this list, you may ask? If it aired/released this season, it can go on this list. I don’t see the point in only giving a show one chance during it’s airing season, and this is my list so I’ll list my favorite shows regardless of what season it started on. If this means that one show hogs the top spot for 2 seasons, than good for that show! If it’s an OVA or movie that came out during the duration of the season I fell in love with, then it may be there. Also, I think that the seasonal split is arbitrary and unnecessary, so it’s completely gone here. Sorry about that, but that’s how I’m doing it.
*Also, a note to the reader* - The honorable mentions on this list is a bit different than a typical honorable mentions, and probably not in a good way: Normally, HMs are solely shows that weren’t good enough to make the list, barely scraping by because of quality, but the shows sitting in my HMs for Spring 2015 are a list of shows that emphasize my personal biases, shows that I love to the point that they must be mentioned regardless of quality, but ended up being not as great as expected. that being said, continue on!
HM#1. Punch Line
Plot Description: If he sees underwear, humanity will be destroyed!? An original anime series from the noitaminA block, Punch Line centers on Yuuta Iridatsu, a high school student, with a peculiar habit. When he sees a girl’s panties, he gets so excited he faints! After a certain incident with a ghost cat, his soul gets separated from his body. Using his special powers, Yuuta watches the daily lives of the inhabitants of an apartment and sometimes plays tricks on them. Eventually, Yuuta decides to unlock the secrets to why Earth will be destroyed and tries to save it! - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Zero Escape Lite! Written by Kotaro Uchikoshi (AKA my favorite writer ever), I came to Punch line with confused expectations and came out with... confused expectations. Punch Line was a weird combination of the fanservice that it presented originally, combined with the typical Uchikoshi aspects of SciFi, plot twists, solid characters, etc. It’s playing of expectations kinda backfired with me though, as episode one presented itself to be another FLCL, then it kinda died halfway with VN adaptation-like pacing to shift itself over to a more traditional Uchikoshi experience. A hybrid of the two would have been way awesome, but as is, it’s a fun enough show that handled itself well enough. Check out my review if you’re interested.
HM#2. Knights of Sidonia Season 2
Plot Description: It’s been a thousand years since the Gauna, a strange alien race with no known method of communication, destroyed the solar system. A portion of humanity managed to escape using enormous “seed ships” like the Sidonia, which have allowed them to maintain the population while drifting through space. Nagate Tanikaze is a young man who has been raised deep in the bowels of the ship. When he goes into training to pilot the huge robotic weapons known as Gardes, Nagate is entrusted with piloting the legendary unit known as Tsugumori. Nagate and his fellow pilots put their lives on the line against the Gauna, in the ultimate battle for the survival of humanity! – Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: A Season 2 to the show that I called the 3rd best show of 2014, a show in which I loved every minute of??? Considering that I adored S1, how could I not love Season 2? Simple: KoS 2 isn’t the Sidonia I fell in love with, the Sidonia that really captured the “coolness” of Japanese SciFi. I admired Sidonia S1 for what it did with it’s realistic and serious execution, the brilliant and extremely interesting world, the extremely gripping narrative, and an awesome tone that keeps you interested in a story... But they took that and threw that Space SciFi Mecha that I fell in love with and replaced it with an extremely out of place Rom Com in space, with a more fitting title being “I Can’t Believe My Giant Half-Monster Mecha Girlfriend Is This Cute.” (Thanks Richard!)
That being said, It’s not a bad show by any means, still being entertaining and having its moments, but top 10 of this year material this is not, and its not even top 5 of this season. A lot of the issues it has are issues with the manga, being too information light (which were made worse due to it being anime) and not really having a solid direction for this aspect, but man, this arc had too much romance, not enough SciFi... and this is coming from a person who’s favorite genre is romance. It lost everything Season 1 had, losing all sorts of seriousness, tension, world building and Hard SciFi realism that this show did so well... leaving us with... a romance... that... doesn’t... fit. :(
HM#3: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Plot Description: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works follows Emiya Shirou as he is dragged into a Fight-to-the-death tournament called The Fifth Holy Grail War, where people known as masters fight with Heroes throughout history, known as servants, for a chance to get the Holy Grail, which grants their wishes. This version of Fate/stay night is an adaptation of the Visual Novel route with the same name, and in comparison to the Fate route which the 2006 anime by Studio Deen adapted, it focuses more on action, and the main character. Also, Rin Tohsaka is the main heroine of this route/anime in comparison to Saber from the Fate route/2006 anime. – Plot Description from the Fall 2014 AniTAY Collab
Justification & Thoughts: I have a lot to say about Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, and I pretty much have, talking about it in countless articles. Really, I hyped it too much, and I felt the burn the whole way through because of it due to the with wonky pacing, rough execution of the story, a joke of a soundtrack that fails to do anything to the show, and overall rather meh execution that turned my favorite route of one of my favorite Visual Novels into a show that rarely managed to engage me at all, a show I tried to love, but couldn’t. Yes, it looks absolutely beautiful with some of the best fight scenes and scenery I have seen in this medium, and Yes, the last few episodes (especially episode 20) were just great, but those didn’t save it for me, the show that looked flawless on paper but came out to be a pretty messy show. It’s not a bad show, and if you’re interested in the series, it’s not a bad work to check out, but it really isn’t for me and I really didn’t care for it too much. Check out my personal review and the AniTAY review here.
5. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
Plot Description: Ryuu Yamada is known as a delinquent in his high school; he has been bored of classes after one year of attending school. One day, he accidentally falls from a flight of stairs onto Urara Shiraishi, the ace student of the school. Yamada wakes up to find that he has swapped bodies with her! The two try to reverse the change and discover that kissing triggers the body swap. On the suggestion of student council vice-president Toranosuke Miyamura, they revive the Supernatural Studies Club. The club encounters other “witches” with different powers that are activated with a kiss! - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is a really fun show, and I enjoyed it so much that it made it on the list! With no real tragic flaws crippling the show, Yamada-Kun was a great time, as the Body switching and an assortment of colorful, interesting characters really do a great job engaging the audience, and I eventually just binged through the manga after I finished this season because of that. Yes, the show is nothing special presentation wise, nothing special story wise, nothing special... at all... but the show is just so entertaining, with great writing, great characters (Shiraishi really taking the cake here) and a premise that works really well that I couldn’t help but put it on this list. For more thoughts, Check out Protonstorm’s AniTAY review.
4. Code Geass: Akito the Exiled - Episode 3
Plot Description: Akito The Exiled is a
4 5 part OVA series that’s taken forever to come out set between Code Geass S1 & S2 about the European Union, more specifically the W-0 unit, a unit consisted of Japanese Elevens that have to fight in situations with next to no survival rates. This episode started off with some SOL with Gypsies, and then bringing it back to Code Geass origins focusing on Lelouch Kingsley and Britanian’s war against the EU.
Justification & Thoughts: I bet you didn’t expect this one, huh? I’m a big Code Geass fanboi, and Akito the Exiled Episode 3 was a great example of why Code Geass is my favorite anime ever, being a great expreience. As a person who cares primarily about an experience, Code Geass never ceases to provide that (at least with the second half, as the first was SoL) with a thrilling way of storytelling, great characters, amazing world, elegant handling of geopolitics, fantastic sound design, and more. I loved it a lot, and it was pretty well done. While some may bitch about the slice of life, I really appreciated the world building it did and the character development that it provides, and it was pretty entertaining throughout the whole episode, so no real complaints.
My only real complaint is this ridiculous release schedule... this is an OVA, and it’s only
1/4th 1/5th of a story, given to us in piecemeal and constantly delayed, with this one taking an entire year. Does it justify the excruciatingly long year delay? Not exactly sure, but man, is it good.. I can’t wait until the whole work rolls around, but what they brang was great and I adored it.
3. Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!)
Plot Description: Yukihira Souma’s dream is to become a full-time chef in his father’s restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skill. But just as Yukihira graduates from middle school, his father, Yukihira Jouichirou, closes down the restaurant to cook in Europe. Although downtrodden, Souma’s fighting spirit is rekindled by a challenge from Jouichirou which is to survive in an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate. Can Souma survive? - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: FOOD PORN, WITH SHOUNEN! Do I really have to say more? This show is constantly engaging, with just a fantastic execution of food in general with great presentation of the show, entertaining characters, the shounen tempo that makes them so great without the general draggy-ness of them, great comedy and interaction, etc... this is a really fun show to watch, and it really deserves its spot on the list. Looking forward to more, I’m already caught up on the manga!
2. Ore Monogarari (My Love Story)/OreGairu (SNAFU) S2
Plot Description: Gouda Takeo is a freshman in high school. (Both estimates) Weight: 120kg, Height: 2 meters. He spends his days peacefully with his super-popular-with-girls, yet insensitive childhood friend, Sunakawa. One morning, on the train to school, Takeo saves a girl, Yamato, from being molested by a pervert. Could this be the beginning of spring for Takeo? -Plot Description from MAL
So exactly what’s going to happen when Hachiman Hikigaya, an isolated high school student with no friends, no interest in making any and a belief that everyone else’s supposedly great high school experiences are either delusions or outright lies, is coerced by a well meaning faculty member into joining the one member “Services Club” run by Yukino Yukinoshita, who’s smart, attractive and generally considers everyone in her school to be her complete inferior? - Plot Description of sorts from MAL who got it from CR....
Justification & Thoughts: Yes, I’m cheating here with this entry because there are 2 shows instead of one, but I couldn’t pick between these two, and they work so well together! Both of them are non-traditional interesting takes of the Rom Com Genre, both exceeding with what they want to do, going in the complete opposite direction. One one hand, Ore Monogatari has to be the sweetest romance I’ve seen in anime, and probably the sweetest I’ll ever see, with a genuine relationship that’s just amazing to watch, like eating delicious cake, but OreGairu/SNAFU is “something genuine”, showing a rom-com turned drama that shows the essence of people and their interactions, weaving it’s story around messy situations that require our characters to learn, and to grow. These are romances that couldn’t be further apart, but both of them are stellar twists on the typical formula that really shouldn’t be missed. shows that shine with a stellar execution that brings out the best of what they are offering.
1. Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
Plot Description: A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening. - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Seriously, ask yourself this... Could there be anything else topping this list? I mean, really... written by the genius who brought us the classic Trigun, Kekkai Sensen is an amazing episodic show that does almost everything right, a show that will hook you in like no other show really can. It’s a show that presents an anazing world, a vibrant, extremely well crafted Monster New York that drags you in with interesting changes to reality, stylization that keeps you constantly engaged, and an atmosphere that makes this setting feeling more alive than pretty much any other setting out there. It doesn’t just end there either: pretty much everything about this show deserves praise, from the extremely memorable and awesome characters (Zapp!) to the brilliant presentation (Jazz!) and the absolutely engaging scenarios that happen throughout this story (Chess!). This is a show that I admire as it is the type of show I always look for, being experience first by showing you some absolutely interesting, engaging and amazing scenarios that can either hit hard (Feelz about hamburgers... ;-;), be really entertaining (That guy where all the bad things happen XD) or just be absolutely outstanding to the point that every aspect about this show is just brilliant and and a joy to watch, showing how episodic shows are done right. Cheers to Kekkai Sensen, AOTY candidate for 2015... you were amazing.
Also, the ED is just bonkers great, one of the best I’ve seen. Listen to it now, you won’t regret it.