Everyone has their own preferences, tastes, etc. While the Anime Worth Watching articles do a great representation of shows that the people in AniTAY would recommend, It doesn’t exactly represent personal preferences, which I always like to keep in mind when writing. My solution? A list of my favorite anime of the season, this time Winter of 2015! Expect these from now on. :)
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 (*cough* AKITO THE EXILED *cough*), then it may be there. 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.
Honorable Mention #1: Durarara!! X2 Shou
Plot Description: Half a year after the turmoil that rocked the entire city of Ikebukuro, peace has once again returned to the city, and people are living each day normally. The high school students enjoy their days of youth as the strongest and most dangerous man of Ikebukuro works diligently. The informant plots (or plans) a new scheme and the headless rider is pursued by the cops as she rides through the night... But soon this normal will be cut short by the abnormal. Slowly but surely, the unknown will seize the city and face an all new storm. - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Uh, If you know anything about my tastes, you would know that Durarara!! is one of my favorite shows ever so of course it would be here .. so yeah! Seeing it back again was like seeing an old childhood friend for the first time in a few years: Of course, it’s not at the point where it’s at it’s best and the interactions are still awkward, but it’s still really nice to see and it’s still just as fun and enjoyable as it always was. Really, Durarara!! X2 started a bit slow at the beginning, and episode 7 was an absolutely a mess in animation, but that’s really OK because it has plenty of time to get back to the level to get back, it’s a new studio so of course there’s going to be some growing pains, and most importantly, it still does everything Durarara!! S1 did great. It’s still the Durarara!! that people love, and I’m still enjoying the hell out of it. Looking forward to the new seasons! (Not the wait though... Tri-split cour??? >_>) For more of my thoughts on Durarara!!, check out my S1 review, and S2 review when it comes out.
Honorable Mention #2/Guilty Pleasure: Aldnoah.Zero Season 2
Plot Description: Aldnoah.Zero pretty much consists of getting SLAINED over and over again. That’s pretty much all you need to know, but if you REALLY want to know, here’s a real description:
In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission found a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Upon landing, astronauts discovered an enchanted utility later referred to as “Aldnoah,” giving the astronauts a status of superiority. Soon, many humans have relocated to Mars, and have adapted to the name “Martians.” After Princess Asseylum, a royal Martian princess, descends onto Earth in an attempt to create a treaty between both planets, a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity. - Plot Description From MAL
Justification & Thoughts: No, I am not recommending this show. Aldnoah.Zero has to be one of the worst shows I have came to adore, and my experience with it is very love/hate, similar to School Days. From the start I never had the highest expectations for Aldnoah.Zero, saying that it’s been horrible since the start while people were still saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but S2 has redeemed itself from the garbage that was Season 1 by managing to be pretty fucking enjoyable, something that was totally absent from S1 for me. It does this by taking a step a notch into absurdity: It’s no longer the train wreck that you can’t stop staring at, it’s escalated to North Korea levels of attention grabbing, stupidity and absurdity... it’s so amazing and I can’t help but watching. It’s earned it’s spot as one of my top guilty pleasures, it’s a show I love to hate, it’s one of the most interesting trolls seen in anime, and I just can’t stop watching... God damnit. Check out Koda’s review of Aldnoah.Zero S1, his review when Season 2 was out. (Dex also has a article about it, so look forward to that ^.^)
5. Death Parade
Plot Description: After death, humans are either sent to the void or reincarnated. But for some, at the instant of their death, they arrive at Quindecim, a bar attended by the mysterious white-haired Decim. He challenges them to the Death Game, wherein they wager their lives and reveal their true natures. Decim himself is the ultimate arbitrator of who wins and who loses, who will go to the void, and who will be reincarnated. - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Beautiful animation, fantastic atmosphere, great characters, an excellent execution with the concept of death, and an amazing OP make for a great watch, and Death Parade is a really quality w as expected from Madhouse. The reason it’s at 5? The rest of the list is just that good, and it squandered it’s potential at the beginning so I really didn’t care for it too much. (The first 2 episodes got me expecting a Zero Escape type of thing, but what I got was an episodic game story so I was really disappointed...) That being said, once you hit episodes 8 & 9, It improved quite a bit, to the point that you can’t help but think.. wow.. that was great. How people and society interact, the nature of what it means to be a human, what emotions are, what it means to judge people... these are all handled quite well here and it’s pretty enjoyable. For more thoughts, check with out late night with fruity and dec, Proton’s impressions article, and Proton’s Review when that comes out.
Plot Description: The 17-year-old Izumi Shinichi lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasytes invade Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasyte attempts to crawl into Shinichi’s ear while he sleeps, but fails since he is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead, taking over his right hand and is named Migi.
Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from traveling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasytes, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasytes, who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi’s human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasytes, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi’s help. - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Parasyte is a roller coaster, one that may feel off to anyone paying attention to how it deviates from the original, but as one who doesn’t know anything about the source at all, I enjoyed the ride, quite a bit. It’s fast yet managed pace pretty great show, being well executed, well animated, and engaging throughout. From it’s great pacing, to the interesting premise and engaging characters, it’s a show that’s consistently entertaining, very satisfying, and a show you won’t want to miss. The reason why it’s where it is on this list is because there were times this season that didn’t nearly grab my attention and engage me as it did early on, a lot of aspects in the second half felt pretty rushed and the dubstep still bothers me, but otherwise it was a great show that anyone should enjoy. Don’t dismiss it because it’s from an older manga, it’s still pretty great! For more thoughts, Check out Protonstorm’s articles about it, and the AniTAY review by Koda.
Plot Description: I find that most summaries out there about Shirobako are a bit deceiving and don’t actually represent what happens in the show, stating that Shirobako is the story of five girls who, after making a short anime while members of their high school animation club, promise to come back together as adults and make their own full anime. I believe that, it’s the story of everyone involved in Shirobako trying to do their best, to succeed with their goals, usually involving the creation of anime. While the 5 girls do make an appearance in the story and are what the story starts with, they are just a piece of the puzzle, a part of the grand scheme, and it actually focuses more on the struggles of the animation studio Musashino, and the people there. - Plot Descrpiton from my review of Shirobako
Justification & Thoughts: The best anime about anime you will ever see has been just quite amazing this season, being extremely informative, and very entertaining.
Animation: The Animation Shirobako may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely adored it, and everything about it. It really made me appreciate all the things that the people making anime have to deal with, and to get this peek into the world of animation is something I really like. It’s also an entertaining slice of life show as well, and I just love the characters and interactions which really add a lot to the show to make it enjoyable, so it’s been nothing but good times for me, even enjoying the time I spent thinking about how the people making this show had to deal with the things it was talking about. Also, I just really love the little things that this show does, like the little things it does with animation, the countless references, hypnotizing dancing, amazing drifting. It’s been a lot of fun to watch :). For more of my thoughts on this show, check out my review of this show, or Richard’s over on Kotaku.
2. Saekano: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
Plot Description: The life of Tomoyo Aki, a highschool otaku working part time to support his BD hoarding. With remarkable luck, he bumps head-first into, Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Naturally, the meeting twists his life into a complicated torrent of relationships. Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with MC. Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. What is this? An eroge introduction?
The tale of a small not quite doujin circle, but not quite indie studio’s journey through the tough territory of comiket and beyond. - Plot Description from MAL
Justification & Thoughts: Ever since I fell in love with The World God Only Knows, I’ve been searching for more of that, a show that manages to pull off a meta romantic comedy that plays off of the tropes we all know and love well with really solid humor and interactions in general. You can’t believe how excited I was when I finally found what I was looking for in
Best Girl: The Animation Winter 2015 Saekano which even has the extreme Otaku as the MC! Every episode has been entertaining and hilarious, with absolutely amazing character interactions, excellent execution of meta elements, and just well written comedy in general. All the characters here are just fantastic and the premise really enables this show to use them to their full potential. Really, it’s nothing new, as Fruity would tell you, but I find that it does everything extremely well and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. For more thoughts on Saekano, check out Protonstorm’s impressions article, and his AniTAY review of it.
1. Your Lie in April
Plot Description: Kousei Arima is a former piano prodigy who lost his ability to hear the piano after the death of his mother. Two years later he has not played the piano since and sees the world in monotone without color but is content with his life until he meets a girl who changes everything. Kaori Miyazono is a free spirited and beautiful violinist who changes Kousei’s perspective and makes his world colorful again, helping him return to the world of music. – Plot Summary from Mdub’s You Should Be Watching Your Lie in April article
Justification & Thoughts: More like Your Cry in April, right? If you’ve spent any time on AniTAY in the past few months, you would know how crazy everyone’s been over this show, and for a good reason. It’s blown my mind with how great it has been, and the emotions it’s evoked has really been something I have loved, and it’s only gotten better since I did my top 10 anime of 2014 list, pushing itself to be one of my favorite anime of all time. It’s a show that blends music seamlessly into the storyline better than almost every other show I’ve seen so far (yeah, nothing will beat White Album 2 or KnK in this aspect... sorry guys!), has passionate emotions and great characters. How can I not love this show? This show is a blast to watch, I love the development and reactions of the characters (and how relatable the characters were to me, expecially Kousei), and the show is just extremely well written. The show gets you emotionally attached with an amazing display of tone and a narrative that’s as moving as the music itself... it’s executed great and it’s pretty amazing. For more thoughts, Check out Mdub’s You should be watching article, Protonstorm’s resonation article, Fatalis’s food for thought article and Mdub’s review.
Thank you for reading through my list of favorite anime of Winter 2015, I really appreciate it! What are some shows of the season you liked, and what are your top 5! I would love to see your comments down in the comments below :)
Rockmandash is a frequent writer of Visual Novels and anime on this blog and the AniTAY Blog as well. Come and check them out if you are interested in reviews and opinion pieces on these topics! For an explanation of my review system, check this out, and here’s my biases in reviewing.
Edit 4/2/15: Watched the last few death parade episodes and really loved it, so now it’s sitting at 5. Yatterman Night got knocked off because having 3 HMs is stupid, but you can read my writeup here.