2015 anime in retrospect

2015 anime in retrospect

What were the best and worst of 2015?

It is a new year and there are new anime on the horizon to watch, but first let us look back at 2015 and reflect on all the wonderful anime of last year. AnimeFanatika decided to make a list of our top and worst anime of 2015.

The best of 2015

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a heartwarming show about a red-haired herbalist called Shirayuki (which translates to ‘White Snow’ or ‘Snow White’). The prince in the kingdom where she lived becomes so obsessed with her and her red hair (which is very rare in that world, it seems) that she is forced to flee her country. While fleeing, she makes a friend with a man who helps her who happens to be a prince. He aids her and she decides to become a royal herbalist at his court.

This series is better than a Disney Movie and contains all the elements of a great Disney Movie except for the characters who thankfully do not break out in song every 20 minutes like a certain Disney movie that went horribly wrong which we will not mention. The anime’s plo0t and the storyline are solid and the characters that surround Shirayuki are quite a loveable, like the thief that turned spy and the two bodyguards of the prince that have beautiful chemistry between them. Shirayuki herself is an intelligent, beautiful, tough, assertive young woman and highly likable. The anime’s brilliant artwork and soundtrack make this one of last year’s high points in anime for 2015.

Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom

A high school class has to assassinate their alien teacher or he will destroy the Earth. Assassination classroom is a fun anime where one cannot help to like the teacher, Koro-sensei. Koro-sensei steals the limelight in the show. He is an otherworldly being with massive powers, as good a motivator as he is intimidating and he is strangely compassionate. He did tasks with a speed that would put the DC Comic superhero The Flash to shame and he is a strategic genius creating tests and lessons tailor-made for each and every student in the class that works to their strengths, whatever those may be, and actively seeks to improve their skills, regardless of it those skills pertain to the classroom or to killing him. He is the best teacher the students ever had.

Assassination Classroom is hilarious and addictive. Each episode you are glued to the screen because you can’t wait to see what antics the students, as well as Koro-sensei, gets up to.

Death Parade

Death Parade

Death Parade

Death Parade was one op those anime series that blew our minds. Almost each episode we met two people who find themselves in an elevator, not remembering who they are. The elevator stops and they find themselves in a nice posh-looking bar. A white-haired bartender welcomes them and tells them that they will begin a battle with their lives in the balance. They start to play the death game, which can range from a macabre darts game to a game of twister with a dark twist (excuse the intended pun.) During the game they sometimes remember that they died and depending on the outcome of the game, which is not always who wins it, but based on the demeanor and on what they did to land at death’s door, they are sent by another elevator either to the void or to reincarnate.

Yes, Death Parade is dark, but it was not just an anime, it was a piece of art that questions mankind its own humanity. It is more of a psychological moral drama than a horror and it allows the viewer to explore deeper meanings of life and death. Be warned, as there are scenes of violence, topics like suicide, infidelity, and consequences in the afterlife. But it is done in a tasteful manner.

Gangsta

Gangsta

Gangsta

Set in the city of Ergastulum, the metropolis is filled with made men, petty thieves, ladies of the night, and ‘bribe-friendly’ policemen. Then there are the Handymen that take on jobs that both the gangsters and cops don’t want to handle. The Handymen, two men called Worick and Nic will take those jobs.

Gangsta was a mind-blowing anime, maybe the best anime of 2015. It was filled with gripping narrative, characters that captivated you and animation that is dark and craftily executed. Part of the charm of the anime was the snippets that were served to us, the viewers about the characters’ past lives. It made you sympathetic to the characters. It is a series you’ll want to watch again and again.

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

To boil it down Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri is tanks and soldiers versus elves and dragons. A gate from some fantasy world somewhere appears in Tokyo and people get attack by fantasy characters. The Japanese get the situation under control then sends members of the Japanese Self-Defence Force through the gate back to the fantasy world where they take control of part of the land. And dubs it ‘the special region’. Our hero, a Fantasy RPG freak, Itami Youji, must lead a squad into battle, and towards establishing friendly relations with the locals.

The unique approach, as well as the story, made the anime extremely enjoyable to watch, and each episode ended on a cliffhanger to make sure that you just had to watch the next episode, which makes the team responsible for this brilliant anime evil geniuses. The relationship between the Japanese soldiers and the locals of the fantasy world was beautifully crafted, and the anime’s sound brought life to the world.

Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou

Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou

Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou

In Monster Musume, we meet Kimihito Kurus, an average Japanese student, with a part-time job. That is where normal ends and the fun begin, you see it just so happens that a Lamia ( a half snake, half human woman) named Mia moves in. You see, when Monsters finally became known to our world, “hosts” were selected, individuals or families who would act as caregivers for monsters seeking to enter the human world and learn about our society. Kimihito became one of the hosts. Mia is instantly taken with him as he is the first human that didn’t shun her simply because of her snake half and she renamed him Darling-kun. ‘Darling-kun lands in all kinds of situations with her and soon more monster girl beauties are added into the mix. And there is also Mrs. Smith, their case worker with her twisted sense of humor to deal with.

This is one of the best Ecchi/Harem anime in years, and it even deal with social issues like racism, human nature and how people of different cultures coexist in the world. It is a deep anime if you look beyond the fan service and humor. The artwork is super sugoi and a real eye candy (not just the monster women!), there are no heavy storylines, though, but the humor makes up for that.

One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man

One-Punch Man

Saitama, who only became a hero for fun, did three years of “special” training, and he finds that he can beat even the mightiest opponents with a single punch. He faces new enemies every day, but it turns out being devastatingly powerful is actually kind of boring. Being too strong becomes an issue to him.

One-Punch Man is a parody wrapped in satire. It offers a different approach to the cliched concept of hero versus evil organizations. At the same time, it makes every comic fanatik that is into anime feel like a kid again. There are villains like Vaccine Man (who looks like a purple-coloured cousin to Piccolo from DBZ), formed from the Earth itself to rid the planet of the blight that is humanity, and then there is Crablante, who turned into a half-crab hybrid after eating too much crab. Each villain is as hilarious and enjoyable than the last. Add the brilliantly done animation and we have a winner.

Prison School

Prison School

Prison School

A group of boys ends up going to one of the most strictest and harshest girl schools after the school opens it gates to male students. Through a few mishaps and a pathetic attempt at peeping, the boys are given a choice to be thrown into the school’s prison or be expelled.

This is another Ecchi and fanservice anime that is deeper than expected. Self-esteem issues and depression are explored with creative finesse and each character is more than just a stereotypical perverted high school student. The anime is about male bonding and friendship, like Kiyoshi attempt to keep a promise made to a fellow student to go to a wrestling match even if he is in the school’s prison. We see that yes, they are teenage boys with the self-control of a cat in a catnip shop, but there are redeemable qualities in them too. Prison School is a hilarious anime with great animation and great voice acting. It was a comical high-point in 2015.

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

This anime is the tale of a member of the Saikawa Research Lab named Souhei Saikawa, who meets Moe Nishinosono the daughter of his mentor while on vacation. The two finds a corpse and starts to solve the mystery only to become involved in a serial murder case!
What follows is a psychological and philosophical mystery where the only way to solve the murder is to understand the complex mindset of the victim.

Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider dived into the deepest corners of it’s protagonists. There is the reclusive dangerous programming prodigy, the brilliant but closed off assistant professor and the young college student who craved validation from the man she idolizes. Weaved into this is a very solid and competent murder mystery. The characters felt ‘real’ throughout the anime and sometimes you forgot you were watching animation because of how passionately the voice actors portrayed their characters. It was worth the watch to the last episode.

Honorable mentions

There are a lot of great anime to mention that were quite memorable for the year 2015. Other anime that stood out includes Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Comet Lucifer, Heavy Object, Ald.Noah Zero, Anime de Wakaru Shinryounaika, Kantai Collection, Ghost in the Shell Arise, Koufuku Graffiti, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken Season 2, Bikini warriors, God Eater and Over Lord

The worst anime of 2015

Ninja Slayer was so bad; we don’t even want to talk about it. The animation is like the sound of fingernails across a blackboard, you get the picture.

Here is a stunning video of highlights from all the 2015 anime. It is fan-made, but brilliant. Please be warned that the video contains scenes of violence and some fanservice, that might not be suitable to our younger fanatiks: http://bit.ly/2015-anime-homage

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za