Banjo’s Top 10 Spring 2015 Anime
Another season is in the books!
While everyone has been enjoying the current season of anime, I was stuck in the past, completing and reviewing the anime of Spring 2015 that I had set out to watch. I am one of those “once I start it, I do not drop it” kind of anime-watchers, which is usually the reason for my (somewhat) late list. Regardless, it is here, primed and ready to be read! This time around, twenty shows entered the arena, ten came out victorious, and only one earned the title “Best Anime of Spring 2015.”
During last season, I saw a post recently that asked a pretty simple question: “Why do you watch anime versus other mediums?” Sitcoms, books, and films are obviously fun in their own right, but something about anime makes it…different. I love that it is a niche hobby that is steadily gaining viewers. I love its uniqueness, where one adventure might be about a dungeon-crawling, would-be adventurer while the next might showcase humanity defending themselves from a plague of vampires. I love the community, with the “Best Girl” wars, the constant conversations, and the insane amount of inside jokes. I love that it started my writing career. I love that it introduced me to my favorite series of all-time, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (of course I had to mention Chu2Koi at least once!). It is not just one of these facets but all of them that make anime as special as it is and subsequently have me coming back for more. So if someone were to ask me that question sometime in the future, I know what my answer would be: “Because anime is unlike anything else.”
Personal anecdotes aside, before diving into the list, it is important to know two ideas: what counts and the reasoning behind everything.
First, I am an advocate of an anime “counting” in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, something like Ore Monogatari!! has no place here. On the opposite end, anime such as Assassination Classroom do have a shot since it concluded in Spring 2015 despite starting the season prior. So, if you do not see Assassination Classroom here on my list, that means I either did not see it or it was not good enough to make it (it is the latter!).
Second, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote last season, follow this link to my Spring 2015 Reviews page!
With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 10 Spring 2015 Anime!
Where to even begin? Punch Line is bonkers, with randomness turned up to eleven. Strangely named superheroes, books capable of helping spirits, and robots with high hacking skills becomes the norm as the anime is viewed. But the random aspects are all connected, creating a tale that is less probabilistic and more determinate in its presentation. Issues like the cast ironically lacking their own “punch” and the comedy not being for everyone exist, but its cool music and nice visuals make it a show worth watching at some point in your “supremely happy future.”
9. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2nd Season
“My cup runneth over” is oddly appropriate here. The second season of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works brings more of that Fate goodness, such as the incredible art, the sweet sounds, and the blushing of Rin. While the narrative is riddled with “convenient inconveniences” and the characters themselves are rather weak in their execution, there is a lot of fun to be found within. Surprisingly, the anime is quite fond of marine life, so even if the battles and the exposition are not favored, at least we get to see some aquatic mammals.
Talk about miscommunication! Nisekoi: is the second season of Nisekoi, a series known for its ability to prevent the progression of romance whenever possible. The same happens here, but even more so, since it ditches the romantic comedy angle and instead adopts a slice-of-life one. It is technically a step down from the first season, but eliminating expectations will effectively reveal to your eyes the same brand of comedy, music, and characters that the community has come to know and love.
7. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
In anime, it is rare for characters to kiss one another, no matter how much affection they may display. But in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, there are more kisses than there are atoms in the universe. The reason: to utilize the amazing witch powers at their disposal. From body switching to telepathy, the antics the characters get into are numerous and hilarious. The show gets weaker the further along it goes — due to “firing and forgetting” within its plot — however it still manages to be an interesting concept that performs at least well-enough across the board.
“You do not know what you have until it is gone” is a poignant statement, and when “it” is gone, what remains are the memories that were created. Memories are powerful, impactful, and purposeful, providing an everlasting source of happiness. This is what Plastic Memories aims to demonstrate during its run. Its characters, art, and sound are fine for what they are but it is its tight narrative and relatable message that makes it a worthwhile venture. If nothing else, it will persuade you to make even more memories of your own.
Re-Kan! is ghosts galore. Not the spooky kind that you normally think of, but ghosts that are rather nice and thankful to be seen and heard. Amami, the girl with a “sixth sense,” makes this possible, with her ability causing roaming specters to visit her and her friends on a daily basis. However, it is not the ghosts that really matter, but the bonds we share — with the living and the dead — that truly do. With small but sincere stories, a connected set of characters, and emotional events now and again, it is an anime that will surely warm your heart.
One of anime’s most prevalent genres is “cute girls doing cute things.” They are anime that literally show exactly that: a bunch of cute girls taking part in some cute activities. The Kiniro-Mosaic series drops the second half, instead focusing solely on the “cute girls” part as much as it can. The second season, Hello!! Kiniro-Mosaic, continues this trend, returning with more of what made the first season so…well, cute. It is repetitive, but its fun characters, soft art style, and large amount of comedy will have you smiling from start to finish.
The twelve Chinese zodiacs — rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar — represent the “ETM12,” a godly committee in Etotama that battle other entities vying for a spot among their ranks. Nyaa-tan is one such creature, a cat with limitless energy and boundless desire, both of which she uses to defeat each and every opponent. Its theme on “you being you” and a consistent narrative structure are nice to see, but it is the anime’s absolutely incredible CG work that make it stand on four paws. Alongside some impressive fighting choreography and character dichotomies, this is a show worth believing in.
Some anime simply sound good on paper, with Hibike! Euphonium fitting that description in more ways than one. Following Kumiko, a young woman entering her high school’s band, the anime’s theme on motivation, its strong cast of characters, and the music it plays are each quite strong in their own right. However, it is the show’s fantastic mood-setting (which I investigated fully in my essay, Hibike! Euphonium and Setting the Mood) that elevates it to a whole new level. To top it all off, a bit of “yuri” is thrown in to stimulate the imagination!
Spring 2015’s best anime is none other than OreGairu Zoku, the second season of the OreGairu series. Its art is stunning and its characters work overtime to support the main lead Hachiman, but most of all it is its insanely strong theme of negativity — which permeates the entirety of the narrative and the cast — that has earned it the top spot. Furthermore, the relationships between the characters, the superb voice acting, and the “real thing” (or “genuine” for all you cool cats out there) make it easy to understand why it won this season’s crown.
That is it! I say it all the time, but I would like to sincerely thank you (yes, you!) for taking the time to peruse my list here, my other reviews, and my writings I have crafted thus far. It means the world to me to have as much support as I receive; I would not be where I am today without all of you wonderful guys and gals backing me along the way. To that end, I will continue to make you all proud.
Summer 2015 is up next! :3