Top Spring 2015 Anime: Final Ratings

The start of this season found me scrambling around in the middle of my final semester of college, and the close of the season finds me a couple months into my first full-time job. The beginning of this season feels like it was forever ago, but not simply because of the huge life changes I’ve gone through in the interim. This season also saw me drop what was probably a record number of shows, including a bunch of shows that fell out of favor midway through their runs. But, for all that, the top tier of this season was exceptionally good—which really makes up for a weak middle tier and a pretty distinct lack of super-engaging trashy entertainment.

Blood Blockade Battlefront

1. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! (9/10)

Still a bit in the post-watch daze, which is a tribute to how completely Oregairu sucked me into this story of friendship, loneliness, and the immense struggle for connection that characterizes the lives of we humans, despite all out attempts to pretend we can be self-sufficient all on our own. If there’s one lesson to take away from this incredible continuation to what was already a strong series, it’s that we need other people. It’s a hard lesson to watch three lovable kids learn, and it’s even harder to learn ourselves. But Oregairu demands nothing less of its audience. It insists that you listen, that you apply what you see to your own life. It’s a challenging show. A hard show to watch. But, at the end of the day, I’m thankful that it exists and that it refuses to leave us alone. For those who are completely fulfilled with their interpersonal relationships, Oregairu may not be all that relevant a piece. But for those of us still struggling to make the connections that will enrich our lives and allow us to do the same for others, it’s a magnificent and empathetic work.

Awards: Best Story, Best Male Character—Hachiman Hikigaya, Best Female Character—Yui Yuigahama, Best Drama (Honorable Mention: Best Visual Aesthetic)

Oregairu

2. Blood Blockade Battlefront (8-9/10)

Well, with the finale nowhere in sight (we literally have no idea when it’ll air), I figure I might as well let you guys know what I think of Blood Blockade Battlefront, behind all the delays in episodic posts and rants about cinematography. I like it. I like it a whole lot, but I’m honestly not quite sure how much until I see how Rie Matsumoto and her crew at BONES wrap everything up. There’ll probably be a mini-marathon in my future with BBB before the finale airs—it’s been weeks since I’ve watched an episode, but I still can’t forget the delicious vocal riffs of “Catch Me if You Can” from episode 2 or the cataclysmic fun that was Aligura’s feature episode. In the very simplest terms I can manage, this is a show I’m going to buy—no question about it. Between Matusmoto’s creative visual direction, fantastic storyboarding, the intensely likable cast assembled by Yasuhiro Nightow, and the riotously energetic way it all comes together, you’ve got a mess of energy and entertainment that few shows can match. BBB‘s certainly a bit inconsistent, but for its highs—I can forgive that.

Awards: Best Visual Aesthetic, Best OST, Best OP—”Hello, World!” by Bump of Chicken, Best Comedy, Best Fantasy, Best Action (Honorable Mention: Best ED—”Sugar Song to Bitter Step” by Unison Square Garden)

Blood Blockade Battlefront

3. Sound! Euphonium (8/10)

So, this is the Kyoto Animation of lore—and what they can really do. Or so I’d like to be saying, but when all’s said and done, I don’t think it’s really possible for me to entirely divorce my experience with Sound! Euphonium from my experience with the corresponding fandom. And sadly, the fandom noise that surrounded Eupho for a great part of its run was just loud enough that it seeped into the concert hall and made the grand symphony of sight and sound that was Eupho a little bit less pleasant to hear. And that’s honestly kind of a shame, because I think Eupho has it all—fantastic visuals, ponytails, beautiful music, stellar voice acting, and a powerfully relatable story about music, passion, talent, effort, and teams. This may be a show I watch in the future and can enjoy fully on its own terms, but (at least for now) the fandom’s terms at least partially rule my investment in this show. Couple that with Eupho‘s quiet dignity—a rare trait that requires even more isolation with the show to really appreciate—and you’ve got an unfortunate mixture of loud fanbase and quiet show that just doesn’t quite harmonize right.

Awards: Best Slice-of-Life (Honorable Mention: Best Story, Best Visual Aesthetic, Best OST, Best Female Character—Natsuki Nakagawa)

Sound! Euphonium

 4. Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (7/10)

Dumb light novel adaptations have no business being this good, but Danmachi was this good and I am so ridiculously happy it was. At its very core, this is a story about finding a family—and hidden behind fanservice and superficial sexism, Danmachi turned out to be a hugely generous, loving, and lovable show. And this is a show redeemed by the light of its great strengths, rather than being conquered by its faults. And it does have faults, you can be sure of that—lazy writing, bad tropes, superficial sexualization of its female characters—but the light of this show’s love for its characters couldn’t be overcome. Danmachi is a show that, to a degree, demands you ignore the exterior warts and understand the things its really trying to say behind the guise of its commercially demanded facade.

Awards: Pet Show of the Season, Best Adventure, Best Harem (Honorable Mention: Best Story, Best OP—”Hey World” by Yuka Iguchi, Best Male Character—Bell Kranel)

Danmachi

5. Assassination Classroom (6/10)

There’s a part of me that wishes it could claim Shounen Jump titles don’t usually work that well for me, but I don’t think it’s really true (KurokoHaikyuu!!, Hunter x HunterNisekoi). Either that, or I’ve just made really great choices with the Jump adaptations I choose to watch. Whatever the case may be, Assassination Classroom joins the club with its mix of life lessons, charismatic teachers, and a group of losers you just can’t help but root for. Like many titles of its ilk, Assassination Classroom turned out to be a much better watch in chunks than weekly, as the longer stretches of time with the characters allowed the surprisingly good pacing of the show to pull you through each big moment to the next. Assassination Classroom is one of those addictive shows that always has you excited about the moment you’re watching in the present, while always making you anticipate the Next Thing. It makes for a show that’s a ton of fun to watch, and I’m super excited it’ll be coming back for another season.

Awards: (Honorable Mention: Best Male Character—Koro-sensei)

Assassination Classroom

6. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (5/10)

I don’t know how, but Yamada-kun did it. It made it to the end and didn’t fall apart—production-wise or story-wise. And, of course, the glue holding it all together is the amazing pairing of Yamada Ryu and Urara Shiraishi. In a season of great ships and well-written character relationships, Yamada and Urara stood out with their unique mixture of trust, forgiveness, acted love, and realistic teen awkwardness. Were they in a different kind of show, Yamada and Urara could have been an all-time great couple; as it were, though, they’re simply a standout couple in a season with a lot of them—no small feat. The rest of the show most gets by on the charm of getting to see already beloved characters from the manga in motion and on the strength of the voice acting by the entire cast, which absolutely rocked the challenge of switching personalities, but not bodies. This is a huge factor in being able to sell the body-switching device, and the cast of Yamada-kun pulled it off incredibly well.

Awards: Best Romance (Honorable Mention: Best OST, Best OP—”Kuchizuke Diamond” by WEAVER, Best ED—”CANDY MAGIC” by Mimi Meme Mimi, Best Female Character—Urara Shiraishi)

Yamada-kun

7. Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic (5/10)

Moegirls, ahoy! Kinmoza, as with the first season, had its deadly funny episodes and its merely amusing episodes, but the ratio of absolute hilarity to comfortable enjoyment was actually weighted more towards the humorous side of things, something I appreciated greatly. Kinmoza‘s probably the kind of show I won’t watch again, but it’s also one that’ll sit in my fond memories—and that’s a nice place for a show like this to be. As the franchise that truly inducted me into the cute-girls-doing-cute-things-and-being-funny-sometimes genre, Kinmoza will always be that One Really, Really Fun Moegirl show. Even if better and funnier moegirls shows come along (as I expect they inevitably will), it’ll always be Kinmoza that opened me to enjoying them. And, of course, there’s the indomitable Karen—a true force of comedic nature and easily the greatest highlight Kinmoza has ever had to offer. I’ll miss these dorks.

Kinmoza

8. Nisekoi: (4/10)

Turns out Nisekoi‘s formula is heavily reliant on two things. 1) SHAFT actually keeping the production together, and 2) Chitoge. Of course, the second of these is something I’ve been aware for a long time, but my suspicion that SHAFT’s flashy stylings played a huge role in making the first season as entertaining as it was truly was no more than a suspicion until the production wheels came off of this season and the love-em-or-hate-em cinematographic tricks that SHAFT’s become known for disappeared into boilerplate visuals. The Chitoge episodes are pretty much the only thing that keep Nisekoi: out of irredeemable category and the promise of them were the only thing that kept me watching through the dull Onodera sister episodes. Sorry, Nisekoi. It was fun while it lasted.

Nisekoi:

Dropped

  • Denpa Kyoushi (0.5 ep)
  • The Heroic Legend of Arslan (1 ep)
  • Gunslinger Stratos (1 ep)
  • Kyoukai no Rinne (1 ep)
  • Re-Kan! (1 ep)
  • Seraph of the End (1 ep)
  • Urawa no Usagi-chan (1 ep)
  • Food Wars! (2 eps)
  • Wish Upon the Pleiades (2 eps)
  • Plastic Memories (4 eps)
  • Mikagura School Suite (5 eps)
  • Punchline (7 eps)
    • Award: Best ED—”Mitsu Mitsu Mitsu” by Ayumikurikamaki
  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan (8 eps)
  • Show by Rock! (8 eps)

Ongoing

  • Ore Monogatari!! (Current: 5/10)

Unawarded

  • Best Short
  • Best Sci-Fi
  • Best Sports

And that wraps up the Spring 2015 season (aside from the tardy Blood Blockade Battlefront)! I’m looking forward to both summer’s shows and to continuing to figure out how I want to do this blogging thing alongside my full-time job.

This seems as good a time as any to remind you all that, if you’d like to support me financially, I do have a Patreon page. As before, I’m not in desperate straits, but pledging on Patreon 1) reduces my stress of money—which frees up more brain space for me to blog, and 2) makes it so I have to spend less time at work—which means I’ll have more time for bringing you guys more great content.

And, finally (and most importantly) thank to everyone who reads, comments, subscribes, or otherwise supports me in this project. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to write for such a great group of people. Looking forward to many more good times with all of you~

Sound! Euphonium

31 thoughts on “Top Spring 2015 Anime: Final Ratings

  1. This season seems to get a better rating from you than the last one.

    Haven’t finished all the good shows, but it’s good to know that there are always some quality anime to watch when I want to.

    With the new season in sight, happily expecting your pre-season post, especially when it seems bland to me at the first glance.

    Now where is my epic? Where is my Yona?

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    • Yeah, overall I think I just felt better about this season’s top shows than I did about last season’s top shows. I also dropped a lot of 4-5/10 shows that weren’t doing anything for me, so the ratings probably look a bit more top heavy than normal.

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  2. Welp, the only title I watched out of these was Blood Blockade Battlefront (well, and the ongoing Ore Monogatari and Heroic Legend of Arslan, the latter of which I see didn’t interest you much). I also watched the Ghost in the Shell: Arise series, but as that was for the most part a recap of the previous Arise films, I get why most people weren’t interested in watching/blogging that one. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing that I watched comparatively so few titles this season – these days I find that as long as I find one or two anime that hold my interest, I’m quite happy.

    As you know, I never ended up watching past the first couple of episodes of Sound! Euphonium, so I don’t know much about the fandom-related goings-on. Did things get nasty or something?

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    • Yeah, I gave Arslan a spin and felt it would be better for marathoning—then I heard about the production woes and never heard enough positive buzz to get me to pick it back up.

      As for the Eupho fandom stuff, I’d definitely recommend checking out the post on fandom I linked here! It explains pretty much everything about what happened and how I felt it affected me.

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  3. I’ve already posted on most of the end-of-season rankings as they’ve happened, so I’m just going to catch up what hasn’t been covered…

    Sound! Euphonium ep13;

    Wow! Talk about going out with a bang. Everything flows right from all that has been set up before, and the execution was a true tour de force. There was, what, maybe an entire page of dialog in the entire episode? The whole story was basically told through the animation, through the pacing, and the expressions and body language of the characters. The major characters all had their moment in the sun without distracting from the flow, and Reina’s solo sequence was especially brilliant – the reactions of Kaori and Yuuko (especially Yuuko) were subtly but powerfully conveyed. And then, if that wasn’t enough, the call back to the scene from ep 1 where they were waiting for the results was incredible and brought the whole series full circle.

    Some folks on the forums quibbled about the Nationals not being shown… but after a little reflection, I think they’re wrong. The arc, the series, ended with them reaching their goal, they’re going to the Nationals. They could have made that a bit clearer, but that’s a minor bobble at best.

    But… while the elephant in the room quietly wandered off when nobody was looking, he did leave a big ol’ pile of stinky poop behind. I’m more than a little disappointed that all the effort they spent setting up Kumiko x Reina in eps 8 and 11 was basically wasted in that they really did nothing with it. There was indeed quite a bit of casual friendship and closeness between them depicted in the finals, but I’m not sure that really follows all that well from the setup. If the series as a whole has a significant flaw, this is pretty much the biggest and only major one… which, I guess, is actually something of an accomplishment in and of itself to leave so few threads dangling.

    Sound! Euphonium season review…

    Midseason rating; A solid 3.5/5, well above average but likely not a classic (though that it not beyond the bounds of possibility.) As with last season’s Saekano (which I still maintain you should watch) this has turned into this season’s unexpected delight (edging out Ore Mono).

    Final rating; A solid 4/5… just on the bottom edge of the best of the best. (On your system, right where you put it, at the top of Tier II.) A great deal of the difference between mid season and end of season comes from the trumpet solo arc and the depiction of Kumiko’s final steps into self awareness and maturity in eps 8-12. What pulls it down out of the best of the best is the mishandling of Kumiko x Reina.

    The relevant parts of my season review at Anime Planet (http://www.anime-planet.com/users/DerekL/reviews/19623), which is I think is itself worth reading;

    ===

    Though the quest to come together as a band and improve their skills, individually and as a group, provides the background that drives the action, there’s much more to the story. Finding and making friends. Dealing with people who don’t want to be friends or whose goals aren’t the same as yours. Handling criticism, both well intended and brutal. The first tentative steps into love and romance. Making choices and dealing with the consequences. Choosing one’s own path rather than being pushed around by happenstance and circumstance…

    There’s a lot packed into these thirteen episodes and you really have to watch carefully or you’ll miss half the show. It’s not fast paced like an action anime, but is very subtle in many places. Much is revealed through the cinematography and animation, shown rather than told. There’s deliberate call backs to earlier scenes sprinkled throughout the show, and the growth and change in the characters can be seen by differences in the way they carry themselves, or how they smile (or don’t).

    And it’s the characters that are the real joy of the show – there’s no walking tropes, no one trick ponies. They’re not all complex, but virtually all of the main and supporting characters have their strengths and weaknesses and shades of gray. Euph is as much driven by their natural interaction as any demands of the plot. In the end, I was rooting for them because they seemed so much like real people, people I’ve to know and care about, than just pixels going through the motions on my screen.

    ===

    With apologies to WingKing for ‘borrowing’ his phraseology, filing the serial numbers off, and putting a new coat of paint on.

    This is two reviews on Anime-Planet this season, and a renewed commitment to writing at least one a season. Like any community site, it only works through participation and its past time I started pulling my weight.

    I have a serious sad though that your experience was so marred.

    I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying Thread 2 (Otaku Husband) season review;

    I somehow missed posting a mid-season status, but my final rating is 3/5, solidly above average but could do better. Overall an outstanding show, and certainly equal to the quiet brilliance of the first season, but pulled down because of the long wandering diversion into secondary characters during the middle third of the show. I know you’ve watched season 1, now you need to marathon 2… 🙂

    I think any aspiring anime writer or producer should watch this show… In a run time totaling an hour between the two series (not counting the credits) they packed as much if not more character development than some series (highly rated and/or well loved) manage to accomplish in two cour.

    Ongoing; _Ore Monogatari!!_dropping to a 3/5 from the 3.5/5 I gave it at midseason. It’s fallen into a bit of rut in becoming something of an episodic rom-com. I’m enjoying the show, but Takeo and Yamato are becoming somewhat cardboard, and that’s grating on me. On the other hand, in this weeks ep (13) it seems the drama may be coming back.

    Overall, something of weak season… More than a few shows that ended up being disappointments or dropped outright, and the fewest I’ve ever watched to the end (5). (Though my records are incomplete.) On the other hand, the season was bookended by the chaos of con week and June Faire Madness, so that may have affected things as well.

    I know I still owe you a write up on the balance of Chihayafuru and on Chihayafuru 2, but life is happening this week and I decided that my available writing time was better spent on closing out this season before the tumult of the next begins.

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    • No apologies necessary! And I didn’t have any problems with anything they did with Kumiko and Reina in the last two episodes. As you said, this is a show that always communicated a huge part of its story without words, and that playful, comfortable intimacy that they have with each other by the end really says all I (at least) need to know. The only misstep for me in that whole subplot was episode 10, and as someone elsewhere said, that was like 15 seconds of “WTH??” in what was otherwise 13 episodes of skillful development. If they included that scene to stick to canon and it was important to the story that would be one thing, but when you find out from people who read the novel that 95% of the KumiRei stuff was all KyoAni and not in the book at all, then the choice of still including that episode 10 scene (and then doing absolutely nothing with it anyway) becomes even more baffling, especially for a series where the writing was otherwise superb.

      “pulled down because of the long wandering diversion into secondary characters during the middle third of the show.” – My thoughts exactly. Like, as a side character, Hajime’s brother is fantastic. As the main character of an episode, not so much.

      I work late tonight, so I’ll post my own season rankings and thoughts on Bless’s either very late tonight or (more likely) tomorrow when I’m off.

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    • Don’t worry! Although I didn’t feel I got as much out of Eupho as I could have, the fact that it still pulled an 8/10 from is pretty darn indicative of how much I still liked it and how much it could still go up for me on rewatch!

      And yes, I agree Kumiko and Reina were somewhat mishandled—the teases at romantic-like things set up expectations that were never met, addresses, or otherwise acknowledged, and I felt that had a negative impact on the overall believability of their relationship. However, I do somewhat wonder if the weekly watching schedule could be at work here, too. Perhaps a marathon watch would cause the relationship growth to feel more organic?

      I’ll look forward to your thoughts on Chihayafuru when you get around to it (on the show reflection posts or wherever), but no stress!

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    • A five is a good rating! Basically means, “I liked this show as pure entertainment, and entertain me it did very well!” Ratings above that usually need to offer me as little more in terms of character depth, thematic relevance, etc., but a 5/10 is a great score for a show like Kinmoza to get in terms of overall value.

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      • Ah OK so your 5 is like my 6/7. Since I am lenient on my scores drastically. I was personally blindly in love with Kinmosa along with Ore Monogatari. And they topped my season.

        Unrelated: blog changes, trying to get Sacae to have more things on there. XD

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    • Sorry, Urara is just too much of a gem! Although I did think long and hard about maybe putting Kumiko in the third place slot (maybe she got unfairly cheated out of it since there was already one character from her show in).

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  4. My personal favorite this season was Wish Upon the Pleiades. It was quiet, lyrical, a little weird, and quite beautiful. It was really good to see a non-combat mahou shoujo. I liked its focus on astronomy and space. It pretty much matched my tastes completely.

    It also had a romance with more progression than Nisekoi.

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    • If there is one show I wish I could have kept up with, it was Wish Upon the Pleiades. I really dug the vibe, but I just couldn’t fit it in on the same day as blogging Ore Monogatari!! (a project I’ve since let go). A shame, definitely, but oh well.

      Maybe I’ll got back to it when I start diving into mahou shoujo in earnest.

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  5. Rough ordering of this season:

    1. Oregairu 2 (deliberately unpleasant anime that nevertheless doesn’t succumb to cynicism; this show has complexity in the sense that not only aren’t there any easy solutions, there aren’t any easy descriptions of the problems in the first place. If there ever was an upgrade from season 1, this is it. Minor flaws: sometimes feels a bit over-constructed; series composition didn’t allow for quieter moments and no proper denouement makes the ending feel a little abrupt.)
      Hibike Euphonium (A post-Hyouka KyoAni anime I really, really like? Could it be they’re getting over the K-On virus? For me, the show peaked near the middle and then interest declined slightly, but always remained on the same level. I’m not fond of the combination of music + competition, and while the show relativised the importance of competition, it’s still no Nodame Cantabile.)
    2. Kekkai Sensen (This one rides almost entirely on style, but it has enough style to make the show. Great visuals, and a rare knack for normalising the surreal makes this one a winner. Likable characters, too.)

    3. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Best Kishi/Uezo since Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Likable characters, steady quality. Good visual effects, sometimes, to show Koro sensei’s moods.)

    4. Shokugeki no Souma (The pinnacle of the shounen-formula; it’s so utterly indulgent that I just have to love it; even the ecchi fanservice, which normally puts me off, is hilarious. Also, nearly every character is a joy to watch.)

    5. Re-Kan (the humour works only occasionally; the pervy cat is my most hated character of the season; but the show is excellent when it comes to the sentimental scenes. Great series composition, too, with lighter episodes mixing with the bitter-sweet ones at just the right pace for a great finale and a final chill-down episode. Also, one of my favourite online comments was triggered by this show [I wish I could remember where, so I could quote verbatim and give proper credit]: “The cat needs to die. Except in this show this’d be probably pointless.”)

    6. Yamada kun to 7 nin Majo (Nice steady quality/good watch)

    7. Danna ga nani wo Ittairu ka Wakaranai Ken 2 (2nd season of a good short; charming)

    8. Plastic Memories (The most uneven show of the season; it has the best characterisation-by-bodylanguage I’ve seen in a long time: all characters feel like they have a distinct personality just by looking at them. Even personal ticks are carefully calibrated. Unfortunately the SF elements are half-baked; they’re too important to be ignored, but not elaborated enough to be fully enjoyed. And the humour very rarely works and often is annoying. However, when it does work it’s excellent.)

    9. Mikagura Gakuen (this show was best for me in its second quarter, after which diminishing returns hit. The humour varies between dull and hilarious, but the characters are likable, and scenario is suitably weird. Best talking cat of the season.)

    10. Show By Rock!! (Good fun all the way through, with an excellent finale that makes use of all the characters they introduced. Not a fan of the CGI, but then CGI doesn’t click with me – I hated it when it entered video games, too.)

    11. Danmachi (Sweet little entertaining show. A rather dull finale, IMO, but also an oh-this-makes-sense revelation. Unpretentious and likable.)

    12. Punchline (I liked the characters, but I liked the show better when I didn’t know what was going on)

    13. Kyoukai no Rinne (Dead-pan Mamiya Sakura is a delight. Almost everything else is pleasant to watch, but ultimately forgettable. Second-best talking cat.)

    14. Hokage no Pleiades (a show that should be higher on the list, as it’s actually really good, but for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I’m just not fond of the show. Sneakiest show of the season. Every seeming absurdity makes sense in the end: much better at the game than Punchline was. Also, Subaru and Minato are my couple of the season with two turning points that change their chemistry, and it always works).

    15. Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic (better than the first season, because the obnoxious premise isn’t as in your face. Cute when it doesn’t focus on Shinobu/Alice; annoying when it does.)

    16. Owari no Seraph (Standard shounen. I might have dropped it if it weren’t for the gorgeous backgrounds – and Shinoa, who seems to know what sort of show she’s in)

    17. Ore Monogatari (this should also be a lot higher on my list, as it’s certainly a better show than much that comes above it, but there’s something about it that irks me. It does have the odd spot brilliance.)

    18. Arslan Senki (Okay, this feels like a potentially interesting story, but it’s hampered by poster-book writing. It’s like someone encapsulates complexit in slogans. It’s sort of still complex, but it’s horribly annoying where it doesn’t need to be. Since I had the same irritable feeling, only much stronger, with Gin no Saji, my motivation to watch Full Metal Alchemist has now bottomed out. Arakawa sensei, thou art not for me.)

    19. Etotama (The best thing about it is its character design, which I really like. Also, after a mostly annoying run it somehow managed to come up with hugely satisfying finale that I didn’t see coming. Which is probably why it’s not at the bottom of the list. Interesting aside: My favourite zodiac is Uri-tan, the boar – which happens to by my zodiac sign. My second favourite would be the tiger – my sister’s sign. Co-incidence?)

    20. Urawa no Usagi Chan (Yeah, I watched it, too. Cute character design. Otherwise completely bland.)
      Disappearance of Nagato Yuki Chan (charming early run; well-done disappearance arc, that seems to amount to nothing. If only I could watch the show without comparing it to the original template, I’m sure I could have enjoyed it more. It’s somehow not over yet.)

    21. Nisekoi (why did I even watch this? Oh, yeah, I remember. I was curious what sort of role Koiwai Kotori would get. To note: a very little one that asks nothing of her. Not even the shafiness was excellent this time round.)

    22. Denpa Kyoushi (It’s two-cour. Yay. Well, I do like the odd character design. And it has this trainwreck feel to it; I just can’t not watch.)

    Dropped:

    Gunslinger Stratos

    Wanted to watch, but couldn’t find:

    Eikoku Ikke, Nihon o Taberu: I so want to see this.

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    • I keep forgetting that, for some reason, I can’t number entries with a full-stop. Do brackets work? Testing…

      (1) Oregairu 2

      (2) Hibike Euphonium

      (3) Kekkai Sensen

      ….let’s see.

      (Please imagine the above post numbered and with spaces between paragraphs. Sorry for the unreadable wall of text.)

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    • Danmachi (Sweet little entertaining show. A rather dull finale, IMO, but also an oh-this-makes-sense revelation. Unpretentious and likable.)

      Bolded those two bits because I feel like they’re fantastic soundbites for why Danmachi is such a nice watch.

      And dang! You finished a lot of shows!

      And, yet again, Pleiades getting props from people and making me regret even more that I had to drop it.

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  6. “And sadly, the fandom noise that surrounded Eupho for a great part of its run was just loud enough that it seeped into the concert hall and made the grand symphony of sight and sound that was Eupho a little bit less pleasant to hear.”

    That’s a polite way of saying “the yuri-shippers sullied the show for me” =P

    All joking aside, I completely understand where you’re coming from. A beautifully-composed/written/drawn/animated show, with so much more to take away than the “will they or won’t they?”.

    Hopefully a rewatch will allow me to better appreciate the diverse set of enjoyable elements within that show.

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    • Hurr, hurr, Joseph, you aren’t supposed to say that out loud! 😛

      But yeah, I think my preference would have been to focus on different elements of the show to get the best experience out of it, but the yuri buzz was just so loud that I couldn’t keep my attention away from it—and that’s not my natural watching habitat.

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  7. I agree, I can’t believe how loud the Euphonium fan base can be. I didn’t really discover it till the very end, thankfully, but it made me a little sad anyway. I decided to give Euphonium 5/5 stars because it really floored me on all levels and left me completely satisfied. 🙂

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  8. It took longer than I expected to get to this, but here’s my final take on the spring season.

    Buy Worthy. Five shows were good enough to make this range, but the funny thing is I’m not sure yet if I’ll ever actually buy any of them; one’s a Pony Canyon series (i.e. way too expensive), two don’t fit the profile of shows that I normally like to buy even though their quality is beyond question, and two don’t have a prayer of ever getting a US release.

    1)Euphonium (9/10). I’ve discussed and dissected this show in great detail here, so I’ll just wrap up by saying that this is hands-down my favorite anime of the year so far. The only real question now is where it ranks in my KyoAni pantheon against my current top tier of Kanon, Haruhi, and K-On, and that’s something that’ll take a few years and probably a couple more re-watches to sort out. Too bad it’s a Pony Canyon series; if Sentai or Funi or even NISA had it, I would’ve been first in line to pre-order.

    2)Food Wars (8/10). Headed into the second cour, this series is firing on all cylinders. Unlike many shows that start strong, there’s been no dropoff. In fact, it seems like it actually got better as the season went along. Either way, for a show I expected to be a quick drop, it’s really won me over.

    3)Danmachi (7/10). Like Saekano last season, whether or not we eventually get a season 2 could potentially affect this score, but if that’s all Hestia wrote, at least it gave us a firm ending. Meanwhile, I definitely want to read the light novels now while we wait for any second season announcements (or not). Yay for official English translations.

    4)Nanoha Vivid (7/10). Because of all the problems and delays with the fansubs, I set Vivid aside after episode 2 and waited until the whole series was posted to watch the rest of it. It’s about as good as I expected, but after three straight seasons of world-threatening crises, the stakes are so much lower here that it almost feels like a slice-of-life show compared to its predecessors. It still has a lot to recommend it for Nanoha fans, though: likable new characters (Mamiko Noto is fantastic as Einhart), lots of very well-animated fights, improved animation over the previous installments, and we get some interesting backstory on the history of the Belkan home world. This isn’t a series for first-time Nanoha watchers because they’d just get lost and confused amid the sea of returning characters and unexplained stuff that it expects viewers to know already, but for someone who’s already seen and enjoyed the first three seasons, it’s a worthwhile continuation as long as they have the right expectations for it. The last line after episode 12’s credits (“now for an interval”) had better mean a second cour is coming, though, because unlike Danmachi or even Saekano, Vivid had nothing even resembling a conclusion. It just stopped in mid-story.

    5)Kaitou Joker 2nd Season (7/10). “Kids show” or not, this is plainly and simply a good series, and I enjoyed the second season even more than the first. The animation’s nothing special, but Kaitou Joker’s biggest strength was always in the writing, storyboarding, and direction, and those were in great form this season. The comedy was often sharper and funnier too; the episode spoofing idol anime was a special highlight. Kaitou Joker will never be taken seriously by anime bloggers or critics, but it’s worth watching if you’ve had enough of heavy drama for a while and feel like taking a break with something light, entertaining, and just plain fun, especially if you enjoy crime caper shows anyway.

    On the fence between Buy Worthy and Stream Worthy:

    6)Ore Monogatari (6.5/10). The feel-good show of the season. Mostly fluff, but really well-done fluff. The second cour will determine whether this merits a buy or is just an exceptionally good show to stream; right now I’m leaning towards the latter.

    7)Houkago no Pleiades (6.5/10). Far from the best magical girl I’ve watched, but I still enjoyed it despite its flaws. With most anime the characters are paramount to me, but in HnP’s case it was the background art, music, and all the cool astronomy stuff that really kept me in it until the writing hit its stride and the characters found their voices in the second half of the season. That said, by the time it was over I ended up really liking Subaru (more on her in a bit), and Minato actually came, very, very close to cracking my top 5 male characters of 2015 list; if I flipped another coin, I might put him in over Sunakawa. But I suspect in years to come I’ll remember HnP more for its highlights (and it had some really good ones) than for the series as a whole. If I ever did buy this, assuming Sentai even puts it out for sale, it would have to be on Blu-Ray just to have those gorgeous backgrounds in high-def.

    Stream Worthy. Never going to buy them, but no regrets about watching them:

    8)Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Season 2 (6/10). For as much as I complained about it, this series still did a lot of good things. It looks awesome, most of the fights were great, it covered the essentials of the story, and the soundtrack was as good as expected. But this half of it pretty badly mishandled Shirou/Rin (and Rin’s character in general), and while I said about season one that it was adapted well but missing a spark somewhere, most of season 2 was just plain flat.

    9)Disappearance of Yuki Nagato (5.5/10, pending the final arc). This was a 5 at best and at risk of even dropping to 4 until the most recent arc brought some badly-needed emotional engagement to the series. Right now I wish they’d made it 13 episodes and cut the pointless hot springs trip. Hopefully the last three episodes build something good off this arc (which just ended) and don’t just go back to more derping around again.

    10)Otaku Husband 2 (5/10). Not as consistently good as season one, but still had its fair share of enjoyable episodes.

    Dropped

    11)Gunslinger Stratos (3/10; 4 episodes). Your classic “entertainingly bad” action show. I might’ve kept it in the weaker winter season just because I was at least never bored watching it (it wasn’t really THAT much worse than KanColle, IMO), but I had too many other better shows to watch this spring.

    12)Plastic Memories (3/10; 4 episodes). It seems like ages ago that I had this rated as a 9 after the first episode, but teasing me with serious sci-fi and then turning into a cliché, unfunny romcom instead is a great way to end up in my doghouse fast.

    A few other miscellaneous seasonal awards, just for fun:

    Biggest “Hey, It’s That Voice!” moment: Discovering that Kumiko’s seiyuu in Euphonium is Tomoyo Kurosawa, who also starred as Itsuki Inubozaki from Yuki Yuna. This girl’s one to watch out for in the future. She brought a ton of range and personality to both characters, especially Kumiko. And she’s still only 19 years old with just a few roles to her credit, so she should get even better in the future.

    Best-developed character from a show other than Euphonium: Subaru (Houkago no Pleiades). Next to Kumiko, Subaru probably did more growing up and finding herself and her confidence than any other character this season, and it was a pleasure to see it happen.

    Best group of characters besides the Kitauji Concert Band: Team Nakajima (Nanoha Vivid). Vivio herself is a rather bland MC so far, but the other four members of the team – Einhart, Corona, Rio, and their coach – are much more interesting, and all of them have either already gotten some good development, or (in Rio’s case) show a lot of promise if we get a season 2.

    Best “how the hell are they going to get out of this mess?” episode: Danmachi ep 10. Food Wars 11 was also a worthy contender, but as I said in my comments a few weeks ago, this whole episode is just a masterclass in how to build up tension.

    Favorite performance of the season by my favorite seiyuu (Kana Ueda, for those who don’t know): Yuzuki Fuwa is still a little lost among the huge crowd of other students in AssClass (at least in the episodes I’ve watched), and Nanoha Vivid only gave her character about three lines of dialogue. She salvaged as much of Rin Tohsaka’s dignity as she could in F/SN, and I’m tempted to pick Rin for that alone, but I still enjoy her performance in the visual novel more. So I’m going for a surprise pick: Shizune Rindou from Gunslinger Stratos. In her (and my) short time with the series, Shizune was one of the few characters who really stood out for good reasons. Kana-sama brought a ton of energy and personality to Shizune, and her death at the end of episode 3 made my decision to drop the show a lot easier.

    Favorite visual gag: Takeo being too big to fit under Sunakawa’s bed (Ore Monogatari ep 3). Bonus points for Yamato not even noticing that the bed is completely off the floor when she sits on it.

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    • That’s a lot of text! No wonder it took you a while to put it all together!

      And will you people seriously stop praising Pleiades!? I don’t have time to watch this showwwwwww but now I really want tooooo.

      I suppose it’s not coincidence that Tomoyo Kurosawa has shown up in two consecutive Pony Canyon shows (Yuki Yuna and Sound! Euphonium). I wouldn’t be surprised to find out her agency is affiliated with Ponycan in someway—which might make it easier to keep an eye out for her in the future. In any case, I’m in definite agreement with you. She’s an exceptional talent (and only 19? phew…). It’ll be fun watching to see where else she shows up.

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      • Looks like she’s also in Amagi Brilliant Park, which now that CR finally has it is the next backlog show on my list that I’m planning to hit after I finish Cardcaptor Sakura. I’m only 18 episodes into CCS right now, though, so it’ll be a little while.

        The booklet that came with the second Yuki Yuna BD/DVD set had an interview with her, and one of the things she said was that Itsuki was the first time she’d ever played a “timid” character, so it took a lot of trial and error for her to find the right balance with it. I’ll bet that experience helped her a lot with playing Kumiko, though.

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    • Best-developed character from a show other than Euphonium“, “Best group of characters besides the Kitauji Concert Band… I about snorted my iced tea. 🙂

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