The Top Anime of 2015

In my humble opinion, it’s always best the let the year sink in a little bit before making a list that declares the top anime of any given year. And so, that’s exactly what I’ve done—allowed my favorites of the year to pickle in an aging pot for a while before taking them out and shipping them off to be sold…err, sorry. Too much Harvest Moon these days. Anyways…

To see how things shook out during the year, check out my final rankings posts for each season.

Winter 2015 | Spring 2015 | Summer 2015 | Fall 2015

So, without further distraction, I present my top anime of 2015! Here’s the Best Girl of 2015 to kick things off!

KanColle

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TV Anime 2015’s Best Of…

With the end of the year come year-end lists, talk about favorite anime, favorite seasons, and the like. But, in all the flurry of closing out the old year and moving into the new, it can be easy to forget some of the smaller things that made the previous year what is was.

This post is dedicated to those small things. The individual efforts, the little pieces of goodness, the solitary shining spots.

These are TV Anime 2015’s best moments…

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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

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Blood Blockade Battlefront, Episode 5

Right so, deep thematic analysis, resonance between cinematographic technique and unstated meaning…it’s all there in Blood Blockade Battlefront. It’s exceptional, in a way only a Rie Matsumoto show could be. Those qualities…have almost not bearing whatsoever on this episode—because this episode is about one thing and one thing only: having a good time. And if you didn’t enjoy this episode, you might as well get off the giant car-eating monster vehicle now, because this is the reality of Blood Blockade Battlefront. And this is my favorite episode of the season.

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Blood Blockade Battlefront, Episode 4

Unlike episode three, which I found to be quite the tough nut to crack, episode four was a little easier to figure out in terms of its visual code. It’s no less intricate or well-constructed; just a little easier to access. At this point in these write-ups, I suppose I should note that I’ve basically thrown all doubts about “over-analyzing” into the wind. I’ll talk about this somewhere in this post, but the attention to detail in Blood Blockade Battlefront, even when it’s not using super fluid animation, is astounding and has entirely convinced me that I can interpret away with enthusiasm knowing that there are people behind this show (Rie Matsumoto, most prominently) who really care about what they’re doing and are offering up a work of art worthy of our attention and analysis.

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Blood Blockade Battlefront, Episode 3

Blood Blockade Battlefront is a pretty fun show—not only because it’s wacky and energetic and unpredictable, but because each episode kind of feels like a puzzle to me. I’ll admit, I was pretty stumped on this one (although that’s not really the reason it took me so long to get around to writing this post. This episode, in particular, especially coming out of episode two’s hugely concentrated dose of imagery, felt disconnected and weird and not really quite right to me the first few times through—and then I realized this was an episode of contrasts and it all made sense. Well, as much as it can.

Blood Blockade Battlefront

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Blood Blockade Battlefront, Episode 2

Before I launch into this post, I want to direct readers to something I wrote over on Tumblr last night, an abbreviated essay called “Blood Blockade Battlefront: Style vs Substance(?) and Cinematic Language.” This essay lays out the theoretical framework this post will be operating out of—simply, that visual language is a valid semiotic code [1] capable of expressing meaning, just as more traditional methods are. So, the point of today’s post is to essentially lay out an example of how this is true, breaking down the way director Rie Matsumoto and her team have constructed a cinematic code that conveys information, themes, and ideas to the audience through the images on the screen.

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