Winter 2015 anime review

Winter 2015 anime review

With the Winter 2015 line-up now at a close, I thought I would take a quick look back over the anime I have reviewed this season and do a swift summary and conclusion on them all. Many of my reviews were written only a few episodes in, and some of my opinions may have changed since all those months ago. Besides, one of the things that I think makes a good anime (or book, film or game, for that matter) is how good the ending is. Here I will take a look at those very important endings and rate them, in reverse order. Since these are ending reviews, there will be spoilers!

12. Samurai Warriors
I honestly don’t know why I continued watching this one until the end – I should have dropped it like The Testament of Sister New Devil. I guess I was always hoping that it would get better. A lot of blogs did warn against not watching this unless you were a fan of the games, but did I listen? Even the big battle scenes got very samey towards the end, and the final episode just fizzled out pointlessly even though it was meant to be an emotional ending. I lost track of all the characters names and who was on which side, and it wasn’t even clear what the war solved and how things worked out afterwards. Avoid.

11. Aldnoah Zero
Oh Aldnoah Zero, you let me down at the final hurdle. One of the most inconsistent animes I have seen in a while, it’s no wonder this one seems to have polarised the community. Towards the end, the only good thing about this one was the final battle between Inaho and Slaine – it was a satisfying fight that ended in a scene vaguely (and amusingly) reminiscent to an X-men film. Everything else, though… Asseylum was a big let-down. I thought that after everything that happened to her in the first season her actions at then end would have been a bit more… impactive. The sub-characters all just seemed to vanish into thin air and everything was resolved in the most boring way possible.

10. World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman
I think what I felt let down by most by World Break was the animation. It was so bad sometimes that the good parts lost their ‘wow’ factor. And the characters had gone from ‘kind of annoying’ to ‘totally in-your-face irritating’. Whenever Satsuki showed up I got annoyed. Whenever Moroha got a sudden power-up, I got more annoyed. And Elena’s character design drove me to absolute distraction. If her hair covers half of her face, don’t stick an eye in the middle of it. It was just forever floating in the middle of her fringe and it says something for the depth of the plot that Elena’s physical impossibility nearly made me forget about what was happening. I’m going to move on because just thinking about it irks me.

9. Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie
I really liked Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie but, because each episode was only five minutes long, it lost its depth in light of the other full-length animes. However, it remained pleasant and consistent throughout, was full of pretty-coloured bishounen and had lots of shots of that immaculate anime food that everyone loves. An amusing watch, but the ending was predictable.

8. KanColle
KanColle restored my faith in animes based on game franchises where Samurai Warriors tried to destroy it. I hadn’t played the games at all, but I still found this an enjoyable watch. There were a few times where there was clearly a game-related joke or scene that went completely over my head, but overall it was an enjoyable watch. I would have preferred a bit more battling and differentiation between the characters, and a bit more of a solid ending that I didn’t think was ‘softened’ at all, though.

7. Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend-
I really enjoyed this one. Just as it started to drift, Michiru saved the day. To be honest, she should have arrived sooner – more Michiru would have probably bumped Saekano up in this list, actually. The characters were good and the plot was interesting. Taking a similar vein to Shirobako, I loved looking at the production and preparation that goes into designing an otome game and all the promotion and teamwork that go towards cons. I hope this one has a second series in the future.

6. Unlimited Fafnir
What this one lacked in plot, it more than made up for in action. What’s better than adorable young girls fighting massive dragons with magical weaponry? Not much. It was definitely my mahou shoujo fix for this season and was almost on an even par with Saekano almost all the way through. It only came sixth because of so many animes entering their second season, and me being more invested in the characters and more time for plot development obviously contributes. What I liked about Unlimited Fafnir was, even though there was only one male ‘protagonist’, most of the females stood out on their own and were capable of defending themselves. It had just the right balance of harem and action.

5. Shirobako
Shirobako was great to watch. It was an insight into the glamorous (or not-so) lives of those that word in the anime industry and the effort that so many people have to put in so that every episode is broadcast on time. The characters, the challenges and the relationships were believable and every episode brought something new and expanded. I watched Aoi and her friends slowly come together, overcoming their own personal conflictions so that they were all working together on an anime, like they wanted to whilst they were all still in school. The ending was slowly crafted through the two seasons, with story lines subtly woven together to come to this satisfying conclusion.

4. Log Horizon
Log Horizon does it again with a solid plot, fantastic characters and showing the complexity of living in a virtual environment that’s fast evolving into something new and unknown. Shiroe is a great protagonist supported by a cast of equally great sub characters that was ever-growing and yet they all got a good amount of focus and development. Intricate, funny and fast-paced, I hope it’s not too long until we see a third series.

3. Cute High Earth Defence Club LOVE!
I adored the Battle Lovers – they had me laughing out loud every episode. Such a fantastic parody of the Sailormoon-esque typical magical girl anime. A group of teenagers save the day from an odd ‘monster of the day’ with flamboyant costumes, declarations of love and ridiculously-long power-ups and magical attacks. The boys, whilst meant to represent anime archetypes, were still really good. It never tried to be more than it was, or overstretch itself, and so it really delivered on the comedy and satire. LOVE MAKING!

2. Yona of the Dawn
A rather slow burner to begin with, Yona of the Dawn sprang back with a second season that had an ass-kicking heroine, a posse of good-looking dragon men and a very real struggle of the lengths that people go to in order to become stronger in the face of adversity. Yona is a fantastic protagonist with a very believable struggle as she finds life outside the palace walls to be very different indeed. Now that all the dragons have been found, I’m looking forward to perhaps a third season so that Soo-Won can finally get his ass handed to him!

1. Your lie in April
I’m not a particularly sensitive person, but you’d have to be a robot not to be affected by the sheer mass of feels that Your lie in April hurls in your direction. Poignant, beautiful and heartbreaking, this was a real treat for the senses. The classical music was absolutely perfect for the tone of the anime, and the pastoral quality of the backgrounds gave it a real nostalgic feel. The character development here was top notch, and every episode was made to tug at your heart-strings, ready to completely unravel you in the final episode. This series blew all the others out of the water with how exceptional it truly was from episode to episode.

Ongoing series
Tribe Cool Crew
World Trigger
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure