Anime Roundup 2015

Thursday, January 14 2016 at 21:02 (Uncategorized)

It’s the new year so it’s time again for some anime tier lists. You all like those right? Good.

First off, general overview of the year: overall not bad, as per usual. Lots of great shows ran over from 2014, and the winter and spring seasons had some excellent shows that I thoroughly enjoyed. Summer was not so lucky, with a lot of mediocre shows that I started but never finished – as before, if I didn’t finish it, it didn’t make the list. Autumn had a few shows that I liked but didn’t quite get around to, but somehow I managed to catch up on some titles from earlier in the year instead. Also some notes on format – since I watched a lot less crap this year, I’ve created an intermediary between God and Good tier, Great tier. Please look forward to it.

 

GOD TIER

These shows were my absolute favourites and are what I would hold up as the pinnacle of anime. It’s damn hard to achieve this tier.

Kuroko no Basuke 3
I know I’m shadow

 

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Picture borrowed from http://annciel7.tumblr.com

I couldn’t have known when I started watching this show at Mike’s urging what a stunning ride it would be. These final 25 episodes really kicked things up a notch in terms of basketball strategy, story, music and animation – oh man the animation was so damn good. Even the games that didn’t “matter” so much like the Kaijou vs Fukuda and Shuutoku vs Rakuzan games played out in a way such that the show never felt drawn out or boring, which seems surprisingly hard to do in sports anime. Then the knockout 1-2 punch of the Teiko arc then the Seirin vs Rakuzan game… and that one bit at the end! You know the bit I mean. The bit with the music. Aw yea.

Best guy: Aomine Daiki

 

Shirobako
Funny story, you should watch this show

shirobako

Unlike some people, I actually really enjoyed the weird hallucination sequences

“But didn’t you already write about Shirobako last year? Why again?” Because screw you Shirobako didn’t finish until 2015 and I just recently rewatched it and it’s still amazing. Watching the team come together to make the Daisan Hikou-Shoujotai series come to life was amazing, and the tension from production problems and the large cast of characters felt absolutely real. I don’t usually cry at anime; I didn’t cry at Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or Death Parade, but I had teary eyes in the penultimate episode of Shirobako. It might be hyperbole to call it anime’s West Wing but I’m doing it anyway.
(Also did you know that all the main cast of girls (the anime club) were all pretty much unknown voice actors before this show? How cool is that? Such a classy show.)

Best guy: Nabe-P

 

GREAT TIER

Really, truly excellent shows that I didn’t mind going out of my way to watch. That said, there is room for improvement and that’s why they’re not God tier.

Death Parade
Play parlour games for your eternal soul

Flyers

Quality music

This was one of several excellent shows that Madhouse has been putting out lately; they’ve really been on a roll for a while now. This was a continuation of the Young Animator Training Project OVA entitled “Death Billiards” in which two people compete in games for either reincarnation or condemnation to the void, all of which, obviously, takes place in a chic bar and the games are all air hockey or bowling or some shit. The show retains and expands the ideas from the short, exploring ideas of death and humanity, with some pretty dark stuff thrown in; each episode plays out like something of a reverse mystery as the competitors recover their memories and realise that they’ve died and the circumstances therein. There’s also plenty of ongoing intrigue and curveballs to keep it interesting, as well as some worldbuilding that hints at a much larger operation than what we see. So good that we cosplayed it at MCM London.

Best guy: Ginti

 

Arslan Senki (Heroic Legend of Arslan)
Semi-historical fantasy with clashing armies and Arakawa pretty boys

sam

u wot m8

This is the anime adaptation of a manga which is an adaptation of a novel series. I don’t actually know who wrote the novel and the anime studio is pretty new to full production, but the manga is written and drawn by legendary mangaka Hiromu Arakawa of Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon fame, which means that it should be automatically awesome. Fortunately it is.

We follow Arslan, a young prince of a powerful nation striving to take back the throne of his country from invaders. It’s just really fun to watch all the great characters with excellent designs fighting and making plans and executing plans and fighting off a thousand troops single handed (oh Daryun), and though the animation production noticeably dips for a few episodes around the midpoint and the CGI soldiers in battles aren’t terribly convincing, when it works it really works. All the characters are great, and you find yourself invested in almost all of them, good side or bad.

Best guy: Sām

 

(Diamond no Ace S2)
“Who is that first year southpaw pitcher with the weird form?”

haipoop

Dramatisation of real events

One of the only ongoing shows on this list, this was my workhorse show for a lot of the last part of the year. At over 100 episodes so far including the first season, this was a show to sit down with my housemate and watch a few episodes at the end of the day.

We follow the exploits of Sawamura Eijun, pitcher extraordinaire as he strives to become the ace ball-thrower of the once-great Seido baseball team. I’ll admit that the show started out slowly in the first season, but when it built up to speed it became something to really look forward to. The second season captured some of this slow start with 3(!) recap episodes at the beginning, but since then it’s been pretty solid with some great baseball. The cast of characters are also great, and have actually developed extremely well beyond the one-liners and two-dimensional personas they started with. Ace show.

Best guy: Chris-senpai

 

One Punch Man
Imagine Dragon Ball crossed with Kill la Kill crossed with Tiger & Bunny plus Mega Man. You’re halfway there

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Presumed OPM budget

This show seems to be pretty stunningly popular from what I’ve seen, and for good reason. The main guy is a “hero as a hobby” who is pretty much the most powerful being in the universe and can destroy anything with one punch, but is otherwise completely unremarkable – even his face and hero suit are remarkably bland. Most of the show’s humour comes from juxtaposing his unremarkableness with his amazing strength and everyone else taking everything so damn seriously, which it does with surprisingly great consistency. Many shows I feel would be tempted to try and get ‘clever’ having invented a gimmick such as this, doing things like making situations where one punch isn’t enough or other tricks like you get in your average bad shounen show. In fact OPM makes a special point of pointing out how dumb all that shit is by often ignoring or sidelining (or instantly killing) when anyone tries to announce themselves or do super special moves. And yet it’s still very much going by the tropes in its own way; there’s not the awkward pace-killing interruptions that stuff like Guardians of the Galaxy tried to do for comic effect, and it’s very much an homage to the ridiculous shounens of old as well as a parody.

Special mention also has to go to the animation, which is fantastic. It’s almost worth watching this just for the sheer spectacle, episode after episode without a single noticeable dip in quality and extremely heavy action sequences in every episode. And all this without a single frame of 3DCG in sight. Madhouse (man I love Madhouse) really outdid themselves here.

Best guy: Mumen Rider

 

Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
You want to finish this post? You better raise your cadence by another 30 RPM

yowapeda

Those nicknames tho

This cycling show just edges out Great category. I actually watched the entirety of Yowamushi Pedal in 2015 rather than just this second season, and the ability to simply marathon the whole thing made it a pretty great show to watch, with plenty of tension and atmosphere. However, watching it week by week (as shows are supposed to be watched, fuck you Netflix you’re destroying television) I feel that the pacing would have been painfully slow. Still…

We follow Sakamichi Onoda (which as far as I can tell is a rough name equivalent of Climby McClimberson) who is a huge otaku and, unbeknownst to him, an amazing hill-climbing cyclist. The anime club at his school is shut down and so he ends up joining the cycling club so he can force his moe shit on them instead, and also some bike races blah blah. The visual of road racing is at its core not terribly exciting and there is a LOT of talking going on in this show as characters ride along in packs, but the characters themselves are so well-designed and interesting that it’s not really a problem. The “villain” in particular does a spectacular job of being a terrible person but an absolutely amazing character. Also some great music in this show.

Best guy: Yuusuke Makishima

 

 

 

GOOD TIER
Very solid shows, extremely watchable but not terribly outstanding. Good to pass the time.

Hibike! Euphonium
Cute girls play cute instruments ETERNAL MISERY FOREVER

hibike

Genuine screenshot

Kyoto Animation, usually known for cutesy but watchable moeblob tripe, put out a surprisingly thoughtful show about a concert band being driven to play and practice seriously to get to the national competition by their new adviser/conductor. It’s surprisingly dark by KyoAni standards, nothing that dire but lots of ~drama~ and arguments and other things that happen when a lot of girls get together (jk not jk). Also gives some insight into playing the less ‘romantic’ band instruments and some ideas about music appreciation in general. This is no Shigatsu and the music is still relatively thin on the ground compared to character stuff and drama, but it’s a good show with good if archetypal characters.

Best guy: Takuya Gotou

 

Parasyte
Headless guy says what?

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Parasyte: The Summary

I initially skipped this show because I found it initially kind of gross and wasn’t terribly fond of the characters, but came back to it recently. In the near future tiny parasitical worms fall to earth and invade people’s bodies, turning them into man-eating monsters – the twist here being that the “parasites” as they’re called can blend into human society if they try, are unable to reproduce and so limited in number and are also highly intelligent, though without any empathy. Our hero is an average glasses-wearing school guy who ends up with one of these morphing creatures attached to his arm and thus eventually gains fighting prowess, a sweet haircut and all the bitches anyone could ask for. His arm creature is also voiced by Aya Hirano (voice of Haruhi Suzumiya) for reasons. You’ll probably see the big plot points coming and the music is occasionally laughably over the top (dubsteb for walking round a corner, really?) but there’s some ideas about the role and fate of humanity and some pretty cool animation. Just another choo choo on the Madhouse gravy train.

Best guy: Mamoru Uda

 

(GATE: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri)
The Japanese army invades a parallel universe and find an otaku’s dream land

gate-jietai

Disco jeep

This probably gets the award for “watchable anime of the year” given that all it really has going for it other than that it was the only thing that kept my interest through the summer drought and was consistently fun. The show is basically just a jumble of otaku stuff, including cat girls, goth-loli girls, elves, military hardware: you want it, this show probably has it. It has that peculiar quality that KyoAni series often have where I enjoy watching it and look forward to the next episode, but in the intervening time cannot remember a single thing that happened. I would say that it’s a good, inoffensive show but some scenes in the first episode of the second season show some uh… questionable stuff. We’ll see.

Best guy girl: Piña Co Lada (all the guys suck)

 

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
SHIROUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU KUUUUUUUUUUUUN

I’ve read the whole visual novel and seen the movie and watched the series of this, but I still can’t remember what happened at the end or if this show was even any good. …fuck it.

 

BAD TIER
Flawed to the point where I really don’t know why I bothered.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
SEEEEIIIIIIIIIIBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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Omg I met Rie fu it was so cool

This goes here now. It was dumb and I just watched it because my housemate liked it.

Best guy: Lancer

 

Kantai Collection
Why ruin all these cute battleships with gross girl parts?

I watched this show because it’s hot internet property basically. Nearly all of the artists I follow were drawing KanColle fanart for months leading up to this (not that kind of fanart) (okay sometimes that kind of fanart) and I admit I bought into the hype a little bit. I even played the game, despite not really understanding what the hell was going on most of the time. Basically the game is about anthropomorphic girl versions of battleships fighting an evil force. You’d think that the show might expand beyond that as a storyline, but no… not really. It’s just Your Favourite Ship Girl Does Cute Things all day. Even the battle scenes were rather lacking in terms of big guns going “BA-DUNG” and doing that cool recoil thing. It was just sort of flat and uninteresting, really.

Best ship girl: Kagerou-class Shiranui (not even in the show)

 

SAO TIER
These are shows that I inexplicably watched to the end despite them being stunningly bad.

Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End)
Everyone is a vampire except some people who aren’t vampires

seraph

~quality show~

Man, this show. Studio WIT, known for the distinctly overrated Shingeki no Kyojin, prove here beyond a doubt that no, they really can’t do anything beyond pretty animation. (Seriously though, that one bit in the opening where the MC is pulling out his sword is just fabulously done.) All the characters are awful shounen archetypes and do awful shounen things, the character designs are rubbish and the MC is a prick but he’s so ~tortured~ so it’s somehow okay. Even the animation quality drops off quite quickly. Above all, it’s just so boring. I’m never invested in anything except for everyone on screen to get murdered as soon as possible, and even when that actually happens it’s not much respite. If you’re either 14 years old or 25 and still acting like a 14-year-old then I’m sure that you’ll think that this is the coolest, deepest show ever. As it is, it’s a boatload of piss.

Disclaimer: I only watched the first season of this. I didn’t have any friends to watch the second season with, and it’s just sad to watch bad anime alone.

Worst guy: MC

 

OP of the year
Taking into account the whole opening sequence rather than just the song used.

“Flyers” – Bradio (Death Parade)

Runners up:

“Punky Funky Love” – Granrodeo (Kuroko no Basuke 3 OP1)

“Ai no Scenario” – CHiCO with HoneyWorks (Magic Kaito 1412 OP2)

 

ED of the year
Ditto to above, though less so since ED sequences are usually more static.

“Hello Shooting Star” – moumoon (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu ED1)

Runners up:

“Lapis Lazuli” – Aoi Eir (Arslan Senki ED1)

“Fubuki” – Shiena Nishizawa (Kantai Collection)

 

So what does the future hold? Of the winter season I’m currently inexplicably enjoying Prince of Stride, a show about pretty boys running around, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (super hipster anime about Rakugo theatre) and Bubuki Buranki, a show about weird robots and regimes and… stuff? Who the hell knows. Should be fun regardless, and hopefully I actually finish more shows by this time next year so I can write all about them and not have to pad it all excessively with listing all the other best stuff. Wait hang on

BEST VIDEOGAME OF THE YEAR

Splatoon

Runner up: New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward

I didn’t actually play any other games that came out this year. But when you have those two who really needs more?

Until next time! ❤

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Went a little nuts in HMV

Monday, November 7 2011 at 18:57 (Uncategorized) (, , )

And bought all these:divids innit

The guy at the counter gave me an odd look when he got to the last one. He was actually so surprised that he forgot to neutralise the security tag and so I got attacked by policemen when I tried to leave. Not wanting to waste time I simply shot them all with my awesome and flew away.

Most of them are vaguely remembered Moviebob reccomendations, Princess and the Frog is just because and Submarine I have no idea about but hell it’s directed by That Guy From The IT Crowd. A certain person had better bloody appreciate this. Movie reviews possibly inc., we’ll see.

I currently have a godawful cold. I’m not sure exactly which god looks after cold, but I guess Apollo is medicine so I should pray to him to get better. And I just hit implicit differentiation in Core 4 again, which is awesome because implicit differentiation is kickass.

Oh oh I also got to wear my new overcoat for the first time in anger today. I’d been looking for one for ages in charity shops but my mother finally found one in the British Heart Foundation shop in Diss for £25. I hope I look vaguely swish in it, though I probably just look like a very young businessman with a cold. Still, it’s got an easy buttonhole to put my poppy in.

I think I’mma have to redo all my old categories because they were way too specific and mostly shit. Of course, that would imply that I was planning to blog more and hahahahahahaha oh god never make promises on the internet.

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I was just thinking

Sunday, November 6 2011 at 23:17 (Uncategorized) ()

Damn the BBC are good. I really appreciate what they do for British culture as a whole. I mean, not only do they have a great history of incredible shows (too many to list), but they just keep coming with great new stuff. I’ve always had a soft spot for BBC dramas – Spooks, Waking the Dead, Old Tricks, Hustle, that kind of thing. They’re almost always consistently good, well acted and well produced. Other things like Merlin and Doctor who are kind of campy and and not to everyone’s taste (and both made by BBC Wales, hmm…) but I’ve really enjoyed them.
The recent Page Eight was an incredible spy drama featuring Bill Nighy that pretty much blew me away with how engrossing and interesting it was. And this was pretty much an hour and a half of people talking. No gadgets, no shooting and no car chases, just character drama that couples fantastic actors with superb writing.

I also appreciate the iPlayer. Of all the channels that offer on-demand services, the BBC still seems to be ahead of everyone else, at least as much as they can be without being service providers themselves (see Virgin, Sky). Right now I can just download the whole of Merlin series 4 that’s aired so far in HD in a variety of formats. Sure there are limiations on playback and the time you can keep it, but the ease of use is just unmatched. Why hunt down torrents when I can watch the show in well-encoded HD for free?

You stay classy, BBC.

(Unrelated: WordPress? What the fuck happened to you? Seriously?)

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Poll Me. NOW!

Thursday, December 3 2009 at 19:00 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Good news first: There will be a new, proper post up this evening. Or Vlog. Or whatever the hell I feel like.

Maybe.

Bad news: I have a VERY hard decison to make.
I can only get ONE game for Christmas. Just one. SO to decide, here is a poll:


Please vote proper-like. This is a real dilemma.

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