2015 came and ended with more a whimper than a bang, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some blockbuster titles along with some other over looked gems. So just a warning, don’t take my “elitist” anime opinions too seriously. Everyone has anime that suit them better than others. This list is merely a culmination of my experiences and critical judgment, hence, I can guarantee that every placement of anime on this list has been done so with much care and thought. I love anime and I want to make sure that other people can discover, as I have, just how amazing anime can be. Just how much does this guy like anime, one might ask. Well, you can see just how deep my anime dick goes down the rabbit hole on myanimelist. Spoiler alert, it can see the bottom. Trust me, if you think you’ve watched a lot of anime, you probably haven’t. I’ve watched so much anime that I’ve begun to reevaluate my life and what I’m doing with it. In the end, it’s worth it because I love anime and I love making these lists. Additionally, it’s only because I’ve watched so many good, bad, and in-between anime, that I’ve generally grasped the criteria of what makes an anime good and what makes an anime bad and feel as if I am qualified to judge them.
That being said, if your favorite anime didn’t make top 5 on my list, it was probably shit and you have shit taste and should feel bad about it. All jokes aside let’s get right into it. The list is divided into nine sections and each one is ordered from worst to best. So, for example, being number 5 on the list means that it is the weakest on the list and being number one means it won the category. As a reminder, I do not factor in anime that have not ended yet. This means series such as Gundam and Utawarerumono will not be in the running for any category on this list. Conversely, anime that ended this year but started last year are fair game. The reason behind this is that it makes no sense to judge an unfinished product. It’s unfair to not only the other anime, but to the anime itself.
So, what’s the criteria for “Best Anime of the Year” you might ask. Well, my origins as an anime critic stem from anidb.net where everything is rated by five categories– Animation, Sound, Characters, Enjoyment, and Value. An anime that I have deemed as a candidate for “Anime of the Year” excels in all of these categories where other anime that aired this year have not. As much as I would love to base my judgment purely on enjoyment, I’m trying to create a list that is as free from subjectivity as possible. However, it is pretty much impossible to completely remove subjectivity from the table because some anime will just naturally resonate with me more than others and inevitably leave a stronger impression on me. However, I would like to believe that I have done my best in being as objective and critical in my examination of anime as I possibly can.
So, now that we’re done with the preface of the list, let’s get started.
There were just an overwhelming number of anime that aired this year. A lot of them, as I unfortunately found out, were below average, some were just average, but some definitely stood out from the pack and showed from the start that they were real contenders for “Anime of the Year.” Unfortunately, only one can be crowned as “Best Anime of the Year.” Every entry on this list deserves every bit of recognition that I give them. Without further ado, I present to you, the “Best Anime of the Year” list.
The categories for this year are:
Best Anime of the Year
Worst Anime of the Year
Better than Expected
Top 6 Most Anticipated Anime of 2016
Best Anime of the Year
5. One Punch Man
One Punch Man is undoubtedly one of the most popular anime to have come out this entire year. It is impossible to deny just how successful and entertaining One Punch Man is. The anime adaptation of the gag manga about a man who became so strong that he could end any fight in one punch has more flare and style than most of the anime that have aired in recent memory. While there is little more than a puddle in the way of character and plot depth to the anime, One Punch Man generously compensates with humor, memorable characters, and some amazing animation and music. If comedy and action is your speed, One Punch Man definitely has you covered. What makes One Punch Man so amazing is how simple the plot is while having a very strong showing in the way of comedy and characters. Let me just note that even though I said there was little in the way of character depth, the characters start out unique, amazing, and likeable. Their characters might not be furthered developed, but it’s hard to do that when the characters’s egos and characteristics are already set in the stone that is a gag manga. The cherry on top of One Punch Man is the fact that Madhouse is behind the animation work for the series. They graciously lend their talents to One Punch Man to create one of the best looking action anime to have aired this year. When an anime excels at almost everything it does, it’s difficult not to name it one of the best anime of the year.
4. Prison School
The only anime that can even come close to toppling One Punch Man in terms of comedy is Prison School. There’s a very short list of series that have gotten me in stitches, laughing, and Prison School just made that list a little longer. Every bit of comedy was built on amazing setup that was consistently executed to perfection. Many might be turned off from the series because it seems like it relies on ecchi to get cheap laughs, but I assure you, if that’s why you decided to not watch Prison School, you’re missing one of the most hilarious anime experiences of your life.
Even if you’re not too into comedy, Prison School also boasts very dynamic, interesting characters, who make each moment special and memorable. The cast of Prison School is also very large compared to most anime which typically stick with six or so main characters. Even with a larger cast of main characters, each character is able to remain unique, distinct, and interesting. This could also be attributed to the amazing work that J.C. Staff (yeah, you read that right) put into the series.The animation really blew me away, making me have to check to make sure that this is really the same J.C. Staff that I’ve shat on all this time. This might be the single best anime that they have ever done, and I think you owe it to yourself to watch it if you haven’t already.
3. Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte)
I don’t think any anime this season played with the question of what being human really is as well as Parasyte did. While taking a seemingly predictable plot where the protagonist’s life is turned upside down due to an encounter with a supernatural being, Parasyte puts many twists and turns into the story in order to keep it fresh and entertaining. The journey of the main character is one that he didn’t want, but was forced to take. His transformation over the course of the series is one of the most interesting and though provoking stories of any anime this year. The great story of Parasyte is accompanied by a star-studded cast of voice actors that really bring the characters to life and make every scene much more engrossing and emotional. There were some really silly scenes and events that happened in the series, but those instances were few in number and are easily overshadowed by the more refined parts of the show as well as its overall message. Parasyte is easily one of the best anime to have come out in 2015 and if you haven’t done it yet, you should watch it.
2. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
And you thought your eyes were sweating from Ano Hana? Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a beautifully told coming of age story that is only made better with the equally beautiful music that the characters play. I never thought there would be a music anime I cared about as much as I did for Nodame Cantabile and yet, Shigatsu easily stole its spot in my heart. Shigatsu excels at everything it sets out to do and ends on a strong note (pun intended). From the poetic, flowery monologues to the dynamic characters and stunning animation, Shigatsu proves that it’s a contender for best of the year. There haven’t been many anime that deeply affected me as much as Shigatsu has. It might be because I used to be a musician like the main characters (though definitely not as talented) that it speaks to me the way that it does, but I think there’s a simpler reason. The anime is actually successful in establishing a connection between the viewer and the characters. It’s impossible not to get emotionally invested in the characters and their stories. From episode one, I was eagerly awaiting the next episode to see what would happen next and there was not even a single moment where I doubted that this would be one of the best anime of the year.
1. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (2015)
Better luck next year anime, because Ufotable has done it once more and makes the number one spot on this list. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works’s second season is close to being a masterpiece of an anime, truly making it easy to name it the best anime of the year. I have a full review on the series which you can find here, so if you want the long version on why the anime is so amazing, you can read that here. If you want the shorter version, stick around. There really have not been that many anime that have impressed me like F/SN UBW has. With its unbelievably high quality animation, beautiful soundtrack, dynamic characters, and well executed plot, F/SN UBW proves that is the full package. I’ve tried to find points about F/SN UBW that are inferior to any other anime of the year, but I failed, leading me to conclude that it is indeed the best anime of the year. I said it last year and I’ll say it again, if you have been avoiding F/SN UBW for any reason, get over it, and watch it. It’s a masterpiece of an anime like Fate/Zero before it, and equally deserving of the title of Best Anime of the Year.
Honorable Mention: Death Parade
When the first episode of Death Parade hit, I was blown away but cautious. Even though it drew me in quicker than most anime I’ve ever seen have, it seemed like it would just be a generic, episodic anime where similar events happened each episode while a loose plot simultaneously ran in the background. I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life. While it’s true that it was episodic and had a plot running in the background, it was anything but generic. Each episode engaged the viewer in a powerful discussion on life and death. It’s very rare that an anime can evoke so much emotional investment from the viewer in just a short twelve episode series while also being episodic, having elements of comedy, and having a serious discussion on death. Death Parade is able to masterfully string all of this together and make it one of the best anime to have come out in 2015.
Animation is one of the hardest things to judge in an anime. If I could, I’d love to just give everything except the number one and two on this list a tie for third place, but unfortunately, that’s not how lists work. Keep in mind that each anime on this list is amazing in its own right. The order that they’re in does not mean that they are any less well animated (though being ranked certainly implies that). I try to judge this category based on consistency and what the animation brings to the table for not only the world of anime, but the series itself. In essence, how does the animation benefit the anime and make it better for it? Aside from the “Best Anime of the Year” section, this might be the most debatable section in my list. If my rankings really bothers you, just pretend that this is not a ranking, but a list of anime with the best animation of the year that’s conveniently numbered.
5. Prison School
Prison School was probably one of the most surprising series to have come out this year. It was made by J.C. Staff and yet still had amazing animation that was obviously above and beyond anything that average anime studios could produce, but what ultimately gave Prison School the edge in my mind was consistency and detail. There is a ton of detail packed into the animation. For example, the quality of facial expressions in Prison School was essential to the strength of the comedy. I would go as far as to say that there were no flaws in the way of the comedy in Prison School partly due to the animation really pulling its weight and more. It is actually surprising how well J.C. Staff did on the show. Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d put a series that J.C. Staff did on a list for “Best Animation” and yet, I cannot deny the quality of work they produced for Prison School and hopefully, neither can you.
4. Hibike! Euphonium
Hibike! Euphonium is probably one of Kyoto Animation’s best looking series yet and it really shows. Everything from the glint off of the brass instruments to the fluid motions of the characters makes it worthy of being on this list. Usually animation for non action series gets over looked because they aren’t flashy enough to catch the attention of people who aren’t really paying attention, but Euphonium managed to capture my attention every step of the way. Every scene in the anime just felt as if it was carefully crafted into becoming the high quality product that it is. Through their efforts, Kyoto Animation once again proves that they are one of the best in the industry with Euphonium.
3. One Punch Man
Here we go. Just because One Punch Man is number 3 on this list, does not mean that I thought it was bad. On the contrary, I had a very difficult time to organize this list because each entry on this list is such a strong contender for best animated series of the year. Ultimately, the reason why One Punch Man landed at number 3 instead of a higher place on this list is mostly because even though the fights were done better than basically all of the action anime in recent memory, there were still some errors in consistency of animation and detail that gave other series the edge. So please, do not misunderstand me. One Punch Man’s animation is amazing– it’d probably easily make this list last year too if it came out then. However, on this list, where there are so many anime that were just animated close to perfection, one slip-up makes it difficult to place it in a higher spot. If this list was purely based on the show’s strong suits (action in One Punch Man’s case), it’d easily have the edge. Unfortunately, One Punch Man falls just a bit short when it comes to the anime above it on this list.
2. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
There are some tell tale signs of whether or not an anime about music is well animated. One of the biggest indicators is whether or not the movements of the performers with their instruments is actually synchronized with the music or not. Being able to sync up the movements with the music is pretty hard work, even Nodame Cantabile didn’t have it down perfectly. Even so, Shigatsu does it perfectly. Every note, every movement of the bow, every stroke of the keyboard, Shigatsu went the extra mile to ensure that everything perfectly synced up.
Aside from the musical performances, Shigatsu had so much scenery porn, it was insane. While the dialogue might have set the tone of the series, the animation made sure to cement the emotions that the producers wanted to evoke from the audience. The animation for Shigatsu was beyond what I expected especially for an anime that aired for 22 episodes. Take a bow, Shigatsu, you deserve it.
1. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (2015)
I’m afraid of sounding like a broken record, but nothing even holds a candle to Ufotable’s work in F/SN UBW. The animation was so well produced that each moment felt like it belonged in a movie. The quality seen in the show is basically unprecedented for most ongoing series. There are only a handful of series that could come close to being compared and even then, they feel like they’re still miles away from Ufotable’s work. If there is anything I believe everyone should be able to agree on, it’s that F/SN UBW undoubtedly had the best animation of this year.
Honorable Mention: Owarimonogatari
Shaft tends to never disappoints with its animation and Owarimonogatari continues that trend. With even trippier and seizure inducing stylistic choices of animation, Owarimonogtari skirts past most of its competition to take its place as an “Honorable Mention.”Even if this season of Monogatari was less action oriented than previous ones, the stylistic creativity and uniqueness that have been Monogatari and Shaft’s staple features return in full form. Unless something much more amazing than what Shaft produce comes out or in the even more unlikely case that Shaft drops the ball, I doubt the Monogatari series will ever not make this list in some shape or form.
This section mostly focuses on the BGMs of the anime as well as their OPs and EDs. I don’t usually take voice acting into account because most people aren’t able to distinguish between good and bad voice acting since they’re not native Japanese speakers or have not extensively studied the language. However, everyone understands and appreciates music– it’s a universal language. The following six choices are the best 2015 had to offer in this category.
5. Rolling Girls
Rolling Girls is a lot of things, but it is not weak when it comes to music. Using Rock as its main genre of music, Rolling Girls embraces it to further cement its feeling of being a pseudo punk rock anime. In fact, I believe that part of the reason it’s called “Rolling Girls” is because it’s supposed to emulate the spirit of Rock and Roll. Whether it is able to accomplish that is a different story, but I will say that the soundtrack was outstanding. It was amazing enough that I came back every week just because of its soundtrack. While not one of the strongest anime of the year, Rolling Girls undoubtedly had one of the strongest soundtracks.
Can’t find the OST, but you can still listen to the OP here
4. Hibike! Euphonium
Euphonium was an anime that focused on the relations of the band members while using music as the knot that tied them all together. Because music was so important to the anime, it goes without saying that there had to be a good soundtrack, otherwise the anime would fall apart at its seams. Fortunately, Euphonium does not disappoint in the music department. The soundtrack of the show is able to be diverse while appropriate for the emotional tones of different scenes. Music is without doubt Euphonium’s strongest point, and it really shows. There are not many shows that integrate music into their system as well as Euphonium does.
….Kinda take a listen to Hibike! Euphonium’s OST here
3. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (2015)
The second season of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works brings more of the same from its previous season, which is certainly welcoming, but nothing too new. The new OPs and EDs are still of high (if not higher) quality. The overall quality of the soundtrack is still one of the best ones that 2015 had to offer, making it easy to make the top three..
Take a listen to the F/SN UBW OST here
2. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
If you like classical music, Shigtasu wa Kimi no Uso has go you covered. Even if you don’t like classical music, you’ll grow to like it. So much of the anime is based around music that it’d be a disaster if the anime lacked in that area. Fortunately from the BGMs to the OPs and EDs, Shigatsu screams quality. Like an accompanist, the music is able to not overwhelm the story, characters, and dialogue, but instead make it really shine by providing beautiful harmonies and melodies. The use of music in Shigatsu was very carefully thought out and well executed making every scene engaging and picturesque.
Take a listen to the Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso OST here
1. Kekkai Sensen
Out of nowhere comes the best soundtrack that I’ve heard all year. It’s important to note that this is the composer, Iwasaki Taisei’s first big gig, so you can imagine my surprise when I first heard the music play and it was more amazing than any of the pieces that the more prominent composers did the entire year. The music perfectly matches the setting of the anime– an alternate version of New York City. A mix of jazz, lounge singing, and other elements redolent of a New York of old, the soundtrack single-handedly makes the setting believable and immersive. It’s really amazing how much Iwasaki Taisei got right on his first try. I can’t wait to see what he does next if this is what he can do on just his first try.
Take a listen to the Kekkai Sensen OST here
Honorable Mention: Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls 2nd Season
Cinderella Girls is almost a no-brainer for this list. It’s an anime based off a rhythm game about raising your own idols. While I still believe that the original Idolm@ster series had the better everything, Cinderella Girls is still worthy of the Idolm@ster mantle. The soundtrack featured both remixed and normal versions of their more famous songs. that served as either BGMs or songs for their live performances. Needless to say, the music selection fit the anime perfectly, complementing the emotions of the show almost flawlessly. Even though this iteration of Idolm@ster is not as great as its predecessor, the music still does not fail to impress making it one of the best anime in terms of sound.
Can’t find an OST of the anime. There’s a lot of music for the game though, so you can always try that.
5. Ghost in the Shell: Arise– Alternative Architecture
For some people, this would be their number one on this list and I don’t blame them. Compared to the earlier Ghost in the Shells, Arise is absolute trash. The series tried to cater to old fans of the show which put them in a very bad spot because, one, they dd a horrible job at that, so they pissed off their old fans. Two, they made it virtually inaccessible to newcomers. Many terms and characters that pop up are never really explained, which makes it frustrating and difficult for the newcomers to become interested and invested in the anime. They seriously shot themselves in the foot with this series. The anime has little to no redeeming factors about it despite it being Ghost in the Shell. Arise is a show that appeals to neither the fans nor newcomers which is ultimately the opposite of what Production IG intended making it a perfect fit for this list.
4. Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Shimoneta on this list? The otherwise great anime of comedy is on this list? Yeah, it is. Why? Because, obviously, it flopped. It started off really strong, but then slowly but surely got worse and worse as it went on. Comedy began to feel forced, the plot which was already really loose took a nosedive, and the characters… I don’t even know. The first half of the show was perfectly fine and very funny, but as soon as the second half hit, the show didn’t really know what to do anymore. It began to introduce more characters, more story lines, and more dirty jokes. Too much of something, especially when that something is less than mediocre, is never a good thing. I’ll admit that there were a lot of great moments in the anime, but otherwise, the anime was really poorly done and ended very weak.
3. Grisaia no Meikyuu/Rakuen
After the mess that was Grisaia no Kajitsu, here comes two more series that give you the poor man’s spark notes of the visual novels. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again– If you’re really interested in Grisaia, play the visual novels. They’re light years better than the anime. It’s like the difference between getting a burger from McDonalds or going to an actually good burger joint and getting a burger from there. You can either spend a dollar for the quick, cheap satisfaction of having something with the semblance of cow meat in your mouth and then heavily regret your decision later leading to self loathing, depression, and then going back for more because by that point you’ve hit rock bottom. Or, you could just go to an actual burger place and get quality for your money. Needless to say, the anime adaption is McDonalds– cheap, quick, and sure to incite self-loathing and actual loathing within you. An anime adaptation of an otherwise great visual novel series should not have been able to fail as hard as Grisaia has, but alas, welcome to the real, sad world.
2. Rokka no Yuusha
Rokka no Yuusha was really close to being number one on this list. It started out as a more standard story of heroes gathering together to defeat the demon king who was prime to revive himself. The characters seemed charismatic and interesting enough to propel the otherwise standard story into more unique territory, separating itself from the crowd. And then… we get to the actual main part of the series. See, Rokka no Yuusha is less an action anime than it is a closed room mystery murder. What felt like it should have only lasted a couple of episodes ends up being a very grueling and difficult to watch nine episodes. The closed room murder begins when the heroes inadvertently meet at a temple that is key to defeating the demon king. A barrier is somehow raised and they are unable to leave the area. They then realize that there are seven of them when there should only be six. Then it dawns on them that there is a fake hero among them who is working with the demons to keep them there so that they cannot stop the demon king’s revival. The entire anime takes the span of nine episodes to flesh out characters all the while putting characters in desperate situations to prove that they are not the seventh. It honestly sounds a lot better than it is, but the entire anime is just so poorly executed and the ending made me want to rip all my hair out and stuff it down the throat of whoever made this anime. I’m a pretty calm, peaceful person, but Rokka no Yuusha got me pissed beyond reason. My rating of the anime dropped at least two points just because of the ending. There’s little in the way of praise for Rokka no Yuusha, plot least of all, but it is nevertheless disappointing to see a show with the potential to be more turn out to be so bad. I would recommend watching it ONLY if you want to know what living in the Dead Sea is like (‘cuz you know… salt and all that).
1. Gatchaman Crowds Insight
Most people disagree when I say that Gatchaman Crowds was one of the best anime of 2013, but this should be an indication of how much I liked the series. So when a second season came out, I was ecstatic until I watched through it. I am positive that people will disagree with me on Insight being here because, in general, I believe that most people liked the second season of Gatchaman Crowds, but I really could not like it. The original Gatchaman Crowds started with an eccentric newbie who tried to solve situations in different ways than the Gatchamen were used to. In the end, the entire team and their views change because of her. It was a story about how technology could adversely affect our society while also a story of growing up and friendship all tied around a simple good vs evil story line. The second season is basically more of the same, just this time, it feels overdone. The previous main characters, now in different roles than they were before, take back seat to the new, weaker main characters. The plot is basically a carbon copy of the original, just with an alien and a new newbie to the team. Everything that the new characters did (and even the old characters) did just felt like they were trying to emulate the previous season’s eccentricity and unique take on the modern age– everything just felt awkward and cringy to watch. I was excited to watch the second season of Insight, but not like this. When the new characters are flat and uninteresting and the previous main characters are just a shadow of their previous selves, you know you have a problem and Gatchaman Crowds Insight definitely had a problem.
Flaccid Mention: Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya 2wei Herz
The third season to the spin-off no one really asked for but everyone kinda likes is back and not as amazing as before. The third season starts out really slow with Illya and co. just being friends and doing cute stuff together. It isn’t until later in the series that they go back to their card collecting ways and then things get a bit more serious. But it’s exactly when the action starts up again that there are more deus ex machinas, cliche themes, and just very uninteresting occurrences that made it worse than the previous seasons. The previous seasons were part comedy part action and while the third season is basically the same, it falls into cliches and tendencies of lesser anime that ultimately make it more generic and predictable to the point that it becomes boring. While I’ve never seen this spin off series as anything amazing or outstanding, I’ve always held it in higher regards than the generic, repetitive series that are churned out every year. The third season is a disappointment and an unfortunate addition to what was a relatively reputable series.
Worst Anime of the Year:
Believe it or not, this category was the most difficult to narrow down. There were actually so many bad anime this year that I had trouble picking only six of them. It physically pained me to remove some of the anime I originally had listed in this section because it felt like I was excusing them despite their massive failures. However, after much deliberation and effort, I have completed this section. I just want to note that Symphogear has always made this list because somehow I’ve been able to strap myself down to watch it and then take really long showers afterwards in an attempt to clean myself. But this season, I failed. I dropped the series after approximately five episodes, so it is disqualified from this list. I just want to make it clear that there are some series that are not on this list that were absolutely atrocious, but since I did not finish watching them, I do not feel as if it is fair to put them on this list.
5. Lance N’ Masques
Quite easily one of the easiest anime to discern as one of the worst to have come out in 2015, Lance N’ Masques spares no time in showing just how bad it is within the first few seconds of airing. Between its ridiculously poor character designs, even more ridiculous plot, with even more ridiculous characters, it was difficult to pinpoint what its weakest point actually was. But, when everything about the anime is already at a point where it can easily be considered one of the worst anime to have aired in 2015, it’s not too difficult to put it in this section. There were so many problems that I could talk about, but will not for the sake of being brief. All I will say is that the anime made no sense, it looked pretty bad, it sounded pretty bad, and it was one of the worst anime to have aired this past year.
4. Hidan no Aria AA
Not to be confused with the cup size of the anime’s previous protagonist Kanzaki Aria, Hidan no Aria AA is an unwanted spin-off series of an already horrible anime/light novel series. If I had a category for unwanted sequels or spin-offs, this would probably hit number one. There were little to no redeeming factors about this unwanted/unnecessary anime. Previous main characters (excluding Aria) are relegated to being characters in one minute appearances or just by name and the new characters are somehow even worse than the ones that they’re replacing. The plot was generic as expected accompanied by subpar animation and sound courtesy of Doga Kobo and some other rascals… most notably Flying Dog who has done some great work before (Aria, Macross F, Spice and Wolf, and Tentai Senshi Sunred to name a few). If you’re looking for an anime experience devoid of anything that could even be close to creating an enjoyable experience, Hidan no Aria AA is for you.
3. Kuusen Madoushi Kouhousei no Kyoukan
Never have I seen such awkward fighting scenes from something that is supposedly an action anime. If you’re going to do one thing right, at least let it be something that you’re supposed to get right. Even if the action wasn’t supposed to be the main focus, it’s included enough times that it becomes glaringly apparent that the anime studio put little to no effort in trying to make the fights look even a little bit good. Add in a very uninteresting plot with characters that have about as much depth as a puddle in 100 degree weather, and you’ve got yourself one of the worst anime to have aired this entire season. It’s a typical harem/ecchi anime that somehow fails to meet the standard of being just “bad” and falls into the “very bad” category. There were a lot of bad anime this year and yet, this still managed to beat most of them. So, congratulations on being one of the worst anime of the year, I guess.
2. Unlimited Fafnir
I ultimately gave Fafnir the honors over Kuusen Madoushi because somehow Fafnir had a more incoherent story and arguably even worse animation. None of the characters were very unique and they all just blended in to form just one huge homogeneous blob. I think even the animators forgot who was who, because at one point, they completely messed up a line/character. You can see this explained in a bit more depth in one of my posts here. In any case, Fafnir completely messed up every second of its brief twelve episode experience. CGI was clumsily used, animation of abilities and even ordinary movements were rigid and unappealing, the story was predictable and generic, and worst of all, the characters were static and uninteresting. It’s almost impressive at how many egregious mistakes this anime has. Hopefully it doesn’t get a second season because they should definitely stop while they’re behind.
1. Vampire Holmes
I think this anime is actually bad enough to put up competition for worst anime ever made. It gets worse than failing marks in every possible critical category. Even though this is a short twelve episode series with episodes around three minutes a piece, it was beyond difficult to keep myself from lighting my laptop on fire in the hopes that at least my laptop would be cleansed of this abomination. This borderline flash animation is about a vampire Sherlock Holmes who is lazy but “brilliant.” You never really know of his “great” abilities of deduction until later. All you know is that his assistant, Hudson, is very impressed by him and holds him to high standards despite his near zero motivation to work. One of my biggest gripes with the anime was the fact that even though it was called Vampire Holmes, there was actually no indication whatsoever that he was a vampire or possessed any vampiric abilities. If the series wasn’t called “Vampire Holmes,” I never would have guessed that he was a vampire, never mind the fact that he is supposed to be a type of Sherlock Holmes. I really could go on forever about everything else about this “anime” but all you need to know is that it is actually one of the worst anime ever to have been made and you should stay away from it like the plague.
Dishonorable Mention: Binan Koukou Chikyuuei bu Rabu
Binan Koukou had the potential to be great. It was a gender bender parody of the Mahou Shoujo genre directed by the same guy who did Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou accompanied by a star-studded cast of voice actors. I was so ready for it to be one of the best comedies of the season and yet, it wasn’t funny– it was painful to watch. There was a framework for comedy that was filled with nothing but poor work and missed opportunities. The anime screamed unpolished and that was fully represented by the poor execution of plot, poor animation, and lack of any good characters. There was certainly a star studded cast of voice actors, but without any good material to back them up, their talents were wasted just like my time.
This section is just for fun. There were some actually good titles and some that were so ridiculously bad, that they’re actually good titles.
Doubles as Panty line and Punch Line. The funny thing is that the title being translated as panty line makes more sense in context with the series than it does as “punchline” ‘cuz there’s definitely more panties than punching in the anime.
4. High School DxD BorN
I have two theories about the “BorN” part of the title. One is that it’s a homonym of porn, which makes a ton of sense. The second is that it’s supposed to be “B or N.”Barnes or Noble? Black or Neptune? Bacardi or Nah? No, I think it stands for “Boobs or Nipples” ‘cuz there’s really no shortage of either in this show. Nice try but, you can’t fool me, High School DxD.
3. Hidan no Aria AA
Because Aria’s bust size is AA. Or those were the type of batteries that the author had to go buy, so he mistakenly wrote it on his manuscript instead of his shopping list. (For those wondering the real reason why it’s AA, it’s because it stands for Aria and Akari– the two main characters of the show).
2. Hackadoll the Animation
Word play on Hack a Doll and Hakadoru which roughly means “to advance.”
1. Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist
Symphogear makes the list 😀 Symphogear has had a history of really… “interesting” titles, but this season takes the cake? “Determination to Fist?” Really? Really??
Titular Mention: Shinmai Maou Burst
‘Cuz let’s be real. They meant to say “bust.”
This is mostly another “just for fun” category. I was really tempted not to rank these because all of these openings and endings are brilliant in their own right, but alas, this is a list, so I have no choice but to buck up and rank them. The criteria I used to rank them are how well animated they are, how well they represent the anime, and how great the song is. Apologies in advance if any of the videos are in a different language than Japanese/English, removed, or off-pitch.
5. Durararax2 Ten
Song Name: Headhunt
Artist Name: Okamoto’s
4. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc
Song Name: Jojo Sono Chi no Kioku end of THE WORLD
Artist Name: Jo Stars, TOMMY, Coda, JIN
3. One Punch Man
Ok, I swear I don’t hate One Punch Man or anything XD. I know that to most, it’s absurd that One Punch Man did not make even one number one spot on this list so far, but just know that I appreciate One Punch Man a lot. Maybe not as much as a lot of other people do, but a lot. Number three out of whatever number of anime came out this year is still impressive!
Song name: THE HERO !! Okoreru Kobushi ni Hi wo Tsukero
Artist Name: JAM Project
2. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (2015)
Song name: Brave Shine
Artist name: Aimer
1. Death Parade
Song name: Flyers
Artist name: Bradio
Honorable Mention: Shigatasu wa Kimi no Uso
Song Name: Hikaru nara
Artist Name: Goose House
I have no clue why, but finding streamable versions of these songs that aren’t covers or nightcore is like impossible. Maybe I just suck at googling, but… if you’re better and are interested, go ahead and look up the ones I couldn’t find by yourself 😀
Song Name: Sayonara no Yukue
Artist Name: Takigawa Alisa
4. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Song Name: Orange
Artist Name: MICHIRU
3. Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??
Screw the haters, this is amazing.
Song Name: Tokimeki Poporon
Artist Name: Minase Iori, Murakawa Rie, Tokui Sora
2. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade W 2015
Song Name: ring your bell
Artist Name: Kalafina
1. Kekkai Sensen
Song Name: Sugar Song to Bitter Step
Artist Name: UNION SQUARE GARDEN
Honorable Mention: Nisekoi Season 2
Song Name: Aimai Hertz
Artist Name: Touyama Nao, Hanazawa Kana, Komatsu Mikako, Asumi Kana
Better than Expected:
5. Yoru no Yatterman
Yatterman, the children’s show about two heroes who went around trying to stop the hi-jinks of the Doronjo gang, comes back in a much different form than I expected. The show is dark… like really dark compared to its previous iterations. Yoru no Yatterman focuses around the Doronjo gang’s descendants as they try to get revenge against Yatterman for reasons I’ll exclude from this review. The show is more than successful in selling the horrible dystopian society that the once prosperous, country was. Each episode takes the gang deeper and deeper into the Yatterman dystopia where they encounter new people and new situations. The draw to the series is not only how different this is from the previous Yatterman series but also the characters who were branded as villains, but are trying to do the right thing against the apparently evil Yatterman duo. The show is easily accessible for those who haven’t watched Yatterman, while also very enjoyable for previous fans of the show since this iteration is littered with references and nods to the previous ones.
4. Shokugeki no Souma
And here I thought food porn couldn’t get more advanced than Koufuku Graffiti. Shokugeki no Souma puts the porn back into food porn and is honesty better for it. Every time a character bites into food, they react to it in some heavily exaggerated way that makes it look like they’re in ecstasy. This is part of the series’ humor and it pulls it off very well. However, that’s not what makes the show better than I expected. Aside from the very exaggerated, orgasmic reactions to eating amazing food, Shokugeki no Souma utilizes Shounen themes to craft a story about cooking and actually make it engaging and interesting. The draw to the show is seeing the characters grow through constant trials and tribulations. The combinations of food they make are just so intriguing, it’s always a treat to see what they will make next. Shokugeki no Souma might be one of the first anime from Shounen Jump that has landed on my list (besides Nisekoi) and it deserves attention. It is a very fun, entertaining anime that will keep viewers hungry for more.
3. Kekkai Sensen
To this day, I don’t know what happened in the anime. All I know is that it had a great mix of crazy, beautiful music and animation, and interesting ideas to make me come back every week. If I had to rate it on characters alone, I’d give it an almost perfect score. The characters were without doubt one of the anime’s strongest suits and were only second to its fantastic soundtrack. The only drawback to the show is that it makes little to no sense and gets too over the top at times. It was a show full of life but devoid of substance. However, occasionally, there are some really well done episodes that just make it impossible for you to hate the show. Kekkai Sensen is the biggest oddball to come out this year, but if you have the time to watch it, I’d give it a shot.
2. Gakkou Gurashi
I didn’t know what to make of Gakkou Gurashi when I was watching the first episode until it ended in one of the best ways I’ve seen in quite some time. The first episode of Gakkou Gurashi got me instantly hooked and craving for more. The first episode is even more effective if you’re unaware of the plot of the show, so I’ll try not to spoil anything in the hopes that you might give it a watch if you haven’t already. The show focuses around the relationship between the School Life Club members as well as their daily life at their school. The relationship between each character, how they decided to join the club, and the situations they get into, make for a very strong, fortified foundation for the anime. The only failing of the show might have been pacing, but other than that, Gakkou Gurashi was a very fun, interesting watch and definitely one of the biggest surprises of the year for me.
1. Death Parade
Wow Death Parade made this list twice! I was really just that surprised that it was such a great anime, I guess. I don’t think I can stress enough just how great Death Parade is. It might not look like it, but it is definitely a series worth your time and praise. I already said what I wanted to about the series earlier in this list, so I’ll hold off on repeating myself. I’ll just say that I highly recommend this series to basically anyone. I’m sure you’ll have your reserves, but they’ll soon disappear after you finish the first episode.
Honorable Mention: Kantai Colletion: Kancolle
When I heard that Kancolle was getting an anime, my expectations were at zero. An adaptation of a browser game seemed to have no potential or anywhere to go but down. I was surprised to find that the series was actually pretty decent. While I won’t say it was better than average, it was most certainly a competent, average series. I’m not a huge fan of the Kancolle series, so I can’t speak from a fan’s perspective, but it felt like that even with the huge cast of characters, they were able to make each one stand out– a feat that most anime cannot pull off. There were some pretty “real” moments in the anime along with tons of comedy, hard work, and action. The mix of these elements was well balanced so that no aspect overwhelmed the other making for a very pleasant ride.
Top 6 Most Anticipated Anime of 2016
The only list with six anime. It felt dumb to put an honorable mention on this, so I just decided to expand it to six options. There’s no particular order to this section of the list, so don’t think too much about it.
6. Dagashi Kashi
Dagashi Kashi is out now! You can watch it on Funimation here
5. Hibike! Euphonium
Kizumonogatari is out now in a Japan near you!
3. Durarara x2 Ketsu
Durararax2 Ketsu is out now. Watch it on Crunchyroll here
Coming to a Japan near you! (TV series started airing 1/16)
Coming out July 2016!