I know these reviews normally done at the end of December but I needed some extra time to see the top contenders this year, but it’s only been a bit over a month! So on that note let’s get to it!
5 – Death Parade
In a mysterious bar two people arrive and are told to play a game on which their life depends. They are not told however the grim truth. They’re both already dead and their actions are being judged if they are worthy of reincarnation or the abyss.
I found Death Parade to be an overall engrossing look at human nature in an interesting if not dynamic setting. Unfortunately it’s major flaw I found ends up being the recurring staff or side characters as when the series truly shines are during the games. This made the development of the judges and others feel like a slow grind compared to the highlights of the show. Still made my top five list, however, as when it’s good it’s really good.
4 – Shirobako
A group of high school girls swears to continue working on their passion once they graduate; anime. What follows is an interesting but in depth story of how anime in a modern production studio is made from start to finish.
While it may seem at first to be a slice of life story, it turns out it’s (overall) filled with interesting characters and shows a variety of perspectives in anime production. I actually found myself glued to this one unable to put it down. Which is surprising for this genre but somehow this show made the process of anime be dynamic and exciting to learn about while connecting you with the characters. Most of these characters are interesting and relatable though a few fall flat or into stereotypes they aren’t usually major characters. A must see for anyone who’d be interested in how anime are made or who could just relate to characters struggling to do what they love in a fast paced challenging working environment.
3 – One Punch Man
In a nearly everyday apolitical super hero world, Saitama is a super hero who is so strong he can defeat everything and anybody in one punch. This has led him to a mixture of boredom and the desire to find someone who can be a challenge to him. All the while saving people from the various threats facing the city.
While sometimes the show feels like a bit of a one note-not to be confused with one punch!-It does much more than that with building the humor and the world in its own quirky way, never failing with laughs or with keeping you wanting more. OPM succeeds at capturing the spirit of the Manga nearly perfectly, having read that as well. While the show lacks some depth which is why it didn’t make number 1 for me, it still managed to worm it’s way to this list due to it just leaving you with that feel of being so f*@&ing good!
2 – Ore Monogatari!! (English Title: My Love Story!!)
A large misfit and his story not of only finding the girl of his dreams but of their relationship together.
Possibly the best romantic comedy anime ever. Period. While I think Shojo Manga Nozaki-kun is a close second this anime takes the cake (and other sweets if you’ve seen the show!). It’s packed with heart, humor, and relatable characters. What sets the show apart, however, is that focuses on something most other romantic comedy shows stop at, the main character’s relationship after they finally get together. While the first few episodes are their story of how they meet like so many romantic comedies, Ore Monogatari!! instead leans towards how they develop together as a couple as well as their friends. This shift from the norm makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest. Coupled with great comedy and I know I said characters but I have to say it again, amazing and likable characters, this show should be on anyone’s watch list.
1 – Noragami Aragato
The second season of Noragami so this will be both together – A Japanese god that no one knows about struggles to get by day to day making followers and helping his friends in a Japan that meshes with the gods and the spirits, hoping to one day have shrine of his own.
This may sound simple and to an extent the concept is. The show, however, touches on so many deep aspects of human nature, to love, self sacrifice, desire, regret among others that after a few episodes you’re attached to the people of the story even if half of them are ghosts or gods. Using a perfect mix of humor and drama I haven’t seen done so well since Baccano! Noragami sets the pacing with action, character, and humor in a balance that no other anime has achieved since. While some may put other anime at the top of the 2015 list, Noragami Aragato managed to build upon the strong first season to deliver everything the premise could hope for and more. While Ore Monogatari!! connects you with characters in a slice of life way, Noragami and Noragami Aragato do so on a deeper level while mixing it with its urban fantasy setting. Nearly perfect it delivers on the depth that OPM lacks, it merges what’s best about nearly every other on this list into an anime I hope will see more seasons to come!
Blood Blockade Battlefront – Cthulhu world merges with NYC and is in a standoff with the rest of the world. Interesting but deviates from the Manga and pulls a “FMA” with it’s original ending.
Lupin III – Captures the spirit of the original!
GATE – A gate to a fantasy world appears in Tokyo and the National Defense Force goes in to defend Japan. Mixes interesting characters and politics. Sometimes feels silly but overall stays on target. Still ongoing so I felt like I couldn’t list it as 2015.
Durarara!!x2 – Still great mix of characters and stories, however, as it goes on it’s starting to lose some of the momentum due to length. Like GATE though still ongoing.
Parasyte the Maxim – Started in 2014 but since it finished in 2015 I will say that this show, while in some ways your average teen action show, managed to still be interesting and engaging stands above the crowd due mostly to it’s unique characters.