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The Best Anime of 2015


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onewing



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:49 am Reply with quote
{Sorry, but listing is not permitted. ~nobahn}
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jymmy



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:10 am Reply with quote
Poll listed 178 series, of which I've seen 158. Not bad. I've noticed it's missing a couple, like Eikoku Ikka: Nihon o Taberu and Doushitemo Eto ni Hairitai, but I don't think anyone would really care.
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Joe Mello



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:59 am Reply with quote
Not sure what was more impressive, the distance between 1st and 2nd (and everyone else) on the mega poll or the fact that 2 shows didn't receive a single vote.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:39 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
I think one reason the reviewers and the poll scores don't necessarily align is because people are ranking using different criteria. The poll instructions say "Pick your 5 favorite shows, and this will help us compile a top 5 list of the most popular shows of the year..." On the other hand, it begins with saying, "We're putting together a big feature on the best anime series of 2015, and we need your input." (all emphasis added)

So mixed message there. Smile

I was sort of aware of the mixed message, but to make my choices easier I picked the five shows that I enjoyed the most. Although my top 5 favorites (1. BBB, 2. Aragoto, 3. Euphonium, 4. Snow White, 5. STAFU TOO!) are not that different from what are my top 5 in overall quality (1. Death Parade, 2. BBB, T3. Euphonium, T3. Aragoto, 5. Yuri Kuma Arashi).
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zrnzle500
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:12 pm Reply with quote
After seeing the last episode of One Punch Man, I am even more confident of its first place. The last fight was the best of all, truly a spectacle among spectacles. And it brought up some plot points that I am eager to see explored spoiler[with Metal Knight and Genos and also Amai Mask]. Nothing short of amazing. spoiler[Not to mention the extra ennui of going back to one punch after such a good fight, though even in that one, Saitama's opponent didn't stand a chance, and they both knew it, at least by the end.]
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ChibiKangaroo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:29 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Psycho 101 wrote:
Is it really that good? Is it just mindless popularity fueling it?

I think one reason the reviewers and the poll scores don't necessarily align is because people are ranking using different criteria. The poll instructions say "Pick your 5 favorite shows, and this will help us compile a top 5 list of the most popular shows of the year..." On the other hand, it begins with saying, "We're putting together a big feature on the best anime series of 2015, and we need your input." (all emphasis added)


I think this applies equally to both site audience and reviewers to be honest. I believe some of the reviewers have had no problem admitting that they can and will rank a show higher if it appeals to them personally. I don't think there's a problem with that as long as that is transparent. If you don't trust a reviewers personal taste and judgment, you won't be likely to be reading their reviews, so it doesn't seem like a problem for them to favor things that appeal to them on some level beyond simple technical merits.

In that context, it makes perfect sense that there were some shows that were highly ranked among reviewers and also highly ranked among the general audience (such as OPM and Death Parade) and some shows that were highly ranked among reviewers and poorly ranked among the general audience (such as Yurikuma and Maria).

Obviously, art is not uniform and appeal is not uniform, but there are ways that a show can be done that makes it both critically popular and highly popular with the masses. If there can be any objective standard in analyzing excellence in content, it could be said that those types of shows are objectively the best. They balance an excellent story idea, excellent character development, and execution with popular concepts/tropes and straightforward narratives that are easy enough for anyone to follow and enjoy. Essentially, that kind of show checks the most boxes so it is simply going to become the most popular.

Personally, I think the difference between shows that are popular with critics (only) and popular with the masses (only) often lies in execution. Shows that are generally only popular with critics seem to me to often be shows that have very excellent ideas, set-up, research, etc (and often strong symbolism that appeals to those who are carefully reading into it) but end up lacking in execution. By that I mean they are not executed in a way that the common person is likely to easily follow/understand and enjoy the content. Perhaps that is by design for some artists - there might be some who only want a certain group (who truly appreciate what they are doing) to truly enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that, but that will always fail at making it "great" for the masses, simply by its very nature.

By contrast, shows that are only popular with the masses tend to be shows that are executed exceptionally well. The symbolism is non-existent. The story ideas are often recycled and familiar. The production qualities are good, but not necessarily innovative. The narrative is straightforward, easy to follow and the characters are relatable. The writers have focused on compiling a list of things that they know the audience wants and have executed that to their highest ability.

I wouldn't say either of those two types of content is necessarily better than the other, because both have positive and negative aspects. But again, I think it makes total sense for shows like that to show up on the mega poll as they have, and it also makes total sense that the shows that hit all the critics' buttons and all the masses' buttons are at the top of the list. So, no I don't think it was merely mixed messaging. I think this type of result should be expected in any comparison between critics and the masses.
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MaxSouth



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:56 pm Reply with quote
I am surprised that Sound! Euphonium got double mention among reviewers, especially for animation. Dull mundane brownish slice of life setting did not allow artists to flourish, there is nothing much to praise.

And the story was dragging to start so slow that I did not survive past first few episodes; I could not bear nothing happening, all the cutesy small talk. You can only go through it if you cought the mood, and I was not able to.

I quite believe that closer to the middle of the series some actual events probably started to happen since otherwise it would not receive rating that high. I just was not able to have patience, apparently.


Last edited by MaxSouth on Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alabaster Spectrum



Joined: 02 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:28 pm Reply with quote
I could barely make it through the first episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi and I watched all of Mawaru Penguin Drum (very mixed feelings on it) and generally found what I saw of Utena (I got some episodes on VHS with a packaged deal years and years ago) palatable if weird. I mostly just found it annoying, pretentious and immediately off putting with what it was depicting in terms of visuals. Never went back still don't regret it. I mostly just find Ikuhara both in terms of the shows he does and as a person to be too creepy and weird for me but that was a whole other level. Honestly forgot that show even existed until people brought it up here, I know the ANN editorial staff absolutely loves the guy, particularly the female staff it seems but he's just not for me.

Pleasantly surprised at the variety of picks overall here and how it's not just dominated by the big dumb hype shows like Fate/Stay Night, Owarimonogatari, Charlotte and Aldnoah Season 2 like I figured it might be....well at least not the writers choice ones but even the viewer poll is surprising in that OPM was overwhelmingly picked and it's a show me and my friends can actually seriously enjoy instead of just feeling puzzled and left in the dark by like all these Light Novel and Visual Novel adaptations that are just so overwrought and/or bland style over substance affairs. It makes me feel like I'm just as completely 100% out of touch with this scene as I initially thought, just largely out of touch. Laughing

I don't know just far too much of that sort of stuff IMO and I can't tell if anybody outside of Japan is getting tired of it or not because to me it really put a downer on the year when that's the sort of stuff the industry feels we just need more and more and more of in 2016 judging by what's been announced so far. At least with OPM though it seemed like the staff behind it truly gave a damn which isn't the impression I got much from anime in 2015.

By the way this might be a strange thing to say but one of the things I tire of most from anime is convoluted or night incomprehensible storytelling and droning pacing and how that just makes shows come across more typically as annoying as opposed to extra smart or clever. This sort of thing made shows like Blood Blockade Battlefront and Fate UBW far more difficult watches than they should have been for what they are IMO and still other shows like Yuri Kuma Arashi and some of the noitaminA series this year night unwatchable for me. I kind of wish sometimes if a show has a story to tell to just find a way to damn well tell the story and make it interesting. It's not as hard as anime makes it look sometimes.

As for the year, personally it was the worst ever for me and I'm pretty well on the verge of quitting anime altogether or at least following it seasonally unless I hear some good things about a particular show. Just again too much of this Light Novel and Visual Novel influence in shows lately and the average show in genres I normally like hasn't been pulling it's weight. I don't think bringing in more light novel and visual novel people to create original anime like Aniplex is doing (Case in point their new sci-fi anime conceptualized by a combination of light novel authors responsible for Oregairu, Date a Live and Hentai Prince all of which have nothing in common with each other or who have ever worked on a sci-fi action series) is going to make things any better either, in fact I think that's exactly what made so many original anime so poor this year, these people just aren't equipped to create good ones.

The industry is starting to approach anime like it's some sort of easy game of mass production and just finding the right audience of suckers to buy them and while it's kind of understandable since there's a lot of fanatics out there (particularly in the Visual Novel and Idol scenes I've noticed) that are really easy catches and money whales it's definitely discouraging to see it all shrink down into this little shell especially in the last couple of years and become about pandering to what used to be and arguably still is kind of a cottage industry and very much separate the anime scene a decade ago. Even during the heyday period of moe anime in the late 2000's it still felt like studios were taking more risks still and at least getting people who are competent as opposed to popular enough in name recognition in otaku circles to work on projects. I was still able to identify and draw a line between what was distinctly anime versus manga versus visual novel versus light novel etc. but not anymore these days.

Incidentally I also can't help but notice that out of all the ones we got this year only a couple of light novel anime made it on any of the writers lists and not a single visual novel anime or ones with ties to the visual novel scene made it on there in spite of all the buzz and hype for them throughout 2015 (especially Charlotte and Fate) and those two happened to be literally the only ones I found palatable and like any effort was put into them in Oregairu Season 2 and the surprisingly serviceable Dungeon one where if I had not known it was based on a light novel I might have suspected it was from a manga or video game.
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Key
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:11 pm Reply with quote
Alabaster Spectrum wrote:
Pleasantly surprised at the variety of picks overall here and how it's not just dominated by the big dumb hype shows like Fate/Stay Night, Owarimonogatari, Charlotte and Aldnoah Season 2 like I figured it might be....well at least not the writers choice ones but even the viewer poll is surprising in that OPM was overwhelmingly picked. . .

One could easily argue that OPM is a "big dumb hype show," though, as it was certainly one of the most-anticipated series of the Fall 2015 season. It's just a relatively rare case where the hype proved justified on both the quality and entertainment value levels.

MaxSouth wrote:
I am surprised that Sound! Euphonium got double mention among reviewers, especially for animation. Dull mundane brownish slice of life setting did not allow artists to flourish, there is nothing much to praise.

And the story was dragging to start so slow that I did not survive past first few episodes; I could not bear nothing happening, all the cutesy small talk. You can only go through it if you cought the mood, and I was not able to.

I quite believe that closer to the middle of the series some actual events probably started to happen in this series, since otherwise it would not receive rating that high. I just was not able to have patience, apparently.

Actually SE got triple mention. And I don't know what you were looking it on the animation, but that was a very pretty show all-around. It's rare to see non-action shows animated that well.

As for the story, I'll agree that it did drag some early. In fact, I didn't even seriously consider it for my list until around episode 9 or 10. It does come together quite well in its later stages, though, when the character interactions finally start to gel. (I also think this is a little more obvious if you marathon the series, which I did do.)

ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Personally, I think the difference between shows that are popular with critics (only) and popular with the masses (only) often lies in execution. Shows that are generally only popular with critics seem to me to often be shows that have very excellent ideas, set-up, research, etc (and often strong symbolism that appeals to those who are carefully reading into it) but end up lacking in execution. By that I mean they are not executed in a way that the common person is likely to easily follow/understand and enjoy the content. . .

By contrast, shows that are only popular with the masses tend to be shows that are executed exceptionally well.

Although I agree with you in concept, I don't think "execution" is a good choice of word here, since execution in the sense of "is it put together well and does it carry through with its timing, themes, etc." is something that critics look at very heavily.
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angelmcazares
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Personally, I think the difference between shows that are popular with critics (only) and popular with the masses (only) often lies in execution. Shows that are generally only popular with critics seem to me to often be shows that have very excellent ideas, set-up, research, etc (and often strong symbolism that appeals to those who are carefully reading into it) but end up lacking in execution. By that I mean they are not executed in a way that the common person is likely to easily follow/understand and enjoy the content. . .

Although I agree with you in concept, I don't think "execution" is a good choice of word here, since execution in the sense of "is it put together well and does it carry through with its timing, themes, etc." is something that critics look at very heavily.

I also agree with ChibiKangaroo in concept, but I also think that "execution" is not a good choice word. I will say that some anime that can be popular with critics is done in a more artsy way. While anime that is most popular with general fans is the one that is done in a more conventional/simple way.


Last edited by angelmcazares on Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Aylinn



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:34 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Personally, I think the difference between shows that are popular with critics (only) and popular with the masses (only) often lies in execution. Shows that are generally only popular with critics seem to me to often be shows that have very excellent ideas, set-up, research, etc (and often strong symbolism that appeals to those who are carefully reading into it) but end up lacking in execution. By that I mean they are not executed in a way that the common person is likely to easily follow/understand and enjoy the content. Perhaps that is by design for some artists - there might be some who only want a certain group (who truly appreciate what they are doing) to truly enjoy it. Nothing wrong with that, but that will always fail at making it "great" for the masses, simply by its very nature.

I would not say that this is the case, but that the more challenging series demand reading between the lines, they assume that the audience will reflect on the content and will like coming to their own conclusions rather than being given answers on a silver plate. I don’t mean by that there is something wrong about enjoying a straightforward story or that straightforward stories are bad. They are just different. If someone doesn’t want to spend their time pondering over a story, it is OK.

As for Yuri Kuma Arashi, I think this series is less accessible than Utena and less universal because it focuses far more on the main characters sexual orientation. In Utena the most important thing about Utena is that she is a girl. Her struggles are connected with being a girl that she is bisexual is not of that much importance. For example: she hears that she should not wear boy’s uniform, because she is a girl. She hears that she cannot do something, because she is a girl. She hears that she should be this and that, because she is a girl. On the other hand, in Yuri Kuma Arashi the most important thing about the main character is that she is a lesbian. She struggles, because of that, her being a girl is not that important here. For example: she cannot have social acceptance, because she is a lesbian. She cannot be with whom she is in love openly, because she is a lesbian. Her problems stem from her sexual orientation, Utena’s problems stem from her gender, which makes Utena more relatable to a wider audience.


Last edited by Aylinn on Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ChibiKangaroo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Key wrote:


ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Personally, I think the difference between shows that are popular with critics (only) and popular with the masses (only) often lies in execution. Shows that are generally only popular with critics seem to me to often be shows that have very excellent ideas, set-up, research, etc (and often strong symbolism that appeals to those who are carefully reading into it) but end up lacking in execution. By that I mean they are not executed in a way that the common person is likely to easily follow/understand and enjoy the content. . .

By contrast, shows that are only popular with the masses tend to be shows that are executed exceptionally well.

Although I agree with you in concept, I don't think "execution" is a good choice of word here, since execution in the sense of "is it put together well and does it carry through with its timing, themes, etc." is something that critics look at very heavily.


Yea execution might not be the best word, but it kind of summed up what I was thinking the most succinctly. I guess I should have said something more along the lines of "execution that appeals to the broadest audience." Certainly, a show that might be considered more "high brow' or for a certain audience does have execution, but it is a different, and usually much more narrow type of execution that focuses more on themes, symbolism, historical accuracy, or other highly specific items that only certain audiences are attuned to. I guess I shouldn't categorize that as "not execution," but it is such a highly specific type of execution that it seems to be lacking in the more general sense of an entire animated production which includes many other things.

So if you take for example Yurikuma, the concept sounded pretty great to me and the ideas behind it are the type of thing that is meant to engage you intellectually. That is normally the type of thing I like. But when you watch the series, if you aren't in the specific target audience (like me), there is likely to be something lacking. You aren't getting a full, comprehensive anime story. So then you ask, could they still do those same themes and concepts but with a full, comprehensive anime story? My answer has to be yes. So then it seems like it was executed in a way that was lacking for the general audience, even though it might have been exactly what the targeted audience wanted.
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lossthief
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:56 pm Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:

So if you take for example Yurikuma, the concept sounded pretty great to me and the ideas behind it are the type of thing that is meant to engage you intellectually. That is normally the type of thing I like. But when you watch the series, if you aren't in the specific target audience (like me), there is likely to be something lacking. You aren't getting a full, comprehensive anime story. So then you ask, could they still do those same themes and concepts but with a full, comprehensive anime story? My answer has to be yes. So then it seems like it was executed in a way that was lacking for the general audience, even though it might have been exactly what the targeted audience wanted.


Could you elaborate on this? Because as it stands I can't really think of a definition for "comprehensive story" (or "comprehensive anime story" for that matter) that YKA doesn't meet. The bare-bones plot of the series is pretty simple, if told in an unorthodox fashion. The impression I get from your post here is that you think YKA could have been told through a more conventional story structure and setting. In other words, tell the story of queer girls struggling with the expectations and prejudices of society without the overt symbolism, obfuscating metaphors, and in a world more representative of a mundane reality.

And I have to say I disagree. While a perfectly good - even great - story could come from a more conventional version of YKA, part of what made me love the show so much was the artistic flourish and purposeful embellishment of it all. I liked how it made its points through exaggerated analogies and surrealist imagery, and felt it gave the already valuable message more energy and bite. I recognize that's not everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely adore when creators take unusual routes to familiar ideas. IMO Yurikuma would be a lesser version of itself if it hadn't been handled by the team it had.
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Tenchi



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:00 pm Reply with quote
I understand why some people make a distinction between "best" from "favourite" when voting on a poll like this and try to vote what they consider to be "best" even if it didn't appeal to them personally.

However, as far as I'm concerned, "best" is subjective and I'm not going to vote for shows that I'm "expected" to like (but don't enjoy or, in the case of the top 5 on this poll, haven't seen due to lack of interest) just because other people think it has higher artistic merit.

3 out of 5 of the shows I voted for fall into the broad category of "high school slice-of-life comedy" because that's what I enjoy and, if I didn't vote for them, my vote wouldn't be "honest". Even School-Live!, the highest-ranked show for which I cast a vote, has some of the high school slice-of-life comedy elements, even if it's a bit of a subversion, and my fifth vote was for Shimoneta, which is more of a satire on Japanese censorship but, even then, still not that far removed from my other votes since it is a comedy that takes place mostly in a high school.

Other people are free to vote for shows for whatever reasons they think are most valid, but my vote in future polls will continue to be primarily based on what I enjoy over any artistic merit.
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ChibiKangaroo



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:03 pm Reply with quote
lossthief wrote:

And I have to say I disagree. While a perfectly good - even great - story could come from a more conventional version of YKA, part of what made me love the show so much was the artistic flourish and purposeful embellishment of it all. I liked how it made its points through exaggerated analogies and surrealist imagery, and felt it gave the already valuable message more energy and bite. I recognize that's not everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely adore when creators take unusual routes to familiar ideas. IMO Yurikuma would be a lesser version of itself if it hadn't been handled by the team it had.


But this is my point. The show is great for the more narrow audience of people that are attuned specifically to certain symbols and flourishes of the writer, but it is bad for everyone else. That's why it isn't hugely popular. Not because there is something wrong with the general audience or the system of reviewing/polling, but because the show was never intended to be broadly accessible.
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