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Can you believe it’s already this time again? It’s time for our second round of Anime Awards!
Just like last year, all four of the blog authors will nominate their picks of the year for different categories – both good and bad. The categories themselves are mostly unchanged from last years, but this time there’s a few new ones!
Before we start, here’s the usual set of disclaimers:
Disclaimer 1: None of us watched everything that aired this year, so bear in mind that our individual picks are more drawing from the pool of ‘what 2015 anime I watched this year’ rather than ‘what 2015 anime aired this year’. It’s entirely possible that there are a number of fantastic  (and terrible) shows we never got the chance to see that deserved awards in one or more category.
Disclaimer 2: These are the opinions of the reviewers and some of these opinions may only be based on the first episode of each show.
Disclaimer 3: This feature is purely for fun and if you disagree with any of the views of any of the reviewers that’s perfectly fine, and you’re even welcome to voice your disagreement for the sake of discussion in the comments…just don’t be a moron about it.
Disclaimer 4: As much as we’ll -try- to avoid them…there will be spoilers.

And so, let us begin the Moeronpan Anime Awards, 2015 edition!

Best Anime Overall

This should need no explanation – what did we decide was the best new shows of 2015? Here are the shows that reminded us just how great anime can be!

Moeronpan
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Death Parade. It aired in the first season of the year and I knew that the rest of 2015’s anime were really going to have to step their game up if it wanted to even compete with what a masterpiece this was, but it maintained its crown for the whole year.
Madhouse’s beautifully made series about a night club in the afterlife became so much more than I ever expected it to, with an episodic format that lead up to a greater whole. Sometimes it was brutal, sometimes it was bizarre and sometimes it was even heart-warming, but it was always thought-provoking and fantastically written. It wasn’t just the best anime of the year, but one of my current top 5 overall. It’s the kind of show I could recommend to anybody whether they like anime or not (I did say before I think the plot could even work as a movie) – just so long as they’re prepared for the sheer emotional roller coaster it turns into.
(I reviewed each episode of Death Parade here!)
Runner up:
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Yuri Kuma Arashi. This is kind of a sore spot for me, because as much as I adored this series it didn’t seem to perform that well. It’s not hard to see why – it was unapologetically bizarre and the first three episodes are intentionally nonsensical. Director Ikuhara specialises in anime that come together at the end and therefore need to be viewed as a complete whole, but Yuri Kuma Arashi is probably the best example of this practice. It’s a shame, because those who were turned off by what initially appears to be hyper-sexual cotton candy nonsense (with bears!) missed out on a beautiful fairy-tale.  Sometimes it feels more like a post-modern art piece than an anime.
But it was sweet, it was visually gorgeous (those colours), and it’s main drawback is mostly that it seemed like Ikuhara didn’t have enough episodes to fully explore the world he was creating. It had a slow-burn kind of attraction and I only truly started to really get into it around episode 5, but once I did I could hardly stand waiting for each new episode. No matter what your thoughts on “that weird lesbian bear anime” were, one can’t deny it was one of the most unique shows of the year.
(Ariana reviewed each episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi here!)

Ariana
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Yuri Kuma Arashi wins, hands down. It was arguably the most ambitious and beautifully animated anime that I had the chance to watch this year. Some people may write it off as just a fanservicey yuri anime; and there may be some who find Yuri Kuma Arashi’s pacing annoying. However, despite the criticisms, I still think Yuri Kuma is a gem of an anime. If you’re tired of the typical harem or shonen series and want something that really makes you think, then you can’t go wrong with any series directed by Ikuhara.
Runner up: N/A

Junkoawards

Death Parade
There was really no competition here for me. Death Parade has compelling characters, a well-paced plot that kept me interested from the first episode to the finale, and was unafraid to handle some INCREDIBLY dark topics. Amazingly, I found myself genuinely caring about nearly every character, even those who appeared for only a single episode. This is the kind of show that proves “well-rounded” isn’t just a myth – from the plot to the animation to the music, nothing was allowed to slip through the cracks.
Runner up: N/A

Skins
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Ore Monogatari!!. It’s really hard to pick between this and One Punch Man, but ultimately, this anime was such a sweet ride. It was so cute, and it kept me enthralled for the 6 months that it aired. I really enjoyed spending my time with this anime, and it was one of the best anime I’ve watched in recent years.

Runner up: N/A

Best Character (Female)

Every year we’re given more new anime girls than we know what to do with, so which ones did we enjoy the company of the most?

Moeronpan
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Kurokami no Onna/Black Haired Woman (AKA ‘Onna’) of Death Parade.. It seems that everyone else was referring to her as ‘Onna’ and I was the only one calling her Kurokami, but oh well.) She really defied my initial expectations of how a ‘mysterious character with amnesia’ in an anime is supposed to act. She’s definitely mysterious – the bulk of the larger plot is her slowly remembering who she is and how she died, but she also has her own personality, whether its her original one or not. She frequently breaks the rules when it comes to anime narrative cliches – whether its demanding to be told information other characters are being needlessly cryptic about or directly interfering with the way things are done in Quindecim…and, of course, the amazing effect her presence has on Decim. She’s also relatively upbeat and down to earth and in all just seems like an incredibly realistic character, and lord knows how rare those can be in anime.
Runner-up:
In contrast to the realistic Onna, there’s Ginko from Yuri Kuma Arashi, who is a bear. A lesbian bear from the kingdom of bears, to be exact, who will never back down on love. I love Ginko for a lot of reasons – her character design, her tenacity and eventual selflessness and the fact that the story couldn’t possibly have been as memorable as it was without her.
Special mention:
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Retoree from Show By Rock!! Hey, speaking of half-animal lesbian characters! Alright, alright, I’ll admit that Retoree isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking of characters – you could even call her a generic tsundere if you wanted (although I would at least point out that at least she’s a nice tsundere as opposed to the actively unpleasant type that seems to be so popular), but there was just something about her that always made me happy. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t expect a semi-decent portrayal of an awkward girl with social anxiety from a show about musical animals based on a rhythm game, maybe its because she’s supposed to be a golden retriever, or maybe it’s because she’s so damn cute, but I always looked forward to seeing her.

Ariana
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I ended up liking Wakaba (from Wakaba*Girl) way more than I expected. Even though she’s basically a ditzy and naiive rich girl, she’s also such a pleasant character that I can’t hate her.
Runner-up:
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Sylphyn (from Himouto! Umaru-chan) is so great. Anyone who loves magical girl anime as much as she does can’t be all bad. She was basically the only reason I watched all of Umaru-chan. I really love her character design, as uh… “anime” as it is. She comes off as a bit obnoxious early on in the series, but she’s actually got some character depth to her.

Junko
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Nona (Death Parade)
Death Parade brought us so many great characters, it was hard to choose just one. I picked Nona because the cheerful but mysterious arbiter was the driving force behind many of the plot’s events – without the decisions she made, Death Parade wouldn’t have a central story arc at all. While there is still much the audience has yet to learn about Nona (saved for a sequel, maybe?) her charming yet devious personality was more than enough for viewers to fall in love.
Runner up:
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Saber (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works)
You could argue that Saber doesn’t do enough in Unlimited Blade Works to earn her this crown – in this route she’s only the secondary heroine, after all. Still, Saber fulfills her role as the backbone of the Fate series, upholding her beliefs in honor and just leadership among the scheming cohort of mages and Servants that surround her. King of Knights, king of my heart and (runner-up for) king of 2015’s female characters are all titles Arturia Pendragon has unquestionably earned.

Skins
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Maria from Maria the Virgin Witch. Admittedly, I didn’t give this anime much of a chance when I first watched it, but I did glance back at it after a while. I have to say, watching Maria grow, and watching her make the ultimate choice about her powers, really was something that I liked. She grew, she changed, she became even more badass than before. All ticks for me!
Runner up: N/A

Best Character (Male)

Every year we’re getting more male characters to choose from, so who was best boy this year?

Moeronpan
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Decim from Death Parade. It’s hard to believe that before the show aired and I saw the key image for it, all I could do was laugh at his stupid hair. I never would have predicted him to be so endearing. Like Onna, he defies expectations of how a ‘mysterious supernatural gatekeeper’ should act – and although it’s a slow journey to get to what makes him so special, the pay-off is incredible. One of the ongoing story threads that ties all of Death Parade together is Decim gradually learning how his (unorthodox) emotions work, and it’s hard to not be touched by this.
Runner-up:
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Genos from One Punch Man. He may appear even less human than Decim, but that’s surprisingly untrue – to an extent. Genos is almost 100% robotic, his brain being the only human part of him left after endless upgrades. In the beginning of One Punch Man I called him a relatively cliche character, but I got proven wrong pretty quickly – Genos may seem like your typical ‘ultimate weapon’ powerhouse…but he’s really a clueless dork underneath it all. His complete seriousness to all situations is what makes him so funny and appealing. Most of the best scenes in One Punch Man were about Genos – whether it was of him fighting or being Saitama’s housekeeper, apron and all.
To tell the truth, Saitama is also a great character and would have taken this spot, but there’s a really good reason why I gave it to Genos instead. It’s the robo-parts.

Ariana
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Jyuushimatsu (from Osomatsu-san) is pure and must be protected. Out of all of the Matsuno sextuplets, he is my favorite. Episode 9 (the heavily Jyuushi-focused episode) basically cemented this. Jyuushimatsu may seem like just the “idiot” or “weirdo” of the group; but what gets shown off very well later in the series is that he’s also incredibly kind. His constant cheerfulness is another one of his greatest aspects. If everyone knew a “Jyuushimatsu” in their life, I’m sure the world would be a better place.
Runner-up:
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Everything about Minato (from Wish Upon the Pleiades) is a giant spoiler, but I will say this: Minato grew on me so much by the end of the series. I thought I had completely figured out his character within the first few episodes, and regarded him as just a pretty face. Even so, the series managed to pull off a great plot-twist regarding him. Episode 10, man… After that, I couldn’t help but like him.

Junko
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Hazama Kuroo (Young Black Jack)
While the series itself was at times a disappointment, Young Black Jack’s central character himself remained fascinating and a joy to watch. From his striking, one of a kind design to the level-headedness with which he confronts each episode’s moral and medical questions, Black Jack never failed to hold my interest and attention. He’s one of manga and anime’s most famous character for a reason, and his character’s journey in Young Black Jack only contributed to his already mythic status.
Runner up:
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Kazuma (Noragami Aragoto)
The world of Noragami and Noragami Aragoto is full of larger-than-life personalities, yet it’s level-headed Kazuma who takes the crown. At first, Kazuma may seem like nothing more than an “I am surrounded by idiots” straight man type, but Aragoto expands on his backstory and allows viewers to see the turmoil behind his calm demeanor. Honest, loyal, honorable, and above all shippable (his bond with his master Bishamon is beyond adorable) Kazuma really is the whole package.

Skins
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Can’t beat the Ore Monogatari!! boys, Takeo and Suna! It’s an equal tie between these two because, come on, you don’t have one without the other. They are the two trolls from the folk tale, the best of friends, and honestly, I love their characters just as much as I love their relationship.

Best Duo/Team

A new category , these are the categories who work better together than they do alone. Good teams are a joy to watch, and this year there were plenty.

Moeronpan
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Takeo and Rinko from Ore Monogatari!! They say opposites attract, but these two actually are a lot more similar than they may appear. For example, they’re both two of the nicest people possible and react with excitement to the same things, and they have a brilliant chemistry that works long after the sight-gag of their physical differences wears off. They’re also one of the gosh-darned cutest couples I’ve ever witnessed in an anime. While a lot of romance anime is about how two people fall in love and get together with the pair-up being the end goal, Ore Monogatari!! has the pair-up happen early with the meat of the series being about these two learning how to have a relationship, and it’s all the better for it.
Runner-up:
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Musashino Animation from Shirobako. Shirobako was an absolutely brilliant show that did actually start in 2014, but the second half of it started at the beginning of 2015 so its still eligible for an award here. It was a fascinating and engaging look at the process that goes into creating anime, headaches and all, and it didn’t skimp one bit on the kind of headaches that are involved. Musashino Animation may not be the best at organising themselves or even meshing with eachother, but they were certainly good at delivering an entertaining and surprisingly heart-warming series that made you want to cheer them on all the way.
Special Mention
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Shingan Crimsonz from Show By Rock. These nerds made me laugh and cheered me up with their stupid antics. I really do have a soft spot for characters who seem like they’re going to be really cool but are actually dorks.

Ariana
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I know Yuri Kuma has already been nominated for a lot of things on here, but I really love Ginko and Lulu. If it wasn’t so hard to choose between them, I would have nominated one of them as my favorite female character. In the end, I think they work best as a duo, which is why I’ve chosen them both for this award. People might just write them off as “those lesbian bear characters” but I feel that their relationship is so much deeper and more complicated than that. And they work so well together!
Runner-up:
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Osomatsu-san has also been nominated for a lot of things on here, but I can’t help it; the brothers’ relationships with eachother is wonderful. Good character writing/character relationships is what keeps me invested in an anime, and Osomatsu-san is great in that regard. It also helps that a lot of the comedy in Osomatsu-san comes from the brothers conversations/interactions with one another.

Junko
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Yato, Yukine and Hiyori (Noragami Aragoto)
A god with almost no followers, a human/spirit girl with a tail, and a grumpy kid who’s actually a divine weapon make up this amusing trio. Though they might not always get along, their personalities and antics compliment each other well. Aragoto didn’t skimp on character development or emotional scenes for Team Yato while still keeping the essential humor of their dynamic.
Runner up:
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Decim and Chiyuki (Death Parade)
My top romantic pairing of 2015 once again hails from the excellent Death Parade. Stoic bartender Decim and slightly-less-stoic assistant Chiyuki were partners in a journey of emotional discovery that left both of them stronger, wiser and more open than they had been at the beginning of the series. While no love was openly confessed, the strength of their feelings was obvious in every interaction these two had with each other.

Skins
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Saitama and Genos / Takeo and Suna
These two pairs easily tie. I couldn’t choose between the two! The dynamic is very different between Saitama and Genos, but they eventually come together as an incredibly funny act as they go on to save the world together. I like how Genos eventually mellows out under Saitama’s influence, and in turn, Saitama learns to try and take Genos under his wing (even if he feels he has nothing to teach.)

Takeo and Suna, as said above, it’s almost as though one can’t be said without the other to follow. I love this kind of inseparable friendship, and I loved how Suna never once felt like a third wheel. Takeo, and in turn, Yamato, always made sure to include him – though also respecting couple time. It was such a nice combination that is hard pressed to find in anime these days.

Most Fun/Feel-good Anime

This is a separate category to ‘best’, because sometimes shows are just plain fun to watch despite whatever shortcomings may stop them from being an objectively flawless show. Here are the shows that we loved unwinding with or getting cheered up by.

Moeronpan
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One Punch Man. It had its share of pacing problems, but it was a hugely enjoyable spoof on superhero media that managed to blend the spoofiness with the more serious plot threads relatively seamlessly.  Madhouse did an amazing job on it and it’s pretty likely that there’s going to be more, so I eagerly look forward to that once it happens.
(I reviewed most of One Punch Man here!)
Runner-up:
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Show By Rock!! This was probably my ‘guilty pleasure’ show of the year- objectively it was a ridiculous saccharine commercial for a mobile game but damn was it a prettily animated ridiculous saccharine commercial for a mobile game! The characters were adorable and fun, the backgrounds and settings unique and imaginative, the music catchy and the friendship between the girls of Plasmagica just touching enough to not be too corny. It’s also rather unique in that it had such cute male and female characters in the same show.  While it did have some surprising moments of depth, for the most part you just need to turn off your brain and Have a Nice Music.
(I reviewed most of Show By Rock!! Here!)

Ariana
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I believe that Osomatsu-san is one of the few genuinely funny anime out there. It has such a clever and sharp sense of humor (for the most part) that I rarely see in so many other comedy anime. This is an anime that definitely knows how to employ comedic timing to full effect. It can also make you cry too, when it wants to be heartwarming.

Junko
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Osomatsu-san.
Starting from the absolute trip that was the now-legendary first episode, I always found a smile on my face when it was time to tune in for the wacky hijinks of the –matsu brothers and their assorted cast of odd friends. Despite a few weaker episodes, Osomatsu-san was overall an incredibly fun show to watch which brought smiles and laughter to many viewers.
Runner up:
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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is always fun, and that sure didn’t change this year. 2015 brought more over-the-top characters, more crazy fights and of course more DIO. I don’t really have anything new to say other than that I await next year’s Jojo installment with anticipation.

Skins
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Dragon Ball Z Super. It’s hard not to laugh at this show. It’s just… classic shonen. And sometimes a classic is pretty damned fun!

I don’t think I could ever get tired of these muscle bound idiots. I look forward to where the show will go next.
Runner up: N/A

Pleasant Surprise Award

Another new award – these are the shows that surprised us in a good way. In other words, it’s the positive version of ‘Biggest Disappointment’. It’s easy to build up expectations and make assumptions, but every now and then there’s a show that turned out way better than we could have predicted.

Moeronpan
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GakkouGurashi!/School Live! I didn’t know about the ‘twist’ in the first episode of School Live until I watched it, and it definitely added to the experience, although that was a preceded by what I thought was another infuriatingly banal show about Girls At School Talking About Nothing. I didn’t expect the show to turn out as addictive and emotional as it did, and I was awed in several places.
I feel like since Madoka Magica’s success there has been a glut of shows that try to ride its coat-tails by blending an ultra-cute aesthetic with grim ultra-violence and horror, usually paired with a ‘gotcha!’ moment, but GakkouGurashi is one of the very few that have actually managed to pull it off again, and its probably because it actually relies on its writing after the ‘gotcha’ moment as opposed to trying to let the shock value carry it alone.
(I wrote more about GakkouGurashi here!)
Runner up:
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Osomatsu-san. To tell the truth, it was only at Ariana’s suggestion that we include this in First Impressions at all because when I was originally dividing up who would review what, I didn’t include it at all. I knew it was a remake/sequel to the original old 1960s/1980s Osomatsu-kun anime, but I assumed that it would be a bunch of unfunny shorts or a kids show or one of those things that never gets subbed and we usually don’t cover those. What it actually turned out to be was a rather delightful transformation of the original with the Osomatsu sextuplets now adults and trying to figure out how to appeal to a modern audience. It’s very episodic, extremely crude and not everything works, but it was unique and funny for the most part and I’m really glad I gave it a look.
(Ariana is reviewing Osomatsu-san here!)

Ariana
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Wakaba*Girl was a series I reviewed mainly on a whim, because I found something about it extremely charming. I’m glad I stuck through the whole series, though; as it ended up being one of the more enjoyable anime I’ve blogged this year. There’s not much drama, and the show is essentially one big fluff-fest, but sometimes you just want to watch something fluffy for the sake of it.
Runner up: N/A

Junko
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Attack on Junior High
Although it had its weaker episodes, Attack on Junior High managed to rise above being just “all the events of the original series, in a junior high setting”. Its original stories were genuinely funny, and it was always nice to see the characters in slightly less life-threatening situations. Overall, it exceeded my (admittedly low) original expectations and was a nice, fun watch.
Runner up:
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Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note
I had no expectations at all for this short, but ended up enjoying it. The story and characters are rather simple, but it has a lot of enjoyable elements such as the focus on friendship over romance and the soft, pleasant to look at color palette. Definitely among the top shorts of recent years for me.

Skins
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Plastic Memories.
To be honest, I did like the premise of robots. Okay, okay, everyone who knows me knows I love my mecha. But this was a different type of ‘mecha’. It was one that caught me by surprise, and boy, it was honestly a really damned nice show. I really loved it, from start to finish.
Runner up: N/A

Best Scene/Episode

Anime is full of memorable moments, and these are the ones that will stay with us from this year:

Moeronpan
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It’s hard to choose just one moment from Death Parade because the show was honestly jam-packed with incredible scenes that made me think ‘wow’, but if there’s one that really hit me in the heart it would have to be the scene in the final episode where Decim experiences true grief for the first time. The whole series had been a buildup to playing with the idea of what ’emotion’ really is to a being that shouldn’t possess it, so it was an incredible climax for that plot-line. The fact that Decim rarely registers any emotion on his face at all before this moment makes it all the more powerful.
Look I know Death Parade has a lot of awards already but the show was just that good, okay. This isn’t even the last one!
Runner up:
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Yuri Kuma Arashi’s finale. I tried not to have both of my picks for best moment be the same as both my picks for best anime but…them’s the breaks.  Anyway, the finale of everyone’s favourite bear show was an absolutely beautiful conclusion to the story – in more ways than one. The visuals in this episode were absolutely breathtaking and I cried like a baby.
Special Mention:
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Despite it not being in the source material at all, at the end of the second season of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Work the adult form of Fate/Zero’s Waver Velvet – the greatest character in the entire Fate/universe – appears and with one glorious sentence gives an accurate summary of both Shirou’s personality and Nasu’s writing.

Ariana
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Osomatsu-san is a great comedy anime, but it also proves that it can be really touching and heart-warming when it wants to be. Episode 9 of Osomatsu-san, specifically the “Jyuushimatsu Falls in Love” act, was by far the most emotional segment of all the Osomatsu-san segments. It pulled off a great story in under 20 minutes–something that far too many films can’t even do in their hour and a half runtime. It is also the most beautifully subtle of the episodes, making great use of non-verbal scenes. Saying anything more would probably be a huge spoiler but man did that episode hit me where it hurt. But in a good way.
Runner-up:
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I am a sucker for fairy-tale related things, so I was instantly charmed by Yuri Kuma Arashi’s fourth episode. It also goes into a character’s back-story (said character is a spoiler so I won’t say who); and I really love that kind of stuff. Yuri Kuma Arashi is already a great anime overall, but this episode is one of my personal favorites for its atmosphere.

Junko
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Sakurako’s introduction (Sakurako-San no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
After slogging through who knows how many “boy walks in on girl naked/changing” character introductions during my years as an anime fan and anime blogger, the sheer “something different” of this scene was enough to earn it the prize from me. “Boy walks in on somewhat mysterious older woman kissing a human skull” isn’t something you see every day, but it sets the tone for the show and the character so perfectly. It’s a great, unexpected moment that gives you a taste of things to come.
Runner up:
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Decim Smiles. (Death Parade)
OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for the “stoic character smiles” trope. And when formerly emotionless Decim gave us this lovely smile in the series finale, it was a beautiful moment and the perfect culmination of both his character development and his relationship with assistant Chiyuki (who had requested to see him smile). And just look at that adorable face!

Skins

The imagery used here was utterly exquisite. You can tell that Madhouse went above and beyond with their animation here, which was fantastic to see, especially after the lazy job they did with Sonic and Saitama’s first fight. Regardless, I especially love how well done Genos’s fire moves were animated, knowing how hard it is to animate fire.

After going back and reading the manga, also, it impressed me how well they stuck to the canon source.
Runner up: N/A

Best Adaptation

Adapting manga/games/novels/etc into animation can be a tricky business with wildly varying results – but some studios and directors have this down to an art. Here are the anime we thought outshone their source material, or at least came close to it:

Moeronpan
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Ore Monogatari!! It’s rare to see an adaptation of a shojo manga actually look good at all, but Madhouse made this beautiful. The endless sparkles and gentle colour palette really added to the adorable atmosphere of the show, and I don’t think any other studio could have done a better job.
The voice acting was also perfect.
Runner up: N/A

Ariana
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Initially a series of web-shorts released in 2011 intended as a car advertisement, we had to wait until four years later for Wish Upon the Pleiades to finally air as a full-length anime series. Based on the original material that they had to work with, I think the anime was a good adaption of the shorts, and nicely expanded on all the characters as well as the setting and story. Plus, the animation was really lovely as well.

Junko
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Persona 3: Falling Down
The film series adaptation of hit game Persona 3 continues strong with 2015’s entry, the 3rd in the set. Video game adaptations are often hit or miss, but the P3 films have been a solid hit for me, hitting all of the necessary plot beats without neglecting cute character moments either. I look forward eagerly to 2016’s Winter of Rebirth, which will be the fourth and final film in the series.
Runner up:
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Ore Monogatari!! The story is cute, the characters are cute, the animation is cute…Ore Monogatari (AKA My Love Story) is just an overall great series, and the anime adaptation is consistently solid. Romance anime are not usually my thing, but I just love this one!
Skins
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One Punch Man. I read the manga after I watched the anime, and I’ve gotta say, I really love what Madhouse did. They added a few little scenes here and there, but it flowed so nicely with the rest of the show, that it made me really appreciate the dedication the team had to this show. It actually made me miss those scenes when I went back to read the source material!
Runner up: N/A

Best Opening

2015 also saw a whole load of new super catchy anime theme songs. We judged them on both the song and the accompanying visuals…good openings, after all, are the type you don’t mind sitting through every time. (Note: Due to the nature of copyrighted songs, some of these were either not available for youtube embedded or only in compromised versions. They also likely may be pulled at any time.)

Moeronpan

Death Parade ‘Flyers’ by BRADIO
There really was no way that any other anime opening was going to dethrone ‘Flyers’ as the best song of the year, because it’s incredible and one of the greatest anime themes of all time. It’s also the winner of the additional category ‘most misleading opening’, because all the fun party times going on here don’t actually have much to do with the tone of the show. In fact, some episodes caused some unintentional humour with the mood whiplash. …But I really don’t care, because ‘Flyers’ is such a fun song and the opening video so goddamn fun that its physically impossible for me to skip it.
Runner up:

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Season 2 ‘Brave Shine’ by Aimer.
Regardless of my opinion on season 2 (more on that later) it had one awesome opening, and the beautiful song combined with ufotable’s gorgeous animation is a real treat. That chorus!

Ariana

Houkago no Pleiades/Wish Upon the Pleiades probably has the most visually appealing openings of all the anime I’ve reviewed this year—fitting given that the series relies so heavily on space/sky imagery. The song is a bit generic but it is fitting for what is essentially a slightly more subdued magical girl anime.
Runner-up:

Sadly, I cannot find the actual Osomatsu-san opening, so you’ll have to make due with just the song. Osomatsu-san’s OP one of my favorites because it’s so interesting visually, and the song is pretty catchy too.

Junko

While the music itself is great, the best thing about I am just Feeling Alive is the striking visuals that accompany it. Especially poignant is the shot of explosives being dropped on a field of brightly colored flowers, underscoring the “horror/destruction of war” theme that is such a huge part of the show itself. (The fact that Kuroo gets one of his trademark shirtless scenes in the opening doesn’t hurt either.)
Runner up:

Seishun wa Hanabi no you ni (Youth is like Fireworks) is a school-themed parody of the already memetically catchy Guren no Yumiya, accompanied by visuals of the characters swinging through a classroom on 3D Manuever Gear. It’s super cute.

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One Punch Man.
Easily the best opening of the year. From the catchy tune to jaw dropping visuals, it really does capture the power of the main character, while showing off what makes him a great hero, too. I loved seeing the other characters too, but I’m glad it captured the essence of Saitama, as it should.
Runner up:

High School DxD BoRN
Highschool DxD always manages to have some fantastic openings in their inventory, without it being too racy. Between it and One Punch Man, however, comes a close choice! But we all know Highschool DxD aint gonna stand much of a chance against One Punch Man in most other choices. But between the great theme song and awesome imagery of many aspects of the story that fans can’t wait to see, Highschool DxD continues to impress.

Best Ending

We should have done this last year so now we are: separate awards for opening and endings, because there’s so many good ones it’s hard to choose.

Moeronpan
My main pick will always be Territory from Yuri Kuma Arashi, but seeing as Ariana claimed it first (she does gets dibs, having blogged the show and all) and out of interest of giving some other shows a go, here are my runner ups.

Kekkai Sensen (AKA Blood Blockade Battlefront) – ‘Sugar Song to Bitter Step’ by Unison Square Garden
When I did a first impression of Kekkai Sensen back when it first aired I wasn’t that kind to it, but it did improve a lot and became pretty fun to watch after a while. Most fun of all though is its catchy ending theme. I’m a sucker for ending themes featuring the cast dancing for no reason. I really love how well the individual characters personalities come out through their dancing style, too.
Runner up:

Show by Rock!! – ‘Have a Nice MUSIC!’ by Plasmagica
Same as above, I love watching characters dance, although it’s more fitting in a music-themed show. The 3D animation of the characters ‘myumon’ forms is surprisingly well done and the end theme is honestly adorable. They’re like a bunch of moving figurines. Look at em. So goddamn cute.

Ariana

For such an (at times) depressing series, Yuri Kuma Arashi’s ending sounds very up-beat and is extremely catchy. It would have been nice to have some more animation, but the dancing bear is cute so I can’t complain.
Runner-up:

There’s just something I really love about this song. It always felt like a very calming song to me. I prefer the last episode’s version of the ED, because it has all the girls playing happily in a meadow while wearing frilly white dresses and it’s awesome.
Junko

Wow, there really is some protection in place for the Osomatsu songs in TV size (you’d think they’d be more protective of the full-length songs which are all over youtube) but due to that I could only find this version with the visuals out of synch. Better than nothing at least)
Osomatsu-san
‘SIX SAME FACES (Konya wa Saikou!!!!)’ snags the win for its unique oden-themed visuals and for being sung by the voice actors of Iyami and the six Matsuno brothers. I really can’t describe it – I recommend just watching it yourself.
Runner up: N/A
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N/A

WTF Award

Self-explanatory, what was the most absurdly ridiculous thing we saw this year?

Moeronpan
awards
Yuri Kuma Arashi, because yeah, as much as I loved this show it was really fucking weird. The overall weirdness is what makes it so hard to recommend to people (“So its about like, lesbian bears who come from a bear kingdom and transform into bear girls so one of the bear girls can reunite with the human girl she’s in love with, all while there is a war between humans and bears, and – where are you going”), but it’s also what made the show unique. Shabadadoo.
Runner up:
awards
Makura Danshi (Pillow Boys). This has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever watched all of for some reason, but it was so ridiculous that it was hilarious and so I can’t say I regret it. Basically, it’s a bunch of short episodes (3 minutes or so), each starring a different boy of a stock personality trope having a one-sided conversation so you can pretend that he is speaking sweet nothings to you, the viewer. It sounds like harmless fun but in execution it’s bizarrely terrifying and the boys are far too oddly drawn to be attractive. I laughed my arse off in every episode but if they were any longer I wouldn’t have bothered.

Ariana
awards
Aoharu x Machinegun was honestly one of the strangest anime I’ve first impressioned, and it isn’t even that weird plot-wise. Still, I have to nominate this for how absurdly serious this series attempts to be, even though its plot is ridiculous. Also I can never get over the main characters’ team name. TOY GUN GUN.
Runner up: N/A

Junko
awards
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
The flash-forward saturated pacing, the riot of eye-burning colors, the bizarrely thrown together cast of characters that don’t even feel like they belong in the same anime…I still don’t know how to properly describe Concrete Revolutio. It just…is. There was no way I could give any other show this year’s WTF Award.
Runner up: N/A
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awards
Uta no Prince-sama Revolutions
This one gets the WTF award simply for existing, if I was to be completely honest. Ever had one of those totally unnecessary sequels? Of course, everyone’s heard of them. This is definetly one.

I didn’t go into this series with much high hopes, but hey, it’s Uta-pri. It was more of my favourite boys doing their thing. But alas, we go on a WTF trip to win some award or the band gets the can.
Yeeeeah nope.
Runner up: N/A

Biggest Disappointment

And here we move into the negative awards, starting with 2015’s biggest letdowns.

Moeronpan
awards
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works season 2. It pains me to say it, it  really does….especially given how highly I regarded the first season in the 2014 awards post. But the second half is really where Nasu’s bad writing becomes more apparent, where Shirou becomes so insufferable it’s actually painful and where all the gorgeous ufotable animation in the world couldn’t save such a mess of face-palm worthy narrative decisions. I’m not saying it was terrible, and although I did rage-quit it for a while towards the end it did start getting better once I picked it up again (before Shirou ruined it again, anyway). It’s just that things are always more disappointing the higher they fall from.
Runner-up:
awards
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu LOVE!. Look, I didn’t expect this to be amazing or anything but I honestly expected something better than this. It’s the writers of Gintama and Daily Lives of High School Boys, teaming up to make an all-male Sailor Moon parody, for crying out loud. How could such brilliant comedy writers teaming up result in something so…ho-hum? Again, it wasn’t bad, and there were some pretty strong episodes amongst the dull ones and several parts actually did make me laugh. But there was just this nagging feeling the whole time that the writers really couldn’t figure out how to write something for a female audience (ironic, considering Gintama’s female fanbase far outnumbers its male one) and that it could have been so much better than it was.
I will check out season 2 in 2016, though – here’s hoping it’s better.
(Me and Ariana reviewed all of Boueibu together here!)

Ariana
awards
I wanted so badly to love Etotama, but in the end it was just a mildly enjoyable, slightly-above-average anime. Maybe if the series had just stuck with the humor instead of trying to force such a clichéd plot and bad drama, then this anime would not have been so disappointing. Also, the series probably would have worked better if Nya-tan wasn’t such an insufferable protagonist.

Runner-up:
awards
To be fair… I really brought this on myself by deciding to blog Lance n’ Masques at the start of the anime fall season. Still, I feel like the series wouldn’t have been AS BAD if it didn’t just suddenly introduce random crazy plot-lines and far too many bland side-characters. Still would have been basically a rip-off of Hayate the Combat Butler, but it wouldn’t have ended up becoming as much of a mess as it did towards the midway-point.

Junko
awards
Shokugeki no Souma: Food Wars
This show looks great – especially the food, which is good enough to eat. The plot has a lot of potential and there are several characters who could be really interesting. And yet, there’s so much focus on creepy “food-fan service” of characters’ near-orgasmic reactions to cooking and eating. This show just could have been so much more than that…but, in the end, it wasn’t.
Runner up:
awards
Assassination Classroom
I considered putting this under Worst Adaptation, but I haven’t read the manga yet so I don’t feel like that would be fair. Assassination Classroom has a great premise and a cool and memorable lead character, but the pacing is fairly slow, many of the student characters have little personality, and the fanservice scenes, though not as plentiful as in many other shows, are rather uncomfortable due primarily to Koro-sensei’s….unique body. Still, this show wasn’t as bad as others, because it did make me want to read the original manga.
Runner up: N/A

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awards
High School DxD BorN
I had such high hopes for this season after a great season 1 and 2, but they screwed up. They REALLY screwed up. I honestly really liked what they did with the first… oh, 8 episodes? I suppose? But they really rushed it, and the anime original ending really destroyed a lot of what had already been established.

Honestly? I do hope it sells well, if only so season 4 isn’t a complete pile of crap.
Runner up: N/A

Worst Adaptation

Like I said before, adaptations are a tricky business, and every year we see a bunch of anime that end up being terrible regardless of the quality of their source material.

Moeronpan
awards
Ranpo Kitan. This one is less of an adaptation and more of a transformation…of the works of famous detective writer Edogawa Ranpo that is. I absolutely hated this show and the fact that it was intended as some kind of tribute to Edogawa seems incredibly inappropriate. I already ranted about it in that ‘What I Watched‘ post I did, but to sum it up, Ranpo Kitan is the epitome of tryhard-edgey style-over-substance nonsense that has absolutely no idea who it wants its audience to be. Unless Edogawa had a ‘dominatrix pissing herself for no reason every fucking episode’ fetish he’d be rolling in his metaphorical grave. Maybe I wouldn’t be so angry at Ranpo Kitan if I hadn’t watched every episode for some reason out of some false hope that there would be a pay-off, but all I got was psuedo-intellectual bullshit and a slap in the face. And what is even the point of a ‘mystery’ show that is not the least bit interested in involving the audience in the mystery solving?  I honestly wonder what Edogawa’s estate even thought of this.
Runner-up: N/A

Ariana
awards
It seems ironic to me now that I picked Magic Kaito as an anime with the “best adaptation” last year, yet find it to be the worst this year. That was because MK aired at a strange time, with the second half of its episodes only airing early this year. And man is the second half of MK pretty bad. Most of my criticisms can be summed up in “far too many re-animated Conan episodes.” I know Detective Conan is a really popular series written by the same mangaka, but come on. This is supposed to be Kaito Kid’s anime, not Conan’s. The most egregious thing to me about all the Conan episodes is that it took up episode slots that could have been used to animate Magic Kaito chapters that never got animated. Worse, a lot of important plot episodes had to be skipped over due to this. I had hoped that the MK anime would end up being a good standalone series, but it ended up relying far too heavily on its more popular and long-running predecessor and basically alienated anyone who isn’t already familiar with the Detective Conan universe. Also, the animation started getting really bad in the later episodes, even all the way up to the final episode! You would think that the final episode of a series would have some of the best animation the series has to offer, but Magic Kaito decided to go out with a fizzle. How disappointing.
Runner-up: N/A

Junko
awards
Vampire Holmes wins “Worst Adaptation” because it should not have been an anime. Its original form is a cell phone game with a frankly awful lead character – a “detective who doesn’t use reasoning and doesn’t explain his methods”. Who on earth thought that would make a compelling story? Plus, it looks absolutely terrible and the dialogue is both grating and horribly worded. Only misses out on “Worst Anime” because an episode only takes up 3-ish minutes of your time rather than 20+.
Runner up: N/A
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awards
As said previously, the adaption for this was in all directions. With the previous seasons covering 1 to 4 in the light novels, one would think they’d cover light novels 5 and 6, right?

Right?
WRONG.

They went straight for 7, mixed in 5, added a dose of 6 and anime-original ended it. It was a complete waste.
Runner up: N/A

Worst Anime Overall

Finally, our personal absolute stinker awards. Because we know as much as anyone else that anime can be complete garbage when it wants to be, and so here is 2015’s cream of the crap:

Moeronpan

Last year was easy to pick a winner, but this year it was a lot harder because so many of the shows that aired this year were the exact same goddamn show so instead of giving this award to a single show, I’m giving it to the concept we need to just bury and leave in 2015.
awards
You know, once apon a time ‘magical school for magical teenagers’ was a good thing. It was a fun thing. How dare you ruin that.
For some reason there are far, far too many light novel authors in Japan right now who think that the universe sorely needs yet another light novel about a boring young man who goes to magical high school for magical teens, sees a girls underwear and has magical battles and then hooks up with the girl (who always have pink or silver hair), and then a bunch of anime studios think these all desperately need to be adapted into anime for some reason. I can not believe how many shows have this exact goddamn plot, in fact there were two shows last season that were so fucking identical in the events that transpired that I forgot which was which. This year definitely had way more than usual.
I know this is just the current stupid anime fad after ‘younger sister wants to bone her older brother’ in the realm of dumb shit otaku jerk it to but enough is enough. Is anyone actually watching these shows and thinking they are exciting and not clones of eachother, or are people just taking comfort in sameness? Can we have the next stupid fad now? Who wants to take bets on what that will be?
Runner up: N/A

Ariana
awards
Vakyrie Drive: Mermaid – Like Utena but with none of the plot that made it good and with way more fanservice added in. This was the first anime I’ve First Impressioned that actually made me feel dirty.

Runner-up:
awards
Not only did “My Wife is a Student Council President” make me roll my eyes, it also made me extremely uncomfortable with is borderline non-consensual sexual acts—all within the very first episode.

Junko
awards
Heavy Object. Though present to an unnecessary degree, it’s actually not the fanservice that earns Heavy Object this title – it’s how dull it is. “Objects” are stupidly named and boring looking (They’re. Just. Giant. Balls) and the battles between them are as a result not visually engaging at all. The characters are one-dimensional and are most frequently seen complaining. Information is word-vomited at the viewer rather than being parceled out a bit at a time. Overall, both a terrible and terribly boring series.
Runner up:
awards
Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the anime that turned Loki into a scantily-clad girl is on the bottom for me this year. Unlike Heavy Object, this show does earn its dishonorable mention due to fanservice – way, way too much of it of characters who look way, way too young.
Skins
awards
Tokyo Ghoul √A
It goes to show that even with an impressive budget and story, an anime can still fall short.

I didn’t enjoy Tokyo Ghoul. At all. Admittedly, I’m not a great fan of the horror genre to begin with, but I do watch it from time to time, as some of the anime that come from there are pretty decent. But this one was just… not to my taste. I don’t know if that qualifies for the worst anime of the year, but for me, it certainly did.
Runner up: N/A

So what was your year in anime like? What would you have nominated for these categories?
Onwards to 2016!

 

 

 

 

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