The 12 days of Anime 2015 edn. Extras

Here is where I acknowledge series or aspects relevant to my 2015 viewing experience that don’t fall into conventional categories.

Best Insert Song: “Last Stardust” by Aimer, Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Second Season

Honourable mentions:

  • “Glassy Sky” by Donna Burke, Tokyo Ghoul √A
  • “White Gloves” (Singer Unknown), Blood Blockade Battlefront

 

Glass Sky was a very powerful song that was used brilliantly at the end of the first episode of 2015’s Tokyo Ghoul, though later uses of it felt almost disrespectful, as though the song screams “Best friend walking away without even saying goodbye” it certainly does not exude “The kick really hurt!”. Nonetheless, it further cemented Tokyo Ghoul √A as one of the most atmospherically effective series from 2015, and solidified the series as one of the most musically successful from the past two years, even if the grave tone was crushed under its omnipresence, preventing the tragic moments from standing out, given Tokyo Ghoul seems to be just one big extended tragedy. Well, I’ve discussed both instalments in detail, so no more needs to be said here.

 

White Gloves, though not as sinkingly dark or depressing, was utilised much more effectively in the calmer moments of Blood Blockade Battlefront, of which there were sadly too few in the first three quarters. With optimistic instrumentation and a whimsical, though somewhat intimidating vocalist, White Gloves stands as a effective song for inducing goose bumps and yet another reminder of Rie Matsumoto’s skill as a sound director, making for one of the best tracks from the best OST of 2015.

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However, these songs never stood a chance against Aimer’s Last Stardust, and this was obvious to me from the first moment I heard it. Standing alongside Season 1’s “Disillusion” by Lisa in terms of quality, Last Stardust’s application in “The Answer” scene was done so perfectly that it almost feels like Shirou’s show of resolution was designed around the song rather than the other way around. The lyrics are very precise and emotional, and free from Nasu style self-indulgence that a few songs from the Visual Novel possess, with lyrics such as “Even if everything is a mistake, I will continue regardless” being such a good summary of Shirou’s reaffirmed stubbornness that this should have just been played and the 3 episode Archer-Shirou discussion slashed severely. Ranging from soft and unsure to sharp and confident, Last Stardust deserves to stand alongside the magnificent OP “Brave Shine” as one of the best things to have come out of Unlimited Blade Works in 2015. I look forward to more Aimer-Type Moon collaborations in the future.

 

Series from 2015 that I did not see but would like to-

Winner: Gatchaman Crowds Insight

Honourable mentions:

  • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders: Egypt Arc
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat
  • Fafner Exodus

 

I’ve heard so many good things about Gatchaman Crowds that I couldn’t help but feel excited about watching it… only to be let down by an exposition filled and largely uninteresting first episode. However, the themes and messages that others have informed me about have certainly piqued my interest, and I will try to make time for it.

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I couldn’t make it to the midpoint of Stardust Crusaders. After Jotaro defeated a witch through what felt more like cheating than wits, combined with the absence of memorable character dynamics and inconsistent pacing, and a series I adored up until that point soured greatly. I might just skip straight to the fourth generation, which I have heard great things about, but I so hope to push my way to that very talked about Jojo v.s. Dio fight at the end.

 

Non Non Biyori repeat seems like the least likely series to appeal to me, with vapid slice-of-life usually acting as a reliable repellent on me. However, many have claimed that it has unique themes, a specific atmosphere and charm, so it may well be worth my time. However, I can’t say I’m prioritising it very highly.

 

Fafner Exodus is a series seen by few by loved by all those who saw it. Aldnoah.Zero was one of the most unengaging series of 2014, and as a result I have been turned off mecha anime with little experience. Gurren Lagann also didn’t really mesh with me, so Fafner is going to need to make a strong impression to interest me. However, the first episode or two have been great, so the odds seem in its favour.

 

Best series I saw in 2015-

rurouni-kenshin-tsuiokuhen2

Winner: Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal

Honourable Mention:

  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Steins; Gate
  • Ergo Proxy
  • SNAFU TOO!

With my attempts at finding reliable employment dashed repeatedly and my straight-A track-record at University being upheld with relatively little effort, I had way too much free time in 2015. As a result I checked out many series from this year that made it into my favourites list, one of which aired this year. Yes, mixing seasonal titles with more classic, highly regarded ones, I staved off burning out by exploring many different genres. From the light-heatred Chuunibyou and Amagi Brilliant Park to the Okada melodrama of Nagi no Asukara and Toradora!, I found myself invested in genres outside of the usual fantasy and sci-fi I typically gravitate towards, and now I have a strong level of appreciation for every anime genre outside of ecchi. I hope to discuss each of these in the future, but for now,  my Top 5 for 2015 awaits.

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