I´m not hard to please at all, and I can find enjoyement in the little things life gives us; this translates exactly the same way to fiction, and moreover, the thing we all have in common; anime – frankly, I think sitting in a circle and laughing at cringey shows is part of the fun and calling each other out on our shit taste is always a good time. However, there´s the good, the bad, and the painfully mediocre. They aren´t fun. They´re just there, like the old calendar you shove in the unused and forgotten drawer under your desk, like the clothes you buy and never ever wear – 2015, with a handful of exceptions, has been exactly that calendar; just there to fill up space and have forgotten minutes after putting it there.
But it wasn´t all paradise lost from the beginning; looking back to the Winter season people were swerving; Shirobako was on its second cour proving that P.A Works can actually do something different from their usual love hectagons, moe girl tears and absolutely gorgeous backgrounds to back it up; Shirobako was a love letter to anime fans, the industry and just anime in itself; even the most bitter of cynics were somewhat moved by the end of it. Well. Most of them, anyway.
Moreover, Parasyte was ending, setting and oiling the engines of a train of old-as-shit-manga getting re-adapted in some way shape or form that was going to depart and take stops all over the year, either in news for future productions or already airing; if anything, this year meant more for the anime industry than it did for the actual anime airing.
Of course, one can´t talk about the Winter season of 2015 without mentioning Death Parade; easily in the top five shows of the entire year – showing us that Madhouse can still work their alternative magic, but they just need some support to get to it; Death Parade was amazing, declined a bit by the end of it but carried itself like a funk song with both heartwrenching and hearwarming moments (notably includes the scene where the woman bashed the guys head into the game machine, that fucked me up good.) and big stakes, Death Parade knew the definition of balance, blending comedy, drama and spectacular animation all in a stylish piece of fiction – a piece of complete fiction.
This can´t be said for most anime nowadays.
Speaking of old as shit shows, Winter also meant the return of Durarara!!, leaving exactly everyone perplexed that, holy shit, it´s been five years, is this really happening? perhaps not nearly as old as Parasyte or Jojo, it still meant something for shows crawling out of their grave, right? so what about Haruhi? and Fullmetal Panic? and Dr.Gray Man? Oh, wait if I told you they´re all getting a spin off or a sequel?
Furthermore, apart form a lot of idols, octopuss assassins, homosexual bears, the bullshit second part of Aldnoah.Plot Convenience and the bullshit second part of Tokyo Ghoul – effectively showing us that Pierrot really doesn´t care what you or the creator think about it – the Winter season was all about Death Parade and the finishing shows from the previous season; something we´re completely lacking this time around.
2015, as I´ve said, meant more for the industry than it did for the anime we enjoyed; Japan finally got Netflix, expressed interest in creating their own anime, simulcast dubs became a thing, issues with the sweatshop-like pay animators have became a hot-topic and neverending question of “are loli anime child pornograaaaphyyyyyy????” have gotten even more out of hand; however, 2015 also meant a lot, and I mean a lot of interest in anime from the West.
the myth of the Hollywood Death Note adaptation actually got out of production hell and god forbid, they´re already announcing their all-white cast members, Akira is somewhere in the limbo, Ghost in the Shell is getting American-fied, by which I mean it´ll definitely be dumbed down to femme fatale and explosions, and in the most eyebrow furrowing announcement of the year, Tiger and Bunny is getting adapted. I don´t even know what to say, but I still think Attack on Titan would be one of the few shows Hollywood can do well, since the actual source material ain´t that smart, anyway.
It definitely gave WIT Studios a full stomach though, pushing out Rolling Girls and three months later Owari no Seraph; a show about metrosexual vampires, Eren Jaeger and a whole lot of entertainment I didn´t expect to get from it.
Haruhi Suzumiya got a spin-off exactly no one cared about, Nisekoi gave a sequel exactly no one cared about, and I think I saw Utapri season 3, Magic Kaito and Highschool DxD get more attention than all the other sequels of its season combined.
I guess you could say Ore Monogatari somewhat saved it, while Punchline was something the hipsters seemed to enjoy but I just didn´t get – I blame the weekly watching though, because I marathoned the last six episodes and it all made a lot more sense, like, ten percent more sense. It looked nice, I guess.
And then Manglobe went bankrupt.
I don´t want MAPPA to end up like Manglobe – they didn´t care about what was good for them, didn´t follow any formula to previous success, they played Russian roulette in all the years they´ve been with us until they eventually dug their own grave; I don´t think they themselves are surprised or especially upset about it, they played the game hoping for a hit and surely they´ve made them; Samurai Champloo aside, Michiko to Hatchin, Ergo Proxy and Samurai Flamenco are the hearts of many of us – or at least in mine, Gangsta was their final try, and they failed, racking up millions of dollars in debt and an unfinished film that passed to another studio.
MAPPA seems to follow a similar ideology; better yet, the founder is a guy who ran away when Madhouse went bankrupt and bought by a TV station, clearly this guy doesn´t give a damn; them adapting a long forgotten shonen like Ushio to Tora, which might still be airing if I remember correctly, should prove that, continuing the aforementioned train of old manga.
I´d argue the Summer season was still the best season of the year though; there were a lot of sex jokes.
A lot, a lot of sex jokes that were strangely educational and aware if you´re Shimoneta, and downright raunchy and the funniest thing to come out of the entire year if you´re Prison School – one anime that a lot of people missed in this raunch fest of titties and ass, however, was Okusama ga Seitokaichou, which did what even Prison School didn´t do and showed us actual nipples and vibrators and heavy make-out scenes; it was just 12 minutes long, still.
Makura no Danshi made all our wet fantasies come true with five minutes of boys talking and sleeping with you. By wet I mean wet from tears, because holy shit, I´ve never laughed so hard with such a short show – the gimmick lost its spark pretty early on, though, and even with its five minute run time, I never actually finished it.
God Eater, while looking like a moving painting, fucked itself over with one delay after another, resulting in seven episodes, a million specials and an unfinished show. Naturally people got lost, and after Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works, I personally don´t get why Ufotable is so hyped; Garden of Sinners is the only thing they´ve done that satisfied a big majority.
With that, my own schedule got caotic, and between university preps and my senior year in highschool, between the nights of studying to do a 90 minute philosophy exam at 7:45A.M on a Monday and between Greek and the art history, the Fall season tiptoed in, with lightweights and a punch.
A literal punch. One Punch Man swept the entire community and swept the same people who cried mary over Attack on Titan – somehow got number one place on IMDB topping shows such as Game of Thrones and oh my God, where is my oppai sweater merchandise?
All jokes aside, though, you have to be kidding yourselves if you think One Punch Man has a fraction of the fame Attack on Titan got; One Punch Man was a hit in our little community, not outside of it. Frankly, I thought it was a good show with an amazing beginning, but slowly drifted to something that was fantastically animated and a bit of fun. Top five of the year, still.
And with that, we conclude a year of ups, downs and everything inbetween; it was a good year, a weird year for me personally, and 2016 will be the year I move back to The Netherlands and (hopefully) start university; 2015 was, if anything, a year of growth – in both myself and the things I do; the blog reached 3.5 subs, my drawing went from zero to hundred real quick and I won a writing competition!
Now it´s time to reset, put the time on zero and keep moving forward to become the person we want to become, with optimism and positivity, let´s embrace the experiences that are coming our way, all while enjoying the one thing we all have in common; anime and the crazy things that come with it.
Finally, to my readers, it´s only now starting to sink in that people do read me, and while up till now I´ve kind of been lazy with my writing, I promise I will be nice from now on – thank you so, so much, it means a lot to me.
Happy New Year, everyone!