The Best of Autumn 2015!
Okay the Autumn season is over and we’re in that holding period at the end of the year where I try to cripple myself by writing a load of ‘best of’ posts – starting with the previous season!
Autumn ended up being a reasonable solid season with a number of shows I was surprisingly hyped for each week, and a few that I was initially excited for that ended up disappointing me. I picked up fourteen shows this season – a much more reasonable amount compared to the Summer season – so didn’t really need to do much pruning to get a top 10. So lets have a look at my personal picks of the Autumn 2015 season!
10. Seraph of the End S2
I can see the raised eyebrows from here. No I haven’t lost my mind, I actually really enjoyed the disaster that is Seraph of the End. It is so trashy, yet so entertaining I can’t help but enjoy watching the exploits of Yuu, Mika, Guren, Shinoa & Co. Nearly every week something stupid happens that made me laugh or roll my eyes – Seraph of the End is a bad show, but it’s kind of endearing – like a dumb puppy that thinks it is brilliant but keeps running into walls.
I suppose it helps that the show looks pretty and has a great OST & cast. I am exceptionally shallow about things like that after all. I won’t be recommending Seraph of the End to anyone in a hurry, but I personally really enjoyed it – so it had to go on the list!
9. Subete F ni Naru – The Perfect Insider
On the other hand, I really struggled to engage with The Perfect Insider. I kind of hated the characters and the bland colour palate and character designs really didn’t do the show much favours in my book. The direction was the only saving grace really – well that and the underlying mystery, I enjoy mystery shows after all. However The Perfect Insider went to great lengths to ensure that the audience wouldn’t be able to play detective on the same level as the characters in the show, because it kept changing the rules and made everything hinge on really obscure specialist knowledge! Every time I thought I’d formed a valid hypothesis on the central murders, the show would pull the rug out from under me and go off on some pretentious spiel that made me wonder why I even bothered in the first place.
The Perfect Insider didn’t do much to endear itself to me, but it did manage to keep my attention for its entire run. I won’t be in a rush to rewatch it though.
8. Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus S2
The final instalment of the latest entry in the Fafner franchise, and it contained a lot of pay-off for plot threads laid years ago. Fafner is a franchise that is a bit hard to get into – the technobabble is pretty indecipherable at times, even when you’re trying to pay attention (I made notes!), and all the characters kind of start to merge together after a while. However Exodus made for a very compelling watch, and I was genuinely interested to see what would happen each episode. Filled with impressive mecha battles, quiet character moments and complex politics, plus Fafner doesn’t shy away from the darker side of war nor is it afraid to kill off important characters. I’m not sure if I could really recommend the franchise, but I am glad I watched it.
7. Dance with Devils
Ah here we go – another of my trashy entertainment shows! I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Dance with Devils pre-season – it seemed like it was just going to be another bog-standard reverse harem affair with a doormat of a female protagonist. However my initial opinion was soon tossed out the window within a couple of episodes! Ritsuka isn’t a doormat protagonist – she actually has her own personality and isn’t easily manipulated by the gaggle of boys attracted to the power contained within her – I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to have a female lead in a harem that didn’t act like a wilting damsel in distress constantly!
The fact that Dance with Devils has a well thought out (if ridiculous) plot with its Devils Vs Vampires setting works well in its favour, as is the integral musical element which also worked to elevate the series above its competitors. The musical interludes were glorious in their cheesy creativity, and definitely made the show infinitely more entertaining to me. I’m highly likely to rewatch Dance with Devils, definitely one of the better entries in the reverse harem category!
I thought I was burnt out on the Monogatari series at this stage, but the stories in Owarimonogatari still managed to pull me in with ludicrous ease. Exploring Araragi’s past solved the issue of him being the least developed/most irritating character in the franchise, and the self contained stories in Ougi Formula & Sodachi Riddle really reminded me of why I enjoyed this franchise so much to start with. Shinobu Mail helped pull the timeline together well and really brought home how much the characters have changed over the course of the franchise. The icing is how stunning the series looks at all times in Owarimonogatari – as is befitting of SHAFT’s cash cow I suppose.
Bring on the Kizumonogatari movies!
5. One Punch Man
I doubt anyone is surprised to find One Punch Man among my top picks of the season. Being super shallow and easily impressed by pretty things, the spectacular animation in this show alone would have gotten it a spot on the list, however it is the likeable characters that won One Punch Man the #5 spot. Possessing an extremely shallow plot (a man punches things hard once and wins – is disillusioned with the hero business as a result), the show could have gotten extremely boring very quickly, and no amount of visually stunning animation can really cover up a boring show. However One Punch Man supplements its, already pretty quirky, core cast with a host of incredibly detailed minor characters, which kept things interesting.
We’re almost guaranteed a sequel and I’m certainly looking forward to it.
Now here’s another show that really surprised me. I had zero opinion on the series prior to it airing – I even left it off my season preview thinking it wouldn’t be of interest to anyone who hadn’t read/watched the original years ago. I was wrong……oh so very wrong. The first episode of Osomatsu-san was an amazing mash-up of parodies and had me in stitches of laughter, however despite this I dropped the show, thinking the rest of the series couldn’t hope to match the entertainment value of the first episode. Again, I was wrong. A few weeks later positive feedback on Twitter convinced me to give the rest of Osomatsu-san another chance, and I am so, so pleased I did!
Osomatsu-san is brilliant fun. Slap-stick comedy can be pretty hit or miss, and that is pretty much the case with the sketches in this series, but the hits vastly outnumber the misses, and when it is on form the show is side-splittingly funny, often with a good dash of black comedy. However it can also deliver surprisingly poignant episodes out of nowhere – something I truly wasn’t expecting from my gag-comedy. Osomatsu-san is a show where you can tell the staff and cast are really enjoying working on the series – they’re all bringing their A game to show, and I for one am really happy about it. So pleased it is continuing into the Winter season!
3. Noragami Aragoto
I already really liked the first season of Noragami, but I was the first to admit that my enjoyment mostly stemmed from how gorgeous the show looked, since the story was a bit all over the place in season 1. Such was not the case at all in season 2 – Noragami Aragoto is a prime example of how to do a sequel right. Of course it helps that the material covered in this second season is the strongest in the manga to date, but the anime adaptation may actually be even better than the manga as it seemed to be more emotionally resonant.
The series is still undeniably pretty to look at, but that is no longer the primary draw of the series for me – I’m fully sold on the characters and the setting now, and really hope there is another season of Noragami in the works.
2. Starmyu – High School Star Musical
I’m sure there are more eyebrows being raised at my having this multi-coloured bishie fluff show so high in my rankings, but damn did I enjoy the hell out of Starmyu – I couldn’t wait for the new episode to come out each week! If you had of told me pre-season that I’d become emotionally invested in this unremarkable looking show pre-season, I’d have laughed at you. But here we are and Starmyu was one of the few shows this season that really made me care about its characters.
Sure it was cheese incarnate – the musical element in particular facilitated this – but it was just so earnest in its presentation that you couldn’t not care about the story it was telling. I’m still salty that it successfully made me engage in twincest shipping though. I really would love another season of Starmyu!
1. Concrete Revolutio
My runaway favourite of the season is a show that seemed to be a bit of a marmite series – people either really liked it or they dropped it entirely. It’s a real shame, because ConRevo really does have a lot to offer the viewer. There is some criticism that it was very scattershot and difficult to follow, and there is no denying that the shuffled timelines and jumpy presentation make it a challenge to keep events straight, but the out of sequence storytelling is actually one of the things I really like about the show. ConRevo is packed full of ideas and has some very meaningful things to say about the politics in its world. The way the story skips about gives you snapshots of how choices made in one year, have a knock-on effect in the next, and you have to try and piece together the details to build up the full picture. It’s actually pretty satisfying when you put the pieces together and understand how certain events actually went down and why certain characters make the choices they do.
ConRevo is very complex, a bit of challenge, but very rewarding to watch. Of course there is the fact the show just looks brilliant. The vibrant colours, the eclectic characters and the great OST & cast, all add up to a very well put together series (which is unsurprising given this is BONES). I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series in Spring, but will definitely have to rewatch S1 before then – need to get the timeline straight in my head!
Okay so those are my top 10 picks of the Autumn season! Honourable mentions go to Kagewani and Haikyuu!! S2. Dishonourable mentions to K: Return of Kings and Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans for being massive disappointments.
My end of year retrospective posts will be going up over the course of the week and then it will be time for Winter first impressions to start again! I’m so glad I get nearly 2 weeks off for Christmas & New Years.