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The Best of Autumn 2015!

December 28, 2015

Autumn2015

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!

[HorribleBackup] Seraph of the End S2 - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.24_[2015.12.12_15.22.11]

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!

 

Subete ga F ni Naru - 01

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.

 

Soukyuu-no-Fafner-Exodus-anime-image-478

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.

 

[HorribleSubs] Dance with Devils - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.40_[2015.12.17_21.03.48]

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!

 

horriblesubs-owarimonogatari-01-720p

6. Owarimonogatari

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!

 

One-Punch Man - 01

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.

Osomatsu-Cover

4. Osomatsu-san!

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!

 

Noragami Aragoto - 01

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.

 

[HorribleSubs] High School Star Musical - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.24_[2015.12.23_15.06.48]

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!

 

concrete-revolutio-bentobyte-review-4

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.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. klark permalink
    December 28, 2015 10:41 pm

    10. I will follow this one sooner or later as I plan to watch this one before the year ends. If it’s not objectively good, it has got to be ridiculously entertaining.

    9. I fell asleep with A-1’s rendition of The Perfect Insider. I mean, the mystery is there, the show is doing fine visually but… I don’t know, maybe unlikable protagonists and the slow pacing?

    8. I didn’t watch this one but I will.

    7. Is this another Starmyu? If that is, I am so willing to watch it!

    6. The first six episode reminded me of why I love Monogatari. The other half reminded me why I am annoyed with Monogotari.

    5. Pretty much the same with my assessment and with my ranking.

    4. I am following this one but the humor is too Japanese for my taste. The sextuplets are a riot to watch though.

    3. My personal number 1 this season. Just how on Earth Noragami was able to pull all of its plot in a single cour while utilizing its characters?!

    2. My fudanshi self number 1 this season. HAHAHA. I know I’ll place StarMyu somewhere in my top 10. Any series that has me invested in the characters gets a big plus for me. I didn’t like Hoshitani at first but I’d be lying if I say that I was not in tears when they did their guerilla performance. Also, Tengenji best girl!

    1. Now that I think of it, it’s between this, Noragami and that Gundam are my picks for number 1 this season. Noragami is consistent all out while Gundam is fizzling to its latest offering (I adore the first ten episodes though). Yet Concrete Revolutio keeps on getting better and better and darker at the same time. Okay, I would love to see more of this intricate show.

    The new Lupin III is quite fun too. It is not as episodic as your typical Lupin offerings and uses recurring characters for most of the time. The last two episodes reminded me why I loved the Fujiko spinoff so much for its dreamy and edgy appeal.

    • December 29, 2015 2:27 am

      Regarding concrete…I recall reading a tweet about to the newly announced 2nd season, with staff ported over from Kill la Kill production. Take that as you will.

    • December 29, 2015 4:42 pm

      Seraph is trashy entertainment, but it isn’t good. Looks great though.

      Fafner is tough to get into – originally came out in the flush of post-Evangelion mecha series, and definitely has that vibe. I liked it though.

      Dance with Devils shares Starmyu’s musical status, but it follows a more traditional reverse harem story line. Very entertaining, but I only really liked one of the fellas & he was never going to win.

      I’m really looking forward to the continuation of ConRevo in Spring – it has built some exceptionally strong foundations in this season.

      I’ve got the new Lupin III show on hold – think I’d prefer to marathon it at a later date.

      • December 30, 2015 11:32 am

        I am terribly getting the feeling that Dance With Devils is the love kid of StarMyu and Diabolik Lovers.

        • December 30, 2015 12:46 pm

          Hahaha~! That’s not really surprising since DanDevi is from Rejet – same game company that produced Diabolik Lovers.

  2. December 29, 2015 12:38 am

    I didn’t watch even half of these, but I’m glad to see Osomatsu-san and Noragami make your list! Especially the former – it wasn’t on my radar at all either, but it was a huge and happy surprise when I picked it up. I don’t remember who recommended it to me, but I’ve tried to pay back the favour with others.🙂

    • December 29, 2015 4:43 pm

      Osomatsu-san! ended up being a very pleasant surprise – always nice when that happens.

  3. December 29, 2015 2:01 am

    I was expecting Dance with Devils and Starmyu but I hadn’t realized you liked ConRevo so much, wohoo another fan!

    • December 29, 2015 4:46 pm

      I’ve been quietly loving ConRevo all season – been avoiding getting into discussions about it since there was a fair bit of negativity flying about in the early weeks of the season. But I’ve massively enjoyed the intricate timeline and plot – great show!

  4. December 29, 2015 2:09 am

    Awwww…u didn’t like Gochuumon S2? Unless you really despise SOL (I certainly hope you don’t, as that would greatly sadden me… being a huge advocate for the merits of the genre), you will find ideas and material in that show, that really brings home the best of what SOL can achieve.

    I recently published a little analysis on the show, particularly its 12th episode, which I invite you to check out, hopefully without assuming that this is a shameless plug from my part (it kinda is haha, but I really want to spread the love for that show).

    • December 29, 2015 2:15 am

      Oh and also, I would like to extend my absolute advocacy for Hibike! Euphonium’s recent OVA episode, which does an amazing job at showcasing an alternate viewpoint, towards the business end of the ensemble competition. I THINK I remember you liking the show a lot (but for some reason hating K-on! :(…different show in essence, but I loved them both).

      I may or may not have done a piece on that as well😉

      Here’s to hoping for Season 2’s continued quality streak.

    • December 29, 2015 4:52 pm

      Unfortunately I have never really gotten along well with iyashikei or s’life series – I just find them boring. It isn’t for lack of trying, but they just aren’t my thing – I didn’t even like ARIA despite my falling in love with the setting!

      The Sound! Euphonium OVA was lovely – nice to see the group left out of the ensemble all working together to provide support to the rest of the club. I’m definitely looking forward to watching S2. The reason I loved Sound! Euphonium and utterly despised K-ON! is simply because Euphonium actually addresses the actual musical element – it really resonated with me since I used to play brass myself. The characters felt real and it was just a wonderfully put together show with a lot of heart. K-ON! on the other hand is everything that I hate about the cute girls do cute things genre – nothing of relevance happens in the series and I really didn’t like the characters.

  5. December 29, 2015 2:47 pm

    Seraph S2: I didn’t think it was that bad. It’s an Attack on Titan wannabe, but I think Studio Wit is at its best when it’s doing bombastic shonen action and the pacing/production was nowhere near as woeful as S1. Won’t be seeing more for a while though. Gedata told me the anime caught up with the manga.

    The Perfect Insider: Hated it. Pretentious mess with zero personal stakes for the lead characters and no payoff for anyone other than the unlikeable victim. Also, why does the anime assume we’ve read the books prior to this (it adapts like the third volume or something), because it acted like you’re supposed to already know who Sohei and Moe are?

    Noragami S2: In the top 100 on MAL. LOL. I like this show and all, but no way would I rank it that high.

    Gundam IBO: I watched three episodes and couldn’t get into it. What exactly is your problem with it? All I know so far is that the pacing is crap and my commenters have even said that the story has been non-existent.

    Garo Crimson Moon: Not on here, but might as well bring it up. Goddamn, I know Garo’s animation was never good, but this iteration looks like dog shit. And the writing…not sure if you saw the episode where the staff was discussing the show, but I kinda liked how they were discussing ideas that on paper is cool, but in practice, it’s hit-and-miss at best.

    Concrete Revolutio: Are the people who complain about CR’s time-jumping the same people who love Baccano and Durarara? Because I find that hilarious. Glad it’s getting more attention because this show pretty much screams “bloggers will love this”. And I did. It was good.

    Osomatsu-san:…I don’t get it. Heehee.

    • December 29, 2015 5:11 pm

      I’m actually kind of tempted to pick up the Seraph manga now – it does trashy entertainment exceptionally well and I like the art. Studio Wit’s animation is a big factor in my enjoyment of the anime though – some of the action scenes were brilliant!

      Maybe The Perfect Insider assumed that only fans of the books would even entertain the idea of watching the anime adaptation? Dunno, but I personally really struggled to finish the show thanks to the shitty characters.

      I also wouldn’t rank Noragami 2 that high – it is excellent, but there are better shows.

      I’m actually hating G-Tekketsu – the only thing keeping me watching is the fact I’ve got company to share the pain with (I’m watching it with EO & Crazydave). I’ve got serious issues with the lack of development and plot progression thus far – the wider socio-political landscape has been more or less ignored. We’ve been told about all these random groups, but have no idea how they all interact with each other – it makes for very frustrating viewing, since establishing the world is usually a strong point for Gundam shows!
      Then there is the horrendous way women are treated in the show – Gundam is hardly a feminist bastion, but I’m generally willing to forgive that in the face of an entertaining story, however G-Tekketsu is so repellent that it’s actually making me angry. The women in the series only ever seem to be in the kitchen and are constantly making food for the men, fawning over babies or playing nursemaid. There is an honest to goodness harem in the show (filled with female characters who would otherwise be very interesting), and this is presented as the ideal family set-up that the younger girls should be aspiring to, and then there is the child bride who is being groomed to be perfect housewife – it’s horrible! Fingers crossed for a mass-culling of the cast soon – we’re overdue a massacre!

      I dropped the Garo sequel when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be anywhere in the same league as S1.

      I honestly don’t know why more bloggers aren’t onboard with ConRevo – it does seem like a critics darling. People don’t know what they’re missing!

      • December 29, 2015 5:59 pm

        G-Tekketsu (seriously, that’s its nickname?): Funny how none of the reviews I read brought the harem up. Doubly ironic considering Okada is a woman.

        Crimson Moon: It did not get better I swear. Reminds me of what happened with the second season of True Detective.

        ConRevo: Thank god I didn’t pay attention to those discussions.

        • klark permalink
          December 29, 2015 11:15 pm

          Sorry to intrude but mostly everyone is busy fawning over One Punch Man so ConRevo was horribly left out.

          Uhm.. As regards to G-Tekketsu, there are also female Mobile Suit users in the show, right? I appreciated the in-your face harem (Naze isn’t shy about it) so it didn’t irk me that much. The plot is moving at a snail like pacr though. I mean, bring freakin’ Kudelia to Earth for the love of unicorns!

        • December 29, 2015 11:36 pm

          I wonder how many people would get interested in ConRevo if we told them that the final bad guy for this cour was Zero from Code Geass, except his name is now Jin Claude Van Damme?

        • December 30, 2015 12:18 am

          The unapologetic presentation of Naze’s harem would have amused me if it wasn’t for the fact it’s held up as this ideal the younger girls should be aspiring to, and the fact the interesting adult female characters are included in this weird harem just ruins their characterisation for me. The female pilots & mechanics are all members of that smarmy git’s harem – basically that entire crew is made up of bikini wearing harmettes.

          I had to laugh at the Zero costume Jin-Claude was rocking – also the whole R2 ‘I’m Zero’ moment with all the look-a-likes in the final episode! ConRevo is great.

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