The Spring 2015 anime season is finally at its very end, and while there were a good number of series that I enjoyed quite a bit this season I also kinda felt like there were a few disappointments from missing the boat as well. But as a whole I felt it was not only solidly enjoyable, but had a fair number of unlooked for surprises to boot. As far as I am concerned those are always pluses, yes, but also a pretty good sign of a season that is a bit stronger than usual. Here are some listings and summaries of some of the series from the Spring 2015 season that did and did not work for me.
The A-rank series for Spring 2015 were two that were expected and two that were unexpected. Before the season began I expected Ore Monogatari (I had read some of the manga chapters and greatly enjoyed it) and Hello! Kiniro Mosaic (I loved the first season – a classic representation of “Kirara 4koma”) to be hits with me. However even with that the adaptations of both of them were plain excellent. I expected this from Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, but was not expecting it from Ore Monogatari – the adaptation really has been outright excellently done thus far, and fortunately it will continue into the Summer season. Kekkai Sensen and Show by Rock!! were both surprises – and huge ones. Studio Bones really did excellently this season, and it seems to not only have been my own opinion – the combined sales for Volume One of the discs totally nearly 26000 copies! The settling yet unsettling creepy fantastical horror sci fi setting in what looks to be contemporary New York City and the surreal other-dimensional “dark Hello Kitty!, music video, rock and roll’ish” setting of Show by Rock!! both stood out in originality and both had superb storywriting and world development. As of the day this post was written the final episode of Kekkai Sensen still has yet to air – hopefully it will not fall flat. But even if it did, the series has thus far been excellent in most every way.
While not on the level of Hyouka for me, Hibike Euphonium has definitely been the most engaging KyoAni series that has been produced to date – with the level of animation and attention to detail one usually expects from the studio, the series especially shone for me with the characters, and especially the lead character, Kumiko. I frankly found her to be quite interesting. The band music was also excellently performed. Arslan Senki (2015) has been an unexpected gem. It was not really on my radar before the season began, and after what proved to be a rather slow start with sections of horrible cgi battle animations the series has become increasingly interesting and immersive. Go! Princess PreCure, now nearing the half way mark of completion, is thus far shaping up to be one of the better PreCure series ever made – I have been happily surprised by the story and development. Both Arslan Senki (2015) and Go! Princess PreCure will be carrying over into the Summer 2015 season. Plastic Memories is another issue – a series with incredible potential that tried to be too many things at once and suffered from poor directing, in my opinion. It had a strong ending, though, which helped for the earlier clumsy awkwardness. It could have been so much more….
Re-Kan, while being my biggest disappointment of the season, began to get better in the second half of the season – like Plastic Memories (my second biggest disappointment) it had a rocky start, but got better. However the general level of quality of the series overall was lower, and for some reason gave off a stronger vibe of not trying as hard as it could (again, contrasted with Plastic Memories, which felt much more like simply poor choices in direction). It also could have been much more, but appeared to settle for less. Nagato Yuki-chan was a very good adaptation of the manga, but was a very “in-house” yet independent representative of the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise. There are many references and hints and visuals to the Haruhi novels and the anime adaptation that, if you are very familiar with them, are very interesting. However for those unfamiliar it seems to come across as simply a high school shoujo romcom. It will have another 3 episodes or so into the Summer season. DanMachi was another nice surprise. I had read some of the novel volumes before the season began, so knew what to expect, but even so I thought they did a pretty steady and faithful adaptation, though in the broad strokes characteristic of light novel illustrations these days. Nothing life-changing, but still pretty good on the whole. Houkago no Pleiades was yet another pleasant surprise. I was familiar with the 4 OVA series before this one, and this series was much, much better. I really liked how this mahou shoujo series was able to convey the “magicalness” (as in the sense of awe and wonder of a fairy tale) of the setting to the viewers. Very well done on their part.
After this there is the “may watch later”. In this category are included: F/SN: Unlimited Blade Works; Shoukugeki no Soma; Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken S2 and Sidonia no Kishi – Planet Nine. The Fate series has always been a bit “hit and miss” for me – with the first season of the Ilya series being the only one that ever really clicked with me. Many have encouraged me to watch Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, and I thought episode 0 of the latter was especially good. Shoukugeki no Soma (or “Food Wars” in English) was indeed pretty good, but the first two eps of the anime inspired me to pick up the manga, and I found the manga to be more enjoyable. The anime is really a good adaptation, though. The first season of Danna ga Nani (or “I don’t know what my husband is thinking” in English) fared better for me as a steamrolled series. It was effective humor and kinda touching at times, but I found I had to be in the right mood to appreciate it. Sidonia no Kishi was the same as Food Wars – the anime inspired me to pick up the manga, and I found I liked the manga much better. No doubt I will get around to the second season eventually. ^^
When looking back at the Spring 2015 season as a whole it could be characterized by surprises – both positive ones and negative ones. Overall, with the exception of the brilliance of the manga adaptations of Kekkai Sensen and Ore Monogatari and the incredibly beautiful and moving first (of four) movies of the Tamayura series conclusion, it was dotted through with steady and solid series, but not with series that were really thought provoking (like Death Parade and Koufuku Graffiti in Winter 2015, although that season had fewer series that were as consistently good). At the moment the summer season is also looking kind of … unpredictable and hard to pin down in terms of expectations. There are several series which could be interesting, though, which I mentioned in my Summer 2015 Preview. Hopefully, though, there will be more pleasant surprises!
Tags: anime, anime blog, anime blog review, anime review, Arslan Senki, DanMachi, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken season two, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Go! Princess PreCure, Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, Hibike! Euphonium, Houkago no Pleiades, Kekkai Sensen, Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu, Ore Monogatari, Plastic Memories, Re-Kan, screenshots, Shokugeki no Soma, Show By Rock!!, Sidonia no Kishi - Planet Nine, Spring 2015, Tamayura Graduation Photo movie
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