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Mike’s Spring Season 2015 Review

Toriko Can’t Step To This

This was a good season, much stronger than winter. But considering the fact I went on record and said that Winter 2015 was the weakest anime season I’ve ever seen, that wasn’t exactly a herculean task. Doesn’t matter though, the season was still great. It had some shows that made some legitimate noise with almost all the shows in the Top 5 being well positioned for a run at the Top 10 by the end of the year. It’s just an all around damn good anime season, let’s get to it.

Top 5 Shows

Honorable Mentions: Nisekoi: Season 2, Triage X

5. Assassination Classroom

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It was more Assassination Classroom. That’s not a bad thing by any stretch but there really wasn’t any progress made as far the main story is concerned or even Koro-sensei’s back story which is a little disappointing. Koro-sensei continues to carry that show and is still consistently fantastic so it is still going to be among the best anime of the year as long as he is around. But the fact of the matter is that Assassination Classroom is really just in a holding pattern which, while entertaining, is a bit of a shame.

4. Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works: Season 2

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It’s still the best looking anime of all time. Ufotable still has no peer when it comes to animationi. Its soundtrack is still on point, and Shirou still adds nothing of value to the show. At least he’s not a detriment anymore. Fate is among the best shows of the year, as it was last year, and even a lackluster showing on its back-half wont change that. Caster, specifically, was a highlight for me as she was a legitimate threat with power that was to be respected and a back story that was very intriguing. Once she fell out of the picture though, I actually found my interest kind of wane but that’s more bias than actual show flaw. An actual flaw though? This show came after Fate/Zero and there is just nothing it can do about that. It did its best Fate/Zero impression and it, while occasionally very convincing, just can’t stand up the original article. Then again, most anime can’t. But at least it had the best Japanese opening of all time.

3. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Battle in Egypt

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Man, that was an incredible end to the Jotaro arc. Finally, after meandering around the desert in a roundabout way to get to Dio, JoJo finally showcased what makes it so special, and that’s its conflicts. Few anime ever made can match the intensity and brilliance of JoJo’s action scenes and that was definitely on display in the homestretch against Dio. The Jotaro/Dio fight specifically was the best action scene I’ve seen all year and it was just breathtaking. I would even wager to the say that the final arc of Jotaro was the best arc of any anime this season. But I have to judge a show by the sum of its parts, not just how good the final sequence isii, a concept that gets lost in the shuffle when it comes to evaluating anime. As outstanding as the back half of JoJo was, the front half was a bit of a sluggish mess. Due to this, it’s not the best anime of the season. But it’s real f**king good.

2. The Eden of Grisaia
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You see this sh*t right here? This is what Grisaia should’ve been in the first place. An incredible story about Yuuji’s past that really delves into what makes him the character that he is. While all of the visual novel nonsense of the first season set the stage for the bountiful character-driven harvest that was to come, even now it’s still a little infuriating that we had to wade through that bullsh*t in the first place. Yuuji’s character arc was incredible and it transitioned nicely into present day where the girls in his harem actually earned their keep and became useful parts of the story rather than mechanisms to try to get you to buy the Eroge. Yuuji’s character remained the focus throughout the show and his story carried the show to the level it should’ve been all along. I mean sure, it made off in very satisfying fashion, but I feel like I’m giving a passionate hug to Eden while giving throwing a disgusted side-eye at Fruit over its shoulder. Basically what I’m getting at is Eden of Grisaia is fantastic. But is it worth trudging through Fruits of Grisaia to get that payoff? Yeah, I think so.

1. Shokugeki no Soma

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A cooking show. A god damned cooking show is my best anime of the season. This ain’t no Toriko-type sh*t, this show is about the actual art of cooking a gourmet meal. And it’s outstanding. I’ll be up front, there’s an entertaining scene in episode one that will instantly color your opinion of the show. If you don’t like that, chances are the show has nothing for you. But if that scene was right up your alley then this show will be among the best of the year. The amount of care and detail they put into the preparation of food is staggering and how they dig deep into the logic of how certain dishes meld together is both endearing and educational in a way that Gourmet Girl Graffiti never was. This is a show that deeply loves cooking and it comes across in every nook and cranny. This is not just food porn, though there is a fair share of that, this is food education. This is food appreciation. This is food worship. And this is the best show of the season.

 

Best Female Character
“Asako Kusakabe” of The Eden of Grisaia

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Asako is the best female character because of the role she played in Yuuji’s formative years. She rescued him from a mentally and physically abusive environment, she took him into her care, she taught him to fight, she taught him how the world works, she taught him how to be a man, and she taught him how to loveiii. She was his guide, his rock, his lover, his reason for living. She made him who he is. And for that she gets all of the credit for the best female character. Oh, and she took his virginity when he was teenager so she gets extra points for that I guess.

Honorable Mentions: Caster (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: Season 2), Julia Bardera (The Eden of Grisaia), Hestia (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)

 

Best Male Character
“Yuuji Kazami” of The Eden of Grisaia

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Look, he was already outstanding as you know by the trail of gushing I left on my way here. But now armed with the knowledge of his back story, where he came from, what he endured, what he overcame, and what his motivations are, there are few male characters in anime that can touch him, much less this yeariv. I’m really not skilled enough to do him justice and I’ve wasted enough words trying to tell you how good he is. Watch the show, you’ll find out what I mean.

Honorable Mentions: Souma Yukihira (Shokugeki no Souma), Takeo Gouda (Ore Monogatari!!), Jotaro Kuujou (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures: Stardust Crusaders – Battle in Egypt)

 

Surprise Hit

Shokugeki no Soma 

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Biggest Disappointment
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: Season 2

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Here’s the thing, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works is a Top 5 show of this season and probably Top 10 show of the year. And it’s my biggest disappointment of the season. How is this possible? Because Fate should be the best show of the year and it shouldn’t be relatively close. It has all of the tools, every single one. Incredible visuals, incredible animation, outstanding soundtrack, high impact action scenes, fantastic premise, great voice acting, the right collection of characters to carry a show of this caliber. But its writing lets it down. Like I said last year, Shirou should not be the main character, I don’t give a damn what your original material says, yes I know it was eroge, that sh*t sucks and it brings down the show. If anyone should lead the show, it should be Rin even with her tsundere quirks. Hell, would even settle for Illyia or Zero Archer, but I digress. The show has a tendency to take refuge within the moist conclaves of its own ass when it starts philosophizing the merits of why certain people fight for what. This was a strength of Fate/Zero but it’s not in Unlimited Blade Works. It spends a lot of time talking at you, but not to your benefit nor to the benefit of itself; Just to talk, to sound like it’s deeper than it actually is. And Unlimited Blade Works brings its fantastic action sequences to a screeching halt just to do this. To focus on Shirou no less, which makes sense up to a certain point due to the nature of the storyline but still, this is not its strongest point. It does not always leverage its strengths which leads to my most important point. This show desperately wants to be Fate/Zero. You can tell that by the important role Zero Archer plays but makes no sense in the grand scheme of things. You can tell by the way they try to leverage the presence of Kotomine but then sends him packing like a bitch. These were legitimate threats in Fate/Zero but UBW tries to throw these characters at you as if to say “HEY REMEMBER FATE/ZERO?!” Yes I do. And UBW is not that. But it wants to be. Very, very badly, to the point that it sabotages itself in pursuit of this goal. And that is the show’s greatest downfall. It is an excellent show that should be transcendent. Does that make it the most disappointing show of all time? No, that title still belongs to Aldnoah.Zero. But it makes a pretty good run at it.v

Dishonorable Mention: Owari no Seraph

 

Top 5 Openings

Honorable Mentions: “vanilla sky” by Mashiro Ayano (Gunslinger Stratos) , “Rally Go Round” by LiSA (Nisekoi: Season 2)

5. “Ring of Fortune” by Eri Sasaki (Plastic Memories)

4. “Memories” by GRANRODEO (Kuroko’s Basketball: Season 3)

3. “Hello, world!” by Bump of Chicken (Kekkai Sensen)

2. “X.U.” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Gemie (Owari no Seraph)

1. “Brave Shine” by Aimer (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: Season 2)

 

Top 5 Endings

Honorable Mentions: “Sugar Song to Bitter Step” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN (Kekkai Sensen), “Starlight of Twilight” by Yoshino Nanjou (The Eden of Grisaia)

5. “Starmine of the Morning Glow” by Asami Imai (Plastic Memories)

4. “Future” by GARNiDELiA (Gunslinger Stratos)

3. “ring your bell” by Kalafina (Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: Season 2)

2. “scaPEGoat” by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]: Yosh (Owari no Seraph)

1. “Spice” by Tokyo Karan Koron (Shokugeki no Soma)

 

Final Thoughts

This following season looks as stacked as I’ve ever seen, there are so many great shows airing right now. Gangsta is fantastic, Shimoneta is brilliant, God Eater can make some serious noise, Prison School is a threat, Working got better, Monster Musume is not absolute hot garbage, but Game of Laplace is the most intriguing show of the season. It has…..something about it that I can’t placevi. Most these shows can be among the Top 10 of the year when it’s all said and done. Until then….

F*ck up some commas.

Watch Anime.

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