I feel that I’m somewhat late getting here but I have beaten the APR Top Anime of 2015 list so I can’t say that I’m late. 🙂 I’ll repeat what I said last year because it still holds: 2015 was a good year for anime. It’ll take several years to see how things settle out before one is able to compare it to earlier years but I think it’ll rank just fine in comparison.
I didn’t feel like splitting the countdown into two or three parts like I normally do, so, this post runs a bit long but it’s all here in one post.
I did something that I hadn’t done in awhile – marathon an anime series. The anime in question – Kaitou Joker – was recommended in a comment by Jim D. and I decided to give it a try. It aired during the Fall 2014 season and was almost completely overlooked because it was a kid’s show and the animation was handled by Shin-Ei Animation, who also animated Tonari no Seki-kun, and the quality was on the same level – merely adequate. Why watch it then? The guy handling the screenplay and series composition to Kaitou Joker was Dai Saito. That name should ring a bell; he’s written for a number of well-known anime series including Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Samurai Champloo, and Eureka Seven. Is Kaitou Joker in the same league as though anime? No, but the story to Kaitou Joker kept surprising me with how well done it was and how well thought out it was.
Kaitou Joker can be summed up as saying it’s like Lupin the Third minus the fan service plus a professional thief rivalry with a childhood friend and the attention of a evil villain who wouldn’t mind killing Joker while going about his evil plan. However, that sells the series a bit short because it tackles stories that one never sees in Lupin. One example is Joker planned to steel a treasure that was on display in a high-rise building but the building caught fire while he was in it and the episode became about how Joker was going to get a group of stranded people safely out of the building.
A second season comes out this spring 2015 season and I’ll definitely be watching it.
Yes, the top fifteen. I’m not trying to be 50% better then those top 10 countdowns 😉 . The idea for this countdown is that it contains all the series of merit from the past year that finished or aired enough episodes that I feel confident about including it here and is planned to be a longer running series. That means the exact number will fluctuate between years and is influenced by the diversity of shows I end up watching. The only hard and fast rule for the number of series included, beyond needing to be an anime of merit, is to have no more then 25% of the shows I’ve finished listed. The only way that there’d be a need to list more then 25% is if I’ve gone soft in my judging and this is a check against that. For this year, I finished 76 series so the list can contain a maximum of 19 series.
Before we get to that top 15, there’s two more awards to give out.
Step three for awesome anime – after creating memorable characters and giving them a worthy stage – is to use every part of the production process to bring-out/enhance the positive aspects of the anime and hide the negative aspects. Getting the right seiyuu can be the difference between a character being a success or failure. Inappropriate music can ruin the climax of a series and nothing can make a whole anime series fail as assuredly as poor animation quality. In the right hands, a small budget can be overcome through creating the right animation style. Stellar OP/ED with it’s combination of music and animation can build excitement and anticipation for the anime and ensure viewers come back next week.
There’s other parts to an anime’s production – like script writing, cinematography, sound editing, etc. – that won’t gets awards here because I’m not knowledgeable enough in these areas to put any confidence in picking winners. Which is why I call this set of awards the Voice, Music, and Audio awards. I’m hoping, yet again, next year I’ll be able to include a few more areas of the production to these awards.
Now that Christmas is fast approaching and I’m running out of days, I see one drawback to writing these entries ahead of time. With anime series still ongoing I might be passing over a moment worthy of inclusion that airs before now and posting this. For example, the inclusion of Space Brothers here is a no-brainer but the moment that probably should go here is the moment that Mutta finds out that he will get to be an astronaut. That he will is a fait accompli much like most of this series (which is not a bad thing) but it hasn’t happened at the time of writing this so instead I’m using a different moment.
Here’s a pro tip for aspiring blog writers: bribing yourself or using a carrot and stick approach is sometimes the best way to ensure you finish whatever it is your supposed to be writing for your blog. For example, I decided I really wanted to finish this series of posts covering the best anime of the spring season, so I’m currently not allowing myself to watch any of new summer anime series that I really wanted to see. It’s killing me, especially since I’m reading my favorite blogs talking about these series; but, I will get the results I want (and I’ll really enjoy the day that I get to catch-up on these series).