I wasn’t originally intending to do lists for anime that came out during the blog’s yesteryears and such, but after looking at how lonely 2017 was in the “top anime list” header, I thought to myself that it needed some company. So I probed through the anime I watched back in those days and discovered that I could only reasonably make lists from 2015 and beyond, because I didn’t actually take watching bad anime seriously until then and I can’t remember what anime I considered watchable beyond my favorites that far back. Still, three years is plenty for the start of this top list reboot, so let’s get warmed-up on discovering what my selections are for the best, worst, and most disappointing anime of 2015 – a year that’s commonly considered to be one of the most disappointing for anime. An opinion I unfortunately agree with, but I still had enough to make top lists for all three categories, so it’s not like it was a travesty.
5. Ushio & Tora (MAPPA)
I didn’t really like many anime from 2015 after the year ended and I still don’t. Most of the big hits didn’t leave much of an impression on me, although I have gotten more respect for some of them over time like Prison School and One-Punch Man. And sure, Ushio & Tora suffered from two big problems that tend to get on my goat: an entire cour of buildup that ranged from iffy to crappy and little acknowledgement of the evolutions anime of its ilk have made since. But the remaining 2/3 of the show is epic shonen in a good way and that’s double the length of the show’s rocky start, so this series gets my respect over series like Shin Sekai Yori who decide that putting all the good stuff in the last quarter of its runtime is a brilliant move.
4. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too! (feel)
Even with all the improvements made to the base established by the original anime’s run, I still can’t find myself to claim SNAFU as a good anime like most people do. The scenarios used to challenge the characters’ beliefs aren’t imaginative enough. A lot of the dialogue scenes don’t have the punch they need to be that engaging. And who can forget that cliffhanger ending when there’s little material to even make a third season? But for a surprisingly good visual upgrade, likable characters that are at least trying, and being a light novel adaptation that wants to aim high, SNAFU Too gets in fourth place. And it can thank its blessings it didn’t come out in a more interesting year.
3. Noragami Aragoto (Bones)
Noragami Aragoto is the first of two anime on this list that I’d like to call the start of Bones’ comeback. Taking the fundamental grounding setup by the previous Noragami and expanding on its modern views of Shinto-ism by exploring how it hurts and benefits the Gods of today, this much-improved sequel is how action anime should be done. First off, the action should look nice. Second, it should be used as a vehicle for interesting philosophies to clash and expose the faults and strengths of said philosophies. We might be seeing more of that with the next Bones anime on this list…and then we’ll see when things go wrong in a different list.
2. Sound Euphonium! (Kyoto Animation)
Sound Euphonium is one of those anime that just gets better and better for me as time goes by. Sure I’ve never been in orchestra, but I don’t think any other anime out there has truly captured what it means to be in high school with your whole life ahead of you: namely that you really need to plan your future out during this time period and be ready to accept heavy compromises in order to make your dream a reality. Also, throwing in some movie-like production values for your concert scenes really helps as well.
1. Concrete Revolutio (Bones)
And here we have the anime that reinvigorated my interest in Bones, the entire year, and kind of turned me into a pretentious prick for a while, but let’s just ignore that third part for a moment, shall we? Concrete Revolutio is hands-down one of the best things to happen to superhero narratives in years, exposing all those anime tropes you’re familiar with like magical girls and Astro Boy as just synonyms for being Japan’s version of Captain America whilst simultaneously cracking down on the country’s sordid history with so many visual metaphors and viewpoints that it’s a surprise everything came together as well as it did. It does eventually bite off more than it can chew admittedly, but it’s still the best example of how Bones should just continue leading the superhero trend and never touch mecha again for the rest of their lives.
5. Gangsta (Manglobe)
One thing you’re going to discover very quickly on this disappointing list is that practically all of the entries are on here because they took good concepts and attached them to utterly pointless narratives. It was actually a pretty common trend that made 2015 so tedious, and Gangsta definitely exemplified the worst qualities of that year with its complete lack of focus and complete lack of an ending as well. Remember how Manglobe went bankrupt after this anime failed to meet expectations? Well, it failed to meet expectations because it sucked.
4. Blood Blockade Battlefront (Bones)
Man Bones anime got really stupid during this time period. Guys, no matter how you spin it, this is NOT how you do an action comedy show. Treating the crazy explosions like it’s a normal thing only works if you take it completely seriously or if someone is playing straight man to an even wackier world, but not when you’re in on the joke. And on top of not being funny, the action part of the show is just complete garbage with its cinematic Yu-something cuts that never show the moves actually land, the stock badass characters who have no flaws or story significance, the throwaway episodic plots that only exist for the sake of bullshit lore that should have died in the 80s, and the overarching story that’s about as pretentious as it is dull. So of course, it’s one of the biggest hits in the anime community. I don’t get you guys.
3. Garo: Crimson Moon (MAPPA)
In retrospect, thinking the first Garo anime was a campy masterpiece was naive of my retarded 2014 self. But does that really excuse how badly made, badly written, and just plain limp the second anime iteration was? Yeah I’m aware that all long-running franchises have their own limp entries, so I can’t say I care too much that Crimson Moon wasn’t good. Still, I think you could have added a harem to the narrative and it would have been an improvement…actually I take that back. Because guess what the next entry on the disappointing list is?
2. Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (Polygon Pictures)
I thought the harem antics in the first Knights of Sidonia were bad enough, but apparently that was just a prologue to the utter stupidity that was Battle for Planet Nine. Not only was the harem non-comedy numerous this go-around, but it actively got in the way of the plot to the point that I realized it was just stalling for time until it could just look at how many of the episode orders it filled and go “yup, we’re done”. The success of this series on the whole did motivate the creators to make Blame, which was a lot better in terms of hard sci-fi, so it’s not like nothing good came from Sidonia. But in terms of actually watching Battle for Planet Nine, I’d rather just ignore such pointlessness entirely.
1. Death Parade (Madhouse)
How the hell did so many people give Death Parade a free pass when it was airing? Oh right, I did that a bit as well. New question: how can people still look at Death Parade today and think it’s a brilliant series? All the good ideas and ice-skating setpieces could have worked in an anime that didn’t also have repetitively shallow insights into humanity’s dark nature that depend too much on the twist to be effective, awful tonal shifts that made the narrative spin in five different directions without picking a single one, and an unfinished ending that only focuses on a tiny fraction of the world and leaves too many loose ends that we’ll never a satisfactory resolution for. Too bad Death Parade isn’t that anime though.
5. Heavy Object (JC Staff)
I usually don’t put light novel adaptations in the worst list because they generally don’t try and I prefer to recognize bad anime that aim high and bungle up incredibly badly. But Heavy Bullshit did aim to be some really intense Metal Gear Solid-esque thriller, only to decide that what thrillers had been missing all this time are soldiers groping their busty female superiors and infantry units that wear maid outfits for no reason at all. Pretty sure that’s the equivalent of trying to improve the action genre by having all the characters drink arsenic at the very beginning, which admittedly would have improved the Alone in the Dark movie if only because then it would have made the film two hours shorter.
4. The Rolling Girls (Wit)
Now this show came out during a time when I was still getting used to Wit and mostly only respected them for at least trying unusual things, even if they weren’t very good at managing their budget at this point in their life time. Rolling Girls was also the anime that made me realize how fucking bullshit it is when people say that “being fun” is automatically a good thing, or even a requirement to get a positive reception. Because all the bright visuals and explosive set pieces in the world stop being fun and instead become the most annoying thing ever if you have no internal logic, no control, and no character to back ’em up. It didn’t work for Blood Blockade Battlefront and it didn’t work for this.
3. Comet Lucifer (8-bit)
I honestly don’t know what to say about this anime now that the entire world has forgotten its existence. It just sucked, okay? It plain sucked. 8-bit is a shitty studio and Comet Lucifer is just a shitty anime in general. Yeah, let’s copy all those anime people used to like and make a series about that. I’m sure that won’t backfire in the least.
2. Plastic Memories (Dogakobo)
You know, despite everything I said about them back then, I find I can’t really hate either Classroom Crisis or Charlotte as failed attempts for visual novel writers to try their hand at writing original anime even with all their numerous faults. But Plastic Memories was an utterly worthless show when I first saw it and numerous discussions regarding the anime have only solidified its poor quality. It’s not so much the concept that makes it one of the worst anime ever so much as the lack of imagination they put into the concept like why the hell would you ever make robots like this? And why can I replace the robots with dogs and get the same story?
1. Chaos Dragon (Silver Link)
Remember this anime? The show that people only paid attention to because a lot of good names were on it, even though the names were just playing a board game and somebody wrote an anime around their fun times? The anime with the hideously over designed characters, the nonsensical writing that could only be described as a plot if you were being charitable and were suffering from an aneurism, the awful ending that literally gave me nausea…seriously where do you even start on describing a show this bad? Well I don’t know where to start, but I know where to stop, and apparently a lot of people agree with me because I can’t think of many besides me who watched this from beginning to end.