Anime Autumn Season 2015 – Final Thoughts
It’s near the end of the year ( when I started writing this, New Year’s has passed us by now ), heralding the end of the Autumn Season, and the time for “End of Year” lists.
Now before I get to my “animes of the year” and “games of the year” lists, let’s wrap up Autumn Season 2015.
While I initially started hanging on to a lot of shows, a fair amount fell away during the first half of the season, and a few more in the second half.
With so much time freed up, and not really feeling like doing much productive with it, I went back and looked at shows I had missed. I caught up fully on Yuru Yuri, I watched S1 of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, all of Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl, made an attempt at Kämpfer, and I’m currently making my way through Cowboy Bebop.
Between those, and the newly released OVAs for Hibike! Euphonium and Locodol ( I was quite surprised at this one ), and the Love Live movie, I am going to add a bonus section at the end talking about what I’m done watching. So let’s just get started.
Yeah… I only got halfway through episode 7. The thing is, when it just focuses on the main cast, their interactions, and what they’re doing, it’s a pretty decent show. That was basically the first half of the episode. I even started thinking “this isn’t so bad, why did I want to drop this again?”
And then the villainous trio crashed the party, and suddenly I remembered everything I don’t like about the show. The good parts are sadly not good enough to weigh up for the bad parts, so I felt it was best to just give up on it. Pretty much the same story as with Owari no Seraph, I guess.
High School Star Musical
Now this one I haven’t fully been able to explain, even to myself. I was initially so positive towards this, feeling like it was one of my favourites of the season, and that I just loved watching these boys in all their gay splendour.
I can’t really tell you when that changed. Or why it changed. I just felt with each episode that the show became harder and harder to sit through, and it annoys me that I don’t really know why. I tried to ignore it, but the end result was that I dropped the show. Maybe I’ll never figure out what bothered me. Some mysteries are better left alone.
Go! Princess Precure
Still going! But maybe not for much longer.
One by one the girls seem to be figuring out what they want to do after school, and are gradually approaching their goals. In one case, there’s even a set time when they’re leaving, though it’s hard to tell how many episodes it will take to get there.
I just watched episode 45, and while I did ponder whether they were planning to end it at 52, I am now not so sure they can wrap up everything in another 7 episodes. They might. I do expect the show to end by episode 60. We’ll see. If it’s still going by the time summer hits again, I’ll have been proven wrong.
Itoshi no Muco
This show has remained really cute, and is certainly a highlight of every week.
I’m not sure how long it intends to run, but I really don’t mind tuning in to this for a while longer. Muco is amazing.
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
This one is going all the way to 25 episodes, so we’ll not see a resolution until the end of Winter.
I have in general enjoyed this show quite a lot, but I can’t deny that for several consecutive episodes the show was basically just jogging in place, and feeling like filler. They kept adding new girls, but nothing of importance really happened, nor did they do a great job of fleshing out the characters. I think this has to with how visual novels are built. There’s a place between the introduction and where the plot gets going where there’s a lot of fluff.
Thankfully in episode 12 it seemed like the plot was starting to get rolling again, so hopefully there won’t be a huge amount of fluff in the second half. There’s still 13 more episodes though, so who knows. This has plenty of time to go bad.
Hidan no Aria AA
Concluded at 12 episodes.
While there were a couple of questionable bits, I am happy with the run of this show and how it wrapped up.
Having now watched both this and Yuru Yuri, I think Aria AA actually wins out in which show is the most gay. Sure it gets a little awkward at times, but for the most of it I was grinning. I’ve had to face that fact that lesbians are a big weakness of mine.
This probably counts a slight spoiler, but I’d like to say that while the show kept me on a tense edge for most of it, it actually doesn’t ever go as dark as it could. It doesn’t cross the line into suddenly killing off lots of little girls. Even though it quite easily could have. I appreciate that, personally. I’m sure it will be disappointing for some.
Concluded at 13 episodes.
Curious and interesting little show. I’m not an expert by any measure, but from what little I’ve seen of Japanese horror, this is pretty in live with that style, and it has an interesting subject. It feels like it reached a fairly natural end point with that in mind. They could do a sequel, sure, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai
Concluded at 13 episodes.
I’d say it turned out to be cute enough, but nothing spectacular. Decent little palate cleanser. The short girl with the long black hair is my favourite. She is slightly evil. As is tradition.
One Punch Man
Concluded at 12 episodes.
Definitely one of the best shows this season. I’m sure it will be *the* best for a lot of people, but personally I have one show I enjoyed even more.
I’m still keeping up with the manga, and watching this made me want to read it all from the beginning again. It does a great job of bringing the manga to life, and not dragging things out beyond how it happened in the manga. The fight scenes are fast, but I honestly never really had a problem keeping track of what was going on. I feel like Mad House definitely deserve praise for that. They added so many nice little touches to the animations that said more than mere words could have.
Considering how lacklustre the Winter and Spring ( and to an extent Summer ) seasons have been this year, I will not be surprised if this ends up at the top of many “anime of the year” lists for 2015.
Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
Concluded at 13 episodes.
I actually finished this one! It’s okay. Again, it’s not spectacular in any sense, but each episode is so short that “okay” is good enough for me.
In the second half it did suddenly decide to pick up a plot, which was probably a mistake, because it didn’t really have enough time to truly make the most of it. It just turned out… well… okay.
Decent for a short palate cleanser, but not something you have to worry about catching up on.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
Concluded at 12 episodes.
I think Sakurako-san managed to stay between pretty good and straight-up good for most of its run. The theme of people dealing with baggage from their pasts is quite sweet in a way. Certainly moved me to tears on more than one occasion.
The way it ended did quite clearly set up for a second series. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, but it did remind us that the over-arching plot had only barely been touched upon. However, since a second series has not been announced, it is possible that it simply ended that way to tempt us to go buy the manga to get the rest of the story. It would hardly be the first anime to basically just be a marketing tool.
Yuru Yuri San☆Hai!
Concluded at 12 episodes.
Considering I’ve watched all three series plus the three OVAs in the past few months, I’m just going to talk about the lot of it rather than just specifically S3.
I love Yuru Yuri so much. Catching up on this meant the show stole first place from One Punch Man this season for me. So many cute girls, and they’re all so gay, and I just want Yuru Yuri to go on forever.
I ended up really identifying with Chitose, while Akari is the character I want to protect the most. She is so sweet, and doesn’t at all deserve the bad things that happen to her.
And then we have poor Ayano trying her best to get closer to Kyoko, while Kyoko herself is maybe a bit too caught up in herself to really notice.
While Chinatsu has a very obvious and overt crush on Yui, I never really got the impression that Akari, Kyoko, or Yui were crushing on any particular person. Though of course Kyoko and Yui have pretty great chemistry, so I think I’d be okay with seeing Kyoko pair up with Ayano or Yui.
And they all grow so beautifully across the different series, and there’s lots of cute supporting characters, and I don’t think there’s anyone I particularly dislike in the show?
I just want to see more Yuru Yuri. But even if I don’t get that, it has left me with lots of great reaction pics and nice petting gifs, and many good memories.
Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita. OVA
The first of two OVAs, the second scheduled for the 22nd of June, 2016, and dear, sweet gods it was SO cute.
Seeing Nanako and Yukari again really warmed my heart, and I wish so intently that there was even more. Seeing Nanayuka develop more is such a treat, and it was just a really sweet Christmas episode. I am still absolutely convinced that those two are going to end up married.
Now on the one hand it sucks that I have to wait nearly six months for more, but on the other hand I’m just glad we get more at all. I honestly didn’t expect that. It’s not likely that we’ll be getting an S2, after all.
Hibike! Euphonium: Kakedasu Monaka
A one-episode side story following the members of the brass band that didn’t make the cut for the competition.
It focuses mainly on Hazumi, with everyone else just making smaller appearances. We get to see some scenes from the main run from a different perspective, but mostly it’s new stuff.
For a little extra Eupho content it’s fine, but since Hazumi is probably my least favourite of the main quartet, it wasn’t really that great for me. She still has the wrong idea about things.
There were some really good Natsuki scenes that helped elevate things, though. Natsuki is definitely my favourite girl in the show, and she gave me both a hugging gif and a petting gif for my collection!
Worth watching if you liked the main run.
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl
12 episodes long.
Plot: Hazumu is a shy boy who likes plants, gardening, and a girl called Yasuna. When he confesses his love to her, she turns him down ( for reasons explained later ), and with his heart broken he climbs the mountain where he likes to go to think and get some peace. Where he is hit by a spaceship and flattened. The aliens onboard are able to take his DNA and rebuild him, but in the process he is irreversibly turned into a girl. A really cute girl.
Hazumu understands and accepts early on that there’s really nothing that can turn her back into a boy, so she decides to do her best at living like a girl. While there are certain issues that have to be figured out, for the most part Hazumu doesn’t feel like her life changes too much, and people are mostly very accepting of the change, which probably helps Hazumu a lot.
In the cover image up there you might have noticed that there are two girls attached to Hazumu’s arms. On the right is Yasuna, and on the left is Tomari. Tomari is Hazumu’s childhood friend, and had a crush on him for a long time before he became she. Now she has to figure out if she’s still interested in the new Hazumu, and how to deal with her feelings now.
I am not usually a huge fan of love triangles, but I found Kashimashi to be cute, sweet, earnest, and heart-felt. It doesn’t rely on too many clichés, and does a good job or portraying the characters as human and faceted. The ending isn’t quite what I expected, but I approve of it.
The reason I picked up this show in particular is that I also have a weakness for gender-bending stuff. Which leads me to the next thing I looked at…
12 episodes long.
Plot: A boy named Natsuru wakes up one morning to find that he’s been turned into a girl, there’s a strange bracelet on his list, and the teddy bear he got from his childhood friend is talking to him.
He has been turned into a Kämpfer ( German for fighter ), which means he has to fight other Kämpfer for reasons that aren’t explained to him. And since Kämpfer have to be female, every time he transforms, his body turns female.
In his Kämpfer form, he quickly runs into his ally Akane, who at first mistakes him for an enemy until she sees they have the same colour bracelet. She quickly finds him at school in their non-Kämpfer forms, and of course it turns out she has a bit of a crush on him now ( that he is too dense to notice ). However, so does his childhood friend Kaede, but she only crushes on his female form, and supposedly doesn’t realise that it’s him. I am not sure I completely buy that, but it’s not like I’m going to find out.
For reasons I have a hard time putting into words, watching Kämpfer makes me feel uncomfortable. My love who told me about it said it gets better in episode 4 and onwards when the plot happens, but I wasn’t able to even finish episode 3. I just couldn’t…
I watched Ore Twintail last year, and this kinda feels like a less competent precursor to that, as it has the same basic idea. In my opinion, Ore Twintail did it a lot better. Kämpfer just doesn’t feel as good. It doesn’t have the same playful tone, the wordplay “jokes” fell really flat for me, and there’s the whole business of it making me feel strangely uncomfortable. If you’re thinking about checking this one out, you might be better off watching ( or re-watching ) Ore Twintail instead.
Love Live! The School Idol Movie
A 95-min long send-off for the μ’s girls. They go to New York! And then come back with lots of conflicting feelings about the future.
Speaking of feelings, this was a very emotional watch for me. Even thinking back on it now makes tears well up. I don’t really know what to say, I realise. I loved it a lot.
It’s not stand-alone. It follows on straight after the end of S2, so if you haven’t watched the whole show I imagine you’ll be completely lost. It builds upon everything that came before it.
Highly recommended for Love Live fans, just remember to keep some tissues close by.
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
12 episodes long. ( plus some OVAs and an S2 )
Plot: Milky Holmes are four students at the Holmes Detective Academy, and even though they’re still learning, they’re already really famous at the school as the top students so good they’re already solving cases and catching criminals.
In addition to their detective skills, they are also in possession of Toys, a gift you’re born with in this world that gives you a super-power. For Sherlock it’s telekinesis. Hercule has super-strength. Nero can control any and all mechanical and electronic devices and machines. And Cordelia has super-enhanced senses, which makes her a skilled fighter since she can read her opponents flawlessly, and it also makes her a good support for the rest of the team.
But at the very start of the show, after we’ve been given an introduction to everyone’s powers, the phantom thieves Milky Holmes have been fighting make their escape, and before MH can follow, they are struck by lightning and lose the ability to control their Toys freely.
After this they sort of lose their will to keep going as detectives, and don’t even seem concerned about trying to get their Toys back until they get an ultimatum from the Academy. They have three months to regain control of their Toys, or they will be expelled! So they start working on that as best they can. And it kinda turns out their best isn’t very good any longer. Though it is also hinted they were maybe always a bit bumbling and clumsy.
I watched Tantei Kageki Milky Holmes earlier this year, which was a very different show in tone and contents. They are similar in that neither take themselves very seriously, but the difference between the teams making them is pretty clear, even beyond the change in art-style.
I would actually say that as a whole S1 of Tantei Opera is better than Tantei Kageki was. The humour is mostly good, it hits the beats more regularly, the supporting cast are more solid, and it feels better written. However, the end of Tantei Opera S1 was so disappointing that I lost any desire to watch any more of it. While I would be well up for another series of Tantei Kageki. So I doubt I’m going to see the Tantei Opera OVAs or S2.
My issue is that the main “joke” of S1 is “haha, Milky Holmes are so useless without their Toys, isn’t that hilarious,” and no. No, it’s not. I was willing to put up with it because everything else was pretty great, but that “joke” was really worn down to nothing by the end of S1 for me. And then! After they’ve recovered the use of their Toys, and had a big epic showdown and some decent character growth… the show hits the reset button. Milky Holmes basically hit their heads, lose control of their Toys again, and get another deadline for getting them back or be expelled.
For all that I enjoyed S1 otherwise, I simply can’t sit through another season of them trying to get their Toys back again. There is no meat left on the bone of that “joke” for me. If they had just let them keep their Toys, even if it was in a weakened state, I’d be willing to watch more of it. But not like this.
And there we go. Autumn season done, and 2015 over. I do still want to do my personal “best of 2015” post, and then there’s the first impressions for Winter 2016 coming soon, so I have stuff to occupy me in the next few weeks.
Beyond that, I’m not sure what’s in store for 2016. I honestly prefer taking things as they come. Here’s to a hopefully great year! ( regardless of the quality of upcoming anime )