Top 10 Anime Series of 2015
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins
Let’s not beat around the bush – 2015 was a damn good year for anime. This was partly due to the hype surrounding the fact that a couple of old shows got revitalised, but there were also some notable original series. And what better way to celebrate the end of the year than by making our final 2015 list be about the best shows to grace our screens these past 12 months?
IMPORTANT: For this list we’ve only considered shows that started airing this year. Shows that were staggered across 2014 and 2015 have not been considered for this list (sorry, fans of Unlimited Blade Works). However, shows that got a completely separate series this year are eligible for this list.
Side note: Whilst we made an effort to watch lots of shows that started airing this year, we couldn’t see them all. So if there’s a show that you think should be on this list but isn’t, then it’s probably because we never got around to watching it, as opposed to us not liking it.
As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.
10.) Gangsta (Written by: Shiggins)
Guns, swords, prostitutes and a weirdly-coloured street. All can kill you and all will probably find a way to kill you somehow in this very odd but very entrancing anime about two dudes who live together (not gay) in the city of Ergastulum as they work as “handymen” for the police and the mob. Worick and Nicholas, both flawed and with their own disabilities, end up befriending a sex worker named Alex and getting involved with tons of crap along the way.
|Gorgeous...and Alex isn't half bad either.|
What really appeals to me with this series is the atmosphere. The emptiness of the streets, the low misty lighting, the lack of overly-aggressive music during the quiet scenes... It helps to create a dismal but intriguing setting that you end up just wanting to explore for hours alone. If this was a Telltale game, it would probably be perfect. The two male leads are fantastic too, with Nicholas' deafness not only being unique, but endearing to who he is and how he acts. Oh and Worick is a gigolo. Enjoy that image, ladies.
|Ice Cube strikes again.|
While the animation isn't stellar, the writing certainly is. At least, for the first half. The progression of the series tends to work against Gangsta's favour, as it just becomes less engaging. The first half is a huge blast, and the series as a whole is well-worth your time. The friendship of Nicholas and Worick alone is demanding enough for you to love the series, so I do suggest you check it out. It slips up and has quite a few flaws, but I enjoy it all the same.
9.) Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Written by: Shiggins)
What would happen if you crossed Ouran Highschool Host Club with Assassination Classroom, while making the main girl voiced by my favourite Nisekoi character? Well, besides a very awesome fanfiction, you'd get Aoharu x Kikanjuu. The end result is something that, while not entirely unique, is still a lot of fun and a great waste of your time. This is the story of Hotaru Tachibana, who dresses like a man and despises those who defy justice.
The action is fairly classic comedy material. It's taking something fairly ordinary and typical, in this case paintball, and kicking it up a notch so it looks like this extreme badass way of life filled with gangs, personal war, military experts and bloodlust, when in actuality it's a few prats hitting each other with paint pellets. It's like that series Ben-To, if it wasn't a huge disappointment and actually made some interesting characters and jokes, instead of doing nothing at all...
|Right... Because girls always react badly to porn. Ha!|
Hotaru is a fun character, if a bit unusual in how they refuse to explain her reason for looking like a boy. Haruhi had an excuse, but Hotaru's excuse of “I just do” feels a bit too lazy. The other characters are tons of fun however, including a truly evil villain that is so fucking twisted, I actually gasped, and the S&M doujin artist that always makes me giggle with his disinterested attitude to the world. It's not as yaoi-friendly as Ouran is, or as action-packed exciting and dark as Assassination Classroom, but if you're just looking for a casual, fun watch that isn't too draining, then you can't go wrong with this one.
8.) Shimoneta (Written by: Shiggins)
What if I told you that it's okay to be a pervert? In fact, you should be one and anybody who isn't a pervert is actually part of a corrupt society that is refusing to let you embrace the beauty of vaginas, dicks and other body parts? Well, that's exactly what Shimoneta sets out to do. The story of Tanukichi Okuma and how his life is turned upside-down by the erotic terrorist Ayame “Blue Snow” Kajou and the sex-obsessed organisation is nothing short of hilarious.
|And yet... I can't stop staring at the worm!|
If the series just stuck to the formula of exploring different sexual fetishes and items, from vibrators to hentai, it would probably be memorable enough because of just how amazingly ridiculous the series takes itself. However, the truly captivating aspect of this series is infamous yandere stalker Anna Nishikinomiya, and her love nectar cookies. Yes, THIS IS THAT SERIES! You thought Yuno Gasai was the maximum freakshow of yandere? Y'all ain't seen nuttin' yet!
|Same. I hate how modern society sexualises everything these days.|
I wrote an article about Shimoneta a while back, expressing my satisfaction of taking a dark topic and shedding some light on it, while still maintaining the message it was trying to get across, and I stand by that article today. Shimoneta is not only hilarious, it's decipherable. You can easily analyse it and discover your own interpretation, whether it's about society as a whole or just the manner of how one should raise a child. And that's why I think this series is not only hilarious, but more than worthy of your time. Oh and... this is going to sound weird but... I consider this less perverted than series like some series out there. No, seriously. If you disagree, just remember; It doesn't take a killer to write a murder story.
7.) Gintama (2015) (Written by: ClayDragon)
The series that just won’t stay dead, ladies and gentlemen. Last seen in 2013, Gintama underwent yet another resurrection and came back to our screens in Spring this year, called Gintama 2015 for those of us who don’t know how to pronounce that weird circular symbol. From the very first scene, it was clear that Gintama had lost none of its charm nor its humour, and it still continues to make us laugh to this day.
Following the misadventures of Gintoki and the rest of the Odd-Jobs Squad, Gintama 2015 seems to pick up where the last series left off – although given the oddball nature of the show, it’s hard to make sure. But honestly, who cares when you have plots like Gintoki accidently freezing time across the entire universe, the Shogun losing his memories and joining the Anti-Shogun Faction, Hijikata and Gintoki fighting over a lottery ticket, and an arc in which every main character switches genders?
|Not that Gintoki is one to talk about relationships...|
Really, Gintama’s only issue is that the main plot is spread rather thin, so there’s no real reason to keep watching beyond the humour. But that’s more than enough, since if there’s one thing Gintama isn’t short on, it’s laughs. Every character and every moment is mined for all the humour possible, and the result is one of the funniest anime series out there.
6.) Assassination Classroom (Written by: ClayDragon)
“School days are the best days of your life”, they say. Whether or not you agree with that statement is up to you, but going to a school where your teacher is a super-powerful tentacled creature would certainly make your adolescence interesting. Said creature, nicknamed Korosensei by his students, has threatened to blow up the Earth in one year, and the only people capable of stopping him are the pupils of the class that he has decided to teach.
|These are the six most important characters. Everyone else is irrelevant.|
Most of Assassination Classroom revolves around the different methods that the students use in order to kill their teacher, and the humourous ways these plans often fail. But an equal amount of time is spent establishing how having Korosensei as their teacher brings out the best in the pupils, and seeing them grow and mature to the point where they’re capable of tackling huge problems on their own was one of the highlights of the show. The other highlight is Korosensei himself, as despite his appearance and threats, he’s really just a soft-hearted goofball.
|So close, and yet so far...|
The only issue with Assassination Classroom is that, since the class has a lot of pupils, many of them don’t get a lot of screentime. Aside from Nagisa and Karma, most students only get one episode focusing on them, if that. Granted, it would be impossible to give every character the same amount of focus, but it would be nice to learn a bit more about them. Still, Assassination Classroom is a compelling watch, and with a second season coming out in early 2016, you really have no excuse not to watch it.
5.) One Punch Man (Written by: Shiggins)
How are there not more superhero anime out there? One Punch Man fills a hole that the 2015 Fall chart was seriously lacking; Violence! Lots and lots of violence! Violence in capes! Violence from robot men! Violence from monsters and animals and meteors! VIOLENCE! And thanks to our Lord and Saviour Madhouse, One Punch Man is extravagant. Who needs story and development when you can break every bone in your enemy's body and make them literally explode into guts and one remaining eyeball?
|Ooh! Shiny things!|
The story of Saitama, his overly-dedicated cyborg student Genos (and one of my favourite characters ever), and many villains throughout is one of little substance but much wonder. Saitama is a funny character to watch, as he provides the majority of the comedy and combination of good-and-bad drawing skills. Don't worry, it's meant to look bad. And even when it looks bad, it looks good. And if you still don't believe how good this series is at pure action...
|...I am speechless.|
One Punch Man can be lacking in story and not all the characters can be as captivating as Genos, but it definitely gets your blood pumping and your mouth grinning. It's pure testosterone, with explosions up the arse and out the machinery, with just some jokes added in for extra appeal. Even though the story isn’t particularly engaging, I love watching Genos blow up as much shit as possible, while Saitama goes “ooh”. The fight scene between those two is enough to get me cheering! Three cheers for being a badass!
4.) Digimon Adventure tri. (Written by: ClayDragon)
If you’ve read any of our other lists this past week, you should really have seen this one coming. Yes, it was only four episodes, and yes, it only really set the story up for the next film/four episodes, but who cares? Digimon is finally back on our screens, and it looks better than ever! Taking place three years after the conclusion of Digimon Adventure 02, tri focuses on the original eight Digidestined members as they tackle the threat of the digital world overlapping with the real world.
|I approve of this ship.|
A couple of new characters and new Digimon are introduced, and although we don’t find out too much about them, it’s not that big a deal. The focus is still very much on the original cast members, and the scene where they all reunite for the first time made me feel all warm and tingly inside. It looks great, too – the Digivolution sequences and the fight with Alphamon towards the end really shows how awesome Digimon can be on a film budget.
|I also approve of this ship.|
The writers obviously haven’t forgotten the original series either, as subtle references and nods to previous plot points are peppered here and there, although not to the extent that it would completely alienate new viewers. Sure, it pretty much reignited the Tai x Sora/Matt x Sora shipping war, but it introduces at least three new ships, so there’s that. If you ever watched Digimon when you were young (or even when you were older), you need to watch tri. If nothing else, then simply for the sheer nostalgia factor.
3.) Noragami Aragoto (Written by: ClayDragon)
Noragami was great. It was funny, it was action-packed, and it was emotional, with enough poignant moments to make viewers tear up a little. So when a second series titled Noragami Aragoto was announced, fans were very excited. And for good reason, as Aragoto builds on the strengths of the previous season and runs with it. The relationship between the three central characters is explored in more detail, and Yato in particular is given a large amount of backstory and depth that makes him a more well-rounded and sympathetic character.
|"When's bin collection day again?"|
Unlike the first season, Aragoto has no anime-original content, meaning that the plot proceeds at the perfect pace with no filler to bog it down. The two story arcs that this series adapts are both well-written and well-animated, with Yato’s fight against Bishamon being one of the standout moments. Aragoto knows how to make an impact on an emotional level as well, as a certain scene with Yato and a homemade shrine perfectly exemplifies.
|Don't hold it too tight, you might break it.|
There’s really nothing negative to say about this season, to be honest. If you haven’t watched Noragami yet (and if so, why on earth not?), then you should go and do so right now. Well, not right now – there’s still two more entries on this list to go – but it should be at the top of your list. It’s hilarious, character-driven and emotional, and Aragoto takes all these traits and improves upon them.
2.) Death Parade (Written by: Shiggins)
Whenever I feel like I'm too happy, I put on Death Parade. It reminds me that I need to cry, and cry like a bitch at her vet appointment because Death Parade is so good, it hurts. The opening credit sequence is not only a bluff, it's a fun bluff that makes you laugh and smile as the characters literally dance to the music. And after each episode, the smile you gained is destroyed. Forgotten by the unholy despair and darkness that the drama and dilemma you were bombarded with, resorting you to a cheap shell of your former self and making you beg for a hug from the comfiest teddy bear you have to hand... Damn, I love this series.
|As you can see, the main selling point of this series is the tragic story. Nothing else is meant to catch your eye here.|
Focusing on a woman with amnesia that everyone calls Onna, the setting itself is the first truly eye-catching quality. The Quindecim bar gets the unique appeal of being a bar placed in the afterlife, where people who have died play fun minigames so they can be judged about whether or not to go into heaven or hell. It's like if the Jigsaw Killer tried to make a Mario Party game. It's just so much fun to see various characters come in, play something seemingly arbitrary like air hockey or twister, then end up bursting into tears because sometimes, you need to be told that life will shit on you and you deserve it.
|No, seriously. This is the sad show.|
The reason this show gets so high is because of the relationship of the two protagonists, as the bartender Decim and the black-haired woman bond and become inseparable friends due to the circumstances they go through, and the final episode involving memories and tragedy is the ultimate criminal that deserves to go to prison for serial heartbreak. Honestly, this series would probably be our number 1 if the sub-plots of the series didn't end a bit... anti-climatically. One or two side-characters seem to be hinting at something big or dangerous, but then the series ends and it almost feels like a cop-out. If Death Parade gets a season 2, this issue could be fixed and we'd probably put this as number 1 on our list... after I've elbowed the first person in line and sat my arse down with the tissues.
1.) Blood Blockade Battlefront (Written by: ClayDragon)
I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m a massive fan of Blood Blockade Battlefront, and for good reason. Set in a post-interdimensional-crossover New York City, BBB focuses on Leonardo Watch, a young man who was given the All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods by a mysterious entity. Leo arrives in the chaotic city (now called Hellsalem’s Lot) and ends up joining a Libra, a group dedicated to keeping the peace, whilst searching for answers about his new eyes. That’s nowhere near the full story, but I have to keep this entry to three paragraphs.
|Not pictured: explosions.|
There is so much going on in Blood Blockade Battlefront that it’s impossible to summarise accurately. There’s high-stakes chess matches, super-fast monkeys, blood-based superpowers, vampires, locations that don’t follow Euclidean geometry, boxing matches, burgers, monstrous monster trucks, carnivorous lunches, budding romance, hilarious villains, people trafficking, and a touching story about a brother and sister. Seriously, there’s something for everyone in this show.
The crazy thing is, it all fits together perfectly. The animation is brilliant, as every single frame is filled with detail, with special focus given to the buildings and streets of Hellsalem’s Lot. The soundtrack fits each moment perfectly, and it uses such a wide variety of instruments (name me one other anime that has a musical piece played on a didgeridoo). The characters are funny and memorable, and the show hits all the right emotional notes. Seriously, I cannot recommend this series highly enough.
|Yamada & The 7 Witches|
|Seraph of the End|
|Dragon Ball Super|
Is there a series you feel we missed out? Or do you have any suggestions for another Top 10 list? Let us know in the comments below!
|That's it from us for the moment!|
Thanks for reading!
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. He has an ask.fm account at ask.fm/ClayDragon. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Yes, I know this isn't technically a 2015 list since it was published in 2016, but shut up.
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.