Looking back – Winter 2015

Just for fun, each season I look back four years to see what I was watching back then and talk about what I thought of it then and now.  Since it’s Winter 2019, that means it’s time to look at Winter 2015 and cringe (or not) at what I watching way back when.

Saekano - Tomaya's first glimpse of Megumi...

Screenshot (406).png

Hit the jump and let’s travel back in time to Winter 2015!

Quick notes:

The shows that I watched are in bold, shows my wife and I watched together are in bold italics.

A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so where needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify.  These rankings reflect what I thought at the time, and may or may not reflect how I’d rank them today.

=========

With this season’s Looking Back, we have a change in format…  In January of 2015, I started the “weekly wall o’ text” on Mage in Barrel.  So, for the first time, I have a written record of what I thought then that I can compare to what I think now!

For reference: Top Winter 2015 Anime: Final Ratings @ Mage in A Barrel

=========

Aldnoah Zero S2

What I said then:

Not the best final ep ever… a rushed race to a pre-ordained conclusion further marred by the obsessive need for almost every significant character to take a final bow.

Midseason rating – cruising in to a solid 2-2.5, just a little below average.

Final rating 2.0. Which is actually a real shame… there were many good ideas in the show, and so much potential, but it just couldn’t keep the focus or avoid ass pulls and come together.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I was anticipating/ended up watching the second season after the first (reviewed in the Summer 2014 edition of Looking Back) was such a crushing disappointment.  Ok, yeah.  I know why…  the massive cliffhanger in the final ep, which ended up being essentially retconned away.

I think the only thing I really enjoyed was when the Princess had had Precisely Enough of being a pawn and took matters into her own hands.  Sadly that was then downplayed towards the end to avoid taking attention away from Inaho The Magnificent.

I’ve never rewatched so much as a moment.

Final Ranking: 2.0

Kan Colle / Kantai Collection

What I said then:

A rather disappointing mess of a final arc and episode. All the foreshadowing in the earlier episodes paid off in the finale – as expected they pulled practically every Magical Girl, Magical Battle High School, and Final Battle tropes out of their nethers and stuffed them into the final episode. It seemed to be driven more by the need to pacify the fanbase by giving every shipgirl her Hero Moment than by any attention to the plot.

Midseason rating – on pace for a solid 2-2.5, around average.

Final rating 2.0. It could have been so much better had they stayed with the light drama/slice-of-life format established in the first half of the season… instead they had to go and try to establish “deeper meaning”, but the character and plot development to date provided a poor foundation and the whole structure collapsed.

Kan Colle was…  About as blatant a cash grab as I’ve seen.  It’s primary audience was players of the game, and the rest of us were just along for the ride.  There were flickering hints of an actual plot early on, but it eventually settled on just recreating campaigns from the game.  (Weird game elements and all.)  Then they tried to go all mysterious and heavy (“what are we shipgirls?”  “why do we exist?” etc…) which was basically just embarrassingly bad.

I’ve never rewatched so much as a moment.

Final Ranking: 2.0

Your lie in April / Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Your Lie in April - Seeing in colors

What I said then:

Though I’ve said much week by week, I don’t know what to say overall about KimiUso. When it was good, it was very good. But when it was bad, it was very bad. I’m glad I stuck with it, but sometimes I think I did only because commiserating with the community here and on CR during the bad parts made them bearable enough to hang around and see what happened next.

 

(Posted in your season review, mentioned here for completeness sake.)

Midseason rating – It’s looking like it will settle out about a 3, solidly above average… but it’s pulled way down from where it could be by the inconsistent pacing and inability to get out of it’s own way.

Final rating 3.5, pulled up by the final ep, held down by the many weaknesses you note above.

Originally reviewed in the Fall 2014 edition of Looking Back, and I don’t think I can add anything useful now that I didn’t say then.

Gourmet Girl Graffiti / Koufuku Graffiti

What I said then:

The finale packed in a bit more plot than was typical, but overall it was well done. A very nicely done balance between summing up the themes of the show and looking forward to the future – just what I like in a slice-of-life.

Midseason ratings – 2.5-3, right in the middle of the pack. Not great, but not bad either.

Final rating 3.0. Despite some consistency problems and weak episodes, particularly in the second half, the show never strayed far from a nice balance of comedy and mild drama.

Charming as hell, Gourmet Girl basically existed to give an excuse for cousins Ryou and Kirin to sit down and eat together each week.  The animators went wild with detailed animations of the food and eating thereof…  Nominally a CGDCT series, it took the act of eating right to the edge of erotic.


Graffiti
was also known for it’s earworm previews each week…

Anyhow, despite the middling ranking, I enjoyed the hell out of it.  Every now and again I do re-watch a favorite episode or two.

Final Ranking: 3.0

Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend / Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata

Saekano - Tomaya's first glimpse of Megumi...
What I said then:

A very, very sweet finale… I have to admit though, I was running cold during the second half of the season because of some bad thinking on my part. I’d presumed they had had to finish the game and reach Winter Comiket for a satisfying ending. It wasn’t until the final ep that I realized they actually only had to reach the conditions set up in the prequel, which they did with panache.

Midseason rating – 3-3.5

Final rating 4.0. A solid story, well done characters and development, and a nice mix of drama and comedy. In almost any other season Kato-chan would be best girl and in this season only falls into second place behind Miyamori Aoi of Shirobako by a slim margin. I renew my suggestion to you Bless that this needs to be in your queue.

When Saekano aired, the producers made the curious decision to have a fan service and trope laden prologue/prequel episode (which was actually from the mid point of the show chronologically speaking)…   Which was unfortunate because it caused a lot of people to drop what turned out to be a rather enjoyable show.

The best part was Kato-chan, an innocent normie caught up the whirl of otaku obsessions.  Her dead pan observations of the madness around her were invariably the best parts of the episode.

When I started writing this article, I’d never rewatched it.  But hunting around for screenshots has turned into a full-blown rewatch…  What that says, I dunno.

Final Ranking: 4.0

Shirobako

Shirobako - Aoi, Ema, Midori, Misa, and Shizuka
What I said then:

An outstanding final ep… The production meeting that Aoi lead and the calm way she outlined the work to be done really made her growth over the course of the series shine. The tape delivery/car chase scene was a masterpiece. (“I haven’t seen you in eight years Lady of the Speed of Sound”! – brilliant, and an excellent final bow for the under used Okitsu-San.) Unlike many others, I wasn’t too impressed with Aoi’s speech, very tropey (see your screenshot) and it just repeated what had been said in the episode and the show several times before. I thought her final dash to Hiroshima Bunta was a much better summing up of her character and
growth. The final scene with all the girls was very sweet. My lady had to stop by the grocery store on her way home that night, and I almost had her pick up some doughnuts so we would join in their final toast… (I knew it was coming, we all knew it was coming) but I chickened out.

Midseason rating – A solid above average 3.5

Final rating 4.0. I really struggled with the rating here. In some ways, it really wanted to be a 3.5, pulled down by trope-ism and the constant reach for the monster-of-the-weak. But after thinking about it, it’s a clear case of the sum is greater than the parts. The good parts, particularly The Director as well as Aoi, outshine the bad sufficiently to pull it up.

Originally reviewed in the Fall 2014 edition of Looking Back…  And it’s interesting to contrast what I said in that post with what I actually wrote back in Winter 2014.  Looks like I thought better of it at the time than I remembered.

It’s worth pointing out that for me, 4.0 out of 5.0 is the “trembling on the edge of greatness” tier.  Having rewatched the show since posting the review back in Dec, I stand by my original (2014) rating and comments.  That being said, it’s a show that I continue to recommend that people watch (particularly when the topic of Sakura Quest comes up).

Final Ranking: 4.0

The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls; (first half a continuing series)

What I said then:

Midseason rating – a solid 2.5, just a touch below average. Too many characters, too many tropes, too little focus.

Current rating, 2.5 for the reasons outlined above.

I’ll just leave this here and come back with a full review in the Spring 2015 edition of Looking Back.

Dropped;

• Absolute Duo (7 eps)
• Bonjour♪ Sweet Love Patisserie (2 eps)
• Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! (2 eps)
• Military! (6 eps)
The Rolling Girls (6 eps) It almost got dropped at 4, but my lady and I kinda egged each other on into another couple of episodes.
• The Testament of Sister New Devil (7 eps)  A couple of good scenes early on lead me to stick with it longer than I might have.
• Wake Up, Girls ZOO (2 eps) Which is sad because I love WUG chan and wanted to like this show.
•  Yuri Kuma Arashi (2 eps)

=========

Winter 2015 – Full season chart

Check out the season chart, then drop a comment and share what shows you watched during the Winter 2015 season – what do you remember?  How have they held up?

=========

14 thoughts on “Looking back – Winter 2015”

  1. Ah, I remember this season as the season where I felt most out of tune with the rest of the anime community. Rolling Girls was my favourite show of the season, and would go on to become my favourite show of the year. Everone seemed to love it for the first two episodes; after that people became increasingly disappointed, while I started to love the show more and more. Meanwhile everyone was praising Death Parade, and I thought it was decent at best (though the art was great).

    Saekano‘s Kato is one of the most unique characters in the harem genre, rendering the title of the show rather ironic, and even though I didn’t click the Kofuku Graffity ending, I still got the tune ringing in my ears now.

    Your Lie in April is one of the few anime I came to actively dislike. I downright hate the way the show treats trauma. It isn’t that good with music, either. And I disliked Kaori from the moment she chased that cat in the very first scene, and never changed my mind. It wasn’t all bad, but the good parts recede in memory…

    Shirobako was mostly good and occasionally great for me, and Cinderella Girls is probably my favourite regular idol show (which doesn’t say much, since I tend not to like the genre – for what it’s worth, I think of Locodol more as a twon-rejuvination show, than an idol show, so it doesn’t count here.)

    Among the shows you dropped I liked a few. Other than Rolling Girls, Yuri Kuma Arashi was probably my favourite. And the most important show you neither watched nor dropped is probably Junketsu no Maria (one of the season’s best), with a distant Yoru no Yatterman (which was great mostly for sheer style; I’ve never seen any Yatterman so I can’t judge it from that perspective).

    A pretty good season, overall, for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I remember this season as the season where I felt most out of tune with the rest of the anime community. Rolling Girls was my favourite show of the season, and would go on to become my favourite show of the year. Everone seemed to love it for the first two episodes; after that people became increasingly disappointed, while I started to love the show more and more.

      I felt out of tune for the opposite reason… I wasn’t finding Rolling Girls nearly as good as most people seemed to think it was. Even stayed with it just in case “it got better” (which, IMO, it didn’t). I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

      Saekano‘s Kato is one of the most unique characters in the harem genre, rendering the title of the show rather ironic

      I loved her character the first time around, and even more so on the rewatch. Just watching her be deadpan among all the madness and strong emotions of the others is just so good. Of course, that makes the impact of her finally getting pissed off in the second season all the greater.

      A pretty good season, overall, for me.

      If I’d been ranking seasons back then, I’d have called it fair-to-middlin’ at best. (Mostly bouyed up by Saekano and Graffiti.)

      Like

  2. Started 6, finished 3. Saekano was legit good. Graffiti was perfectly pleasant to watch but it’s not among my top ten favorite “cute girl” shows. KanColle was eh, though I do have one RL friend who’s a huge fan of it. Never officially dropped Assassination Classroom but never quite finished it either – I think I got as far as around episode 9. Meant to get back to it at some point, but I never have. Rolling Girls and Military I dropped very quickly.

    Best thing about this season for me: the music. I’ve bought the OP songs on iTunes for Graffiti, KanColle, Rolling Girls, and would’ve bought Assassination Classroom’s if they had it. Also imported Graffiti’s ED on CD, so that’s a fair bit of music I liked from this season.

    Overall, I found this was a mostly disposable season. Other than a few individual episodes of Saekano I’ve never rewatched anything from it, nor bought any BDs (though I might have considered buying Saekano if it wasn’t Aniplex priced). And the only show I didn’t watch that I’ve ever even thought about going back to is Death Parade, which I would’ve watched when it aired if it had been on CR instead of Funimation. Funi made it “subscriber only” on their streaming service, I guess because of its content, so I had no options to watch it legally, and (unlike some other shows we’ll discuss in the spring season) I didn’t care enough to look for “alternative” options.

    Like

  3. Saekano was legit good.

    Yah. Just finished my rewatch an hour or so ago, and I can’t believe I haven’t rewatched any of it before now. OTOH, I can’t think of an episode that stands out above the others… It’s not that they’re all good, more like, I dunno… It’s hard to pull one ep out of the stream when they’re packed so tightly together? There’s nothing that’s really standalone.

    Do you recall which eps you’ve rewatched off the top of your head?

    KanColle was eh, though I do have one RL friend who’s a huge fan of it.

    So long as you look at only single eps, other than the weird game elements, yah it wasn’t actually awful. But structurally it was weak as hell.

    Overall, I found this was a mostly disposable season.

    Yeah, like I said to Dawn, if it hadn’t been for Saekano and Graffiti it would pretty much the same for me. Neither is a classic, but I remember both fondly.

    Like

    1. I rewatched the prologue episode shortly after the series ended, because I wanted to see it again with the context of already knowing the characters and whether that changed my opinion of it for the better (it did). I rewatched episodes 8 and 9 at one point because I was having a discussion with someone where Aki and Eriri’s fight came up and I wanted to refresh my memory on it. And I’ve rewatched episodes 2 and 5 a couple of times, because those are great for when I just want a quick Kato fix. That’s all I remember.

      Out of curiosity, did you have any issues with KanColle’s “sort-of revisionist history” ending? I can’t remember if you said anything about it at the time. It didn’t really bother me because I felt like the series was sufficiently detached from the real world that I didn’t have to take it seriously, but I remember a lot of people getting upset with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Out of curiosity, did you have any issues with KanColle’s “sort-of revisionist history” ending?

        I was very active on Crunchy’s forums then and a lot of people were being very vocal about it in the KanColle discussion thread. Though I noted it, I wasn’t really bothered by it. Alt.history is alt.history and you’re never going to escape it. Went through the same thing with Gate too…

        Like

  4. I just found out that the second season of Akatsuki no Yona aired, too. That was one wildly popular show I was totally on board with (though I felt the show was in a bit of a slump near the beginning of this cour, it revovered easily).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Argh, “second cour”, not “second season”. Sorry for the thinko. (It’s not a typo; I don’t know what else to call it.)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “Thinko”, I like that… :) Intellectually akin to a malapropism? Easy confusion to make though, as the two terms do kinda describe the same thing from slightly different point’s of view.

      Yeah, I remember hearing about Akatsuki. ISTR it was one of those series you couldn’t escape hearing about. (Sounds like a bad thing, but it isn’t always… and that goes in this case, lots of folks seemed to be enjoying it.)

      Like

  5. With fall 2014 being the season I started, winter 2015 is the first season I stuck around for fully.

    Completed: Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu LOVE! and Death Parade. I’ve rewatched the former, but not the latter (although the latter I also briefly sampled the dub for). I really remember both fondly…probably because Boueibu became my raison d etre then, blogging and otherwise).

    Also started: AssClass (on hold at 2 eps in), Sengoku Musou (tried the OVA – which isn’t from winter 2015 – and dropped it like a hot rock, so the main series – which is from winter 2015 – was never an option).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it’s still on hold from Winter 2015, isn’t that essentially a drop? :) :) Curious as to why you’ve never gone back after all this time.

      I dipped my toes into Boueibu, because the notion of Magical Boys intrigued me. But it was too over-the-top for my tastes. (To be fair, I dropped Magical Girls series on the same basis…)

      Like

      1. I’m weird in that a drop’s not a drop until I declare it to. I watch backlog titles at an extremely slow pace, so thanks to the fickle nature of streaming licences, that does mean I can lose legal access to a show forever while watching something else (I’m just that slow). In the case of AssClass, I liked it, but there’s way too much I’d get back to before it.

        I get what you mean – I dropped Symphogear for the same reason…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I get what you mean – I dropped Symphogear for the same reason…

          Me too! I wanted to like it because of the concept, but the actual execution was Just Too Much.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s