Once again it’s time to look back four years to see what I was watching back then and talk about what I thought of it then and think of it now. Since its Spring 2019, that means it’s time to look at Spring 2015.
Hit the jump and let’s travel back in time to Spring 2015!
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.
I did some research, but this is written mostly from memory…
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: Spring 2016 Season Finales and Top Spring 2015 Anime: Final Ratings @ Mage in A Barrel
I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying: 2nd Thread (Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2-sure-me)
Overall an outstanding show, and certainly equal to the quiet brilliance of the first season, pulled down because of the long wandering diversion into secondary characters during the middle third of the show.
The quote from my review back in 2015 pretty much sums it up… When the show was good, it was very good. When it got off track, not so much. Supposedly, this season is meant to be watched interleaved with the first… which is an odd creative decision. (And something I’ve never actually done.)
I rewatched the first season when I reviewed it for the Fall 2014 Looking Back, I didn’t for the second. I’m not sure what that says when compared to my favorable ranking back then…
Final rating: 3.5
My Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari!!)
Do you know how hard it was to find/take a decent screenshot? Takeo is a (very gentle) giant, and Rinko is a tiny slip of a girl… And it turns out that the anime was very sparing in scenes that showed the contrast in their sizes. On the other hand, it could be argued that doing so preserved the impact when it was shown. That that they were something of a mismatched couple (in many ways) is a large part of what drove the show and made it so charming.
Dropping to a 3/5 from the 3.5/5 I gave it at midseason. It’s fallen into a bit of rut in becoming something of an episodic rom-com. I’m enjoying the show, but Takeo and Yamato are becoming somewhat cardboard, and that’s grating on me. On the other hand, in this weeks ep (13) it seems the drama may be coming back.
Oremono is a surprisingly hard show to pin down… I liked it early on because they didn’t play the “will they or won’t they” game. They got the confession out of the way early and solidly established Takeo and Rinko as a canon couple. From there, it started to wander a bit. Without departing from it’s central conceit, it bounced back and forth between romance, comedy, and drama. Stepping back a distance, it worked, but at the time it could be a bit annoying.
As far as re-watching goes, I’ve rewatched favorite episodes and scenes any number of time. Though oddly, most of those are fairly early in the series. (Episode 3 is a particular favorite, as it shows the lengths Takeo and Rinko will go to for each other. Episode 10 is just hilarious.) I did sit down about a year ago to rewatch it in it’s entirety, but my attention wavered and I stopped about episode 10 or so. Why? I can’t put my finger on it. Was I distracted by some other shiny? (As often happens.) Is Oremono not a bingeable show? Is it one of those shows that’s a “once only”? I don’t know.
Final rating: 3.0 Not great, but well worth watching
“I’ve already forgotten Plastic Memories”.
The lead in to the review I wrote on Anime-Planet… A bit snarky, yeah, but it does capture how I felt after the finale. The basic problem with the show is that it tossed out too many ideas without following up on them. They failed to make us really care about Tsukasa and Isla – and the final arc absolutely depended on having the viewers care. What could have been an incredible ending was thus turned into something of a damp firecracker.
I’ve never rewatched so much as a moment.
Final rating: 2.0 It probably doesn’t actually deserve even that much…
Sound! Euphonium (Hibike! Euphonium)
And now… One of my favorite shows of all time. I started the Looking Back feature just over a year ago, and this is a moment I’ve been waiting for. It’s time to talk about Sound! Euphonium.
Midseason rating; A solid 3.5/5, well above average but likely not a classic (though that it not beyond the bounds of possibility.) As with last season’s Saekano (which I still maintain you should watch) this has turned into this season’s unexpected delight (edging out Ore Mono).
Final rating; A solid 4/5… just on the bottom edge of the best of the best. (On your system, right where you put it, at the top of Tier II.) A great deal of the difference between mid season and end of season comes from the trumpet solo arc and the depiction of Kumiko’s final steps into self awareness and maturity in eps 8-12. What pulls it down out of the best of the best is the mishandling of Kumiko x Reina.
And there’s also the review of Sound! Euphonium that I wrote over at Anime-Planet.
Re-reading what I wrote back then, and also comparing it to what I’ve said since then is frankly a bit embarrassing.
In the review and in the years since, I’ve insisted that I fell in love “right off the bat with the first episode”. But, looking back at the week by week coverage at MIaB… That turns out not to be true. Certainly I was at least somewhat hooked after the first episode, otherwise it would have been dropped. But it looks like it actually took a few episodes for my inner fanboy to fall head over heels in love.
Despite the problems with the second season, I’ve never fallen out of love. When I saw the headline that Chikai no Finale was coming to the US I didn’t even read the article, I just checked the websites for most likely suspects and bought tickets. When I told my wife, all she asked was which theater we were going to… There wasn’t a question as to whether or not I had bought tickets already.
As I was pondering this write up… Somehow my mind kept circling back to this scene in episode 12. Sometimes I think this is the true climax to Kumiko’s emotional story arc. The moment when she finally breaks out of her shell of indifference and lethargy and admits to herself that she wants, wants to be, something more. Something new. She alludes to this desire at least twice previously – but here she finally gives it a voice and makes it explicit. In the final episode, they tie the whole matter up with a bow when Kumiko says to herself during the concert performance – “Wishes don’t come true unless you wish out loud”.
I’m still a bit on the fence about KumiRei… (The meaning of Episode 8 generated a firestorm of discussion.) Are they in love (romantically and/or sexually)? Are the soulmates? Are they the deepest and tightest of friends? Even after all these years, I simply don’t know. The anime has steadfastly refused to answer those questions. That’s both very annoying and very enticing. Conversation on the matter is… difficult at best, because the ‘net tends towards polarized viewpoints. (And because yuri fans and shippers are a bit touchy on the topic.)
If I did lean towards any position, I think it wouldn’t be far from what I said back then. They do share something incredible, deep, and lasting… But what that something is, is very hard to describe on the binary scale commonly used to used to define relationships in Western culture.
Something else that testifies to my feelings about Euph… It stands as my most rewatched series ever. Even taking 2199‘s length (and thus level of commitment) into account, I was surprised to see that a show I love so much was in second place.
Final rating: 4.0 This is my “trembling on the edge of greatness” tier. With additional years of experience under my belt, I’m often tempted to go back and revise my rating to 4.5 – among the true greats. It is by no means a perfect show, very few even come close, but it is a show that I increasingly regard as important. In terms of the school club genre and the depictions of personal relationships, it sets a bar that any serious anime fan should consider having experienced (watched).
Eden and Labyrinth are both part of the Grisia franchise, I reviewed the original series last year.
The Eden of Grisaia (Grisaia no Rakuen)
Final rating – a disappointing 2.5, tending towards the low end of average. The show never really lived up to it’s promise, and the final half was laced with deus ex machina (literally given the nature of the Thanatos System). Particularly galling was the poor handling of the sequela to Angelic Howl and the way Amane and Kazuki’s reunion was all but blown off.
I think my review from back in 2015 says it all… There were certainly bits I enjoyed, but overall it was not a worthy sequel to the original Fruits of Grisia.
Final rating: 2.5
The Labyrinth of Grisaia (Grisaia no Meikyuu)
Labyrinth and Eden were short series that ran back-to-back in the same time slot… And so I can’t find an actual contemporary review. (Eden was second, and so fit in the end-of-season review.) Labyrinth was a side story/prequel that told the protagonist’s backstory… and that’s literally about all I can recall. But I gave it an above average ranking, so I must have liked it at the time.
I don’t feel bad about forgetting it. Not all shows are for the ages.
Final rating: 3.0
- Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma (1 ep. Like a lot of folks, I just couldn’t get past the dammed “foodgasms”.)
- Show By Rock!! (1 ep)
- Ultimate Otaku Teacher (I dropped at 6 eps, my wife watched the whole series.)
- Urawa no Usagi-chan (2 eps)
- Wish Upon the Pleiades (1 ep)
Spring 2015 – full season chart
So, click on that season chart, then drop a comment and share what shows you watched during the Spring 2015 season – what do you remember? How have they held up?