Froggy’s Top Anime of 2015

vlcsnap-2015-10-12-21h12m21s164Hello, everybody! It’s that time of the year again! Time for anime bloggers to write long posts and poop on each other’s tastes.

This year, it was surprisingly easy to throw together a top 5 anime list. You see, I only finished about 5 anime. As I will explain in tomorrow’s post, this has a lot to do with my shifting interests as a blogger. If you want opinions on the latest shows, there are plenty of other blogs and reviewing sites you can go to. Personally, I don’t think that I add much new to the discussion.

But oh well, this post is for anime, so here we go!

5. Noragami Aragoto

Sinopsis Noragami AragotoIt’s nice when a sequel surpasses the original.

Noragami is one of those series that touches on a lot of interesting ideas, like the fading relevance of Shintoism in Japan, but never really ties them together. So while the series was always competently put together, it never truly struck a chord with me.

The second season was a significant step up from the first season because it builds its conflicts around the relationships between gods and humans. The Bishamon arc is all about communication and people withholding their personal problems because they don’t want to make problems for others, which ironically causes bigger problems for everyone. Not only is this a theme that I’m pretty sure everyone can relate with to some degree, it’s relevant to the god/human theme as well, because gods operate on a different level than humans. The second arc is about Yato deciding he wants to become someone who can serve humans, which is a nice way of tying all the story threads together.

Unfortunately, the anime ends with one of those accursed “read the manga” endings, so I guess I’ll have to read the manga to see how it all ends up.

4. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

maxresdefault (1)appropriant ended up verbalising my thoughts on this anime better than I could, but Akagami no Shirayuki-hime really is a very relaxing anime to watch, and sometimes that’s all you need. I’m a big fan of the shojo aesthetic but not so much a fan of the SHENANIGANS, which is probably the big reason why Shirayuki-hime hit all my sweet spots with uncanny accuracy. While it was never the kind of show that challenged me, it never bored me either. And it never failed to put a smile on my face.

By the way, I don’t actually care that much about the two MCs, but Obi is awesome. I hope the side characters get more love in the second season. I’m hyped.

3. Aldnoah.Zero

Aldnoah Seed Destiny???
Aldnoah Seed Destiny???

Aldnoah.Zero 2 ended up being rather unpopular with pretty much everyone except the Slaine-loving crowd on Tumblr. I enjoyed it, but holy crap, Slaine was an asshole. What the heck happened? He doesn’t even look good in those count clothes. Bring back the old Slaine, I say!

Anyway, I enjoyed this iteration of Aldnoah.Zero mostly because I love Lemrina so much. And also, there was so much delicious NTR at the end. This show really delivered what I wanted out of it.

On a more serious note, I think I ended up enjoying this series more than most anime fans because I spent more time engaging with it. I translated one of the novels and even wrote fanfiction (lol). As a result, I spent way more time thinking about this series than any of the others I watched this year. It’s not that I don’t see the flaws in the storytelling. I just ended up getting more out of the show because I put more into it.

I also had some really interesting discussions about this show with Karice, who is a bigger Aldnoah fan than I am and is quite knowledgeable about its production history. If nothing else, I hope you at least check out her post about Gen Urobuchi’s involvement in the series, which should clear up more than a few misconceptions about how Aldnoah was made (and how anime writing “works” in general). At any rate, it’s clear that all the staff put a lot of effort into making Aldnoah.Zero. It’s the kind of show that I appreciate more after rewatching it a few times. There’s a lot of nuance that I simply didn’t notice the first time around, especially with the visuals.

2. Sound! Euphonium

hibike_euphonium_06_07_6Hey guys, did you know that I used to play the oboe in my high school concert band? Yep, it’s true. I was the best oboist the school ever had in its entire history. (Also the only oboist, but that’s unimportant.) My history as a band nerd is one of the many reasons why Sound! Euphonium has a special place in my heart. But it’s not the only reason I love it so much.

At its heart, Eupho is a coming of age story, and its theme of finding purpose in a seemingly mundane activity resonated with me in a similar way Hyouka did, although not quite on such an intense personal level. Eupho is also an ensemble story; it’s a story about the band and the people who participate. While the focus of this season was mostly on Kumiko, many of the background characters were shown to be struggling with their own problems. This gave the impression that the band consists of people whose stories remain half-told, much like the bands I’ve been involved with in real life. There was no single character I identified with, but I was equally interested in them all.

Overall, Eupho is a nice show. It makes me nostalgic about high school. I’m looking forward to season 2 because the story we did get felt very much incomplete, and I heard the oboe girl will get attention next season.

(I also have a hot take on Kumiko x Reina, if you’re interested.)

1. Oregairu Zoku

vlcsnap-2015-04-03-20h51m56s47There was never any doubt about what would top my list. Oregairu is one of my favourite series of all time, after all. I feel like I know it inside out at this stage.

Still, I was pretty burnt out on Oregairu after translating the light novels. I actually only got around to watching the second season earlier this month, but it was good stuff. In particular, I’d like to say that Hayama is the best guy and that he really needs more love and attention.

At the same time, I will have to admit that I’ve gotten everything I needed out of this series already. I’ve said everything I wanted to say. I do plan to read and summarise volume 12 for all the fans out there, but I am genuinely not all that interested in what happens next. I just hope that Watari’s subsequent projects don’t keep retreading the same characterisation and themes. I’d really like to see him try something new, something that isn’t entrenched in the point of view of the cynical loner. And no, Qualidea does not count as “something new”.

(On an unrelated note, it was a nice surprise to see my Oregairu fanfiction get a TV Tropes page this year! It seems that the story has had some lasting appeal, considering that I finished it over a year ago.)

A year-end favourite anime list is never complete without any mention of the top waifus and husbandos of the year. I don’t have Kai’s dedication to write 12 days of waifu posts, but you can nevertheless count on me to have strong opinions about waifus and husbandos.

My waifu of the year is Lemrina from Aldnoah.Zero, if it wasn’t clear enough already from all the gushing I’ve done so far. My runner-up waifu is Katou from Saekano, so give her a hand.


Katou really made the Saekano experience for me. She’s not a terribly complex character; honestly, she’s remains a cipher throughout the entire series, but hey, she’s cute. And she was memorable too. It was a genius idea to put a non-tropey character in a trope-y show, although I’m not sure I agree with the implication that Katou is what a “normal girl” would act like in the company of otaku stereotypes. Her flat characterisation works for the show and is the source of some great jokes, so I’m okay with it, though.

Also, beret!Katou > ponytail!Katou. Deal with it.

As for my husbando of the year, I spent more time pondering over this one. The Haikyuu! boys are cute, but for some reason I like the girls in that anime better, especially Yachi. Gosh, she’s cute. Thinking about husbandos only made me think about waifus, which made me feel slightly depressed about the state of bishonen/sports anime.

Then yesterday, the answer struck me like a thunderbolt.


I only started watching Shirobako yesterday, but I am fully confident in my decision.

What has been your favourite anime this year? Do you agree/disagree with my hot takes? Let me know in the comments!

Just remember: if I didn’t mention your favourite show, it’s probably because I was too lazy to watch it.


  1. I also had Oregairu, Noragami and Shirayuki on my Top 5 list, but I had Owarimonogatari and Maria the Virgin Witch over Aldnoah.Zero and Euphonium, both of which I saw, neither of which impressed me. Good reasoning though.

    • I can understand not liking Aldnoah, but I thought Euphonium was generally well-regarded. I guess it didn’t click for you? (Then again, I can’t say I’m the biggest Monogatari fan there ever was either…)

      • Oh, I’m definitely in the minority about Euphonium. Monogatari not clicking isn’t uncommon; even I have trouble staying awake sometimes, and Maria is generally seen as “meh”, I think. Your list is more reflective of the public in general.

  2. Heyyy, I started watching Shirobako very recently too and can’t help but find Tarou adorable even though I would totally hate him as a coworker in real life.

    Hmmm, I didn’t really like Aldnoah Zero 2 so I didn’t get past the first few episodes but might be willing to give the series a second shot next year…under the logic that if your fanfiction is good, the source material can’t be ALL bad, right? Right??

  3. “Also, beret!Katou > ponytail!Katou. Deal with it.”

    You are completely dead to me. I hope you accidentally suffocate yourself in your sleep with your Lemrina dakimakura.

  4. Out of the anime listed here I only completed Noragami and Shirayuki, so I don’t really have enough of an opinion to either agree or disagree with you. I liked both of those very much though, albeit for quite different reasons.

    Re: Noragami, the first half of season two struck me as much more solid than that second half – the story felt extremely focused, the pacing really tight, and the emotional impact strong. In contrast I just wasn’t feeling the second half anywhere near as much, probably at least in part because Noragami works better (at least for me) when our main characters function as a trio. With Yukine and especially Hiyori shunted off the side for a storyline that really didn’t involve either of them all that much, the story as a whole felt significantly weaker.

    • I gotta agree that the first arc was better than the second one. The second arc was something that’s more interesting on paper than in execution.

      Actually, the reason that arc didn’t click with me on a personal level has less to do with the trio being separated and more to do with how jarring the gap between the comedy and drama was. Yato has always been too silly during the more light-hearted scenes, so it’s hard to accept the depths of his angst, especially given that the Ebisu arc was the darkest in Noragami yet. Seriously, it’s amazing how quickly they brushed over the fact that Yato made his living as a mass murderer lol

      I will say that the last episode was generally excellent, though. Left a good taste in my mouth overall, except for that cliffhanger of course.

      • Yeah, I had no problem with the finale – it was solid. Overall I enjoyed this second season a lot, but because of its second half I wouldn’t personally say it’s better than the first season. Probably about the same for me (though that’s not a bad thing).

  5. So the reason Death Parade’s not on your list is that you haven’t seen it?

    Well, my own picks will be out only on Jan 5th, so just a hint: much as I loved AZ, it’s not my AOTY ^^ Still, I’m glad that our discussions had a bit of an impact on you!

    What you said about ‘engaging’ though…that really is important, but the language barrier probably makes it quite difficult for most viewers. I really wish the official sites like ANN would hire a writer that’s fluent in Japanese to fully cover just one series: as in, to follow any promotional radio or video shows, read the interviews they can get hold of, watch the twitter account and skim the Japanese reaction, and incorporate anything they find interesting into their own coverage. The only series I know that’s that well covered is the K project, which has at least 3 fans keeping a close watch on everything associated with that franchise. That’s a fan project, though, rather than a part of official anime journalism…

    wwwww at your choice of Tarou for husbando, though! It also has me wondering — would SHIROBAKO have made your list if you’d finished it?

    • I watched two episodes of Death Parade, so I have technically seen some of it. But I was too lazy to watch the rest lol.

      And hmm, I’m guessing your AOTY would be Eupho or Shirobako, then? I’ll wait and see!

      As for “engaging”, I actually wasn’t thinking about things related to the Japanese promotional material. I was thinking about things like looking up fanart and spending ages discussing the characters with friends, or rewatching certain scenes a billion times. But I broadly agree with your point that journalistic coverage of a series should include more reference to what’s going on in the Japanese side.

      would SHIROBAKO have made your list if you’d finished it?

      Maaaaaybe. I like it plenty enough. I don’t identify with the characters/drama like some people do, but I see it as a really fun workplace sitcom. Assuming the rest of the series is as fun as the first eight episodes I’ve watched so far, it would have made the list somewhere.

      • Perhaps ^^ The reason I picked the one I did, however, is probably a bit harder to guess…

        I was thinking about things like looking up fanart and spending ages discussing the characters with friends, or rewatching certain scenes a billion times.

        I figured you were referring more to that side. But well…you see, all the Slaine fans probably did as well, but many of them still ended up hating the show for obvious reasons… ^^;; So I was kinda referring to engaging with Japanese fans, more so than other English-speaking ones…

        Well, I guess we’ll have to wait for your final verdict on SHIROBAKO, then!

  6. So I guess you still haven’t watched High School Dxd Born and Assassination Classroom yet? Those are my only ones on my top 5 so far along with Euphonium (By the way thanks for talking about that, finished it in one day)

    • Nope, still haven’t watched either of those two. Since Assclass S2 is starting next season, I figure I should start reading the manga, though. I’ll get to it today, so thanks for reminding me!

      (Happy New Year, btw)

  7. Wow…This comment section is a mish-mash of random bloggers I randomly followed literally the first week of starting blogging…the thing about inbreeding eh? :D

    Anyways, interesting list, I agree with about half of it (because I only finished like 3 shows from it…similar tastes, Froggy?)

    Hibike! Is galaxies above everything else for me this year, its above everything I’ve watched since joining the fandom a year ago (HAPPY 1st anniversary!), it has become *that* show for me…SAO got the title of my gateway anime, but Hibike! got the title of ‘my first fav of all time’. I know…I may have jumped the gun about choosing my favourite of all time…but shoot, I wrote thousands of words on it, analysing every little detail about subtlety of character, the intense but subdued expressiveness of the backgrounds, and basically every jargon a training photographer can throw out there, intending to publish it this year…every rewatch of scenes made me love it even more. But alas, having coming across director, composer and writer interview translations and Nick Creamer’s interesting article on KyoAni, made me extend its composition to include more external research, it has now reached 3000 words and with no sign of stopping.

    Even my little analysis on the OVA got a bit too preachy :P…BTW what were your thoughts on the Hibike! OVA? I’m still gunning Natsuki and Hazuki as best girls, Kumiko a close third.

    Yes, this is a choir vet talking right here. Fun fact, our choir were treated by the other ensemble members as the runt of the bunch, since we supposedly didn’t ‘play’ or know any instruments, yet we were subjected to the most difficult breathing and warm-up sessions, and our bickering for solo parts were the most fun and fierce to watch (and to be a part of, as a proud tenor haha…that hallelujah chorus is MINE).

    • It seems like your love affair with Eupho is like my love affair with Hyouka, which also happened about one year or so after I started following anime. KyoAni shows are just full of magic.

      And man, now I’m so hyped about your post. I really, really want to read it. Make sure you link it to me when you’ve finished it! (Also, you’re a choir person? That’s pretty cool. Being a terrible singer myself, I can appreciate the skill and training it takes to sing well.)

      I haven’t seen the OVA, btw.

      • In that case, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave you in the stage of a suspenseful cliffhanger for the time being: I doubt I will be able to finish it until April rolls around, since it has been a side pet project, amongst my regular posting schedules, anime binge sessions, that boring thing called ‘life events’ and what not…but I’m glad that your interested!

  8. Thanks to you, I feel compelled to watch Hibike! because Oboe master race and because I have some nostalgia from my music school orchestra…

    Aside from that, I do need to agree with you on one thing. Beret Katou is best girl. *Takes his french beret*
    My anime taste may be lacking but I do know when a girl is best girl.

    • You’ll be disappointed if you’re watching it for the oboe. Oboe girl barely appears at all.

      Also, Beret!Katou > Long-hair!Katou > Ponytail!Katou. But all Katous are good because it’s the personality (or lack thereof) that counts.

  9. Oregairu didn’t really resonate with me the first time I watched it but so many people enjoy the characters that I may have to give it another go…

    Heck, Yukinoshita even took out the Saimoe League grand prize this year, so there must be something to it…right?

    In any case I can’t comment on this list because I haven’t seen any of the shows featured! Have a fantastic New Year =)

  10. I follow your reasoning with Aldnoah. It wouldn’t make my top 5 but it definitely was a fun experience and I don’t regret watching it. It’s one of those shows that is deeply flawed but is still fun to think about because it lays a lot of groundwork *right*, and therefore its own badness in building upon those foundations makes you think a lot about how to improve it (hence: extremely fanfiction-worthy).

    Not really with you on Akagami no Shirayukihime though. I’m watching that with my girlfriend ‘cos she wanted a romantic anime and GOD WHAT A BORE. I don’t have a problem with shoujo or romantic stories – I loved Ore Monogatari because it was sweet and funny and had entertaining protagonists, and I loved Yona of the Dawn because Yona is a total badass who literally made you fall in love with her and there was actual moral greyness involved. This is just DULL. Conflict is always half-hearted. Sweetness yeah, but god forbid these two ever try going a bit beyond the occasional hug or hand holding. It’s all so SAFE and at the same time so SERIOUS, there’s neither excitement nor fun to be had. It just stands there and looks pretty, and that’s the show in a nutshell.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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