Best Anime of Winter 2015
Written by Ramon Mejia
The winter season generally goes from Jan 2015 to about March 2015. We've included the shows you can legally and freely watch on the web like Hulu, Crunchyroll, or the publisher site. This season did not have the great variety that other seasons have had. Regardless, here are our favorites from this season’s shows.
Tokyo Ghoul √A
Where to watch it: Funimation, Hulu
Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers, and the fine line between man and monster.
Our Opinion: The second season of Tokyo Ghoul. Fair warning. This anime is pretty gory. This season is more action packed and faster paced than the first season. The main character, Ken Kaneki, struggles with what it means to be a monster. Lots of great story twists. Lots of great action. Till the very last episode I was never 100% sure where it was going.
PARASYTE-The-Maxim (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu)
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
Based on Iwaaki Hitoshi's science-fiction horror manga by the same name.
The 17-year-old Izumi Shinichi lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo. One night, worm-like aliens called Parasytes invade Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasyte attempts to crawl into Shinichi's ear while he sleeps, but fails since he is wearing headphones, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead, taking over his right hand and is named Migi.
Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from traveling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasytes, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasytes, who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi's human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasytes, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi's help.
Our Opinion: The show started off with some decent action in the first few episodes and has regular bloody fights throughout. We found that the action was not the main draw of the show though. Rather it was the main characters interaction with his parasite. There is a constant tone that asks the question: what does it means to be a human? Or at what point we cross the line into monsterhood?
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
Where to watch it: Crunchyroll
Synopsis: The life of Tomoyo Aki, a high school otaku working part time to support his BD hording. With remarkable luck, he bumps head-first into, Megumi Kato, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Naturally, the meeting twists his life into a complicated torrent of relationships. Eriri Spencer Sawamura, his half-foreigner childhood friend who’s always valued her relationship with MC. Kasumigaoka Utaha, a cold, composed renowned literary genius who shoves everyone aside from our protagonist. What is this? An eroge introduction?
The tale of a small not quite doujin circle, but not quite indie studio’s journey through the tough territory of comiket and beyond.
Our Opinion: This anime was a funny romantic-ish break from the other action oriented anime from this season. The anime documents the efforts of a high school student, Tomoyo Aki, and his quest to produce a type of story driven game that is similar to an interactive novel. He enlists the aid of two high school girls that are secretly anime and otaku geniuses. One an erotic fiction writer. The other an erotic manga artist. His inspiration is a girl he runs into one day on his way home. This slice of life/romantic comedy anime revolves around Tomoyo and his relationships with these friends.
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination classroom)
Where to watch it: Hulu
Synopsis: A humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he's the best teacher they've ever had!
Our Opinion: The plot to assassinate the alien octopus looking teacher is just a way to tell the story of a dedicated teacher trying to reach the worst students in the district. The anime is both funny, touching, and weird enough that you just have to see the next episode.
Where to watch it: Hulu
Synopsis: There is a place after death that’s neither heaven nor hell. A bar that serves you one chance to win. You cannot leave until the game is over, and when it is, your life may be too. From Studio Madhouse (Death Note, Black Lagoon) comes a thrilling new series where the stakes are high and the rules are simple: your life is on the line.
Our Opinion: This anime felt like a series of short stories that tries to make sense out of what makes us human. The bartender uses the games to stress the players out to see who they are. We as the audience get to relive the last or most important moments of these players lives out. While there were a few funny moments, the series is mostly very serious as the spirits of the dead are judged. Each episode was interesting in it’s own right but the story arc behind the scenes keeps you tuning in to find out what happens next.
Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season
Synopsis: The second season of of "Aldnoah.Zero. In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission found a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Upon landing, astronauts discovered an enchanted utility later referred to as "Aldnoah," giving the astronauts a status of superiority. Soon, many humans have relocated to Mars, and have adapted to the name "Martians." After Princess Asseylum, a royal Martian princess, descends onto Earth in an attempt to create a treaty between both planets, a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity.
Our Opinion: There first and second season of this anime show stride the line between political intrigue and mech fighting. If you like that combo, then this is the anime for you.
Kuroko no Basket 3rd Season (Kuroko’s Basketball)
Where to watch it: Crunchyroll
Synopsis: This is the third season of Kuroko no Basket. The Teiko Middle School Basketball Team. The class that produced three perfect seasons in a row, with five once-in-a generation players, called "The Generation of Miracles." There was another player who all of them respected... A legendary 6th player. An up-and-coming power player, Taiga Kagami, is just back from America. When he comes to Seirin High School, he meets the super-ordinary boy, Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn't good at basketball, in fact, he's bad! And he's so plain that he's impossible to see. But Kuroko's plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he's none other than the sixth member of the Miracle Generation. Kuroko makes a pact with Kagami to defeat the other members of the Miracle Generation, who have all played basketball at other schools. A battle of light (Kagami) and shadow (Kuroko) begins!
Our Opinion: This is an action packed basketball anime show. Each season revolves around a high school basketball tournament. Great character development. Great action. One of our long time favorites. If you like sports anime then this is a gem.
Junketsu no Maria
Where to watch it: Hulu
Synopsis: The story follows Maria, the most powerful witch who lives during the Hundred Years' War in France. She despises war, so she obstructs battles with her strong magical powers. Her meddling with her succubus Artemis and incubus Priapos has caught the attention of the heavens, and so the Archangel Michael issues an edict. When Maria loses her virginity, she will also lose her magical powers. A beautiful angel named Ezekiel is supposed to watch Maria and make sure the witch does not use magic in front of people, but Maria continues to use magic anyways.
Our Opinion: Hands down our surprise favorite of the winter season. Both the story and art both felt very original. We came to love the idealistic determination of Maria and her quest to stop all wars. Maria stands up to anyone that would war in her territory. There are many factions that seek to stop Maria’s meddling, including: mercenary groups, the local nobility, the church, and an angelic messenger. However Maria won’t back down, no matter the consequences. There are some great sub plots that question the role of religion in war and the nature of right and wrong.