The views expressed herein are my own and in no way representative the greater anime community. If I inadvertently diss your favourite show from this season or praise a show you consider bad please remember that I’m just some idiot from the internet with an opinion before taking personal offence. I’m just this because it’s fun to call AoTS after 2-4 episodes and compare that to the end of the season where I find out just how wrong I am. Order presented is roughly the order of my preferences. Without further ado, let’s begin!
AOTS Tier: Owarimonogatari, One Punch Man– Both are fantastic shows in their own right. Monogatari’s just doing what Monogatari does, with its tightly constructed and superbly executed visuals, plot and themes that never fail to impress; while OPM on the other hand just simply has some of the most beautiful action animation to grace the screen, backed up some on-point parody. Which one you like better ultimately comes down to tastes and how highly you value plot and visuals respectively.
Darkhorse AOTS Tier: Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans– If you told me a Mari Okada helmed Gundam would be in the running for one of the best shows of 2015, let alone one of the best entries in this entire storied franchise I would have laughed at you- yet here we are. Excellent direction, animation and sound design is backed up by an extremely competent, assuredly written plot that takes all the traditional thematic Gundam elements and discards everything that didn’t make sense in a hard sci-fi setting in order to tackle Post-colonialism and inequality. This is the kind of show that makes people fall in love with Real Robot- up there with the Patlabor movies and, well, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. My only misgivings are in the occasional mistimed tone shifts and how some of the characters appear cartoonishly one-dimensional (especially in-light of how multi-faceted most of the main cast is), but these are small quibbles in the face of what the show has gotten right so far.
No Subs Tier: Lupin III- Y gud show no git subs? ლ(ಥ Д ಥ )ლ. No but seriously try to see it where you can- it’s a beautifully animated and very fun adventure show very much in the classic Lupin mold.
Touch Fluffy Tail Tier: Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen– A supremely competent fantasy adventure story with a unique setting, likable characters, great visuals and animation; and it’s (mostly) free of the usual tropes and cliches plaguing anime- easily one of the most underrated shows on air. Give this a shot if you like fantasy and haven’t already- I reckon this is what a lot of people were hoping for in last seasons Rokka no Yuusha, which failed to deliver on that promise.
4/2Deep2^2Me Tier: The Perfect Insider– I liked this, but I like my animated literature adaptations about talking heads and pretentious ideas. Still, the kind of plot convenient contrivances and appeals to authority the author resorts to are irritating, as is the narrative structure that deliberately hides information till the most dramatically appropriate time. In spite of all that, I do like the characters, the plot is kinda intriguing and I do want to see how the ideas the show alludes to are explored. That said, unfortunately Owarimonogatari is also doing a math/philo based story and is just simply blowing Insider out of the water in how it illustrates its concepts in an accessible and visually interesting way.
Will look up and shout “Save us!”… and I’ll look down and whisper “No.” Tier: Concrete Revolutio- Oof, this is like watching Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen all over again- Great ideas and visual design mired by sub-par directing. I love the concept of using a fictional superhuman task force comprised of various Japanese pop-cultural heroes (like the Boy Detective, the Youkai and the Magical Girl) and tracking them from the 60s to the present day as metacommentary for the change in our societies from the Cold War to the War on Terror- how our fiction went from the easily identifiable, good-vs-evil dichotomy to the entangled moral quagmires of our present (Homeland, anyone?) as it rushed to reflect reality. Sadly, the show does too little to establish an emotional trough line- it seems like it’s too focused on quickly vomiting up it’s ideas to give the audience time to attach themselves to the characters. Still, lots of potential here- we’ll see later in the season if it lives up to it.
Man This Is Far Too Reminiscent of Stuff like Eureka 7 Tier: Comet Lucifer– Except it isn’t as good as Eureka 7 or the countless other, better shows of its kind. Which is a damn shame too- visually it’s one of the most striking shows this season (no faint praise considering OPM and Monogatari) with what is quite frankly amazing integration of 3dcgi, but the actual story is so painfully generic it’s… pretty painful to watch, especially given how unoriginal it is. Still, there’s some time to see if it somehow manages to distinguish itself from all the “Young Boy gets a Magic Giant Robot to save a Young Girl” shows before it, and the visuals really are very nice.
Sequel Tier: Noragami Aragoto– Just more Noragami, which I found a stylish and interesting riff on the typical Japanese urban fantasy; if a bit prone to melodrama. Insert you sequel of choice here, if you rather.
Diabeetus Tier Season 2: GochiUsa S2, YuruYuri S3– Between these I’m probably going to continue with GochiUsa and drop YuruYuri– there’s only so many seasons of Slightly Lewd Lesbians I can stand and the other show has a girl that wears a bunny for a hat. I mean, just look at this weaponised moe. Yes, this is the nihilistic end result of the pursuit of cuteness for cuteness sake to the exclusion of all other meaning, but honestly there are worse uses for one’s time other than to revel in mindless fluff.
Elementary, My Dear Watson Tier: Beautiful Bones– I’m giving this another episode, but I’m really not impressed; I hate mystery stories that don’t give the reader a chance to solve the puzzle themselves first before the Sherlock analogue character explains the solution. Between this and Perfect Insider, at least Perfect Insider spent a lot more time laying the groundwork for its mystery and leaving clues for the studious to pick up. I suppose the episodic nature of the show works against Sakurako-san in that regard. It is pretty, though, and the characters are reasonably interesting.
A Titan Kicked My 4th Wall Tier: Osomatsu-san!– Another underrated gem, I feel, although given that it’s an absurdist comedy that heavily relies on parody skits, it’s not quite the surefire recommendation given everyone’s diverse reaction to humour. Still, I like the drastic shifts in art style and found the comedic escalation hilarious. (As an aside, what’s up with all the metacommentary this season? Did OPM and Owari being together loosen the fabric of reality separating the 2d and 3d world? Does that mean if I sacrifice enough anime figurines to dark rituals, I can summon mai waifu? Hmmmmm. This bears experimentation.)
Did Not Watch Tier: All the LN and and Almost All the VN Adaptations– No seriously do we really need three magic highschool LN shows in the same season? (Utawarerumono being the exception.)
A Weapon to Surpass Metal Gear Tier: Heavy Object– Yeeeeeeeeah… ok I lied about not watching all the terrible LN adaptations (and believe me this is a terrible LN adaptation)- my tastes are just as susceptible to badness as the rest of you. But it’s a terrible LN adaptation in all the ways that specifically appeal to me. If G-Tekketsu is everything good about mecha, HO is everything bad and silly about mecha that I was forced to overcome given my love for the genre. Still, I wouldn’t inflict this show on my worst enemy, not even if I had such a lust for revenge.
And that’s my wrap up of Fall 2015 first impressions! Think I missed a show? Be sure to leave a comment below, and feel free to let me know just how objectively wrong I am.