Monday, January 4, 2016

Top 3 Anime of 2015

While I did manage to start quite a few anime in 2015, I was not able to finish half of them. Part of this was a result of my attempting to juggle too many at a time, part of it was due to personal events outside of the blog that demanded my attention late this year. Despite this setback, I did manage to complete three series that stood as a cut above the rest. I’ve nearly finished two anime properties that I hope will kick my 2016 anime reviews off with a bang. Until then, here are me picks for the three best anime that I viewed in 2015.

#3) Mobile Suit Victory Gundam: Considered by many to be the height of series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino’s ‘kill-‘em-all’ presentations, Victory Gundam carries a melancholy tone - more so that most other Gundam anime projects - which provides a curious but surprisingly effective contrast to the positivity exhibited by young protagonist Uso Evin. The hand-drawn animation still holds up quite well today, and avoids reuse of stock footage whenever possible, only increasing the perceived production quality for its day. The efforts of the League Militaire against the Zanscare Empire mirror the fight that the A.E.U.G. took to the Titans in Zeta Gundam, while also harkening back to the severity of losses during original Mobile Suit Gundam’s One Year War. The mobile suit designs are at their most bizarre for a Universal Century setting in Victory Gundam, with many of the Zanscare Empire’s bearing insect qualities. There are a couple laughable moments of gaps in logic, but on the hole, Victory Gundam still holds up well more than twenty years after its original release.

#2) Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine: A return to the flashy and upbeat action the series is known for, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine also displays a sultry, mysterious side befitting of the titular character. Effectively one of the earliest tales in the Lupin III chronology, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine focuses in part on how the classic cast first crossed paths with one another, but also explores Fujiko as a complex individual – the motivations behind her life of thievery, her sexuality, ghosts of her past, and the image others have of her versus how she perceives herself. While it certainly does not skimp on exciting chase sequences and zany humor that the franchise has become known for, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine treads into darker, more serious territory than most of its predecessors, to a mostly-successful payoff.

#1) Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Battle in Egypt: Building upon the already-stellar previous half of Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro, Joseph, Avdol, Kakyoin, Polnareff and newcomer Iggy face their toughest challenges yet from Dio’s Nine Egyptian Gods on their journey to defeat the time-stopping vampire. With each new installment in the Jojo’s anime series, the animation improves upon greatness, with wild color palette swaps, intense Stand battle sequences, and tactfully drawn-out scenes of drama and grief. This second half of the Stardust Crusaders anime adaptation wonderfully brings to life some of the most memorable encounters from the grander Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure storyline, balancing its action, humor, and mild horror elements with absolute perfection. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is the best anime adaptation of the classic manga storyline fans could have hoped for. The absurd attention to detail and labor-of-love conveyed through this series make it easily one of the best anime of the past year, as well as among the most masterfully-executed anime of a generation.

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