Hannah’s Top 10 Anime of 2015

See Preston’s List Here. See Zane’s List Here.

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Honorable Mention #2: Cross Ange – Winter (7.32) – A brash, audacious, ambitious, subversive, and above all polarizing feminist alternative to Gundam, but also a roller coaster of dizzyingly-awesome heights and embarrassing lows, resulting in its unimpressive average rating

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Honorable Mention #1: Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – Spring (7.91) – Somewhat parallels Saekano with its richly detailed harem scope in which each girl gets her just dues, but in a sweet fantasy-action-military setting, and featuring a soundtrack so good it elevated the show’s rating at least half a point

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10. Ghost in the Shell ARISE – Spring (8.10) – A very cool, slick, and competent (if not groundbreaking) re-imagining of a classic. Reignited my passion for the awesomeness that is Major Kusanagi

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9. GANGSTA. – Summer (8.25) – The title needs a little work, as did the ending, but the fallen world setting, complex relationship between the two male leads, and the arc of the female lead transcended the usual crime-action fare

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8. Durarara!!x2 Shou – Winter (8.25) – With two cours down and one to go in its sequel triad, the first was slightly better than the second, with particular focus on single episodes that best expressed the franchise’s sprawling spirit

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7. OverLord – Summer (8.38) – Quickly set itself apart from SAO with a style and a comic swagger all its own, featuring some of the best overpowered battles of the year, along with some of the biggest laughs

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6. Attack on Titan – Retro Review (8.40) – Not a 2015 show per se, but that’s when I finally cracked it open, and I instantly got the appeal. It’s often dark, brutal, and merciless, but the action is righteously addictive

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5. Aldnoah.Zero 2 – Winter (8.58) – An exciting, immersive, technically impressive space opera that could have benefited from a less perfect protagonist and a better sense of humor.

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4. Sidonia no Kishi 2 – Spring (8.83) – A dark, gritty, sexy, terrifying, gorgeous and impeccably-rendered sci-fi milieu that left me wanting more

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3. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – Fall (8.85) – Only halfway in and I’m prepared to declare this the best Gundam I’ve seen (sorry Seed, 00, and Recon in G). Bold, gritty, complex, and immensely fun

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2. Fate stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Season 2 – Spring (8.92) – A powerful conclusion to a show I started last year, which backed up its world-beating visuals with compelling, even iconic clashes, with a nice romance on the side

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1. Steins;Gate – Retro Review (9.38) – Also far from a 2015 show, but one I watched in 2015, and one that blew everything else away to become one of my all-time faves

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Prison School – 09

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One nice little insidious part of Prison School I appreciate is that it’s not above exposing its high school characters’ ignorance. Neither Shingo nor Anzu knew what Grapes of Wrath was about, assuming it’s some B-movie about giant rampaging grapes or something.

This week no one but Gakuto knows who Sun Tzu is, and assume he’s some telecom guy. But he’s not: he’s a general whose strategic and tactical ouevre will aide the newly-united lads’ last-gasp effort to overturn their expulsion: they must use the mighty Vice President Shiraki Meiko’s strength against her.

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They attempt to do this by appealing to her confidence in her own strength and conditioning, and the arrogance that comes with it. Meiko doesn’t just have an open shirt, she’s an open book, and the countless times she’s demonstrated her strength, either through punishment or intense calisthenics, they know she won’t be able to resist proving naysayers wrong. So they loudly arm wrestle, one of them mentions her by name as being the strongest in the school, and another expresses doubt, because she’s a gurrrrrl. That’s all that’s needed to provoke Meiko.

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Gakuto goes up against her first, and from the prison physique he’s developed, we think he might have a chance, but nope, he goes down in a second. It’s up to the other four to keep her busy for at least ten minutes while Gakuto steals her keys, sneaks into the office, downloads file restoration software, and recovers incriminating DTO emails that will expose the council of sabotaging the boys. If they can publicize that material, they can sway the school, and more importantly the director, into cancelling their expulsion.

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But even with four guys, ten minutes is a lot to ask. Kiyoshi succumbs to her nip-slip far too quickly, Shingo is all talk, and the emaciated Joe gets flung across the room like a dry rubber band, which was one of if not the funniest sight gag of the episode. The only one left is Andre, who must hold up for upwards of seven minutes. 

And while he’s really big, and strong from to the need to lug his weight around all day every day, Meiko probably doesn’t need 100% of her strength to beat him quickly as well…were it not for something completely oblivious to Andre, but which drives Meiko absolutely cuckoo: a very long hair protruding from his nipple.

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This is when things get a little…weird. In a brilliant reversal, Meiko is the one utterly mesmerized by someone else’s nipples. So much so, she begins to daydream of a single tree swaying in the desert, first on a clear day, then during a tornado (when Andre’s breath whips the hair around further). It’s a distraction within the larger distraction of the arm wrestling contest: and it creates a stalemate that is only overcome when she realizes she should just close her eyes, and enough of her spit from yelling excites Tinyface to the point he can’t hold out any longer, and loses.

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It’s a good thing Andre cries out, too, because it gives Gakuto the signal that he’d better get back to the cell, which he does, just in time, holding keys he can innocently say dropped out of Meiko’s jacket while she was wrestling. She takes the keys and departs without suspecting a thing.

If only anything came of the whole enterprise! Yes, despite having time to download and install the restoration software, in the end Gakuto didn’t have any time left to locate the incriminating files, to say nothing of distributing them. His momentary freedom was hard won, and a series of small miracles in and of itself, but it wasn’t enough.

And so, the guys become consigned to their fate, having given it their all. Expulsion is all but certain now, unless they can come up with any other ideas. Sun Tzu didn’t work out, but maybe they can glean a fresh strategem from the telecommunications gentleman’s biography!

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