My Summer 2015 Anime Odyssey, ranked

2015 was the year I set out to watch as many great anime as I could. I made a huge list of anime that I needed to watch, and an order to watch them in. Since then the list has only grown, and I almost never watch anything on it. But for the summer of 2015, my day was almost all watching anime. These shows were formative to my idea of what anime is, as well as my idea of art in general, but my opinions of them have changed in the two years since then.

Here’s how I ranked those shows at the time.

  1. Kids on the Slope
  2. Bakemonogatari
  3. Ping Pong the Animation
  4. Cowboy Bebop
  5. Shiki
  6. Samurai Champloo
  7. Kyousougiga
  8. Gunbuster/Diebuster
  9. Suisei no Gargantia
  10. Nisemonogatari
  11. Eureka Seven
  12. Shin Sekai Yori
  13. Chuunibyou
  14. Durarara
  15. Psycho-Pass
  16. No Game no Life
  17. Mushishi
  18. Durararax2 Shou
  19. Your Lie in April
  20. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  21. Serial Experiments Lain
  22. Hyouka
  23. Hataraku Maou-Sama!
  24. Haibane Renmei
  25. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Season 1
  26. Daily Lives of High School Boys

The top five were the 10/10 masterpieces, then there were half a dozen 9/10s that I appreciated a bunch. For the most part I gave the shows in the middle an 8/10, since there was a lot of unique stuff I liked about them, and the rest were pretty generally good. The only one I really couldn’t give a pass to (back when 7/10 was a C) was Daily Lives. Stardust was a 6 too, but I enjoyed it.

Here’s how I’d rank these shows now.

  1. Cowboy Bebop (9.8/10)
  2. Ping Pong the Animation
  3. Shiki
  4. Kids on the Slope
  5. Suisei no Gargantia
  6. Gunbuster/Diebuster
  7. Samurai Champloo
  8. Kyousougiga
  9. Eureka Seven
  10. Bakemonogatari
  11. Psycho-Pass
  12. Mushishi
  13. Shin Sekai Yori
  14. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  15. Serial Experiments Lain
  16. Durarara
  17. Chuunibyou
  18. Haibane Renmei
  19. Hyouka
  20. Nisemonogatari
  21. Durararax2 Shou
  22. Your Lie in April
  23. Hataraku Maou-Sama!
  24. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Season 1
  25. No Game no Life
  26. Daily Lives of High School Boys (2.2/10)

 

Observations on how things have changed since then.

  • I try to make my ratings more about enjoyment than appreciation these days, but stuff I more appreciated than enjoyed has kept its reputation over time, while pure enjoyment shows have tanked.
    • More specifically: The things that I appreciate about shows like Diebuster, Kyousougiga, Cowboy Bebop, Lain, and Haibane Renmei are still strong ideas in my mind, and I’m rather happy to have seen those shows and would like to see them again.
    • Meanwhile, shows like Your Lie in April and Hataraku Maou-sama, while having very obvious appeal, don’t seem as important to me. The problems I had with them by the end take over my memory. Still, worth a rewatch of those golden moments.
  • The most notable exception here is Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, which were more subjects of analysis than anything else. Their ratings plummeted when I saw Second Season. When perfect Monogatari exists, the rest of Monogatari feels like a guilty pleasure.
    • Now I’ve had to re-increase their ratings, since they’re still Monogatari and I love them.
  • The further I get from Bebop, the more I love it. I’m really in love with the idea of Bebop. Bounty hunters in a grounded, doomed future. I absolutely love Spike’s design, but I find him dull as an action hero. I could fill three essays with things I love about the show though, so I think it’s earned its place here.
  • Psycho-Pass, Kyousougiga, and Gargantia were a good deal lower for a time.
    • I only really loved Psycho-Pass in the middle. The beginning was good but not great, while the ending felt relatively emotionless. But I ought to give credit for all that it does right. Urobuchi’s a hell of a writer.
    • Kyousougiga’s basically perfect, I just had a hard time getting into it after all the shorts. Coming out of Utena and Psycho-Pass, and being such a huge Eva fan, I wanted every moment of a show to be character introspection and thematic exploration. But the ending was phenomenal. Since then I’ve been balancing my lack of reaction to the beginning with how satisfied the ending made me.
    • Gargantia’s got a handful of pretty weak character designs and its ending is a bit more optimistic than it ought to be. Those things do hurt it. At the same time, its worldbuilding and themes were magnificent. Just as Ledo came out of the show a freer man, I came out of it with a new appreciation and love for this medium. I can’t really forget Gargantia – it’s a show that made anime fun for me again.
  • Your Lie in April’s positive points just do not hold up compared to other anime. I’m shocked it remains so popular.
  • I ought to make a post about the idea of a “guilty displeasure”. That’s basically what No Game No Life is for me. It’s not just that it’s a popular show I disliked. It’s a show that I basically hated while I was enjoying it.  I’m essentially averse to everything about its protagonists while really enjoying its aesthetic, directing, and gameplay. As such, there’s a huge list of shows that I genuinely prefer. Haibane Renmei may not be as flashy, but at least it has a freaking ending.
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