Merry Otakumas and Happy New Year all you anime fans out there!
Now I have given out stink this year since the end of the spring season and all the way up to the most recently gone that it has been a bad, no abysmal year for anime. You would think that would mean this look back on the year would be majorly negative but alas no we are focusing on the positives of this year, the shining lights among the darkness.
One Punch Man
The shining star of the most recent season only going back to October 5 with One Punch Man. The series that is exactly as it says on the tin, a super power, seinen, supernatural and action anime where we have Saitama who appears to everyone to be an overly average young man who walks around the streets with a lack lustre dull expression on his face and a gleaming bald head only adding to this. He is the ultimate subject for do not judge a book by its cover because he is not what he seems and is in no way unimpressive. He is in fact a hero who trained so long and so hard that this hair actually fell out, with one punch he can take out any enemy and this has become dull for him so he is searching for tougher opponents to challenge him.
I am all about the nostalgia recently and that is particularly true for anime that would have been my gateway series or a series I watched back in the day and particularly with series like Sailor Moon and Dragonball all having continuations or reboots it makes me realise that no series have truly taken their place in my collections. Then came One Punch Man, it is truly a throwback to those shows like Dragonball but this series took it to a whole new level and really the best part is that it did not take itself seriously at all.
It keeps this wonderful action packed pace but sneaks in little nuggets of comedy gold. It could be in the comedic villains or just in Saitama’s mannerisms making the series that more enjoyable. The best part of the whole thing however has to be Saitama himself from his dull blank expression to his childlike ideals he is the personification of comedy gold.
A series that is just light hearted action perfection.
Going all the way back to the winter season, does that not feel like a very long time ago? Way back on January 10th a little series called Death Parade was released based on an anime short film called Death Billiards.
This series, for anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing it, was a psychological anime where we find out what happens when we die and how heaven and hell is decided for us. When two people die at the same time this decision process changes. These unfortunate souls are whisked away to the many levels or bars tended to by the arbiter bartenders, on the 15th floor is the Quindecim tended by the white haired Decim. He is the one who lays down the game before you to determine your faith, your life is literally on the line in these games as they test you down to your very nature.
By the end however is it Decim as the arbitrator to lay down the final decision, void or reincarnation?
This series was in a word, excellent; it literally had every aspect that you need from a psychological anime series. Each episode is a little slice of drama filled splendour while being a separate case for arbitration there is an underlying story that is as mysterious as the Quindecim itself.
Something that made the series however is each of the arbitration scenarios, from that very first episode with the seemingly happy honeymooning couple where the twist quite honestly took me by surprise showed the fragility of human nature and just how fine a line there is between sanity and madness, each scenario is widespread that there is no guessing the outcome.
If you are looking for a gripping psychological series to sink your teeth into then this is the series for you.
Anyone who has read an Otaku Digest from the summer season or was as invested into Anime seasons this year would know and share my feelings: it had to be one of the worst season that we have seen in a very long time.
Thankfully there came a shining light of hope for anime everywhere with the release of Gangsta on July 2.
Set in the shady and murky city of Ergastulum, the metropolis is spilling over with excess of made men, petty thieves, ladies of the night on the prowl and of course the cops on the take who look the other way. In a city this murky with scum and evil there are jobs too dark for most men to take on. Not for the Handymen, two men called Worick and Nic will take those jobs that others just cannot handle. Taking on the job of sorting out a gang overreaching into a powerful mafia families territory soon turns out to be more job than they ever bargained for.
This anime, made my year.
There may be no ranking of the Anime I look at here today but on a personal level this is my show of 2015. It makes me weep near daily that the studio behind the series has shut its doors. Gangsta has everything that I need from a series, a narrative that grips you from start to finish, characters that are engaging and animation that is as dark and as interesting as the city it is set in. The main aspect that truly drew me into the series is the characters, in particular our Handymen Worick and Nic, these two are an enigma and we are only given snippets of who they are and why they are the way they are in each episode; which just leaves you needing to know more and more about them.