Crunchyroll Newsletter Winter 2015 Favorites!

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Posted 4/23/15 , edited 4/23/15
Winter 2015 might not have been the explosive season we all wanted anime-wise, but there were still a bunch of great new shows and continuations on CR that kept us entertained. We asked our authors to dig up their Winter 2015 queues and tell us what their Top 5 were, read on to find out what they are and give some animes you missed a try.

Feel free to list your own favorites as well in the comments!


5. Log Horizon 2 (6/10)
For my part, I greatly preferred this season of Log Horizon to the first. While the new Log Horizon still struggled with pacing problems on occasion thanks to ponderous dialogue or conversations, the high points of season two (Akatsuki's actual character arc, Kanami's episode, Rudy and Isuzu being adorable, Nyanta facing off with former comrade on top of a magic train, the final conclusion) far outstripped anything the first season did. Log Horizon 2 still isn't ambitious enough to really move up to the next level, but it handles its ideas intelligently and almost always succeeds in being engagement. And that's no small feat.

4. Durarara!! x2 (6/10)
Well, it's certainly not the same Durarara!! of five years ago, but, at the same time, it is. The same madcap energy and sense of unity that distinguished the original series is still there—it's just held back by new Studio Shuka's production problems and a cast that has swollen a bit larger than necessary. But, for all that, when Durarara!! x2 focused in on its best characters in the proper proportions, the magic returned. As sad as it is to see the production struggles holding a sequel to a beloved franchise back from being truly great, it's still quite a thing to have more Durarara!! after all this time, in any form.

3. Your Lie in April (7/10)
Easily one of the most frustrating shows I have ever watched, Your Lie in April was just as able to produce stunningly beautiful episodes as it was total clunkers. Although plagued by structural issues that compromised the effectiveness of the individual narrative threads, somehow all those issues melted away in the face of the show's incredible concert scenes, specifically those in episodes 10 and 22. In the end, Your Lie in April just wasn't consistent enough to be a truly great show, but it's well worth struggling through the lesser material to get to the brilliant moments of musical transcendence.

2. Yona of the Dawn (8/10)
Shoujo anime and I have been a very good terms as of late, and Yona of the Dawn has been a big part of that. And, honestly, it really seems kind of unfair to pin Yona down with the shoujo label. Sure, it definitely has the trappings of the shoujo genre, but it's really just quality storytelling accompanied by some of the best production values I've ever seen out of Studio Pierrot. Calling it a "good shoujo" feel diminutive when it really should just be called a "good anime." The thematic and character depth of Yona is truly astounding; please do yourself a favor and watch it.

1. Shirobako (10/10)
And then, there's Shirobako. Oh, Shirobako, did you really have to leave us? Did you really have to take Aoi Miyamori, one of the best female anime characters EVER, and vanish into the uncertain abyss of hoping for sequel? Trying to describe what makes Shirobako great is a pretty difficult task, as it's really the sum of a whole bunch of little things that quietly bloom into something truly special. It's the little bits of workplace wisdom, the way the five former members of the Kaminoyama High School Animation Club all work towards their goals in their own ways, and the way the show is optimistic without being unrealistic. In short, I think Shirobako is a pretty important work. It may not be the flashiest, but it won't steer you wrong.

by moonhawk81

5. Gourmet Girl Graffiti. An old adage goes: "An empty stomach is the best spice." Perhaps, but many cooks would argue that the best spice is love. This series focuses upon how intention--specifically, cooking for those whom one loves--flavors the resulting food. And while this series often unnecessarily eroticizes the actual act of eating, the show's overall charm is enough to overcome this distraction. A great concept piece, made even better by moments of some of the warmest, most luxuriously drawn artwork seen since AIURA.

4. Saekano--How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend. I thought this was an imaginative premise: using creators of fiction[s] to help a real girl create a more enticing personality--within the fictional confines of a dating sim game! Throw in a dysfunctional reverse-harem situation in which the girls are working together to try to maintain an erratic male protagonist, and you've got viewing magic!

3. KanColle. A coming-of-age/slice-of-life offering which was disguised as an action series but advertised as some sort of sexy, nautical-themed sleepover with guns--who really knew what to expect? What we got was lush story-telling (accompanied by beautiful, soft artwork) that followed the personal growth and developing friendships of our "ship girls." So much more--and so much better--than advertised!

2. Yona of the Dawn. Tragedy can create strength. We see this in the character development of Princess Yona, the titular protagonist who must recreate herself and her role after her father the king is assassinated, forcing her to flee her palace home. Will mystical dragons really aid and protect her? And just what are her plans, anyway? The twin fates of a young girl and an ancient kingdom await the answers to these questions.

1. SHIROBAKO. An anime about creating anime--but what a wild, informative, and entertaining ride! I haven't had this much fun learning about something since Holo the Wise Wolf (and some medieval nerd called Lawrence) taught me about economics! Five female friends from high school pursue their dreams of making anime, letting us tag along and watch. Look for that magical, defining scene in the last episode when the studio's new animator first sees Aoi's own stress-induced hallucinations. . .

by CrayMeganeChan

The winter anime season has come to an end but it has left us with some great anime to look back on. I looked forward to what the season had to offer and I must say I found quite a few that Crunchyroll acquired that made it an enjoyable one. Overall, for me, I think this was my favorite season mostly because I tried giving shows I probably wouldn't have a chance. With the success of it, I'm now more open with the upcoming and future seasons of anime.

Cute High Earth Defense Club
Never thought I'd ever see a magical boys series but here I am. Five boys lead by an alien that looks like a pink wombat fighting for love. Everything about them was love related from their transformations (and yes they even did the whole magical transformation sequences) to their attack names. And I loved everything about this show. I admit there were some ridiculousness to it but it's laughable in a good way. Seems even boys now can fight for love and justice if they want to.

Magic Kaito 1412
Another magic show that caught my eye but this dealt more with the art of illusions. Wanting revenge, Kaito takes on his father's own persona to find and destroy the cause of why he was killed, a jewel that grants immortality. Every episode was really like a magic show in how he tries to steal each jewel. Even though these are episodic episodes, you don't get bored with them and you do get something new each time.

Not sure what to say about this show but it was sure entertaining. The life of Souhei Yano gets turned upside down when two little girls invade with the intention of protecting his life from an assassin enemy. They may have military skills but they're still not the brightest of individuals. Even the assassin enemy, also a little girl, have her own quirks. The shortness of the episodes and how much stuff that happens in them makes it more funny than it probably should be.

Comical Psychosomatic Medicine
I wasn't really going to watch this series but curiosity finally caught me to do so. I'm glad it did because this show was more funny than I thought it would be. The topics discussed in the show are real diagnosis and the characters in the show bring their own humor to each one discussed. I'm not saying you should rely on this show to substitute in learning about them but if you want laughs about it than yes it's a must watch.

Yona of the Dawn
Definitely one of the best shows. I loved watching her go through this journey. A betrayal caused her to lose everything but she rose up to become a strong, brave individual. Of course she didn't do it all on her own. She still had a friend and confidant Hak to keep her going. Together allies were gathered to help her goal of trying to get her kingdom back. I just wished this show didn't stop where it did. Hopefully, another season will happen to continue this journey. There is just so much more to see.


After last year’s slew of phenomenal anime, this season felt sluggish, especially when it came to new titles. Even so, there were some fantastic continuing series and a few new titles that completely made up for this, resulting in a winter season still quite enjoyable.

#5. Log Horizon 2
While its first cour was entertaining, Log Horizon 2’s second cour was completely engrossing in the way it finally addressed one of the fundamental questions of the series: how the characters will return to their own world. Complicated by new enemies not quite evil and the characters' feelings toward this, the series arrives at a unique, meaningful answer, all while exploring how the characters’ backstories shape their lives inside Elder Tale.

#4. Durarara!! X2
After its first season ended rather conclusively, Durarara!! X2 weaves new tangles into the web of stories that connect the huge cast of characters by adding new factions into Ikebukuro. While the mystery of the first season is gone — it had resolved much of its plot, after all — the chaos these new factions create challenge the original characters we’ve grown to love, further complicating the story and encouraging characters to develop in unexpected ways.

#3. Kuroko’s Basketball 3
Presumably the final season in the Kuroko’s Basketball saga, the series culminates in the strength of the bonds the characters have been forging for over fifty episodes. Resulting in more engaging teamwork and some of the most emotionally tough matches in the series, Kuroko’s Basketball has never been more intense, especially as it finally reveals the collective past of the Generation of Miracles and their true intentions.

#2. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
This series was definitely the dark horse of the season — though it at first looked like a fanservice-filled write-off about magical boys, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!'s genderbending of magical girl tropes and direct questioning of genre cliches ranges from being a hilarious parody to surprisingly satirical. The way this series never takes itself seriously while still prompting critical thought makes it ridiculous without being silly, and also incredibly fun.

#1. Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn is incredibly beautiful, both in terms of animation and story. The realistic characters, having wonderfully explored backstories and emotions, seal this anime’s success by solidifying the fantastic blend of action, politics, humour, love, and tragedy. In combination with a beautifully-crafted atmosphere reflective of ancient Korea, Yona of the Dawn is a heart-gripping adventure in desperate need of a second season.


I guess the general feeling of "meh" toward Winter 2015 is justified when I consider 4 out of my 5 choices didn't start during the winter season but hey, if all I have are great continuations that had time to mature and give me a thrilling finale, I don't see any reason to complain!

#5. Gourmet Girl Graffiti
I don’t know who the target demographic for Gourmet Girl Graffiti is, O great ecchi Gods over at Shaft, but you can be sure I am smack-dab in the middle of it. Mellow slice-of-life mixed with lushly detailed shots of cute girls eating food and enjoying it way too much? SOLD. Sorry, Moonhawk81 ;)

#4. Yowamushi Pedal
Although Yowamushi Pedal’s characters are all very interesting and fleshed out, Midousuji just takes the cake when it comes to being the villain, and his performance in the last stretch of the anime gave me goosebumps. I literally feel like he was the glue that held the whole anime together. Him and Izumida Touichirou’s well-toned pecs, Andy and Frank, of course.

#3. Your lie in April
I was left unimpressed by Your lie in April’s first cour. Troubled past, abusive mom forcing her pianist ideals on you, mental block whenever you try to play piano, enter the girl who will save you from all that, etc. I felt like I’d seen all this before, but there was something about it that kept me watching. It’s a good thing I did, because the second half kept me engaged from start to finish with top-notch drama, romance and unforgettable musical performances that really bring out the emotions music can carry. That and I’m such a sucker for the “childhood friend’s unrequited love” thing.

#2. Parasyte -the maxim-
What a fantastic show this was, mad props to whoever decided to revive this 20 year old manga. Truly shows that great stories don’t age. Started out with an already interesting horror/shounen formula and turned into something so much more when the viewer is confronted with the idea that the Parasites aren’t necessarily all bloodthirsty, brainless monsters to eliminate, but also a species that wants to thrive.

#1. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - Battle in Egypt
Clearly the worst of the series’ arcs yet, I mean, look at where that took it: Allllll the way down to… first place in my list, because even when Jojo’s not being at its best, it’s still the most entertaining thing to watch. Here’s hoping the last stretch dials down the silly Stands, cranks up the wicked poses and delivers a memorable final battle!

by Koda89

Man this season was an odd beast, was it not? The season didn't lack good shows, but what it did lack was a bounty of good new shows. The majority of the shows truly of note in Winter 2015 were either sequels, most of them sequels to shows that aired in Summer 2014, or shows that started in Fall 2014. But that's perfectly fine, as the shows that were good were truly amazing experiences. I wish I could list more than five shows, but that's just how things go sometimes, I'm afraid. So without further ado, these are my five favorite shows that ended in Winter 2015 and streamed on Crunchyroll somewhere on Earth.

5) Yona of the Dawn

Yona of the Dawn is an interesting show. It is most certainly a reverse harem shoujo show, but it is also a shonen action show. This combination results in Yona of the Dawn being a show that can be enjoyed by just about everyone. Plus seeing Yona go from the meek and generally helpless princess she was to a fierce, determined young woman was great. Here's hoping this show continues at some point in the future.

4) Yurikuma Arashi

Now this is a weird show. At first I honestly didn't know what the hell I was watching. Eventually things just started clicking for me. If there's one word I could use to describe Yurkuma Arashi, that word is "style", because this show oozes style from every pore. Kunihiko Ikuhara is well known for his eccentric methods, and it is easy to see why. His methods are just something no one else does. Sure in the grand scheme of things almost nothing happens in Yurikuma Arashi, but I'm willing to let that slide in the wake of such a visceral assault on my senses, for that is the sexy way. Shaba-da-doo.

3) Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road

Yowamushi Pedal is one of my favorite sports anime series to date. I was on pins and needles waiting for the second season, Grande Road, to start airing due to the first season ending on a cliffhanger. Yowapeda doesn't disappoint, as Grande Road is a great continuation to a series I love so much. We get some additional character development across the board and more importantly some badass racing sequences that just sucked me in. I would obviously love to see Yowapeda continue as I know the manga is still going and the series is a bit of a juggernaut in Japan, but if the anime doesn't go on, I am perfectly satisfied with how this amazing race finished.

2) Shirobako

Now I didn't hate Shirobako at first, actually I quite liked it. But initially I didn't know where the series was going to go. Shirobako seemed directionless at first, but thankfully the show picked up and became a much watch series week in and week out for me. It's a great look into the anime industry, and must be commended for having such a large cast of beautiful, hard working women that aren't subjected to pointless titillating fanservice(in the show itself....outside of it, however..... ). All in all, it was great to see another series that focuses on adults period. There's not enough anime that do that, so any of them that do are precious commodities to me, the ones that are actually good shows even more so.

1) Parasyte -the maxim-

What can I say, Madhouse has worked their veritable magic once again. The Parasyte manga is an all time classic that has influenced untold numbers of creators in Japan and around the globe, but due to its age I gave up hope of it ever being adapted into an anime. Parasyte -the maxim- is far and away the best horror anime I've seen in years, if not probably ever. The animation is great, the soundtrack is recognizable and phenomenal, and of course the tale of Shinichi Izumi and his parasite Migi is simply, well let's just say there's not many things like it. Parasyte -the maxim- is a classic anime to go with a classic manga and was easily my favorite anime to air in Winter 2015 anywhere.

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Posted 4/23/15 , edited 4/23/15
Go Yona! I'm loving seeing this on so many of the above lists. Shirobaka too--really would love to see more of that. Kind of surprised not to see Parasyte on more lists; that's one show I rarely waited to watch, looking forward to so much every week that I didn't even want to wait a day longer, no matter how tired I was when I got home. Cute High was way more fun and adorable than I could have imagined. Totally not my kind of thing, yet I totally smiled and laughed week after week. Sadly the other title that would make it into my Winter 2015 Top 5 is one that CR didn't get for any territories but running close behind was one they did (albeit not in the US) -- Yurikuma Arashi, growl growl.

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Posted 4/24/15 , edited 4/25/15
Started out watching several series Winter 2015 but, like a horse race at the finish line, five did manage to keep my interest and not insult my theoretical intelligence beyond redemption:

5) JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders--Battle in Egypt

I didn't watch the earlier versions before Stardust Crusaders and began to wonder if I could stomach this one when it's first episode aired. It looked like women were going to be treated as chattel while guys would be forever manly and right personified so my Meh, wtf guard was raised. Luckily I proceeded to watch more episodes to give this show a chance. I fell in love with the exaggerated emphasis of muscle tone, angular jawlines, overdone hair styles, rakish clothes, colorful egos versus superegos (aka Stands), color choices, plus the downright sultriness of all the characters who crossed paths with Joestar Group. Most of the episodes were a joy to watch although some of the humor seemed dated. (I did read this anime stayed true to the manga and possibly that's the reasoning behind some of the humor intended for 9 year olds). Do hope another Season ensues in my lifetime.

4) Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road

Show did a credible job studying the interactions of kids learning to become men through fellowship and maturity while under the strain of focus overcoming fears in the face of overwhelming adversity, real as well as imaginary. My main gripe was having to endure the series relying too heavily on brinkmanship filler. This show could have delivered the same message with less episodes. Good show with great character roles; glad I watched ALL of it.

3) Durarara!! x2

Unlike its predecessor this show didn't kill my interest and waste my enthusiasm watching it by the time the final episode arrived. The series still suffers from too many characters but I was glad the criminal element managed to maintain a certain degree of treachery halfway believable for reasons other than riding around on motor bikes dressed as Mardi Gras clowns searching for better scriptwriters to place them in better roles frame by frame. Just about everyone got closure and the ending was satisfying instead of nebulous like Season 1.

2) Saekano--How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend

This show reminded me of the one many of the writers for ANN regale: Shirobako but with less fanfare. Parts of it even brought back fond memories of certain aspects of Welcome to the NHK, albeit sans the psychological demagoguery give or take 1, 2, or 3 supporting characters. As harem shows go I didn't expect much at the start but I developed a fondness for each of the characters while looking forward to this show as each week passed. The show had more depth and richness than the original abstract led me to anticipate. Think of this gem as a diamond in the rough.

1) Parasyte--the Maxim

Not into blood and gore as a genre but this series piqued my interest for its dark edgy potential rather quickly. It's an interesting premise and the show could easily have gone overboard for effect and gravity yet it managed to stay fluid without insulting the viewer's intellect or extensively grossing out his/her visual acuity through the rest of the storyline. The show does have a few continuity plot holes and seems rushed in certain episodes but it, thankfully, chose avenues of uncertainty and interest I never thought likely given the main character's age and reasoning capabilities.

This show was my favorite of CR's Winter 2015 season. It is possible had I watched another venue where certain anime shows were running (Assassination Classroom, Death Parade) the top 5 anime list would differ.
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15
5) Yona of the Dawn

4) Saekano

3) Yowamushi Pedal

2) Your Lie in April

1) Log Horizon
Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15
I only watched 5 shows for the Winter 2015 season but this is my list:

1. Your lie in April
2. Shirobako
3. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
4. Yona of the Dawn (The first thing I watched on CR!)
5. KanColle
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15

ganon11000 wrote:

I only watched 5 shows but this is my list:

1. Your lie in April
2. Shirobako
3. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
4. Yona of the Dawn (The first thing I watched on CR!)
5. KanColle

Congrats--you started strong!
Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15

moonhawk81 wrote:

ganon11000 wrote:

I only watched 5 shows but this is my list:

1. Your lie in April
2. Shirobako
3. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
4. Yona of the Dawn (The first thing I watched on CR!)
5. KanColle

Congrats--you started strong!

Forgot to add "for the Winter 2015 season" but I started with good anime :D
My current lists are on my profile
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15

Agreed, Assassination Classroom, Death Parade and, I'll add, Maria the Virgin Witch and Seven Deadly Sins were dearly missing from our lineup, otherwise that would have scrambled some of my top 5 as well!
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15
I loved Parasyte, Your Lie in April, and Magic Kaito 1412. I only had time to get into a few new shows, but they were great!
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/25/15
1. Parasyte The Maxim
2. Aldnoah Zero
3. Log horizon
4. Durarara!! x2
5.Yowamushi Pedal/Ace of diamond (I couldn't decide)
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Posted 4/25/15 , edited 4/26/15
I finished Shirobako last week, and I gotta say it really caught me by surprise of how good of an anime it turned into. The first couple of episodes didn't necessarily draw me in so much, but it managed to maintain my interest and I'm glad I came back to it. Highly recommending it is putting it lightly, hope theres a sequel!
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