Welcome to SnapThirty’s second annual ‘Anime of the Year Awards’ for the Year of 2015. It has been a wild ride for anime fans with countless classics making a major impact on the anime community and industry. Over the past year we have seen blood used as a weapon, we have witnessed city wide destruction on multiple occasions, learned how to assassinate our teacher, felt the true force of a single punch, joined the fight with Tekkadan, sang along to Bump of Chicken’s ‘Hello World’ in broken Japanese, saw life unfold from the bar stools of Quindecim and saw a topless doctor perform surgery in the middle of a Vietnam war battlefield. So in honour of this year in anime we present the awards for the best of the best and even a look at some of the most memorable moments in anime this year. Without further adieu, these are the winners for SnapThirty’s 2015 ‘Anime of the Year Awards’:
Anime of the Year 2015 – Blood Blockade Battlefront
How many Anime compel you to rewatch the current week’s episode over and over again? For someone like me, there has only ever been one series to make me do it, and that series is none other than Blood Blockade Battlefront; our winner of the Anime of the Year award for 2015. The Anime adaptation of Yasuhiro Nightow’s most recent Manga series, this crazy adventure through the streets of Jerusalem’s Lot (formerly New York City) followed a young man by the name of Leonardo Watch as he finds himself in the midst of a supernatural war the likes of which the world has…actually seen once before. Hmmm. Interesting.
Blood Blockade Battlefront, also referred to as B3, played host to a well-written, thought-provoking storyline that, despite a long break before the eventual release of the finale, proved to be satisfying enough for people to completely forget that they had to wait for it. B3’s characters made the heartfelt story all the more enjoyable. Each and every single character introduced had likable qualities and a sense of humour that made it feel as though you were hanging out with friends of your own. Every week you were excited to reconnect with the gang, cautious of who they’ll be going up against next, and thrilled by the prospect of a booming ending that you’ve come to expect from the episodes that came before it.
B3 also featured one hell of a catchy soundtrack which backed up some wonderfully charming visuals, both of which never seemed to disappoint. Yasuhiro Nightow is a fantastic writer, and even though Studio Bones decided to take it in it’s own direction for the adaptation, the heart of Nightow’s work still remained, prevalent as ever. Truly there is no better choice for Anime of the Year 2015 than Blood Blockade Battlefront.
Short, sweet, often delayed, but ultimately worth every second when it was all said and done. Blood Blockade Battlefront took place in a setting that was easy to sink into, and all the characters, good or evil, were just utterly charming. The soundtrack is among the best in anime today, with jazzy insert songs kicking in at the most perfect moments. It leaves you wanting more, wishing it was 20 episodes, but still what you get is an unforgettable underdog story with every inch of animation and story delivery done with class.
Every once and a while a series comes along that changes the playing field so drastically that it becomes a benchmark that all must be compared too. There is a reason that people still talk about series like Cowboy Bebop and Gurren Lagann, it is because they impacted the medium in a way that shook it to its core. There aren’t many series of that caliber and many years go by without a series of that level ever rearing its head. There is a term I feel that best fits these type of series and that term is ‘iconic’. It is something that becomes larger than anime, something that rewrites the book on what an anime can be or should be, something that lives on well past its final episode in the hearts and minds of those who watched it. Blood Blockade Battlefront is one of those series.
Out of nowhere Blood Blockade Battlefront entered into the fray and has utterly changed the medium as we know it. Much like his previous work Trigun, Yasuhiro Nightow’s Blood Blockade Battlefront is filled with instantly classic characters and tells a story overflowing with mythology and truckloads of food for thought. The series stands above all others released this year as a modern classic that will undoubtedly be rewatched for many years to come. Blood Blockade Battlefront is the new iconic and anime will never be the same.
Reader’s Vote: Anime of the Year 2015 – Assassination Classroom
After several weeks of voting the readers of SnapThirty.com have voted the Shonen Jump manga adaptation Assassination Classroom as their winner for Anime of the Year 2015. The series has proven to be a hit with audiences across the globe with many considering 2015 as the year of Korosensei. The SnapFans have spoken, they have decided Assassination Classroom as the winner of their Reader’s Vote for Anime of the Year 2015.
Best Animation of 2015 – One Punch Man
Studio Madhouse did something amazing this year; they captured the hearts, minds, and imagination of countless audience members with their Anime adaptation of the ONE/Yusuke Murata Manga series One-Punch Man. Usually, with source material that is this well-written, you’d think that the good quality of an Anime adaptation would be somewhat expected, but with One-Punch Man’s charm being in it’s visuals, long-time Anime fans knew that it would take a juggernaut of an animation studio to do it justice…that’s why we thank the Gods each and every day that Madhouse got to it before anyone else can.
It is a series like One-Punch Man, that gets recommended to others based on sheer visuals alone, that win Best Animation year after year. Last year it was JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and this year it is the equally over-the-top One-Punch Man that takes the award for Best Animation of 2015. Not only was this series masterfully animated, it was done on a budget that matches that of many other Anime from not only the season it aired in but the year as a whole. Adding to the visual excellence of the series is that of it’s backstory which, summed up, basically revolves around the animation team working long, hard hours for the love of the source material.
One-Punch Man starts off strong with it’s incredibly intoxicating first episode, and then goes on to prove that, in the minds of the show-runners, there’s no such thing as a “dip in quality”. Week after week after week after week One-Punch Man blows audiences away with it’s high-impact visual techniques while at the same time making them laugh with sight gags animated well enough to almost seem real. I shouldn’t even have to explain why One-Punch Man wins the award for Best Animation because, chances are…you all already assumed it would, and that’s the greatest compliment one can give a series of this kind.
Best Soundtrack of 2015 – Blood Blockade Battlefront
While many would say that animation quality is what makes an anime, but the series music is every bit as important. Be it setting the right tone, creating a mood or capturing a feeling, a good soundtrack can elevate a series to heights that all the spectacular animation in the world never could.
Blood Blockade Battlefront not only has fantastic animation quality throughout its run but it also happens to have the best damn soundtrack of 2015 in anime. Whether it be some plucky jazz tunes or a roaring rock number, Blood Blockade Battlefront’s soundtrack is comprised with songs that really go hand in hand with the action playing out on screen.
A good soundtrack is one that not only elevates the content of the series but also one that the series couldn’t go without. Such is the case with Blood Blockade Battlefront. Without its soundtrack the series would be rather different to say the least and it is because of the phenomenal compositions that the series creates such emotional pathos to its big moments. It’s all about hitting the right chords and this series soundtrack does just that and more.
Best Anime Protagonist of 2015 – Orga (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blood Orphans)
Nobody runs a crew like Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans‘ Orga and, if you ask me…nobody ever will! With the lives of countless young soldiers on the line daily, Orga stands confident as the charismatic leader of Tekkadan, certain that no matter what situation they get themselves into, he will be able to get them out alive and in better spirits than before. An orphan himself, Orga has grown up having to be a leader. A beacon of light, Orga eventually grows into a young man that lights the fire of hope in both the young and old, all thanks to that of his dedication and love for his makeshift family.
Throughout the Anime series Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Orga Itsuka has proven time and time again that he can rise to almost any occasion, filled with adversity or otherwise, with enough courage and strength to lead a battalion through the wild outer reaches of space. Though some consider Orga’s long-time friend and pseudo-younger brother Mikazuki Augus to be the main character of the series, we at SnapThirty disagree entirely. While Mikazuki does most, if not all, of the fighting, and he is one of two, at this point in time, to pilot a Mobile Suit, it is all on Orga’s command. Avid watchers will notice that Mikazuki doesn’t make a move until Orga gives the command, and much the same can be said about each and every other member of the Tekkadan crew.
Orga Itsuka earns the award of Best Anime Protagonist because of the very realistic way he expresses love for his crew, with every situation being met with enough anxiety to prove that he isn’t perfect, but with enough passion for the continuation of their lives to show that this young man is one that will do almost anything for those in his care. Orga Itsuka is the protagonist we’ve been waiting for, and he has finally arrived in quite a big way. No amount of discussion can truly show just how necessary this man is to the series, and just why it is that he deserves the illustrious title of Best Anime Protagonist. The proof is in the pudding, and actions speak louder than any words, so watch Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and then you will truly understand.
Best Anime Antagonist of 2015 – DIO (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Cruaders – Battle in Egypt)
You know, in this day and age, it is as if every single villain from every single piece of pop culture media has to have his or her evil attitude described in great detail. Gone are the days of antagonists who are bad simply because being so is just in their nature. In a time of over-explanation and justified wrongdoings, one man stands alone…naked…gazing at himself in the mirror and thinking; “holy hell, I’m beautiful…and I also really hate those Joestars“. Dio Brando is a man/vampire/Stand-user/adonis that was born with a heart of pure ice, which he later uses to turn other people into ice, but that’s only after becoming a vampire thanks to the effects of a strange aztec mask-actually, you know what? It doesn’t really matter.
Our choice for Best Anime Antagonist of 2015 goes, hands down, to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusader’s DIO on the grounds that he is straight-up just the most nefarious piece of living trash that has ever disgraced the Earth with his presence. Why is he evil? We don’t know, but we also don’t give a damn because he makes being a villain look like child’s play. DIO is damn good at what he does. Damn good! He sends countless minions to their deaths just for the fun of it, knowing full well he could be doing the job himself. He absolutely despises the Joestars…but no-one is really sure why, all we do know is that he has the body of their ancestor and he loves to show it off. He has pure dedication to his job, using his ability to stop time mostly to shock, confuse, and utterly embarrass countless enemies, rather than simply end their life without them even knowing.
DIO is a villain that has been alive for quite a long time, and as each year goes by, he only gets more powerful and even more egotistical. In 2015 the Anime-watching community finally saw the death of DIO at the hands of Jotaro Kujo and it was in death that he has sealed in his spot as the best antagonist of the year. Granted, he was a good antagonist in its living form, but it was overwhelmingly joyous to see his life come to an abrupt end. While an antagonist can be enjoyed while he or she is living, it is an antagonist that has the death wishes of all viewers on their shoulders that has done its job right. Sayonara, DIO. Enjoy the freezing-hot flames of hell!
Best Opening/Ending Video Sequence of 2015 – ‘Flyers’ by BRADIO (Death Parade)
Ah Flyers, the opening sequence that looked at the series it opened and figured, “That’s a little somber for me, why don’t we kick things of with a party?” Bringing in our pick for top opening of the year is an opening sequence that inspires more toe tapping, and all around joyous bouncing, than any have in a long time. Contrasting the serious nature of Death Parade, Flyers is just one of those songs that is a joy to listen to each and every episode. Combine this with the over the top acrobatic movements the cast provides, you just can’t help but smile when watching this. For the morose characters of the series to tear up the dance floor, juggle and spin around mid-air on strings is just so endearing. Not only that, but the positivity this intro elicits subconsciously carries on into the series. Despite the death and sadness that permeates each episode, this song blatantly showcases that there is more than negativity within this series, and within these characters. It may sound a little far fetched, but I honestly believe that Flyers is the best opening sequence of the year because, no matter what happens in the series itself, this song never leaves your mind. What more could an intro want?
Best Anime Song of 2015 – ‘Hello World’ by Bump of Chicken (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
What is there to say about Hello World that hasn’t been said already? With enough popularity to stand on its own feet, this Blood Blockade Battlefront opener truly possesses impact. With a more mellow sound than a vast majority of action anime intros, Hello World introduces us to a world of depth from its very first note. Even without understanding the lyrics, there is a certain gravity to this tune that cannot be escaped. Though possessing a moderate tempo that keeps it from becoming a sombre ballad, there is an inherent sadness to its sound. Yet, despite this, it is a sense of triumph that breaks through, a feeling that there is a certain dignity to be found in accepting the low points in life in order to move forward. Sure it sounds a little trite, sure it sounds a little grand, but for any song to elicit those feelings is a triumph unto itself, a triumph that not too many anime songs can accomplish.
And now for something a little bit different…
Best Least Sexual Use Of Tentacles In Anime Series – Korosensei (Assassination Classroom)
Most Surprisingly Effective Impractical Form of Fashion
–Hestia’s Boob String (Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?)
Cutest Tsundere of the Year – Tora (Ushio and Tora)
Highest Disparity of Body Count to Effort Ratio – One Punch Man
Character Most Likely To Be Doing Chin-Ups In A Boiler Room Right Now – Akihiro Altland (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Best Worst Hero – Mumen Rider (One Punch Man)
Most Frequent Expulsion of Bodily Fluids in an Anime – Prison School
Doctor Most Likely to Get Shirtless Pre/Mid/Post Surgery in the Middle of a Vietnamese Battlefield – Young Black Jack
Well that wraps things up for SnapThirty’s inaugural Anime of the Year Awards for the year of 2015. To see how the SnapThirty team came to their tough decisions check out the SnapThirty decision podcast for a look into the decision making process. Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the year of 2015 in anime and what you think of our choices. This has been SnapThirty’s Anime of the Year Awards, you now know the truth of the world of anime. You’re welcome!