After what has literally been hours of deliberating and going back and forth, here we finally have our 15 Anime Review!
Since we’ve got fifteen series deep into the world of anime now, I thought I would use the nice round number to re-cap everything we’ve seen so far. There’s been so many different stories covering many different genres, so here’s a list of all the anime reviewed on The Culture Cove to recap:
Attack on Titan / Sword Art Online / Tokyo Ghoul & Root A / Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works / Steins;Gate / RWBY / Blue Exorcist / My Little Monster / Durarara!! / Aldnoah.Zero / Arpeggio of Blue Steel / Asterisk War / Akame Ga Kill / Occult Academy / Deadman Wonderland
All reviews are available by using the sub-sections, available either on the left-hand side or at the bottom of the page for mobiles!!
Coolest Anime –Durarara!!
A really slick show, Durarara offers an almost perfect balance between the dark and the comedic. An incredible array of characters, all slightly crazy but normal enough to be respected. Examples such as anime-loving arsonists and superhuman bartenders, along with a straight-lined supervillain that loves cosplaying are justsome examples of this weird and wonderful show. It’s a great watch, and was always a clear winner in this category!
Another notable mention in this category is Akame Ga Kill, which also has a great energetic cast mixed with unique fighting weapons and actions!
Most Stereotypical – Sword Art Online
This goes to the anime that looks the most like what you would imagine an anime looks like if you’ve never liked anime. You get that?
This was initially a toss-up between two, but the more I thought about it the more obvious the answer got. It has to be Sword Art Online.
High-school student, videogame, monsters, heroes, girls in distress, it is literally everything you would expect to see when watching a Japanese creation. I’m sure a lot of people would agree. If you asked Joe-on-the-street to picture what an anime would look like, it would be something like Kirito and Asuna. I guess that’s what makes SAO one of the biggest anime going.
The other anime I had in mind was Blue Exorcist. It reminded me so much of the cartoons we used to watch when we were kids, but there was only ever one really winner of this award!
Also, I was going to do a Best Character award, but there’s just so many i couldn’t decide! Instead, here’s five seperate character awards:
Best Female Lead – Rin Tohsaka: Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works
Unlike in the current landscape of western cinema, there appears to a real lack in this shortlist of strong and effective, female lead characters. That being said, there is a good and deserved winner in this list, and that is Fate/Stay Night:
Unlimited Blade Works’ Rin Tohsaka.
A character than not only starts off as strong and commanding but then also develops into a really well rounded character with trust issues who opens up to Shiro. The way she acts is very similar to the stereotypical YA movie lead we’re seeing at the moment in things like The Hunger Games and Divergent, albeit with a bit more menace.
Other notable mentions include Ruby from RWBY, and Maya from Occult Academy, although both of these are pretty thin in terms of character scope compared to Rin Tohsaka.
Best Male Lead – Okabe Rintarou: Steins;Gate
Again, as with the female leads, there appears to be a lack of strong and remarkable male leads in this set. One wonders where all the good leads characters have gone, but then again maybe this is evidence that suggests that anime more than any other visual medium (perhaps maybe painting) relies on the whole more than the sum of its parts. This is something we’ll come to later. Thankfully there is a worthy winner of this, Okabe Rintarou of Steins;Gate.
The quirky, melodramatic, self-proclaimed genius carries an air around him without even meaning to (or at least without it being recognised by others), leading a piece that thrives because of its interesting and mysterious character set. Okabe, who starts of as arrogant but develops into a really heartfelt and selfless person, appears to evolve in a way no that I don’t think I’ve seen any other male character do so far in anime, something that can be said about the whole anime.
Attack on Titan’s Eren Jager is very unlucky to not win this award, being pipped at the post almost simply for the fact that Okabe is a consistently strong lead, perhaps more consistently leading his piece than Eren does. Another notable mention is Mikado from Durarara, who also develops nicely as a character but sometimes lacks entertainment value in an entertainment-based anime.
Best Female Supporting Character – TIE – Mikasa Ackerman: Attack on Titan & Celty Sturluson: Durarara!!
Unlike for female lead, this is an extremely hard choice with a wealth of excellent contenders. I was stuck between two particular characters, going back and forth between them like rapid-fire before getting a headache and giving up. Instead, I’m giving it to them both! Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan, and Celty Sturluson from Durarara!!
Mikasa is an excellent character, and almost takes a lead role without ever physically doing so. An incredibly powerful and sought-after girl hardened and subdued by her experiences as a child, she is compelled to follow and protect childhood friend and saviour Eren wherever he goes, to the point of joining (and excelling in) the army just to watch over him. She keeps an air of mystery about her throughout, particularly on whether her blinding loyalty to Eren contains any sense of love, something she frequently appears to be incapable of showing. She would have completely won this outright, if it wasn’t for the fact that what we’re seeing as mysteries could actually just be lack of personality. That’s highly unlikely, but the jury is still out until AoT Season 2.
Same as Mikasa, Celty is a character that is the centrepiece of Durarara without ever becoming the lead, in fact there’s probably people that would argue she is the lead in sorts. A sense of mystery surrounds her at the start, but what makes her so good (and Durarara in general) is how they’ve integrated this mysterious and powerful monster into a normal way of life. She has feelings and desires, and lives happily with underground doctor Shinra, and that makes her a really interesting and unique character without which the series just wouldn’t be the same.
There are many other characters that could have won this. A notable mention goes to Shiro of Deadman Wonderland, who was really entertaining to watch, and also to Touka and Kurisu from Tokyo Ghoul and Steins;Gate respectively, who both play strong women who become really interesting anti’s for the male leads.
Best Male Supporting Character – Mephisto Pheles
In what felt like a very basic show, Mephisto was one of the only positives that came out from it. A really vibrant character than enjoys the chaos that unfolds, he was really entertaining whenever he was on the screen, particularly because you’re never sure if he should be treated as a good or bad guy, treading the line beautifully throughout.
Note: the name is simply Mephistopheles (a demon from German folklore) with a space to create two names. It’s not important, I just thought it was a pretty neat way to create a character’s name!
Another notable mention in this category is Durarara’s Izaya Orihara, a character who shares a lot of similarities to Mephisto, and also Tokyo Ghoul’s Juuzou Suzuya, who started off looking truly menacing before tailing off.
Best Character Set – Akame Ga Kill
This goes to the anime with the best characters throughout, not just the main five or six.
Because these two were so close in ‘Coolest Anime’, I felt that I would give this to Akame Ga Kill. The characters as individuals are not that spectacular, but the array of weapons and fighting styles that individualise each and every character make this the really good anime that it is. Also, the way that Akame uses colour to clearly differentiate the characters is something that sounds so simple, but the way Akame fully commits to it is inspired.
There’s a lot of good character sets in this list. Durarara could have easily won this award, whereas RWBY (for the same reasons as Akame) and Steins;Gate (for its chemistry and relationships) also deserve individual mentions.
Best Fight Scenes in an Anime – Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
There’s been a lot of incredible fighting-based anime’s so far, and this is not an easy choice. I think, purely for the speed at which the fights take place, this ward will go to Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.
This was one of the first anime reviewed on The Culture Cove, and the incredible speed, detail on the drawings and the mass of colours were breath-taking. While Fate may not necessarily have the incredible array of fighting styles that some of its competitors have, but it still has a solid selection that keeps the fighting fresh and non-repetitive throughout.
Akame Ga Kill can feel unlucky to not have won this, but I just felt the way the fight scenes are drawn looks better in UBWs. Another notable mention is Tokyo Ghoul, who also has incredible fight scenes using an array of different characters.
Best Drawn Anime – Attack on Titan
Now this has probably been the trickiest of all the awards to decide. There’s so many different drawing styles here, from the soft style of SAO, the dreary style of Steins;Gate and the dark and bloody style of Tokyo Ghoul, all good styles that work with their story. It could have gone to any of these on another day, but I personally think the best drawn here is Attack on Titan!
Variety is the spice of life, and while Aot never wavers in its style, it is a style that captures the best of all these worlds. It is bright and colourful, but at the same time it is not scared of blood and disgusting moments and portrays everything with immense detail and artistic flair.
Best Story – Durarara!!
Comfortably one of the most well-told stories I’ve ever seen, Durarara intertwines individuals and individual stories and how they connect to the whole in a way I would never have thought was impossible! It is a completely unique (in this list anyway) and spellbinding story, and I can’t see anybody being able to top what they’ve achieved with Durarara!!
There are a lot of good stories in this list. Attack on Titan ran a close second for the way it keeps hold of information until the last moment, whereas Tokyo Ghoul and Steins;Gate also have stories that develop really well. However, none of these were ever going to beat Durarara!!
Potential Hollywood Success – Tokyo Ghoul
I’ve said this since the moment I saw it, Tokyo Ghoul could definitely make it for a western audience. And I don’t mean just being an anime success, I mean big-money, Game of Thrones style hit. Of course, it probably couldn’t be called Tokyo Ghoul unless they went to Tokyo to film it, but a remake for a western audience with western actors but keeping the same basic storyline, I honestly believe that would be a huge success.
Other potential successes include Durarara (it’s almost a super-powered soap opera) and – at a stretch – Steins;Gate (a more serious version of The Big Bang Theory).
Best 12/13 Episode Series
I’ve given this a separate award because it is a different challenge to the more common 24 episode series. You have to set the scene, develop characters and construct then execute a story within half the time of a ‘normal’ length series! That takes a skill that isn’t necessarily used as much for more big-time anime producers.
This one is a clear winner in my eyes – Tokyo Ghoul. A really intriguing and emotion-fuelled story about two groups of people who are horrified of each other, and the kid who is thrown from one side to the other. The way it sells the idea of the Ghouls being monsters, then tears that idea down in an instant is excellent, and is probably the best example of an opposing-sides story I’ve ever seen.
There was a few other really good 12 episode series here – Occult Academy was a better watch than I expected, and RWBY continues to grow and grow despite only having 12/13 mini-episode series’.
Regardless of what I’ve said about these shows in the reviews, these are all good anime series. If they weren’t I wouldn’t have seen them the whole way through (except for TG Root A, that wasn’t good). That makes this choice very tricky. Or does it? It was the first one reviewed, set our anime-train into motion and I to blame for me having watched all of these shows! The Culture Cove’s Best Anime goes to Attack on Titan.
An incredible story that could only be told through Japanese Animation, it ticks every box you could ask for. A passionate lead who doesn’t know hold to control himself, with compelling sidekicks who are more than interesting enough to stand on their own. It has probably the coolest and deadliest of enemies, an enemy that evolves at the series goes on. The story, even though it has many episodes, moves at an incredible speed that keeps you glued to the screen with a mix of really solid action scenes separated by really good character development.
This has been a truly incredible series, which makes the idea of a potential season two by the end of 2016 even more exciting.
There were many possible winners for this award, but in the end it became a two horse race between this and Durarara, which is an amazing series in itself.
We’ve actually ranked all 15 anime reviewed and considered here for these awards. To check out the list from 15 down to Attack on Titan, plus other fun and games, make sure you FOLLOW US ON OUR BRAND NEW INSTAGRAM @culturecoveblog!
And that was that, the first 15 animated series I ever watched! We’re far from done here, though, and in the next Anime Pocket Review’s you’ll see two series that could seriously challenge Durarara and Attack on Titan in the race for Best Anime at our 30 Anime Review (if I’m still breathing when I get there)!
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