Here is the final recap post for 2015; the anime I watched!
Started the year off rewatching a couple of films, the first being the third in the series of Puella Magi Madoka Magica films, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika the Movie Part 3: -Rebellion- (劇場版 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ 叛逆の物語). It was fun to rewatch this sequel to the original TV series/two recap movies and even more fun to watch my friends’ reactions to the mindscrew ending!
Image taken from my coverage of the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika the Movie Part 3: -Rebellion- premiere in Hollywood!
Next, I unexpectedly wound up rewatching the anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day The Movie (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。 めんまへの手紙 / A Letter to Menma). While I didn’t cry the first time I saw the film, there was enough distance from the last viewing that I was bawling my eyes out before it ended.
And, yes, I’m still pissed about those letters (which you can read about here) to this day. XP
I continued to revisit old acquaintances through a couple of OVAs, the first of which was the Highschool of the Dead (学園黙示録 HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD) OVA “Drifters of the Dead”. If you thought the main series, which is about highschoolers trying to survive a zombie outbreak, was chock full of fanservice, the OVA pushes it right to the edge of hentai. >/////< The whole thing is pretty much a fantasy/side story/beach episode with no real bearing on the plot. Despite its shortcomings, I actually enjoyed the TV series but since the original work is on an indefinite hiatus, this is prolly the last episode this show will ever release.
Photo of Saeko from the Highschool of the Dead photoshoot I did with Tora-rin.
To be honest, I don’t even remember the Kill la Kill (キルラキル) OVA, but I know I watched it, lol. It was about graduation and closing down the academy and one of the minor characters trying to exact revenge, but honestly I think that plot was the last element that went into creating this over-the-top final visit to Honnouji Academy.
After that, it was time to take the Wayback Machine way back to one of my very first anime, Project A-ko! I’d had the box set sitting on my shelf for literally years and finally decided it was time to crack it open. I’d enjoyed the first A-ko movie when I was younger but never really saw the rest of the entries in the series (save for an unsubbed A-ko 2 and maybe parts of A-ko 3 or A-ko 4).
Project A-ko (プロジェクトA子) came out in the mid-1980s and is a zany fantasy/sci-fi parody film that features tons of in-jokes and homages to other works. I hadn’t watched it a long while and I certainly didn’t know as much about anime then as I do now, so it was like watching it for the first time and it was great fun catching all the things I didn’t remember or notice previously!
The film focuses on three girls named, appropriately, A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko (“Girl A”, “Girl B”, and “Girl C”). A-ko and C-ko are besties but B-ko wants C-ko all to herself so she continually challenges A-ko to increasingly insane battles featuring increasingly insane mecha of her own design. Unfortunately for B-ko, A-ko is ridiculously strong (for reasons alluded to at the end of the film). They ultimately get caught up with aliens who are searching for their long-lost princess and (even more) mayhem ensues. The film features one of my favorite anime soundtracks, which was actually composed by two American musicians (Joey Carbone and Richie Zito) and has English-language songs.
The three sequels, unfortunately, are much weaker. Project A-ko 2: The Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group (プロジェクトA子2 大徳寺財閥の陰謀) is about B-ko’s father and the search for alien technology; Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody (プロジェクトA子3 シンデレララプソディ) features A-ko and B-ko fighting over a boy’s affections; and Project A-ko 4: FINAL (プロジェクトA子 完結篇) sees previously minor character Miss Ayumi (the girls’ teacher) preparing to get married.
The two OVAs, A-ko The VS (A-ko The ヴァーサス), alternatively called Project A-ko: Uncivil Wars or Project A-ko: Grey Side/Blue Side, were also made back in the day, when OVAs were more experimental and tended to be unrelated to the main stories they were offshoots of. In this alternate universe, bounty-hunting partners A-ko and B-ko attempt to save a kidnapped C-ko from space pirates with the help of a weird little alien named Maruten. It has none of the charm of the rest of the series and I wish they would’ve spent the money making an A-ko 5, lol.
I’ve never run across any A-ko cosplayers or even A-ko merchandise besides the English-translated DVDs and comics/graphic novels, so here is a picture from my Back to School sale (items listed in the post are still available, natch)!
I revisited the movie sequel to Tiger & Bunny, Tiger & Bunny The Movie -The Rising-, which still managed to get me in the feels.
Photo from the theatrical screening that you can read about here.
Following that was (finally) something new to me: Hanasaku Iroha (花咲くいろは) aka HanaIro. After picking it up at AX 2013‘s Charity Auction (still seriously wondering why they didn’t get Mari Okada to autograph it as well since she was there to promote it with P.A. Works producer Nobuhiro Kikuchi but that’s just par for the fail course for AX), it sat on my shelf for three years for no particular reason besides my working on Looking for Miku and prolly fear that Okada-sensei would fail to come through. As much as I wanted to like it, this coming-of-age tale of a girl working at her grandmother’s hot spring inn didn’t live up to my favorite Okada-written works (Toradora! and AnoHana).
Loot photo from coverage of Anime Expo 2013, Day 4.
Going back once more to something familiar, I decided to revisit Diebuster (Aim for the Top 2! / トップをねらえ 2!), the sequel to possibly my favorite anime OVA series of all time, Gunbuster. Why didn’t I just rewatch Gunbuster? I have no idea; I think I was just on a break-open-the-shrinkwrap kick, lol. I’d bought the ridiculously expensive single discs even though I’d been incredibly disappointed by the sequel, but having only seen it as a fansub I decided to give it another go with the official release. I’m happy to say that it made all the difference to my enjoyment of the alien invasion show, and I came to appreciate the connections to the original and the expansion of the universe. The included booklets and notes were also a nice extra.
Photo of Diebuster cosplayers from AX13.
Was happy to revisit some old friends on my anime feels trip and also glad to meet some new ones! Feel free to make your recommendations on what I should watch next in the comments below, and check out my Fan Page on Facebook as well as The Vault on Facebook for more of my adventures!