Winter 2015 Episode Rankings – Week 12

This week was a game changer… high ratings for Yuri Kuma Arashi and Yoru no Yatterman, plus a Top 5 debut for Junketsu no Maria! Disappointing endings from other shows weren’t the only reason they shot up, but I’ve already committed to discussing the shows that finished this week, which they didn’t. Take my word for it that they were good this week, or better still, watch them if you aren’t already! 😛

Since nine series finished this week, I’ll cover them all, in no particular order – should go without saying in every post, but stop reading after the rankings list if you want to avoid spoilers! And as usual for an end of season post, a final rankings list based solely on average rankings will also be included at the end.

It is impossible to capture Shizuo's badassery this week in a single screenshot.

It is impossible to capture Shizuo’s badassery this week in a single screenshot.

1 – Durarara!!x2 Shou ep 12 (↑ 1)

2 – Parasyte -the maxim- ep 24 (↑ 3)

3 – Nanatsu no Taizai ep 23 

4 – Junketsu no Maria ep 11 (↑ 4)

5 – Death Parade ep 12 (↓ 1)

6 – Yoru no Yatterman ep 11 (↑ 10)

7 – Yuri Kuma Arashi ep 11 (↑ 7)

8 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders S2 ep 12 (↓ 7)

9 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu ep 11 (↑ 4)

10 – Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! ep 12 (↑ 8)

11 – Aldnoah Zero S2 ep 12 

12 – Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road ep 23

13 – Shirobako ep 24 (↓ 7)

14 – Rolling Girls ep 12 (↓ 4)

15 – Tokyo Ghoul √A ep 12 (↓ 8)

16 – Akatsuki no Yona ep 24 (↓ 7)

17 – The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls ep 11 

18 – Tribe Cool Crew ep 23 (↓ 3)

A non-maniacally-smiling Juuzou is just the saddest thing ever.

A non-maniacally-smiling Juuzou is just the saddest thing ever.

I’ll start at the top, which for most of the season has been Durarara!!x2 Shou. This season finale was eventful even by the show’s usual standards, yet STILL managed to avoid feeling rushed. Shizuo vs Varona was a highlight of the first half, which also saw Anri’s Flame Haze Saika power revealed to Kadota’s group and anyone else watching. Later, we saw Mikado lose heart at the fact that he’s just not as awesome as some of Ikebukuro’s other inhabitants – something that may change now that he’s leading the Blue Squares. And then, there was that cliffhanger ending… things were going too well for Izaya, so it’s nice to see he’s not infallible! Needless to say, I’m ridiculously excited for Durarara!!’s continuation in the summer!

This time two seasons ago, it was Tokyo Ghoul that took the top spot. Unfortuantely, Tokyo Ghoul √A hasn’t fared so well. The episode itself was alright, but I felt that having it focus almost entirely on Kaneki after spending most of the series NOT focusing on him was a bit weird. Not knowing whether several major characters actually died or not left me wanting further closure. On the more positive side, the episode had great animation, and the first series’ OP theme was put to great use. Overall, the series felt rushed and lacking in direction, and the more I look back at earlier episodes, the more unresolved plot lines I’ll probably find.

The Third Aerial Girls Squad team, plus two mascots. Also the reason I still can't remember most of the character names in this series.

The Third Aerial Girls Squad production team (plus two mascots). Also the reason I still can’t remember most of the character names in this series.

Aldnoah Zero S2 was another underwhelming continuation of a Summer show I liked a lot. I feel it all just boils down to the fact I preferred it when it was Mars vs Earth, as opposed to Slaine vs Inaho. But despite my negative thoughts on the second half as a whole, this final episode wasn’t bad. It had plenty of well animated mech battles, with the brilliant soundtrack accompanying them, and that’s what I’ve always liked the most about A/Z. Ironically, the showdown between Slaine and Inaho was the highlight for me. The conclusion showed only brief glimpses of what happened to the side characters and Earth/Mars after it was all over, with the focus largely on our main duo once again, but some shows don’t even provide that much.

This is where I contradict myself by rating a series which gave plenty of focus to its extended cast in its final moments lower than A/Z, because it had less action and character deaths. I don’t know! 😛 In Shirobako this week, the crew finally finished work on their own anime series, and there was a mad rush to deliver the tapes to all the TV studios – an excuse for one final 3D-animated car race with ridiculous drifts! And after all of them were delivered safely, the staff could finally party. Aoi delivered a great speech, and after the ending theme, the former animation club members discussed how much closer they now were to realising their dreams of working together to produce Seven Lucky Warriors. A fantastic and educational series. 🙂

Wombat was apparently protecting the inhabitants of Earth for ethical reasons. Great job with Tawarayama-sensei!

Wombat was apparently protecting the inhabitants of Earth for ethical reasons. Great job with Tawarayama-sensei!

My worries last week about the ending of Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! didn’t come to pass. In fact, the ending was about as perfect as it ever could have been, and would be much higher rated if I didn’t prefer plot to comedy so much. Turns out that the Earth Defence and Conquest clubs were both part of an intergalactic reality TV show, with Hireashi directing! After defeating a possessed Gora (who was a first-generation Battle Lover himself!), the former adversaries teamed up against the masterminds, defeating them and getting the show cancelled. Definitely my kind of humour. 😀

Rolling Girls‘ finale was also a lot of fun. Either the story didn’t make a whole lot of sense, or I just lost track of what was going on somewhere along the way, but that didn’t stop the series from being great highly entertaining from start to finish. A good combination of bright, stylish (if often simplistic) animation, amusing (if underdeveloped) characters, and some great music. And though I was sad to see Chiaya leave at the end, I know I’d be complaining about clichés if she’d stayed. I’m impossible to please. 😛 Despite its flaws, I still feel that Rolling Girls is somewhat underrated, and I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind when series don’t take themselves seriously.

Such pretty art!

Such pretty art!

Despite my low ranking of its final episode, Akatsuki no Yona is one of the shows I’m most desperate to see continued in a sequel (excluding Durarara!! which is already confirmed, and maybe Nanatsu no Taizai). Introducing new characters in the final episode usually isn’t the best of ideas, and though the stupidity of how easily Zeno joined the party was amusing, there just wasn’t enough time for me to get to know his character. Now that the dragons are together, rather than face Soo-Won head on, Yona decides to form a Robin Hood type group, travelling the country and tackling injustice… and I want to see that! Leaving a story so unfinished is only acceptable if it ends on a cliffhanger… or is that just my weird tastes again? :/

Death Parade topped my rankings back in Week 1, and barely left my Top 5 all season. A touching end to the story of Decim and the character we now know to be called Chiyuki, which affected me far more strongly than Tokyo Ghoul’s. Decim is now far from an emotionless dummy, and by the looks of things Nona has managed to convince Oculus to leave him as he is for now – I was worried Oculus would end up turning into some generic villain to be deposed, so I’m happy with this turn of events! I liked the setting of this series, and the fact that there’s still so much about this afterlife and the arbitrators that inhabit it that was left a mystery.

That smile, though. :razz:

That smile, though. 😛

And finally, we have Parasyte -the maxim-. An odd change of pace from earlier episodes, as the remaining parasites learn to keep a low profile, becoming indistinguishable from other humans, allowing Shinichi some peace and quiet at last! Though unfortunately, Migi too goes into hibernation due to the effects of being part of Gotou’s body for a short while. Shinichi then gave a good monologue about humans, parasites, animals, and how we can’t hope to understand each other, but should at least respect each other. And to provide a bit more excitement, Uragami resurfaced to kidnap Murano – thankfully, Migi was able to save her where human limbs alone wouldn’t have sufficed. 🙂 A well-balanced ending to a strong anime!

Migi finally understands the way humans think - though my heart only has time for anime.

Migi finally understands the way humans think – though my heart only has time for anime.

With these final episodes out of the way, here are the average rankings throughout the season (or half-season, in the case of those I added later on):

1 – Durarara!!x2 Shou 

2 – Parasyte -the maxim- 

3 – Nanatsu no Taizai

4 – Death Parade

5 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders S2

6 – Shirobako

7 – Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road 

8 – Tokyo Ghoul √A 

9 – Junketsu no Maria 

10 – Rolling Girls 

11 – Akatsuki no Yona 

12 – Aldnoah Zero S2 

13 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 

14 – Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! 

15 – Yuri Kuma Arashi

16 – Yoru no Yatterman

17 – Tribe Cool Crew 

18 – The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

This time the average rankings were more or less as I expected, though I imagine Yoru no Yatterman would place a fair bit higher if I’d picked it up at the start of the season, as some of the earlier episodes were as good as this week’s. I’m glad that Yowamushi Pedal still did well, despite placing lower in recent weeks – my head sees the predictable sports/shounen tropes and slower pacing, but my heart loves the series in spite of it all. 😀 Nice to see Tribe Cool Crew not come last, too; I may use this season gap as an excuse not to continue with The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls, but I guess it’ll depend on how I feel at the time, and how strong the rest of Autumn’s lineup is. 🙂

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