The Five Best Anime Of 2015

The Five Best Anime Of 2015

There have been more than a few great anime this past these past few seasons. But now, as the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back one last time and pick the five best anime series of 2015.

First, some rules:

1) The series must have finished its run in 2015. This means that shows still airing like Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans are not eligible, but 26-episode anime that started in fall 2014 are.

2) Movies, TV specials, and OVAs don’t count. (Though movies will get their own little section below.)

So without further ado, here are the five best anime of 2015 in alphabetical order.

Death Parade

Out there somewhere is a mysterious bar. Inside, we see a scene play out over and over again in which two people must play a randomly selected game — pool, darts, bowling, or even video games. The two are led to believe that the winner will leave and the other will die. However, the truth is far darker: They are both already dead. The games are built to draw out the worst in human nature while the bartender judges the worthiness of both players’ souls. Those judged worthy find themselves reincarnated. The unworthy, on the other hand, are banished to an endless void forever.

Death Parade uses this premise to explore the nature of the human soul. Each episode, two new people enter the bar and, through the games, we learn about their lives and who they truly are. The main characters, on the other hand, are the bartenders. Through them the whole concept of judgment is brought into question as some begin to worry about the moral responsibilities of what they do — and if they have any right to judge human beings at all. It is a fantastic supernatural morality play.

Watch on: AnimeLab

Gatchaman Crowds Insight

When you think about Gatchaman — or its Western localisation Battle of the Planets — you probably think of a team of superheroes fighting alien monsters. But while it has that same basic setting, Gatchaman Crowds Insight (direct sequel to 2013’s Gatchaman Crowds) is about something far different: taking those same superheroes and putting them in a world in the midst of a sweeping, social revolution.

At its core, Gatchaman Crowds Insight is a critique of our modern society — from a look at democracy and political apathy to the eternal battle between individual opinions and the mob mentality of society in the digital age. All this is tied together through a great cast of characters who, while split on most topics the anime brings up, are nonetheless good people only trying to do what’s right. In other words, it’s far deeper than your standard superhero anime.

Watch on: Crunchyroll

My Love Story!

So many romantic comedies are will-they-won’t-they plots, stretched out for a dozen or more episodes. My Love Story! is the exact opposite: It is not the story of how the two got together (though that is shown), but rather is the story of their relationship after they do. Together, the new couple has to deal with everything from their own personal inadequacies to misunderstandings to problems with communication — often with a large helping of cute comedy to go along with it.

But more than anything, My Love Story! is an anime that just feels good to watch. There are no villains — just good people trying to do right by themselves or their friends and sometimes messing up. It shows that while life is full of problems, it’s always better with your loved ones by your side. It’s the one anime this year that can bring a smile to my face just by thinking about it.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, AnimeLab

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Too!

With a title like “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Too!,” you would be forgiven for expecting a romantic comedy. Instead, it provides the most realistic look at high school life I have seen in an anime. Rather than being a tale filled with romantic nostalgia for bygone high school days, this anime tries to portray youth’s chaotic mental landscape as one stands on the edge of adulthood.

In this sequel to 2013’s My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, drama is constant and plentiful in this story of three teens realising the superficiality of their high school relationships and longing for something more. Yet at the same time, each must try to discover who exactly they are on the inside as each battles against his or her own worst tendencies. While at times painful to watch — if you, like me, identify with the characters thanks to your own real-life experiences — it successfully captures high school life with its multi-layered plot and emotional core.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, AnimeLab

Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist

Shimoneta is set in a world where anything deemed “perverse” is illegal. The result is a Japan where a generation of teens don’t even know what sex is — all they know is that it is bad. Of course, this also means they wouldn’t know that something was perverted even if it appeared right in front of them. It is exactly as hilarious as it sounds.

The anime follows a group of “sexual terrorists” — that is, a group of teens who like to tell dirty puns and hand out dirty pictures to educate their fellow students. The series is a stream of perverted jokes and over-the-top sexual situations — made even funnier by the fact that many of the participants don’t even understand the joke. All in all, it is an excellent satire that takes the banning of sexual content to its most radical extremes. As I said in the review proper, “you’ll either be completely disgusted or rolling on the floor with laughter.”

Watch on: AnimeLab

Bonus List #1: The Five Best Anime Movies of 2015

If you are more interested in anime feature films, here are Kotaku‘s picks for the best five to hit Japanese theatres this year.

(Click the links for the full reviews.)

Empire of Corpses
Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade
Anthem of the Heart
The Boy and the Beast

Bonus List #2: The Five Anime That Should Have Been Recommended

Midway through each anime season, I recommend five anime that are worth watching. Of course, sometimes great anime slip beneath my radar or don’t become truly great until further along in the season. So while these anime didn’t make their respective season’s list for one of the reasons above, they probably should have.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

A group of child soldier mercenaries are hired by a princess of Mars to protect her on a mission to Earth where she hopes to gain allies for Martian independence. While the mission seems impossible, the kids have a secret weapon: a legendary mobile suit from a war long ago known as a “Gundam” and a single teen capable of piloting it.

Watch on:, Daisuki, Crunchyroll, AnimeLab

The Perfect Insider

On an island research lab, a world-famous computer programmer is murdered in a room that no one has entered or left in 15 years. What follows is a psychological and philosophical mystery where the only way to solve the case is to understand the complex mindset of the victim.

Watch on: Crunchyroll

School Live!

The easiest way to describe this one is “cute girls doing cute things in the zombie apocalypse”. What makes it great is how the insanity of trying to live a normal school life in this crisis situation actually helps them stay sane.

Watch on: Crunchyroll

Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches

One day, a boy and a girl find out that when they kiss, they can swap bodies. What follows is a supernatural rom-com filled with literal magic and romantic protagonists that are easy to root for.

Watch on: Crunchyroll

Yurikuma Arashi

Imagine if Attack on Titan was about humanity hiding behind a giant wall so as to be safe from man-eating teddy bears instead of giants — and was a metaphor for lesbianism in Japan. Wait. You don’t have to. It’s called Yurikuma Arashi.

Watch on: AnimeLab

Well, there you have it: the best anime series and films of 2015 as well as a few anime series that are finally getting their well-deserved recommendations. For all of our Kotaku anime reviews, click here.


  • WTF with all these lists not having One Punch Man? Are all the writers hipsters and One Punch is too mainstream? or maybe it didn’t have enough waifu material?

  • Commenting to Wun Puwnnchhh bangwagon. Either Richard hasn’t cracked and watched it yet, or he hates anime. They are the only two options that exist in this reality.

  • I, like many of my illustrious commentator colleagues, must solemnly disagree with your list. Shokugeki no Soma, One Punch Man, Fate/Stay Night (though admittedly that was partly a 2014 anime), Noragami and Nisekoi’s second seasons – all such terrible oversights. Though the most galling is the omission of One Punch Man, arguably the biggest new anime to break into the publics consciousness. If you’d said it was your opinion that would be one thing, but too many great shows have been left out for this to be considered a definitive list of the greatest anime 2015 had to offer.

  • Why is One Punch Man getting snubbed left and right? It’s fucking incredible! God knows how they took such an overpowered, almost Mary Sue-like character and turned him into a character worthy of the watcher’s sympathy.

    Though, the anime here are great in their own right, I’ll give them that.

  • I love One punch man, i haven’t been this excited to watch a show since DBZ when i was a kid.

    To the other posters, there’s a bit of text you must have missed,

    The series must have finished its run in 2015. This means that shows still airing like Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans are not eligible, but 26-episode anime that started in fall 2014 are

    One Punch man hasn’t finished yet…. so you do the math lol

        • i know, as a reader of the Manga, i felt the same.
          but then when i stepped back and had a look i realised it was a logical place to end first season.

    • It’s finished, we aren’t getting anymore unless it gets a second season pick up down the line somewhere.

        • I’m happy to admit my mistake if you can point to a source for me, everything I had read at that point suggested that although the creator was keen for a second season it not only hadn’t been picked up but there wasn’t enough manga to adapt yet.

          Looking it up again and I certainly can’t see any confirmations at a glance.

          • It’s a “yes, but don’t hold your breathe” thing… as for adaptable manga, when has that ever stopped anyone?

          • My first comment was pretty much a don’t hold your breath comment.

            Also even if the creator wants to do it that means very little until someone with money says he can. You’re definitely skipping a few steps that it could fall down on.

  • @kotakuinternational can someone explain why One Punch Man DOESNT get any love from this site? are you all anime snobs? is it ACTUALLY bad from a technical point of view? has it offended all you dumbasses somehow?

    please explain.

    • It’s just this one guy that seems to write ALL the anime lists so if he doesn’t like something or whatever (for example; cowboy bebop, from the more overall lists) than its excluded.

    • One reason is that it’s a pain in the ass to watch it legit in the US. Only streaming on Daisuki which is kind of awful quality.

      Really Australia is a bit spoiled since Animelab has the majority of the simulcasts each season now. I moved to the states in November and I’m now split over three services (Crunchyroll, Funimation, Daisuki) to get what was on just Animelab.

      • ooooh, didnt even know about anime lab. Thanks, have just made an account, and android support which is perfect for me.

      • Are you serious Australia is spoilt? Sure we get AnimeLab but it’s no use when the Internet speeds are useless!

    • The thing about having a list of five is having to skip some shows. One Punch man is good, but I there were just so many other great shows this year and they happened to come out on top.

  • I feel like I’m the only person that actually like Kantai Collection. I never hear anybody talking about it.

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