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Friday, December 18, 2015

What Ended in 2015? What Began?:

Many good things 'continued' during 2015, but it was quite the transition year, because nothing really ended or began.  Climaxes were hard to find from start to finish.  Like how we've been in election fever all year but there still hasn't even been a single primary vote yet.  So rather than worry about all the transitioning things this year, which were legion, let's concentrate on the few exceptions that actually ended or began.

What ended in 2015?  And by this I don't mean 'was randomly discontinued.'  I mean it actually reached the end of the story and paid off all of its dividends and closed up shop with a job well done.

For manga, it includes these distinguished titles:

1.  Naruto
10.  Bakuman
28.  Working!
54.  Nichijou
72.  Ao Haru Ride
78.  Strobe Edge

However, Bakuman and Strobe Edge were just some extra special chapters, they actually ended earlier.  They're included in 2015 only on a technicality.  Nichijou ended in Japan, to be sure, but since it isn't being translated that doesn't help us in the west any.  The day we actually get to see the ending is either far away or never.  Working's ending is also invisible to us, but luckily the anime which comes out later this month will tell us the ending even though we never did get to see it in manga form.

Which means the only two satisfying manga conclusions that came this year were for Naruto and Ao Haru Ride.  Even then, Naruto is kind of an edge case, because it was just a sequel mini-series that ended this year.  The main series already ended last year.  Which means the only real satisfying conclusion to any manga that happened this year was Ao Haru Ride.  ::shakes head::  What a pitiful list we ended up with here.

For anime, it includes these distinguished titles, with the same rules that it must actually have reached its ending:

32.  Working!
38.  Love Live!
39.  The Idolm@ster
49.  Shirobako
54.  Girls und Panzer
144.  Ghost in the Shell
154.  Wake up, Girls!

Now let's eviscerate this list.  Working's anime final hasn't actually aired yet.  Shirobako really feels like it could use a sequel, as their anime careers have only just begun.  We haven't actually gotten to see the Girls und Panzer movie, it's only out in Japan.  The same is true of the Wake up, Girls! movies.  Ghost in the Shell really needs to end already, so hopefully this season put a stake in it.  There hasn't been anything interesting or new about this series in ages.  Though Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls ended, what do you want to bet they'll make a new anime season about their million live girls?  The previous season made tons of money so it would be silly not to keep on rolling.

Which means only Love Live! actually ended.  The anime is done, not because it couldn't continue if it had wanted to do so, but because the voice talent behind the show is no longer interested in making more Love Live!  The band is disbanding and going its separate ways, so the anime is no longer feasible even if it had wanted to continue.  As such, they had to wrap it up with the lovely super high selling movie and bid everyone goodbye.  It's a bittersweet ending, because we love these girls so much and want to keep on seeing their songs and dances forever.  However, odds are the Love Live Sunshine spinoff will get an anime of its own sooner or later and therefore it hasn't really ended.

What about light novels? 

3.  PapaKiki
10.  Haganai
14.  BakaTest
16.  Ro-Kyu-Bu!

Four great light novel series ended in Japan this year, but not a single one of them has been translated to its conclusion in America, so the news is meaningless to us.

For sports events, it's kind of awkward, because the college football championship and the super bowl are events that correspond to the previous year's regular seasons.  Nevertheless, we should give a shout out to the inaugural College Football Playoff Champion, Ohio State, and the super bowl winners, the Patriots, who won with a thrilling interception at the goal line in the last seconds against the Seahawks.

In addition, the USA won the women's world cup in a thrilling match against Japan for the first time in 16 years.  It's only women's soccer, but we have to take our wins where we can get them.

So much for endings.  At least, did something interesting start in 2015?

For manga, it includes these distinguished titles:

90.  Omoi, Omaware, Furi, Furare
99.  Ad Astra per Aspera

It's pretty bad when six good mangas end and they're only replaced by two newcomers, huh?  Omoi, Omaware is written by Io Sakisaka, the same author of the two manga that ended above, Strobe Edge and Ao Haru Ride.  In a sense, you could say 2015 was the year of Sakisaka.  I don't think anyone else has made as large an impact either starting or stopping.

For anime, it includes these distinguished titles:

84.  Hibike! Euphonium
127.  Joukamachi no Dandelion
141.  Kyoukai no Rinne
155.  Gate
156.  Sore ga Seiyuu!

Five  great anime debuts isn't bad for a year.  It certainly isn't comparable to 2014, but better than zero, right?  Kyoto Animation returns to greatness with Hibike! Euphonium.  Rumiko Takahashi and Hata Kenjirou are great as always with their new works.  Gate and Joukamachi no Dandelion were the big surprises of the year, these are sort of the 'two true newcomers' out of the five.  Joukamachi's filler ending sure ended this darling new series on a sour note, though.  Hopefully Gate will be better supported going into the future.

For sports, the regular college football 2015 season had a hell of a beginning, with the absolutely most exciting regular season of football of all time.  Arkansas' victory over Ole Miss.  Michigan State vs. Iowa.  The eight laterals of Miami vs. Duke.  Michigan State vs. Michigan.  Georgia Tech's victory over Florida State.  The number of amazing matches and crazy finishes is uncountable.  What a year.  And what a great ending, to have the undisputed four best teams in the country in the 4 team playoff.  It ended perfectly, just like it began.

So, all told, what were the real highlights of the year, without any asterisks?

8 good new starts.
2 satisfying endings.

For a grand total of 10 things to remember about 2015.  Ten things out of 365 days.  Yep.  The New Year needs to hurry along and sweep this ennui away with a nice fresh start.  Surely 2016 can do better than this.

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