Tuesday, November 10, 2015

best of 2015: random edition, part 2

And now it's time for part 2!  A few notes before I begin:

  • Not everything here was first released in 2015, but that's when I played/read/watched them.
  • I used to provide pictures, but it was such a formatting nightmare that I've discontinued the practice.  Sorry, but I need hair on my head and not ripped out and thrown on the floor.
  • In years past, manga and graphic novels received their own entry, but there were so few contenders this year that I've put them here instead.
  • As ever, your mileage may vary.

1. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0: 7th grader Mirai is unhappy when her mother makes her take her little brother Yuuki to a robot exhibit.  While they're there, a gigantic earthquake hits (no prizes for guessing the magnitude), and they have to try to find their way home again.  Along the way, they meet Mari, a young widow who takes them under her wing.  It's beautifully animated and genuinely moving, but be warned that it will punch you in the gut more than once.  (Free on Hulu; also available on DVD)

2. My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy: In this anime (also known as NouCome, a shortened version of its Japanese title), Kanade Amakusa is a normal high school boy except for one thing: he's been cursed with something called Absolute Choice, which forces him to make snap decisions, usually between two really embarrassing things.  (Example: when he finds a porno mag in a playground, he has to either eat some of the pages or start smelling it while making appreciative noises.  Oh yeah, and there are kids present.)  If he doesn't make a decision, he gets a severe migraine that lasts until he finally makes a selection.  It's like the anime version of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, only with crude jokes and lots of fanservice, and it's really funny.  Props for being the only harem anime where I could actually see why the girls were all so crazy for the hero; he's not only good looking, but he frequently makes choices that are bad for him to benefit others.   (Free on Hulu; also available on DVD)

3. The Order: 1886: When Victorian England comes under attack by forces both human and supernatural, an elite group of knights comes to the rescue.  Some of the most breathtaking graphics I've ever seen, combined with good voice acting and some fun fights, made me glad this underappreciated gem didn't fly under my radar.  Bonus points for full frontal male nudity, although none of the dongs in question belonged to Lafayette, the suave Frenchman who stole my heart. (PS4 exclusive)

4. Until Dawn: One year after a tragic incident, a group of friends meets up at an isolated mountain lodge, but they're not alone.  I reviewed Until Dawn in my September media update if you'd like a more detailed review, but for now I'll just say this was by FAR my favorite video game of the year. (PS4 exclusive)

5. Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine:  By turns heartbreaking and funny, this collection of short stories in graphic novel format is a must.  Most pictures are worth a thousand words; Tomine's drawings are worth ten thousand.