Summer 2015 Spotlight: Surprise of the Season

This season turned out to have surprisingly many enjoyable shows. I think I said the same thing last season, referring of course to the unusually stacked Winter 2015 season, but it seems that I never learn when it comes to predicting which shows I end up liking. That’s a problem I’ve been having at least since the Summer 2013 season. But it does mean that I usually end up being surprised by at least one show each season.

And this season is no exception. For instance, while I really wanted to like Classroom Crisis, and I hoped it would be good, I wasn’t actually expecting much out of it. It betrayed that expectation by being genuinely entertaining in a way that is fairly new to me: Non-action science fiction. And while it’s not my favourite show of the season, I still look forward to watching it every week. Another big surprise was Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai, or Shimoseka for short. Shimoseka was so off my radar that I didn’t even initially plan on watching it. I did find the first episode quite funny, but I didn’t expect that to last. To my surprise, it did. The show continues to be hilariously absurd. Were it not for the special circumstances surrounding the winning show, I’d probably pick Shimoseka as my biggest surprise of the season.

 

Surprise of the Season: Ushio to Tora

In my season preview post I said several things about this show. I thought it seemed like it was going to be pretty sweet. As vague as that statement is, I can confidently say that yes, I do think it ended up being pretty sweet. Ditto for the animation by Studio MAPPA(and Voln, who are new to me), which was surprise number one. I expected Ushio to Tora to look crisp and refined, but I didn’t expect it to look so unique. The characters with their thick outlines look very distinctive, especially compared to more modern designs.

Ushio sur 01

I also commented that I really wanted this to be better than Parasyte. But considering the fact that Parasyte is seinen and Ushio to Tora is shounen, and I tend to prefer shows for the former demographic, I was not hopeful. I also failed to see what was so “90s” about Parasyte, so I was expecting to be disappointed on that front as well. To my surprise, however, Ushio to Tora somehow managed to both be more “90s” than Parasyte and less boring than Parasyte. Not only is it less boring, it reminds me a lot of Natsume Yuujinchou in terms of the story. I managed to sit through 4 cours of that, so I’m sure I can sit through 3 cours of Ushio to Tora.

At this point I really need to stress the point about me not usually liking shounens, and particularly not ones with a ton of episodes. For instance, I doubt I’ll be able to sit through 100 episodes of Dragon Ball Super, but for some reason Ushio to Tora just doesn’t feel like one of those shows. And that’s the biggest surprise of all.

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