A couple times a month, the Fandom Post community suggests and votes on a new top five list about something in anime, most often from the current season. It’s our way of highlighting something fun or interesting or strange—or even meaningful—about what’s airing now, or about anime in general.
Last year is distant memory, only two weeks into the new year and dozens of new Winter 2016 anime shows demanding all the attention. As we dive headlong into them we offer one last look back at the year before, with five scenes that we remember most from 2015. That two of them are from the Winter season of a year ago provides a good reminder that the entire calendar year is worth recalling, that every season offers something worth holding onto—even the one we’re in now. Or we hope so.
Here are five scenes, from five different shows, that we could not forget. And that may stick with us for some time to come. (Notice: while we try to be circumspect as possible about spoilers for any of these shows, some may be unavoidable given where certain of these scenes occur in their shows.)
#5: Non Non Biyori Repeat, episode 4: Renge’s Picture Diary
Episode four of Non Non Biyori Repeat is a Day in the Life of Renge. This day is where the six-year-old first-grader first learns about growing up, and all the mystery, mischief, adventure, and heartbreak that entails. Of several set pieces in the episode, the most touching involves the picture diary she uses to record her care for the class pets: a tank of pond shrimp. This is in fact a few brief scenes all tied up in one story arc. Renge isn’t yet able to express her emotions with her older friends, but she’s a gifted artist, and the diary does the expressing for her. First with the joy and wonder of watching and feeding these small creatures, then with the anguish of losing them, then, finally, with the renewed joy of discovering how they return. Learning abut life and death through Renge’s eyes is not soon forgotten.
#4: Your Lie in April, episode 22: Kaori’s Letter
Kaori’s letter is one of those things that reveals and solves the mystery of a story, and also explains what its characters and themes have meant all this time. It is also impossible to explain exactly what this letter is about, or what it means, without explaining the entire show before it. At its simplest, it’s about Kaori, a violinist, and Kousei, a pianist with a troubled upbringing, and what he means to her and what she can mean to him. Her letter solves certain things as it answers others, and the circumstances of its reading also makes everything Kousei and especially Kaori have done emotionally, and memorably, satisfying. The scene summarizes and re-characterizes the entire show, explaining as much Kaori’s behavior as it does the title. And at the same time it makes everything Kousei has been shown to go through worthwhile, setting up an ending that makes the audience’s roller coaster experience worthwhile, as well.
#3: Overlord, episode 9: Clementine’s Fight and Fate
Clementine earned accolades as one of the most memorable villains of 2015 in quick but surprising fashion. She first appeared as a mindless grinning figure in the shadows, almost more cartoonish than menacing. But in a two-episode story line she asserted herself with swift and terrible actions that managed to pivot the entire show of Overlord in a more serious direction by expressing how far it was willing to go. Her murders of the hero’s new and brief companions in this world was unexpected and tragic enough that the then predictable fate for her as Momonga takes his revenge was, in rare execution, irresistible to anticipate and watch. For Momonga is more powerful than anyone else so far in this world, including the seemingly invincible assassin, Clementine, and this was a cat playing with a mouse. Yet how she is dispatched in the end proved to be perhaps the most memorable, if even uncomfortable, part, trumping the viciousness Clementine had shown her own victims.
#2: Shimoneta, episode 5: Anna Presents Her Cookies
Shimoneta has several memorable characters, but Anna, of course, takes the cake. Or the cookie(s), in this case. Four episodes are spent establishing that the prudish, naive, and martial student council president, Anna Nishikinomiya, is in love with new council member (and reluctant SOX recruit), Tanukichi Okuma. But he and we the audience can see, as she chases him and several times nearly assaults him, that she’s more in lust with him, as a blossoming adolescent girl who has not been informed at all what any of her physical feelings or functions actually mean. To which end she misinterprets one reaction in particular—we’ll let you guess which one—as “Love Juice.” In the fifth episode this results in her taking her “love” to the next level, by using its physical manifestation as an actual baking ingredient. Okuma does find the taste weird but familiar, and Anna’s innocent declaration of what that taste is from makes this the most audacious, and guiltily pleasurable, scene of the year. Or the decade?
#1: Shirobako, episode 23: Aoi’s Emotional Reaction
There are two critical and story-capping scenes in episode 23 of Shirobako. Aoi’s is second, and its finale, but both mean what they do because of the full 22 episodes that lie behind. These are arcs that are established in the very beginning, with their themes most of all, and they are reformed and revisited and turned around so many times and in so many different circumstances that by this penultimate episode one is so caught up in everything else that has happened that it’s forgotten that these two stories and themes are, in many respects, what it’s all about. They are also revealed as something intertwined and perhaps not as memorable without them complimenting each other. Aoi, our central hero, but one of five former high school friends making it in the anime industry, each in a different discipline, is in fact not the chief subject of this scene—but her reaction in it defines it, while also providing the perfect catharsis for the audience. (The image above is not it, by the way, but it comes just before. It’s for the viewer to discover, but to understand why it’s our most memorable scene of 2015 one has to start from the beginning…)
And that’s Most Memorable Scene of 2015. Join us next time for 2016 Predictions. To have a say in what makes it on that list, and the next list after that, check out the forum thread, read up on the rules, and join the Fandom Post Anime List Project today!