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Top 10 Sentai Filmworks Releases Of 2015

6 min read
Our look back at a decade of anime takes a look at what Sentai brought out in 2015 that was the best of the best.

This year of releases had a lot of things going on with it as Sentai was still releasing a lot of DVDs alongside the Blu-ray releases and the sets were still largely broken up into single-cour sets, which meant a lot of releases of the same title. Our top title of the year is one that I think had three sets out during the first few months, which was great to have. Others, we started to see shows that were streamed on other services like Netflix begin to find ways to license out the work. With a mix of old and new, 2015 was a strong year for anime from this distributor.

Rank Title
1 Space Brothers: When this series first started its simulcast, I laughed it off because of the title and figured it’d be a goofy single-cour series that I’d never remember. Instead, it became a 99-episode series with a feature film that is close to being the best series of the decade for me. With meticulous detail and design work and concepts focused on what it really would be like to work forward on the exploration of the moon and beyond, it follows the two brothers on very different paths and how it complements the larger storyline. It’s got some great animation, some really strong thinking episodes, and the time to make the characters far more engaging than one would imagine with their layers. And it has a pug. It’s the best of the best.
2 She, The Ultimate Weapon: Originally a short manga series that became an anime after it had finished, this series is one that sticks with you because of its emotional resonance and the way it gets you to feel the weight of war in a different way. I’m not making comparisons to Grave of the Fireflies but one could easily see them mentioned together when wanting to explore the cost of war, the weight of it on those that fight and those that don’t, and the impact on the world at large. It’s a haunting series that sadly, because of the time and way it was animated, won’t have a proper Blu-ray release in high definition. But it is a series that deserves to be on the shelf at every retailer and in many fans’ homes.
3 No Game, No Life: Very few series leave me frustrated by their lack of continuing but this is one that did, though it’s partially because of the visual design. The brother and sister team here dealing with an online gaming world where they’re basically like gods is fascinating to watch play out. We’ve had a few series like this before but the work, which is based on an ongoing novel series, delivered something that was more thoughtful and introspective than expected and explored some welcome philosophical angles that other contemporary shows tend to forget about. With gorgeous animation from Madhouse as well, it just became a really unique work.
4 Knights of Sidonia: With this being a Netflix show, its arrival on home video was welcome at the time as it again showed there were options to be had there. The property itself was one that was high on my interest list because I love stories that involved a long period of time and a very different kind of humanity some 1400 years into the future. The show struggled for some viewers because of the CG animation style for everything but it added to that otherworldliness that I loved about it and made it easier to delve into because of that kind of just under the surface friction it provided. Knights of Sidonia
5 Vampire Hunter D: Sometimes the classics are just the best. The license rescue of this original 1985 anime film was going back in time for me to my earliest days of being exposed to anime in the late 80s and early 90s. Though there are things that don’t hold up for modern fans, there’s a lot to love here and an immense amount of frustration. With almost thirty novels to the series by some powerhouse creative, we’ve only really had the two feature films and a whole lot of teasing about potential TV works. This is the kind of property that needs the same treatment that The Witcher got at Netflix but for both a live-action and anime version. Until then, this film presents us with our only window into the novels in animated form.
6 Unlimited Psychic Squad: While I struggled with the core series Zettai Karen Children that this sprung from, I really enjoyed this property. Taking place years later when the kids were older and not the silly children that we spent fifty issues with, this one focuses on our complex villain and his machinations with the PANDRA organization. It’s always interesting to see a show work with what’s mostly the bad guys and Manglobe went all in on the production to fantastic results. It’s not a show that got a lot of attention since the main series wasn’t one that clicked for many, but I love the striking differences between the two and the time seeing the kids as more confident older teenagers toward the end. Plus it’s rife with geopolitical subplots that deliver. The Unlimited Hyobu Kyosuke
7 Haikyu Season 1: I’ll admit, it took me longer to come around to Haikyu than some others, but I really enjoy the show. Sports series are things that I get into a lot of it well done – and not just the animation – and Haikyu hit it just right with good characters, solid storytelling, and more than just the sport itself even if it is the main focus. The property got a couple of different releases early on before things stabilized but it’s the kind of show that you hope keeps getting more seasons and you find yourself revisiting the first more than you do a lot of others. Haikyu
8 Diabolik Lovers: Controversial shows are my jam because it takes a hell of a lot for me to get offended, having been exposed to so many different lifestyles and walks of life over the years. This show just infuriated people across the board but as a fantasy story delving into some beautifully dark stuff involving the vampire types, it was pretty straightforward and even fell short in some ways of what it could have done. But it delivered for me a really good time, working its shorter episode running time really well, and has some delightfully disturbing moments that still make me grin. Diabolik Lovers
9 Muv-Luv Alternative: Alternate history science fiction is another area I love and the whole Muv-Luv world is just one big confusing mess to me because of how little has come over and how expansive it is across different mediums. This series was my first exposure to it and I really fell hard for it at the time with what it wanted to do, changing the path forward with an alien invasion in 1967 and causing humanity to retreat to smaller and smaller defendable areas. The focus on the group that can fight back with its diverse membership definitely hit a sweet spot as it was dark, grim, and unpredictable which made it a really strong weekly follow when it was simulcast but made for a great complete run. Muv Luv Alterntaive - Total Eclipse
10 Super Sonico: Making an anime of a mascot isn’t anything new but Super Sonico really went all-in on creating something neat with the “real-life” adventures of Sonico as she moves through her life, helps her friends, and finds her own way. It’s a very slice of life show that doesn’t always work for everyone but it had an absolutely beautiful visual design to it and it handled the fanservice in a way that played it up right but also felt very in-character and tied to the design of the story and the world she lived in. I won’t hold it up as the paragon of anime but I really found this show to be quite special when I saw it. Super Sonico
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