Another season has come to an end and as I do at the end of every season, I write a winners and losers blog to figure out who struck gold and those and who ended up striking out. This season has seen quite a huge facelift in the landscape of anime distribution, so that leads to me picking more winners and losers than usual. What they are, I will explain them in this blog.

WINNER: Crunchyroll
There's no doubt about this one as Crunchyroll has re-established its dominance in the simulcast industry after Funimation had cut into profit margins and threatened to become the go-to place. But now, Crunchyroll is ruling the industry with an iron fist with its big haul largely made possible with its exclusive partnership with Kadokawa to fatten their lineup.

Fuji TV was approached with a deal they couldn't refuse when Amazon stepped up wanting to get exclusive worldwide streaming rights to Noitamina shows. They pretty much have more than enough money to pay Wit to produce a second season of Kabaneri if they wanted to and Tetsuro Araki was up to the task. But in any case, Fuji TV got a huge payday with this deal and that leads them in the winners circle of the season.

WINNER: Amazon
By signing this exclusive deal for Noitamina properties, that means Amazon sees a huge boost in their membership seeing that up until now, Amazon Video was something nobody had much use for with Netflix and Hulu owning the streaming market. But now that they are going hard after content only they can stream means that Amazon is drawing in new subscribers. And they also introduced monthly subscriptions for video only and Prime to get money from those who don's have much use for the other perks Prime brings. Before than, nobody thought that Amazon streamed anime, but they made a big splash with this deal that came from out of nowhere.

LOSER: Our wallets
Things sure have changed over the course of time. It started off with Crunchyroll having most of the anime with Funimation having everything for free. Then Funimation got into the subscriber business and for a time everything could be watched through Crunchyroll or Funimation. But those days are long gone now that other streaming services are daring us to subscribe to them in order to watch everything. First, there's Netflix where they don't even do weekly broadcast streaming. Then Hulu got a piece of the action when they demanded exclusive streaming rights for a couple of Sentai shows for subscribers (previously, all exclusive material was free the same day to everybody in the US). And then there's Amazon as explained above, and also The Anime Network has gotten involved. With all of these subscriptions needed to watch all the shows that all of us face tough decisions to pay up or not watch.

LOSER: Funimation
This was such a brutal season for Funimation's lineup that used to have many of the season's top shows. This season, the only such shows they have are Assassination Classroom and My Hero Academia. The rest of their catalog is mostly stuff with niche appeal and types of shows they would have not gone after in the past. They would have gotten Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress in all likelihood if Amazon didn't step in from out of nowhere to give Fuji TV that sweetheart deal, while Kadokawa's partnership with Crunchyroll took a large number of titles off the table. That left them going after stuff like Kuma Miko and Sansha Sanyou, which are titles that they would not have bothered with in the past. At least this month's lack of titles can be partially explained by the fact that they paid quite a lot to get My Hero Academia.

LOSER: Aniplex of America
Aniplex has five shows they are on the production teams for in Asterisk War, High School Fleet, Kiznaiver, Magi: Adventures of Sinbad, and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. However, Aniplex of America only has Asterisk War and High School Fleet, while they are currently blocked off from the other titles. Every season, Aniplex usually has a top-of-the-line title in their lineup, but not so much this season. Asterisk War is higly cliched, while High School Fleet was good, but not great. As for the other three shows, they were blocked off by exclusive deals with other companies as Crunchyroll has Kiznaiver, Amazon payed a fortune to get Kabaneri (though I think that Funimation would have gotten it in all likelihood without Amazon stepping in), and the big one that really puts AoA in the losers circle is Adventures of Sinbad, exclusively streaming on Netflix. For that one, there was no doubt AoA would have licensed that show, but for some reason, someone else trumped Aniplex on the international rights front for the Magi prequel. So the only thing left are Asterisk War and High School Fleet, which is not exactly a good thing considering what AoA has done in the past.

This was a pretty big season for Bones as they put out the much-anticipated My Hero Academia, as well as the first of a split cour in Bungo Stray Dogs. My Hero Academia was hyped up as the manga is really popular and well received, and they delivered on those high expectations with the anime. There was no question that it was going to get a second season seeing that it was a surprise that it was only one cour long, but more is definitely on the way. As for the other show, Bungo Stray Dogs, it looks nice visually and has some good action and a solid plotline, and that is enough to make it appealing even if the show has some sort of an identity crisis not exactly knowing what it wants to be.

WINNER: White Fox
White Fox continues their hot streak of great anime. This is the company that has done great stuff like Steins;Gate and Akame ga Kill, as well as other nice shows like Utawarerumono: The False Faces and Is the Order a Rabbit? more recently. This season, they put a lot of effort into Re:Zero going as far as to make the first episode double in length to set the foundation down, and then from there it just takes off in a big way being one of the best shows this season.

LOSER: Brain's Base
Brain's Base has been on a cold streak as of late. Ever since the Spring 2014 season when they put out One Week Friends, Kawaisou, and Kamigami no Asobi, they have been mostly irrelevant as of late as since then, a good chunk of their staff left to form Shuka. As it would be a year before they would make anything after that season and that Durarara!! and My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu sequels ended up going to other studios that Brain's Base is not what they used to be. This season, their shows are Endride and the second season of Rin-ne and while Rin-ne remains decent to watch, Endride is one of the worst shows of the season. The effort is definitely lacking, all while the show was designed to get people to play the smartphone game more than anything.

LOSER: Asread
Asread really fumbled up the anime adaptation of Big Order. With the way the show was approached, I got the impression that originally they anticipated that they had two cours to work with, but all of the sudden they realized that they only had ten episodes, which meant some heavy duty rushing and the end result is some tremendously horrible writing. I can imagine that the manga isn't nearly the train wreck the anime is seeing that it is by the same guy who did Future Diary, but of course annoying, unlikable characters is what the guy is known for which is the one thing that ruined Future Diary, and it does the same in Big Order. But nevertheless, Asread didn't help matters with the way they approached this show to make a huge mess of things.

WINNER: Cute Girls doing Cute Things shows
Last season, these kinds of shows that play a huge role int he fabric of anime fandom were missing. The closest things to this kind of show during the winter season had too strong of a male presence to be qualified as one. This season, they were out in full force, and it was a great season for that. There's Bakuon!!, Usakame, Wagamama High Spec, Anne Happy, High School Fleet, and Sansha Sanyou, which is more than what is typically found in a normal season.

LOSER: Sports shows
Winter was a great season for sports anime. The upcoming summer season promises to be a solid season for sports shows with Days, Battery, and Cheer Boys, while there's All Out and the third Haikyuu!! season to look forward to in the fall. This season, not so much as bad timing has rendered this season devoid of sports anime. Ace of the Diamond ended last fall, Haikyuu is on break until the fall even though it could have kept on going for one more cour to finish out the current tournament that's saved for the fall, and all those aforementioned sports shows are coming later. So that meant sports shows went on the sidelines.

WINNER: Sundays
There's no dispute that the best day of the week this season is Sunday. This day consists of My Hero Academia, Pan de Peace, Rainbow Days, Sansha Sanyou, Kuma Miko, and Re:Zero. With My Hero Academia and Re:Zero being borderline masterpiece shows that this fact alone made Sundays big winners. As for the other stuff, it's all mostly slice of life stuff that is satisfying to watch for those who are into these kinds of shows. Pan de Peace is good for a short, while Sansha Sanyou and Kuma Miko are good for laughs, while Rainbow Days has been a pleasant surprise as well. But above all, it's having My Hero Academia and Re:Zero that puts them in the winners circle, while having the other stuff only adds to it.

WINNER: Thursdays
For a long time, Thursdays were just empty, but while it still is a far cry from what happened before the big changes left the once-crowded day much less crowded, it is getting some more shows. This season's Thursday load consists of Anne Happy, And you thought there is never a girl online?, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, and Assassination Classroom 2nd season, and the episodes of AssClass this cour are just some of the best stuff out there, while Kabaneri (at least the first half) is just amazing. Anne Happy is funny and nice to watch, and Netoge is one of the season's big surprises as the show ends up being much better than I was expecting seeing that Project No. 9 has a terrible track record.

LOSER: Mondays
Mondays were just lacking in any top shelf material. The day consists of Bakuon!!, Sailor Moon Crystal III, Hundred, and Seisen Cerberus, as well as the shorts Usakame and Wagamama High Spec. At least Bakuon!! turned out to be a fun show in spite of its flaws while this season of Sailor Moon Crystal is a huge improvement over the first two seasons, though the stench of the first two seasons didn't exactly make viewers expecting more of the same to put up with another season. Hundred is just you average generic harem that's totally uninnovative, while Cerberus was nothing but pure lethargy and advertisement. And of course, the shorts are what I have come to expect out of a typical short, and Usakame is a step down from Teekyu.

LOSER: Fridays
Fridays were a mixed bag. It had shows with great stories and intense plotlines in Ushio and Tora and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, as well as some nice, lighthearted shows in Shonen Maid and Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto, and perhaps the best short anime series ever in Space Patrol Luluco. But what really lands this day in the losers column are the duds in Terra Formars Revenge, Mayoiga, and *cough* Big Order. Given the overwhelmingly negative response to the censorship that the Terra Formar sequels was watered down and was just lacking in every way, and Mayoiga turned out to be a dud. And then there's Big Order, and just read everything I said about why Asread was a loser. On top of that, one of the better shows in Magi: Adventures of Sinbad couldn't be watched as for some reason, Aniplex of America was blocked from getting the license to something belonging to a franchise that their parent company owns and Netflix got exclusive streaming rights, meaning that it won't be available to watch until after the season. And then USAT only had two shows as Manaria Friends was pulled at the last minute in what was to be the final season of the shorts block.