Now that 2016 is officially over, it’s time for our yearly foray into annoying everyone with our questionable opinions, the Best of Anime 2016 post! As with last year, this post is a collaboration between the writers who watched the most series this year, me (Zephyr) and Samu. Through hiatuses and other real-life obligations, we both still managed to watch approximately 100 series this year, making us somewhat informed about whatever we’re wrong about.
Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous, Genre, and Notable Others. Adding to the list (by Samu’s request) are trial categories for Best Director and Best Studio, which have been included in an attempt to give recognition to those working behind the scenes. These additions are meant to complement other categories added over the past few years (Short, Sports, Category Defying), hopefully adding to the scope of the series we hope to cover in this post. Omitted from this year’s categories are the Trap and Romance Comedy genres, with the former omitted due to Stilts’ non-involvement and the latter due to a lack of candidates fitting the category’s description.
As with 2015, both Samu and I will be doing our picks separately for each category (cue a throwback to the 2009 version of the post), which was done to ensure a greater range of picks, and cut out the dozen hours or so of deliberation that would’ve been necessary to strike a consensus. Some categories may only feature commentary from one writer however, in which case the author with the most affinity, expertise, or experience with that category was given carte blanche. In regards to the encoding and videos for the OP/ED/Song categories,
resident cage master Xumbra was gracious enough to assist us, so here’s a shout out (thanks!) for him and everything he does for the site behind the scenes. Included at the end are the final results of the Reader’s Choice Poll.
Disclaimer: As always, disclaimers abound. Please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for us isn’t necessarily best for you, and that’s perfectly fine. This list shouldn’t be taken as some kind of inviolable truth, but rather the opinions of two guys who had too much time on their hands and spent it conjuring up a list of picks based on all the anime they watched. Naturally, our choices will be influenced by our own tastes, experiences, and personal impressions, and ultimately these are just recommendations of series we feel most people will enjoy, nothing more. Before you go bashing one of our choices, please make sure you’ve at least given the series a chance so you may know where we’re coming from. Aside from that, we ask that you respect our opinions and the opinions of others in the comments, just like we respect yours. Thank you.
Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Zephyr) and Samu, save for where otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.
Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on BD or DVD, so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.
Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as we’re trying to think of the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.
Samu: It didn’t take much deliberation before deciding that Mob Psycho 100 was the best-looking show of the year, surpassing the bombast of ONE’s previous adaptation, One-Punch Man. The character designs have been labelled ugly, but seeing them in motion they are anything but. We got a range of experimental animation methods, the fight scenes were loaded with impact, and the cinematography was pretty outstanding. There was never a dip in quality, just a constant explosion of colour, art that played well with the show’s gags, and a fine example of talent shining through when you give artists the opportunity (and time) to produce the best possible results. Flip Flappers is another series that embraces the power of animators, delivering many episodes that execute their original concepts with distinct artistry – I especially love the smart use of colour and mood, and the many breathtaking action sequences that put any other Magical Girl anime to shame. Hibike! Euphonium may not have taken this spot for the second year running, but this second season had consistently high production values, achieving a film-like quality that we’ve come to expect from Kyoto Animation. Haikyuu!! proved once again why it’s the best-looking sports anime on the market; Koutetsujou no Kabaneri had its dips, but its highlights earn it an honourable mention as well; and Occultic;Nine’s striking cinematography and visuals made for an effective horror/mystery experience.
Honorable Mentions: Flip Flappers, Hibike! Euphonium 2, Haikyuu!!, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Occultic;Nine
As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.
Zephyr: I came into this post expecting to pick Boku dake ga Inai Machi, but doing so would’ve meant overlooking Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, which is something I couldn’t do. With a lengthy story stretching multiple generations, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu was a series that captured the nuances of everyday life while shining a light on Rakugo, an art form that has experienced its own share of ups and downs. A deeply personal affair and a historical guide, this was a series that focused on the relationships that come from having similar interests, and the issues that result when passion clashes with societal norms and changing times threaten the existence of an art form you’ve dedicated your life to. At the same time, it was a heart-warming story about personal success and a dark reminder of how life can change in the blink of an eye. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu didn’t reach the same emotional highs as Boku dake ga Inai Machi did, but its grounded nature made it more relatable, which made all the difference here. You can’t go wrong with either however, and both ReLIFE (with its story about second chances and the impact of the choices we make) and Fune wo Amu (with its story about perseverance and the power of words) come in other great candidates to round off a year filled with quality narratives.
Honorable Mentions: Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Fune wo Amu, ReLIFE
Samu: This was an easy one for me. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a rarity among anime – it’s fine art compared to the mass-produced models, and it’s quality shines through in every scene. The three leads of the flashback – Yakumo, Sukeroku, and Miyokichi – are perhaps the most authentically written characters I’ve come across in anime; their actions are human, their histories are bleak and varied, and they make one mistake after another not for the purpose of forced drama, but because they are flawed humans who are getting dragged along by the difficult times they live in. The backwards structure of the first season gives away the ending, which could remove all dramatic tension leading up to the climax, but Rakugo Shinjuu’s writing ensures you’re left on the edge of your seat until the final moments. We know the final outcome, but following these characters’ unfortunate choices lead to that moment is equally gripping and heart wrenching. This is a grounded story that perfectly captures the appeal of rakugo – traditional Japanese comedic storytelling – and encapsulates what life is like in Japan from 1930’s to the 70’s, acknowledging the shift into the modern age that caused rifts and conflicts, which all tie to the inevitable tragedy that had audiences transfixed until the final episode.
Honorable Mentions: Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, 91Days, Girlish Number, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Joker Game
What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.
Zephyr: When it comes to the Macross franchise, a quality soundtrack is the expectation, and Macross Δ continued the trend by delivering yet another soundtrack we’ll be listening to years down the line. The story fell short for many, but there’s no denying the greatness of its 20+ vocals (Ikenai Borderline, LOVE! Thunder Grow, and NEO STREAM are just a few songs I’d recommend), which captured the nuances of the series while providing impressive anime debuts to 16 (as of 2016) year old JUNNA and audition winner Suzuki Minori. Topping things off are 50+ songs spread across two BGM-focused soundtracks and it’s clear that at least one of the franchise’s major pillars remains just as great as its previous iterations. Rounding things out are the soundtracks to Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans (a classic multi-disc Gundam soundtrack from Shigatsu’s Yokoyama Masaru), Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (a trademark Sawano Hiroyuki work), Norn9: Norn + Nonet (a spectacular second foray into anime by video game composer Kevin Penkin), Qualidea Code (a vocal-led work from Iwasaki Taku), and Yuri!!! On Ice (a collaborative work with memorable original and classical compositions). Notable omissions include the soundtracks to Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Boku no Hero Academia, Flying Witch, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Love Live! Sunshine!!, Prince of Stride: Alternative, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, and Schwarzesmarken—just to name a few.
Honorable Mentions: Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Norn9: Norn + Nonet, Qualidea Code, Yuri!!! On Ice
Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.
Zephyr: A traditionally difficult category, I’d be lying if I didn’t consider using a coin to decide the winner here. Ultimately, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season comes out on top due to its excellence in this category (and its ED themes) throughout both its seasons. An adrenaline rush from the beginning, the sequence captures everything the series stands for—the factions, the team battles, the behind the scenes plotting, and the determination of each fighter—while matching its transitions perfectly with its accompanying theme. Nishizawa Shiena’s vocals give it an additional punch that ups the ante toward the sequence’s second half, and when it comes to action series, this is certainly the way you want to start things off. Following close behind was the opening to Amanchu!, which saw the memorable Sakamoto Maaya return with a theme that’s every bit the opposite of Gakusen’s stylistically. Calm and uplifting, this was a sequence that also timed its transitions perfectly with its theme song, all while sticking to the series’ focus on diving, friendship, the uncertainties of life, and the fact that stepping out of one’s boundaries could bring with it amazing discoveries. Aside from that, the openings to Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Kiznaiver, and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu were just a few to barely miss the cut.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): Amanchu! OP, Boku dake ga Inai Machi OP, Flying Witch OP, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar OP, Yuri!!! On Ice OP
Samu: I had never heard of Boom Boom Satellites prior to Kiznaiver’s release, and what an unfortunate time to become a fan. While “Lay Yours Hands On Me” has an optimistic tone in both its sound and lyrics, the death of the lead singer, Kawashima Michiyuki, after his fight with cancer and paralysis casts shadows over this opening. Now when I listen to it I think how sad it is that he’s no longer with us, but I loved this OP from the moment I first watched it. The kaleidoscope-inspired visuals are psychedelic and fit nicely with the oddness of the show; it sets your expectations accordingly while avoiding all the typical anime OP tropes that we’ve come to expect. This is sleek, stylish, the colours are vibrant, and its simple execution paired with a stellar song makes it an easy pick for the best of the year. Mob Psycho 100 OP was a close contender, however, with its impressive animation carrying through its opening sequence. I had to watch it every time a new episode came, much like with Yuri!!! On Ice, which lived up to its promise of being born to make history – it did just that with the forward-thinking nature of the show and its quest for love and joy that is evident in its opening.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): Mob Psycho 100 OP, Yuri!!! On Ice OP, 91Days OP, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu OP, Ajin OP
Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series, though sometimes they’re completely irrelevant to the actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that we enjoyed more than others.
Zephyr: It seems like Aimer and Sawano are working on everything together these days, and why not? Putting together powerful vocals with a composer known for strong compositions are a winning combination, and Koutetsujou no Kabaneri’s “ninelie” comes together as yet another brilliant piece from the two. Adding EGOIST’s chelly into the fray made things even better, and as a fan of all three, this was a dream collaboration that paled only to the T.M. Revolution x Mizuki Nana one we got for Valvrave years back. That said, the song itself wasn’t all that we got here, as the sequence as a whole was beautifully done—combining key art of its more memorable scenes (one of which I went as far as purchasing framed as a collector’s art print), a vivid assortment of colors, and an “on the surface of a stream” effect complete with falling pedals synced to the song’s best moments. As usual, omissions are many and include the endings to Ajin, Bungou Stray Dogs (ED1), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (ED1), Macross Δ, and Qualidea Code to name a few.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm ED, Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu ED, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season ED, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu ED , Schwarzesmarken ED
Samu: Yes, Savage Garden’s “I Want You”, takes the win, because JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable is awesome with its Western musical choices that are quite literally perfect for the series. There were so many theories from fans, with songs ranging from the late 90’s to the early 00’s, and while “I Want You” wasn’t my first pick, I can’t imagine anything else now. Any JoJo fan knows how influential music is to Araki Hirohiko, with almost half his cast named after bands or songs (although official translations attempt to hide that fact). But not only is the song a winner, the constant zoom of the camera through Morioh is a smart way to pan across the entire cast and give hints of future events. It takes a lot for me to watch an ending sequence through to the end each time, but JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable managed that. Coming in close second is Zephyr’s pick of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, which is a gorgeously simple song with lovely accompanying visuals. I’ve been made an Aimer fans after this ED, so it deserves a shoutout, and may even have been my top pick if Zephyr didn’t get there first. And there’s also Flip Flappers, with its adorable artwork and ever-so-catchy “Flip Flap Flip Flap” which is hard not to love.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): Koutetsujou no Kabaneri ED, Flip Flappers ED, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu ED, Yuri!!! on Ice ED, Mob Psycho 100 ED
With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something we never got tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was any good, we’re simply picking some of our favorite songs that were featured in an anime.
“Wings of Courage” (Kawada Mami)
Zephyr: Likely one of my more controversial picks due to the fact that few people got far enough into the series to even hear the song, “Wings of Courage” comes in as one of my easier picks of the year. Used in the dying moments of Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm’s final episode, this was the song that—at least for me—single handedly made it worth going through 12 episodes of an otherwise disappointing adaptation. At the same time, it made me realize why people were so excited about the source material in the first place, and while it’s unfortunate that it took until the end for this to happen, there’s no denying the impact the song had and the chills it sent down my spine when it played during the series’ climactic final tournament stages—something that few other songs this year managed to do. The fact that the song is strong on its own made things even better, and let’s not discount the nostalgia factor with Kawada Mami, who sang multiple themes for Shakugan no Shana and Toaru no Majutsu no Index. Rounding things off are an assortment of songs that were memorable for one reason or another (with an emphasis on series inserts and Movie/OVA themes), and let’s just say there were many omissions here as well (“seeds” by NIKIIE, an insert for Hai to Gensou no Grimgar comes to mind), although a few were intentional due to their inclusion in a soundtrack that already received recognition earlier.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): “Last Refrain” by nano (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie – Cadenza), “Maintain Maintain” by GHOST ORACLE DRIVE (God Eater), “Warcry” by mpi (Koutetsujou no Kabaneri), “Kimi no Kioku (Remix)” by Yumi Kawamura (Persona 3 the Movie —#4 Winter of Rebirth—), “You Gotta Show Me (YGSM)” by Fujisawa Yoshiaki (Prince of Stride: Alternative)
Samu: Best Song is perhaps the trickiest pick for me, because it has to not only be an impressive piece of music, but it must have some importance to the anime it belongs to. It’s easy to pick a really good OP or ED song, like Asian Kung-Fu Generations’s Re:Re or Ninelie by Aimer – which are both very easy to listen to on repeat – but I need that showstopper of a song from within a series to take this spot, and it comes from the title piece of Yuri!!! On Ice. Both of Yuri’s songs that he performs to are rather different, and both represent a parts of his character, but this one stands out as the most important of the two, where he gets to show off even more of his skills as a skater and relate to his love for his coach and partner, Victor. It’s an inspiring piece that never failed to bore no matter how many times we heard it across the 12-episode run. When it’s high energy you can expect Yuri to deliver some killer jumps and twirls, and when it slows down you know he’s going to glide across the ice with beauty and grace. It pairs perfectly with his performance, and even listening to the song right now helps recall his accompanying routine. It’s memorable, beautiful, and one of the many impressive tracks from Yuri!!! on Ice’s excellent soundtrack which even reached the Top 30 of the US iTunes chart upon release – a much deserved feat, and one of the many accomplishments its achieved as an international hit that has transcended anime fandom.
Honorable Mentions (VIDEO LINKS INCLUDED): Ninelie by Aimer (Koutetsujou no Kabaneri), “Re:Re:” by Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Boku dake ga Inai Machi), “THE DAY” by Porno Graffiti (Boku no Hero Academia)
Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…
Zephyr: I played around with the idea of putting both sisters here given how inseparable they were, but since Rem took charge on her own toward the series’ latter half, she gets this category all on her own. Bursting onto the scene four episodes into Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Rem was a box of surprises from the very beginning—giving us laughter, smiles, and the occasional “WHAT THE HECK” moment without a single change in her demeanor. As it turns out, her stoic exterior was merely the result of a backstory that left you in awe, and by the end of the first season, she was one of the series’ most essential and memorable characters. In many ways, the term “best girl” was made for someone like her, and let’s just say that her immense popularity was not only well deserved, but likely would’ve gotten her the win in this category on that merit alone. With that said, this year’s character list ends up an interesting one, as all of its inclusions ended up being characters that either succeeded in overcoming a multitude of obstacles or became memorable due to a significant contribution to their series and/or a quirky personality trait.
Honorable Mentions: Angelo Lagusa (91Days), Fujinuma Satoru (Boku dake ga Inai Machi), Allen Walker (D.Gray-man HALLOW), Havia/Qwenthur (Heavy Object), Yuurakutei Yakumo (Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu)
Samu: It has to be Yakumo. While I wouldn’t say he’s a personal favourite character, there’s no question that he’s one of the best-written characters in anime and manga, if only because we spend so much time with him from his disabled youth to his life as a master of a dying art form. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu’s premiere almost made him the villain with his view on women rakugo performers and his cold mannerisms, but as we spent the rest of the season exploring his entire life, it was impossible not to empathise with him. His early life was hindered by his cane and his feminine mannerisms, but him finding rakugo is what gave him purpose. It was a difficult journey of acceptance from there on out, as we watched him crumble on stage and convince himself that he should never become a rakugo master. We already knew he was going to survive the many trials life threw at him and become a storytelling genius, and watching that journey was a treat. He made his fair share of mistakes with his love life and his lack of self belief and his occasional negative view on women (that fit with those times), but those negative traits made him feel more like a real person. We all have our flaws and our mistakes, and we witnessed all the highs and lows of Yakumo’s 50 or so years, which made for the most rewarding viewing experience of 2016.
Honorable Mentions: Matsuno Brothers (Osomatsu-san), Katsuki Yuuri (Yuri!!! On Ice), Suwa Hiroto (orange), Alisha Diphda (Tales of Zestiria the X), Tanaka Asuka (Hibike! Euphonium 2)
As the natural extension of characters, the seiyuu who voiced and gave them life deserve some attention. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so we’re here to highlight those whose acting we enjoyed time and time again. A variety of roles tends to showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, but sometimes all it takes is one unforgettable role to get our pick. Below are our favorite male and female seiyuu this past year.
Samu: Ishida Akira has been in the business for a long, long time, and he has one hell of a legacy. But his talent was put to the test in his portrayal of Yuurakutei Yakumo, from his teenage youth to his days as an elder. The subtle nuances in his voice match with the character’s growth both in age and confidence, and the rakugo performances he gave sold every emotion we were meant to feel. When Yakumo did poorly in his delivery, Ishida made us feel totally uncomfortable with his shaky words; when Yakumo got lost in his stories after his challenging life, Ishida sounded like every bit the professional he is. It’s no easy feat to depict a character over so many years, but he and his fellow Eva original, Yamadera Kouichi (Sukeroku), prove how important experience and knowing their own voices is at successfully bringing a character to life. The Matsuno siblings from Osomatsu-san also nail their individual voices and manage to make each character distinctive despite their near identical appearances; if not for their voice actors’ efforts, I don’t think I would have been able to keep up with who-was-who for quite some time, and Irino Miyu’s portrayal of Todomatsu in particular has him earning an honourable mention.
Honorable Mentions: Yamadera Kouichi (Sukeroku), Irino Miyu (Todomatsu), Suwabe Junichi (Victor Nikiforov), Hosoya Yoshimasa (Haruhiro)
Samu: I was tempted to highlight Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu’s talents once more with another experienced seiyuu in Hayashibara Megumi, also of Eva fame, as she sold the tragic life of Miyokichi, balancing that line of vengeful and emotional. But in the end I have to go with a younger talent this time around: Kurosawa Tomoyo. Best known for being the voice of Oumae Kumiko (Hibike! Euphonium), she adds that distinctiveness to Kumiko that sets her apart from nearly every other high school anime girl out there. Her squeals and funny noises never fail to entertain, but she proved herself more than capable in this year’s sequel, where she delivered those emotional and powerful speeches with that passion you’d expect from an introverted character who usually keeps her snark to herself and rarely speaks her mind. When she lashed out and spoke her true feelings, you could feel the hurt in Kurosawa’s voice, which earns her this win. Now that she’s finished her time with Kumiko, I’m excited to see where she goes in the future, because her voice is one I’d love to hear more of in anime.
Honorable Mentions: Hayashibara Megumi (Miyokichi), Kobayashi Yuu (Konatsu), Senbongi Sayaka (Karasuma Chitose), Anzai Chika (Mary)
As one of the newest additions to this section, this category seeks to extend the recognition given to the staff that work behind the scenes, focusing on directors that have made a clear impact on one or multiple series this year. While directors are far from the only ones contributing to a series’ success, they are usually one of the staff’s more recognizable faces, often imposing unique stylistic touches that make it easier to distinguish their influence on a series compared to any other role.
Samu: Any seasoned anime viewer knows that a director can make or break a series; they can be the reason you check out a certain title that perhaps wouldn’t be your cup of tea. Their individual styles and approaches aren’t to be confused with the body of work done by a specific studio, and that’s why this category has been made, and why Yamamoto Sayo takes the top spot. She likes to take a 4 year break between each of her TV anime (first Michiko to Hatchin then Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna), with Yuri!!! On Ice landing this year. Her over the top zaniness in her direction is just what I expected from Yuri!!! on Ice, paired with her passion for ice skating which she proved in previous short projects. She delivers action at a breakneck pace, yet it never feels rushed. She gives the characters a range of expressions – from comical to saddened – and her passion for her work always shines through. Coming in at a close second is Omata Shinichi, who helmed the stellar Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, as well as Sankarea and Rozen Maiden (2013), bringing the rakugo theatre to life while also nailing the inimate character moments, proving himself as a rising talent in the industry.
Honorable Mentions: Omata Shinichi (Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu), Tachikawa Yuzuru (Mob Psycho 100), Mizushima Seiji (Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou), Nakamura Ryousuke (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar)
Following in the same vein as the director category, this category comes in as another experimental addition that aims to extend recognition past the typical seiyuu focus. While it can be argued that individual staff members play the largest impact in a series’ success and a staff may differ greatly between series made by the same studio, the argument can also be made that studios tend to have stylistic nuances that can be found only in series produced by that studio, and this category aims to recognize studios that have made themselves known in that regard—whether it’s in the staff they chose, the diversity of their productions, the consistency of their animation quality, or the quirks they’ve given their main characters.
Samu: When people talk about good anime, they usually talk about the good studios behind them. Occasionally the impressions of a studio are skewered by fans, but this category exists to reward whoever produced the best body of work, and it’s a close call between Studio DEEN and BONES. In the end I’ve went for the infamous DEEN, because who would have predicted they’d have such a brilliant year? For so long they’ve been a laughing stock, yet they’ve proved their worth in 2016 with impressive productions as well as a diverse body of work that appeals to many demographics. After doing not much last year, they gave us plenty to appreciate, with the timeless Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, hilarious and bonkers comedies in Sakamoto desu ga? and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, a foreign collaboration in Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage, the niche Super Lovers and Hatsukoi Monster, and last but not least, the experimental and outrageously fun short, Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou. This is likely the best year they’ve ever had, and officially puts them back on the anime map. Gone are the days when DEEN meant doomed, because they gave one hell of a display in 2016.
Honorable Mentions: BONES, Studio Trigger, Production I.G
This is the replacement for the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. We’re looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that caught us off guard and delivered sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has people talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not anyone found it agreeable. Below are the plot twists we have in mind.
This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as viewers. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re basing our selection on.
In the genre section, the goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for our best anime of the year.
First up is a relatively new category, Best Short. Shorts tend to get a bad rap. Where once they were mostly low-budget productions not worth your time, nowadays many shorts are of very high quality, with stories and situations exceedingly well-suited to their short run times. This category is for any series with a run time of less 15 minutes or less that defied the stereotype and gave us a good show.
Samu: From 2015 onwards it seems short anime have increased in numbers, and the chances of them being legitimately good shows despite their run-time has also gone up. Winter 2016 was an especially strong season for short-form animation, as we see in increase of half-length episodes. Koyomimonogatari was a welcomed addition to the Monogatari series, filling in the gaps between the major stories; Oshiete! Galko-chan ended up a tender and adorable school comedy; And Nijiiro Days’s 2-cour length almost made it feel like a proper TV anime. But Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows stands above the rest, proving its quality in the little time it had, acting as a prequel to the now very famous short by Shinkai Makoto. It’s no surprise that old Kyoto Animation staff were behind this project, as the warmth and care put into the finer details shines through, creating a compelling story about a young girl struggling in the world with her cat by her side, always there to help her. If there was ever an example of quality over quantity, it would be Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows.
Honorable Mentions: Koyomimonogatari, Oshiete! Galko-chan, Nijiiro Days, Uchuu Patrol Luluco, Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
Action, action, and more action! The action genre ranges anywhere from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha shows. For battles, choreography plays a huge role, so that was definitely taken into consideration.
Zephyr: I’m not one to be dragged into the hype, but for all the qualms I have against hyped series and the slow start it had, Boku no Hero Academia comes in as this year’s easy pick as the winner for this category. With a large cast and an even larger assortment of “quirks”/super powers, this was a series whose initial draw was the promise of its action elements, and it delivered in style—giving us epic battles filled with explosions, beat downs, and everything in between. Escalating stakes and nefarious villains only added to the excitement, while also providing a much needed balance to heroes that otherwise seemed larger than life. Contrary to assumptions that heroes are merely born or were people that happened to be at the right place at the right time, Boku no Hero Academia strives to show how even the greatest heroes struggled to get where they were, and this was a series whose obvious inspirations (American superhero comics) only served to make it better—especially in its comic-isque fight scenes. All things considered though, this was a great year for fans of the genre, though many of the other series mentioned here ultimately fell short of greatness in other respects.
Honorable Mentions: Bubuki Buranki, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Schwarzesmarken, ViVid Strike!
Samu: I was also tempted to go for Boku no Hero Academia for my pick, since it is one of the next generation of Weekly Shonen Jump battle manga after all, and its first season did an impressive job with the early material of the manga. Mob Psycho 100 is another close contender with its visceral fights thanks to its strong animation and cinematography. In the end, I went with Koutetsujou no Kabaneri despite the bad rep it gets for its later episodes involving Biba. But if we’re judging solely on action, then Koutetsujou no Kabaneri is the best pure-action anime I’ve watched in years. It’s a classic zombie flick that never fails to entertain when the battles get going, and you get a real sense of the desperation and fight for survival these characters have in the action we see. Mumei especially has some of the best scenes, with the premiere being a highlight; her encounters are well choreographed and are a spectacle to behold. It may not have been the most thoughtful anime of the year, but as far as action goes, it’s hard to beat it.
Honorable Mentions: Boku no Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans
Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationship between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.
Zephyr: Purely speaking, 2016 was a year filled with its share of romance. The catch is that almost every selection here crosses genres or have relationships that defy what’s considered typical. All things considered, orange comes in as my personal pick here, rising to the top with a story that was not only romantic in the “one true pairing” kind of way, but also in regards to what it means to selflessly love someone—to feel so strongly for someone that you’d do anything to help them even if it means sacrificing your own happiness. Along the way, it leveraged its Sci-Fi elements in a way that made you both dread and anticipate what would happen next, and orange was a testament how the method of telling a story is just as important as the characters within and the story being told. This was a romance that defied expectations despite advertising what was going to happen and who the main pairing was meant to be, giving its viewers an emotional roller coaster that left the series as memorable as any this year, while also illustrating a deeply personal story clearly drawn from experience. The way it went about it and the definitions it places on romance made it a divisive work, but there’s no denying that orange was a different beast compared to the other romances this year. Making the honorable mentions are Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season and Fune wo Amu (perhaps the most straightforward entries here), followed by Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (which focused on the love its cast had for Rakugo in additional to actual relationships) and Yuri!!! On Ice (which focused on the love shown by others in their actions, the love between a coach and student, and the mutual love they all have for figure skating).
Honorable Mentions: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season, Fune wo Amu, ReLIFE, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Yuri!!! On Ice
Samu: This is a personal one for me. I never thought the best romance of the year would be between two men; I never even considered the possibility. Yuri!!! On Ice is as progressive as they come in the tenderness it has for Yuri and Victor’s relationship. I never believed anything would come of it other than typical manservice, but when things started getting serious, I was so surprised that I couldn’t even process it. Yuri admired Victor for so long, but the revelation that Victor was like the first to fall in love was the cherry on top, as well as Yuri dedicating his performances to him, and their ‘proposal’. It was a heartfelt relationship that wasn’t subject to the typical tropes associated with gay or feminine men in anime, and for that reason Yuri!!! on Ice earns its place as the Best Romance of 2016, even if isn’t the main focus of the show. It’s a blessing that it exists, and I couldn’t be happier with its international success and the exposure it has gotten these past few months. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is likely the best anime that is primarily about its romance, and is a close contender, as is Fune wo Amu, which could have taken the top spot if it developed Majime and Kaguya’s relationship after their confession.
Honorable Mentions: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season, Fune wo Amu, orange, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Nijiiro Days
A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.
Zephyr: With nearly a dozen series coming to mind (many of which won’t be considered otherwise), this was category that turned out more challenging than expected. It just goes to show just how much drama 2016 had—both in anime and in real life—and in light of impossible choices, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu wins out due its many plot twists and its share of over the top moments. From the multitude of sudden deaths to his attempted take down of the legendary White Whale, dramatic moments followed Subaru everywhere he went, usually resulting in even more deaths until he found the way forward. The fact that his paths forward led to even more trouble merely added to the drama, and at this point I reckon it’s pretty self-explanatory. Following closely behind is the revenge story of 91Days, the murder mystery of Boku dake ga Inai Machi, the emotional turmoil of Kanda and Alma in D.Gray-man HALLOW, the musical drama that was Hibike! Euphonium 2, and the spy games of Joker Game. Barely missing the cut is the suffering-fest that was Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, the human + alien massacre that was Schwarzesmarken, the food extravaganza that was Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara, and the action-packed ViVid Strike!
Honorable Mentions: 91Days, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, D.Gray-man HALLOW, Hibike! Euphonium 2, Joker Game
Samu: I am so tempted to give Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu another win here, because it deserves all the recognition it can get for its respective categories. It balances the drama both on and off the rakugo stage perfectly, and builds up to a climactic finish that we all saw coming yet were still left shocked by. However, orange gets it in the end for doing something rare: being a straight-forward school drama that isn’t afraid to shows its characters emotions. In recent years, anime fans seem to hold a negative view of “melodrama”, as if it’s a sign of a poor anime. While I’m sure plenty of viewers found orange a bit much for them, as someone whose favourite anime is Ano Hana, I love something that’s intended to make me feel, to make me shed a tear and root for these kids. We got to see all their perspectives, but orange was at its best when it focused on the third wheel of the equation, Suwa. The quest to save a boy from his impending suicide is certain to be dramatic, but if you set your expectations and can feel compassion for the cast, it’s an easy winner for Best Drama. It made me care, and that’s all that matters in the end.
Honorable Mentions: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Kiznaiver, Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume, Joker Game, Hibike! Euphonium 2
When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation. However, that’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.
Zephyr: In perhaps one of the more interesting twists, the year’s best Sci-Fi entries ended up as OVA/Movies, making 2016’s offerings here a mixture of the good, but not quite great. With the flaws inherent in each choice, the focus becomes which series managed to represent its genre the best or utilized the most elements, and however controversial it may be, Macross Δ ends up the answer for me. After all, the franchise has been one of the major representatives of the Sci-Fi genre for decades, and Δ—even with all its differences and issues with character development—ultimately sticks to the same core elements that all Macross series have had, especially in regards to the Sci-Fi backdrop. When you get down to it, the way the series uses the imagination to present futuristic concepts that are strictly fiction but potentially viable in the near future is second to none, and almost every element of the series oozes Sci-Fi—from the Valkyries they pilot, the ships they use, the prevalence of holographic technology, and everything in between. To say the least, the world of Macross is a Sci-Fi fan’s greatest dream, and while the series itself might’ve fallen flat compared to its prior iteration in Frontier, it was still a great indicator of the genre and its possibilities—narrowly inching out perhaps the best entry in the Gundam franchise we’ve had in years.
Honorable Mentions: Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans, Kiznaiver, Kuromukuro, Heavy Object, Schwarzesmarken
Samu: I discovered the Gundam franchise in 2014, and have seen a fair bit of the original series and OVAs, and my experience with those earlier titles has been positive. Sadly, my time with Gundam: G no Reconguista was disappointing last year (as it got the award for Biggest Disappointment). Thankfully, Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans has turned that around and been the best modern Gundam show in quite some time, thanks to the aid of director-writer duo, Nagai Tatsuyuki and Okada Mari. As their previous work shows, they’ve nailed the high stakes drama that makes Gundam shows so exciting to watch, even if goes over the line on occasion. The story of Martian child soldiers scarred by the effects of war makes for some heavy viewing, and with Okada Mari holding the pen, you can expect character deaths aplenty. The first season wasn’t the most consistent – with the middle part dipping in quality – but it had a strong open and finish, which makes it stick in my mind clearly. The space battles were awesome and it has introduced many new anime viewers to the franchise, which is perhaps the best thing of all.
Honorable Mentions: Occultic; Nine, Kiznaiver, Kuromukuro, Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume, Macross Δ
The best horror shows are those that incite visceral feelings of shock, fear, and pulse-pounding dread. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.
Zephyr: While it would’ve been easy to pick Boku dake ga Inai Machi and be done with it, the Horror/Thriller genres had a number of interesting candidates this year, making it as good a category as any to pick out a series that hasn’t gotten as much recognition as it should’ve. Ajin comes in as a series that fits the bill, earning the win here on the merits of its characters (who doesn’t like an immortal antagonist dead set on destroying everything in his way?) and an in-universe government desperate to cover-up everything about the matter. Without going too much into specifics, buildings are dropped, plenty of people are shot or flat out shredded, and everyone’s on the run or looking to take down someone. For the main character, both of the latter apply, and given that he ends up drawing the ire of both sides—well, let’s just say that’s a recipe for a thriller if I’ve ever seen one. Given that the series is filled with immortal beings summoning literally invisible boogiemen covers the horror aspect as well, and while it may not have been the greatest from a visual/animation standpoint, it’s was certainly quite a journey for those that saw it through.
Honorable Mentions: 91Days, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Joker Game, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
Samu: If we’re judging by horror, then Occultic; Nine and Boku dake ga Inai Machi both had some genuinely scary moments thanks to their strong direction and haunting storylines. As for thrill rides, it’s hard to argue that Ajin is one of the best in recent memory, yet I’m going to do so anyway because I’d consider 91Days the best show overall out of the main contenders. It’s the most un-anime anime to air this year, as it depicts the American mafia as authentically as you’d hope. There’s no cute girls or bishounens or typical tropes of the medium here; it doesn’t feel like its made through a Japanese lens, and the result is a success. Characters are killed off left, right, and centre. The tension between the families is raw and unpredictable. There’s a twist or split decision in nearly every episode that makes this a genuine thriller. It’s not gotten the attention it deserves from anime audiences, and I’m convinced if even more people watched it then they’d also enjoy it for what is succeed at: creating a mafia thriller like no anime has done before.
Honorable Mentions: Ajin, Occultic; Nine, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Thought-provoking storylines that keep inquisitive viewers watching and speculating on where things are headed? Yes, please. They don’t necessarily have to have a horror element to them either, as all we’re looking for here is a blend of detective/crime fiction.
Zephyr: A perennially under-explored genre, 2015 saw the first influx of pure (and well-received) mystery series in years. 2016 doesn’t quite match 2015 in this regard—many series had mysteries but didn’t have them as their centerpiece—but there was a decent selection to choose from, and Boku dake ga Inai Machi finally comes in as the outright winner here. Centered around a murder mystery with a limited window of opportunity to solve, Boku dake ga Inai Machi not only presented one of the more compelling mysteries of the year, but one that had more people seeing it to the end than almost any other series this year. The amazing reception it received and the sheer popularity of the series was a testament to not only to the story’s execution but the desire of its viewers to find the answers its protagonist was looking for, and when it comes to a series of the mystery genre, there’s nothing you’d rather have.
Honorable Mentions: Ajin, Haruchika, Joker Game, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Samu: For the longest time I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pick a deserving winner for this category. Boku dake ga Inai Machi seems like a contender, but I’d consider the mystery (especially the big reveal) to be the worst part of an otherwise good show, and so would feel it unfair to reward it for its worst aspect. Thankfully, Occultic;Nine came along and delivered the goods. The premiere turned a lot of people off with its ridiculous pace and leaving the viewer to figure it out as they went. Personally, I loved the first episode and was able to understand what was happening. Once the picture became clearer, it makes sense why the opener was so chaotic. We’re left in the dark until suddenly we’re hit with one revelation after another, and you quickly realise the evidence was hidden amongst the madness, and if you paid close enough attention you could figure it out. It’s a strong mystery that’s aided by its supernatural elements; it’s just a shame it’s still disliked by so many even after its completion. Not only is it the best mystery of the year, but for me, it’s one of the better anime of the 2016, and probably the most undeserving of its harsh critics.
Honorable Mentions: Mayoiga, Haruchika, Joker Game
Where science fiction seeks to explain the remarkable happenings of its universe via technology and logic, fantasy is less concerned with that. Wizards, dragons, and Tolkien-esque adventures are what usually come to mind, but those aren’t mandatory. As long as the focus is less on what makes the world tick and more on using magic and wonder to tell a story, it’s probably a fantasy tale you’re looking at.
Zephyr: When it comes this year’s selections, let me preface this by saying that the cross genre nature of many series this year made it difficult to classify some series. As such, if you don’t see a series you expected to be here, it’s likely it was listed elsewhere instead—either because I felt it was a better fit or just so it can make room for less recognized series. With that in mind, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar comes in the consensus (between me and Samu anyway) best Fantasy this year, and I’m perfectly aware that it may come as a controversial pick for some. Given that I put it on the backburner early on, I understand that the series is far from perfect—but for me, this was a story that made full use of its fantasy setting in a way few other series of the genre did, and it led the way with a purposefully slow progression that gave room for its characters to develop. Unlike a certain “thrown into a fantasy RPG world” story with an unbeatable protagonist, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar takes its time to show how its characters adapt and grow to a new environment, combining fear, uncertainty, relief and many other emotions as our cast meet and inevitably overcome their various obstacles. Mixing in one of the most memorable deaths of the year only served to hammer in the reality of the world they were in, and while it’s definitely not a series for everyone, there’s something to be said about how well it represented its genre without straying too far into others.
Honorable Mentions: Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu, Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Samu: While there are plenty of strong fantasy titles this year, none managed to make the most of an over-done premise like Hai to Gensou no Grimgar. There are plenty of “Trapped in an MMO/Fantasy World” anime out there, but none start from the ground-up quite like Grimgar, and none are as raw and visceral when depicting the fight scenes, even with the weakest of enemies. The characters have weight to their movements, they make mistakes and the slow pace makes sure they learn from their errors – whether through training or by witnessing the consequences of their poor abilities. Death feels like a real threat, because it is. It may be a magical world, but there’s a sense of danger that exists in every fight, and a desperation in these teenage fighters that is often glossed over in other fantasy works. It may not have hooked viewers in from the first episode, but if you can appreciate the new approach to this familiar formula, then there’s a lot to appreciate here. Meanwhile, ufotable gave an adaptation in Tales of Zestiria the X that improved on the source material, giving its female characters more development and always delivering on the fights, which is enough for it to get a special mention as well.
Honorable Mentions: Tales of Zestiria the X, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Flip Flappers
The ability to make you laugh until you cry – that’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.
Samu: It’s not an understatement to say that Osomatsu-san is a phenomenon. This obscure kids show from the 1960s received a reboot late last year that wasn’t on anybody’s radar. And who can blame them? It looked like a kids show, and made specifically for a Japanese audience. As it turns out, Osomatsu-san became one of the best-selling anime of all time (in the top 5 for this century), has a legion of dedicated fans (mostly women), and was a superbly dark comedy that appealed to an older demographic and never failed to amuse. I’ll admit, it took a few episodes for me to differentiate between the near-identical sextuplets, but the all-star seiyuu performances and distinctive character traits set them apart, and the gags just kept getting funnier and funnier, more and more outrageous. The first episode was retroactively banned from broadcast, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a mammoth hit. It’s one of the funniest anime I’ve watched in years, so it’s an easy pick for me, even if there’s a slew of funny anime from 2016. Many will claim that Konosuba deserves this title, and it would have been a contender if Osomatsu-san didn’t exist. But it does, and while comedy is the most subjective of all genres, it’s the king of comedies for the past year of anime.
Honorable Mentions: Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, Sakamoto desu ga?, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai Aru, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan
|Slice of Life|
A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.
Zephyr: As one of three categories with nearly a dozen potential candidates, the Slice of Life genre was once again loaded with great offerings, and let me be the first to apologize if your favorite didn’t make it on the list as a result. With that said, Amanchu! dives in as the winner of this year’s most difficult category, and it does so on the basis of a heartwarming friendship and a story that uses diving as a great analog to life—highlighting the uncertainties that lurk beneath the surface, the courage it takes to explore the unknown, and the amazing things that can lie beyond the boundaries we set for ourselves. This was a series that hammered in the importance of viewing things from different perspectives, and often times it did exactly that, presenting many of its day-to-day events in ways that other series don’t while using unique visuals and character designs that made the series even more memorable when it was all said and done. Accompanying it all was a stream of smiles (and the occasional teardrop for some) you couldn’t help but form, making Amanchu! a quintessential example of a Slice of Life done right—a sentiment it shares with both Amaama to Inazuma and Flying Witch as well.
Honorable Mentions: Amaama to Inazuma, Flying Witch, Fukigen na Mononokean, Love Live! Sunshine!!, Shounen Maid
Samu: There were plenty of impressive slice of life anime this past year, but my top choice may be a unpopular one. This category is often synonymous with “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things”, and Fune wo Amu is the polar opposite of that definition; it’s a story about adults working to make a dictionary, showing their everyday work lives, their blossoming and varying love lives, their battle for good health, and their post-work meet ups where they drink together and enjoy one another’s company. If Amanchu!, Flying Witch, or Amaama to Inazuma are SOL of the sweet variety, then Fune wo Amu is the savoury kind. It’s an acquired taste to be sure, and subject to criticism of being boring – but when an anime manages to be this different while effectively capturing the everyday lives of a group of characters rarely explored in anime, I have to give it credit. My runner-up here would be the satirical Girlish Number, which started off as a hate letter to the anime and seiyuu industry, before turning into an impressive character study, and made for one of the most thought provoking titles of 2016 – which isn’t something you can say for many shows of this genre.
Honorable Mentions: Girlish Number, Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, NEW GAME, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
Eagerly requested and the newest addition to this post, this category seeks to celebrate the competitive past times many of us cherish—at least, the animated equivalents of them. Chances are you’re no Roger Federer or Lebron James, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine ourselves as him or enjoy watching people like him play, and this category seeks to include those series that gave us a great take on a particular sport, with bonus points given to quality animations, insight into mental aspects of the game, and other athletic intangibles.
Samu: This was another relatively easy pick. Sure, Yuri!!! On Ice is a fantastic show overall, and was as good as any ice skating show can be in this day and age, but Haikyuu!! is simply the best sports anime of this era. With both second and third seasons eligible in 2016, there’s so much amazing content to consider that it has to take the top spot. The second season focused on training Karasuno in the downtime, building upon the established character arcs, before diving into the tournament with bombast and fire. The third season was dedicated entirely to the Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa match, which is perhaps the best sports match I’ve watched/read in anime/manga. Every character got a chance to prove themselves, but this was undeniably the season of Tsukishima. As one of my favourite anime characters (and my online avatar), it was incredibly satisfying to watch this once disinterested kid find passion in volleyball after his brother’s past lies and the challenges that stood in his way. He was the MVP of the game, and elevates him to the same importance as Hinata and Kageyama as the series carries on for the foreseeable future.
Honorable Mentions: Yuri!!! On Ice, Diamond no Ace: Second Season
While fan-service-filled affairs tend to go hand-in-hand with comedies, that’s not always the case. In addition, fan-service doesn’t only constitute breasts in your face, nor an abundance of needless upskirt shots. The only criteria here are character interactions suggestive of a sexual-related context, regardless of how revealing the scenes may actually be.
Samu: This is an interesting category for me. I rewarded Shokugeki no Souma last year for it’s equal opportunity fanservice and ability to make it funny to watch, but so many anime with fan-service are gross and in your face in the worst possible way, or just serve as thinly veiled masturbation opportunities. As a gay man, I’m clearly not the target demographic for those shows, but there’s usually one each year that gets it just right, and this year it’s Keijo!!!!!!!. All eight of those exclamation points are appropriate for the absurdity of this gem, which is – get ready for this, you’re not gonna believe it – actually quite a good show. For a fan-service series, it is genuinely engaging and hilarious just when it needs to be, and has those trademark sports anime moment to get you pumped. It may all be tits and ass, but the fact that Keijo!!!!!!!! knows it’s ridiculous and still plays it as a serious sport is what makes it so entertaining. The characters all know what they’re doing is beyond logic, and it’s much less exploitative in the fan-service than you’d imagine. Overall, it’s an enjoyable show, fan-service or not.
Honorable Mentions: Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara
Also known as the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Memorial Award, this is the category for those shows that deserve to be on this list, even if we don’t have a clue where they should go. Many series cross into multiple genres, which is why you see shows being featured in multiple categories in this section. These series defy genre. They twist and squirm, evading our attempts to label them and are just themselves, as well as good. This is the category for shows that deserve recognition, even if we aren’t rightly sure what they were.
Samu: Ah, Mayoiga. I love you, Mayoiga. So few understand you, but I get you…. What a bizarre creation and I don’t know why or how it exists, but I’m so glad it does. I’ve noted other anime fans and sites have listed this as the worst anime of 2016, which makes me very, very sad. From my blogging experience, I could tell I was in the minority of those who found this bizarre title engaging and entertaining from beginning to end. I can see why it would irritate some, but there’s an appeal it’s dumb plot twists and ridiculous dialogue. I had affection for plenty of the cast, and watching them scream at one another in the middle of the woods week on week was a highlight of my summer. Some think this was unintentionally bad, but its self-aware jokes and sheer unpredictability makes it hard for me to subscribe to that belief. I almost view this show as a comedy as much as a drama, but whatever it is, it does what it does like nothing else. Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou’s 2nd cour also deserves a mention after winning last year, while JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable continues to be fabulous, playing around with the formula/setting in its fourth story.
Honorable Mentions: Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
There are numerous shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because they’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. We make a point of watching and covering series that tend to be overlooked, so this is intended to highlight the series that more people should have checked out but probably didn’t.
Zephyr: When it comes to being underappreciated, the things I tend to look at are how popular the series was across multiple sites, its overall rating compared to where I feel it should be at, and the comments/amount of chatter it received during its run. Fune wo Amu comes in as an easy fit for all three qualifiers, and while it’s understandable why people dismissed the series—who cares about making dictionaries is the question that comes to mind—to do so meant missing out on one of 2016’s hidden gems. Needless to say, dictionary creation was only the surface of a series that explored not only the power of words, but the importance of being passionate about what you do and not settling for something just because it’s “just good enough.” Filled with realistic characters with problems reminiscent of our own, this was a series that spared nothing in its depiction of everyday life as a dictionary editor, utilizing a niche occupation to make its viewers note how things have changed overtime and how we shouldn’t use that as an excuse to ignore or forget the things that we need or grew up with. An alternative take on romance follows up a bevy of life lessons to add more to the series’ appeal, and let this moment be the one where Samu and I point you toward watching a series that ended one of this year’s best.
Honorable Mentions: Amanchu!, D.Gray-man HALLOW, Schwarzesmarken, Shounen Maid, ViVid Strike!
Samu: Just like last year with Yuri Kuma Arashi, Zephyr and I are on the same page. What it comes down to is a series that either is ignored or subject to incorrect assumptions. While Fune wo Amu certainly isn’t for everyone, it’s rarities in anime like that that should be welcomed and celebrated. This feels like a true Noitamina gem – something you’d expect to air in 2009. While dictionary-making isn’t the most exciting premise, I promise everyone that the characters are the hook, and their lives, their loves, and their everyday struggles are what makes this so fulfilling to watch. It sure doesn’t help that licensing prevented this from being viewed by everyone other than Amazon Prime UK subscribers (which I just so happen to be); so while I was able to watch it on time each week and support its release, so many viewers weren’t even aware of its existence. It’s a nice premise, and difficult to obtain, but for those who can and want to broaden their tastes and go for something more serious and subtle, then Fune wo Amu is the show for you. It deserves all the attention it can get.
Honorable Mentions: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Girlish Number, Shounen Maid, Occultic;Nine, Mayoiga
The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedent established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.
Zephyr: It’s safe to say that KyoAni has seen better days. Their reputation and the consistency of their animation still make them worth checking out on an regular basis, but they’ve released more clunkers than successes in recent years, and Musaigen no Phantom World comes in as latest series to become memorable for all the wrong reasons. Having come in as a promising mixture of action, fantasy, and the supernatural, Phantom World ended more of a comedy than anything, which would’ve been fine if we weren’t laughing at its nonexistent plot and incoherent nature. Filled with cliché ridden characters and plotlines we’ve seen time and time again, this was also a series that not only did nothing new, but didn’t seem to try. What makes it even worse is how it seemed to make things up as it went, and by the time it tried to give some semblance of a proper plot point, it hardly made a difference. The gap between our initial expectations (we only gave it a moderate this time) and the actual product wasn’t as large as prior years, but it’s was still a tremendous disappointment, and I can’t think of a series that did less with its content and airtime than this one. Rounding out the category are two other disappointments in God Eater and Taboo Tattoo, with the former joining the list due to its awkward pacing, obvious plot omissions, and production issues (it finished half a year after its intended date) and the latter earning its place due to terribly developed characters and a poorly executed plotline that leaves you without any real closure and dropped its ratings on MAL over 2 full points during its latter half.
Honorable Mentions: God Eater, Qualidea Code, Taboo Tattoo
Samu: This may not be the general consensus, but Dimension W is my runaway worst anime of 2016. And a perfect fit for Biggest Disappointment because the first couple episodes were genuinely good and presented a seinen sci-fi that we need to see more of. But then it quickly turned into nonsensical garbage that subjected its female lead to the worst objectification I’ve seen in a while (at least in a series that presents itself as something to be taken seriously). The later arcs are a cluster of incoherency, and the main duo’s dynamic never reaches that heartwarming point; it always feels mean spirited, and had me genuinely disliking every character by the end. It had plenty of ideas, but none were executed with success. It’s a shame that so many sci-fi anime turn into a shambles part-way into their production due to imbalanced ideas and poor forward planning. Dimension W was a massive flop in my eye, though I know some view it more positively. Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen deserves a dishonourable mention for also having an impressive start before overstaying its welcome, introducing twelve too many girls for the harem, and then delivering a sloppy final arc. It sucks when a show with promise trips and keeps on stumbling until it reaches the final step, but it happens far too often, sadly.
Honorable Mentions: Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen, Haifuri, Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezusa, Musaigen no Phantom World
Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. Our picks here don’t necessarily mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.
Zephyr: While part of me fears getting expectations wrong, there’s another part of me that’s glad when a series exceeds expectations, and Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is the first that comes to mind in this regard. Having originally put it on hold due to its slow progression and its air date coinciding with a busy stretch in real-life, this was a series I picked back up a few months later, and I’ll forever be glad for doing so. As it turns out, the slow pacing was one of the series’ many charms, and well—given that it ended up my pick as best Fantasy, let’s just say I couldn’t have been more wrong on my initial impressions with the series. Coming in as a close second is D.Gray-man HALLOW, a series whose first season I loved and was sad to see end, especially with an uncertain future ahead of it. The series would need another 10 years to receive another sequel, and however excited I was for it, there were many factors working against its success. Thankfully it ended up not only as memorable as I remembered it, but even more so—giving us perhaps the series’ best arc and while capturing most of its series’ charm despite a shoestring budget and new cast members. That said, I’d certainly prefer not to wait 10 years for anything again…
Honorable Mentions: D.Gray-man HALLOW, Haifuri, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin
Samu: It feels good when a manga you enjoy gets a stellar adaptation, or you place your bets in a show that’s likely to be popular, but you could argue a surprise hit is the best of all. Girlish Number wasn’t on my watch list this past Fall season (like with nearly every writer here), but it ended up being one of the more thought-provoking anime of the past year. I loved SHIROBAKO, but this is like the grungy, bitter, sarcastic little sister that isn’t interested in complimenting the anime/seiyuu industries. It’s blunt in its criticisms of light novels, of anime fans, or the creators and producers, and even of the seiyuu given roles not because of talent, but because of industry politics. It was fun to watch Girlish Number expose all the wrongs of the industry, but the show was even better when it explored the lives of its voice actresses and their varying point of views on the industry. We saw comparisons of old anime and new, or those who aspire to do more than voice trashy harem girls, and a lead so convinced she’s the best in the world that she doesn’t realise she’s simply not that good at her job. Watari Wataru’s writing is sharp in Oregairu, but I’d say Girlish Number is even more poignant and unapologetic. This is a fine example of there being more than meets the eye, and I’m glad to have been proven wrong.
Honorable Mentions: Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Osomatsu-san, Occultic;Nine, Oshiete! Galko-chan
|Best Anime 2016|
The be-all, end-all of the year. This pick is always a hotbed of controversy, so here’s the exact criteria we used to make it: if we were to meet an anime fan for the first time and they were to ask us to recommend a show that aired in 2016, what would it be? Without knowing the person’s tastes, we would naturally default to the show that did the most things right, one that had wide appeal and deserved it, that had superb animation and told its story well, and above all else, that we enjoyed. The winner of this category should be a high anticipation show that supremely deserved it, or a dark horse that blew everyone out of the water. This is subjective as hell, but you can find a list of our best picks below.
Zephyr: For those that have been following my posts over the past few years, my pick here should come as no surprise. It’s the great narratives that usually end up here and this year is no exception. The only difference this time is my pick here isn’t the same as my Best Story pick, and while Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED) may have come in second there (barely, I might add), it offered the best overall package of any series this year. With a thrilling story filled with twists and turns, Boku dake ga Inai Machi was a treat every step of the way, starting with an opening sequence that you wanted to watch every week and ending with one that seemed to appear way too quickly. With unmatched emotional highs resulting from the piecing together of its murder mystery, this was a series that made you lose track of time fearing for the lives of its main cast, and the fact that Satoru had to navigate threats in both the past and the present made it a dynamic series that placed an importance on both time periods rather than only one. Along the way, we witnessed stories about redemption, second chances, the importance of trust and believing others, and many other heartwarming developments. As it turns out, the best doesn’t necessarily come to those who wait, and it’s particularly important to note how Boku dake ga Inai Machi—like last year’s Death Parade—arrived early in the winter. Rounding out the category are various series that have proved themselves with notable narratives and/or superb execution, with some deserving mention as the absolute best of their genre or due to their heartwarming and/or expectation defying natures. Notable omissions are many as usual, with Amaama to Inazuma, Amanchu!, Fune wo Amu, orange, ReLIFE, Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara examples of series that just fell short of the cut.
Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Yuri!!! On Ice, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
Samu: This has been a damn good year for anime and there’s plenty of great shows to consider, but Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is the true masterpiece of the year. Not only is it the best anime of the year, but it’s earned the #3 spot on my all-time top anime list. It’s been said by others, but it bears repeating that Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is proof of art in anime, that the medium is not dead, that it can tell timeless stories that will hopefully be remembered in decades to come. I imagine not many anime fans knew what rakugo was prior to this series airing, but Omata Shinichi’s vision brings the theatrical elements to life, making it feel like we’re there in the audience watching those live performances. It won Best Story, Best Character, Best Seiyuu, and is the main reason for Best Studio for good reason. The double-length premiere is one of the best first episodes I’ve ever watched, and the tragedy that unfolds from there is nothing short of exquisite. You don’t get many anime like this nowadays, but with a second season around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have an early contender for Best Anime of 2017. My other personal picks include: Yuri!!! On Ice for its excellent direction and moving romance; Haikyuu!!’s two seasons, which delivered all the sports action any fan could ask for; Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season was the sweetness we needed in our lives; 91Days for delivering an original mafia story that avoids the pitfalls of anime cliches; And the cultural phenomenon and ever hilarious Osomatsu-san, rounding off the strongest year of anime since 2011.
Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Yuri!!! On Ice, Haikyuu!!, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season, 91Days, Osomatsu-san
|Best OVA/Movie 2016|
The same as above, except for the not-regularly-broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but we’ve each had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eyes.
Zephyr: When it comes to 2016, one of the things that sticks out were the sheer number of theatric BD/DVD releases. None of them held a candle to 2013’s masterpiece laden offerings, many of them were great in their own right, and well worth watching. Given a multitude of choices I felt were essentially equivalent, my choice here—the adaptation of the late Satoshi Itoh’s award-winning novel, Harmony—comes as perhaps one of my controversial, and one I’ll gladly admit is more personal due to my affinity for the Sci-Fi genre. Based on a future where advances in medical nanotechnology have led to the successful creation of an utopia, Harmony is a movie that brings to life a magnificent backdrop that challenges the imagination and forces its viewers to consider its ethical and philosophical implications. The realization that the perfect world they’ve crafted may actually be a unique form of hell merely adds to the loaded nature of the movie, and while the it doesn’t succeed in fitting everything in despite its two hour airtime, the fact remains that there are few words to describe the range of emotions Harmony elicits and the degree to which it represents the Sci-Fi genre and the potential it has. Its parallels to Itoh’s own life—he was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time of its completion—only add further to the significance of Harmony, which ends up not only a great Sci-Fi film, but one that represents the legacy of a legendary writer whose life was cut tragically short. Notably, Harmony ends up as one of three Itoh works to receive an adaptation, with Empire of Corpses having already been released and Genocidal Organ coming early next year. Barely missing the cut (after much agonizing) are BORUTO -NARUTO THE MOVIE-, Girls und Panzer der Film, Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda., and Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku: Kitto, Onnanoko wa Osatou to Spice to Suteki na OVA.
Honorable Mentions: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova Movie – Cadenza, Digimon Adventure Tri (2: Ketsui and 3: Kokuhaku), Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Kizumonogatari (I: Tekketsu-hen and II: Nekketsu-hen), Persona 3 the Movie (#3 – Falling Down and #4 – Winter of Rebirth)
Samu: I had the pleasure of watching both Kimi no Na wa. and Koe no Katachi on the same day a few months back, but sadly they aren’t eligible for this category until 2017 – all I will say is they were both mighty impressive films that are early contenders for the position this time next year. As for what can be considered, I wanted to highlight Gundam Thunderbolt for its stellar action and horrifying depiction of the early Universal century war paired with its impressive jazzy soundtrack. But there was also Shelter, a 6-minute music video born from a partnership between Porter Robinson and A-1 Pictures that paves the way for the future of the medium. However, in terms of quality, Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito’s magic earns it the top spot. This acclaimed manga’s prequel OVA series began this year, introducing us to this supernatural world shown through confident direction and gentle details that gives major Mushishi vibes (which is a major compliment). With the sparse release schedule it means a TV adaptation of the source material is unlikely to arrive before 2018, but if this appetiser is anything to go by then it’s destined to be one of the best anime of the year it airs, which has me genuinely thrilled for what the future holds.
Honorable Mentions (IN ORDER): Gundam Thunderbolt, Shelter, Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume, Little Witch Academia: Mahou Shikake no Parade, Kizumonogatari I: Tekketsu-hen and II: Nekketsu
|Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2016|
Your choice for 2016. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.
The Top 5:
Excerpt by Zephyr
Subaru triumphs again! With the votes tallied, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu comes in as the easy winner for Reader’s Choice as Best Anime of 2016, starting things off with an early lead that often extended to much as twice the votes of the second candidate. Given its exceptional popularity and generally deserved acclaim however, it’s not a surprising pick, and 2016 seems to be a year filled with similar such selections. Unlike previous years, many people seemed to agree on a majority of the top 10-15 picks across the board regardless of the source (the actual rank of each show tends to differ slightly however), and I’m personally glad to see series such as Yuri!!! On Ice, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, and Hai to Gensou no Grimgar receive recognition as members of that top 10 here despite being series that weren’t necessarily for everyone. Aside from that, Mob Psycho 100, Boku no Hero Academia, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! come in as the only three shows omitted from our own personal top 10 selections in this post, though they did at least receive a mention in one of the genre categories.
|Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2016|
Your OVA/Movie choice of 2016. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching them and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2013, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.
The Top 5:
Excerpt by Zephyr
Rounding things out for this year’s post is the selection of Kizumonogatari (I: Tekketsu-hen and II: Nekketsu-hen) as the Reader’s Choice for best OVA/Movie. With a 40 vote difference between it and the second candidate, and a mere 30 vote spread between the second and fifth choices, this year’s poll comes in as the closest race in recent memory. For the most part, I’d chalk that up to 2016 being a year filled with great offerings (though you’d be hard-pressed to find people calling any of them masterpieces), and this was a year that certainly would’ve seen a significant difference in polling had Kimi no Na wa. released on BD/DVD in time to be included. Aside from that, the only thing of note is how all the series here were also mentioned on my own excerpt as members of my top 10—something that hasn’t happened since I started working on these posts many years ago.
Excerpt by Zephyr
As it turns out, the best isn’t always saved for last. Unlike 2015, this year gave us a few series that many could agree on as consensus top 5 (and if not, top 10) picks, with two of them (Boku dake ga Inai Machi and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu) arriving early in the winter and staying on as leaders of the 2016 pack. Genre-wise, 2016 was a year highlighted by a tremendous number of offerings in the Action, Drama, and Slice of Life categories—all of which came in with over a dozen potential candidates. Adding to the diversity was a unique array of comedies that provided laughs across the board, a revitalized romance category that tore down the traditional connotations of the word, and multi-category threats that straddled the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, and Horror/Thriller categories.
In exchange, 2016 brought with it a notable lack of Romantic Comedy offerings, and disappointed in the Sci-Fi realm as well, offering many solid entries but few great ones—especially if you consider how even the great ones ended up fitting better in other genres. Thankfully, adaptations stemming from the late Satoshi Ito’s award-winning novels (Empire of Corpses, Harmony) filled the Sci-Fi gap very nicely, and a large array of movies highlighted a great Movie/OVA selection that would’ve been even better had Shinkai’s Kimi no Na wa. qualified for this year’s selections.
On a personal note, 2016 brought with it a bigger focus on the fine balance between work and hobbies, and admittedly, this was the toughest of any year since I started blogging here on RC in that regard. As such, most of my anime viewing revolved around marathons and staggered segments rather than watching series as they aired, and it should be emphasized that many of my personal picks this year came independent of outside influence for the most part (this means that I didn’t really have the chance to be caught up in any of the major hype or criticism laid on various shows), and the fact that Winter/Spring series were fresher in my mind than prior years were the likely reasons behind any differences my picks might have had with those of you viewing this post right now. As with last year however, one would hope that between Samu and I, most of the series worth watching this year were mentioned at some point or another, and that you were able to get a list of series that didn’t you consider before but end up loving by the time you complete it.
Looking forward to 2017, “optimistic” is the buzzword once again. Winter looks a tad weak in regards to original series—but it’s made up for with a multitude of sequels to series that were as popular was they were great, and future seasons look to bring more in that regard with sequels to Full Metal Panic! and Shingeki no Kyojin on the horizon. With that in mind, we also hope you’ll continue visiting Random Curiosity as well, so we can find out together and have a good laugh while we’re at it.
Here’s my list and short thoughts of 2016 (May contain spoilers) :
Show Spoiler ▼
And thank you for such an amazing year, RandomC! I love you all.
I never understood the love for Jojo. Is it kind of like Star Wars, no matter how bad it is, people will still love it?
It’s like drug, filled with poses, memes, and western songs.
I’d say it’s the mix of over-the-top action and characters and how sincere the work is about it. It basks in dialogue, fights and characters all of which can be charmingly cheesy at times. And poses of course, can’t forget the poses.
Will be reading this more thoroughly tomorrow. Wanted to see the Reader Picks. I am pleased GuP der Film was second for OVA movie, losing by only 40 votes. I’ll comment again once I have read all this. Still, thanks Samu and Zephyr for all your hard work! Hopefully your Stilts-sempai will come back soon.
AND YOU SEE THAT STILTS. I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS.
No I’m not!
List looks pretty good! Here’s to another year in the books. Honestly there were a few outstanding titles out this year but I can’t really say it was a great year for anime. Still it accomplished it’s main goal which is to provide entertainment.
Here’s to hoping for maybe a little less quantity and a bit more quality for the coming year 🙂
Samu, you didn’t even HM Yoshikage Kira as one of the best character picks? For shame. 🙁
To be fair, I feel like you’d be hard pressed to pick only one character from a series filled with memorable personalities eh.
He’s certainly up there, but didn’t quite make my cut!
Man, I missed Mayoiga, and I don’t know if it’s worth watching now that it’s not on air anymore when all the discussion was happening.
And I feel like there were many shows that fell victim to the hype train for me. It is my fault for that and these shows were not entirely bad, but I found ERASED, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and Orange kinda disappointing, and for all three titles, it was mainly due to the second half being underwhelming or frustrating. I can’t really say the same thing about Re:Zero since I dropped it midway and it would be unfair to judge the series as a whole, but Subaru became pretty insufferable.
Yuri!! on Ice was a refreshing entry in the sports genre, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how it seemed to shy away from some of the romance elements. At least it was a step in the right direction for representation of gay characters, and from what I have seen, good publicity for anime as a medium in the west.
I didn’t expect much from Musaigen Phantom World aside from pretty animation. It’s promotional artwork put me off as it gave me the impression that it would be a battle harem, and honestly, I would have preferred that over the plotless original content they gave us instead.
Highlights of the year for me have to got to Mob Psycho 100 not only for topping One Punch Man in production and animation, but also holding a touching story together with surprising twists. Hibike! Euphonium 2 continued its strong production and character dynamics. Flip Flappers definitely surprised me last season in its zany action and scenarios and the chemistry between Cocona and Papika. Natsume Yuujinchou Go has continued to put out touching episodes after its fifth season with a surprising amount of plot points this time around. And Fune wo Amu was a refreshing adult slice of life we don’t see in anime too often.
High Speed! Free Starting Days was probably the only film I’ve seen this year besides Kimi no na wa. (which isn’t eligible, but I’m sure has gotten a lot of recognition probably even in Western award ceremonies) and it was more focused than the actual TV series. Kimi no na wa. was a solid film and executed some cliches well (but was still a bit too cliched and predictable), but wasn’t as great as Kotonoha no Niwa.
On another note, I didn’t know that Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito was eligible for 2016. I thought that it needed to finish within 2016 to be eligible since it still has a couple more episodes left. And I’m not sure how lucrative OVA series are now in Japan, but I would love to see more OVA standalone series even if it leads to a TV anime or film.
Overall, it was a decent year. Thank you RC for continually blogging for the past decade. Here’s to another year of great anime.
For what it’s worth, I thought Mayoiga was one of the worst shows I’ve watched in ages, but Samu thought the opposite, so might be something to peek at just to see what’s up.
Aside from that, Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito is eligible because it’s an OVA, so we count the episodes that aired from it this year. Next year it’ll be eligible again, but we’ll only be considering Ep 2 and 3.
And you’re welcome!
Brother you are my hero after hearing you say that about Mayoiga
Lol I remember when most of Samus topics were discussions about his opinion on the show. I rolled my eyes at that, and hoped people would discuss the actual show..
Konosuba didn’t win anything….
Well at least Yuri on Ice didn’t dominate the list like elsewhere and there was actual variety in the winners
I mentioned this toward the end, but for one reason or another, Konosuba seemed to be one of only three series with the biggest gap between writers and readers in general.
I can’t speak for Samu, but for me personally, while I did find the series funny, I didn’t think it was as funny as other comedies I’ve seen over the past few years comparatively. Aside from that, I’d say it was probably an unfortunate mixture of that and timing as well, as the series aired in the Winter and I was pretty loaded on work at the time, which probably played a bit in my impressions as well. I did at least make sure to have it receive an HM entry in the Comedy category though.
See for me, who hates comedies normally, I found konosuba to be very funny. I have reread the novel like 3 times now after picking it up after the show ended. I saw it got that HM there and was happy about that at least but I was hoping for a win.
macross delta? that piece of shit that murdered the entire franchise in cold blood forever?
Oh wait not only once but twice winner. ahahahaa
What a waste or article. Discarded.
Gotta love it when a dislike for a show gets used as a reason to ignore everything else about that show and the other series that’ve aired this year.
I’d like to say many of us here would’ve liked to chat about your preferences for the year and why you felt the way you did about em’, but I guess you’re too busy hating on one series to really care too much about that.
Not to mention, if you’re saying one entry in a multi-decade franchise is enough to “kill it forever,” I’d dare say you’re not truly a fan of the franchise at all, are you?
@Zephyr: With all due respect, I’d say your reasoning above that made you championed Macross Delta as the best sci-fi this year is too broad to the point that it’s only mirroring the Macross franchise as a whole rather than the strength of Delta alone. That way, you seem to complement the franchise rather than the specific series. I mean, if I were to use the same judgement as you then any Gundam series will always be number one because Gundam franchise is the one who pioneered and smoothed the Real-Robot genre where the Macross franchise is riding on (without Gundam, there would be no Macross). So, as a Macross fan also, I hope you see my problem with your assessment this time. If Gundam fans have the guts to say certain Gundam outing is terrible (eg. G-Savior & G-Reco) and judge the series on its own without the helping hand of the Gundam franchise as a whole, I’d hope that Macross-fan reviewers also have the same guts to say “This Macross series is bad overall” and don’t say “Well, this series fell flat and riddled with issues but since it belongs in a great long-lasting franchise, it’s worthy to be the best sci-fi this year”.
Also, my other problem with Delta being the best sci-fi of the year based on your assessment is this: Delta relies too much on magic-singing to drive the story forward that it becomes less science-fiction and more of a space-fiction or space-fantasy. Even the piloting-skill of the male MC (Hayate) is pretty much shamefully depends on the magic-singing-boost he received from the female MC (Frey). If not, he’d be kicked around by the enemy pilots *smh + facepalm* (apparently, the days of independently-skilled pilot MCs like Isamu, Hikaru, and Shin Kudou has gone). Compared to that, even Kuromukuro has a lot more sci-fi elements compared to Macross Delta. And Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has even harder sci-fi than Kuromukuro. So, to me, Delta being the best sci-fi this year is quite baffling. So, I lean more towards Samu’s choice.
If picking an objective disaster in your TOP list doesn’t put the list into question I don’t what could be.
I couldn’t agree more about Hayate’s piloting skills. I thought at the start they would develop him into an ace pilot and grow him as a person. They did grow his character, but left the piloting skill up to the “boost” given to him by Freyjas singing. But I did like that this “boost” came with a price though. I thought Mirage and Messer were better pilots than him. I don’t think Hayate really was anything more than a good pilot without Freyjas singing. He never had that special ability on his own.
I did feel that there were too many dogfights that didn’t really result in anything against Windermere. I felt that the Windermere ace pilots had plot armor that prevented them from dying in any sort of way until the story demanded it. Which took away some of the enjoyment of these battles. In some ways they felt like filler battles to pad out the episode, as literally nothing came from them most of the time.
@Oby – Ah, I see what you mean. Seems like my phrasing was a bit off, so a bit of clarification, my intent was to say that in general, Delta as a series tends to have the same Sci-Fi elements that made other Macross series fit under the genre. In this sense, what this means is that I felt that Delta as a stand alone series still had plenty of things that put it in the Sci-Fi realm, as the Valkyries, the bases and ships they used, the tech they used for their tactical performances, and even the attempts to explain fold waves and how the singing worked using series-specific jargon were good examples of elements that make it a Sci-Fi, though of course, depending on one’s definition-the actual degree into which it could be considered Sci-Fi will certainly vary.
In regards to admitting that the series has flaws, you’ll note from my coverage of Delta that I did find that the series had its fair share of issues, so I’m not pegging Delta as perfect in any sense of the word. I can also see where you and others may not have liked the series as a result as well, but for me, the big thing here is that I also felt the other series on the list of potential candidates all had their share of flaws as well, and I suppose the pick here comes down to me just enjoying Delta a little more overall than you or others seemed to have.
Ultimately, this certainly seems like a case of agree to disagree, which is fine, and I’m thankful that you took the time to explain where you’re coming from! All things considered, am I the only one getting nostalgic thoughts about the huge gap in impressions Macross 7 had awhile back too?
– – –
@Ozuna – Eh, I think it’s important to consider that saying something was “objectively bad” is also subjective in its own right. For me personally, I feel that there are dozens of other series this year that were worse than Delta by far, even with all the flaws I admitted Delta had in my coverage of it, so we certainly have a different opinion of what’s “objectively bad” eh, which is fine.
Regardless, I don’t know about using one or two picks (out of dozens) in a highly subjective post as a reason to ignore everything else about the post itself. You’re perfectly within your own right to do so, but I do hope that you at least would take the time to look over the rest of the post and see the other picks, as you might be pleasantly surprised otherwise, and just for discussion sake eh, as this post isn’t so much a venue for my and Samu’s recommendations as it is to give a venue for others to share their own and to come up with a collective series of shows worth watching across multiple perspectives.
Delta insulted Mirage too much to be considered anything else than garbage. And that’s the tip of the fail iceberg.
Mirage was never anything more than a supporting character though in the story. I don’t think they insulted her, but they didn’t do the character justice. I think this was probably because they had so many different characters and not enough episodes to really develop some of them.
Macross Delta to me was wasted potential. It had the potential to be a really great show, it had all the pieces in place and the characters for something special. It just didn’t have the direction to piece it all together to make something amazing. If there’s one word that I would use to describe my thoughts about the show, I would say Disappointed.
I liked what they did with Messer though, it was highly emotive and really well done. This is the kind of thing the show needed more of.
But it would be highly inaccurate to call the Macross franchise dead because of Delta. The music sales were incredible, and the show did sell very well on BD. I would hate to say when we’ll see a new Macross show, but the franchise is very much alive.
Pretty much what lyfe said. Although i think the show deserves a bit more kindness. Id rather say it didnt live up to its potential rather than “wasted potential”. I actually thought the first half of the series was pretty decent. If you go back to my initial comments about the show during its airing, you can see that i felt that the show was very functional and i enjoyed the fact that they were taking a more lighthearted approach to the series (it felt slice of lifey with hints of a larger overarching narrative hanging in the background and i didnt mind that at all). Where i felt the show veerred of-course was in its second half. There was characterization layed out for the cast members in the first half but the show never took the opportunity to develop the cast beyond that characterization or progress them in a way that was interesting. The plot meandered itself in politics that never became interesting because the show never took the time to make the villains be anything other than 1-dimensional and when it tried, it used boring exposition and scene directing to do so.
So yea, some of the directing and writing was a bit weak. Like i said, i appreciated the show a bit more in its first half when it focused on the chemistry between hayate and freyja and watching them lift each other up while trying to achieve their newfound goal. The second half of the series slogged through their relationship rather than evolving it, and i felt like that hampered the emotional integrity of their relationship towards the last few eps. For me, the last pretty good ep of macross delta was ep 16. After that point things started to sour. Not necessarily in to unwatchable levels, but some quality was lost. Up until that point there were blemishes in the narrative here and there, but i still thought the series was fairly fun and highly appealing until post ep 16. Ep 18 was cool but then the narrative never had a real build from there which affected the series heavily. To put this series’ overall quality into perspective; there’s no reason why i should feel like a 26 ep series isnt coming to an end on its 23rd episode, which is how i felt with delta. Overall, this series was definitely not a franchise destroyer; no where close (i think that’s a bit dramatic and inaccurate). The series did have it’s flaws which zephyr acknowledges. I thought it was good, fun series but could have been better and scored it a 6/10
Sorry! I just felt that Macross Delta could have been so much more with better direction. Ultimately I would place the blame at the feet of the director and have to wonder what it could have been with someone else at the helm.
I don’t think it ever drifted into bad territory, I think the show was stuck at 5 out of 10, maybe 6 out of 10 territory for most of its run. Take away the amazing soundtrack and you have a show that was basically stuck at average/good for its entire run.
i definitely agree that the directing was what really hampered the series. The series composition could have used some work too
Not sure why the hate on Delta. You have to at least agree it has one of the best sound tracks this year. I’m all ears if there’s another anime that has that many good songs.
I can’t really criticize his choice considering the honourable mentions (the only one I haven’t seen is Kiznaiver). Personally I would’ve chosen Planetarian (Sci-fi OVA) or Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (Sci-fi sports anime), but that’s just me.
Sure Delta didn’t revitalize Macross like Frontier did. But I think it’s not the worse the franchise has got. Liked it better than Zero, and believe me, Seven got just as much hate (maybe more) in the late 90s.
Looking back on the 2016 anime line-up, I’m happy. The year had its ups and downs, it had its surprises and shows you thought would be bad, but were actually fun. But with the dawning of the new year, comes the chance to do this all over again. Very soon, 2017 will begin that new rollercoaster ride.
If I could ask for anything though, I’d ask for another Mayoiga type train wreck show. The show was a mess, but an artful mess, and one you knew was done on purpose, with a purpose. It was such a watchable mess, but I loved it.
I will say, your description of Mayoiga keeps flashing me back to Valvrave. Now THAT was an entertaining trainwreck.
Yep! Sometimes, something can be really bad, but at the same time really good. I know that’s kinda contradictory, but I think it kinda fits Mayoiga. I really liked the way the ending also made things come full circle. Who didn’t love that creepy bus song?
In regards to the topic of most notable soundtracks, I MUST add in Bakuon! & Drifters. Surprisingly, Bakuon’s OST was rather experimental in its range of styles and genres while Drifters was filled with recreations of rock and jazz. And just before I forget, I’d like to add in Drifters’ OP sequence and song to the list as well.
On the other hand, SERIOUSLY!? JUNNA is 16!? But HOW!? 嘘だろう! Woah, just woah. Goddamn… Like seriously, I could’ve sworn that she sounded like a 20+ year old when she sings. Holy shit man, that’s crazy dawg. It’s like essentially a similar rise-to-prominence story like Chelly’s ‘cept that her voice is almost operatic in nature, what with the deeper voice and higher vocal range.
As for the voice acting category, I’d also gotta add in Reina Ueda as Hane in Bakuon! & Yuuichi Nakamura as Toyohisa in Drifters for their performances, especially Reina. I mean like man, she was so into her character that you could sense the fun exuding from her portrayal. Her depiction of Hane as this absolutely cheeky, child-like and simple-minded dunce of a character was so totally spot-on that I struggled to sleep at night, cuz all I’d be doing is laughing my ass of in bed at 3:30 am! And oh yes, Jun Fukushima as Kazuma from Konosuba. Goddamn, another totally asinine and hilarious one. Though the craziest tone shift would be Inori Minase and Rie Takahashi for voicing a comedic role in one anime in roughly the same period to going full drama in another anime. Inori Minase for Netoge and Re:Zero and Rie Takashi for Konosuba and Re:Zero. Man, my mind is full of fuck wwwww.
Yuuichi Nakamura on the other hand took around 2-3 episodes to really get into his depiction of the medieval Kyuushu accent and dialect, but when he finall did oh boy did he REALLY start to sound like this hick from some totally boondocks area of Japan. I struggled hard to pick up his Japanese. Thankfully non-Japanese viewers outside of Japan have subtitles but I can only imagine how crazily difficult it was for a native Japanese viewer to actually single out his words goddamn.
Y’know, when you actually start to look at the seasonal charts, there’re actually so many anime that you’d start to forget a whole bunch of others. Even I struggled to remember ’em if I didn’t glance at the charts from time to time. I wonder how anime’s gonna be in the next several years and decades. Hopefully, folks like me can actually do something and get our own animes out there too. It ain’t impossible but it would be if we just sit on our asses doing nothing.
I know right? You hear JUNNA and it’s like she has the voice of an extremely experienced singer who’s been at it for decades.
WHOOPS!!! I accidentally replied to this comment sorry! It was supposed to be a standalone one wwwww. Anyways, speaking of Valvrave. While I really, really loved the mech designs, I just found the series ridiculously over-the-top and melodramatic as it nears its conclusion with strangely entertaining results. Though goddamn the melodrama.
Haaaaaahhh… I remember those days on Japanese Twitter when they were highlighting that one scene. Fun times.
Yeah the mech designs were pretty out there. Literally the only series that’s spurred me to get every one of the model kits just to line them up.
Phew, pretty nice collection you got there bruh. I’m surprised you got Valkyria figures! I don’t know anyone in my domestic circle of friends that owns any mech figures apart from Gundam and perhaps Macross, so nice job on the Valvrave & Total Eclipse ones. It’s hard collecting figures where I live as the exchange rate is making things real expensive but luckily some Gundam models are like SUPER cheap here which is awesome. People do collect more Nendroids and scaled figures though. There’re also quite a few that collect figmas but not as many people seem to like em down here. I’m a big fan of them however and I try to collect all the Racing Miku figmas that satisfy my personal aesthetic preferences, but that’s also because they’re relatively affordable wwwww. BTW, how do you do the uh ‘hyperlinked sentence/word’ thing? I’ve been trying to figure it out but no luck. Y’know, like the one you used just now to link to a photo of your figures.
Yeah, but ugh, the Valkyria figures cost a pretty penny. Got Alicia well past her initial release, Riela needed a proxy, and I have Imca too but it’s unstable to the point where I don’t really bother displaying it much anymore.
Speaking of mechs… this (zoom in on the left side shelf) and this are probably more reflective of the mech-related things I have haha. Those were my big hobby back in the old Gundam Wing days, especially when the kits were like $4/$5 each.
As for the Racing Miku stuff, I’ve certainly been tempted, but at this point space is an issue and I have a few random Miku nendos already so I’m loathe to start collecting another figure that might lead me to collecting the whole series of em. I did cave and pre-order this one though.
Errr hyperlink, just use the a href=”LINK GOES HERE” with the <> at beginning and the end, put the words you want to be clickable after and the to close the tag.
Nice figure collection Zephyr. I have too many Nendoroids personally lol(63 at last count). I think Umaru-Chan really stands out, but that’s more her outfit choice I think.
Oh damn, that’s a lot! And pricey too!
That said, I wanted to collect nendos, but I knew it’d open the window to getting a ton of other ones and it felt impossible at that point cause it was like at 120+ by the time I even saw it, so I’ve managed to keep it just to the occasional unique Snow Miku/Holiday design for a total of just 5.
… and then I went and got into signed collector’s art and other figures anyway, so the money saving portion kind of became a moot point, haha. These two pictures will probably give you a better indication of what I mean eh. It’s a slippery slope for sure, though thankfully the size of the larger figures place a limit on how much I can get.
Those look great. I’ve found that some Nendoroids tend to get rare fairly quickly if there’s high demand, so I pretty much just pre order the ones I love on websites like Amiami. I wouldn’t pay any more than retail for a Nendoroid. My most recent ones were Aqua from Konosuba and Aoba from New Game. Can’t wait for the Rem Nendoroid that’s out later this month though.
I would pretty much avoid Kantai Collection Nendoroids as they’re like way more expensive and I would hate to collect such a huge amount of characters from a series I don’t really care much for. Even if they look amazing lol
Oh man I envy you guys wwwww… My mind is blown. My figure collection just barely passes 20 in total but you guys have loads, currency exchange is one thing but still man… Just wow…
I can understand the price hike due to rarity on those Valkyria figures. Where’d you get em though Zeph? Amazon Japan? Some Japanese figure site? Also Lyfe you got all those from Amiami!? Cuz Amiami sells out like kah-ray-zay bruh. Oh wait you preordered, but even then you’d have to preorder like SUUUUUUUUPER quick for that bruh!
That’s some slick mechs you got there Zeph but I can’t make em out in that pic though I’m interested in the Ex-Veemon lol. I’d do anything for a truly cool Omnimon figure. And you’ve been going at this since Gundam Wing? But that’s like the early 2000s when I’d reckon they first came out in the U.S and possibly for where I live too but I’m not so sure. So I guess you’re outta university now to be able to collect all these moolah huh? Also that’s a ton of Snoopies ya got there.
BTW, am I seeing things or is your keyboard the exact same as mine? A Logitech one cuz it sure seems like it alright. And that iPhone cover looks like a Neptunia Victory one from Dezaegg. If that’s true then oh man, what a coincidence.
Oh man, for you being able to get that Racing Miku for around 150 USD shipping included is crazy. I’d have to pay close to 600 RM max to bring that back home. The cheapest scaled figures locally cost 280, with the average being 350! And that’s not even counting shipping yet if ordered instead of bought through a store. So far I’ve only got one.
Also thanks for the explanation on the tag thing 😀 Framed Beatless prints? Dayyum. Man I wish they’d make an anime out of it. I first knew of it 3 years ago when Redjuice was in town.
Na, I got all of them via Mandarake second hand actually. Amazon Japan doesn’t tend to have many deals better than them or Amiami and the ones they do don’t always ship to the US.
Eh they’re just basically a horde of Gundam Wing kits, a bunch of action figures from Evangelion, Gundam Seed/Destiny/UC and Eureka Seven. And yeah I’ve been out for a little bit now, though I mean, I make sure in the end not to spend over a few % of my income on this stuff regardless or make sure to sell some stuff in order to even the books a bit, though it certainly helped just saving up money for a few years without spending much at all.
The Snoopies were those McDonalds ones from way back when, got em’ as a gift from a relative who found a store with all of em… all except the Hong Kong exclusive one (which was ironic because the store was in HK =[).
Keyboard-wise it was an old Dell one, I’m using the Overwatch Razer Chroma atm. Case-wise I’m just using some generic spigen one actually. O_o
And yeah, I only got it cause I had leftover points I’ve been accumulating over the years, and I sold some stuff recently too so that ultimately contributes.
And hmm, your link doesn’t seem to work. I think they disabled direct links to the pictures is the reason though, so you’d have to refer to the MFC.net link rather than the picture itself. That said, I’m assuming you’re talking about these ones…? They’re prints with a Plexiglass + Aluminum Dibond coating that were sold on aoji.fr not too long ago (they just recently closed their doors before the New Year though). They cost a lot, but they’re essentially museum grade art pieces and were limited to only a handful of prints, so they’re pretty much the pride of my collection atm along with the signed Kara no Kyoukai ones + signed Redjuice Canvas from the other pic.
Ah, Mayoiga ♥. Anything that can match that level of absurdity is good in my book.
my respect for Zephyr and Samu to picked Grimgar for their best Isekai, I was already pessimist Grimgar would not get any eyes by RC in amid popularity of his rivals ; Re:Zero and Konosuba.
Also i see your point regarding Mayoiga,despite the flaws and stupidity that series has displayed, Mayoiga could be not entirely bad if we drop every known genre revolving Mayoiga.
People hate Mayoiga because it failed to lived up supernatural- mystery- horror genre. Now let’s drop these genre and see Mayoiga in new perspective
Now, What we are seeing? a comedy genre?a drama genre? we don’t know! Bizzare is what the best genre to explain this anime.
whether Mari Okada wrote Mayoiga seriously or for the lol would be a mystery but Mayoiga really not a entirely bad show compared to Samurai Flamenco.
I’d take a prequel with the original residents of Nanaki village lol. Gosh, I wonder if they would ever consider that? Sure, much of the mystery would be gone, but seeing how things became the way they are would be kinda fun.
*Nursery rhyme of Nanaki Village here*
I think you’re right, people did have high expectations for the show and were disappointed. I took the view that you should just drop those expectations and take the show at face value.
I found myself caring more about bus driver guys story and felt sorry for him compared to most of the other cast.
In 2016 I watched anime only a few less than 10 titles which is the lowest number for me in last 20 years. What I like the most is Kimi no na wa (which is consider for ranking in 2017) second is Grimgar and third is Konosuba. I like Re-life , Boku dake ga inai machi and Macross Delta too. Other than that I just don’t watch any. I hope that 2017 will be a good year filled with good anime for watch. Happy new year 2017 see you all again next time 🙂
I gotta say, if I only had time to watch 10 series myself, the series you watched would certainly be ones I’d consider/probably would’ve chosen. That’s a really good list.
Samu needs to learn how to spell ‘opportunity’.
Is it possible to get those videos and whatnot in a non-Flash-based format?
Overall, largely agree with everything here (in a vague, general-ish way, allowing for honorable mentions). Despite being a pretty bleh year, there was still some nice stuff that came out.
Hmm, that’s a good question. I’m not quite tech-inclined, so I don’t know of any off the top of my head aside from literally watching/streaming an episode of the series linked and scrolling real quickly through eh. If you’re looking for one of the inserts, let me know and I could probably give you the episode they came from off the top of my head.
I have used this opportunity to amend that error!
Sorry samu, but I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement that occultic;nine does not deserve its harsh critcisms. It’s not so much that the breakneck pace was the issue (although that did hamper a bit of the enjoyment of a mystery series of its kind of tone); i mean most people regard tatami galaxy as a great piece of anime that shit has characters spitting out 2000 words a minute. The problem with occultic;nine, for me anyway, lies with the fact that 1. the story never gives you the chance to connect with the characters. I started the series not giving a crap about the cast and ended it all the same. You talk about the breakneck pace of ep 1 as if it added something to the mystery but it doesnt. Nothing about the way ep 1 is directed adds ANYTHING to the big reveal midway through the series. I understood everything that was happening since the series began; i just couldnt stand watching it for how sloppy some of the directing was and the weak screenplay. I couldnt care less about any of the reveals because the show always had its head so far up its ass. I think the biggest crime this show did for me was preventing me from giving a single crap about any of the characters..that’s what hurt me on the inside. It’s such a shame too because occultic;nine boasted some damn good character animation is a lot of its eps. The cinematography was a bit hit or miss tho; there were some shots that i was really impressed with and then there were others where i was like “what the fuck” (there’s this shot in ep 1 in the cafe that baffles me) or “how does this add to the scene whatsoever” Why did the staff put so much effort into such an abysmal piece of narrative? Sigh…..at the end of the day i guess im glad that some people can get something out of this series but maaaaaaaannnnnnn would i be lying if i said i could fully understand the appeal of occultic;nine (i sorta get it but i have trouble wrapping my head around it). I would love for someone to explain to me why the writing, directing, characters, and overall narrative in occultic;nine can be considered good. Where are the highs in the character writing or narrative structure and directing..just what’s so good about it. Maybe i could rewatch it under a new perspective and have a better appreciation for it….I WANNA KNO-O-O-O-O-OWWWWWW :****(.
I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Occultic;Nine, but damn I love so much about that show. Was thoroughly impressed by the first episode, and it only get more gripping as it went. It’s hard to get invested when you don’t care, but I definitely did.
I was in the microscopic minority that thought there was any merit to glasslip soooooooo yea i can relate
Thank you RandomC staff for 2016.
After the list came out, I would be definitely be checking some of the series that I did not get to watch this year. If it was not for this blog, I would have completely skipped Re:ZERO and Amanchu!
All the best for 2017 and Happy New Year!
This is the first top anime of a year that most of picks presented are easy to agree.
Just one question, why there isn’t any mention of OP and ED from Drifters? The OP if my personal favorite of the year.
Meant Top Anime of the Year on Randomc!
For me personally, I unfortunately ran out of time toward the end of the year and couldn’t catch it in time for the post, so I couldn’t put it up for consideration.
To me Hai to Gensou no Grimgar was both what exceeded my expectations and the biggest disappointment. It was a slow paced fantasy with bit of realism, and then came the last episode and it turned out to be the same protagonist superpower bullshit. I can never understand why writers have to force a story into deus ex machina situations.
I thought their first battle with the goblin really drove home the realism of Grimgar. Usually in videogame anime and what not, the enemy just goes poof into oblivion, but seeing the goblin fight for its life and all the stabby stab stuff, that surprised me.
Haru’s assassination skill was already hinted very early in the episode, and he didn’t defeat Death Spot with OP-ness alone. The help from his team aside, don’t forget Haru’s effort to make Death Spot fall into the hole, desperately stabbing it in the eye, using Death Spot’s own weapon to hurt the giant wolf and then doing finishing move to kill him. It’s nowhere near the level of BS of haxx Kirito finishing off a floor boss in SAO.
Aren’t the best of anime votes getting smaller each year?
Sadly yes, this year sees quite a big drop again in votes, even though writing/blog posts improved imho. Maybe RandomC needs some more promotion?
Personally I think it’s more a lack of shows with the same impact as One Punch Man. This show was massive and I’m sure a lot of people came here just to read the posts and comment about it. While 2016 was a pretty amazing year in general. I think 2015 just had a few more shows that really got people excited.
While I think you have a point, and that could explain the large drop in votes, 2014 saw a lot more votes than 2015 also. The amount of votes in the anime of the year poll has been decreasing for a long times unfortunatly…
It’s simply the kind of content that has spread throughout the years that has made people feel very disillusioned and estranged from the medium. Quite a lot of the people I know where I live don’t even bother to watch much and instead just gravitate towards light novels and manga. Some play more games. But the more I see them, the more I feel like they don’t really feel like wanting to do anything about the situation of blegh variety in regards to creating content themselves. Either their aspirations are completely different or are just too small or non-existent. On the other hand, you could say that website-based blogs and forums aren’t used as much anymore in comparison to the usage of social-based websites and software but such statistics are hard to quantify, not to mention that the causes would be even harder to confirm in of themselves.
Thanks @Zephyr for picking Harmony I totally forgot that came out this year and didn’t vote for it, it was amazing. Can’t wait for Genocidal Organ. I also liked Empire of Corpses but not as much as I liked Harmony.
Also surprised Occultic;Nine wasn’t in disappointments and that 2 anime I enjoyed watching were but that’s opinions for you.
Not seeing Alderamin winning any category makes me sad, that anime deserve more, especially since I found Grimgar incredibly boring to the point I had to drop it.
( ｀ー´)八(｀ー´ ) ＨＩ５
I gotta say I was disappointed they didn’t manage to get Genocidal Organ out this year given IIRC it was supposed to release first, but eh, at the same time I guess the studio closing down was a good reason, lol.
Alderamin from the sky is seriously underrated.
Every time I think that I cringe internally because of how terribly it sold. Probably never going to get a second season unfortunately.
Great post as usual , here are some personal opinions
#1 Arataka Reigen not best character … not even an Honorable mention ??? I don’t think that is fair fellas
#2 Re:Zero for best drama ? the dude literally has the ability to go back in time so ….
#3 It actually amazes me that BokuMachi is considered a good show by most people since it had so many obvious shortcomings but that is nothing compared to it winning the mystery award , I mean come on the only suspect ( and I don’t mean the only viable suspect , I mean literally the only suspect as in there was one suspect ) turned out to be the culprit . we were so sure it was him that we were actually sure it wasn’t gonna be him because nothing can be this obvious
#4 Category defying : Mayoiga . do we mean ” who thought making this anime was a good idea ? ”
#5 BokuMachi best anime …….. speechless
again, these are personal opinions so please don’t be offended
Indeed, ERASED was NOT a mystery, or at least not a good one. Yes, it did have a character doing investigative work, but thrillers also tend to have those, which is where I’d put ERASED into.
I mean, it’s a tough series to peg because it crosses multiple genres, so I can see what you mean.
I personally took it in the mystery column because the series’ entire premise rode on trying to solve/answer a question and to look for who the suspect was and how they were doing what they did.
Whether it executed it well is up for grabs, but it gets the category for me because of how integral that mystery/question to the plot, the overall popularity, and the fact that even though the actual ending didn’t sit well for everyone, people were engaged deeply enough to the point that they were very, very eager to see how things would end up and how Satoru would solve everything. The latter in particular isn’t something that happens often, so Erased got even more points on that as well.
>Not yuri on ice
Edgy teenagers realy love re:zero
the self-proclaimed ‘anime connoisseur’ hipsters really like yuri on ice don’t they..
Hmm, Savage Garden’s “I Want You” felt out of place, especially in comparison to the last two end songs, gotta love Roundabout, and Last Train Home ended up being pretty downbeat especially on how the show ended. Plus, Savage Garden isn’t really rock. In fact, I had completely forgot about them for close to 20 years until I heard their song at the end of Jojo!
In terms of films, my personal favorite would have to be Girls Und Panzer. Despite having 30 minutes of forced drama, the other hour and a half had exactly what I paid for. Non-stop tank action. It’s definitely a film that knows what the audience once, and delivers on it spectacularly while dialing up what the series had to 11. Of course, it is niche so if you aren’t into tanks or action, you wouldn’t enjoy it. Also the film can’t really stand on it’s own due to the callbacks to the series.
Another film that I think had great potential, but kinda… heh’ed at the end was One Piece Film Gold. Great idea, great villain, and great presentation. The opening segment definitely gets you pumping. But that’s it. Slowly the film falls off the rails. It seemed most of the budget was drained in the first fight scene against no name-no consequence characters leaving the climactic fight very dull to look at. Compared to Film Z where the climax of the film is the climax and the animation keeps it’s flare consistently.
I’ll just add, Girls und Panzer der Film was basically a movie that had everything fans of the series wanted without really straying too far into the whole “let’s throw the kitchen sink of cast members in for fun” thing most movies tend to trap themselves in.
I’m loving your picks, so diverse and so well-deserved. Thank you for such a lovely year randomc! Woo hoo! I’m so excited for 2017 anime releases!（＾∀＾）
I honestly do not understand why so many people disliked or dropped Aokana. The production values were okay, almost every character had some charm to them, and speaking as someone who doesn’t know much about the VN, the way they handled the story struck me as probably the best possible way they could’ve done a balanced and unbiased adaptation for it.
If they had just focused on one route, it might’ve ended up unsatisfactorily anyways and pissed off the fans of the other girls who didn’t get to see them explored in the anime. Instead, they phased out the protagonist of the VN to a consistent supporting role, and focused on developing the relationships of the girls with each other and their individual hardships. The end result was *actually pretty nice* and made each of them relatable and more rounded out.
I’m not sure if there was something *vital* the anime missed from the VN, but I just don’t get it. You could say that the male protagonist’s development was clipped time-wise and a few related plot details were not addressed in a satisfactory way, but I wouldn’t agree on the former point: his development was much subtler because it was introspective and internally focused, but it came about from observing how the others changed and resolved themselves too. Obviously it wasn’t very refined, but it worked alright for his role in the anime.
So it’s kind of mind-boggling to me. Sure, Aokana didn’t stand out, but it wasn’t bad by any stretch either.
People expected a harem anime but got a Scifi sports anime instead. Not really sure where the expectation comes from as that is what the PVs advertise it to be. It’s closest equivalent is probably Angelic Layer, which IIRC also cut out most of the romance.
One more thing, there is no male protagonist there. Masaya is listed in the category of “Other Characters” on the website. But I do agree that he got a lot more character development in a subtle manner. Of all the other side characters, he definitely got the most character development, a side effect of being the protagonist of the VN no doubt.
I think the thing for me that prevented it from getting higher marks for me personally was that there were moments that I felt clearly omitted events or details throughout the series that would’ve made things develop better. The pacing was also choppy at times, and as much as I enjoyed Asuka as a character and her skills in the Flying Circus tournies, it certainly felt a bit strange in the sense that she seems to have developed exceptionally fast to the point where it felt they were rushing just to make sure they’d fit that in before the series end.
Don’t get me wrong though, the series certainly had its moments, and I definitely didn’t regret sticking it through to the end.
I can only hope now that sprite follows the path of age and FrontWing, as I’d certainly love to play an officially translated version of AoKana at some point. I’ve been sitting here hoping for a fan translation for years, but alas, it doesn’t look like there’s anything to get one’s hopes up for.
For me is this…(Spoilers)
Show Spoiler ▼
This post was very interesting to read.
Going through the list, I see that there were a lot of anime that for some reason or another I either didn’t watch or finish. The year as a whole had a lot of interesting and diverse types of anime that could cater to various different tastes. But I find that nowadays I seem to be watching less of those top anime that populates most of this best of anime list. Instead I seem to be gravitating towards simple uncomplicated series like comedies and slice-of-life series most of the time. Nevertheless I would like to share some personal opinions
1) I noticed that Thunderbolt Fantasy seems to be grossly underappreciated amongst most anime fans. I don’t know if it’s because they didn’t want to accept it as an anime due to it utilizing puppets and not traditionally anime per se or they didn’t watch it at all due to bias towards it as not an anime, but there is definitely very low buzz around it. Even in this post there doesn’t seem any mention about it. Personally I found it one of my most favorite series in 2016 so I found it a tad disappointing it didn’t get a mention in this list. So I was wondering was it because none of the writers watched it or did the writers who watch it didn’t find it as amazing as I did?
2) This year follows another trend for me whereby I seem to be watching fewer OVAs or movies. The only movie I could say I watched and really liked is probably the Girls und Panzer movie. I can probably count with the fingers on one hand the number of anime movies I did watch this year.
3) Gintama° was the best season of Gintama yet so I find it a bit sad that none of the writers at my favorite anime blog watches the series. I do know that the 300+ episodes to go through can be daunting for the writers who want to start the series to catch up to the upcoming season, but a man can wish, can’t he??
Now to conclude my rambling, I personally thought 2016 was a splendid year of anime. Therefore, starting with the upcoming Winter 2017 season, I hope the year will continue to provide more series that I and every anime fan can enjoy.
If it means anything, I’m trying to catch up on Fafner in time for this year’s new project so I can give it proper consideration for next year’s post…
You should watch Fafner. I thought Fafner Exodus was a really well written series, it also had some incredible animation. It’s kinda crazy how the show is popular in Japan but outside of Japan very few people seem to care. I can imagine you’ll watch the show wondering why more people aren’t talking about it.
Yes, you should catch up to Fafner series, especially now that a new Fafner anime has been announced. This is probably my biased opinion, but I think Fafner kicked the likes of Macross Frontier’s ass when it comes to story or narrative. And I say that as a Macross fan. But I gotta warn you that the series are gloomy overall, not cheerful and colorful like Macross. It’s closer to Gundam but with alien enemies.
Well I’m about 10 eps into Fafner’s first season atm. Certainly quite a throwback seeing how things were done a decade+ ago. That said, bit of the old Rahxephon vibes here, which is certainly a good thing given how much I liked that one.
@Zephyr Ah, yes, RahXephon. If you like that series, there’s a chance that you’ll like Fafner.
I think the first thing you’ll notice with Exodus when you move on to it(Besides the amazing animation, story etc) is that it’s waaaaaaaaay more dramatic than the first Fafner season. I thought this was a plus personally. It’s amazing how they were even able to produce such a great show without any source material to draw from. Xebec really outdid themselves.
I was always expecting a new Fafner series from the way Exodus ended. It felt like it was setting up a final chapter in the story. Though if it’s not the “end” I’ll probably drop it after it concludes. It would be dragging out a really good idea way too long.
Good to hear you are picking up Fafner. You are probably already aware but just in case between S1 and S2 of Fafner is the “Heaven and Earth” movie. It should be watched before S2. Also there is a prequel OVA called “Right of Left” which places before S1 in the timeline (check it out between S1 and S2 is fine).
S1 is good, the pacing can be a bit slow but Exodus is a very different beast and should make it very much worth your time. I find it amazing what they were able to accomplish within those 26 episodes. You can add me to the list of fanboys for the show I can’t really say I’ve seen a better mecha anime honestly (S2 weighs heavily on this).
Yup, I’ve got both the movie and OVA ready on the side here!
Good work, I like reading and remembering what came out this year. Also I really appreciate the music and OST and op/ed section. I feel like ever since it’s not done regularity anymore ie song translation I feel lots of people over look this aspect of the shows in recent years, while delta songs were still shoddily done I appreciated the effort atleast there are other translations on net to look up for more accurate translations after watching.
One of my fav songs of the year is actually the star singer song in macross delta. Also really love the insert songs in norn nine, I loved these two OSTs.Kanaberi ED is a given. Also glad some one actually watched and liked Wings of Courage, definitely had that song on repeat. Man after ep one of Qualidea Code I knew the OST was gonna be sick but sadly the anime was practically a slide show by the end they poured their entire budget in the first 3 ep and the OST and had no budget left lol.
One of the few choices they have to resurrect Macross from the land of the dead might be shameless pandering, like making the next MC be the son/daugther of Alto and Sheryl.
Whoa whoa, you’re telling me there’s someone else that watched through Norn, Aokana, and Qualidea?
( ｀ー´)八(｀ー´ ) ＨＩ５
I’m surprised at the lack of love for Re:Zero, I was convinced it was automatically going to be voted Anime of the Year. Everything about it from start to finish was great, in my opinion. I really thought it would be discussed to oblivion in any AOTS discussion.
I’m still eagerly awaiting a second season (probably in ~3 years).
I think there’s not a huge amount of discussion about Re Zero on this topic because people have said what they wanted to say on the episode topics on here. This show draw a lot of discussion when it aired, it was kinda impressive tbh. People were quite passionate about it.
I love RC’s Best of Anime 2016 which felt more justified and balanced. Haven’t watched Re:Zero and not sure what to expect but will likely check it out. Nice to see new categories being added like Director, Studio and Category Defying 😀 Sadly, Mami Kawada has retired T.T
Thank you to RC’s cast and writers! Happy New Year’2017 🙂
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Darn it. I wonder if she ended up singing the theme for Aokana Zwei then, huh.
Wait Zeph, you didn’t know!? Dayyum… Sadly though, she really did retire. I first knew of her from Shakugana no Shana season 2 I think? (Yes I watched the second season first believe it or not and that was back in 2009) Or was that Hayate no Gotoku… I can’t remember but basically I’ve been a gigantic fan of hers since then. I mean, I don’t have all her CDs or been to any of her shows (cuz I’m a broke student who doesn’t live in Japan but I do have her main albums) but her music was really something special. Heck, even the B-sides on her singles were mostly pretty darned fantastic. Some of my most favorite songs in history are from her.
The ONLY, and I mean ONLY time that I got to see her was at a free concert that Animax held at Sunway Pyramid. One of the BIGGEST regrets of my life was in not bringing any of her CDs to the day of the concert so that she could autograph. GODDAMN IT… AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH… ONLY TO BE OUTCHOSEN BY SOMEONE WHO HELD A CHAIR UP HIGH… Oh God why… ( ; _ ; ) I iz sed…
Siiiiiiiiggggghhhhh… Still though, when she was on stage, things were seriously on fire man. Like, soooooooo on fire that even Elisa and May’n couldn’t hope to top. She played all our favorites from Shana to Jormungand. And frankly, I think I was the one that fanboyed the most. Man, I couldn’t speak clearly for a few days after that…
Anyways, sorry for the life story… Man, I can be such a fanboy at times…
Really need to check Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, but I just skimmed the final episode review and it says there will be a sequel. More importantly that the reviewer was glad there will be a second season. So here’s the question: is it better to just wait for the second season and then marathon the whole first season first? Or is this one where it’s best to give time to contemplate the events?
One other thing, it’s kinda amusing seeing Keijo!!!!!!!! as best fan service show. It’s actually the only fan service show I’d watch with friends and family. I might have second thoughts on letting the kids see it though. They might throw a wooden table top in the swimming pool and try out some of the moves. That might be rather hard to deal with….
The second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is airing this season (in 2 days time), but there’s a definite stopping point between the two seasons. I’d recommend watching the first season as soon as possible, because it deserves more attention than it gets. It’s a true masterpiece.
Shout out to y’all at randomc, really appreciate you guys going through all the trouble to put these together every year, also the previews for each season. I’m sure it’s extremely time consuming so much love to all of you. Cheers to what hopefully will be a good year for anime.
You’re welcome good sir. And thanks!
*sees Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu getting all the praise it deserves in this review*
*FLIPS TABLES BECAUSE OF EXTREME HAPPINESS*
Seriously, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu just… blew me away literally. Watched everything in one go and after watching for 7hours~ straight, I just stared blankly at the wall and was like: “what the heck is that epicness that I had witnessed??!”. The characters were oh so great because they felt so real. I thought I was watching real people acting out. But then again, there’s a certain magic in this that tells me that this tale is better to be told using the anime medium than using real people. Maybe it is the subtleness of the color palette that built the dramatic atmosphere? Maybe the jazzy feels of the BG music used in the series? Still cannot explain the magic that is Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.
It is sad that most people will not pick up this kind of series immediately at one look (like me, because most of the people watching anime -based on what’s popular and selling- are more inclined to the shounen/action/adventure type of series). The recent years I have been searching for unique anime, and the past years were lackluster for refreshing content (save for Shin Sekai Yori way, way back 2013… gosh that was so long ago). That is why reviews like this (and flipping rabid people like me) can definitely help spread the word and love for this masterpiece.
So excited for season 2! More of Yotaro and Konatsu this time. 🙂
Kudos to Zephyr and Samu for the 2016 picks! I am so glad that this is so varied than other sites (which everything went to either Re:ZERO or Yuri!!! On Ice, not that I hate these series, I loved Yuri!!! on Ice this Fall even though I am not a fan of BL. For Re:ZERO, well, actually dropped the series but probably because it is not my cup of tea) and that Fune wo Amu was also recognized here! I think it is rare to come across beautifully crafted gems like Rakugo Shinjuu and Fune wo Amu – nice break for the usual shounen feast that we get!
BTW, I really liked the ED songs from Luck Life for both Bungou Stray Dogs season. :)))
Top 10 for 2016:
1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
2. Assassination Classroom S2
3. Mob Psycho 100
4. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
5. Bungou Stray Dogs
7. Fune wo Amu
10. Yuri!!! On Ice
SHIN SEKAI YORI. <3
All that needs to be said.
There would be no justice in the world if Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu didn’t win several categories. And I’m glad you brought up Shin Sekai Yori, which is my #2 anime, with Rakugo at #3. So yeah, I agree this has been the best show since SSY.
Glad you enjoyed our post! If it helps anime fans find some other great shows to watch, that’s more than worth it.
That feel when Samu’s #2 and #3 on his anime list is the same as yours…
SHIN SEKAI YORI <3 !!!
but I have to say last year's Death Parade was a perfect piece too
I like SSY anime very much, but it’s still quite a flawed adaptation of the source material (novel) which is more hardhitting story-wise. But I’m glad by the fact that SSY was even made at all into a 25-episode anime series with the level of competency that A-1 showed especially with limited budget. Definitely one of the few bright spots in modern anime-industry artistically-speaking, even though it ended up with terrible (if not abysmal) sales. Not many anime forums championed SSY in the year of its release. Other site that I know of that crowned SSY as the best anime that year was Animesuki.
Whether I agree or not (hard to say since I suspect I’ve barely watched even 1/10th of the anime on the list) I look forward to this post every year! 🙂
It’s a pleasant refresher cause I usually only remember the recent season anime. Some of the ones on the list from earlier in the year makes me ask myself “Was this not LAST year? Was it only this year??”
Thanks for the great post Zephyr and Samu, loved the variety in picks. Quite funny to see Haifuri mentioned in both Biggest disappointment and Exceeded expectations, I tend to agree with Zephyr on this one. Glad to see my 5 picks all ended in the top 10, even though barely (1, 3, 8, 9, and 10).
Besides seeing the top OVA’s/movies I missed out on this year (seriously though, I barely watched any movies/OVA’s), I’m definitely planning on catching up on KonoSuba for the upcoming S2. Still doubting whether I should add Yuri!! on Ice to my watchlist, so do your best to convince me!
Thank you, glad you enjoyed the post!
As for Yuri!!! on Ice, it’s my #2 pick of the year and Zephyr’s #3. That should be enough to convince you 😉
I have to give best OP to Great Days from Jojo 4. Best song overall would be the Units Version.
I feel Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume is highly unappreciated. The directing of the series may not be as great the listed but it beats majority of the shows out of the water. The OST and music is marvelous.
Heh…i think 2016 wasnt really the year for me.
I participated less and i dropped a LOT and stayed only for a few so i dont really know how to feel about best animes of 2016 especially Re:Zero with it’s mainstream hype.
But nevertheless, im pretty happy that Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju got a majority appreciation. Its definitely the best 2016 josei anime for me. I personally enjoyed every bits of it especially Miyokichi character done well by Hayashibara Megumi (plus the OP was sang by her).
With that said, 2016 has few good OPs for me. I really loved:
– 91Days’ Signal by TK
– Shouwa Rakugo’s Usurai Shinjuu
– Hibike’s Soundscape by TRUE
– Grimgar’s Knew Day, Boku Dake’s Re:Re
– Koutetsu no Kabaneri by EGOIST
I hope 2017 will have more great lineups for us, especially with Showa Genroku Rakugo’s season 2. 🙂
You’re welcome. I just saw an opportunity to reply to your Macross Delta assessment when I see jav’s post to you above (btw, that dude still hasn’t explained his reasoning).
I personally like Macross 7 because of its nonchalance to go beyond OTT without a care which reminds me a lot of G Gundam (aka. that series where Gundams are doing Kung-fu). Thanks to Macross 7’s conviction in tongue-in-cheek absurdity and awesome rock music, every episode is always energetic and enjoyable even though it’s filled with stock footage galore. I just treat it like Transformers G1, G.I.Joe or He-Man which is what Macross 7 aimed to be. Watching Basara as the unstoppable force bombarding his enemies with his singing in a crazy way is amusing because he has the absolute confidence and skill to back up his actions (unlike Hayate). And the side-characters are super-likable too. Maybe that’s why Macross 7 is the most successful long-running Macross series in the franchise in Japan with waves of loyal fans who still attend Macross 7 rock concerts even today. Many people outside Japan might hate the episodic nature of Macross 7 or Basara’s one-note character, but at the very least, Macross 7 knows what it wants to be and accomplished it well whereas Macross Delta seems to be confused whether it wants to go OTT (Valkyrie-less divas running around fighting in the middle of the battlefield against enemy mechas is an absurd premise even for Macross 7‘s standard) or wants to take itself seriously with all the doom and gloom and EMO-ness like Frontier. Having enemy that’s pretty much Zeon-ripoff (with bishounens) also doesn’t help. It’s almost like Delta is trying to be Gundam by giving humane characteristics to its enemies (complete with royal & nobility traits and pseudo-Char & pseudo-Sayla archetypes) but falls flat in the execution. Aldnoah (another Gundam-wannabe show) already tried that and failed, so I’m kinda amazed that Delta creators didn’t seem to take some notes from it.
Pretty sure jav just ditched after so eh.
TOTSUGEKI LOVE HEART! And yeah, ultimately Delta was one of those things where it seemed to try and take a few things from previous Macross series and give it a twist with things that people seem into at the moment. Fell short on both fronts in the end, and when it comes to that especially, there’s a bit of a problem when one of the supposed villains overshadowed much of the main cast’s exploits at the finale.
Frontier was certainly a lot better for me personally, and gosh darn I wanna go re-watch now.
Rewatch? I recommend watching Macross FB7 first. An amusing video-clip-like movie that somehow combines both Macross 7 & Frontier (if you haven’t already watched it).
A bit off-topic, but can I expect a review for Arpeggio of Blue Steel movies (DC & Cadenza) here? I remember people here at RandomC were pretty enthusiastic about it when the series aired, and wanted more after it ends in episode 12. Yet there’s nothing here after both movies got released.
Oh right. Lemme add that to my list.
As for the latter, unfortunately that may not happen. I covered the original series back then, but I’m focusing on real-life work at the moment and it took most of my free pre-Best of Anime post just to catch DC and Cadenza in time to consider it for the post. =[
That’s unfortunate, but it’s okay. You’ve done your best. It’s a bit rude of me not thanking you for your (& Samu’s) good work on this article after posting so much on this page, so thank you very much for your hardwork. Don’t worry about writing article, just enjoy watching DC & Cadenza movies whenever you can. It’s even more of a satisfying conclusion of the series compared to episode 12.
Oh yeah, don’t worry, no offense/issue taken eh.
I actually did manage to catch both movies, but the thing was that it took so much time to watch em’ that I didn’t have enough time to also do a separate post for the movies in addition to the post eh.
That said, yeah, even though the movie seemed to omit some stuff here and there/skip some things, Cadenza in particular was pretty darn enjoyable and made a great conclusion to a series that really went above and beyond what I expected it would way back when.
The side characters except for Ray and Veffidas (cool kats, me like) were annoying!!! They seriously make my eardrums hurt and brain cells denature each time they even show their face on screen. GAAAAARRGGGHHH… But Basara man? Heheh, I frickin love Basara. FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eh, I like Max, Miria & their daughter Mylene (+ Guvava). Also, Rex (the motorgang girl) and Akiko (Ray’s producer/GF) were hot. Sivil was amusing. The bridge bunnies & the flower-girl were cute too. And how can you not relate to Gamlin who loves Mylene but have to put up with Basara’s crazy antics when he has to protect Sound Force? He’s the normal guy in Macross 7 which pretty much acts as the audience proxy (kinda like Watson in Sherlock Holmes). Last and probably least, Professor Chiba & Exedol Folmo who were doing research on the power of song and protoculture ruins that explains about Protodeviln are also good addition to the cast who have more personality than many other side-characters in Delta. Heck, even Mylene’s hulking bodyguard has more personality than many side-characters in Delta. Also, Gepelnitch must be one of the most gorgeous trap ever ;p (made me extremely disappointed when they revealed him to be a dude). I never considered the aforementioned characters annoying. It’s the side-cast like that that made the show for me because they add more stories and characters that you can root for in the series beside Basara’s awesomeness.
Oh wait… Yeah, yeah there’s some of those guys too. Personally I can’t stand people who’re straight-laced so those types irritate me real bad like they’re dropping banana kongs in my sleep but yeah I do gotta admit the charm for some of em tho. I totally forgot about the bikers and the band’s manager. Goddamn, my memory really sucks sometimes…
Also Geppelnitch… I don’t even… Yeap, I dunno if you swing that way bruh but I am so like not into that man. I’m a bit more conventional know what I’m sayin? Just sayin bruh, just sayin bruh. Though uh, Yoichi from Drifters really got my mind confused for a bit so yeah organic life’s weird like that.
That’s the most brilhant post of the year (although it’s in the start of next year).
Always the best choices, loved that u mentioned kabaneri ed and flip flappers animation.
I agreed with almost everything, best blog ever.
Thank you zephyr for keeping this blog alive (and all writers). I think I’m getting old, I’ve read so many “best of years” and always so pleasant.
So the top (on readers’ list) not blogged show of the year award goes to ReLIFE this time.
It was blogged. It’s just that it was aired all at once, so we released the post all at once. (We also meant to do it earlier, but life didn’t work out that way.)
I’m pretty disappointed with the lack of Romantic Comedy award this year. There were at least three strong contenders – Rainbow Days, Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta and Watashi ga Motete Dou Sunda.
All were more of a romantic comedy than last year’s winner (Oregairu 2) which was good, but its romantic theme was way more drama than comedy.
Even Samu’s best romance winner Yuri On Ice was more comedic in style.
Thanks for the great, lengthy end- year summary.
I really want to say thank you for the kind words about Boom Boom Satellites. I was lucky back in ’99 to have come across their first album and it’s been a fascinating journey following them from beginning to end. The past five years have been borrowed time and their final releases are emotional testaments to their awareness of it. I learned about Kawashima’s passing only recently so the loss still feels quite raw. It was a pleasant surprise to read a generous mention of them here and a bonus to know they’re still picking up new listeners.
Best surprises of the year for me: Flip F, Mob 100, Ajin, and Shouwa. Entertained by: Kiz, Re zero, shows I forget watching but remember there were some which weren’t a total waste of time. Stuff I watched because I started but couldn’t stop even though I should have: Mayoiga, Izetta
Shows I’m happy to see succeed even if they aren’t my taste: Yuri on Ice!
Biggest let downs: Orange, Boku/Erased, a fair chunk of this past season. In that respect, a typical year…
Bring on more Shouwa!
Based on these results I would put most under appreciated to be Saiki Kusuo. Such a great anime with not a single mention and too few votes!
Great list, as usual you’ve given me insight on many anime that I may have missed.
Saiki Kusuo is the best Short and Comedy in 2016 for me and I watched 70 anime this year.
Ah you know what, that’s my bad. I kept thinking it was continuing on into 2017, but turned out to be a sequel that won’t air until later in the year. I’ll actually add it in right now in place of Dagashi Kashi since that was one of the suggestions I initially gave extra to Samu to fill out the category.
Thanks for the reminder.
I was hoping Saiki would at least be mentioned somehow for comedy even if it was explicitly stated that it wouldn’t be covered on the site. Compared to honorable mentions in the past year it definitely brings more than enough comedy in my book.
I usually comb this post and pick anime to watch, I’d hate to know if I’ve missed shows as funny as Saiki in the years past.
See the comment chain above ^
Tbh Macross Delta is better than Gundam IBO as a mecha of the year
Delta Music, Character Designs, Animation, etc already beat the crap out Dissapointing Gendum IBO (ugly character designs, inconsistent animation, horrible pacing in entire episodes, and boring plot. Barbatos is only good thing though)
Re:Zero AOTS 2016, FTW
As a Macross fan, I beg to differ. Almost at the last ¾ of the show, Delta doesn’t seem to know what to do with its story & characters and just rushing through things near the end and not even resolving some of its subplots. On the other hand, Gundam IBO (season 1) remained focus on its main plot throughout the show which is: “Deliver the Mars diplomat to Arbrau leader on Earth in order to negotiate the half-metal rights to improve the economy & living condition of the poor people in Chryse city of Mars”. The show never falters and strays from that main goal and every subplot was there to help develop both the main plot and the characters. And regarding the pacing, well, IBO S1 is supposed to be a journey story first and foremost (kinda like the Chinese story Journey to the West) which the pace tend to fluctuate in the middle when our protags are stopping in various places for character & plot development. That’s not really a problem for me when IBO (S1) has strong beginning and end. And every Arc in IBO matters to the overall main plot. Some (side) plots might be boring to some people but the main story and characters needed that development. Without them, people will cry “plot holes” and “thin characterization” at the end of Season 1. To me, those are a lot more important than just pretty visuals that Delta has. For example, Aldnoah, Valvrave & Guilty Crown, all have better visuals than IBO but thanks to the…, let’s just say “seriously-flawed” narrative, I’d rather watch IBO again than re-watching any of those mentioned shows.
Also, I don’t think IBO’s visual is that bad. The post-apocalyptic & grim setting of IBO lends itself to intentionally-drab-but-well-portrayed environment. Character design is a matter of taste but when you count the handdrawn mecha into equation and how fast-paced the mecha-fights in IBO are, they deserve equal thumbs up as many as Delta. In fact, I dare Delta’s animators to make handdrawn mecha fights as good as IBO and see if they can do as good a job (let alone better), because I myself notice some inconsistency and stilted animation of the 2D characters characters during the “meh” episodes of Delta. Heck, Delta even applies the dreaded stock-footage in a number of occasions (see the same footage of Bogue repeatedly trying to kill Walkure, they only changed the background) whereas IBO has almost none (bar just a couple of Barbatos launching sequences from the mothership). And to top it off, Season 2 of IBO is even better than S1 in that regard (so far).
I may be more of a Macross fan (I’m both Macross & Gundam fan, but lean just a little toward Macross), but I’m trying my hardest to be objective and give credits where it’s due, and IBO (and to a lesser extent, Kuromukuro) deserve it last year. But all in all, you have your opinion and I have mine. The most likely thing we can do is to just agree to disagree.
I’ve been reading RandomCuriousity for years ever since the original creator blogged about anime here. And I just wanted to thank all the writers for blogging about anime, blogging about your thoughts on the series. It made me look at some series from a different perspective, and had quite an influence on my anime views in general, even though sometimes I strongly disagreed with some of the opinions. I just wanted to thank you for judging the anime from different angles while putting your feelings into it. I always look forward to posts on RC.
I also think 2016 was a good year for anime with so many series ending up as my faves (91 Days, Joker Game, Rakugo Shinjuu, Hai to Gensou, etc etc etc). Although I do feel nostalgic and do wish Mushishi would return again like Natsume…
I also went to Joker Game event in fall of 2016 which only fueled my interest in the series prompting me to read the actual books with Boku Dage Ga Inai Machi side novel and 91 Days novel being next in line.
I would like to wish all RC bloggers a Happy New Year and looking forward to new posts in 2017!
Thank you for the kind words! We’ll keep the posts coming in 2017 😉
That’s some high praise for Shouwa Rakugo’s Usurai Shinjuu. I watched the first episode last night and it didn’t really captivate me. Being based around rakugo is similar to Chihayafuru being based on karuta. Sure, it’s different, but only because it doesn’t make for an engaging subject matter.
After a 40min pilot episode that left me feeling indifference, I’d normally never find the motivation to start watching the 2nd episode but perhaps I’ll give it another chance…
Hey all. Just wanted thank everyone for making this wonderful poll. Although Im able to watch majority of the releases every season but sometimes I skip a few here between which through such polls reveals to be hidden gems. I’ll definitely check out occult nine since folks are commenting good on it.
Meanwhile Im puzzled to see Haikyuu getting so less fan votes not to mention just 1 prize. To me anime is about adrelin pumping, gripping you with every episodes pulling you to the edge of the seats with great drama/action orchestrated by wonderful characters. Im not underestimating viewers choices but I still feel Haikyuu is not only the best sports anime but also the best anime of 2016. It has delivered so much yet it received so little. Just a bit disappointed there, to see it getting almost half the vote compared to Yuri. I doubt I have rewatched the scene with Tsukki fist pumping with roar that many times compared to any other scene in any animes before. So many months have passed and Ive watched the new ones (Including Yuri after that) but none on the scenes could supercede that of Tukki.
Somehow, i thought Musaigen was 2015 instead of 2016…
As for studio Deen, i am suprised that they made a show like konotsuba with how bad their track record has been in the past years. Honestly, i even thought they went out of business years ago already ^_^”
Studio Deen continuing to save anime. Bless them.
I’m expecting DEEN to announce Log Horizon Season 3 this year(Hopefully for fall 2017). If they make 12/13 episodes they’ll be comfortable on the material front.
Time for some more Database you say?
Yes, the author will be starting on Vol 13 soon. He should easily complete Vol 14 this year too. There is a light at the end of the tunnel finally. 🙂
Woah, its 2017 already and I haven’t finished half of the series from 2016 that I actually enjoy watching. This whole “being an adult” thing is nothing but a trap. I remember starting to read Random C back in like 2008, when I was in High School; now I’m freaking 24 years old. So many excellent anime series have come and gone since then…
Thank you guys for keeping up the fantastic work for all these years, and may you all live long and prosper greatly! Have a very merry and fruitful 2017!!!
It sucks when there’s not enough time for anime, right? I know the feel.
Re-Zero the reader’s choice, as expected considering the discussions and many comments every week. Very happy with it.
Would be interesting to read the top 3 choices of the rest of the random curiosity staff.
Will have to continue watching Mob Psycho 100. The first episode didn’t blow me away, but I’ll give it another chance.
If you read Guardian Enzo’s weekly coverage of Mob Psycho, you’ll see that it’s a pretty common opinion that episode 1 is the weakest of the series. It’s not very representative of what the show is all about, even though some hints are definitely there.
I suggest you give it the 3 episodes role: by that time you should know whether or not the show clicks with you.
Not surprised to see Ninelie on the ED list, pretty much the group to be seen at the top in a group together.
Also, not surprised to see Macross and Gundam dominated the
mechaSci-fi catagory once more.
(OTOH, I would have to agree to the negative points against Δ, since IMHO the characters can use some retooling for better utilization in the storyline.)
Also, I actually need to give the songs in Δ a another go since it did not exactly gave me the best first impression(I only enjoyed listening to about 1/4th of the tracks)
…btw, no mention of the OPs from IBO?
Gundam IBO‘s OP (Raise Your Flag) is already on another level. It doesn’t need to be mentioned 😀
I always follow RC’s year end lists. It gives me 2 sets of anime – one that I’ve seen and can relate to when I read your picks – and the other of anime I have to see based on the recommendations here. And I’ve never been dissapointed. Love the elaborate categorization and details you guys go into. Really makes it easy to find anime. Easily the best year-end anime review on the web. Thanks guys!
I also watched ~100 series this year, but I want to say i deeply appreciate the respect shown for Boku Dake – Especially by Zephyr. The critical community has been widely all over that show, and it kind of irritates me. Yes – it had some issues with predictability (I notably pointed out the Antagonist at episode 3). But the cinematic nature of the show, A-1’s glorious animation (proving once again when A-1 feels like it they are unrivaled in this industry). Also I’m evidently one in the minority who appreciated its ending.
On a side note wondering what happened to Saiki Kusuo. No category victories – not even for comedy? It’s not only my comedy of the year – but anime of the year (in general). Because it my opinion it is the undisputed best pure comedy anime of all time. That being said comedy is literally the most subjective genre. So either you laugh or you don’t, but my entertainment comedic value from Saiki Kusuo was unprecedented.
Also wondering about Durarara x2. Ketsu did air in the winter, so its a little strange for it to receive no mentions around here. At the very least it should have been the clear cut front runner for “Best Mystery”.
Honestly my top 5;
1 Saiki Kusuo
2 Durarara x2
4 Boku Dake ga Inai Machi