Anime 2015 was a fairly decent year, but it came off the heels of a garbage year for anime. 2016 seems so much better now. I’d say 2016 was the antithesis of 2014. 2014 was a fairly good year for most media, but anime that year was garbage. 2016; fairly good year for anime, but a dumpster fire of a year, mostly because of all the celebrity deaths. We should’ve seen it coming when David Bowie and Alan Rickman passed away.
But, y’know, Leonardo DiCaprio did win his first Oscar, and the Cubs did win the World Series for the first time in 108 years, so I guess 2016 wasn’t 100% a dumpster fire.
Winter 2016 Season: Why am I not surprised that the Winter season turned out weak? Out of the new shows that season that I enjoyed, there was only Snow White, Durarara!!, and Assassination Classroom (not that much, but more than I did most shows), and everything else was just not worth caring about. I usually expect the Winter season to be subpar, and I was utterly surprised by how criminally good last year’s Winter season was, but this one has got to be one of the most forgettable Winter seasons in a long while. Nothing worthwhile at all. And I’ve already said what I needed to say about Erased (Actually, not yet). Moving right along… [Grade: D+]
Spring 2016 Season: Now we’re talking. I’m glad we got a good Spring season after two years of stinkers. Don’t be surprised that the majority of the Top 10 comes from this season. Honestly, I think this is one of the most solid seasons in recent years, despite Ass War and Hundred trying to muck things up. JoJo came back to prove to us once again that we are not worthy of it, and Sailor Moon Crystal won everyone back, and Flying Witch was relaxing, and Space Patrol Luluco was the most Trigger thing that Trigger has ever Trigger’d. Enough said. By the way, thanks a lot for ruining Ace Attorney, A-1. I hope you rot in Hell. [Grade: B+]
Summer 2016 Season: Well, I expected the summer to be a chore to sit through, but to be fair, the shows I watched weren’t that boring at all. It’s just that I wasn’t 100% invested in anything that wasn’t Mob Psycho 100, Thunderbolt Fantasy, Danganronpa 3, New Game!, or ReLIFE. Eh… [Grade: C]
Fall 2016 Season: Dear Sayo Yamamoto, you have singlehandedly saved the Fall season from mediocrity with your gay ice-skating anime. We are unworthy. Bless your heart. As for the rest: Well, I know I said that I wanted to see this anime year end on a high note, but I wouldn’t call this season a high note. More like a medium-high note. Good enough, but could’ve been better. I guess it’s because this season only had one AOTY candidate. Since 2014, I started to think that we’re only allowed one good anime season per year nowadays, but maybe I was wrong and we struck lucky this year; Who can say? [Grade: B-]
Mikazuki Augus (Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Biscuit Griffon (Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Beerus (Dragon Ball Super)
Izaya Orihara (Durarara!!×2)
Shizuo Heiwajima (Durarara!!×2)
Zen Wisteria (Snow White with the Red Hair)
Souichi Tomoe (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Over Justice (Space Patrol Luluco)
Inferno Cop (Space Patrol Luluco)
Bright Noa (Gundam Unicorn RE:0096)
AR-D (Asterisk War)
Joseph Joestar (JJBA: Diamond is Unbreakable)
Rohan Kishibe (JJBA: Diamond is Unbreakable)
Yoshikage Kira (JJBA: Diamond is Unbreakable)
All Might (My Hero Academia)
Koichi Kizakura (Danganronpa 3)
Juzo Sakakura (Danganronpa 3)
Gundham Tanaka (Danganronpa 3)
Reigen Arataka (Mob Psycho 100)
Victor Nikiforov (Yuri!!! on Ice)
Kudelia Aina Bernstein (Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Atra Mixta (Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Shirayuki (Snow White with the Red Hair)
Ruri Hijiribe (Durarara!!×2)
Autonomous Intelligence Fixed Artillery/Ritsu (Assassination Classroom)
Asami Kazari (Active Raid)
Abigail Martinez (Active Raid)
Izumi Shimomura/Yoko Tainaka (Ajin)
Tomoko Higashikata (JJBA: Diamond is Unbreakable)
Yukako Yamagishi (JJBA: Diamond is Unbreakable)
Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Luluco (Space Patrol Luluco)
Sucy Manabarang (Space Patrol Luluco)
Ochako Uraraka/Uravity (My Hero Academia)
Tsuya Asui/Froppy (My Hero Academia)
Tooru Hagakure/Invisible Girl (My Hero Academia)
Nao Ishiwatari (Flying Witch)
Chihiro Ayasato/Mia Fey (Ace Attorney)
Kyoko Kirigiri (Danganronpa 3)
Monaka Towa (Danganronpa 3)
Miaya Gekkougahara (Danganronpa 3)
Chisa Yukizome (Danganronpa 3)
Chizuru Hishiro (ReLIFE)
Courtney (Pokémon Generations)
Top 11 Anime of 2016
Why Top 11 instead of a Top 10 this year? Because I’m feeling a little extra generous, that’s why.
11: Space Patrol Luluco
I never thought that a short anime would end up on one of my Top 10 list. Of course that doesn’t mean that the rest of anime this year wasn’t any better. Space Patrol Luluco just so happnes to be one of the more funniest short anime this year, and shows that Trigger is still a force to be reckoned with.
10: Flying Witch
This nice little anime from this Spring turned out to be one of the hidden gems from that season. Flying Witch was one of the better slice of life anime I’ve seen out of this year. Good characters, funny and cute moments, pleasant atmosphere, and strong art direction make this one of the more charming shows this year.
9: Mob Psycho 100
So perhaps Mob Psycho 100 isn’t exactly on the same level as One-Punch Man, but maybe it desn’t have to be. Because it offers so much more than that. Besides it having probably the best-looking animation in any show this year, it tells the personal story of how a gifted main character tries to find his place in society. Mob Psycho 100 isn’t a big of a spectacle, but it has lots of heart.
8: My Hero Academia
Speaking of lots of heart, My Hero Academia is another show with great charisma that helps it succeeds. It shows how a nobody can become somebody if they put their all into it. Hard work does work, especially for the main characters of this series. Although a show like this would be ranked much higher than this only if its slow pacing didn’t hamper it. I hope the next season has a bit better pacing.
7: Ushio and Tora
Instead of having hundreds and hundreds of chapters with hundreds of characters (some of which aren’t developed), Ushio and Tora tells its entire story in a small fraction of those other shonen manga, and I can easily recommend it over any other in its genre. Speaking of older classics given new life…
6: Sailor Moon Crystal Season III
I gotta give it to Chiaki Kon. She has done the impossible and turn Sailor Moon Crystal from an nigh-unwatchable piece-of-shit mess of a production to actually something more presentable to show on television and actually very good. I think it might have something to do with it being at best part of the series helps the whole thing. I guess the third time is the charm.
5: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
In this whole decade, Gundam has been in a bit of a slog ever since I got back into it around 2010. Beside Unicorn and Thunderbolt, the TV side of things were not as good. However, I think we’re in good hands with Iron-Blooded Orphans. I feel much better that a series that I’ve been a fan of for years can still continue to deliever on good action and character drama.
4: Snow White with the Red Hair
I believe I stressed before that shoujo romance anime aren’t my cup of tea. I only decided to watch Snow White on a total whim, so I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into. But I was very surprised with what I saw out of this. Actual strong female characters in anime are becoming hard to come by nowadays, so it’s a good breath of fresh air when I see one.
3: Thunderbolt Fantasy
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Thunderbolt Fantasy is not anime. Honestly, who cares, other than MyAnimeList? And yet, somehow, this not-anime series somehow managed to be one of the better shows of the Summer. As far as I’m concerned, Thunderbolt Fantasy is about as anime as just about any other anime on this list. Besides, how can you go wrong with badass names such as Screaming Phoenix Killer?
2: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
No, the Jojo-boys are not holding me at gunpoint since I snubbed Stardust Crusaders last year. I’m sure they’re understanding. Yeah, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure still remains one of the better anime I’ve seen this decade, and Diamond is Unbreakable is actually a close second to, if not outright tied with Battle Tendency as my favorite story arc. It has pretty much realized the last part’s issues and made them all better. So it looked like it was gonna be a clean sweep for Diamond is Unbreakable. However…
1: Yuri!!! on ICE
Yeah, you knew it’d be this. I must also give credit where credit is due, because Yuri on ICE impressed me just as much. It is a show that inspires hope within its own main characters, and shows how much love can overcome all obstacles. Matter of fact, if you listen closely to the lyrics of the opening theme, it pretty much spells its ambitions out and what it hopes to accomplish. and it definitely has accomplished something as Yuri!! on ICE has achieved victory (Victuuri, if you will) this year.
Aoto (Divine Gate)
Gaku Yashiro (Erased)
Ayato Amagiri (Asterisk War)
Biba Amatori (Kabaneri)
Matsuo “Tommy” Tomida/Lawrence “Moe” Curls (Ace Attorney)
Julis-Alexia van Riessfeld (Asterisk War)
Kirin Toudou (Asterisk War)
Flora Klem (Asterisk War)
Claire Harvey (Hundred)
Ruruka Andou (Danganronpa 3)
Ryoka Narusawa (Occultic;Nine)
Koyuki Himekawa/Snow White (Magical Girl Raising Project)
Bottom 10 Anime of 2016
Alright, before any of you get your panties in a bunch (and I know that a number of you will), let me just say one thing: Erased wasn’t really that terrible. Compared to all the other shows on my Bottom 10 list, this is merely a slap on the wrist, and I need a Bottom 10 to fill out. That said, Erased wasn’t that original at all, nor was it really that great. There were two shows from half a decade ago that did this same premise, far better than this. They were called Steins;Gate and Madoka Magica, and neither of them broke their own self-established time travel rules because the plot demanded it. Yes, Erased is popular, but popularity never begets quality.
9: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
I feel sorta wrong putting Grimgar on the bottom list. I’ll straight up admit that I treat it somewhat unfairly. Just like Erased, this is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. It probably would’ve given it two more points if it wasn’t yet another “Trapped in an Fantasy MMO Game” anime. You know, a trend that has been done to death and hasn’t been remotely decent since Log Horizon. Yeah, we’re never getting any more Log Horizon, especially considering the author was charged for tax evasion. That sucks… But even I do treat it somewhat unfairly, I just don’t find anything in the show worth caring about. And when you don’t care about the characters, you’re not gonna like the show, period. Speaking of lame attempts at catering to the “Trapped in an Fantasy MMO Game” crowd…
8: Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation
Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation is the wrong kind of anime to make using the Phantasy Star Online 2 property. Instead of adapting the game’s story or making an original story set in the world of the game, it’s an obvious attempt to cater to the “Trapped in an Fantasy MMO Game” crowd, a trend that is growing trite. And yet somehow, unlike other shows like it, it hasn’t pissed me off that much, aside from the Randomize button. That still burns my ass to this day.
7: Ace Attorney
I believe the Ace Attorney anime’s fate was sealed when A-1 Pictures was announced to be attached to this thing. And honestly, when it was announced, I had every reason to be concerned. And my concerns were met with cheapness from people who just didn’t care. It looks cheap, it feels cheap, it sounds cheap, it is cheap. And it is not worth your time. Just play the video games instead.
You know, I never thought I’d see the day that we have a semicolon show that is actually worse than ChäoS;HEAd, and that is saying a lot, really. ChäoS;HEAd wasn’t overdosed on caffeine to the point that the plot made little sense because it was rushed to hell. It almost sounded like even the voice actors were trying to keep up. And I guess the massive boob girl actually hurt this show more than it did help. I guess there is such thing as too big, and gargantuan boobs don’t sell after all, eh, Aniplex? Yes, I know Occultic;Nine is completely separate from ChäoS;HEAd , Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes and next season’s ChäoS;Child. Doesn’t make it any less bad.
You know what? All these generic school battle harem anime are so much the same that there’s nothing left to say about them. And that is the big issue with Hundred. Just a bland school battle harem anime that only shows that this trend needs to be put out of its misery.
4: Divine Gate
The only reason I decided to give Divine Gate a try was because Rage of Bahamut: Genesis was a good show that made me think maybe mobage anime aren’t that bad after all. Then Divine Gate happened and, well, I was proven so wrong. Idiotic and imcomprehensible attempts at world-building and some really stupid melodrama almost reminded me of watching Magical Warfare all over again. That alone should say what needs to be said.
3: Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
You’ve already seen Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle five years ago, only back then it was called Infinite Stratos. Hell, it doesn’t really matter which of those two shows you watch because they’re the exact same show. All these generic school battle harem anime have gotten so out of hand that it’s gone to the point that now they’re plagiarizing not only other better anime, but each other. I’ve seen a number of shows that lack originality, but this obvious copycat doesn’t even bother trying to hide it.
1: The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water
There are generic school battle harem anime, and then there’s Asterisk War, a colossal failure of basic storytelling that it makes other generic school battle harem anime look less generic in comparison. It’s done all but one light novel cliche in the book, Remember: Aniplex has your dick, and as long as they do, you fall victim to their overhyped garbage. Either that, or you’re an newbie anime watcher who hasn’t seen more than 100 anime in your entire life. You’d be better off watching yourself bash two action figures at each other for a half-hour, and it would still be more entertaining than this garbage. Aniplex seriously thought that Asterisk War was going to be a hit, but the only thing it succeeded at was finally putting the school battle harem trend into a grave, where it belongs.
Well, that just about wraps it for 2016. This year can go fuck itself.