With another year of Anime concluding I have to reflect and realize that 2016 was probably one of the weakest in the 2010’s. I found most of the popular shows either not for me or plain bad. However I do think there has been a plethora of mediocre shows this year. A lot of 7/10, but not nearly enough favorite worthy shows like from 2015. As always though there will always be cream of the crop that is worth remembering and recommending once the year is over. Perhaps as time goes on my list for 2016 will chance but for now the best are as followed.
5. Planetarian (Chiisana Hoshi no Yume)
A five episode series that had more heart and character development than most of the popular shows this year, specifically Re;Zero. Follow along with the peppy robot Yumemi and Stoic Kuzuya as they repair a planetarium in the middle of a rain covered apocalypse. This show is very slow-moving and mythical with how it treats its themes and how its characters interact. Even though there’s only two characters, Yumemi and Kuzuya dealing out coming to terms with the end of the world is rather engaging. Yumemi’s building optimism which will be inevitably broken by the reality of the world is almost too much to bear for the invested viewer. And Kuzuya’s hopeful revelation through her ignorant optimism is enough to fill even the coldest heart with hope. I think we could use more Anime like this that aren’t afraid to push out the filler and just let the story be as long as it needs to be.
4. Konosuba -God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World
A fresh take on the trapped in a video game scenario. Konosuba gives us a more realistic approach of how an Otaku would fair if they were dropped in a magical world. They would fail, lead a less than heroic life and always be opposed to danger. While Konosuba deals almost entirely with cynicism, its characters have enough heart where you can just barely see rooting for them and hope for them to get better. Accompany that with twists on Anime and gaming stereotypes and you have enough jokes to endear even the most deplorable cast. Sometimes the humor doesn’t hit home and comes off as a little try-hard but the pace is fast enough to where even the worst joke can be brushed off by comedy gold. To top it off if you haven’t had enough a second season is just around the new year and I can’t wait.
3. Yuri!!! On Ice
A show that still proves that Madhouse can deliver an Anime original powerhouse. Follow the hardcore drama of two skaters who have both lost their way. Yuri, the failing skater who has had his self-esteem knocked into the dust after a humiliating season, and Victor, the champion who will take a risk on Yuri both romantically and professionally. The melodrama is real as these two men help each other figure out that what they need to be happy is each other, even if it isn’t easy. Probably one the most realistic and relatable love stories to come out this year. Added with some incredible skating animation and a thrilling pseudo sports plot will keep you invested on how these two men face the odds in both love and professional ice skating. The only shortcoming is that the supporting cast feels shoehorned in sometimes and the show sort of blows its emotional load too early. Yuri!!! On Ice should have taken a lesson from Planetarian and only been half its runtime. Also there’s plenty of gay politics if you’re into that sort of thing.
The pinnacle of Iyashikei shows, Amanchu! delivers on the serene atmosphere while having intense feeling of love strung out through its twelve episodes. Not unlike a similar show this year Flying Witch, Amanchu! will mellow your soul in the happy on goings of these beautiful divers as they find love and themselves. Don’t be put off by the snail pace because this show has plenty to say about love, loss, growing up and accepting change. Not to mention some of the most attractive character designs I’ve seen in Anime ever. Our main character couple is defiantly one who you want to root for and at the end we get a satisfying beginning to where their relationship will go. it also shows the realistic joy of experiencing and falling in love with a hobby, making friends and sharing those things. Never has a show gotten me as wet as the characters in the show. A show about even if life knocks you down, good friends will always be there you pick you back up.
And the best show of the year is
Space Patrol Luluco
Finishing of the list with another unconventional show is the half-length Hiroyuki Imaishi love child. I’ve always loved how Imiashi can take the most mundane feeling like a middle schoolers love and make it so important and relatable. Space Patrol Luluco fits a zany premise and zany character and spirals them all into probably the most uplifting message of the year. You’re feelings are powerful enough to cross dimensions, no matter what anyone else says. And even though your feelings may be fleeting, they’re still important because they help make up who you are. Such great references and staple Imaishi framing and animation make Luluco the shining beacon of what the Medium of Anime can bring to the table. Also has one of the most surprising anime couples to root for I’ve seen in a while. Like it came out of nowhere but by golly did the show sell it to me. Luluco will sell you and entertaining experience with a ton of heart, literally. It’s definitely the best Anime this year had to offer.
What we’re your favorites this year? Anything to make your favorites list, or just shows that surprised you on how good they were?