This will be a first for me when it comes to picking my annual favorites because usually I pick more than 10 shows I liked ending with the 5 I enjoyed most of all. This time I made a conscious effort to narrow it down to 10 and ONLY 10. The rules will be the following:
- No anime movies that premiered or were subbed this year. Meaning movies like The Boy and The Beast, Your Name and Harmony will not be on this list.
- This list will only feature anime I have finished that aired in 2016, meaning other super popular shows like RE:Zero, Yuri!!! on Ice, Drifters and even controversial ones like ERASED will not be on the list because at the time this list was made I have not yet seen them.
- As usual these are MY FAVORITE ANIME. This does not mean they are the best of the best, just the ones I enjoyed watching most of all this year.
Before we begin with #10 let me start off with a dishonorable mention, aka my most disappointing anime of 2016.
KumaMiko. This was supposed to be my show. MY SHOW! I mean it starred a miko and a talking bear. Two of my favorite kinds of characters. So what kind of show did I get?
- The majority of the jokes revolved around harassing Machi for no good reason.
- Everyone except Machi and Natsu (for the most part) are annoying and/or horrible people, making me understand why Machi wants to leave her village so badly.
- The ending…”fuming”.
One of these days I will need to watch Polar Bear Cafe again to calm myself.
The HONORABLE mention spot goes to…
It is more of the same stuff that made the first season enjoyable, though for some it is understandably bettwe (or even worse) than the first season depending on their mindsets and desires coming into Eupho 2. I personally thought it was on equal terms with the first one. The new character arcs were pretty good, the animation and soundtrack are still superb and most of the veterans are cool. As for “you know what”, I liked the end result a lot.
Bonus honorable mentions:
Alrighty then. Here we go with…
The most underrated and overlooked show on the list, Pandora already had a rough time being the distant cousin of one of the most popular sci-fi anime franchises of all time, Ghost in the Shell, but also because for the most part it followed a similar formula other female-centric spinoffs of popular shows like Hidan no Aria AA and Soul Eater NOT, it being more slice of life and less action-oriented like their more popular main counterparts. Even so Pandora delivered the goods with cool sci-fi action when it focused on it, interesting discussions about the economy, culture and society and some neat characters. Oh and of course some ecchi loli android yuri and a gorgeous African (I think) scientist.
It was a tough call choosing between Flying Witch and this one but Amanchu! came out victorious. The story of a Half-Muppet girl moving from her old town to one near the seaside and having a hard time coming out of her timid shell. Thankfully her Half-Muppet teacher, friends and especially her future Half-Muppet girlfriend helped her slowly but surely develop more self-confidence and be more open about what she really wants. Oh and there’s some occasional scuba diving and the animation quality is GORGEOUS!
Possibly the best season of Magical Girl Illya by far, tied with the first. The usual erotic loli humor and sexy yuri goodness is still there but they both took a back seat in favor of a very interesting plot with decent twists, the vintage Fate franchise action scenes at probably the most intense they have ever been in this spinoff series and the promise of even more awesomeness in the future. The main series’ Illya is cool for being very creepy. This alternate universe Illya was cool before but in 3rei! her coolness went up tenfold! The new allies and villains are also some of the series’ best and worst respectively and my personal best addition, THE THREE STOOGES ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND after the first episode, though Mimi’s absence was missed. Thankfully one of our fellow Nation members elkat4 made sure to chronicle Mimi’s misadventures after Illya’s departure.
I guess for these two shows the #3 was a lucky one. Despite having the same “fast forward narrative” where the show solely focused on the important events in the main story and did away with casual episodes, season 3 still managed to pull off being the best one in the reboot yet. Perhaps it is because the Death Busters Arc is considered one of the best in the SM series (or so I have heard). The animation quality also got a major buff to look like a combination of classic and modern SM. Besides the threat being the biggest our heroines have faced by far the season also reintroduced the Yuri Nation (and the mainstream) to the legendary tag team of Sailor Uranus and Neptune in spectacular fashion. This along with a returning fan favorite and another surprise character who changed Sailor Chibi-Moon’s life for the better and we got a major boost in SM goodness. Hopefully when the fourth season is eventually announced the reboot will maintain its momentum.
There was some tough competition for New Game! from the likes of Anne Happy! and Magic of Stella but in the end New Game! was the Girls Club show of 2016 that entertained me the most. It is not often we get a Office Lady themed Girls Club show, let alone one centered around video games. I mean, cute and sexy women and video game developing. the GLORIOUSNESS speaks for itself.
Alright doods. We are in the home stretch with my top five picks!
I knew I would love this anime based on the concept alone but I never expected it to be as great as it was. Like all other ECCHIMANIA shows this one is as easy to ridicule as it is to enjoy. Since I more often than not take the plots of these shows seriously it was easy to sit back and revel in the sexiness and over the top combat of mixed martial arts style bikini sumo wrestling. Despite atheletes only allowed to fight using their breasts and butt it is basically a little bit of many kinds of martial arts. Add in the fact that the writers and animators held nothing back with the admittedly hilarious yet also fantastic super special moves and the athletes being both GORGEOUS and fun to watch fight and become stronger keijo warriors and we got what I argue is one of the best ECCHIMANIA series of all time.
Possibly the most controversial entry on the list. This show hurt me a lot emotionally but I could not stop watching. I was amazed by not only how sick and twisted it could get but also maintain the tradition established by other moepocalypse shows despite its survival game narrative. That very style of narrative is what turned some people off from the show and understandably so. Still, I somehow persevered and enjoyed this show a lot more than I ever thought I would. The strange allure of moepocalypse shows…I tell ya. I will say that should this show get a 2nd season one day, I would dare watch it. HOWEVER, I also hope this style of moepocalypse show does not end up becoming the new norm. I do not think my poor heart could handle rapid fire shows like this.
I doubt anyone is surprised by this show making the list. Aqours had a rough time from the start establishing themselves. Not only did they have the scorn of diehard μ’s fans who decided to LOATHE them from the start but also the first half of the season having lots of μ’s references and repeated subplots did not help their case despite μ’s inadvertently playing a big part in the main plot. However, as the references were greatly lessened in the second half and by that point Aqours having that despite sharing similarities they are their own characters they pulled it off and delivered a performance worthy of the Love Live! name. Hopefully a second season will eventually be announced where Aqours can use the opportunity to further establish themselves as idol legends. I truly believe that, especially after this season’s conclusion that Aqours has only begun to show off their greatness.
I bet some fans of mine are surprised this is not my #1…though I imagine you also figured out which show is. Flip Flappers has it all, action, adventure, fantasy, creativty, unpredictability, beautiful animation and depth. It also had one of the most surprising and engaging love stories in yuridom. While not perfect it is still one of 2016’s best. I strongly believe this show will become a future all-time yuri classic.
And now for my #1 anime of 2016. As I said I am certain some fans have already figured out which one it is but for the sake of suspense.
What can I say, this show blew me away despite its several flaws within its narrative and flow, all easily overlooked in favor of the grand picture. Let me put it this way. I do not watch fictional stories set during a historical event like World War 2 and DEMAND as much accuracy as possible but rather I am more interested in what the writers do with its setting and as far as I am concerned they did a really good job since it felt like the story was set in a war like environment and neither side was safe. Not once did it feel like “the good guys were safe from doom until the last quarter as is the case with most 12-13 episode anime”, as it should be in war stories. The show has the best soundtrack of the year, its animation is pretty good, the ecchiness is there but not TOO exaggerated and the characters all filled their roles ranging from likable to despicable despite some clearly having needed a bit more development. Still, it was great. Besides all that FineZetta’s romance is arguably one of the most beautiful I have ever since in live-action and animated media. It is so intimate and ovbious that these two were falling in love and it was not about platonic skinship and that is good enough for me. Lastly, two beautiful women, one badass princess and a badass witch, leading an army against Nazi Germany and falling in love at the same time. What more could I want from a story like this?
So that is my list. Share your thoughts on it or even which shows were your favs of 2016 down below.