2016: The Return To Anime
I used to watch a lot of anime before, but when I moved away from my friends whom were fellow fans of Japanese animation, I became really bad at taking any initiative to sit down and watch anything new. So my New Years resolution was to simply watch more anime during 2016 (for inspiration and entertainment)! ;D And in order to prove to said friends that I am indeed keeping my promise, as well as to take the opportunity to recommend good shows to others, I will be sharing my progress list and general opinions.
PS: Some of these shows are not appropriate for an younger audience!! Before viewing, please check out the recommended age restrictions, genre and potential trigger warnings!
END OF YEAR UPDATE: 25 shows in total! Not bad at all considering that I maybe watched 2-3 shows the year before. But I still have a lot of series that I want to see, so don´t be surprised if I make a new post for 2017. ;)
My personal top 3? I would say Death Parade, Re:Zero and Madoka Magica.
Mushishi (S1) - Not a single cliffhanger in the whole show, so it makes for perfect bedtime stories for teens/adults. The english dub was really good and the landscape art is 10/10.
Kino No Tabi / Kino´s Journey (S1) - Do not let the simple and cute style fool you! This show contains murder, cannibalism, suicide and war!! And it asks the hard questions in life!! RUN if you do not want to contemplate the meaning of existence!!
One Punch Man (S1+3OVA) - OK, now I know why this is in 4th place on IMDB´s “Best TV-series” list. The animation is some of the best I have ever seen in an action anime! It is simply stunning to look at and it is fun ride all the way to the out of this world (literally) finale.
Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru / Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation (S1) - Pretty much like an anime version of the TV-show Bones. I love mysteries where you have to follow clues in order to solve a murder so a second season is strongly desired.
Owari No Seraph / Seraph Of The End (S1+S2+10OVA) - Pretty predictable, but the the bloody fight scenes are fabulous. Needs even more angst thou (…she said even though a bunch of children are butchered in the very first episode….). >:3
Death Parade (S1) - And there is all the angst!!! Do not watch if you do not like pain in your soul!! Heart cannot be repaired!! AHRUM!! Excuse me. The show is really well written and the artists really knew how to create the perfect atmosphere to tell this dark story.
Free! (S1+S2+4OVA) - It feels like everyone and their grandmother has seen this show, so of course I fell on the bandwagon. For the first 11 episodes thou I was very neutral to it… But goddammit the first season finale had me sheering, squealing and tearing up!! (Let Rin be happy!!) Sadly only the S2 OVA had me laughing; apart from that episode, the humor was not at all up my alley.
Zankyou No Terror / Terror In Resonance (S1) - I really like the style and the smooth animation in this one. And DANG, THAT ENDING! If you like thrillers that are completely based on reality and science (like Beautiful Bones) then this could be perfect for you.
Wolf’s Rain (S1+4OVA) - I remember trying to watch this when I was like 15, but I never got past episode 3 for some reason. Which is a real shame because I think that I would really, really liked it then. Perfectly angsty and tragic for little wannabe-emo-teen-me. Do you like dark fantasies with pretty people/wolves? Then do not miss out on this one!
Mahon Shoujo Madoka Magica / Puella Magi Madoka Magica (S1+1 movie) - Oh shit. Oh holy shit. I would never have guessed that this show, this thing that looks so darn innocent and cute in design and summary, would have me in so much emotional turmoil (very much like Steven Universe in that way). But seriously; amoungst all of the animes on this list, this is in my opinion the one with the most captivating story-line, plot development and characters (I simply had to watch all 12 episodes in one sitting). Some people hate the ending, but I think it worked really well (even though all the tears could have clouded my judgement). And if you liked the show, then you MUST watch the movie Rebellion! Also: One of the the best English dubs I have ever heard in my life!! UPDATE: I have now seen everything twice… I cry every times I see Homura on screen. (O_Q)
Kuragehime / Princess Jellyfish (S1) - I watched this before when it first came out but I had a hard time remembering anything from it apart from the characters. Glad I gave it a re-watch because it´s super cute and silly; perfect for when you just want to give your feels a break from all the angst and suffering other shows come with (*stares at the one above*). I also highly recommend the live-action movie based on this! :D
Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi / Erased (S1) - This show is both intriguing and stunning! I love how modern animation uses lightning and this show is a good example of that (same goes for Death Parade). Downside: Stress, stress and even more stress!! Please, just let the small children live!!! My heart cannot take this torture!! D,,X But the stress aside, it was all worth it at the end.
Jigoku Shojo / Hell Girl (S1) - My Golb, the young girls in this look exactly like the characters I would draw at 14-16. X,D The animation is just okay, and it takes a long time before we learn anything worthwhile about the main characters. But what made me watch a whole season (26 ep) was because of the interesting stories in each episode. It was fascinating to see how little/much it was required for people to give up their souls for eternal damnation in return for the death of a person they hated.
Steins;Gate (S1+1OVA) - It took me a while to get into the story, but by the half way point, when shit got really intense, I was waaay hooked. I usually do not like stories that involve time-traveling because it makes my head hurt, but this (Like Madoka Magica) was really well written. I have very little to fault the show on ((apart from how the harassment of a trans girl is used for comedy in at least 2 episodes…)) and would recommend!
Love Live! School Idol Project (S1+S2+1 movie) - Decided to watch something really cute with sis again and this is what we ended up with. And oh darn it, it is cute alright! Everything is so sugary sweet and lovely, and good music too that you will hum on for weeks. Apart form the occasional funky looking CGI (which actually looks really good in the movie), the animation is top notch. A simple story about a bunch of girls and their lives and friendships when guys are not in the picture.
Makura No Danshi / Pillow Boys (S1) - Finally met up with my anime loving friends and this was one of the things we saw. The episodes in this are very short, all of which are about different types of guys talking to YOU before you go to sleep. It´s… different to say the least. Who was my favourites? Hmmm… I guess the guy from Ep 2, since I recall him the clearest. He also felt like someone who had known me for a while and I appreciated that. WARNING: Ep 10 did give me some extreme rapist vibes! BAD TOUCH!! (O_O)
Koutetsujou No Kabaneri / Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress (S1) - If you like bloody action of high quality with humans fighting against superhuman enemies then this is most surely something for you. Many parallels can be pulled to Attack on Titian, but I would never call this a rip-off. All the animation is in the A+ class and there is this wonderful colouring/lighting effect they sometimes use for close ups which makes the characters look absolutely stunning. The level of details on the character designs also stuck out to me (A+ there too).
Shokugeki no Soma / Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma (S1+S2+1OVA) - Also known as food porn. I had never heard of this until Dan and Phil mentioned it in a video and when I understood that it was about food I had to check it out. I love shows/stories that are centered around cooking (Hell´s Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Princess, etc) so I really got hooked on this. Not only is the food animated beautifully, but you learn a lot at the same time. And the absurd (dirty) humor is so redicoulus that I cannot help but laugh.
Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu / Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World (S1) - When I first saw posters for this show they never caught my interest. It looked so much like the generic fantasy harem anime that I just ignored it. But then a friend forced me to actually see it and BOY was I wrong. Let me put it this way: Imagine Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni but with a higher budget and set in a fantasy land. So if you enjoy blood, gore and mind games, check this baby out!
Ghost Hunt (S1) - I know that I had seen this anime when it was new, but apparently I never saw the final episodes of the season since I had no idea what was going to happen. But glad that I saw this again! Not the scariest or goriest show out there, but it is fun and entertaining. My favorite part is how all the characters get along even though they have different beliefs and ways of dealing with the unknown.
Psycho-Pass (S1 + S2 + 1 movie) - Everybody were recommending this show to me and I understand why. There is detective work, blood/gore, and some kick-ass action; just right for me. However, I am not into all the tech porn (you know - when the put so much time and focus on weapons and other technology when they open up, charge, fire, etc. Not my thing!), but it was still a good anime. The only downside was that I felt very little when characters died, which was strange since I usually get attached very easily and morn fictional characters on a regular basis.
Mayoiga / The Lost Village (S1) - Oh maaan. I was expecting something along the lines of Battle Royale, but this was nothing but a big disappointment. There was so much potential in the first episodes for this to become the next Another or Corpse Party, but nooo. Lack of death aside, I guess it had it´s creepy moments, but the finale was not worth the wait in my opinion. I was actually so upset by the final twist that I sat down and basically created an alternative version of the story. Same basic structure, characters, feel and pitch, but with a more classic psychological horror plot. I would also have put the focus on other characters over the two basic cardboard cutouts (I vote for Valkana and Nanko!).
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii No Jukyou (5OVA) - I had seen this before when it first came out, but since I am still in a Halloween mood I decided to give it a re-watch. Totally one of those shows that I cannot look away from (not only because I need the subs, but you know what I mean). Spooky details all over the place blended with intestines and body horror. I may not be a big fan of the Elfen Lied-wannabe character designs, but I would totally watch it a third time when I once again forget the ending. I was so shocked that all I could do was to stare at the screen while the credits passed by.
Mira Nikki / The Future Diary (S1) - That moment you like the premise and concept of a show, but dislike the main characters. Damn that moment. It could be that the English dub makes the protagonists seem more douchey than what they actually are in the oringal Japanese version, or it´s just that they are both written poorly (IMO). But I like the background characters and there is some genuine tension throughout the show, so I watched it all.
Yuri!!! On ICE (S1) - I had been looking forward to this since the first trailer, so it was really really hard for me to wait until all episodes had aired before I had a marathon. But gah! It was worth it! There are no cliffhangers no, but the show just makes you feel so warm and fluffy that you want to see more right away. It is a sports anime, but the characters and relationships are so well developed that I would say to give it a chance even if sports isn’t for you. You will still fall in love with everybody and you just want them all to win gold and be happy!!
PS: Oh dear brother of mine, if you are reading this, be prepared for an anime night next time we meet. You and Jorge will love this! ;D
Kimi No Na Wa / Your Name - Hands down one of the best MOVIES I have seen this year. Well made, a story that pulls you in, heart-wrenching and beautiful music. This is totally up there amongst Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and I will definitely be showing this to all my friends, no matter if they are into anime or not.