MITSU’S TOP TEN ANIME OF 2016
Wow what a shit year! Not for anime, I mean, it was okay at worst. I think we’re definitely at the upward slope of the anime renaissance now, but still at the very start of it. It’s hard to think about that when most of what comes out (and is somehow popular) is just…the most generic shit. Well, I did the work for you. I weeded and trudged through some of the worst anime around and even some of my shit favorites to bring you the actual good, worth watching anime of the year.
Yeah, not everything you saw or want to see on this list is here, but you can check my foreword from last week that explains all that garbage. Links to each anime’s respective review will be on the titles (and added for those that just finished). Know that this list is pretty fluid. From 8 or 7 up, it’s all very much I loved them, but the higher up, the more I recommend anyone watch them.
Madoka was cool. I finally watched it this year and I was just as blown away by the psychological aspects as I expected to be. It just lacked that extra bite it needed to really scare my pants off. MGRP however, did indeed take a few years off of my life. I’m really in ruins right now since I can grab you by the shoulders and tell you now: you’ll like a lot of these characters and their thought out designs and personalities, but don’t get attached, cus ALMOST ALL OF THEM DIE.
I have to put MGRP on this list because aside from its fun and original designs, awesome interactions, cool-ass premise and execution (sometimes literally), it had some amazing rewatch value. I watched this anime three times, which is a lot to do in one year. I just had to watch people’s reactions and seeing stuff hidden in the background and revisiting some foreshadowing was so much fun. Definitely worth a watch and I’ll cover more about it in my upcoming review.
Regrets, like I have over not putting Kekkai Sensen into last year’s list, are the main theme of Orange. Buried under the shoujo themes of romance, high school, and angst, lies the actual regret: letting a friend kill himself. The main story unfolds itself very slowly as the group of friends discover that is what they must prevent, but it’s done in a realistic way. The signs of depression and suicide are so jokingly cast aside; it’s no wonder people miss it before it’s too late.
The climax of this story was heart-pounding and gut-wrenching. You find yourself rooting so hard for there to be success, to save someone who may not want to be saved, but must be saved. It might also make you pay closer attention to those around you. It’s an important anime to watch. If you do want one with a little less romantic emphasis though, I recommend you see Colorful instead (or also!).
I need to marry someone who can cook. It doesn’t have to be a five-star chef, though I wouldn’t complain if it were the case, but Sweetness and Lightning reignited my need to be fed well. The show is about how food brings family and friends together. Aside from the great character interactions, well written children characters, and for god’s sake, the beautiful, perfect looking food, this anime was so pure in the amount of love put into it.
The food tops even some shown in Shokugaki no Soma, purely cus it’s doable for someone with a low skill level (like me), the meals are made for picky eaters (like me), and there’s not a ridiculously emphasis put on the orgasmic nature of food. That’s a thing that Shokugeki no Soma and even Koufuku Graffiti used stylistically in a comedic manner, but it doesn’t fit in Sweetness and Lightning for good reason. This show is accessible in that way, making it easier to show to someone who might want to try anime, but doesn’t want all the sexy fanservice.
Kick-ass and Metal come to mind when Drifters is mentioned. I love Kohta Hirano’s previous work, Hellsing, a lot. It was a massive gore and blood fest with a sprinkling of comedy in the mix. This is a war and gore fest with a, not a sprinkling of comedy, but more like Hirano accidentally knocked the bottle of comedy over when he was checking on the oven directly into said mix. It’s really funny, but also really awesome. I have a lot to say about it in my review, but I think a dog fight with dragons involved kind of state my case for me. Also Elves, Dwarves and other Tolkien demihumans and monsters abound. It’s fun.
The animation is also gorgeous, especially that stylized, graphic novel looking opening theme with the rock anthem “Gospel of the Throttle” making you “NA NA NA NA NA NA” along with the characters every opening. It’s an excellent show to watch with friends or get yourself pumped. Returning sometime next year!
How can something be so trope-y, yet so damn enjoyable? Kuromukuro isn’t an original concept, but is done in an original way. The samurai trapped in a machine for 500 years is the new exchange student. The reluctant heroine needs to board the mecha to fight the alien threat. The school festival has been compromised by an alien mecha entering the atmosphere. This anime is funny, but it’s also emotional and holds a much wider scope than I ever could have expected. P.A. Works has been putting out some good contenders in the last few years, and with their lovely art style and well-balanced budget, they were able to pull off this massive mech story in an engaging and entertaining way.
I applaud the cast for one of the best ensembles on this list, bringing forth some of the best and most memorable character chemistry of the season, and some hilarious situational humor. I also cried a little near the end, but honestly, a lot of anime on this list did that to me this year.
Shonen anime is such a delight now, always a favorite of mine as a kid, but not as firmly as now. I love the underdogs; I love the over the top villains; I love the powers, the fights, and the yelling to infinity. It’s just so exciting and blood pumping, and MHA made it so refreshing with such an interesting spin. These characters are children, inexperienced, with quirks that may or may not be useful. I love Deku because his anxieties and general feelings of being less than everyone else not only make it exciting to see him overcome them, but to use them to keep his head and ego from getting over inflated like some shonen protagonists. Bakugo is such a good foil to him, showing where this could be a major weakness to a shonen protagonist.
Also it’s coming back with THE TOURNAMENT ARC, and if you’re like me and haven’t started the manga yet, DO IT! You won’t regret it! I’m more than excited to see more of this awesome anime in action.
This anime, wow this anime. I’m so upset not more people are talking about it, but have you seen this delight for the senses? I’m looking forward to reviewing it now just because my jaw is still kinda on the floor. Beautiful animation, a crazy cool style, and some of the best nonsense in magical-girl but not really fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. This anime reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my thumb on it. I do know it’s like an amalgamation of my editor’s anime “TYPE” so you’ll see more about that in the review.
But good lord did I love the heart of this show. The pure romance, the exciting battles, the trippy psychological horror. Let me just say, that one episode (the Maria Watches Over Us “GOKIGENYO”), probably has scarred me for life, but I love it. It’s just so different and good. It deserves a watch, just for how delighted your eyes will be.
I love a story that can get you emotionally invested and cheering for or yelling at the character who you don’t have any control over. Erased was paced beautifully (though some might disagree due to the slight differences in adaptation), and its animation only made every silent, tender moment more enjoyable to look at before the lighting and mood would change and the feeling of bloodlust would stain the air. That’s how you write suspense.
I’m a little annoyed because apparently some other people were reading some character motivations “differently,” (looking at you crunchyroll), but I think it’s safe to say this doesn’t cross the line into romance, at all, and stays a thriller about growing up in a life-threatening situation.
I love the theatre, and I love comedy and storytelling. This anime manages to hit both of these points while showcasing some of the best animation I’ve ever seen. On top of the animation, there’s good directing, and supporting that is a great soundtrack. The story is vast and covers several characters’ lives over several decades surrounding World War 2.
The rakugo, though, is what makes the story. It’s not the first anime to touch on this topic, but it’s the first to do so in such an interesting way. It was very refreshing compared to a lot of titles on this list (though many of them are refreshing ideas!) with its originality. It’s heartfelt, it’s serious, it’s funny, but it also makes me want to cry. If it weren’t for the top spot being so hype as hell and generally a weekly freak-out among me and my friends, this would have been number one.
1. Mob Psycho 100
What can I say about Mob Psycho that hasn’t already been said? Its opening is gold, its animation is unique and interesting, its writing, directing, and characters are all praise-worthy. It is just hands down the best anime of the year. You may be thinking, “but Mitsu, One Punch Man was number one LAST YEAR. Isn’t Mob a little overhyped?”
No. Sit down and shut up. One is probably one of the best writers on the scene right now and is doing a lot better at writing genuinely empathetic characters and commentary on modern anime genres and tropes than most of the big budget barf fests. I think the “overhyped” talk is nonsense when it comes to mob. It genuinely does some interesting and groundbreaking work. That’s why it’s not only on this list, but number one. It never moved an inch since I decided it should be on the list.
Everything I’ve said has BEEN said by several really good reviewers and critics out there and you should definitely check out what they have to say about it too, because honestly, they’re a lot better than I am. I like Mob Psycho, I like One Punch Man, but I like Mob more. I’m so delighted that One Punch Man will be returning shortly and I only wish for Mob to also share the spotlight, as it deserves.