Well it’s that time of year again isn’t it? Another 365 days passed along in our lives. Actually one more since it was a leap year and all. Just a bit older and a smidge more anime watched along the journey. So, as one does in an arbitrary fashion I have come to display a countdown of all the anime I watched this year counted down in a list of my least to most favorite. I might as well give away some awards while I am here right! I shall start with the awards this time and then count the 20 shows I finished this year. Not my largest number but this year held a lot more significance for my personal life so I’m not upset by it. Here we go!
Best Movie: The Boy and the Beast
I only watched a handful of movies this year so this wasn’t exactly a tough choice. Mamoru Hosoda has really crafted his own vision into the anime world and he continues strong with this powerful movie about a father/son relationship. For me Hosoda is the best modern director in anime with Miyazaki and Takahata on the way out. Good action, beautiful animation, and a lot of heart, this movie will string a chord in the sword of your soul.
Best Short/Short Series: She and Her Cat: Everything Flows
This 4 episode mini series was something special. It simply adapts an old short by Shinkai into a moving piece of pet and owner that if you relate to even a little bit, will produce many tears by its end. Emotionally driven and super down to earth I can’t recommend it enough if you can handle a few hours of a broken heart.
Best Male Character: Ushio Aotsuki- Ushio & Tora
This was a tough choice between Ushio and Rin from Blue Exorcist. Both very likable atypical shonen protags that drive a stake in your heart with how great they are. I also can’t forget Romeo and Alfredo either since they are amazing characters too. Ushio tops as champ though with his evolution from start to finish. We get to see his story from beginning to end and by golly does he go through a lot. I love Ushio, he is a manly guy who isn’t afraid to cry for others and really is a perfect hero type. If you don’t like this kid I feel sorry for you, because he is a damn good man.
Best Female Character: Erin- Kemono No Souja
This was a run away win. Erin now tops Aoba as my all time favorite female character in anime which is quite an accomplishment. From tiny girl to full fledged adult we grow with Erin and see all the ups and downs of her life. Her journey is one of my favorites I have seen for an individual in anime and I can’t praise her enough as one of the finest leading ladies out there.
Best Ensemble Cast: Infinite Ryvius
There are a lot of people in this show. Like I mean a lot. And you know what if you ever get around to seeing this series you will see almost every single one of them get a satisfying conclusion to their stories. It’s a rarity for a cast this big to get that but for that reason I award it the ensemble of the year.
Best Animal Character: Lilan- Kemono No Souja
Lilan is the best animal in anime ever. Alright this is totally debatable but for me at least this holds true. Seeing the evolution from her as a baby to being an adult with little offspring is so magical and inspirational. Lilan has inspired me to want to pursue a possible career in animal caretaking. That is how much she impacted me and I am happy to give her this award.
Best Music: Kemono no Souja
This was a hard one to choose for me. With the amazing jazz tracks in series like Blue Exorcist, and Junjou Romantica I was hard pressed to pick an easy winner. And then you have series like Rakugo and Yona that bring their shows to life but Erin and it’s OST just oozes fantasy and I’m a sucker for that to be honest. Tough sure, but I’m confident in my pick!
Best OP: Blue Skys- Romeo no Aoi Sora
This is easily one of the toughest to award. With the symbolism of Erin’s, the catchyness of Yuri on Ice’s, the emotion of 91 days, the energy of Junjous, the history of Planetes, and the ridiculousness of One Punch Mans, this year has a shit ton of magnificent OPs to pick from. For me though Romeo no Aoi Sora has a classic one that wins out for being the one I can’t stop listening to. Blue skys is such a metaphorical motif to the series as a whole and a gorgeous piece of music it was too good not to pick.
Best ED: Ready for the Take Off- Blue Exorcist
This one is just so easy to sing along to that I was too tempted to not give it the award haha. So for that alone I give it the prize. Other notable EDs though we Yuri on Ice, Erin, Planetes, Junjou, and Battery. Also the runner up was Natsume’s new ED that is just so lovely. It’s a toss up between it and this.
Best Pilot: Yuri on Ice!!!
The pilot of Yuri on Ice was electric! Funny, dramatic, and breath taking. The first real performance Yuri performs in the pilot is the best the series offers, and that is saying a lot since this show has a ton of good skates. After the pilot I was filled with that sense that anime gives me when I remember why I love the medium so much.
Best Finale: Infinite Ryvius
You know I didn’t expect this to get more awards haha. I don’t even like the show that much, but I have to give props for the perfect finale it made. It made the series go from my bottom ten to just another below average anime. That takes some skill. It provides complete closure in the finest of ways. Hats off to you for besting Erin, Romeo, Ushio & Tora, and Orange.
Funniest Character: Saitama- One Punch Man
Tora was so close to this win but Saitama is just comedy gold. His whole role is to be an antithesis to normal shonen protags in a comedic fashion and it is a delight. I’m sure some others could qualify here but Saitama wins out the day for me.
Best Villain: Hakumen no Mono- Ushio and Tora
You know you are evil when you can beat out Satan. Hakumen is pure evil incarnate and god damn does it excel at what it wants. Carnage and murder and corruption are it’s M.O. and it kicks ass at doing so. It is one of the most evil beings I have seen in anime and it almost sinks Japan. Pretty evil I’d say.
Best Couple: Kakeru & Naho- Orange
When having someone in your life can save it, how can I not choose them as best couple. I have a few other great picks but for me NahoxKakeru is a sweet relationship between two unconfident teenagers that bring out the best in each other. Orange you did a good job with your story, I hope the blu rays fix the animation ^^.
Best Fight: Mumen Rider v. Sea King
I’m glad Mother’s Basement mentioned my favorite scene in all of One Punch man. This fight is great. It’s completely one sided in every way but most fights in this show are. This one is different though with how it brings the emotion and really inspires the viewer to root for a losing battle. Mumen Rider I salute you!
Best Visuals: Akatsuki no Yona
I am such a sucker for color and lighting. Yona is so vivid with it’s color usage and it makes my little brain explode with happiness when looking at it. Yeah that is about it! haha
Biggest Disappointment: Katanagatari
Katanagatari just let me down in every regard. The story, the cast, the progression as it went on I got more and more disinterested in it. I’m bummed too because I really thought it had potential to be a knock out with me. Oh well I suppose it might be the writer of the stories fault. Just not my kinda style.
Biggest Surprise: Junjou Romantica
With no Yaoi experience I had no idea what to expect. Early on the worst tropes of Yaoi were present too. Yet as it goes on Junjou became a very well done series about the complexities of relationships and I found myself a fan. Season 3 I will finish you soon with my group of Fudoakiki!
Best Scene: Saying Goodbye to A Friend- Romeo No Aoi Sora
Being friends with a lot of SPATZA CAMINO or chimney sweeps, Romeo has to say goodbye to many of them in his journey as they all have slave periods. It is roughly a year of service and then they can return home. No scene though is more powerful then the one where him and Alfredo say their goodbyes to each other. I can’t really describe it properly but if you have seen the show I am sure it made you cry pretty hard.
Seriously what was with the ending? Gosh even after the end I don’t know what I think of Battery. I am not happy with the result though. Such a pretty series with buckets of potential to be riveting and it is all wasted on angst and no growth or proper end. A huge disappointment for me and I really enjoyed the writer’s other work No. 6 a good deal too.
I mean it is adorable as fuck but cute cats doing cute things(much better than the other one) doesn’t give much substance really. Oh well I got a nice fill of silly cat time.
Boy I don’t hate this show but I don’t think I can recommend it to anyone. It takes way too long to get interesting and most the good characters get shafted. Togame is just awful and I really just hated the ending too. Katanagatari you could have been much more.
19: Pokemon Generations
Short, sweet, and full of nostalgia this was a fun ride for it’s run. It doesn’t do much else though outside catering to fans, but as well I’m not too upset by that at all. Please give me some full length stuff!
18: Infinite Ryvius
What is it with my group watches and the shows ending up as garbage. The finale was great yes, but the rest was a frustrating ride all the way to that point. Such a confusing series, with very inconsistent everything all around. Maybe I should theme the next watch with a topic that is bound to give us a goodie.
17: Kanon 2006
I love Clannad so I was excited to see Kanon 2006. It had the same ideas. Lots of mini arcs building the cast and world as we lead into the finale material. Yet, Ayu takes way too long to feel important, the romance feels undeveloped, and I really didn’t like most the cast that much. It felt like a lesser Clanand in many regards which is a shame really.
16: 91 Days
I was hoping for some Baccano! level enjoyment out of this series. Instead a lot of time was wasted. Don’t get me wrong I had fun, but I really just think this show missed the mark in terms of execution towards the end. I recommend it for sure though. Some love it and some are meh. I fall in the latter but would say you may find a treat for yourself.
15: Yuri!!! on Ice
Gay isn’t quite enough to make this show stand out as a classic. A fun cast with lots of ambition throughout makes this show memorable and super fun but lacking in development for it’s core cast. I do like the unique quality the show goes for but it’s quality for performances are all over the place and the show just stopped giving me the feels after a while. If we do get a season two I do hope they expand how much we know the cast.
14: Haibane Renmei
I’ve mentioned it several times but I enjoy this series for it’s SOL and drama elements but feel conflicted with the conclusion and lack of answers. Of course this is intentionally done and is clever in design but I’m needy and don’t want that. I want creative unique answers given to me to sink my teeth into.
I adore this story and it really connects to me on a personal level. A great OST and lovable cast brings forth a really nice show. Yet, the drop in quality with the animation really hampers on the overall enjoyment as a whole. Bummed to put it this low but it distracted and ruined some good moments, and I will just stick with the manga unless the video release addresses the issues.
12: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Riveting stuff right here. I adore historical based narratives but Rakugo does have a cast that makes me feel displeased. Well written but people I dislike. It’s a weird correlation for me since I can’t decide if the cast can be forgiven for their sins if it’s pertinent to the plot for them to be the way they are. I think when the second season concludes this show will go up more but as of now I need some time to love it more.
11: Junjou Romantica(Seasons 1 & 2)
A great intro in the world of Yaoi. Once the tropes started to disappear this series became so easy to identify with. The misunderstandings in relationships are the biggest part of fights and eventual growth when dealt with. Once I get to Sekaiichi I’m sure I will see the improvement in the creator’s storytelling.
To me not quite the classic everyone says it is, but it is quite a fun right regardless. A cast that has people from all over the world, and a mixture of drama and political intrigue, and you have a very dense plot. Planetes in strong in story but once again the main characters holding the show together irritate me greatly.
9: Oh! Edo Rocket
What a god damn surprise! This series looked like it may be crap. And I rarely think that about anything outside Monogatari(Always gotta take my digs) but what a wonderful surprise. Great comedy, drama, and fun times makes for a show that is incredible satisfying altogether. Few anime have made me laugh harder than this one and I give it a rec for that alone.
8: Blue Exorcist
I adore shonen and Blublu hits all the right places of the genre. I can’t wait for season 2 that is for sure. If you like Shonen series like Seven Deadly Sins that cut out all the filler nonsense and get to the point in their anime adaptations then this show is for you.
7: One Punch Man
Few anime get as much hype as this one. But One Punch Man is quite a special beast. And you know what I think it lives up to it. Such a funny and exciting series. Not a master piece in any way but a solid series in so many regards. If you like action and laughs this show will be right up your alley.
6: Natsume Yujinchou(Season 5)
Do you like Natsume? Then you will love Season 5. Nuff said.
5: Akatsuki no Yona
I figured I would love this show but I had no idea how much. Gosh it is such favorites material. Amazing in almost every regard. It is unfinished and unlikely to see more though so the series feels incomplete as it is. I want more to see how it all plays out but as of now I must wait on the manga.
4: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
This show helped me a lot in one of my bouts with depression. Losing my cat this year was so hard and this show helped me cope with it better. For that alone it ranks very highly but I also just think it is a very fine drama that is worth watching. It isn’t the prettiest out there but it hits home if you have experienced loss of any kind.
3: Romeo No Aoi Sora
World Masterpiece Theater huh? Masterpiece is quite a bold word but if this is the quality of the stories you adapt, I am sold on that choice of description! Such a classic story in many regards like the novel it is based upon. Changes here and there to make it more kid friendly but in the end the anime is just as worth seeing as any out there. Few anime I’ve seen feel as grounded to realism and storytelling as this one. See a young boy make the best of a hard life.
2: Ushio and Tora
Everything I said about Blue Exorcist but for me a bit better and a perfect conclusion. It is bold and tells the story exactly the way it wants. Tough battles are fought internally and externally and it never strays away from the hard topics. Ushio and Tora is a splendid ride that reminded me of the best the 90’s had to offer in a modern adaptation. If you like shonen going a bit darker for the sake of making the story tell its best plot this is your kinda series.
1: Kemono no Souja Erin
For the past few years my favorite anime I saw hit into my favorites. Steins;Gate and Cross Game both are loved by me a lot. And Kemono No Souja is no different. It is one of the finest anime I have had the pleasure to finish. The journey Erin goes through has inspired me so much and is easily my number one pick of the year. It is always hard to sum up feelings in small blurbs like these, but for me Erin was my perfect kind of story. A story meant for me. I can’t think of many anime I love more than this one. I’m proud to call this series my number one of 2016 and one of my favorites of all time.
Well that ends the list! What anime were your favorites of 2016? Comment below or tell me on one of my social medias! Erin was a very special ride for me and I can’t compliment it’s virtues enough. It is a fantasy series told with pure brilliance and was one of my favorites by it’s half way point. If you love fantasy it is perfect for you.
Happy New Year And on to 2017!