Now that we’re only a couple weeks before 2017 starts, a lot of anime Youtubers and bloggers are looking back at which were the best anime of 2016, and I’ve decided to throw my opinion into the mix. So I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite anime from 2016, while also trying to create a variety to give everybody at least one suggestion to walk away with. I’ve also tried to include as few of sequels as possible, with one exception.
Before we really get into the list, some quick honorable mentions before I get into the top 10 are:
Though the darker twist on the fantasy genre is appreciated, the time-loop plot is getting old.
Bungou Stray Dogs:
Almost made this list. A solid shounen anime for those who are looking for it.
Confusing at first, though has arguably the best plot twist of the year. Still too many flaws for them to be overlooked.
Mob Psycho 100
From the first few lines of its OP, “If everyone is not special, maybe you can be what you want to be,” Mob Psycho 100 gives you an idea of what it’s about. Unlike most shounen anime these days, instead of focusing on the main character Mob’s strengths, it focuses on his weakness and his path to become a better person overall. The development of these characters is better than most anime. Combined with ONE’s classic humour style and the best animation of anything I’ve seen this year, this anime is brilliant and deserving of praise.
What makes a good mafia story? Is it a strong motivating factor behind the main character’s actions? Is it the political struggle between families? Or is it an understanding of how dark the reality of joining such a group really is, yet still is willing to show its horrible underbelly? Whatever it is, 91 Days has it. Telling the tale of Angelo and his determination to take revenge on those who murdered his family when he was only a child, this anime is gripping from beginning to end.
Yuri!!! on Ice
Now, before you write this anime off as “just another fujoshi-bait” anime, let me explain something I firmly believe: Even if all the gay romance, all the Viktuuri was sucked out Yuri!!! on Ice, it would still be good. It has an incredible cast of characters, gorgeous animation, and, in my opinion, the best soundtrack of the year. That isn’t to say the romance isn’t good – it’s one of the most mature and developed romances I’ve seen in any medium, let alone just anime. Overall, this show is much more than a “fujoshi-bait” show, and highly suggest giving it a go.
Sakamoto Desu ga?
It’s time to confess something that will inevitiably bring people with torches and pitchforks to my door: I didn’t find KonoSuba all that funny. So what anime this year tickled my funny bone? Well, Sakamoto Desu ga? did. Sakamoto is a high schooler who just manages to be… cool in everything he does — everything from eating lunch to cleaning duties to helping with the school festival. He manages to both subvert and exceed the expectations both characters and audience at every turn, which turns this show from something just about a cool guy into a show that is highly entertaining, as well has hilarious.
Now, let me reinstate something that’s been said over and over again — if you even remotely liked Hellsing Ultimate, you’ll like Drifters. This show brings back Hirano’s style — from massive, epic battles between insanely powerful characters, to little cuts of a more comedic art style for punchlines. Not to mention how addicting the opening song gets. If you love action, blood, and historical figures, Drifters is the anime for you.
Sweetness and Lightning
Now something for a little more… cute. Eschewing the drama and intense moments that most anime give us comes the iyashikei (or “healing”) show of the summer. With the cutest little girl of the year, delicious looking food, and a more relaxed atmosphere, this is the perfect show to relax between high-energy action series. Just don’t watch it while you’re hungry.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
Now for that one previously mentioned sequel. While I did like the first three parts of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, nothing really captured me until this part. With the stands getting more ridiculous (and a lot more interesting), better characters (Rohan FTW), and some the most intense moments of the series (almost bordering on horror), Diamond is Unbreakable is the best part to come out of the JoJo anime and is definitely worth your time.
From what I can tell, a lot of people have skipped over this anime due to its CGI and its low frame rate, and that’s a shame. This anime was so close to being my favorite anime of the year, with its realistic characters and intense storyline. In fact, while initial plot points may have people comparing this anime to Tokyo Ghoul, I’d argue it’s closer to Death Note in the plot-twist-full, who’s-really-ahead mind-game that’s being played. And at the very least, if you can’t get over the frame rate, pick up the manga. This story is not one to be ignored.
Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
If you were to look at this anime as a mystery, it would be a failure. Even I was able to figure out the culprit before it was revealed, and I’m not all that good at solving mysteries. Though, if you were to look at it from a thriller angle, it’s so much better. While not necessarily mysterious, this anime has a lot of tension-filled moments that keep you on the edge of your seat.
Boku no Hero Academia
Bungou Stray Dogs almost took this slot, but when I thought about it, Boku no Hero Academia is just… better. It has better, more interesting characters and powers, and most of all, does what shounen is supposed to better – that is, get you excited and hype. There’s so much energy in watching this show, both from a comedic and from an action standpoint, which makes it an absolute blast to watch.
Overall, I’d say 2016 has been a solid, if not amazing, year for anime, so here’s hoping that 2017 gets even better. Looking at the Winter chart, it doesn’t seem too likely, but… we can still hope.