The Best Anime of Summer 2016
It's time to go back to school, and there's no more time for vacation. Summer is at an end! I hope you've had time for anime, between going to the pool or visiting your relatives. Even if you haven't, I have some anime you might want to catch up on.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Arslan is no less heroic in the new season. I love The Heroic Legend of Arslan, but its one problem is that Arslan and his forces are too superior to their enemies. I'm glad that there are some new surprises in the plot to keep the show fresh.
Foodgasms are back! Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma continues its tournament arc, and its as weird and wacky as ever. Where else are you going to get a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure-meets-food reference? Speaking of JoJos...
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
The 4th JoJo's team is back, and crazy stuff continues to happen in a small town. I loved the Jotaro Kujo era, but Josuke and his allies come close to beating them. Shocking, funny, and...bizarre, Diamond is Unbreakable is still appointment television.
I'm glad that I try sports anime out. DAYS is the story of a high school student who isn't a gifted athlete, but he has the heart to persevere. I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories, whether they're sports-related or not. I liked the first episode, but I haven't included this in my rotation of anime.
At first, I was very interested in Servamp. It felt a little fresh, creating a world where humans and vampires have a unique relationship. Then I gradually felt like Servamp was going nowhere. There are times when I watch a show and I realize that the action may have been an afterthought, and the primary genre is something else. Anime News Network only calls it an action show, but My Anime List has josei (young women) as one of its categories. I think Servamp's real purpose is to allow girls to watch a bunch of vampire guys deal with their drama.
I don't know what it is that attracts me about Amanchu! Maybe it's the laid back pace, or the peppy, positive Hikari. Whatever it is, it has led me to catch up to the most recent episode. Amanchu! is not for everyone. I can see people getting tired of Hikari saying "Peu peu peu!" all the time. If you have a bucket list, and you want to check "watched an anime about diving" off it, then you should watch this show regardless.
Sweetness and Lightning
This is my adorable show. There's always one show that is too adorable to overlook. The shows I find adorable are also the shows I tend to never finish. There are exceptions, and Sweetness and Lightning may be one of those exceptions. Sure, there's a cute kid, but this also a rare anime with a widowed father as a lead character. Cute plus mature equals an anime I'm still curious to finish.
Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School
Danganronpa is based on what I'd call a fairly successful video game series. I've never played the games, but I watched the anime based on the first one. Danganronpa was wild and weird, a murder game involving "Super High School Level" students, students who were all incredibly talented in some way. In Danganronpa 3 (no, there is no Danganronpa 2 anime; that's just how weird this show is) introduces us to a new set of students, who will eventually be involved in a murder game. Since Danganronpa 3 is a totally new creation, it's taken a totally different narrative direction. There are more characters, and it takes longer to get into any murder mysteries. That's why I don't enjoy it as much. The new direction is slightly strange to me.
There are anime that feel like they're speaking directly to the viewer. Relife is made for those who feel like their lives didn't turn out the why they wanted it to. If you could take a pill and go back to being a high school student, would you do it? A lot of people's ears perk up when they hear that premise, and that premise is what made me want to see the show. Why this isn't in my top anime is because it is still a high school comedy, even though it has a light science fiction twist to it.
Oh woe is Berserk. Fans of the first Berserk anime have been waiting so long to get an adaptation that would continue the manga's story. Well...you have that adaptation now. I feel sick to my stomach, because I really wanted to declare that Berserk has a new anime, and it's great. The story is great, but the animation is an atrocity, which only improved in the second half of the season. I have my fingers and toes crossed that Berserk relieves an animation budget that helps it improve greatly. I want a Berserk I can recommend people to watch!
Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
Regalia is an even sadder story than Berserk. Regalia has animation quality that Berserk could only wish to have- too bad that Regalia's production was halted only a few episodes in. I haven't read any updates to Regalia's suspension, but I know that no new episodes have been made past episode 4. I liked this magical girls-meets-mecha show, but I guess I'll never see the end of it.
Alderamin in the Sky
I think that the first episode of Alderamin in the Sky is a bit of a misrepresentation of the show. Our hero, Ikta comes off as unlikeable and perverted, but the story is about how this laid back guy will actually become a great leader. I think Alderamin is a good series, but I haven't found myself wanting to watch it as immediately as I do when it comes to The Heroic Legend of Arslan.
Thunderbolt Fantasy is in the runners-up section because it's actually not an anime! This is a puppet show enhanced with visual effects. It's also written by the infamous Gen Urobuchi (Aldnoah.Zero, Fate/Zero), an interesting creator, to be sure. This is a story about the quest to reclaim a powerful sword from an evil ruler. A wandering Samurai happens to save the life of a young woman, which puts him in the middle of this supernatural conflict.
This is an amazing effort. I never would've thought that I would watch a puppet show in 2016.
The Best Anime of Summer 2016
This is a small show, a short series in both duration and length of episodes. I think that Planetarian is worth more than its tiny size. Maybe I'm off on this, but I would qualify Planetarian as hard sci-fi. Planetarian takes place in the future, where androids and robots exist. One such creation is Yumemi Hoshino, an android that works at the planetarium. The planetarium hasn't been visited in decades, until a junker, a scavenger looking for resources, comes in.
Planetarian is a mostly quiet, thoughtful show about the places technology can take humanity, for good or for ill. This is a great anime for those looking for mature titles to watch.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
We go from mature to the opposite. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (SaikiK = psychic: get it?) is a short anime, much like Planetarian, but that's all they have in common. Saiki K. is about all the people who ruin the peaceful existence of an esper named Saiki. They are all either incredibly stupid, liars, or overeager. Can't Saiki live in peace? This type of little comedy, about a cynical character annoyed by everyone around him, is just what I like.
The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi
I'm not a fudanshi (I think I've watched 3 boys love anime in my life), but I still have fun watching The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi. This is one of those shows that speaks directly to the geek, to the otaku- especially those who have specific tastes. It certainly speaks to me.
Would you like to have your heart torn to shreds? Orange takes the premise of time travel and makes it a heart-wrenching drama about regrets and loss. It's also about living, and the connections you make with people along the way. It's so effective at making you feel for these characters, and it has that effect very early on. I was rocked by Orange with its first episode. I have to recommend it, because it's so good, but bring a box of tissues.
What if The Godfather was an anime? Then you would have 91 Days. This is a period drama. There are no supernatural elements. There aren't any cute chibi moments. This could be a real story, and that's why I was caught up in 91 Days. This is a story of revenge, but this is a realistic story, so we're not even sure if our anti-hero will get the revenge he wants. This is an anime original work, so there's no assurance that the protagonist even lives for 91 days. I will be there, every week, to see where we're at when we reach the titular day.
Mob Psycho 100
This is the big daddy of the season, the anime I think everyone should watch. It's not because the creator of One Punch Man created it, but that's a decent excuse to check it out. I think you should check out Mob Psycho 100 because it hits so many different beats, and does so effectively. I expected an action comedy, much like One Punch Man. What I didn't expect were the emotional scenes and moments. If I only had Mob Psycho 100 and One Punch Man to watch for the rest of my life, I would be a happy fellow.
So that's it for the season! If you don't see your favorite show on here, it's not because I overlooked it, it's because it just didn't make the grade. It's going to get colder, and when it does, I'll be watching the anime of the fall. See you then!