The Best Anime of Fall 2016
It's nearly the end of 2016, and we're nearing the end of another anime season. I feel that anime should end strong towards the end of the year, but it didn't happen this time. This was a strong year for anime, just not ending on a high note. So what's the last season of the year have to offer us?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
The bizarre don't stop, and I'll never stop watching! The battles of Josuke Higashikata and his friends vs a serial murder continues to put me on the edge of my chair. When it's not surprising me with crazy plot points, it cracks me up with weird and outright funny moments.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans
Even more orphans for your viewing pleasure! While the show's focus has shifted a bit onto new Human Debris kids, it still maintains the quality of the first season. I absolutely miss the OP and ED songs from the original season, but Mika and the gang are still here. You aren't ever sure if everyone's going to make it through the conflict, especially with how many losses Tekkadan have taken. I haven't been excited about a Gundam show in more than a decade, and I wonder if another Gundam will be as special to me as this one has been.
Bungo Stray Dogs
Bungo Stray Dogs started its return with a pivot from the tone it had initially, before returning to the present timeline's story. It was unexpected and very welcome to have this flashback arc, which takes it self a lot more seriously than the present timeline's gang. I'm not one of the people who hated the comedic shifts in tone, but I didn't think Stray Dogs had the ability to keep a straight face for so long.
I Finally Watched...
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Worth. The. Wait. I've just started it, but its clear that I will be able to binge this easily. Kabaneri is so beautiful that I want to savor it as much as I can. It's not just "Attack on Titan with Trains." If you have watched Attack on Titan, the influences are clear. If you dig deeper, you'd discover that the animators who worked on Titan got together to create this series. Kabaneri has a different feel than Titan does. This feels smaller, more intimate. Sort of a strike against it is that the kabane are basically zombies, and we've have enough zombie stories, even in anime.
Dragon Ball Super
Dragon Ball Super!!!!!!!!!! Oh glorious day! Dragon Ball Z was not my first anime, but it is the anime that sent my fandom into the stratosphere. Some people like DB GT, and some don't. For both of those groups, it seems that GT is taking a big sideline to the Super story, which seems to ignore and respect the new characters and character developments that GT introduced. This is a MUCH more light-hearted and silly show than both Z and GT. If you saw the Battle of Gods Dragon Ball movie, that's the type of tone you can expect from the Super series. You got DBZ fights, and Akira Toriyama comedy run amok. When Super came to Crunchyroll, that was my Christmas; like baby's first Christmas level of Christmas.
(Gi(a)rlish Number) Girlish Number
This one's for the mean girls. One thing that will attract me to an anime is if the tone or language is contrary to the common fare. Gi(a)rlish Number (What's the a in parenthesis for?) takes place within the anime industry, but its no Shirobako. Yes, you may learn something new about the anime industry, but this is really about the feelings of up-and-coming actors in the seiyuu world. Girlish Number is a lot more negative and slimy than I expected it to be, and that's what you need to stand out amongst working girl type anime.
This is the closest we have ever gotten to a Yotsuba anime, and that makes me incredibly sad. I don't know where Nyanbo came from, because I haven't been able to read every single volume of the manga. I know what Danbo (Cardbo) is, but I don't know anything about Nyanbo, or if it shows up in Yotsuba. It does seem like the kind of thing Yotsuba would come up with, and she is (JOY) seen doodling in the end credits.
Nyanbo is about tiny alien cardboard box robot(?) cats who are stranded on Earth. The plot, as you might guess from the age group this is aimed at, is not complex. Animation that's actually for kids!? WOW< I almost forgot that this stuff could also be made for very yung children. I'm more into drama, fighting, and cleavage, but Nyanbo is enjoyable rom time to time.
Flip Flappers is like art on the walls of your house: you marvel at how nice it looks, but you only take a good look at it occasionally. It seems inspired by weird dreams you have after eating something spicy before bed. There is a story to Flip Flappers, but you don't really have to care; it's more about style and wonder. Flip Flappers is about the two lead characters and their relationship, and not really about anyone or anything else.
Ms. Bernard Said
Books! It's not manga, either! Um, can anyone remember when an anime revolved around the topic of books, and not the ones with pictures in them? The benefit of anime short series is that they get to introduce us to some very left-of-center ideas. Anime characters sitting around talking is not a rare idea, but talking about famous novels feels very rare. Ms, Bernard Said also accomplishes humor within its short run time, which I feel is hard enough to achieve on a 22 minute show.
Kiss Him, Not Me!
Other than anime about books, there is another type of show you don't see a lot of: anime about "ugly" people. Shows try to act like the main character is ugly, or undesirable, but it is not often that characters look counter to what we're told is the standard of beauty. Kiss Him, Not Me has an overweight, nerdy female as its main character. Not for long, because, through anime magic, she not only loses enough weight to become slim, but she also turns out to be very attractive now. She's so attractive that she gains her own high school harem. Too bad she's so into boy's love manga that she wants the guys to be interested in each other, hence the title of the show. Kiss Him wins a nod because I like the premise, but I wasn't laughing until it hurt. I'd like to watch more, but other comedies have hit harder this season.
I don't know. I just don't know. What the hell is this thing? Is it good, it it bad, is it worth a damn? Yes, then no, then yes, then maybe. I have been on a few Science Adventures in my day, and the best to me is Steins;gate. The rest of these visual novel adaptations have ranged from "Who cares?" to "Eh, alright" I scratch my head at how to rank Occultic;Nine, and whether to recommend it or not. I feel like I shouldn't, because it's so fast-talking, mumbo jumbo, and goofy. I watched nearly all of it, and I will finish watching it, and that is more than I can say for shows that I actually respect and wouldn't hesitate to tell others about.
The Best of Fall 2016
When I need some silly comedy, I go straight to WWW.Working!! I have never watched a Working!! anime, but I did watch Servant X Service (created by the same manga author), and I loved that. It's a workplace comedy about a bunch of odd people who, amazingly, have not run the business into the ground. It's an "almost" romantic comedy with babies, ghosts, raccoons, and Saint Valentine. Yes, Saint Valentine is a recurring character.
To Be Hero
Oh boy, someone got let out of the nut house, and they made a superhero anime! This bonkers thing is actually a treat to someone like me, someone who likes outside-the-box ideas, anime, and superheroes. Not that this hero looks like any American or Japanese superhero. The hero in To Be Hero is fat, disgusting, and he fights foes with a slipper. What the hell is this? It's funny. That's what it is. Catchy ending theme, too.
Izetta: The Last Witch
I'm convinced that Japan loves historical fiction anime, especially when they can cram cute girls in significant roles. Most of the time, that results in a moe-rific series that focuses on girls showing off their cleavage, or even more. So I have not been as big a fan of historical anime because of that. Izetta: The Last Witch is a lot different from the "Nobunaga- but a busty girl!" anime. Izetta is very cool, and very cute. Our title character is a mysterious young woman who has the power to turn the tide of war for her princess/friend, and her country. I put it as a runner up because I was mildly put off by the use of Izetta as a sexual object, and because I really have not been inspired to watch much of it.
Yuri!!! on Ice
If its not an anime about a typical sport, I will show some interest. I showed a little interest for All Out, which is the first rugby anime I've ever heard of, but that interest didn't last. Then, here comes Yuri!!! on Ice[no, Japan is not going to stop with the exclamation points], a competitive figure skating anime that has set the fujoshi world on fire! The gay undertones (Overtones? I haven't watched every episode) are spread throughout the show, but the show doesn't need two handsome skaters getting very close to make it worth watching. This is a sports comeback story, and I'm pleased with the whole deal.
March's Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)
Why the long face? March Comes in Like a Lion has such a gloomy cloud over it, that it's very hard to watch, but I would still love to finish watching it. This is technically a sports anime. Specifically, it's a competition anime, about a professional Shogi player. Rei Kiriyama is a teenage who's living alone, but he doesn't seem like he's good at it. Part of the reason might be that he has no family. He has a substitute family who supports him at times, but he still has the world's worst frown. I don't know why, because his friends are really cheerful and funny. If you're the mature sort, and you're open to watching a character study of a sad, sad young man, March Comes in Like a Lion will either make you cry or clinically depress you. It's that effective.
I hope you've had a good 2016. It was bad for a lot of celebrities, and it might be bad for America, but it was pretty good for anime fans. My 2017 wish is for the next year of anime to end as strongly as it begins.