Think of them as delicious s’mores roasting on this fire of a year!
We can pretty much all agree that 2016 was, er, not the greatest. But there were a few bright spots, at least, and one of them was definitely the anime. Each season had its standout hits and surprise treasures, filled with compelling characters, stylish animation, striking cinematography, and stories that ran the gamut from clever silliness to sincere enthusiasm to gripping tension to wrenching drama. I watched about 30 shows to completion (yeah, that scares me, too) and would recommend almost all of them to someone, depending on what kind of genres they enjoyed.
Problem is, this makes it nigh impossible to pick just 10 series to highlight as The Best Of The Best. How can I bear to ignore this hidden gem or snub that enjoyable blockbuster? The answer, it turns out, is to just straight-up abandon any pretense of critical distance. Or any modicum of Serious Blogger Professionalism whatsoever, really. That’s why this list has a whole slew of Honorable Mentions before even getting to the Top 10, and why the Top 10 is really just “the 10 shows I liked the best.”
It’s also why there is no #6. Instead, my Top 5 will have 6 shows in it. My blog, my rules, suckas!
Gold and silver and bronze and on.
Spring might have been lacking the standout masterpiece and shoujo gem that Winter had (Shouwa Genroku and Snow White, respectively), but it more than made up for it in sheer quantity, offering up a variety of lively, stylish, and just downright fun series. In that respect, this season feels a little like last summer: I’m not sure how many of these shows are gonna make my 2016 Top 10 list, but I enjoyed watching just about all of them.
In other news, I think this is the last time you’ll see my Totally Arbitrary Rankings used in a season retrospective. More and more I’m realizing I don’t love the ranking system–it forces me to list shows one after the other even if I think multiple shows may have all been equally worthwhile for very different reasons. It’s reductive and misleading but, more to the point, not that fun. So enjoy the numbers for today, bid them a fond (or not) farewell, and look forward to a new format from here on out.
For now, though…
Pick a show, any show.
We’ve reached the midway point and Spring shows no sign of slowing down or dropping off. From calming comedies to urban fantasies to action-packed (melo)dramas to whatever-the-hell The Lost Village is supposed to be, there’s a lot of variety and remarkable quality, with most shows building on themselves nicely or, at the very least, maintaining a steady course.
While I wouldn’t say there’s a ton in the way of jaw-dropping creative ambition at this point (aside from Concrete Revolutio anyway), if you’re in the mood for entertainment, Spring 2016 has got you thoroughly covered. Hit the jump to check in with our motley crew of anime titles.
Don’t mind me, I just fell over under the weight of my watch list.
I hemmed and hawed about exactly when I should post this sucker. Due to a combination of already offset premiere dates and delays caused by the Kumamoto Earthquake (a list of ways you can help here, if you’re interested), some of these are into their fourth episode while a couple have only aired two. So consider this more a rule of three-ish review, I s’pose.
The number of shows that made it this far is, uh… not insignificant, with a good mix of comedy and drama (or at least loud glorious trashy action) to offer a little something for everyone. Even the stuff on the bubble is pretty solid, and would have been a lock during last season’s sparser schedule. I’m going to try to be brief here so as not to overload you on word count, but let’s see if I can’t praise some favorites and maybe point you towards your next favorite along the way.
Be careful what you wish for?
On Monday, shortly after watching four lackluster premieres in a row, I shot out a grumpy tweet hoping that the spring season had gotten all the boring anime out of the way in one go. The anime gods heard my prayer, cackled madly, and then proceeded to drop nine shows in my lap, eight of which were, at the very least, pretty good, even if they weren’t all my thing.
Some of the stuff in my “on the fence” pile is there simply because I had to draw a line somewhere or the season was going to crush me under titles. Granted, it could all fall apart pretty quickly, but staring at a potential watch list of 12+ shows for the first time since last summer is–well, daunting, but pretty exciting, too. Maybe this anime thing ain’t so bad after all.