The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2016: Part 1 (Honorable Mentions & #7-10)

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!

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Glancing Upstream: Summer 2016 Retrospective and Review

Diving in for one last look at summer’s little treasures.


The Fall season may be well under way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to bid fond farewell to our Summer standouts. After spending two weeks out of town and then writing a whole lotta final thoughts on orange and 91 Days, my schedule’s a mess right now (I haven’t even finished all of the shows on my summer watchlist), so this post will be shorter and more informal than usual so I can get it out before the Fall season overtakes me completely. Thanks in advance for your understanding!

As all that may suggest, Summer’s been pretty hectic on my end thanks to a second move, family events, new writing projects, and the aforementioned two-week trip, so maybe it’s no surprise that I gravitated toward lighter comedies and escapism this season. That said, there are still a trio of shows on this list that’ll punch you right in your feels pouch. Good thing you’ve got those other soothing shows to help ease the sting, eh?

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orange – Episode 13 (Series Finale & Review)

Save the date.


As is tradition, I’ll be spending the first part of this post providing a spoiler-free review of the orange anime series, and then the second half chatting about the (perfect) finale itself. I’ll let you know when I’m moving into spoiler territory so anyone who hasn’t yet seen the show will know when to stop reading.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

orange – Episode 12

Welcome to the Darkest Timeline.


I’m back from holiday, recovering from jet lag, and coming down with (hopefully just) a cold, but I really didn’t want to try rolling two episodes and a season review into this Sunday’s post, so I managed to squeak out some belated commentary during a slow work day. Apologies if it’s not the most polished of pieces.

orange shuffles timelines a bunch this week, giving us the original past timeline from Kakeru’s perspective before shifting us back into our usual original-future and current-past timelines. As you’d expect, the world through Kakeru’s eyes is a heartbreaking one, achingly honest and really hard to watch.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

orange – Episode 11

Things fall apart.


With the relay race over and the gang’s bond tighter than ever, it looks like we’re safe to slip back into relaxed slice-of-life bantering and gradual romances…for all of half an episode, anyway. orange picks up the pace this week to take us from our highest crest straight into our deepest trough. For the first time, it feels like changing the future may not be a given after all.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

orange – Episode 10

Take a load off.

orange 10 (29)

After spinning its wheels and rushing its art last week, I’m relieved to say that orange‘s production schedule and story both seem to be back on track (pun very much intended). The relay race is here at last, and with it the kids find time to directly address their own feelings and one another.

orange isn’t what I’d call a subtle series and, as I’m experiencing it a second time, I’m realizing exactly how laser-focused it is on the importance of community and “sharing the weight” of our troubles with others. There are times when that kind of straightforwardness might irk me, but when it comes to addressing difficult, often-avoided topics like grief and depression–and especially when directing that discussion at a younger audience–a little thematic bludgeoning might be just what the doctor ordered.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!

orange – Episode 9

Alas, poor production schedule…

orange 9 (5)

There’s a version of this episode, somewhere, that’s a perfectly fine bridge episode, unexceptional but competent, hinting at future conflicts, furthering a few character arcs, tossing in some adorable friendship shenanigans and cuteness, and setting us up for the big relay race (how have we still not gotten to that?!) next week. But we didn’t get that version. Instead, we got a distractingly low-quality nightmare of an episode, full of off-model shots, choppy animation, and some truly jarring scene transitions. Simply put, the second half of orange looked awful this week.

Click here for the full post on Anime Evo!