2016 had a very strong start, but quickly turned into one of the most disappointing anime years I have yet encountered. There were some very strong shows, but most of them were mediocre or bad, especially in the second half of 2016. I don’t have a real set of always returning themes, this year for example there was no real male character design that really stood out.
Best Anime of 2016: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Re:Zero undeniably had its ups and downs with a rather vague head start, but when it finally got up to speed, it was an unforgettable ride. The initial spark for the plot was nothing new, but the visuals were great and what made the show outstanding was the great development of the side characters, which at times was stronger than the main performance.
Best Comedy: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
I remember saying that during its airing Kono Subarashii would probably be the best comedy anime of 2016. And so it did. I laughed a lot during the show, which doesn’t occur a lot whilst I’m watching a comedy anime. The setting might be all too familiar, yet Kono Subarashii knows how to make fun out of multiple genres. You can read my full review here.
Best Action: Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season
The second season of Gate was yet again a total power play. It glorified the power of the Japanese army and went for the easiest form of entertainment, namely violence. The overpowered modern weaponry pulverizing medieval technology. A theme you secretly imagine anyway. Read my full review here.
Best Romance: Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?
Some of you will wonder: how did this show end up in the top 2016 list? Point taken. The story wasn’t that convincing and the visuals weren’t baffling, but what Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? did, was point out a new reality in dating and relationships and throwing it out the taboo sphere; meeting someone online and hooking up. It’s more or less become normal and Netoge pointed out some interesting views on this subject.
Best Mystery: Boku dake ga Inai Machi
I feel like the anime community has unanimously declared Boku dake ga Inai Machi as the mystery anime of 2016. The first few episodes went like a shockwave through the community and left many in suspense to see the story unravel every week. You check my full review here.
Best Slice of Life: New Game
I really liked New Game. It was refreshing and colorful. New Game left High school for what it was and focused on adult working life instead. The show also reveals the painful working culture in Japan.
Best Female Lead: Reina Hibike! Euphonium S2
Reina made the best lasting impressions as a female lead character in 2016. She was kind, honest, hurt and most of all human. Her interactions with Kumiko were honest and her character design timeless.
Best Female Side: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Rem really gave the story meaning and a fulfilling atmosphere. She was compelling, intriguing and well fleshed out. Rem had soul and gave Re:Zero a human touch. There weren’t many characters that could evoke such strong emotions.
Best Male Lead: Kazuma Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
Kazuma Satou was a great storyteller with his internal dialogues and commentaries. Along with Aqua they were a spectacular comedic duo with the right chemistry.
Best Female Character Design: Kiznaiver
Kiznaiver overall wasn’t that flabbergasting, apart from it being produced by Studio Trigger who chose a more conservative route with Kiznaiver. I’m not sure why, but Ruru really struck chord with me. The character design had a grace of innocence combined with adolescence. Read the full review here.
Best Visuals: Hibike! Euphonium S2
You know when Kyoto Animation is at the wheel, it will be a visual masterpiece. Or ufotable, but they didn’t really convince me this time around with Tales of Zestiria. Hibike! Euphonium’s attention to detail was on a whole other level. Where many music anime convert the performance pieces into a slide show, Hibike! Euphonium went all out. Rarely seen. Mind blowing. Read the full review here.
Best Soundtrack: Hibike! Euphonium S2
While I’m not a fan of big band music myself, Hibike! Euphonium S2 managed to create an aura of excellence around itself. It combined strong visuals with an impressive musical performance to match.
Best opening song: Kiznaiver
There wasn’t anything that really stood out, apart from Kiznaiver’s opening song. It was upbeat, uplifting and 100% JPOP. Probably Trigger’s attempt to boost the mainstream sauce over Kiznaiver.
Best ending song: Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
Aimer has a very convincing style with just the right balance. Last year she had the best opening song, namely Brave Shine in Fate/Night UBW and this year she makes the best ending song in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.