This is a difficult year for choosing top 5 because there were a lot of great anime that I want to continue further, or simply ended at such a great point. Most of them were good for different reasons, a few of them the same reasons, but all of them deserved to be on this list. Before anything else, while it’s on a 1-5 scaling, these shows stood out above the rest by leagues, so even number 5 was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. To that end, I’ve only included shows that began airing in 2016 and not shows that had started airing in 2015 and crossed over into 2016. There were already so many good shows this year for Anime that I had to constrict my list to Top 5 with a few honorable mentions of other shows I enjoyed but weren’t quite to scale with the other 5. With that being said, here is my top picks of the year:
A long sought after continuation of the age-old anime that was revered in its time, not for the action sequences or the complexity of the plot, but with delivery of the story. Although for its time, the action sequences were impressive too. Following the manga forward finally was everyone’s dream coming to reality, though a lot of people were being very fussy over the animation styles at times and couldn’t appreciate fully the continuation of their beloved anime.
4. Mob Psycho 100
Another anime from creator ONE, following up last year’s One Punch Man, Mob Psycho is about a young boy with extraordinary psychic powers. His nickname was Mob as a play on words to describe someone that didn’t stand out in a crowd, just part of the mob. When he gets stressed out and he reaches 100% stress he goes out of control and becomes even more incredibly powerful, losing all restraint. However, until he’s stressed out he just tries to be a normal high school boy. He struggles with girls and joins a body fitness club at school to try and be a better person without using his powers.
3. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
It’s nothing new when there is a show about living inside of a video game, but when you never actually know that the people are in a game. It throws some good action sequences in with a close comparison to new players to a game, and then pits them into slice-of-life scenarios when resting back in town. It’s like Sword Art Online but no one knows they’re playing a game, and there’s still a death penalty, and it leads to tragedies. No respawns back at the Inn here.
2. My Hero Academia
That little kid inside of everyone wants to have super powers and go out and save people. Well, either that or they want to be the villain and go out and commit awesome crimes. One way or the other, this show’s reality is something that would satisfy every little kid inside of us. 80% of the population for several generations have been born with Quirks, the name chosen to represent special powers within people, and the other 20% born without are Quirkless. It’s unfortunately a sad opening to find out that the main character is a Quirkless but desired more than anyone to be able to save people for his whole life. All Might is the symbol of peace, and sets out to help train him. It marks this spot on my list simply because of how much of a feel-good anime this was. Every episode was uplifting for the spirit.
1. Re:Zero Starting Life in Another World
The big one of the year. Nearly everyone that watched it was addicted to finding the next episode. The studio was not afraid to start Subaru off with a nearly uncompromisingly positive attitude, and then have him suffer some of the worst tragedies over and over. Everyone had a lot of time to admire his attitude until he finally had a fall for the worst. The most identifiable character with the best character development in a series I’ve seen for many years. The world was large and interesting, with something new popping up each episode. If they do continue the series into another season, they’ll have a tough act to follow their first season.
Honourable Mentions for the list:
Few of my favorite shows are a murder mystery type of genre, but this one did involve time travel. I found it to be predictable but it still delivered the story in suspenseful manner. The main character occasionally is forced to rewind time briefly to prevent something potentially disastrous. The catch is that he gets a rewind that takes it back to his childhood to prevent murders from his childhood that culminated in his mother’s death.
Alderamin on the Sky
A typical architype of show. The main character is incredibly knowledgeable and well-versed with military strategy. He gets drafted into war as a soldier and quickly proves his superiority. The only catch of this show is that he didn’t want to be there to begin with. He may have the knowledge to be the best tactician but he never intended to join the military and become a soldier. About the only other reason I took an interest was that it’s set in a fantasy world, but I enjoy the chemistry the characters share and the world they live in seems very interesting. Ideally they leave the anime after dropping a huge bomb at the end, and I want the studio to see it through to the end.
Myriad Colours Phantom World
A bright and colourful world where a virus spilled out of a lab and infected a large portion of the population. The only large side effect was that it confirmed the existence of phantoms, ghosts and other creatures thought to be a myth in many cultures. It also had the potential to affect the next generation of children to have special abilities to affect phantoms. The biggest draw for the show was really introducing myths and legends, with a variety of special powers for each characters that identified who they were.