I’ve only seen two or three anime from 2016 besides what’s on this list, so I’m probably not the best one to judge whether this year was good or bad. But I really like most of what I’ve seen! We’ve got lots of variety in content and visual style. There’s at least two bona fide masterpieces and nice selection of cartoony-type shows. Of course, there’s one essential mark of quality that all the best shows share, one trait that inevitably makes or breaks an anime: funny faces.
Here’s the list!
Tatsuya Oishi’s filmmaking style took me some getting used to, but I really enjoyed these movies after I got past that. They’re just collections of nonstop amazing set pieces, one after another. There’s also some outstanding animation, both character and effects/action-wise. The sequence where Araragi meets Kiss-Shot is nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece. Who could forget the intensity of Araragi’s emotions, from growing terror, to panic, to guilt? It’s both unbearable and riveting to watch. These films are SHAFT’s ambitions for the series fully realized.
No surprise here. I really liked One-Punch Man, and this show does one better by supplementing the action sakuga with great characters and creative animation. There’s so much humor and visual excitement packed in here that I couldn’t begin to describe it all. It’s very ambitious, yet it never forgets that entertainment comes first. My favorite part of the show is Reigen, a character who is wise, selfish, heroic, and comical all at once. I could never get tired of watching his hilarious facial expressions and antics.
I never would’ve expected an Osomatsu revival to exist, let alone become a smash hit like it did. Osomatsu-san succeeds in both updating the characters for a modern audience and preserving the wacky visuals and humor of the original. It may seem like an incompatible mix of elements—the show is well aware of this—but it overcomes this by making the sextuplets distinct, sympathetic characters that satirize the “NEET” lifestyle. The animation and designs are lively and true to the old-school style. Sometimes the gags are hit-and-miss, but the hits are very funny, and there’s actually some nice serious moments as well.
Space Patrol Luluco
I’m a sucker for silly cartoon humor, and Hiroyuki Imaishi is the epitome of that. Luluco isn’t particularly mind-blowing or original—it’s pretty much just a retrospective of his past work at Trigger. However, the show is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. It’s cute, crazy, short, and sweet. Plus it’s got plenty of wild animation in the style Imaishi is known for, and that’s all I need. There’s nothing wrong with an animator letting loose and having fun if they can.
To Be Hero
This is a webgen extravaganza. I can’t think of another show that so fully and unapologetically embraces that animation style. The entire series was drawn by just a handful of talented young animators, and the movement is constantly fun and energetic, if rough around the edges at times. What it lacks in polish, it more than makes up for with sheer exuberance. Much of the comedy is crude and over-the-top, which I enjoyed. However, the show also has a surprisingly tender side. The relationship between the main character and his daughter is well-written and endearing. The Chinese version of the show has a different (and superior) ending, which I recommend seeking out.