2016 Anime of The Year: Part 1

THE WAIT IS OVER

Our 2016 Anime of the Year Award Show is finally being released! WMC has no excuses why this is coming out so late, only apologies and our assurance that next year’s releases will be far more timely. We hope you’ll still want to take an in-depth look back at the anime of 2016 along with us!

THE FORMAT

Our shows shamelessly rip off follow the Giant Bomb Game of the Year Awards format, which is to say that they are not just presentations of awards but deliberations on which titles should receive them. Throughout the year, we pre-populated several lists of categories with various anime titles that excelled in each particular category. Our job on the podcast is to whittle down these lists-sometimes 30+ items long-to one winner and two runners up per category…that is until we get to our final one! Anime Of The Year will see us produce an ordered list of our top ten anime of the year.  The entire site staff participates in these deliberations and all awards are given by consensus. So, how do we reach that consensus? How do we decide which anime we feel deserve these awards? By spirited debate and/or making under-the-table deals to forge secret alliances, of course!

Now, we don’t expect every title in each of these lists to truly contend for awards. This is where the secondary purpose for this show comes in; we want to tell the story of anime in 2016. There are plenty of series that aren’t going to win any awards but who deserve mention and discussion as notable titles of the year. Throughout these awards, we discuss over 60 anime titles and try to give each its due moment in the sun. Hopefully we talk about your favorite anime during the course of these conversations. Remember, it’s an honor to be nominated!

Finally, note that these are very much our awards. By that we means that the winners, losers, and almost-made-its are completely and totally our own opinions. The awards are meant to be reflective of the site as a whole and not based on sales figures, streaming numbers or any popularity metrics. Impact on fandom and/or the industry matters less here than whether or not the eight members of Wave Motion Cannon feel strongly about an anime.

PART 1

In Part 1, we debate which 2016 anime deserve the prestigious awards for: Best Mecha Design, Best Music and Best New Character.

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Music:

Josie Charlwood “It’s Too Late”

Homemade Kazoku “Shounen Heart”

4 Comments

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  1. I’m really not entirely sure what to think of the ultimate selection of Liszt over Reigen, especially considering I haven’t seen enough of either Classicaloid or Mob Psycho to make the call, especially considering there was a ton of buzz around Reigen by the anime community and almost none for Liszt. So I can only really go by the arguments made on the podcast, and I personally think it was the wrong choice.

    Liszt being a good, even-handed representation of a trans character in anime is good and definitely worth praising. The problem comes in considering her one of the top three characters of the year based almost entirely on the strength of that representation. I guess the big question I have is whether she would’ve even been considered were it not for what she represents. Had Liszt been cisgender, would she have been seriously considered? I can only assume based on what little I’ve seen of Classicaloid that she’s like the other characters in the show, and while they seemed fun, they didn’t strike me as being as complex, fun and over-the-top, or lovable as other characters on the list.

    Like I said, I haven’t seen more than a few episodes of Classicaloid. Maybe Liszt is a fantastic character and would’ve been one of my all-time favorites. But her strengths apart from “she’s good representation” weren’t argued particularly well, and my worry about claiming that a character is among the best simply because they’re good representation is that it encourages thoughtless tokenism over actually well-crafted characters. A trans character not being treated as a joke is a good thing and very much worthy of praise and recognition, but I don’t necessarily think the “best character” category of a group-consensus awards show is the place to push for that. And I was really rubbed the wrong way by the argument that Liszt’s selection would be a good statement on behalf of the site, because like I said, I don’t think “representation is inherently better than good character writing” is a good message to be sending.

    But then again: I haven’t seen more than a few episodes of Classicaloid, know nothing about Liszt outside this podcast, and I could very well be wrong and the argument for her inclusion was just delivered poorly. If that’s the case, great. Disregard everything I just said. And of course, if you’re being represented by Liszt and think she deserves the selection based on that, hey, your criteria are just as valid as mine.

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    • Jimmy can give you a better, fuller response, but I think it’s off base to ask “if you make Liszt cis and everything else were the same, would she make it?” Her being trans is kind of core to the character; it’s not equivalent to something like the color of the shirt she’s wearing. Her gender identity informs so much else about her that to change that would create an entirely different character. A cis Liszt isn’t really Liszt.

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      • A fair comment, and my wording and/or line of questioning was probably off. I guess my real question is just “is Liszt a good character who’s trans, or is Liszt a good character because she’s trans?” I think the former is something that’s fantastic, while the latter is assigning a higher value than would normally be assigned simply because it’s outside of the norm when it should rightly be the norm (if that makes any sense).

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      • Highlighting representation is the way outliers become the norm, though. Apart from being a great character, Liszt breaks ground, as Jimmy puts it, in anime because of her gender identity and (this is key) her relationship to it. It’s not a problem to overcome or a source of angst…it’s her. But, back on point, the way women, POC and LGBTQ+ characters go from being novel to commonplace in fiction is /intentional/ representation. There’s always an in between period, a period lying between their non-representation or misrepresentation and their presence in fiction being the norm. It’s an important time, and this is where we are, so the intentional representation is like, a pretty important aspect of her character…both as a character and in terms of social/cultural impact factor.

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