Kai’s Favorite Anime of 2016

Butt wrestling anime, truly one of the best shows of 2016, if not, an all-time favorite masterpiece.

Butt wrestling anime, truly one of the best shows of 2016, if not, an all-time favorite masterpiece.

Once again, a new year has gone by in the blink of an eye, and it’s time for another list of favorite anime as we looked back on the best shows of last year. While I was thinking of the best anime of 2016, one genre actually surprises me due to a number of great titles. Well, read on.

[HorribleSubs] Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu - 04 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.51_[2016.03.07_11.52.03]

1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

If we are talking about a show the most universally-loved in 2016, you really can’t not mention Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. A compelling historical drama about rakugo — a traditional Japanese entertainment which involves the performer telling a story by acting multiple characters. And just like a performer’s mastery in the art of acting different characters, Rakugo has so many multifaceted themes and ideas interwoven together to become a truly special story. From the show’s very delightful and meticulously-written characters, the dynamics between the two protagonists and also the idea of rakugo being a dying breed of entertainment due to westernization and modernism. As picturesque as they come, the entirety of Rakugo carried itself like a legitimate theatrical performance. While any attempt in storytelling is of course top tier, the show is also good at capturing the small nuances through fastidious framing. On top of making rakugo performances exciting, this also enhances the character drama excellently. All in all, Rakugo is a must-watch.


2. Amanchu

Co-directed by Junichi Satou whom you might remember him for his heavy involvement with shows like Tamayura and Aria, the man is a master at iyashikei. Amanchu is an atmospheric story that relies on it’s beautiful aquatic world to enthrall you, at the same time, it’s also a character-driven story — most notably Futaba Ooki nicknamed “Teko”, the resident protagonist of the story as her discovery of scuba-diving changes her life. The latter in my opinion, is what makes this show exceptional and distinctive beyond an ordinary iyashikei. The healing atmosphere is second to none, but the addition of an organic character-developing story in Teko is the greatest icing on the cake the show could ever hope for — it’s truly a charming journey to see the normally shy and withdrawn Teko grow as a character.

Intermission: Normally not a fan of putting two similar shows in the same list, so here’s a show I think at least deserved some sort of mention — Flying Witch. It’s lively animals is actually one aspect of the show I really like.


3. Hibike! Euphonium 2

If Hibike! Euphonium were to have more sequels, and all of them the same quality, then damn… you might be seeing them a lot in these yearly favorite lists. There’s a reason why season 1 of Hibike still remained one of the most well-liked anime even to this day, and season 2 managed to rekindle the charm of it’s predecessor effortlessly. Jam-packed with character drama, stunning visuals and of course, music, the second season of Hibike! Euphonium is as much a must-watch as the first. Speaking of KyoAni shows, I think this show just barely deserves a mention. No? Alright…


4. Mob Psycho 100

Following One Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 is the second title from ONE to receive an anime adaption, and I would argue it’s his superior work. One Punch Man tried it’s hands in thematic exploration but in retrospect, it’s highlight is truly (and only) the entertaining fights; their dynamic animation makes them a must see. In contrast Mob Psycho has a stronger message to tell, and used the “overpowered but bored protagonist” trope in a more meaningful way. Mob Psycho is the more character-driven of the two, and managed to humanize the characters spectacularly. And when you combine that with One Punch Man’s signature high-octane fights, it’s easy to see why Mob Psycho 100 is such an excellent show, to the point that I’m even willing to add it to this year’s favorite anime, something One Punch Man wasn’t able to accomplish in it’s respective year.


5. Flip Flappers

Ah Flip Flappers, where do I even begin? Started with two contrasting protagonists as they embark on wacky episodic adventures, only for things to start going south as the truth slowly unravels along the course of the story, which then leads to it’s almost perfect conclusion. As a story, Flip Flappers is flawless, but what contributed to that are the countless bizarre hijinks, intriguing characters and an unique presentation. Being hailed as the most “anime” anime, Flip Flappers is a show that is purely entertaining from start to finish. Oh, did I mention it is also gay af?


Honorable Mention(s): Isekai Anime

In this post’s introduction, I mentioned one genre surprised me-isekai. Ever since Sword Art Online became a thing, this genre literally exploded, and 2016 has been a great year for isekai. It’s difficult not to mention shows like Re:Zero, Grimgar and KonoSuba. Despite having some problems, both Re:Zero and Grimgar are good shows in a way that they excelled at treating the genre seriously — the severity of the setting on full display, showing everyone that being trapped in another world is certainly no fun and games. Furthermore, Grimgar looks and sounds amazing, having excellent visuals and a glorious set of soundtracks. It’s slower-paced structure is also more of a merit than a demerit, setting itself apart from it’s peers. On that note though, KonoSuba is seriously it’s own beast. Compared to the other two, KonoSuba is the epitome of meme and trashy comedy; it’s some insanely good trashy comedy though. Last but not least, KonoSuba has the best girl known as Megumin, whom alone can become the sole reason you should watch KonoSuba.

This entry was posted by Kai.

11 thoughts on “Kai’s Favorite Anime of 2016

  1. While I haven’t watch most of the shows on your list, I did enjoy the 2nd season of Hibike Euphonium. It’s surprising to see the girl Kumiko ends up with, but thankfully she didn’t end up with Shuichi, considering that he is useless.

    • I’m still banking on the possibility that my dream of KumiRei becomes a reality. As for Shuichi, I actually read some spoilers in the source material, and let’s just say this shitty ship actually got some development, however slight. Not sure how I feel about it though.

  2. I’d alter your rankings just a tad. I suspect partly because I haven’t watched Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu or Mob Psycho 100. Based on what I did watch I’d put;

    1. Flip Flappers – most original and compelling anime I’ve seen in a long time.
    2. Hibike! Euphonium 2 – Kyoto Animation comes through again.
    3. Flying Witch – out does the original healing anime guy at his own game and this from someone still in love with Aria. Amanchu was excellent, but loses by a nose to FW.
    4. Fune no Amu – too short at 11 episodes, but with real adults doing adult things I enjoyed it immensely, warts and all (speaking particularly of the disconcerting timeskip).
    5. Keijo!!!!!!!! – my guilty pleasure. Still, looked at as a true sports anime it was much better than expected.

    I see a bit of recency bias. However, even after reviewing the entire year the fall 2016 season I think will go down as exceptional.

    • The numbers probably don’t help but my lists mostly aren’t in any consecutive orders or anything. That means for this, I certainly don’t think Flip Flappers any lesser than I think Rakugo, lol.

      I haven’t watch Fune no Amu actually, though it seems interesting.

  3. Euphonium 2 really was something. I find it rare for sequels to carry the ball from their predecessor very well, so for Eupho 2 to make another shot and score big is a slam dunk for the franchise.

    I just made a sports pun with a music anime. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Yeah, somehow KyoAni found a way to make the sequel every bit just as good as the previous season, which is actually quite a tall hurdle to climb, lol

  4. I have avoided Amanchu because Aria was too slow for my tastes. I am however interested in giving Flying Witch a watch.

  5. KEIJO!!!!!!!! is more like MMA with butts and breasts. Still, MMA includes wrestling so close enough. It is definitely one of the greatest ECCHIMANIA series of all time that’s for sure.

    I saw Eupho 2, Flip Flappers and Amanchu and I agree that these are all great shows…besides the obvious reason we both know about.

    Haven’t seen the others but I should check out Mob since it has One-Punch Man vibes.

    • Actually, “butt wrestling” has always been a coined term for casual games where people participating in it try to push one another outside the boundary. The one who got pushed outside lost. This is mostly in Japan, though when I googled, no such thing come out. I swear I’m not pulling this out of my ass though. As proof, here’s a video of an actual butt wrestling game took place in a show – https://streamable.com/0yy4p (Specially cut and uploaded the video myself just for this. My dedication to the art of butt wrestling cannot be challenged)

      Actually, now that I have a second look. The actual term is actually “shiri-zumo” (butt sumo wrestling). Which I guess sounds about right. I would assume they got this casual game inspired from sumo wrestling as both of them have similar rules (pushing people outside of boundaries), just using butts for the former.

      So yeah, this got a little bit too long but for me, Keijo to me is definitely butt wrestling before anything else, as the rules they have pretty much looks like a carbon copy.

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