Marty recaps some of the more memorable anime of the year, from figure skating to Colonel Sanders. Read more to see what 2016 was like in Anime…
I found the Anime Season this year to be a little lackluster. Very few shows able to catch my attention, not being able to get passed the first few episodes of some of the more popular ones. I have compiled a list of some of the shows I was able to finish, and will give a short review/overview on them. This isn’t a top 10 or a best/worst list of the year, but I have included some duds and some shows that really made an impact on me, this year included some high points and some very low points.
The Asterix War
The Asterix War is the story of a young man (or.. boy I suppose) who transfers to a new fighting school to find out what happened to his missing sister. He joins up with a grumpy fire wielding princess to battle in a tournament to learn more about his own powers, his sister’s old sword and how it all relates to her disappearance. Accidental fondling ensues for… reasons. This show started in 2015, but the last 12 episodes carried over into 2016. All style, no substance. I became enamored with this show due to it’s flashy visuals and interesting fighting scenes but it quickly turned into another lame harem show based around a tournament. I like shows that incorporate tournaments, but this seemed to last nearly 18 episodes. They alluded to there being more to the story, but it was a lie. I watched this one in it’s entirety for some reason, probably because I am a glutton for punishment. I do not recommend this one. Also the hero is so bland, the rest of the characters look interesting with cool clothes and neat hair styles and he is just a potato with black hair.
The Adventures of Sinbad
This one is part of the Magi series, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. I watched the series as soon as it was uploaded to Netflix and then crushed the other Magi shows on Netflix because I had missed them. It’s a very fun show, colorful characters and the main character is not basic. It’s the tale of a man named Sinbad and how he became the man he was in Magi: Labyrinth of Magic (which I didn’t know of, so the origin story was nice, I’ve since watched them all). Basically, he conquered a tower and found a Djinn to give him a super strong weapon. He then continues to capture dungeons and acquire the blessing of the Djinns while creating his own country and fighting bad guys. So far I have only seen 13 episodes, I think that is all there is right now, so I did not get the full story. None of the Magi anime have a conclusive ending yet, so I feel like there are 2 incomplete series so don’t watch this if you need closure.
I hated this one. I watched all 12 episodes because I hated the show so much. First episode was neat, and could have been interesting. The story is about people who get magic powers from Tattoos and have to fight an evil empress who wants to obtain the strongest tattoo to rule the world. The plot was weak to being with, but it was so bad near the end. I disliked the look of the main character, he looks exactly like the one in Asterix war... basic, boring, bland. He also gets god mode powers and everyone else may just sit around picking their toenails. They tried to go Akame Ga Kill with some characters but it didn’t have any impact because no one cares when boring redshirts die. Also the main female character in this show is trapped in a young girls body, but she’s actual old so it’s ok to have panty shots… gross. Don’t watch, unless you need a reason to fall asleep or you are in too good of a mood and need something to level you out. Also there is a dude in the army named Colonel Sanders. Colonel. SANDERS. Overall the show was not finger lickin’ good.
I watched this because a lot of people were talking about how big of a deal it was that Berserk is back. Did this story arc need to be told? Not really. Was it bad? No. The show started off terrible (in my opinion). A girl runs around with her tits out for 2 episodes and then a horse demon tries to rape her. It was a bleak point in anime for me. I continued to watch it for some unknown reason, and the show did get better, but could it have really gotten any worse? One of the characters was a hooker with a heart of gold, and she was an awesome person who I kept rooting for, a very strong, brave woman (she doesn’t kick ass, but she still protects a lot of people), so it almost made up for the show taking women’s rights back 200 years with the first few episodes. The story was all over the place, not sure what Guts wanted a first but then it turned into him trying to find a mentally ill woman he passed off on some kids and then some egg human monster wanted to end the world. I dunno. The show was good at portraying the darkness of the human spirit and was good at being bleak. I may have to look into the previous entries to see if I can then make sense of everything. It still was better than Taboo Tattoo.
Alderamin on the Sky
In august if you asked me what my favourite anime was for 2016 it would have been Alderamin. It’s a story about an unlikely soldier thrust into a position of power he does not want to be in, and his group of loyal friends. On paper – meh, but the animation is beautiful, very vibrant and it’s actually a smart anime about tactical warfare. Ikta, the protagonist, believes in winning easy battles, no man is to be a hero and never fight someone 1 on 1. He wants to win, and preserve the life of his teammates. It’s nice that the protagonist is the brain and not the brawn of an anime. The brawn is Ikta’s childhood friend Yatori, a red haired warrior who specialized in close range combat. Yatori is a beast with a blade, she is strong, smart and fiercely loyal. She made the anime for me. Ikta was great because he gave us a new spin on the anime protagonist, but Yatori hit it out of the park with he beautiful fighting style and strength of character. The anime is a gem, and I loved every minute of it. If you want an anime that does not feature the stereotypical hero where he swoops in an learns a new power, thus defeating the bad, then watch this one. It is smart, funny and beautiful, their use of colour is a treat.
The Morose Mononokean
This is a silly anime. It’s about a high school boy named Ashiya, who is possessed by a demon who has to convince the Mononokean (named Abeno) to banish the demon to the underworld (like a Japanese priest doing an exorcism). The neat part of this anime is that each demon has a story and the protagonist becomes attached to the demon world and makes connections and impacts the lives of each demon. It’s very touching, cute and whimsical. The chemistry between Ashiya and Abeno is fun, seeing as they are polar opposites. One is a morose, grumpy man who is world weary beyond his years and doesn’t concern himself with others and the other is a worrywart with a huge heart and a need to make a difference in the lives of people he is around. A very endearing show, not a lot of action but something to put on if you need some chill.
Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri!!! on Ice is a gem, stealing my heart and making 2016 a little less depressing. Yuri!!! is about a Japanese figure skater (named Yuri) who is considering retirement after a dismal showing the previous season. He inspires his idol, the Russian sexbomb Viktor to become his coach and hilarity/romance/gaybaiting/sequin outfits ensue. What makes Yuri!!! special is that it isn’t about romance, it’s a show about self acceptance, overcoming anxiety and striving to be the best you can be. The characters and romance is an added bonus. This show is pure happiness, it is so heartfelt and honest and it really impacted me. The fact that there is a (very heavily) implied gay romance (the creator confirmed it) on Japanese TV is very special. Normally I see gay characters as deviants or weirdos, but Yuri!!! presents their relationship as being so uncomplicated, like their love is no big deal. It’s very touching, and a very strong statement considering the way Japan and Russian are when accepting gay people. The animation for a lot of the skating routines is phenomenal, the music is a treat to listen to (I often put it on when I am working at home) and the secondary characters are so full of life. Almost every part of this show is lovingly handcrafted. The anime has some issues, especially when it comes to the ending and pacing, but the fact that something exists and is now a part of my life is truly special. I never thought I needed a figure skating anime, but now that I have experienced the joy found in Yuri!!! I can never go back, and I’m glad that there will be a second season.
This season was not a complete bust for me, there were some shows that I would recommend to friends (and have – mainly Yuri!!! on Ice), and there are some terrible ones that I may get people I dislike to watch. I feel like most years have shows that are hit or miss, but this year I seemed to be able to tolerate less or my ennui seems to be reaching a new level. Oh well, I’ll be doing a quadruple-toe loop into the new year, going to skate around 2016 like it didn’t even happen.