Posted in 2016, Fall 2016, Retrospective, Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Winter 2016, tagged Amanchu!, Boku dake ga Inai Machi, Boku no Hero Academia, ERASED, Flip Flappers, Hibike! Euphonium, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Kiznaiver, My Hero Academia, Orange, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Yuri!!! on Ice on December 31, 2016|
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Hahahahaha, 2016, oh wow. It sure has been a year! While it’s been crappy to exist in, it’s been pretty alright for escapist media! And from my perspective, there’s been a lot of good anime – enough that cutting down to 10 was actually difficult.
As always, I’m counting ‘2016 anime’ as series that ended in a 2016 season and films that I first had the opportunity to watch in 2016. So if it started in the autumn season of 2015 but finished at the end of the winter 2016 season, that would count; if it started in the autumn season of 2016 but won’t finish until the end of the 2017 winter season, it won’t. For split cours, I just go with my gut. In short, unless I’ve been able to put a score on it I won’t be considering it – prematurely enshrining how great something is when it isn’t even half over is a bad idea!
So with that out of the way, onto my top 10 anime of 2016! Ah, but first, a few series that didn’t quite make the cut…
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[Significant spoilers for ERASED/Boku Dake ga Inai Machi ahead]
For all the criticisms one could level at Boku dake ga Inai Machi (aka ERASED) you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t impressed by the Kayo arc. I found it transformative, that it accomplished something that few could ever reach. The heart-wrenching tragedy, the constant despair, and the omnipresent, oppressive, tension that permeated every episode from start to finish evoked by the depiction of Kayo’s abuse in tandem with her seemingly inevitable murder made for uncomfortable, rewarding and powerful fiction in a way I had never seen. That arc alone carried the entire show for me, completely and utterly overshadowing the mediocre crime thriller and pretty bad framing narrative. Had the entire show just been about Satoru trying to use his knowledge from the future to save Kayo from death and the abuse he uncovers, it would have likely gone down as one of the all-time greats.
I could probably pick many moments from this show for many different reasons, but there’s only one I really want to highlight.
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Satoru Fujinuma’s life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. At 29 he’s delivering pizzas while failing to make it as a mangaka and living alone with a social life that extends as far as polite chatter with his coworkers. However, he has a special (if inconvenient) secret: on occasion, he’ll experience what he calls “revival”. It causes him to reawaken few minutes back in time, just before someone’s about to die, giving him a chance to save their life.
When Satoru was a child, three children were kidnapped and murdered in his town – a classmate, a child from a neighbouring school, and one of his friends. An older friend of his – Jun Shirtatori – was indicted and convicted, despite Satoru’s insistence that he was innocent. Satoru and his mother – visiting him for a few days, much to his annoyance – end up talking about it after a news broadcast about a missing child. She, a journalist, reflects on it after seeing someone suspicious out shopping, thinking back on the evidence, circumstances and suspicions from back then.
That night, she’s murdered before Satoru gets home from work, before she can tell him who the real killer must have been.
Satoru experiences another revival after finding her body – but this time he reawakens in 1988. A few weeks before Kayo Hinazuki went missing. He has a chance to save her, the others, and his mother.
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