Have some artwork (that might also work as a wallpaper).

I don’t remember the last time I wrote a post that had a decent length. It’s become increasingly difficult for me to write anything. The new year and anime season is also right around the corner, so I figured I should write up something. This post is the result. (And wouldn’t you know, it’s already 2017 by the time this is posted. Oh well, doesn’t matter.)

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I’ve put the anime which aired in 2016 that I completed from start to finish at the time of this writing and my brief thoughts on them. (Even though there’s a few that started earlier and ended in 2016... But it’s my list, so I can do what I want.) It’s not ranked in any form.

After that, I’ve listed some anime that are currently incomplete, but deemed necessary to include. I wanted to include every single anime I watched this year, but I was worried I would burn myself out, and the list was already long enough in the first place. I’ve tried to describe my thoughts on each series as clearly as possible. I have a hard time doing that. Apologies if they seem repetitive, strange, inaccurate, or a combination of all three.

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Before we begin... Let’s get along with each other. Disagree with my opinions if you want, but please be nice about it. It would be much appreciated. Long as you respect my opinions, I will respect yours.

There. Now we’re done. Moving on!


Completed Anime:

91 Days

One of the anime I was most hyped for. Takes place in Prohibition-era United States. Few anime got me into a weekly viewing session. This was one of them. The visuals floundered from time to time, but the excellent suspense, excruciating cliffhangers, solid character drama, and well-executed story kept me wanting more.


Amanchu!

The newest work from the author of Aria. Bless J.C. Staff and their magnificent visuals. One of the most chill anime from this year. The music was one of the biggest factors in this. Slice of Life and diving, guys. It works. Also, them muppet faces are top-tier.


Berserk (2016)

The CG didn’t bother me as much as it did others. But it also had 2D animation in there as well. And it kept alternating between the two. I’d like some consistency, please. Anyways, it’s more Berserk. Blood, death, more death, tragic events, and Guts slicing up baddies with his giant kitchen knife or whatever he’s wielding. Good stuff. Also getting another season. Hopefully the visuals improve.


Big Order

First reaction to Big Order: “Future Diary 2.0?” Not a big coincidence, since they share the same author, but this trash ended up turning into the most glorious and satisfying trainwreck I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Completely OP characters and plot twists pulled straight out of the author’s ass are abundant in this work, and by the very end, the story is essentially held by the thinnest of threads. I know that sounds terrible, but hey, that’s what it is. If you were to ask me if I would watch Big Order again, my answer is a yes. No joke. That’s how entertaining it was.


Bungo Stray Dogs

The first season had some serious issues to fix, such as tonal whiplash and telling a story in a non-cohesive fashion. Wasn’t too great. Season two gave us the much-praised prequel arc, and boy did it work. Overall, the series has excellent action and a solid but shaky story. Unfortunately, it has a serious issue with the animation at times. Characters with no faces does not help, Bones.


Empire of Corpses

Adapted from Project Itoh’s novel of the same name. An anime film I watched in theaters with friends. Went with three IRL friends and had a blast, even though we kept asking each other what in the name of Jesus Crisco was happening during the last half-hour of the film. This is one of the most visually-striking anime films I’ve seen. It’s a zombie apocalypse film with added Sci-Fi shenanigans. I wrote a co-review on Empire of Corpses with fellow AniTAY author Rockmandash12, so if you want to see more thoughts on the film, have a look.


ERASED

This anime... Hoo-boy, did it take quite the nosedive. The first three or four episodes were great, but then had me facepalming around episode five. I was stunned at how blatantly the culprit was pointed out (which made it an amazingly poor mystery series), with their motive for committing the murders being lackluster and, quite frankly, dumb. Also, the child abuse felt like an excuse for melodrama. I know a bunch of you guys loved this, but I couldn’t get behind it.


Flying Witch

I read some of the manga about a year or so beforehand, and I thought it was a delightful, charming, and humorous work. But I also noticed that some of the gags would have been more effective in an anime. Cue anime announcement months later, and my excitement went through the roof. The anime exceeded my high expectations with J.C. Staff’s gorgeous, colorful visuals, the simple addition of motion, plus the most relaxing soundtrack I have heard in any anime, period. The characters are a treat to watch and the comedic timing was spot-on. This is my absolute favorite Slice of Life anime, and it’s going to take a long time for another anime to knock it down. Shan-ran-ran-ran!


Harmony

Went with the same group of people I took along on the Empire of Corpses theatrical screening. I loved the world-building of Harmony just a bit more than Empire of Corpses. In Harmony’s world, medical science has become advanced to the point that people no longer get sick. The biggest issue with the film is it being dialogue-heavy. Lots and lots of talking. If that doesn’t appeal to you, picking up the source novel (also penned by Project Itoh) instead might be a good idea.


Honobono Log

A short series that unfortunately flew under the radar for many people. Full of sweetness and offers a heartwarming peek at the lives of close couples and families. Short and sweet is the literal definition of this anime. Highly recommended. But unfortunately, it happens to be unlicensed.


I’ve Always Liked You

Crunchyroll added this to their catalog one day, so I decided to give it a shot. Not bad. It’s a romance. In high school. It’s an hour-long film based off songs by Honeyworks. (Remember Mekakucity Actors? Think of that, except less convoluted, more lighthearted, and focused on romance. Maybe don’t trust my description on this one.)


Kiznaiver

Trigger does a drama? Wow, how would that work out? But it did, because Mari Okada was on Series Composition. Not perfect by any means, but it was effective to me. I think that’s because I saw a lot of myself in Katsuhira (the protagonist), with him being apathetic about many things. Watch the opening, though. It’s got some eye-popping visuals.


Kizumonogatari Part I: Tekketsu

The first anime film I watched in theaters—not only with a friend, but also just watching one (in theaters) in general. It was bloody, had witty dialogue (as to be expected from the Monogatari series), plus Shaft head-tilts and their usual strange imagery. But the moment the credits finished rolling and I walked out of the theater, the film stuck with me. To be completely honest, it not only became my favorite Monogatari, but I also believed it was the best entry in the entire franchise. This is also a great horror anime. My biggest complaints are the short runtime (only one hour long) and the lack of Kaiki. (I’m only half-kidding about the Kaiki issue.) I wrote a review on the film as well. I don’t think it’s amazing, but I’m proud of the work I did here.


Kizumonogatari Part II: Nekketsu

The second installment in this film trilogy kicks the story into high gear, having everything that made the first film great, while tacking on some action-packed fights with stunning animation that is a feast for the eyes. Shaft brought their A-game, that’s for sure. Viewing Kizumonogatari in theaters has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If you love Monogatari, Kizu is a must-watch. (I’ve wanted to write a review on it, but unfortunately haven’t had the motivation to work on at all.)


Konosuba

I was disappointed when Konosuba only received 10 episodes. Good thing that quickly turned around, as it now has an upcoming season in Winter 2017. I suck at describing humor, but I thought I would get a stomach cramp or some other injury from laughing too hard. This is easily the best isekai anime I’ve watched. Megumin is obviously best girl.


Mob Psycho 100

From the author of One Punch Man comes this series that went out with a bang. Mob Psycho 100 is a sakuga machine. I’m not kidding. Despite having an art style that you think would be expected from a gag manga, it is one of this year’s best animated shows, no two ways about it. The production staff worked some exceptional magic into Mob Psycho. Every fight was a bundle of hype that got me on the edge of my seat, the humor is sound, and the story is rather well-done. Author/artist ONE is on a roll, and I’d love to read whatever he comes up with next.


Planetarian

Planetarian readies a gut punch to the feels from the very beginning. But don’t all feels-y dramas do that, too? Truth be told, I didn’t expect it to be effective, but I was soon proven wrong. This is a Key work—creating tear-inducing dramas is what they do. What a feat they achieved in just five episodes.


Poco’s Udon World

Hey, another feels-y drama! Udon World is my sleeper hit of the Fall 2016 season. Only until AniTAY’s Fall 2016 collab did I watch it. Finished the first episode. Instantly regretted my earlier decision to skip it. Someone described it as “Regrets: The Anime”. Accurate statement, to be sure. Even though the MC isn’t the kid’s father, they obtain a father-son familial bond, and it was absolutely beautiful. It’s got one of the catchiest opening themes, along with an effective ending theme that left me in tears every episode.


ReLIFE

Most prominent for having all its episodes released at once, a la the Netflix method of distribution, without being on Netflix. I’m gonna be lazy and quote my write-up of the series from the collab.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Okay, I can see why people were skeptical about this anime. “Some older guy has his appearance changed into that of a high schooler’s and attends high school all over again? Oh god, it this really a thing?” If you have doubts about that premise, I ask that you lay them to rest right now. Seriously, it’s not as bad as you might think. This anime is about a guy who gets a chance to relive the life he didn’t have in high school, and the people he interacts with.

ReLIFE is all about its characters. From the designs to their mannerisms, each character stands out as their own. And you know what else? They can be pretty relatable—or you can empathize with them, at the very least. Tenshigami wrote an article on how he found himself in ReLIFE, for instance. These characters deal with issues that are understandable, and you get to see some amazing growth from multiple characters in these 13 episodes. The drama feels very genuine, the comedy is spot-on, and the character interactions are fantastic, no matter the mood of the scene. If you want something different from the many anime set in high school, you might want to check out ReLIFE. And if you didn’t know already, Crunchyroll released all 13 episodes in one day, so you can binge-watch the series if you so desire.


Sekko Boys

Four plaster busts—Saint Giorgio, Medici, Hermes, and Mars—are formed into an idol group managed by newbie Miki Ishimoto, a rookie art school graduate. This was indeed a thing. Sure, it’s absurd, but that absurdity works in its favor. Sekko Boys is an anime better experienced than explained. The ending theme is addicting. S-E-K-K-O B-O-Y-S! SEKKO!


She and Her Cat: Everything Flows

Planetarian got the tears flowing in five episodes,” they said. “Let’s shoot for four,” they said. Well, She and Her Cat: Everything Flows only needed one episode out of four to make me cry. Every event in She and Her Cat is viewed from the perspective of the protagonist’s pet cat. You get a peek inside the cat’s mind as he observes his master’s actions and the changes that come into her life. I am most likely (Read: absolutely) not doing this anime any justice by trying to describe it. She and Her Cat was incredibly moving for me because I have a pet—one dog, to be specific. If you have a pet, whether a cat, dog, rabbit, or a different animal, I cannot recommend you watch this series enough. Each episode clocks in around eight minutes—you’ll be able to finish it within an hour.


Shelter

It’s an animated music video that moved the hearts of many—but not mine. However, that doesn’t mean I dislike it—in fact, it’s the complete opposite. The fact that Shelter tells a complete, cohesive, and well-executed story with minimal dialogue in just four minutes is phenomenal to me.


Snow White with the Red Hair (Season 2)

I love this anime from the bottom of my heart. It’s the reason I even got authorship here on AniTAY. Snow White with the Red Hair is... well, an elongated fairy-tale (taking its own spin on the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, if you couldn’t already tell by the series title). The longer length of the story gives the characters more time to interact and conflicts to be expanded upon, while the romance is subtle and not rushed. Dunno about you, but the romance occasionally makes my heart skip a few beats. Somebody please license the manga.


Tales of Berseria Prologue (Tales of Zestiria the X, episodes 5-6)

It spawned my favorite gif, so there’s one reason to have it on the list. Thanks a bunch, Tenshi. It’s beautiful. ;-;

Does this even count? Probably not, but who cares? It’s on the list. I didn’t care for Zestiria much. Nothing impressed me besides ufotable being a boss in the animation department. Well, would you look at that? There’s Berseria material in here! That new Tales game coming out in January? Hell yeah. My hype meter went (and still is) off the charts. We have a kickass female protagonist on a quest for revenge. I can dig that. Bamco, please take my money.


Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

This is an anime... about a guy who strives to be the laziest human alive. Only in anime, folks. But just like Flying Witch, Tanaka-kun turned out to be a hilarious and soothing anime. The comedy is low-key, but manages to work as if it was over-the-top. Maybe that’s just another one of my strange descriptions... However, the characters are a colorful bunch and bounce off each other with ease, and that most likely helps the comedy succeed as well. Let’s be honest, though... Ohta is such a bro and the nicest person ever. Come on, the dude carries his best friend to class so he won’t be late.


Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou

Tonkatsu, DJs, and some kid named Agetarou. The title says it all. The process of making tonkatsu is the last thing anyone would compare to DJ-ing, but that’s what happens here. Tonkatsu DJ hits fast and hard with a barrage of punch-lines. It got me laughing, and I don’t understand how it did.


Under The Dog

This was a Kickstarter project to bring an anime reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell and those other classic Sci-Fi anime a lot of older fans hold near and dear to their hearts. It was okay, to say the least. Can’t deny the awesome visuals, but the story? Wasn’t wowed by it. Would be cool if this received a full TV anime project, though. That way it can be expanded upon and feel more complete.


Currently Incomplete Anime:

The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Those Awaiting a Star

AMB is not only my favorite manga, but also my favorite work of fiction. This is the series I hold dearly in my heart. AMB: Those Awaiting a Star is a three-episode OVA serving as a prequel to the main series. While it wasn’t the TV anime I had hoped for, this OVA series covers material in the manga that was briefly shown but not expanded on. I loved every second of it. The wait for the next episode is a long one to endure (March 2017), but it’ll be completely worth it.


Zaregoto Series

Based on a series of novels by prolific author Nisio Isin, the Zaregoto anime rekindled my appreciation for the Monogatari series and the author himself. Isin is amazing at creating dialogue that flows and quirky characters that aren’t annoying. Zaregoto is, in a nutshell, a spiritual predecessor of the Monogatari series. At the time of this writing, I’ve only watched one episode out of eight total. The Zaregoto anime is an OVA series, releasing each episode in a similar fashion to the aforementioned AMB prequel OVAs. This is another series I believe is worth the wait.


I want to extend a huge thank-you to everyone at AniTAY. Had I not started writing here, I wouldn’t have found such an amazing community of people. Hell, I’m not sure what I’d be doing. Chatting and working on collab projects with you guys is always fun.

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Another huge thank-you goes to the Movie Night admin crew: Gugsy, Krakken, and our newly-promoted Admilkokoro. (Yes, you got a name change, Dil.) It’s been a little over a year since we started this little... I’m not sure what you want to call it. An event? Regardless, Movie Chat shenanigans are always super fun, and I hope we have more awesome Movie Nights in future times to come.

More thanks to the people who attended Movie Night this year. (Even if only once! No worries!) This is much more enjoyable when we have other people in the chat besides us admins. Hopefully we can get more attendees in 2017. Shameless self-promotion! Join the movie chat here: https://discord.gg/33s4kVc

And lastly, thanks to everyone who took the time to read my ramblings here. Let’s hope for more great anime and an awesome 2017!


You’re reading Ani-TAY, the anime-focused portion of Kotaku’s community-run blog, Talk Amongst Yourselves. Ani-TAY is a non-professional blog whose writers love everything anime-related. Click here to check us out.