Reflections on Anime in 2016 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion)


It’s the first day of the year so let’s look back at the year that was. I know that at the end of Summer I did my first reflection post looking back at the anime I’d watched and  I purposefully left D Gray Man and Sailor Moon Crystal 3 off the lists because nostalgia was strong with those two. But now we are at the end of the year and I’m not playing nice anymore. I’m giving my lists of top 10 best and worst for 2016 and finally the results from the reader’s poll.

My rules:

  • I need to have watched the whole series (or as much as has aired in 2016 – I know some of these are continuing on).
  • My judgement is entirely based on the entertainment I got out of watching the anime.
  • Feel free to suggest your own top 10 best or worst in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Yuri on Ice
  2. D Gray Man Hallow
  3. Natsume Yuujinchou
  4. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  5. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  6. March Comes in Like a Lion
  7. My Hero Academia
  8. Alderamin on the Sky
  9. Erased
  10. Sailor Moon Crystal 3

Yeah, I can’t believe it either but Yuri on Ice actually edged out D Gray Man Hallow on anime I enjoyed watching. Neither anime is perfect (and I’ll happily admit to the flaws in both) but when it came to pure enjoyment I couldn’t beat either of these and in terms of the anime I’ll rewatch the most from this year, these 2 are the top picks. So why Yuri over D Gray Man? D Gray Man Hallow always had the advantage of nostalgia, but if I take that away, while I would have still enjoyed Hallow (assuming it made sense) it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as the viewing experience for Yuri. In terms of the anime I sat waiting to the minute for the episode release, Yuri on Ice definitely won out.

However, for everything you enjoy there is a show that you watch and wonder why. Once again, I know there are worse anime out there, but these are the anime I watched all the way through and really wonder why.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Nazotokine
  8. Norn 9
  9. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  10. Bloodivores

What was pleasantly surprising was how few of the Autumn season found their way onto this list. Mostly the shows I watched in Autumn were more boring than terrible (though I did avoid a few shows that I knew were going to end up in this category so they didn’t count on the having watched them criteria).


The Reader’s Poll

I was surprised by some of the results and not surprised by others. Probably the biggest issue is there were only 54 votes total so from a data point of view this probably isn’t the most valid survey. Anyway…

  1. Yuri on Ice (7 votes)
  2. Assassination Classroom 2 (6 votes)
  3. Mob Psycho 100 (6 votes)
  4. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (5 votes)
  5. Bungo Stray Dogs (3 votes)
  6. Erased (3 votes)
  7. March Comes in Like a Lion (3 votes)
  8. Kiss Him Not Me (3 votes)
  9. Flip Flappers (3 votes)
  10. Grimgar of Fantasy of Ash (3 votes)

With that I say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017 for a whole new year of watching anime.

By the way, over the next 4 weeks my Tuesday’s Top 5 post is going to do a recap of 2016. Top 5 Female Characters of 2016 is up first, followed by Top 5 Male Characters of 2016, Top 5 Visually Interesting Anime of 2016 and finally Top 5 Opening Themes of 2016. Then I will move on to something different but I felt January was a great time to recap the previous year.

Over to you: Which anime was your favourite or most hated from 2016?

41 thoughts on “Reflections on Anime in 2016 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion)

  1. N have to say my favourite anime from 2016 was Re: Zero, it’s just one of those shows where the characters are great, the plot was great and it deserves all the hype from fans. I just loved it so much!

    Great blog btw

  2. Gosh, 😂 I remember watching Dimension W on Adult Swim and it was not great at all! The plot was very confusing, the characters were unenjoyable–everything about the anime was terrible.

    1. The opening wasn’t too bad (though if that’s the best compliment I can give it then yeah, the anime was terrible and deserved its spot on this list).

  3. Grimgar ended up being my favorite, but it was purely for personal reasons. It wasn’t any sort of epic material or anything like that. As a fantasy junky, they just really presented something I enjoyed a great deal.

    1. Grimgar is definitely a series I really enjoyed. It isn’t quite as memorable as some of the others and I don’t know how much rewatch value it has without a continuation at this point, but I really loved it as a fantasy and as a character story. Thanks for your comment.

  4. My most favorite is Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu- I loved the gripping story and the way it effortlessly bridged the cultural gap on its commentary on this ancient japanese art form (rakugo) and latched onto my attention. As for the worst, I never go out of my way to go through absolute garbage, but if I had to pick two it would be Hitori no Shitter (excuse the bad pun; I never got through the second episode) and Lost Village (which was hilariously entertaining).

  5. I have been watching a lot of old anime, but the 2 new and current anime that I enjoyed the most were One Punch Man and Attack on Titan. I’ve been patiently waiting for their next seasons. I’ve also enjoyed watching the culmination of Naruto: Shippuden. I’ll look at some the anime on your best list as well as those who have commented. Its always good to get new suggestions.

  6. Oh man. This post just reminded me I need to get going on making an end of year anime round up, thanks for that. Also great list, you have incredible taste. Your blog is definatley one of my favorites, so I hope you keep up the good work in the years to come.

  7. Very enlightening picks. I enjoyed all the ones from your best list (the ones I saw anyway) and haven’t seen a single episode of anything from your worst list. Guess I’m not missing out!

    I would need a lot more time on my hands to stick with shows that don’t capture my attention, so I don’t know if I would even be able to make a worst list D:

  8. I more or less expected most of these picks going by your posts throughout the year and I have to say these are some great ones (both best and worst).

    Also very glad to see that Tanaka-Kun is Always Listless ranked so high in the community poll. I didn’t realise it had so many fans other than myself, so that was a nice surprise.

    My picks would probably be as follows:

    1. Tanaka-Kun is Always Listless: Naturally this would be my pick. It’s the face of my blog and it resonated with me like no other show really has in terms of being relatable. Plus the humour was great and the cast were all super memorable. It’s the only series this year which managed to get a spot in my all time Top 9 Anime, so it was no contest really.
    2. Lostorage Incited WIXOSS: The only reason it never topped Tanaka was because it decided to play the second season route again when I felt there was little need to. Plus it was inferior to the original series. But it was a fantastic character study and it handled its protagonists excellently and was definitely the series with the most emotional weight behind it for me.
    3. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: I haven’t finished this one yet, but it continues the trend of Jojo being totally insane and awesome and as a Manga Reader I can safely say it’s a great narrative all the way through with a ton of great ideas and solid character writing.
    4. Kiznaiver: Ridiculously parallels my old group of school friends and the emotional drama we all went through growing up together. It captured the juvenile attitude that we all had towards things like “love” and “jealousy” and that’s something I really appreciated. And the protagonist needing someone he “loves” to help him reconnect himself to his empathy was practically parallel to my experience I had meeting my girlfriend. It was weird but really made me enjoy the show more than I would have otherwise.
    5. Bungo Stray Dogs: It was a very solid Shounen action series with a ton of great ideas, very memorable characters with solid development, some really good emotional stakes (flashback arc especially) and all with some awesome literary references that I really enjoyed as a bookworm. The dark humour felt a little misplaced here and there, but it was still very solid overall and I had a great time with it.

    1. Bloodivores: While not being necessarily “the worst” in terms of its actual quality, it always felt like the show was trying to be something but it just kept failing to deliver and always fell flat by just being so darn boring. And the production values were just ugly. The show felt soulless and dry and put me to sleep.
    2. Big Order: It was probably the worst written thing this year for me and what was even worse was that it had some amazing ideas, but never utilised them properly. It also tried way too hard to be edgy with its weird sexual imagery and some really uncomfortable scenes… Bunny ear pregnancy…? At least it was entertaining in a laugh out loud kind of way though.
    3. Taboo Tattoo: Seemed promising at first and just kept getting worse and worse as it went on. It had some amazingly directed action scenes, but that wasn’t enough to save its complete lack of inspiration in the script and characters and even those got worse over time.
    4. Rewrite: It was messy and it just wound up making no sense at all. I couldn’t tell you much else about the show because I barely remember it already.
    5. Erased: This show just kind of put together everything I dislike about A-1 Pictures as a studio together into one show with a fairly silly time travel concept and a mystery I figured out very early into the show. I was very disappointed with it, which is a shame, because it seemed like it’d be right up my alley.

    Some special shout-outs would also go to Yuri!!! On Ice and Re:Zero for breaking all of my expectations and being very great shows.

    Again, some great picks!

    Apologies for the lengthy comment 😛

    1. Thanks for the comment. I really enjoyed Lostorage as well but it definitely had a few issues and I still don’t know why it needed a sequel.

  9. I still have yet to begin Yuri On Ice which is surprising since ice skating is the one sport I enjoy watching but seeing how insanely popular it is I will DEFINITELY give it a shot. It seems enjoyable. And I agree that Divine Gate should should be under the worst. It was was a mess of a show but yet I finished it to see if it would get better.

    1. Divine Gate just kept making me believe that it was going to go somewhere. I guess technically it did given the story wrapped up but it just never really figured out what it was trying to be. Really disappointing.

      1. That’s how I felt too. I kept watching and waiting for things to just tie together and make sense but it never quite happened. It’s a shame. It could’ve been interesting and I loved the art style

  10. I watched about 15 anime shows I’d never seen before in 2016; all great.But my top (and new) favorites were Yuri on Ice (also listening to the opening song on repeat), Snow White with the Red Hair (which I’m currently re-watching), Yona of the Dawn, and Magi.

  11. My favorites were Haikyu!! S3 and Natsume Yuujinchou Go (it was so good to enter the world of Natsume again after waiting years for a new season). Worst: Lost Village. Somehow I managed to watch until the end. I also drooped some series like Nijiiro Days (lost interest in it) and Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (I felt like sleeping when I watched it).

    1. It was really good to revisit Natsume. The Lost Village was pretty bad but it still had some amusement to it which is why it wasn’t my worst for the year.

  12. Great overview of the year, and it only goes to show that I still haveva lot to watch lol 😂 As for my favorite Animeseries of the past year: I think both Erased and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress are the winners for me. Two totally different shows, but both very entertaining in their own way. A close Runner up for me was Orange, a series that for a lot of different reasons I am still not able to let go. Going to the worst anime…Hmm, that is actually quite difficult. Looking over my list I would have to say Joker Game was the Animeseries that disappointed me the most. It had great potential, started off very good, but at the end really did not live up to it’s promise unfortunately 🙁

    1. I really disliked Joker Game as well by the end but I realise a lot of my disappointment was more to do with my own expectations rather than the show itself. Comparing it to Big Order or Taboo Tattoo, Joker Game actually looks pretty brilliant given it is functional as a story. I really should do a top 5 list of biggest disappoinments after I’m finished with all my best of for 2016’s.

  13. 2016 specifically, I’ve watched, like, eight anime from this year, so my opinion isn’t exactly fruitful. But, I’ll give it my best shot.

    Best: Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (My vote in your poll, as well.)
    Had Flip Flappers not had the ending it did, I’d be posting it here instead. I thought Tanaka-kun was a really nice show with a great atmosphere and above-average characters. I went into it thinking the humor would entirely be around Tanaka’s listlessness, but was surprised to see how balanced the humor was. Of course, his listlessness is the primary joke, but I felt it had enough going on around it to make it not feel like a one-man show. The first half of the series is actually really good, with character development and cutesy romantic developments. Unfortunately, the show kind of loses a step as it goes on, relying more on the listlessness jokes rather than embellishing more of the cast. Still a decent watch, regardless.

    Worst: ReLIFE
    Plays out like a fanfiction and offers very little in regard to learning from past mistakes like the premise would imply. The characters are unrealistic, the story is overdramatic, and the clichés are overwhelming. Not exactly horrid, but definitely not something I feel is worth watching (or its high ranking on anime databases).

    I definitely don’t agree with Yuri!!! On Ice and Erased being among the best, but I definitely do agree on Dimension W being among the worst this year. That title barely managed to stay off my Worst Of list. I chuckle just thinking about it. Still, I thought the series had a lot of artistic merit to it. Good lists overall. Here’s to 2017.

    1. Tanaka was definitely charming but just a little too slow for my tastes and I just couldn’t finish it.
      Dimension W should have been lower on my list but unfortunately I sit through a lot of bad anime so it just had so much competition.
      Thanks for checking out the post and your thoughts.

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