Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime in 2016

Tuesday's Top 5

When I made my judgements about best and worst series I make that judgement based mostly on entertainment, characters and plot. Visuals (whether good or bad) play little part in that judgement. So this week I want to look at the top 5 anime in 2016 that I found visually interesting. As always I’d invite you to add you favourites to the comments below.

How did I narrow down this list? I actually remembered something about the visuals other than character designs. Seriously, I don’t usually pay that much attention to backgrounds and the like because I’m all about story and characters so if I actually remember after watching something that it was beautiful or interesting, that usually means it was noteworthy. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

And then for patrons, I’ve put up a post called Tuesday’s Lesser 5 where I share some of the least visually interesting anime of 2016. I’m still working on providing patrons with extra content and I’ll probably be a bit hit and miss with this until it becomes a routine (I am very open to suggestions from patrons and would be patrons about what content you would like to see). If the post hasn’t come out as scheduled I will fix it – just let me know.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below – massive spoilers for number 5.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Ajin, Mob Psycho 100 (Yes, I hated the look of this but it was interesting), and Erased.

Number 5: Assassination Classroom Season 2

assassination classroom.jpg

Say what you will about this show as a show, you have to admit visually it is very interesting. We have a large cast of characters who each have a distinct look and a main character who by himself is intriguing and then we have the settings which are at times highly detailed and also use a large range of colours nad tones to convey moods. Honestly, the show is a feast for the eyes regardless of how you take to the plot of students trying to kill their teacher.

assassination classroom2.gif

Number 4: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash


I know a lot of people didn’t like the look of this show but I loved it. The water colour look about the scenes that just made everything feel kind of like a children’s story book while this incredibly grim tale was being woven really worked for me and it stood out from the strong colours and character designs we usually come across in this sort of fantasy world. I also liked how they contrasted each of the settings. We had the town, the forest, the ruins and then the caverns and each area had their own look and feel even while the art style was consistent. I also liked that the character designs blended with this environment rather than standing out sharply from it.


Number 3: Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice.png

I know, obvious choice, but this anime swept me away with its animation and presentation from the very first opening. The storyline and characters took longer to win me over but I could have watched this series through just on the looks of it. I’ve never seen characters move like that and I honestly don’t care if they were reusing animation, it was amazing. I also liked that the costumes were all beautifully designed and moved with the skaters, the backgrounds, the way they gave us the feel of being in different countries even though we spent most of our time at skating rinks, and so on. The visuals were extremely well done and this show had instant appeal because of it.

Yuri on Ice 1.gif

Number 2: Flip Flappers

flip flappers.png

It’s probably good this show was so visually interesting given the story really struggled to come through sometimes. That said, regardless of what the characters were doing or whether you had a clue what the plot was about, there was always something appealing to look at on the screen. The rich detail, the symbolism, the abstract design at times, the various art styles, all of it demanded your attention and you kept thinking that you’d missed something and sure enough when reading the blogs of others there was a detail you’d completely missed amongst the many things clamouring for your attention while watching this show. No matter your thoughts on the story, this is a visually appealing anime to watch.

Flip flappers2.gif

Number 1: March Comes in Like a Lion


This one may not be as frantic to fight for every minute of your attention as Flip Flappers but overall the visuals are far more cohesive (and more importantly are more suited to my tastes). The sharp contrasts between light and dark and the simplicity of some scenes compared with the rich detail in others will keep you watching and watching closely. Throw in the contrast between the very ‘realistic’ view of the world against the more ‘cartoonish’ view that is sometimes given and there’s always something to look for. Then again, even the opening of this one is mesmerizing and rich in symbolism so well worth checking out. That and it’s just beautiful.


Those are my picks for top 5 visually interesting anime in 2016. I know three of them came from the end of the year but when I looked back at the other anime I loved, they just didn’t visually stand out. What are your favourites from the year?

Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, please consider becoming a patron.



Karandi James.


25 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime in 2016

  1. I’d add a couple of titles: 1) Luluco Space Patrol. Yep, its style is peculiar but I think this series is worth mentioning; 2) Kuromukuro. The studio PA Works proved that it’s possible to create a nice looking show that’s felt like a traditional 2D anime with a lot of 3D; 3) Drifters. Hirano has his unique style of drawing, doesn’t he? =) And the anime tried (I think successfully) to adapt style of the manga it’s based on.

    1. Luluco definitely is interesting. I wasn’t the biggest fan but this list was for interesting so it probably should have had an honourable mention. I didn’t see Kuromukuro or Drifters which is why I haven’t got either on my list (though from everything I’ve seen on Twitter and the blogs of others, Drifters probably would have got a mention if I’d seen it).
      Thanks for sharing your choices.

  2. Where is Phantom World >_<

    I definitely agree with March. They do so much with the visuals and it's a great style on its own. I really enjoy just looking at the show as much as I do watching it.

  3. Can’t disagree with #1 and #2. Really visually striking shows. As you say, Ansatsu is a bit of an odd choice but I can see where you’re coming from. Personally I might have given the slot to one of your honorable mentions like Mob with its crazy color design and glass-painting or Erased with its letterboxing gimmick. Fun topic and thanks for sharing.

    1. I really did consider Erased but the character designs just weren’t as interesting as some of the other shows. But it did have some interesting visuals throughout the series and particular scenes were truly beautiful. I loved when Satoru took her to see the tree. That scene was amazing to look at.

  4. I think the art and design was one of the big draws for me when it came to Assassination Classroom. I particularly liked the colour palette – the bright and poppy aesthetic was refreshing after a plenitude of other series’ darker aesthetics (nothing against dark aesthetics, just nice to see something bright and colourful for once).

  5. Did you get a chance to watch Mob Psycho 100? I really liked the psychedelic-influenced art style of that show, it was one of the more unique looking shows I’ve seen in a minute and the animation held up its level of quality throughout the run.

    1. Lots of people liked Mob Psycho but for me it was painfully ugly to look at. I dropped it at episode 1, went back at mid-season because of all the rave reviews and watched to ep 4 but it just wasn’t for me and the visuals never grew on me. But I know this one is a crowd favourite for its visuals and it is certainly different which does make it interesting.

  6. One of my favorites was Poco’s Udon World. I loved the detail they put into the scenery, the ocean specifically always looked amazing. Plus it had a softer feel that melded perfectly with the story.

    1. Poco did have a nice feel to it. It kind of reminded me of Natsume in that the visuals worked perfectly for the story but weren’t that striking on their own. Though, you are right that the ocean always looked amazing in Poco.

  7. I think Tales of Zestiria should get a honorable mention. It wasn’t the best thing through and through but some scenes were done really well. Or at least you don’t see that kind of thing very often.

    1. Tales of Zestiria has great landscapes and great characters, my issue with the whole series was that it seldom looked like the two went together and early in the series I really disliked the look of the characters in the scene. It kind of grew on me, but Zestiria was just never going to end up on my list. I do remember a lot of people really liking the visuals of Zestiria though when it came out so I can see other people definitely adding it to their top 5 for the year.

      1. I felt exactly the same – especially at first the blending was very prominent but later on was somehow improved. Still it’s interesting to see studios do some experiments that sometimes really work. On the other hand (pun intended) Hand Shakers also is such an experiment.

    1. As much as I love Yuri and as much as I love that opening, when I stood back and actually looked at the options I’d shortlisted I just couldn’t claim with any sense of honesty that Yuri On Ice was as visually interesting as the other two shows.

    1. A lot of people didn’t like Grimgar (both for appearance and the slow story) but it was one of my quiet favourites from the year. If you watch it, I’d love to know what you think about it.

Share your thoughts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.