Top 10 Best Anime That I Watched in 2016 + Top 10 Anime Openings I Heard in 2016
Warning: The following list may contain spoilers of the shows on this list. If you wish not to know some plot details in the stories, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series that are mentioned, please exit the tab, and come join me once you've watched the first few episodes. But than again, if you don't mind spoilers, feel free to stay put.
Also, the pictures in my special posts are chosen randomly. This is probably the creepiest MLP GIF I've ever seen, but it's one of the funniest as well. It does show my reactions to some of these shows, anyways. :P
These animes and openings are my personal favorites out of 2016, and won't be specifically ranked besides #10 in both (the best of the best). Ratings for my best list are mainly 8 or above, but some 7.5's will sneak in there.
With that said:
Oops, did I just admit that out loud?
Regardless, there's been a lot of great anime I've seen in 2016, along with some great opening music. I've learned to appreciate some elements more that make this medium stand out as much as it does for me, and there were, once again, a bundle of series that rose to the top of the pack.
Of course, how can I not forget the characters:
Of course, how can I not forget the characters:
As always, the best lists are more difficult to come up with than the worst list. There's always a good selection of shows/openings that I end up liking, so it's hard to organize them, considering that both aren't organized in order except for the last entry being the best of the best. The 10 in each list made the most impact on me this year in a way that makes them stand out, and as such, I need to acknowledge them.
We're going to (again) start off with the series portion first (since it's the first list), beginning with:
Riddle Story of Devil.
It's pretty fitting to start this list off with a show that I started the year with. Alongside One Punch Man, this was the less talked about and the less positive-reviewed show. But in the end, I managed to get more out of this show than I did with One Punch Man.
The plot was very interesting and never caused me to become bored, I enjoyed the majority of the characters, the animation was pretty good, as was the action, and I found myself becoming very attached to the OST. While the pacing wasn't the best and some characters didn't get as much focus on them as I would have liked, it was a fun thrill ride, and I definitely think most viewers who are looking for a action-packed battle royale (along with some mild yuri) will be caught in this show's grip.
Candy lovers, unite! While some may only see the appeal of Japanese snacks to suck them in, Dagashi Kashi also serves as a pretty entertaining comedy. While I do wish Tou and You appeared more, I still really liked our colorful cast, the story, the animation, and the score. Plus, despite already eating my dessert before watching this, this made me hungry enough to consider going back for more.
Though I didn't really care either way, Season 2 will be coming next year. And while we do have a shift in animation studios, I'm still pretty excited for more candy and a new character.
Snow White with the Red Hair (Season 2).
Ah, it's always good to be in Clarines. And to get a season that managed to improve on some of its story elements despite being equally good? Sounds great if you ask me.
While the animation drops did become more troubling, and the score still doesn't stick with me as much as I want it to (despite it growing on me), all of the things that made this series so good in the first place remained. Great story, great cast, solid animation, nice voice acting. Add in an amazing couple and we have ourselves a winner.
Also, the dub is a godsend. Seriously, give it a chance.
Nanatsu no Taizai (mainly the Seisen no Shirushi OVA's)
Yeah, I know a lot of people don't like those 4 episodes, but I honestly really enjoyed them. And the actual series wasn't too bad either. It's a very good shonen with a fast pace, interesting characters, some really nice animation, and probably some of the best voice acting I've heard. It wasn't perfect, but I still found it entertaining to end the school year and begin the summer watching this series.
And the 4 "in between" episodes are also pretty enjoyable. They managed to wrap up some of those loose ends the series left us with, and even gave the last Sin featured, Merlin, some added focus, which I appreciated. I'm excited to see where this take us early next year when the next season premieres.
Y'all know I'm excited to see this man again:
8/10 for the main series, and an 9/10 for the OVA's (I decided I'm not planning on reviewing them).
Review link for the series: https://dazzlinganime1.blogspot.com/2016/06/nanatsu-no-taizai-review.html
Seraph of the End (leaning a little more towards the first cour, though both were pretty good).
Another incredibly hyped shonen series, and it had a very similar result to the last show on this list. However, this time there was more emotion attached. How did a series play with my feels more then other shows that were better all around?
Regardless, both cours of Seraph of the End were still enjoyable. The story was very engrossing, the main characters are great, complex, and nicely developed (Shinya is Best Boy), the animation is fluid and just very nice in general, and the voice acting is also pretty impressive. Both seasons also do an amazing job of building up their final battles until they come crashing down into a cesspool of mayhem and action. It's incredibly beautiful and terrifying to witness, and I ADORED IT!
Third season when and when will Yu and Mika become canon? In the meantime, I still need to catch up with the manga (my local library still hasn't ordered a new copy of the third volume last time I checked, and it's been a year since I last picked up the series).
8/10 for both cours.
Cour 2 Review: https://dazzlinganime1.blogspot.com/2016/07/seraph-of-end-battle-in-nagoya-review.html
Bungo Stray Dogs (Season 1).
I did promise myself I would use the other key visual, but I like this better, so to everyone else:
JK Back to my thoughts on this show now.
No surprise that a show that reminded me of the first anime that really reconnected me to this whole area of my life would be one I really liked. Though the tonal shifts weren't great and I wasn't the biggest fan of the way Atsushi was written (despite being a precious cinnamon roll), this series was pretty boss. The story was great to follow, the Armed Detective Agency members managed to have bits of development, we had great animation, an awesome score, and my ears were warmed by Yuto Uemura's voice acting. This show just had a lot of entertainment value, and it's something that I love going back to from time to time.
And like everyone else in the fandom, English dub when, FUNimation? We're all waiting.
Nanbaka (Season 1).
As I have mentioned a few times on this blog thus far (without having written a review for it), this is easily one of my favorite anime comedies. Not only is it funny and has pretty dynamic characters, but I do like how the show plays into more serious territories and isn't all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Or, in this show's case, sparkles. Lots and lots of sparkles.
It's brightly animated, has a great OST, and regardless of what you watch language-wise, you're sure to get something out of this series. It's beautiful and everything someone needs.
Score to be revealed eventually.
Yuri on Ice.
It's pretty clear why so many anime viewers around the globe have labeled this as one of their favorite series of 2016. Sure, it did have a few flaws (for me, some of the characters weren't as developed as well as I would have liked, and the ending was built up a little too weakly), but still, it impacted me and pretty much everyone else watching it.
We had awesome ethnic representation, a gay romance that wasn't simply queer bait or an object of fangirl/boy fantasies (though we do have a ton of fanfiction), a great story about redemption and overcoming obstacles, great animation even with a rushed schedule (the DVD and Blu-Ray release is going to look SO good, you guys), and a pretty sweet score. It may be underappreciated in some people's eyes, but it didn't pass by me. After all, before I even started properly watching this, I was checking Tumblr for updates.
Yup, trash confirmed. Thank goodness I have an account up and running there now, so I can flail properly and share all the dank memes.
Score to be revealed eventually.
Sailor Moon Crystal (Season 3).
HNNNNG! This arc of SMC was just so DAMN GOOD. We got massive improvements in story-telling, characters, and animation that it was almost like watching a different adaptation entirely. Much of that has to do with the switch of the Japanese production staff, but I think another part of why this turned out better was because the viewers who stuck with Crystal through its rough patches, because look what we got!
The next arc of this adaptation is going to be made into 2 movies, which is kind of annoying, since I'll have to wait longer for them unless a legal stream pops out of the blue. In the meantime, I'm hoping that they're as good as this chapter, because this was gold and a joy to follow.
Before I announce my
incredibly obvious last pick of the best of 2016, let's take a look back at other shows that put a smile on my face this year, but didn't quite make the list for various reasons.
Ai Tenchi Muyo
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (Cour 2)
One Punch Man
Prince of Stride: Alternative
Qualidea Code's entertainment value
The Morose Mononokean
Haikyuu Seasons 1-3 (primarily Season 2).
This series has given me so much joy. I've babbled on and on about it in my reviews, online, and in real life. It's literally one of my all-time favorite shows because of how it's made an impact on my life, and it actually makes me motivated to maybe see a volleyball game at my school this upcoming year. Just watch me be the crazy person who starts naming all of the positions. XD
This franchise is a blessing to the Earth itself. Please, just drop whatever you're doing and go watch it. I guarantee it'll be a great time.
10/10 for all 3 seasons.
Season 1 review link: https://dazzlinganime1.blogspot.com/2016/09/haikyuu-review.html
Season 2 review link: https://dazzlinganime1.blogspot.com/2016/10/haikyuu-season-2-review.html
Season 3's will come most likely after a re-watch.
All right, time for the segue!
Anime openings are still a treasure to find, and with 2016, we got another round of some sick tunes. These tunes were played on repeat, sung aloud (with terrible butchering), hummed, and played in my head in loops. This year's openings are all from shows I watched, but like always, if I find an opening from a series I haven't seen, and it's an absolute bop, that show will definitely get my attention.
In 2014, my favorite was Highschool DXD's first opening. Then, the following year, we got Gakusen Toshi Asterisk's first cour's banger. Now, it's time to see which show will come out on top in the opening department, and in this list, I'm bringing out the screenshots and GIFs because we all know they're out there
(plus I'm lazy AF and don't have all the time in the world to replace all of those broken video links).
Time to start with:
Soushou Innocence by Maaya Uchida (from Riddle Story of Devil).
Technically, I first heard this opening back in 2014, but I immediately forgot about it once I stopped listening to it. When it came time to watch the series, I re-listened to it and immediately fell in love with it. There's a lot of good going here for this: an awesome groove, an excellent chorus, and Uchida being an effective vocalist. It may be one of her many OP and ED credits (though this is probably the only time where she doesn't actually appear in show), but it's the one that I think really stands out from her other ones.
Plus, it's the only one I've actually heard, so that counts for something. XD
So I started off the anime list with Riddle Story of Devil, and then the opening list with it. How meta of me. Let's see what's up nex-
Hiryou no Kishi by TRUE (from Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle).
Oh, yeah, hi, Guilty Pleasure number 1,000,000. Much like with Sky Wizards Academy, this opening song has a number of flaws in it that are pretty apparent. The production sounds cheap, TRUE's vocals during the chorus under-perform, and all in all, it's a standard type of opening for this kind of show. But goddamn it, is this song not catchy and an absolute bop. While I may not have used it to cleanse bad show wounds, this was one that I came back to from time to time, and it did kind of grow on me. From the epic dubstep inspired intro, to the feeling I get whenever I put this on, it still draws me in even though it's not perfect.
Geez, it always feels like these series get the best openings when they're either not appealing or have been done to the moon or back. Or when, you know, they might actually be good.
Which brings me to my next entry:
The Asterisk War by Shiena Nishizawa (from, you guessed it, The Asterisk War's 2nd cour (or Gakusen Toshi Asterisk/Asterisk as I typically refer to it as).
When I first heard about Nishizawa singing the next Asterisk opening, I was really excited to hear it. Brave New World was an incredibly strong first offering of her vocal range and awesome production, so I was hoping to come into this getting the exact same thing.
And while it didn't come close to the epicness of the first one, this opening still captivates me. It's got some awesome vocals, another great build-up to a smashing chorus, great production, and it's incredibly immersive. Though this season did fall short compared to how the first half went for me, it still is a nice show to watch, and these definitely help.
ROSE HIP-BULLET by GRANRODEO (from Togainu no Chi's anime adaptation).
This is one of two GRANDRODEO openings that managed to stick out for me this year, and the first is from a series I couldn't finish. It's a shame this series didn't work out for me, considering the original game is from the same company that did DRAMAtical Murder, but at least I have this to remember the show by. Kisho Taniyama gives it his all against some amazing instrumentation, which has some awesome guitars that grind all the way into my bones. Not only that, but it does fit the overall bleak and dark nature of this franchise, and indirectly with what came out of the show, for better or for worse.
But hey, at least it's still a good track, and probably one of GRANDRODEO'S most memorable ones. Now if only this series wasn't just eh.
Seven Deadly Sins by MAN WITH A MISSION (from, again, being meta here, Seven Deadly Sins (or Nanatsu no Taizai)).
It was a hard pick between the 3 openings for this series as a whole, because all of them have their own spark, but this one won out in the end. Otherwise known for their opening for Log Horizon, MAN WITH A MISSION has been a name that's been noticed these past few few years, and with this it's clear to see why. The enthusiastic swell of the instruments before it explodes into a powerful chorus, Tokyo Tanaka's powerful vocals that still stand out from the main mix even with how loud it is, the infectious energy that this song brings, and the fact that it suits perfectly with the type of series it's for.
This is a shonen anime with lots of action and grit, so of course this song suits it to a T. I don't think anything else else can be said about this other than well done and-
THE PAIN AND THE PLEASURE ALL COME TOGETHER THERE IS NO REASON WHY!
Belief by May'n (from Taboo Tattoo).
This is another series that didn't turn out the way I wanted to (even though I was warned beforehand this was going to be a bad show, even though I liked it a little more. It had potential), but still had an awesome opening. I've known about May'n ever since I heard her opening for Macross Frontier (to be more specific, Lion) in an Anime's Next Top Model opening, and she really impressed me then. She still impressed me now, first with her song for Blood Lad, and now with this.
Overall, it's clear that she brings out the fire in droves for her songs, as this is spitting with energy. Her delivery fits incredibly well with the groove of this song, which stomps along to its own beat. It's single-handily makes me want to head-bang every single time I play it. Belief is such an awesome song and fills me with so much pride to take on the day. Taboo Tattoo may not have had a lot to be remembered by outside of being a s**t show, but at least it gave us this.
TRASH CANDY by GRANRODEO (from Bungo Stray Dogs's first cour).
See, I told you GRANRODEO would be coming back. This song is another great one from them, setting the darker tones of Bungo Stray Dogs into place and giving the series an edge that it does deliver on. From Taniyama's crazed delivery, to the intro which comes in with bombast and swagger, the pre-chorus which just shreds its heart out, to everything exploding in bountiful colors. It's a great way to start the show, and it gave me something to be excited about when it played at the end of the first episode.
Hell, seeing this being used for the OVA recently was surprising, but it wasn't that big of a deal. While Reason Living was a good opening on its own, this was the one I preferred anyways. And that's the truth.
Deal with by OLDCODEX (from Servamp).
I think it was with this song that I found out who the vocalist was for OLDCODEX. I bet you can imagine my reaction:
Yup, exactly that.
So hearing that Tatsuhisa Suzuki was the vocalist of the duo behind the 2nd ending for Kuroko no Basuke, along with other various songs (such as stuff for Free), I was flailing my hands in the air like I just didn't care. Add to the fact that he was one of the characters in the anime, and I was a mess. So how would the song turn out?
Duh, of course it would be great. Deal with has a different feel compared to most of the opening songs I've listened to. For starters, the opening comes in incredibly dark, with the guitars screeching and blitzing through an electronic mix following Suzuki delivering the chilling "Every time I want a deal (which I literally thought was die until I looked up the lyrics)" with a coarse shout. What follows is a dark and bleary song filled with scratches. It's buzzing with calamity until the chorus starts, and the song brightens up a little bit.
As a a whole, it's pretty awesome and a bopping paradise, which will definitely make you rock along when it plays. I know that it did that for me, all the way until the end.
Well, that ending wasn't the greatest, but at least there was Forever Precious Kuro.
Sono Koe ga Chizu ni Naru by Saori Hayami (from the 2nd season of Snow White with the Red Hair).
Yeah, it's not an opening GIF, but you'll get a kiss from the final episode because OTP and THIS IS MY BLOG AND NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT TO DO!
Hayami proved to be a great vocalist on her last opening from this series (which didn't make the list for 2015, but was close), and she still is one from with. This song just glitters sparkles all over the place and has the simple power of making me feel good from the first note. Add to that with the feeling that I'm listening to Color (a Miku Hatsune song that was latter used for Freezing) and all of those nostalgia feel-good bubbles that come with this series, and BAM! You got me good. You got me so that I-
Nope, Dazz, you are NOT doing a obscure song reference here. Restrain yourself!
Aww, this series is so cute and makes my fanboy heart feel SO pure when the rest of the world feels like complete s**t.
AxxxiS by LiSA (from Qualidea Code).
I figure that the first opening would be a more popular choice (Brave Freak Out), and don't get me wrong, I love that song as well. But AxxxiS stands out to me more because of how it came to be in the series.
So, back when I was browsing around the Qualidea Code website and looking at the singles for the opening and endings, I saw this listed as a b-side and immediately let it swim with the fishes. I didn't really think much about it until Episode 9 rolled around. When I sat down to watch it, there was the split second where I was excited to see a familiar face, that being the Double O (Original Opening).
But then, that second passes, and instead I'm greeted with a white background with scrolling numbers before the camera pans down to a pink tinted Canaria. That's where I immediately mumbled aloud, "New intro," and a smile appeared on my face.
That was how easy this opening took me under its wings.
Aside from some sick artistic direction of the animation (it's a shame I can't find more GIF's of it; it's a beauty), the song is an absolute bop that manages to fit incredibly well with the more apparent tension in the last 4 episodes. The tone is more sour, LiSA sounds more serious in her delivery, and there's one instance in the opening where Canaria fades away when Ichiya tries to reach out his hand to her in a barren landscape. It's powerful and steals your attention right out of the gate.
And the instrumentation is another blessing to this song. It's grungy, works well with the song's tone, and keeps on going until the chorus lets down and it still churns on through. There's an amazing breakdown in the full version of the song that goes all out in terms of its darkness, and...I'm sorry, this is just a goddamn masterpiece. Who would have thought this opening would have gripped me as much as it did? No wonder I experienced whiplash later down the line when I was starting to get into Season 4 of Uta Pri.
AxxxiS is really the perfect representation of what I want in a opening. That song that immediately captivates me and doesn't let me go with some amazing elements. Plus, who can't forget replay value? If you haven't listened to it yet, I'd say give it a chance. You may end up liking it more than you thought you would at first.
And there we have it. What do you all think of these lists? Do you agree with my picks? Disagree? What were some of your other favorite shows and opening songs that I didn't cover?
Also, I'd like to wish you all a Happy Ne-
Wait, it isn't the New Year? It's way past that, in August, at the time of writing this?
All right then.
Regardless, I hope you all have a good rest of your day and many more great ones to come. See you guys soon for more of what I write about here!
But first, let's end this properly. Dance break!