Here we are again, at the end of another year, albeit one filled with political and social upheaval and a sad spate of celebrity deaths. But it also brought a tour de force of new anime titles to get stuck into, with more than a few classics in the making. A new year brings the promise of reinvention; a fresh start, and yet it’s also the time for putting the last 12 months in context. So with that, the following list is a love letter to the shows we’ve enjoyed the most in 2016; anime that have made us laugh, cry, scream and cheer (or all of the above).

10

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Slow down. You don’t have to try so hard. Tanaka-kun’s insulation in his aesthetic of listlessness might not seem so smart to begin with, but look closer as the series goes on, and there’s something enlightened to his sleepy-eyed outlook. It’s often in the negative space of this show, the minimalist backgrounds and the humour of a long pause, that it shares what makes it special. It’s meditative while content in raising a smile, and building friendships that subtly grow stronger.

9

Kiznaiver

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Kiznaiver‘s characters are its greatest strength, surprisingly touching forced confessions as part of a social experiment getting us on side almost immediately. The show explores the hubris of weirdness, and how we all shackle ourselves with some sort of self-perceived strangeness. With shards of colour, light and shadow, and even the language of flowers, it shows us the delicate beauty of humanity’s shared pain. Though the plot bowed under the weight of its own focus on character, watching the Kiznaiver grow out of leaning on their own ostracism gripped us until the end.

8

March comes in like a lion

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Drowns in dark water and overbearing electric light, its visual metaphor capturing depression, trauma and anxiety in all its crushing pain and guilt. Almost as if script and small talk take a back seat to moods, expressions and impressions, the most memorable moments are ones of silence, whether welcoming or painful. It’s the feeling of being plunged into Rei’s despair, the warmth of the Kawamoto sisters’ home, that stays with you.

7

Flying Witch

Image result for haven t you heard i m sakamoto

Witch-in-training Makoto’s world is no different from ours, but her ability to uncover its secrets wraps you up in imagining what we’re missing in our everyday. The slice-of-life staples of cooking a quick snack and going to a café take on unique wonder with a flying witch around. Magic beings, enchantments or no, in its own steady pace the show lets us reflect on the little touches of magic in our own lives. Perfect to whisk you away on a Sunday afternoon, when you might be dreading the new week ahead.

6

Amanchu!

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Charming and serene on the surface, Amanchu! nonetheless has a penetrating vein of weakness that’s instantly recognisable to anyone who’s suffered from anxiety. In the springtime of a friendship between Futaba and Pikari, there’s gentle humour and a feeling of being lifted above the stresses of the everyday. But as Futaba learns to lose her fear of water so she can dive in the open ocean, the depths of its lessons on accepting our fears in order to overcome shine through.

5

Mob Psycho 100

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Instead of being another story of the outsider finding acceptance, this show celebrates the strength in remaining the outsider. Mob never quite becomes part of a group, but adolescence is about learning to carve your own path, rather than trying to shove yourself into a space you won’t fit. It’s therefore a more realistic take on the angst involved in this process than many other high school set shows, the scruffy, almost punk animation style a reflection of this choice. It strikes hard with simplicity, straightforward humour, and a theme song with a blank-faced frustration.

4

ERASED

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With what’s easily one of the best opening themes of the year, ERASED sets up its overriding feeling of hopeful nostalgia. It’s powerful wish-fulfilment, calling you back to the changes you’d make in your school years if you could only go back with a wiser mind. In his self-sacrifice for the friend he’d never have had, if not for his ability to travel back in time, Satoru often brought us to tears. The show handles hard issues like child abuse with great sensitivity, through an intriguing lens of presumption versus truth.

3

Re:ZERO

Image result for re zero kara hajimeru isekai seikatsu novel

A bright window into the frustrations and grief regret can bring, Re:ZERO proved its worth beyond being another bland guy in a fantasy world show. Far from it, Subaru is a relatable and loveable idiot, who’s thrown into a surreal and dangerous reality, coping, despairing and loving just as we would. Scattered with witty social commentary and rampant with toe-curling villainy, we will Subaru and his friends through every life-or-death situation, even though our hero has a handy ward against mortality. Props must also go to our favourite demon maid Rem, as a female character who can kick ass and have sexual agency in between her regular bouts of being a sweetheart.

2

Yuri!!! on ICE

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Of all the anime from this year that could have been the next international craze, we’re so glad it was this one. Yuri Katsuki and Viktor Nikiforov’s empowering journey to figure-skating glory is so full of passion and elation that you often wish you could stand in the moment with them. Each routine is so beautifully choreographed and matched to each character’s personality, their stories could almost be told in vignettes on the ice. Yuri’s dances in particular are the apexes of his growth from anxious no-longer-a-child-prodigy, to courageous, open-hearted athlete.

1

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Image result for shouwa genroku rakugo shinjuu season 2

A twin wielder of wonderful storytelling, this anime is a force of the unexpected in the easy way it draws you into the elegant modesty of rakugo. The minimalist performances are not only beautiful in their own right, but act as intricate support for the history of two storytellers, Yakumo and Sukeroku. The nature of their love for one another remains ambiguous, but its strength is palpable and fully involves you in the meaning of the stories they tell, and those they live.


So, those were our favourites. Do you agree with our ranking, or was your top show sadly absent? Let us know in the comments.

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21 Comments on "Top 10 anime of 2016"

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[…] on Little Anime Blog did a top 10 of 2016. Check it out and see if your favourite made the […]

Arria Cross

Great choices, although I would’ve placed Erased higher, I think. And oh my gosh. Yes! Yuri on ICE!!! I’M SO HAPPY! Happy New Year. Cheers!

Cat

YEEEEEAAAA YUURI ON ICE IN THIS LIST, YAAAAAS, it really does deserve the spot on the top 10 anime. It’s my first cause i haven’t seen Genroku yet, but I tend to like passionate and flairy/showy series in general 🔥🔥
Super cute and nice to see Tanaka, haven’t finished it yet but quite liked what i saw from it 👌

Elisabeth O'Neill

Oh, don’t let the fusty facade fool you, Rakugo gets plenty passionate in places 😏 One of those shows where you just know the two lead guys belong together, but it will sadly never be.

Cat

Oooh, does it? First episode was pretty calm and mature ;P
Waah, I hate those type of shows, unrequited love whyyy T_T /sobs at u

Elisabeth O'Neill

It does stay that way most of the time, but it’s kind of calmly, maturely smokin’ 😉 It’s not like anything I’ve watched before or since, it’s just beautiful.

I knowwww, it’s torturous. But then that’s why really, if you’re being honest with yourself, you love it 😏

Cat

Maturely smokin’…sexy…intense… /mind goes down the drain
/coughs
/clears throat
Yes, that’s true. I’m actually not familiar with rakugo itself, so I need to watch more because I’m curious. In a way it reminds me a bit of Glass Mask, because it involves acting, and i freaking looooveeee Glass Mask *_*

That Evil smiley as you say I love it because it hurts…I detect a certain level of sadism pouring from you /squints

Elisabeth O'Neill

Hehe, all that and more 😜 And your sadist senses are quite accurate. But I love the torment just as much, so it goes both ways with me *raises eyebrows*

Cat

Sadomasochist ooooh, at long last I found a brethren! 👀👀👀👀👀✨
/wiggles eyebrows
The torment is sweet, the pain is lushious, yes pls 👀✨

Matthew

I missed all of them but online has told me they were great haha. I would like to see ERASED and Mob Pyscho 100. I heard Yuri on Ice was good but I think I will hold off from seeing it.

ennadune

Thank you for listing out these shows – now I know what to watch!
I haven’t watched many of these shows but I’ll definitely take a look at Re:Zero and Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (loooong name). I wanted to watch Erased but can’t because someone spoilt the story for me -_-.

Elisabeth O'Neill

They’re both amazing in their own unique ways, you’ve got loads to look forward to with those two. Aww, that sucks, I’ve found that the anime fandom is one of the best for not spoiling stuff. Maybe I’ve just been following the right people 😆

madreceiver

Very nice list! March Comes In Like a Lion, Kiznaiver, Erased, Amanchu!, Flying Witch, and Mob Psycho 100 would’ve all made my list as well. Also Orange, I was a sucker for that one.

raistlin0903

Great overview, I haven’t watched all of these shows, but oh boy did I love Erased. It was an absolutely amazing series. I also loved Orange (and I know I am a bit in the minority with series, as I also know a lot of people hated it) 😀

mattdoylemedia

Excellent. Erased, Flying Witch and Amanchu would appear on my list too. Kiznaiver I haven’t watched enough of to judge yet, but it seems good thus far. I haven’t seen the others on here.

Anime_Girls_NYC

Kizaniver took me by surprise. Didn’t think I would like it. But I actually liked that anime. Erased was number 1 for me. Sooo good

weekendotaku

Where is Myriad Colours Phantom World? 😀

These are some solid choices. I unfortunately don’t know much about your number one choice, but I’ll have to check it out sometime if the two of you enjoyed it so much.

Elisabeth O'Neill

Aww, Myriad Colours was great, I just couldn’t possibly have squeezed it into the top 10 with the glut of amazing shows we had this year. People definitely gave that show a bum wrap though, just because it wasn’t what they wanted from KyoAni.

Rakugo is just beautiful, the actual rakugo storytelling performances are all stunning. Really wasn’t expecting to be laughing out loud at it, but yeah, it’s full of surprises.