Best Of Winter 2016 – Ranking The Shows From This Season

The rankings drastically changed since the Mid Season Report because majority of these shows improved but… there’s Dimesion W and Phantom World which sank down below. Also added are Grimgar and KonoSuba. Let us start!

Apparently, this is a good season but I don’t want to watch too many shows again. I will try to catch at most 10 this Spring even if there are a heck of good titles. I want to focus in my new work and remembering tons of character names are taking its toll in my brain. No Week 12 Overview today because I am afraid I will be taking some time babbling about things in the series in general instead of that episode. I am releasing this in advance since I don’t think the rankings will change that much.

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24. Dimension W – It is amazing to see a show packed some real premise only to crash and burn later. Dimension W presented many ideas but failed to materialize their potential. The last minute addition of the main plot as well as the main antagonist and lack of a convincing lead made my personal worst this season. Mira is fine but Kyouma is just as enjoyable as a brick. Do I have to mention the non-stop gears of this show in changing its genre?

23. Haruchika: Haruta to Chika Seishun Suru – The final episode was actually decent but was not  good enough. Hence, to label this series as another failure from PA Works is totally justifiable. Labelled as mystery, what it did was to cram the contents of the source material until it was reduced to something soulless and devoid of enjoyment. Worse? We never saw these characters develop after their respective episodes.

22. Bubuki Buranki – It suffered the same fate of Dimension W in unfortunately adding the main antagonists in the late stage of its run. However, the hilarity of these characters and the strength of the visuals saved it from the chopping block. Bubuki Buranki was good when it was about Reoko and the kids but turned out bad when American and Russian holders appeared in Japan because the story just says so.

21. Divine Gate – The second half of this series is actually much better than the first but the ending leaves too much to be desired. We did not even get the grasp of the nature of the obscure Divine Gate at all. Adding to injury is the questionable essence of the Council or Loki’s manipulation to Arthur. Other than that, Akane and Midori are actually tolerable as characters so I was able to finish this series aside from the fact that it has a consistently good artwork.

20. Active Raid – This is brainless fun at best and an offensive piece of trash at worst. Thankfully, the second half is much better than the lackluster first and showed at least a bit of the main plot. The story remains stupid though as Logos is just nothing but an organization of trolls with some poor sense of back up plan. It also does not help that episode three might just be the worst episode in any of the show airing this season which I ended up following.

19. Myriad Colors: Phantom World – The absence of a main plot reduced Phantom World to your by the numbers LN series only with good visuals. The once interesting premise of Phantom World ended up being a battle on who in Haruhiko’s harem is the best girl. The main plot actually appeared in the last two episodes but this move is too late to save this series from being bad.

18. God Eater – If we are basing God Eater’s quality on the most recent episodes, it is right after Ajin in this list but let us not forget that the first nine offerings are dud. Thankfully, Lenka and Lindow were given some meat in their characters and Alisa is fascinating as always due to her condition. The visuals sort of improved too, hence, I am ultimately lukewarm to this series. God Eater should be a lesson for the mighty ufotable that its meticulous visual techniques need some rest before doing another grand adaptation.

17. Norn 9 (Norun + Nonet) – This is the definition of a perfectly pleasant series that does not aspire more than it has done. The visuals are technically pretty, Koharu and Kakeru are given some nice development in their romance and the plot is pretty much straightforward. My only quip is its scant episode run that’s why everything in this series sans the main leads are only touched in surface. The plot twist was explained but was not explored in full, hence, the superficiality of the show as a whole. Too bad, the Norn 9 world is actually exciting to live in.

16. Dagashi Kashi – One trick pony is the best description for Dagashi Kashi. Hotaru’s insanity was fun to watch at first but wore off after a few episodes. Saya was good but her childhood friend status practically doomed her to be a side character. Kokonuts-kun only became a real character after 10 episodes. The humor is a hit or miss – well, always a hit for Saya and Tou but mostly a miss for Hotaru’s shenanigans. Lastly, I am not a fan of the recurring ecchi or the drug infused joke of this show.

15. Prince of Stride –  Everything in this series is by the numbers, from the character designs to the excitement you can have in the game of Stride. What made it at least passable is it knows how to play its cards right in terms of getting Yagami full emo (which I am not much of a fan but at least something happened) and the feel good ending. It lacked the gravitas of Haikyuu! or Kuroko’s Basketball though. The characters are not that physically close or developed to be associated with fujoshi hungry market. Wait – there are too many characters in this series!

14. Osomatsu-san – This show is another one trick pony but can be really great when it wanted to. Episodes 18 and 24 are stellar but the rest played the usual formula that made Osomatsu-san the best selling anime series since Evangelion. Not that I hate it though. It’s just that its brand of neurotic comedy is not my thing. I will be frank that I quite do not get it at times.

13. Sekkou Boys – Stupid works as a compliment in this show as its premise defied any form of logic and it is actually funny when you think of its impossibility. However, it could have not worked otherwise to be honest. There are times I felt seven minutes is too long for this series as jokes can be repetitive and the shock value of having statue idols went off after an episode. Nonetheless, Sekkou Boys is no means unfunny because Ishimoto saves the day whenever Rocky Idols failed to make the audience laugh.

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The next shows (12 to 1) are what I am fond of. See the large gap in quality from there.

12. Koyomimonogatari – This short is just as good as Owarimonogatari in terms of quality. I’d even say that Koyomimonogatari is one of the franchise’s more cohesive offering as it revolved around deception and lies these characters meet that change their perceptions over a thing. Sometimes, it’s sinister such in the case of Karen, Tsukihi or Kaiki but can be a complete fluff at times like the cute as heck Mayoi episode. As I said before, this installment lives and dies with the strength of Araragi’s partner in that episode much the fluctuation of the audience’s enjoyment in Koyomimonogatari.

11. Tabi Machi Late Show/Kono Danshi/She and Her Cat – Winter 2016 should be remembered more than just the season which brought Rakugo and Erased because these shorts actually exude quality which are far better than full-length series. These shows ranged from cute (Kono Danshi) to total heart breakers (Tabi Machi and She And Her Cat). The animation quality may differ from series to series but these super shorts punched a solid message on loss, melancholy, moving on and accepting oneself. Darn if I say that this is the only other show that left me bawling aside from Shouwa Rakugo.

10. Rainbow Days – This is how generic high school anime works. Give personality to the characters, splash effective comedy and convincing romance between the leads. As much as I gobble fujoshi series, this is not one of those despite boys are the main characters in Rainbow Days and the effeminate show title. If there is one thing that kept me liking this in full is the format because I want to see more in an episode. This should have been a full-series given the pacing and the presence of OP and EP. So, it is budget saving technique I guess.

9. Assassination Classroom 2 – If there is one thing I learned in this series is it does not do well when it tackles an arc having multiple episodes. This sequel is mostly one story a week presentation with pacing more brisk than the original series – which mostly worked due to slice of life feel. The animation gods heard my prayer and it gave much needed development to our main leads as well as making my OTP come true so I cannot be mad at this adaptation.

8. Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo – Anime shows from 2015 failed to make me laugh that is why I am really glad I was able to experience the wackiness of Konosuba. This year must have been kind to Studio Deen because it was able to produce two shows with certain quality one cannot simply ignore. While it got the short stick in terms of budget, the jokes landed solidly much to my guffaws because of its spot-on parody in a RPG plot. Well, I am not much of a fan of the characters who is not Aqua or Kazuma but they are not detrimental to my enjoyment in this cute but insane show.

7. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – Imagine if Sword Art Online focused on Kirito’s growth as a character rather than his godlike powers or his harem, maybe we will get a relatively good show. Grimgar is more of a drama than adventure as it explored the brokenness of these characters which is far more satisfying than most of SAO’s offerings. The artwork is pretty too but directional choices in this show downgraded this to barely above average. Still images, the lack of convincing background music and dodgy animation are prevalent in Grimgar. Thankfully, it excelled in presenting raw emotions and character interaction.

6. Ajin – I still stand that Ajin is a well-written show but I am growing weary to the leisurely development (not the pace as it is fast right now) it takes past episode 6. I know that world building is important and so with laying out the character’s plans but there is no way it can show the ugly fallout of everyone’s actions in a span of three remaining episodes. I expect a major cliffhanger in the ending or an ERASED route which might leave manga readers unhappy. Wait, where is Kei right now?

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5. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans – One thing I give credit to this show is everyone’s working right now as characters and it is fully aware of the skewed message it is trying to deliver to its audience. The fights in the most recent episodes are not choreographed well but for a good reason – all hell broke loose in this series and Tekkadan was left with no other choice but to face Gljarhorn head on. For the negatives, the pacing is its main enemy and its habit of showing death scenes in a repetitive manner is plain disgusting.

4. Lupin III (2015) – It was fun even if it did not resolve the Da Vinci arc because the ending is just… eh? That did not hurt it as a whole though since Lupin III (2015) is full of episodic offerings so let us just imagine that arc did not exist at all. On the other hand, the artwork is pretty and Lupin III (2015) is really funny and smart for the most of its run. Yeah, I have nothing much to say except that it’s good and you should watch it.

3. Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi – I exhausted my energy defending this series yesterday so let me leave something short but concise. Regardless of what you think about ERASED, it is not a bad show and the staff did a good job of making this a strong stand alone despite serious lapses.

2. Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2 – This series is a  simple testament that you do not need a grand plot to create a very good show. Strong characters will make up for the job. Honestly, I didn’t want this series to have a main plot but it took the risk of having one mid-series with a mixed result. The payoffs are there – Zen and Shirayuki remain as the best couple in this season, Izana approved their relationship and the side characters got their much needed development. It is just that we have to suffer through archetypes that were once not present in Shirayukihime. Thankfully, its usual grace is prevalent throughout so they did not do much damage anyway.

1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Let me imagine some cute animals and people singing happily in this series while the girls of Euphonium play music. Darn, it is one of few shows that focused on showing the thing done (rakugo and its politics) while pulling all the dramatic shtick that hit right through the heart. Shouwa Rakugo is a modern classic and I was glad with the treatment of Studio DEEN over this one. With or without season two, this joins the list of my most favorite shows ever.

CONTENDERS FOR THE YEAR-END RANKING:  Shouwa Rakugo, Akagami Season 2, ERASED and Lupin III (2015)

WHAT I THINK ARE DECENT OUTSIDE THE TOP 12: Osomatsu-san, Sekkou Boys

MUST AVOID: Shows ranked below Norn 9, God Eater might be saved if you can stomach the clunky first half.

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4 thoughts on “Best Of Winter 2016 – Ranking The Shows From This Season

  1. I didn’t mind the first two thirds of God eater; very flat plot lines and characters (barring Alisa) but the scenery was quite outstanding, particularly the technicolored sky, and depending on the final third’s quality I might give it a high C to a low B. I wonder how Ufotable’s Tales of X this summer will do?

    I’m nearly finished the Woman Called Fujiko Mine, but that had the disadvantage of not being quite as episodic as the 2015 version (it got better as it went along, while 2015 was great from the first minute), so while I initially preferred the 2015 iteration without a question, I think I might actually have to give them a draw. Erased seems like this Season’s Terror in Resonance, though the music and visuals are much weaker here despite the characters being about the same. I don’t know if I even want to finish it, given how everything has been spoiled.

    I really want to check out Iron Blooded Orphans, as the first three episodes had some solid Sunrise Mecha battles, but sadly I shelved it. I’m going to finish Rakugo and Shirayuki, no question, and will try to get to Grimgar as soon as I can. Konosuba looks worth checking out, and my watch list is getting nauseatingly large. Lupin III and Rakugo will make a best of the year list, if I make one, and I plan to check out lots of other Lupin entries on Japaneze Netflix while I’m here.

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    1. Man, I guess study eats a lot of your time (that’s a good thing) and I do hope you will be able to finish these shows especially Rakugo and Lupin.

      .. and oh, ERASED was a casualty this season. The hate over that series gets in MAL and other ani-community is getting overwhelming.

      Liked by 1 person

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