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  • Following 2015's frankly disappointing year of anime, 2016 was a relief.

  • Full of surprises, experimentation and most importantly progression.

  • This year has been host to some of my now favourite series, for the first time in awhile

  • i'll have a genuinely hard time deciphering what I like more.

  • That's not to say we haven't had our fair share of bad shows, 2016 has been no exception

  • to the storm of poorly produced calamities that everyone loves to hate.

  • Regardless of content it's been an interesting year for us over here in the west, the growing

  • online streaming services mean that almost every airing show has been picked up and subbed

  • by at least someone.

  • No more are the days of shows being forgotten by a lack of subtitles, we're living in

  • a weird time where everything is available in great quality with reliable sub titles.

  • It's also been a great year for anime coverage here on youtube, i've lost count of how

  • many new, innovative anime videos i've seen, offering new perspectives and broadening our

  • appreciation of the medium.

  • I hope it all continues in 2017.

  • But, before we embark on a new year we need to make sense of the current, to understand

  • what 2016 meant to japanese animation, giving us an indicator to what might be on the horizon.

  • Gundam Thunderbolt was a huge treat, a beautiful showcase of intricate animation, telling a

  • story from the Gundam universe with a stylistic twist.

  • It was a jazz inducing mech experience in many senses, these mind blowing actions scenes

  • with hauntingly striking character moments.

  • For a series that only lasted a few episode, it had massive impact.

  • Subtle details and a slow moving story allowed them to build up the world and it's characters

  • to deliver really engaging conclusions.

  • To be honest it was more of a visual experience, the narrative was at points just a baseline

  • for it's outstanding animation.

  • But that on its own created a lot of value.

  • 3-Gatsu is again, more of a visual treat, but less of a flashy exhibition.

  • The visuals have this dark, meditated eeriness to them.

  • Drawn out shots from a distance or unnatural compositions.

  • And this mirrors into the story and its characters, theres always this underlying darkness to

  • everything that isn't directly addressed for a lot of the story.

  • Even the juxtaposition created by the brighter moments still works into the whirlpool of

  • emotions in the series.

  • And the production in general is just brilliant, the slowly animated, detailed facial expressions

  • and the rough backgrounds work so well.

  • It's been one of the more interesting shows of the year.

  • Kuromukoro is one of those shows that really encapsulates the cultural differences in how

  • Japan approaches media.

  • It really represents those feelings of curiosity I had in anime and japanese video games before

  • experiencing them.

  • Kuromukuro has Samurais, princesses, high schools, unnecessarily complicated mech mechanics;

  • it's a whirlwind of Japanese culture.

  • And this whirlwind is exactly why the show works, it's so busy with excitement and

  • twists that you kind of gloss over how complicated and incoherent it actually is.

  • Despite it's complexities, it manages to nail the basics with intriguing characters

  • and and somewhat easy-to-follow underlying narrative.

  • I might not really know what everyone is doing what they're doing but they're doing it

  • with such style it's hard not to be glued to the series.

  • After blasting through KonoSuba in a day, it easily became the most fun and accessible

  • watches i've had all year, with an explosively energetic cast and wild setting, KonoSuba

  • had the rains to basically do whatever it wanted without feeling detached.

  • It created this beautifully simple premise and just bounced ideas off of it, offering

  • a massive range of comical approaches and styles, it uses mini adventures as a base

  • for, basically just having fun.

  • That's not to say the series didn't offer any substance, I think the show's simple

  • appearance disguises some really smart storytelling.

  • I loved how the characters interacted so naturally and how the silly storylines felt so right.

  • The series itself somehow became a fresh take on a painfully overused premise by ignoring

  • conventions and being a bit wild.

  • Unfortunately a lot of KonaSuba becomes a bit of a blur after awhile, its characters

  • and the odd episode being the only things that really stick out, but for it achieve

  • what it did in such a simple and unique way is commendable.

  • As a massive fan of classic mafia movies, 91 Days offered to scratch an itch that animation

  • rarely comes close to.

  • Gangster flicks in anime are not common, i can count the ones i've watched on one hand,

  • and there's a reason for that.

  • The genre relies on stark realism and believability to work, unlike the something like the samurai

  • genre that has sword fights and epic settings, Gangster stories offer very little in terms

  • of flashiness.

  • It's hard to make a business deal or an important family event matter if you're not

  • completely immersed into that world.

  • A realism that can be achieved easily with live action but not so easily with animation.

  • But, 91 Days offered that realism by creating characters and a world that were easy to engage

  • with.

  • I could really see the events of the show actually happening in that city, I could imagine

  • the characters talking in dingy bars and squabbling over family arguments.

  • The events of the show ended up not being as exciting as they could have been but I

  • felt as if i experienced a collection of important and real events in a world, it felt like everything

  • that was happening had weight and knock on effects.

  • It was nice to see a change in tone from a lot of other shows this year.

  • DJ Agetarou is by far the biggest and most welcomed surprise of the year.

  • A show that has the shell of a scarcely produced throwaway short the heart of a fantastic exploration

  • of passion with a subtly evocative visual presence.

  • Using its simple exterior and structure, the show explores with ease the technicalities

  • and meaning of passion, touching on different themes with every episode.

  • Throughout the series our main character discovers and develops an interest in music, exploring

  • not only the medium but hidden emotions he didn't think he had.

  • DJ Agetarou's stark precision in nailing exactly why we love music, or any other hobby

  • is fascinating.

  • There are moments that captured me with unbelievable accuracy, pinpointing perfectly, emotions

  • that dictate my passions for hobbies.

  • All while maintaining a hilarious and not overstated sense of humor, a fun cast of characters

  • and a surprisingly relatable world to take place in.

  • Flying Witch's beautiful simplicity has been really overlooked.

  • It has received a lot of praise for its heartfelt stories and lovable characters but people

  • forget that the series has very little in plot points or action to make this happen.

  • For Flying Witch to create such connections with its viewer while staying extremely simple

  • really impressed me.

  • It used powerful, grounded moments to build up characters, progressing over time to pay

  • off in the very touching final few episodes.

  • It uses a lot of classic Slice of Life techniques to create the story, utilizing memorable locations

  • and moments for future reflection, it's one that I only appreciate more so in hindsight.

  • The village in which it takes place in for example is a setting we've seen a number

  • of times in other anime scenes, but none have been as memorable as Flying Witch's, this

  • and a number of other similar elements are what really brought the series to life.

  • I covered Flip Flappers in detail on my channel and I still feel as if i only scratched the

  • surface of what the show is doing, every detail in the series is packed with discoverables,

  • making it a 'journey > destination' story, a style that's very hard to execute but

  • certainly one Flip Flappers excelled in.

  • My appreciation for the series comes from the depth to which i'm dragged into it,

  • contemplating the smallest of details during a scene to discover subtle information was

  • so entertaining.

  • And the pace at which flip flappers moves on from its episodes is great, quick, focused

  • stories made the story progress before it overstayed its welcome.

  • And the show's vibrant style of storytelling was matched only by the outstanding visual

  • presentation.

  • Containing some of the most mesmerizing animated scenes of the year, exciting world design

  • and character designs that really resonate.

  • The amount of effort and consideration put into even the smallest visual details just

  • blows me away constantly.

  • Tied together with a all inclusive narrative that draws from every corner of literature

  • and media.

  • Flip Flappers ended up as a unbelievably solid product, stretching its reach over a vast

  • plane of themes and styles, making it one of my favourite experiences of the year.

  • Amanchu, unexpectedly aroused high anticipation, with its connections to Aria and it yielding

  • an impressive staff list.

  • As the series approached i realised I had almost unreachable expectations for the series,

  • how could it possibly stand beside one of the most powerful slice of life anime stories?

  • Thankfully Amanchu's anime adaptation delivered in everything it set out to do, leaving very

  • little room for me to give any solid criticism.

  • As an Iyashikei series, Amanchu nailed all the elements needed to create a deeply relaxing

  • slice of life story that also presents emotional depth and strong consideration for its thematic

  • content.

  • Structuring its episodes with compelling scenes of emotional investment, characters and storylines

  • effortlessly connected with me, balanced beautifully with the quieter moments of the series.

  • This seamless dance between emotions and relaxation is what makes Amanchu such a diverse series,

  • spreading it wings across multiple topics and narrative focuses.

  • Not to mention the show's outstanding visual quality, focusing it's detailed animation

  • in very subtle aspects of the world, it really enhanced the emersion and portrayal of emotion.

  • The thought into the movement of things like hair in the wind or the falling of petals,

  • it brought a life to Amanchu that is usually missing from shows that opt for minimal movement.

  • It made the show feel alive.

  • For Amanchu to have such a profound effect on me with a small set of episodes and a very

  • narrow narrative focus is amazing, it's without a doubt one of the best shows of the

  • year.

  • I remember watching Shouwa Genroku for the first time so clearly, every detail about

  • my first viewing is crystal clear because it was such a surprise, this show came out

  • of nowhere.

  • No one was talking about it prior to it airing, allowing it to sweep in and deliver one of

  • the best first episodes to an anime i'd ever experienced.

  • It set the scene for this, utterly breathtaking piece of storytelling without fault.

  • I still don't think i've fully grasped the scale of how spectacular this show was.

  • Looking back and rewatching some episodes I was just flooded with all these emotions,

  • Shouwa Genroku is by far one of the most captivating stories in the medium, told with such simplicity

  • but also with such impact.

  • This straightforward yet dense tale is not only the best show this year but possibly

  • one of the best shows of the decade, or one of my favourite shows ever.

  • It's traditional storytelling at its greatest, a simple tragic love story that unapologetically

  • keeps its feet firmly on the ground, proving that you don't need anything more than the

  • absolute basics to create a masterpiece.

  • This simplicity was mirrored in the visuals of the show too, using very calculated shot

  • compositions and scene layouts to express emotion.