Time flies and we’re now in the year of Rooster! Year 2016 had quite a few high quality new anime series. There seemed to be a time travel theme going on last year too. Without further ado, let’s hop into my picks for the top 5 of out the many many anime series last year. As always, do bear in mind that these are my personal picks. 😉


Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

A rare anime series that follows the life of a Rakugo master, perfecting his arts and going through the dramas in life.

This is a series that I’ve reviewed earlier as well. SGRS is different from everything else. It’s realistic and artistic. There’s no crazy animation effects or superpowers. It focuses purely on the Rakugo master’s life and the art. The story is top-notched – it never feels draggy or paced too fast. Although you already know the ending at the beginning, you’d keep watching on. Characters were so well-written – there’s no character that is purely good or bad, everyone had their own intention and reason. Visuals are stunning – especially if you love the Shouwa period. Voice acting is where it shines the most, which is expected since it’s an anime about Rakugo.

Good for: People who would spend time to slowly appreciate the art of Anime
Bad for: People looking for comedy or action.


Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

The anime follows Subaru Natsuki as he’s transported into a different world with only one power – the ability to return from death. But he can’t tell anyone about his powers. Subaru follows Emilia, a half-elf half-human who is aiming to become the next queen, and assists her along the journey.

Re:Zero is cruel yet amazing. Different from most other (magical girls or harem) anime, Subaru doesn’t lead a good life as a hero that is widely admired. He goes through some of the greatest pain, e.g. seeing his loved ones die, in order to reach his goals. But throughout the process, we get to see Subaru grow (both physically and mentally) and how each character react according to the different scenarios. It’s an anime that is highly unpredictable, and strong in its characterisation (since it’s heavily character-driven).

There’s a reason why this is the most popular anime in 2016. It’s because it’s a MUST WATCH!

Good for: People looking for a great fantastical story
Bad for: People who are looking for a light-hearted slice of life or comedy.


ReLIFE

27-year-old Arata Kazaki didn’t had the best adult life he wanted. No stable job. No girlfriend. No money. Until he meets Ryou Yoake, a member of ReLife Research Institute, who offers Arata to return to high-school for one single year, with the help of a mysterious pill.

I find that ReLIFE is the most underrated anime in 2016. But again, it may be because I’m in the same life stage as Arata. There’s so much that I can relate with. What if you had to go back to high school again? Your results would be bad, and your physical abilities too. Teachers could be younger than how old you actually are. Friendships can feel more genuine. And study sessions are torturous yet fun because of your friends. This anime definitely strikes a chord in the nostalgia aspect!

Good for: Those who have started working full-time already. There’s a lot you can relate to.
Bad for: Younger anime fans, honestly with no offence!


Erased – Boku ga inai machi

Satoru Fujinuma has the power to sense danger and is able to repeat the moment to turn the table around. When faced with a personal crisis, to save himself and the ones he loves, he finds himself transported back to 1988, when he was still a child. He realises that to save everyone, he has to prevent the abduction and murder case of one of his classmates.

BGIM is an anime that you just can’t stop watching. The story is very captivating, although at times kind of predictable. Do not ever read any spoiler before watching this anime! It has amazingly beautiful cinematography and a very touching story. The ending is tweaked from the original manga, and I have to say, both are equally great! If you only watch the anime, you may find that many things are left untold, especially when there’re only 12 episodes, but the manga will provide some character backstories that you wish the anime had.

It’s no doubt it gained massive popularity in 2016!

Good for: Fans of thriller genre
Bad for: People who wants everything explained


Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou

This is the third season of popular volleyball anime Haikyuu!! The series follows an underdog male volleyball team Karasuno, which is a past champion that has fallen. With the entrance of interesting first years, the team began regaining its momentum, finally being able to face off the region champion Shiratorizawa.

We’ve finally reached this long anticipated match. Interestingly, all 10 episodes cover the final 5-set match. That’s a little different to how the first two seasons both had 26 episodes each. The season had a slow start as it portrays Karasuno teammates’ nervousness. Thank god, there aren’t as many flashbacks as previous seasons, or other sports anime such as Kuroko no Basuke. The minimal flashbacks helped to set the pace of the matches to be a little faster, so that the series retain its intense and thrilling pace Being a final to the regional season, we didn’t expect much character development and only focus on the matches. But we’ve still (finally) have an ending to Tsukishima’s character arc – where he finally found passion and fun in volleyball. And while Hinata and Kageyama had been the hero duo in the first two seasons, they’ve been more of a supporting shadow in the final arc, as the show puts the spotlight on teamwork (and Tsukishima instead).

The only downfall (not really a downfall actually) is that the third season can only be enjoyed if you’ve completed the first two seasons. Since it’s more like a DLC to a game, rather than an OVA.

Good for: Existing Haikyuu!! fans
Bad for: Anyone who hasn’t watched the first two seasons.