So here we go! May contain spoilers, so please read with caution:
Surprisingly Good Anime of the Year:
Phatasy Star Online 2 The Animation
What is, in essence, a commercial for PSO 2 is somehow actually a pretty good show. Not that good but still. For one thing this isn't just some story set in the PSO2 world, it's about people who play PSO2 and how the game builds important bonds and teaches them things about interacting and working together with others. I mean some weird shit starts to happen and it culminates in a crazy twist but it's totally worth it. I say check it out!
Active Raid seasons 1 and 2
This is less of a surprise and more of just a good anime, but it is somewhat surprising that this show is as good as it is, especially with it's CG budget. This show got written off as a low-rent Tiger and Bunny or Tokusatsu show, when in reality it's more like a pastiche of those shows. It's about ACTIVE, a special anti-terror police unit that uses powered-suits very reminiscent of sentai hero costumes to fight criminals using their own powered-suits. It's goofy and over-the-top while also being strangely down to earth and profound sometimes, which is to be expected from a show that Goro "I'm the guy who made Code Geass" Taniguchi worked on. Check it out!
Prince of Stride Alternative
Once again, only really suprising how good this was. While not amazing I think its a solid sports drama with a lot of intense moments that kinda make it a initial d but with footraces-lite. See it's about a special sport that combines track races and parkour called Stride, and is about the underdog Stride team of this school working hard to become da bes striders eber. Again, it's nothing amazing, not something you haven't seen before, but the spin on it, the good direction and art design, and how intense some of the races can be make it stand out some. You don't gotta check it out but you might have fun if you do.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
Now here's a surprise. An anime based on a light novel made by A-1 pictures about some kids who go to a fantasy world and gotta be good warriors or they'll die? That sounds like a very Sword Art Online style disaster of an anime waiting to happen. I'm already wary when I see "light novel" as the source material, even more so if it's A-1 adapting it because they're lousy at light novels. Instead of a bad show I got something actually really good. A deep and introspective, somber take on this kind of story, with lots of character development and monologues. They pick apart the idea of slaughtering monsters for profit and to survive, by humanizing them a lot. The first time they kill a simple goblin it's a daunting task for them and the goblin is trying his best to survive and dies in a very undignified way. This sticks with them and they don't forget this. It's good because A: it's realistic and B: it's even more realistic because they're not immediately good at this by virtue of being main characters. In fact, except at the very end, they never win with convenient main character powers and instead have to think and skill their way out. Sadly this could also fit in the underrated section because people are far too harsh on this show.
Bungou Stray Dogs
I wasn't expecting much from this show. I tried it out primarily because the synopsis said it starts by the protagonist finding a man "whimsically committing suicide" and I kinda needed to find out what that was about. It turns out it was a good show with good character art, a good story, good animation and action scenes, and some good themes. Too bad I found out from the travesty that is the second season that all the characters are named after authors, and they guy who was trying to kill himself has suicide as his thing because the author in question killed himself. Fuckin' edgy man. Still, watching this season may be a good idea.
Ace Attorney The Animation
I was surprised at what a good adaptation this was, especially comparing it to others. Sure, it wasn't a perfect adapation, as a lot of the stuff that was far more intense wasn't so much in this version. But I think that's a problem of translating a game to a non-interactive medium. The Breakdowns aren't as good in the anime because you're not playing it. You can't get that feeling of finally beating your opponent in a battle of wits and logic exposing their farce for all the world to see when you're just watching it happen. So, aside from that which they can't be blamed for, this is a damn good adaptation. It cuts out the shit that doesn't matter, keeps the stuff that does, and even adds a couple things in. The only thing that'd make this better is maybe some better directing as that's pretty lackluster.
This one is a surprise because after Shirobako, I was feeling a little reluctant to give a show which is supposed to be about an industry which I have an invest in a shot. Shirobako claimed to be a realistic anime about people working in the anime industry. Surprise surprise, it fucking wasn't. However, Sore ga Seiyuu was actually a good one of these, being a fairly accurate take on voice acting in japan. So, when New Game! was announce while I was cautious about it, I was still hopeful. That hope was not squandered. While it's not really realistic in that literally all the game devs/workers are cute and/or sexy ladies it's not really claiming that part is real. What is real, though, is how they make the game. Those aspects, unlike in shirobako in regards to anime, are accurate. They're maybe given some more sappiness to them because it's a moe anime, but it still gives you a little bit of insight into the development of a game. The main girl has a passion for the series this company and this team made, which is something someone like me who has passion for games and certain series can really get behind. It's also a fun cute comedy with fun cute characters. Don't miss it!
Scar-red Rider Xechs
Man, I didn't think this show would be so good. I thought it'd be a fun kinda power-rangersy show but it turned out to be much more, and in fact seems to have lifted a lot from stuff like eva/rahxephon, and a lot of VNs(which makes sense since this is a VN adapation). I can't really say much about this cuz there's a lot of spoilers, but basically it's about the Scar-red Riders, who transform into sentai heroes to fight monsters from the Red World, a world threatening to destroy ours. If you've played VNs, seen VN adaptations, or just seen stories like this before you might be able to figure out some of the twists from what I'm telling you here, but if you don't hopefully you'll be surprised and enjoy it like I did. Also, there's a lot of music terminology references I missed because I'm not a music nerd, but if you are you might like this even more!
Another anime about vampires huh? I bet it's gonna be some edgy shit for fujoshis right? Welllll, no, actually this was pretty good. Once again, some good themes, animation, and fight scenes. But also some pretty good directing in general for some of the episodes and character's backstory. I really enjoyed the feeling and how it was conveyed in those scenes, especially one really good scene near the end that's meta in a weird way that makes me scratch my head. I like that kind of thing. What it lacks in an original story it makes up for with fun, execution, style and atmosphere. Give it a shot please!
Tales of Zestiria The X
Not much a surprise really since this is an ufotable anime based off a great game, but I'm actually still surprised by the way they improved the source material in some ways. Nothing much to say about this, if you like the game you should give this a try.
Time Travel Girl
The surprising part of this isn't that it's good, I was actually expecting it to be. No, the real surprise is that we get to see fun anime versions of famous scientists and inventors and its actually fairly educational. See, Mari, a dumb girl who gets bad grades, ends up accidentally going back in time because of her missing father's time machine. She learns all sorts of things and becomes less dumb, because even if she's stupid she understands the passion for science these inventors have, and takes an interest in it thus learning some things. It's a fun cute show and good for history and science buffs. Also, Mari is voiced by Aki Tokasaki and Minako Kotobuki is her friend Waka(wanna go back in time and see who created blitzball ya?). This will be good for you if you've seen K-On! and A Certain Scientific Railgun.
So I was worried this show was gonna be an edgy pile of shit, but there were two reasons I tried it out anyway: 1. It's by Kouta Hirano, creator of Hellsing, which manages to be super edgy and dark but not very self-serious. It carries itself in a way that's fun and not obnoxious or try-hard. 2. It's about famous warriors and such all converging to fight each other that's fuckin' cool. So it turns out that, yes, it's very edgy and dark but even more so than hellsing isn't trying to hard and isn't obnoxiously self-serious. In fact there's lots of silly shit in this show. The animation and artstyle is great, the depictions of these famous people actually seem really accurate, and it's a lot of fun. Spoilers, Hitler founded an empire in this fantasy world and Jesus is the main antagonist, because he now wants his revenge on humans for betraying him and is gonna bring salvation to the monsters instead. Wow.
I had almost no expectations for this show. All I knew was it was a combination of "classical music" and "vocaloids". So, you know, sure? It turns out this is a pretty fun series about robots designed after classic music composers that have special magic based on their most noteworthy song. Mostly it's just a fuckin sitcom based around that but it's a fun time. Try it out sometime maybe?
While I expected this show to be good, it was better than I anticipated. I was going into this cuz I wanted a fanservice anime focusing on butts based on the butt battle minigame from DOA Extreme Volleyball. What I got was much, much more than that and I'm glad it was. It's essentially a parody of those over the top sports shounen like Kuroko no Basuke and Eyeshield 21, and a battle shounen in bikinis, complete with the big cheesy text for equally cheesy attack names. Due to this, the fact the characters are female and in skimpy clothes, and the thick-lined artstyle that goes crazy during high octane action, this show is basically doing everything that Kill-la-Kill did wrong, right. It even features a much better in-universe justification than that show, not being just an obvious excuse for T&A but actually working it into the story properly, not just having characters go "Well I need to wear this embarrassing stripper outfit cuz it gives me super powers". While obviously not as crazy as that, it certainly stimulates a lot of the same parts of my childlike brain KLK did, and has much better, actually sexy and well animated fanservice to boot!
Yuri!!! On Ice
So, this one is a surprise because I didn't think a show about figure skating would be such a moving, well-written character drama. But it was, and I really liked it. A hell of a lot, in fact. This could easily go in the "best anime of the year" section but it's just so surprising to me that I enjoyed this show so much. Anime really has a track record of making me care about shows about sports I don't care about, and figure skating is something I give less than 0 shits about. But more than that, I really enjoyed this gay romance between Yuri and Viktor, I think it was really well done and not an intrusive thing. This is hard to do, usually gay romance comes off as forced and bad, especially because it's either for fujoshis/yuri fanboys if it's japanese or for SJWs if it's western. This author proved he/she(I assume she) can do it without coming off like that and it pays off. It's a very good show!
Most Surprisingly Good Anime of the Year:
Boku no Hero Academia
I'm giving My Hero Academy this spot because it really is both the most surprising and also the best of those. I was worried about this but thought it might still be good, seemed like a maybe not-crappy A Certain Magical Index, but it was still an anime about superheroes. I don't like superheroes, if you don't know. My Hero Academy however, avoids a lot of the problems I have with superhero shit these days and bolsters the good and fun aspects of them, creating a show that's right up my alley actually. Weirdly enough there's somewhat of a backlash against this show because of it's popularity, which I can certainly understand. I hate it when things I like become/are too popular, because there always comes a shitty fandom from it that ruins the show in eyes of outsiders. With anime being a godawful fandom already, I could see how bad fans could turn people away from this show. But as always, I say don't let that get to you. It's a good fun show with some bad ass and awesome moments and good characters, and some actually really well-written character stuff too. Try it out if you haven't!
Some of The Best Anime of The Year:
A fun comedy which introduced some great new girls to anime, surely to have fanart of them spammed for years to come likely to create a hate-dom for them and the show. Oops. But anyway, Dagashi Kashi is a fun show and you should watch it!
You like traps/cute boys? No? Oh well, you should try this anyway. It's a fun slice of life comedy about a boy who's mom dies(not a fun concept I know) and goes to live with his homolord fashion designer uncle in his mansion. Luckily for this uncle, this boy, Chihiro, can't stand things being dirty and loves to clean, so he gets to work instead of just living here for free like he could have. This uncle gets the idea to put a maid apron on him cuz he thinks it'll be cute and thus the Shounen Maid is born. This show may seem to be a pedophillic thing at first but don't worry, it's not. The uncle is just a weirdo who thinks this boy will look good dressed as a maid... and he's correct. It's fun and silly with good characterization and I recommend it.
Fukigen na Mononokean
This a show about a high school boy who ends up getting possessed by a kedama youkai and gaining the ability to see them. When he goes to an exorcist to get rid of it, he ends up becoming his apprentice to get him to exorcise the youkai. It turns out to get this youkai off him, what he really needs to do is make it happy. Him and the youkai actually become friends even! This is the major plot of the show, actually, is learning about these sometimes seemingly evil youkai are actually really nice. This is the kind of show I was talking about when I wrote my Number 2 favorite RPG entry. It's a fun cool and creative show and I highly recommend it.
So, this is a show about moes who ride motorcycles. That alone would be fine, but it goes the extra mile, not only being about that but also having a great knowledge of motorbikes and their manufacturers, sometimes going on long winded diatribes to teach you about them. This makes the show super cool. Then? The show is also really weird, with some surreal fucking jokes happening, and even a revelation that God loves motorcycles and is a suzuki fanboy. Oh and Jesus is a character. Man he's all over the place this year! Then you got these cute and unique moes, which aren't the typical moe girl archetypes you normally have. Onsa-chan is this weird frumpy girl with frizzy hair, Rin is a blond twintail but is actually a big suzuki fangirl who is the butt of all the jokes, and there's even a character who is just a female The Stig, who never talks. And, there some nice fanservice of them sometimes, oh baby!
Kyoukai no Rinne 2
What's there to say? Second season of a good show!
Ushio and Tora 2
Same here, it's just the continuation and end of the Ushio and Tora saga.
Alderamin on the Sky
A very good show with some very rare character archetypes for this type of show, some very gritty and realistic depictions of war, and a scene where the main character just chops off his finger... twice. That may not sound that great but really this a good show where events have lasting consequences, that doesn't shy away from death or injuring main characters. That can be rare these days. That aside it's an interesting story with some cool worldbuilding so it might really be worth your time! I liked it a lot.
Sweetness and Lightning
It's a cute show about a cute lil girls who bond with her daddy who recently lost his wife over learnin how to cook from this girl who's mom is Satomi Arai. It's fun and cute and heartwarming and that's really all that needs to be said.
The best depiction of the mafia in an anime since Baccano!. It's a dark, gritty, tragic revenge story/mafia drama, and a damn good one. Angelo Lagusa has his family killed one night by traitors to the current Don. He survives, but the rest of his family does not. He later grows up and vows revenge against the now dominant Vanetti Family. To do that, he'll have to become part of the family. He even gets close to Nero Vanetti, one of the men who killed his family. The story plays out a lot how you'd expect, but that's exactly what you want in this situation. Not only that, but he has to contend with one of the best crazy motherfuckers I've seen in anime or anything in a long time Fango(last name unknown). It's a great show, which really gets you to care about these likeable scumbags before they inevitably get whacked. If you like stuff like the Godfather and Goodfellows, you'll like this show.
Poco's Udon World
Poco is an adorable little tanuki who uses his tanuki magic to become a human boy, and ends up in the care of Souta Tawara, who's come back to his home town on vacation away from his job of web design to stay at his family's old udon restaurant. The is about two things: Poco being adorable, and Poco helping Souta deal with his guilt over not carrying on the family business now that his father is dead. Mostly, though, it's about Poco being cute and making adorable noises. If, for some reason, you don't want to see that then don't watch this show. If you do you'll enjoy not only that, but also get some nice, not overbearing drama as well.
Craziest Anime of the Year:
Man, this anime makes no fucking sense and I love it. You know that Santa Clause is a character in this? Yeah, really, and he fights with a nailbat that causes explosions. YES.
So, this is a show about a girl who ends up falling in love with a boy... who is actually like 12. He just looks 17. Whoops! But you know, love is blind, and it apparently can't tell ages either, so this girl(don't worry she's also a minor) still loves this boy even though he's a fucking child and acts like it. A lot of the drama comes from this idea of "does she just like him for his looks?" and "can she love someone so childish?" and her trying to work through that and get past his immaturity, because he IS a actually good and nice guy who wants to be a real man. The comedy, also, is fucking great, with some amazing jokes, parodies, and great comedic timing, which feels like a lost art these days. There are, for sure, some pedophile things in this cuz of the subject matter, but it's almost all jokes about how this girl seems to others, and also that this one guy is pretty much literally a pedo. But don't worry, he's also a punching bag and the show makes fun of him constantly. I actually really recommend this.
Underrated/Unfairly Hated Anime of the Year:
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
As stated above, people are too harsh on this show. It has fans but most people seem to write it off. I can't say I blame them, as I almost did, but I don't want people to do that. It's a good show and is worth it. If you watched this and somehow didn't like it, you better have a damn good reason. So far I have not seen any. So stop being such dicks about this show.
Ace Attorney Anime
I don't know why, but people seriously shat on this show. I know it's not an amazing adaptation, the directing was average, and the budget shoulda been higher, but wow. I mean, this is probably just people never being fucking satisfied with adapations. Basically it's like the people who always complain that an anime doesn't follow the manga right, but this time it's 90% of people because everyone has played Phoenix Wright. Oh well.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
People act fucking retarded about this show. There's not that much hate for this show, but the general consensus is this show fell apart at halfway through and became stupid and bad... which ignores this show was always stupid. This show, from the very beginning, was made to be cool regardless if it made sense. It goes out of it's way to make things cool, having the entire world work in ways to make it cooler. Why do the zombies have steel cages around their hearts? So we have to use heavy weapons to get through them. Why do we travel in trains and not any other armored vehicles? Why is everything vaguely steam punk? Why did the MC age like 10 years and have his hair and physique change because he purged the virus/curse? And why did he become half-zombie from that? The answer to this, and any question you may have, is: Because it's cool. Does it make sense? No? Well who cars its cool. The thing is, until they started sacrificing sense on an egregious level to make shit cool, no one noticed. Then they did and everyone acted like the show was suddenly bad. Now, do I think that it dropped in quality and went too far in making shit cool? Yeah. Do I think Biba was a bad villain? Yes. But please don't act like this show "became" stupid and bad, just because you lack the critical thinking skills needed to notice earlier, and the suspension of disbelief needed to accept it when you finally did notice.
Another show people act retarded about. Because there was some shit in the middle section which just couldn't be taken seriously(oh my god, it's a BREST IMPLANT MONSTER!), and because some pseudo-intellectual who went to film school wrote a shitty article saying this show was an intentional comedy, meant to subvert/deconstruct horror stories, people now go around saying either it's an intentional, or worse, an uninentional comedy. They make it out like this show was not only the worst of the season, but a birdemic level so bad it's good show. Fuck. No. This show isn't amazing, that's for sure, the ending is a let down and yes some things are too silly to take seriously. But you know what? It's still good. There's some really great unnerving directing at times and overall it was a thrilling mystery that made me really wanna know what's going on and see the next episode. So, basically, fuck off.
Time Bokan 24
This one is a very literal "underrated" show. As in, this show currently has about a 5/10 aggregate score on MAL. Wow. Why? There are lot of 5s given to it, and even about 20 people scored it a 1. Normally I don't care about this sort of thing, it's all opinion and metascores don't fucking matter. But why? Why do so many people think this is mediocre, how to that many people think it's bad? What in the fuck? This show isn't some fucking masterwork, but it's a fun silly kids show and it does not deserve these harsh ratings. What the fuck?
Most Unfairly Hated Anime of the Year:
Here we go. Once again, this show might not be amazing. I think it loses some charm near the end, and it's got some pretty bad pacing, with some pretty big bombshell twists being rushed through. I think the execution of some of the aspects is kind not good, especially considering how unique some of them are. That said, it's an overall good show, with high quality animation and art, some cool fun shit, and is essentially good Index. But guess what? People treat this show like it's the second coming of fucking SAO. I don't get it? Do you really think it's that bad? Or is this some instance of some big memer of an anime reviewer like le demolition d or digibrony and his "anime gonzo journalism"(yes that's what he calls it) saying it's shit so everyone else just say YEAH IT SHIT I CAN'T THINK FOR MYSELF? Who knows, either way, these people are retarded.
And now, the most important part. The BEST anime of the YEAR.
Third Best Anime of the Year:
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
LET THE VOICE OF LOVE, TAKE YOU HIIIIIIGHER. It's motherfuckin Jojo! Part 4 was a great anime which I think spanned almost all of this year. It just ended and now that it did I get to say, yeah, it was one of the best anime of the year. I'd say, so far, this might just be my favorite Jojo. I doubt that'll change, from what I know of the coming parts, but we'll find out. For now, Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the best jojos of all. I hope you have a peaceful life until part 5, and don't bite the dust.
Runner up/Second Best Anime of the Year:
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Here's a show that kinda blindsided everyone. I mean I wanted to see it because it was about a thing there are like, no other anime about: Rakugo. A performance art unique to japan, where a storyteller/comedian sits on down and tells an often really long story that has both a moral, and a punchline at the end. It's basically listening to a really long joke with mini-jokes throughout that gets you really hooked and sucked into a story at the same time. It's really cool. So basically, the story is this great drama about rakugo performers and well, I can't really explain it but it's deep and harrowing in some ways, tragic and sad in others, and sometimes heartwarming. It's a great, mature drama that you should totally watch. But it's not the best anime of the year... No, that goes to!!!!!
Anime of the Year:
Sakamoto Desu ga?
Yes, Sakamoto Desu ga? is my anime of the year. Why? Well, it's clearly the best anime of the year, and actually when I think about it, it may be one of my favorite anime of all time. I've actually edited my favorites on MAL to reflect this, I even put Sakamoto as one of my favorite characters.
Sakamoto Desu ga? is a show about the coolest dude ever, Sakamoto, a dude from the planet of coolness and the Jojo universe, who has come to our world to enroll in high school and pose really cool and just generally be handsome as fuck. He's not just cool, he's cooler than cool, he's the coolest. Don't believe me? Just watch this opening: Haven't you Heard?
Sakamoto Desu ga? is a hilarious comedy revolving around how amazingly cool and perfect this guy is in pretty much every way possible, with everyone who think they're cooler trying to out-cool him and inevitably failing and becoming friends with him... and also learning some important life lessons along the way. It is, essentially, a parody of the cool gary stu protagonists in anime and how they're really great and nice to everyone but people hate them anyway... until they lose to him and become his friend, helping him fight more guys who will learn things about themselves because of how amazing he is. The best part is that unlike how those characters usually aren't great at all, Sakamoto really is. And forgetting that, there's simply a lot of fun and silly times to be had with this show, as there are a variety of different goofy circumstances Sakamoto is in. A lot of the fun comes from the weird and unique and cooooool ways he solves these situations.
And most importantly I don't think there's really anything I don't like about this show, not a moment that's bad or not fun, not a character who isn't a great satire. This show is... as perfect as Sakamoto is. I think this one may be the actual perfect anime we all wanted! Remember when I said in my Pupa review, "fuck studio deen"? Well, they've more than made up for that now, between this and Rakugo.
That's why Sakamoto Desu ga? is my pick for Best Anime of the Year. Congratulations Sakamoto, you truly are the coolerest!
And there you have it, that's all folks! I hope you enjoyed this, please leave any comments down below!