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I have conducted a thorough analysis of anime from the year 2016. The primary purpose of this analysis is to identify works which have artistic merit, and to classify the nature of that artistic merit. Secondarily, my intent here is to rank the works in terms of their superiority in various categories. This will allow for comparison with other surveys of 2016 anime. This analysis is an expression of my own personal opinions and did not involve input from anyone else. I did this for my own intellectual and personal satisfaction, but I also hope that others may find it interesting or useful. At the very least, maybe this will generate some interesting discussion. Additionally, if you're looking for anime to watch, you can peruse through the specific categories I've provided to identify works that are likely to suit your tastes.
Only anime which started airing in 2016 are considered here. Meaning that anime for which the first season aired before 2016 are not considered (ex. neither Hibike Euphonium nor Love Live are candidates here). The considered anime are evaluated on the basis of all seasons that have aired (not just the first season in 2016). Movies are not included unless they are related to a TV anime (ex. Bungou Stray Dogs). I am conducting reviews for other years using this same system. Annual reviews are typically done as soon as the year ends, but I believe my methodology here is superior for conducting reviews of years retrospectively. Furthermore, classifying the year's best works only by season/genre I find is an ineffective method for identifying meritorious works, so I've included more-specific categories.
Categories and their results are listed below. Winning titles for each category are separated by commas, with the superior titles being listed first. For the genre categories I've provided two answers (the winning title followed by the runner up). However, polls for anime of the season and anime of the year typically list many top candidates in their results, so I've followed a similar procedure with my results here. For the anime of the season and year results, I've listed the top 5 candidates in order of superiority, with the winning title listed first and the progressively lesser titles listed afterwards.
Regarding the genre results, there are a couple important details:
Note: titles are classified by their superiority with respect to the stated genre alone, not overall quality (for example: x anime is a Post too long. Click here to view the full text.
OP here. I recently realized that there was an 8-episode Shaft OVA (about equivalent to a cour in runtime) which I overlooked that technically began airing in Fall 2016, so should have been included in this analysis. The OVA is titled Kubikiri Cycle: Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai, and you can read my review for it in another thread if you’re interested. I rated it 5/10 and the only noteworthy qualities it had were script, OST, and cinematography. It merited honourable mentions in these categories (see further below).
I’ve also been rethinking the mystery/psychological genre category. This was in part triggered by my (presently almost complete) rewatch of Flip Flappers. For some reason I overlooked Flip Flappers as a candidate in this category, when it is in fact a good so-called ‘psychological’ show that also has mystery elements. It won so many other categories, it was like it was hiding in plain sight to me. Kubikri Cycle also has some notable mystery elements.
Accordingly, I’ve changed my mystery/psychological winners to the following:
(HM = Honourable Mention)
Mystery/Psychological: Flip Flappers, Joker Game
Mystery/Psychological(HM): Kubikiri Cycle, Re Zero
Consequently, I’ve now removed mystery/psychological from the weakest genres list, which now only includes fantasy (2016 had good genre diversity).
Weakest genres of the year: Fantasy
And the inclusion of Kubikiri Cycle has changed the following honourable mention lists:
Cinematography(HM): Prince of Stride, Flip Flappers, Amanchu, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Kubikiri Cycle, Bubuki BurankiPost too long. Click here to view the full text.
For anybody wondering about the state of my ongoing 2016 anime music review, the award lists in their present form are provided below. At the moment, I still haven’t formally evaluated the music of the following franchises: Hina Logi, Re Zero, Bungou Stray Dogs, Kubikiri Cycle, Orange, Yuri on Ice
*Best soundtrack: Norn9, Planetarian, Prince of Stride
Best voice acting: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, ReLIFE, Bungou Stray Dogs
Best OP music: Flip Flappers, Dimension W, Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume
Best ED music: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Sangatsu no Lion(S1ED1&3), Flip Flappers
*Best character songs: Dream Festival, Magic-Kyun Renaissance
Audio Characteristics (Honourable Mentions)
*Soundtrack: Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Bubuki Buranki, Drifters, Koukaku no Pandora, Shuumatsu no Izetta, Tenkyou no Alderamin, Dream Festival, Amanchu, Bungou Stray Dogs, Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, Kubikiri Cycle
Voice acting: Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Dream Festival, Bubuki Buranki, Sansha Sanyou, Kuma Miko, Hina Logi, High School Fleet
OP music: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari, Sangatsu no Lion(S1OP1&2, S2OP1), Bungou Stray Dogs(S1,S2&S3), Dream Festival(S1&S2), High School Fleet, Bubuki Buranki(S1), Prince of Stride, Norn9, Re Zero(S1&S2), Long Riders, Tenkyou no Alderamin, Reikenzan(S1&S2), Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Magic-Kyun Renaissance, Kiznaiver, Amanchu(S1), Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai, Shounen Maid, Idol Memories, New Game(S1&S2)
ED music: Drifters, Dimension W, Bubuki Buranki(S1), Bungou Stray Dogs(S1,S2&S3), Prince of Stride, Tenkyou no Alderamin, Norn9, Dream Festival(S1), Reikenzan(S1&S2), Planetarian, Re Zero(S1&S2), Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari, ReLIFE(ED1&3), Idol Memories, Magic-Kyun Renaissance, New Game(S1&S2), Amanchu(S1), Amaama to Inazuma
*Character songs: New Game, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Prince of Stride, Norn9(Nagi Yanagi), Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, Girlish Number