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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016, Best Year Ever:

With Trump winning the presidency, the year is essentially over, no matter what happens from here onwards.  This was the last piece of the puzzle, the last block in the tetris game, and now that we know where it's fallen it's possible to look back on a year that defies all expectations.

The highlight of every year is its anime, and 2016 was no different.  My anime rankings keep track of what great anime series release what amount of content every year, going all the way back to the very first year a great anime was released, SDF Macross in 1982, and 2016 is no different:

2016 Year in Anime Reviewed:

2016 isn't entirely through, but for the sake of consistency and completion it's important that this year be documented in the chronology as well.  How do this year's shows stack up against each other so far, and what are they?

1.  Dragon Ball Super (universe tournament arc + Goku Black arc) + Dragon Ball Recut
2.  Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
3.  Love Live! Sunshine
4.  Hibike Euphonium S2
5.  Fairy Tail Zero + Fairy Tail Avatar arc beginning + ova
6.  Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei    
7.  Brave Witches
8.  Girls und Panzer movie + ova
9.  Gate (2nd half)
10.  Kyoukai no Rinne S2  
11.  Sailor Moon Crystal III Death Busters-hen
12.  Macross Delta
13.  Utawarerumono S2 (2nd half)
14.  New Game
15.  Naruto - Itachi Shinden + Kaguya arc + Sasuke arc + Bolt movie + ova
16.  Tales of Zestiria the X (1st cour)
17.  Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
18.  Vivid Strike
19.  Rewrite (1st cour)
20.  Schwarzesmarken
21.  Shuumatsu no Izetta
22.  Kuromukuro
23.  Planetarian
24.  Princess Pretty Cure ending and movie + DX movie + Mahoutskai Precure 
25.  Boku dake ga Inai Machi
26.  Dimension W
27.  Assassination Classroom S2
28.  One Piece (dressrosa arc concluded + Zou arc begins)
29.  Koyomimonogatari + Kizumonogatari movie 1
30.  Wake Up, Girls! Seishun no kage (finally translated) 
31.  Berserk (2016) 
32.  Girlish Number
33.  Locodol ova 3
34.  Durarara x2 Ketsu + Ten Special + Ketsu special
35.  WWW.Working!! 
36.  'To Love-ru Darkness 2nd' ovas
37.  Code Geass Akito ova 5 (end) 
38.  Tamayura Graduation Photo ova 3  (finally translated) + ova 4
39.  Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls ova
40.  Non Non Biyori oav 
41.  Saki Biyori ova (finally translated)
42.  Sore ga Seiyuu ova
43.  Tari Tari ova (finally translated)

We're off to a good start for 2016.  Three stubbornly untranslated oav's have been translated.  Dragon Ball Super is no longer filler while Dragon Ball recut salvages the original Dragon Ball series from its filler hell.  Eleven new great series have already joined my pantheon.  2016 is a better year than 2015 was -- but then what else is new on that front?

* * *

This year featured a lot of endings to long running series.  Proper endings that went all the way to the ending.  Naruto stands out above all the others, after so long it seems like a dream that we finally, finally reached the finish line.  (of the main, original storyline, at least.)

Other shows with nice endings include One Piece's Dressrosa Arc, which has been going for years, Princess Pretty Cure, Assassination Classroom, Durarara, Code Geass, Tamayura, Macross, and (soon) Hibike! Euphonium.

So eleven new series debuted in 2016 and nine long running series reached their proper finish.  Both of those numbers denote a very healthy industry.  And with 1 month left to go, there's even more to look forward to before the final tally is in.

Many series that came out this year didn't qualify as great shows but were good (watchable all the way through), so while we're looking back on the year as a whole I may as well include their titles as well:

When Marnie Was There 
Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
Musaigen no Phantom World 
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 
Glass to Hana to Kowasu Sekai 
Anthem of the Heart 
Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
High School Fleet
Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!

So that's ten more anime franchises that enriched our lives.  However little a contribution, they still did their part to make things a little brighter, and are thus deserving of remembrance and gratitude.  This just covers the new anime that came out this year, however.  I also (re)watched a lot of old anime this year as well, which had just as positive an impact as the stuff currently coming out.

Starting early this year, after the tv anime ended (for now), I rewatched all of Fairy Tail that had come out, including all the oavs and movies.  The project took all the way to November, but I got it done.  I enjoyed it all the way and even took a lot of pictures, creating my Beautiful Fairy Girls permapost in order to host them all.  This used to be my favorite anime of all time, and rewatching the series as it stands now didn't hurt my opinion of it, but the manga starts to be written very poorly after this point and as a result the anime's ceiling of potential has come down.  Instead we're stuck with Fairy Tail's anime at #6, much like the manga which is ranked #7.  Fairy Tail has always been a show with ups and downs, just like One Piece, Naruto, or Bleach.  But it's worth watching all the way through, even a third time in my case, because the ups are really up there among the best art ever made.

I completed my One Piece rewatch project, including all the way until the conclusion of the Dressrosa arc, so I watched that portion not once but twice this year alone.

I rewatched Fate/Kaleid Liner 2wei Herz.

I rewatched Gate.

I rewatched Maria-sama ga Miteru.

I rewatched season 1 of Galaxy Angel in glorious blu-ray.

I rewatched Majikoi to go along with my reading of the visual novel.

I rewatched Shirobako.

I rewatched Cowboy Bebop.

I rewatched Kin-iro Mosaic.

I rewatched Unlimited Fafnir.

I rewatched Little Busters.

I rewatched Flame of Recca.

I rewatched School Days.

I rewatched Joukamachi no Dandelion.

I rewatched Durarara Shou and Ten.

I rewatched Tamayura: Graduation Photo.

I rewatched Code Geass Akito.

I rewatched Assassination Classroom Season 1.

I rewatched Koyomimonogatari and Owarimonogatari.

I rewatched Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.

I rewatched Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.

I rewatched Evangelion.

I rewatched Record of Lodoss War.

I rewatched Nanoha Vivid.

I rewatched Sore ga Seiyuu.

I finished my rewatch of all the seasons of Pretty Cure and all of their movies, creating a perfect comparative Pretty Cure rankings guide, where every episode of every season went head to head with each other for the positions of last to first while doing so.

Now that Naruto's main storyline is over, I've begun rewatching it from the beginning as well.

I probably rewatched a lot of other shows but just forgot about having done so, but this will have to do for now.  The point is all of these shows I rewatched still made me very happy, just like the new shows did.  They're all part of my grand scheme to rewatch at least once every great anime I've ever ranked, to prove that my love for these shows was no flash in the pan but an enduring permanent true state of being.

For video games, I played a ton of WoW.  Warlords of Draenor version and Legion version.  I also played through the story mode of Naruto Shippuuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4.  I'm currently playing Final Fantasy XV, a game that's been ten years in the making.  It was well worth the wait.  I played Tales of Zestiria to completion before the anime came out as well.

For books, I read Baka to Test 12.5. I read Zero no Tsukaima volume 19.  I read No Game No Life volumes 4-6.  I read volumes 3-4 of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.  I read all of Spice and Wolf not covered by the anime.  I read all of Unlimited Fafnir not covered by the anime.  I read all of Hataraku Maou-sama! that's been translated that's not covered by the anime.  I read up to volume 8 of Baccano from where the anime ended.  I read SAO Progressive 1-3 and regular 16-17 (what's been translated at least).  I read Index New Testament.  I'm fully caught up on the Xanth series, including the just published Isis Orb.  I read Shikamaru's Story and Sakura's Story from the Naruto light novels.  I read some 12 Kingdoms short stories.

For movies of note, I watched Guardians of the Galaxy, 13 Hours, FF XV Kingsglaive + Brotherhood, Batman vs. Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-men: Apocalypse and Ant-Man.

I started my massive project to listen to all my Tales of video game music best of collection 100 times, which I'm still plodding forward with.  (Currently on Tales of Vesperia.)

I played thousands of games of Magic using over 60 of my own uniquely designed decks.

I finished the Hoshizora no Memoria visual novel.  I finished the Yuuki Yuuna visual novel.  I finished the original Majikoi visual novel, and made good progress on the sequel, Majikoi S.  I finished the Harmonia visual novel.  I finished the Imouto Paradise visual novel.  I finished the Koichoco visual novel.  I finished the Leisure of Grisaia.  I finished Clannad Side Stories.  I finished Idol Mahou Shoujo Chiru Chiru Michiru.

Two important manga ended this year, Bleach and Akame ga Kill! (the last chapter comes out this December).  Bleach ended the wrong way, with a million loose ends.  Akame ga Kill! ended the right way, with no loose ends.  As a result their manga rankings basically flipped, with Akame at #6 and Bleach at #12.  Still, that's two extraordinarily good manga finally coming to an end in the same year, which is something you just don't see very often.  I love these stories and neither will be forgotten. Freezing Zero and Freezing Pair Love Stories have been fully translated, with only Freezing still ongoing, a great milestone for the #8 manga of all time.  Many other manga series continued as normal and were read with great satisfaction as normal.

I already covered sports in a previous post.

For other US television, I watched Arrow seasons 4-5, The Flash seasons 2-3, Legends of Tomorrow seasons 1-2, Supergirl seasons 1-2, Daredevil Season 2, X-men the Animated Series, and Game of Thrones season 6.

That's a hell of a lot of accomplishments, and the year isn't even over yet.  I can sit back and reflect to myself that this was a year well spent.  It wasn't just my choice of President that was proven superior this year, but my entire way of life, which rewarded me enormously from start to finish.

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