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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Top Anime Rankings 2016 Version:

Taking into account everything that's been released or announced in 2016, what is the newest rendition of my top anime rankings?

The top ten have seen a lot of change.  The Fate/etc franchise has moved up to 3rd place, with tons of material still to come in the future bolstering its record.

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha zoomed up to 9th place due to its wonderful season of Vivid Strike plus the two new Nanoha movies promised to come out in the future.

Full Metal Panic! took the 10th place slot now that its new season has actually been announced to air in 2017 and not just as some sort of vaporware.  Supposedly we were promised this series will be animated in its entirety.  If that turns out to not be true it will have to dip in the rankings again, but for now let's have faith.

One Piece is down to 41st place because demerits matter as much as merits.  When a show undermines everything that has come before it, that will lower the series' value more than if it had suddenly broken off and not aired anything at all.  That's precisely what is happening in the most recent chapters of the One Piece manga and thus inevitably the coming episodes of the anime as well.  The stupidity of Luffy and the crew as they take on challenges they can't possibly overcome is inexcusable, as is any deus ex machina of the author that somehow allows them to get away with it anyway.  There's simply no way Luffy, who struggled taking down a lowly Shichibukai even with the aid of another Shichibukai on his side, could possibly handle Big Mam on his own.  The fact that he's even trying is disgusting.  The same is true of his stupid ambition to take down Kaido or any of the other Yonkou.

The pirates of One Piece used to be content to go on their own little adventures and ignore the outside world.  The meaning of freedom to them was that they pursued their own dreams and didn't worry about anyone or anything else.  Now they're caught up in dumb political struggles and trying to change the world by joining various wars.  They're no longer any different from any of the other pirate gangs, all angling for power and advantage over each other.  To make matters worse, Luffy used to care about his nakama, but now throws their lives away for petulant and petty reasons without even a second thought.  The fact that his crew loyally abides by his heartless decisions just makes Luffy all the more cruel and unforgivable.

There are other problems with One Piece recently.  The story is too gag heavy and refuses to take itself seriously for even the shortest amount of time.  It didn't used to be this way.  I feel like Water 7 was a serious, adult story, but somehow we've gotten away from that kind of story telling and it's all just an excuse to make dumb jokes now.  Plus there's the endless filler in every episode in order to slow the anime's pace down to that of the manga's, which doesn't even release a chapter a week anymore.  It makes watching the series an even greater chore than the now-much-worse-story would normally be.

Should I just stop watching One Piece altogether if I have all these complaints?  No, because I'm still interested in how everything and everyone ends up, and I can't find that out if I quit now.  Nor will I understand how everything and everyone ends up if I skip vital plot developing material that leads to that ending in the meantime.  I'm stuck watching the whole thing play out no matter how terrible it gets because I'm invested in these characters and need to know their ultimate fates.  This is the brutal reality of long series and why no one, no matter how much they hate what has happened to their favorite shows, can ever tune out.  It's up to the author to end catastrophes like these by summing things up more quickly, not their fans by giving up on what they've been lured into caring about in the first place.  Oda bears the full responsibility for what he's done to his own legacy.

Ahead of One Piece now is #38 ranked Girls und Panzer, which recently announced a whole new tv season, which supposedly, this time for real, will be the final arc of this franchise.  I have a great deal of respect for the makers of this show so I have no doubt the new season will double the quality of the original work.

Wake up, Girls! has received a new tv season announcement, so I bumped up its ranking to #131.  Likewise for Card Captor Sakura, whose new tv anime announcement bumped it up to #136.

Schwarzesmarken moved up to #145 on reflection and a second watch through.  Its message about the evils of communism is just too important to ignore.  This show deserves massive respect for engaging in serious topics no one else was willing to touch.

Girlish Number and Shuumatsu no Izetta only moved up to #176 and #177 from their provisional last place positions.  They're fine shows deserving of a ranking, but they just never upped their game to the transcendent levels I expected.  Girlish Number tends to waste time wallowing in misery instead of stating anything, and Izetta is just such an air-headed, empty calorie show of pure fighting against one dimensional, hack villains.  The quality of the fights is great, and it's thrilling to watch, but it's just so simplistic that it can't be compared to shows with real characters who face more nuanced dilemmas.

The other shows all received minor changes in position but nothing that would upset the overall flow of things.  For now, my anime rankings are perfectly up to date again.  But everything will be thrown back into turmoil, no doubt, by the 2017 winter anime season, so expect everything to change again a few months down the road.  The price of accurate anime rankings is eternal vigilance.

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