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Animation, Comics, and Games 2016



A boring teenage boy slowly becomes Light Yagami 2.0 and finds himself caught in a power struggle between the violent gangs and supernatural cults of his city.

The storytelling style and use of chronology in this one was brilliant. Really well developed characters too. In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to check out the manga, which turned out to be a big mistake. Apparently the author of the manga wasn't the same person who wrote the original light novels, which I never bothered to read, but probably ought to.

I will say that the pacing and overall writing quality seemed to deteriorate over time; by the end of the series, I wasn't enjoying myself nearly as much as I was in the beginning. Somewhere along the line the writers started to prioritize fanservice and shock value over actual storytelling, which was mega disappointing. Unfortunately, it's not the first series to fall into this trap, and it certainly won't be the last.

The low point in the series was definitely realizing that I own the exact same jacket as this guy.

Dangan Ronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School

Junko Enoshima fucks everything up one final time.

Biggest letdown of the year. I guess Future Arc was okay, but the ending was messy and rushed. Despair Arc was awful all the way through. I don't think they could have butchered Junko's character more if they tried. Like, the entire second game was setting us up for the revelation that the protagonists we've grown to know are actually the villains behind everything, but like, it's okay! They were brainwashed so it's not their fault! The whole "we're trying to make repurcussions for our mistakes" narrative falls flat when the remnants of despair didn't make a concious mistake in the first place.

I really hated human Chiaki. In SDR2, I liked her character a lot, and it was an interesting idea to make her human, but ultimately her character was incredibly boring and just took screentime away from everyone else. Chisa and Ryota also compete for the status of most useless character ever. Oh, and that creepy orgy scene with Teruteru? Ewwww!

The only redeeming aspects of the anime were Juzo and that one episode with Monaka. I guess it was also cool to see how the original cast had aged.

Third time's the charm... I guess.


A group of horny oddballs are forced to participate in a human experiment in which they share their sensory outputs.

There was a lot of potential here, but most of it remained unfulfilled. The series excited me with its originality; I loved the original concept of sharing physical pain in order to awaken empathetic abilities. However, the love triangles were irritating, and the ending was extrordinarily dissapointing, which pretty much soured the entire series for me. Sonozaki was a great character, as was Honoka, and it was painful to see both of them sidelined as romantic interests. Honoka and Yuuta felt especially forced, their ship tease at the very end left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I will give props to the series for its gorgeous artwork and animation, as well as a pretty killer soundtrack. That just makes its shortcomings all the more dissapointing though.

Yoshiharu's relevance as a main character continues to stupify me.

Cowboy Bebop

Blade Runner in space.

Yes, I am just now watching Cowboy Bebop in 2016. I know. Weirdly enough, even though I wasn't even alive when it first aired, watching it made me feel nostalgic. Likely because it reminds me a lot of Firefly and Blade Runner, both of which I was obsessed with in junior high. So overall, this was a very enjoyable experience. The world building and beautiful animation made up for the general lack of character development, and I actually found the obligatory animal sidekick to be cute rather than obnoxious. Edward was my favorite character, and I definitely think that she made the show a lot more fun to watch.

Props to the animation team for shading with black in a way that actually looks cool.


Steampunk magical girls go to a Hogwartsesque school to train their powers and fight monsters.

This one was... interesting. Despite getting a lot of shit for it's admittedly weird and clunky animation, I actually liked this a lot. The characters seemed very tropey and bland at first, but they got surprisingly good development and I ended up liking most of them. I like the creative use of powers, even though some like "superspeed" and "controlling fire" were pretty bland, most of them were quite original and fun to watch in battle. And the character design is fabulous enough to make me drool.

Although the show has had some dark undertones from the beginning, I definitely was not expecting it to get so intense at the end of the third book. I really hope that the writing holds up in the fourth book and also that shipping doesn't ruin everything.

Okay, the yaoi hands were a bit much.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Six colorful horses and a lizard dragon go on adventures and shit.

Uh... yeah. Everyone and their mother was going on about how fucking amazing this show was so I decided to give it a go. I couldn't get past the second episode. It's too bad, because there were some things I liked about it (nice character designs, canon human forms that weren't furries, Twilight Sparkle in general) but ultimately there were just way too many signals in the writing and sense of humor that I was not the target audience for this show. Some franchises, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time, or W.I.T.C.H., for example, are geared towards a younger audience but still easy for teenagers and adults to enjoy, whereas this show... really didn't feel like it was taking its audience seriously. At all. I really can't fathom why so many kids my age like it so much.

There was another reason I couldn't continue with the series though: Pinkie Pie. She was so far outside my comfort zone in terms of characters I can tolerate, I really don't think I can handle watching a single episode more with her in it. She crawled to the top of my "most hated characters" list in the span of like thirty minutes, which is a pretty major red flag that the series was wrong for me. I attribute a lot of my dislike of her to her voice, her personality itself is already obnoxious enough, but the high-pitched squeaky voice is what ultimately pushed me over the edge.

I had to scroll through a lot of porn to find a single screenshot.

Ever After High

The teenage children of classic fairy tale characters all attend school together. Drama ensues.

This is an example of a series that is aimed at kids, but manages to be enjoyable for older audiences as well. Even though the writing isn't the best and the humor is pretty tacky, the fun art and likable characters made the series worthwhile for me. I like that despite the fairy-tale setting, the romance isn't super overwhelming, instead the friendship between the girls is emphasized. I think my favorite thing about the series is that the characters aren't villainized for being content with their destinies. Like, Apple and the other royals aren't just the mean girls who want to ruin Raven's life, they're genuinely nice people and over time they learn to accept the decisions of their peers without losing sight of their own goals. I'm so used to shows like this forcing the idea "you have to defy authority and be different and unique to be a valuable person!!!!" to the point where it seems really boring and preachy. It was nice to get a new spin, because even though you have the right to your own life and fate, it's also important to acknowledge that your actions will always have consequences. I think the show expressed that really well.

Maddie comes dangerously close to being another Pinkie Pie, but since she appears so infrequently and isn't nearly as irritating, I'm able to look past it.

I can't believe I almost forgot to mention how awesome the character design was.


Disney's newest princess movie stars a Polynesian chieftess on a quest to restore her home island to its former glory.

After the twisted plot threads and disastrous pacing of Frozen, it was nice to get a new Disney Princess movie with a more streamlined plot. Despite having very few flaws and sort of feeling like an upchuck of her predecessors personality-wise, I found Moana herself to be fairly likable. The lack of romance was also a high point, and I loved pretty much everything about the Grandma.

It was nice to get a break from Rapunzel/Anna/Elsa's same-face syndome.

Kubo and the Two Strings

A kid tries to save the world with origami or something.

I only have a vague recollection of the plot which is probably a bad sign, but it definitely had the best visuals of the year. I liked the mom a lot.

Uh, what else... yeah, that's all I can remember.

My other option at the theater was Finding Dory... so this was kind of a no-brainer.


The one with the furries.

I definitely liked this a lot more than I ever would have expected to. It's always super refreshing to have a movie with a female protagonist who's not sexualized, overfeminized, or cast aside by the writers in favor of a male character. Judy had a nice simple dream, to become a police officer, and she actually worked really hard for it, she didn't just have everything handed to her on a silver platter. Plus, no forced romantic subplot! I read somewhere that originally, Judy was supposed to be Nick's sidekick instead of the main character, I'm not sure when they decided to change that, but I'm really glad they did. More protagonists like this please!

I found the Zootopia world to be incredibly interesting and it was a lot of fun to see all the accommodations they made for animals of different shapes and sizes. The level of care put into the worldbuilding is something I haven't seen from Disney in a long time. I'll concede that the message was pretty unstable and doesn't really hold up in today's political environment, but personally, that's not my top priority when watching animated films.

The best joke was the sloth driver at the end.


Yet another franchise about superheroes fighting killer robots.

The reason I put this in the animation section rather than the video games one is because I played the game literally once, and I really wasn't my thing. FPSs tend to annoy the crap out of me, not to mention how much I suck at them. I did really like the animated shorts though, and because of that, I found myself getting attached to a lot of the characters. I was expecting it to be a pretty traditional superhero series, so I was surprised to find that there was more focus on individual character development. Apparently there are comics as well, so I'll be looking into those for next year.

My favorite short so far was probably Hanzo and Genji's. I'm a sucker for sibling narratives.

Tracer's cuteness pleases me.


Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Everything happens so much.

This took up a majority of my manga year. Steel Ball Run was the best, but I also liked Battle Tendency. I love the unique art style. I also appreciate the interesting use of powers, it kind of reminds me of One Piece. Although the battle scenes did tend to drag on, most of them were interesting to read.

My biggest problem with the series was definitely the sub-par treatment of the female characters. Stone Ocean had a ton of potential on that front, but unfortunately, I found the plot poorly executed and rather dull. I did very much like Jolyne though, as well as Hermes. Gyro was still the best protagonist, and being a major nerd, the mathematical themes in Steel Ball Run were delightful.

Who wouldn't love reading 95 chapters about the hidden power of the Golden Ratio?

Soul Eater

Teens transform into magic weapons to battle evil.

I read the first volume at the beginning of the year and pretty much wrote off the whole series as trash. In November, I decided to give it another go and... wow. What a turnaround! Somehow the ridiculous fanservice gave way to a cast of well-written and fascinating characters. Female shounen protagonists are insanely rare, I can't recall ever seeing another one, so that was great in and of itself. And despite all the characters being paired into boy/girl teams, there was a refreshing lack of romance and a nice emphasis on friendship and trust.

I only wish the ending had been a bit less rushed. Crona deserved better!

The ratio of boob jokes from the first two volumes alone to the rest of the series was something like 20:1.

Tokyo Ghoul

Ghouls like... eat people and stuff. But it's not vore. Yeah.

Really mixed feelings about this one. I ended up putting it on hold after five volumes or so, but I'm not convinced I'm ready to completely drop it just yet. I didn't dislike it necessarily, I just found it rather dull. Maybe it's just because vampires/ghouls/etc aren't really my thing. I hear it gets better later on, but I don't know if I have the energy to find out if that's true or not.

I did like Shuu. Not exactly sure why.

Dagashi Kashi

An aspiring mangaka and eccentric candy enthusiast flirt over cheap sweets.

My time-killer of the manga year. Lots of candy and queerbaiting, but not much else to offer. The fanservice was tacky.

To be fair, I definitely am not the target audience. So why did I read all 70 some-odd chapters? I liked Hotaru's design. True story. I really need to find some better ways to spend my time.

I suffered through all of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt for the same reason.

Lychee Light Club

Middle school boys create an AI to abduct beautiful girls.

I read this for a friend, it wasn't really my thing, but there were some aspects of it I enjoyed. The art was beautiful, and the narrative with the robot learning to care about the girl was cute I guess, but overall it just felt like... gore and some porn. It was kind of elitist in that sense, trying to come across as "deep" and "psychological" by having a bunch of kids jack off and murder each other. I prefer my stories with a little more subtlety.

I'm very... confused about the anime adaptation.


Life is Strange

A college photography student gains the ability to rewind time.

Didn't actually play this one, just watched hours of Let's Plays online. I kind of do wish I had played it myself though, because I liked it quite a bit. Apparently everyone hates on it for the awkward language and shitty voice acting, but neither of those are new issues to me, so I was able to look past it.

I appreciated the bittersweet ending and the theme of sacrifice. It would have been pretty easy for the authors to write a mainstream happy ending, so I admire them for having the guts to go the direction they went.



A human child finds themself in a land of monsters, in the aftermath of a war between the two species.

Um... yes. I liked this a lot. I've kind of grown used to fourth-wall breaks being used as an obnoxious comedy tactic, so seeing them used as an actual plot device that added to the story was awesome. I really dig meta stuff like that. Aside from that, the main story was clever and touching, and the secret route was thought-provoking and worked as a great foil. All the characters were really likable as well.

Unfortunately, I didn't love the fighting style, and I found myself frequently getting frustrated with the battles. My motor skills are pretty terrible, so I tend to prefer games that require straight up tact instead of incorporating things like dodging.

I ended up resetting so much that Flowey just gave up on me.

Yume Nikki, Mad Father, Lieat, Ib, Pocket Mirror, Dreaming Mary, Hello? Hell...o?, and Misao

Various pixel-style horror RPGs.

After my brief but intense obsession with Alice Mare last year, my interest in this weirdly specific yet extensive genre of games was rekindkled by Undertale's popularity. At one point, I was going through two of these games a day, to the point where I'm pretty sure I might be forgetting some of them from my list. I really enjoyed all of them, although Ib was definitely my favorite (it was the scariest too!) I actually just realized that Dreaming Mary doesn't even fit with the rest of these, but since it was a free-to-download RPG game I impulsively grouped it with the rest of them... huh.

I didn't list these because they weren't exactly horror games, but I also played some of Ludomancy's games, which were fun despite their size.

I think I played most of these during the first half of the year, when I was still recovering from chronic NEET syndrome...

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I don't really have to explain the plot of Animal Crossing, right?

After more or less abandoning my town in favor of Harvest Moon, I was pleasantly surprised with the new update. The minigames were fun, and I'm glad to have new exclusive items to collect. Whipping my town into shape, on the other hand, was less than fun. Even in video games, I can't help but cringe when I see roaches. Yuck!

What a cozy way to avoid my real world responsibilities.

Pokemon Sun & Moon

The newest installment of the Pokemon series takes place in the tropical Alola region.

Despite the atrocious pacing and incessent handholding, I still liked the characters and story. Lusamine was disappointing though, I was really excited for Pokemon's first female villain and she just turned out to be the abusive mom type, which is like... the one kind of female villain we already have enough of. I want a villain I can like!

Unfortunately, this seems like it may be one of the few Pokemon games I won't be interested in replaying... the neverending cutscenes will probably be even less bearable on the second playthrough.

I almost always choose a water starter, but Popplio was the last straw for me. Ew.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon in real life! You know, if real life was bad CGI.

I admit, I didn't expect much from this one. But I ended up loving it. I like walking and I like collecting things, so this game was practically made for me. I think I'm the only one of my friends who still plays it even after the initial hype died down.

*Phone buzzes* Pidgey.



-Kubo and the Two Strings.
-Honorable mention to Moana, mainly for the hair.

-Jojo's art got pretty sick after growing out of its awkward phase.
-Honorable mention to Pocket Mirror for fantastic sprite art.

-The entire RWBY soundtrack, especially Red Like Roses and I May Fall.
-Honorable mention to Paper Moon (Soul Eater), Lay Your Hands on Me (Kiznaiver), and the Dreaming Mary soundtrack.

-Velvet's fight in the battle of Beacon. (Another scene from RWBY too but... [REDACTED] for spoilers.)
-The doll room puzzle from Ib.
-Honorable mention to Darling's (sort of) kiss with Apple in Ever After High and the Life is Strange true ending.

-Senyuu in general, especially Samejima.
-That hiker joke at the fire trial in Sun/Moon was definitely the funniest thing in the Pokemon franchise I can remember.

-I guess Jaune and Pyrrha were cute... I don't know, I ship so little.
-Speaking of which, why do I include this category again?

Relationships (non-romantic)
-Nick and Judy from Zootopia.
-Gyro and Johnny in Steel Ball Run.
-Honorable mentions to Team RWBY and Garry and Ib in the true ending.

Male characters
-Gyro Zeppeli and Joseph Joestar from JJBA.
-Juzo Sakakura, the only good thing to come out of Dangan Ronpa 3.
-Honorable mention to Professor Kukui.

Female characters
-Judy Hopps and Maka Albarn... I really want more proper female protagonists, can you tell?
-Honorable mention to Pyrrha Nikos from RWBY and Edward from Cowboy Bebop.

Also a quick shoutout to Crona from Soul Eater who doesn't fit into either of the above categories.


-The aphrodisiac fanservice scene and Chiaki's melodramatic death in Dangan Ronpa 3.

-The incest tease in Durarara was... uncomfortable.
-Dagashi Kashi's goofy love triangle sucked too.

Male characters
-Have I already mentioned that Ryota Mitarai's existence is a joke?
-Didn't love the original Jonathan Joestar either.

Female characters
-Pinkie Pie competes for the title of "most obnoxious character I've ever seen."
-I also maintain that Undertale would have been a better game if Temmie didn't exist.