Home About Icons Reviews Manga Lists Guestbook Gallery Links Out
Previous years: 2016
An octopus monster teaches his middle school students how to kill him.
This is the first shounen anime I’ve watched since… One Piece’s anime, like three years ago? Wow. Yeah, I’m still not totally sure why I didn’t just read the manga, I think I was reading a couple other things at the time and I didn’t want to add another series to the pile. So, I watched the anime with my sister! We had a good time.
I was very impressed with the series at the beginning, it had an original concept and a good sense of humor. The plot started to lull a little bit near the middle, I remember being very bored during most of the pointless filler episodes. But… wow. The ending. It was amazing, possibly the best of the year. I really admire the writers for taking the route they did instead of the more obvious happy ending which probably would have been more crowd-pleasing.
Korosensei was a really great character. He was entertaining while also being a good mentor, and he even had a touching backstory that didn’t seem too cheesy or forced. Nagisa on the other hand was incredibly boring. He got better over time I guess? But I never quite got over my first impression of him as a dull, cliche shounen protagonist. He wasn’t even my least favorite character though; that title belongs to Kaede.
I can’t even begin to imagine what the author was thinking with Kaede’s character arc. The pacing was… painful. Maybe it was better in the manga, but it seriously felt like the finale was approaching and the author just decided “oh wait we literally haven’t done anything with this character even though she’s considered part of the main cast… let’s make her a tentacle monster who’s been acting moe this whole time as a disguise! That works!” Like… alright. Where’s the buildup? The context clues? Literally anything that would suggest this decision was rooted in more than a desire to evoke cheap shock value?
I guess Korosensei combined with the awesomeness of the ending still outweigh the negatives, but I still find the series a bit inconsistent with its quality.
Okay, the hyperrealistic tentacles were a little weird.
The most powerful superhero in the world becomes dissatisfied with boring fights.
I’m really glad that I watched Assassination Classroom before this, because if I had watched it afterward, my standards would most definitely have been set far too high. This series was brilliant, I’m pissed at myself for not getting into it when it first became popular. Some of my friends have told me that they had a hard time getting into it because unless you read/watch a lot of shounen in the first place you can’t really appreciate the jokes, and while that’s understandable, I read… a lot of shounen. So I found the entire concept to be quite hilarious.
The reason I started with the anime on this one was because it received such high praise for its animation and soundtrack, and it absolutely lived up to the hype. Of course, since I loved it so much, I immediately moved on to the manga afterwards, but I’m still very glad I watched the show as well. The opening theme has been running through my head for months.
I'm just an average guy who serves as an average hero.
A young psychic struggles with emotional instability.
Still riding high on OPM hype, I went ahead and checked out the author’s new series, also starting with the anime due to high visuals praise. And yes, the writing was even better than before, and the animation was stunning.
I’m really glad that I started with One Punch Man and watched Mob Psycho afterwards, because a large part of what made it so great was the use of literary parallels between the two. Mob was not only a super likable protagonist, he was also a great foil for Saitama. I still can’t quite figure out if all the OPM references in the manga are simply easter eggs, or are actually hinting that the two exist within the same universe. They’re pretty fun either way.
I feel that, overall, the writing in Mob Psycho is of significantly higher quality, because while OPM’s gimmick kind of derives from subverting genre stereotypes, Mob Psycho actually does more of its own thing. My favorite character was definitely Reigen; I like how even though he’s kind of a slimy scam artist, he still manages to be a good mentor without even trying. Watching him attempt to talk himself out of tough situations despite having absolutely nothing at his disposal but his quick wit and opportunistic nature was hilarious. The friendly and supportive Body Improvement Club was also wonderful.
What a wonderful role model.
Cutesy video game ropes its players into a magical battle royale.
People seem to dislike this one for being another torture porn Madoka clone, but it was actually one of my favorites of the year. After I finished the anime, I almost immediately plunged into the light novels, which were even better. I watch a lot of Magical Girl anime, both of the classic and darker variety, and although I really enjoy it, most works in the genre tend to recycle the same story tropes over and over again. I can appreciate any attempt to switch up the formula even little, especially if it manages to be successful. MGRP is… incredibly successful.
Aside from the *awesome* character design, I loved the way the series wove together different story threads so artfully. It can be really difficult to have such a large cast and not show a certain level of favoritism, but even the characters who seemed the least important got their fair share of screentime. And despite supposedly being the protagonist, Snow White didn’t end up hogging the spotlight at all.
I really love the age spread between the characters; the juxtaposition between the appearance of the characters and how their behavior and attitude is inspired by their real age is brilliant. It was also nice to get a cutesy mascot character who actually had its own personality instead of just being around for fanservice.
Guess how many of them make it to the end.
Mary Sue loses her memory and seeks assistance from hot guys.
I watched so little of this that I probably shouldn’t even bother listing it, but whatever. I stumbled across the incredible theme song and crossed my fingers that the show would be just as good, then dropped it two episodes in. I guess skimming the Wikipedia page could have saved me forty minutes, because I’d never knowingly watch an anime based on a dating sim. At least the art was nice.
Maybe I'll finish the series someday just to collect screencaps of the MC's wardrobe.
Edward Elric prevents World War II.
I rarely watch movies, but my friend asked me to finally knock this one out. I was glad to see some closure for the 2003 anime, considering the poor pacing of the final episode and sloppy cliffhanger ending. Not sure how I actually felt about the movie itself though; it was certainly cleverly written from a historical and racial perspective, but it suffered from the same cluttered plot and continuity issues as the anime did, and wasn’t nearly effective enough in tying up its loose ends. I did like seeing Ed and Al again though, and was relieved to see their relationship prioritized; the general lack of EdWin is definitely a high point of the 2003 anime for me.
Good to see my favorite boys again.
A newbie superhero and an old pro form a bromance for publicity.
This became a pretty huge obsession for a while; the hype has died down a bit over the past few months, but I still find myself browsing Pixiv for new fanart. I really, really enjoyed this.
As a rule of thumb, I tend to prefer well written close friendships over romance. My ideal, of course, is strong friendships between girls, but those are extremely difficult to find. In anime anyway, most female friendships tends to involve a lot of cheesiness, melodrama, tropey gossip, and queerbaiting. Friendships between guys can undoubtedly fall into this trap as well, but not nearly to the same extent. That may be why I find them so appealing, and why I became so engaged in Barnaby and Kotetsu’s relationship.
Another thing that I liked about the series was that almost all of the main characters were adults. It’s nice to take a break from watching teenagers deal with the same teenage problems in every show I watch, especially because those “problems” usually involve being trapped in heteronormative love triangles. We got some of that with Karina I guess, but it was insignificant enough to be bearable.
The plot was fairly mediocre compared to the quality of the characters, but I’ve definitely seen worse. I do really like the idea of a superhero industry ruled by commercialism, it’s frighteningly realistic and reminds me a lot of a certain interactive novel I was really into a few years ago. I found the writing to get kind of lazy around both the mid-series climax and the finale, but the endearing characters and dorky sense of humor managed to carry the show all on their own.
It was kind of cute how Kotetsu always tried to pronounce the English titles.
A bourgeois pretty-boy fights against demons and communism.
The “what the fuck” of the year. Admittedly really funny, although I still honestly can’t tell if that was at all intentional or actually a result of horrific attempts at writing. Still, I’m pretty sure the second episode got more laughs than anything I’ve watched since Kill la Kill, and though I don’t think I would have gotten as much from watching it alone, it was incredibly enjoyable to watch with my sister and mock mercilessly.
Arcangelo was the funniest character, to the point that I might actually be starting to like him unironically. Oops.
Cute moe girls go to Hogwarts.
Finally managed to watch this, many years too late. It was pretty much what I expected: cute characters and great use of setting, but a little too episodic for my taste. As the series progressed and the plot became more thought out, I became far more invested in it, but I could never quite shake the feeling that the show didn’t take its audience very seriously. Aside from that, the show was great. The animation was gorgeous, the characters were likable, and despite the general lack of originality in concept, the writers managed to do their own thing with it and brought some fun new story elements to the table.
I wish all shows were this good at character design.
A zany alien helps a girl find her mom.
I actually forgot that I had watched this until I checked my Netflix feed. I really don’t have much to say about it. The alien was annoying, obviously, but not to movie-ruining levels, and the main girl was quite cute. Nice animation too.
I actually liked the cat, too.
Marie Antoinette: The Manga.
Okay, this was AMAZING. I started reading because of the dresses, which were fabulous enough on their own, but the story ended up being incredible too. Honestly though, I do feel like I should talk about the outfits, because even if there was no plot whatsoever I would have read all ten volumes for the crazy ornate dresses. In fact, I may have missed more than a few plot points because I was so busy saving screenshots to my laptop…
Being a shoujo manga from the seventies, there was obviously a ton of laughably excessive drama, but the prioritization of political intrigues over romance kept me engaged. There was romance of course, and it was cheesy, but somehow it… didn’t actually bother me? I even thought some of it was kind of cute.
Actually, I managed to get so swept up in the shoujo-ness of everything that I forgot this was a story about the French Revolution, and heads were bound to roll. But when it finally happened, it was awesome. No stupid shoujo “saved with the power of love” bs, just watching all the characters (except Rosalie) bite it. Yessssss!
Finally, I see Rose of Versailles praised a lot for having such a strong female lead, and I have to agree. Oscar sweeps the floor with all the weak, giggling damsels we tend to see in shoujo manga nowadays. Actually, why is it that a mangaka from almost fifty years ago is so much better at writing female characters than mangakas today? That’s a little depressing.
Detectives with special powers fight phantasmical versions of authors from the literary canon.
Another seinen about the mafia that everyone seems to think is incredibly original… don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t find it very memorable. I did really like the characters, as well as all the allusions to classical literature. Best character was Ranpo; I liked all his antics with Poe, and the fact that he manages to be quite invaluable despite having no actual superpowers.
I'll probably wait until the series actually ends to bother catching up.
An eccentric teenage girl turns out to be a God; fortunately, she is unaware of the fact.
Another series that’s been around forever that I probably should have gotten into before now… I’ll admit, I didn’t expect much from this, but I liked it a lot. I kind of wish its fans would actually express the fact that it’s more than a boring slice-of-life comedy, because that’s the main reason I didn’t read it sooner. I don’t need to read another manga about high school kids and their stupid love triangles. But if time travel and extraterrestrial life is involved, I can stomach it.
Haruhi was a fun deuteragonist, but the main guy was nothing special. I kind of wish there had been less filler chapters and more proper character development. The fanservice was also cringeworthy, but not enough to ruin the series for me. Ultimately, despite having a ton of flaws, just the fact that my expectations were so low to begin with made this a fun read. Oh, and the ending was surprisingly well-written.
A throwback to 2008 when Haruhi was everyone's YouTube icon.
A small town is cursed by supernatural phenomena involving spirals.
This one may have traumatized me a little bit. It was excellent, and I’m glad that I read it, but I probably won’t ever touch it again. I mean, I read a lot of horror, but this was scary. It’s rare for me to find stuff that actually creeps me out, so that in and of itself made it worth the read, and the art was also gorgeous. I’m planning on checking out Junji Ito’s other stuff, but I got sidetracked after one chapter of Tomie. Maybe next year…
A surprisingly romantic ending for a psychological horror manga.
A collection of surreal oneshots in which calamity befalls passerby.
After the awesomeness of Uzumaki I wanted to read more horror, and found this on a rec list. I really wish I had read it before Uzumaki, because comparing the two left me pretty disappointed. Some of the chapters managed to excite me, but most of them just felt repetitive. I really wish the author had done more to connect some of the stories, I know they’re supposed to stand alone, but it seems like wasted potential.
Two "handymen" do odd jobs for criminals and police alike.
This is what I meant about every popular seinen telling the same urban mob story over and over again and being hailed as original. Once again, I didn’t dislike it, but it also didn’t really stick with me. What I will say is that I’ve never seen a deaf manga protagonist, and that was pretty awesome. I just wish the plot had more to offer than gratuitous violence.
It must get annoying to have to draw the dog tags every time.
Various yuri manga.
I decided I wanted to read more yuri manga this year, and I was at least somewhat successful. I enjoyed all of it except The Real Her which I found on an otherwise good rec list but turned out to be some kind of S&M shit? Uh. Girl Friends was also very corny and I feel like I should have read it as a middle schooler, but I still liked it thanks to all the fun outfits. Shinozaki was pretty trashy but also quite funny, so while I didn’t necessarily love it, it was an enjoyable read.
I read a ton of oneshots too.
Young superheroes go to a hero school to learn how to fight crime and stuff.
One of Jump’s best in a while. Despite not doing anything particularly new with the genre, everything is presented in a really fun and clever way. Bakugou and All Might specifically manage to be really great characters that simultaneously act as a tongue-in-cheek commentary about the tropes of their roles (as the aloof rival and indestructible mentor, respectively) yet also stand on their own. Deku is also a likable lead and it’s nice to watch him work really hard for his dreams instead of just having everything come naturally to him, especially when he’s forced to balance his desire to be on top and his bodily health.
A lot of people have pointed out that the series treats its female characters much better than the average shounen, which I can agree with. Not that it’s a particularly high bar, though.
See also: Sky High (2005 film)
An autobiographical journey through sexuality and depression.
I thought this deserved its own entry separate from the other yuri I read, because it’s notably different. I mean, I’ve seen it categorized as yuri, but that’s really not what it is. It was extraordinarily personal and very well written and… super fucking depressing. I sympathized with the author a lot, so this was a pretty tough read for me, emotionally. But I think the adorable art style offset the grim content just enough to keep me going, and I’m very glad I did. The ending was incredibly insightful and optimistic, and I actually feel as though it’s changed the way I think about certain aspects of my life.
Pushed into a corner, even a mouse will bite.
A terminally ill girl seduces a pessimistic college student to help her destroy the world.
Oh, this was wonderful. Very unlike anything else I’ve read before. The characters feel like real people instead of walking tropes, the story was incredibly well thought-out, and the message was heartwarming. The quality of the writing also remained notably consistent up until the end; I often find that despite how great a series is, the ending never manages to satisfy me, but in this case, the ending followed through and fully delivered as promised.
Just like in MGRP, I really enjoyed seeing a diversity of ages within the main cast, but if anything, Biscuit Hammer was even better, because we got to see those characters working together as a team despite their varying levels of experience. The effort that everyone put into developing their superpowers was also delightfully realistic. Seeing the characters work so hard and still fail and hurt themselves so often just made the story feel that much more real, and made it all the more gratifying to see them succeed.
I also feel like I should mention that this is one of the rare cases in which I thought the romance of the story was extremely well-written and touching. Getting to see all the couples as adults in the end made it all the better.
I liked the lizard's other form more.
An android lives a peaceful country life in the aftermath of environmental disaster.
Yet another new favorite! This has been a very successful manga year, evidently enough. I have to say, even if Rose of Versailles and Biscuit Hammer come in at a very close second, I think that this was the manga of the year for me. It may be the best manga I’ve ever read.
To start with, the art is spectacular. The linework is gorgeous, especially when used to convey action, and the color spreads are subtle yet vibrant. The art perfectly compliments the peaceful, atmospheric nature of the story, and together they create something truly unique. I really don’t even know how to describe it, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I’m certainly not able to do it justice in the span of a few paragraphs. But I find the idea of setting a slice-of-life manga post-cataclysm very intriguing, it creates a lonely, almost haunting setting. The pacing was consistent, the story was original and strong, and the characters were very likable. Having a cute girl as the protagonist was a plus too.
I don't like that they made the anime color palette so much brighter.
Young soldiers fight mysterious giants to protect humanity.
Yeah, finally jumped on this bandwagon. I watched the first season of the anime a few years ago, but never really followed through until now. I do regret not getting into it sooner, because I still haven’t completely caught up yet and I hear there’s a timeskip coming… that’s certainly exciting.
At first, the best part of the series was definitely the new takes it offered on the shounen (seinen?) genre, but lately I’ve started to appreciate it as more of its own thing. I find Eren to be an incredibly fascinating and unique protagonist, but I honestly love all of the characters. Seeing them grow and interact with each other was the best part of the series for me, though the intrigues of the setting are certainly interesting as well.
Still need to finish the anime.
Snarky astronauts collect space trash.
Another seinen I picked up in search of good sci-fi stories. I liked it a lot, but I guess compared to the other stuff I read this year it wasn’t too memorable. It was nice though, reminded me a bit of Firefly. I liked the themes of finding balance between home and work life when applied to working in space, and the ecological commentary on trash production. The various time skips were nice too, I liked seeing the characters grow and age.
The top of his spacesuit looks like a frog... just saying...
A cat helps his owner cope with her stressful life.
I bought this at the Strand because I needed a quickie while waiting for a library request, and it had nice art. I’m not usually a fan of stories told from the perspective of animals, I find them a little too campy, but this was pretty cute. Maybe I just like cats.
Despite only purchasing this in the first place due to its short length, I found myself wishing it was longer. There was a lot of room to go into issues like depression and the stresses of adult life that weren’t really followed through on.
Student council president falls head-over-heels for her emotionally stunted classmate.
Another series that I didn’t feel right putting in the yuri section, because I’m not quite sure where the characters’ relationship is going yet. I will say that I’ve never seen a relationship dynamic quite like this, in yuri manga or otherwise. The writing is a little rough around the edges, which is kind of a given considering this is the author’s first full-length project, but the level of care put into the character development more than compensates for that. I find both the protagonist and the love interest to be incredibly sympathetic and well fleshed-out, and the recent developments with the play have made me very excited for new updates.
Finding out Yuu was into marine biology made my day.
A wannabe mangaka travels back in time to prevent his mother's sudden death.
After having this at the top of my reading list for the entire year, I finally caved and tore through all of it in a single afternoon. I can’t remember the last time I got so hooked on a manga! In retrospect it wasn’t even my best read of the year, but it was certainly the most thrilling.
Mystery aside, my favorite part of the story was actually the characters, especially the mom. I always like seeing mother characters who truly care about their children but also have unique and interesting personalities outside of their role as a parent. More often than not, mother characters have no defining traits aside from whether they are a “good mother” or a “bad mother,” but Sachiko actually had a personality of her own. This made her relationship with Satoru all the more heartwarming, because she actually felt like a real person.
Despite generally preferring stories about adults, I found the kids pretty cute.
A hero sets out to do pirate stuff; adventure ensues.
My longtime love. After many years of my interest slowly waning, I finally feel as though the series is back in full swing. I’m just as passionate about it now as I was when I was in middle school.
Admittedly, most of my excitement can be attributed to Carrot, who has quickly become my favorite character. Her character seamlessly combines goofy cuteness with actual personality, and seeing her go full wererabbit in the recent chapter was unexpected but awesome. Overall, the quality of One Piece’s female characters has greatly improved since the Dressrosa arc ended; Reiju is a cool sister character, Big Mom is a great villain, and Pudding is certainly… interesting. They all feel like real people instead of obligatory support characters.
Now *this* is wife material.
Because even if you're busy saving the world, you still have to study.
Yes, this was the year that I played three hundred hours of Persona. I played the third game per my girlfriend’s recommendation and got totally hooked. The disappointing fourth game made me lose some of my excitement, but I went ahead and spent way too much money on the fifth game anyway, which was only marginally better. Sigh.
Maybe I only liked the third game the most because it was the first one I played, but the characters just seemed to be handled so much better than in the following games. Plus, I may as well address the elephant in the room: the third game was the only one without an obnoxious mascot character. Even if P4 had good writing (it doesn't), Teddie would single-handedly ruin it for me, and Morgana wasn't much better. Okay, well, maybe Morgana was much better, but only because Teddie was so awful. He is so far outside of my comfort zone in terms of characters that I'm capable of tolerating. I could whine about him for days, but I have some other issues to address so I'll move on.
My other major problem with P4 was the complete lack of concern for its characters. It seemed to prioritize the shock value of uncovering the killer over the actual relationships between the characters which is... kind of the whole point of the franchise, right? Adachi was also a weak villain; it seems ironic to cast a violent misogynist as the villain when the game itself treated its female characters so poorly.
P5 was significantly better, but still disappointing. It had the same issues with poor pacing and unfair treatment of its female characters, albiet to a lesser degree. The way the dungeons were designed was super fun though, so that made up for it a little bit. Maybe I just got my expectations up too high, but it felt like the game had a lot of wasted potential, story-wise. Morgana's useless character arc didn't help.
The best part of P4? Naoto's hat.
A newly orphaned young woman goes to a distant ghost town in search of her grandfather.
One of the few remaining stragglers from my pixel RPG craze of last year. It wasn’t anything special, but I liked the story and the characters, especially the sweet friendship between the two protags. It took me way too long to get the good ending.
I still don't know if this bucket was supposed to serve any purpose.
A stoic man in a baseball uniform exorcises demons.
Yes, I played OFF in 2017. And it was awesome. There’s really nothing that I can say about it that hasn’t already been said, but the Judge was definitely my favorite character.
Purify the world!
Animal Crossing in mobile form.
The time waster of the year, but I still love it. Any Animal Crossing game is a must-play for me, and it's not as if I was expecting a full, New Leaf level game to be made available for free. For what it is, it's very well made. I like the collecting and the leisurely environment.
Now Tom Nook can take your money in the real world.
Spike Chunsoft continues to milk the franchise for all it's worth.
Not as big a disappointment as last year's anime, but certainly can’t hold a torch to the first two games. The mystery was more fun for me than the actual story or characters, which I found dull and tropey. I was especially upset with Kaede’s death, mainly because killing off a female protagonist to replace him with a guy is mega shitty, but also because I found her to be one of the only properly balanced characters. I also really hated the Monokubs, their antics weren't funny, they just took up space and held back the story.
I will give the story points for having an unexpected villain, but I honestly can't tell if that's a sign of good writing or lazy writing. Like, sure I didn't see it coming, but isn't that just because they didn't bother putting in any context clues?
Don't get attached.
Sun & Moon but with more explosions.
Another disappointing video game! I guess it’s my fault for not doing any research, but I really thought this would be more of its own game instead of a carbon copy of the original. I really do feel like this could have been DLC, I didn’t need to spend fifty bucks on it. I mean, all I care about in a Pokemon game is raising my cute little pets in new regions with new characters, I don’t need a whole game dedicated to a “secret ending” where I have to save the world in a slightly different way than I did before.
Still hate popplio.
-One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100.
-Honorable mention to Little Witch Academia.
-Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.
-Honorable mention to Uzumaki, Rose of Versailles, and My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness.
-The One Punch Man opening.
-The scrum debate theme from NDRV3.
-Honorable mention to the Amnesia opening, the one that led to so much disappointment…
-All Might’s final battle.
-The crying owl in chapter 47 of Biscuit Hammer.
-Honorable mention to Chidori's death in P3.
-The entirety of Neo Yokio, but especially Arcangelo and the midnight blue suit in episode two.
-Pretty much every scene from One Punch Man.
-Honorable mention to the Huniepop references in NDRV3 and Korosensei’s antics in Assassination Classroom.
-Yuuhi and Samidare from Biscuit Hammer.
-Kase and Yamada from Kase-san.
-Honorable mention to Emi and Kei from After Hours and Junpei and Chidori from P3.
-Barnaby and Kotetsu.
-Sachiko and Satoru from ERASED.
-Honorable mention to Eren and Historia from SNK.
-Reigen Arataka and All Might, the two mentors of the year.
-Eren Jaeger and Levi Ackerman from SNK.
-Honorable mention to Korosensei, Junpei Iori, and Kotetsu Kaburagi.
-One Piece’s new star Carrot, who made me like furries.
-Hardgore Alice from MGRP.
-Lady Oscar from Rose of Versailles.
-Historia Reiss, Sasha Braus, and Hanji Zoe from SNK.
-Honorable mention to Tsuyu Asui, Sucy Manbavaran, and Kaede Akamatsu.
-Pretty much all of the cutscenes from P4, but especially that thing with Teddie... ugh.
-Realizing that I had spent over two hundred dollars this year on games that I didn't even like.
-Moe and Yuuka from The Real Her.
-Minoru Mineta. Ew.
-Teddie, I guess? Adachi as well.