I think we can all agree 2016 was more than a bit of a doozy, but for now we can take some time to reflect on the good times we had throughout the year. As I was compiling this list, I realized that though I may not have consumed as much media in 2016 as I have in years past, the things I did read, watch, and play were all pretty memorable.
Perhaps I’m getting better at spending my free time on things I enjoy, rather than wasting it on things I don’t?! If I have any goals for 2017, it’s to keep that as my mantra and dump anything I’m not thoroughly enjoying – it’s just not worth the time! But for now, I encourage you to read on to see what I enjoyed most in 2016, and share your favorites in the comments!
Meitantei Pikachu: Shin Konbi Tanjou – Meitantei Pikachu, aka “Detective Pikachu,” came out all the way back in February as a download title for the 3DS, but unfortunately it seems there are no plans to release it in English. That’s downright criminal (ha, see what I did there), as the premise alone is amazing! In Detective Pikachu, the pikachu is a wise-cracking, coffee-drinking detective who sounds like a middle-aged Japanese man. Gameplay-wise, it’s similar to Phoenix Wright, and you play as a young boy who goes around with Pikachu solving crimes. I would love to see more smaller experimental games like this from The Pokémon Company!
Overwatch – Generally, I like to keep the content of this blog to Japanese media, but I’ve played too much Overwatch this year not to include it. Considering how popular it’s been, I don’t think it needs much of an introduction, but as someone who generally doesn’t play competitive games, let alone shooters, I have to commend Blizzard for how welcoming they made Overwatch to players of all skill levels. It never shows you how many times you’ve died in a game, for example, and with so many different types of characters, it’s possible to support the team without being on the front lines. I’ve put in a few hours a week ever since I got it earlier this year! For the curious, my mains are Zenyatta and Mei!
Kyoukai no Shirayuki – As an otome game featuring art by Kinako of Gachaman Crowds fame, this was by far the title I was most looking forward to this year. It didn’t disappoint! I’ve written tons about it already, so please do check out my translation posts and route summaries if you’re interested! I still have a few more routes to go until I’ve beaten it 100%, but it’s already one of my favorite otome games.
Danganronpa 3 Mirai-hen and Zetsubou-hen – It’s hard to talk about the two Danganronpa 3 anime without spoiling anything, but suffice it to say I really enjoyed them! I’m a huge Danganronpa fan, so I went in wanting to see how they would wrap up the storyline of the games, and I came out really impressed with how they used the two episode a week format (one Mirai-hen and one Zetsubou-hen). Though unfortunately some of the major plot points were a little bit of a letdown compared to the plot twists of the games, there were plenty of interesting ways they filled in the gaps, too.
Mob Psycho 100 – After not being overly thrilled by One Punch Man, I initially didn’t have any interest in the Mob Psycho 100 anime, which is based on a manga by the same creator. I’m not sure what exactly pushed me to give it a watch, but I think it was seeing all the hilarious images in the #RedrawReigen meme. It turns out I much prefer Mob Psycho 100‘s brand of humor to One Punch Man, and the shy yet insanely powerful main character Mob was somehow really relatable for me. Though the show was mostly comedic, there were also some surprisingly hard-hitting episodes!
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – This aired all the way back in January, so I almost forgot it came out last year! If you’re looking for drama, Show Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has it in spades, and it’s also got some of the best background music of the year. Even if you don’t think you’re at all interested in rakugo, this show has so much charm that you’ll soon be enthralled with the subtle details they put into each performance. The second season just started airing, so there’s no better time to catch up.
Yuri!!! on ICE – It’s an ice skating anime with two male characters who have a deep, caring relationship that is portrayed in a nuanced way. What more is there to say?! I looked forward to watching Yuri!!! on ICE every week more than any other anime when it was airing.
Thunderbolt Fantasy – I considered putting this in the anime category, but it doesn’t quite count! Though it’s created by Gen Urobochi, who wrote famous anime series such as Madoka Magica, it’s a joint production with a Taiwanese glove puppetry, so it’s this fascinating hybrid of mediums! The puppets are gorgeous, and all of the characters were memorable, so I was really happy to hear it’s getting a second season. If you ever wanted to see a puppet get brutally decapitated, this is the show for you.
Ten Count – This BL manga just slipped in before the end of the year, as I used some Christmas money to buy the Kindle version of volumes 1 and 2 over the holiday. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t wait for volume 3 to come out in English in February, so I went ahead and bought it in Japanese! The art is gorgeous, and the buildup to the dom/sub relationship (between two adults, no less!) was really thrilling! I don’t read a lot of BL that isn’t for my thesis these days, but this series is really hitting the spot.
And with that, it’s time to dive headfirst into 2017! I’m looking forward to watching, reading, and playing all sorts of things this year!