For those unaware, ‘Anime’ refers to any animated product to come out of Japan, although the term can technically used to apply to any animated film or show from any region. Oftentimes, it is looked down upon as a medium, possibly due to the language barrier (English dubbed versions exist for most series, but differ widely in quality), suggestive themes, childish apperance or just straight up weirdness.
On the 16th April, Kumamoto, Japan was rocked by some of the strongest earthquakes in its history, killing 48 and injuring 3,000, as well as crippling several notable industries. Among them was the anime industry which has suffered delays in schedule due to the damage. Therefore, I wanted to make an article drawing attention to this, as well as possibly helping to generate a little extra aid in revenue for said companies by creating new fans of the industry.
Without further ado, based on a poll taken by fans, here are the five best anime series of Spring 2016.
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
It seems, by far, the most anticipated show this season has been JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. This third season of the JoJo anime covers the fourth part of the manga, Diamond is Unbreakable. Set at the turn of the century in the fictional Japanese town of Morioh, the show follows the 16 year old Josuke Higashikata, the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar, as well as his friends Koichi Hirose and Okuyasu Nijimura as they live their daily lives in this idyllic town. However, when Jotaro Kujo, Joseph’s grandson, arrives to look into a mystery involving a notorious serial killer, Josuke and his friends become swept up in a search to find a killer who lurks among them in their quiet town.
As always, JoJo has a wide appeal. Between traditional shounen action, supernatural mystery, and as always; many, many musical references, there should be something here for everyone. As an added bonus, Diamond is Unbreakable is probably one of the most accessible parts of the entire series, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to watch the whole series.
- My Hero Academia
Set in a world where 80% of the population have developed a unique mutation called a ‘Quirk’, the fantastical profession that everyone dreams of has become a reality: Superheroes are real! However, not everyone is born equal. Izuku Midoriya was born without a Quirk and has been told all his life that he can never be a hero, but that won’t stop him. After a chance encounter with his idol, the #1 hero, All Might, Izuku resolves to follow his dream and enrol in U.A. Academy, the prestigious school that trains professional heroes.
For anyone still suffering withdrawal symptoms after last autumn’s standout hit, Onepunch Man, ended, this should be the perfect fix. With over the top action and strong, colourful animation, as well as design influences from western comic book characters, My Hero Academia is shaping up to be the superhero show we need.
- Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto
Sakamoto is the perfect student. Capable of solving any problem with over the top flair and an unflappable persona, he is adored by the girls and resented by the boys. Everything he does is perfect, be it solving equations, playing sports or even just eating lunch, everything he does exudes ‘coolness’.
Every season, there always seems to be one comedy anime that stands out above the others. This time, the title goes to Sakamoto. While Sakamoto himself is the very definition of a Gary Stu (the male equivalent of a Mary Sue; perfect in every way), it’s his interactions with his classmates and their attempts to embarrass or overcome him where the comedy really shines.
- Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
At the peak of the world’s industrial revolution, a monster appears, infecting people with its bite and turning them into zombie-like creatures known as ‘Kabane’. Unable to pierce the iron shell around their hearts, humanity abandoned their pride and hid inside fortress-like settlements. Ikoma, an engineer, has designed a weapon to kill the Kabane and, when his town of Aragane is attacked, finally gets the chance to use it. Bitten during the attack, he stops the infection and becomes a human-Kabane hybrid; a Kabaneri. Now, he must form a fragile alliance with the people who fear him to survive.
Very rarely does a show take two vastly different genres and combine them so well. Where the much beloved and short-lived TV series Firefly combined Western and Sci-fi, Kabaneri combines Steampunk and Zombie stories, with a sprinkling of Japanese Period Drama for good measure. For anyone who enjoyed Attack On Titan, you may find this show to have a similar premise, but enjoyable all the same. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the series so far is the characters, all of whom have distinct, established personalities so early on in the series.
- Bungou Stray Dogs
Atsushi Nakajima is a boy who the world has cast aside. Kicked out of his orphanage and with nowhere to go, he finds himself starving by a river. There, he saves a man whimsically committing suicide. The man introduces himself as Dazai Osamu, a member of a special detective agency that handles cases too dangerous for the police or military. When Atsushi becomes connected to his most recent case, Dazai drags him along for the ride. From here, Atsushi’s fate becomes connected to the detectives.
With so many anime coming out every season, there are often sleeper hits that go unnoticed among the bigger names. Bungou Stray Dogs didn’t have much media presence, but it certainly deserves it. With a Detective Noir type setting, with added supernatural elements, as well as zany characters with clashing personalities who are instantly lovable, it is well deserving of the praise it’s getting.