2016 was a crazy tumultuous year for people keeping a keen eye on current events. Fortunately for us, it was also a fantastic year for anime (and games too I suppose) that distracted us from the rather tumultuous “real world”. With that in mind, we here at Anime Arcade thought we’d each give you some of our highlights of the year.
Some stipulations that we observed: The picks for the categories did not have to release/debut in 2016, but must have been played/viewed in 2016.
Without further ado, let’s get to the goods!
Top 5 Games of 2016
5. Total War: WARHAMMER
I love both the Total War franchise and the Warhammer franchise, so when they announced a collaboration I was on cloud 9. To be fair I like Warhammer’s sci-fi variant (Warhammer 40K) better, but this game seemed like a great way to learn the Warhammer fantasy universe in a game setting I’m familiar with. The game is intense and frustrating in the best kind of way. Every new struggle in a campaign requires careful thought, and every battle requires a quick wit to outmaneuver the enemy. Honestly the only reason this game isn’t higher on the list is because it eats time, and I don’t have to dedicate to this game that I used to. Still if you like strategy / fantasy games then you’ll love the newest addition to the Total War franchise.
4. Gal Gun Double Peace
This was a game I was very excited for this year, and I was not disappointed. Gal Gun Double Peace brings hilarity, silliness, and fun to the rail shooter genre. The game follows a boy who is accidentally hit by an angel with super pheromones. You go from level to level, fending off girls vying for your attention to find his true, and restore balance to his love life. It sound ridiculous (and it is), but you’ll be surprised how addictive it is to attempt to get the bast score you can in each level. Beating the game unlocks multiple paths for a you to take, and the various in-game-items are a ton of fun to use. It’s available on PS4 and PS Vita, and you can switch save files between games. If you have a slightly perverse sense of humor, I can’t recommend this game enough.
I am not at all good at card games, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Shadowverse. It reminds me of Hearthstone, but without all the Warcraft lore around it. There are 7 different classes for you to play as, and each class brings a unique ability to the table. Cards are separated into different classes, with neutral cards being available to all classes. It’s a fairly simple system for a card game, but a very effective and addictive one. The art for the cards and the hero’s is gorgeously detailed, and the playing boards are interesting as well. I can sink hours into playing the game if I’m not careful, and with the recent port to steam it’s even more difficult to avoid the draw of “just one more match”. Get it for Steam or your mobile device today, but be warned it is addictive.
Overwatch is probably one of the most hyped games of 2016, and the hype was definitely justified. With as many hours as we on the Anime Arcade discord have sunk into the game it is no wonder that Overwatch would make it onto this list. It’s fun, fast paced, but sometimes a little frustrating. Even with the occasional frustration it’s still hard to avoid coming back to it for more. The match types are simple and repetitive, but the repetition doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the game. This is due to the area where Overwatch really shines, its heroes. There are currently 23 heroes with unique weapons and abilities to choose from, and each one adds something to your team composition (except Widowmaker… kidding… kinda). With the fast paced gameplay, interesting characters, and intriguing lore (especially in their animated shorts) Overwatch stands out as one of my favorite games of 2016.
1. Kantai Collection
Now I am well aware that this game came out in 2013, but it remains my favorite game through this year. It’s the game I played, thought about, and planned around all year long. I started the year on a hiatus from the game, but since the spring event, I have been playing non-stop in an attempt to rescue all the ship girls I can. In fact I am playing Kantai Collection as I type this, hold on gotta send my leveling fleet to 3-2. Ok good to go, sorry about that. In the first year of the Anime Arcade site / discord channel, our KanColle community has grown tremendously. If you need to know anything about KanColle, or you want to get into this phenomenal browser game check out our KanColle 101 guide. You can also contact us to get an invite into our discord channel, and meet all of us KanColle fanatics. Cheers future Teitoku!
Top 5 Anime of 2016
Drifter came to me as a huge surprise. This semi-historic fantasy came to us this past fall season, and sprang immediately into one of the bloodiest stories of the season. The story follows historic figures who are spirited away after death to a fantasy world, where forces beyond their comprehension have them fight for the fate of the people living in that world. These historic figures are separated into two categories named Drifters, and Ends. We enter this world following the rag-tag bunch of Toyohisa Shimazu, Nobunaga Oda, and Yoichi Suketaka Nasu as they attempt to right the wrongs in the world… and maybe carve out a little slice of the empire for themselves. It’s gritty, violent, and (at times) humorous. It depicts these historic figures as human beings, and to date is one of the most accurate depictions of the temperament of Nobunaga Oda that I’ve seen in anime to date. I would definitely tell any fans of action type anime to check this one out on Crunchyroll today!
4. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Going from high action to high drama, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu tells the story of an old man’s past in the art of Rakugo. Yakumo Yuurakutei is sent by his parents at a young age to learn the art of Rakugo, a one man show style of performance, and he is met along the way by his fellow student and friend Sukeroku Yuurakutei. The two ply their craft through the 2nd world war, and into the reconstruction of Japan. On the road to becoming a mater at the art of Rakugo, Yakumo meets a geisha who turns his and his friend’s world upside down. I really don’t want to get to heavily into the plot here, but suffice it to say that this is one of the heavier storylines of 2016. It will pick you up with the character’s successes, and drop you down hard with their losses. Watch this now on Crunchyroll, before the second season comes to us in Winter 2017.
Keijo was another huge surprise for me in the Fall 2016 season. Not because I thought I would dislike it, but because it actually turned out to be a pretty good sports anime. It focuses on a group of girls training to become professional Keijo (a pool based sport) players, and their attempts to develop their own (hilariously named) techniques. Everything from the training to the tournaments are a blast to watch, and the pun-packed technique names had me in stitches every week. Story wise it’s kinda light, but if you enjoy sports, ecchi, and fun then you’re gonna love Keijo. I mean who wouldn’t love girls in swimsuits trying to knock each other off a floating platform with only their boobs and butts? Why wouldn’t you enjoy a show with such riveting techniques as “Shoryucans”, “The Gate of Bootylon”, or “Vacuum Butt Canon”? Seriously, go watch it on Crunchyroll, you won’t regret it.
2. New Game
I was certain I was going to enjoy New Game, but much like Keijo I was nowhere near prepared for the amount of enjoyment I would derive from this anime. New Game was beautiful, funny, and all around one of the most entertaining shows of this year. The plot follows 18-year-old Aoba Suzukaze as she starts her new job as an artist for the game development company Eagle Jump. Aoba soon learns the quirks of her coworkers, and the plot then follows the development of Eagle Jump’s newest game. In this game development slice-of-life anime the problems are seemingly miniscule, but I found myself invested into every issue that came up for the employees of Eagle Jump. What really hooked me in was the comedy as the characters quirks and foibles lead them invariably into their minor issues of the week. I imagine that people who dislike moe, and slice-of-life won’t be too crazy about this show, but honestly it is worth it for the sheer amount of side splitting humor in it. Check it out on Crunchyroll, and be ready to miss it when you finish it. Seriously, the week after the show concluded I was bummed out that there wasn’t going to be a new episode of New Game.
1. 91 Days
Under normal circumstances, in most other years New Game would have been my #1 show of the year, but 91 Days hit too many chords for me to ignore it. I love revenge plot linest, mafia dramas, and this anime combined the two effectively. It captures the chaos of the prohibition era in the United States, and shows a rare understanding of American history out of anime creators. Like most revenge plots this one starts with murder, as the main character’s (Angelo Lagusa) family is killed in front of his eyes as a young boy. Years later he receives an anonymous letter from a person claiming to know the names of his families murderers, and he sets out to destroy them one at a time. I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to capture the feel of an old school mafia movie, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t nail it. Every week was a new brought with it uncertainty as to the fate of Angelo, and the mafia family he hated so much. People die often and you really can’t be certain where the story will lead next. If I was only allowed to recommend one show from 2016 this would be it. Check it out on Crunchyroll, and grab some canoli while you’re at it ya filthy animal.