The anime season of Fall 2016 brought with it yuri, cute girls, and mayhem. Among these were many genre-defying shows that included new and unique elements. Although I enjoyed every series I watched, some were better than others. Here is my list of the best and worst of the cutesy and moe shows I watched. Be prepared for magical girls, loli characters, and females liking other girls.
Best Show Overall– Flip Flappers
This show. How do I even describe it? Unique. Colorful. Phenomenal. On this surface, this show seems like pure insanity. It starts out with barely any premise or backstory, and dives head first into a world of zany surrealism. Although the show was very confusing at first, I quickly became aware that under the strange exterior were some very deep symbols and messages. This show inspired me to write multiple pieces of analysis because I was amazed by all of the complexity. One theme that was important in the show was sexuality and the relationship of the two main female characters. As a yuri fan, this is significant because most shows do not explore the psychology of being homosexual.
Near the end, the story did fall apart a little, but fitting such a complicated story into thirteen episodes just isn’t possible. The writers definitely needed more time to flesh everything out and answer all of the questions (I am praying for a second season). But either way, even if it did have some faults, this show was close to perfect and gets a 10/10 from me.
Runner Up– Izetta: The Last Witch
From what I have seen online, many people did not like this show. They complained about all kinds of things, and deemed the show as mediocre and unforgettable. But for a yuri fan, this show was innovative. It is extremely difficult to find anime with lesbian relationships that go beyond just subtext or fan service, but Izetta delivered exactly this. Fine and Izetta have a relationship built on mutual trust. Throughout the series, their relationship is tested and the two of them repeatedly prove their commitment and bond to one another.
So while others may complain that the battle scenes were boring or the that there were a lot of plot holes, they fail to see what yuri and LGBTQ fans find so important: a real story of female love.
Worst Show Overall– Scorching Ping Pong Girls
I originally dropped this show, but decided to give it a second chance when I kept seeing cute screenshots. I admit that the second half of the show was better. I really liked the crazy girls on the tennis team, and some of the character development became more believable. However, what I originally said about the show stands true. The characters are very one-dimensional and many of their quirky personalities feel forced. There were a lot of cliches, and the show really didn’t offer anything new or exciting. This, among many other reasons, hurt the show, but overall, it is a cute show with many moe characters and some yuri moments.
Most Surprisingly Good Show– Matoi The Sacred Slayer
The beginning of this show was admittedly… lackluster. The story was all over the place and too much unneeded fan service added to the chaos. However, as it continued, the plot became more focused and the show became more enjoyable. I liked how the show took a different spin on the concept of magical girls- or in this case, “exorcist girls.” You can read my full review of the show here.
Most Disappointing Anime– Magical Girl Raising Project
Although I did enjoy this show and I was happy with its ending, it turned out very differently than I thought. I had really high expectations for this anime, but it didn’t deliver in the way I wanted it to. I believe the show focused a little too much on the blood and gore- at some points, the story felt almost abandoned. However, the characters were all amazing and I adored many of them. Perhaps this is why I can’t bring myself to love the show 100%.
Best Female Character– Yuma from Matoi The Sacred Slayer
This girl is what saved Matoi The Sacred Slayer for me. She is full of endless energy and enthusiasm. She is hilarious and determined at the same time, always dragging Matoi into her crazy ideas. Her exorcist girl transformation is adorable and so are the little gods that help her. Yuma was one of the strongest aspect of the whole series and she will go down in my book as one of the best magical girls.
Best Male Character-La Pucelle From Magical Girl Raising Project
You don’t have to do a double take; the title and the picture are not wrong. This section is for best male character. La Pucelle, known as Sou in real life, is a boy who loved magical girls and magical girl anime. He loved them so much that he actually became a literal magical girl when given the chance. Sou/La Pucelle is my favorite male because he goes against the stereotype that boys can’t like magical girls or other “girly” things. And he was extremely happy to be a girl who could uphold justice and defeat evil. I would be proud to have Sou as my son.
Worst Female Character– Chitose FromGirlish Number
I say “worst” lovingly. Chitose’s terrible personality is the whole purpose of Girlish Number, and is part of why she is so funny. She is cynical, self-centered, and vain. And she makes the best faces as shown above. However, as the anime went on and she continued to show barely any signs of character development, her snarky personality did begin to annoy me. In the end, she does learn her lesson though… well, kind of.
Worst Male Character– Kuzu From Girlish Number
When I say Kuzu is the worst male character, I am not joking. He is a producer at an anime company, and he is the perfect example of a terrible boss. He doesn’t take anything seriously, he lets others do the work for him, and he is just plain incompetent. He is obviously an exaggeration of bad managers, but he reminded me of many that I have dealt with in my own working experience. The workplace themes in Girlish Number is one of the things that made it so enjoyable, though.
Best Music- Hibike! Euphonium
Hibike is an anime entirely about a high school band aiming to win Nationals. The show is obviously going to include a lot of classical music as the students practice and perform. However, outside of band club, the anime has a wonderful and beautiful soundtrack that compliments many of the emotional moments of the characters. The music in and outside of the music classroom is fantastic, and is one of the many reasons why I love this show.
Best Loli- Tamaki from Stell No Mahou
Tamaki was another one of my favorite female characters, and she takes the cake for cuteness. Outside of her adorable appearance, she has the cutest personality. She is this tiny little loli who has a strong love for her Papa and all of his manga, which feature many rugged male characters. Because of this, Tamaki loves to draw “cool” older men. It completely clashes with her aesthetic, which makes her personality so funny. Tamaki is both enthusiastic and self-doubtful at the same time, making her relatable and even more adorable.
Best Comedy- Show By Rock! 2
I can’t with this show. All of the insanity cracks me up. In this season, many side characters (including Shingannocrimsonz who are my favorite) got a lot screen time, which added to the laughs. Some new characters also appeared with more quirks and strange yet funny moments.
Best OTP– Izetta x Fine and Papika x Cocona
As I stated above, these two series showed in-depth female relationships. I simply can’t choose between the two.
Best Character Design– Nemurin from Magical Girl Raising Project
Best Opening- Stella No Mahou
Best Ending- Flip Flappers
*I never finished Long Riders because of production delays. I will watch that and write my opinion when I get a chance.