(It’s not Yuri!!! On ICE)
Before I get into what I believe to be the “Anime of the Year 2016”, I’d like to give honorable mentions and also point out a disqualification. March Comes in Like a Lion is exceptional, but it was not in the consideration for this prestigious award because its season was not contained within 2016. The show is a 22 episode run that goes right into 2017, and so it will be eligible for nomination in that year rather than the year it started airing. As for honorable mentions, I’d be remiss not give Flip Flappers, Sound! Euphonium 2, and Yuri!!! On ICE some much deserved shout outs. They are all fantastic in their own ways and worthy of my recommendation.
But not my highest recommendation. That honor goes to Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless. Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless is an inventively laid back comedy that offers a truly original perspective of life, one of pure and blissful lethargy. The show follows Tanaka; a high school student whose listlessness knows almost no bounds. With his faithful companion Ohta by his side, Tanaka is floats through life (sometimes literally) as he avoids work and conflict in only the laziest ways possible. He’s a true, blue, apathetic dude with an outlook on life that’s entirely his own.
Tanaka looks at almost everything as a bother, but not to the point where he would question his own existence. There doesn’t seem to be a hateful bone in his body, just an overwhelming love of lackadaisical life. It’s in his mind and in his speech that we get to hear his utterly unique thoughts about everything around him. It usually pertains to him thinking about how he can use things to produce the least possible effort. Most characters around him have completely accepting view of his listlessness, and serve to comment and be astounded by his prodigious affinity for unmitigated passiveness.
The entire supporting cast is delightful and never really in direct opposition to Tanaka. They all provide comedy in fun and unique ways, be it Miyano’s unrestrained energy or Echizen’s delinquent exterior covering her soft, loving heart. They’re all interesting characters capable of refreshingly hilarious moments. And the moments of comedy are never in-your-face. It’s subtle, silly humor that Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless carries itself only, and it handles it so well I was sure to be sporting a grin every time I watched it.
The sound and visual design set a perfect tone for what the show is, which is a perfectly relaxed, silly slice of life. It’s almost like a different kind of humor; one-of-a-kind in contemplative comedy. And it’s also worth noting that the architecture in the setting of the show is really neat too. The show has a very clean and modern look to it, and it gives off a sense of comfort that of course only would enable Tanaka more. While there were plenty of shows this season that evoked powerful emotions, nothing quite met the level of feeling that Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless gave to its immense composure, and out of everything, there was not one show I wanted to see more of than this.
And that is why it is my Anime of the Year for 2016.