The list of anime series from 2016 I first resorted to again seemed a bit light on eye-catching titles; I went so far as to ponder whether a “sequel-spinoff with new characters” and a “short episode series” (short enough I’ve found the time to watch it again) could fill things out without stretching my vague, self-defined rules too much. Going from a list of series to a list of movies, though, did turn up a juxtaposition I somehow hadn’t expected to see, and that surprise gives me a bit more to talk about.

Your Name got my attention just for being a box office success; when I did have my own chance to see it at the movies I was actually amused by the impression Makoto Shinkai had succeeded by refining the elements he’d included in his past films instead of “managing to get past them” as other voices had insisted he had to do, and indeed for not keeping away from elements in “more typical,” more rapidly dismissed anime series. A Silent Voice was more respectable to start with, being produced by Kyoto Animation but also from a short manga series that had attracted its own praise for a tale of redemption, although a subplot was taken out in the adaptation process without that seeming to bother me too much.

As for the series that did manage to get my attention, Flip Flappers carried plenty of variety and invitations to finish sorting things out yourself, to say nothing of slashy undertones too. It’s possible, though, that its being an original, self-contained series yet leaving some things cryptic had me thinking I’d rather name my standout among standouts as Mob Psycho 100. Its character designs were unapologetic in their roughness, but its characters were more varied, interesting, and perhaps even more humane than the usual shrugging assumptions about “anime characters”; the animation could go absolutely all-out when it needed to, too.