Nico Nico Douga, one of the dominant Japanese video hosting services, recently concluded an online survey to understand how the viewers reacted to hundreds of anime series that aired or streamed during this past year. While there were quite a few in the race, the two most popular series were Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable.
This past year witnessed many new Japanese anime and manga series. While the majority stayed true to the tried and tested superhero or fantastical theme, there were quite a few that challenged and broke numerous stereotypes and even ventured into uncharted territories by exploring themes that aren’t openly accepted in Japan. Honoring these creations that not only entertained but forced the viewers to think, the “Best TV Anime of 2016” was conceptualized.
Nico Nico Douga, the largest Japanese video hosting service operated by Dwango, released the results of an online survey that intended to find the anime that viewers found most interesting and engaging. The service is actively used by its 50 million users. Nico Nico Douga relied on its homegrown “Nico Nico Enquête” system to conduct the online survey that lasted for three days between December 23 and 26. During these 72 hours, more than 300,000 people voted for their best anime of 2016.
The video hosting service noted that among the 306,568 people who voted, 66 percent were males, while the rest of the 34 percent were females. Although the Japanese are fairly tolerant and even open to the concept of multiple gender identities, officially, the nation’s views are quite conservative. Hence, it is quite likely the voting system offered just the two gender choices.
The viewers voted for “The Most Interesting Anime Grand Prix 2016.” According to the video hosting service, there were 279 TV anime titles aired (or streamed) in 2016. Some of the most notable ones that dared to divert from the traditional backdrop or backstory of the protagonist included Yuri On Ice, and Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World. Although there were several other anime series that didn’t quite follow the traditional themes, they rarely ventured far from the fantastical or the violence that is typically associated with Japanese anime.
Interestingly, this year’s viewer’s choice for “The Most Interesting Anime Grand Prix 2016,” was a closely contested one. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable managed to win the award by securing 7.4 percent of the votes. The anime series, called JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai is a full adaptation of the fourth part of the JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken manga series. The anime relies on intense mystery, drama, and violence that the viewers appreciated.
Interestingly, coming in a close second, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World proved that the protagonist need not be a hero in the true sense or has to be good looking. The anime series, based on manga of the same name, relies on the tried and tested Isekai genre, in which the protagonist, Natsuki Subaru, is transported to “another world.” However, the protagonist’s only power is dying repeatedly, only to resurrect at a preset point in the past. Although the scenes can be confusingly repetitive, fans appreciated the complexity that developed out of the same and the fact that the hero has to naturally figure out ways to overcome the hurdle in order to move ahead. The third most interesting anime was KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!, followed by Yuri!!! On Ice.
Besides the top category, the survey also registered fan interest in the male and female characters in the anime series. Instead of choosing male figures bestowed with superhuman strength or powers, fans chose the humble Subaru of Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World.
The full list of winners has been published by Crunchyroll.
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]