Every now and then, whether intentional or not, there will be a trend in the anime that airs over the year. This year, it seems there was an unspoken wish to do everything over again, but right.
It’s the end of the year, so that means taking time to reflect back on everything that’s happened since the last time we took time to reflect back. In retrospect, I should have realized that strange things were afoot at the Circle-K when the year started off with the deaths of both the Goblin King and Professor Snape…
2016 offered a plethora of anime. Still, as the year progressed, I noted a similar theme in various high-profile series: Time. Not just plain old time travel, but the concept of doing things again, but getting them right. A second chance to fix things.
We started off in the winter season with Erased, a suspense mystery about a young man who time-leaps back to elementary school to help prevent the murder of a childhood classmate at the hands of a serial killer.
Moving on to spring, we had Re:ZERO –Starting Life in Another World-, a fantasy drama of a high school student transported to a magical world where he repeatedly time loops to get the best possible ending, despite a rather grim outward view.
The summer season didn’t go for direct time travel, but still had stories that involved fixing events through time travel-esque mechanics. Orange involved the prevention of a classmate’s death through the use of a letter from the future.
ReLIFE doesn’t really involve the manipulation of time per se, but with its story of a disheartened NEET being rehabilitated to reenter society by spending a year as a high schooler, it plays to similar wish-fulfillment beats found in a lot of time-travel stories.
The latest fall season also asks questions on the ethics of time travel and the desire to change things even when you aren’t supposed to in Touken Ranbu -Hanamaru-.
2016 has been a weird year. While on a personal level, I’ve had a lot of good events happen in my life, on a global scale, the general consensus among my peers has been that this year was pretty much a garbage fire.
Anime is one of my favorite methods of escape while sometimes offering compelling stories and insightful commentary. It’s often said that art imitates life and real-life events do often influence later works, but a lot of notable series in this year’s lineup have worked to play on (not necessarily satisfy) my wish to change many of the events of this past year before I knew I had it. Almost as though they knew in advance…