Anime inspires me.
It’s one of the reasons why I love this medium so much. It doesn’t always happen with every show I watch, but there are those times when an anime connects with me, going beyond the fancy visuals or comedic asides on screen.
I had this connection happen in a tremendous manner with this season’s set of shows. After finishing the infamous Orange, it inspired me to approach my once-per-season mega essay differently. I made it less strict and more personal. I called my essay Orange and Learning Life Lessons, and it targets precisely what the title details.
Now, in the end, Orange messed up its execution quite a bit (and barely did not make my list), but I nonetheless found myself inspired by what it presented. I saw part of myself in Naho. I empathized with Kakeru. I found that its thoughts on life and living aligned with my own.
Yes, this prologue is an easy excuse to (shamelessly) self-promote that piece of mine once again. But it also serves to highlight something a lot more important. That is, from the top-tier diamonds to the bottom-of-the-barrel chaff, anime can inspire in ways not thought possible.
Maybe an ultra-grotesque show gets one thinking about religion. Maybe a complete life do-over makes one wonder what could have gone differently in their own. Or maybe it causes one to try out a new style of writing. It doesn’t matter if the show is “good” or “bad.” What does matter is that a strong connection has been made, inspiring like never before.
In keeping with the spirit of inspiration, this season inspired me to (yet again) compose a list of the best of the best. In total, nineteen different anime vied for a coveted spot. Ten tickets were handed out, and only one among them was given the title of Best Anime of Summer 2016.