Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto Despite a relatively limited premise, the show started strong and very seldom let up. Although I was initially dubious as to whether or not this series would be able to retain its intense comic energy for an entire season, its been consistently impressing with its ability to do a lot with a little. The titular character—i.e., perfection personified—is the main draw, as his very presence drives the bulk of the humor. With virtually no effort, he's able to turn lemons into lemonade and use any bad situation to his advantage. Although they're fairly one-note, the secondary characters are also amusing. From Kubota, Sakamoto's de facto best friend, to Sera, the plus-sized amateur fashion model, each of the show's bit players is able to elicit a few chuckles. Even toward the end of the series, virtually everything about Sakamoto's pre-high school existence remains shrouded in mystery. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable Naokatsu Tsuda and his creative team only get more and more adept at finding ingenious new ways to translate the insanity of this classic manga into color and sound. JJBA's irreverent '80s aesthetic, always caught somewhere between pop and metal, macho and flamboyant, surreally artistic and childishly silly, is so completely unique from every other shonen out there that the content could stand on its own even if the anime adaptation was totally mediocre. The gags are hilarious, the concept is wildly inventive, the characters are lovable, and every week gives viewers something new and unexpected to applaud. But as welcoming as this series has been for newbies, longtime Jojo's fans have also rallied around Diamond is Unbreakable as one of the best anime adaptations of a beloved source ever made. My Hero Academia The story of Midoriya as a defenseless misfit in a high-powered world fit the bill perfectly. This show is full of neat powers, but it's the characters that make it super. Protagonist Midoriya is voiced by Daiki Yamashita, the same actor who portrays one of my favorite characters of all time, Onoda Sakamichi from Yowamushi Pedal. Like Onoda, he's a perceived weakling with hidden strength. Even though Midoriya isn't born with special powers like most people, his determined spirit makes you want to root for him. Midoriya is flanked by a cast that really made me feel. I hated Bakugo when he was introduced, and I was impressed the character could impact me that strongly. I loved dorky Iida and charming Ochako and just plain unique Tsuyu. But my favorite was All Might, a perfect foil to Midoriya—instead of being weak with hidden strength, he's just the opposite. All Might's clear inspiration from American superhero comics also lends this show an eclectic feel. It's like if 1950s Superman showed up in a Japanese manga, and his perfect facade gave way to the angsty, personality-based storytelling of the genre. There's such an excess of character in My Hero Academia. There are no throwaway character designs. Every time a student, a teacher, or another hero is introduced, I'm immediately engaged in trying to figure out their power based on their outrageous costume. After all, it's not the abilities that make this show so interesting—it's the people who use them. Ushio and Tora Who would have thought that a 1990s OVA could become a breakout show of the Spring 2016 season? Ushio & Tora was almost doomed to obscurity, until MAPPA picked up the decades old IP and dusted it off for a generation. The result—not especially flashy or modern—tested the original story and proved that it had enough heart to relate to a brand new generation of fans. Ushio is a physically strong kid whose strength comes from his emotional capacity. Tora, a supernatural monster who looks like a tiger, is even stronger, but has a lot to learn in the feelings department. Their adversarial relationship turns into full blown friendship as Ushio continues to win anyone and everyone over to their cause, and Tora finally has to admit he made the right choice by helping Ushio instead of devouring him. Thanks to Ushio's big heart and Tora's prickly exterior (and secret softie interior), they both become easy favorites. Ushio and Tora make up the good side, but the circle isn't complete without their sworn enemy, the Hakumen no Mono. An entity that feeds on human fear and speaks in a chilly, echoing voice, the Hakumen is not quite human and is completely immune to Ushio's charms. It's the perfect foil because most of the show's relationships are formed by Ushio winning people over with his easy affection for people in trouble and his determination to do the right thing. There is no redemption for the Hakumen, and to defeat it, Ushio will have to draw power from all of his prior friendships in order to gather the emotional strength he needs to survive this fight. And just like Ushio himself, the 39-episode show never forgets a character. Though the show's on the long side, this depth of continuity makes it fast-paced and totally worth it. The final arc, which begins somewhere around episode 30, is the perfect culmination of all this buildup. A nostalgic 90's art style is the perfect vehicle for this emotional, action-packed show, which brings forth an older series that absolutely resonates today. Flying Witch Protagonist Makoto comes off like a real teenage girl, curious and clever instead of some bratty or cutesy stereotype. Chinatsu is like a real adorable little kid, in awe of her elders yet demanding of what she wants, and eager to absorb everything she can about the world. It's a good lesson to genre fiction writers that "realism" doesn't have to mean gritty and depressing. Like most iyashikei, Flying Witch remains happy and optimistic, keeping the stakes firmly ground in the everyday, and never getting dark. Re:Zero. Re:Zero just gradually started getting better, episode after episode. It achieved its full potential with its powerful episode 7, and then maintained at a high level for most of the rest of the season. It did so through a combination of surprisingly strong character development and an intricate plot as much suspense and mystery-style puzzle-solving as anything else. Protagonist Subaru may be annoying with some of his long-winded prattle, but gradually even that behavior becomes endearing, and the interactions he has with some other characters is a delight. The viewer is also fully along for the ride as he tries to puzzle a survivable path out of one unexpectedly-deadly situation after another and find a path where he can not only survive but also thwart the machinations of whatever foe is opposing him. The writing's sense of timing on its revelations is spot-on, it also makes especially potent use of cliffhangers, and it even gets surprisingly emotional with the climax of its second arc. With another full season to go, it still shows a lot of promise.