By Sarina Patel, Comic Hub Co-Editor and Jr. Assistant Editor
The neighbors are caroling around the corner. The stores are stocked with glittery red and green decorations. Of course, there can be only one explanation…
Ah, yes. After much anticipation, the winter holidays are finally here. It truly is the “most wonderful time of the year,” filled with chewy cookies, colorful jackets—and maybe some not-so-merry holiday surprises, like this one: During the holidays, it’s very likely that your favorite live TV series is closing shop for the year.
How are most humans coping after the credits roll on the last episode of 2016? They manage by watching cartoon classics over winter break and into the New Year.
While you may not be in high spirits after the crushing realization that a) you’ve run out of quality shows to revisit and b) you don’t know many animated favorites that you can binge-watch, we writers at the Comic Hub don’t want you to miss out on festive fun—such as catching up on the finest 2016 animated series that the cartoon world has to offer.
We Comic Hub writers want to help you check off all these cartoons before the winter holidays come to a close. So without further ado, we present to you the following: a helpful compilation of quality and trending anime favorites that we have personally watched, analyzed, reviewed, and raved about in 2016.
It’s our way of making sure you started your new year on the right screening. Consider it a gift.
Steven Universe – 5 out of 5 stars
The action-packed, creative, and sometimes sweet exploration of a half-human, half-space rock boy and his life with three sassy space moms seeks to answer said boy’s questions about life as the four protagonists pilot spaceships, act like space invaders in the company of actual space invaders, and snag some donuts along the way. Steven Universe is filled with common adolescent themes, such as love, loss, and moving on. Perhaps the best thing about the show is that it remains funny and upbeat without sugarcoating said themes. The human characters, although cartoons, are shockingly realistic. The space aliens, as they stumble through life on the beautiful Planet Earth, are surprisingly funny and awkward, too.
Star Vs. The Forces of Evil – 4 out of 5 stars
It takes several episodes for the show to fully peel away the plot, but once this show starts rolling, it’s an entertaining ride. Plucky princess Star Butterfly is sent to live with Marco Diaz, a safety-preoccupied nerd with mad karate skills and a penchant for fighting monsters alongside the rebellious girl. Sassy moments ensue. The villains are sometimes campy, and there is the drag of introducing Star to Earth customs, but she learns how to deal in both cases— so they aren’t major issues.
Voltron: Legendary Defender – 5 out of 5 stars
Right from the start, this show doesn’t waste time in establishing its action. In the opening scene, revered teenage pilot and his crew are abducted. A few minutes later, we see four teenagers—a solitary pilot, a young hacker, an arrogant cadet, and a lovable diplomat—design a rescue mission. In the process, they unravel the true plans of the tyrannical alien empire that kidnapped their lead pilot and, once they get him back, form a team of space defenders that hop into robotic suits and save the day. It, refreshingly, takes a while for them to work together. While they do manage to kick alien butt, there are many fights. And VLD proves that yes, one can have food fights in space—also busting the myth that alien goop tastes good. It’s disgusting. But amidst snarky dialogue, colorful combat scenes, group activities that define modern-day squad goals, and even a copilot rivalry that fans are rooting to turn into romance…the core theme of Voltron: Legendary Defender is that teamwork, in all its platonic love and cooperation, makes the dream work. As it no doubt did for Dreamworks Animation, the company that produced Voltron: Legendary Defender. With a jaw-dropping 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (perhaps most notorious for their harsh 26 percent approval rating on the hype train named Suicide Squad), it’s clear that this robotic space lion is headed for the sky.
Adventure Time – 4 out of 5 stars
This Emmy-winning cartoon tells the story of Finn, a bright 12-year-old in a bunny hat, and his journey to right wrongs across the magical Land of Ooo. Along the way, he meets a flexible talking dog, a delightfully punk vampire queen, and a princess with bubble-gum properties. Although the plot sometimes falls short and continuity errors are plentiful, Adventure Time’s unique blend of slapstick humor, energetic voice actors, and beautiful songs makes this series a colorful delight—full of humor and heart—that the entire family can enjoy.
Clarence – 3 out of 5 stars
The overly cute portrayal of chubby main character Clarence and realistic neighborhood setting mesh surprisingly well. The show is visually pleasing—with the nostalgia of the Simpson-like animation shining through. While Clarence’s high points sell (the comedy and color schemes), there are times when the show falls flat. The most notable faults include the following: The show runs on a sticky amalgamation of corny jokes, simple dialogue, the sloppy characterization of Clarence being a naïve and overexcited 8-year-old, and shallow plots. But even though the show may not be the most quality, it’s still fun to watch if you overlook the aforementioned components.
Mighty Magiswords – 4 out of 5 stars
A loud and sassy cartoon that combines the scruffy animation of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil and the classic Cartoon Network blend of fantasy action, colorful weapons, and slapstick comedy. Sharper than it looks and way wilder than it’s given credit for.
We Bare Bears – 4 out of 5 stars
Three dry-humored, awkward, and stunningly relatable bears stumble through modern-day society. They explore the great and magical possibilities of becoming famous on the Internet, make human friends by inadvertently insulting them, and carry a sarcastic, snappy dialogue while looking for food in the city. Don’t underestimate these three cute, fluffy bears—they’ve got sharp mouths and surprisingly deep New York accents that they’re not afraid to use against us humans!
Over the Garden Wall – 4 out of 5 stars
A classically beautiful, award-winning comedy-fantasy series that tugs at “the feels” of both kids and adults. It’s a dorky show, and its tendency to touch on darker overlying themes attracts a selective audience, but Over the Garden Wall is ultimately the fairytale dream we all wished we lived in as kids.