Wow, and yet again another year passes us by in the blink of an eye. I swear, as I get older, days zip on past me so quickly. 2017 was an interesting year for me. Personally I had some good strides for myself, yet in anime it was an oddity. I watched more that the previous year, but I really had less series that I would be excited to talk about. Not every year can be knock out though. On the flipside though. this blog has gotten almost 75% of the lifetime views this year alone. Posts like my Top 25 Favorite Anime & Amagami SS: Best Girl Wars, were far more successful than I could have ever imagined. Most of that boils down to you folks though. You make the blogging such a fun experience with your feedback, involvement, and of course support. I hope to build on what I’ve made over this next year, without further ado, I present to you, the 2017 Year in Review for my anime watching!
Best Movie: Millennium Actress
Runner Up: Sword of the Stranger
I’m sorta sad to not give this spot to Sword of the Stranger. I loved that film to ever loving bits, but I can’t think of many anime films I have seen that match the overwhelming quality of Millennium Actress. Kon was a brilliant film maker, and this film is another fantastic showing of why his amazing craft will truly be missed.
Best Short/Short Series/Ovas: Seven Deadly Sins: Signs of the Holy War
Runner Up: Donyatsu
Honestly, I hardly watched a single thing in this category this year. It wasn’t really much of a discussion with myself. This was a superb mini-series to bridge together season 1, and the upcoming season 2. If you love the Sins then this extra content is a must.
Best Male Character: Majime- Fune wo Amu
Runner Up: Kazehaya- Kimi ni Todoke
Few men are as awkward and kind as Majime. A klutz socially, and a genius mentally, Majime is very much like many people we’ve all met in our lives. An unsung hero with top tier character traits, and such a redeemable personality in every regard. If I can have a life long friend, it would be with a man like this. Someone who cares for the world around him, and makes a difference in his very own way.
Best Female Character: Sawako- Kimi ni Todoke
Runner Up: Nishimiya- Koe no Katachi
This was obvious if anyone knew how much Sawako hit a chord with me. She may be the most precious girl I’ve come across in anime. So tender hearted, and thoughtful. Most of her stand out qualities, my very own girlfriend carries, so Sawako is so easy for me to enjoy. Funny, cute, and full of personality, Sawako is a knock out gal worth the time investing in.
Best Ensemble Cast: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Runner Up: Kimi ni Todoke
Kimi very nearly snagged this win, but for as outstanding a drama as Rakugo is, I would be remiss if I didn’t give the nod to its core cast members. Rakugo relies on these people so heavily to tell the story to us. They are such rich, and realistic folk, that you would be forgiven if you mistook them for a real life person. A well crafted and enjoyable bunch through and through.
Best Animal Character: Poco- Poco’s Udon World
Runner Up: The Baron- The Cat Returns
Look at it! LOOOOOOOOOOOOK!! Need I say more other than this mystical tanuki child is the most adorable god damn thing you will ever see!? Your lack of response seems to indicate that I have convinced you. Wonderful then, shall we carry on?
Best Music: Your Name
Runner Up: Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger has some of the finest instrumental music I’ve been blessed to hear over the past year. Yet, those darn RADWIMPS killed it with their work on Your Name. Their music hits all the right notes, and it is no wonder why their music was so crucial to making this movie the international hit it became.
Best OP: Poco’s Udon World- S.O.S. by Weaver
Runner Up: Kimi ni Todoke OP 2- Sawakaze by Tomofumi Tanizawa
Best ED: Natsume Yujinchou Season 6- Kimi no Uta by Rei Yasuda
Runner Up: Poco’s Udon World- Sweet Darwin by GOODWARP
Best Pilot: Cuticle Detective Inaba
Runner Up: Kimi ni Todoke
No show this year really had a jaw dropping beginning for me. That got me to thinking….what would I pick then? So, I stuck with the pilot that made me laugh the most. Simple yet effective.
Best Finale: Tsuki ga Kirei
Runner Up: Poco’s Udon World
I won’t go too far into details, as that could potentially spoil this for you. The finale was amazing in just how it wrapped things up alone, but the part that truly stood out was the end credits of this series. A montage of incredible events take place during this 90-120 seconds, it makes for such a powerful send off to a fuzzy warm show.
Best Episode: Penultimate- Shouwa Genroku Rakguo Shinjuu
Runner Up: What Flows- Natsume Yujinchou
I don’t say this lightly, but there is a statement I thought I would never hear my sister say, that I wholeheartedly agree with in regards to this episode. “That episode was absolutely perfect, I hate saying that, but I really can’t describe it in any other way. It was so good and so perfect for what the show is.”
Funniest Character: Risa- Lovely Complex
Runner Up: Sawako- Kimi ni Todoke
Sawako almost nabbed a victory here, but the ridiculous nature of the absurd physical comedy in Lovely Complex slightly nudged out the win. Risa is just the queen of silly faces that invoke a true laugh out of me. I find her quite funny when the show supplements her correctly, and she made me laugh time and time again.
Best Villain: Luo Lang- Sword of the Stranger
Runner Up: Don Valentino- Cuticle Detective Inaba
Villains this year were slim pickings, so I had to settle on the crazy blonde murder machine that is Luo Lang. I kinda like this guy despite him really just being stoic and blood thirsty at his core. He has that aura of pure cool you can’t help but want to see more of.
Best Couple: Misaki & Usagi- Junjou Romantica Season 3
Runner Up: Sawako & Kazehaya- Kimi ni Todoke
Welp as hard as it is for me to not give this win to SawaKaze, this main duo here has had 3 seasons of content, and have such an adult relationship. It is rare to see a more adult viewpoint on dating, and for all the little intricacies in their relationship I had to give them the win even over my beloved power couple.
Best Fight: Nanashi vs. Luo Lang-Sword of The Stranger
Runner Up: Breakfast Cookoff- Food Wars
I mean as much as I like silly food battles, this fight had to win. Shot for shot, it is one of the most exciting, and best animated fights I’ve ever seen in anime. Add on that eargasmic music, and you really do create a finale that brings all sorts of meaning to the word climax.
Best Visuals: Garden of Words
Runner Up: Your Name
Is this blasphemy to say I like the visuals in his prior film to the new one? Welp, I don’t care! I think the coloring effects in Garden of Words, alongside the simple set pieces help create far more striking and unique shots than Your Name, despite being impressed by it as well. Also, I mean come on, that rain is mind blowingly great.
Biggest Disappointment: Koe no Katachi
Runner Up: Made in Abyss
Koe no Katachi is not a film I enjoyed. Not even a little bit. Is it bad? No, I don’t think so. Is it fun to watch? Not even a little bit. As someone who has struggled with what the core characters have, I felt not related to but, just sad watching this. It didn’t resolve or deal with the issues in a meaningful way, but rather just highlighted the issues that need to be addressed more so. It’s a lovely piece of work, but it really falls flat in too many places for me to call it anything but decent.
Biggest Surprise: Kimi ni Todoke
Runner Up: Tsuki ga Kirei
Well jesus hot sauce Christmas cake this blew me away, like a hooker paid quick and easy. I figured I may enjoy this series, but I absolutely loved it. So much so, I added an updated version of my Top 25 already. I wasn’t intending to do so, but you know….Sawako kinda happened, and I was a smitten kitten.
Best Scene: Final Scene Millennium Actress
Runner Up: Penultimate Bathhouse- Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
I think if one scene encapsulates the brilliance of the exceedingly talented Satoshi Kon it would be the final send off in Millennium Actress. Few scenes in anime have ever made me feel so much and just say….wow. Kon thank you so much for all you contributed to the medium.
25: Skull Man
So I watched this together with a buddy of mine, Connor. We both had little to no clue what the series was about going in, and leaving it…..well we are at pretty much at that very same crossroads. Skull Man is a mess as a standalone piece. It wants people to already be invested and knowledgeable about other series connected to it like Kamen Rider, and just fails at delivering the story in a cohesive manner. It’s not the worst show out there, but it doesn’t have a lot going for it.
24: Desert Punk
Sex and violence are the cornerstone of American values. You would think a series that relies on the two together would make for a fun romp for the viewer, but honestly it doesn’t. Desert Punk is hard to enjoy. Mostly because the titular lead is one of the scummiest people I’ve ever seen in anime. For over half the series he is the main lead, and almost unbearable at every turn. I was so happy with the sudden shift in the second half, and things started to pick up a tad. A bit too late though.
23: Attack on Titan Season 2
Slow down that hype train because Attack on Titan season 2 is here! And it has less interesting story, the same boring characters, and worse animation? Why in the hell did I wait so long for this lackluster addition to the series? I mean Attack on Titan is just the blockbuster movie equivalent of anime, but it really just hasn’t gotten any better with more content. Here is hoping that season 3 can help iron things out more so.
22: Kamisama Kiss
I watched this as part of a trade off with my girlfriend. I didn’t like it very much at all, but I gave the series a true honest shot. The last 7 episodes of season 2 were top notch stuff, but that is because it didn’t focus much on the insufferable main duo of Nanami and Tomoe. I think rule number one with a romance series should be to make the main characters at least likable in some capacity. These two are not, and it consistently brings ruin on to what is otherwise a decent yokai show.
21: Hanada Shounen-Shi
Speaking of terrible main leads, here we have Ichiro! A bratty, wild, and simple child who never ever learns his lesson. This show has plentiful engaging, and heartfelt storylines that always managed to lose a lot of their spark, because Ichiro was there. This little punk isn’t just some annoying kid, no he is the epitome of frustration that parents with hellion children face. It isn’t a terrible series, it has some highs, but most of them are dragged viciously down by this runt, and his behavior.
20: Aishiteruze Baby!
On the other hand, you have some shows with very intriguing main leads. Kippei Onii-Chan(told you it was staying!!) is a delinquent in maybe the most tame of ways, but is forced to be a surrogate guardian to his cousin Yuzuyu. They have a sweet tender relationship as family, and if that was the main focus, well the show coulda been something special. However, it constantly jumps tone and focus, and creates a dissonance that can’t be mended even when the series is at its best. Potential is there, but some focus is a must.
19: The World is Still Beautiful
Itsaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa TENNNNNDAAA RAIIIIIN!!!!! This show visually is pretty stellar, and the music isn’t bad, albeit a bit repetitious. The things that threw me off was the weird age gap between the two main characters, and the instantly blossomed love without a ton of time put into it. The series could have easily sold me on that idea if they had spent the entire season around them growing closer, but they skipped a lot of that to focus on dramatic events trying to tear them apart. It’s not an effective method when I barely know the two people. I’d care more if I did. Right when the show started to click it ended to, which left me sourly disappointed all the way to the end.
18: Junjou Romantica Season 3
More Junjou baby love! We got a new art style, but mostly a lot of the same content we had sat through before. More mundane relationship trials, and more sorting through the issues with adult tactics…..aka talking it out. I like Junjou, but season 3 added almost nothing to the overall grand scheme of things, and all my issues with the series remained intact. If we get a 4th season, I’ll be sure to watch it yet again, and with eagerness to see how they evolve the formula with minute baby steps.
17: Kino’s Journey
For all the hype for how philosophical this show is, it really isn’t all that special to me. Sure, there are some really neat ideas tossed around, but that is about it. They show us these what if scenarios, and let them play out, but keep our main lead so detached it creates such a separation between viewer and series. I couldn’t connect with a show that kept itself so neutral on everything always. Great writing, and intriguing ideas don’t save a flat main character, and very unengaging set of consequences that felt like they hardly make a difference in the grand scheme of things.
16: Cuticle Detective Inaba
Dumb fun comedy is a mixed bag almost anytime you sit down to watch it. The blitzkrieg of jokes, and random humor can either be a collection of laughs, or you just sitting there scratching your head asking why. Inaba clearly falls in this category, and while it isn’t anything special to me like Nichijou or Hetalia, it still manages to create a plenitude of comedic gold. I think the very lackluster ending, added on with the nature of the genre caused it to be fun, but not much else type of series. You like light and randomness though, I’m sure this is for you.
15: Made in Abyss
Welp here is one of the most over praised series of the year. With stellar art direction, fantastical world building, and a gruesome plot, Made in Abyss boasts a lot to catch the average viewers eye. I will say the series is good, sometimes really good, and other times only okay. It fails at one critical level though, the main two characters are very very very boring people. Reg is just a shy robot boy with little else to offer, and Riko is not cute and quirky like intended, but rather annoying and slow witted. Also, can we stop it with the sex jokes with children please? It’s highly uncomfortable to sit through, and I already hate that stuff to begin with. Big grandiose plots require a nice backbone of character though, and this show feels like it needs to fill that gap before it can truly be anything special.
14: Noragami Season 1
I’m a bit bummed with this one. I like it for what it is, but I thought Noragami was going to be a massive hit with me. Amazing animation, fun characters, and it’s a bloody shonen(One of my go to genres!), but it really just never escalated with me to anything but good. I wanted some WOW moments, and they really never came. I feel the series keeps too many details close to the chest too early on, and it is making an active struggle for me to connect with Yato as the main character. He is so essential to how the show runs itself, that until I can make that bond in some way, well I don’t think I can absolutely love this show like I want to. I also would like some more interesting fights to happen at some point too.
13: Humanity has Declined
What an oddball of a series. There is no real over arching plot, every episode or two focuses on something else completely separate, and honestly altogether it’s a tad bizarre. I feel like the series knows this full well though, and this is at the forefront of what makes Humanity has Declined work as well as it does. It’s a strange one, and it knows it. It actively tries to be weird to get some of the points across. Many of the storylines found here are meant to deconstruct something in a way you’ve never thought to look at it before. I can’t say I was a total fan of this series, but I can commend it for being so consistent at being surprisingly inconsistent.
12: Amagami SS
Most people who play visual novel dating sims, do one of two things. They either complete the whole game and finish every route systematically, or they play once through, and who they get is who they stay attached to. I love that Amagami sets up its plot in show in this same regard. You can watch all the routes of the girls and pick who you like best, or you could simply pick 4 episodes and a girl and stay content with that. It’s a refreshing method to tackling the dating sim adaptation, and I loved that approach. Not all the girls were equal in likability, but that doesn’t matter, because we all get to pick a best girl for our very selves.
11: Lovely Complex!
During my valentine’s trip to see my gf this year we watched one of her favorite anime together. The RomCom Lovely Complex was something she had wanted to show me for quite a while. This is understandable too as partners always want to share so much together. I was not a fan of the romance aspect of the series, I found it far too melodramatic and hard to like. On the other hand the comedy was so damn gut busting it didn’t really matter. To me the laughs were the star of the show, and the romance need not be amazing for me to have a good time. I think if you like Shoujo series, then this will probably hit the right spots with you.
10: Maid Sama!
Another watch I shared with my girlfriend. This classic comedy romance that many anime fans adore passionately. The no ending, as per usual with the genre, was shitty, and there were some noticeable issues I had with the writing of the main characters here and there. Yet, I liked this show a lot! It was so much fun, and it knew how to handle itself. I found myself quite the fans of both Misaki and Usui as things progressed, and wanted to ship the two together hard. I will have to read the manga to see how things progress, but if it keeps on like the anime, well I think I will be in for a very engrossing tale of laughs and love.
Really Doaks? Some of you must be asking this to yourself oh so pensively. Hear me out, or don’t, I won’t stop you. This show is a blast to sit down and watch. It is actually a serious sports drama with a bevy of characters who honestly care about their futures in it. They train hard, they fight to the very end in matches, and they learn and grow. Keijo is everything a sports series is supposed to be. It is about friendship, over coming obstacles, and getting stronger through adversity. The tits and ass portion of the series is a bit over the top, and clearly this is more for men, but all in all Keijo embraces the dumb nature of the sport and makes it fully realized. We won’t ever get another ecchi sport that is quality like this most likely, but that is okay, because Keijo showed it can be done right.
8: The Morose Mononokean
I am so glad I went back to this show after putting it on hiatus for months. One of my favorite genres of anime is the slice of life episodic type. A self-contained narrative that slowly builds the main characters, while constantly adding on to the world around them. Flourishing relationships with so many one of a kind characters, and really just wholesome content throughout. Mononokean is just like this, but with of course its own flavor. This series is a bit more a comedy than some others in the genre, but it is very often funny. Also, I wanna note how this show has some of the best monster CG in modern anime I’ve seen. The usage makes them feel from a different world without looking dumb. Props to you guys for doing CG right!
7: Food Wars Season 1
Food porn has never been so accurate. Food wars is what I expected it to be. A gratuitous amount of naked people, and appetizing food. While the clear focus is to be as exciting as possible all the time with such an ordinary part of life, Food Wars does over do it with the ecchi. I found it tiresome at times, and wanted more variety in people’s reaction to the food. Hence why Megumi’s scenes were always some of the stand out ones. The colorful cast, and food battles on the other hand though were everything I wanted them to be. Such a fun group of characters going head to head in such a fun concept. We all love food, so who doesn’t love watching a battle over it?
6: Tsuki Ga Kirei
This show was a sleeper hit of the year. It started fairly harmless, and some people were into it, and others dropped it right away because how low key the drama was. This isn’t your crazy expressive love stories you are used to. This is a humble adolescent tale of two shy people in love. Having to struggle through their anxieties, and fears of beings hurt is part of the journey. While this made for a hard middle patch of the story, the progression afterwards made up for it in spades. The series takes a very real approach on how this type of love would develop and cultivate itself. It’s sweet to the bone, and easily one of the best romance anime I’ve seen now. If the ending doesn’t make you smile from ear to ear….well I guess you aren’t the type who gets it.
5: Fune Wo Amu
As I stated in my post last month, Fune Wo Amu was a stellar drama about the creation of an underappreciated art. I won’t add too much to that in fear of being redundant, but this series really is the type I find remarkable, and far too rare in the medium. Please give us more, anime gods!! I plead thee!!!!
4: Poco’s Udon World
Oh sweet tanuki child, you were far more than I could have imagined you would be. My expectations were middling going into this series. I was hyped for the potential of another hit like Usagi Drop with the set up of child/parent relationship as a focus, yet I thought it might also be cute with no attachment for me. I’m so happy it was an utter delight from start to finish. This series is preciously cute, and very poignant as well. I related to it without ever expecting to, and it almost made me cry on a handful of occasions. All in all it was everything I could have wanted it to be.
3: Natsume Yuujinchou Season 6
More Natsume=More Daniel is happy. Go watch. Very quality. Much relax.
2: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
I recall last year saying that if season 2 could give me the closure I begged for, then Rakugo could very well be a masterpiece drama. Of course it decided to deliver that to me with so much quality I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I wrote a post to talk about one of my favorite aspects of the series, but honestly this show is layered with well written content. Similar to Fune wo Amu, if history forgets this show, I feel anime is going to be a lot sadder as a medium. Seriously fuck anime if it doesn’t credit this show as one of the finest series of the past decade.
1: Kimi ni Todoke
Fuck a duck this show hit all the right spots with me. I am such a romantic at heart, and Kimi ni Todoke fed into me like I was a gourmet meal. There are a few series I can name off the top of my head that epitomize feel good, and Kimi is now at the front of the pack. It is so funny, so cute, so lovely, so gosh I don’t even know where to begin. Sawako is one of the kindest and most lovable leads I’ve ever come across. The main love interest is equally kind, and fits her so well despite having his own noticeable flaws. The side cast isn’t just supplementary, they are down right essential to this series and what makes it so special. I loved this series so much, and it is the only one to crack into my top 25 after I made the list. Kimi wasn’t just good, it was my anime of the year because it was superb, and was everything I could want from it. I’m sad the anime hasn’t continued the manga’s plot. There is so many more amazing things to come, and the anime getting a season 3 seems highly uncertain. The manga hasn’t been updated online in months either. I need more of this series, because it is pure love, and I endorse that 110% of the time.
Well that ends the list! What anime were your favorites of 2017? Comment below or tell me on one of my social medias! Kimi ni Todoke was the perfect romantic comedy to suit my tastes. If you enjoy something in that vein, I highly recommend it to you. It is truly a master work of warm fuzzy feelings. Well until next time my little wanderers!
Happy New Year And on to an even better 2018!