With 2018 ahead of us, this seems like a good time to look back on 2017. In what is appearing to be a pattern the Winter season really was the highlight of the year for me. Out of the whole year it was that season that delivered the most enjoyable shows for me in terms of Top 10 quality. That was the case last year for me, is the case this year, and honestly I’m expecting the same from next year.
Same as previous years I’ll be listing my Top 10 shows of the past year. I’m not going to pretend this list is objective. These are the shows I enjoyed the most and listed in a way that makes sense to me. This list will differ from the lists others come up with. But that’s part of the fun of it. This is a chance to talk about the great shows that came out in 2017. These lists are a chance to draw people’s attention to shows I enjoyed, but others didn’t watch. It is always nice to have the chance to find a show you missed that turned out way better than you ever expected. With that said these are my top 10 shows of 2017.
10. Blend S (Fall)
Blend S was a really pleasant surprise from the Fall Season. Sometimes you just need a show that can make you laugh and this show did that for me this year. Blend S succeeded pretty well as a slice of life and comedy about a small group working at a restaurant. At the core of it are pretty likable characters. While I liked some more than others, there wasn’t anyone in the main cast that I disliked. At the core of it is Maika who is a pretty sweet main character. She is a bit of a strange one being extremely kind, but also having a habit of giving scary looks to people and having a subconscious streak of sadism that does make her perfect for working there. The show is mostly about the comedy, but there are certainly relationships building between Maika/Dino and Kaho/Akizuki. For me, Top 10 worthy.
9. Tales of Zestiria the X 2nd Season (Winter)
It is interesting looking back on this show. I might have rated it even higher if I hadn’t actually played Tales of Berseria after this show was over. One thing it does have going for it though….it’s a really nice looking show. Ufotable does some nice work and they really brought the visual side of this RPG adaptation to life. I enjoyed watching the action and the characters fighting threats such as dragons and other supernatural threats. The only downside is that the characters and story isn’t the best the Tales franchise has to offer. At the same time it is a fairly optimistic story and those can be nice. I really did enjoy watching this show and while I can’t vouch for the quality of the adaptation it is worth a spot on this list.
8. Fate/Apocrypha (Summer)
As a whole I found Fate/Apocrypha to be a solid show. It was a kind of refreshing thing to jump into a Fate property that didn’t have many of the familiar faces from previous series. Although I wouldn’t say the MC in Sieg was a hugely interesting character. But there were a fair amount of interesting people around him. The setup for this series did allow for a lot more characters than in a normal Fate series and a fair amount of action between different factions. I struggled a bit in deciding where to put this show, but the action near the end of the series was pretty darn good. While it might not be my favorite Fate series, it is a nice addition to the overall list. A franchise that takes some creative liberties with historical figures, but delivers some interesting stories as a result.
7. Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen (Winter)
I honestly though the original incarnation of Ao no Exorcist was a solid show. You could feel of course the anime-original ending, but it was alright. I was excited though to see a legitimate continuation based on the source material. It felt like they did a pretty good job settling people in who only watched that original first series and just build naturally from there. It was a very tidy arc that allowed the various characters to grow and mature. An interesting entity since it was just one small part of a larger source material so the development was effective, but clearly hinting at more to come. As a whole I enjoyed the action, the character development, and even the main villain for that arc. It was really entertaining even if I disliked how some characters behaved. It made sense for them to be acting that way so it worked.
6. Children of the Whales (Fall)
In some ways this show was my oasis in the Fall Season. You really get the fantasy feel of the show with the setting being a moving island traveling across a sea of sand. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this show turned into a pretty emotional war story. And it doesn’t hold back that much in terms of death or violence. We have kids able to use special abilities (and look pretty cool doing it) and there are consequences when they go up against an armed force. Chakuro is a pretty emotional lead, but it works because he doesn’t just sit and mope. He does experience loss and honestly it makes sense for him to stumble, but he keeps moving along. The cast is full of pretty likable characters that you want to see get through it. A great looking show with mystery, action, and drama.
5. Little Witch Academia (TV) (Winter)
Now we’re getting into the top 5 of 2017. Honestly I was fairly excited to see how LWA would turn out. I enjoyed those OVA episodes and the short stories they told within those constraints. Whether or not they’d be able to turn that into a good full series was the question going in. As a whole I think they pulled it off. It was a visually good looking show. Their approach to magic and how it actually behaved and looked….well just felt magical. They let magic do weird and crazy things. The show just had a great style to it. And Akko was a strong lead. Her growth throughout the story was nice to see and you could feel her enthusiasm. It is a show that didn’t focus as much on the side cast so Akko could get the full spotlight, but that worked for me. Fun, exciting, good!
4. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (Winter)
This was honestly a show I almost forgot came out in 2017. What wasn’t forgettable though was the quality. I really did enjoy this show. A strange mix of bringing these fantastical ‘dragons’ into modern day. And yet it just plain worked. A special mention has to go out to KyoAni for making this look so good. It is a show that most of the time wouldn’t need much of a budget, but you could see the effort going into the eyes and expressions of the characters. Tohru is such a cute and lovable character. She cares so much about Kobayashi, but at the drop of a hat could wipe out all human life on Earth. There is really nice character development for Kobayashi especially and just a really likable cast of characters. Just a really enjoyable show.
3. Natsume Yuujinchou Roku (Spring)
It is hard to find a season of Natsume that isn’t worthy of being in the Top 10. This show is just remarkably consistent in the best way possible. Roku was another season where we continued seeing small and steady character development along with some emotional stories. Natsume is such a likable character and you just feel good seeing him grow beyond his past. Roku just continued to touch on some really emotional points. We get to see how difficult it can be for Natsume to determine whether what he can see is dangerous, harmless, or whether it is something only he can see at all. Whether people can see youkai in this show or whether they can’t, both sides can bring out strong relationships. This isn’t a show about action (though there is some) but rather a show about connections between people and less tangible existences.
2. Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ (Summer)
I’m legitimately thrilled that I could put this show so high in my top 10 and feel it is justified. GX was a season with problems, but I feel AXZ was a great return to form for this franchise. This season had a lot of strong elements to it. The song quality remained excellent and I loved how the series is more willing to mix things up with more duets. Sometimes juggling the 6 Symphogear users can be difficult, but as a whole I think the cast were given good moments. It also had me a bit scared with some of the cliffhangers for the first time in a few seasons. They made good use of past seasons for character arcs and plot points. This show has a history and they made use of that. AXZ brought action, music, and setup for what could be a wild season 5.
1. Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season (Spring)
When first thinking about this year’s top 10 list, this show just stood out immediately. This season had some great moments during the sports festival, the Stain arc, and quick tests at the end. It was awesome seeing Todoroki just step up as a major character. They handled him extremely well with timely exposition, flashbacks, and not dragging things out. His story flowed nicely and allowed for some awesome action sequences. Of course it wasn’t just Todoroki either; Deku continued to evolve this season, Ochaco really stepped up at specific points, and Iida had a pretty emotional journey. Boku no Hero is making a case for how these types of shounen series should be handled. They put a lot of effort into one or two cours and pace the story properly. It is fun, dramatic, entertaining and without a doubt my #1 show of 2017.
And that is my Top 10 list for 2017! I don’t often compare years of anime that have passed, but I’m left with the feeling that 2017 was a bit weaker than 2016. It was really hard in 2016 to narrow down the shows I really liked to a Top 10 list. But this year it wasn’t that challenging. Although maybe it just isn’t fair with a year that had some spectacular shows in it. Maybe a factor though is that so many of my favorite shows in this season came in the Winter. Having a loaded season can be great during that season, but it can leave the rest of the year a bit thin.
But honestly I still think this year had some great shows. Boku no Hero’s second season would stand up against some of the top shows of previous years with how high quality it was. The fan in me loved how Symphogear AXZ was a strong bounce back from a flawed GX season. Both shows brought a satisfying amount of action and enjoyment. And I truly appreciate how carefully handled the adaptation has been for Boku no Hero. It has tossed the pattern of just endlessly adapting a series to the point where you catch up with the source material and then the filler begins. That adaptation is being paced properly and is being made in short bursts which allows for the quality to remain high. And I’m extremely hyped for seeing where Symphogear will go in Season 5.
I’m really ready to turn the page and get ready for 2018. It helps that Winter looks unbelievably good for my personal tastes. There are a lot of shows that were fun to watch in 2017, but only a few that I feel a bit sad to say goodbye to. Though that feeling is built on the fact that my top shows are coming back. Boku no Hero will have a third season in 2018. Symphogear’s 5th season is coming, whether or not it is in 2018 is another question entirely. I doubt we’ve seen the last of Natsume and there are always more Fate anime to anticipate.
2017 had some good shows in it. I enjoyed looking back on the whole year and being reminded of the good times along the way. When it comes down to it, anime is a form of entertainment that I deeply enjoy. Life can have ups and downs and this year was a pretty strong reminder of that in my case. But one consistent is that good shows will continue coming out. I hope everyone had a good time reading this Top 10 list and I hope 2018 treats you well.
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