Disclaimer: This is going to be a really long post, so I apologise in advance for the humongous wall of text you’re all about to experience.
The Autumn Anime Season of 2017 has come to a close and with the year drawing to a close, it is now a time for reflection.
2017 was a pretty decent year for us Anime fans. The year was off to an absolutely fantastic start, and while I personally feel that the latter half of the year was slightly lacking for me compared to the former half, I won’t deny that it was pretty solid all across the board.
So, I’d like to reflect on the year by celebrating some of the best Anime of 2017 by giving out Awards for specific categories. I only included shows that I actually watched this year, so if a specific show didn’t make any of the Awards, that may be why. For example, I haven’t seen The Ancient Magus’ Bride. I am very sorry.
For each Award, I’ll be providing a Winner along with a reasoning for each pick.
The criteria for the Awards are as follows:
- For a show to eligible, it must have aired in 2017.
- Second seasons are eligible for the Awards.
- Awards are only given to shows I watched. I can’t judge something I didn’t watch.
- A show doesn’t have to have been completed in 2017 to be eligible.
- Anime Movies are not eligible for the Awards.
- The Awards have been split into different types. The Production Awards have Runner-Ups as well as Winners.
- These Awards are based on my own opinions. You may think differently, and that’s cool! – I’d love to know your own thoughts!
Without further delay, let’s get these Awards rolling!
WINNER: MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 2
Was anyone really expecting anything else to win this award?
I’ve got to hand it to Studio Bones, they really knocked it out of the park with the second season of My Hero Academia in the animation and production department.
The first season of this show was already pretty amazing to look at, with its incredible aesthetics, its striking character designs and colour palette and phenomenally directed, well choreographed and beautifully animated fight sequences. But my god, did they step up their game even more in this follow up season.
When this season was announced to be double the length of the first, I was concerned that the production values were going to take a hit due to the increased episode count, but they actually went up. Every episode looks incredible, especially during fight scenes, where things just look insanely good to the point it easily rivals that of cinema quality Anime films.
My Hero Academia Season 2 is easily one of the best looking shows of the year, and of everything I watched in 2017, it takes the crown. There’s practically no contest here.
RUNNER-UP: MADE IN ABYSS
Made in Abyss was off to a pretty great start in its first episode when it came to the production values. The character designs were striking and colourful, the animation was absolutely incredible, and the backgrounds were a whole other phenomenon entirely. However, within a few episodes, the animation started to take a hit, and stopped looking as impressive as it originally did, which unfortunately prevented it from taking the top spot for me this year.
That being said, despite my issues with the animation worsening over time, the art style, directing and oh so beautiful backgrounds remained consistently incredible and breathtaking, and continued to impress me throughout, which is why Made in Abyss sits proudly in second place.
The world feels alive and is a treat on the eyes, and the charming character designs that serve as a stark contrast to the setting, with their child like appearance, is a marriage that works surprisingly well, especially given the darker nature of the shows latter half.
- Little Witch Academia – Trigger did a great job with this one, and despite it falling a little flat compared to their past works, it’s still one of the best looking shows of the year.
- Fate/Apocrypha – Not the franchises finest looking entry by any means, but A-1 Pictures did a surprisingly great job with this one, and would make Ufotable proud. Fight scenes are spectacular.
- Welcome to the Ballroom – Some real genius directing in here and the opening episode in particular was a real treat.
- Black Clover – For a 50 episode Shonen Jump adaptation by Studio Pierrot, I’ve been constantly surprised at how well directed and amazingly animated this show is. It looks better than most other shows this year and the fight scenes are on freaking point.
BEST MANGA ADAPTATION
WINNER: SCUM’S WISH
As a lover of series that focus on a messed up, romantically involved couple in a dark tale of tragedy and terrible decision making, it’s no surprise that Scum’s Wish takes the top spot for me in this category.
Scum’s Wish was an absolute treat for someone like me, because it was a fully realised adaptation of a work that represents my favourite kind of story in Manga, a kind of story that is poorly represented in the medium of Anime because none of them ever get adapted. Ever.
But sweeping aside my personal preference, the story of Scum’s Wish was phenomenal on its own. It originally comes across as a fairly trashy, and dare I say “scummy”, tale of two teenagers using one another to satisfy their dark, sexual urges. However, it presents this story and its related themes in a very realistic and mature way, with a very adult tone.
Yes, there’s some fan-service and some sexually explicit scenes, but for the most part, Scum’s Wish is about the characters in those scenes, their emotional connection to one another and their deeper inner struggles. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, and is anything but trashy.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but I strongly recommend giving the show a chance if you haven’t already.
I hope with the success of Scum’s Wish, we’ll start to see more Manga adaptations of this element, because it’s about time we got some.
What a show.
RUNNER-UP: MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 2
My Hero Academia did it again by continuing its fantastic, character driven narrative it established from its previous season last year, and taking it to new and exciting heights that catapulted it from “typical Shounen” to “something pretty unique and interesting”.
While the series is still full of typical Shounen story beats, such as a tournament arc and rivals teaming up and learning to understand one another, My Hero Academia’s story is filled with so much raw emotion, a ton of awesomeness and has such a charming and relatable cast that it honestly doesn’t matter one bit.
I’ve said time and time again, that execution is everything, and My Hero Academia is a prime example of that. Deku’s story is just so emotionally gratifying to watch unfold, that I can’t help but root for the guy every time he goes all out to show that he’s worthy of acknowledging. And that’s not even getting into the personal narratives of every member of the supporting cast, who are all equally interesting in their own right.
And despite following the typical Shounen template in a lot of ways, the series actually throws a few curve balls here and there, which took me by surprise.
- Attack on Titan Season 2 – Despite being only 12 episodes and paced a bit too quickly for my tastes, Attack on Titan Season 2 was well worth the wait and served as a worthy follow up to the adrenaline fuelled awesomeness that was the original series. It even answered many of those lingering questions we’ve all had on our minds for years.
- Kakegurui – While incomplete and nowhere near as good as the original Manga, this Anime adaptation of Kakegurui still did a great job at telling a solid story, with some excellent mind games.
- Made in Abyss – An excellent tale, with plenty of mystery, a compelling world and some really solid storytelling. Plenty of dark twists and turns down the line too.
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Despite many labelling it as a cash cow, Boruto has actually managed to mature into its own thing that is more than capable of standing on its own two feet. It’s not the most unique story out there, and it has a lot of throwbacks to the original series, with some pacing issues here and there, but despite that, it’s a really fun, energetic and dare I say, compelling story, with an interesting plot.
- Netsuzou TRap – It’s not mere trash, and anyone who thinks so is wrong. Seriously though, while on the surface this appears to be nothing but a trashy show about two girls kissing with Netorare elements, it’s actually about a young, teenage girl struggling with her identity and the conflicts that come with such a struggle. And it’s great.
BEST LIGHT NOVEL ADAPTATION
WINNER: AKASHIC RECORDS OF BASTARD MAGIC INSTRUCTOR
There weren’t a lot of great Light Novel adaptations this year, but Akashic Records was a real stand out for me.
Originally coming across as nothing more than your standard magical high school Light Novel series, Akashic Records manages to quickly shatter any of the preconceived opinions of its audience by subverting many of the ideas of the genre within its first couple of episodes. And from there on, it continues to be a very entertaining and enjoyable watch throughout.
The protagonist, Glenn Radars, originally seems like nothing more than your overpowered protagonist who can do and be anything, but it’s revealed shortly after his introduction that he’s actually not. He has an excellent knowledge of magic, and is originally presented as being a total, unstoppable badass of a man. Until he instantly loses a duel against one of his students at the end of the first episode, and it’s revealed that while he has a great knowledge of magic, he’s terrible at using it.
And while he does have a super powerful ability to cancel out the magic of his opponents and is talented enough in physical combat to defeat his opponents with basic martial arts after doing so, this ability comes with limitations and is far from the overpowered shenanigans of our lord and saviour Tatsuya “Jesus-kun” Shiba.
That and Glenn’s lazy, unmotivated and far from heroic attitude make this series far more than your typical run of the mill Light Novel adaptation, and well worth your time.
RUNNER-UP: KONOSUBA SEASON 2
Konosuba came back to grace us with its hilarious and amazing presence, and it continued to be one of the funniest and entertaining parodies in the medium.
While it wasn’t as funny as the first season, or as memorable, it was still pretty great, and it’s a damn shame we haven’t had an announcement for a third a season yet.
I don’t have much else to say other than, it’s more Konosuba and it’s great and I hope we get more some day.
- Gamers! – A pretty charming series surrounding a group of friends and video games that was unfortunately overlooked by many. Worth your time.
- Masamune-kun’s Revenge – The whole premise leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but it’s actually pretty funny and turns out to be quite good down the line, with some nice surprises towards the end.
WINNER: SCUM’S WISH
For the reasons I’ve more or less already stated earlier in this post, Scum’s Wish has the best story of the year for me.
Not only is it a complete story with all the loose ends more or less tied up, but it’s a well told one, with almost every character being equally represented, with their own compelling story and resolution.
That, and the uniqueness of the story itself, combined with the mature approach to its normally trashily depicted subject matter and themes and its many emotionally crushing moments, make Scum’s Wish my favourite story from the medium this year.
RUNNER-UP: MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 2
I love Shounen stories, and My Hero Academia’s second season is no exception.
Continuing directly from where the first season left off, the story takes things to a whole other realm of awesomeness and is packed to brim with emotionally satisfying moments, explores the backstories of many of the side characters and takes the overarching narrative to far more interesting places.
I look forward to seeing where things go in the upcoming third (and hopefully not final) season.
- Berserk Season 2 – While this modern day adaptation of the Berserk franchise continues to suffer horrendously in the animation department, Kentaro Miura’s storytelling remains just as fantastic as it was in the Manga, and it’s great to finally see his epic Dark Fantasy in Anime form, even if it looks terrible.
- Tsuki Ga Kirei – A very charming and grounded romance story that is just so cheery and feel good, that I can’t help but love it. It’s a fully realised romance story, and Anime needs more of it.
- Made in Abyss – Gets off to a shaky start, but develops into something compelling with plenty of dark twists down the line and excellent world building. Looking forward to the second season.
- Clione no Akari – An unfortunately, very overlooked short that is one of the most feelsy series from the year. A tale of friendship, love and loss between a group of three friends that’s just so genuine and also very, very sad.
BEST ACTION ANIME
WINNER: MY HERO ACADEMIA
If a good action Anime is defined by how amazing and hard hitting it’s fight scenes are, then I can think of no better example than My Hero Academia this year.
Not only is it a fantastically told, Shounen underdog story with a ton of emotionally satisfying moments of pure awesomeness, but it’s also full of some of the best looking, engaging, hard hitting and incredible fight scenes I’ve ever seen from Anime in it’s entirity never mind 2017.
Deku vs Todoroki is probably one of my favourite episodes, and fights, in Anime and had me literally shaking with excitement from start to finish. I was overwhelmed. And that’s just one of the many incredible fights in the series.
And not only are the action scenes emotionally gratifying and do well as a visual spectacle of awesomeness, but they actually involve a great deal of tactics and strategy and are a far cry from two people simply beating the heck out of each other. It’s very Hunter x Hunter, and I can think of nothing better than that when it comes to an action series.
My Hero Academia wins. Hands down. No contest. No argument.
BEST PSYCHOLOGICAL ANIME
There weren’t a lot of Anime in 2017 that I’d refer to as “psychological”, which made Kakegurui a stand out compared to other series that came out.
It’s not the greatest mind game focused series of all time, and is far inferior to a series like Kaiji, which had a very similar concept and premise, but it’s still a very solid series with some excellent mind games and tactics, complete with a protagonist who is a crazy, manipulative and, dare I say, seductive biatch.
There’s plenty of fantastic moments of characters having their minds and sanity completely torn to shreds through psychological warfare and tactical genius, and it’s so, so brilliant and satisfying.
And it has gambling waifus.
A must watch for any fan of shows about mind games and gambling.
BEST FANTASY ANIME
WINNER: BERSERK SEASON 2
Feel free to give me shit for this one.
I know that the modern day adaptation of Berserk looks terrible. I’m well aware that it looks like a bad Playstation 2 game and literally hurts to watch.
But I’d be lying if I said Berserk wasn’t a good Fantasy story despite its awfully executed presentation.
As a fan of the Manga, I’m anything but happy with how this series has been treated in the visuals department, but the story remains intact and the story has always been the best thing about Berserk and what makes it, in my opinion, the greatest Fantasy story ever told across all mediums.
So what else, other than said story, is worthy of being crowned the best Fantasy Anime of 2017? None, I say. None.
BEST SHOUNEN ANIME
WINNER: BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
My Hero Academia already won the award for best Action Anime, so I’m giving this to the second best Shounen Anime of the year instead.
Boruto get’s a lot of flack due to it being a sequel series to Naruto, a series which was far too lengthy and drawn out for its own good and for making some story decisions that many weren’t happy with (I was, because I apparently have bad taste).
But Boruto doesn’t deserve to live in Naruto’s shadow, because despite being a follow up to it, it’s actually really good, and it’s more than capable of being its own thing, without being just a sequel to Naruto.
You could easily jump into Boruto with no knowledge of Naruto or its story, and get the full experience, although having prior exposure to the world, the old cast and their story most definitely enhances the experience, for sure.
As a Shounen, Boruto is great and has a great cast of characters, a fairly interesting story and some excellent fight scenes that are well animated and satisfying to watch.
BEST MYSTERY ANIME
WINNER: ATTACK ON TITAN SEASON 2
While many associate Attack on Titan with high octane action scenes and characters dying constantly in gruesome and inhumane ways, I tend to associate it with the genre of mystery because the mystery behind the colossal threat of the titans is the most compelling aspect of the series.
Yes, the action scenes are cool. Yeah, it’s traumatic to see your favourite character die. But the point of Attack on Titan, to me, is the who and why. “Why is this happening?” “Why is the world like this?” “Why are the titans eating people?” “Who are these titans?”
And these are all questions that the second season of Attack on Titan starts to actually explore and give us answers to. While there are still plenty of unanswered questions, and a lot more new ones too, a lot of the series biggest mysteries were finally revealed, and the build up to these, and the reveals themselves, were simply spectacular.
Attack on Titan’s second season was very much worth the four year wait, and I can’t wait for Season 3, however long it takes.
BEST SEINEN ANIME
WINNER: SCUM’S WISH
See “Best Story”.
I have nothing else to add than what I’ve said previously.
Scum’s Wish is amazing.
BEST COMEDY ANIME
WINNER: TSUREZURE CHILDREN
It’s hard for a comedy in Anime to make me laugh out loud, but Tsurezure Children did an excellent job at providing me with the laughs all throughout, and as a result really stood out from all the other comedies I watched this year.
I know that’s hardly a unique stance or statement to make about a comedy series, but that’s all there is to it really.
Tsurezure Children made me laugh. Constantly. Even more than Konosuba’s second season.
On top of that, it had some really great characters and a ton of satisfying romances that were entertaining and amusing to follow due to how relatable they were.
And the short length helps too.
BEST SLICE OF LIFE ANIME
WINNER: TSUKI GA KIREI
I haven’t finished this show yet, but even still, I’m giving Tsuki Ga Kirei the award for the best Slice of Life Anime of 2017.
Because not only does it look absolutely gorgeous in every area of its production, but it tells the story of a well grounded, realistic, charming and genuine romance between two highschoolers, with no harem nonsense, no baiting and no bloody hurdles that prevent the romance from blossoming into something real.
It’s something that more Anime needs to do, and Tsuki Ga Kirei is bold enough to cut the nonsense and just give us a romance that is fully realised and explored.
What else do I need to say? It’s great.
…And I need to finish it.
BEST SCIENCE FICTION ANIME
ēlDLIVE is the spiritual successor to Katekyo Hitman Reborn, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Anime of all time. I’m also a huge fan of the original Manga, which I’d consider to be one of the best Manga that is still currently running. Naturally I was very excited for this Anime adaptation, and despite it not adapting as much of the series as I’d have liked it to, and ending everything with a filler arc, it was still pretty amazing.
The protagonist, Chuta, is incredibly well developed in the 12 episodes of the series, receiving more development than most characters do in double that amount of episodes. The setting is unique and interesting, and feels very Men in Black, with aliens living amongst humans and blending into society. The fight scenes are great and full of the usual jargon and technological nonsense you’d expect from any good Sci-Fi series.
It’s a great series and marries Shounen and Sci-Fi together really well. It’s unfortunate how overlooked this series was. I urge you to check it out if you’re a fan of Sci-Fi and/or Shounen.
And read the Manga. It’s absolutely insane and was subverting the Shounen genre on the same scale as Hunter x Hunter’s Chimera Ant Arc the last time I checked up on it.
BEST SHORT ANIME SERIES
WINNER: NETSUZOU TRAP
“Hurr durr, Netsuzou TRap is trash hurr durr.”
I’ve already explained why I think this show is more than just trash and I continue to stand by my claims that this is a good story, with compelling characters and interesting ideas beyond “Two girls kissing: Netorare Edition”.
Yes, the characters are unlikable. Yes, it’s mean spirited. Yes, the animation is not very good. Do I care? Nope. In fact, barring the last one, that’s precisely why I like the series and is the point of the series. And no, we’re not bad people for liking it either.
Give it a chance. It’s more than what it’s being labelled as.
BEST JOSEI ANIME
WINNER: SHOUWA GENROKU RAKUGO SHINJU SEASON 2
Continuing the biggest surprise of 2016 into this year, Rakugo Shinju’s second season continues to be an impressive story with some incredible character chemistry and development.
The series is very unique, and really something special that deserves to be watched by all Anime fans. I strongly recommend checking it out.
WINNER: CHUTA KOKONOSE (ēlDLIVE)
Being the spiritual successor to Katekyo Hitman Reborn’s Tsunayoushi Sawada, it’s no surprise that ēlDLIVE’s Chuta Kokonose takes my spot for Best Protagonist of 2017.
Because like Tsuna, his character development is handled brilliantly and happens gradually over the course of the series, in a very natural way that isn’t forced like you’d expect from a Shounen series. He gradually evolves into a likable little guy, and doesn’t just suddenly become amazing out of nowhere.
That, and the amount of complex development he receives in the span of 12 episodes is staggering, especially when it rivals, and even sometimes best’s, that of characters who have more than twice the amount of episodes to receive the same amount of development.
And that’s not even getting into his incredibly awesome super power and partnership with Dolugh.
He’s also a great cook and has an awesome fashion sense.
WINNER: TOMURA SHIGARAKI (MY HERO ACADEMIA)
I gave my boy Tomura this award last year, but he’s just so awesome, and was even more awesome in the second season of My Hero Academia that I decided to go “screw it” and give him it again.
Not only did he continue to be a downright menacing and emotionally unstable villain, he also started to show a more looming and threatening presence in this latest season by making some incredibly bold and large scale moves towards our heroes.
He even went as far as approaching Deku personally, in broad daylight, without his usual villain costume, and basically held him and thousands of unknowing innocent bystanders hostage. What an awesome guy.
His contrasting mindset and attitude compared to Deku’s also continues to fascinate me, and I can’t wait to see more of him next season.
BEST DESIGNED CAST
WINNER: THE CAST OF TSUREZURE CHILDREN
Just look at the varied designs of this cast they look so good aaaaah.
Yeah, there’s very little contest here. Just from looking at each member of the cast alone, their personalities and who they are as people is made completely obvious, and the designs themselves are incredibly memorable and striking.
MOST IRRITATING VOICE
WINNER: ASTA (BLACK CLOVER)
I don’t think I need to even explain why Asta wins this one, but just in case you needed a reminder, let me explain why using one, simple string of letters:
– Asta, 2017
BEST FIGHT SCENE
WINNER: DEKU VS TODOROKI (MY HERO ACADEMIA)
As I’ve previously stated in this post, this is not only by far the best fight scene in 2017, but arguably one of my favourite fight scenes in all of Anime.
I’ve watched this at least three times now, and every single time I’ve been completely blown away by how intense and well animated this conflict is. It’s hard hitting, well directed, amazingly choreographed and a visual spectacle of pure awesomeness that I’ll never forget. Ever.
I came away from this one in awe and was literally shaking with excitement the entire time. That hasn’t happened since Hunter x Hunter. It’s just so bloody good.
Like, I’m actually amazed that a fight scene looks this good and is this entertaining to watch. Multiple times.
MOST EMOTIONAL SCENE
WINNER: HANABI CONFESSES TO NARUMI (SCUM’S WISH)
If there’s any scene in 2017 that made me bawl my eyes out like a baby, it’s when Hanabi finally confessed her true feelings to Narumi in Scum’s Wish.
Not only was it a dramatic turning point for her character, and the story in general, but it was when Hanabi was finally true to herself and finally let her immoral feelings out in the open.
And doing so absolutely destroys her emotionally. Because in that moment, she realises that Narumi will never love her back in the same way, and she bawls her eyes out in his arms. It’s a very depressing and sad moment, and I can’t think of any other scene this year that hit me in the feels as hard as this one.
MOST EPIC SCENE
WINNER: CHUTA REVIVES DOLUGH (ELDLIVE)
What a scene this was.
While it was fairly cheesy, and very typical for a Shounen series, there was something very charming and heartwarming about this scene that just felt so… Epic.
Chuta is at his wits end, having lost his sentient partner, and the source of his power, Dolugh, during a very tough battle, and shortly afterwards, ends up speaking to Dolugh from inside himself who gives him a heartfelt speech about how he finally understands Chuta and wants to keep on living together with him. This is something that, up until now, we’d never seen from the little guy before, who originally seemed to not care all that much about our hero.
Then, not only does he get revived, but he goes berserk, completely tearing their opponent to shreds, and being uncontrollable by Chuta. And after a crazy rampage, Chuta manages to regain control over Dolugh and receives a nice little power boost, and the two team up to defeat their opponent in a satisfying victory that feels earned.
It’s far from the most unique scene, but epic? Heck yeah it was.
BEST OPENING THEME
WINNER: BLACK CLOVER
You all know I’m a sucker for kick ass guitar riffs and the Black Clover opening is not exception to that rule.
It’s full of energy, it’s awesome and it’s something I can actually see myself listening to outside of watching the Anime itself.
It perfectly matches the series, and I’m hyped to get to it every week when I watch the show. Damn it’s awesome!
BEST ENDING THEME
WINNER: ATTACK ON TITAN SEASON 2
Shinsei Kamattechan are one of my all time favourite bands. Funnily enough, they have been for years, before I was even all that into Anime as a medium, having been a fan of Japanese music for years beforehand.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were the ones behind the ending theme for the second season of Attack on Titan, which while not their best work, was absolutely excellent and everything a Shinsei Kamattechan song should be.
It fits the menacing, dark tone of the series brilliantly, and is another fantastic piece of work by an incredible band who continue to make consistently great music to this day.
And that’s a wrap…
We’re done! The awards are done!
I hope you all enjoyed seeing my picks, and I apologise for the length of this post… I got a little carried away. Thank you to those who read all the way through! You’re the best!
Also I apologise for the same shows winning lots of categories. I guess like last year, my taste still isn’t that varied… Ah well.
This is the longest post ever.
Goodbye! And please share your own thoughts!