Best of 2017 – Anime Awards
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Welcome to AllYourAnime.Net’s second ever Best of the Year Anime Awards! We’ve reviewed every season over this past year, giving us the confidence to pick out the titles that shone above the rest and are worth going back for if you somehow skipped over them. These are the titles that deserve to be remembered past 2017, exemplifying the best the year had to offer.
Below you’ll find the awards broken down into seasons, with winners for each and a couple runners-up that were too good to ignore outright. At the end only one of the four seasonal winners will be crowned Best of the Year. We also have a couple personal awards to dole out as well. So, without further delay:
(Note: only TV anime were considered for these awards.)
Best of Winter 2017:
Tom: Most sequels, be they anime or films, tend to suffer at least a tiny bit of a dip in quality. Non Non Biyori Repeat is a great example, a series that was near perfect in its first run, with a second season that still contains a lot of charm and humor, but suffered from a few growing flaws. Konosuba breaks the mold however, with a second season that wasn’t just as good as the first run, but even better. The humor explodes with new, hilarious gags, excellent use of Kazuma, Aqua and the whole gang, and several stand out events that put the first season to shame. For such excellent comedy, it’s hard not to see Konosuba Season 2 crowned as the best of the Winter.
Linny: What makes Konosuba’s second season so enjoyable is that it builds upon its characters, bringing out new facets to their personalities and oddities while also growing the world itself. We move to new locations and meet new people that put our leads into hilarious new predicaments and quandaries. The second season takes what most people loved about its predecessor and dials up the comedy and insanity to a hundred, giving its audience stand out and memorable gags, and elevating it to our favourite show of the Winter line up.
Tom: Interviews with Monster Girls burst onto the scene, garnering praise not only for its laid back slice of life content, but for the allegory it provided for understanding what disabled individuals have to go through in the day to day. It allowed audiences to see a new perspective to life, albeit with a fantasy tinge. Trouble is that allegory reading didn’t really hold up as the series went on, and its more fantastical premise veered it away from the social commentary that was so effective early on. Even so, there’s plenty to love as the series offered up a fun, enjoyable cast with some wonderful low-key comedy and romantic shenanigans between the succubus teacher, Sakie Sato, and our straight-laced straight man/teacher, Tetsuo Takahashi.
Linny: The struggle to maintain and balance its allegorical content while also trying to offer moe-like slice of life content caused Monster Girls to stumble as it continued. While still enjoyable overall, there were segments where the daily life content veered into the mundane or the fantasy made its more down to earth content fail to be convincing. Also, despite flirting with some very serious topics, the show would swing between offering very simple solutions, thus devaluing the seriousness of the matter or becoming very hamfisted and archaic with others. That said, the show is still sure to win a place in the heart of anyone seeking an adorable, funny and endearing mix of fantasy, social issues and moe high school girls.
Tom: Rakugo was our winner for 2016, one of the few pure anime dramas to come out over the year. It featured excellent characters, riveting performances, and an intriguing tale of aspirations, talent, and hard work. The follow up to the first season sought to continue the story as Sukeroku’s successor took center stage and made his way up in the Rakugo world. Descending Stories could’ve taken Winter’s top spot, if not for a few issues that popped up in this second outing. Namely some other worldly, supernatural developments that sit at odds with the series’ otherwise grounded nature. Or even a twist on the end that didn’t bother me personally, but soured quite a few fans all the same.
Linny: What elevated Rakugo’s first season was its honest and even cruel adherence to how its characters reacted to life and everything that happens in the show’s story. Its characters were flawed and often made choices that were self serving or foolish but that made them feel real. However, the second season ultimately veers into extreme fantasy and wish fulfillment, making its overall story feel a lot less convincing or appealing to those who preferred the realistic vibes of the first season.
Best of Spring 2017:
Tom: Sakura Quest is an extremely overlooked gem of the Spring and Summer seasons. Sakura Quest sought to deal with a really difficult topic: meeting one’s failure. Too often in anime, characters are portrayed achieving all their dreams and goals with near perfect success. It’s not even an anime only problem, extending across all media instead. But Sakura Quest focuses on characters who are either aimless, or more importantly unable to achieve their desired dreams and life goals. The series isn’t truly about failure however, but instead realizing that the path to your dreams isn’t just one road, and there’s many ways forward. Couple that message with great characters, grounded drama, and some well placed comedy, and it’s hard not to see why we recognize it as the best of Spring 2017.
Linny: Sakura Quest is an anime that’s likely to win over viewers with a more mature mindset as it moves at a slow pace and illustrates how, in real life, things don’t always progress at lightning speed and are often marred by hiccups and setbacks. There are never any magic wand solutions and almost every big happy moment or achievement is often followed by an almost equally or even greater devastating failure. This does mean that it’s going to drive away anyone fond of the magical word of media where all out success and happiness is often the end goal. However, for managing to craft a touching and realistic tale around the ups and downs of finding one’s path in life, Sakura Quest soars above its competition to snatch the title.
Tom: Re:Creators garnered a lot of attention over its Spring and Summer run, sometimes for the wrong reasons. While the story of fictional characters coming to life is interesting, it’s not exactly original. Re:Creators ultimately took two different approaches to this kind of story over its twenty-two episodes. First it started with a more detailed, contemplative nature regarding the mechanics of fictional characters appearing in the real world. Sometimes the series got so bogged down with this that, at times, it felt like nothing was happening. There was tons of discussion, but never enough action. Eventually the series shifted, and hard, in its later episodes, going near full action with a far less contemplative nature. While always entertaining, with plenty of awesome highs both emotional and action driven, that uneven nature kept it from the top Spring spot.
Linny: The uneven and extreme differences in how Re:Creators narrated and executed its story is definitely its Achilles Heel. First, the overly detailed and dialogue heavy first half drove away anyone sucked in by the eye catching battle in Episode 1 and then the action heavy, explanation low second cour of the show disappointed those who had become fond of the show’s otherwise meticulous approach to describing how everything in its world worked. Had Re:Creators managed a better balance, it would be have most likely been much higher on our list of favourite shows of its season, as well as a much more well liked show in general.
Tom: Attack on Titan finally saw its long awaited second season. After years of assurances that it was still on the way, Erin and company continue their story in anime form, faithfully adapting the manga’s content with a couple new additions, or bumped forward elements here or there. The series featured plenty of high quality art, animation, and brought to life some of the manga’s most shocking developments. At only twelve episodes though, fans didn’t have nearly as much to sink their teeth into as with the first run, and while more is supposedly on the way this next year, making the third season’s wait time far, far below its predecessor, it’s still a tad disappointing.
Linny: Attack on Titan Season 2 manages to escape the curse of dipping in quality that plagues a lot of succeeding seasons. It brings in some major developments and twists that only upped the tension and excitement of the story. However, thanks to the short episode count, fans were most likely left a little disappointed and frustrated and while that isn’t a huge flaw in itself, it does stop it from making it to the top of our list for Spring 2017.
Best of Summer 2017:
Tom: Made in Abyss is easily one of the top anime of 2017. It oozes with a unique atmosphere, harrowing obstacles, and adorable characters you can’t help but fear for. The series was mired in some controversy, specifically in the way it presented its main characters in the nude or some prepubescent body humor jokes that rubbed audiences the wrong way. Viewers couldn’t agree, with some of the audience disgusted and others unperturbed. I never felt it was really that big an issue, and whether a problem or not, was completely overshadowed by the series’ intense atmosphere, emotionally gripping developments, and incredibly unique background designs.
Linny: There’s no denying that Made in Abyss caused some very heated reactions among its western viewership but there’s also no denying that it boasts of a main plot and world that’s both mysterious and unique. The world of Made in Abyss is unique and everything in it feels unfamiliar and thus piques the curiosity. Add in the shocking twists, emotionally charged elements, extreme violence and you’ve got a show that’s bound to leave a mark on its audience.
Tom: My Hero Academia returned over the Spring and Summer with a double length second run. It continued the faithful adaptation of the manga, peppering in small doses of original content here or there. While still as strong as Academia has ever been, the anime suffered with ho-hum background art and other minor quibbles that kept it from fully bringing the manga’s excellent art to life. It’s still a very strong follow up however and is more than worth mentioning as a Runner Up for the Summer season.
Linny: My Hero Academia is undeniably one of the newer mainstays of the Shonen genre, featuring the best aspects of Shonen and this new season continues to please its fans. However, as the story continues, it becomes clear that the series might be getting bogged down by the trappings and cliches of its genre, making it a tad disappointing for those who wanted more unique developments. That and other minor flaws ensure that My Hero Academia season 2 isn’t our top pick but it is no slouch by any means and nevertheless remains one of the new Shonen titles most likely to appeal to a large audience.
Tom: Princess Principal was a fun, enjoyable character drama set against the backdrop of a fictional steampunk version of an early 1900s English Empire. While the character work was often solid, the series sometimes got confusing, choosing to tell its narrative by skipping around its own timeline. Then the series suffered from a rushed conclusion that left the doors open for a follow up season, but didn’t quite nail its job as a proper end to this first run. The series was one of the few original titles this year, and should be remembered as one of the better original offerings, but much like Re:Creators, stumbled just a bit too much to nab that top spot.
Linny: Princess Principal has stylish visuals and story telling but it gets bogged down by its focus on character work that kept wavering between engaging and ho-hum. In fact, three of its more prominent cast members are revealed to have ‘daddy issues’ as their origin stories/background, making them feel less unique and even a bit cliched. Ultimately though, it’s the rushed conclusion that undoes Princess Principal, making for an unconvincing finale that audiences might struggle to even want a follow up to.
Best of Fall 2017:
Tom: Inuyashiki is hardly a prize pig. It’s art is rough, a little stagnant at times, and never blends well with the heavy use of CGI. That said, the series is worth remembering for its great character work, emotional story, and inventive nature. It’s the creator of Gantz’ best work, thanks in part to ejecting so much of his more shock value tendencies. This helps to make Inuyashiki a wonderfully engaging tale. It’s because of its character work and emotional story telling that Inuyashiki transcends its ho-hum animation and comes out on top for Winter 2017. Though Inuyashiki taking top spot kind of signals how weak the Fall season ultimately turned out to be.
Linny: Inuyashiki’s main draw is its story, not its art or animation. For those that enjoy more brutal and dark tales around human nature, Inuyashiki manages to be an entertaining example. And for those that despised the author for his previous works that were rather sleazy and sexually exploitative, Inuyashiki avoids engaging in such cheap narrative turns and instead focuses on its emotional and action charged tale of two different individuals and their diverging responses to being granted the same unique abilities. But as Tom mentioned, it’s true that Inuyashiki most likely won our top spot due to lack of strong competition rather than for being an extremely amazing piece of work.
Tom: A Sister’s All You Need shocked audiences world wide with an opening three minutes that offended anyone who wasn’t prepared for the most ‘balls to the wall’ siscon lampooning. Coming off more as reveling in that content, A Sister’s All You Need got off on the wrong foot. Beneath that shock value opening was a lot of heart, character work, and more slice of life comedy than one would’ve expected. Sexual humor is still a big part of the series, but never really again in the way the show chose to introduce itself. For what I consider an utter failure as its series’ opener, A Sister’s All You Need fails to nab the top spot, but is still worth going back for if you enjoy sex-gag based comedies.
Linny: What mars A Sister’s All You Need is the complete clash between its extreme shock value siscon and sexual humour and its more down to earth, realistic portrayal of the ups and downs in the life of a light novel author. The extreme switch in tone whenever we go from one to the other is extremely jarring and impacts the enjoyment of either. The shock comedy will make it hard to take the realistic daily life parts earnestly and the realistic and heartwarming parts make the improper jokes all the more offensive and aggravating. This show constantly feels like it’s stuck between two worlds/genres and by doing so, loses the much larger potential audience it could have won by sticking to one or the other and any chances of becoming a much lauded show.
Tom: Vanishing Line is the third Garo anime installment, with the difficult task of living up to that first Garo anime while avoiding the awfulness of the second. Thankfully Vanishing Line isn’t held down by Crimson Moon’s lackluster presentation, as neither series has anything to do with the other outside of positing the same general elements of the Makai Knights vs. Horrors. That said, Vanishing Line still hasn’t reached the heights of that first Garo anime. At times it does, whenever the series feels like delving into its grander narrative, but all too often Vanishing Line chooses to wallow in its one-off, junk foodesque tales featuring villains of the week. Never bad, and always fun, it’s that obsession with fun but meaningless one off tales that kept it from placing higher. It still absolutely deserves a call out though, even if its run is only half done.
Linny: Garo: Vanishing Line starts off with a clear main plot at its heart but then spends most of its run time on one off tales. This isn’t unique to the Garo franchise but in the case of Vanishing Line, it makes such a big deal of its main ‘El Dorado’ plot that it becomes frustrating when that plot line barely ever makes any progress for the first half of the series. However, for those that enjoy the over the top battles and nature of Garo’s characters, there’s still plenty to love this time around and enough to give it a runners up spot for the season.
Best Short of the Year:
Tom: There weren’t that many good shorts this year. Most of the short-form anime over 2017 were boring, or fell apart half way through their run. Aho-Girl isn’t a pity nomination though. It’s a series that consistently generates laughs, and while it too began to peter out towards the end of its run, it still always managed to produce some big laughs and goes out with a perfect ending to cap off the tale of Aho-Girl, Yoshiko Hanabatake herself and the poor boy who’s constantly subjected to her idiocy, Akuru Akutsu.
Linny: Fans of outrageous short comedies are sure to see why Aho Girl made it as our best short of the year. The first few episodes of the series will have most people in stitches. Do be aware that the humour dips in quality as the show progresses and might even feel repetitive in some cases. Ultimately though, Aho Girl gets our top spot for not only bringing the laughs but putting actual serious effort into having different opening animation each episode and wrapping it all up with a finale that felt like a nice sombre wrap up for a totally outrageous and silly show.
Tom’s Personal Pick of the Year:
Tom: 2017 saw the rise of grounded anime dramas, or more specifically grounded youth romance. Instead of the normal bombastic anime characters falling in love, Tsukigakirei treated us to characters who’re entirely awkward, more fitting with teens of that age. Their romance was painful to watch as either character struggled to make their feelings clear and really come out of their shells. That painful realism made Tsukigakirei gripping, and endearing, as it offered a much rarer take on youthful love than the medium often offers. The series ultimately offers up a wish fulfillment ending however, that perhaps drags down the realism otherwise seen throughout the run, but still stood out as one of the best dramatic series of 2017 and I think absolutely needs a mention here.
Linny’s Personal Pick of the Year:
Linny: My personal pick of the year would have been the same as Tom’s had it not been for the sugary sweet ending that made the realism of the show lose points. So instead, I’m going with Just Because! as it takes an even more grounded look at teen love and relationships, and one that feels more mature as it deals with teenagers in their last year of high school. We get to see them deal with not only love but also the dilemma of what next step to take in life. Some struggle with the realization that college is not in their future while others try to become their own person. However, it’s not all praise as the series suffers from terrible animation issues as well as being a slow burner of a tale. If you liked Tsukigakirei and find yourself craving similar or even a slightly more mature tale, you should most definitely give Just Because! a try.
The Most Beloved 2017 Anime We Didn’t Take To:
Land of the Lustrous
Tom: Not every anime is going to appeal to everyone, and we’re well aware that certain big or beloved titles don’t make it onto our lists due to personal tastes. That’s why we felt it best to mention one title that’s stood out over 2017 as something we didn’t take to, but still oozes with quality and deserves appreciation all the same. Land of the Lustrous is a series with incredible CGI art that’s garnered praise even from that medium’s harshest critics. It also offers a unique world oozing with creativity and mystery. Our problem was the lead character, Phos, who took too long to show signs of likability and character progression. However, much of Land of the Lustrous’ die-hard fandom never had this issue, and found Phos’ struggle with success endearing and even relatable. While not a series we’ll be giving a true award to, it shouldn’t be forgotten all the same, and despite our dislike for its lead, I still believe is a series well worth giving a try.
Linny: Our mission at AllYourAnime.Net is to help you find the anime that’s best suited for you rather than only what we liked as taste is subjective and there are no absolutes when it comes to entertainment. Thus, despite our struggle to take to the Land of the Lustrous’ lead, we still appreciated the art and world building to a great degree and feel that it deserves to be introduced to as wide an audience as possible. If you have a penchant for anime that employs more unique looking visuals and builds a unique world, you should most definitely give this series a chance.
And Finally: Winner of AllYourAnime.Net’s Best of 2017 Awards:
Best Anime of the Year:
Tom: Made in Abyss might’ve had some controversy while it aired, but even the series’ greatest detractors had to admit that there was a lot to love no matter how you felt about the periodic nudity and prepubescent body humor gags. The series stunned audiences with its sheer brutality, telling the tale of a world where safety is not guaranteed. Our characters delve deep into an Abyss not fit for man, where life can be snatched away in the blink of an eye. Abyss warned viewers of how dark it could get, but still managed to shock those who’d failed to take heed. Even beneath its brutality the series offered up endearing characters, emotional drama, and heartfelt developments that give the series an ultimately tragic feel and make it one of the most emotional experiences of 2017. Controversy aside Made in Abyss is, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best 2017 had to offer and with a sequel on its way in 2018, I am absolutely dying to return to this harrowing world.
Linny: If you haven’t heard of or checked out Made in Abyss yet, the first thing you need to be aware of is that you will need a stomach of steel as it features some pretty brutal and tragic incidents. This story of two young kids taking on a challenge and a world that’s cruel and mysterious makes for a thrilling watch, constantly keeping audiences on its toes as to what fate awaits our protagonists and what deadly or heart wrenching reveal is next. It starts off mostly innocent as the dangers of this world are enumerated using childish scribbles but once our characters actually encounter them, things quickly turn very serious and very unsettling. Made in Abyss isn’t a show for everyone but there’s no denying that its savage setting and story make it the most memorable show of 2017.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment and let us know which Anime you feel are the best of 2017.