2017 had some great shows for sure; however, I felt that the year was pretty lackluster as a whole. Still, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy some of the series that the year produced. Therefore, I wanted to take this opportunity to do a Top 5 list for my personal favorite anime of 2017. Of course, the disclaimer here is that this is my PERSONAL Top 5, meaning I would have had to watch the show in order to place it on this list. Your list may be similar or vastly different based on your tastes and what you have watched.
With that being said…
Gamers! had a pretty interesting premise to it. When I had originally read the synopsis, I felt that this was going to be a Genshiken-style romantic comedy. Being a HUGE fan of Genshiken (which, in my opinion, is one of the best geek culture slice-of-life anime ever created), I was excited to give this show a chance. After the first episode, I was ecstatic to see that my assumption was correct.
Then, the show completely abandoned that for a generic romantic comedy and my heart sank. I was actually close to dropping the show because of it, but I stuck with it because I am a fan of romantic comedies in general. I’m glad I did because Gamers! offered up a great romantic comedy with a solid story, lovable characters and still sprinkled in some gaming and geek culture references. Needless to say a show that initially met my expectations then let me down ended up surprising me to the point where I really enjoyed watching it.
4. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Naruto was my gateway drug into the world of anime. I was instantly hooked on it and when the show wasn’t in filler hell, I loved the story it told. While some of the animation was quite terrible (like the Pain vs Naruto fight or when Madara was taking on the 4th Shinobi Unit), it was still awesome to see the events in the manga animated. When the sequel series was announced, I scratched my head because at the time, there were only 11 chapters of the Boruto manga published and the manga came out monthly. I felt that there was no way in hell that this series was going to be long-running. Besides, the Boruto movie already adapted the entirety of what the manga had released already.
That question was answered when Studio Pierrot announced that Boruto would be an original anime. At that moment my heart sank once again because the series which was notorious for filler was making an entire series that was just that… filler. Despite this, I decided to give the show a chance and I was blown away at how good it actually was. Boruto felt like old-school Naruto with an updated premise. Boruto, as a character, didn’t feel like a carbon copy of Naruto. Every character had their own personalities, some similar to their parents. The story arcs thus far have been amazing and they are adapting certain chapters of the manga when and where it makes sense. The Naruto fan in me fell in love with this show and I hope they can continue this quality into the future!
How many Isekai (Another World) anime have come out in recent years? Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, Hai to Gensou no Grimjar, Overlord, Re:Zero, the list goes on and on and on. Heck, even in 2018 were getting Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody added to the pile. The genre has been done to death so Re:Creators served as a breath of fresh air. Instead of being trapped in another world, the “another world” characters were trapped in the real world. Characters from anime, video games, manga and light novels were transported into the real world where one creation vowed to tear the real world and all fictional worlds apart. It kind of had a Fate/stay night vibe to it and it felt refreshing!
The story was pulled off really well and the characters were all amazing. The only pitfall this show had was its ending. The ending felt like a Deus Ex Machina moment and it kind of ruined all of the build up that they gave to Altair… who until that point was in the running to be included as one of the most powerful anime villains in history. I was also excited over this show because there was no source material for it. It was an original anime by Rei Hiroe, the author behind Black Lagoon, another favorite series of mine. Tag on Hiroyuki Sawano, who is among the very best of anime composers, and you had a recipe for greatness… and that’s what we received until the final two episodes. Still, it makes this list because even though the ending was kind of terrible, the rest of the show was just flat-out amazing.
2. Attack on Titan Season 2
I know, I know. Mainstream anime isn’t real anime… Attack on Titan is shit… I have bad tastes in anime… blah, blah blah.
I loved the original Attack on Titan and I equally loved the second season. The first season turned me into a manga reader and, yes, I could spoil a lot of things for anime-only watchers, but I won’t. The reveal of the Beast Titan, humanity’s continued survival, the identities of the Armored and Colossus Titans… this series had so many epic moments in it. The only problem I see is that being a manga reader, I know what’s to come and Season 3 is probably going to bore a lot of people because we’re coming up to a time where the manga just goes into information dump mode for several chapters… and by several, I mean SEVERAL.
However, while the story that will be told will be so compelling, I doubt people will even care. Plus, there’s still some battles to come that will leave people shocked! Hajime Isayama has crafted an amazing story and I can’t wait for Studio Wit to unleash it upon the world in a way that only they can! Also, the fact that we only have wait four more months (from the time of this writing) is a lot better than having to wait four entire years!
1. Made in Abyss
Every once in a while, a show comes along that is off-putting by its presentation. When you see little kids featured in the key art wearing excavating uniforms, your expectations aren’t really that high. Then, you start watching and you realize that your initial perception of the show had been shattered and replaced with awe. That is the kind of show Made in Abyss is. The story of Riko and her android friend Reg, diving deep into the Abyss to find out if her mother had truly died or not, was one of the best anime I had seen in a LONG time. If you thought this was going to be a cutesy adventure, think again. There is a reason why this show has been nicknamed Suffering in Abyss…
The dark turn of this show has only been rivaled by Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It catches you off guard, but at least Made in Abyss was up front about it. There will be no Gen Urobuchi apology to be had here today! I can’t say enough good things about this show. It is definitely a series that needs to be experienced as the art, the animation, the soundtrack, the characters, the story… every facet that makes an anime great are hitting on all cylinders here. With a second season due out later this year, anime fans owe it to themselves to watch the show as soon as possible!
That wraps up my personal best anime of 2017. Do you agree with my choices? Are yours vastly different? Be sure to let me know in the comments section below.
Until next time,