2017 was an interesting year. The world went to shit. Quality anime, movies, and video games were aplenty. I rebooted the blog after realizing that I was a decade behind what was acceptable in terms of online writing. And now I’m bringing back some old projects I previously abandoned due to my inexperience, but now want to give another chance. Like the permanent yearly lists – now with three separate top fives for the best, worst, and most disappointing anime contained within 365 days.
Honestly, I thought this was one of the best years for the medium in recent times, hence the motivation I got to reboot this project. But apparently a bunch of elitists just think 2017 was okay because we can’t be pleased unless we watch thirty excellent shows at once, now can we? Oh well. Let’s focus on me for now.
5. Tsuki ga Kirei (feel)
While I had some issues regarding this one, at the end of the day, I need to give Tsuki ga Kirei props for being a romance anime where the main couple gets together in a way that doesn’t feel retarded and isn’t padded to the point that a snail could travel from China to the center of Mars in the amount of time it takes for something happen. And really, while the fact that it avoids many of the pitfalls helps, it’s the surprising maturity underneath the fluffy visuals that really separates this show from every other romance series out there, good or otherwise. Well done feel. I knew seventeen years of crap would eventually pay off.
4. The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Wit)
I’ve been questioned a few times what exactly constitutes good world-building in anime. Well the short of it is that you don’t draw the thing and then have the characters take me on a tour. You have the world constantly evolve, play a core part in the characterization, make sure the set pieces are as important to the narrative as they are beautiful, and as such you get the very absorbing dark fantasy world of The Ancient Magus’ Bride. What you do NOT do is keep interrupting the serious moments with chibi faces. There’s a difference between using humor to lighten the mood and being tonally consistent, Wit.
3. My Hero Academia S2 (Bones)
Action anime in general have a long history of being more style over substance, generally acting as an excuse to act cool or come up with stupid names for attacks, and sacrificing the storytelling possibilities that the medium is capable of producing. Then My Hero Academia yelled out “here’s an idea. How about we do the style stuff, but also add the in-depth characterization and ambitious on-going arcs that sum up the craft of today’s serialized TV?” I don’t see why not Bones. You’ve done it fine before, and you don’t seem to have much trouble doing it again.
2. Made in Abyss (Kinema Citrus)
Yeah that’s right guys. The “best anime of the year” only made it to second place on this list. And it’s going to stay that way until it stops shoving Riko’s underage tits in my face or halt whatever it seems to consider “humor” in general, but I want to make it clear that Made in Abyss is one of the most critically acclaimed anime of the decade for a good reason. It’s incredibly beautiful and ambitious in terms of visual storytelling, with a really unique outlook on humanity’s fragility and a setting that’s well-realized enough to match its large goals. If the two leads weren’t underdeveloped and my friends would just fuck off with the Mitty memes, I’d probably worship this too.
1. Scum’s Wish (Lerche)
I wish I had written more about Scum’s Wish back when it was fresh on people’s mind, but somehow I just don’t think my words alone can encompass how great a series I think it is. This was a really ballsy show that took major risks in regards to depicting the dark side of romance, and the way everything all tied together into a fantastic finale that’s as painful as it is heartwarming is the kind of tall task I don’t expect from this medium, but when it does happen, I praise it to high heavens. If only the cartoons on the next two lists could have taken the chances it did…
5. Land of the Lustrous (Orange)
Might get some people mad with this one because it’s well-made and I know it has a lot of fans, but I feel like I need to take a stand against anime that seem to think you can make entire series out of nothing but world-building and call it a day until the inevitable sequel that isn’t guaranteed to be good arrives. And no amount of memes can make me overlook how throughout the entirety of Land of the Lustrous’ run, the only thing that happened was the main character went from Mary Sue to The Bride from Kill Bill, which most stories tend to accomplish by the time the first episode ends.
4. Night is Short, Walk on Girl (Science Saru)
Sorry Yuasa, but if you’re going to try to become more mainstream within the community, then you need to learn to stop giving me what I used to like and start giving me something I didn’t know I liked. Sure Night is Short, Walk on Girl looks like The Tatami Galaxy, sounds like The Tatami Galaxy, has some of the same characters as The Tatami Galaxy, and even recycles a lot of the same jokes as The Tatami Galaxy. But I’d rather watch The Tatami Galaxy again then sit through the anime version of an overly long drinking party.
3. Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Signal. MD)
Third place is pretty much the definition of a concept product rather than something of actual quality. What I find so annoying about Recovery of an MMO Junkie is that instead of actually using its “realistic” portrayal of NEETs for something interesting like as a commentary on Japan’s working conditions or the pressures that the female population face when they approach Christmas cake status, it decided to just be an overly long chick flick with too many coincidences and bad animation. I think The Purge was a better social satire than Recovery of an MMO Junkie.
2. Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Ponoc)
You know Ponoc, I appreciate you trying to keep the Ghibli charm alive, but I also appreciate letting it die after there’s nothing more to be done with it. Otherwise we’d get movies like Mary and the Witch’s Flower, a film that I can only really describe as a direct-to-DVD kids’ film that somehow got an extravagant budget. I could hope that their later films will be better, but I could also hope that Gonzo would stop being horrible, and we all know that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
1. Re: Creators (Troyca)
Poor Re:Creators. It had all the narrative elements necessary to be a great show, and then fucked it up when it forgot that anime is a visual medium and thus you need some visual elements to propel things as well. Also, a few narrative edits so that certain things could shine rather than having many “okay” elements would have helped as well. Re:Creators isn’t just my most disappointing anime of 2017, but it’s also the most disappointing anime I’ve seen in years. When exactly is Ei Aoki going to stop trying to be a live-action director and realize that you’re supposed to be watching anime for the fucking animation?!
5. Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul (MAPPA)
There sure were a lot of bad anime this year that did their best to stand out in their awfulness. I really wanted to represent shit like Hand Shakers, Classroom of the Elite, and the new Kino’s Journey on this list, but sadly I must keep things simple and start this worst list off with Virgin Soul. A badly conceived idea that somehow managed to add even more fundamentally flawed ideas on top of that, with each one somehow being worst than the last. It was basically the start of MAPPA’s horrible year in terms of producing quality with the only bright spot being at least they didn’t make anything worse than this turd of a series.
4. Love & Lies (Liden Films)
You know how a lot of anime fans think that the best solutions to love polygons is to choose ’em all, especially when it’s between one guy and multiple girls? Well maybe that worked out for the guy who made Wonder Woman, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work out for everyone. And it especially didn’t work out for Love & Lies, where its commitment to supporting polygamy only lead it towards an emptiness more vast than your average girl-a-week romcom.
3. No Game No Life Zero (Madhouse)
No Game No Life Zero is not only a horrible inexplicably popular sequel to an already horrible inexplicably popular anime, but it’s a crime against animation in of itself. Yeah, let’s remove the iconic gaming and just have all of the interesting stuff happen off-screen whilst we communicate what just happened through boring exposition scenes and random time-jumps. Won’t that confuse the people who didn’t read the light novels? Hah! You think those people would pay money to watch this tripe?
2. Chaos;Child (Silver Link)
Look, we all know Chaos;Head was a terrible show. But we also know that it was made almost a decade ago when KyoAni and arguably Shaft were the only ones who gave a shit about making high quality entertainment out of visual novels. If anything, I didn’t expect the follow-up to not only ignore the evolutions VN adaptations have made since, but actually turn out worse than Chaos;Head in the process. Some people have told me the game is great, but I don’t see how that defends this show in any conceivable way.
1. Sagrada Reset (David Production)
Did you really expect anything else? Seriously, there was absolutely no chance that Sagrada Reset wasn’t going to make it to number one, especially since the only way I could envision an anime worse than this atrocity is if it gave your AIDs within three seconds of viewing it. It may not be the most offensive thing out there, but it is by far the laziest production I have ever seen in a long time. Literally no effort was put into anything from the animation to the voice-acting. It is a completely lifeless form of art whose only astonishing feature is just how uncompelling it is. Honestly, I’m giving it too much attention by writing more than five words on it, which is ironic given how the anime is nothing but words spouted out by robots that act more artificial than actual machines.