That fabled time has come once again. With four full seasons of anime on the books, it’s time to mark out the true all-stars, the cream of the crop, the shows we just might remember in spite of our recency-mad fandom culture. I normally preface posts like this with a glib assurance that rankings don’t really matter, art deserves to be engaged with in a manner more meaningful than relative evaluation, and thus this whole ordeal is a hopeless exercise. That all remains true, but at the end of a year that’s offered plenty of things to be cynical about in the real world, I’d rather end this introduction on a note of honest positivity. Rankings aren’t bad things. Not only are they fun to read, but to people who actually haven’t spent countless hours poring over the year’s better and worse selections, rankings can genuinely help point people in useful directions. On top of that, simply celebrating the shows I love is one of my favorite things about criticism, and what’s a better venue for pure celebration than a list of my recent favorites? So let’s put the critical knives aside, and appreciate how good some cartoons can be. Here’s my Top 10 Anime of 2017!
Today on Why It Works, I finally get around to a dedicated Rakugo article! I ended up pretty happy with this one – I switched from Why It Works’ generally conversational tone to a more dramatic, show-based one, and I think it worked out okay. Why It Works lets me experiment in all sorts of ways, and making a weekly column-sized version of one of my big thematic writeups was a lot of fun. Rakugo certainly offers plenty to talk about!
This was another perfectly acceptable week in anime. I’ve pretty much accepted that this is going to be a workmanly season – there’s nothing I’ll love as much as Oregairu or Flip Flappers, but most of my list will consistently turn out solidly enjoyable episodes. Dragon Maid is the comfiest thing I could hope for, Tanya continues to be far too entertaining for its own good, and Rakugo holds up the prestige end of the season with relative grace. March also seems to be recovering from its weaker stretch, which is nice to see. This probably won’t be the season we come back to at the end of the year, but hey, some seasons are just trying to pay the bills. So let’s start with some fuwa fuwa dragons and run this week down!
Well now I’ve got too many damn shows. Having added two shows to the schedule, along with rewatching and writing the hell out of Bakemonogatari, means I’m actually feeling at least as overbooked as I did last season, and I don’t even have something as infinitely layered as Flip Flappers to make all my Crunchyroll articles easy. This anime gig is tough! Still, “too many good shows” is not the worst of problems, and I certainly don’t mind this season shaping up to be more respectable than anticipated. Thank you KyoAni for introducing me to my perfect dragon daughter, your charity truly knows no bounds. Let’s get right to it and RUN SOME SHOWS DOWN!
Well shit, where the hell did all these shows come from. Last week I was basically on the verge of rechristening the Week in Review in Rakugo’s honor, and now I’ve got all these friggin’ words about dragon maids and nazi lolis. It turned out the winter season wasn’t quite done with me yet, and so it looks like we’ll be returning to my regularly scheduled ramblings. The second episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was miles better than the first, and the second and third episodes of Tanya were… actually really entertaining? I mean, I can at least say for sure now that the show definitely isn’t Mahouka – a great part of the appeal is watching Tanya get kicked around by the actual deity of her world. Whether that appeal keeps the show entertaining for a full season, I couldn’t begin to say, but either way, it’s time for words. Let’s start with the two newcomers and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!
This week in anime was… look, I’m barely watching anything this season. ACCA and Interviews with Monster Girls are the only non-Rakugo show I’m not both watching and covering for ANN, and that second one’s already kind of on the borderline. If the season continues at this pace, it seems likely we’ll be at This Week in Rakugo before too long. That’s not actually the worst thing! I’ve probably said it before, but I’m much happier with a show or two I really love than a bunch of “watchable entertainment” I’d be comfortable skipping. My media consumption tends to reflect that – I make top ten lists and whatnot, but as an “anime fan,” I’m probably only a fan of 2-3% of what the medium puts out, and could take or leave the rest. That’s not to say I’m a more refined consumer or anything, it mostly just means I understand that some seasons aren’t going to have much for me to talk about. I’ll figure out if I should adjust my schedule for the season at some point (“Week 6: the award for best Rakugo goes to Rakugo”), but for now, let’s run down this season’s slimmest of pickings!
Hello and welcome! With the new anime season’s first week having come and gone, we are left with an immense pile of new series to investigate. A great part of the fun of new media is the joy of discovery, but I detest joy and your acquisition of it in particular, and so I’m here to steal that pleasure from you. Instead, you will now read my list of impressions for basically every new show that came out, which will dictate the terms of your entertainment for the next three months.
Working for ANN’s preview guide means I really do watch basically every new show, and offer a reasonably sized take on all of them (you can check out ANN’s full list here, and find my thoughts under Nick Creamer). But even that is so much material that it’s kind of ridiculous to engage with, and so here at the blog I group everything I watched into vague descending categories, with both brief thoughts and a link to my longer ones. This has been a fairly iffy season so far, so I’m sorry to say the lower brackets will be kind of stacked this time, but there’s still plenty of worthwhile anime to discover! Feel free to skim at your leisure, or just skip to the part where I start rambling incoherently and losing hope in existence. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
Incidentally, I won’t be covering the shows that are chained to various awful licensing situations here, so just imagine my thoughts on Little Witch Academia are “please Netflix, please spare us from the pain of this empty season.” Alright, I think that covers it. Let’s run this season down!
The winter season has begun! Yes, it certainly has done that. So far, this season is pretty much confirming my initial impressions – we’re in for a ridiculous new anime dry spell, and it’d probably be best to open your backlog binders now. I say “Part One” in the title, but this may well be the only one of these roundups I get to before the final list – shows have just been coming out too fast for me to put one of these together, and so we’re starting off with about half the season already behind us. There have been a couple shows I might just maybe continue, though, so I guess it’s not all bad. Anyway, you can find the whole list of shows that have been covered right here, or click below to get a rundown of each of my scores with individual links!
I’ll be honest – this upcoming anime season is looking pretty sparse. Perhaps this is our punishment for having such a strong current season, or perhaps the good and just anime gods are displeased with Flip Flappers’ low sales numbers, but either way, we’re going to be scavenging for scraps come January. That said, there are still some bright spots here and there – sequels to strong first seasons, shows with promising creators, originals that might have have some kind of special spark. And we’ve certainly had weak winter seasons before – in fact, this winter may just end up being a repeat of last year’s, where Rakugo stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. We’ll get by, as we always do. And we’ll probably have some nice cartoons to help us.
As usual, I won’t be previewing every single show of the coming season, and I also won’t be providing traditional synopses. You can check a site like anichart for all that stuff – instead, I’ll be highlighting the specific shows that seem to have potential, along with the generally staff-related reasons I feel that way. Plot is cheap, but strong artists are irreplaceable. So let’s start at the vague peak of my interest level and run this next season down!