Here we go and 2017 was the very first year I covered a whole year of seasonal anime on the blog. It was a big year but more than just watching lots of anime I was actively working to watch anime outside of my comfort zone. That meant there were a few odd titles that cropped up in my watch lists and some of them ended up being well worth the watch. Some notable titles that didn’t make my final list include KADO (if only this one had ended as well as it began because that ending should be noted as one of the worst anime endings ever), WorldEnd, Princess Principal, Land of the Lustrous and Recovery of an MMO Junkie. Depending on your tastes in anime, all of these titles offer fairly good viewing but still didn’t manage to make the list.
No. 1: No sequels of any kind.
No. 2: Only one anime from each season which gave me 4 picks from each year.
No. 3: Other than 2019 anime, no matter how brilliant an anime was if I hadn’t rewatched it since it aired then it didn’t make the list. If I don’t like it enough to watch it more than once then it doesn’t deserve to be on an anime of the decade list.
Incidentally these anime are not the technical best anime of their seasons but are the ones I would pick if I could only watch one anime from that season. They are anime I loved, for whatever reason, and felt deserved to be remembered.
With its jazzy introduction, striking character designs and a plot that is woven throughout its entire run-time, ACCA was an anime that got my attention early in its season and held it all the way through. While not as thrilling as some anime and certainly light on action preferring instead to progress the plot through subtle character interactions and world build through food and clothing, ACCA still ended up being great fun full of colourful characters. Of course the best thing about it is a very conclusive ending. The character lives go on but the central plot has been resolved in a satisfying manner and the point that needed to be made is made.
Where ACCA may fall down a bit is that it is a slow burn with small pieces of the puzzle gradually coming together. It isn’t a style of story telling for everyone and the more subtle characterisation isn’t overly attention grabbing though for those who stick around you will be rewarded with characters who have quite a lot of personality and depth bubbling away under relatively sedate exteriors. Honestly, I just really enjoyed this anime and could do with one like it each year.
Okay, I probably do need to defend this choice. This was an anime dropped by a lot of reviewers and I know my early episode reviews (particularly in the middle of the first cour) were not exactly flattering of this incredibly slow paced and awkward little story. Actually I was downright critical by the end of the first cour and ready to drop the show. However, given I did make it to the end of the 24 episodes while this was airing I came to the conclusion even then that Sagrada Reset had an amazingly well structured narrative. You just don’t realise it until you watch the end of the series and see how every little piece does come together and even the seemingly most random and pointless conversation or object actually does have some purpose. On rewatch, identifying all these little points along the way is actually very satisfying and while the stilted dialogue and very stilted characters are still a little hard to take, there’s definitely some merit to this one.
Ultimately, Sagrada Reset has flawed execution of what was a fairly ambitious narrative. While it does at times try to be cleverer than it is and it certainly could have presented the entire package with more enticing characters and visuals, having now watched this more than once I do feel its an anime that will do better outside of seasonal viewing only it more or less vanished from discussion before it was even done airing. While there were certainly better anime in 2017, Sagrada Reset is one that has drawn me back numerous times since and despite my initial negative reaction to it I’m now in a place where on reflection I can say I’m very glad I watched it.
Made in Abyss
There’s only one thing that stops me declaring Made in Abyss a masterpiece but it is a pretty bit thing. Largely it is that this season that aired in 2017 feels like a prologue to a story we still haven’t gotten to see. It is adventurous and fun with some fairly tense and dark moments as well as quite a dose of the grotesque, sharply contrasting with the pretty cute character designs, and yet the narrative really does feel like we are still just getting started when the anime comes to an end. Although these episodes have done a brilliant job of making you want to uncover the secrets in the abyss so some excellent points there.
Visually, this one is a work of art and the design of characters, creatures, and settings are truly spectacular. Work in some brilliant sound design and you have an anime that sets the right tone with sound and visuals more or less every scene and it is amazing what a difference that can make to immersion within a story. Honestly, Made in Abyss is just good and if it actually ended it would be one of those unmissable anime titles.
Girls’ Last Tour
The year that was 2017 closed out with this quiet gem of an anime, Girls’ Last Tour. This was an anime of contrasts. Cute female characters against the bleak end of the world setting. The upbeat opening song which included the girls dancing and even dabbing and then episodes where they declared things like making friends with hopelessness. The girls have no destination and merely travel looking for whatever they can find in order to keep eating and living. As they have no goal there’s no arrival at the end and the story is broken more into half-episode stories where the girls find or interact with something new and then they move on.
This one snuck up on me as I did not expect it to have the impact it did. Ten minutes watching the girls make music with tins and raindrops was actually truly wonderful because of how the visuals, sound and characters interact. More dangerous situation where the girls faced crumbling infrastructure or came across other survivors added a bit of variety into what was essentially a two girl story. While Girls’ Last Tour isn’t a perfect anime, it is one full of amazing moments that are each worth watching. If you missed this anime in 2017 you definitely need to give it a shot.
2017 is done and I have two years left before I’ve covered the whole decade. However, before we get to 2018, let me know what your picks from 2017 were.