Reflections on Anime in 2017 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion and the reader’s choice)

No feature this week because it is time to announce the winner of the reader’s choice for Best Anime of 2017. Still, first I’ll share my personal picks now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to think, consider, weigh up and re-evaluate. I even had time for a binge of one or two of these shows just to double check that my opinion hadn’t changed. And now it is time. Time to announce the shows I felt were the best and worst of the year that was. I’m giving my lists of top 10 best and worst for 2017 and finally the results from the reader’s poll.

My rules:

  • I need to have watched the whole series (or as much as has aired in 2017 – I know some of these are continuing on).
  • My judgement is entirely based on the entertainment I got out of watching the anime (so I already know some shows are actually objectively not very good but I enjoyed them – or they are on the worst list even though they are pretty quality but they didn’t appeal to me).
  • Feel free to suggest your own top 10 best or worst in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. March Comes in Like a Lion (Season 2)
  2. My Hero Academia (Season 2)
  3. Natsume Yuujinchou (Season 6)
  4. March Comes in Like a Lion (Season 1)
  5. Girls’ Last Tour
  6. Land of the Lustrous
  7. Princess Principal
  8. ACCA
  9. The Ancient Magus’ Bride
  10. The Eccentric Family (Season 2)

March Comes in Like a Lion made the list twice due to the first season finishing in the Winter season and the second season starting in the Autumn season, however the show just continues getting better and better. While I feel bad that Natsume is only sitting in third place, that is probably a sign of just how much I enjoyed some of the shows this year and I couldn’t drop My Hero Academia season 2 any lower because it blew any expectations I had away and delivered a very solid season.

Some surprises on the list include Girls’ Last Tour and Land of the Lustrous. Both of these came out in the Autumn season and I was very surprised by how attached I became to these shows given neither really fits my usual style. Princess Principal was another surprising show that kind of won me over earlier in the year. Meanwhile, I’m kind of happy that ACCA held out out because I genuinely loved watching it even though I know it isn’t the kind of show everyone will like. I feel it really deserves a place on this list and I’m glad it didn’t get bumped off. I also feel bad that KADO did get bumped off. If I was judging these shows based on their first halves only it would have been number 1, but then it all just went so wrong.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Hand Shakers
  2. Dies Irae
  3. The Silver Guardian
  4. Chronos Ruler
  5. Knight’s & Magic
  6. Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun
  7. Katsugeki Touken Ranbu
  8. Tales of Zestiria the X (Season 2)
  9. Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor
  10. Granblue Fantasy

No surprises that Hand Shakers stayed at the top of the worst list, though Dies Irae was definitely fighting for a chance at the top spot for worst anime of the year.

The Silver Guardian and Chronos Ruler both ended up being fairly pointless with every little positive (they weren’t trainwrecks by any means but they aren’t exactly good). But, given I have to have watched the show for it to find a place on my list even though there are worse anime out there they don’t get on the final list.

From Knight’s & Magic on, the main criticism I would give all these shows is that by the end of the season I wasn’t enjoying them and was pretty bored. While they all had something that could have been really good and a lot of potential, they just never delivered an overall satisfying viewing experience.

The Reader’s Poll

This has been a twisty ride though the leader did keep its lead throughout. At one point there were only 4 points between the top 5 anime on this list but then a couple of shows got a boost in the last few days.

Right, no further delay.

The winner of the reader’s poll is…

Best2017

There it is: Made in Abyss.

Abyss3

It definitely got a surge toward the end and I think people being able to access in on Amazon probably helped it along in the last couple of days. Still, My Hero Academia and The Ancient Magus Bride did fairly well for themselves. Poor Princess Principal kind of got overlooked for most of the poll and March Comes in Like a Lion and Girls’ Last Tour didn’t make a lot of headway.

Still, the reader’s have spoken and this poll received the most votes so far with 155 people participating. Compare that to last years best of 2016 which received only 55 votes and this one is probably starting to be a bit more reflective of the community. Thanks to everyone who voted and left comments and hopefully your choice came out on top but if it didn’t, there’s always next time.

With that I will say goodbye to 2017, but as you’ve probably noticed, my top 5 lists at the moment are covering some of my favourite characters, themes and visuals from 2017. This will continue until the first week of February and then I’ll finally come up with some new content and stop milking 2017 for every post I can get out of it.

Over to you: Which anime was your favourite or most hated from 2017?


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Karandi James.

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Last Chance to Vote for Best Anime 2017

The last chance to vote. This is for the reader’s favourite anime of 2017.

Just a reminder that the vote here is limited to the top 3 shows that were voted for after each season during 2017. There are no write in votes and the poll will close tomorrow. If you can, please share the link.

Results will be announced Friday, so make sure you check back to find out what the readers have selected as the anime of the year as well as my top 10 favourites from 2017.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Disappointed Me From 2017

Last week I gave my top 5 list of suprisingly good shows from 2017. This week I turn it around and share my top 5 disappointments from 2017. Like the last list, this isn’t the list of shows I thought were the worst (those will come out in their own list with the reader’s choices later). This list is for shows that I foolishly held any kind of expectation for and then had my hopes dashed, shattered and basically destroyed as the series progressed. It is a highly subjective list as if you didn’t have expectations for the show it probably won’t be a disappointment so I’d love to know which shows you found a bit disappointing last year. Be sure to leave a comment below.

Please Note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to Clockwork Planet, KADO, and Silver Guardian.

Okay, KADO was actually a major disappointment but I didn’t have any expectations when the show started because I hadn’t even heard of it. It was more the second half of the show could not manage to live up to the expectations built during the first half.

Number 5: Juni Taisen: Zodiac War

This is entirely my own fault. I rarely watch promotional videos prior to viewing an anime but this is one I had seen talked up a lot and the promos looked fantastic. In the show’s defense, the show mostly looks pretty amazing, particularly in action sequences (which are few and far between after the dramatic opening episode that show cases just how pretty the animation could be). But with dull characters that I never connected with and a mostly predictable plot I didn’t care about, this show quickly became a chose to watch and ended up being something I actually put off watching for a day some week’s even knowing that the events of the episode would be ‘spoiled’ after I read the blogs of others. I just didn’t care whether I knew what was about to happen or not because I’d given up expecting anything from the show.

Number 4: Knight’s & Magic

For a show with such a cool concept of combining mecha and magic and placing it in a standard isekai setting this quickly became just a mess of time jumps, dull narration, and very little to invest in. Ernesti could have become an interesting character excpet that the show went out of its way to never challenge him and to never have him second guess himself. Ever. The support cast are mostly forgettable. The final story arc deals with a threat that more or less comes out of nowhere and you don’t actually feel any of the main characters are threatened. Basically it is a mess of a show where it could have so easily been good.

Number 3: Black Clover

I’m aware, it isn’t done yet. But the disappointment this one gave me was palpable. I don’t buy into hype and so despite the Crunchyroll push of this anime everywhere prior to release, I kind of resigned myself to a pretty standard shounen story that would have the usual annoyances of the genre but would probably be a good enough bit of light hearted entertainment. Alas, Black Clover forgot the most imporant part thing is to actually engage your audience and entertain them. See, the point isn’t just to stretch wafer thin content until it crumbles and exposes the absolute rubbish characters and their lack of motives or development. Each episode just compounded the irritation associated with this show and it couldn’t even live up to my expectations that this might be alright for a bit of fun. I feel very bad for people who went in to this show actually expecting the next big shounen title.

Number 2: Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2

After season 1, I wasn’t expecting much of season 2. I was more or less just hoping to find out how Sorey actually got a handle on his powers and defeated the Calamity King. And in fairness, season 2 did get around to delivering that story. We just spent a lot of time kind of meandering around before the henchman of the villain just kind of showed up and said ‘he’s over there, go get him’ and then we watched the characters more or less just go and do that. There are some good moments and some fairly impressive visuals at times, but all and all the narrative is a mess and there are too many characters who seem to exist only because they must have been in the game. It all just detracts from the story and sucks any fun out of the experience.

Number 1: Sword Oratoria

My number one biggest disappointment goes to a show I didn’t actually finish so have never reviewed (and given I am not inclined to return to the show, I will never review). Sword Oratoria. I am such a huge fan of DanMachi and I was actually really excited to see a spin-off (would have preferred a sequel but I’ll take what I can get – or at least I thought so). Then I found out the focus was going to be Ais, one of the least interesting characters from the original. Then the show aired. So boring, so much talking, so many characters I don’t care about… When the only reason to keep watching are the tiny glimpses of Bell you kind of have to realise you may as well just go and rewatch DanMachi. This was incredibly disappointing.

So there is my list, and as I said at the beginning it is incredibly subjective due to the fact that you can only be disappointed when you go in expecting something. Please share your biggest disappointments from 2017 in the comments below and get the conversation going.


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Karandi James.

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Surprisingly Good Shows That Came Out in 2017

One thing I’d like to make really clear is that this is not my list of best anime from 2017. That will come out in a few weeks time and will also include the results of the reader poll, so for the time being, I’m going to give some of my other top 5’s from 2017. This list, as the title suggests, is all about those shows I literally expected nothing of (other than to maybe be terrible) and then I ended up having a surprisingly good time watching them. I think it is nice sometimes that things can take you by surprise.

On that note though, I’d love it if you would share your list of shows from 2017 that you expected not to like but ended up being at least okay if not outright enjoyable.

Please Note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions in this list go to Gamers and Anime-Gataris.

Number 5: In Another World With My Smartphone

Okay, this had to make the list for the simple reason that a show with that bad of a title has no right to actually be semi-decent. Not good. Certainly not a refreshingly brilliant light to shine on all isekai anime based on light novels. This is a typical self-aware comedy, but for the most part I found it kind of amusing and it surprised even me that I was still watching it at the end of the season, and actually kind of open to the idea that maybe more of this story wouldn’t be that bad.

Number 4: Princess Principal

This show I actually really enjoyed. It isn’t just an okay show that wasn’t as bad as it might have been, it is a genuinely good show. So why is it on the list? Because when I looked at the art for this anime before it aired I dismissed it as another group of moe girls  in some school club that may or may not have spying involved. Instead what I got was a fairly thrilling and fun story with some competent characterisation that genuinely made me look forward to each new episode. Meanwhile, it also had one of the better opening themes of the year.

Number 3: The Royal Tutor

I definitely did not go into this one expecting very much but then the titular tutor, Heine, totally won me over. His straight man approach to everything and his interactions with each of the Princes were genuinely fun to watch and I liked that his background remained fairly enigmatic until the end. Even then, there’s definitely more to the story but we were given enough. Most of the Princes also weren’t as annoying as they originally could have been and all managed to become more than just one note joke characters as they each went through a fairly reasonable character arc throughout the series.

Number 2: Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Yeah, I read that title and could almost feel the ey-roll starting already. Then the first episode happened and I realised that even this well and truly overdone story of misunderstandings and romance could actually be interesting enough when the characters are actually fairly relatable. Possibly it is the older age of the characters in this story to a lot of other anime with similar ideas in it, but I found Morioka a fantastic character to follow and I genuinely wanted her to get a happy ending. That isn’t to say the show is all that good. It’s just significantly better than what you might expect from it. It also has a pretty fantastic opening theme which seems to go a long way to buying some good will from your audience so more shows should actually try and remember that.

Number 1: Spiritpact

Please watch the first episode of this show. Realise how incredibly bad this series might have been. That first episode is an outright train wreck and needs to be scrapped and started over. Episodes 2 and 3 aren’t a huge amount better but start to show promise. By the end of this series it is amazing how far the characters and story have come and really this ended up being a show I genuinely looked forward to watching. I’d have done a rewatch but sitting through that first episode again scares me. Still, for ten episodes this show packs in more development for its characters and for the storyline than some shows manage in 24 and once you get over the initial episodes, the pacing settles really well.

And there you go, my top 5 surprisingly good shows from 2017. Next week I’ll tackle my top 5 disappointments (shows I went in wanting to be good and then found I was left high and dry).  Please feel free to share your thoughts on shows that you thought were going to be dreadful but then surprised you in the comments below.


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Karandi James.

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It’s Another Poll – Vote for the Best Anime of 2017

Super quick post announcing the opening of the poll for reader’s choice of best anime for 2017. The selection to vote from is limited to the top 3 shows from each season during 2017 as voted by the readers at the end of each season. There are no write in votes and there are no criteria for best anime other than the one you personally liked the most.

Have your say and please share the link (the more the merrier). Voting closes on the 11/1 with the results announced on the 12th as well as my reflections on the year of anime that was.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Blog Posts in 2017

As the year draws to a close I figured it was time for a little bit of reflection so my count down this week isn’t one of anime characters or shows but rather the 5 posts that caught my reader’s attention over the year (working purely on views and not on engagement or actual quality of the post – that would be a very different list). There were some surprises here when I looked at the views on some posts. For convenience sake I have grouped posts on a similar topic together otherwise this list would have become pretty boring fairly quickly with the number 1 collection of posts actually including the four most viewed posts on my blog this year for reasons I still don’t quite understand.

Anyway, usually I’d ask you what you would include on your list but this topic doesn’t lend itself to that so instead I’ll ask you to let me know what your favourite post on my blog was this year.

Despite the weird line up here, I take comfort in knowing that my review of Yuri on Ice episode 1 is still the most viewed episode post I’ve ever written on this blog.

Please Note: No spoilers this week.

Hourable mention goes to the Top 5 Anime I’d Like to See Rebooted.

Number 5: Sword Oratoria Episode 1

Sword1b

I’m a little mystified as to why this post got so many views comparatively to other episode posts. The only thing I can think of is that DanMachi had a lot of fans and people wanted to know if this spin-off was any good or they wanted to lament with others about the fact that it wasn’t. I know I only reviewed 5 episodes before I dropped it so I’ll never get to do a series review, but Sword Oratoria is a regular search term that sends people to my blog so I guess this post will continue to get views.

Number 4: Interviews with Monster Girls Episode 5

monster5

This one I get even less than Sword Oratoria. It isn’t the first episode of the series and basically all this post does is complain about my internet connection and then retells why this show isn’t my genre. It is a dreadful post and yet one of my most viewed. That’s a little concerning to be honest.

Number 3: Assassination Classroom Episode 43

Assassination43

With this one it makes sense that reviews of the show got views but I’m not sure why this particular episode has so many more views than the other ones. It is right before the final sequence so I guess last post you can read before major spoilers, but I’m still not entirely sure about the reason so many people have viewed this post over others in the series.

Number 2: March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 19

march19d

This one is a short but sweet recount of an episode I enjoyed, though again, not sure why this post in the series has more views than others. I think understanding the reason why for some of these might help me understand my readers a bit better but at least this post is about the episode it is supposed to be reviewing and it is a very cool show (plus that cat is adorable). To put it another way, this single episode post has 200 more views than the review of season 1 of March Comes in Like a Lion and nearly as many more views than the next best viewed post of this series. Why? I have no idea.

Number 1: Killing Stalking (all posts)

killing1For something I checked out on a whim after seeing a plethora of tweets about the series and reviewed up to chapter (I think) 19, this continues to be a crazily popular draw. Almost every day someone finds my blog by searching for Killing Stalking and I can’t help but feel they will probably end up disappointed given it isn’t exactly my usual material. But every single post on Killing Stalking has made its way fairly high up the list of most viewed posts this year. The top 4 are chapter 3, chapter 1, chapter 4 and chapter 8 and they have more views than any of my other posts. Chapter 3 actually have more views than my first episode review of Yuri on Ice.

It is kind of interesting to look back at what you’ve done and what you wouldn’t do if given another chance. That review of that episode of Interviews with Monster Girls is truly terrible and really should just be deleted. All things considered though, 2017 has been another fun year on the blog and my first full year blogging given I started during 2016.

Wishing everyone a great New Year and looking forward to reading some great posts in 2018.


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Karandi James.

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