Another year full of ups and downs, another year of great anime, especially for yours truly. So many shows I enjoyed that it was hard to pick only ten so I ramped it up to twelve. Besides my favs I will also include my biggest disappointment and two shows I wanted to finish but could not do so before the end of the year. Keep in mind this is MY list so if a show you loved is not included that is because I did not watch it or did not enjoy it as much as the fifteen on the list.
Let’s begin with the biggest disappointment.
Of the four “Bike Girls Club” anime I have seen this is the worst by far. Not only is it a disappointment to the Yuri Nation but also there is little to entertain non-yuri fans (unless they NEED to check it out. If so, feel free) but it was apparently Silver Link Studio’s 10th Anniversary show. That or ImoCho, which also doesn’t sound particularly appealing. The leading ladies’ bantering gets old quick, the reason for their consistent bickering is stupid and the way it all ends is not even worth discussing. The only good things about the show were the side-characters though they are a mixed bag.
Three shows I wanted to check out but couldn’t finish by year’s end.
I’ll do my best to review SQ and write a Yuri Quickie for Creators ASAP. Inuyashiki I’ll check out at my leisure.
One last thing before we get to the list: Numbers 12-6 are arbitrary despite their positioning as all of them have something worth giving a try if curious. It’s the top 5 shows that really got my heart pumping all year.
Now for my top 15 starting with…
This show is sexy, insane, violent and psychologically disturbing and I loved every minute of it, and leading lady Yumeko Jabami, aka the Monster Among the Women, (as I like to call her) personifies everything I just mentioned as she faces off against morally corrupt rich students in risky gambling matches with high stakes from a ton of cash to an opponent’s fingernails or an eye to name a few of the crazy wagers. Each one of her opponents has a source to their madness and it is interesting seeing them being unraveled. Also the facial expressions on the show are the stuff of legend and naughty people like me will become enamored with stockings/thighs after watching this show. The one drawback besides the violence being a bit too strong for some to stomach are that great detail goes into explaining the rules and every move that is made/hand is played. Basically people who are not into shows that are heavy on explanation during gameplay may have a hard time getting into this one.
#14: Tales of Zestiria. The X
I initially planned on including Hinako Note in this spot but I had some time and finished the Zestiria anime. The reason it made the list is because in my opinion it surprisingly told the story better than the game did, even though the game’s version of the story is still good. I felt the main flowed better and had less “Why is this (boss battle) happening?” moments than the game. Of course there are some things did better but overall the anime felt more satisfying by the end. Also it presented a certain couple better too. Sorey X Mikleo is pretty good in both but the other couple was done justice in the anime along with a certain other character who got the short end of the stick in the game and caused massive controversy. The first half was a bit bumpy with a somewhat slow start (just like the game) and it having a two-parter that served as a “commercial” for Tales of Berseria (My favorite Tales game BTW). After the “commercial” it was smooth sailing, especially the second half of the show. That I have little issue with.
#13: Yuki Yuna is a Hero 2. Both Arcs
The only reason it did not make it in the top 5 was because the finale had not yet aired and anything could happen. Maybe my opinion could end up changing for the better or worse but I highly doubt it’ll be negatively affected. As it stands up to the semi-final episode the continuation of the story focused more on the drama than the combat and comedy the show is known for…and it does it well. Heck it gave us an answer for how exactly what happened in the epilogue happened. Whether critics of the first season will like the answer. Regardless Yuki Yuna is a Hero is still an awesome Moepocalypse show and one of my favorites. The Washio Sumi prequel arc was great as it felt more like the first season, both in light and dark moments.
#12: Princess Principal
A show about badass cute and sexy spies set in a Steampunk version of 19th Century England with action, intrigue, politics, drama and of course a super mega OTP along with a strong second couple. The hope is that a second season will be a reality rather than wishful thinking. So much story left to tell and gaps to fill.
Most of the first half came off as an enjoyable Girls Club show with some magic battles here and there and cameos from the main series. Stuff one would expect from a female-centered spinoff. Then something that was built up during the premiere became stronger and stronger throughout the second half…and the 4th quarter happened…Top 10 for that very reason.
After seeing both OVAs I was ready to see how they would expand the story in a 20+ episode show. Turns out they would take the basic ideas of both OVAs and expand them across a Harry Potter style plot with Studio Trigger comedy. The latter will determine whether this is to your liking or not. Craziness awaited in a majority of the show’s first half whereas the second half toned it down a little bit but didn’t stop being enjoyable. Akko and her five comrades all had their delightful quirks, despite not all of them getting much focus, especially Jasminka. As far as Diana goes, she’s an interesting lass that isn’t exactly haughty but can be condescending when annoyed. Her stooges are “eh” though. Long story short the plot and cast are pretty cool for the most part. Andrew though is not a pain but quite the nuisance. Lastly pay close attention to Akko and Diana’s interactions over the course of the show plus another neat surprise later on.
Aqours were back for a second round and this time they had a more difficult road to become legends than before. The members who had not got proper character driven episodes got them here and they were pretty good as far as I’m concerned. It surpassed the first season and proved once and for all that Aqours aren’t Muse clones. The only reason it didn’t make it to the top 5 was because of how strong the Fall competition was.
Think the first season but with greatly enhanced comedy, sexiness, drama and yuri so strong that it went from super mega OTPs to “lesbians too nervous to confess their true feelings to their love interests”. The newcomers did not get as much screen time but were still welcome additions to the cast though their appeal may vary from person to person.
#7: Girls’ Last Tour
A show I would describe using two words: Gloomy Serenity. The show is as sad as it is beautiful. It is as demotivating as it is encouraging. It is adorable as it is melancholic. Joining Chito and Yuri on their journey across post-apocalyptic city ruins discovering interesting sights from long ago, having grand adventures after finding items modern humans take for granted and also have many profound discussions. Also the two are Super Mega OTP.
#6: Urara Meirochou
Another Girls Club show but with a unique twist. This time about fortunetelling trainees being adorable, learning interesting stuff about the world of fortunetelling and experiencing supernatural occurrences. Also the yuri power is moderately strong.
Now then. It’s time for the TOP 5!
#5: Houseki no Kuni
2017 was a big year for TV anime CG. Three shows in particular that I saw this year were at the forefront. One of them being Frame Arms Girl and the other is coming up in a bit. Can any of them change the minds of viewers who detest TV anime CG? I doubt it but one thing is for certain. Houseki no Kuni/Land of the Lustrous showed just how good JP TV CG can be when used creatively, for the lack of a better word. I can honestly not picture this show working any other way than how it was presented. It is GORGEOUS to look at, especially during action scenes. As for the show itself it stars androgynous, meaning they are partly male and female in appearance, Gems (similar to a certain popular Western cartoon though that is their only similarity.) who fight off moon people wanting to hunt them for their “preciousness”, leading to many brutal battles. When not fighting for their lives the Gems, specifically Phos, learn more about the world around them and the secrets it holds. Oh and they along with the other Gems also deal with a sense of loneliness/emptiness they combat in an effort to find a sense of belonging/purpose. It is complicated and interesting. Unfortunately the ending was far from satisfying and the only way to rectify this is with a second season, which it desperately needs. So many questions left unanswered that I want answered in anime form.
#4: Kemono Friends
The show I like to call “the little anime that could”. With its small budget, staff working on it it was a low quality TV CG anime that made arguably the largest impact in the anime world in 2017 with its unexpected charm and much more. What started off seeming like a cute educational show that could gather a niche audience slowly began revealing its true colors showing great depth and complexity. Not in topics of conversation but the world Kaban found herself in, how she ended up thre and what exactly are the Friends she meets on her quest with Serval to find answers. The delightful cast of “kemonomimi” captured the hearts of millions in Japan and thousands of animeniacs across the world becoming a surprise sensation that must be seen to be believed. Having said that…after hearing what was going on behind the scenes after the second season was announced…I am very concerned about the series’ future. Still, what we got in the first season was truly magical. Oh and of course all the wonderful couples besides Kaban X Serval.
The story of a dragon girl falling in love with an office lady and moving in with her to serve as her maid. Neat concept that becomes a heartwarming tale of understanding society and finding a place in the world all your own with the one you love on one side and learning that maybe there is more to life than simply going through the motions on the other. Also there is one of the cutest little girls of 2017 in this show along with her equally adorable future fiancee. While I had minor annoyances with one particular duo of a majestic creature and her roommate whose name is similar to describing what they are everything was wonderful…provided the viewer is not one of those “Ewww! Ecchi! Let’s look down on the people who like it and think it is a positive representation of LGBT families!” people. Also I would recommend to be careful of the English dub due to the large controversy surrounding it. One of which botches an important part of the show by altering ONE LINE!
#2: Konohana Kitan
The story of cute fox girls working at an inn, attending a large variety of guests from the grounded to the divine while also finding love with each other. Put simply Konohana Kitan is my perfect Iyashikei show. It has everything I could ever want from one of these kinds of shows:
- Adorable leads
- Gorgeous scenery
- Some top quality sexiness but not too much to distract from the chill vibes.
- An interesting world filled with rich lore. In this show’s case it’s one chock full of Japanese lore and mythology
- Memorable cast to accompany the lovable main cast.
- Every single episode had great meaning behind it.
- Lots of yuri lovin’.
All I know is I need more of this and the sooner, the better!
And my #1 show of 2017 iiiiiiiiissssssss…
#1: Symphogear AXZ, aka Symphogear 4.
I’ve loved this series ever since the first season and with each new season it keeps getting bigger and better, constantly finding ways to outdo itself, finding various ways to go all-out with its grand-scale action scenes that so over the top yet are totally believable for the world it is set in. It simply does not give a crap nor hold back and I love it so very much! Not one episode of this show did not have me on the edge of my seat or looking elsewhere. Season 4 I truly believe to be the best yet. There is debate when it comes to seasons 2 and 3 but season 4, oh no. None can convince me it is not the best yet. The songs are still awesome, Team Symphogear keep on shining brightly both in and out of the battlefield. The drama still works…despite the writers continuing to find ways to emotionally torture poor Chris (Truly that girl’s torture is eternal). Maria’s Squad got some more development this time around and the antagonists consisted of an interesting lot of both the sympathetic and the loathsome. Best of both worlds when it comes to the villains. Lastly the buildup to what many of us here in the Yuri Nation are anxiously anticipating and hoping will happen on screen grows stronger than ever this season along with some other delightful progression. Heck, even the members of S.O.N.G got more to do compared to last season. Symphogear 4 solidified this series as being my all-time favorite from past, present and future. Will the fifth season follow suit? Let’s hope so but even if it ends up not being as good as 4 I doubt it’ll damage my love for the series.
So there you have it. My top 15 of 2017. Share your own favorites of the year down below.