Exactly What it Says on the Tin
I actually remembered to do one of these this year! Here are the top ten shows I watched in 2017. The only rules are that I can only mention shows I finished for the first time during 2017 and they have to be complete. No ongoing stuff (sorry Magus Bride) I watched a lot of shows (78~) this year so it was a tough choice for some of these. Let’s get this party started with the number ten spot!
10. Hand Shakers
Now, now, I know that a lot of people hated Hand Shakers but I personally thought it was pretty interesting. I never said these ten anime had to be my highest rated. While I can admit fully that this show had problems, I really enjoyed watching it. Probably more than anybody reading this. There were just so many interesting bits and pieces on both the production and product side of this anime. Plus, studio GoHands is one that I like. They haven’t put out a bad show (that I’ve watched) yet. Say what you will but I did put it at number ten for a reason. I mean I liked it a lot but there is no way it could hold a candle to the other entries to follow.
Speaking of studio GoHands, my number nine spot goes to Coppelion. I watched this after seeing an ad for it on my Blu-ray copy of K. Intrigued, I discovered Hulu had it. Not only that, but they also had it dubbed! I instantly watched it and I did not regret that decision. What greeted me was an anime that went beyond my expectations.
The story is a mess, the characters just average, and everything is basically a soap opera. “So why exactly is this number nine?” I hear you asking; simple, it has the single best character and moment in anime. Shout out to No-Sense the robot for being the true MVP. You were honestly the greatest thing ever conceived. The icing on the cake was that sick shade you threw right at the end of the show, 10/10 would meme again.
I don’t want to spoil things for you, but trust me, I laughed for literal days about that one moment. Oh yeah, I enjoyed the rest of it too a fair bit but that one bit was easily the best part. Really, this show isn’t for everybody and has a lot of problems but I thought it was highly enjoyable. Sometimes to laugh at, and other times, to laugh with. Had some great moments.
8. Flowers of Evil
Not too much extra for me to say about this one. I already wrote a review of this show for Anime ABC’s earlier this year. I focused a lot on how the music tells the story just as much as the visuals which was really different for me. Not a lot of folks read it, and I’ll admit it isn’t the best, but Flowers of Evil blew me away. I know the rotoscoping turned a lot of people away from this one but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this show. If you like darker subject matter and kind of messed up stuff, this is a must watch.
7. Sweetness & Lightning
Not the best in this vein of anime I’ve watched (but the one I did in 2017), but Sweetness & Lightning was an anime that pumped me all full of enthusiasm and joy. It inspired an article here where I talked about why this type of show appeals to me. I also compare the other shows and basically rank them, if you are looking for grounded feel-good type shows, then I encourage you to check that article out.
What made Sweetness & Lightning such a contender on this list was the fact that it was something I could enjoy with my family. It also had cooking show elements, which work really well for me in anime. I wish the show had gone a bit longer and some more aspects of the narrative were fleshed out but it was a solid contender for things I watched this year.
6. Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace
This is another odd choice, especially so high up. A lot of folks who have seen this probably think I’ve lost it. How could this possibly be ranked so highly out of the 78 or so shows I watched this year? The main reason was that Rampo Kitan inspired me to do something I almost never do: read a book.
You see, Rampo Kitan was loosely based on the works of the late Edogawa Rampo. Considered the grandfather of mystery novels in Japan, I found his work to be both important and interesting. You can about both the show and book I read here. I really hope you do, it was an article I spent a lot of time on and almost nobody read.
I love mysteries, in case that was unclear for some reason, and so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I ended up enjoying Erased. In the end, there isn’t much mystery here but what you do get is an engaging and intriguing 12 episode series that has a lot to offer. It may not be without its faults, but the good far out weighs the bad. If you would like to read my full thoughts, I covered this in an ABC article as well which can be found here.
4. Black Lagoon [Roberta’s Blood Trail (Specifically)]
I’ve mentioned this before, but Black Lagoon is pretty awesome. Action-packed moments that harken back to ’80’s films. In addition to this, the anime features subtle story telling and character building that requires you to read between the lines to get the full story. Not saying that it’s even all that complex, but that’s always a plus. Season one and two were a good time but it wasn’t until Roberta’s Blood Trail that the series fully landed for me.
Each of the episodes in this OVA series, which is basically just a third season, delivered everything I could have asked for and more! Roberta is a great character that I’m glad was shown more screen time and the story was simply superb. If you are a fan of action but still want some serious moments between, this is one that cannot be skipped. For having had this show for several years, I’m glad I finally got around to it this year because it was a really fun show to watch.
3. Your Name
To literally nobody’s surprise, I love Your Name. Sure, the film has flaws but it was a blockbuster hit that almost anybody can enjoy. Even if you don’t normally watch anime, and to that I would wonder why you are reading this particular list, this is a wonderful watch.
We are just about to the end of the list and in second place is Planeterian. This ONA series was truly spectacular. Each episode was just the right length, and even though the story follows the expected beats, it is packed with genuine emotion. Not to mention the spectacular visuals!
Here’s another anime that I’ve previously reviewed so I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read my full thoughts here. I did go out and buy the game because I loved the anime adaptation so much. Planetarian managed to really connect with me and is one that I hope will get a home video release very soon because I desperately want to own it.
Easily the best (completed) anime I watched all year. A lot of people were hoping this would be a repeat of Shirobako, which was also great by the way, but it wasn’t quite. Shirobako was a lot more niche and covered a topic we are all pretty invested in, but Sakura Quest tackles something that is a lot more relevant to me personally. The anime explores finding a job that makes you happy, meeting new people, and having adventures along the way. There was so much character growth and great moments, I couldn’t sum up why I enjoyed it so much in just a few words.
Having watched this right after finding some work, but having been out of work for a fair amount of time, it was even more so relevant. I think that everybody can eventually identify with what is presented in Sakura Quest. If you are a 20-something or at a point in your life where you are thinking about a career, then this is especially relevant to you. Don’t let this one pass you by just because the naysayers tell you it isn’t as good as Shirobako.
That’s it for this list folks. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you enjoyed watching most in 2017 in the comments below. If you enjoy my content, or my contributor’s content, then please consider becoming a Patron of mine. Every bit goes back into the blog and passes some cash down to contributors. For full details, just click the picture below. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again real soon!