The year that was 2017

Something New

Due to cultural factors, I think anime tends to be highly derivative. Watching it as long as I have, I'm okay with that obviously. I admit it's a miracle I haven't burned out on it yet. This year I found the diversity in titles a refreshing change. At the moment that's a bigger deal to me than the actual quality, something I realized when I noticed I had a very positive view on the year, but looking at my ratings weren't actually all that high. Perhaps there's a sense of hope there too. It seems like anime may break free of the rut that is the same formula / high school romantic comedy stuff and be a bit more daring.

That's something else I've noticed, even the surprisingly fluffy shows can take a very dark turn, even if only in brief parts. I was drawn to anime many years ago for a variety of reasons, but I think it was the dark shows that really hooked me before they went out of style. I think this resurgence in dark content is something I'm liking too. Not in the utra-gore, or dystopian stuff more common in the 1980s/90s, but a more balanced view showing the bad to contrast with the good.

Years ago I picked up one of my favorite games of all time Valkyra Chronicles, and I was blown away by the 3D character rendering that looked better than a lot of anime. For some reason that never came to pass the way I figured, because while cars and oddball things are rendered this way, it rarely seems to work with anime characters for some reason. Arpeggio of Blue Steel is likely the first title I had no problems with, yet it still seems like an outlier. This year I picked up Berzerk, because everyone says it's awesome. And yes it's awesome. I may need to dig up previous releases because I liked it so much, but this latest release uses 3D techniques which really didn't work well in my opinion. Something tells me this is yet another show which seems to have just enough interest in it to keep making shows about it, but not enough interest to justify a budget to do it properly. (Initial-D and Crest of the Stars seem doomed to this fate as well. I think this is a good development though, because if they can make reasonably watchable shows cheaply, some of those lesser popular titles will be worth the risk of producing as anime. Do I wish Berzerk turned out better? Yes, but more so I'm glad it got the chance to be made.

RPG Anime

Having said all that, my gripe this year is the Role Playing Game Anime genre which is getting long in the tooth and was perhaps a mildly novel idea back in the 1990s. I can see how it's an easy platform to launch a story premise, but inevitably most of these shows quicky run out of steam.

Mixing the ideas of "fresshness" with the staleness of "RPG Anime" gave me shows I ended up liking despite the many tired aspects in them. I guess as long as the story and characters are good enough, that goes a long way.

Surprise of the year: World End

Favorite: Kagegurui

Love / Hate: Gamers

Not exactly a RPG Anime, but sharing main traits with one this one took a little while to win me over.

Disappointment: Love And Lies

Erased was an anime everyone was talking about, so I thought I'd give it a go. I can see why it got so much buzz generated. This is anime had a strangle hold on my attention in a way that few do, and for a variety of reasons. Inevitable that it should be one of the best shows this year, if not THE best.

Worst Anime: Seven Mortal Sins

Why nominate Lost Village the worst anime when I rated Cerberus lower? Cerberus was doomed from the onset with low budget, and based off a generic mobile game RPG. It had little to work with, thus little was expected of it.

Character of the Year Yoshiko
Aho Girl

Character of the year: Sachiko (erased)

2016 Verdict: Okay

Anime I Reviewed This Year:

26 reviews in 2017

Scorching Pingpong Girls (meh) www.wagnaria (meh)
Lostorage Incited Wixoss (weak) Carnival Phantasm (unrated)
Strike the Blood (meh) New Game (meh)
Actually I am.. (meh) Masamune's Revenge (meh)
Locodol (good) Girlish Number (okay)
Heaven's Memo Pad (meh) Urusei Yatsura (good)
Interviews With Monster Girls (meh) Love Tyrant (okay)
Eromanga Sensei (weak) Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo (weak)
Haibane Renmei (good) World End (good)
Seven Mortal Sins (sucks) Love Lab (okay)
Love and Lies (meh) Aho Girl (good)
Kakegurui (excellent) Convenience Store Boyfriends (meh)
Resturant To Another World (meh) Gamers (okay)