2017 Anime Year in Review

2017 was like most years in anime: a lot of crap, some amusing but forgettable shows, some pretty good shows and a small number that seem like real classics. The surprising thing is that in retrospect the number of “classics” seems unusually high. Less surprising is that most of the remaining good ones are sequels.

Outstanding Anime of 2017

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Crunchyroll) is a near-perfect series with beautiful artwork, a meticulously constructed fantasy world, interesting characters and masterful writing.

Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Season 2 (Crunchyroll). The first season was good but felt incomplete. The second season hit the ball out of the park with a perfect conclusion.
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Spring 2017 Anime Season in Retrospect

I can put a positive spin on this or a negative spin. If you count continuations and sequels then the Spring season was actually pretty strong. On the other hand if I look only at new shows this seems to have been an unusually weak season. This could be a bad sign for the future, but my philosophy is to hope for the best.

Notable Continuations

Little Witch Academia

4 Stars
(Started Winter 2017.) Little Witch Academia (Netflix) is basically a children’s story, clearly influenced by the Harry Potter series, but not nearly as dark or self-important. If you are willing to accept it on those terms it’s pretty darn good. It has a fine story (though fairly predictable) and the animation is outstanding.
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2013: The Anime Year in Review

Looking back this was a fairly average year in anime. There was a lot of crap of course but there were also a fair number of shows that were well-made and entertaining.

Outstanding Anime of 2013

Rescued ratShin Sekai Yori (started Fall 2012) (Crunchyroll) is a solid adaptation of a serious science fiction story. It is far more sophisticated than what usually passes for sci-fi on television. This may be too dark for some tastes and is definitely not suitable for young children. Older viewers may find it very rewarding.
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The Eccentric Family Ends

Moon jump
In an earlier post I said that The Eccentric Family (Crunchyroll) was my favorite anime of the Summer 2013 season. Nothing has happened to change my mind. This is a splendid adaptation of a fine old-fashioned comic novel.
Angry tengu
The comedy does at times veer a bit towards tragedy but it never crosses the line (and there tends to be some of that in all great humor.)
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The Eccentric Family–Anime Early Impressions

Uchouten Kazoku title card
The Eccentric Family (Uchouten Kazoku, literally “The Ecstatic Family”) (Crunchyroll) is my favorite anime of the new season. It’s a cleverly-written fantasy that is partly a heart-warming family comedy, but with some darker elements. (It could hardly qualify as a Japanese fantasy without at least a few dark undertones.)
Tanuki in Ginza district
The story is set in Kyoto, a very old and very beautiful city. (The background images are part of the charm of this series.) Kyoto has a population of about 1.5 million people, few of whom realize that they share the city with a variety of supernatural beings.
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