The Winter 2017 Anime season just ended, not so much with a bang, but more of a whimper. There were some incredibly great series this season, but no real hype hitters that got people riled up like your Attack on Titans or One-Punch Man. So, what were the great shows this season? We rallied the writers and discussed.
Dazza’s Wonderful Winter 2017 Series
Favourite Series: Konosuba 2
My favourite show this season was none other than Konosuba. While it and Maid Dragon were both my must watches of each week, I felt I had more of a connection and want for the 4 “heroes”. It also helps that the series could consistently make me laugh, without even trying. The show isn’t highbrow, or smart, but Eri-sama it was enjoyable as hell.
Season two of Konosuba was helped by the fact it wasn’t season one. We knew the characters, we knew their motivations, we knew how they were. This lets the series jump straight into the deep end and deliver on its laughs without all that explosion. The introduction of Yunyun as a foil to Megumin (though I’d argue Megumin is Yunyun’s foil), brought so much more comedic highlights to the series. My favourite being the arc long gag in the last arc.
From the off-model animation, to Darkness being the M that she is, to Aqua’s continuous “KAZUMA-SAN!”, I can’t help but recommend Konosuba to everyone I can.
Runner-Up: Scum’s Wish
I won’t write much about Scum’s Wish here, it’s hard to get my thoughts around it clear. To me, Scum’s Wish is one of the most intense series I’ve ever seen, which makes it hard to recommend. It’s emotionally exhausting watching it in ways that I’ve never really felt before. To that, I’d say it’s done its job well.
Jackson’s Saga of Winter 2017
Favourite Series: Saga of Tanya the Evil
”Dude… what if World War I Germany… was fought by a loli, but this is Germany with magic right, and she was actually a reincarnated Japanese Businessman, and she was kind of tortured by god in order to make her value stuff… DUUUUUUDEE!”
This is basically the set up for Saga of Tanya the Evil, and despite the weird set up, it’s a solid show. The animation is great, what little sense of humour it has is often gallows humour or revolving around the main protagonist’s young age, and the war tactics are quite impressive.
Runner-Up: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Last seasons Flip Flappers and Yuri!!! On Ice made it seem like 2017 was going to be a great year for queer representation in anime, and while so far it hasn’t Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is both a start and a great anime, combining a wonderfully bright colour palette, an openly lesbian relationship, and a great cast of characters.
Author note: Comparing both Saga of Tanya the Evil and Dragon Maid feels unfair, considering they’re both vastly different. However I, very slightly, prefer Saga of Tanya the Evil for the gallows humour and the OP, meaning it is slightly higher up the list for me.
Showa Genroku Hippo Winter 2017
Favourite Series: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Art is a complex facet of our society, thoroughly explored, and at the same time hardly explored through the means of art criticism. Opinions on art, the state of it and the difficulty of creating it and preserving it all fascinate me, so series like Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu are very enjoyable brain candy. Rakugo explores the horrors and joys of the passing of time and a changing 20th-century society. With the rapid development of technology, traditional performance art like Rakugo becomes a niche. This affects no one harder than the people whose life is tied to the rich culture.
When the populace evolves to explore new ideas and mediums, how does the old react? Does it need to adapt to fit into the new conventional standards? Must the old reinvent itself and become new again to stay relevant? Would it even be itself anymore? The evolution of a medium is a question that many art forms, not just Rakugo, have to explore.
Rakugo is a show that relevant to questions regarding the current state of culture, despite being set in the previous century. On top of all this, the performances themselves are super engrossing and a blast to watch. A show that’s thought-provoking, funny, sad and warm above all else is something many shows wish they could be. I wouldn’t go as far to say Rakugo is a masterpiece, as that comes with a whole set of confusing connotations, but I will say It’s the show I would have no difficulty recommending to anyone who asked me for my thoughts on it.
Runner-Up: Akiba’sTrip The Animation
On the lighter less contemplative side of things, we have Akiba’sTrip The Animation. Picking a runner-up was rather difficult, as there were many other good shows to choose (shoutout to ACCA and Maid Dragon) but I found that Akiba’sTrip was the one I had the most I wanted to say about. Episodic comedy is fairly common in anime, and western cartoons (hell it’s especially common in western stuff) but not much can do it as effectively as Akiba’sTrip. I’ve seen some describe it as like a Saturday morning cartoon, which hits the nail on the head (though it’s a bit more adult than the average cartoon).
Akiba’sTrip utilises its setting as a mecca for nerd culture by allowing each episode explore a different facet of Akiba’s larger identity and has a lot of fun with it. Akiba’sTrip isn’t super profound, but it’s insanely confident in what it is, a funny relaxing monster of the week show where it’s heroes are all relatable nerds. A common link between all the shows I enjoyed this season is their effectiveness in creating an appropriate atmosphere that encompasses what the show is. Akiba’sTrip is a load of fun that I wholeheartedly recommend you watch.
Chris-san’s Winter 2017
Favourite Series: Kobayashi-san’s Dragon Maid
Kobayashi-san’s Dragon Maid is a lovely show. Granted, first you have to ignore Lucoa’s interaction with Shouta and Saikawa’s affection for Kanna, but otherwise, it’s a lovely show. There aren’t enough anime about adult characters as is, and Kobayashi might just be one of the most realistic, or at least most relatable, example of them. At some point in life, most of us will be stuck with a job we don’t like, coming home to an empty apartment, looking forward to that beer we can forget our worries over on the weekend. And into that reality, a fantastical bit of magic is trust.
Tohru, the dragon on Kobayashi’s doorstep, breaks this convention, not only by being unfamiliar with what’s normal for humans but by opening up a completely new world to our protagonist. Not a world of fantasy and magic but a world of genuine connection to others. Be it the lover-like relationship to Tohru (from her perspective, at least) or being a mother to Kanna, even to the simple chats with Lucoa or the awkward contacts with Fafnir, the series always manages to deliver something realistic and therefore endearing, even if the majority of the cast are fantastical beasts.
“Non-human thrown into human society” often comes with an undertone of humans being somewhat terrible, but Maid Dragon turns that around, by giving us exactly that prejudice and experience on part of Tohru, but with Kobayashi, the people of the shopping district, and everyone else proving they’re good, even if weak and flawed. That’s just human nature.
Underline the heartfelt moments of Kobayashi accepting that Tohru was a good change to her life and Tohru reaffirming her love for Kobayashi and humanity with a mix of fun jokes, beautiful animation and, even if completely useless, exciting action, and what you get is something that makes you glad it exists after every episode. That’s what makes Kobayashi-san’s Dragon Maid a lovely show.
That’s the Fighting for Nippon round up of Winter 2017. What were your favourite series? Let us know in the comments or any of our social media!