Banjo’s Top 7 Summer 2017 Anime

by BanjoTheBear

Sakura Quest / Episode 20 / Sanae, Maki, Yoshino, Shiori, and Ririko standing together

And the best from Summer 2017 include….

Thinking about these past few months, a lot has happened for and around me.

Some of it was good, like indulging in other hobbies and being recognized at my day job. Some of it wasn’t so good, like a recent medical scare (which thankfully turned out to be nothing) and the passing of a close family member. In the end, life’s responsibilities shift and sway in importance and priority, and so anime cannot always be the foremost thing on my mind.

Despite the above detours and difficulties on both sides, though, an apparent truth has surfaced: Anime itself isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. A tale about a mysterious interdimensional restaurant or a story about a psychotic gambler are here to stay no matter how late I myself happen to be in posting these various threads.

As such, it makes perfect sense for me to finally reveal my favorite anime from this interesting season. Fourteen separate shows had the opportunity for glory. While seven spots were available, only one has claimed the title of Best Anime of Summer 2017.

The Rules

First, I am an advocate of an anime counting in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, an anime like Ballroom e Youkuso has no place in this list. However, it does have a shot for next season’s list. On the opposite end, an anime that ended in Summer 2017 does have a shot since it concluded in this season despite starting the season (or seasons) prior. Something like Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul counts since, despite starting in Spring 2017, it concluded in this season.

Second, the selection process is pretty straightforward, using only three factors. I start by comparing the baseline scores I initially handed out. If a tie occurs, I take into account the more specific scoring I do behind-the-scenes. If another tie occurs, it then comes down to the total level of enjoyment I got out of the anime themselves. Nothing fancy, but the result is a list that fully and accurately represents my feelings on the season as a whole.

Third, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote for this season, follow this link to my Summer 2017 Reviews page!

With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 7 Summer 2017 Anime!

7. Aho Girl

Aho Girl / Episode 1 / Yoshiko giving a thumbs up

“Stupid is as stupid does”, but even Forrest Gump would raise an eyebrow at Yoshiko, the titular female lead of Aho Girl. Her ability to go beyond the absurd and to withstand large amounts of pain gives this anime the loud, slapstick comedy chops it desires. Nestled within its penchant for comedy, she — alongside the mean Akutsu, the pure Sayaka, and the hormonal Iinchou — highlights how most people have a bit of strangeness to them in their own weird ways. A super-silly opening track and a simplistic structure make it that much more fun, too. This show won’t change your life, but this laugh-inducing experience will most likely put a big, dumb grin on your face for a couple hours straight.

6. Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season

Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season / Episode 1 / Deku reaffirming his stance on wanting to become the greatest hero just like All Might

Deku and the other students of U.A. High School return in Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season, hoping to prove their worth in the tournament events as well as the many trials waiting in their near futures. The same strong production values still give the events their clout, and the mixture of drama, comedy, and action feels better than ever for the series. Most importantly, it has not lost sight of its identity despite the morphing thematic ideas on heroes, the differing attention provided to other side characters, and the fact that it’s a sequel to a beloved franchise to begin with. Where the first season got the ball rolling, this heroic continuation constructs for that ball its path, championing further success down the road.

5. Princess Principal

Princess Principal / Episode 1 / Ange, Charlotte, Dorothy, Beatrice, and Chise sitting together in the garden during tea time

As their steampunk world endures political turmoil, five unique ladies make it their mission to keep the peace through espionage, covert operations, and a helping of tea. Thus, Princess Principal follows their escapades, delivering a story rife with beautiful visual details and a set of intriguing musical offerings. While the non-chronological format does more harm than good, the action and the entertainment charge forward regardless. Better yet, Ange, Charlotte, Dorothy, Beatrice, and Chise not only have nice characterizations but also form a likable group dynamic between themselves. Royalty or no, this adventure could very well be a principal watch for anyone out there.

4. Owarimonogatari 2nd Season

Owarimonogatari 2nd Season / Episode 1 / Araragi in the underworld discussing the meaning of

While not as stellar as its predecessor, Owarimonogatari 2nd Season stands as a satisfying “conclusion” to this journey which has spanned many a year and many an iteration. At the forefront, it brings with it familiarity once again as old favorites return for another opportunity to shine. The narrative also tackles right versus right as peculiar happenings occur. And Araragi claims for himself a larger amount of attention as a follow-up and finish to his arc overall. Combined with the refined, impressive artistic direction, the swell voice-acting performances, and the oft kooky comedy the franchise revels, this so-called (or rather so-translated) “End Story” ends in a favorable fashion.

3. Sakura Quest

Sakura Quest / Episode 20 / Sanae, Maki, Yoshino, Shiori, and Ririko standing together on stage

For Sakura Quest, a rustic setting and a quaint atmosphere join hands as Sanae, Maki, Yoshino, Shiori, and Ririko work together on realizing rural rejuvenation with tons of heart and a tractor full of dedication. Its nostalgic ideas on home can often be quite endearing, and the women themselves each have their roles to play as they in turn discover the meanings and the inspirations which surround them. If these positives were not enough, the sincere effort put forth in capturing the essence of Manoyama on a visual level deserves praise, and the original soundtrack supports the unfolding scenes with ease (and the opening-ending-track combos delight as well). All in all, this trek blossoms into a wonderful series, indeed.

2. Tsurezure Children

Tzuresure Children / Episode 10 / Ayaka and Takeru holding hands

What’s better than one sweet and lovable romance story? Many sweet and lovable romance stories. Thankfully, Tsurezure Children promises as much when it crafts a short anime centered on a bunch of different couples with a bunch of a different setups which ultimately lead to affectionate lovey-dovey satisfaction. Their small struggles and their wholesome feelings become the lighthearted treats which fill the audience up with smiles and giddiness aplenty. Moreover, their distinct representations and relatable takes on romance fuel the overall motif about love and its benefits. Wrapped up in a soft visual style for added cuteness, rooting for these kids and their happiness is a no-brainer.

1. Made in Abyss

Made in Abyss / Episode 4 / Riko and Reg holding hands as they prepare to descend further into the Abyss

Crushing most of the competition from this season, Made in Abyss soars to the top by heading downward without compromise. Besides the great construction to its world (which I wrote about in my essay, “Made in Abyss and Building a World”), this stellar show also boasts fantastic musical decisions and awesome artistry for further appeal. Its writing foundation does not let up either as its plot points and thematic ideas propel the narrative to even better (inverse) heights. Furthermore, the character parallels between Riko, Reg, and (eventually) Nanachi instill yet another layer to this already well-layered experience. With such incredible execution made ready, it deserves nothing less than the title of Best Anime of Summer 2017.

And that’s it! As always, I want to thank each and every reader, fan, and person who supported me throughout my many reviews for this season. I’m later than usual, but your support and kindness means the world to me no matter what, for it’s you guys and gals who keep me going strong.

Fall 2017 is ready and waiting! :3