The winter anime season of 2017 has drawn to a close. So what were its best titles?
The latest winter anime season is finally over, so before the massive wall of Spring titles hits, here are my Top 5 anime of last season (excluding sequels)!
5) Interviews with Monster Girls
A bit underwhelming to start the list I’m sure, but Interviews with Monster Girls has quite a few bright spots that make it a standout comedy from the winter anime season. Its decision to underplay its humour turned out to be a huge benefit, and lead character/straight-man Takahashi’s adult nature allows the more subdued comedy to flourish, as does its vibrant cast of awesome monster girls.
A-1 Pictures’ more relaxed artwork further supports the quieter comedy, as does Masaru Yokoyama OST. If you’re looking for something more toned down that still has a bit of substance to it, then give Interviews a shot. You can read the full review here.
4) Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Kyoto Animation pushes out another hit, this time a pure comedy series with fantastic characters. While its gags are a bit more traditional than Interviews with Monster Girls, it nails practically all of them and makes laugh every single time.
Having almost an entirely adult cast as opposed to another high school group also gives the series a breath of fresh air and allows it to tackle topics normally not seen in anime comedies. It’s also just a really comfy series to watch as well, with my attachment to the eccentric characters growing exponentially with each episode.
KyoAni’s work on animation also excels despite a massive shift from their usual art style, and its warm pastel colours gives the show a tonne of life. Despite an overly dramatic final episode, Kobayashi is definitely my favourite new comedy of the winter anime season. So check it out when you’re in the mood for a good laugh!
3) Scum’s Wish
I’ve been anticipating a Scum’s Wish anime ever since I heard about the manga over a year ago, and I was definitely not disappointed. Rather than dance around the issue of sex like so many of its coyer contemporaries, Scum’s Wish goes straight for the jugular and presents sex as rawly and intimately as TV broadcast will allow.
At the same time, it uses this presentation to sell its themes of loneliness, inadequacy, and desire that its cast of confused and desperate high schoolers are drowning in. Lerche’s work on the animation is also intense and filled with lust and other potent emotions, while also remaining somewhat tactful, and yet another Masaru Yokoyama OST filled with rolling piano melodies allows the feel of the series to soar without limits.
If you want a solid introduction to anime melodramas, then Scum’s Wish is a great place to start.
2) Saga of Tanya the Evil
With a premise like “psycho German loli murders everything with magic in ‘not-WWI Europe’ while also trying to take revenge on God,” you really just have to check it out on that alone – and Saga of Tanya the Evil pulls off that premise wonderfully.
Tanya’s mindset of cutthroat elitism as she pushes her way to the top of the military hierarchy is just as sadistically thrilling as the ways that society and God push back against her in karmic retribution. And that conflict drives the series forward with unrelenting force, even though Tanya is a bit too overpowered.
Despite a ton of mediocre CG, Studio NUT manages to hide most of it better than more veteran studios, and Tanya’s sinister character design is striking and terrifying. I’ve probably had more fun with Saga of Tanya the Evil than any other show this winter anime season short of KonoSuba 2. So I recommend giving this one a shot for some epic WWI extravagance.
1) March Comes in Like a Lion
Like Scum’s Wish, March Comes in Like a Lion has been on my radar for awhile, being a winner of the coveted Kodansha Manga Award. And its anime counterpart is every bit as captivating as I had hoped.
The story of a prodigy shogi player grappling with his future and the turbulent drama that life throws his ways reminds me a lot of my favourite anime, Your Lie in April. And yet it manages to balance itself out with warmer, more comforting family life scenes that carry huge emotional weight.
Studio Shaft’s animation direction is nearly flawless, with its contrast between pastels and harsh blacks and greys serving as the dominant emotional balance, and the character designs have the potential to become iconic. March Comes in Like a Lion is easily my favourite new anime of 2017, and I can’t wait for its sequel later this year. The full flattering review can be found with this magical hyperlink.
As for new sequels this season, KonoSuba, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Gintama, and Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans have all had fantastic new entries that easily make catching up on those franchises worth it.
Check out reviews of shows from this winter anime list I’ve already covered and stay tuned for reviews of those I haven’t.