The Best of 2017
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins
Yes ladies, gentlemen, and others, it’s that time again. Time to ring in the New Year with your friends and/or family. Time to overdose on shortbread, or set off fireworks, or (if you’re us) frantically obsess over the peaks of 2017’s anime series. Instead of our somewhat-traditional set of five lists being posted over the New Year period, we’ve done something a bit different this time. Instead, it’s just one big list, talking about the best openings, fights, characters, moments and series from across the year. Of course, putting all of this in the one post means that we’ve had to cut down a bit, so we’ll only be looking at the top three of each, and they won’t be in any particular order. With that in mind, let’s get cracking!
Side note: Whilst we made an effort to watch lots of shows that started airing this year, we couldn’t see them all. So if there’s a series that you think should be on this list but isn’t, then it’s probably because we never got around to watching it, as opposed to us not liking it.
As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.
The Best Openings of 2017
“Limit Break X Survivor” by Kiyoshi Hikawa (Dragon Ball Super) (Written by: Shiggins)
The first DBS opening was a fairly appropriate introduction for things to come. Bright, cheerful and fast, but there was a lack of power and urgency behind it that kept it from being more. Thankfully, after four arcs of me begging for some variety, we got this new one that heavily showcases the terrifying Jiren and gives almost everyone in the ridiculously fun tournament a time to shine.
|Don't worry, only some of these guys are evil.|
When an opening in this day and age tries to show Tien and Roshi as prominent characters, it feels like something has fucked up. However, that is most definitely not the case here! We get to feel the action-packed speed and power behind every enemy and can't help but salute the heroes who will take them on. Seeing a female version of Broly, an enemy that can actually take on Goku's Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (or just Super Saiyan Blue, if you aren't an idiot), and even more shocking in a Dragon Ball opening... Frieza replacing Buu?!
|Think this is well-animated? The actual fight is even better!|
“Kagerou” by ЯeaL (Gintama) (Written by: ClayDragon)
For me, Gintama’s openings have always fallen into one of two camps – either they’re amazing, or fairly forgettable, with little middle ground. Thankfully, to kick off the 2017 series with a bang, we got this opening. Although the first third of the song is fairly quiet and low-key, it quickly ramps up when the action begins.
|Surprisingly, none of them broke a leg from that fall.|
This is also one of the rare few openings that isn’t constantly wacky and over-the-top. The first 30 seconds or so are all about showing what effects the Odd Jobs have had on the lives of the people around them, and how their recent adventures have affected their friends and family. After that though, it’s full-on action as the animation represents the conflict and revelations that occur in the arc. It’s not a normal Gintama opening, but when has Gintama ever been normal?
“Fake Town Baby” by Unison Square Garden (Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond) (Written by: ClayDragon)
Let’s be honest, it was unlikely that Blood Blockade Battlefront’s second season’s opening would top that of the first season. And whilst it didn’t quite reach the heights of Bump of Chicken’s “Hello World”, it still did a damn good job. At the start, the first couple of lines are sung in English as each member of Libra is introduced, before the fast-paced beat starts up and we’re thrown into what looks like a regular day in Hellsalem’s Lot.
|They would fit right in in a carnival.|
Much like the first opening, this one is filled with a lot of striking imagery, such as Femt and Aligula overlooking a funfair and the members of Libra teaming up against a horde of vampires. This opening simply reflects the series so well that it’s impossible not to enjoy – from the madcap chaos to the small but significant moment where Klaus and Leo fistbump. Plus, there’s a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-them moments hidden in there too, including a couple of interesting cameos…
The Best Fights of 2017
Izuku Midoriya vs Shouta Todoroki (My Hero Academia) (Written by: Shiggins)
The first of many mentions for My Hero Academia, and this one is in the form of fighting! Surprisingly, it isn't even a battle with a predictable ending but that's part of the reason I like it so much. This one is the climax of Todoroki's development, while Midoriya puts his fellow classmate's problems over his own desire to be a winner in front of his idol All Might.
|Strangely, no-one's hair got set on fire here.|
Flames burn and ice freezes as Midoriya smashes through everything in his path, damaging his own body to disturbing lengths throughout. They cheer, they jeer, they kiss and cuddle... no, sorry. That's my fanfiction. Anyway, the fight is brutal and beautiful, and impossible to not recommend. Todoroki instantly rose up the popularity polls during this arc, and I would bet this fight had something to do with it.
Leonardo Watch vs Doctor Gamimozou (Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond) (Written by: ClayDragon)
For much of Blood Blockade Battlefront’s run, Leo has been on the sidelines when it comes to fights. Sure, he almost always plays an integral role in the battle, but it’s been very rare to see him actually enter the fray. So it was an extremely pleasant surprise to see him step up to face Doctor Gamimozou one-on-one, especially considering how much of a threat the good (well, bad) doctor actually is. In order to add Leo’s All-Seeing Eyes to his collection, Gamimozou takes Leo’s sister hostage and offers to trade her life for his eyes.
|Just your everyday bar-room brawl.|
Of course, Leo is having none of that and rushes in armed only with his eyes, a Morningstar, and a bottle of Jack Daniels. And, thanks to a timely intervention by Michaela and an even more timely intervention by the rest of Libra, Leo manages to save the day. This fight really helps to solidify Leo’s development over the course of the show, especially when it flashes back to how he acted back in the very first episode. It’s emotional, over the top, and brilliantly animated. Rather like the show itself.
Goku vs Kefla (Dragon Ball Super) (Written by: Shiggins)
Many of you will be wondering why we chose Kefla over Jiren as the best opponent of Goku for 2017... well to put it simply, this one had a much better conclusion and we felt like Jiren is yet to go all-out, so we're saving Jiren for 2018's list! Instead, let's focus on Goku's epic Ultra Instinct going against the fusion of Caulifla and Kale to make us scream in joy.
|Is it just me who thinks that the red and green make her look festive?|
Universe 6 is arguably the best new thing about Dragon Ball Super, and here is where we see them reach the culmination of their power thanks to two badass girls. At first, it is two vs one where Goku is suffering lots of pain as Caulifla and Kale perform some amazing combos, but it all comes to a screaming finish as Goku unleashes what could arguably be the greatest Kamehameha wave in years, and Kefla is thrashed. Once again, Super is just super!
|I think it's safe to say that none of us expected this.|
|Gintoki vs Kamui (Gintama)|
|Team 7 vs Shin Uchiha (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations)|
The Best Characters of 2017
Sucy (Little Witch Academia) (Written by: Shiggins)
I would let her poison me all day... wait, no. I wouldn't. She's insane and would sacrifice me if it meant she could achieve her dream of having the perfect poison, so I should probably avoid her, but I can't because she is just so damn likeable. As I'm sure you can guess by the title, Little Witch Academia isn't the deepest of stories out there but it doesn't have to be when everyone is just so much fun.
|If she offers you a drink, don't take it.|
Sucy is the reluctant member of the trio of girls that will eventually all marry each other, not wanting to be their friend at first but eventually seeing the value in having them as her friends. She's easily bored with everything in her life and often distracts herself by experimenting on the protagonist. In the first few episodes alone we see her use them as bait for a cockatrice, and then make a plant sprout from Akko's head because... well, why not. She's insane.
|There is nothing about this girl I don't love.|
Sarada Uchiha (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations) (Written by: Shiggins)
While I love Hinata Hyuga, I have always felt she was too underused to be the best female character of the Naruto franchise. Thankfully, Kishimoto finally answered my call and gave us a girl that actually sticks around for most of the adventures and participates! Daughter of Sakura and Sasuke, Sarada is by far the best character of the unnecessary Boruto saga.
I'd even go so far as to say that she almost makes it worth existing, despite the majority of episodes being such a trainwreck of mediocrity. Sarada is witty, strong, cool, clever and yet also has her weak moments that make her feel like a far more relatable character than her mother ever did. I care about Sarada far more than Boruto, and that banana-haired twat needs to step aside and let the best girl of Naruto take over.
|She's also the first Uchiha to actually smile more than once.|
Caulifla (Dragon Ball Super) (Written by: ClayDragon)
It seems that every arc of Dragon Ball Super gives us at least one new awesome character, and the Universal Survival storyline is no exception. It was tough choosing only one character, especially given the number that were introduced this year, but eventually we had to give it to Caulifla. Originally the leader of a gang of delinquents, Caulifla was roped in to join Universe 6’s team during the Tournament of Power, along with her protégé Kale. As a Saiyan, she was expected to be the team’s main powerhouse, and she did not disappoint.
|Well, Cabba's dead.|
Much like Goku, Caulifla is a prodigy when it comes to fighting. She was able to unlock Super Saiyan just by having it described to her, and she went Super Saiyan 2 without even realising it. And even though Goku is astronomically more powerful than most other characters on the show, she was able to give him a good fight. After fusing with Kale, she became so strong that Goku needed to use Ultra Instinct again to match her. If that wasn’t enough, she also holds the honour of being the first canonical female Super Saiyan in the series. Not bad, considering most people thought that Kale would overshadow her at first.
The Best Moments of 2017
Midoriya and Bakugo Pass (My Hero Academia) (Written by: Shiggins)
After spending two seasons of doing nothing but arguing and refusing to get along, Midoriya and Bakugou finally find peace and embrace as true brothers who care about one another.... ha, just kidding! No, they have to set aside their differences temporarily and Bakugou is still pissed off, but at least the truce between them garners some great results!
|Leaving work for the day like:|
|And just look how happy he is!|
The Joui Four Reunited (Gintama) (Written by: ClayDragon)
Ever since his introduction, Takasugi had been painted as an antagonistic force to Gintoki and the rest of his old comrades from the Joui War. However, after a number of revelations and fights during the previous season of Gintama, Takasugi’s feelings were implied to have changed. So when he and Gintoki see each other from across a battlefield, what do they do? Why, they run towards each other, swords drawn, and stab each other.
|Good thing neither of them missed.|
Or at least, that’s what we’re lead to think. In fact, they ended up saving each other, and stand back-to-back against the army of assassins. They’re then joined by Katsura and Sakamoto (the latter of whom arrived by dropping a spaceship onto the battlefield), and for the first time since the war, the four comrades are working as a team. It was a long time coming, but seeing these four major players all come together and kick major ass was a highlight of the year.
|Well, I just got goosebumps.|
Ultra Instinct (Dragon Ball Super) (Written by: ClayDragon)
Another year, another powerup for Goku. This time though, he didn’t gain a new Super Saiyan form, or even anything relating to his older techniques like the Kaio-ken. Instead, it was a completely new form called Ultra Instinct. After throwing everything he had at Jiren (to no avail), Goku went for broke and created an enormous Spirit Bomb, only for it to be thrown right back in his face, seemingly killing him. A few seconds later though, he emerges from the dust-coated crater, with a hazy blue glow and visible pupils. He then proceeds to demonstrate his new power by going toe-to-toe with Jiren, thus starting one of the best fights in Dragon Ball history.
Whilst this moment could have been ruined due to the heavy amount of publicising it got, it was still more than awesome enough to live up to the hype. The sweeping choir, the fluid, fast-paced action, and the epic rock track that kicks in once the battle started made this an instant classic, and it will probably go down as Super’s answer to the original Super Saiyan transformation.
|Touta Becomes Immortal (UQ Holder)|
|One-Butler Blitzkrieg (Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond)|
The Best Series of 2017
Gintama (Written by: ClayDragon)
Once again, this year’s offering(s) of Gintama show that the series isn’t all about madcap comedy and wacky antics (although there’s plenty of that too). The first run this year focused on Gintoki and the gang as they went to find out more about Kagura’s family, coming into conflict with the main villains along the way. Whilst this season was heavier on the drama and action, the show’s trademark humour was still present, and it provided us with a number of excellent moments and fights, making it a truly memorable experience.
|Guess who didn't want to be in the group photo?|
Then, later in the year, we got another season of Gintama, this time focusing on manga chapters and storylines that hadn’t been animated yet. With the show’s final arc looming on the horizon, this was one last chance for it to take a break from the heavy stuff and focus purely on humour. And boy, did it succeed. Gintama is one of the most consistently entertaining shows out there, and the two seasons we got this year only reinforce that. No other show can balance laughter, drama and action quite like this one can.
|I feel like there's nothing I can say to add to this image.|
My Hero Academia Season 2 (Written by: Shiggins)
Another year has gone, and the superhero typhoon has rampaged us all once again. You can't go ten steps without getting smacked in the face with costumed fancy men and women thanks to all the films, television shows, video games, posters, toys, weird men who live under bridges, and of course the fantastic season 2 of one of Shonen Jump's best ongoing series at the time. Continuing the story of Izuku Midoriya, this one introduces three arcs that blew us away.
|Wait... Why isn't Tsuyu on the poster?!|
From the sports festival against fellow students, all with their own wacko quirks and goals, to the dark encounter with creepazoid Stain and finally ending with the students having to face their own teachers, this was a season I was desperately looking forward to. Thanks to some gorgeous animation and hilarious voice acting, this season blew away expectations and managed to be a bright shining star in a year filled with crushing disappointments and far too many wide-eyed girls in high school... again.
|That being said, Stain is not the only creepazoid.|
Made in Abyss (Written by: ClayDragon)
The only new series to have made it into our Top Three, Made in Abyss was something that passed me by when it first aired, mostly due to me assuming that it was for children, going by the fairly simplistic artstyle. When I actually gave it a shot though, I was blown away. The series focuses on two children, Riko and Reg, as they delve to the bottom of the titular Abyss – an enormous cavern stretching at least 20 kilometres down to the centre of the Earth that’s filled with hostile monsters, curses, and other generally nasty things.
|Two bright-eyed children go on an adventure in Uncle Lovecraft's Fun Time Murder Hole. What could possibly go wrong?|
Although it starts off light and cutesy, this series gets dark. Like, really, really dark. It’s not quite on the level of Berserk or Warhammer 40K, but those comparisons aren’t far off. The twists that the story takes don’t feel forced though. The story flows smoothly and the characters are (mostly) fleshed out and believable. Combine that with gorgeous animation and an amazing soundtrack, and it’s incredibly easy to get lost in this standout show. Season 2 can’t come soon enough.
|Everything. Everything could possibly go wrong.|
|Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond|
|Little Witch Academia|
|Happy New Year!|
ClayDragon has finished studying Physics at university, and understands about as much as he did when he started. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at email@example.com. He has an ask.fm account at ask.fm/ClayDragon. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to figure out what to do with his life. Every part of his body is failing him at once.
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.