The first season of 2017 anime has drawn to a close, and it’s time for me to look back and pick out favourite moments and characters and other such stuff from it. This season gave us angels, demons, dragons, friends, cats and plenty more besides, and I definitely feel that it was a strong start to the year for anime.
As usual, here are the shows that I watched:
– Ai-Mai-Mi Surgical Friends
– BanG Dream!
– Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haeccitas
– Dragon Ball Super
– Gabriel DropOut
– Idol Incidents
– Kemono Friends
– KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode
– Koro Sensei Quest!
– Little Witch Academia
– Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club
– Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
– Nyanko Days
– One Piece
– Saga of Tanya the Evil
– Schoolgirl Strikers
With that list out of the way, and keeping in mind potential spoilers for anything listed above, let’s start handing out some arbitrary awards.
Best Opening Theme
“Aozora no Rhapody” by fhána
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a show that brings a lot of joy, and it’s opening theme is a perfect match for that. It’s so upbeat and energetic, with a tone that suits the show.
Runners-up: “Youkoso Japari Park e” by Doubutsu Biscuits x PPP (Kemono Friends); “Genkai Toppa x Survivor” by Kiyoshi Hikawa (Dragon Ball Super)
Saga of Tanya the EvilA salaryman who strives for the top ends up getting killed, and his lack of faith results in him being reincarnated as Tanya Degurechaff. Tanya is a magic prodigy who ends up being drafted to the front lines of a world war, despite striving for an easy life. Oh, and she also finds herself going up against the very deity who reincarnated her, who is constantly making her life difficult.
Runners-up: Idol Incidents, Kemono Friends
KabanThe lead protagonist of the Kemono Friends embarks on a quest for identity, as she has no memory of who or what she is. However, a lack of memory doesn’t stop Kaban from coming up with solutions to all kinds of problems, and she’s even willing to put herself in danger to help her friends.
Runners-up: Tanya Degurechaff (Saga of Tanya the Evil); Tohru (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
Black KingThe main antagonist of Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas is pretty much your standard RPG villain, but that’s fine by me. It’s also worth mentioning that the show begins with the Black King claiming victory over the heroes, so he’s a pretty efficient foe.
Runners-up: Being X (Saga of Tanya the Evil); Morgana (Schoolgirl Strikers)
Best Female Character
TohruMost of the anime I watch tends to have a large cast of female characters, always making this one a really tough choice. Only one character can win the award though, and if you pressed me for an answer than it would have to be Tohru.
The dragon maid is infatuated with Miss Kobayashi, though she doesn’t possess a high opinion of other humans. Despite that, she is perfectly happy to be living with Miss Kobayashi, and she is also like a big sister for Kanna to look up to.
Runners-up: Serval (Kemono Friends); Kasumi Toyama (BanG Dream!)
Best Male Character
FafnirBeing a dragon, Fafnir has nothing but contempt for humans. He doesn’t stop that from letting him enjoy video games, and forming a solid friendship with Makoto Takiya.
Runners-up: Aram (Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas); Makoto Takiya (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
Best Cast of Characters
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon MaidThe dragons all possess their own quirks, which makes a joy to watch most of them. Tohru’s devotion to Miss Kobayashi, Kanna’s cuteness… the dragons certainly make for some memorable characters.
The humans are just as great, as well – Miss Kobayashi comes to terms with Tohru’s affection over the course of the series, and then there is Riko who is head over heels for Kanna.
Each character possesses their own unique charms, and they all blend well together for show that is both comedic and heart-warming.
Runners-up: Kemono Friends; BanG Dream!
Kanna KamuiIn a season that gave us both incredibly cute cats and dragons, having to choose between one or the other is an almost impossible task. Fortunately, there is only one Kanna, which means she gets this award so I don’t have to struggle with choosing just one of the Nyanko Days cats.
Kanna’s interactions with Miss Kobayashi, Tohru, Riko and the others around her are just so sweet. I particularly enjoy the relationship between Kanna and Riko.
Runners-up: Maa, Rou, Shii & Elsa (Nyanko Days)
Most Badass Character
KabanYou know what? I was going to go with a cop-out and choose a character from Dragon Ball Super or One Piece for this, but then episode 11 of Kemono Friends happened. When Serval is in danger, Kaban puts her all into rescuing her, and then there’s her actions after that. Let’s all just take a moment to salute the hero that is Kaban.
Runners-up: Tanya Degurechaff (Saga of Tanya the Evil); Odile (Schoolgirl Strikers)
Miss Kobayashi & TohruChoosing a favourite pair from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is difficult, especially since I like Miss Kobayashi x Tohru and Kanna x Riko equally. Tohru’s made it clear from the very beginning how she feels about Miss Kobayashi, whereas Miss Kobayashi has had to adjust to the feeling of being wanted. Though Miss Kobayashi has to put up with Tohru’s quirks, it is clear that she appreciates everything the dragon maid has done and will do for her.
Runners-up: Kanna & Riko (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid); Yuuko & Azumi (Nyanko Days)
Tohru and Kanna ‘playing’
I’m going with a visually impressive sequence for this award, courtesy of Kyoto Animation. When dragons play, they certainly hold nothing back – and this is when they’re on friendly terms. The scale of destruction in a fight between two opposing dragons must be on a whole other level…
So, yeah, my favourite fight of the season wasn’t one for honour or glory, but one that happened just for fun.
Runners-up: Tanya Degurechaff vs. Ansion Sioux (Saga of Tanya the Evil); Black Cerulean Battle (Kemono Friends)
I am particularly fond of anime themed around music, and BanG Dream! is no exception. Watching Kasumi and the rest of Poppin’ Party develop as a band is enhanced by the group learning and performing new songs as the series progresses. We also hear other bands besides Poppin’ Party perform, and there are some pretty great tracks.
Runners-up: Idol Incidents; Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
I’m a sucker for the use of the theme music power-up trope, and Kemono Friends effectively employed it in its finale. When Kaban found herself in a tight spot, the Friends she met previously show up to help her out – heck, even the title shows up.
That wasn’t the only part of the finale that worked well – it was a great ending, leaving the series open for more adventures.
Runners-up: Arrival of the Emperor of Demise (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid); Idol dietwomen uniting for a performance (Idol Incidents)
Best Ending Theme
“Nyanko is L♥VE!” by every♥ing
The episodes of Nyanko Days are so short that this could qualify as an opening theme, but MyAnimelist lists it as a closing theme so lets go with that. The song is quite a catchy little number, that sums up the show pretty well.
Runners-up: “Los! Los! Los!” by Tanya Degurechaff (Saga of Tanya the Evil); “Aku No Tenshi To Seigi No Akuma” by The Collectors (Dragon Ball Super)
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Out of all the anime I watched during the winter, there were two in particular that really stood out: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Kemono Friends. Both had lots of heart, but for me personally, the maid dragon just managed to edge out the Friends – though I adore both shows.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid gives us humour, heart-warming moments and a whole lot of cuteness courtesy of Kanna.
Runners-up: Kemono Friends; BanG Dream!
That wraps up the winter awards. I feel I should mention Urara Meirocho and Little Witch Academia, as those were another couple of shows I really quite enjoyed – despite their lack of appearances here. I’ve felt that 2017 has been off to a strong start with this season, and very much look forward to seeing what the rest of the year has in store for us.