Once again, it is time for me to take a look back over the summer season of anime and hand out arbitrary awards based solely on my own preferences. As usual, here’s the list of anime I watched during the season:
- A Centaur’s Life
- Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
- Battle Girl High School
- BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
- Dragon Ball Super
- Hina Logic – from Luck & Logic
- KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode
- Made in Abyss
- My Hero Academia Season 2
- Netsuzou Trap -NTR-
- NEW GAME!!
- One Piece
- Princess Principal
- Sakura Quest
- Symphogear AXZ
Without wanting to give too much away here, one show from that list above will be mentioned much more than any other. As usual, the awards will potentially contain spoilers for any of the shows listed above so be wary of that.
Best Opening Theme
“TESTAMENT” by Nana Mizuki
The opening theme of Symphogear AXZ is just so good – and that has been the case for the previous three seasons. The music, together with the training and battle scenes that accompany it never fails to get me hyped up for the upcoming episode.
It also is used as a theme music power up during the final episode, and it is glorious.
Runners-up: “The Other Side of the Wall” by Void_Chords feat.MARU (Princess Principal); “Oshiete Darwin” by Purely Monster (A Centaur’s Life)
Spies in 19th century LondonPrincess Principal is mostly self-contained episodes, but it does focus on the missions carried out by a team of spies. It also spends time developing the characters that make up the team, resulting in them growing on you.
Runners-up: Drive up Manoyama’s tourism (Sakura Quest); Protecting the world from the Bavarian Illuminati (Symphogear AXZ)
Hibiki TachibanaThere’s some really strong protagonists for this season, but my love for Symphogear means that Hibiki gets to win this award – again. In the third season, Symphogear GX, she went through a whole lot of angst – she doesn’t suffer through any of that in Symphogear AXZ. Of course, she’d still rather try to talk out a situation than fight, but she is more than capable of holding her own in combat.
Runners-up: Ange le Carre (Princess Principal); Aoba Suzukaze (NEW GAME!!)
Adam WeishauptI utterly despise Symphogear AXZ‘s main antagonist – he’s the type of villain you just want to see crushed. He seems like an impossible hurdle for the Symphogear users to overcome when he first appears. However, things take a satisfying turn towards the end as Adam’s plans crumble around him courtesy of Hibiki.
Runners-up: Hero Killer: Stain (My Hero Academia Season 2); The Duke of Normandy (Princess Principal)
Best Female Character
Miku KohinataI was tempted to just give this award to Hibiki, but instead I think the girl who supports Hibiki through thick and thin and is practically her wife at this point should get it. Miku may not be equipped with a Symphogear, but she is there to lend her help to Hibiki however she can.
Runners-up: Mikan Kise (Action Heroine Cheer Fruits); Hifumi Takimoto (NEW GAME!!)
Best Male Character
Genjuro KazanariThe commander of S.O.N.G. in Symphogear AXZ. During a training session, he is able to incapacitate all six Symphogear users with his bare hands – the only reason he doesn’t go out on the front lines is due to the Alca-Noise being able to disintegrate humans on touch. During at one point in the season, Hibiki ends up in a pinch – Genjuro knows immediately who he should get to help out with that situation.
Runners-up: Kairi Sisigou (Fate/Apocrypha); All Might (My Hero Academia Season 2)
Best Cast of Characters
S.O.N.G.I absolutely adore almost every cast member of Symphogear AXZ. The six Attuned pretty much speak for themselves, but then you have incredible members of the supporting cast such as Genjuro, Elfnein and Miku. I just love watching them all work together to overcome their trials.
Runners-up: Eagle Jump staff (NEW GAME!!), The Principal Team (Princess Principal)
From A Centaur’s Life, we have the youngest sister of the class president, Sue. A frail young lass, she pretty much melts hearts whenever she appears onscreen. Yes, younger characters do tend to be cuter by default, but Sue just happens to be super adorable.
Runners-up: Elfnein (Symphogear AXZ); Chise (Princess Principal)
Most Badass Character
Hibiki TachibanaHonestly, any of the Attuned are more than worthy of this award. Symphogear AXZ‘s finale pretty much influenced my decision here, and even before that Adam gives Hibiki the nickname ‘god slayer’. Ideally Hibiki would rather reach out and try to understand other people, but when the situation calls for it, Hibiki is adept at combat.
Runners-up: Chise (Princess Principal); Genjuro Kazanari (Symphogear AXZ)
Hibiki Tachibana & Miku Kohinata
The reason these two here is pretty much the same reason I chose Miku as best female character. Hibiki has had some very troubled times in her life, but she was able to pull through thanks to Miku. In turn, Miku was also influenced to make a positive change in her life thanks to Hibiki – these two girls are a perfect match for each other.
Runners-up: Liones Yelistratova & Nina Alexandrovna (Hina Logic – from Luck & Logic); Ko Yagami & Rin Toyama (NEW GAME!!)
Hibiki Tachibana vs. Adam WeishauptThe final battle of Symphogear AXZ is just spectacular. It does start with all six of the Attuned fighting Adam, but he reveals his true form and overpowers them. After a theme music power up, Hibiki ends up mimicking her allies techniques, and then gets a shiny golden transformation with which she delivers an epic barrage of punches to her foe. The song playing at the time is TESTAMENT, and it makes an already incredible scene infinitely better.
Runners-up: Deku, Todoroki and Iida vs. Hero Killer: Stain (My Hero Academia Season 2); Chise vs. Jubei (Princess Principal)
Considering that the Symphogear run on the power of music, Symphogear AXZ doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the soundtrack. Each character has their own unique song to sing to power their Symphogear, and the latter half of the season gave us some incredible duets.
I would love to stick an example in here, but they aren’t exactly the kind of videos that stick around on YouTube for long. A few of the songs are available on Spotify, with Hibiki’s ‘Makenai Ai ga Koko ni Aru’ being a particular highlight of mine.
Runners-up: Princess Principal; Fate/Apocrypha
Symphogear AXZ‘s final confrontationAdam’s plans have been crushed, but he is not giving up. He engages the Attuned an epic battle, even going as far to reveal his true form. A spectacular battle plays out, eventually resulting in Hibiki facing him on one-on-one combat.
After that, Hibiki finally gets to celebrate her birthday, and some hints are dropped as to what we will see in season 5…
Runners-up: PECO wrap party and Ko’s departure (NEW GAME!!); Mizuchi Festival (Sakura Quest)
Best Ending Theme
“Axia no Kaze”
Whilst Symphogear AXZ‘s regular ending theme, “Futurism” is great, I like the ending theme from episode 6 just a bit more. It is a medley of transformation chants of past and present Symphogear users, as well as the Swan Song. It’s simple, but there is beauty in that simplicity.
Runners-up: “Shooby Dooby☆Sweet Time” by Kanako Miyamoto (KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode); “A Page of My Story” by Ange, Princess, Dorothy, Beatrice and Chise (Princess Principal)
I absolutely adore Symphogear, so it probably should come as no surprise that it is my favourite show of the summer season. The action, the soundtrack, the characters… everything about it just ticks all the right boxes for me. Whilst there are some other spectacular shows out there, none of them come close to holding the same kind of appeal to me that Symphogear does.
Runners-up: NEW GAME!!; Princess Principal
The summer was an incredible season for anime, and I guess I will mostly attribute that to the utterly fantastic Symphogear AXZ. However, the other shows weren’t exactly slouching either – NEW GAME!! gave us an even better second season than the first, and Princess Principal proved to be incredibly entertaining.
We also got some very great surprises, with Hina Logic – from Luck & Logic and Action Heroine Cheer Fruits providing examples of that.
Summer 2017 is a season of anime that I will always look fondly back on.