The Pits: Best of Anime 2017

Editor’s Note: Feel free to post as long or short a list as you would like below, but please keep your lists contained to these posts and do not open up your own or fill up the OT with them. The winners will be announced alongside the other winners of The Pits on 12/20 and will be calculated by adding up your lists (10 points for first, 9 for second, etc. with 5 per awarded for unranked Top 10 lists). Voting will be cut off some time on 12/20 so make sure to cast your ballot before then. If you wish to change your ballot later feel free to, but please indicate clearly that you are recasting your vote to make things easier to count.

Welcome to The Pits: Best of Anime 2017 voting thread. This has been an incredible year for anime, both for TV and film. Some beautiful, powerful, and hilarious anime came out this year and if you’re anything like me, it will legitimately break your heart to limit your list to only 10 series and 10 movies.

The rules are simple to follow. We have two categories: The Miyazaki Award for Best Anime Movie and the Watanabe Award for Best Anime Series. You are welcome to list out as many as you like, but only the top 10 for each category will be awarded points. For unordered lists, each show/film will receive 5 points. For ordered lists, the first place will receive 10, second 9, etc. with 10 getting 1 point.

Any show which aired in 2017 is qualified for a nomination, including season 500,000 of Gintama. For films, if either a limited release or a wide release occurred in 2017, it qualifies. Re-releases of films older than 2 years don’t count. Short films are allowed, as are OVA movies. Short-form series are also allowed. If you’re wondering which category to put an anime in, if it has a number of episodes, it’s a series. If you’re not sure if something is “anime”, just list it. It’s fine.

If you need help remembering what the hell you watched this year, My Anime List has a convenient Seasonal Anime list for 2017. Just click through each of the seasons at the top.

Please keep in mind that these lists should be personal. You can consider what you like about a show in terms of a wide audience, but I don’t want you taking something off of your list just because it didn’t get great reviews. Be nice and do not rag on people for their choices.

For convenience sake, use either the most common name or the official English name for the series. Feel free to list more than one name for the same show.

The following is my list of nominees for best Anime of 2017:

Watanabe Award for Best Anime Series (unordered):
Sakura Quest – (5pts) 
A show focusing on women working in a slightly odd small town in Japan which is in need of rejuvenation, this unassuming comedy doesn’t surpass some of these other nominees in terms of gags, but damn it if it doesn’t have heart. It’s an anime to come home to, capturing the strange feeling of finding your place in a new town. 
Little Witch Academia – (5pts)
Little Witch Academia’s fun and adventurous feel mixed with its often zany characters makes for an awesome series for all ages.
Interviews with Monster Girls (Demi-chan wa Kataritai) – (5pts) A surprisingly wholesome anime which uses the concept of demi-humans to explore invisible and visible disabilities. Demi-chan’s mix of highly enjoyable high school hijinks and its subtle theming of hard-to-tackle issues made it a pleasure to watch every week.
My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) – (5pts) Season 2 of MHA makes good on the promise of season 1. Moving right from a tournament arc to an interesting new villain made this season one great episode after another. It managed to develop its wide cast while still moving the overarching story along and keeping the main character both interesting and engaging.
Konosuba (Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!) – (5pts) A gag anime lampooning the isekai genre that somehow feels like a sitcom. The sheer character of this show could carry it, but it also has an incredible cast and fantastic use of comedic timing. One of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a while.
Tsurezure Children (Tsuredure Children) – (5pts) A show that somehow condenses half a dozen love stories into 12 12-minute episodes, mixing new and mature love, cuteness and comedy, truly a treasure of an anime. Best described as “a rom-com with all the filler cut out”.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Mahoutsukai no Yome) – (5pts) From the OVAs to the first season, this show has been a visual wonder. The commitment to aesthetic makes the wondrous world seem real. There is also a very large axolotl who appears in this show and I’ve named him axolittl and I love him.
Kino’s Journey (Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World) – (5pts) This anime follows a talking motorcycle and his companion as they travel from city-state to city-state, staying only 3 nights in each. It’s an interesting episodic series which explores different ideas about government, social structure and human nature. A surprisingly good remake of a hidden gem classic series.
March comes in like a lion (3-gatsu no Lion) – (5pts) Following Rei Kiriyama, a young professional Shogi player and his interactions with fellow players, school teachers and three sisters who live in his neighborhood. The art style is interesting and the comedy can be a bit silly, but the sheer goddamn heart of this show is a wonder to behold. A powerfully emotional show which does a very good job of presenting depression and loneliness in unique ways.
Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – (5pts) A somewhat overlooked modern classic, Rakugo Shinjuu’s has incredible acting, excellent direction, and a fantastic mixture of comedy and tragedy. If you haven’t seen this show, you are missing out. Perhaps one of the best shows of 2016-2017.

Honorable Mentions:
Gamers! – A romantic comedy which takes all of the common tropes and turns them up to 11. From the first scene, Gamers has the audience itching for more, yelling at the screen and laughing their asses off.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Net-juu no Susume) – A cute romance show following a woman in her 30’s who has recently quit her terrible job and decided to play MMOs all day. This unique romance is cute, sweet, and highly relatable.

The Miyazaki Award for Best Anime Movie (ordered):

7. Blade Runner Black Out 2022 – (4pts) A slick short which adds some cool background to the main feature of Blade Runner 2049. Short but rad.
6. Fireworks: Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? – (5pts) A fun, weird, pretty film which, although somewhat flawed was a solid watch.
5. Mary and the Witch’s Flower – (6pts) 
The first film coming from Studio Ponoc, which consists largely of ex-Ghibli creators. Mary is a fun, beautifully animated film for the whole family. It doesn’t quite live up to its ancestry, but it’s a very solid first step for Ponoc.
4. Mutafukaz – (7pts) A strange mixture of They Live and GTA, Mutafukaz is a love letter to the city of Los Angeles and an incredibly interesting look into an outsider’s lens of American pop culture. The characters keep a sometimes baffling story going and somehow everything comes together to form something pretty great.
3. Big Fish and Begonia – (8pts) Potentially the beginning of a revolution in Chinese animation, this gorgeously animated film explores a unique spiritual world. It’s both wonderful to look at and incredibly emotionally engaging.
2. Your Name – (9pts)
 Shinkai’s incredible eye for beautiful shots mixed with surprisingly good comedy, a fantastic soundtrack and a really compelling story make for a must-see movie. Your Name mixes modern with traditional, rural with urban, and fantasy with realism into a visually stunning and touching film.
1. Night is Short, Walk on Girl – (10pts) Something about Yuasa’s unique style of animation and comedy makes this film feel perfect. You can check out my extended review, but the long and short of it is that this movie reminds me why I goddamn love anime.