Fall 2017 Anime Thoughts

With the close of the Fall 2017 anime season, the Beneath the Tangles decided to look back at the season answering two questions: What was the biggest surprise of this season for you? What was your favorite series of the season? In addition to that – we asked the staff one more question: What was your favorite series of 2017?

So, without further ado, let’s see what our staff enjoyed this season!

Food Wars! Third Plate, ep 11, Nakiri Azami

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

The biggest surprise for me came in Food Wars! The Third Plate (Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara). It wasn’t a plot twist, surprising character development, or anything like that, I’m afraid. Rather, Shokugeki surprised me by… disappointing me. I didn’t think it was possible. It’s not like I have huge expectations for this series. For heaven’s sake, it’s still classified as an ecchi, even though it’s thankfully much tamer than it was in the first season. I expect to dislike certain aspects of it. But the plot? That, I expected to enjoy on at least a superficial level. Then, about halfway through the fall cour, a new, bothersome antagonist arrived—one that can’t be overcome with a single cooking battle. And my dislike for him isn’t the good “hey, they created a very effective villain” kind of dislike. Much of this current arc seems forced, and aspects of his character feel unrealistic in the wrong ways. So I’m disappointed—and that’s the biggest surprise of the season.

(Available to legally stream on Crunchyroll. Earlier seasons are also available on Yahoo View, Hidive, and Hulu. Again, I warn you: this is ecchi and not appropriate for everyone. The first episode is the worst in that respect.)

Morioka Moriko in Recover of an MMO Junkie ep 1

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Neto-juu no Susume). This was an easy winner, and not just because my expected favorite disappointed me (see above). It’s lighthearted and fun—the two qualities I most seek in an anime nowadays—but also relatable. You don’t have to play MMOs to understand the pull of NEET life. While I like my job, I would love to do what Moriko did and leave behind all the work-related stress and commit all my time to my hobbies. Oh, and I always appreciate portrayals of online friendship, even though my online friendships aren’t based around MMOs.

In addition, I appreciated all the little details about Moriko’s character: how she used the lint roller on her carpet when she was stressed, her makeup dilemmas, her hair cut, her anxieties. The romance bits were enjoyable enough as well. Overall, a good, fun show. (Available on Crunchyroll and Funimation).

Yotaro listens to rakugo in ep 5 of Descending Stories

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Descending Stories), hands down. As I wrote in my Winter reviewDescending Stories continued in the same vein as the first season, full of “beautiful animation and music, fantastic storytelling, fallible and relatable characters, and skilled use of motifs like candles and specific rakugo stories.” There are so many layers to this show. I just… I can’t even… Look, if you haven’t seen either season of Rakugo Shinjuu yet, and you have the slightest interest in fantastic visuals and wonderful story, go watch it. You can stream it legally on Crunchyroll.

Medieval Otaku

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

That Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond dropped so many of its Christian themes for mere existentialism.  Christian imagery and ideas made an appearance in the last episode, but that was mostly due to the anime attempting to tie the finale of the first season to the recent season.  (It did not really succeed in this.)  Also, unlike the first season, one could not trace an overarching plot to the more episodic stories replete with explosions and violence.  There exist stories where the author wants to reveal meaning to the audience and those where the author wants to show off: Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond struck me as the latter.

At least, Chain-chan got more screen time.  Watch it on Crunchyroll.

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

It has to be Land of the Lustrous (aka Houseki no Kuni).  For a while, Recovery of an MMO Junkie (aka Neto-juu no Susume) held this place for me; but the story told in Land of the Lustrous only becomes more interesting as it unravels, as does the heroine.  Recovery of an MMO Junkie has likable characters but not the degree of conflict necessary for a great story.

One also loves how Land of the Lustrous builds an interesting and intriguing world out of a very barren place.  The world added a unique feeling of…je ne sais quoi…to scenes of danger, loneliness, and contemplation which ultimately made it more immersive than anything else this season.  The inner conflict within Phos, the mystery behind the three humanoid species, and the constant danger posed by the Lunarians kept me fascinated and looking forward to more.  If only I could hope for a second season!  You can watch it on Amazon’s Anime Strike.

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

Well, I love a good samurai tale.  Samurai anime got me into this hobby in the first place.  (Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai: Hunt for the Sword, Demon Eyes Kyo, and Peacemaker Kurogane in particular)  However, good samurai anime are hard to find.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when Onihei came out this year.  It offers some nice swordplay, beautiful and creative animation, and compelling character-centered stories.  I could have watched Onihei forever, but the series sadly only consists of thirteen episodes.  You can watch it on Amazon’s Anime Strike.


What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

The biggest surprise for me has to be Love is Like a Cocktail (Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara). This short-form series purely exists to be adorable. When I heard about it, I thought to myself, “Wow, I’ll get to see a cute romantic series about an actually married adult couple. That could be fun!” While it was, overall, fun to watch and very cute, they did not feel like a married couple. Major blushing when given a hug. Barely holding hands. Not a kiss in sight. They are married – I’m not looking for something explicit, but I expected their relationship to look a lot less like a middle school couple and more like actual married adults. It was disappointing. Love is Like a Cocktail can be streamed legally at Crunchyroll.

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

I’m sorry other, excellent anime of the Fall 2017 season, you did not stand a chance for me to Himouto! Umaru-chan R. I loved the original series and a sequel series that’s equally as silly was a lot of fun. I looked forward to watching each new episode and I truly appreciated the genuine growth they gave to each of the main characters in the series. They did not remain static as they had in the past, but moved forward as a group and grew. Even Umaru. It still kept to its silly roots (note the screenshot), but it allowed the characters some room to develop. I liked it quite a bit. Himouto! Umaru-chan R can be streamed legally via Amazon’s Anime Strike channel.

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

Hands down my favorite series of 2017 was Sakura Quest. The story of these twenty something adult women set in the small town of Manoyama struck with me. I could understand the struggles of people dealing with just getting out of college, trying to understand their place in the world. I also know what it was like growing up in a small town and the desire to branch out. There are many reasons why this was my favorite series, but in the end the most important reason was the characters. I genuinely liked all of the main cast. They grew and became more interesting as the series progressed. The character development was spot on for each main (and most of the primary supporting) cast members. I just couldn’t get enough of it. I wish there were more, but sadly the series is over. But you should watch it. You can stream it legally at Crunchyroll or Funimation.


What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War was a very interesting show for me. I had heard of it from watching a YouTube video by Glass Reflection, a popular YouTuber who reviews anime. It looked cool as it was a deathmatch tournament where only one winner would remain. The only thing about it, aside from the nice animation, interesting, and straightforward plot, was that you never knew who was going to die! Before I continue, this is not a show for you if you do not like gore. This is a very bloody show, and it can get pretty nasty. I do not enjoy shows where so much violence is displayed, but I had to keep watching because I wanted to know who would be the winner. No matter who I thought would survive, some twist happened that I never saw coming and I lost my gamble. I have never watched a show that killed off so many of its characters as liberally as this show, so for that, it was my biggest surprise. The ending was well-thought out, but I don’t want to give any more detail so as not to ruin it.

You can stream it legally at Crunchyroll.

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

Anime-Gataris won me over in episode 1. At first I wasn’t sure what was the point of the anime, and I thought it would be another boring show about high school students and drama (not my thing). Once I saw the conversation between the main characters Minoa and Arisu, where they mentioned several anime references that only fans would recognize, I knew I would continue to watch this series. I appreciate that every episode is based on something different that I could relate to as an avid anime viewer for years now. Sometimes I can’t find anyone, outside of the staff here at Beneath the Tangles, that I can geek out about in a certain show, but watching Anime-Gataris I could understand where Minoa was coming from. She often doesn’t understand what the other characters are talking about since they have “skin in the game” watching so many shows, so I was learning some things along with her about one of my favorite entertainment mediums.

You can stream it legally at Crunchyroll.

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

So far as I know, I’m the only staff member keeping up with Dragonball Super. To me, this new series that continues where Dragonball Z left off has blown my (and most fans) mind. It goes where I have always wanted it to, especially the Tournament of Power arc. Some of the past arcs like the first 50 or so episodes were pretty slow, since I had watched the movies that they were based on already. Once they started introducing the new universes and characters that are even more powerful than Goku, then things got really interesting. Since this was one of the first shows that got me hooked into anime, as it did to many others, I can guarantee you I do not miss the new episode that airs every Saturday. It’s watched by so many people, it crashes the Crunchyroll servers every single Saturday night!

You can stream it legally at Crunchyroll.

idolmaster cinderella girls atsumi

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?


…ahem. This “surprise” is one you probably won’t understand unless you’re a major Cinderella Girls fan, but I’ll try to explain. The Cinderella Girls division of The iDOLM@STER is notable for its massive cast of 183 producable girls. With a cast that large, voicing all the girls is impractical, so certain girls are selected to be voiced through various means. A girl getting voiced is always a major event in the fandom, as many people have “unvoiced” girls they love, and when the girl gets voiced, it not only gives them a nice voice to listen to, but also opens them up for singing songs, appearing in lives, and more. Going into The IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Theater short series’s second season (available on Crunchyroll), we have 72 girls voiced, which is already quite impressive, but it means that this short series has no need to voice any more girls, as plenty of material exists for those already-voiced girls to adapt. That’s what I thought, but then one episode threw all that out the window and gave one girl a voice. Atsumi herself isn’t among my favorite unvoiced girls but she’s a cute and fun character with an amusing quirk that befits the nature of this series as a comedic short and I’m definitely glad to see her finally voiced. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from our “mountain climber” in further Cinderella Girls material!

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

I already knew I was going to love Konohana Kitan from the start. Cute fox girls and a relaxing atmosphere that falls right into my favorite anime genre of iyashikei provided a winning formula right from episode 1 for me, but understandably it’s not for everyone. However, in later episodes, Konohana Kitan shows it can provide even more than just cuteness and relaxation. The mysticism of this Shinto-based world also permeates this show, with some of the most magical scenes this side of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and it’s combined with surprisingly deep and emotional single-episode stories, for something that’s basically a fluffier Natsume’s Book of Friends (in more ways than one). Add on a wonderful core cast with some decent character development and you have one of the best iyashikei series in recent memory. If you’re tired of 2017 and want a relaxing start to the new year, why not head over to Crunchyroll and check it out?

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

So across four seasons of anime, one show has stood out from each season as an AOTY candidate: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid from Winter, Alice and Zouroku from Spring, New Game!! Season 2 from Summer, and Konohana Kitan from Fall. All four of these shows are absolutely amazing in all sorts of ways, and material-wise they are all just about equally good, so choosing a favorite would be hard… except that one show has a bit of an unfair advantage of technically having twice as much material animated. So New Game!! is my favorite show of this group because it has two seasons of stuff to love, but I must note that it only got that way because the second season stepped up its game of character development and writing significantly, pushing the girls that we got to love from the first season to grow through various trials. This is a cute-girls-doing-cute-things show at its finest, transcending the normally-niche audience of such shows to become something I would wholeheartedly recommend to any anime fan. (Available on Crunchyroll)

hina kawamoto crying

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

I wasn’t at all surprised by how good season two of March Comes in Like a Lion was – season one was amazing as well – but the show did surprise me in how it developed in directions I didn’t expect. It refused to stay still, mired in the slow growth of Rei both as a shogi player and as a young man, but pushed into new territory, exploring different characters, giving Rei the opportunity to demonstrate how much he’s grown, and most suprisingly, focusing much of the season on the topic of bullying, a plot point that remains unsolved and difficult for the characters to deal with, much like how bullying affects youth in real life. Hurrah, 3-gatsu! What a follow-up!

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

I could easily have put 3-gatsu in this slot as well, and I wouldn’t be bothered by placing the revival of Kino’s Journey here, too, or the fine romantic series, Just Because. But if I’m being completely honest with myself, it was as how about adults playing MMO games that really got me this season. I was a latecomer to Recovery of an MMO Junkie, but after increasingly seeing how well liked it was, I gave it a chance a few weeks ago and was completely enraptured. I finished in a couple of days, and it just wasn’t enough. I absolutely loved the leads (and Mamiko Noto was PERFECT as Moriko, bringing an adult Sawako kinda vibe to the role) and I completely fell for their romance set in a world of adults trying to find something more in the relationships they build in gaming. A lovely and addicting series.

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

I’m going to cheat here, and on two counts: I’m picking a movie and it wasn’t first released in 2017. But hear me out. In This Corner of the World was released in North American theaters just a few months ago, so I think it qualifies, and there was no series this year, as much as I enjoyed Tsuki ga Kirei, and the second seasons of March Comes in Like a Lion and Boku no Hero Academia, that was as powerful and meaningful as this film about the beautiful spirit of a young woman (and of Japan) leading up the bombing of Hiroshima. Simultaneously hilarious and soul-crushing, In this Corner was for me the only must-see of 2017, so it gets this spot. Now, go see it.


What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

I remember hanging out in my brother dorm when I walked into the living room where some of the members of anime club were watching anime on the TV. On the screen was Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia), and it was dubbed… and it was so good! I’m not usually a fan of dub, but watching the characters interact in english made the show’s subtleties more interesting to me. Such events have never happened to me before! Season 2 of My Hero Academia premiered in March of 2017, so I may be pushing the time periods a bit, but this was defiantly the most surprising discovery I made during this season. You can watch the dub legally on Funimation!

What was your favorite series of the Fall 2017 season?

The series I kept the most attention on this season was Black Clover! It was a very predictable anime for it’s genera, but that’s what made it all the more fun! Black Clover is basically Naruto with magic instead of ninjutsu, so that was an instant win for me!

I fell in love with Asta as soon as I heard his first obnoxious scream! The show kept my attention because Asta has such a distinct voice, especially when he was yelling, “WOW!” Asta may have been your stereotypical shonen hero, but he had enough distinct personality traits that made him quite the memorable character.

If you like fight scenes, rivals, and lots of annoying yelling, you’ll love this anime! You can watch it legally on crunchyroll.com 

What was your favorite anime series of 2017?

For my favorite anime this whole year, I would have to go with Boruto. This decision was not made because of superior content, but because the anime scored major nostalgia points with me.  It was brilliant for the producers to release the first episode of Boruto the week after Naruto Shippuden ended. In reality I probably have more complaints then compliments. Still this anime won as my favorite of the season because it balanced trying to follow in its parent’s footsteps while retaining an original story.

The hook makes the anime, and Boruto got a home run for its hook! Boruto followed one of the screen writing rules where you make the first scene of the story, the last scene as well. You give the audience a glimpse of the end completely out of context to grab their attention and keep them watching. The hook is creating a bunch of questions that you’ll never see answered unless you finish the series!

I still can’t tell if the fad of calling the anime Naruto, “Boruto’s Dad” is frustrating to me or not. Perhaps let’s laugh about it but in our heart’s we’ll know that Naruto will always be our true hero.

How about you?

What did you like in the Fall 2017 season? Were there things that shocked you? How about for all of 2017 – what was your favorite series of the year? Let us know in the comments and join in the discussion!

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