So, the unfortunate thing has come to pass. I knew heading into the season that Amazon’s and Sentai’s raiding of titles would adversely affect the shows I’d be watching, specifically the amount of shows I’d be watching. However I greatly underestimated the damage it would do, as in total I’ve only stuck around with 12 shows through the end of this season, and two of those were shorts, so only 10 full shows were watched all the way through their Spring runs, easily the lowest number of shows I’ve seen in a season since Spring 2013, my first season of seasonal anime.
Unfortunately this low output also means that I have to scale back a bit on the number of categories. Though it is rather annoying that I have to scale back just one season after doing a massive expansion, but sometimes that’s just how things go. So with all of that out of the way, let’s get started with my production awards.
Winner: My Hero Academia Season 2
I mean, come on. Just...just freaking look at that! While My Hero Academia Season 2 hasn’t had nearly as many badass displays of animation as the first season has had, this is an instance of quality over quantity, as what moments of awesome animation Season 2 has shown has simply been breathtaking and shows why Bones is one of the most highly regarded studios in the business.
Winner: “Eien no Kotae” by HARUCA (KADO: The Right Answer)
Of the shows I did see this season, there were actually quite a few really strong EDs. Some of my other favorites this season were the EDs to Attack on Titan Season 2, The Eccentric Family 2, My Hero Academia Season 2, and Sakura Quest. Funnily enough, all of my favorite EDs this season had female vocalists. Just an odd coincidence there. I almost gave this to Attack on Titan’s ED for how ballsy it was of them to use spoilers from much further along in the manga as the visuals for the ED, but in the end I went with the one ED I just couldn’t stop listening to or waiting to hear each week. Oddly enough it is the ED with the least impressive visuals out of all my favorites this season. It won this solely on the strength of its extremely beautiful yet haunting song.
Winner: “FUCK YEAH!!!” (Tsukigakirei)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many anime fans be on the same page about not just a scene, but an entire episode, like I have with Tsukigakirei’s tenth episode. Nearly everyone who I know watched the episode reacted in the roughly the same way. “Kotarou, no, what are you doing? Dude, stop, come on just talk to Akane! Kotarou catching a lot of self-inflicted Ls right now. Man, this episode has put a damper on this show...wait...yes! YES! FUCK YEAH!!!” *enthusiastically pumps fist* It is one thing for a moment to get a visceral reaction from me, it is another thing entirely when it got the same reaction out of damn near everyone whose seen it.
Winner: “Natsugamama, Sawagumama” by milktub (The Eccentric Family 2)
When my pick for favorite OP of the season is an OP that extensively reuses old footage, you know it had to be doing something extremely right. If you don’t remember my stance on reused footage in OPs, I feel like it is a cop out, a cheap way to add content to an OP without having to do any real work. However, The Eccentric Family 2's OP is so far the only OP I’ve seen to reuse footage in a creative way. Partially because unlike most OPs that reuse footage, this OP doesn’t just take full chunks of footage, rather it cuts out the characters in the footage and places them in new locations and scenarios. In a way, this opening is a celebration of the first season. Add onto it some brilliantly done implementation of credits as well as incorporating footage of the real life Kyoto, and honestly, this is a simply phenomenal opening.
Winner: Attack on Titan Season 2
Let’s just cut to the chase, having Hiroyuki Sawano as the composer to a show is basically cheating. The dude rarely does bad work and as a result any show with him involved is instantly in the running for my favorite soundtrack of the season before I even heard the damned thing. Attack on Titan Season 2's soundtrack is quite honestly one of his better compositions, so no one this season had much of a chance. Opposing shows don’t even have much chance against Sawano when he slips up, so forget about it when he is on point. However, I would like to say that WorldEnd did put up a valiant effort with a really strong soundtrack of its own, anchored by an absolutely chilling rendition of “Scarborough Fair” that was actually my favorite OST song this season.
Winner: The Eccentric Family 2
The Eccentric Family was one of the best written anime I’ve ever seen, and the second season maintains the series’ level of quality in spades. The series is quite possibly the most well balanced mixture of comedy and drama I’ve experienced in anime, as neither feels out of place in the show, and the show can effortlessly switch back and forth between the two without causing emotional or tonal whiplash. And that isn’t even touching upon the series’ incredible tale about family and finding oneself, not to mention the show’s incredibly deep and complex characters.
Now let’s move on to my genre awards.
Winner: My Hero Academia Season 2
To me My Hero Academia Season 2 is better than the first in just about every way possible. More characters are getting developed, we are seeing some interesting uses for some of the quirks that had a lot of focus in the first season as well as seeing some extended use for quirks that didn’t really get that much time to shine. This season also really starts delving into that whole, “What makes a hero” debate, by giving us a character whose quirk is typically the kind reserved for villains as well as a hero who is just...just the god damn worse(seriously, fuck off Endeavor).
Oddly enough despite being my favorite action show this season it...didn’t really have that many interesting action scenes. The Spring half of this season crammed in an entire tournament arc, and as a result no fight lasted longer than a single episode. In fact there were two episodes where they kinda just rush through entire rounds of the tournament. There were two really fun fights, though, that more than made up for the rest of the arc, and even the short fights were at least amusing in how short they were.
Winner: Attack on Titan Season 2
This season was Attack on Titan at its absolute best. Much like My Hero Academia Season 2, the second season of Attack on Titan gives a lot of supporting characters some much needed character development. We also get some genuinely tense fights against Titans, well...until Eren gets involved, but eh, what can you do?
Winner: The Eccentric Family 2
Ok, so The Eccentric Family isn’t really a laugh out loud kind of comedy series, more like a whimsical type of comedy instead. But it is that sense of whimsy that permeates the show and makes it so damn enjoyable. The show is filled with magic, but never bothers trying to explain the magic, allowing for some really off the wall things to happen that you just kind of go along with. Also doesn’t hurt that the only other full length comedy I saw this season was Love Tyrant and they went and laid a turd in the home stretch by going all dramatic instead of sticking to its comedic strengths.
This show has ruined romance anime for me. I’ve said it time and again, but it is true. The pacing in this show alone has ruined the rest of the genre to me because of how god damn long its compatriots tend to take to reach all the milestones this show covers in just 12 episodes. But the pace isn’t the only thing this show has going for it over other romance anime. It is also extremely well written, with the characters behaving disturbingly realistically.
Winner: Ninja Girl & Samurai Master 2nd
Oh look, third season in a row Ninja Girl & Samurai Master takes the shorts crown. What a shock. Honestly, as much as I love the hell out of this show, I’m really hoping for another short to swoop in and steal the Summer crown from this show, because to be frank, I’m tapped out on things to say about it. It has remained the only genuinely good short this year. The only other short I’ve seen this season was World Fool News Part II, and while enjoyable in its own quirky way, it just isn’t on the same level. God do I miss the Ultra Super Anime Time block of shorts.....
Winner: Sakura Quest
Easy with the clenched fist of victory there Ririko, you guys won this partially thanks to being one of the only slice of life shows I saw this season. Now of course you were still the best of the bunch by a wide margin, but you crushed scrubs is what I am saying. The real challenge is coming in the Summer season, which is looking loaded with slice of life shows, so hopefully y’all have saved the big guns for last.
Now let’s move on to my character awards.
Winner: Benten (The Eccentric Family 2)
Benten, the beautiful and enigmatic force of nature of The Eccentric Family is really hard to pin down. Sometimes she is antagonistic towards the tanuki and other tengu. Other times she is an uneasy ally to them, mainly because of her affections/interests in Yasaburo. Regardless of what role she is playing at any given time, one thing is for certain, it is hard not to have you eyes glued to her every movement. Benten is just so complex of a character that is really is kind of hard for me to properly explain her. And she only grew more complex this season as the show added new dynamics to her thanks to the arrival of a character who made it clear that her high and mighty shit really did stink after all. This resulted in seeing sides of Benten we never expected to see.
Winner: Yasaburo (The Eccentric Family 2)
Much like Benten, Yasaburo is rather difficult to describe. On the surface he seems like a lazy prankster just going with the flow of life, but then you get into aspects of his character like the fact that he has a friendship/mutual crush with Benten, which is odd as hell considering Benten ate his father in a hotpot as part of the Friday Fellows. For as interesting as Benten is, it is actually Yasaburo that is the most fascinating part of The Eccentric Family, because of how he interacts with all of the other characters.
Winner: Nidaime (The Eccentric Family 2)
For me this was down to Nidaime and Gyokuran, another supporting character in The Eccentric Family 2. In the end I went with Nidaime, because his scenes had the bigger overall impact on the show. His arrival completely upset the balance of power in The Eccentric Family. As the above GIF shows, he was having nothing of Benten’s “I’m the HBIC” attitude, and unlike anyone else who thought they could boss around Benten, he could actually back it up. The show wouldn’t have been bad without him, but it was all the better thanks to him.
And lastly, my favorite show this season.
Winner: The Eccentric Family 2
What a shock, the show that claimed six other awards, including a clean sweep of the character awards, is my pick for favorite of the season. This was something that was never in doubt as the show basically locked itself in to be my favorite after episode sev-*the lights in the arena cut out*
Jim Ross: “What the hell is goin’ on Kang?!”
Jerry Lawler: “I don’t know, but business is about to pick up!”
JR: “By gawd Kang, that’s Tsukigakirei’s music!!! What are they doing here?!”
Lawler: “It looks to me like they are planning on cashing in their Money in the Bank contract!”
*Tsukigakirei slides into the ring and hands their MitB briefcase to the ref*
Lillian Garcia: “Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall and is for the Anime of the Season championship!”
JR: “Tsukigakirei connects with the Feels Punch! Will that be enough Kang?!”
*Tsukigakirei covers The Eccentric Family 2*
*Tsukigakirei pulls up The Eccentric Family 2*
JR: “By gawd that’s the Lip Lock! No one has broken free from that hold!”
*The Eccentric Family 2 flails around and tries to reach the ropes, but they are in the center of the ring and reluctantly tap out*
JR: “They’ve done it! Tsukigakirei have somehow done it Kang!”
Lillian: “The winner of this match by submission and the new Anime of the Season, Tsukigakirei!”
Yeah I actually thought The Eccentric Family 2 was going to be my AotS as well, because of how easily it ran through many of its categories, but much like in Winter, while I’ll fully acknowledge The Eccentric Family 2 as the better overall show and that Tsukigakirei isn’t the best looking show(it somehow has even worse looking CGI than my Winter 2017 AotS Kemono Friends), Tsukigakirei has been the more enjoyable show to me. In my eyes it is a freaking genre redefining title. I just don’t like romance anime.
There are just many flaws inherent to the genre that just makes the genre something I generally cannot enjoy unless there is a secondary hook to it, like the action in Yona of the Dawn, or the comedy in My Love Story!!. This is the first traditional romance-first romance series that I actually liked, nay, loved. Week in and week out the show got genuine, honest to goodness reactions out of me. Like physical reactions. I had more fist pumping, “Fuck yeah!” moments in this show than I’ve had watching many action shows. It is for all these reasons and many more that Tsukigakirei is my Anime of the Season, which is kind of funny since so many people initially dismissed it as just an ad for LINE.
So there y’all have it, my selections for my favorites from Crunchyroll’s Spring 2017 season. What about you guys? Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments below.