There’s really no two ways about it, Summer 2017 was a pretty dire season, at least in terms of truly standout series. Things were made worse by the fact that Anime Strike and Netflix gobbled up much of the few really stand out shows of the season from what I’ve heard. However, that doesn’t mean I was ever bored this season, nor does it mean I hated the shows I did watch. The sad truth is, though, that this season on Crunchyroll was filled with the kind of secondary-tier shows that one generally mainly use to fill out their seasonal lineups and ultimately probably end up forgetting about as time goes on.
Basically, this was still an entertaining season, but one that I think will be more or less a forgettable one aside from a small handful of titles. Even with saying all that, this season still saw me watching more shows than the Spring season, but not as much as in Winter, as I ended up watching 15 shows this season. Though that number is with some caveats as 3 of the shows I saw were shorts, while another show was only 6 episodes long(with the rest of the episodes in its cour being repeats of episodes from previous seasons in its series), and another still was a 3 episode special whose total runtime was equivalent to 7 episodes. So in terms of full length, full cour shows, I actually saw the same amount as Spring at 10 each. It was an odd as hell season is what I am saying.
With this being such a weird, chaotic and eclectic season, anything is possible with regards to what shows win my seasonal awards, so let’s get started with my production awards.
Winner: “Edelweiss” by Asaka (A Centaur’s Life)
This season ended up having some pretty catchy ending themes, though for me personally it ended up being a two horse race between New Game!!’s first ED this season and the ending to A Centaur’s Life. Both were really good in their own ways, but the haunting power ballad from A Centaur’s Life just wound up edging out the win as the weeks went by, with a surprise official English version used at the end of the show’s best episode sealing the deal.
Winner: Dick Genie (18if)
This was actually pretty tough for me to pick, because this season was filled with a lot of stand out moments, but no scene best summarized its series quite like when Haruto used his abilities to do anything within a dream world to turn his penis into a buff genie and proceeded to use it to engage in combat as if it was a Stand from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This singular thing encapsulates the sheer weirdness and unexpected nature that was 18if.
Winner: “dark cherry mystery” by Kaori Mizuhashi (Owarimonogatari Second Season)
Leave it to the Monogatari series to upstage the rest of its compatriots when it comes to OPs. The second season of Owarimonogatari gave us two really stellar OPs, but the one that won me over more was the one used in the episode covering the Ougi Dark arc. Visually speaking, this is one of the best directed OPs I’ve ever seen. The way the visuals flow so smoothly from one sequence to another shows a great amount of care was put into them. The song itself isn’t a slouch either, being a rather catchy, yet darkly peppy song.
Though this OP was my favorite this season I’d also like to give special mention to the OP from Aho-Girl. I’ve long been a big supporter of the idea that OPs and EDs can add value to an anime series, and Aho-Girl takes that stance quite literally with its OP actually adding content to the show. You see, Aho-Girl is a short series, so every second is precious to it, and the people behind the show managed to cram in an extra joke each episode by adding in a sight gag to the opening for each episode, with the joke being different each episode. Sometimes the jokes used in the opening would be downright hilarious, giving us some of the funniest moments of the season.
Winner: My Hero Academia Season 2
Yuki Hayashi is quickly becoming a composer worth keeping track of. His works have this great sense of energy to them that just makes them a blast to listen to, and when combined with great action scenes makes for some of the most memorable moments in anime.
It may not have been the best animated show of the season, or even consistently good looking(which honestly mostly comes from its studio being Gonzo, which nowadays is only a withered husk of the great studio it once was), but there was just something to the constantly changing unique look that 18if had that made it resonate with me. When 18if looked good, it didn’t just look good, it was downright gorgeous. Using the show’s plot device of much of what we see takes place in a dream realm, the show gets insanely creative with a lot of its visuals. Katsugeki Touken Ranbu is probably the best looking show from a technical standpoint this season, but I just enjoyed the sense of passion and effort put into 18if, almost like comparing the visuals between a big budget video game and an artsy indie game.
Winner: Owarimonogatari Second Season
It’s freaking Monogatari! The franchise is at least 90% monologues, so it damn well better be well written monologues for the franchise to not only last as long as it has, but be as popular as it has been as well. Needless to say, the writing in this season of Owarimonogatari was top notch stuff like usual, especially in the Ougi Dark arc, which serves as a nice send off to this part of the Monogatari franchise.
Now let’s move on to my genre awards.
Winner: My Hero Academia Season 2
My Hero Academia takes this award in back to back seasons, in part thanks to a rather weak crop of Summer action series, at least on Crunchyroll. Its only real competition was Katsugeki Touken Ranbu. The interesting thing is both shows are kind of opposites of each other. My Hero Academia has a lot of action scenes, but many of them just aren’t that interesting, though the fights worth a damn are highly entertaining. The show makes up for this by having a great cast of characters that you can easily invest in.
Touken Ranbu, however, is filled with amazingly animated and entertaining action scenes, but unless you are a fan of the game it is based on, you probably aren’t going to care for the show’s characters. So on one hand we have a more entertaining overall show but with weaker overall action scenes, versus a show whose only real strength is its action scenes, and despite this being for the action genre, I had to side with the show I felt was better overall.
Winner: Magical Circle Guru-Guru
This one Guru-Guru technically won by default because while I did see another show that could be viewed as being an adventure series, Restaurant to Another World, it is rather odd in that the adventure everyone goes on is to a restaurant. With Guru-Guru, however, we get a hilarious series that pokes fun at RPGs and other games and media where a hero and his party have to go on a quest to defeat a dark lord.
For me, when it comes to picking my favorite comedy series of the season I tend to pick the series that gave me the most consistent amounts of laughs, and this season that show is Aho-Girl. Sure shows like Guru-Guru, Tsuredure Children, and even 18if were capable of giving me bigger laughs(I made the mistake of trying to eat during the dick genie scene in 18if and legitimately almost choked), but Aho-Girl was just far more consistent with delivering jokes that landed for me. All these other shows would have plenty of gaps between the jokes that had me laughing, and those gaps left just enough of an opening for Aho-Girl to become the first short to win a non-short genre category in my seasonal awards.
Winner: Owarimonogatari Second Season
Much like Guru-Guru, this one was basically by default, because its only competition were Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight, which wasn’t nearly as good as this(though I did still enjoy it), and 18if, which, well it wasn’t exactly consistent in what it wanted to be, just too damn weird too often to be a full on drama, plus it did have some weaker episodes. Owarimonogatari Second Season may not be the best entry in the franchise, but it is still really, really damn good.
So, real talk, if you told me to pick my favorite short earlier in the season, hands down I would have went with Tsuredure Children. At the time it was a funnier, slightly shorter version of Tsukigakirei, basically. Tsukigakirei Lite, if you will. As the season progressed, however, I started to notice some flaws with Tsuredure Children that I just couldn’t ignore. For starters, as the show went on, it basically tried to have its cake and eat it too when it came to following romance anime tropes and flipping the tropes on their head. The reason, early on, that I loved the show so much and that I thought it was like Tsukigakirei was because the show, much like Tsukigakirei, was dodging the pitfalls of romance anime.
You were having characters not only pair up, but kiss left and right, and it was funny and adorable. But then, oh but then, the show just had to give us not one, but multiple pairings that dance around in that annoying “will they, won’t they” dance that I just loathe with romance anime, and as the show went on we got more and more of these kinds of skits mixed in, and it just chipped away at my enjoyment of the show. I still really enjoyed the show mind you, but during the first month, month and a half of the season Tsuredure Children was my frontrunner for Anime of the Season, and now here it is, losing genre awards left and right to a show about an idiot girl who loves bananas.
On top of this, there is the issue of there being just way too many characters, especially for a short. I can only remember the names of a few members of the cast and instead can only list the majority of the cast by their defining character traits. It doesn’t help that even until the end they were bringing more and more characters into the spotlight. I get that’s the format of the manga, but it is just another thing that ended up hurting Tsuredure Children for me compared to Aho-Girl.
Speaking of Aho-Girl, the show that freaking won this category, sorry for the sure to be insanely unpopular Tsuredure Children rant(hell I’m sure some people actually think I hate Tsuredure Children now, but I don’t, just giving some tough love to a show I had high early hopes for). Anyways, Aho-Girl wins this by doing basically the opposite of Tsuredure Children. It stays consistent with its content, it has a vastly smaller cast whom I actually remember the names of because they appear enough times to where I can actually remember them, and it actually remembers it is a short and is clearly designed to be a short, doing things like the inclusion of jokes in the OP for maximum jokes per minute ratio that I mentioned earlier in the article.
Winner: Sakura Quest
So, here’s an interesting situation I find myself in regarding this season’s slice of life shows. First off, I enjoyed all of them that I saw. That being said, each of them have just enough flaws to stop me from flat out loving them. A Centaur’s Life, New Game!!, Restaurant to Another World, Sakura Quest, the whole lot of them fell short of the quality I thought they would reach given early impressions. Taking all of that into account, though, Sakura Quest was still easily the best of this bunch, with its best moments trumping the best moments in the other shows quite easily, aside from one particular episode of A Centaur’s Life. Sakura Quest may not have been up to the level many of its brethren from P.A.Works like Shirobako, but it was still a very good, pleasant watch, and still managed to win its genre in back to back seasons, so, bonus.
Now let’s move on to my character awards.
Winner: Yoshiko Hanabatake (Aho-Girl)
Even Yoshiko can’t believe she won this. I just...I don’t know how she won it, ok? She’s a total and complete dumbass, through and through, top to bottom. It’s just, she has this weird way of her stupidity infecting others and making them dumber than she is, if only temporarily, and gets them to play along with whatever it is she is doing at the time. It’s truly an impressive sight to see, and I fear her powers affect the viewer as well. For real, though, Yoshiko is just a genuine treat to experience, and the vocal performance Aoi Yuki gives with Yoshiko makes it clear she had to have a blast recording the lines.
Winner: Koyomi Araragi (Owarimonogatari Second Season)
I mean, it’s freaking Araragi, there’s not much more I can say about him that hasn’t been said by countless others over the years, often in better ways than I could. The dude is a complex character, as selfless as he is perverted, and was just a joy to watch. If this is the end for this greatly entertaining character, then he went out on possibly the highest note the main character in such a long running series can go out on.
Winner: Yoshie Hanabatake (Aho-Girl)
Like idiot mother, like idiot daughter I suppose. Though Yoshie isn’t anywhere near as dumb as Yoshiko, as she is at least capable of actively scheming to get Akuru to marry her functionally brain dead daughter. She knows Akuru is her only hope for being set up for life, so she clings to him like a drowning man clings to a log. She will stop at nothing to ensure her matchmaking plans go through. As such, you know you are in for a hilarious time whenever she appears on screen, with her mere appearance in the next episode preview generating legit hype during the season.
And lastly, my favorite show this season.
I....how.....just....how?! I’m as stunned as you guys are. If you told me at the start of the season that a short(albeit a long short) about an idiot girl who loves bananas and her idiot friends doing idiotic things would be my favorite show this season, I’d look at you funny and walk away, grab my boys, and then give you a beatdown. The thing is, as I’ve repeatedly said throughout the article, it was consistency. Every other show I watched this season, every single show, had a hiccup in consistency somewhere in my eyes. For some shows it was several episodes, others it was just several chunks of various episodes. But the Little Dumbass That Could and her show kept chugging along with the same consistency, eating her bananas as her opponents slowly dropped behind her as the season marched on.
In the end the biggest opposition Aho-Girl had was Owarimonogatari, and that, in hindsight, was greatly helped by the fact that I marathoned the entire damn Monogatari TV franchise this season(which was actually the best experience I had with anime this season, but that doesn’t count), meaning it was getting added love from my love for the prior seasons I watched. When I weigh just Owarimonogatari Second Season itself, even it falls behind Aho-Girl, if only just a bit. See, I loved the Mayoi Hell arc, and really freaking loved the Ougi Dark arc. The problem is I just wasn’t a huge fan of the Hitagi Rendezvous arc. It definitely wasn’t the worst thing in the Monogatari franchise, not at all, but for me it was still a step down compared to the two arcs that bookend it in this season of Owarimonogatari.
So, thanks to several factors, such as the arguably truly best shows of the season(at least from what I hear) not being on Crunchyroll at all(and thus I didn’t see them), as well as the shows CR did get being all over the map in terms of quality and consistency, we have Aho-Girl, not Tonari no Seki-kun, not Space Patrol Luluco, fucking Aho-Girl, as the first short to not only win a non-short genre award, but the freaking overall anime of the season from me. This wasn’t survival of the fittest, it was survival of the stupidest....
Well, there you have it, my selections for my favorites from Crunchyroll’s Summer 2017 season. Feel free to leave your favorites down below, I’m almost certain they are different from mine, they pretty much have to be, because you people are sane, unlike one such as me, who became corrupted by Yoshiko’s idiot waves.