Looking back at the Summer 2017 anime season

October 11, 2017

Once again it's time for my traditional look back at what I watched in this past Summer season, to follow up on my early impressions and my midway views. Overall I would call this a decent season with one clear stand-out show that is far ahead of everything else I watched.

Excellent with an amazing finish:

  • Made in Abyss: While the show wasn't flawless, it was always beautiful and full of the strangeness of the Abyss (and often tense), and it built up to a jaw-droppingly stunning and emotional final episode. I have no words. The last track of Kevin Penkin's beautiful soundtrack is going to stay with me for a long time.

    (In both its last episode and an earlier episode, Made in Abyss managed to achieve the kind of genuine emotional power and impact that very few shows can even approach.)

    I would love to see a second season of Made in Abyss that was as well-made as this one, but if we never get any more, the send-off we got was everything I could have asked for. It is and feels like a real turning point and transition point in the story, and that's a good place to stop.

Pretty good once the dust settled:

  • Princess Principal: The show's overall execution was very good, but in the end I stand by my view that it's more of a prequel than a story, and that somewhat lessens the impact. It's not as simple as there not being enough story and plot; the very short version is that while everyone is a dramatic character and they all had character development, none of them went through a full character arc.

    (The character who comes closest to having no development is Beatrice, but the show goes out of its way to show that she's working to change herself.)

  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ: By now you're either on board for the Symphogear experience or you're not. If you are, this was a fine installment, full of all of the elements that make the show itself. I liked how the show was spared the need to give things a big ending and wrapup due to there already being a fifth season on the way. See also Evirus's writeup.


  • My Hero Academia: I enjoyed the show overall and I do generally like hanging around with the characters; I'll probably miss them while they're gone (there's yet another season coming, of course). I'm not really happy about the cast being pulled into epic, world-spanning plots and stories; I would rather see them living a high school life and occasionally being on the periphery of greater events. But this is a Shonen Jump title, so we get what we get.

    (I continue to be happy that MHA didn't try to give Bakugo any sort of tragic backstory.)

Fine popcorn watching:

  • Knight's & Magic: It was very earnest and did what it set out to do pretty well. It was also surprisingly forthright about the fundamental irrationality and unreality of giant robots, and in the context of the show I don't object that romanticism won out because the thumb of the plot was clearly on its side; the plot has been on Ernesti's side all along.

Survived to the end of the season by the skin of its teeth and then dropped:

  • Fate/Apocrypha: I finished out the nominal season and turning point (episode 12) and then stopped because there was very little about the show that I was interested in. I think I may finally be done with the Fate ride as a whole; it basically always ends the same way and I can read about the plot twists and the spoilers on my own if I want to.

By the end of the show, Made in Abyss single-handedly justified this season (to the extent that seasons of anime need any justification). I'm generally happy with everything else that I watched except Fate/Apocrypha, and continuing to watch that past the first episode is my own fault. I knew what F/A was from the start, but I let myself be talked into continuing with it for the splashy animation; by now I should know that that doesn't work for me.

Written on 11 October 2017.
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Last modified: Wed Oct 11 23:15:06 2017
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