Another year comes to a close and, for better or worse, 2017 was one to remember. I feel like my media consumption was no more nor less this year than in previous, and while I didn’t get around to checking out everything I wanted to see (cough, Blade Runner, Nier: Automata, Made in Abyss, cough), I did experience some truly enjoyable and amazing content, in both the anime-sphere and otherwise. I hope, dear reader, that you can say the same for your 2017 (and I’d love to hear about it via comments!) but here goes my list of the top 10 media that I consumed in 2017.
10. Pixar’s Coco
No Pixar film since my childhood has really been able to floor me as a masterpiece until Coco. I really enjoyed Wall-E, Up, Monsters University, etc but none of them ever struck me on a deep emotional level in the same way that this film did. The characters and writing in this film are so poignant emotionally that it definitely made me tear up in a few parts. You can tell that this film was made with a lot of love and a deep desire to share an important hallmark of Mexican culture in an honest, nuanced way with the rest of the world. Being able to consume media that creates a deeper understanding and empathy between cultures is incredibly important, especially in our tumultuous times.
9. 2 Kawaii For Comfort
Man. This series. When fellow TIAnime compatriot Sully brought up this series to the group back in the summer, I had no idea what to expect. I thought maybe it would be a farce? A mockumentary? A sketch comedy? I had no idea that this series would end up being such a deeply honest yet endlessly hilarious human drama. If you consider yourself an anime fan, or part of the anime/cosplay community, I’d have to tell you to please check this series out. As much as we all like to get lost in the glitz and glitter and fun of anime conventions (and we should!) this series is an important reminder that we can’t always wear those rose tinted glasses. Sometimes our problems follow us, and that’s okay. We’ll still make it in the end! Somehow…
8. Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-
Kingdom Hearts is one of the great loves of my life and finally being able to get a tangible preview of what’s to come in Kingdom Hearts III through this short episode was like something out of a dream. This short, roughly three hour game, released as part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue collection, gave me exactly enough content to put my mind at ease and assure me that Kingdom Hearts III is going to be the masterpiece it should be. Being able to play around and explore the beautifully rendered landscapes as Aqua, easily my favorite character in the franchise, was an incredibly gratifying experience in so many ways.
7. Godzilla (1954)
My first backlog piece in this list! Last year’s Shin Godzilla really lit a fire under my bottom to start getting into kaiju films. I figured there was no place better to start than with the grandpappy. Considering the level of technical detail and cinematic wizardry they concocted to make this film happen, in addition to the narrative being a great socio-political commentary, Gojira definitely lives up to it’s reputation as one of the greatest monster movies ever made. The effects totally sell for the time, and it holds up well in entertainment value. If you haven’t yet gotten yourself into the Godzilla franchise, why not just go ahead and start with the original? It’s a lot of fun!
6. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
I don’t know how much justice I can do this film in a short paragraph, but it was really something else. A Stanley Kubrick classic that I let slip by for a while, the way that this film pokes fun at the absurdity and “genital waving” that is war was hilarious and unfortunately relevant. Peter Sellers’ numerous performances were all unique and funny in their own ways, despite his own extremely troubled life and personal choices. I’d highly recommend any fan of Kubrick (or geo-political hoo-haa) to check this film out to see his range and wit as a director. While I love 2001: A Space Odyssey, I think this might beat that out for my favorite Kubrick movie. Maybe…
5. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
This film combines two of my all time favorite things in the world; dry humor and classic horror aesthetic. I had heard about this film for years but just kept putting it on the back-burner until Tori urged me to finally check it out. It was exactly everything I always wanted. It was the office with vampires; endlessly dry, endlessly absurd, but still very personal and real. The characters behave like people out of their time and culture, and a lot of the humor comes in how they interact with the world changing around them. The comedic writing combined with the performances of the actors is an incredible blend and I can’t believe it took me this long to see it.
Being a long-time X-Film fan, I accepted that Hugh Jackman’s time to hang up the claws and chops was inevitable, and I’m fine with that. This film was a great last-act for the character and for the actor, finally getting a script to show his amazing emotional range and chemistry with Patrick Stewart. Logan was a lot more muted in content than previously bombastic X-Men films and it’s all the more better for it. It’s vague placement in the timeline and lack of characters is a boon rather than a curse. It’s probably right up there with The Dark Night as “best superhero movie ever”, and it’s probably now one of my favorite movies in general.
3. Angel’s Egg (1985)
This film is like a nightmare you can’t forget; not because it’s scary, but because it’s so striking it will never leave your psyche. There’s not a whole lot I can put into words about this film because it’s such a visual piece, but the way it made me feel was so unique compared to anything in anime I had seen before. Mamoru Oshii’s command of atmosphere is at it’s finest here, even more so than the original Ghost in the Shell. You can tell that this film was a deeply personal work for him and that feeling translates well into every subtle character interaction and slow, looming darkness of each scene.
2. Little Witch Academia (TV)
There’s not too much more that needs to be said about this show that we didn’t cover in our podcast episode, but I adored Little Witch Academia (TV). It was a continuation of TRIGGER animation excellence and managed to convey an unending feeling of positivity in the face of hardship, whether those hardships are external or the ones inside yourself. LWA is one of those rare anime that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their anime viewing background, age, gender, or what have you. There’s a little touch of magic for everyone in LWA.
1. Your Name.
Uber populist pick for number one, I know, but it really earned it for me. I was able to see Your Name. twice in theaters and both times it struck me as an incredibly sincere, teenage fantasy epic with some excellent characters and a memorable story. Likely you’ve heard people praise this film over and over again, so I’ll spare you and simply encourage you to watch it, open yourself up to it, and enjoy it. It’s Shinkai’s best work by far and it feels like the product of an artist and a storyteller using every tool he’s accumulated through his career to make something really special and long-lasting. [If you want to hear my thoughts in depth, check out our podcast episode on it!]
There ya have it, folks. Thanks for sticking to the end and checking out my Top 10 of 2017. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, or want to recommend something for me to check out, let me know in the comments! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018.