2017 was a funny year here in Old Blighty on a social and political front with our futures trapped in a state of uncertainty thanks to the complete dog’s breakfast that is Brexit. But one thing we know that IS certain for anime fans is that there will never be a shortage of new titles hitting the shelves for us to feast on when times get hard.

With the number regular UK distributors Manga, MVM, Animatsu, All The Anime and Funimation still pumping out the release’s StudioCanal, who are responsible for bringing Studio Ghibli titles to the UK, seem to also be moving into the TV series market with the addition of Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter to their catalogue (although be warned this is the English dub only apparently).

This proliferation of distributors once again means that the list of titles available for review on this site may not include some of the major heavy hitters but there are still a substantial amount of popular and notable releases to read about, and enough to make the annual Top Ten list. Some titles from these labels may still be included without a review on this site – you’ll just have to trust me

One thing to note about this year’s list is how I reflects the boom in anime films being released in this country, especially in the cinemas with an unprecedented number of anime films receiving nationwide exposure in the UK (albeit in limited cinemas but it’s a start), ahead of a home video release.

Also, be aware that re-releases are exempt from being included which does pose a slight problem in compiling this list when some of the best titles have benefited from an HD reissue but c’est la vie. And I’ve been a bit naughty and cheated with one title but with good reason as I’ll explain in the entry summaries.

So here we go with MIB’s Top Ten UK anime release in 2017, and of course, agree or disagree as is your wont.

 

10. The Case Of Hana & Alice (All The Anime)

The first film on the list and one which may have slipped under the radar of many. This rotoscope animation is in fact a prequel to a 2004 live-action film using the original actresses to revisit the characters. The eponymous leads are schoolgirls, Alice the transfer student and Hana, the reclusive student both linked by an urban legend curse which they seek to dispel. A charming and quirky coming-of-age tale that deserves a wider audience.

Read the full review HERE

 

9. Seoul Station (StudioCanal)

My aforementioned cheat title of the list. The reason – it is a Korean animation and not Japanese but my regular film Top Ten is already overflowing with candidates so I decided to place it here instead. Seoul Station is, like the above film, an animated prequel to the hit zombie horror Train To Busan, except it came out a month after its live action successor in Korean cinemas. It reveals how the zombie virus began whilst casting a cynical eye over the darkest aspects of modern society.

Read the full review HERE

 

8. The Boy And The Beast (StudioCanal)
Another film, this time from the esoteric mind of Mamoru Hosoda. Sticking with the fantasy genre Hosoda is most comfortable with, this busy action packed yarn tells the story of a young runaway named Ren, who is taken to the Beast Kingdom where he becomes the pupil of the gruff monster Kumatetsu. Hosoda piles on the charm and visual vibrancy in detailing Ren’s duel life across two different worlds with his usual creative flair and distinguishable artwork.

Read the full review HERE

 

7. In This Corner Of The World (Manga Entertainment)

Staying with films (again), we go back to World War II for this bittersweet drama of tragedy and human resilience in the face of great adversity from Sunao Katabuchi, director of the equally nostalgic Mai Mai Miracle. Following the life of young Suzu Urano from aspiring artist schoolgirl to a soldier’s wife during the war, Katabuchi focuses on the suffering of the civilians instead of the frontline fighting for added poignancy and dramatic clout.

Read the full review HERE

 

6. Barakamon (Funimation)

Our first series of the list and the first entry for Funimation on this site too, unfortunately not reviewed here. This wistful slice-of-life comedy centres on temperamental calligrapher Seishu Handa how is exiled from Tokyo to the country to cool down and get his mojo back. There he befriends the bucolic locals including the exasperating youngster Naru in this charming culture clash scenario. A series many have missed (maybe due to Funi’s exorbitant pricing policy), this show unequivocally deserves a wider audience.

 

5. A Silent Voice (All The Anime)

Back to the films for this stark yet uplifting tale of bullying, friendship and hope, told through the eyes of a deaf girl. This bold story from Naoko Yamada of K-ON! Fame, charts the growth of deaf student Shoko Nishimiya from victim to inspiration and the road to redemption for her former tormentor Shoya Ishida. A deeply moving and often hard film to watch that even the cutesy KyoAni character designs can’t diminish its emotional wallop.

Read the full review HERE

 

4. Your Name (All The Anime)

The film that started the cinematic revival for anime, not just here in the UK but across the globe, Makoto Shinkai’s whimsical body swap drama has broken records left, right and centre, won more awards than you can shake a stick at and helped redefine many attitudes towards anime. So why isn’t it higher up this list if it is so great? I guess I preferred the other titles more but this doesn’t mean this isn’t a film that hasn’t lived up to its hype (at least before the inevitable backlash begins).

Read the full review HERE

 

3. One Punch Man (Manga Entertainment)

Superhero movies are ten a penny these days whilst over in Japan they have a lot of fun spoofing them in their anime and manga. Meet Saitama, an average salary man who decided one day to start training to improve himself, the result of his daily routines causing his hair to fall out but did make him the strongest human that ever lived. Just as well as aliens and vicious brutes are disturbing the peace in the fictional City Z. It’s a whole lot of fun with a trenchant social message driving the satirical comic madness.

Read the full review HERE

 

2. Ushio & Tora (Animatsu Entertainment)

Long before The Boy & The Beast there was Ushio & Tora but the concept of a human lad and a fearsome monster is the only thing these two titles share. Originally a short OVA series the entire manga was adapted in this 39 episode TV opus, concerning Ushio, the son of a shrine master, and Tora a powerful Yokai coerced into working alongside the hated humans in fighting off evil Yokai. The story runs much deeper than this and against the odds, proves to be required viewing.

Read the full review HERE

 

No.1 My Love Story

(Animatsu Entertainment)

 

This absurdly cute romantic comedy charmed me enough to make it my top pick from Japan in 2015 and two years later it still managed to warm this cynical, jaded old soul to once again reign supreme over a raft of worthy contenders. My Love Story is a show that shouldn’t really work nor should it really be held in such esteem over more recognised and superlative works, but its simple charm and positive message about there being someone for everyone is just too damn irresistible. 

Even second time around, Takeo is still a hundred awkward male comedy tropes stuffed together in one giant hulking simian frame while Rinko is every simpering moe girl personified but there are so relatable and endearing they are both impossible not to like. The individual hurdles they overcome are fairly realistic, albeit with a bespoke Japanese bent based on their cultural mores, and the humour is pretty universal but it is the fact we have two lovebirds who get together and grow as a couple rather than the tired “will they, won’t they?” that make this so refreshingly brilliant.

Read the full review HERE

 

And that wraps up the Top Ten countdown for this year. Narrowly missing out on a spot on the list after much deliberation were such titles as Girls und Panzer der Film, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, Gatchaman Crowds Insight and School Live, which indicates how tough the competition was this year. Had the feature length film boom not occurred, this list would have been very different.

Hopefully 2018 will continue to see more great titles head over to these shores (and available to review for yours truly). Check back in twelve months time to find out! In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has visited this site and taken the time to read any of my reviews, your continued support is greatly appreciated.  

Thanks for reading and until next time, this is the Man in Black saying Sayonara!

2 thoughts on “MIB’s Top Ten Anime of 2017 (UK)

  1. I loved your number one pick, although I’m not sure if it will crack my annual top five as 2017 has blessed me with so many awesome shows/movies. Barakamon is good? Might have to give that a watch. I think it’s available on Crunchyroll, so that would spare me from the pricey physical release you mention.

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    1. Then you clearly have no soul! 😛

      Actually I wouldn’t have included Barakamon had I not got it for a steal in Anime Ltd’s 12 Days Of Christmas sale, where they knocked over £30 off the usual price! Also got part one of Erased Special Edition too! 😉

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