For the longest time, it took forever for an otaku who lived outside of Japan to see the latest anime film. First, you’d have to wait for the blu-rays, which would be released six months after the film’s debut. Not all films were licensed, so you’d have to rely on poorly translated fan-subs and you’d have to hope for an HD copy. If the film was licensed, it would take at least one to two years for the blu-rays to be released. Thankfully, within the past two years, and 2017 especially, anime fans worldwide have been able to watch new anime movies alongside Japan.
Here are the 10 best movies of 2017.
10. Mary to Majo no Hana (Mary and the Witch’s Flower)
- Aired: July 2017
One afternoon, Mary stumbles upon a black cat while taking a stroll. Feeling curious, Mary follows the cat into a field of flowers. One particular flower calls out to Mary, and she takes it. This flower turns out to be magical, and it transports Mary to an academy for witches. Mary has the time of her life learning witchcraft, until she uncovers a dark secret within the academy.
Does the art style look familiar? Almost like a Studio Ghibli film, right? That’s because Studio Ponoc is made of staff members from Studio Ghibli. Mary and the Witch’s Flower has the same family-friendly tone that most Studio Ghibli films have. The film is beautifully animated, making you feel as if you really teleported into a fantasy realm. Mary herself is a charming girl who will make you smile every time she’s on screen. We’ll be looking forward to more films from this brand new studio.
- Aired: May 2017
In a dystopian future, humans built machines to create buildings for them. At some point, the machines wouldn’t stop building and continued to build over everything. Eventually, they saw humans as “irregulars” and killed them on the spot. The human race is dying out, but a single man may find the key to stopping the machines once and for all.
Blame (pronounced “blam”) is a difficult movie to watch. You may have to watch it a few times or read the manga to understand what’s going on. The characters throw terms that you have to figure out for yourself, and the setting isn’t explained very well. If you don’t like CGI anime, then you probably won’t enjoy Blame. This movie was animated by Polygon Pictures, but it is without a doubt their most beautifully animated project yet. Definitely a niche anime, but if you want something different, keep Blame queued.
8. Kuroshitsuji: Book of the Atlantic (Black Butler: Book of Atlantic)
- Aired: Jan 2017
Once again, Ciel Phantomhive receives a mission from the Queen. A cult has been experimenting with the dead. The cult will board a ship across the Atlantic to showcase their latest achievement. Ciel, Sebastian, Snake, and Elizabeth board the ship thinking this will go on like any other mission. What they don’t know is the ugly truth behind the cult, and even Ciel’s own comrades.
If you’re a fan of the Book of Circus arc, then you’ll love Book of Atlantic even more. This film is thrilling, funny, and action-packed. With Elizabeth getting more screen time than usual, you get to learn about her backstory and understand why she acts the way she does. There’s also more information on how Ciel and Sebastian’s contract was formed. Plus, you learn more about the side characters that turns them into game changers. This is a film that the Black Butler series needed. A film that explains all the characters’ pasts, and goals. Such an adventurous film deserves to be watched with your friends, so make sure to watch it with them.
7. Kuroko no Basket: Last Game (Kuroko’s Basketball: Last Game)
- Aired: Mar 2017
The final movie from the hit anime series, Kuroko no Basket: Last Game takes you to America for one last showdown. This time, the Generation of Miracles will have to team up to face off against an American team. Even though this team has the potential to be in the NBA, the Generation of Miracles still have their talent to back them up. However, they’re not exactly the best team when they constantly argue. Can the gang put aside their differences to work as a team once more?
The perfect send off to the Kuroko no Basket franchise. Although we’re sad to see it go, Last Game gives all of your favorite characters their time to shine. The Generation of Miracles have grown since they last versed Sieren, and learned some new moves. You get to witness an incredible team that you never thought was possible. You’ll feel so much adrenaline rush through your body, that you’ll think you’re having a heart attack. If you want a film that’ll get you pumped up, Kuroko no Basket: Last Game will do the trick.
6. Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? (Fireworks, Should We See It From the Side or From the Bottom?)
- Aired: Aug 2017
Do fireworks look round or flat if you look at them from the side? Since it’s summer vacation, there are plenty of festivals to test that theory. Norimichi plans to find the answer with his friends, until Nazuna decides to run away. Norimichi doesn’t want his first love to leave him, but Nazuna wants him to run away with her. Will they run away together, or find the answer they seek?
You’ve probably heard about this film thanks to the incredibly popular music video by Daoko. This film was animated beautifully by Studio Shaft and has an even prettier soundtrack. Although this is more of a summertime film, you can watch it with your partner or crush, it would make for a nice date night. There has been some controversy that the film is boring and a disappointment. If you happen to feel the same, there’s always the original 1993 live action drama film.
5. Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale
- Aired: Feb 2017
Augmented Reality is the latest hit console between gamers. Not only are you transported into the game, but reality itself becomes one. You can witness the first A.I. idol, Yuna, or challenge your friends to a battle. Kirito and his friends jump on the trend, but Kirito has a bad feeling about AR. It’s not long until AR starts causing problems for players, including injuries and memory loss. But things get personal once AR messes with Asuna’s mind.
Move out of the way, SAO haters. This one is for the fans. If your favorite arc is Aincrad, then you’ll fanboy/fangirl like crazy over Ordinal Scale. Ordinal Scale brings back the best elements from Aincrad, while adding new info you never thought you wanted. What makes Ordinal Scale stand out from the typical SAO arc is Kirito and Asuna’s relationship. A lot of focus is put on how important the memories of a relationship are, and that makes this film rather touching. There’s also a bit of comedy, stunning visuals, and a download worthy soundtrack.
4. Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome (Life is Short, Walk On Girl)
- Aired: Apr 2017
What do you do when you see a cute girl from across the room? Do you walk up to her and say hi? Of course not! It needs to happen naturally so you don’t freak her out. The main character struggles with his first impression, until he finally works up the courage to do so. But to his dismay, the cutie has no interest in love.
Are you a fan of The Tatami Galaxy? What about Masaki Yuasa? Lucky for you, the original novel of the same name was written by the same author of The Tatami Galaxy. And once again, it’s directed by Masaki Yuasa. So expect some fast paced humor and chaotic animation. Like Blame, you’re not going to understand everything upon your first viewing, so be prepared to watch it at least three more times. It’ll seem like a new film when you catch certain jokes and foreshadowing.
3. No Game No Life Zero
- Aired: Jul 2017
Disboard wasn’t always a perfect planet where everyone plays games to solve problems. Before Disboard came to be, the colonies fought in a centuries-long war. Humanity being the weakest colony, is struggling to win at least one battle. When humanity’s leader Riku stumbles upon an Ex Machina, he might be able to save humanity once and for all.
Ok sure, this isn’t a season two of No Game No Life. But what we did get was a beautiful, romantic, heart breaking, dramatic masterpiece. Riku and Shuvi’s relationship is so touching that it’ll bring you to tears. The battle scenes are well choreographed, and will keep you on your toes. If you want to watch this anime in its full glory, you have to buy the blu-ray. No Game No Life Zero is too stunning to miss, and definitely deserves a place on your shelf.
2. Kizumonogatari Part 3 (Kizumonogatari III Reiketsu-hen)
- Aired: Jan 2017
A lot has happened, yet Araragi still doesn’t have any answers. He’s a vampire now, and under Shinobu’s command. Araragi can tell that Shinobu is hiding something from him, but he cannot disobey her orders. Shinobu is almost at her full power, and promises to turn Araragi back into a human. Will all this effort be worth it? Is Shinobu telling the truth?
The long awaited conclusion to the incredible trilogy is here! This film doesn’t hold anything back. There’s violence and gore, beautiful symbolism, and outstanding animation. In classic Monogatari fashion, there is a lot of dialogue. But the ecchi scenes, and few jokes thrown around are enough to keep you awake. With this film, we finally understand the whole Monogatari story, and it was well worth the wait.
1. Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel Part 1 Presage Flower
- Aired: Oct 2017
Sakura is the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet. She’ll greet you, cook you food, and clean. Shirou was a little weirded out by her actions at first, but could tell that Sakura wanted protection. Sakura’s home life isn’t the safest place on earth, as her adopted family hits her for being a mage who can’t use magic. But if Shirou participates in the Holy Grail War, maybe he can help Sakura live a better life.
If you haven’t watched Fate/Zero or Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works, do not watch this movie. Heaven’s Feel will be divided into a trilogy, and conclude the main story. This depicts the darkest root in the Fate franchise. There’s tons of blood and guts, sexual themes, and tragedy. This movie focuses on Shirou, Sakura, and a few smaller villains who weren’t as important in the previous series. You’ll be shocked at the film’s twists, and beg for more once the movie ends. Let’s hope Part 2 comes out soon!
2017 was a great year for anime movies. And with the announcements that we got so far, 2018 is looking even better. Let us know your thoughts on the 2017 anime movies. Is there a movie that you think we missed? Leave a comment, and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can. Till next time!