10 Anime Series & Films to Watch in 2017

Here are our top picks.

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Entertainment
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Japanese animation is well-loved not just in Japan, but all around the world. The artform has distinctive production techniques and combines graphic art and cinematography, and its industry consists of over hundreds of production studios, including Studio Ghibli and Toei Animation (Dragon Ball, One Piece). In many ways, 2016 may not have been the best year, but when it came to anime, there were certainly some solid material that was released. Last year, Ghibli co-produced the Michaël Dudok de Wit-directed short film The Red Turtle, Makoto Shinkai set new boundaries with his exceedingly successful Your Name. and there were countless cool new shows like My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100 and others.

2017 looks to be an even more promising year. Popular and critically acclaimed series like Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man, My Hero Academia and Blue Exorcist are set to kick off their highly-anticipated second seasons. Long-running shows like Dragon Ball, One Piece and Mobile Suit Gundam continue to liberate new episodes and arcs. Major series Ghost in a Shell and Death Note are getting full-length Hollywood live-action films.

Without further ado, we present to you the most exciting anime series and films to watch this year. Let us know if you agree with the list and if there are any that are missing.

Attack on Titan

Japanese title: 進撃の巨人 (Shingeki no Kyojin)
Type: Television series
Director: Tetsurō Araki
Studio: Wit Studio
Genre: Dark post-apocalyptic fantasy
Original run: April 7, 2013 – present
Season 2 air date: Spring 2017.

Attack on Titan is originally a manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. Set in a world where humans lives in cities surrounded by enormous walls in defense against human-eating monsters called the Titans, the plot centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and his childhood friend Armin Arlert. They join military to fight the Titans after one of them ate Eren’s mother. Season one aired on MBS between April 7, 2013 and September 29, 2013. Late lat year, Wit Studio and Kodansha Comics released the teaser trailer to the first scenes of the series’ second season. The series is received with widespread critical acclaim and is one of the best-selling mangas and most viewed animes of today. Kodansha, the manga’s publisher, credits Attack on Titan for the its first revenue increase in eighteen years.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

Japanese title: BORUTO-ボルト- NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
Type: Television series
Predecessors: Naruto & Naruto: Shippuden
Director: Hayato Date(?)
Studio: Studio Pierrot & TV Tokyo
Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Original run: April 2017 – scheduled

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently a manga series written by Ukyō Kodachi, illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto and supervised by original Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto. In December 2016, it was announced at the Jump Festa that an anime adaption of the series will air in April 2017. Boruto is a spin-off of Naruto and the plot follows the lives of Naruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyuga’s son Boruto Uzumaki and his team of ninjas — the new generation of Ninja World. This includes Sarada Uchiha, the daughter of Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, Mitsuki, the son of Orochimaru and more. This series will follow the ongoing sequel to the original Naruto anime, Naruto Shippuden.

Dragon Ball Super

Japanese title: ドラゴンボール超 (Doragon Bōru Sūpā)
Type: Television series
Predecessors: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z & Dragon Ball GT (non-canon)
Director: Kimitoshi Chioka, Morio Hatano & Kōhei Hatano
Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Martial arts, action, adventure, science fantasy
Original run: July 5, 2015 – present
Universe Survival Arc air date: February 5, 2017

Dragon Ball Super is a sequel show to Dragon Ball Z and presents the series’ first new storyline in 18 years. Set after the defeat of Majin Buu, Dragon Ball Super manifested after the release of the 2013 Dragon Ball Z movie Battle of Gods. Now four sagas deep (“Battle of Gods,” “Resurrection ‘F,” “Champa and Potaufeu” and “Future Trunks”), fans are getting getting ready for the upcoming, highly-anticipated “Universe Survival” arc, which airs on February 5. The saga’s plot circles around The Tournament of Power, a multiversal martial arts tournament planned by Zen-Oh, the king of the 12 universes. The latest trailer, shown above, shows several of the other universe’s fighters, angels, Gods of Destructions and Supreme Kais, as well as what seems to be a female Legendary Super Saiyan.

Evangelion 3.0+1.0

Type: Animated feature film
Japanese title: シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版: II (Shin Evangerion Gekijōban: II)
Prequels: Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone., Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. & Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. (non-canon)
Director: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki & Mahiro Maeda
Studio: Studio Khara
Genre: Mecha, post-apocalyptic, psychological drama
Release date: August 27, 2017

Also known as Evangelion: Final, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 is forthcoming anime film of the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. Like its title suggests, it is the fourth and final film of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy. The film (which was suppose to drop sometime during late 2015) has been perpetually delayed until the currently anticipated date of August 27, 2017 because of Director Hideaki Anno’s involvement with 2016 Japanese blockbuster, Shin Godzilla. Anno reveals, in his apology for the delay, that the previous Evangelion film has drained him from his creative energy. He felt like working on the Godzilla movie has allowed for him to find renewed passion towards Evangelion.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Japanese title: 鋼の錬金術師 (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi)
Type: Live-action feature film
Director: Fumihiko Sori
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Genre: Action, adventure, science fantasy
Release date: Winter 2017

Live-action remakes of anime series are always a hit or miss. 2009’s Dragonball Evolution, 2008’s Speed Racer and the Attack on Titan films are cinematic bombs; 2012’s Rurouni Kenshin, 2003’s Oldboy and a few others are great. So, with Fullmetal Alchemist, the first full-length live-action film based on the series of the same name by Hiromu Arakawa, it could go both ways. Scheduled to release in December 2017 via Warner Bros. in Japan, the movie is directed by Fumihiko Sori. Principal photography took place in Italy and in Japan, and CGI will be handled by Japanese VFX company OXYBOT Inc. Based off of the trailer, the film looks like it would be concentrating on the beginning of the series rather than cramming several sagas into an hour and a half.

Gintama.

Japanese title: 銀魂 (Gintama)
Type: Television series
Predecessors: Gintama, Gintama’, Gintama’: Enchousen & Gintama°
Director: Chizuru Miyawaki
Studio: BN Pictures
Genre: Samurai cinema, comedy, science fantasy
Original run (Rakuyou Arc): January 9, 2017 – present

The new Gintama series, stylized as Gintama., premiered via TV Tokyo on January 9, 2017. The show is the sequel to the Gintama° anime, which aired from 2015 to 2016. Like its preceding animated show, Gintama. is based off of the Gin Tama manga by Hideaki Sorachi, which ran since 2003. Supervised by the previous season’s director Yoichi Fujita, it follows the story of a samurai named Gintoki Sakata, his apprentice Shinpachi Shimura, and a girl named Kagura. They work odd jobs to pay for their living expenses. The show is currently in its Rakuyou Arc (the 63rd arc in meta-series), which gives vital revelations about Utsuro and the Tendoushuu, the possible regathering of the Four Heavenly Kings and the threat that Utsuro poses to the universe. The upcoming Silver Soul Arc is the 64th and final arc in the Gintama franchise. Also, a live-action movie adaptation of the series is set to release sometime in 2017.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Japanese title: メアリと魔女の花 (Meari to majo no hana)
Type: Animated feature film
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Studio: Studio Ponoc
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: Summer 2017

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is helmed by former Studio Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who was responsible for directing Arrietty and When Marnie Was There and animating Ghibli classics Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. That’s not all; this upcoming full-length feature film is also cultivated by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura via his new company, Studio Ponoc. Based on Mary Stewart’s book The Little Broomstick, the plot follows a young girl who discovers that she has supernatural powers that will only last for a single night. Based on the Japanese trailer, the film will be released sometime this summer.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

Japanese title: 機動戦士ガンダム 鉄血のオルフェンズ (Kidō Senshi Gandamu Tekketsu no Orufenzu)
Type: Television series
Predecessors (excluding OVAs): Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Mobile Suit SD Gundam, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, After War Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Superior Defender Gundam Force, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Gundam Build Fighters, Mobile Suit Gundam-san, Gundam Reconguista in G & Gundam Build Fighters Try
Director: Kimitoshi Chioka, Morio Hatano & Kōhei Hatano
Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Mecha, military, science fiction drama
Original run: October 4, 2015 – present
Season 2 air date: October 2, 2016

Also referred to as G-Tekketsu (Gの鉄血), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is the fourteenth installment in the long-running Gundam franchise. Director Tatsuyuki Nagai and writer Mari Okada previously collaborated together on Toradora! and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. The story occurs in the future and follows a group of young soldiers who establish their own security company. It follows the rebellion against adults who betrayed these juvenile fighters on a terraformed Mars. The series, which has the catchphrase “the sustenance of life is on the battlefield,” addresses real-life issues such as war, slavery, child sodiers, poverty, corruption and more.

One Piece

Japanese title: ワンピース (Wan Pīsu)
Type: Television series
Director: Toshinori Fukazawa
Studio: Toei Animation
Genre: Action, adventure, fantasy
Original run: October 20, 1999 – present
Season 18 (Zou Arc) air date: June 26, 2016

One Piece is the 18th longest-running anime ever, and the fifth longest-running anime with episode lengths 25 minutes and over. Serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since 1997, the series follows the story of Monkey D. Luffy, a man whose boy gained the properties of rubber after accidentally eating a Devil Fruit. The anime is currently at its Zou Arc, the 28th story arc in the series and the first arc in the Yonko Saga of One Piece. Currently, the Straw Hats, Trafalgar Law, Kin’emon and Kanjura find that Sanji has been swept up in a set of personal and political oppositions.

One-Punch Man

Japanese title: ワンパンマン (Wanpanman)
Type: Television series
Director: Shingo Natsume(?)
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Action, parody, superhero fiction
Original run: October 5, 2015 – present
Season 2 air date: Mid-2017

If you’re a big Dragon Ball Z fan, One-Punch Man will definitely be up your alley. Created by a then-obscure author going by the moniker One, the parody webcomics series launched in 2009 and went viral not too long after. In 2012, the series was remade by professional illustrator Yusuke Murata and a television anime adaptation aired in Japan from October to December 2015. The story follows Saitama, a bald twenty-something who is the most absurdly powerful known hero alive so far. Able to defeat most villains in a single punch, Saitama constantly faces an existential crisis and is unable to gain any thrill from fighting. It is speculated that the second season of the series will launch sometime in mid-2017; however, official confirmation has yet to arrive.

Notable Mentions

Berserk
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Arc
My Hero Academia
Detective Conan
FLCL
Granblue Fantasy The Animation
Steins;Gate 0
The Seven Deadly Sins Season 2

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