The List
7 Anime Genre Trends of 2017

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Guys, we've survived another year of anime! It's been four seasons of 30+ premieres each vying for our unwavering attention. Last year I ran this list at the midway point, but I've decided going forward that it makes more sense to run it after the fall season has started. Let's take a look at what's still going strong and what new trends are burgeoning. Noticing these similarities can strengthen future predictions of what will jump from source to screen next.

Post-Apocalyptic There's an underlying sense of brooding in the anime scene these days, and the result is an uptick in stories about humanity surviving a large-scale apocalypse. Each series' vision of the future varies greatly, but they all focus on humans eking it out against dangerous monsters, barren landscapes, or even exploring a world of animal-human hybrids. Kemono Friends is the most friendly incarnation thus far, serving as an educational tool about real animals while hinting at the underlying circumstances that created Japari Park. Others are less optimistic. Made in Abyss pulled no punches as its two heroes descended into a hellish void. The currently airing (but not yet streaming in English) Children of the Whales sees a small village of people traversing a planet that's become little more than a wasteland of sand, and Girls' Last Tour follows two cute girls in a tank across an abandoned landscape.

Male Idols A male idol group has yet to land in the West with the same effect as the girls from Love Live!, but over in Japan these groups are still bona fide moneymakers. This season saw three new and two returning groups to solicit more sweet cash and thrust new CD singles on its devoted fans. Tsukipro, DYNAMIC CHORD, and Marginal #4 all premiered this year, and Dream Festival! and STARMYU also returned to the scene. The latter franchise is going into overdrive with another season on the way as well as live-action musicals. Coming up next year: Idolish 7, the multimedia franchise with character designs by Full Moon's Arina Tanemura.

Isekai The 'transported to another world' premise is still going strong, but productions have started to look at interesting variations on the theme or combining it with comedic twists. For every samey In Another World With My Smartphone, there's Restaurant to Another World that appeals to the 'healing' aspect of cooking series (which is dominating in manga right now), or Saga of Tanya the Evil where the protagonist is a bad dude and the alternate world is WWI with magic. Of course, Sword Art Online is still the genre's juggernaut, and we've got much more of that coming out next year too. Death March to The Parallel World Rhapsody is also scheduled for next year, but doesn't have a high-stakes premise despite its ominous sounding name.

Nostalgia Anime is still eager to remind you of its glory days, whether those are 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. Last year marked the announcement of Cardcaptor Sakura and a new season of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. This year we got the maligned second season of Berserk, a revisit to Kino's Journey, a comedy spinoff of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and then there's Time Bokan: The Villains Strike Back, Infini-T Force, Hell Girl, Magical Circle Guru-Guru, Atom The Beginning, and Warau Salesman. Most of these franchises don't hold the same kind of spell over Western fandom as they do in Japan, but next year also promises more Sailor Moon Crystal and maybe even something Hunter x Hunter related.

Monster Girls Monster girlfriends took a small hiatus last year, but they returned in 2017 with some popular hits. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid was undoubtedly the critical and fan favorite. The series incorporated cute character designs with a fresh cast dynamic and focusing on themes like family and belonging. A Centaur's Life was more of a mixed bag as the anime couldn't seem to decide which of the manga's points to hone in on, and Interviews with Monster Girls stood out with its interesting metaphors about living in a society that can be unaccommodating to those with disabilities and unique needs.

Western-style Superheroes It's impossible to ignore My Hero Academia at this point. The series is a certifiable hit with a third season already in production. The series is unique in that, while there are plenty of shōnen shows focusing on special abilities and magic, there are few modern ones that adopt the entire Western superhero style aesthetic, capes and alter egos and all. So far the most direct imitator of this style is clearly The Reflection, with the likes of Stan Lee and comic book megafan Hiroshi Nagahama attached. One-Punch Man is another example of a super-powered success, with a second season scheduled for next year, albeit with brand-new staff.

Little Sisters Hold your groans, because it looks like "my (not blood-related) little sister is a romantic interest" isn't going anywhere anytime soon. This year's Eromanga Sensei, from the creator of Oreimo, heralded the trend's resurgence in April when it became a success. You can thank this lingering trend for A Sister's All You Need this season, whose first episode made most of our reviewers gag. Regardless of your personal feelings on this trend, something about it causes its regular resurgence, just like cat girls and maids, and it's likely to start edging into other popular genres. I'm sure it won't be long before "I Can't Believe My Little Sister is a Harpy From Another World" gets greenlit.

The new poll:What are your opinions on this year's anime trends?

The old poll: Which Summer 2017 anime series did you enjoy the most?

  1. Made in Abyss
  2. Tsuredure Children
  3. Gamers!
  4. New Game!
  5. Princess Principal
  6. Restaurant to Another World
  7. Kakegurui
  8. Aho Girl
  9. Fate/Apocrypha
  10. Welcome to the Ballroom
  11. Classroom of the Elite
  12. Magical Circle Guru-Guru
  13. Knight's & Magic
  14. Katsugeki! Tōken Ranbu
  15. Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ
  16. Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
  17. Saiyuki Reload Blast
  18. Hitorijime My Hero
  19. A Centaur's Life
  20. Altair: A Record of Battles

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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