Random Curiosity

The Best of Anime 2010 »« The Best of Anime 2008

The Best of Anime 2009

Title Image

Now that 2009 is over, here’s a look back at some of the best series the year had to offer. Due to the subjective nature of it all and the fact that we’re constrained to what we’ve seen, we won’t be trying to pick series that everyone finds agreeable this year. Instead, we’re here to convey our personal favorites for 2009, after which you’re more than welcome to chime in with your respective choices. To make things more interesting, we’ve increased the number of categories and separated them into corresponding areas, namely Production, Miscellaneous (fun stuff), Genre, and Notable Others. Also included at the end are the final results to the Reader’s Choice Poll.

New as well this year are my picks as a standalone opinion alongside Omni’s. Previously, I helped him pick a comedy series but the rest of the choices were solely his. This time around, you get both sides of the coin. Under each category, I’ve provided a brief description of what our criteria are. Immediately below that are Omni’s picks along with his comments followed by my own.

 

Disclaimer:
These are purely our personal opinions based on the shows that we’ve seen in the past year. For a show to even qualify for consideration, it had to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/ONAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on DVD/Blu-ray or online so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it. This means that series like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Summer Wars (not officially released) are not up for awards this year; they’ll be saved for 2010.

 


Production


Animation

Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as we’re trying to pick the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

Animation   Omni

Omni: Without going into OVAs and movies, my favorite for animation quality this year was CANAAN. P.A.Works managed to deliver a solid series full of great gunplay, combat choreography, and explosions, and unlike a lot of shows, the quality never really faltered. I wasn’t so keen on the way the series ended (and that’s partly why CANAAN isn’t my choice for Action series below), but the animation quality was superb.
Honorable Mentions: Gundam 00 SS, SOUL EATER

Animation   Divine

Divine: For animation, I was originally thinking Gundam 00 SS all the way, with SOUL EATER, CANAAN, and Nyan Koi following close behind. I then recalled Madhouse‘s exceptional work in RIDEBACK, which is almost a distant memory seeing as it aired back in January 2009. However, it’s hard to forget the almost Byousoku 5 Centimeter-like sakura petals, the 3D rendered motorcycles, and the detailed instrumentation. I honestly thought that I was watching an OVA instead of a TV series when I saw the first episode. Considering that I pushed for Gundam 00 to be selected for Best Animation last year and it likely had a much bigger budget, I felt RIDEBACK really deserved some recognition here.
Honorable Mentions: Gundam 00 SS, SOUL EATER, CANAAN, Nyan Koi!

 

Story

As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week says the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

Story   Omni

Omni: There were a lot of great stories this year, but as a production category, I have to go with the best original one – that is, not based on a manga, light novel, or game. For me, that was Eden of the East which featured a great mix of mystery, action, and a bit of romance, all set in a modern world that’s basically ours with the exception of some supposed terrorist acts. The mystery really kept things interesting because there were so many questions to be answered about Akira, the Selecao, and Juiz, and there were enough plot twists and quirky characters kept the audience on its toes. The main downside was that the series ended on something of a cliffhanger to be resolved in two movies.
Honorable Mentions: Bakemonogatari, CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~

Story   Divine

Divine: Back in spring, I admittedly dropped Pandora Hearts after watching the first episode. Not until later, when I picked it up again and caught up on 20+ episodes in a couple of days, did I realize that was primarily ignorance on my part and not giving the series a fair chance. Things got so much better after the first few episodes. The Alice in Wonderland themed characters were an interesting touch, but it was the mystery shrouded Abyss and the existence that governs it that were the driving factors. Right after Oz gets dropped into the Abyss, we got a real sense of how dark and eery the story is as we struggle to figure out exactly what’s going on. We’re pretty much as lost as Oz is, but after he forms a contract with Alice the Bloodstained Black Rabbit (a.k.a. B-Rabbit), we follow the two of them on an epic journey to make sense of everything both past and present. There are various other overarching story elements that stay with us from start to finish, making the show extremely hard to stop watching once you get into it. I didn’t like how things ended abruptly, but it was one hell of a ride the rest of the way.
Honorable Mentions: Casshern Sins

 

Soundtrack

What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.

Soundtrack   Omni

Omni: There were a number of good soundtracks for series this past year, including those of Hatsukoi Limited and Basquash (the latter of which made great use of vocal songs), but my favorite had to be SOUL EATER. Iwasaki Taku did it again with the way he makes use of different music genres (you may remember that I chose his Gurren Lagann soundtrack two years ago), including jazz and rap, though the soundtrack still had its share of nice piano and string pieces. The soundtrack was what really made some of the scenes in the series memorable, and I found myself mentioning the music numerous times when blogging the show.
Honorable Mentions: Yoshikawa Kei – Basquash

Soundtrack   Divine

Divine: If you’re looking for the soundtrack that brought out the emotions behind scenes and set the tone for the entire series, look no further than Wada Kaoru’s score for Casshern Sins. Remarkably powerful in bringing out both feelings of hopelessness and desolation, I can’t emphasize enough how his music gave me goosebumps as I watched Casshern roaming around the world and coming into contact with all the robots falling to ruin. The ambience of death resounded loud and clear in those cases, but there are also tracks that give off a sense of hope and peacefulness as well. On top of that, we have the English insert song “A Path” by Miyahara Nami (Lyuze’s seiyuu performing as Janice in episode 8). The song comes off as a plea for a brighter future, but was sung while Casshern had to fight off a horde of malicious robots marching on their location. Words can’t quite convey the emotions surrounding that scene, so I uploaded a copy you can check it out to get the full impact. I wholeheartedly recommend doing so if you haven’t seen it before.
Honorable Mentions: Kajiura Yuki – Pandora Hearts, Nanase Hikaru – Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~

 

Opening Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, we’re focusing on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.


The Tower of Druaga ~the Sword of URUK~ OP

SOUL EATER OP1

Omni: I made this choice entirely on entertainment value. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Druaga, it’s a magic and fantasy story about climbing a mythical tower, but they make the opening sequence out to be like it’s a slice-of-life high school baseball series. As such, the alternate universe opening was a lot of fun to watch, even when the series itself wasn’t so hot.

Divine: SOUL EATER’s first opening full of fast paced action scenes and crazy amounts of animation behind flying through the city streets won me over for its style and complexity. The number of still frames that had to be drawn for those city streets and buildings must’ve been insane. Every shot is different so there’s practically nothing that can be reused. For sheer creativity along with the accompanying “nosebleed” song, I would’ve gone with Maria Holic’s opening as my pick. In addition to featuring some Kanako mannequin abuse and Matsurika getting her top torn off, the whole sequence just reiterated how crazy Mariya is. We have paint buckets splattering everywhere, Mariya skipping along the tops of ladders, and a nosebleed fountain to top it all off. For more action and fast paced camera panning, I felt that Shikabane Hime: Kuro’s opening also deserved some recognition, even though it hadn’t changed from since Aka was airing.
Honorable Mentions: Maria Holic OP, Shikabane Hime: Kuro OP

Ending Sequence

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series. Sometimes, they’re completely irrelevant to actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, we have ones we enjoyed more than others.


Eden of the East ED

K-ON! ED

Omni: This was a pretty easy choice for me. I loved the papermation that Production I.G used for the Eden of the East ending. Even ignoring the fact that futuristic imagination is a good song, it was interesting artistically to see what they could do with paper, and this ending sequence also foreshadowed the events of the anime.

Divine: I figured this choice would’ve been easier than the opening sequence, but it turned out to be much harder due to all the creative ones out there. I ultimately decided on K-ON’s since it showcased the girls in cute outfits and hairstyles with a very animated Mio singing. Sure the song helps, but I actually enjoyed watching them playing their instruments more, along with the individual scenes highlighting each of the characters. My only complaint is that they never updated it to feature Azusa when she showed up in the series like they did with the opening. As for the creative shortlist I had, it was the service-overloaded NEEDLESS ED1 and the flying pantsu Sora no Otoshimono ED2. I was really tempted to pick either of those instead because they’re not something you see every day, but then I recalled how I was all over the K-ON ED when I first saw it.
Honorable Mentions: NEEDLESS ED1, Sora no Otoshimono ED2

Song

With the sequences covered, we now focus on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real guideline being that it’s something we didn’t get tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was even any good, as we’re simply picking our favorite song featured in an anime.


Itou Yuna – trust you

FictionJunction – Parallel Hearts

Omni: Choosing a favorite song is always a hard decision, and this year the two songs I listened to the most were trust you by Itou Yuna from Gundam 00 Second Season and (surprisingly) Futari no Yakusoku by Tomatsu Haruka, Nakajima Megumi, and Hayami Saori from Basquash!. I say surprising because the latter is an idol group song, which I normally hate, but this one was really catchy and stuck with me. However, I have to go with trust you because it’s such a good ballad that fits so well with all the Gundam 00 Second Season’s love storylines. I’ve said it before, but Itou Yuna has an amazing voice, and I loved her performance of this song.

Divine: I come across a lot of songs given the number of shows I watch, but only a handful get shortlisted when I’m asked to choose my favorite. In the end, I had to go with FictionJunction‘s Parallel Hearts, which features four vocalists who have collaborated with Kajiura Yuki in the past — Kaori, Keiko, Wakana, and Yuriko. This group is a slightly different composition of Kalafina, whose songs are featured in Kara no Kyoukai. Much like Kalafina, I love how the vocalists sound together and the lyrics here fit Pandora Hearts’ story perfectly. The other song that I was highly considering was Younha feat. GOKU’s Kioku, RIDEBACK’s ending theme. It’s a very catchy song that sounds just as good in Korean and reminds me just how talented of a singer Younha is. The rap portions you don’t get to hear in the TV size version are also really nice.
Honorable Mentions: Youhna feat. GOKU – Kioku

 


Miscellaneous


Character

This year we’re branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but given the numerous options we have to choose from per series, let alone every series in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

Character   Omni

Omni: There’s only one standout character for me this year, and that was Bakemonogatari’s Senjougahara Hitagi. She started out as a fairly cold and somewhat psychotic character, but as the series went on and her character was developed more, she became so much more. She was fierce, confident (but brittle if you get close enough), intelligent, funny, and although she was nasty at times, the story provided us with reasonable cause for her attitude. I loved watching her torture and drive Koyomi crazy while at the same time flirting with him, and credit has to go to NisiOisiN for writing her great dialog and to Saitou Chiwa for voicing her.

Character   Divine

Divine: For me, it was the year of strong, take charge type of female characters. At the forefront was none other than Sangou Shizuku after seeing her completely “womanhandle” Senou Natsuru in Kampfer. I lost count of how many times I went on a tangent talking about sexy, sultry, “dangerous” student council presidents while covering the series. I mentioned before how Shizuku is a step up from Senjougahara Hitagi in Bakemonogatari. Both of them had their way with words and teased the male lead to no end, but Shizuku took things a step further by sticking her tongue down the guy’s throat time and time again. I found that most of the appeal of Bakemonogatari came from Hitagi since the series was otherwise a lengthy script of witty dialogue (with incomplete animation), but that alone won over tons of fans. Evidently, Kampfer didn’t quite have the same occult-like following due to its gender bender premise, so I take it not as many people got a taste of Shizuku’s personality. Seeing as I did, Shizuku edges out ahead especially with how impeccably Nazuka Kaori portrayed her.
Honorable Mentions: Senjougahara Hitagi (Bakemonogatari), Katsura Hinagiku (Hayate no Gotoku!! 2nd Season), Ikaruga Ayame (Asu no Yoichi!)

 

Seiyuu

As the natural extension of characters, we’re also picking a favorite seiyuu for the year. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so we’re here to highlight whose acting we enjoyed time and time again. While a variety of roles may help showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, sometimes all it takes is that really one good role to grab our attention and never let it go.

Seiyuu   Omni

Omni: In terms of seiyuu, 2009 for me felt like the year of Tomatsu Haruka. She’s been getting more and more parts since her debut two years ago, but the number and variety of her roles really exploded this year. From the shows I watched, that included such major roles as Yunyun in CANAAN, Rouge in Basquash! (which also featured a lot of her singing), and Aoba in Cross Game, but that’s only a fraction of what she did this past year. It’s appropriate that she’s getting so popular too because, as Patrik pointed out several months ago, she’s very talented.
Honorable Mentions: Wakamoto Norio, Nakai Kazuya

Seiyuu   Divine

Divine: There wasn’t any particular role that Tomatsu Haruka won me over with, but her tsundere ones were undoubtedly the most memorable. I absolutely loved Ikaruga Ayame in Asu no Yoichi as well as Kirishima Kotone in Nyan Koi. To a lesser tsundere degree, there’s also Mizuki Mana in WHITE ALBUM and Ichinose Yumiko in Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou. Haruka’s most surprising role had to be Yamaguchi Kisaragi in GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class though, where she shocked me with her Noto Mamiko/Hayami Saori-like voice for the first time. At that point, I was honestly wondering if there’s any limit to this girl’s range. With additional key roles in Asura Cryin’, CANAAN, Gundam 00 SS, Shinkyoku Polyphonica crimson S, Sora no Manimani, and Bantorra, this was quite the breakout year for her. She seems to be on everyone’s casting list nowadays, after her performance as Nagi in Kannagi last year and even Lala in To LOVE-Ru. Had it not been for Haruka, Takagaki Ayahi would’ve taken my pick after brilliant performances in Phantom, Gundam 00, and Sasameki Koto. Also on my shortlist were Hanazawa Kana (Suou in DtB2, Sharon in Pandora Hearts) and Irino Miyu (Tomoharu in Asura Cryin’, Saji in G00, Mamoru in Hatsukoi, Zwei in Phantom).
Honorable Mentions: Takagaki Ayahi, Hanazawa Kana, Irino Miyu

 

Plot Twist

This is the new version of the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. We’re looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that catches us off guard and delivers sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has you talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not you found it agreeable. Below are the specific unfolding of events we have in mind.

Show Plot Twist Picks ▼

 

Death

This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as the viewer. Well done screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re selecting this based on.

Show Death Picks ▼

 

Admiral Ackbar Award (It’s a Trap!)

“It’s a trap!” and by that we mean a guy cross-dressing as a remarkably cute-looking girl. Gender bender is also acceptable since we’re simply looking for the character who gave off a disturbingly unsettling feeling with how well they portrayed the opposite sex. In short, we’re selecting the character who managed to deceive others (and us) into thinking they’re actually a hot girl.

Trap   Divine

Divine: I was going to pick Tomoko, Sakurai Tomoki’s female counterpart in episode 11 of Sora no Otoshimono after the rampage she went on, but couldn’t ignore how dominant of a role Shidou Mariya had in Maria Holic. For one, Kanako couldn’t stop her uncontrollable nosebleeds when he enticed her with a bit of yuri service, even though she knew he was actually a guy (and a complete ass at that). I realize that Kanako’s an easy target for Mariya given her perverted lesbian nature, but the fact that he can have his way with her as if he were a girl says something. It’s even better when you consider how he’s an idol at the school and blackmailed Kanako into keeping his true gender a secret. Unlike most traps, Mariya was so ridiculously two-faced that it was easy to see how well she kept the act up. Kobayashi Yuu was absolutely awesome in this role to that end. Akemiya Masaki as Yamasaki Akemi in Sasameki Koto gets special mention for being more feminine than a very bitter Sumika.
Honorable Mentions: Tomoko (Sora no Otoshimono), Yamasaki Akemi (Sasameki Koto)

 


Genre


Action

In the genre section, our goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for our favorite anime of the year. First up is action, which ranges from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha ones. For battles, choreography plays a huge role so we definitely took that into consideration.

Action   Omni

Omni: This was a bit of a toss-up for me because I loved both Gundam 00 Second Season and SOUL EATER when it came to action. Both were great in terms of the battle scenes and fight choreography that they had, but in the end I went with Gundam 00 Second Season because it left a bigger impression on me as an overall action series with its complex cast of characters and how it kept me hooked from week to week. I do, though, want to give special mention to Sengoku BASARA because it had some hilariously entertaining battles and action sequences which even featured the equivalent of a Gundam.
Honorable Mentions: SOUL EATER, CANAAN, Sengoku BASARA

Action   Divine

Divine: There is no doubt in my mind that Gundam 00 SS was the most exciting series to grace our screens this past year. I can vividly recall one of the scenes that totally blew me away too — the attack on Memento Mori. From everything to Ptolemy barreling down the orbital weapon’s blind spot to the activation of Arios’ Trans-Am to avoid certain doom, there were all sorts of craziness going on as we watched Sumeragi’s plan in motion. Next come Cherudim’s Shield Bits to protect the ship then Seravee’s fully-charged Hyper Burst to open the way. I was absolutely glued to the screen for that episode and that was just the icing on the cake. One of the most moving action scenes was the orbital elevator collapse that had friends and foes alike frantically trying to save the millions of innocent lives below. I still get chills when I rewatch the desperation shown there, and while the targets were nothing more than falling debris, it was absolutely thrilling watching beam rifles firing nonstop. Best action of the year hands down.
Honorable Mentions: SOUL EATER, Casshern Sins, CANAAN

 

Comedy

The ability to make you laugh until you cry. That’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.

Comedy   Divine

Divine: It was a toss-up between Sora no Otoshimono and Nyan Koi! nearing the end of last year, though I admit I enjoyed Maria Holic a hell of a lot too. When it comes to comedy, I always find it amusing when characters “think out loud” to the viewer, as those random outbursts tend to be the most hilarious. This was present in all three of the shows in Tomoki, Junpei, and Kanako respectively, but I had to gave my overall pick to Sora no Otoshimono since the series had me laughing most of the time. For that, I chalk it up the Angeloid Ikaros falling into his lap and granting him wishes that fulfill all his inner perverted desires. Most of the humor came from Sohara getting victimized as a result, with the incident involving no underwear and handcuffs being one of the funniest. If I didn’t enjoy the perverted fun as much as I do, Nyan Koi or Maria Holic would’ve easily topped out. However, I have to give credit to the third season of Minami-ke too, which I felt was a really good improvement over the second season. As for K-ON, it would’ve won the cuteness category if there were one.
Honorable Mentions: Nyan Koi!, Maria Holic, Minami-ke Okaeri

 

Romance/Drama

Emotion-filled romance dramas at their finest. A heavily portrayed love story isn’t pertinent to this category, but it’s hard to overlook how powerful they tend to be in establishing the drama within a series. The relationships between characters and the emotions involved are the main appeal, and the ultimate criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tearjerking scenes being a plus.

Romance Drama   Omni

Omni: I don’t think I could go with anything other than CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ for this category. Certainly other shows like Bakemonogatari and Toradora had some romance and drama elements, but nothing beat out CAS when it came to evoking emotions with those elements, whether it be laughter or tears (and there were a lot of tears). Thanks to the first series which got a lot of the initial character development out of the way, the second series was, for the most part, able to concentrate on post-high-school life, the development of Tomoya and Nagisa’s relationship, and the central theme of family, and it did a wonderful job showing the challenges and loss that followed. Kudos to Key for the original story and to Kyoto Animation for the adaptation.
Honorable Mentions: Toradora!, Bakemonogatari

Romance Drama   Divine

Divine: I’m actually disappointed there weren’t very many good offerings in the romance/drama department this year after the spectacular true tears of 2008. As such, nothing even came close to CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~, which depicted the romance, comedy, and most of all drama all in one nice and neat package. AFTER STORY was a really good series that delved into various parts of the story that the CLANNAD movie simply glossed over, but it almost defaults as my pick in this category because there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from. Key intentionally tugs at our emotional strings by building up towards tearjerker scenes, so CLANNAD is pretty undisputed when it comes to the drama aspect. While Toradora had really good emotion-filled scenes near the end of its run, it comes a distant second due to its more comedic nature. In Hatsukoi Limited’s case, there were too many small stories going on concurrently for me to get too attached to any of them.
Honorable Mentions: Toradora!

 

Fan-Service/Ecchi

You didn’t think I’d let this one get away this year did you? While fan-service/ecchi-flavored affair tend to go hand-and-hand with comedies, that’s not always the case. In addition, fan-service doesn’t only constitute breasts in your face, nor an abundance of needless upskirt shots. The only criteria here is character interaction suggestive of a sexual-related context, regardless of how revealing the scenes may actually be.

Fan Service Ecchi   Divine

Divine: If we’re talking OADs, KissXSis and Aki Sora are well up there in the ecchi department because they’re not constrained by any broadcast standards. Out of the two, KissXSis is much more “playful” whereas Aki Sora is basically full-blown hentai incest. It didn’t seem fair selecting either as my top pick for those reasons, so NEEDLESS rose to the top in my shortlist when I considered our little girl-loving Adam Blade. From everything to him wanting to strip Setsuna, Kuchinashi, and Mio down to their socks to Eve being tied up with her clothes torn to shreds, there was tasteful and humorous fan-service to go all around. We also had Disc’s underboob, her machine-like tentacles, and her revealing three-size scans. Let’s not forget Aruka who doesn’t wear any underwear and the nonexistence of bras in their world. For those wondering about Queen’s Blade, I’ve watched both seasons and can say that it was somewhat like the uncensored DVD version of SEKIREI. In other words, it was a lot of big busted fighters competing in a ritualistic fight of sorts with the often exposed nipple from clothes getting torn off. NEEDLESS’ girls showed a bit more hesitation and modesty in comparison, making it much better service in my books. Check out episode 8 with the Goldilocks security system for a good example.
Honorable Mentions: KissXSis, Aki Sora, Sora no Otoshimono

 


Notable Others


Show We Wish We Blogged More

There are a lot of shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because we’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. In terms blogging, there are often those plus a whole lot more that we end up skipping due to time constraints. Now that the year’s over, we have the opportunity to give some limelight to some series we enjoyed watching, but didn’t end up covering for whatever reason.

Blogged More   Omni

Omni: I briefly blogged the first couple of Sengoku BASARA, but I never got to continue with it due to a lack of time. In retrospect, I should have made time because, as I said above in the Action section, Sengoku BASARA was hilariously entertaining. The story wasn’t the strongest, but it was just pure fun to see all the manly passion and over-the-top battles that featured things like a man who was able to stand on top of his horses as they galloped up the side of a vertical wall and a villain who always had dark clouds following him around (voiced by Wakamoto Norio no less). I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard in an action series.
Honorable Mentions: Xam’d

Blogged More   Divine

Divine: As this was originally the “Show You (Probably) Didn’t Watch” category, I was intent on picking Ristorante Paradiso since it falls into the often-less-watched seinen genre. I had written a brief post about the series after I finished watching it and the mixed reactions I got was indicative of that. For a series that I wish I blogged however, it would have to be Casshern Sins. The reason being that the story is seemingly simple, yet there’s so much more to it below the surface. I would’ve had tons to say about the delivery and how powerful a lot of the scenes were. The series depicted exactly what it would feel like to be in a world succumbing to ruin and how humans and robots struggle to deal with it. In conjunction to that, we have Casshern seeking answers about himself and how he’s blamed for it all, compelling him to continue his journey. To balance things out, it even had some of the best action scenes of the past year. All of the above would’ve made it a pleasure to write about to the very end.
Honorable Mentions: Pandora Hearts, NEEDLESS

 

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedence established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

Disappointment   Omni

Omni: I really wanted to pick Basquash for this category because of all the wasted potential in that series, but it’s hard to argue against the disappointment that was the 2009 episodes of Suzumiya Haruhi. Now don’t get me wrong, the content that was there wasn’t too bad, particularly once we got to the Sighs arc, but after all the highlights of the original set of episodes, having more than half of the new episodes be Endless Eight was incredibly disappointing. They could have accomplished so much more instead of pulling a stunt like that.
Dishonorable Mentions: Basquash

Disappointment   Divine

Divine: It’s surprisingly hard for me to be disappointed about anime since I’ve grown accustomed to setting my expectations accordingly, but Suzumiya Haruhi had precedence so naturally my expectations were fairly high going in. They probably weren’t as high as most people’s though, seeing as I was never caught up in the craze of the original series. Be that as it may, they still weren’t low enough for me to get trolled by eight episodes of the exact same thing and shrug it off like it never happened. That left a really sour taste in my mouth, despite the following arc being more like the show I was expecting all along. I would’ve preferred keeping the Endless Eight arc to two episodes and called it an eight episode renewal than needlessly stretching it out to fourteen.

 

Exceeded Expectations

Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. Our picks here don’t mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.

Exceeded Expectations   Omni

Omni: My initial inclination was to pick Eden of the East for this category, but then I remembered that I had really high expectations for that series after seeing its superb trailer. Instead, the show that truly exceeded my expectations was Bakemonogatari. I’ve said in the past that I’m not the biggest fan of SHAFT and the distinctive style they have when they animate series, so I didn’t have particularly high expectations coming into this (I didn’t even label it as “Guaranteed” in my summer preview). By the end of the regular broadcast run though, I had become very impressed by how good of a job they had done in terms of visuals, comedy, and storytelling – much credit of course also goes to the the original author – and episode 12 had one of the best romance/relationship development scenes of the year.
Honorable Mentions: Eden of the East

Exceeded Expectations   Divine

Divine: Much like its first season, The Tower of Druaga ~the Sword of URUK~ turned out much better than I expected. The main reason for my low expectations is that it started as a simulcast project backed by GONZO. While I did enjoy their work on the Rosario + Vampire series as well as Strike Witches, I’m still apprehensive approaching anything they produce given their track record as of late. Dragonaut was really poorly written and I couldn’t sit through more than one episode of Linebarrels of Iron. Druaga however was a sleeper and had a decent story, quirky characters, witty humor, and mythical-style action. Not bad considering it was adapated from an extremely old arcade game. It’s actually a series I can safely recommend if you’re into fantasy, albeit it’s not nearly as good as Record of Lodoss War.
Honorable Mentions: Bakemonogatari, Saki, Shikabane Hime, Queen’s Blade (you need to have watched it all)

 


And Finally…


Favorite of 2009

The be all and end all of the year. If we had to pick just one series as our favorite, this would be it. If we could’ve only watched one show this past year, here’s what we would’ve been watching. There’s no other criteria here and being on the same page as the masses is the least of our concerns. You may not agree, but this category is for conveying what we enjoyed the most in 2009.

Favorite 2009   Omni

Omni: While I really enjoyed Bakemonogatari for its main couple, smart dialog, supernatural story, and perfect not-really-final episode, I can’t bring myself to say that it was my favorite show of the year. The same goes for Gundam 00 Second Season and Eden of the East, both of which were still very good series. Instead, my favorite this year was CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ for all of the reasons I mentioned in the above Romance/Drama section and more. It was a story that started out very slice-of-life and got me emotionally invested in the characters again so that when the big events in the plot started happening, they hit incredibly hard. It was a story that explored what it meant to love someone, what it means to have family, and what it’s like to lose someone. And it was a story that made me laugh as much as it made me cry. Taking into account all of those things, nothing else this year was as good for me as CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ was.
Honorable Mentions: Gundam 00 SS, Bakemonogatari, Eden of the East

Favorite 2009   Divine

Divine: It’s not every year we get a Gundam series, let alone one of epic proportions. In the first ever high definition Gundam, Sunrise definitely did not disappoint. With never before seen animation quality, no recycled battle scenes, and a storyline that didn’t rehash the bit with extremely hesitant teenage pilot(s) getting pulled into war, a longtime Gundam fan such as myself was really pleased with the direction the series headed. The whole premise with Celestial Being’s armed intervention and making an enemy of the world in order to unite them was captivating, as were the character interactions on various types of levels. In addition to the action I already praised the series for above, they also brought in Gundam seiyuu veterans, with the original Furuya Tohru (Amuro Ray from the original Gundam) playing Ribbons Almark and doing the narration for the series, plus Yao Kazuki (Judau Ashta from ZZ Gundam) playing Arba Lindt. Sure they were antagonists this time around, but any old school fan can appreciate their inclusion to the series. While I enjoyed Gundam SEED/Destiny when it aired, the story falls into the rehash I mentioned above and the recycled battle scenes really took away from the excitement. It also didn’t have the depth 00 had, making the Gundam series this past year stand out just that much more.
Honorable Mentions: K-ON!, Sora no Otoshimono, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~

 

Favorite OVA/ONA/Movie of 2009

The same as above, except for the not regularly broadcasted offerings. We don’t cover these very often on the site, but we’ve had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eye.

Favorite OVA ONA Movie 2009   Omni

Omni: I’ll admit that I didn’t watch (or blog) that many OVAs, ONAs, or movies this past year, but of the few that I did see, I enjoyed Eve no Jikan the most (thanks to Patrik for getting me to watch it). It was a fascinating exploration of the social interactions between man and machine when it’s both possible and impossible to distinguish between the two – and when machines show autonomy and when they don’t – which in this case was inside and outside a special cafe setting. The story was very Asimov-inspired and used Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics quite a bit, and what made it so good were the very human emotions surrounding the androids. It’s a title I’d love to see get explored further in a full television series, and there’s a movie coming out with new footage.
Honorable Mentions: CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ Kyou OVA

Favorite OVA ONA Movie 2009   Divine

Divine: I made the mistake of getting into the Kara no Kyoukai movies when only five/six of the seven had been released on DVD, making the almost year long wait for the seventh and final movie extremely excruciating. The fifth movie with the messed up apartment is one of my favorites, but I wanted see the continuation of the second movie more that anything else. There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the murder spree then and Shiki’s innocence was still very questionable. As such, the anticipation for the seventh movie and how it answered everything made it the movie to watch in 2009. I just loved the way Sakamoto Maaya voiced Shiki throughout, which I’m reminded of by her role as Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII. Kara no Kyoukai was a psychological thriller all the way to the very end and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Honorable Mentions: Denpa teki na Kanojo, Seto no Hanayome OVA (particularly ep2), CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ Kyou OVA

 

Reader’s Choice

Your choice for 2009. Since we allowed everyone to pick their top 3 this year, we had a much nicer spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable however, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 3 picks.

Readers Choice 2009   Regular Series

The Top 5:
Bakemonogatari – 1560 (11.40%)
CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ – 1099 (8.03%)
Eden of the East – 962 (7.03%)
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Second Season – 879 (6.42%)
Toradora! – 784 (5.73%)
Total Number of Votes – 13,682
Here are the full results.

Omni: It was great not to have any major problems with the poll this year (unlike last year), and we got a ton of votes in less than three days of voting. I thought that Gundam 00 Second Season would do better than it did and that DtB 2 wouldn’t do quite so well, but the numbers weren’t too shocking overall.

Divine: While I enjoyed Bakemonogatari, it was Hitagi’s character more than anything else that had me hooked. I’m still not a big fan of some of Shinbou Akiyuki‘s stylistic touches though, such as text screens appearing for split seconds, so that soured the series for me a bit. I still can’t overlook how they sent off an episode with incomplete animation either (something that didn’t even happen with Natsu no Arashi), and how the remaining two web episodes have yet to be seen. Looking at the numbers, #2 downwards are more inline with one another and I gather that Gundam 00 didn’t do as well as it did because you’re either a Gundam fan or you’re not.

 

Reader’s Choice OVA/ONA/Movie

Your OVA/ONA/Movie choice of 2009. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on DVD/Blu-ray or online so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching it and making an informed decision. We figured it didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2010, so if you wanted to vote for Evangelion 2.0, Macross F The Movie, or Summer Wars, you’ll get your chance next year.

Readers Choice 2009   OVA ONA Movie

The Top 5:
Kara no Kyoukai 7 – 461 (11.43%)
Evangelion – 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone – 448 (11.11%)
CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ Kyou OVA – 411 (10.19%)
Eve no Jikan – 309 (7.66%)
Bleach: Fade to Black, I Call Your Name – 284 (7.04%)
Total Number of Votes – 4,033
Here are the full results.

Omni: I wasn’t sure what to expect for this vote, and while Kara no Kyoukai and Evangelion movies doing well were to be expected, I’m a little surprised the Kyou OVA did as well as it did. There were also a lot of write-ins for Summer Wars, but as I explained multiple times in the voting post, those votes will have to wait until next year.

Divine: Having selected Kara no Kyoukai 7 as my overall pick in this category, I can easily understand where people are coming from. Given CLANNAD’s popularity, I’m not too surprised that the OVA faired as well as it did either.

 

There was a plethora of good shows in 2009, both sequels and new offerings alike. In some cases, the sequels weren’t quite as good as the originals and in others they followed up their respective stories nicely. What was nice though was the number of new shows we came across, some of which started this year and took a season off before airing their second half. Whether or not this break in broadcasting helps production plan things out better I’m not sure, but I don’t mind so much if it’s only a season at a time. As a follow-up to Omni’s remark last year about official streams with subtitles, this has evidently taken off in 2009 with indication that simulcasts are here to stay. In any case, 2010 is well upon us and the Winter season has already started, so here’s to hoping for another fun and entertaining year.

January 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm
149 comments »
  • January 5, 2010 at 10:25 amKinny Riddle

    While most of the choices were expected and well-deserved, I was quite surprised Toradora only won “mentions” in various categories. Perhaps competition is really strong for 2009, especially with Clannad.

    Having seen the movie, Evangelion 2.0 will most certainly be part of my pick for Omni’s 2010 poll for OVA/Movie category. And even if it does gets eclipsed by the Unlimited Blade Works and the Haruhi movies (which I doubt), they probably won’t make it in time for Omni’s 2010 poll.

    I think Pandora Hearts easily ranks as the most underrated show of 2009, slipping off almost everyone’s radar unnoticed, including mine, with its solid plot (bar the last 3 episodes, which were original filler to kill time) and good characters and music. Its main flaw being the poor animation quality, for a while I thought it was the quality of my raws rather than the show itself.

    With all the accolades received, I guess I really should get around to watching Bakemonogatari. Though I’m still unconvinced about Gundam 00 (I’m one of the few souls here to have never watched a single episode of it).

  • January 5, 2010 at 11:17 amlulwut

    meh looks like typical weaboo fare. No mention of Cross Game?

  • January 5, 2010 at 11:19 amlulwut

    oh my bad, disregard that, i suck rocks. CG doesn’t meet the requirements duh

  • January 5, 2010 at 12:35 pmBlackSun88

    indeed, gundam 00 and clannad after story are the only few anime which i can recommend to everyone and i truly enjoy both show. both are the few show that get me so anticipated and so emotionally attached to the character. hope this site can continue provide us with more review ^^

  • January 5, 2010 at 2:32 pmExia

    nice list there were some good animes this year and this would be a perfect guide to show anyone what they missed out anime-wise in the great year of anime 2009. Hopefully 2010 doesn’t disappoint.

  • January 5, 2010 at 3:16 pmPolaryzed

    @Divine – I had forgotten how awesome that scene in Casshern Sins was. Easily my favorite scene in the entire series. That song mixed with the violence and what we know about the characters at the time was phenomenal. I get goosebumps every time I watch it/listen to it. Thanks for the vid link.

  • January 5, 2010 at 6:25 pmMike

    To be honest I didn’t like Kara no Kyoukai 7 that much out of them all, episode 2, 4, and 5 are my favorite.
    One thing about episode 7 that really bother the hell out of me was Mikiya telling Shiki not to kill and is just wrong to kill ppl. I wanna drag Mikiya in front of the families of those murder victim and have him say that in front of their face tell them ” I know who kill your father/mother/brother/sister/children but I believe murdering other is wrong so I won’t kill him.” Have him look into the eyes of those family member and say that. He is such a retard that I would have punch him in the face, listen if someone hurt me or my families I will kill them plain and simple, there is no such thing as right or wrong, I kill because I want to protect myself or my families. During the end of the movie I so wanted see Mikiya get kill for being such a stupid retard. I wanna see how he gonna react if the killer had a knife on Shiki or Azaka throat and he tell Mikiya you either grab a knife and kill me or else I kill them both in front of his face, I wanna see if Mikiya can still act all high and mighty saying killing ppl is wrong when he had to face in that situation. Acting all high and mighty is easy when others are the one that had to deal with the problem, but when the problem is his (Mikiya) I wanna see if he can still act all high and mighty then.

  • January 5, 2010 at 8:06 pmmegalith

    Nice! Although this is a problem with these kinda things. Everyone wants their wants and needs to be satisfied but they’re to lazy…

    Don’t agree with the list? GTFO and make your own list.

    Oh and @BROOKLYN otaku you lol @ haters right? Then you’re laughing at your own pathetic behavior then… You’re just the same as them to a certain degree….

  • January 5, 2010 at 9:55 pmminikui

    “This group is a slightly different composition of Kalafina, whose songs are featured in Kara no Kyoukai. Much like Kalafina, I love how the vocalists sound together and the lyrics here fit Pandora Hearts’ story perfectly.”

    eh? Two completely different vocalist in FictionJunction and one different one in Kalafina is “slightly different”? XD Especially since in FictionJunction Keiko is more in the background and Kaori who has nothing to do with Kalafina has a lot of solo lines, to me they are pretty different. They sound similar because of Yuki Kajiura, but both groups still have different styles.

    Concerning the Kara no Kyokai lyrics also, some of the songs are written from Shiki’s perspective. In general Yuki Kajiura seems to read and consider the original works when creating a song for the show, so the lyrics are always very fitting.

  • January 5, 2010 at 11:33 pmdivine

    ye4595:
    You are correct. Neither of us got around to watching Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, hence why it doesn’t show up in any of our picks. It’s still on my “To Watch” list at the moment.

    Jason Isenberg:
    I actually finished watching WHITE ALBUM. While a lot more things happened in the second season, I still felt the story lacked good direction. The last few episodes made everything that happened before feel moot.

    minikui:
    Well, Keiko and Wakana are in both, so this FictionJunction group basically replaces Hikaru from Kalafina with Kaori and Yuriko. I wasn’t trying to dissect it down to who sings lead more in each group.

    Kajiura Yuki is often asked to write songs for anime, so yeah, it makes sense that she thinks of lyrics that fit.

    Everyone else:
    For those who are unhappy about our choices, the introduction paragraph clearly states that we’re not trying to pick shows that the majority of people will find agreeable. There isn’t much point trying to predict what most people think should’ve been picked in each category. We’re not tracking popularity trends here.

    These are just our personal opinions, so if you value them, great! I hope you had fun reading. If you don’t, feel free to move along. We’re not trying to troll anyone here; we’re just sharing our year end thoughts.

    I felt we explained our choices a bit more than necessary already, and yes, a lot of thought (and days) went into the post. Thanks to those who can see that. As mentioned at the very top, we welcome your own picks and your reasons for selecting each of them.

    For those wondering, I personally finished just over half of the 100 choices we had for regular series (roughly 52 series in 2009). This isn’t counting OVAs, ONAs, and movies. Now if you’ve watched more than that, then you probably have a more reliable opinion based on what’s out there, in which case I’d love to hear your choices. As always, my completed list can be found on MAL here. (The link is always available by clicking my name in the comments too.)

  • January 6, 2010 at 1:01 amtreble89

    great review, i enjoy all the reading

  • January 6, 2010 at 1:03 amAsdf

    @ divine

    Watching anime is like going to work. And to make best of lists means to accept other people’s opinions after the fact. Not that this is news to you or anything, but a great deal of people use your blog to guide their own anime habits.

  • January 6, 2010 at 1:22 amsigh

    hmm the only thing that i disagree with is DTB not being on the top 5 of the year. Even though the ending was a big fuck you make up your own ending almost as bad if not worse than last season, i still love the series and it was one of 4 anime’s that i actually bought this year along with nyan koi, gundam 00, and eden of the east.

  • January 6, 2010 at 1:25 amdivine

    This post probably should’ve been titled “Our Favorite Anime of 2009″, but we decided to stick with the original naming scheme. “Best” is subjective after all. We did make sure to rename the last two picks from “Best of 2009″ to “Favorite of 2009″ though. In any case, I hope it doesn’t come off as us disregarding what our readers think, as I’m being sincere when asking for people’s picks.

    I’m not saying, “If you don’t like our choices, make your own”, so I hope that’s not how it was taken. I’m merely stating that “these are our choices, which we don’t expect everyone to agree with, so please feel free to point out what your favorites were. We’re not trying to pick out what we think most people will agree with. These are just the shows we enjoyed the most in each category.”

    Hope this clears things up.

  • January 6, 2010 at 3:30 amGungnir

    Good choice, good list, great format guys. Kudos. I agreed with most of your picks, Clannad AS being the best this year; at least imo. Truly one hell of a ride there. It’s no surprise Bakemono won reader’s choice, seeing as how 00 SS and AS finished airing for almost a year after Shaft’s awesome series.

    @Brooklyn wannabe, lol first you were hating and now you LOL at the haters? Nice use of caps there, bigshot turkey. Really, you’re just a common troll trying to ignite some pointless fire. Caught you with your pants dropping and your wang hanging. Now, play go nice. Too easy, bro, lay low on the grease, turd.

  • January 6, 2010 at 6:36 amWaaaAA13

    Clannad ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!

    yeah!!!!

  • January 6, 2010 at 9:31 amJulian

    Good list. Particularly happy that RideBack got animation (esp at the fact that it got mentioned at all).

    Very much agreed that Eden of the East takes story for 2009.

    Thanks for the work

  • January 6, 2010 at 12:42 pmacejem

    People who are posting that X series is overrated and Y series are underrated need to understand that overrated and underrated are subjective terms that differs from person to person, group to group, demography to demography. The following are my opinions only, and I do not consider my opinion to be better than anyone’s elses.

    For me personally, I thought 09′ was an average year. For me late 07′ to early-mid 08′ was the peak of anime. However, by the end of 09′, two masterpiece series came into mind, Clannad After Story and Bakemonogatari. Clannad AS was a pure emotional bomb that remains to be the only anime series that made me cry. Bakemonogatari had a fantastic cast of characters with superb dialogue. I understand that Bake has its haters due to its artstyle. Other people like it. Personally I am neutral to it, I can tolerate it but do not like/hate it. It did annoy me however, that the series was unfinished due to poor time management. It is classic Shinbo x SHAFT, started from Pani Poni Dash, developed further in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, perfected in ef ~ tale of memories, unfinished in Bakemonogatari. For those people who love Bakemonogatari’s artstyle, go see ef ~ tale of memories if you have not already, for me it was the pinnacle of SHAFT artwork and remains my favourite anime in the visual and soundtrack department.

    There is another great anime in 09′ which was overshadowed due to the more popular series such as Bakemonogatari, K-on, Higashi no Eden, Gundam 00 SS. This was Spice and Wolf II. This series is hardly mentioned despite the first season being reasonably and well respected. For me, it felt the same as the first season, and the relationship of Horo x Lawrence was only beaten by Bake’s characters. Perhaps, people forgot to watch this or perhaps I’m in the minority. Either way, personally I am disappointed in how underrated this show was.

    Another great anime that is not mentioned very often was Natsume Yuujinchou. I consider it the best paranormal/supernatural alongside Mushishi. Perhaps, not many people have given this a shot either.

    Other than that, for me it felt there was a whole above average series including Toradora, Higashi no Eden, Kara no Kyoukai, Maria Holic. These series were good, but not great. In the case of Toradora, Taiga was an annoying character, much like other Kugimiya Rie characters (Shana, Louise and Nagi). Higashi no Eden was left with a major cliffhanger due to the movies, Kara no Kyoukai last installment ended averagely and Maria Holic, although funny, had NO ending.

    Then comes the whole heap of average to bad animes including K-on, Hayate Combat Butler S2, Minami-ke Okaeri, Seitokai no Ichizon, To Aru Kakagu no Railgun, Princess Lover, Candy Boy, Nodame Cantabile S2 (Flop compared to S1), White Album etc.

    In summary 09′ produced 2 animes that I will always remember (Clannad AS, Bakemonogatari), few other gems that I really enjoyed (S&WII, Natsume) but a whole pile of average to poor stuff that I will likely forget.

  • January 6, 2010 at 4:09 pmLero

    DtB2 trolled me with the end and Tooru betrayal in ASura C2 left WTF!

  • January 6, 2010 at 8:00 pmWake!

    Bakemonogatari FTW!!……. oh wait.. they did win!! YAAAAAY!!

  • January 6, 2010 at 10:17 pmConfuzzledGirl29

    @acejem: Natsume Yuujinchou is great, though I think as you said that a lot of people probably haven’t watched it and if they do give it a try not everyone will think it’s awesome, since it’s kinda slow to be honest. I actually like the peaceful feeling it gives but at first I wasn’t so sure if it was anything for me. Well I had never heard of the series until I read about it here in Randomc and I wouldn’t have continued watching it if it wasn’t for the review I read about it here… so I don’t think it’s a series that fits everybody.

    I haven’t watched Spice & Wolf since I wasn’t so interested in seeing a nude girl all the time but I have been thinking about reading the light novel, yet again I get the feeling that it’s also not a show for everybody, though it might be something for me.

  • January 6, 2010 at 10:24 pmTyphonsentra

    I can’t believe anyone would pick something as hackneyed as Clannad for “Best Romance”. It’s almost as manipulative and sloppy as Crash.

  • January 7, 2010 at 1:05 ammadamebin

    great work!

    too bad the shows i like didnt make it anywhere near the top :(

  • January 7, 2010 at 12:53 pmHoHo

    Well, my no.1 for last year is definitely Bakemonogatari. If romance/drama means something to make you feel sad or depress then of course Clannad AS will win. But that is probably one of my main problem with Key. Somehow, I feel that the author is just trying too hard to make the story sad or touching by forcefully putting a dead flag on someone. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. It’s probably just a matter of taste. To me, Bakemonogatari is still top it. My reason is very simple. It’s because Bakemonogatari is the only series that can impress and move me with the relationship between characters without relying on tragedy elements. And that is why I always said to myself that Bakemonogatari is a truly breath of fresh air! If you have problem with TV animation then just watch BD. It’s a real top quality animation. Don’t forget to check Nadeko BD (ep.9 and unfinished TV ep.10) because SHAFT decide to re-animate Nadeko arc for BD which will be released at the end of this month.

    Hitagi and Shizuku are also my favorite female characters. But it’s no way that Shizuku is better than Hitagi. They both use an aggressive method but Hitagi use it in a much more unique and elegance style. That must be one of the best and also WTF confession ever. :-P

  • January 7, 2010 at 6:21 pmmlhradio

    Thanks for the list, and speaking as someone who does *not* participate in anime forums, or really pay close attention to the latest news and shows in anime, a “Best of…” list like this is quite helpful. I have largely not paid attention to shows over the past few years, and checking out lists such as this are very helpful to the casual anime fan such as myself, so I don’t have to dig through all the dross to get to the watchable stuff. (For example, looking through last year’s list, I decided to give Kannagi a try, and glad I did)

    Ya gotta realize that plenty of people who are not hardcore anime fans look to sites such as this for recommendations. For example, if I pop the term “Best Anime of 2008″ into google, the number *one* top result is this blog. Same for “Best Anime of 2007″. And when I am looking for reviews or information about various shows or specific episodes, the Random Curiosity Blog is often among the top results.

    Of course, a top-reviewed show here does not automatically mean I’ll give it a shot. (Never could stand *anything* Gundam, so I doubt I’ll ever watch it no matter how much Teh Luv. And Nyan Koi was truly, truly excrutiatingly awful.). But looking at this year’s recommendations, out of the shows I haven’t seen I’ll probably give Canaan a shot. And who knows what else.

  • January 7, 2010 at 6:48 pmSohKai

    Only 3 and 8 for Souten Kouro and Golgo respectively? And no article mention? Obviously, /some/ people need to watch the real shows.

  • January 7, 2010 at 10:06 pmSaviour

    Gundam 00 failed in many aspects. Setsuna becoming an innovator was cool at first until the whole bs with 00 creating particles that made everyone all nice and cuddly. Hallelujah appears barely ever and when they are complete, they get taken out by a two fangs which is beyond pathetic. Biggest joke of a character was Graham who, although extremely skilled in his own right, became one dimensional in his unwillingness to fight anyone besides Setsuna. Ribbons shows up as a pilot in the final episode and tries to be intimidating… HA, he was a joke. They let Ali Al Sarchez get killed off by Lockon easily, sorry but he was easily the best character in the show taking out any who challenged him then next you know, he’s Arche Gundam is busted after completely owning Cheridum. And 00 Raiser was made extremely ugly and unfairly powerful. Action scenes, A+. Overall, B-.

  • January 7, 2010 at 10:08 pmSaviour

    It was still my favourite of ’09 though. haha, anime needs more action series.

  • January 7, 2010 at 11:50 pmtheburntshadow

    Clannad After story really one of the best. There was only one anime that I’ve cried about before and that was in only one episode. But Clannad was truly touching. As for the biggest disappointment, hell yeah! I want to slap whoever made the endless eight! I wasted three and a half hours watching that thing…

  • January 9, 2010 at 12:10 pmFrito

    wow, no SHIN MAZINGER Z-HEN? i thought it was great. very cool story arcs and epic battle scenes with probably the most memorable cliffhanger scene since code geass.

  • January 14, 2010 at 4:37 amkohaku

    i think have to adress this.
    Toradora got srsly short-cutted
    I think it was because it showed last year so most of it was pretty much forgotten. But still. All those awesome moments when the arc ends. I think it really does deserve more recognition than it did.

  • January 20, 2010 at 8:16 pmkaya

    eve no jikan

  • January 26, 2010 at 2:39 amKazehaya

    God…I agree with what you wrote concerning Haruhi >_> They ALMOST ruined the show! I LOVED the first season, i watched it like 5 times already, but I just cant get over why they made those episodes that way!

    (oh and why didn’t toradora win anything D<)

  • January 26, 2010 at 5:11 amtSukiSakuRa

    What happened to Toradora?

  • February 10, 2010 at 5:09 pmhmm…

    *gasp*
    did no one watch 07-ghost or something??
    im surprised no one mentioned it even

    i was hoping the reviewers were going to say something about it since i saw it on the picture at the top but was disappointed when it did not ven come up.

    and i watch clannad~after story~ and i never thought it was any good….no way was it the best anime of 09!!!

  • February 11, 2010 at 4:02 amtigrex

    WOLF AND SPICE II is the best of 2009…
    Horo dominates all anime characters!

  • March 2, 2010 at 11:35 pmJustin2010

    hey, just a question ? whats the anime’s name under the dark butler,between rideback and toradora in the best anime 2009 pic.

  • March 10, 2010 at 10:40 pmRowie1311

    I agree with the Haruhi Suzumiya, I was very disapointed although there were some really good bits in it :3

  • March 13, 2010 at 9:48 pmSerebii

    Outstanding!

  • April 9, 2010 at 8:58 pmachluo

    Rather than lurking around the blog without knowing what to do, I found this, and the presented animes were pretty great, actually! They said the reasons; I need not to speak anymore. :)

  • April 9, 2010 at 9:54 pmL182

    Umm,when did code geass r2 come out?

  • April 25, 2010 at 6:35 amMelvin&Haruhi4life

    Even thou that the Endless Eight episodes were dispointing i still love Haruhi Suzumiya series. Season has 14 episodes, 8 of it were really disspointing, its not bcoz the story plot is bad, its bcoz the whole 8 episodes are all the same. well, atleast 6 episodes of season 2 were really great

    BTW, i’m still waiting for the movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
    its gonna be EPIC lol
    :D

  • July 8, 2010 at 4:45 pmCynthia

    Though I haven’t seen many Gundam series, I still consider myself a Gundam fan as I have interest in seeing all of them someday. However, while I loved Gundam Wing, Gundam Seed (Destiny far less so though, as I consider it more of a parody in most aspects, especially where Athrun and Cagalli are concerned) and Gundam X from the minute I first started watching them, I have not only disliked Gundam 00 from the beginning but have also been incredibly disappointed by it for 13 more episodes. Stereotypes abounded, most characters came off as weak, whiny, stupid or just plain boring (especially that dumb blonde girl), and most of the looks of both male and female characters did not appeal to me in the least.

    Our local anime club (Concordia Otaku, which you might know, as they host Quebec’s only anime convention) showed 14 episodes before the current semester at the time had ended. It had been licensed by the next semester. By now I remember little of the series except for the moments that had me rolling my eyes. The only thing I can truly say this series had going for it was its songs and opening and ending credits. Even so, because of the fact that I could not get interested in its animation style, which to me was too ordinarily modern and unoriginal, the songs were more interesting than the images they accompanied. I admit that to me, Gundam is supposed to look old-fashioned. It wears its age well, at least up until Gundam 00 and Gundam Unicorn. I felt that both series looked wrong somehow, but at least Gundam Unicorn had a plot I found decent.

    Regarding Haruhi, I never could either understand nor find any real amusement in the series. The exaggerated characters, to me, were more a source of ridicule than actually fun humor.

    Clannad, I admit I really liked it. Plot, characters, music, animation, presentation, all of it was singularly likable, and this is coming from someone who does not enjoy most shoujo shows (with notable exceptions such as Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres and the manga-only Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden). At least, I liked the TV series but never kept up with the rest of it. There were other series I was watching at the time. Even character types I normally would have hated (such as most of the girls aside from Nagisa) actually became tolerable and almost likable because of good presentation.

    As for series like Bakemonogatari and Rideback, both seemed like they had promise, but after the first two episodes, I knew that neither was for me. The plot ended up not being as captivating as I thought, and the animation style less pretty than I had expected. At least as far as the characters themselves are concerned, for Rideback.

    Pandora Hearts and Sengoku Basara I’d both like to see in full someday, as well as 07-Ghost. I’ve seen both Tower of Druaga series so far (alternate version of episode 1 of the Aegis of Uruk series included) and the entire TV series of Eden of the East, and I’m eager to watch the Eden of the East movies. As for Druaga, as far as fantasy series go, I found it rather brilliant. If the plot ever seemed like it would drag a bit, the characters and presentation kept me captivated. None of the characters are truly easy to dislike, and that, to me, makes it a pretty good series. I still look back fondly on Record of Lodoss War OAV, which has an admittedly different presentation, but I find that I enjoy both series equally. Excepting the TV series, which I hear is absolutely awful (looks it too), I would love it if there were more of Record of Lodoss War.

  • September 22, 2010 at 10:34 pmShred

    Gah…so late to comment, but I’m compelled to do so after reading the picks for best anime song of 2009. Granted JMO, but “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” (Bakemonogatari ED) is the best anime OP or ED I’ve heard…ever. I’m a guitarist (hence the nick) and the vast majority of music I listen to is guitar based. Rarely is there a keyboard or piano in found in the music to which I routinely listen, but I was amazed at this song from the opening line. Vocals, overall flow, changes in rhythm/timing, crescendos matching the emotional peaks of the lyrics, and overall instrument balance are all simply outstanding. I’ve listened to it at least a hundred times and it’s still one of my favorite songs.

    I also thought both the first OP (Staple Stable) and the ED sequences were very well done and worthy of mention. Bakemonogatari was/is my pick for top anime of 2009 though I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite anime – maybe not even top 5. So, I can understand if others disagree with that choice, but I’m stunned by the fact that there wasn’t even slightest mention of Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari in your review.

  • September 24, 2010 at 12:23 pmDaydreamer

    Did toradora get anything? :3 i really like the anime xD

    • November 20, 2010 at 1:50 pmKelfistan

      No damn it!
      It got smushed with Gundam and Clannad! I feel that it could have been number 1 in the readers choice it it was not for those two

  • December 8, 2010 at 4:07 amPiroca de Fantasma é Geladinha

    I thought Gundam 00 2nd Season to be so bad that I dropped the series after episode 10.

  • March 1, 2011 at 7:36 amsaeki

    Didnt code geass R2 come out 09?

    Total fail that its not on this list lol. Its definitely a number 1 anime.

    2009 was a bad year for anime imo. There weren’t that many series that i thought amazing other than CG R2…

    I only made it to episode 9 of Eden, found it a bit dull. I stopped after episode 1 for pandora hearts but i’ll give it another go since you’ve said it picks up.
    Kuroshitsuji? 07-Ghost? No mentions for them? :(
    Loved Gundam & Toradora (though i thought the ending a bit :/). Bakemonogatari was really strange but it kept me watching throughout so it must’ve had something lol.

    Agree with the Haruhi reviews, S2 was pretty bad with the endless 8 eps and just in general i don’t think it did much storywise. The movie made up for it though.

    Other than the missing animes that should’ve made this list, i agree with the rest. :)

    • March 24, 2011 at 7:32 amelijah

      Code Geass R2 finished it’s run in 2008. Wouldn’t hurt to do a quick check before criticizing this list,right?

  • « Older Comments