With the end of 2006 almost upon us, here’s a look back at some of the best series this year had to offer. Also included at the end are the final results to the Reader’s Choice Poll.

Disclaimer: These are purely my personal opinion based on the shows that I saw in the past year. For a show to qualify for consideration, it had to have met the requirements I outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. There is also a big spoiler for those of you who haven’t seen Canvas2 and still plan to do so, but hopefully that’s not many people.

There definitely wasn’t a dearth of action shows this year, and there were several I had in mind when I started thinking about the best one. At first instinct, I chose ZEGAPAIN, but I realized I couldn’t justify that choice. Instead, the more I thought about it, the more it became clear that Blood+ was the best action series. Whether it was human against vampire or vampire against vampire, Saya and company’s globetrotting journey allowed us to see tons of sword fights, gun battles, and yes, plenty of blood.
Honorable Mentions: ZEGAPAIN, Fate/stay night, Shakugan no Shana
Best Romance/Drama was a lot harder of a decision than I originally thought. H&C II was the early favorite because of how it concluded the stories of all the characters we know and love, but then Kanon made a strong push with its recent episodes. Perhaps given more time, Kanon could have pulled ahead, but for the year 2006, I went with Honey and Clover II. Whether it was Kaoru seeing his father favor his brother or Hagu wanting to open all the boxes in her mind or the panic Takemoto felt when he learned of what happened to Hagu, the complex relationships of this show presented such genuine emotions and moments that this deserves to be called the best romance/drama of the year.
Honorable Mentions: Kanon, NANA
This was a pretty easy decision to make. Plenty of shows have funny or light-hearted episodes, but few shows are straight comedy. And even fewer succeed at creating constant laughs while still maintaining some sort of plot. And so, I can confidently say that Ouran High School Host Club was the funniest series for me this year. What surprised me even more was how much the series managed to make me laugh even though I knew some of the jokes that were coming because I’d read the manga. For me, that’s a rare thing because it means that the delivery of the jokes was simple that good (it is also the reason School Rumble is only getting an honorable mention).
Honorable Mention: School Rumble Ni Gakki
Alright, I admit that I created this category just so that I could talk about Strawberry Panic again (and no, there’s not going to be a yaoi category). Yuri may not be for everyone, but this year had quite a selection of it. Strawberry Panic stuck out because of its characters and how it pushed the envelope with how far yuri could go with scenes like this and this. And while the series wasn’t without its flaws (it was slow to get started), the end left me wanting to see more.
Honorable Mentions: Simoun, Kashimashi
I consider surprise hits to be series I wouldn’t have thought to be popular at first glance. Suzumiya Haruhi wasn’t even on my radar heading into the Spring 2006 season due largely to the fact that I hadn’t been able to dig up much information on it since the website was rather lacking at the time. I might not have even watched it if my friend moyism hadn’t asked me about it. Yet this series exploded in popularity almost overnight after a first episode that I thought to be genius, and it is now considered by many to be the show for the year 2006. You could also contend that this popularity helped put Hirano Aya on the map for many anime fans, as it did for me. With all of the attention Suzumiya Haruhi got (and is still getting), there’s not a doubt in my mind that it was the surprise hit of the year.
Honorable Mention: Strawberry Panic
There were plenty of WTF moments this year, but the one that raised the bar was the finale of Canvas2. We were led to believe for the vast majority of the series that Hiroki would end up with childhood friend Kiri, but everything was turned completely upside down when he chose Elis instead in the final episode. It is because of this shock that the legacy of Canvas2 (at least to me) will be for the series to be forever cited as an example of a last-minute shocking reversal.
Honorable Mention: What Diva did to Riku in Episode 32 of Blood+
This was a tough choice to make because I really liked Kyoto Animation’s work on Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, but I also thought very highly of BONES with Ouran High School Host Club. Suzumiya Haruhi, however, won out because of how the animation quality made several of the episodes truly memorable – Yuki vs. Ryoko or the space battle for example. As a result, Kyoto Animation remains my favorite studio.
Honorable Mention: Ouran High School Host Club
There really is no contest in this category. If you’ve watched Blood+ and you’ve heard the soundtrack, then you know how amazing it is. Hans Zimmer and Mark Mancina crafted it to the quality of something you’d hear from a movie, and it gave Blood+ an incredibly epic feel.
Honorable Mention: Ouran High School Host Club Soundtrack
With all the songs in any given year, you’d think that choosing just one would be a really hard decision. This year, however, it really wasn’t. In writing this up, I originally had separate categories for opening and ending songs, but then I realized that there wasn’t a single opening song that I had really liked. Generally, I choose my favorite(s) for the year based on how much the music stays with me over time. It may be that one particular song is really catchy at first and I’ll be listening to it over and over for a week, but I only consider it really good if that remains true months or years later. For me, the third ending song to Blood+, Angela Aki’s This Love, did just that and is thus my overall favorite song of the year. I still find myself listening to this (as I’m writing these words in fact), and it reminds me a lot of the heyday of watching Blood+.
Honorable Mentions: Suneohair – Split (Honey and Clover II ED)

And finally…

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and every time I do, my mind keeps coming back to Mai-Otome. Certainly there were tons of good shows this year, and it’s easy to forget something that aired so many months ago, but I can still remember how much I anticipated watching each episode of Mai-Otome every week while it was airing. It’s much the same feeling I get from CODE GEASS right now. In fact, if this past year has taught me anything, it’s that I’ve got a huge preference for the team at Sunrise that worked on both these shows. They are so good at managing large casts of characters (Otome had all of HiME’s characters plus a flock of new ones) and keeping you addicted to the series with each week’s plot twists. As entertaining as Suzumiya Haruhi and Ouran High School Host Club were, they just didn’t have that same effect.
Honorable Mentions: Suzumiya Haruhi, Ouran High School Host Club, Blood+
Given how extremely popular it was, I wasn’t really surprised that Suzumiya Haruhi became the Reader’s Choice for Favorite Anime of 2006. The general results were about what I had thought they’d be, though certain series proved to be more popular than expected (Mushishi and Shakugan no Shana for example). Here are the top 5 vote getters:
1. Suzumiya Haruhi: 712 Votes – 25.55%
2. Ouran High School Host Club: 415 Votes – 14.89%
3. Fate/stay night: 167 Votes – 5.99%
4. Blood+: 139 Votes – 4.99%
5. Honey and Clover II: 116 Votes – 4.16%
Total: 2787 Votes
See the Full List of Reader’s Choice Voting Results

2006 has been another great year with a ton of anime to choose from. My only regret is that I didn’t have time to watch more series since there were so many good ones. And if the current crop that is continuing into the new year is any indicator, then 2007 will be just as good, if not better.
Oh, and Merry Christmas 🙂


  1. It’s been a good year! Well, year’s not quite over yet, but it’s close enough 😀 Thanks so much for all of the postings you’ve done throughout this time, I’ve really enjoyed it. And Blood+ and Ouran High School definitely had excellent music to accompany the show. 😀 yay

  2. I cant see how haruhi and Mai Otome gets top awards.

    Haruhi made 0 sense whatsoever and Mai Otome had another horrible ending with everyone being happy eventhough the actual anime wasnt bad… the ending made it bad. I mean how did that maid survive falling off a effing cliff.

  3. Yup. I expected Haruhi to get high awards for the 2006 year; after all, the great popularity boom (an unexplainable explosion of data? xD) that followed after getting absolutely zero hype beforehand was a sign that this was going to be one of the greater anime of its season/year. I’m personally very happy with this; if anything else got the award for most popular, I think I would die from the shock. -waves a Haruhiist flag-


    Well, on the surface, Haruhi is a very amusing and over the top kind of anime–something that was totally unexpected by the community, something they haven’t seen before . That alone brought it points. But the story, although a bit confusing, does make sense. The episode skips might have put off some but I, myself, thought it was a great move to show the development of characters and keep the viewers interested. On that note, a lot of people come back for the memorable characters (like Kyon, with his sarcastic and snarky narration, and Haruhi in particular, who a lot seem to enjoy her wild but subtly complex personality)

    But, one of the good things about Haruhi is that it can be taken either seriously or nonseriously. Even if it doesn’t make sense, you can still enjoy it ^^

    Oh, yes. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  4. Mai Otome? are you kidding me XD this must be one of the worst animes I’ve ever seen oO The plot could have been good, but the way they executed it was simply ridiculous – I felt like the producers were making fun of me (one episode ends in a cliffhanger with a battle beginning – next episode the battle takes maybe 1 minute or doesn’t happen at all XD ).
    Sunrise managed to handle a large cast in Mai Hime – but in Mai Otome they definitely didn’t, the focus was only on a few main characters.
    Thanks to Mai Otome I’ve come to expect nothing from Sunrise – therefore I probably like their new series now XD
    The best thing about Mai Otome were the parodies of each episode over at “anime on my mind”, seriously.

    Well, apart from that I actually like most of the series you mentioned, so can’t complain there … that makes it even weirder for you to consider Mai Otome a good show =P

  5. I actually commend you choosing Mai Otome, Omni. Very gutsy considering a lot of criticisms (mostly undue as I see it) it gets.

    Yes, its animation quality was suspect, the plot had a lot of deus ex moments, Arika can be annoying beyond help at times, and some of the romantic arcs seems a bit too conveniently placed.

    But it definitely had a great cast of characters, a soap-opera style “what’s going to happen next?” aspect, and it definitely is the darkhorse choice.

    Yes, objectively, Melancholy of Haruhi could be seen as the best, but it’s sorta boring talking about a show that has nearly every aspect right and is by far the popular choice. We get it. The Mai Otome criticisms are borderline unreadable at times since we heard it too many fucking times.

  6. Haruhi as readers choice was really a sure win lol.

    Actually I somehow agree with Mai Otome being one of the better ones (if not the best). I dunno about the rest but for me its one of the more memorable one. Maybe its because how thing goes, how fast they change and the many whats going to happen situation. It has some of the biggest cast while still not spread till the extreme on each of them. Personally its one of the few anime I actually remember the storyline.

    Anyway great post and I always enjoy reading this blog lol.

  7. Hmmm, what a surprise for you(Omni) to choose Mai-Otome as your best anime in 2006 or maybe i’m just not satisfied in this series compared to Mai-Hime. Oh well it is your choice. Hmm I wonder if it’s really that good , maybe i should watch it back again.

  8. well, i think there will be a long list coming up, after Mai-otome took away “RC 2007 BEST”…
    come to think of it, i would prefer it to be “Mai-Otome + OVA”… ep 1 of the OVA is nicely done, but it will fall in 2007 selection(ep1/4)…
    by the way, where is ZERO no tsukaima? i’m expecting it to go in, since it will be having a 2nd season…

  9. MERRY CHRISTMAS PPO! here in hawaii it’s been christmas for 36 min so far ^_^ ok! back to the topic this year has had many good animes SO I CANT WAIT FOR THE NEXT YEAR ANIME TO COME OUT 😀

  10. When the series ended in june, i know that Suzumiya Haruhi would grab the title “Anime of Year”.But some other series should had some credit here are:

    Gintama – This year culture-reference anime (Take just a look on one episode and everyone will understand.)

    Negima!? – The omake of the year

    Chevalier D éon – The best historical anime of the year (The setting is in 18th-century France and other european countries.Details of everything is gorgeous.)

    Black Lagoon season 1&2 – The action-anime of the year (Revy has a gun and she know how to use it real good XD)

    This sums up everything. But i think that also Best Soundtrack would had been “Welcome to the NHK”. The composer, Pearl Kyoudai mixes jazz, grunge rock and some other music-elements when Satou makes his journey to become non-hikkimori.

    Merry Christmas! ^^

  11. The only one i kinda disagree with is Mai-Otome… I didnt really find it THAT great, well only if they cut out half of the episodes that didnt really do anything.
    But anyway, each has his/her own tastes 🙂
    And thanks omni for blogging about new shows, im really thankfull 😉

  12. Mai Otome rulzzzzz! Best show ever!!! I agree 200% with your choice Omni! ^-^
    When it’s about my most favourite song, it’s the ED of Asatte no Houkou: Sweet Home Song by Yumao.
    Comedy choice is also the same. Ouran was pure fun too watch, and even when there were a few more serious episodes, I sometimes laughed so hard that my mother came up to my room to ask if everything is fine LOL.

    And Suzumiya Haruhi. Well, I liked the show because of it’s good style and the intelligent story.

    Ahh, and I a big thank you @ Omni that you still mentioned Simoun. I loved this anime, it has excellent music and a very good story. I was very disappointed when you decided not to blog it, but at least you gave it a place in the Best Yuri choice, yay!!!

  13. Nice choices.

    I agree with Haruhi being an unexpected surprise. It truely was a great series for me because of the high quality animation, voice acting, story and script writing. The scrambled up episode numbering didn’t do anything for me. I wonder if the 2nd season is going to be another 12 episodes or 24. So far the pacing of Kanon 2006 indicates Kyoto Animation can make good 24 episode series.

    Mai Otome was a solid sequel that did something different from the 1st series. Still wish it balanced the pacing of the drama and comedy better though. Seemed so rush at the end to pack it all in that it makes you wonder if something better could have been done with the middle episodes. Ah well. It does setup the OVAs better (assuming the OVAs turn out to be good — which makes me wonder if it should have been season 3 instead).

    Interesting genres. Wonder if there should be a harem category…

  14. As much as I’m disstisified with some of the awards (example: I prefer Fate’s action to Blood+’s). I really like how their done, so good job. I’ve actually never heard of Canvas2 and I’ve only heard a bit about Mai-Otome….maybe I should chekc those out.

    Suzumiya Haruhi got the awards it deserved (I’m not the biggest fan of it, but I like it).
    It does have incredible animation.

    Strawberry Panic! got the yuri award which is pretty much perfect. How do make those great images from shots from the anime.


  16. Merry Christmas Omni

    actually I’m pretty much agrees on ur option(though I still haven’t watch the series,I did listen to the tracks already and it was marvelous), but the for best animation part, I think Haruhi’s concert part was the best. Never had I see Live Performance before in an anime, I even plug it into my amplifier and watch it for the second time lol

  17. Haruhi > Rozen Maiden >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Otome >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you.

  18. There’s an old smokey robinson lyric from a good song that goes “a taste of honey’s worse then none at all”. That’s pretty much what I thought of otome. The animation and sound are extremely well done, the standard for sunrise. But the story went nowhere for about 13 eps, and it ended terribly. There was way too much time with nothing happening and then the ending was terrible imo. The characters were for the most part bland imo and just not really interesting. The OVA should salvage the wreck (I haven’t seen any of it, nor have a strong desire to do so) but otome just felt like one of those bad movie sequels where you leave the theatre pretending you never saw it just so you could maintain the dignity and respect you had of the original movie(s). Only I didn’t have to waste 10 bucks on Otome.

    I don’t really agree with your other assessments either. Blood+ was ok but for action anime of the year it’s gotta be either Black Lagoon or Ergo Proxy. I’d agree with romance/drama and comedy as well. Blood+ did indeed have a mighty good soundtrack. As for biggest shock of the year, I would definitely go with Higurashi. I didn’t know much about the series so I thought I was settling into a 13 ep series with some good potential. I gotta tell you ep 4, was definitely the biggest wtf moment for me. Innocent Venus was a terrible series but I liked the plot swerve because honestly it was so friggin obvious I dismissed it as being way too obvious and was caught off guard. Biggest surpise anime for me were xxxHolic and REC. One for being a letdown after a really great start and the other for being the most pleasant surprising enjoyable series of the year and most likely of all time. REC has my vote as the greatest 100 minutes I’ve ever spent watching anime, and the most enjoyment per minute ratio of any anime I have watched.

    Anime of the year is a tough one but I think School Rumble was definitely the best anime of the year for me, but theres a bunch of other ones you can argue (otome NOT being one of them). Eureka 7 for anime that finished in 06 but started before it (like you did with that otome pick).

  19. Seriously speaking, i COMPLETELY agree with most of your choices, omni (merry christmas everyone btw ^^).

    And I completely understand with this anxious waiting feeling of “what will happen next” after watching an episode of mai otome. Like with Code Geass (which you also mentioned), Sunrise has a very good knack of making you sit and wait, wanting for more!!!

  20. I agree with most of your choices, I’m not one for a big upset they way that your picking Otome as the best of ‘o6 seems to be doing. Personally, I can vouch for it and say that it’s the ONLY anime of this year that I actually managed to get through.

    I know that the plot was suspect and not well put together, but the way that the writers managed to use a lot of information from HiME to carry over and make sense of the plot holes the size of Texas was really quite spectacular.

    Ouran was a good choice for best Comedy, I would have put it down for best overall as well, but then there would have been no category for Otome to go into. I think the thing with Otome is that so many people simply refused to watch it all the way through. I live in an Anime suite at school and you’d be shocked at how many people were turned off by the large cast and difficult (at times) to follow plot. I think there was one other person who just GOT it as much as I did myself, for that, and the nomination, I commend you.

    Your choices are sound, but I have to say, the Otome OST is one of the best this year, and Simoun’s is also pretty good.

  21. I’m somewhat surprised with your choice for the best song, especially given how it wasn’t a hard decision for you. Heck, HareHareYukai has been on my MP3 player ever since the singles came out (along with Season’s Call). 😛

    Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone. 🙂

  22. ARIKA ROCKS! Kampai to Arinko-chan and other Mai-Otome cast.

    The reason My-Otome topped is because of, for me, the story line and it being a spin-off of 04’s My-Hime.
    ~All together now…~ *starts to sing “Crystal Energy”*
    And being the yuri of the year, congrats to those who vote StrbryPnic, I think it IS the only yuri of the year… That made it’s mark…
    So MerryChristmas to those who live in BlackValley and to Omni and more power this coming ’07…

  23. -Best Anime: Blood +
    I don’t liked it how Diva was defeat by Saya, oh well nobody is perfect.
    -Best Drama/Romance: Honey & Clover II
    I have nothing to add…
    -Best Comedy: Ouran High School Host Club
    You’re right, Ouran was the only show that can flow with the plot and give at the same time too many laughing moments. What to say about it end, just perfect.
    -Best Yuri: Strawberry Panic!
    Thanks you for bring this out. They deserve it, it a shame, Simoun was a good show too, especially the argument, but I guess lack consistence and charm. I love shoujo ai; and I love Nagisa x Shizuma.
    -Surprise Hit: Suzumiya Haruhi
    Haruhi-sama is all I need to know about life.
    -Biggest shock: Canvas 2 Finale
    Hell yeah!! I’ll remember that day for all my life. I was so depressed about the crappy way of how Canvas 2 was developed, since every character on the anime was routing for Kiri, damn her. She had her choice and was rejected. I was the first one to blog on that post nine moths ago, did you remember Onmi? Good times, very good times.
    -Best Animation: Suzumiya Haruhi
    Damn right! KyoAni deserves to be called the masterminds of animation. The Second Raid was just a prelude to Haruhi-sama and then Kanon. Men, we need more anime studios like KyoAni.
    -Best Soundtrack: Blood +
    I like it too, but a few other ones stole my attention, especially Fate/Stay Night OST.
    -Best Song: This Love
    Is hard for me to say it, because this year I listen too many, I mean, like 150 OP/ED Singles. My head keeps spinning from time to time.

    Syaoran Li
  24. i was kinda suprise that zero no tsukaima didn’t get anything cus it was one of my favorites this year.

    i wasn’t suprise to c haruhi on the top cus lots of ppl luv the series eventhough the episodes was mixed uppurposely to get more attention from the audience.CANVAS2 was a bit disappointing cus of the ending like wtf u ****ing sleep with ur blood cousin that’s like promoting jap anime porn. the mai franchiseis getting more better every time they make a series out of it,but u get tired after a while especially watching some yuri anime titles
    shizuru x natsuki is nothing compared to them.

  25. Well, I’m guessing some of the big hits so far will fall under 2007, so I can definitely say that it’s off to a good start, with the Kanon remake and Negima bringing in the new year.

    Here’s to hoping for another Haruhi season! ((And knowing how they think, I’m going to guess it’ll be season 3 or something.)) Explanations are still needed for the scissors, the talking cat, Itsuki’s esper powers in Miracle Mikuru, and THE MOLE!

    8U And H&CII eff tee double-yew…

  26. Love what you(Omni) pick here. I remember the time of thrilling to find out what’s going to happen next in Mai-Otome every week (start form ep 16 to the end). It’s something I get with the One Piece & Code GEASS right now. No surprise for Suzumiya Haruhi to win Reader Choice award here, absolutely deserved for “The Anime that take the whole anime feeling to another step!!”

  27. SUZUMIYA Rulez I knew they would make it in Animation Surprise Hit and Reader’s Choice but I excpected it to be Best Anime 2006 Best Comedy and Best Soundtrack(God Knows rocked)well u cant have everything 25.55 votes waaaaa!!! that 1/4 of all the voter’s it surprised me If only they had a 2nd season,OVA or even a MOVIE!!!Are sure to become an Oscar nominne for best Animated MOvie for those who are responsible for Suzumiya Haruhi THANKS A LOT u changed my life!!!If you make a 2nd Season I’ll run right to you and kneel before you!!!PLSSS 2nd SEASON or SOMETHING!!!

  28. Suzumiya Haruhi sure was best one. Even a way better than Negima and mahou sensei negima =)
    Well my anime history started like 2months ago with Bleach too 😛 . I hope that there is going to be Suzumiya Haruhi 2nd season, it was so damn short :’/

  29. I have not seen Canvas…but gotta say… H&C II had a pretty big “shock” too. And it was extremely touching to see how they dealt with that. I gotta lay my hands on some of these though geez. Can’t believe I haven’t seen Mai-Otome, I should get on that ^^

  30. I haven’t watched a majority of these shows, but I agree with the choices made on Blood+. That was an awesome show with its soundtrack (as well as its opening/ending songs), storyline, and action.

    Suzumiya Haruhi for Reader’s Choice was no surprise, seeing as how it’s ridiculously popular; maybe I’ll check Mai-Otome and the shows before it someday.

  31. Thanks for the pointer on the Blood+ OST. Just got the CD and it sounds great! Some of the best music I’ve heard since Mai-Otome’s OST (I & II). In some respects this is even better music, since a number of the Mai-Otome songs are more jingles than true songs whereas the Blood+ all are nice complex songs through and through.

    Thanks again Omni!

  32. I was just looking back on this and im actually surprised at mai otome. This storyline was awesome but how many they the poorly devolped battle scenes ( or 1min clips) of them were really lacking. If they had put more effort and time into the battle scenes it would been at top of the readers choice poll but i think a lot of readers remember watching those episodes expecting a lot more, as for Suzumiya Haruhi it was absolutly amazing and is my favorite anime to date glad it won


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