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The Best of Anime 2007

With the end of 2007 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. You could argue that I’m ignoring some of the less popular but equally good shows like Seirei no Moribito or BACCANO!, but I unfortunately don’t have the time to watch everything and can only talk about what I’ve seen. For a show to even qualify for consideration, it had to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. That means that series like CLANNAD, Shakugan no Shana II, and Gundam 00 are not up for awards this year – they’ll be saved for 2008. There is also a big spoiler in here for those of you who haven’t seen School Days and still plan to do so, but hopefully that’s not too many people.

In terms of just action alone, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Gurren Lagann was the best this year. There were parts in the first half of the series just felt like one continuous exciting battle, and as the series went on, the scope just kept getting bigger and bigger, up to the point where they were fighting for the entire universe. I think that qualifies this series as being quite epic. I was also constantly impressed by how well choreographed the action sequences were, and this series had the animation quality to back it up.
Honorable Mentions: Darker than BLACK

Unlike last year, when Ouran was a clear favorite, this year had a ton of good comedy-oriented shows. This decision was made even harder by the fact that Jaalin is the resident comedy expert here, and since he’s gone missing, I had to do a lot of catching up. I ended up not finding SZS nearly as funny as some of my friends had made it out to be, and I’d say the same for Minami-ke (plus I was already familiar with parts of Minami-ke’s story from having read the manga). That brought me back to Lucky Star, which was the one comedy series I had actually watched as it was airing. Jaalin’s written extensively in the past about what makes Lucky Star so good, and I don’t have much to add to it other than the fact that I loved the Anisawa Meito scenes and all of Shiraishi Minoru’s EDs.

Honorable Mentions: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Minami-ke

I almost gave this to Romeo X Juliet, but after thinking about it, I couldn’t justify saying that it was the best because despite a good beginning and end, RXJ was pretty average overall. Kanon (and most likely Clannad for next year’s list), on the other hand, was a beautiful series that consistently tugged at my emotional strings, whether it was the sadness in the Makoto arc or the happy ending. And though I don’t treat this as a comedy series, Yuuichi’s sarcastic manner was a great source of humor and a reason why I liked his character so much as the main protagonist.
Honorable Mentions: Romeo X Juliet, ef – a tale of memories

School Days definitely wasn’t the best series of the year, but it did deliver what I felt was the biggest shock with the way it ended. I think a lot of us who were watching the show suspected that there was potential for a bad ending based on what we knew about the game, but for them to actually animate one – and in such a graphic way – was quite shocking to say the least. Even after the now infamous delay, I wasn’t fully prepared for Kotonoha to cut off Makoto’s head or to cut open Sekai.

Honorable Mentions: Gurren Lagann Episode 08, CODE GEASS Episode 22

Surprise Hit is an admittedly very subjective category based on my own expectations before a series starts and how that series turns out. As I’ve mentioned before, I originally approached Gurren Lagann with some skepticism due largely to the Sunday morning time-slot it was given. And boy was I blown away, as were apparently many others. Gurren Lagann ended up raising the bar for its genre, and for a lot of folks, it became the best series this year.

Honorable Mentions: School Days

It’s kind of unfair for me to give this to a feature film since weekly series tend to have to have to stretch their budgets to cover more ground, but Byousoku 5 Centimeter was so beautiful that I had to choose it. This was as close to technical perfection as you can come, from the way sunlight fell through windows to the use of all the gorgeous and detailed backgrounds to the way the sakura petals and snowflakes floated towards the ground. Simply a masterpiece.
Honorable Mentions: Darker than BLACK, Kanon, Gurren Lagann

I was very tempted to choose Manabi Straight for this because I think it’s a show with a good soundtrack that deserves more recognition. However, for me, a truly great soundtrack can make a good scene into a great one, and Iwasaki Taku‘s score here did just that. One of the examples of this is “Libera me” from hell. I initially didn’t like its unorthodox combination of opera and rap, but it’s now my favorite song of the soundtrack, and it was the driving force behind what made the dream sequence of episode 26 so incredible. “raw! raw! fight the power!”
Honorable Mentions: Manabi Straight

I honestly haven’t been listening to many anime-related songs in recent months because I’ve felt that openings and endings this year haven’t been quite as good or memorable as in years past, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any. I chose Inori ~You Raise Me Up because it’s a beautiful ballad, and Lena Park has such a powerful voice. It’s technically a cover of a popular song, but it’s a big part of what made me like the first episode of Romeo X Juliet so much.
Here’s a YouTube link if you haven’t heard the song yet.

Honorable Mentions: SunSet Swish – Mosaic Kakera, Rie fu – Tsukiakari

And finally…

Although Gurren Lagann wins out in the pure action category, I felt CODE GEASS was more deserving to be called the Best in 2007 because it was a much more complete package with its storytelling and character development. Now, I’m not going to bash Gurren Lagann because I still think it’s a ton of fun to watch and a fantastic show – I just felt GEASS was better overall. And that’s not to say that GEASS is without flaws (some would argue that it relies too much on coincidences), but the show has so much to offer with all of its political intrigue, plot twists, and its large cast of characters. At the same time, it doesn’t get overly complicated or convoluted as I felt some others shows did, and like most Sunrise series, CODE GEASS an original story – that counts for a lot in my book in a time when it feels like practically everything is adapted from a game or manga. It’s been a long time since a show got me so excited from week to week and stayed that way for the entire series.
Honorable Mentions: Gurren Lagann

The Top 5:
CODE GEASS – 986 votes (22%)
Gurren Lagann – 768 votes (17%)
Lucky Star – 332 votes (7%)
DEATH NOTE – 274 votes (6%)
Kanon – 232 votes (5%)
Total Number of Votes – 4470
Here are the full results.
I had suspected that CODE GEASS and Gurren Lagann would be the top two vote getters, but I didn’t know which would come out on top. As it turns out, GEASS grabbed the lead early on during voting and never let go of it. DEATH NOTE also performed a lot better than I thought it would, but I’m admittedly a little bias against the show because I read the manga first, and the anime largely followed the manga. In any case, this was a very successful poll, with almost twice as many people voting as last year, and I’m considering allowing people to vote for multiple series for next year’s.

And so, as 2007 comes to a close, I can say for sure that it’s been another exciting year for anime. Truthfully though, I’m already looking forward to 2008 (the Winter Preview will be coming in the next few days). If Macross F’s first episode is any indicator, and with the CODE GEASS and Haruhi sequels coming, it should be another great year.

December 28, 2007 at 5:01 am
  • January 17, 2010 at 4:10 amANIME

    lol.. i watched gurren lagan.. i cant help but to puke… code geass is the best… * holes..

  • September 22, 2010 at 3:25 pmdxb_blackwolf

    That picture of lelouch is just epic. I loved that moment in the anime. Code geass is one of my favorite animes (but not the best), if there was only a category for the ‘best anime moment’ I would definitly give it to code geass.

  • September 24, 2010 at 12:27 pmDaydreamer

    I agree about the school days. I too never thought it would end like that, since i haven’t played the game yet. The ending was tragic.

  • February 17, 2011 at 4:52 amTan-Tan

    Shounen Onmyouji is the best anime you’re probably not watching >_> it ran 2006-2007. WATCH IT.

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