Random Curiosity

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

The Best of Anime 2009


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.

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

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.

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~

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.

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

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…

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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 4, 2010 at 2:04 pmMH

    Thank you!!
    First

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:10 pmDdadain

    :D

    The list is about the same as mine ;)

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:10 pmKaminakun

    Sangou Shizuku >> Senjougahara Hitagi

    That I agree.

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:12 pmBaki

    I am very please with the results.

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:12 pmmarki

    unbelievable how everyone likes clannad that much, and toradora didnt “win” anything *gosh*

    havent watched bakemonogatary yet, but my expectations are now very high
    gundam00 SS was indeed really good (far better than the 1st season)

    @eden .. hmm it startet so damned good, but then there were only jonnies and strangeness left, cannot really understand why everyone likes that so much ^^

    but thanks for this “best of random curiosity”, in the last years it helped me really much, and this year although i watched many many anime, i will pick some of the list to watch :-)

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:18 pmSyllen

    great choices, i agree with most of them

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:19 pmInfinitas

    Thank you, Omni and Divine. Much respect.

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:21 pmDmo

    Pretty much identical to my list other than the music section; was hoping “kimi ga shiranai monogatari” would get a mention. :P

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:38 pmNeo_NMO

    I actually kept forgetting about 00 being from this year… so I was slightly surprised at how much it showed up here.

    It’s also funny how i almost missed out on some good series this year like bakemonogatari and sora no otoshimono if it hadn’t been for divine’s insistence that i watch them recently.

    and what’s with the slightly sadistic and stronger female characters being the ones that we remember the most?… or did i just answer my own question? :O

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:41 pmRansom

    Divine:

    I’m happy you mentioned Denpa teki na Kanojo, I would have picked Kara no Kyoukai for sure if I haven’t watched these ovas as well, I’m sure that many people that like the suspense psicological gender will surely enjoy it.

  • January 4, 2010 at 2:46 pmTakano

    I am still trying to get over how Studio Deen ruined Umineko. So glad ookamikakushi is being done by another company. ^^

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:08 pmaizenchocolate

    Wow clannad and gundam seem to be dominant this year….that’s a good thing!…sorry but i have to disagree for bakemonogatari; DTB2 really kept me on the edge of me seat. =)

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:10 pmKota

    Definitely agree with most of the picks from the respective categories. Appreciate you both for putting together another best of for this year!! Here’s to 2010!!

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:15 pmmelo

    kara no kyoukai was the best movie of 2009

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:20 pmJohn Kickass

    Pretty good list, even though I didn’t watch more than half of those shows, lol. Though the lack of Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari disturbs me. The creator of Tenchi Muyo comes out with a show and yet the lack of any form of talk on it disturbs me. If you were born in the 1980′s or early 1990′s, most likely you watched Tenchi Muyo on Cartoon Network before that channel went crazy.

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:23 pmDeevian

    Gotta say, you should have watched Xam’d: Lost Memories – I assure you, it clearly wins the animation category :3

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:29 pmJohnnyg5646

    No mention of the new Fullmetal!

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:36 pmHuitzi

    Superb list, thanks for this Year.

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:39 pmrhx

    Your taste in anime is impressive, but not in a good way. Both of you have truly impressively terrible taste in anime. I mean, really, Gundumb as best action (by both reviewers, no less!)? Pandora Hearts for best story? K-On for best ED? A fucking Kämpfer character in the “best character” section? Canaan for best animation? Either this entire blog is an elaborate troll or you are both just terrible people.

    Also:

    I made the mistake of getting into the Kara no Kyoukai movies when only six of the seven had been released on DVD, making the almost year long wait for the seventh and final movie extremely excruciating.

    Movie 6 was released on DVD in late July. Movie 7 was released on DVD in early December. I dunno about you, but that’s not quite “almost a year” to me.

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pmCheney

    CLANNAD AFTER STORY was the best till date..!
    will never forget what it made me feel….

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:47 pmCorodix

    I agree with pretty much all up there, though for best story it’s pretty much Kemono no souja Erin for me, that was some great stuff

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:48 pmTakashiD

    No Love for Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood? =(

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:49 pmSamurai Pumpkin

    You guys put a hell of a lot of thought into this. Incredible.

    I may watch Needless now that it came up on this list though. Wasn’t sure if it was worth watching.

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:52 pmpierce

    Even though I admit that Bakemonogatari was good, I didn’t expect it to beat both Clannad AS and Gundam 00 S2 in the Reader’s Choice. That was pretty shocking considering the fact we haven’t seen the remaining last two episodes. This also applies to Eden.

    Kara no Kyoukai 7 really deserves the best movie award. Great animation, great soundtrack, touching story…it has them all.

  • January 4, 2010 at 3:58 pmSean

    unlike divine i loved the artistic style of bakemonogatari and while senjougahara was a great female lead she was definately not the best part of the show. bakemonogatari was a fresh breath of air to me this year and had an art style and story design that ive never seen before. It truly wowed me with their clever storylines that focused on each character and their “curse”. I loved how each problem was solved and each character’s relationship with araragi. The art design and style of the show however BLEW MY MIND. I’ve never seen such crisp and beautiful artwork in an anime that had such a sleek new style. it truly separated itself from the old and mundane. This original take on what would be a good anime turned it into a great anime. Altough senjougahara was a nice change of pace from the ditzy, tsundere, and all around stupid female leads ive seen in other animes this year, she was definately not the only reason to watch this anime.

    I really expected it to do better and get a few more awards but it seems like the viewers agree with me that Bakemonogatari deserved to be best of 2009. But i guess everyone has their own opinions.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:07 pmGalactic Fairy

    Still don’t get the love for Bakemonogatari, but people’s tastes are just different, I guess. I wish ToraDora! would have gotten an award; it was the best of the year, IMO.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:10 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    better luck next time clannad…oh wait, there wont be a next time. hehe “watch i jinx it, yuck” TRUE DAT!! wit Kara no kyoukai, however as well animated and directed as it was i found my self dreading the long episode run times because they at times seemed to drag on endlessly wit all that retrospective stuff. but i dooo love those claymation intro’s!!

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:12 pmDragonite88

    WHAT YEAR that been hope 2010 and RC bring another great year. The poll where the hardest choice to make. But some the show i chocie made it on you list aswell.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:17 pmrandom

    Good results :) haha had to wait a year for kara no kyoukai 7? lol i got into it before the first movie had come out by accidently discovering it in a trailer. oh man has it been long to finally see the whole series. I hope they make the epilogue though

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pmShin

    Nice and detailed… thanks for all your opinions and feelings. I’m glad that for 2009, 3 votes were given and how both Omni and Divine split individual aspects. Good work guys and keep it up for 2010.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:20 pmTomer

    I’m really surprised Michiko to Hatchin didn’t get do better, I thought it was a great series.

    I really liked Bakemonogatari, I think it definitely deserved the top spot. Other than that though I can’t say I agree with the rest. I really liked clannad but i dropped the after story after a few episodes – those ridiculous dates just got me really frustrated. Similar problem with Eden of the East, in the first episode I couldn’t believe she just blindly followed a naked guy with a gun, their reactions were so unreal I didn’t fancy watching past that + I was never a mecha fan so Gundam isn’t really for me. I quite liked toradora though.

    I think I must have bad taste in anime.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:25 pmWestlo

    bootleg Hitagi > hitagi?

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:38 pmSteelman

    I am still surprised by the amount of love Bakemonogatari and Eden of the East got. Both of them rank among my biggest disappointments of the year; their stories just didn’t do it for me.

    Also, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 should have gotten more recognition. Especially in term of plot twist, the speculations on you-know-who’s fate (which is the central event in the show) raged on for weeks.

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:39 pmAshan

    Great article. I’ve seen most-of and would agree with nearly all of your choices for the year. You do mention some shows I hadn’t even heard of (Eve no Jikan, Maria Holic, and Casshern Sins amongst others) I’ll be adding those to my list to watch in the future. :)

    Happy new year, and you’ll find me lurking in the background in anticipation of your posts this year. :D

  • January 4, 2010 at 4:49 pmLitho

    Seriously wtf?!! …. not a single mantion of Aoi Bungaku. Trapeze or Tokyo Mag 8.0?!

    At least Eden of the East and Kara no Kyoukai got a mention.

    Oh well…..

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:16 pmOverMaster

    The lack of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has left me in… despair.

    I was going to bitch about Evangelion 2.0 being ignored as well, but then I reread the DVD/Blu Ray clause. Honestly, that thing will come out the day dinosaurs roam Earth again.

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:32 pmHikoboshi-kun

    Great 2009 list

    and AFTER STORY is the best..so far

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:41 pmHassu

    Seems that everyone forgot about the greatest shows of the season. Kuuchuu Buranko and Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. Also, I have hard time accepting Sora no Otoshimono as the best comedy as I can’t remember laughing at all while watching that show.

    Well, I guess mainstream is the way to go nowadays.

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pmMysticEyesOfDeathPerception

    Yeah, the list is biased. I almost disagree with everything put up there, but good effort.

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:52 pmMuumipeikkoSymboloiKaikkivoipaistaJumalaa

    I comepletely agree with Hassu. Sora no Otoshimono as best comedy? Seriously? I just can’t see what’s so funny about flying panties and funny faces. Sure, there’s actually good stuff like Nyan Koi mentioned, but I’m kinda offended that SoraOto beat a masterpiece like Nyan Koi.

    Then again, it’s a matter of opinion. (But still, flying pantsu?)

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:53 pmCherubium

    Thank god I decided to pick up Casshern Sins when it was airing cos it was a very dramatic and intense scenes regarding death, life and what to do with it.

  • January 4, 2010 at 5:59 pmHassu

    I agree wholeheartly, MuumipeikkoSymboloiKaikkivoipaistaJumalaa-san.

    I feel like the smaller series, which didn’t own as much as moe-factor were completely ignored. Also, I too think that finding flying underwear funny is rather sad.

    Also, Xam’d got robbed.

    P.S. After Story was horrible.

    P.S.S. I know it’s useless to argue over the internets.

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:10 pmDelwack

    Awesome writeup, a lot of thought and care went into this. I have to say, I agree with the vast majority of what both of you have written, which is probably why I keep on coming back to read RC.

    I have to agree that Clannad ~Afterstory~ was unique in the way it laid its story, and how it drove home such a wide range of emotional responses throughout the series.

    I didn’t watch a lot of OVA/ONA’s either, but Eve no Jikan had a very intriguing premise and setting.

    I haven’t seen any of Kara no Kyoukai yet.

    So I think it’s time to look that and Casshern Sins up…

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:22 pmZiggy

    Awesome. Love this stuff xD can’t wait for next year

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:23 pmHagiri

    Excellent list !!!

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:36 pmWingZeroZXT

    Ahh if only the poll had been as comprehensive as the blog entry (your bits)

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:55 pmdeathdakid

    I must admit, both polls are sort of how I predicted. i new Bakemonogatari would be the readers choice. I also notice this years annual awards Omni has put a lot of effort and detailed reasoning this year (thanks to divine). Hoping for a good 2010 in anime.

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:57 pmNyte

    Bakemonogatari best?
    Bakemonogatari was way to heavy-dialoged for me :(

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:10 pmTrickz

    Knew bakemonogatari would be reader’s choice. Most of my favourites made top 10 too. Thanks for the list and work. Really helpful.

    Also, despite many people telling me clannad is really good, I seem to fall asleep on the first season. Might give it another shot.

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:11 pmJoe

    Without episode 12, bakemonogatari probably wouldn’t even have made it on to the list. It was such a winner. I maintain Xam’d as being one of the most underrated series of 2009

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:12 pmS_1

    Good result for Bakemonogatari and Kara no Kyoukai :D (just over a dozen votes ahead of eva too =3 )

    Looking back on things, I think a great part of Bakemonogatari’s appeal was that we knew nothing going into it and many of us found the characters so unexpectedly entertaining. It’s certainly characters, good seiyuu and script over story.

    I am surprised that Toradora didn’t do better though. For me that’s second behind Bakemonogatari for me.

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:12 pmSolaris

    I don’t want to coomment :(

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:25 pmSolaris

    … but i’ll spend a couple of words cause i should end watching Umineko and i have any lust to finish that crap. So i’d better troll a bit here. Probably these are my last words on this site.

    I could stomach anything, even Bakemonogatari as the best choice from the vulgar crowd, but mentions as best char of the year to the worst stereotype in anime history is a big punch in my stomach. Highest expectations… i’d rather say biggest disillusion, but if that’s your opinion, alas i’ll live with it.

    Just to finish this great job you Authors did, why not adding some trolling? Cause it was some kind of trolling when you said something like “best commedy: Sora no Otoshimono”. FUCKYING FLYING PANTSU dammnit!! Please say it’s just a joke :S

    Where are trapeze aoi bugaku tokyo magnitude or michiko to hatchin to name a few titles so underrated by the crowd and by the bloggers?? Oh well who cares anyway for some real good animation. I just hope this site won’t win another best blog award next year. Adieu.

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:34 pmklaynne14

    love the plot twist and miscellaneous awardees :D no contest on the ova/ona/movies lol happy new year to all.. can’t believe I’ve enjoyed reading your blog all this time.. thank you guys.. looking forward to 2010 :)

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:34 pmkthx

    you should make a best anime of the decade post

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:45 pmTM

    Wow, I think out of… the 2 years I’ve been visiting this blog, there’s only a handful that I read completely from beginning to end =P this is one of them haha!
    And I didn’t realize how many series I actually watched until I scrolled down the top 30-ish anime on the list. I’m not surprised with the top 5, although I didn’t really enjoy Toradora as much as everyone else >_> I think my expectations were too high after all the hype.
    I never saw Bakemonogatari but reading all the positive comments makes me wanna try it =) I’ll go start dling now XP

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:51 pmWerehog22

    Good choices, but Soul Eater’s first Opening theme was just awful, it sounded uneven, the singer was terrible, and the orchestra behind the singer could have been better without him. That’s my opinion of coarse, but hey, even though many of you disagree, I just want you to know that THAT doesn’t mean the show itself sucks, Soul Eater has a great story, hilarious characters, and action scenes that would make DBZ wish Square-Enix owned them.

    I would definitely recommend it, aside from the first season theme, WATCH SOUL EATER, IT’S JUST AS GOOD AS THE SIMPSONS AND BATMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES PUT TOGETHER!!

  • January 4, 2010 at 8:00 pmJack

    10,000 people can’t be wrong. Though really, only about 1400 (the people that voted for it).
    I need to watch Bakemonogatari now.

  • January 4, 2010 at 8:07 pmAlec

    Needless is crap!!!!!…then again, they made the viewers think that they’ll end up using a deus ex machina, which they didnt, anyways that anime isnt worth watching

  • January 4, 2010 at 8:19 pmmoe ja yo

    I am satisfied with the results.. 2009 fulmetal alchemist is BORING, Johnny.

  • January 4, 2010 at 8:24 pmSomethingLeft

    Very nice!

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:09 pmMike

    The amount of rage and indignation exhibited here by a few people toward the author’s personal opinion is hilarious, I mean, OF COURSE they should have liked the exact same shows you liked right? After all, it’s obvious that your opinion = fact right?

    :rolleyes:

    I mean, come on, people who likes xxxx shows is vulgar? talk about being a hypocrite, what a troll :/

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:15 pmMelanyied

    >bakemonogatari
    trollface.jpg

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:43 pmfragbet

    The only thing I disagree in this list is Gundam 00 S2. It was the epitome of wasted potential. The first half was full of excitements and suspense. The second half of it was full of rushed subplots, shoe-horned characters and boring one-dimensional villains. The deus ex machina ending really killed it for me. I will agree that it had the best action in any Gundam series I’ve ever watched. At least the producers got that part right.

  • January 4, 2010 at 10:01 pmmohshinobi

    i agree with all only :
    In action/Exceeded Expectations : Sengoku BASARA and the Opening kik ass
    & I Disagree with Pandora Hearts Best Story
    + Kara no Kyoukai the 2 last movies are the Biggest Disappointment
    —it’s only my opinion ♣
    thanks you for your post

  • January 4, 2010 at 10:08 pmye4595

    seriously, can’t people read…..FMA will be taking into account next year. and also, can’t people stop bitching about their choices. this is both the bloggers opinions on the shows they actually watched. so if they didn’t mention a series, chances are they didn’t watch it (like tokyo mag or zetsonobou sensei). and if they say this was the best action or best comedy then it’s their taste……and i realize that bitchin’ about those who keep bitchin’ is a complete waste of time.

  • January 4, 2010 at 10:23 pmbobara

    Evangelion 1.11 didn’t win the movie/OVA poll? Kind of surprising, considering the huge fanbase. Well, a close 2nd after Final Fan…uh I mean Kara no Kyoukai 7.
    And I certainly didn’t expect Gundam not being in the top 3.
    I’ll have to check out Pandora Hearts.
    Only watched like 12 of Clannad since I didn’t feel like being depressed again (Air). Maybe I’ll at least finish the first season.
    I hope that the next Key anime will be less depressing.

  • January 4, 2010 at 10:40 pmExaltedZero

    Hmm Clannad After Story… I would agree =) It was so good but I think it kinda disturbed me with the different endings. Toradora O_O I think that should of won in my opinion but overall I think I agree =)

  • January 4, 2010 at 10:44 pmTrickz

    I would just like to remind some people:

    Disclaimer:
    “These are purely our personal opinions based on the shows that we’ve seen in the past year.”

    Anime is like music and art. It is about opinion. Just because particular people dont like the same anime as you doesnt mean either one is not good. Just GTFO already if you dont like the bloggers’ choice of anime and what they blog.

  • January 4, 2010 at 11:21 pmNestor

    One thing I completely agree about is that Suzumiya Haruhi 2nd season is the biggest dissapointment of the year. I also agree on fragbet in that Gundam 00 2nd season was wasted potential; the writers probably realized that many viewers root for the three world order instead of of the Celestial Being especially with more sympathetic but reasonable characters such as Sergei and Kati while 1st season CB’s characters good points are being pretty male and female alike(oh, and there’s Lockon, but he’s far above his comrades) so they decide to unite the world into one big Empire with definitely evil bosses and made Celestial Beings into the heroic rebel archetypes. It’s like watching Fafner again! Still, I like it better than Code Geass, so that’s a plus.

    Btw, this is just my personal opinion :))

  • January 4, 2010 at 11:24 pmshogun22

    Good list, I was actually surprised that “Eden of the East” didn’t even get an Honorable Mention for its Opening Sequence. Nice use of Kinetic Typography.

  • January 4, 2010 at 11:27 pmDynzad

    Honestly I disliked the first few episodes of Clannad ~AFTER STORY~ (after watching the first season which I loved) enough to make me stop watching the series. Did I stop too early (about 7 episodes in) or do I just have a different taste in anime (was the stuff I saw the reason that people highly like the series)?

  • January 4, 2010 at 11:42 pmneow_neow

    I agree with most of the choices, especially with Suzumiya Haruhi, Bakemonogatari, K-ON, Soul Eater, and so on. It’s very surprising that all these great animes appeared during 2009. Time surely flies fast.

  • January 4, 2010 at 11:46 pmKizami

    the results are b-e-a-u-tiful.

  • January 5, 2010 at 12:06 amPachi

    >.< oooh Sugoi tengo la mayoria de las mismas impresiones sin mencionar solo en drama, sin embargo en la OVA/ONA no se grax por la informacion !!! xD

  • January 5, 2010 at 12:10 amBROOKLYN otaku

    god i love the haters!! hahahahahah! *rough excerpt* “WAAAH!!! you dont like the shows that i liked, so I’m never coming back to your site, take that!!” BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! sooooo funny! this is probably why we’ll never achieve WORLD PEACE, for something so simple as being able to come to terms with the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. oh well. NOW WHERES THE ANIME!?!?!?! enough winter vacation!! start pumping em’OUT!!

  • January 5, 2010 at 12:22 aminvAZN

    Sengoku Basara is the winner of best action for me, it was so ridiculously amazing

    And here’s hoping 2010 brings even better (Durarara, FMA, etc)

  • January 5, 2010 at 1:04 amPYROtechnic

    @rhx:
    If you can’t even respect someone else’s opinions, why are you even reading his blog?

    I agree with most of Omni and Divine’s choices, it’s been a reasonably good year for anime, and Gundam and Clannad really hooked me this year (regardless of the many issues I have with the second half of Gundam 00 S2). Here’s hoping for another good year of anime!

  • January 5, 2010 at 1:12 amProoof

    hmm I have high expectations for Clannad After Story now
    I’m still playing the visual novel and I sorta know what happens in AS.

    for the ones I watched this year, Bakemonogatari and Nyan Koi! are favorites.
    Also FMA: Brotherhood doesn’t qualify for the list as it’s not finished yet.

  • January 5, 2010 at 1:15 amMearex

    So many of these anime have a bad ending, it almost feel like there could be more to it….

  • January 5, 2010 at 1:30 amMysticEyesOfDeathPerception

    Phantom had the best OST of 2009. Honorable mention just isn’t enough to satisfy me. This is a fact and not an opinon by the way.

    But yeah, seems the author of this blog has different tastes than most of us.

    He might just like this season after all, even though it’s full of moeblob fanservice anime shit.

  • January 5, 2010 at 2:11 amnaixil

    really, i would have thought Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 would have gotten into the “death” category. but that might just be that Omni and Divine didn’t get the chance to watch it. (??)

    the results were quite expected if you have been following RC along. but i think they did a great job with the review, even if there’s those that i might not agree with.

  • January 5, 2010 at 2:50 amMark

    I think the negative comments are just misdirected. You guys thought about your choices carefully and took the time to make this post, so I appreciate that.

    Overall, if we look at the series that ENDED in 2009, it was pretty much a year unlike any other.

  • January 5, 2010 at 3:15 amKevz

    @Trickz
    I completely agree with you.

    Anyway, thanks Divine and Omni for your efforts in creating this “best of” post, I agree with most of your picks, but I can’t say I agree with the best comedy SnO, I really don’t remember I lol’ed so hard in this show, but your opinions are respectable. Here’s hoping for another good year! btw, Senjougahara > Shizuku XD

  • January 5, 2010 at 3:23 amSentinel

    What a pleasant coincidence :) My favorites just happen to be Gundam 00 and Clannad After Story too!

  • January 5, 2010 at 3:33 amahelo

    what about toradora?!?!?!
    srsly i thought that would be the best of the year.
    wasn’t even mentioned….

    nice win for bakemonogatari though

  • January 5, 2010 at 4:04 amCHIBI

    K-ON!!!!! GETS A ZILLION VOTES. K-ON!! WINS EVERY CATEGORY AND YOU LEFT IT OUT.

  • January 5, 2010 at 4:41 amahbonk

    Cool, I agree with most of the choices. Thanks for the list! Though not seeing Tokyo Magnitude mentioned anywhere is a little sad.

  • January 5, 2010 at 4:57 amHHH

    In my opinion these to were graet action and got to less votes
    Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~
    Chrome Shelled Regios
    Also some nice school comedy got less than I expexcted
    Well my opinoin is the same as pools top 5 was like it needed to be only I dont think Claned is so good

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:04 amminami

    Bakemonogatari: deserves all that win because it WAS full of win.
    CLANNAD AS: one of the series that really made me cry. Though it was more drama than romance.
    Toradora: I thought this deserves more recognition because it was really awesome. I thought this would bombed the polls but it wasnt even close to winning. What happened to all toradora fans?!?!?
    Darker than Black 2: Plain disappointing.
    Suzumiya Haruhi 2009: Troll
    Soul Eater: Shouldve won best action.
    Saki: Should be mentioned more because it was surprisingly good coming from the notorious GONZO.
    Maria Holic: Shouldve won best comedy.
    Sora no Otoshimono: Funny but not as much as Maria Holic and Nyan Koi!
    Skip Beat: Also deserves more recognition.
    Gundam 00 SS: Wtf?
    Sora no Manimani: Deserved more recognition

    All in all: Nice post!

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:10 amMentar

    Nice list!

    Oh, and Shizuku > Hitagi. Naturally ;)

    As much as I love Hitagi too (she and Shizuku share alot of traits), Shizuku just one-ups here in most important aspects. Where Hitagi threatens, Shizuku acts. It’s rather that Araragi >> Natsuru. It would be very interesting to see the pairings swapped *grin*

    I hope it won’t have been the last to see from our slightly sadistic scheming kaichou (even though I’m afraid that it will have been)

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:12 amJason Isenberg

    Well I had a feeling White Album wasn’t going to make it on this list but I had to think it was a really big improvement when the second season went around. For people that haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. I mean even Omni and Divine, you should check it out as well. I know the first season felt really dumb but if you check the second it starts to click in, for a reason. They changed the director for it, being a completely different person was a right decision. In that category up there I think it would of been “Wished we blogged more”. Trust me on this one, it got good REAL fast. Either way I knew Clannad was going to make it as 2009. It was tough though because Eden of the East was just as amazing. To be honest, I liked that more.

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:15 amyukino

    the anime of 2009 as a whole wasn’t too hot in my opinion.

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:23 amminami

    oh yea.. @ omni
    you shouldve picked a better picture in clannad in favorite of 2009.

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:37 amSAGO

    Satisfactory.

  • January 5, 2010 at 6:24 amKaioshin Sama

    Tea and apple pie is the best to date!

  • January 5, 2010 at 6:52 amSore no Kaze

    Sora no Manimani needed more recognition

    I’m surprise you would put Gundam 00 as best action. I mean, yes there were some crazy action scenes for it, including the insane strategy attacks in the beginning, but I’m a bit iffy on that point.

    I’m also surprise that it’s a favorite. I mean… I love Gundam 00… but I agree with everyone else that there was so much wasted potential >_>.. Hopefully the movie will fix that.. but I doubt it. Toradora needs more recognition as well… Tokyo Magnitude should have made it to death category… Oh.. i’ll try white album season 2 I guess. Clannad AS was done well, but I see what both sides says (yes i do know a couple of clannad AS haters >_>) People couldn’t deal with Suzumiya Haruhi repeating which made me rofl… Maria Holic was definitely in comedy and same with Nyan Koi. Canaan is a bit iffy for me. I feel that they rushed it. Excellent animation quality I will admit

    No chrome shelled Regios makes me sad as well, but wtv.

    Druga should not have been in exceeded expectations. It did for a while.. then was rushed. Saki should have deserved that spot.

    Although, I do admit, I’m surprise that even Eden of the East got a bit of strong haters for it. I can understand bakamonogatari… but Eden of the East? I thought that was a generally loved by most people but the small few.

    I would have opted for Cassherns Sin, even though it did go slow. And Kampfer came out of no where. I swear lol.

    All in all, I generally agreed or understood with most of your picks… nor can I argue with your own favorites, that what you guys like… Character wise, as much as opionion, I disagree with Divine >_>… but meh it’s opionion as said. Pandora Heart… bah second season is needed I feel. Yet again… half the people here who scream hate hate hate everywhere.. tend to be part of 80 anime nostalgia (good example is UC Fans of Gundam VS. the New Fans… I see I understand… but it’s absolutely ridculous how far this goes) or just blind half the time other then the few that actually explain rather then rant their ass off. Heck… I already noted this the moment half the people screamed hate for the way True Tear ended. I saw that ending coming, and it truly made sense … in the idea that the main character shouldn’t be hoping that love sprouted from a relationship while still currently interested in someone else (as in clearly interested). But.. of course someones just going to shoot me… by saying blah blah blah blah blah about the one he ends up with…. although all I’m going to say to that is… the situation is understandable given the circumstances of tension within the family and such.

    Over all, Omni and Divine choices are good, perhaps you may wanna bring your debating and choosing up a notch, cause I feel like that compared with last years choices… these weren’t as agreeable or well sought, even by those of us who tend to use our heads rather then our mouth :P. Happy New Year and Good Luck for Next Years blogging as usual

  • January 5, 2010 at 8:18 amKakashi_Crusade

    @chibi: K-On! was a series that had a short-lived burst of popularity. Perhaps most of us had already forgotten about it (music aside) when the series ended. It was a good series, but it could have been better (hail s2 this year).

    SHnY’s epic/legendary troll coded “Endless Eight” still leaves a mark doesn’t it?

    Clannad AS was… too epic. The emotion-riding episodes (ep 7, 11, 15, 18, 21 i think? there were a lot more….) were impressive. I still find myself crying at episode 18. @omni: the picture is epic. -Kyou OVA seemed a little too fast-paced for me… but perhaps this is punishment for unlocking her route before the ova was released. – they need to make Kappei appear. it is an absolute must.

    Gundam 00… what happened with the ending? There were too many cliffhanger’s, perhaps to be resolved in the movie.

    Canaan – i was surprised that the story had a lot of twists on the way. The character side stories are worth giving a look.

    Bakemonogatari – best SHAFT series i’ve seen this far. they tried another unorthodox method, and it brought more impact to the story’s presentation.

    KnK 7 – epic from first to last movie. animation, soundtrack, story, cast – this series is worth a watch (expect to watch movie five at least 3 times. it is that confusing.)

    Sora no Otoshimono – a series that was able to surprise me. being a 13-episode series, the production was well-planned, and it was able to maintain quality from beginning to end. this series needs a second season. – ikaros!

    Pandora Hearts – the last episode was a cliffhanger, but it had a great story overall. the soundtrack… Kajiura Yuki never ceases to amaze me.

    Toradora – now i wonder why i found this series dull at first. perhaps it was the takasu harem setting which dragged on, or maybe its the dramatic dialogues that were just filled with words (not that much action ’till the latter part of the series). the ending was nice, and this is a series that’s worth watching. – Taiga = Moe still mystifies me.

    K-On! – the series that replaced Clannad AS, and it gained media hype immediately after the first episode. It’s popularity spread around the world like an infection (overstating i guess, but that’s what it seems to be like). Overall this series was great, although i have two disappointments: they just glossed over a few technical guitar terms and the last episode’s animation quality (in my eyes) looked a bit off (they should have made a God Knows-esque presentation… but perhaps the animation quality restricts it). – hmm.. Mio not winning saimoe is odd… perhaps it would be different at this year’s ISML?

    Kampfer – enjoyable except for the last episode which was quite disjoint. the stuffed animals singing is not particularly enjoyable view at night. Shizuku > Kaede. I wonder why Natsuru just let her slide?

    Reigos – i had to drop this series past episode three. the combat BGM was too funny i couldn’t focus on the battle itself.

    Eden of the East – the story was great, the OP was great, seeing exposed and cut off pe*nises wasn’t great – overall, this series is worth a watch, although the ending did seem to confuse me (i only knew about the movies later).

  • January 5, 2010 at 8:19 amConfuzzledGirl29

    Could people stop complaining, these are their choices out of the animes they have watched. If you don’t, agree then fine just write what you think without complaining about Omni’s and Divine’s taste. It’s enough that we got to vote for our favorites.

  • January 5, 2010 at 10:08 amRikka

    Where is Skip beat!? Best show last year.

  • Newer Comments »