And onward to 2010…
While in chikorita157’s IRC channel, RyanA and I had a brief discussion about which anime were our favorite for previous year. Borrowing a list from Wikipedia (found here), we went over the good and bad. Narrowing down the selection, I came down to my top three.
Personal Top Picks
1. Summer Wars by Madhouse
This took me by surprise and completely blindsided me. I’ve heard next to nothing about its release and the trailers had little substance. It simply did not grab my attention. However, the main reason why I overlooked this gem was because I was looking for the wrong things. I mean, when was the last time there was a nice wholesome anime? Spirited Away maybe? However, that’s geared for a younger crowd.
It truly is something enjoyable by all ages and by everyone. Unlike some of the new releases today, it doesn’t rely on fanservice, certain popular characters, or moe~ to be popular. It harkens back to how Miyazaki films used to be. The story is great while animation and sound were kept at top levels. Nothing was sacrificed. My most favorite part was the opening credits. Nice music that brings back nostalgic days of playing the trumpet.
Granted, this is a movie. Thus, it’s not as hard to maintain high quality material for a 2-hour film compared to a 12/24-episode series. Yet, that does not discount the pure truth that Summer Wars is great. Definitely one of my top favorites and highly recommended.
2. Bakemonogatari by SHAFT
While Summer Wars represented the best in movies, Bakemonogatari is definitely number one in broadcast. At first glance, it appears to be nothing. The main heroine is a borderline yandere who has “a sharp tongue and foul mouth”. The male lead is just a nice guy who should be brought on child molestation charges. There isn’t a strong coherent plot but rather, arcs that focus on a particular character. And of course, the typical abstract SHAFT backgrounds.
So what’s good about it? Unlike other comedies, the humor isn’t brain-dead. It doesn’t force you to laugh with obvious jokes or jabs. There’s wit involved, even if it’s at the expense of Araragi’s ego. It’s not a parody that thrives on the works of others. Also, the fanservice is modest and moe~ isn’t shoved down your throats. If you don’t like a particular character, there’s others to enjoy. Each is original and you won’t see them in other series, unlike those J.C. Staff mass-produced tsunderes. Best of all, the romance between Araragi and Senjougahara had an amazing finish (regarding episode 12, mind you).
It’s a sarcastic comedy with sweet high school romance. Nothing more, nothing less. A good concept executed beautifully.
3. Hatsukoi Limited by J.C. Staff
Despite my (almost) complete and utter hatred for the animation studio, I enjoyed the manga. In particular, the two parts that I enjoyed are with Dobashi and the final trip that the boys made on their bikes. The studio didn’t mess anything up and I was pleased with the results.
All in all, the source material carried it through in my ratings. Other series had something holding them back from the number three spot.
Is he Golgo 13?
Darker than Black – Gemini of the Meteor by BONES
The first season was top-notch. Plenty of action with an intricate story about the Contractors fighting for their own existence. Now we had season two where I can honestly say, Hei was not the main character. It was Suou. Had I known from the start, I would’ve dampened my expectations to… zero. The series went way out there, especially at the last episode. There’s a limit to how extreme one can go… but cloning a planet and having hovercars that soar into the sky? No.
At least there’s the OVA due to come out later this month. This time, I know it’s about Hei and Yin. :)