Thursday, January 8, 2009

Year 2008 in Review

Year 2008 is over. Now let's have a quick recap of what we have seen in 2008.

There are some long season animes that started in October 2007 spilled over into 2008, namely, Kaiji, Clannad, Shion no Ou, Bamboo Blade, Mokke, Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro, Shakugan no Shana II, Kimikiss Pure Rougue, Dragonaut, Rental Magica. Some were good, some are not so. Since they never got a chance to compete for award in 2007, they will be competing for the 2008 awards.

January season was relatively small. Most new series are slow paced drama, include H2O ~ Footprints in the Sand, Persona - Trinity Soul -, Shigofumi, True Tears, Spice and Wolf, Sisters of Wellber Season 2. Among them, Spice and Wolf stands out the most.

Then the April season rolled in. Since that's one of the bigger season of the year, I was expecting lots of high quality animes. Well, I was not disappointed. Good series like Wagaya no Oinarisama, Vampire Knight, Kurenai, ToLoveRu, Himitsu - Top Secret, Blassreiter, Soul Eater, Allison and Lillia, Macross Frontier, Special A, RD Sennou Chosashitsu, Toshokan Senso (Library War) showed up. But there are also some series with good looking start ends up being terrible: Nabari no Ou, Da Capo II Second Season, Nijuu Mensou no Musume. The biggest disappointment, I have to say is Narbari no Ou, because it looked so good early on, then it just slowly turned into something terrible. The biggest surprise, is RD Sennou Chosashitsu because I was so ready to throw it away as soon as I saw its art style, but it turned out to be one of the year's best.

In the small July season, there was really nothing worth noting except Natsume Yuujinchou, which was exceptionally good in my opinion.

When the heavy weight October season entered the ring, I almost suffered a knockout punch by the 29 new series coming straight at me. What made it worse is that most of them are good: After applying the quality assurance filter, I still had 22 of them left on my list. Lucky that there were only two ongoing series that are left from earlier this year, otherwise I'd have to sacrifice sleep to catch up with them all. These 22 are Toradora, To Aru Majutsu no Index, Shikabane Hime Aka, Hyakko, Yozakura Quartet, Tales of Abyss, Clannad After Story, Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka, Earl and Fairy, Kuroshitsuji, Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies, Skip Beat!, Kuragane no Linebarrels, Nodame Cantabile Paris, Vampire Knight Guilty, Kannagi, Chaos; Head, Kemeko Delux, Mouryou no Hako, Kurozuka, Tytania, Ga-Rei Zero.

Alright, now it's the time to hand out the awards. If you are a regular viewer of my blog, you probably already know most of them. Compare to last year, the general category more than doubled in size because there are just too many good animes that I wouldn't want them go award-less.

The categories are pretty standard. I guess the only one need some explanation would be the category of "Light Drama". For a story to be considered as light drama, it would usually consists all elements of a drama except one: an overarching main plot that gets resolved in the end. The subplot of light drama are mostly disjoint, whereas a typical drama would have most subplots contribute to the main plot (well, at least the good ones do). So the result is light drama feels more like a collection of short stories whereas drama feels more like a single long story.

By breaking the category to short and long, I managed to eliminate ties in all category except one: short season light drama. 2008 is a year rich with light dramas. There are just too many of them competing for the top spot.

One more thing, because Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty are so closely related, I consider it as one long season anime. There is really no point to rate them separately.

Best of 2008 Awards

Best Short Season Comedy: Hyakko
Best Short Season Comedy/Drama: Nodame Cantabile Paris
Best Short Season Drama: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Best Short Season Action/Drama: Ga-Rei Zero
Best Short Season Light Drama: Tie: Toshokan Senso (Library War) and Spice and Wolf

Best Long Season Comedy: Special A
Best Long Season Comedy/Drama: Bamboo Blade
Best Long Season Drama: Macross Frontier
Best Long Season Action/Drama: Shakugan no Shana II
Best Long Season Light Drama: Allison and Lillia

Best Scifi: RD Sennou Chosashitsu

Best Fantasy: Earl and Fairy

Most Heart Touching Anime: Natsume Yuujinchou
Most Artistic Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Most Unique Anime: Spice and Wolf
Best Sequel Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies

Weirdest Anime: Kurozuka

Now, the award you've been waiting for (drumroll..........)

2008 Anime of the Year goes to:

Macross Frontier

This is really a hard choice because even though I liked everything about Macross Fronter, the ending was a bit short of total satisfactory. The runners-up for 2008 anime of the year include Library War, Spice and Wolf, RD Sennou Chosashitsu, and Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies. I think they all deserve a piece of anime of the year award. But, if there can be only one Anime of the year, Macross Frontier is the choice, because it combines drama, action, scifi, musical, love, and tragedy into one single package and did very well in all of them. On top of that, because I personally don't like Mecha animes in general, which in turn makes me to be more strict on them when it is time to rate them. Macross Frontier has to overcome that scoring bias from me to win the anime of the year award from me. That shows you how good Macross Frontier really is.

Now the serious award is over, let's do some fun awards:

Weirdest Anime of the year: Kurozuka
Best Female Nudity Scene: ToLoveRu

Best Male Nudity Scene: Unknown
... Sorry I intentionally forget about them after I saw them...
Most Sexually Explicit Anime: Rosario Vampire
Bloodiest Anime: Kurozuka

Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Nabari no Ou
Biggest Surprise of the Year: RD Sennou Chosashitsu
Most Retarded Anime: Kemeko Delux!

WTF of the year: ICE--
Most Heartless person: Will from "Allison and Lillia"
Hardest to Follow Plot: Mouryou no Hako
Most Appeared Non-Human Feature: Cat/Wolf/Fox Ears (Appeared in Strike Witches, Kanokon, Spice and Wolf, Kanokon, Wagaya no Oinarisama)
Best Sequel Anime: Ef ~ A Tale of Melodies
Biggest Boobs: Sekirei
Worst Anime of the Year (that I managed to finish): Ayakashi
Worst Voice Acting: Shikabane Hime Aka
Most Anticlimactic Ending: Rental Magica

These some honorable mentions where I feel bad about not giving them an award because they are also very good animes but their categories happened to have better ones (i.e. you probably want to watch them :-):

Short Season Comedy Runner-up: Kannagi
Long Season Light Drama Runner-up: Mokke
Long Season Drama Runner-up: Shion no Ou
Long Season Drama Runner-up: Vampire Knight+Vampire Knight Guilty

2008 is definitely a busy year for animes. Now the awards have been handed out, 2008 is officially behind us. Let's hope we have a great anime year for 2009.

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