Monday, January 4, 2010

Year 2009 in Review

With the completion of Aoi Bungaku Series, it wraps up another year of animes. Looking back at all the new series that came out in 2009, it seems to me year 2009 is more of a disappointment than anything else in terms of the overall quality of new animes. At the end of year 2008, it took me forever to come up with the award list because the potential candidate for each award category is overwhelmingly long. But now, I'm staring at an empty list of potential award candidates for 2009 because quality wise, there are quite a few mediocre to good animes, but there has hardly been any exceptionally good animes.

Maybe I set my bar a bit too high due the the previous years' performance, or maybe the global economy down turn is affecting anime industry as well. Whatever the reason is, I end up have to pick the best of the mediocre animes to hand the awards to.

With this little depressing news, I don't even want to walk through all the new animes in the course of 2009 like I normally do for the review post. I'm going to just go ahead hand out the awards:

Best of 2009:

Best Short Season Comedy: Maria Holic
Best Short Season Drama: Eden of the East
Best Short Season Action/Drama: CANAAN
Best Short Season Light Drama: Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
Best Short Season Romance: Hatsukoi Limited

Best Long Season Comedy: Skip Beat!
Best Long Season Drama: Kuroshitsuji
Best Long Season Action/Drama: Asura Cryin'
Best Long Season Light Drama: (Vacant)
Best Long Season Romance: White Album

Best Fantasy: Guin Saga
Best Political Drama: Tytania
WTF of the Year: Sora Kake Girl
Most Unique Anime: Ristorante Paradiso
Most Dazzling Art Style: Kuchu Buranko
[ednt 01/08/09]
Best Horror/Mystery:

In the short season Action/Drama category, I actually pondered quite a bit between CANAAN and Darker Than Black Ryuusei no Gemini because quality wise, they're equally good and either one could deserve the award by itself. But ultimately, I think CANAAN edges over Darker just so slightly in terms of both plot construction and character development. Therefore the award is handed to CANAAN.

As for the Long Season Action/Drama, I believe many people are already shaking their head after seeing my pick. In fact, Tales of Abyss, Pandora Hearts, Valkyria Chronicle were all among the the final candidates for this category. But the main character is just too annoying for getting through the first half of Tales, Pandora never brought the story to closure, and Valkyria is just too formulaic. Even though Asura Cryin' has its own short comings, I think in the core, it is in fact the best among them all. On top of that, I really liked the fact it keeps on emphasizing the concept of equivalent exchange.

[edit 01/08/10]
One other thing worth mention is the absent of Bakemonogatari in the standard category. Bakemonogatari is a great anime. The problem, however is the fact the category it would compete in is the Short Season Drama. But this year, it's really hard to make an argument that any short season drama could top Eden of the East. So, it is very unfortunate Bakemonogatari did not get that title. But I went ahead added a special category that at least make its name to the list. ;-)
[end edit]

At last, without further ado, the

2009 Anime of the Year goes to

Eden of the East

I don't think there'll be many people disagree with this choice, because really, this IS the best anime of the year. However you look at it, whether the plot construction, or the character development, no other animes ends in 2009 could come near in terms of quality. If you have to choose one anime from 2009 to watch, Eden of the East would be it.

Year 2009 is not a good year for animes, but it's now behind us. Let's just hope we have a great new anime year in 2010.


airbornemist6 said...

What about Bakemonogatari, I didn't see it anywhere on the list and I personally think it was one of the best animes of 2009.

The Evil Cat said...

The problem about Bakemonogatari is that the category it was competing in is the short season drama. But in the short season drama, it's really difficult to argue anything could top Eden of the east. That's why I implemented the anime of the season awards to keep good anime noted.

I thought I mentioned it in the paragraph I explained the choices, but I guess I forgot.

airbornemist6 said...

Ah, yeah, didn't think about that.

Zul said...

I want to finish Eden of the East but it's just stuck at episode 8 on my list and I can't seem to want to finish it =/

The Evil Cat said...

well, episode 8 is a tough episode to get stuck with, but things get very intense right after that.

Knight said...

Did you watch "Aoi Bungaku"? Or "Kucku Buranko" otherwise known as "Trapeze"? Both are much better than "Eden of the east"

The Evil Cat said...

Yes, I have seen them. You can read my reviews here and herehere.

I did not choose them to be the best of the season for several reasons:

Aoi Bungaku is a literary masterpiece, and yes, it is a very well made anime. However, in my opinion, it focused a bit too serious about being a literary masterpiece, and less about being entertaining. On top of that, it's the adaptation of classic Japanese literature, since I'm not familiar with those works myself, it's hard for me to judge how well they interpreted them.

As for Kuchu Buranko, its unorthodox art, informativeness, and the wacky art, all stands out among all new animes from this year. However, in my opinion, it's a bit too...unconventional. On top of that, being a light drama (meaning it doesn't have a continuous story line), its detached nature makes a bit difficult to be chosen for the anime of the year.