|2009-04-08, 20:34||Link #1|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Ten Best Recent Anime?
So what are your favorite anime of recent vintage? I've been thinking about the dozens and dozens of series I've watched in recent years, and which ones stood out for me. So I picked a somewhat arbitrary cutoff - it had to have finished airing sometime in 2006 or later, series currently airing also eligible - and started compiling a list. I'm curious to see how it differs from others - I know some series will be on almost any list that didn't make mine, and a couple I chose which will be on very few lists. These can be your "favorite" series, or ones you consider the best overall - if you even see a distinction between those two things.
A couple things I noticed in doing this - first off, that 2007 was a great year for anime (at least my tastes in it). Really, really strong. 2008 was pretty mediocre, on the whole. I tended to favor series that had high ambitions and sometimes faltered over ones that aimed low and didn't. And that there is in fact some relationship between popularity and my definition of quality - but only some.
So here are my picks, in no special order...
Kannagi - This otaku-centric series connected with me in a way the more popular LS and MoHS never did. It achieved moments of flat-out hilarity, but also some genuine emotional connection with the characters. A romance anime that wasn't, with no throwaway characters - each of them with their own endearing and humorous quirks.
Mushishi - In my view, this is as successful a pure manga adaptation as there has ever been. It captures the mood and look of the manga perfectly, and brings something more to the equation in the process. There's nothing quite like Mushishi - and the mangaka feels no need to try and explain the things that don't quite make sense. You just have to let yourself fall into the world and accept it.
Natsume Yuujinchou/Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou - I view these effectively as one 26 episode series, since the continuity of plot, character and feel between them is so seamless. There are some elements of Mushishi's episodic dalliances in unseen worlds here, but N.Y. wears its emotions on its sleeve in a way Mushishi never did - it's warm instead of cool. A great lead, a great sidekick/familiar/foil, and utterly memorable supporting characters in dizzying numbers. It's an easy show to watch and emotionally connect to.
True Tears - The best pure romance anime of the period, and the best since Bokura ga Ita. An interesting twist on the formula, it engendered a fierce debate between the partisans of the three female protagonists (and unlike most of these series, ended up choosing the right girl ). Like Kannagi it faltered at times during the second half of it's 13 episode run, but recovered to stage an outstanding finale. Shin was a fine lead - supremely believable and realistically portrayed.
Ghost Hound - Production I.G.s special anniversary release, this was arguably the most ambitious series since Noein - and like Noein, it didn't always connect. But it was chock-full of interesting ideas. Superb sound direction, animation and voice-acting were a constant, and no series of the period did as good a job in being unsettling and creepy. Tarou was an empathetic figure at the center of a growing storm of shinto-centered angst and impending destruction, and his supporting cast was also well-drawn and interesting. Not every episode worked, but at it's best this is my pick for the best series of the last three years - and it managed to end on a high note.
Minami-ke (First Series) - Hilarious, episodic scenes from the life of three sisters, each marvelously unique and different. Throw in incredibly memorable supporting characters (Makoto/-chan, Hosaka, et al) some of the cleverest mistaken identity and sight gags ever, and great visials and music and you have the most fun series in ages. The sequels didn't live up the the standard set by this one - though they had their moments - but this series stands on its own as a classic.
Oh! Edo Rocket - Pretty sure I'm on my own with this one, but c'est la vie. This wins big points with me for being unique - there's never been anything quite like it. The humor is almost vaudevillian at times, and the visual style is singularly interesting. The plot is a mishmash of 19th century history, made-up 19th century history, and inside jokes directed at otaku everywhere. BGM is spectacular, and the OP one of the best looking (and sounding) ever. Plus, the cat song alone is worth major points. There were many times during the first half of the series when I didn't really know what was happening, but amazingly, in the end it all made sense.
Potemayo - Definitely a series that was way, way off my radar screen at first - how could you explain this premise to anyone and make it seem interesting? You just had to watch it - an amazing combination of sweet and filthy, smart humor and the most banal slapstick you could imagine. No other series can match this one for sight gags. And it was genuinely moving at times, incredibly enough. Just watch it if you haven't already.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Gainax can do Gainax better than anyone else can do it, and TTGL proves it. Pure, unadulterated GAR-driven fun - but don't overlook the intricate plotting and strong character development. Several semi-distinct series melded into one, in fact each arc stands on it's own as an interesting mini-series. Simon is the constant that ties everything together beautifully, but the others - Yoko, Viral, and the Emperor of GAR, Kamina - all play their roles in making this a great series. As always with Gainax at it's best, the visuals are spectacular (episode 4 was probably the most controversial anime episode since Evangelion episode 26) and the music equal to the visuals. An epic in the best sense of the word, and a true classic.
Kanon 2006 - The creative peak of the KyoAni/Key partnership, Kanon represents the edgier storytelling style of Naoki Hisaya, less histrionic than what would follow him at Key. Featuring bravura performances by Tomokazu Sugita and especially Horie Yui as Ayu, Kanon 2006 blows the doors off the 2002 series in every way. This is about as good as melodrama gets.
Sola - Another creation of Naoki Hisaya. A flawed gem, I admit - I didn't care for the end and the second half never came together the way the first half did. But boy, this was jaw-droppingly beautiful stuff at times - heartbreaking, tragic, funny, and beautiful to look at. A personal choice, I won't deny - but I can't get past how much I love Sola when it works.
Baccano - Way too many characters to remember, indecipherable time-jumping episode progression, bizarre plot twists - but somehow, it all totally works. A wonderfully zany and gory modern Japanese interpretation of gangster-glamorous prohibition-era America. It works because it's incredibly smart - the puzzle pieces all fit together at the end, and the humor is rooted in the characters. But to be honest, I would have put it on the list anyway just for having a character named Jacuzzi Splot.
OK, so that's eleven, not ten - sue me. Near misses/honorable mention:
Seto no Hanayome
D. Gray Man
Last edited by Guardian Enzo; 2009-09-30 at 00:13.
|2009-04-08, 21:15||Link #2|
Pretentious moe scholar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
I'm not going to provide explanations for these because I'm only giving myself a quick breather from a take home exam. Like the OP, I'm not putting these in any particular order:
EF: A Tale of Memories
Detroit Metal City
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Spice and Wolf
I'm probably going to think of another one I should have put on later. Somewhat stacked towards 07/08 shows because I watched a lot more anime those years than in 2006.
|2009-04-08, 21:38||Link #4|
Top 10 for me, in no real order...
Sailor Moon - It's an old series, I'll admit, but it just has a charm that endures through the years. I always go back to it; one of my favorite series by far.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha - Very different from most magical girl genres, and I like the relative open-endedness of the shippings; so in a way, anyone can be with anyone, even if it causes a hell of a ship war.
Chrno Crusade - Much darker than its manga counterpart in some ways and it changes the ending, but God is it still heartbreaking to watch. One of those animes that just sticks with you for a long time.
Fate/Stay Night - ... Okay, I'm a sucker for the idealistic guy falling in love with the tight-lipped girl, I'll admit. Ending was tragic but it did justice to the characters, in its own bittersweet way.
Tsukihime - Arcueid is the most adorable thing, and her relationship with Shiki was just "awww". Plus, I like my vampires. Absolutely love them.
Romeo x Juliet - One of my favorite works by Shakespeare, and the transition over to anime is relatively well done. I like it.
Zero no Tsukaima - A light-hearted series with a few serious moments, always good for a laugh even if the plot is shaky at times.
Wolf's Rain - I like wolves. This anime was about wolves. And in the end... it was a deep series.
Kannazuki no Miko - A shoujo-ai series that actually focuses on the relationship between the girls and does it justice, even if it's short as hell.
Strawberry Panic! - The drama and angst got a little annoying near the end, but the happy ending made up for it.
|2009-04-08, 21:41||Link #5|
Wiggle Your Big Toe
Join Date: Feb 2007
These are in no particular order.
Spice and Wolf - The characters are what make this show. It also had a unique concept with the merchants and trading during medieval times (My favorite era of history) which gives the show a unique twist. Again though the characters and their intriguing character relationships are what make it great. Its a heavy dialogue show and one that desires much attentivness, but its worth it. Skillfully constructed dialogues throughout the series resulted in a wonderful story full of joy and sorrow. Horo has become one of my all time favorite characters of any program on television. She is very well crafted and has one of the most deep and complex personalities I've ever seen.
Mushishi - I don't know how to describe my love for this series. Its my favorite anime and it has just about everything I look for in a show. The style of it speaks volumes and I've always had a fascination with folklore which this show heavily borrows from. I think of it as one of the most original shows out there. Mushishi has gorgeous animation, breath taking music, and storyline that's unlike anything you've ever seen. It's certainly not your normal anime. It's very different in a refreshing kind of way. Interesting concepts about real life are presented in a unique and surreal way and it really makes you think about life at times, which is always something I welcome in a show and always hope for in one. Ginko, the main character, is extremely logical and a very likable character. This show has a dreamlike quality to its storytelling and characters and is an all around beautiful masterpiece.
Well thats the only two I feel like writing out explanations for right now so I leave you with a list of other recent series I love:
Last edited by GuidoHunter_Toki; 2009-05-03 at 20:26.
|2009-04-08, 22:06||Link #6|
Join Date: Mar 2009
Kannagi struck me as incredible right from the first episode. The cast of characters here was probably the best I've ever seen. Nagi doesn't even rely on fanservice to get her charm across, something that's rarely seen.
ef - a tale of melodies was an artistic masterpiece, and the story was incredible, if flawed.
true tears is definitely the best recent romance/drama of 2006+, if not of all time. I loved every minute of it.
CLANNAD ~After Story~ deserves a spot here. I'm a sucker for drama, and this series redefined drama. Every episode past 15 was a heartbreaking one (22 was especially heartbreaking... for a different reason), and the first half of the series isn't anything to bite a thumb at either.
Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei was insane. Yup.
Hayate no Gotoku was also insane, even if it got repetitive and predictable.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya showed that a SOC comedy could be popular beyond belief and a work of art in its own right. The anachronistic airing order only proved to make this modern legend even better.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni scared me, it really did. The thing proved to me that an anime could scare me, which was quite enjoyable and creepy at the same time.
Shinigami no Ballad was a masterpiece. I couldn't believe that a six-episode-long slow-paced episodic anime could be anywhere near good (seriously, six different stories? ...). Yet it was just the right length and downright awesome.
And finally, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I doubt that anybody who has watched this thing can say that it's not "epic."
Code Geass, king of cliffhangers
Eve no Jikan
|2009-04-08, 22:08||Link #7|
Pretentious moe scholar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
I don't want to offend anyone, but I want to point out that the OP defined recent as "2006 and later" for the purpose of this thread.
@Guardian Enzo: I find Sola hard to defend objectively, but it was the show I looked forward to seeing new episodes of the most when it was airing. Matsuri is also the only non-animal eared girl I have a wallscroll of.
|2009-04-08, 22:17||Link #9|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Yeah, that's a good way of putting it. Sometimes you love something without being to defend (even to yourself) why you do.
|2009-04-08, 22:38||Link #10|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: PMB Headquarters
Here is mine:
01 - Memories Off 2nd
02 - White Album
03 - Persona ~Trinity Soul~
04 - Macross Frontier
05 - The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
06 - Ghost Hunt
07 - Kannagi
08 - Clannad: Another World
09 - Shakugan no Shana Movie
10 - Ga-rei -Zero-
|2009-04-09, 05:05||Link #13|
Join Date: Feb 2008
-Spice and Wolf
-School Days: Most epic trainwreck I've seen since Evangelion
-Clannad: Biggest tearjerker I've watched last season
-Ga Rei Zero
-Higurashi no naku koro ni: Only anime that scared the shit out of me
-Full metal Alchemist (2009): Only saw the first episode, but that's enough for me to put it in my top 10 of recent anime favs.
|2009-04-09, 05:07||Link #14|
Not a Uchuu Senkan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Iwakawa base server
|2009-04-09, 06:08||Link #17|
Join Date: Nov 2007
1. Clannad (anyone who doesn't rank this in the top ten ought to be waterboarded, shot dead, resurrected then waterboarded and shot dead again until the end of time)
2. School Days (Short, but the ending is nnniiiiicccceeeee)
3. Hayate No Gotoku (HINAGIKUUUUUU IS MINEEEEEE)
4. Claymore (one of the finest art animated into an anime)
5. Minami Ke S1, Okaeri
6. Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu (HARUHIISM IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION )
7. White Album
8. Macross Frontier
9. Tower No Druaga
10. Zero No Tsukaima
Those that came close were
1. Shakugan No Shana/Toradora. If the first one isn't licensed, and the 2nd one isn't shown during my in-camp training period, they could be better ranked. I can never get enough of Kugi's tsunlolis.
2. Code Geass. The characters are too weak IMO, like C.C, Kallen and Suzaku. But I like how the yaoi played through in that anime.
3. Gundam 00. Season 1 sucked big time.
4. Kannagi. Weak characters again, but Tsugumi is as sweet and cute as her K-On! counterpart.
5. Lucky Star. The shorts are funny, but there is no real storyline so it is just like eating one sweet after another rather than an entire cake.
6. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. The main characters are boring, but the storyline is good.
|2009-04-09, 06:19||Link #18|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Kappas' country.
I'm sure I forgot some, but roughly it would be something like that :
2) Dennou Coil
3) Ga-Rei -zero-
5) Higurashi no naku koro ni
6) Lucky Star
7) The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
8) Black Lagoon
9) Macross Frontier
10) Ghost Hound