The Best of 2009: Part 2

Best female character: Mikoto Misaka

Runners-up: Eureka, Nadeko Sengoku

Need I say more about Mikoto? She is the goddess of the anime realm, and if you still haven’t heard of her, shame on you. Also, L>super-duper rare special swimsuit figure of her. I have been searching for it since it came out, and not a single one has popped up on the internet yet.

[Continued from Part 1]

I don’t know what I was thinking when I separated parts 2 and 3 and 4 and 5, so this post will have every award I can think of, including “Best Anime” at the end.

Best OP

Winner: “Tsukiakari no Michishirube” (Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini)

Runners-up: “Renai Circulation” (Bakemonogatari), “Ringo Mogire Beam!” (Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei), “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” (Clannad After Story)

This was quite the competition, and I say that with no sarcasm in my voice.  I’m a huge OP fag, and I never skip over OPs when I’m watching anime.

I really liked After Story’s OP that sometimes went off-beat (like in episode 16), but it was too repetitive and mellow.  [..not to mention it still featured useless characters like Kyou and Kotomi who don’t even appear in over half of the show.]  Renai Circulation was very, very, very, very moe and cute and kawaii and whatnot, but that animation was sub-par.  Especially when Nadeko walks towards the camera.  Ringo Mogire Beam… best Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei OP I’ve seen( which is saying something), but “weirdness” wasn’t reason enough for me to pick it over Tsukiakari no Michishirube.

DtB’s new OP is simply amazing.  The song isn’t anything great, and the animation is simple, but the combination of the two is astounding- I love watching the animation change on the off-beats of the song.  I also like how subtle Suou differing expressions are – there’s a shot of Suou in human form, then one with the signature contractor blank stare, and it just goes back and forth.  Oh, and the scene with Tanya and Suou’s other friends carries such a melancholy feel all throughout the series, and seems to carry even more weight after the events of the final episode.

tl;dr mediocre song + average animation = epic OP

Best ED

Winner: “futuristic imagination” (Eden of the East)

Runners-up: “Zetsubou Restaurant” (Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei), “Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi Iro!” (Hayate no Gotoku!!)”

Whereas I had a really tough time choosing my top OP of the year, I had no problem with EDs.

Futuristic imagination certainly shows up in “futuristic imagination.”  The animation is perfect and the song is great.  Though I don’t like the sudden stop of the music at the end, I can’t complain.  There was no competition here.

Hina and the Zetsubou girls are cute.  They get second place.

“Don’t Say Lazy” is overrated.  The song sucks.  The visuals suck.  I hate it.  The AV version of the ED is almost better than the original.  That’s how much it sucks.

Best insert song

Winner: “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” (Hayate no Gotoku!!, sung by Hinagiku)

Okay, I admit that this and K-ON!’s 15-second-long songs are the only insert songs I remember this year.

But yeah, this was great.  One of the greatest songs ever made suddenly popped up in one of my favorite anime, and I was happy.

Best OP Spinoff

Winner: “Gachimuchi! Boys” (K-ON)

Okay, I admit that this was the only OP spinoff that I watched this year.

But yeah, this was great.  Especially with the translated lyrics and knowing the “yaranaika” meme.

Now that I’ve stretched out music awards long enough, let’s move on to some other stuff.

Most unexpected moment/biggest shock

Winner: The entire first episode of Eden of the East

Runners-up: Queen’s Blade (anything and everything about it), Darker than BLACK S2’s final episode

I’m not sure what was more unexpected – seeing Takizawa naked or hearing “I need to see your Johnny” from the female cop.  In any case, Eden of the East’s usage of Johnnies (at first, anyway – it got really, really old later on) was more shocking than Queen’s Blade’s borderline hentai nature and Darker than BLACK S2’s intense, plot-twisting finale.

The one word/phrase I never want to hear again

Winner: “Johnny” (Eden of the East)

Runners-up: “Imo-chan!!” (Sora Kake Girl), “Kyon-kun, denwa” (Haruhi S2)

This was a tight race.  Soaring Cake Girl and Endless Eight fought it out until the bitter end, but Eden of the East won with its utter lack of suitable synonyms.  Johnny this, Johhny that.  Is it supposed to be some kind of joke?  I haven’t even cracked a smile.

Best comic relief

Winner: Tomoya’s tights explode (Clannad After Story)

In between two of the saddest episodes of anime ever made is one incredible filler episode with appearances by Kyou, Botan, and Fuuko.  The very best part of episode 20 of After Story is Fuuko’s comeback.  Tomoya can’t resist a pair of tights, and destroys the world!

It’s so ridiculous, so Fuuko-like that it works.  And it completely breaks the melancholic feel, if only for it to come back stronger when Ushio falls ill at the end of the episode.  You can’t find a piece of comic relief better than this.

Worst comic relief

Winner: Yoki describes his past (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)

Runner-up: Anything from Fairy Tail

I didn’t know what I was watching in Fairy Tail.  Was it an action show?  Or a comedy?  The comedy was so strong and so bad that it completely overpowered what little action there was.  “Jesus Christ,” I thought, “How can anything be worse than this?”

And then I watched episode 38 of FMA: Brotherhood.  Oh my God.  I wish I could press backspace and never watch that episode.  Half of the episode was wasted on a stupid flashback which may or may not have anything to do with the overall plot.  Either way, I don’t really care because it was so terribly un-funny that I wanted to bash my computer screen.

I thought the annoying recurring gag of Ed being short was bad enough, but I guess there’s no limit to terrible comedy.

Most overrated

Winner: K-ON!

go away moeshit i dont like you

Most underrated

Winner: GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Runner-up: Eve no Jikan

There is general agreement around the aniblogosphere that GA – GADC is a great show.  In fact, most have classified it as a great show.

The only thing is, “general agreement” in this case means “around five people.”  Ayako was slow on subbing this great series (though with the constant, fast dialogue, I can’t blame them), so maybe that’s the reason, but this show has been the greatest sleeper hit of the year.

2(Lucky Star (SOL comedy) + Moyashimon (informative) + K-ON! (moe done wrong) – “done wrong”) = GADC.

Most deserving of another season

Winner: GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Runners-up: Darker than BLACK, Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei, Hayate no Gotoku

Beating three famous series is, once again, GA!

Though I’d like to see more Hei and Itoshiki, and though I’d like to see an actual ending to Hayate no Gotoku, GA takes priority.  The only major complaint I have with the art-based show is its length.  12 episodes isn’t enough when you’ve got such a great SOL comedy going.

Best Comedy

Winner: GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Runners-up: Nyan Koi, Zan Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei

Was this really a surprise?

Actually, it was for me.  I had originally planned to have Nyan Koi win, but after looking through my screenshots of GA, I concluded that GA beat Nyan Koi by a mile.  Most SOL comedies fail at making the viewer actually laugh.  Rather, they focus on making the comedy as relevant to the viewer’s life as possible.  GA does both.  I laughed a lot when I was watching GA, yet I could also relate to things like not using the white colored pencil (two screenshots above).

Overall, though, this was a year weak in comedies.  Besides the three mentioned above, Maria+Holic (which I dropped), and the less-than-incredible second season of Hayate no Gotoku, 2009 had no good comedies.  K-ON! was crap, Asu no Yoichi was Full Metal Panic’s withered, sickly little brother and I didn’t even bother to finish any of the even weaker ones.

Since my attention span is running low, I’m going to skip all of the unimportant awards and go straight to the last two.

The one thing of 2009 we’ll remember in 20 years

aka “Most Memorable Moment(s)”

Winner: Endless Eight (Haruhi S2)

We’ll forget about the greatness of GADC.  We won’t recall the failure of K-ON!.  “Johnny” will only be a name, and Darker than BLACK’s second season will fade away into obscurity.

Endless Eight may have been one dumb decision, a great marketing technique, an enormous trollfest, or the biggest gamble in anime history, but one thing is clear: we’re going to remember it for a while.  KyoAni, you’ve outdone yourself.

And finally,

Best Anime

Winner: CLANNAD ~After Story~

Runner-up: GA – Geijutsuka Art Design Class

Third place (tie): Hatsukoi Limited, Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo

I’ll be honest: I think this year sucked for anime.  I hated almost all of the popular anime, and there weren’t very many good comedies (my favorite genre).

But in the midst of this suckage, some truly great series emerged.

Hatsukoi Limited achieved the perfect balance of Comedy and Romance for a RomCom, and didn’t let go of it.  It stayed true to its title and displayed some honest, “first love” interactions between the characters.  Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo grew from post-Code Geass hype and became something all its own.  It never achieved the “epic” feel of a typical mecha show, yet it never let go of its ridiculous roots, continuing to display creativity all the way until the very end.

GA – GADC was the successor of Lucky Star, giving us the very greatest in slice-of-life comedy, yet at the same time mixing in the “art design class” element.  Hilariously informative, it fulfilled its SOL comedy role by getting close enough for the audience to relate, and it also managed to stay far away enough so that stereotypical SOL comedy elements wouldn’t reach it.  Most, if not all, jokes it spewed out in rapid-fire fashion were new or added a new twist to an old joke.  In a genre where jokes manage to overlap the boundaries of series, GA was a fresh new show that didn’t fail to deliver.

And finally, CLANNAD ~After Story~.  To classify this show as  just another romance would be dead wrong.  It’s a light-hearted romance that slowly, but surely becomes one of the greatest tragedies in anime.  Does anybody really LIKE Nagisa?  I doubt it.  Tomoya’s the reason people like this show.  We see his life go down the drain, go up a little, and then get washed into the sewers.  We can’t do anything about it, and neither can he.

Why do I like this show?  Well, why do people like tragedies?  It’s because it’s cathartic.  We see the worst that can happen to somebody else and our own sorrows feel like nothing in comparison.  Thus wouldn’t the perfect tragedy also be the most tragic one, the one that we are most happy to have not gone through?  CLANNAD ~After Story~ achieves this.  It is tragedy at its most tragic.  We watched all of the first season, seeing Nagisa and Tomoya slowly bond together.  We watched 15 episodes of the second season, seeing their relationship advance and everything seems so… happy.  And finally, after over 15 hours of exposure to Tomoya’s happy life, we see it all fall apart.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried my eyes out more than once at After Story.

It’s the best anime this year, and the best tragedy there is.

P.S.: fail ending is still fail, though.

14 Comments on “The Best of 2009: Part 2”

  1. mefloraine says:

    I chose not to watch GA, because I’d flipped through the manga and wasn’t impressed. I’m wondering if it’s actually worth looking into. Who are those other people with your opinion? 😛
    FMA’s episode 38 would probably have been one I’d have skipped. I chose to skip the whole show instead though. Yay!

    • fangzhao says:

      I know for a fact that tj_han at RIUVA blogged about GA in an attempt to get more people into it (since that’s what got me interested :p), and I’m pretty sure Kurogane of Kurogane’s Anime Blog blogged about it too. Zyl of Hontou ni blogged about the lack of blogging about GA, I think. Can’t remember anybody else, though.

      Haha, I never bothered to watch the first FMA, so I figured I had to watch this remake.

  2. Baka-Raptor says:

    Asu no Yoichi was brilliant from start to finish.

    • fangzhao says:

      Bah. Only you and glothelegend think so!

      I can’t believe how many people bagged on Nyan Koi for being typical harem when Asu no Yoichi was so much more typicaler haremer.

  3. Yumeka says:

    Good list here. I like the Darker than Black 2 ending as well (I also think it should get a sequel). And nice to see Nyan Koi! as a runner-up. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks it was funny. And Endless Eight is a given for memorable moments, LOL. I’m still thinking about whether to put Clannad AS on my list of favorite ’09 anime…

    I’ve never heard of Geijutsuka Art Design Class. You’ve piqued my interest.

    • fangzhao says:

      Darker than BLACK S2’s ending was great! I think I said elsewhere that the entire series is worth watching just for the ending.

      Nyan Koi! really was funny! I’d say it’s like Seto no Hanayome with five times as much realism (which brings it down a bit, but not by much).

      Endless Eight is memorable even for the people who didn’t watch it! It raised such a ruckus that everybody knew about it. You can see “What episodes of Haruhi S2 should I watch” threads popping up everywhere around the internet now!

      I’ve had After Story as my ’09 top show for a while now. Since I never really liked shows like Eden or Bakemonogatari, it was a really easy choice.

      P.S.: Watch GA now! It’s the moe show of the year, what K-ON! failed at being.

  4. Anonymiss says:

    I loved GA. I wished that more people actually watched it ;_;
    If the subs were actually released on time, I’m sure that more people would’ve watched it.

    GA = <333
    & Hatsukoi limited was another that I thought was a bit underrated. It was just.. perfect. /corn

    • fangzhao says:

      Yeah, GA’s subs were really sporadic.

      Plus chartfag’s summary of GA made it look so ordinary and boring a show that I was immediately repulsed. Only after I read about it in another blog post did I pick it up, and I’m glad I did.

      Hatsukoi Limited was pretty underrated, but almost nobody watched GA due to slow subs and almost nobody watched Eve no Jikan due to slow releases!

  5. BlackSun88 says:

    im glad that clannad make it to ur top anime list and i couldnt agree more on it. i guess the write had no choice but to give a “miracle” ending. i dont think it is possible to give a better ending huh?

    • fangzhao says:

      I wanted a tragic ending, though we all know there’s no way that could’ve happened. It’s still going to take a while before a true romance/tragedy comes in anime form.

  6. Razleplasm says:

    FMA:Brotherhoods comic relief saddens me. Why is it so hard to ask for an anime that is exactly like the manga? 😐

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