Another year passes. Man, it’s hard to believe I’m already in to my 9th year of being an otaku as well as my 4th year of blogging. Time sure flies. I’m now well over 1500 posts with nearly 16k comments, and it’s thanks to everyone’s support that I’ve gotten so far.
This year was marked by an increased number of good shows, but surprisingly, it wasn’t as “happening” as last year. To put it in another way, while the average increased, the top end of the bell curve wasn’t as high as last year. Nevertheless, this year still had its moments.
My choices here aren’t particularly graded using a strict measure, it’s more of an overall rating of shows of this year that I greatly enjoyed in one way or another, so please view it as that rather than a solid indicator of quality.
Of course, being a mere mortal with a real life outside of the Internet, I will inevitably miss a few gems here and there, so feel free to voice up any other shows that you, my dear reader, believe I should have watched and not missed for this year.
With that said, here’s the list.
14. Spice and Wolf
Mmm… economics animu. Well, actually calling “fox god animu” would suit it better because, seriously, everyone only watched it for the bundle of furriness that is Horo.
13. Lucky Star OVA
Kagamiku! Tsunderella! Cherry-dog! Christmas-cake Nanako! Kagamiku! Oh wait, already said that.
Anyways, the Lucky Star OVA was awesome because we all missed the cast of Lucky Star so badly, especially in this KeyAni-dominated year. Not to say that’s a bad thing but we all missed the light-heartedness. Here’s to hoping for another extension or a spiritual successor of the awesomeness that was Lucky Star.
Honestly, Noto-sama as a closet otaku ojou-sama? I’m sold.
11. Itazura na Kiss
The Nana Mizuki show of the year. Honestly after last year’s Tokyo Marble Chocolate, I realize Nana’s niche is the slightly naive yet earnest young adult women where she really can be her character. (I suspect it’s because she seems to draw it from her own experiences)
Itazura na Kiss was mainly enjoyable because of that and we even got a full season of Nana Mizuki from it. I realize a lot of people didn’t like the show’s pacing, but it was quite fine to me considering how they were putting in nearly 10 years of story in to 25 episodes.
10. Natsume Yuujinchou
Natsume Yuujinchou wasn’t really in my fielding range until someone IRL recommended it enthusiastically and I tried it out. Oh boy I sure got hooked on it. With tinges of Mushishi and a very likable cast (moe moe fox shouta!) I just couldn’t stop watching it. So glad to hear there’s a second season to it too, premiering next month.
GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC!
kurenai, characterized by the moe-moe bundle that is Murasaki and the tight writing and direction by Kou Matsuo, really deserves mention for this year. The ending was kinda unexpected, but it only served to enhance the “deep”-ness of the story.
7. Strike Witches
One of the surprises this year, I initially balked at the premise of SW’s no-pantsu flying mecha musume. I mean, for god’s sake, the fanservice is just so fucking blatant. Despite that, and to my own pride, I finally watched it in a batch once it was finished and I was so hooked I finished it in two sittings.
SW’s appeal, once you get over the lack of proper lower body wear, lies in the light-heartedness and optimism of the characters. Gonzo also managed to give equal exposure to every one in the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, and the pacing meant that the show wasn’t too “draggy” unlike the other mecha musume anime Sky Girls (still struggling to finish it). The infamous pantsu-stealing episode also nearly killed me from all the laughing I did.
So, despite my initial hatred of the series, it’s really surprising how things can change, and now SW’s in my Pick of 2008 list. Well, if you can’t win ’em, join ’em. :P
Gym-shorts Kyou! Killer violin Kotomi! Tomoyo
Raptor Kick! “Why can’t I call you onii-san, onii-san?” Mei! Sanae Rainbow Bread! Dictionary attack! Starfish girl! Nagisa x Ryou!
Yeah, I could probably go on and on, but suffice to say, CLANNAD was pretty damn enjoyable despite being the third KeyAni outing in the past 4 years.
Despite the illogical plot, despite all the mindfucking, despite all the copying from Evangelion, it’s undeniable that Code Geass R2 was the most entertaining show this year, singlehandedly. Being surprised after every mind-fucking episode and subsequently reading the reactions from other fans really drew out the worst from me. Never had I had so much fun with post titles, ha ha.
Despite all that, the ending was surprisingly epic and half redeemed the series for me. Lelouch BAWWWWWWW!!!! Still, I don’t think I can rewatch the series again if for the lack of Geass Sundays. That was practically 75% of the reason I persevered on till the end.
4. Ga Rei Zero
Can’t mention this year w/o talking about the yuri croquette that is Ga-Rei Zero. First, it rickrolled us all by presenting a totally unrelated cast for the promos and the first episode, only to kill ’em all by the end of it. Only then it went for the real deal, the untold past story of Kagura and Yomi from the original manga, justifying the “Zero” part of its name. It also gave me another reason to like Pocky, XD.
Ga-Rei Zero is also notable for the crazy inventory of weapons, ranging from the gun-katanas, an iron, a boiler and the bloody weaponized wheelchair. Oh and not to forget the bike-fu from Natsuki in episode 1 too. That was awesome.
Kannagi oh Kannagi. This quirky comedy show about a bunch of crazy shrine maidens by the much-talked about Yamamoto Yutaka sure delivered the laughs. The karaoke episode also made its mark on me. Oh god Takako made me shat bricks.
While the show was generally light-hearted, Kannagi veered in to serious “self-existential” drama for its final arc, proving Yamakan’s directing chops isn’t limited just making people laugh. This is one show I wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the future.
Ah, Macross Frontier, my first foray in to the world of Intergalactic Song Wars and Variable Fighters. The show started off a strong note, but really tapered down towards the end, ending with an non-ending kind of ending.
Despite that, the love triangle was still pretty epic towards the end, and the songs of the show are inevitably the best I’ve heard this year. The songs were the biggest redeeming factor for the show as things went rather downhill. God bless Yoko Kanno \o/. I still wish there was a solid ending though…
1. true tears
The only show this year that was so good that I made a rare and passionate opinion post about it. P.A. Works first independent work, it was initially expected to be another eroge adaptation, but quickly turned out to be something much more different.
true tears took everyone by surprise by the clean, crisp visuals, leading P.A. Works to be given the moniker of the second KyoAni. Director Junji Nishimura also kept the story and character development really engaging, coupled with how he kept everyone guessing about the final resolution until the very end, provided weeks of debates amongst fans as to who would end up with whom.
Movie of the year: Evangelion 1.01 You are (not) alone
It was technically released last year, but Evangelion 1.01 is more of a 2008 show for me since the DVD (which I proudly bought) came out this year and even made it in to local shores, which was a real surprise for me.
While many critized it for being another attempt by Gainax to cash in on the franchise, it’s undeniable the show has gotten a much needed facelift from it’s original 1995 incarnation. The action cinematography culminating in the sniping of Angel Ramiel was simply awesome.
Sure it might be another milking of the fans, but Anno Hideaki is delivering the goods here too. Looking forward to 2.0 in 2009. Asuka \o/!
And that wraps up my first 2008 in Review post. There’s another one coming up after this, where I’ll be talking about the other noteworthy things that happened this year.