Please do note that I watch only a handful of shows every season, because I’m not someone who’ll eat up every single shit Japan produces for otakus. (And I have life away from the PC.) So shows that made quite a fuzz this year that I haven’t seen (yet, but might pick up sometime), unfortunately won’t be able to included in my assessment. Therefore NO Cross Game, Natsume Yuujinchou, Kemono no Souja Erin, Book of Bantorra, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, Needless, Saki and sequels I have yet to see: Spice and Wolf II and Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Also, there are anime that I avoided to watch because I’m already reading the manga: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Kimi ni Todoke, Hajime no Ippo New Challenger, Fairy Tail. Shows that will be included in this post and the Top 10 post are only those that STARTED within 2009.
Runner-ups: Basquash, Rideback
Four girls eating cake and drinking tea during class breaks and after school meetings. Mix in some cutesy humor, then what’s not to like? Apparently, however, this anime should be about music. While K-ON! was pretty entertaining through most of the episodes, its appeal only last much like how short Yui’s attention span is. Still good if you want a good laugh or two.
9. Higashi no Eden
Could have been show of the year if not for the boring, horribadly-paced middle episodes. I honestly think that Eden has the best first episode of the year, has a great soundtrack, beautiful animation, and interesting premise. The last episode was superb, although the fact that the whole series would rely to the upcoming two Eden movies is sorta disappointing. Noblese oblige? Meh.
8. Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom
I think Phantom is one of the most underrated shows of the year. The pacing is slow but the plot is outstanding, especially seeing how the main characters grow as assassins, err, humans. The music fits well, too, and makes up for the subpar Bee Train animation. DO NOTE though, that this is the only anime in my top 10 that I haven’t finished watching so it might have got up in higher place in my rankings.
7. Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini
Chinese Electric Batman is one of the coolest anime protagonist on the recent years. However, this season, Hei was toned downed into a Chinese Hobo. The central plot is okay, but BONES throw everything at the last episode that it leaves a complete mess and kept fans into wild speculation. Though that is not entirely a bad thing, DtB 2 could have been better. And we all know the season one was superb despite the ending.
6. Sengoku BASARA
PUT YA GUNS ON! I haven’t played the game but I enjoyed the series by itself. Obviously, the series never tried to be serious or deep or anything. Straight-forward hot-blooded action (and sometimes hints of homolust) is the game of the warriors of the Sengoku era. That’s everything to it; and if you’ll look for more, you’ll be disappointed.
Canaan manages to be enjoyable despite being quite different from the TYPEMOON-Nasuverse. (Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, Kara no Kyoukai) The whole terrorist agenda is gripping, although the execution is flawed in some parts. While the action is basically the strongest point of the series, the cheesy inserted drama usually kills the mood. The main character didn’t make an astounding mark, but the crazy, psychotic, sister-loving lesbian Chinese bitch makes up for it.
4. Aoi Bungaku
Consisting of different story arcs that based on classic Japanese literary pieces, Aoi Bungaku is a unique gem placed amongst the moe and shounen anime that flourished during the year. Beautifully animated and spine-chilling soundtrack, the only huge flaw that I see is the unequal level of attention given to the different stories. This resulted to having arcs that become near masterpieces and arcs that are somewhat dull.
Simply the most controversial anime of the year. It’s popularity made it one of the highest selling anime (DVDs) in recent years and made such a huge fanbase. However, there are still lots of anime ‘critics’ who bashed Bakemonogatari for having such reputation despite the lazy slide-show animation, non-existent plot, and the whole supernatural thing being just a harem in disguise. I, however, enjoyed but not as much as to claim it a masterpiece. I especially liked the ‘senseless’ conversations.
2. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
When a certain place is hit by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, surely hearts will weep. What strikes most of TM8.0 is the realism the anime projects. While there are depictions here that are quite implausible, everything that was on the anime could happen in real world situations, especially the human interaction shown. There are a few inconsistencies with BONES art and animation, but those are almost unnoticeable.
Anime of the year because it looks different? Not really. I know that artsy type of anime existed and had already been done many times and in different ways. And Kuuchuu Burako (or Trapeze, as it is more commonly known) is the one that shines among the lacklustre that is the year 2009. The episodic nature of Trapeze was enjoyable; and while it has a lot of symbolism that was obviously psychology-related, I think it never tried to be too deep. Irabu Ichiro is a great character, the soundtrack is good, and of course the art is remarkable. Also, Yumi Sugimoto (as Mayumi in 3D, yes, a real person in an anime show) is one of the best things that ever happened in anime. There, I said it.
As I write this, there are still some 2009 anime sitting on my HD, waiting to be watched. So obviously, I may have overlooked a lot of series. But I am just a normal person who has a normal life, so this list has serve its purpose to show anime that I, YES I, have enjoyed.
Oh, and another note. I am disappointed that I forgot to include a truly awesome OVA on my last post. Althought Denpa Teki is fine, I do think Eve no Jikan deserves as the best OVA of 2009. I’ll make a separate post for that later to make up for my mistake.