Best of 2006

I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote on AMC.

Best TV Anime
1. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu: This could probably win on production values alone, but the show had that and more. The main Yuuutsu arc is what really made it for me. I loved the subtle sci-fi twist on the normal high-school setup. It was very interesting. A lot of the side stories where nice, nothing ground breaking, but well done. The entirety of the cast was extremely loveable, especially Mikuru.
2. Black Lagoon: Very well produced, and brilliantly executed show. All the different stories are mostly entertaining, and the cast is fun. The direction is appropriately over the top and fast, though I think the music choices for certain scenes are a bit uninspired. Also, I felt the first season kind of cut corners with the action just a smidge, but the second season is making up for that.
3. NHK ni Youkoso: Each episode is very entertaining, though some are a bit watered down. The directorial work in this show was above average on the whole, with some episodes really standing out, especially the later ones. This would be rated higher if it managed to capture the energy of the manga better, and if the animation was consistently good. Overall though, I’ve really enjoyed it. Oh yeah, it’s got one hell of a soundtrack!
4. Ah! My Goddess Season 2: I’m not familiar with the manga at all, but what the anime provided me with always managed to cheer me up if I was feeling down. While most of it was extremly cheesy, I loved it because they inserted more heart into this season. There were a lot very cute moments, all of which made me go “awww.” God, I’m a sucker.
5. Chocotto Sister: I’ve been following this raw and loving every minute of it. While it is pretty much a straight adaptation, the voice work really brings it to life. Choco especially, Saito Momoko’s portrayal of her is so cute and full of heart. All the fanservice is really good too, especially when that nasty “Keep Out” tape is gone. This would be ranked higher if the animation was better.
6. Honey and Clover II: I mostly watched this for nostalgia value, but some of the fun stuff from the original was still there. Some of the arcs where very good, those being the ones centering around Mayama and the one about Morita. The Hagu arc started well, but kind of dragged on too much. In the end, the series bogged you down with too much drama that it became less enjoyable. The production values manage to bring it up a lot, though.
7. Karin: Probably the most enjoyable show of the year. Consistently cute and funny, never really taking itself too seriously. Also, the fanservice. God, Karin’s breasts were incredible. It’s not really “quality” though, which is why I ranked it pretty low.
8. IGPX: Best Japanese show made for American children, ever. This probably wins because of the execution alone. Who know racing robots would be so awesome? It helps that the animation was very good. The cast had some memorable characters, too.
9. Zero no Tsukaima: I really just watched this for fanservice and Siesta, which I understand are one in the same. It was pretty enjoyable. I liked it in the same way that I liked Karin, except less so.
10. Black Cat: First half was really good, second half not so much. The directing was especially interesting in this one; there were a lot of good shots which really took advantage of alternative color schemes and most of the battles where very well done. Animation was pretty good, too.

TV Anime Disappointments
1. Ouran High School Host Club: I thought this was going to be a parody on shoujo, then it turned INTO shoujo. Bleh.
2. Kasimasi: Started out funny, but turned into crap by the end. The special OVA episode didn’t help anything, either. I guess I should have expected this, given the premise. Though, had lots of fap material and spawned a very awesome ero-doujin my NiseMIDIdoronokai.
3. Fate/Stay Night: First half was good, second half was… pretty bleh. Fell on its face, sadly.
4. Coyote Ragtime Show: Should have been a movie, given the nature of the plot. You kind of lose that tension put on the by the time limit of Graceland exploding when the show is running for 12 weeks. It was really good when it had energy, but the slow middle section really dragged it down. The villain wasn’t especially interesting, either. On the plus side the main cast of characters were fun, and the animation was mostly good.
5. Blood+: First 30 or so episodes were real page turners, it’s just that they ran out of steam (and animation budget?) by the end. At least Saya was totally hot.
6. Zegapain: Had so much potential in the beginning with all the mysteries about, but once it answers those questions, there’s not much else interesting going on. The animation was also really bad at certain points. On the plus side, it had quite a good cast of characters and some decent fight scenes.
7. Death Note: Sometimes the director just misses the point, seriously. That and it’s a fairly boring blow by blow of the manga. It looks pretty, though.

Best OVA
Top Wo Nerae 2!: Hands down. Incredible animation, great characters and an over-the-top climax that nearly matched the original Top! OVA. Nono was very cute, too. I love Nono. I should also mention that the design work was real groovy. I loved the show’s look.

OVA Disappointments
GITS:SAC Solid State Society: Ok, not really an OVA, but it still fits. Kinda. The main problem with this one was the weak ending, especially considering how 2ndGig ended. Also, it mostly seemed like a copy of the original GITS film. One can only take “homage” so far. The animation was really good, though and seeing all of Section 9 in action is always a pleasure.
Dai Mahou Touge: Not so much bad, but the pacing is off. Has some real funny moments, though. The opening sequence is LOL, too.

Best Animation
1. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu: KyoAni’s attention to detail and effort really brought Suzumiya and the world she lives in to life. Everything in this show moves well and looks good.
1. Top wo Nerae 2!: Tied with Haruhi. Gainax’s four (?) years of work on this really show. The show is simply beautiful to watch. Digital animation at its best.
2. GITS:SAC Solid State Society: Typical GITS look with even more money behind it. Very nice to look at.
3. Honey and Clover II: Everything looked very good, though some episodes weren’t as fluid as others. Better looking than the the first season, though.
4. IGPX: Character animation is a little above average, but the races are truly a sight to behold. Beautiful.
5. Coyote Ragtime Show: Opening and ending episodes were very fluid, and the show on the whole looked very good save some episodes. The battles could have used some work.
6. Zero no Tsukaima: Got better treatment than I expected. Animation was very consistent. Made competent use of lighting effects and such. Overall it looked above average.
7. REC: Heh, totally forgot about this. Had a great look to it, very different.

Honorable Mention: Ouran High School Host Club: Though I hated the show and hated the artwork, the animation was always fluid and it made good use of lighting.

Best Opening/Ending
1. NHK ni Youkoso: I really love this opening. The color-scheme is very beautiful, and is complimented by creative “camera work” and RoundTable Feat. Nino’s PUZZLE. I like both of the endings, too. I kind of like the second ending more simply for its imagery.
2. Blood+: The third opening is incredible. I love the sketchy colored pencil look employed here, along by very fluid and life-like animation. A lot of good shots, too. And let’s not forget it’s all matched the fast and awesome “Colors of the Heart.”
3. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu: Opening and ending. The opening brings some new things to the table, and in general is very well done, especially that one sequence with Haruhi running past all the… stuff. I don’t think I need to talk about the merits of the ending.
4. Zegapain: Very unique. Has some of the coolest and smoothest imagery I’ve ever seen.
5. Negima!?: Has some great imagery, but I’m not sure if I like them using that certain portion of the song. I’ll give them points for being different, though.
6. Karin: emot-downs.gif

Best Female Character
Mikuru: Ok, maybe she’s not the best, but I love her.

Best Male Character
Kyon: He could totally be my best friend. Probably wouldn’t like me hitting on his sister, though.

New Shows That Hold the Most Promise
1. Negima!?: Has a hot budget behind it and hot director. Now all it needs is plot!
2. Code Geass: The opening hints at awesomeness to come, I can’t wait.
3. Ayakashi Ayashi: Once it gets its act together it could be very awesome.
4. Kanon: Well, yeah. Probably acted on most of its promise already, though. That and I already know the plot.