Okay, it’s time to list my favourites of 2006. My 2006 Summary is going to be a bit different from my usual montly summaries, seeing as it just consists out of a bunch of awards and one top-10. Still, seeing as it’s been a very good year this time, I’ve got lots of awards, and I had a really tough time deciding for some. Here’s hoping that 2007 will be even better. To those who already are in 2007: Happy New Year! For those (like me) who still need a few hours to go: Happy New Year In Advance!
Funniest Anime: The Law of Ueki
The series, entirely devoted to comedy like Muteki Kanbanmusume and Magikano may have been hilarious, none cracked me up like Ueki did. It’s hilarious cast of characters combined with their special powers just cracked me up majorly during some of the better fights in the series. Special credit goes to the guy with the sewing-talent and the badass punk guy who could change his sacred treasures into cute and fluffy animals. ^_^
Most Pleasant Surprise: Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror
After the first episode, I expected NOTHING of this show. Just another dull anime about medieval Japan in which some bloody things happened. Then the second episode came. Boy, did it blow me away with all its brutal killings, murders and people going crazy. And if I even knew at that time how amazing the third arc ended up to be.
Best Music: .Hack//Roots
I actually had a tough time choosing between .Hack//Roots, Noein and Night Head Genesis. Night Head Genesis has some brilliant atmospheric music, while Noein just blasts out of the speakers at times, while at other times it produced some extremely sad tunes. Still, in the end, I dediced to go with .Hack//Roots, seeing as the ALU Project really knew what they were doing. The music also was one of the reasons the final few episodes turned good again.
Best Not Really a 2006-Anime: Popolocrois 1998 and 2003
Yeah, even though these anime never really appeared in 2006, only now they started to get subbed. Still, that doesn’t means that I don’t love both series. The 1998 series had some incredibly funny moments and action scenes, while 2003 especially turned awesome with its second half. Both series have some great characters and character developments. At this point, I can’t choose which one of these is the better. I’ll do that as soon as the entire series have been subbed. I hope that happens fast, as there haven’t been any subs appearing at all lately.
Best Old Anime I Happened To See This Year: Revolutionary Girl Utena
I blogged this series, even though it aired eight years ago, for a reason. It’s got some of the best character development and studies ever, and especially the latest episodes were insanely good. Honorable Mention: Hi no Tori.
Best Thought-Provoking Anime: Ergo Proxy
There’s some heavy contending with Mushishi here. While Mushishi asks questions about life itself, and how to spend it, Ergo Proxy keeps toying with the minds of its viewers over and over again with some very interesting cases. While the later part of the anime may have become a bit stale, the first two thirds were excellent in this.
Best-Looking Graphics: Noein
There’ve been some anime with interesting graphical approaches in the past year. Kenomonozume, with its messy art, for example, or Good Witch of the West with its beautiful approach to both character designs and backgrounds, or xxxHolic, with its rather simple character designs, which in the end did turn out great. Still, none of them managed to beat Noein. Its great blend of CG and messy character designs immediately had me captured from its first episode.
Best Drama: Mushishi
This was a very tough choice between Simoun, Mushishi and Asatte no Houkou. Still, in the end, I went with Mushishi, seeing as most of its stories truly are unrivalled. The extremely serious approach to the stories, some of which are hopeless cases, while others can be cured, though each of them affect the lives of the people involved tremendously.
Cutest Anime: Otogi Juushi Akazukin
Seriously, the characters turned out so incredibly CUTE. This goes for both the male and the female ones. Akazukin, Shirayuki, Ibara, and the others just have the greatest character designs, while the males, like Souta, Hansel and especially Baru are extremely cute in their behaviours. Especially Baru has to have it hard, being surrounded by people such as Shirayuki and Ringo. ^_^
Best RPG-adaptation: Tales of Phantasia
I have no idea what people have against RPG-based anime. Okay, Final Fantasy Unlimited may have been garbage, and Star Ocean EX’s final episodes may have been the king and queen of Deus ex Machina, but when it’s done right, it really works. Just look at Popolocrois, Ragnarok the Animation and Makai Senki Disgaea. In any case, the best one in this year definitely came from Tales of Phantasia. It’s a great four-episode OVA adaptation of the game, Especially Arche, Klarth and Suzu were awesome. :)
The this-anime-seems-to-have-gone-up-in-smoke-award: Hime-Sama Goyoujin
Remember this one? It only got one episode subbed, and that’s all. After that, nobody talked about it, or said anything about it. It’s a shame, seeing as the first episode was rather funny. It actually was a tough choice, along with Shoujo Chang Geum no Yume, though the latter managed to save itself from this award when its second episode got subbed. Still, I liked both series, and hope to see more of them.
Biggest Disappointment: Ouran High School Host Club
It’s a shame. It started out so good and funny, though because it kept milking the same jokes over and over, it sort of ruined itself. It’s a pity, as it really had a great concept. I almost wanted to put Haruhi Suzumiya here, seeing as it went from an excellent first episode to just a mediocre show, till I dropped it at episode 4, though I feel that because I only beared the first few episodes, I had no way of knowing whether the later episodes would turn out good or not. Not that I expect them to, or something.
Top 10 Anime 2006
Okay, these are my favourite series of 2006. This definitely has been a great year for anime. :)
When it comes to Watanuki’s antics, no one can beat him. He’s been a great character through the course of the show. The situations he was thrown at, the decisions he made, his annoyances at both Yuuko, Domeki and Mokona turned this into a great series. The cases of each week also were extremely interesting to see. From a woman who lost herself over her internet-obsession to a pipe fox who eats evil spirits.
#9: Saiunkoku Monogatari
When it comes to strong female characters, Shuurei definitely has to be mentioned. I love how much thought has been put into this series to provide a nice political drama about a woman, rising into a male-dominated society. The antics of the different side-characters also helped this series a lot. I really hope to see more of this in 2007.
#8: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Okay, it may have had it’s bad moments. The animation when characters went berserk did look fake, and the fifth arc was a hell to get through. But when this series turned good, it really turned GOOD. It successfully managed to combine horror, touching characters and a plot full of mysteries, mysteries and even more mysteries. I’m a fan of all three of these parts, so that means that I really enjoyed this anime.
#7: Eureka 7
A surprise hit for me, seeing as it only started getting good after ten episodes. Still, after that point, this series turned out extremely touching, and even more disturbing. The final episodes also turned this show also into one of the few anime that made me cry about its characters.
#6: Otogi Juushi Akazukin
I’m surprised to see such lack of interest about this show, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love this one. I really love well-executed fantasy-stories, cute character and a good dose of mystery, and that’s exactly what this show has to offer. Each of the characters are a joy to see, and I really look forward to each week’s instalment.
We now turn to the anime that made a huge impression on me this year. The first one being Mushishi. Nothing much happened during the episodes, there wasn’t any action of some sort. But the stories, holy god, the stories. Whether sad or happy, they blew me away, especially the better ones.
Simoun created a large cast of amazing characters for its setting. Through the course of the anime, we got to know them, love them, hate them and feel along with them. That resulted in some truly magnificent scenes. The ending, although unorthodox, was a great way to end this series.
#3: The Third
Ah, Honoka. What an amazing character you’ve been. You definitely were the best female character of 2006. When you combine that with some other absolutely great characters, great action scenes and a great story, the result becomes amazing. When it still aired, I really loved this series.
The only negative thing I can say about Noein was that the subs were coming out rather slow. Apart from that, it really has been one amazing ride, from start to finish. It’s huge number of plot twist, incredibly touching characters and amazing story turned this anime into one of the definite highlights of the past year.
#1: Mahou Shoujotai
Yes, I know that this technically isn’t a 2006-series, but seeing as its final two episodes got subbed January 1st, I do consider this as a part of 2006. Besides, this anime is too awesome to leave out of this list, seeing as it’s one of my favourite shows of all time. Too little people really know about this hidden gem, and it definitely needs more love than it’s getting right now.