Looking back at the past six months, it’s definitely been an interesting Spring and Summer Season. There weren’t any instant-classics, but still a number of outstanding series. But what I especially like about this season is the huge amount of consistently good series: a lot of series delivered, and a huge share of them did so consistently with nearly every episode.
As for this month, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much trouble picking my monthly number one. While I’m pretty sure about my favourites of the past season at this point, this month showed so many series surpassing themselves in an awesome finale that I really had to take those into account as well. Seriously, all of my top-4 series this month are number-one material, which made choosing the order between them really difficult.
In any case, a sensational month: there were hardly any series that disappointed. With two or three exceptions, every series I watched this month delivered in one way or the other, even though I watched much more anime at the same time than that I usually do!
#29 (29) – Saki – (6,5/10) – The last month was by far my least favourite part of this series, everything was cliché and predictable and I was just hoping for it to finally end, my suspense of disbelief has been completely broken at this point.
#28 (30) – Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei – (7,25/10) – Thankfully this wasn’t the worst month for this series, and I have to admit that the caveman part was pretty funny. Overall though, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei stopped being funny for me a long time ago, and the third season just took too little risks in order to change this.
#27 (28) – Chi’s New Address – (7,5/10) – Granted, as dull as the series was, the finale did was nice enough. It was a bit cheesy, but nevertheless a good idea executed reasonably well. Apart from the ending itself though. Way too melodramatic and overacted.
#26 (24) – Bakemonogatari – (7,5/10) – Episode 12 finally came and properly animated the characters, instead of focusing on just about everything that wasn’t relevant. However, in exchange we also had to sit through the Snake-arc, which was probably the weakest of the entire series…
#25 (26) – Needless – (7,5/10) – The problem with Needless is that it spends too much time talking. Sure there is the obvious fanservice which often reaches the points of abysmal, but this is supposed to be an action series. Too often we see people in the middle of dull exposition about their next strategy. First of all, these dialogues are so mind-numbingly boring that they instantly freeze all opponents that are in the neighbourhood (no, seriously), and second of all these strategies are often so incredibly stupid that it takes a complete idiot to fall for them. But (and this is a big but) occasionally episodes arrive with a truly awesome animation direction (episode 13 for example). These sorts of episodes are awesome to watch and remind me why I still haven’t dropped this bloody show.
#24 (18) – Taishou Yakyuu Musume – (7,75/10) – Well, it was a nice finale. Nothing you wouldn’t expect, but it’s been good, clean fun with this series.
#23 (25) – Hetalia Axis Powers – (8/10) – Nice month for Hetalia. Finally another classic episode appeared with the Christmas episode. This series really is at its best when it pokes fun at cultural differences.
#22 (21) – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya – (8/10) – The two final episodes of Sigh really made up for the rather boring first three episodes. Episode four made a very good point, while episode five was just enjoyable to watch. All that’s left now is to wait or season three.
#21 (15) – Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou – (8/10) – It was a nice finale. It didn’t sacrifice the chemistry between the characters for the sake of building up to that dramatic climax, and the humour was at its best during the final month. I especially liked that brother: he’s a very refreshing only-male-in-moe-show.
#20 (27) – 07-Ghost – (8,25/10) – An exciting finale, because Ayanami for once actually DID something. It’s a shame, he really would have been an awesome villain if the creators actually used him better. Still, a great finish for a rather flawed series.
#19 (19) – Canaan – (8,25/10) – The final episodes of Canaan kicked ass. While Alphard’s end may have been a bit out of character, it definitely redeemed itself as a good action-show, with the cast turning out strong enough to make it more than just a show with pretty pictures.
#18 (22) – Basquash! – (8,25/10) – Great to see that this series is closing off with an enjoyable finale. Gorgeous production-values courtesy of Satelight thankfully didn’t make this series into a waste of time after the first eight episodes.
#17 (16) – Umi Monogatari – (8,25/10) – The finale was a really emotional one, and it worked pretty well. Especially the final episode worked great as an ending that had an emotional impact, yet stayed away from cheese. Definitely the best month for this series.
#16 (14) – Umineko no Naku Koro ni – (8,25/10) – The third arc promises to be even better than the first two. I love these series in which you have no idea what’s going on, and Umineko surely has no intentions to make trying to understand it a walk in the park. This month especially did well in portraying the hopelessness of trying to prove everything without magic. I’m really curious to see how the creators are planning to write themselves out of this one.
#15 (20) – Kuruneko – (8,25/10) – 2009 has really been an awesome year for short series with 5-minute episode. Kuruneko only gets wittier as time goes on and more cats come into the picture. There’s a lot of creativity put into this, despite its simplistic nature.
#14 (6) – Shangri-La – (8,5/10) – Not the best month for Shangri-la. I really liked it the best when it threw buckets of plot twists at the same time that made the setting even more intriguing. The finale instead was solid. Well-built up, although the ending itself was rather lazy. Nevertheless, it remains an excellent series for those who have a big suspense of disbelief.
#13 (7) – Cross Game – (8,5/10) – Really, the only thing about Cross Game that isn’t wonderfully consistent is the very small set of baseball matches that pop up once in a while. Aside from that, the slice of life is so delightfully enjoyable and witty. However, this month was a bit of a step back from previous months, simply because the creators have gotten a bit unsubtle with their hints that Kou and Aoba are into each other.
#12 (13) – Marie & Gali – (8,75/10) – I’m still amazed at how incredibly consistent this series is. Every single episode manages to be absolutely hilarious in the way that it takes simple scientific concepts and drives them to the absurd. It’s a series with an awesome sense of humour and a pool of creativity that still seems nowhere near exhausted at this point. Definitely my favourite comedy during the past half year.
#11 (2) – Kemono no Souja Erin – (8,75/10) – This series just keeps exploring its own borders, doesn’t it? This month may have been a bit of a step down from the previous one, but nevertheless that birth-scene was very impressive, and you can see that it’s still building up.
#10 (11) – Pandora Hearts – (8,75/10)
Pandora ended with an anime-original ending, but that didn’t prevent it from being really good. The story made sense in canon, it closed off with a bang and yet left enough open for a potential second season. It perhaps wasn’t the most intense month for this series, but it was all-around enjoyable, and I really hope for that second season to come.
#9 (4) – Aoi Hana – (8,75/10)
Aoi Hana closed off with a “life goes on”-finale, which was a perfect way to close off the series. It’s a shame that the Noise-timeslot disappeared, because its series have really been consistently awesome in what they did. Here’s to hoping that it’ll return for the Winter-season.
#8 (9) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (8,75/10)
Excellent month for Full Metal Alchemist. The action was very creative and well-written, and on top of that the plot twists just kept coming here. This has really turned into a no-nonsense series, which is so completely different in atmosphere compared to the first series.
#7 (8) – GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class – (8,75/10)
This month yet again was a very consistent one for GA: it was consistently enjoyable, creative, unpredictable and fun to watch. It definitely stands out as one of the under-watched gems of the Summer Season.
#6 (5) – Spice and Wolf – (9/10)
Spice and Wolf closed off with a very strong finale, which really pushed the characters in a new direction. It’s been a series with drama that combines subtlety with conflict, and it really managed to surpass the first season for me.
#5 (10) – Guin Saga – (9/10)
An excellent finale for a series that has been so under-looked for the past season. The politics and action meshed really well, and just about everything developed. Now where the hell is that second season?
#4 (3) – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – (9/10)
The finale was very daring, and completely different from the relatively action-packed first half. Ultimately though, it gave a whole new dimension to this series and it closed off this series with a heart-wrenching finale. This is Noitamina at its finest.
#3 (1) – Phantom – (9/10)
Yeah, so what? I like endings with a twist and it’s not like that ending didn’t fit in the series. Phantom closed off with an excellent ending in my opinion. The finale did provide closure for the entire series, and yet it never abandoned the subtle storytelling that made the rest of the series into my favourite of the past half year. The final twist is definitely controversial one, but I liked it. It perfectly fitted the whole themes of the series.
#2 (17) – Konnichiwa Anne – (9/10)
And this is why I love the World Masterpiece Theatre. This series managed to pick itself back up magnificently this month, with a number of heart-wrenching episodes and a massive amount of character-development. These are things that absolutely no girl of Anne’s age has to go through.
#1 (12) – Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen! – (9/10)
That finale was FUCKING EPIC! It knew exactly what it was: action and plot twists, and boy how it delivered on them. This exceeded all of my expectations and you know what, it had the best ending of the season. Now THIS is exactly what an action-series should be! It’s indeed a bit of a strange Top-2 I have this month, but I really wanted to reward these two series who have massively improved themselves since last month, compared to the more consistent #3, #4 and #5, even if I consider those three far superior when looking at their overall picture.