Time for my 2007 anime awards. I felt 2007 was a fairly strong year for anime – though not being a devoted fan for years and years it’s really hard to gauge this. These awards will go to series I have actually watched and (mostly) finished so some series I meant to watch like Hidamari Sketch / Code Geass and ones I meant to finish like Seto no Hanayome / Higurashi 2 won’t be showing up on my countdown. The write ups may contain spoilers so read at your own risk.
First up is my top 10 list starting at 10:
(10). Seirei no Moribito
Production I.G’s Seirei no Moribito was not one of the surprise great shows this year. I still equate Production I.G. with GiTS:SAC so when I saw the artwork and previews I knew I’d like this show. It turned out I did like this show alot but I felt that something was missing – I couldn’t articulate what but somehow it wasn’t quite running on all cylinders. I kept up with the series but when I got a new episode it never leaped forward in the queue – when I got to it, I got to it. This changed around episode 21 when Balsa talked of Jiguro and her past to Chagum, suddenly this anime went from good to great and I started wishing for the next episode. With a strong finish, gorgeous animation, great characters, and not having a gimmicky feel, this show makes it into my top ten where it deserves to be.
(9). Sketchbook ~full color’S~
While Sketchbook ran entirely in 2007, I haven’t been able to watch the final 3 episodes and therefore I dropped Sketchbook a couple of spots since I don’t know how it ends. I know endings are not as important to slice-of-life shows but shows like Kino’s Journey were able to give a small sense of closure at least for the series. And like other slice-of-life shows, it’s very difficult to explain why this show rocks – try explaining why an episode that was almost entirely about the main character walking to school as riveting and your sure to draw confused looks. If you haven’t had the chance to catch this series, you really need too.
(8). Hayate no Gotoku
Sometimes people can take an anime for granted and I think this has happened with Hayate. After 20 or 30+ episodes it can be easy to forget why you’ve spent the better part of a year watching an anime and in Hayate’s case I needed the extra long break that occurred in December between subbed episodes to remember why I love this show. (If anyone that works on the subs for Hayate reads this – thanks for your continued effort.) Sure there are some that want a more structured show but I revel in the sheer randomness of the humor. A single episode might revolve around an anime reference, a parody, relationship humor, rich girl doing normal things, or something totally off the wall but more then likely it’ll cover many and leave you laughing a minimum of a few times every episode. Throw in the core interplay between Hayate and Nagi and your left with a great comedy that is well worth your time.
J.C. Staff’s summer anime might be the second most surprising show to make it on my top 10 (only surpassed by my number 1 pick) since the massively cute moe-blobs seem to kill any chance for this anime to be great but for viewers that decided to actually watch the first episode, we were treated to one of the quirkiest, funny shows of the year. What really drove home how great this show was a little scene towards the beginning of the show when the little bird started eating a piece of chicken – it took a second for the near cannibalistic behavior to sink in but I had to pause the show so I could laugh. J.C. Staff should stick to shows like this since the top quality production values that are being wasted in Zero’s Familiar and much of Shana 2 go to good use here. Gradient hair, a catchy OP/ED, and Guchuko combine with a heartwarming slice-of-life/juvenile physical humor tale to create one of the best shows of the year.
(6). Manabi Straight
This gem of a show like the previous one had a lot of people fooled before it aired but, luckily, I decided to watch due to the the seiyuu cast. This show followed the efforts of Manami and co. to plan, organize, then save the yearly school festival. As a person that spent high school trying to disappear into the crowds and not be noticed, I was initially shocked how much this show affected me. When Manami sung the old school song, it brought tears to my eyes; when the new school song was introduced I was incensed; when the superintendent made them have to get 70% of the student population to sign the petition I was livid; and when they got 76% of the students to sign I actually cheered out loud. I like shows that make me laugh and cry and feel other feelings and this show definitely did. If you missed this show because of some preconceived notions, do yourself a favor and catch a couple of episodes.