Top Picks – Summer 2008 Anime, Part 1

Just like the spring season, now that the midpoint has been reached for this season – it’s time to recognize the outstanding shows of the season. I’ve kept the awards pretty much the same as before, trimming a few like best overall music since nothing new of this season really stood out for me and combining the best seiyuus into one category.

Best Female Character

Winner: Ryoko from Ryoko’s Case Files

Ryoko is a police investigator that seems to have an innate ability to attract supernatural cases to her. That’s okay though; she’s more than capable of handling herself and solving the mysteries. She’s also a loose cannon – highly reminiscent of what you’d imagine an adult Haruhi Suzimiya to be like. And like Haruhi, every moment she’s onscreen is a treat and thus she earns best female character

Best Male Character

Winner: Natsume from Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume has been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to see spirits. After his parents die at an early age and being shuffled around the family because he’s “weird”, he has ended up in a nice household of a distantly related aunt and uncle. He resolves not to be a bother to them and tries to live a normal life. This becomes much harder when he inherits his recently departed grandma’s stuff because among other things, it contains the “Book of Friends”. This book is full of spirits that have been subjugated by the grandma and many spirits want to get this book because of the power it wields and the spirits with names in it would like their names back. For his desire to not bother his aunt and uncle coupled with his respect for the dignity of the spirits and his desire to help them – he easily earns my choice of best male character.

Best Couple

Winner: Ryoko and Izumida from Ryoko’s Case Files

Izumida, assistant and gopher to Ryoko, so far seems to not be aware that Ryoko actually likes him.Granted, he didn’t have the chance to see Ryoko’s dream when she pictures herself as Catherine the Great – but the teasing she does with him should be a tip-off. Instead, he seems to be interested in the pair of French maids/spies that Ryoko has. However it plays out in the rest of the series, the chemistry between them is one of most compelling reasons to watch this show.

Best Cast of Characters

Winner: Somedays Dreamer’s Season 2

Xam’d: Lost Memories almost won this but on reflection I realized I liked the cast of Somedays Dreamer’s more. This might be a reflection of Xam’d having to spend a lot of time setting up the story and world whereas Somedays Dreamer’s can just focus on the characters. Each character feels distinct from the other and none of them feel redundant. The scenes that take place in school give all the characters the chance to shine as they try to become licensed magic users.

Best Ability/Power

Winner: Birdy’s ability to have two people share the same body

While I was tempted to pick Louise for her Void powers or even Saito’s supernatural ability to attract many woman while only being marginally cool, I went with a very handy ability if one is a little too over-the-top when it comes to fighting. That being Birdy’s ability to have a separate person reside within her brain (because she accidentally killed his body) and also being able to switch the body between her form and his.

Best Action

Winner: Xam’d:Lost Memories

This show has already had a few really nice action scenes and I expect many more in the future. I recently re-watched the first episode with my sister and when I asked how she liked it, the first thing she said was how she thought the quality of the action scenes where superior. I particularly like the fluidity of motion in Xam’d during the action scenes.

Best Seiyuu

Winner: Rie Kugimiya as Louise in Zero’s Familiar Season 3

After over 125 episodes, 1 movie, and assorted shorts of her voicing the tsundere-type character (Nagi from Hayate, Shana from Shana, and Louise from Zero’s Familiar), you’d think I would be tired of her but I’m not. So, while I like many of the performances this season by the various voice actors, nothing really stands out so Rie Kugimiya gets this award.

Best OP/ED

Winner: Xam’d:Lost Memories

What makes a good opening or closing? Liking the song, quality animation, and as a way to enhance the viewing of the episode by the viewer are all things that come to mind. For this season, the OP/ED for Xam’d: Lost Memories does the best at this. I’ve already mentioned that I really like the opening song but the closing song is no slouch either. Also, the animation for both does a good job of showcasing the characters and give you an idea of what to expect in the episode. And finally, the upbeat songs used are a great complement to the action and plot of the show. A very close runner-up for opening song was Somedays Dreamer’s “Fly Away” by Thyme.

Best Story

Winner: Xam’d:Lost Memories

From the word go, this show has felt epic and each episode has continued to back this feeling up. Be it the complicated political system of this world or the many different groups of people that all have different and probably conflicted motivations or characters that are literally thrown into whatever secret plots that are behind what’s going on – it all makes for being the show with the best story this season.

Best Animation

Winner: Xam’d:Lost Memories

Last season I cited Kaiba as having the best animation and looking back I still feel it had the best animation. There where so many moments that I thought to myself – wow – that it really deserved to named so (even if the style was a bit weird). For this season I briefly toyed with the idea of Somedays Dreamer’s as being the best but the lack of detail in the people at times and how the characters sometimes don’t look like they are interacting with the world made me discard that thought relatively quickly. Instead, with a mix of detailed backgrounds, fluid animation, appealing character designs – Xam’d: Lost Memories deserve to recognized as having the best animation.

Top Animation Studio

Studio Bones

For this award I looked at not only this season’s new shows but also what was still playing from previous seasons because I want to recognize the studio that is overall doing the best work. So for not only doing Xam’d but continuing to do Soul Eater and Daughter of 20 Faces, Studio Bones gets this award for a second straight time.

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One thought on “Top Picks – Summer 2008 Anime, Part 1”

  1. Xam’d looks like an interesting anime. They do employ monster of the episode scheme, but they do other things with the plot, so it is not that bad. Also I like the voices of the Captain and Nakiami.

    Like

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