Best in Anime 2008 – Part 0: Introduction and the Anti-Awards

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It’s finally time for me to write up my favorites and top picks in anime for 2008. Between waiting for some series to finish, wanting to marathon a couple of missed series, and catching the new season of anime – I didn’t have the room in my writing time to do this until now. I also wanted to be comprehensive then my seasonal awards and my previous yearly top picks and was successful on that front.

This time before I get to my awards, I wanted to mention what shows I watched this year. It’s these series that will be up for the awards; if a series isn’t on this list, I either dropped it very early or didn’t watch it (for various reasons) and thus you won’t see it mentioned. For the shows that either started in 2007, will continue into 2009, or have a slower sub release schedule, I have marked the episodes watched in 2008.

Some shows like X’amd and Michiko to Hatchin would do poorly in my top 10 ranking because too much of the story is still unrevealed; therefore, I’m shifting their consideration in the ranking to next year.

Winter Season

Bamboo Blade eps. 13-26
Clannad
Shana 2 eps. 13-24
Minami-ke Okawari
Hayate eps. 40-52
Shigofumi
Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Spring Season

Kaiba
Soul Eater eps. 1-36
Maid Guy
Library War
Wagaya no Oinari-sama
Nabari no Ou eps. 1-17(want to finish but haven’t felt like it)
The Daughter of Twenty Faces eps. 1-20
Kure-nai
Zettai Karen Children eps. 1-14 (can’t bring myself to continue)

Summer Season

Zero’s Familiar S.3
Birdy the Mighty Decode
Ryoko’s Case Files
Natsume Yuujinchou
Someday’s Dreamers Season 2
X’amd eps. 1-20


Fall Season

Mouryou no Hako eps. 1-6
Michiko to Hatchin eps. 1-10
Skip Beat eps. 1-12
Yozakura Quartet
Earl and Fairy
Toradora eps. 1-13
Chaos Head
Kemeko DX
Ga-rei Zero
Shikabane Hime: Aka
Kurozuka
Clannad Season 2eps. 1-12
Index eps. 1-13
Kannagi

Now it’s time for the Anti-Awards. These are awards that the winners probably wouldn’t like winning and instead of spreading them out in the various parts, I’m going to put them here. Also, the awards will have a higher level of spoilers thenI normally use but I will still try to keep them to minimum.

Best Half and Half

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Winner: Shana 2

The first half of Shana 2 was atrocious. Sometimes I can’t believe that I got through it. If I hadn’t liked Rie Kugimiya as Shana and known how good the show could be, I probably wouldn’t have stuck around for the second half. I did though and a funny thing happened – the show got good, very good. At first my sister and I thought we were hallucinating when we starting thinking to ourselves – I can’t wait for the next episode. So for going from zero to hero, this show deserves the best half and half award.

Worst Half and Half

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Winner: Daughter of 20 Faces

On the other hand, Daughter of 20 Faces started out very good. As a Lupin fan, I enjoyed the set-up of the show and eagerly awaited the next episode to see the further adventures of 20 Faces. Roughly a third of the way in, something happened that radically altered the show and it became a very different. I hoped this would pave the way for an even better show but by the halfway point, it became apparent that the creators where just coasting. The show just slowly lost more and more steam and so it earns the worst half and half award.

Most Disappointing Ending

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Winner: Kure-nai

Kure-nai was an excellent show with many interesting characters and it quickly became one of my favorites from the spring season. Muraski’s freedom from her deranged family was obviously what the climax was going to center around so I won’t complain too much about how the characters suddenly had to act really dumb to allow Muraski’s family to recapture her. The problem, instead, was how it was resolved. Muraski’s family ascribed to very old traditions and they dictated that Muraski had to live in the Inner Sanctuary, away from everybody and all modern conviences, and had to marry her older brother. Our hero Shinkurou goes in and beats the family within an inch of death and should be able to get them to agree to freeing Muraski but instead Muraski convinces Shinkurou that she will work within the family to loosen the family’s restrictions and they leave her with the family. You don’t leave a kid in a pit of vipers, even if the kid is intelligent. So for totally screwing up the obvious ending and giving us a very bad ending, Kure-nai has the most disappointing ending of the year.

Most in Need of Being Longer

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Winner: Library War

This isn’t a horribly bad award to get but I wanted to recognize that even though this was a very fun show, full of awesome moments, it was still hurt by being too short of a series. This could have easily been a 24 episode series. One obvious improvement this would have caused was the various side characters could have been fleshed out further. As it stands, their full depth of character is merely teased to us. Another improvement would have been additional time for a more rigorous anti-censorship message. From what I heard about the source material, much of this was stripped out of the anime due to time restraints.

The Your-Doing-It-Wrong Award

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Winner:Minami-ke: Okawari

The second season of Minami-Ke earns the Your-Doing-It-Wrong Award not because the animation couldn’t match the first season but because they messed with the formula that made the first season so funny. As a person that has 5 younger siblings, I know something about how siblings interact and the first season of Minami-Ke nailed it perfectly. The second season monkeyed with this and in several episodes the three sisters where just plain mean to each other and it felt wrong and out-of-character. Then there was the decision to not show the Minami brothers for the entire second season. Another failure was the introduction of the boy that moves in next door. They spent a lot of time on this one character to the detrement of the show. He’s not funny nor does he generate laughs with his presence – bad in a comedy. He’s dweeby and nothing is done to make us like him; whenever he was on screen, I deeply wished someone would just punch him. I would even sometimes imagine a scene where Shinji from Evangelion would just show up one day and roundhouse this kid because Shinji couldn’t stand the kid either.

And on that note, let’s end part 0 and tomorrow I’ll put up part 1, the character awards.

Read Part 1 – Character Awards here.

Read Part 2 – Cast and Assorted Awards here.

Read Part 3 – Genre Awards here.

Read Part 4 – Music, Voice, and Animation Awards here.

Read Part 5 – Memorable Moments and Favorite Episodes here.

Read Part 6 – Top 10 Anime of 2008: #10 – #6 here.

Read Part 7 – Top 10 Anime of 2008: #5 – #1 here.

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4 thoughts on “Best in Anime 2008 – Part 0: Introduction and the Anti-Awards”

  1. You’ve pretty much matched my own sentiments on 20 Faces, Kure-nai, and Minami-ke.

    Wait… you didn’t watch Geass?! Or Macross?! I’m flabbergasted. I’m sure they would’ve generated 3-4 more categories in this section alone. Example: R2 was the polar opposite of Kure-nai – retarded show with obnoxious characters, but a nearly redemptive ending.

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  2. Yeah, I didn’t watch either Geass or Macross.

    I never got to the first season of Geass and I wasn’t going to try to watch the second season without seeing the first season first. For Macross, I thought I needed to be familiar with the previous series and skipped it as well.

    I was told that I didn’t need to be familiar with the Macross franchise to watch this series so it’s currently on my backlog. And I might get to Geass someday but I’m now 2 series behind, maybe if I enjoy Sunrise’s latest – The Girl who Leapt Through Space – it’ll motivate me to go back and watch Geass.

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  3. I have not seen most of the shows on this anti-awards list, but the ending of Kure-nai was somewhat disappointing. However, one can say that rather than running away, Murasaki is facing the problem and will try to change system from within. The question is how successful this attempt will be…

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