Thanks for putting up with this “Best of 2005” feature. Today’s the last day, and we conclude with my personal favorite series from 2005. 2005 was a year with a good crop of entertaining anime, but it also had a disturbing amount of sequels (Mai Otome, Gunparade Orchestra, COTSIII, A’s). While some (Traumend, TSR) kept up the quality, others were just made to milk money from the fanboys (To Heart 2, GSD). 2006 looks to continue the trend as sequels to ああっ女神さまっ, Hellsing, and Amaenaideyo (um, why did this get more episodes?) are already announced.
2005 also had a fair number of book adaptations (Iriya, Shana) as the light novel becomes more popular in Japan. I remember the author to Tsunami Channel ranting about how it was more cost effective to read a light novel than Shounen Jump, and I’m kinda delighted to see some novels (Vampire Hunter D, Gundam Seed) making it to the US because it increases the chance that I may actually read the original Crest of the Stars books someday.
And, as you can probably tell from how the awards were skewed, I haven’t had the chance to watch a few series others are high on, such as Mushishi, Suzuka, and Zettai Shonen. Oh, well, I still have Uta Kata and that damn Rahxephon movie DVD sitting in my “to watch” pile.
Okay, enough ranting, let’s do this…
Most Pleasant Surprise of 2005
Runner-Up: Honey and Clover, shoujo with crossover appeal.
Winner: Iriya no Sora
Wasn’t expecting much, especially from a small studio… but… wow. Good storytelling, fluid pacing, ample fanservice, and completely unexpected. Iriya with a submachine is the cute.
Best Comedy Series of 2005
Runner-Up: Dokuro-chan… started strong and faded, sadly.
Winner: Pani Poni Dash
I originally wanted to give best comedy to Gundam Seed Destiny, but… nah. Becky rules. Maho forever. The cast is huge, but once you get over that, they are the quirkiest and funniest school cast since Azumanga. Of course, this series is not for everyone as people who don’t watch a lot of anime may feel lost with all the homages and parodies. Still, nothing beats having an eleven year old genius teacher who dresses up in a different outfit each episode and hides behind the drapes.
Best Action/Drama Series of 2005
Runner-Up: Jigoku Shoujo… “Law and Order, Loli Demon Revenge Unit.”
A sequel (err… trilogy) that lives up to its hefty billing. Tess? Chidori? Twincest? Squirrel pr0n? Sagara kicking ass? Can’t miss, and Kyoto Animation didn’t. Now if we can only get that Dancing Christmas novel animated.
Best Harem Series of 2005
Runner-Up: Mahoraba… the episode with the cats was just beyond cute.
I’m a sucker for Belldandy. I find it amazing the number of people who complain that this series is too slow… really? Any real Belldandy fan would tell you that it’s too fast compared to the manga, after all, it’s been seventeen years, and K1 and Bell still haven’t gotten anywhere. Yes, I’m still livid at the fact they put Rind in this… ten years too early!
Best Series of 2005
Runner-Up: Shakugan no Shana… earned its melon bread.
‘Nuff said. If you only watched one anime series in 2005, I hope it was Kamichu. See you in 2006.