best of 2006: last day, best anime series of 2006

Today we conclude with AoMM’s Best Anime Series of 2006. I don’t think it’s hard to guess which series won, but, first, some foreplay.

Breakthrough Seiyuu Performance of 2006

Winner: Aya Hirano

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No seiyuu put themselves on the map quite like what Aya did with Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Just a completely tour de force performance from someone who hasn’t exactly had plum roles before. Besides the excellent voice acting job for Haruhi, she took it to the next level that’s generally reserved for the greats like Maaya Sakamoto and Megumi Hayashibara with great performances for Bouken Desho Desho and Hare Hare Yukai… and then just leveled the competition with God Knows. Nothing else comes close to Aya’s Google-like rise in the fanboy kingdom for 2006.

Best Episode of 2006

Winner: Live a Live, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 12

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Possibly one of the top twenty-five anime episodes ever made.

Runner Ups: Swan Song at Dawn, Black Lagoon 15; Deviant Waltz, Kanon 12; Keron Forces Arc, Keroro Gunso 101 and 102; Tabitha’s Secret, Zero no Tsukaima 8; Onikakushi-hen, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni 1 through 4; Haruhi in Wonderland, Ouran Host Club 13; Adventures of Mikuru Asahina 00, Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 1

“Swan Song at Dawn” was chilling and was punctuated by Hansel and Gretel walking the bleach, dripping blood, instead of Revy’s usual walk. “Tabitha’s Secret” should really have been named “Meido Gone Wild!” “Haruhi in Wonderland” was the only episode where Haruhi was actually funny instead of being a straight-faced statue. Finally, considering that “A Goddess Comes to Japan” is Fumoffu 12 (though “Warcry of Excessiveness” 11 is still the greatest Fumoffu episode), I think we can make a case that KyoAni is not allowed to make anything other than episode twelves.

Best Meme of 2006

Winner: Churuya, “nyoro~!”

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Something whimsical. Something cute. Something pathetic. All-rolled up into one and 1,000% more sparkling than Mesousa. Genius. Pure genius. I think because of Churuya alone, LOL FANG-TAN may even be more popular than one or two of the SOS Brigade girls. BTW, “Churuya” is actually a Guajiboan language.

Runner Ups: Killer lolis, “USO DA!”; LOL FANG-TAN, “nyoro~!”; Lolilaika, *snipe*

I have no idea how long these memes will last in the wild, but they’ve lasted longer than others. Scrapped as an award category was “Best Nonsensical Noise”… everything from “nyoro~” to “uguu~” would have it’s day then, but then I realized that nothing tops the ロコロコ theme. Game over.

Best Anime Series of 2006

Winner: Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

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Eh, what were you expecting here? I wrote more about the SOS Brigade than any other series in 2006.

Haruhi has it all: epic meido (Mikuru), epic crazy girl (Haruhi), epic crazier girl (Ryoko), epic Ayanami clone (Yuki), epic home side character (Itsuki), epic narrator (Kyon), epic LOL FANG-tan. Toss in instant classics like “Imouto-in-a-bag,” “costume-raping,” “Phoenix Wright,” “The Second Raid!,” and “ponytails,” we have what I consider the closest anime phenomenon to Evangelion since Evangelion. Unfortunately, Haruhi is turning into the New York Yankees of anime. One of those things where backlash starts forming just because, “Hey, other people like this so I have to hate it” type of things, which is fine, but let’s keep emotions and prejudices out of the conversation for a second:

Seiyuu performance? Aya Hirano pulled off an A+++ performance with no one else in the cast scoring lower than an A-. I can’t say this about any other series in 2006.

Music? Everything from the jpop of Hare Hare Yukai to the various classical melodies to the jrock of God Knows. Can you name one other series from 2006 that runs this gamut? No other series in 2006 can overtake the same amount of musical parodies as Haruhi on Youtube nor can any of them boast that they were a top 5 song on Hey! Hey! Hey!.

Animation quality? Discounting movies and OVAs like Solid State Society and Earthsea, no one does animation better than Kyoto Animation for 2006. Only Kanon stands with Haruhi in this department.

Fanservice? Mi-mi-mi-mikuru-ru-run!

Story? Definitely subjective, but the setup is just so simple yet original yet compelling: Girl wishes that she were surrounded by aliens, espers, and time travelers… unfortunately, she doesn’t realize that it’s (a) true and (b) she’s God thus making it happen. It’s just one of those things that isn’t overly complicated, yet can be overly complicated, yet works… kinda like “Poor rapper from Philly moves into rich uncle’s mansion in Bel Air” or “Two FBI agents search for UFOs with palatable sexual tension between them.” Exploring the novels, there is actually a very rich and detailed nuances to Haruhi’s world that Kyoto managed to faithfully recreate as best as they could for TV (by comparison, Zero no Tsukaima‘s adaptation was nowhere as faithful as Haruhi‘s). To top it off, Haruhi manages to unite many different genres under one roof and do it well– harem? Action? Mystery? Comedy? Moe? Everything. Now with Bandai sponsorship, I’m guessing even giant mecha isn’t out of reach.

Wisdom of the Crowds? On AniDB, Haruhi is ranked in the top ten overall and is the highest ranked series out of all the 2006 series. ANN has it clocked in a “Masterpiece” (though they also give this distinction to Bartender…). AnimeNFO has Haruhi ranked as the highest rated series for 2005 and 2006 (though through 2003, only Elfen Lied tops it). Plus, I can’t think of another series this year where fans helped out in a guerrilla marketing campaign quite like it. Even if they’re getting “paid.”

Thin and Thick Slice? I don’t think any native English anime fan expected Haruhi, and I had no clue what the series was about. I still remember checking out the first episode, and I was watching it for the first minute thinking, “Hey, this fansubber’s encoder sucks…” until I realized what was really going on. By the time the episode was over, I was hooked. By the time the second episode was over, I needed my weekly fix as badly as a heroin junkie. For people who were following the show when it unfolded, it was a grand ol’ time. And it refreshed me as an anime fan; for someone who is concluding his fifth “Best of” yearly feature, it means that Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is worthy of Best Anime Series of 2006.

(As for 2007, I’d pencil in Claymore Return of Ryoko Asakura as the favorite…)

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Thanks everyone for your support for the past year. Let’s have fun in 2007.

37 Responses to “best of 2006: last day, best anime series of 2006”

  1. There’s no question Haruhi should be Number 1. How about a top 10 for 2006, jason? At the least it’s more space filler for you :P

    And boo to those who try to bring down Haruhi just because it’s popular and their personal favorites were getting trampled upon by the Haruhi juggernaut. May Oharuhi-sama strike them down.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  2. I bet we all knew what your number 1 choice was going to be (As if it wasn’t obvious enough).
    Great Anime Series of the Year feature. Hope to see you next year.

  3. Just because 1 out of 10 people don’t like Haruhi, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be the best this year. All hail Haruhi!

    >>>Thanks everyone for your support for the past year. Let’s have fun in 2007.

    Our pleasure. Hope we can have your Kyon-esque comments for a long time from now.

  4. Yep. Clean sweep. Good choice. May Haruhi forever live on in our hearts, and 20 years later, when we are all middle-aged, we would still be able to talk about it like we just saw an episode yesterday… Or maybe we just did O_o.

  5. Happy New Year!

    SITE NEEDS MOAR HARUHI! GOGOGO!

    Yes, Higurashi’s best arc was it’s first one. Suspense, USODA, drama, KILLERLOLIS, bloodshed, etc.. I was o_O at the little foreshadowing at episode 1 that hooked everyone in. Everything went downhill from there.

    Too bad it’s not a Haruhi clean sweep with the other awards… Haruhi clean sweep on this page w00t.

  6. Happy New Year Comrades!

    I was hoping for a few predictions regarding series that straddle 2006-2007. I was hoping that SHnY 11 would qualify for best battle or something, but that’s my inner military junkie talking.

    Well hopefully 2007 will be a good year for anime, I hope that there will be some new additions to the meido power rankings and emo facial contortion pantheon.

  7. Great picks Jason, and always a great read! I am one of the many that experienced Haruhi as Jason did, and will always remember the ride. (looking forward to fall 2007!) Also I applaud the comments from everyone, because we all bring something to the table. Whether it be about minute details in a series or about how lolfantastic something is, makes AoMM a must-check-out-every-day! Happy New Year!
    -Jesterman

  8. “On AniDB, Haruhi is ranked in the top ten overall and is the highest ranked series out of all the 2006 series.”

    Um, Jason, on AniDB, both Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage and NHK ni Youkoso ranked higher than Haruhi, and they’re both 2006-series. Just thought I’d mention it.

  9. I started 2006 with no hope in anime at all, I only wanted my Shana fix but it was not that good at all (hopefully there were Shanatan) and was kinda worried about F/SN after the Tsukihime fiasco (?).

    Then one day, I checked one of my friends’ blog. I clicked a youtube link. And d/led the first episode out of curiosity, and it all started.

    Haruhi as a series hit me even before I knew I was hit by something. You know, it is like you were walking around piss drunk and messed up by the surrounding apathy that have finally got you, then you are rammed and run over by a crazy loling girl.
    Haruhi felt that way.

    To the haters, please, show me the hype that built up before the series was released?
    If there were one series that was hyped to hell, it was F/SN; not Haruhi.

  10. “I was watching it for the first minute thinking, ‘Hey, this fansubber’s encoder sucks…’ until I realized what was really going on.”

    When Mikuru flubbed her high note. That’s when I started to pay attention.

  11. i remember when i first stumbled across haruhi…

    i was about a minute in when my friend comes by and he was just like wtf are you watching and i quote myself “i have now fucking idea but there is a bunny girl so ill see how this pans out” needless to say this didnt turn out to be kagihime and i rewatched the entire series a few days ago and still laughed a lung out…excuse me while i go schedule another surgury…

  12. Haruhi definitely deserves to be number one, the only reason I ever found out about it was due to a semi long string of coincidences, but I figure I would have found out about it eventually, say 6th episode or so. I agree with Sheba though at the beginning of ’06 all I wanted was shana and luckily haruhi helped me overcome the loss which was the end of shana and now, there’s Kanon + Death Note, although i’m suer Haruhi will always stay my number 1 especially with all this talk of the amazing storylnies in the upcoming novels yet to be animated.

  13. OTL.

  14. jason and Skane, your links all lead to insets, not the full versions. Or is something wrong with my browser?

    >>>Um, Jason, on AniDB, both Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage and NHK ni Youkoso ranked higher than Haruhi, and they’re both 2006-series. Just thought I’d mention it.

    Given that they just ended, you need to give them time for people to bring them down. Like what happened with Higurashi.

  15. >>jason and Skane, your links all lead to insets, not the full versions. Or is something wrong with my browser?

    For Skane’s, click the link to get the thumbnail, then look in your address bar and remove the “.th” from the address. That led me to the full size.

  16. “I think we can make a case that KyoAni is not allowed to make anything other than episode twelves.”

    I direct you to Air 12. I think that makes a case for a bad KyoAni episode 12.

    Were we expecting anything other than Haruhi for best of the year? It blew the stuffing out of everything else. I imagine that the fanservice could get on some people’s nerves, but it was objectively good even so.

    And for those who like fanservice… well… Holy Grail.

  17. I still remember that I managed to catch on just as ep. 1 was subbed. I hadn’t heard anything about the show, the ANN summary was totally unintelligible, and I really couuldn’t figure out why a.f.k. had decided to sub it. So, my huge, overwhelming gratitude to them for picking up an untested, unheralded wildcard, which exploded into probably the biggest thing in anime, even long after the series run was out.

    I’ll admit, though, I really liked episode 1, but I only liked the series until the barrage of amazing episodes starting with ep. 9. That’s when I fell in love with it. I still get chills of fanboy glee when I think back on the sheer jaw-dropping awesome of God Knows… and Live a Live in general.

    So, thanks for all the great laughs over the last year, and for keeping the most entertaining chronicle of anime, which is already pretty entertaining. Thanks for introducing us to new addictions like High School of the Dead and ZeroIn, and for pushing hidden and underappreciated gems like Black Lagoon. Black Lagoon especially, ended on a bit of a downer, but the elements it brought, the entertaining characters, the hot action, incredible sense of fun, and sometimes serious discussions probably would have cleared top anime in another year. And yet it has some of the least press on animenano.com, even less than Naruto and Mahou Sensei Negima!

    Finally, I request that Jason lists his top 25 or so animes and anime episodes. You seem to be a much sharper viewer than I, so it would be interesting to see what you think of as quality. Especially, I want to know why Amaenaideyo is up there for you.

    So, thanks to everyone for their posts and insights and many thanks to Jason for keeping anime fun. I hope to spend another great year with everyone! (Haruhi: 9 mo. and counting.)

  18. Er, also, anyone think there’s any chance that Churuya is going to make it into the next series? It’s entirely possible that nothing would ever top that.

  19. Skane, you have made my day. :D

    Now if Imotou was in there too…

  20. No, nothing would ever top that. I’d have to stop watching anime…

    NAW, that’ll never happen! Nyoro~n!

    P.S. here’s to hoping that Churuya/Tsuruya makes it into the SOS, or preferably, both. Churuya could be Tsuruya’s imouto-in-a-bag.

  21. Seriously “Mikuru’s Legend Of Love” have to be one of the best worst OP themes ever. What a brilliant way to introduce a series.

  22. Well this was predictable! Haruhi FTW defiantly the best of 2006, odly enough I first came across Haruhi when I was reading in a forums about Kanon 2006(now 2nd favorite show lol) I was like WTF why do they keep on talking about this Haruhi? what’s Haruhi anway so I went on youtube and Haruhi kicked me in the face lol 10/10

  23. Shall we start the new year with some symmetrical docking?

    http://img59.imageshack.us/img.....icarr6.jpg

  24. God knows…Haruhi is the best!! :D

  25. omg i can’t believe i just watched that. i haven’t watched any anime in any sizable amount since fruit basket three years ago, but i was convinced to take a peek at melancholy of haruhi suzumiya. thanks to youtube i didn’t have to wait a day for anything to dl, but it’s not like i have anything better to do right now.
    i think i almost died laughing XD
    anyway, maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime. happy new year!! ^^

  26. I have two number one anime’s, Haruhi and Simoun. Each for different reasons, Haruhi mainly for the sheer amount of quality work that went into it. Some people think it wasn’t a great anime year, others think it was one of the best in a while. I think it was pretty good, no?

    If only there is a “Return of Ryouko Asakura”. Though I may prefer the “Adventures of Churuya”.

  27. Apologies for the wrong linkage, but a little work to get hot images never hurts eh? ^^;

    To Fiery,

    What’s not to like about Air 12? It was like THE episode for Air. You know… “Goal” and stuff. Makes even the most macho of men weep like crybabies.

    Whenever people talk about Air, it IS Ep12 that comes to mind. It was the pinnacle of the pathos that had been infused into that anime.

    “Goal…”

  28. A little humour from the Kyonists to the people who believe in Kyonism.

    Click Here

    Cheers.

  29. How about “Best thrice-repeated exclamation of 2006″? The candidates:

    -”USO DA! USO DA! USO DA!”
    -”Gomen nasai! Gomen nasai! Gomen nasai!
    -”Baka! Baka! Baka!”
    -”Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!”

  30. When towels are simply not wet enough…

    Onsen Haruhi

    Cheers. ;)

    PS: I’m horrified that ‘Onsen’ is not in the British Dictionary for FireFox, but ‘Olsen’ is…

  31. An obvious, but thoroughly well deserved place in the top spot :)

    >> A little humour from the Kyonists to the people who believe in Kyonism.

    Brilliant XD Especially the last three.

  32. I can gladly accept all results here.As of Best Series,i was thinking about Binchou-tan also,but…OK.

  33. >> How about “Best thrice-repeated exclamation of 2006″?

    Uruchai, uruchai, uruchai!

  34. This conversasion is becoming… melancholic :p

    The first time I heard about Haruhi was when I was reading Heisen Democracy reviews about new anime series. Shingo was talking about this “great anime with a crazy amateur director girl”. I expected something different and funny, because it had an A++. So I downloaded it, and thought it was really original and funny for a first episode. As any jaded anime fan, I felt like the formula couldn’t work for long enought to be a 13 episode show. Then, I saw the first episode, and the completely different setting, mood and the great animation made me feel that this was going to be a great slice of life anime. I enjoyed the thirld episode, until Kyon went to Yuki’s house, and then… “i’m an alien”. It was the first time in a LOT of time than I actually felt surprise when I was watching anime.
    After all this months, not only I love Haruhi, but also KyoAni (kudos for Kanon), Tomokazu Sugita, Hirano Aya, Nagaru Tanigawa and Tatsuya Ishihara. And I think this is what really made Haruhi a great anime. I mean, I was nothing big before it was released. But a great combination of writers, directors, voice actor, animators with really big talent, a great story and also, very well thought advertising methods, with things like “haruhi-ism” or “zomg dance ending” made this series a success.

  35. is it me or hasn’t anyone noticed there’s no freaking episode 11(haruhi order)!!!!! where did they get that freaking cat!!!! that freaking talking cat!!!! even in the op. song, the cat was shown with other chracters(kyon killer person, and future girl w/ star mole)in an orderly fashion to presume an episode of dicovery!!!! and whats upn with that nagato flash scene in the baseball episode? ive checked other episodes and i saw nothing like it!!!!! where the hell is that 11th episode!!!!!

  36. What can I say? Haruhi Suzumiya was awesome, absolutely awesome.
    When you have 3rd year English Majors (long story) discussing it’s artistic and narrative merits, then you know you are onto something.
    Great pair of leads. Kyon was flawless both as narrator, and as Haruhi’s ever reluctant foil. The girl herself? An icon, nothing more, nothing less.
    Solid threesome backing – Itsuki Koizumi being my favourite. He agrees to each and every one of Haruhi’s little whims. Partly through company policy, and partly through his sheer amusement of watching Kyon suffer.
    I just want to know when series two will be out.

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