2010 Anime – Best 5 Series

This will be the  last of my 2010 anime summary posts. Tomorrow I head back to Aber to start my second term, so it’s about time I started focusing on the year to come instead. Expect some posts about the new season in the days before proper lectures begin. I say ‘expect some posts’, but at this point I don’t really expect people to expect anything. I might post, if I do it might be about the new season, or it might be about buddleia. You never know…

To conclude, 2010 was an okay year for anime. The good series definitely outweighed the bad, and while my top two were obvious, there were seven series competing for the final three spots, which made things difficult. So starting on a high note and only getting better from here on up, we have:

5: Katanagatari

12 episodes, 12 months of the year, 12 swords to collect, 12 ninja to compete against. It would have been easy for this to turn into a ‘bad guy of the month’ type of series, and the first few episodes are just that. But sticking with it paid off, just when you begin to worry about it getting repetitive it hits you with some great and unexpected plot twists. Animation was good on the whole, with an interesting style and nice character designs; don’t know what went wrong in episode 7, but even Gurren Lagann and Welcome to the NHK had dodgy episodes, so I’ll forgive that. While I’d still recommend Katanagatari as a complete series, even the varying gaps between episodes served a purpose, representing the time taken in story to travel from one location to another, which was a nice touch for those watching it as it aired.

4: Giant Killing

When I first saw the title Giant Killing, I though, ‘that sounds awesome’ – until I scrolled down to the synopsis and discovered it was about football. Still, I was unemployed and out of uni at the time, so I even had time to sample a pointy-nosed Studio DEEN football anime that I was almost certain I’d drop instantly. Well, I didn’t drop it, and now it’s in my top four anime of the year. Part of the reason for it’s high rating is simply out of amazement that Giant Killing made football interesting. The other part would be down to the fantastic characters – players, management and fans – that really made this series. Chuck in the decent (by DEEN’s standard) animation, good music and convincing foreign language dubbing, and you have the best series of the Spring season by a long shot.

3: Kuroshitsuji II

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect from this series before it came out. The trailer, official art and snippets of info released by those working on the series let on nothing other than that the series would feature a new master/butler pair. We were led to believe they would be the main characters, and that Ciel/Sebastian would either be sidelined or not feature at all. Well, half way through the first episode we found out we’d been trolled hard. This shock factor, together with a strong second half and awesome characters (loved Grell, Sebastian, Ran Mao and Ciel from the first series, and Alois was an interesting addition) earned this series its high ranking, despite some plot holes and an overall weak first half. Not sure I’d want a third season though, that might be pushing it.

2: Durarara!!

I knew the year was off to a good start when I picked up this series! Coming from the creators of Baccano!, I wanted action, a good story, epic characters and top class animation. More Norio Wakamoto would have been appreciated too, but then they’d just be spoiling me. One major difference was that at 24 episodes Durarara!! had a lot more time than Baccano! to develop the characters and setting (switching from one person’s viewpoint to another each episode was an interesting way to achieve this), before really kicking off with it’s complex plot at around the halfway point. All in all, it delivered some of the more interesting characters of the year (Celty, Izaya, Shizuo, the list is endless!), even if I wouldn’t put them in my harem. 😛

1: Shiki

This series is the reason I didn’t post this list two weeks ago. Yep, the ending (while slightly rushed) closed off the many loose ends that were still present in the penultimate episode. The noitaminA slot has yet to disappoint, so I had plenty of reason to look forward to it when it first started.  But more than anything, I wanted it to be the gory, horror, Higurashi-substitute series that Ookami-kakushi wasn’t. Shiki was all that and more. It gave a realistic (as far as the undead goes) look at the spread of an endemic in an isolated village; slow at first (allowing for character and setting development) before reaching a terrifying speed, with plot twists aplenty from beginning to end.

Honourable mention: Highschool of the Dead

The four series that missed out on a top 5 place were Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu, Angel Beats!, Mitsudomoe and this. The former wasn’t as good as series 2, the middle had serious pacing issues, and the latter relied on one joke from beginning to end, which is where I question my own judgement. 😛 But HSotD deserves some recognition, even if it isn’t a masterpiece. At first it looked like the zombies would be an excuse for an otherwise generic fanservice show, but no, it delivered in terms of action, animation and even character development. The fanservice itself was hardly generic, with bullet time breast jiggling just one example of this. In fact, the fanservice got more and more ridiculous as the series went on, to the point of sheer comedy by the end. So here’s hoping it gets a sequel!

The most interesting thing here (to me at least, and I know I’m weird) is that 5/6 of these series have full A-P entries, compared with 0/6 for those on my ‘worst series’ list…

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