2007 Year Review

After all those hours over the last half a week, I’m not entirely sure about doing this wrap-up anymore. Especially given that it’s been over a month since the end of a year that didn’t yield anything quite as enjoyable as Ouran or Suzumiya Haruhi. However, it was a year in which I watched more than I ever have before, and there were a few gems in all the craziness.

General comments on all these series are already done, so on to a more traditional format of yearly reviews, but in no particular order…

Best Opening/Ending Sequence

Looking at the changes in my music collection, I really couldn’t care less for this past year theme-wise (though I do like 祈り~You Raise Me Up of Romeo x Juliet). However, the dancing bacteria of Moyashimon made for one of the most novel opening sequences ever. That they were exceedingly cute certainly helped.

Best Insert Song

This was, however, a year where I liked more insert songs than normal: the three I picked up come from Zombie Loan, Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto and RxJ…it’s tight, but I really like Sekiyama Aika (関山藍果)’s Solitary Serenade.

Favourite Character

Hei from Darker Than BLACK, for the ultimate balance of badass cool with uncertainty and sorrow.

Best Quote

Genshiken had many gems, especially once we were introduced to Suzy (although you could say they’re actually from other series…), but Itoshiki Nozomu’s 「絶望した!」 and 「死んだらどうする!?」 (Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei) were far and away the highlights.

 

Favourite seiyuu performances

To be honest, I haven’t really thought about this for the year…but Fukuyama Jun for creating a character so much unlike himself in Lelouch. Hidenobu Kiuchi comes a close second for Hei.

Greatest Disappointment

Undoubtedly, Darker than BLACK, if only because of the excellent penultimate episode. That ending may well have been the only feasible way the writers could have ended it, but the similarity to that Evangelion scene was disappointing nonetheless.

Lamenting what could have been

Death Note and Nodame Cantibile will have to tie for this, for different reasons. I know that I would have enjoyed at least the first half of the former much more if I hadn’t already read the manga. The second half should be buried. As for Nodame, music is about performance, so it was excruciating to be subjected to still after still of the various orchestras. I still love the manga and drama, but wish they could have devoted many more resources to this particular version.

Hidden Treasure

For me, this is for series that I didn’t expect to appreciate as much, particularly because the first halves were slow…Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto was one such series, but it’s final resolution was much weaker than the other 19th century gem, Le Chevalier d’Eon. I don’t usually like it when a series plays with history, and the zombies in the show were hard to take, but the powerful finale more than made up for it.

Best Romance

Romeo x Juliet hands down…I didn’t actually watch another romantic drama, so Gonzo’s Shakespeare adaptation undoubtedly walks away with this. I would give second place to Le Chevalier d’Eon, for the ill-fated love between Robespierre and Lia d’Eon, which contributed to making the latter half of that series particularly powerful.

Anime of the Year (for me anyway)

If I could, I’d leave this one blank. There wasn’t any one series that beat all the others in its accomplishments, at least amongst those I watched. (I’ve heard that Seirei no Moribito is good though…another for the backlist…). Darker than BLACK would have taken it, if not for an anti-climatic finale. Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei has its own brilliance, but suffers from being too left-field. And whilst I enjoyed Genshiken 2, one character managed to irritate me every time he appeared. So, Anime of the Year goes to…Code Geass. The deciding factor was episode 22, when Sunrise finally showed that they weren’t afraid to destroy one character completely. Train-wreck it may have been, but that also made it the most enjoyable ride of the year.


Best old series I watched

2007 was unusual in that I saw almost as many old series as those that finished in the course of the year (is that any indication of how unfulfilling the past year of anime has been for me?). And the result is also close…because amongst them were Blood+, Gankutsuou and Fantastic Children. The latter, in particular, was a pleasant surprise of a sleeper hit (that an American producer was somehow able to spot – it was licensed even before it started airing!). However, Honey and Clover takes the cake, for its powerful storytelling, well-placed insert songs and wonderful characters.

Best Drama

2007 was also the year in which I dived into dramas as I never had before. However, recent titles such as Hanakimi and Yamada Tarou Monogatari have been comparatively unfulfilling. Or maybe I’m just over high school dramas – even Nobuta wo Produce and Dragonzakura annoyed me, although the latter does offer an interesting analysis of the national university test (center shiken? 国立試験?). Life is Beautiful was a rare one that touched my heart, especially with the short character monologues that foreshadowed the end. However, Nodame Cantabile gets my vote and my thanks for being the series that got me through my first rough period in Japan.

For the record, here’s the list of what I saw last year. The brackets state the season it premiered in.

Ended in 2007

  • Darker Than Black (Spring)
  • Romeo and Juliet (Spring)
  • Code Geass (Autumn 2006)
  • Zombie Loan (Summer)
  • Zetsubou Sensei (Summer)
  • Fuyu no Semi
  • Genshiken 2 (Autumn)
  • Nodame Cantabile (Winter 2006-7)
  • Bakumatsu (Autumn 2006)
  • Mononoke (Summer)
  • Jigoku Shoujo Futakomori (Autumn 2006)
  • Moyashimon (Autumn)
  • Rozen Maiden OVA (Winter 2006)
  • Chevalier (Summer 2006)
  • Death Note (Autumn 2006)

Old Series

  • Honey and Clover 2 (Summer 2006)
  • Samurai Champloo (Spring 2004)
  • Samurai 7 (Summer 2004)
  • Planetes (Autumn 2003)
  • Fantastic Children (Autumn 2004)
  • Kaikan Phrase (Spring 1999)
  • Trinity Blood (Spring 2005)
  • Ayakashi (Winter 2005-6)
  • Jigoku Shoujo (Autumn 2005)
  • Blood+ (Autumn 2005)
  • Gankutsuou (Autumn 2004)

Unfinished

  • Rental Magica
  • Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations
  • Gundam 00
  • Ghost Hound
  • Shion No Ou
  • Jyushin Enbu – Hero Tales

Dramas

  1. Nodame Cantabile
  2. Nobuta wo Produce
  3. Life is Beautiful
  4. Hanakimi
  5. Yamada Tarou
  6. Juou no Kyoushitsu
  7. Dragonzakura

And so, drawing the curtains on 2007…Good night, and good luck.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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