Hinatasou’s picks for the year:
Best Action - Kiddy Grade
“Fly and Fly Takaku Mirai no kioku ni tsuzuku yo Precious Time. Nothing’s gonna stop me. (Animelyrics.com)” Éclair and Lumiere are the modern age Dirty Pair. Éclair’s lipstick when applied turns itself into a whip-like weapon. Lumiere can hurl exploding wine bottles and has the ability to manipulate machinery from her fingertips. Add to that their own giant mech and a personal escort ship – nothing can stop them.
Best Drama - Angel Tales
Tenshi no Shippo is heartwarming. It is for anyone who has ever experienced raising a pet and having to say farewell as life takes its natural course. What happens to animals when they die? They become your guardian angels. For Mutsumi Goro, he has twelve of them that are all willing to help him in every way possible.
Most Emotional - Saikano
It is The Last Love Song on This Little Planet. Saikano is a 13 episode series detailing the romance between two high school students, Shuji and Chise, in a bleak World War 3 environment. People are dying by the thousands at the hand of Chise. Is there hope that their relationship can withstand its trials?
Most Ecchi Humor –
1) Mahoromatic Summer Special
The Mahoromatic Summer Special is Mahoro’s battle on ecchi magazines as she attempts to find where all of Suguru’s secret stashes are hidden. Although Suguru claims defeat, the war will never be over.
2) Onegai Twins (Please Twins)
Maiku always seems to get caught in awkward (sexual) positions with Karen or Miina, sometimes both. The two girls fantasize about Maiku. Like sisters they share the same bath scenes. There is even some gay love between Maiku and Kousei Shimazaki.
Weirdest - Puni Puni Poemi
A continuation of Excel Saga, Poemi is a fast talking daughter of Nabeshin. The final clip is straight fanservice with all the girls in bondage poses moaning.
Why? (The Worst) - Final Fantasy: Unlimited
Square can make the best role playing games but when it comes to anime series and the movie the Spirits Within, they set themselves up for financial disaster. Originally it was planned to span 52 episodes, but the low ratings or the lack of funds or a combination of the two condensed it down to 25 episodes. The ending is hastily pieced together. Hopefully the anticipated Final Fantasy 7 movie will break the trend.
Best Kiddy Anime –
1) Dragon Drive
Dragon Drive is a Digimon clone. At first, it is a game with digital dragon monsters. But then, Reiji soon finds himself trapped in another dimension where the dragons are real. He and his friends must compete in a tournament in order to save the world from those who don’t care about its destruction.
Special acknowledgement has to be given to Yugioh. Finally after all the online petitions and e-mails, Funi gave into the fans and released the first volume of the uncut version of Yugioh. The English dialogue was re-dubbed. The DVDs feature bilingual support so you can hear the Japanese voices. All the original music in the Japanese version is left in its entirely. No more invisible guns either.
Best Manga - Ragnarok Online
Ten times better than its anime counterpart, Ragnarok Online is based on the Massively Multiplayer Online RPG of the same name by Sueng-Hi Lee and Gravity Interactive. Before Final Fantasy XI it was the game of choice. The manga storyline is much darker than the game.
Best Shoujo - DNAngel
Apart from the Daisuke and Hiwatari relationship, there is a growing fanbase for Dark-san as a handsome bishounen with wings. Wizu is soooo cute!
Favorite Seiyuu - Kawasumi Ayako
Her most famous role might be Mahoro from Mahoromatic. She even sings the opening themes “On the Way Home” and “Something More Beautiful” for both seasons of the series. She was also Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi, Lafiel in the Crest of the Stars trilogy, and the supporting character Mogi in Initial D.
Most Kawaii Character - Rena (”Black Rose”) from hack//Legend of the Twilight
The character design for Rena is a chibified version of her game counterpart.
Best Anime Site - Animetopia (http://www.animetopia.com)
A must add to your list of favorite Internet bookmarks. Animetopia is the premiere and official anime search directory. Don’t Google it, Topia it instead!
Best New Series - Chrono Crusade
Who can pass up watching a nun with a gun? From an airship to the subway and crossing the country on a train, demons must be slayed wherever they may be. Angelic swords, apostles, prophecy, stigmata, jewel summoning, a neko girl, and an old perverted man. It’s all there.
A Look to the Future - Naruto
There is a huge pricing battle on who licenses the Naruto anime. Will it be the tri-glomerate of ADV, Gratz, and Viz or 4Kids? Will it one day appear on KidsWB? There are over 100 episodes and without a doubt will extend longer than Inuyasha. It will soon be as common as Dragon Ball.
Dark_Wind’s picks for the year:
Best Action - Heat Guy J:
I’m sure at least a couple of you are surprised by my pick for “best action” this year. “Why not s-CRY-ed or Last Exile Dark Wind!?” you ask. Well, I have an answer. This is for “best” action, not “most” action. Heat Guy J’s action seqeunces were top notch. Involving robots, wolf-men, and arse-kicking police detectives, each action sequence throughout all 26 episodes of Heat Guy J were pulse-pounding ballets of bullets, fists, and kicks (and swords, and…) fluidly animated to the cool beat of techno-jazz and weird bagpipe music (that works, somehow). That’s not to belittle the fun, episodic plotline of the series, but Heat Guy J’s action is its forte. I’ve reviewed Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, which can be found in Animesou’s Reviews section. I recommend checking those out for a more in-depth look into what I’m talking about. But don’t let that stop you: Heat Guy J is worth watching just for it’s awesome fights and gun battles. Seeing the main duo of Daisuke and robot J preventing crimes before they’ve occured and beating down the culprits is always diverse and fun to watch.
Honorable Mention: s-CRY-ed
Best Drama - Kino’s Journey:
If you haven’t heard of this show, you need to be smacked over the head with a baseball bat mutiple times. If you have heard of this show, then I can imagine you’re just nodding your head in agreement at my pick here. Kino’s Journey is the tale of a young girl (her name is Kino, whose actual gender remains ambiguous throughout the show, we only know the person’s a she from a flashback in episode 4, but anyway…) and her talking motorcycle Hermes, who travel together across the world (which world, we don’t know) learning about things as they visit cities and towns. The only rule she has is that you can only stay in any one town for three days, and no longer, no matter what. The show is episodic in nature, but this works to great effect. Each vignette tells a different tale that emphasizes a different moral question we all run into some time in our lives. For example, in one episode Kino and Hermes arrive in a city which used to be constantly at war with another city across from them. One day, they came to an agreement: they would not fight anymore, and instead meet once a year to kill the people in a small town near both of them. Does the end justify the means? Best drama indeed. It should be noted, as well, that Kino is an excellent gunfighter. Just so you know.
Honorable Mention: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Most Emotional - Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam:
For all you Saikano fans out there, I have two words that prevented me from picking that as my top show (or even thinking of it as a good show): pretentious melodrama. Zeta Gundam, on the other hand, provides a riveting story of people killing people for their own moral ideals. Zeta Gundam is the story of spacenoids (people who now live in space) looking for independence, or at least peace, from the oppressive Earth Federation Government and the hateful earthnoids. If that weren’t bad enough, in Zeta Gundam the Earth Federation has created a group called The Titans to wipe out any renegade Zeons (from the previous series, Mobile Suit Gundam). Problem is, The Titans want power, and they hate spacenoids. So they gas millions in space colonies and threaten to drop colonies on cities on the Moon just as a show of power. The Titans create an adversary in the AEUG, a group made up of disillusioned Titans and Earth Federation officers. This group, while outnumbered and outgunned, fight against all odds against the Titans. You get to know a slew of characters in this 50-episode series, and they live and die, because this is war. Someone you got to know and like in episode 1 could die by episode 24, and you feel the characters sorrow and loss of their comrade. People miss their families, their loved ones, and each other. People live, die, fight, and betray. Because this is war. And war is hell.
Honorable Mention: Haibane Renmei
Most Ecchi Humor - N/A:
I like to think that I watch a lot of anime shows each year, but ecchi humor is a genre I’ve always disliked, and continue to avoid to this day. So, I have not seen any ecchi shows in the year 2004. So, I will not even attempt to pick something, since I have seen nothing. If you want someone who knows ecchi humor, see hinatasou’s list of best anime of 2004. She can help you far better than I can.
Weirdest - Dead Leaves:
The weirdest thing I’ve seen is Dead Leaves, bar none. I didn’t enjoy it in the least either, but it was weird, I have to give it that. Having guys whose dicks are made of drills, men with TV’s for a head, and women who are naked for the sake of being naked, Dead Leaves is a acid trip. If you want to know my feelings better on the subject, see the next award.
Honorable Mention: Ninja Scroll TV
Worst Anime - Dead Leaves:
Where to start? Dead Leaves is the worst garbage I’ve seen well…ever. I try to avoid things I don’t think I’ll like, but I thought Dead Leaves would be fun and quirky when I first decided to watch it. Big mistake. Dead Leaves is an incomprehensible mess of everything that gives anime a bad name. It’s shameless and devoid of fun or humor. It’s stupid, and made for those 13-year olds who enjoy **** and fart jokes. The creator himself says it’s probably only enjoyable to watch if your high or drunk. Well…seeing as how I didn’t want to test his word, I’ll just assume it’s somehow good if watched under those influences. For me, it’s probably equatable to a hangover of the worst kind.
Honorable Mention: Blue Gender: The Warrior
Must Have - Last Exile:
“Must have” to me means “show you should definitely must own because it’s an all around solid show.” Last Exile has that in spades. The action, consisting of airships duking it out in the skies, is exciting and fun to watch. The dogfights are animated with a wonderful mix of CG and hand-drawn animation that really gives everything a beautiful, majestic quality to it. The drama is even more prominent. The characters are at war with two other groups, the Guild and the Disith. Like Zeta Gundam, the charcters grow, experience change, and die as war ravages them and their emotions to a breaking point. The music is an eclectic mix of melancholic orchestrated background music and mystical drumming. It really sets the tone. Everything about Last Exile screams “top notch”, from animation, to music, to action, to drama, and even comedy. One of the best shows I saw all year.
Honorable Mention: Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Best Kiddy Anime - N/A:
I, fortunately or unfortunately, haven’t seen any “kiddy” anime in 2004. I’m not sure what even defines “kiddy” anime, but, I haven’t seen anything remotely childish, anime-wise. So, again, I recommend going to another editor’s list for some recommendations on good kiddy anime from 2004.
Best Manga - Berserk:
The Berserk manga is the most violent and gruesome thing I’ve ever read. And I love every minute of it. Thus far it’s basically followed the anime story to a tee (disregarding the first three volumes, which were an expansion of episode 1 from the anime), but the manga still holds merit for giving us the best character development I’ve ever read in a manga. The action is great, the drama is tense, and the story is riveting. I could ask for nothing more.
Honorable Mention: Trigun Maximum
Best DVD Covers - Megazone 23:
The covers for Megazone 23 do a lot more than just slap on some pictures from the show and collage them together into a cover. Each one takes a piece of artwork done for the show, touches it up a bit, and puts it on each DVD. The thing is, Megazone 23 had a different character designer for each OVA (it was a 3-episode OVA). What they did for each DVD was take a piece of artwork from that specific character designer and put it on the cover. It looks stellar, and accentuates what each episode of the show is about. It was tough picking between this and The Twelve Kingdoms, but in the end I had to give the nod to Megazone 23, which really put in the extra mile and gave us covers that aren’t just pretty drawings, but symbolize what the show is about.
Honorable Mention: The Twelve Kingdoms
Best Anime Site - Animeacademy.com:
Animesou is the best anime site, right? Right. But, we can’t be that obnoxious can we. So, Animeacademy.com get’s my vote. I love their reviews; short, sweet, and to the point. They are written well, and they cover each aspect of the show with just enough depth without becoming to verbose. They review a lot of things consistently, and have branched out into a lot of other stuff, such as editorials and features. They do a bang up job, and deserve their spot on the animefringe top 25 best anime websites list. Keep up the great work.
Honorable Mention: Animejump.com
Movie of the Year - Memories:
Not really a movie, but close enough that I’ll give this to it anyway. Memories is made up of three short stories done by three different famous anime writers/directors. The first is done by Koji Morimoto, the second by Tensai Okamura, and the third by Katsuhiro Otomo. If you don’t know who these people are, you really need to buck up on your anime directors. If you do, then you understand why I hold this movie in such high regard. All three short stories: Magnetic Rose, Stink Bomb, and Cannon Fodder, all tackle different subject matters with the eye of a visionary trying to make a bold statement about humanity and our world. The first, Magnetic Rose, has a bunch of space junkers investigate an abandoned spaceship/mansion, and tackle the troubling memories of the people who lived their and themselves. The second, Cannon Fodder, is a humorous black comedy about the Japanese economy and when you take things to far. The third, Stink Bomb, while obtuse, tackles the subject of fighting an unknown enemy for the greater good, despite the fact you know nothing about them yourself. Put together, it creates a trifecta of wonderful stories about the human heart and soul, that must be seen by any person who calls themself a fan of anime.
Honorable Mention: Neo-Tokyo
Best Animation - Last Exile:
I have to give the nod to Last Exile. The mesh of CG and 2D cel animation is astounding; I’ve never seen it done this well, and in a TV series no less. It would have been easy to animate say….a romantic school comedy to Last Exile’s level, but Last Exile animates an airship-epic, not some romantic comedy, and so I must give it kudos for attempting to animate something that usually would get shortshrift in the animation department. GONZO went all out with this one: airships, skies, water, land, hails of gunfire, bullets, etc etc. Everything is animated, and to such an extent, that it’s better to see it for yourself rather than me describing it to you.
Honorable Mention: Heat Guy J
Sleeper Hits - Kino’s Journey:
If someone spoke about this anime before it first came out, I sure as hell didn’t hear about it. Kino’s Journey took me completely by surprise, and I’m glad I bought it on a whim in the store. Everyone should watch this. There’s a reason I gave it best drama.
Honorable Mention: Space Pirate, Captain Herlock: The Endless Odysee-Outside Legend
**Note: For all you readers out there, I omitted stuff whose majority of releases were in 2003, or whose majority of releases WILL BE in 2005. Thing such as Full Metal Panic! and RahXephon were up for winning in our 2003 awards, and I have so disqualified them for my picks of 2004. Stuff like Texnholyze, Wolf’s Rain, Stand Alone Complex, and Gungrave will be up for our awards in 2005. Sorry if you wanted to see these, but they will get a chance next year, I promise (since I’m loving some of the aforementioned shows a lot already). This sort of makes 2004 a lackluster year, but oh well.
Alpha’s picks for the year:
Best Action – Get Backers
Here is a toughie. It was a battle between Scryed and Get Backers, and I sided with Get Backers. Why? Because Get Backers has a great compilation of characters with special abilities. Along with these abilities come the way each uses it. And that is where Get Backers surpass Scryed. It was a close one though. If it was a score scale, I would say Scryed only lost by one point.
Best Drama – The World of Narue
The World of Narue or Narue no Sekai attracts my attention immensely. The way this anime flows is just amazing. As I was watching this series, I was completely glued to the television screen. It just grips you with everything its got, hence topping my best drama list.
Most Emotional – Doggy Poo
Emotional? Doggy Poo and Junkers Come Here comes to mind. I will have to select Doggy Poo as the winner, because it is constant. What is worse that being a poo? Unlike Junkers Come Here which starts out all happy and evolves to a deeper story that ends like you already know it was going to end that way. For Doggy Poo, I was surprised by the ending, it just crept up, unlike Junkers Come Here which was beating me over the head with a bat with the ending. Most important of all, Doggy Poo is just so cute, that once you watch it, you automatically feel for the kid.
Most Ecchi Humor – Gravion
Hear the name Gravion and you automatically associate it to be one of the most ecchi humor filled anime out there… which is a good thing. Maids, breasts, babes and much more; I think those are the elements you need in an ecchi humor. What do you say? Gravion for president!? Of this year’s ecchi humor that is.
Weirdest – Cyber Team in Akihabara
Cyber Team in Akihabara was just disastrous. But because of its weirdness it gets credit here. You see circus looking villains and heroines with their little Pata-Pi’s. Its like a Sailormoon rip off, if you want an example. It is just weird. PERIOD.
Why? (The Worst) - Puni Puni Poemy
Parasite Dolls and Puni Puni Poemy fits this well. But at least, Parasite Dolls kept me a bit entertained whereas, Puni Puni Poemy was just straight up bad. Okay, an anime with the Excel Saga flow, crap. An anime with too much fan service that it gets disgusting, crap. An anime that just babbles on with everyone talking so much you do not even understand anything that is being said… crap. Okay so what makes Puni Puni Poemy? —- You fill it in.
Must Have – DN Angel, Black Jack
DN Angel and Black Jack are this years must haves. If I were to pick one, I will have to go with Black Jack, simply because I have seen more of it than DN Angel. My first impressions of DN Angel were very good, but since I know more about Black Jack it wins my pick. Black Jack just has the ability to get you so into the show that you start thinking what if being a doctor was that exciting or what if I was able to help people like he does. This anime is just great. There is not other word to describe it any better.
Best Kiddy Anime – Dragon Drive, Yugioh
You know, Dragon Drive really is not a kiddy anime, but since it focuses on a kids game and all I consider it a kiddy anime. What makes Dragon Drive the best… well for one the story is captivating. Two, the dragons can be quite cool at times and three, the characters are very well thought out, which makes the viewing experience that much more fun.
Best Manga – Ai Yori Aoshi
Ai Yori Aoshi tops this list, as it is a great read. The manga like all manga turned animation, brings things that were not on the screen to you for enjoyment. For Ai Yori Aoshi fans… we all know what that means hehe.
Most Kawaii Character – Saizo (Peace Maker Kurogane)
Saizo!!! A pig with a temper. It just so cuuuuuuute.
Best New Series – Ichi the Killer
Ichi the Killer goes on my list for best new series. Since I have seen the live action, I did not like it much. But the animated version has gotten my attention. It certainly makes you want to watch it more because of the way Ichi is and the violence it has.
Movie of the Year – Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Hands down, best of 2004. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. What is good about it? Basically everything. Animation, sound, story, and anything else you can think of. If you have not seen this movie yet, what are you waiting for exactly?
A Look to the Future – Maburaho
Maburaho is definitely a title in which you shall take notice in the future. It is a great shounen title where the unpopular guy all of a sudden gets three babes who all want his genes… umm yeah, check it out. It is one heck of a show. :P.