The Top Anime of 2007

GurrenLagann

2007 is said to be one of the best years for anime ever. Gainax introduced a new generation to the super robot genre. KyoAni released Key’s biggest masterpiece. That Dennou Coil thing that is said to be one of the most original anime of all-time was released. A bunch of underrated stuff that people are slowly discovering also came out around this time. It was a great year for “important” anime. And as I’m sure you’re aware, being “important” means nothing to me, so I kind of struggled to come up with a top ten for this year. I’m aware of their creativity and all, but I just don’t care much about Dennou Coil, Mononoke, sola, Ghost Hound…I could go on, but I won’t. Think positive now!

*****

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.26.47 PM10: Kaiji

Kaiji is probably my favorite out of all the Madhouse game anime I’ve seen. It still suffers from the same pacing problems that I can never quite accept whenever I watch one of these shows, but it makes up for that by playing into my love for sadism and tactical strategy combined with brilliantly intense stakes. Kaiji’s suffering as he struggles to win against cheating opponents he should have seen coming whilst the narrator keeps telling us what he’s feeling despite us clearly seeing what’s happening on screen is a mixture of intense, frustrating, and heart-warming at the same time, which is quite a rare feat. A pity that the last four episodes sort of deflated my enjoyment of the series, hence why it’s as low as it is. Still, that doesn’t take away from this show’s magnificence. ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA ZAWA.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.26.53 PM9: Genius Party

Let me just state one thing first. The fifth short, Limit Cycle, sucks major balls. It’s completely pretentious bullshit and anyone who says it’s a good short is lying as far as I’m concerned, unless they just really liked the visuals. But the other shorts are damn brilliant. I always love everything put out by Yuasa and Watanabe, but the first one that’s actually called Genius Party is awesome too. This is probably my favorite of all the anthology anime out there because of how so many of them work. Pity it was tarnished from masterpiece status by fucking Limit Cycle.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.05 PM8: Genshiken 2

In my opinion, the second Genshiken is the weakest of the four iterations to come out. The animation is absolute bottom-of-the barrel considering it’s ARMS doing this, the show focuses on the weaker main characters more often than I’d like, and the ending is kind of iffy. However, the otaku insight of the show still remains, and is probably the strongest here than it is anywhere else. Plus, this season had the episode where Ogiue’s delusions from the manga are actually shown to us. I can’t deny a show that does that.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.13 PM7: Seto no Hanayome

This is one of the more successful anime that tried to cash in on Urusei Yatsura’s popularity. It takes the “magical girlfriend meets luckless loser” concept, and pushes it to its most absurd conclusion in all the right ways. Everything is exaggerated to the extreme from the pop idol contest to anything having to do with Papa Terminator, and it’s brilliant for that. The only reason it doesn’t rank as high with me as Urusei Yatsura is that it plays those current romantic comedy cliches a little too straight at times and the characters are not as interesting, bar San’s mermaid mafia family, who is one of the greatest families of all-time. Clannad would have been way better if it had used this family to convey its themes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.22 PM6: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

One of the wittiest and biting satires to ever grace the Japanese cartoon medium. Told through the eyes of a suicidal teacher and his extremely eccentric class, this anime consistently delivers funny joke after funny joke whilst tackling all sorts of relevant social issues in Japan, as well as the world. It’s mean, it’s sadistic, it’s heartwarming, and it’s just delightful. Plus, if I didn’t put this on, Chiri would bury me whilst Kafuka denies that she is doing anything wrong.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.29 PM5: Evangelion 1.0: You Are (NOT) Alone

It’s pretty much a glorified recap movie with brand-spanking new animation. The thing is, the series that this movie recaps is Evangelion. And I LOVE Evangelion. It’s my favorite mecha anime of all-time and everyone who knows my taste should have realized this movie would get on here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.39 PM4: Clannad The Motion Picture

No, not the KyoAni series. This is that obscure Toei film version that came out a month before the Key fans went nuts over Maeda’s magnum opus. I loved it then and I surprisingly continue to love it now. I’ve written a lot before about why it’s one of the best VN adaptations to grace us, but I think the real reason it clicks with me so much is because it’s about a “family”, including the main love interest, helping out the main dude from his funk rather than the reverse. And I really liked how even when Nagisa is taken out of the picture (spoilers), they continue to be there for him so that when he finally realizes how important they are, he comes out as more of a fool in a good way. They overdo his moodiness a bit to the point that you might feel he’s undeserving, but everything else more than makes up for that.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.45 PM3: Darker than Black

Darker than Black is the best Bones show ever. It’s the perfect mixture of complex themes, superhero action, and hinting at the big picture whilst not actually explaining any more than what is required to understand the plot. I think what I love the most about the show is how structurally similar it is to Cowboy Bebop, even having Yoko Kanno do the soundtrack (granted, it’s not the greatest thing she’s done), whilst being more like a secret agent/government conspiracy flick. More anime need to utilize that sort of episodic-style to tell its story, rather than hit the goddamn same plot point over and over and pretend you’re going somewhere. Plus I love how the show is willing to kill off any major characters if necessary for the plot, and the usage of superpowers in this show is some of the most creative I’ve ever seen.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.27.54 PM2: Bokurano

One of the most overlooked anime series of all-time. It never settles on a plot point or character for too long, balances the angst and cool stuff really well, and gives more development to its huge cast of fifteen characters (plus others) in its 24-episode limit than most anime spend on developing one character in that same length. The only reason this doesn’t trump Evangelion as my favorite mecha series is because the robot fights are crap, not everything comes together very well, and Eva’s ending being a tough act to follow. Other than that, Bokurano is the perfect mixture of Battle Royale despair plus robot conspiracy I’ve ever seen. Also has one of the most fitting OPs ever. Uninstall!

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 5.28.10 PM1: Baccano!

Pulp Fiction meets Snatch. Pure fast-paced chaos that juggles a huge cast of freaks, misfits, and immortal gangsters into one huge non-stop ride of awesomeness. This is one of those one-of-a-kind anime that we’re lucky to get in our lifetime, and boy was I happy to discover it.

8 responses to “The Top Anime of 2007

  1. I’ve said the same thing about Uninstall. It’s one of my all time favorite OPs. It is tragic, heart wrenching, inevitable, inspiring, reflective, and hauntingly beautiful all at once. I think the real stand out moment is the running shot. I compared it to the running shot in Madoka Magika’s OP before, but it really does work. It’s a really strong way of showing the fight versus the inevitable. I do really wish Bokurano had been given better animation. If the fight scenes worked more viscerally, it would have been an all time great.

  2. the last 4 episodes of Kaiji were fine, a little tacked on maybe.
    In retrospect it kinda made sense for him to go back and make that last gamble, it did highlight a critical aspects of his character.
    A. His over-confidence and contempt for the wealthy clouds his good judgement
    B. He’s become a gambling addict.
    C. He’s kind of dumb whenever he’s not in a pinch (you think you become a loser by making good decisions?)

  3. I approve Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s place on the list.
    This is one of the best comedy show of all time.

    We need more show like this one.

  4. >no Dennou Coil
    DROPPED

    I’m considering picking up Seto no Hanayome on DVD from the Rightstuf holiday sale, but I haven’t seen the show yet. I keep hearing good things about it; do you think it’d be worth it for me to pick up on a whim?

    • Depends on how cheap it is. It’s been almost six years since I’ve seen the show and I don’t really plan to watch it again anytime soon because looking at it just makes me want to watch Urusei Yatsura again. Still, it’s one of Seiji Kishi’s good shows before he learned how to suck, so ultimately it depends on how much you like really over-the-top slapstick and situations.

      • Oh, that’s right, this is Kishi back when he actually did comedy stuff. It’s $15, which is right on the fence between impulse buy or wait-till-later, so maybe I’ll see if Funi has any episodes up to sample on their website so I can get a feel for the humor.

    • Holy shit, I forgot this thing recently became an SAVE show (it was pretty expensive and in two halves last I checked). Guess I’ll be watching it again sooner than I planned after all (buys and then tosses show into same pile of other unwatched DVDs/Blurays).