Woah, long title. After getting a bit annoyed at loads of people declaring the current Summer season to be one of the greatest seasons in recent memory, I decided to take a proper look at past seasons to make the decision for myself. Having only started watching anime weekly in Winter 08, I have no idea how good the past seasons really were. So off to MAL I went and went on a long and tedious process of taking down loads of names of anime vaguely knew to see which season truly was the greatest. Just an interesting observation: I thought the average scores for anime seem would go up every year since people seem to over-rate more recent anime but the average stayed about the same. The ratings never lie folks.
A quick little run down of the key I’ll be using:
Big Name: One of the higher quality and better known anime of the year
Over-rated: Well known anime but are poorly rated
BIG NAME: The anime whose names have gone down in history, for the good reasons obviously
Right, lets do this!
Starship Operators/Mahou Sensei Negima/Ah My Goddess/Peach Girl/Gallery Fake/Mahoraba/Girls Bravo Season 2
Wow, what a shitty season. Now I obviously didn’t take down every title. I cut it down to only TV series and didn’t bother taking down names of anime that I didn’t know, had rubbish ratings or had ridiculously complicated Japanese names. Even so, what a bad season.
Victoria romance emma/MAR/Onegai my Melody/Law of Ueki/Aquarion/Elemental Grade/Eyeshield 21/Ichigo 100%/Glass Mask/Futakoi Alternative/Loveless/Speed Grapher/He is my Master/Tsubasa Chronicle/Basilisk/Honey and clover/Eureka Seven/Trinity Blood
Meh, for a Spring it’s not great but the awesome combo of Eureka Seven and H&C is something. Doesn’t quite compare to some of the later seasons though.
Da Capo Season 2/GunXSword/Pani Poni Dash/Suzuka/Shuffle/Full Metal Panic: TSR/Ichigo Mashimaro/Guyver
Painfully small list but it has to be said, what’s there aint bad. Summer seasons are pretty bad generally and this is one of the stronger ones., although personally I hated TSR.
Mahou Shojo Lyrical Nanoha A’s/To Heart 2/Angel Heart/Capeta/Akagi/Jikogu Shojo/Solty Rei/ Shakugan no Shana/Aria the Animation/Black Cat/Mai Otome/Blood+/Ginban Kaliedoscope/Lamune/Noein/Paradise Kiss/Rozen Maiden: Traumend/Mushishi/Karin
Slightly better than Spring 05. What makes this season stand out is the variety of anime on offer here. No great mecha here but otherwise you’re spoiled for choice. It sets a high bar for 06.
Magikano/Lemon Angel Project/Fate Stay/Night/Kashimashi/Ayakashi/REC/Ergo Proxy
Rubbish season. Well OK, it’s not horrible but Fate Stay/Night is very over-rated and Ergo Proxy has a reputation for being pretentious. It’s hard to praise a season when those two are the big names.
Gakuen Heaven/Kiba/Soul Link/School Rumble Ni Gakki/ The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya /Strawberry Panic/High School Girls/Simoun/ Aria the Natural/Utawarerumono /Gintama/Ouran High School Host Club/Air Gear/Nana/Princess Princess/Higurashi/.Hack//Roots /Zegapain /Witchblade / Inumaki/XXXHolic/ Ah My Goddess Season 2/Saiunkoku Monogatari/Black Lagoon/Musashi/The Third/Jyu oh Sei/ Tsubasa Chronicle Season 2
When people said that this was the best anime in recent memory, I thought they were over-reacting because of Haruhi. But all I can say is…wow! Even two of my favourites in Black Lagoon and Gintama are there. Even some of those un-bolded ones are cult hits, such as The Third and Inukami. Yes, this really is the best season as far as I can tell.
Flag/ Night Head Genisis/ Honey and Clover 2/Le Chevalier d’Eon/Familiar of Zero/Coyote Ragtime Show/Bokura ga ita/Ramen fighter Miki/Tonagura/Welcome to the NHK/Chocotto Sister/Innocent Venus/Kemonozume
Look, you have to lower your standards for Summer Seasons. Therefore this one aint bad. OK I know you’ve just seen Spring 06 but really try to lower your standards. NHK and H&C in one season is quite an achievement.
D.Gray Man/Black Lagoon TSB/Pumpkin Siscors/Death Note/Negimna?!/Ghost Hunt/Red Garden/Kanon 06/Busou Renkin/ Shonen Onmyoji/The Wallflower/ Sumomomo momomomo/Happiness/Code Geass/009-1/Hell Girl 2/Hitman Reborn/Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto/History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi/Bartender/Kekkashi/Soukou no Strain
God I thought this season was better. Death Note and Code Geass are huge but beyond them the spread is a bit meh for a big season. It’s still better than the two from 05 but no way beats Spring.
Afro Samurai/Shuffle Memories/Himawari/Hidamari Sketch/Venus Versus Virus/Nodame Cantabile/Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!/Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou/ Naruto Shippuden/ Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny
Typical Winter season I suppose. Nodame saves it from being dire and Hidamari is a cult hit. Hurrah for the end of Naruto fillers though.
Heroic Age/ Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann/Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS/ Hayate the Combat Butler/Seto no Hanayome/El Cazador de le Bruja/Over Drive/Oh Edo Rocket/Romeo X Juliet/Claymore/Darker than Black/Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula/Nagasarete Airantou/Sola/ Shining Tears X Wind/Moribito/Lovely Complex/ Terra e/Bokurano/Lucky Star/Kaze no Stigma/ Princess resurection/The Skull man/ Dennou Coil/Saiunkoku Monogatari 2nd Season/Ookiku Furikabutte
Sometimes it’s tough to know what’s worth bolding. There’s some real quality everywhere you look this season. Terra e, Bokurano and Oh Edo Rocket are all quite well rated. Dare I say it tops Spring 06? I’m going to say no simply because this season includes Lucky Star, the biggest load of Rubbish ever created. Mwahaha, go my biased views, go!
Devil May Cry/Doujin Work/Zombie Loan/School Days/Code E/Mushi-uta/Sky Girls/Saynara Zetsubo Sensei/Potemayo/Moetan/Mononoke/Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho/Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai/Mushi-Uta/Zero no Tsukaima ~Futatsuki no Kishi~/Shigurui/Baccano
Now this is the summer season to beat. I mean just look at it! Baccano, Higurashi, Zetsubo and the best anime nobodies watched, Mononke. Easily the top ‘small season’ so far.
Da Capo II/Sketchbook full Colours /Myself;Yourself/ Mokke/Bamboo Blade/Kaiji/Dragonaut/Clannad/Shakugan no Shana 2/You’re under Arrest: Full Throttle/Gundam 00/Shugo Chara/Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou Dai Ni Maku/Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro/Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun/ef – A Tale of Memories/Kimi kiss/ Prism arc/Rental Magica/Minami-ke/Genshiken 2/Komodo no Jikan/Moyashimon/Shion no Ou/Ghost hound
Wow this season was full of average. Heck, the summer season is almost better than this. OK, maybe not quite but it’s still rather poor after all those great seasons that have all come before it. I suppose it marks the end of the Golden Era.
Rosario to Vampire/H2O Footprints in the Sand/True Tears/Persona Trinity Soul/ Shigofumi/Aria the Origination/Spice and Wolf/Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei/Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de/Hatenkou Yuugi/Minami-ke Okawari/Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-/Hakaba Kitarou
This was where I started watching anime weekly and god did I start in a poor season. Actually I take that back, it’s not that bad but it’s certainly not a world beater.
XXXHolic Kei/ Kurenai/To-love-ru/Allison to Lillia/Macross Frontier/Tower of Druaga/Amatsuki/Itazuru na Kiss/Blassreiter/Kanokon/Kamen no Maid Guy/Code Geass R2/Nabari no Ou/Vampire Knight/Special A/Soul Eater/Real Drive/Junjou Romantica/Wagaya no Oinari-sama./Zettai Karen Children/Library Wars/Kaiba/Daughter of 20 Faces/Golgo 13
2008 is the worst year in recent memory. A look at that list should tell you that. Considering how good Spring Seasons can be, this is very poor indeed. Plus I wonder how many people out there think Geass R2 needs to be in pink.
Sekirei/Slayers Revolution/Natsu no sora/Nogizaka Haruka’s Secret/Hidamari Sketch x365/Strike Witches/Birdy the Mighty Decode/Natsume Yuujinchou/Blade of the Immortal/Antique Bakery/ Xam’d Lost Memories/Ryoko’s Case File/Zero no Tsukaima ~Princesses no Rondo~/Detroit Metal City
Xam’d saves this season to a certain extent, but it’s inclusion here is a bit suspect. It aired about halfway through the two seasons. Either way, this is a bad season. And no, Strike Witches is not a classic.
Earl and the Fairy/Toradora/Hyakko/Casshern Sins/Clannad AS/Rosario to Vampire 2/Yozakura Quartet/Shikabane Hime/Akane iro ni Somaru Saku/Kuroshitsuji/Linebarrels of Iron/Tales of the Abyss/Kemeko DX/Kannagi/Gundam 00 2/Ga-Rei-Zero/Tentai Senshi Sunred/Jigoku Shoujo Mitsuganae/Toaru Majutsu no Index/Skip Beat/Vampire Knight Guilty/Ef- Tale of Melodies/One Outs/Kurozuka/Mouryou no Hako/Tytania/Chaos;Head/Junjou Romantica 2/Nodame Cantabile Paris/Michiko to Hatchin
Moe saturation point has arrived right about now. This is the last great work you will see Kyo Ani do. Personally I think they’re rubbish but hey, each to their own I suppose.
White Album/ Shikabane Hime 2/Akikan/Maria Holic/Minami-ke Okaeri/Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou/Tower of Druaga 2/Asu no yoichi/Kurokami/Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo/Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger/Birdy the might Decode 2/Chrome Shelled Regios/Ride Back/Kemono no Souja Erin/ Munto TV
Very bleh season indeed. How many sequels can you count? How many average anime can you count? Now whats left? Yeah, not much.
Sengoku Basara/Queens Blade/Asura Cryin/ Pandora Hearts/Basquash/K-ON/Phantom/Tears to Tiara/Hayate the Combat Butler 2/Mazinger Z/Valkyrie Chronicles/Guin Saga/Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood/Shangri-La/Natsu no Arashi/Saki/Cross Game/07 Ghost/Ristorante Paradiso/Eden of the East/Hatsukoi Limited
The best season since Spring 07? Depends on whether you liked K-ON or not. I don’t, so I think it’s only average. But at least it’s better than any 08 season.
Haruhi Season 8/Umi Monogatari/Aoi hana/Umineko/Needless/Bakemonogatari/Canaan/Princess Lover/Sora no Manimani/Spice and Wolf II/Tokyo Magnitude 8.0/Taishou Yakyuu Musume./Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei/GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class/Yokuwakaru Gendaimahou
Right, the big question finally gets tackled. First off, please don’t bother comparing this to Spring or Autumn seasons. It would be like comparing an English Premiership team to a Hungarian League team. However if you compare it to Summer/Winter seasons then yes, this is certainly one of the better ones. It’s not as good as Summer 07 but otherwise it does fare well to any other small season. This post took way too long to prove such a small point though…
::Edit:: Oh who am I kidding. Umineko is badly written, Magnitude is boring, Canaan is utter rubbish and SZS is the same joke third season in a row. The only good anime this season are Horo and Senjogahara. This season is rubbish.