Happy Sunday to all she’s, he’s, and them’s! What’s your favorite anime from the year 2008? These are my seven favorites from that year, ranked from least to greatest personal enjoyment. (I love them all, though.) Ready? Set? Rant!
7. Junjou Romantica
If you like BL and yaoi, this show is a must-see! In fact, if you like M/M couples, just stop right now and go watch it. It’s on Crunchyroll. Junjou Romantica has its share of issues, such as an art style that’s very hit-or-miss for some people, and negative and overused tropes like sexual harassment and rigid seme-uke dynamics. However, most of those tropes and issues are challenged and moved away from as the series progresses through 3 wonderful seasons.
To date, Junjou Romantica is my very favorite BL/ yaoi anime. It has just the right balance of drama, comedy, fluffy romance, and sex. The characters are extremely cute and/or sexy, and the three couples in the series each have their own dynamics. The soundtrack and voice-acting are great, too. Read the MAL synopsis for more detail.
Do you like unusual art styles in anime? What about anime that’s thought-provoking and sometimes surprisingly mature? Sci-fi? A bit of romance? If yes, then you might really appreciate Kaiba. The art style is very simple and cartoonish, but unique and cute. It’s got a great soundtrack and some well-known seiyuu. Kaiba explores many interesting themes, and contains adult elements such as sex. It’s a weird and trippy anime, but I love it!
The story is about Warp, a boy who wakes up with no memories and a hole in his chest, in a universe where memories are stored in small, conical chips and body-swapping is common. Can Warp recover his memories and find his true love in this vast and confusing world? Kaiba is one of several amazing works by the weird and wonderful creator Masaaki Yuasa.
5. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
I know; you’re wondering why Natsume Yuujinchou is only #5 on the list. If this was a “best” 2008 anime list, the show would be closer to the number one spot, because it’s so beautiful, wholesome, emotional, and charming. That’s true of the art, the soundtrack, the stories within the series, and the character dynamics. As it is, this list is a “favorite” list, and I tend to enjoy weird and dark stuff more than real beauty in anime. xD
In case you’re not familiar with it, Natsume Yuujinchou is about a boy named Takashi Natsume who can see and interact with youkai. His late grandmother with the same ability left behind a book containing the names of youkai, with spells that bind them to the owner of the book forever, or until they are set free. As Natsume is approached by various youkai, he takes it upon himself to return each of their names. On his often emotional adventures, Natsume is accompanied by his bodyguard and best friend Madara, nicknamed Nyanko-sensei.
4. Shigofumi (Letters from the Dead)
This anime keeps coming up in my lists, doesn’t it? Fumiko and her talking staff Kanako are mysterious existences whose job is to deliver letters from the recently deceased to the acquaintances or relatives still living. Shigofumi starts as very episodic tales of cases of dramatic deaths. Then it transitions into an exploration of the history, character, and psychology of Fumiko. Who is she really? As long as you treat it as an atmospheric, psychological character piece, Shigofumi is highly enjoyable.
3. Mouryou no Hako (Goblin in the Box or Goblin’s Box)
I’ve written quite a bit about Mouryou no Hako already, but it seems to be a very obscure show even among my fantastic followers, who know about so many underrated anime. The series is about a bunch of different characters wrapped up in what ends up being one mystery involving sci-fi and possibly the supernatural. The setting is historical, Japan in the 1950s, which adds another layer of interesting elements.
It all started when teenage girl Kanako was hit by a train and transferred to a mysterious hospital/ facility to save her life. Not long after, Kanako “vanishes” from the facility, much to everyone’s horror and confusion. At the same time, there are mutliple cases of dismemberment murders in the area, and a mysterious religious cult (worshiping the concept of boxes) is spreading. Some say all the strange events are the work of demons called Mouryou. What’s going on? I recommend Mouryou no Hako to all fans of psychological, mystery, historical, and sci-fi in anime.
2. Spice and Wolf
Holo is a wise wolf goddess who blessed the harvest of the town of Yoitsu for many years. She take the form of a giant red wolf, or a sexy wolf-girl. Now that the goddess has become like a fairy tale to the villagers, Holo decides to leave and have some adventures traveling. The man she chooses to travel with is Lawrence, a smart and good-natured merchant. Spice and Wolf is about these two and their journey. It’s a laidback but extremely well-made series all around.
Spice and Wolf is also a very educational anime in which you can learn about economic principles and the historical background of rural Europe being made to change from Paganism to organized Christian religion. I recommend Spice and Wolf to all anime fans! (Well, maybe all fans 16+ because of the frequent “anime nudity.”)
1. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
As noted in my Code Geass series review, seasons one and two fit perfectly together and create what I consider one of the best stories in all of anime. Code Geass is the story of Lelouch Lamperouge, an exiled prince of the empire of Britannia, who has gained a power called Geass, which allows him to give one absolute order per individual that nobody can resist. This power is crucial to Lelouch’s plan of freeing Japan and eventually the world from the tyrannical rule of Britannia. But on the way to that goal, Lelouch must take many lives and make many sacrifices.
There is so much depth to the story and themes in Code Geass. It’s in my top 5 favorite anime ever along with Wolf’s Rain, Kiseijuu/Parasyte, Psycho-Pass, and Shin Sekai Yori. Genres include drama, super power, psychological, action, mecha, and military. It’s a cocktail of anime elements that make me ecstatic. So I recommend this show— both seasons— to anime fans one and all! Now, thank you so much for reading today, everyone. It makes me happy. 🙂 Please enjoy your day and take good care of yourself! Bye now!
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(All images and GIFs were found by searching the web, and I don’t own any of them.)