The other day Nick Creamer posted an article about Kyoto Animation on AnimeNewsNetwork, along with this personal list of favorite KyoAni anime. My comment to the post ended up being really log so I thought I’d post it here. Copy and paste:
KyoAni always does SOMETHING that I can’t explain that really speaks to me. Even their most hated shows, I really really enjoy. I remember people were trashing Beyond the Boundary left and right when it aired. I was going to skip it but I got bored before New Years that year and binged it and loved it. It had it’s flaws but it was still a FUN show to watch. KyoAni always makes FUN shows to watch – and very often they also have powerful moments. Kobayashi unexpectedly touched me with some emotional lines.
I have 47 “shows” (includes OVA and movies) on Myanimelist for KyoAni.
Only 8 I rated 7/10 (My “average” rating…anything 6 or lower I drop because too bland). These include shows like Tamako Market which seemed like it wasn’t sure what it was trying to do in the end. I heard the movie made things better but I haven’t seen it yet. Amagi Brilliant Park was also a 7/10 for me because I felt the comedy was weaker and the overall story and characters just didn’t connect to me very well.
11 of them I gave an 8/10 because they did something that I felt made them more enjoyable than the “average” show. This is a lot of Chuunibyou specials like the “Lite” series and basically everything related to “Ren”. It was a huge letdown after I considered the original Chuunibyou to be a masterpiece. Musaigen no Phantom World I also put here. Overall a really fun/enjoyable to watch show but it felt aimless in the end. I would’ve liked to see and learn more of the world they were in.
15 of them I gave 9/10 because I felt they were rather outstanding, minus a few issues that I could’t forgive enough to give 10/10. I just moved Lucky Star here a few years ago on a rewatch. When I originally watched Lucky Star in 2007, I honestly gave it a 10/10. As an Otaku-culture fanboy, It was a huge blast for me. But when rewatching it, I felt like the first few episodes were too much of a stain on the show as a whole and took a point off for those episodes. I also have Haruhi Season 2 in this section. Most people took more points off for Endless Eight but there’s charts online that explain everything you can skip – makes it far more bearable. And the way Endless Eight connects to the amazing movie helped me look at it as a bigger picture and keep it’s score higher for me. I love the franchise so much. Hyouka and Nichijou are also here for me. I literally just started rewatching Hyouka today. I meant to do it last year for the 5-year anniversary but got too busy over the year. Maybe I’ll appreciate it more and boost it up to a 10 this year. Nichijou was just too hit-or-miss for me with the comedy. Obviously I still love it, since I gave it a 9/10 but there was a few episodes where I only smirked once or twice rather than laughed, so I couldn’t give it full points. The last 9/10 I gave KyoAni was for A Silent voice when I watched it last year.
The last 13 are of course my 10/10. This is FAR more than any other studio has from me.
This is why KyoAni are my favorite studio. I won’t deny part of my love for these is because of nostalgic reasons. In no specific order:
Air is a mess by almost any standard now. But it was one of the first anime I watched completely blind. I was completely surprised how beautiful it was and of course the overall plot and everything really messed me up emotionally. It will always a special place in my heart
2-3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya S1 and the Movie
Haruhi Season 1 is just legendary at this point. Another one I watched mostly blind. I’ll never in my life forget how I felt watching the concert scene, or the kiss scene. Just celebrated it in 2016 for it’s 10-year and it was every bit as fun. The movie, especially after Season 2, I truly believe is a masterpiece. I’ve given up hope for more Haruhi after 9 years since Season 2 aired, but that movie was a great point to stop anyway.
4-5. Clannad (Both Seasons)
Clannad and Kanon…well, anyone that knows me at all calls me a KEY fanboy. But the only good KEY anime comes from KyoAni. Kanon is the anime I’ve watched more than any other in my life. I watched it every December for 10 years. Most other anime I can barely watch twice, but there’s something about Kanon 2006 that touches me in a way that lets me rewatch it endlessly. I think it’s beautiful in every way. Music, visuals, story. The ending was also one of happiest and most conclusive in all of anime, IMO. I hate how most anime have non-endings. Clannad, as a whole package, is just a really beautiful family story. I still feel like we don’t get enough of those in anime. KEY always has the best parents in anime, too. After Story, especially, though, breaks me every time I watch it. I rarely feel emotion from any TV show or movie, so I give it a lot of points for that. Again, the music is also S-tier for me, the theme songs and the soundtrack as a whole.
7-9. K-On! (Both Seasons) + Movie
10. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
I love K-On! and Kobayashi for the same reasons. Pure fun. Every episode of these shows, I just felt good. I laughed. I had a great time. Then every now and then they’d do something that was a little touching. Kobayashi talked about family, or acceptance. K-On! talked about growing up and the future. But even while putting actual meaning into the shows, KyoAni still kept true to the overall themes of each show which was still being a “comedy”. I have zero complaints about these shows at all.
11. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
I was a chuunibyou in middle school. Barely anyone where I grew up liked anime at all, so I was a massive outsider. I played in my mind like Rikka did. I connected with her instantly. It became clear very quickly that Chuunibyou was far more than a simple comedy, though. In the end it was a really, really beautiful and meaningful story. I always doubt that I’ll ever love an anime as much as I loved Chuunibyou when it was airing. I’m really hoping the new movie gives me this kind of feeling and is less like “Ren”.
11-12. Hibike! Euphonium (Both Seasons)
I basically watch any anime about music. I love music. I had no real expectations but the first season absolutely blew me away with his fantastic audio, S-Tier visuals, S-Tier “camera work”, S-Tier characters, and S-Tier plot. Kumiko is still one of my favorite characters in anime. The concert scene at the end of season 1 literally brought me to tears. ” Crescent Moon Dance” I think it was what they were performing.
This was my review for Hibike! Season 1 back in 2015
“It’s a lie that the gods smile upon those who make an effort”, says Kumiko, because sometimes effort has no rewards. But it’s definitely still better than not putting in any effort at all. KyoAni definitely put a lot of love and effort into Hibike!, and it totally paid off. Starting from the usual KyoAni gorgeous visuals, we get amazing backgrounds, extremely detailed finger/hand positions on the instruments, and stunning lighting..especially in the final episode. But the story about how Oumae Kumiko went from who she was in episode 1 to who she is in episode 13 was not only awesome, but also pretty realistic for once. This anime I think could definitely inspire people. Not only in music either, but in any field in life. The final performance scene was also the first time my eyes watered to a song, and I think it’s because of the struggles the characters had to go through to get that far.
I post that now because season 2 didn’t ruin those feelings at all. But I think that extends to almost all KyoAni anime. Even if you don’t like the particular show (Phantom World and Beyond the Boundry specifically seem to get a lot of hate), you CANNOT deny that KyoAni very clearly puts a ton of effort into everything they do. If anything, they’re possibly one of the most passionate studios out there.
I know it’s extremely fanboyish, but I pretty much automatically get hyped for anything new from KyoAni now days. They’re the only studio that’s hit far more than they’ve missed for me. I doubt I’ll ever stop loving them and the pieces of art they throw at me.