To me, this has been an excellent year for anime. Here is a list of the shows I enjoyed most. I'm not saying these are the "best" shows of the year (whatever that means), just very good shows that are my favorites:
Bakemonogatari -- Director Shinbou Akiyuki has said he doesn't feel he added much to this, that it all came from the novels by NisiOisiN. I disagree. The look and pacing of the show add a lot. And Saitou Chiwa is beyond excellent as Senjougahara. But I do appreciate NisiOisiN's humor a lot more than the humor in other Shinbou shows.
Darker than Black 2 -- The first series was entertaining, but this one is emotionally deep. Hanazawa Kana gives her best performance ever, and raises herself a level in the seiyuu ranks, for me.
Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ -- Sharp, dark, moving. Great pace. Great seiyuu performances from Takagaki Ayahi and Sawashiro Miyuki, who is even able to foreshadow her character's development with subtle shadings of her voice.
Seitokai no Ichizon -- This instantly becomes one of my two favorite comedy animes of all time, along with Ichigo Mashimaro. No surprise that both are by the same director, Satou Takuya, whose brand of humane absurdity is just what I like. A Japanese moe version of Monty Python. Hanada Jukki proves he can write. And the almost all-unknown cast is fantastic.
Aoi Hana -- Delicate feelings delicately portrayed in front of delicate watercolor backgrounds. May be even better than Marimite. Actress/model Takabe Ai gives a strong, natural performance as the lead.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 -- Like no other anime I've seen. Realistic, to a point, and emotionally moving when it goes beyond that point. Hanamura Satomi does an excellent job as peevish thirteen-year-old Mirai.
Pandora Hearts -- Monsters turn me off, but they didn't in this show. Interesting world, good pacing, vivid characters, outstanding music by Kajiura Yuki.
White Album -- Very unusual story-telling, always leaving us in the dark about the characters' true histories, feelings and motivations, but creating deep and mysterious resonances. It helps that I don't mind soap opera.
Denpateki na Kanojo -- Came out of nowhere to give us two of the best anime episodes of the year. And Hirohashi Ryou as Ame gave one of the most memorable seiyuu performances.
Eden of the East -- Did not entirely live up to early promise, but was still a fascinating experience every week.
Marimite 4 -- This fourth Marimite series has not got a lot of love from anyone but me, but I thought it equaled the first two series, which were such landmarks of shoujo-ai. Yumi's development here was perfect.
Genji Sennenki -- It helps that I think The Tale of Genji is one of the world's greatest novels. No eleven-episode anime could ever do it justice, but this came close, with its artistic look and pacing, and its powerful but allusive way of telling the stories it included.
Hanasakeru Seishounen -- I had no intention of liking this show so much, but Endou Aya just captivated me with her portrayal of the compassionate, bold, innocent protagonist Kajika. And after the mid-point, this apparently simple reverse harem turned into a shoujo improvement on Code Geass, with adventure and royal intrigue.
Yurumates -- Almost no-one saw this one-episode comedy OVA, but I thought it was hilarious, the best recent rooming-house comedy.
Suzumiya Haruhi 2 -- The first new episode made me feel that the real Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu was back. But they frittered it away with Endless Eight, which should have lasted only two or three episodes. DVD sales, however, have Kadokawa laughing all the way to the bank.
Winter Sonata is just getting going, although it already has me emotionally involved. Aoi Bungaku is good literature, but I'm not sure it's good anime. I have to see more of it than three episodes to really judge. Kanamemo was fun, but doesn't quite make my list. Toradora, Eve no Jikan, and Kara no Kyoukai were on last year's list.
I know some people will find it strange that Cross Game isn't here, but I just don't enjoy its main characters and their development as much as other people seem to. Maybe it's all just too shounen for me. There are some nice moments, but the show seems glacially slow to me at every level. I don't even find the humor funny. But I have watched 26 episodes, anyway, lol, hoping to see what others praise so highly.