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The Best of Anime 2011

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Now that 2011 is over, here’s a look back at some of my favorite shows from the past year. Due to the subjective nature of it all and the fact that I’m constrained to what I’ve seen, I’m not trying to pick series that the vast majority finds agreeable. Instead, I’m here to convey my personal favorites for 2011, after which you’re more than welcome to chime in with your respective choices.

Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous (fun stuff), Genre, and Notable Others. This year, I’ve also added some new genres and divided the seiyuu category into male and female. Included at the end are the final results to the Reader’s Choice Poll.

 

Please Read: I got a bit of flack last year for some of my choices despite providing more justification than necessary for an opinion, so please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for me is not necessarily the best for you. I did manage to finish 72 of the 99 shows included in the poll (complete list here), so before you go knocking one of my choices, please make sure that you’ve at least seen it and know where I’m coming from. Finally, all I ask is that you respect my opinion, just like I respect yours. If you happened to watch more series than me in the past year, I’d love to hear what your favorites were.

Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.

 


Production


Animation

Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed me the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as I’m trying to think of the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

Animation

It’s easy to forget about the series from the first half of the year, but a quick flip through some of STAR DRIVER’s episodes reminded me of the stellar animation in BONES’ original series. Yes, there was recycled footage for Tauburn’s entrance and Takuto’s transformation, but the Cybody battles were always a treat to watch — especially with the galactic Zero Time backdrops. The quality remained consistently high throughout, particularly with the characters themselves. Even if Fate/Zero were up for consideration, the amount of actual animation in STAR DRIVER would still get my top pick. FRACTALE is a close runner-up with its immersive visuals and subtle yet realistic character movements care of A-1 Pictures and Ordet. At times, the amount of expression was movie-like quality. THE IDOLM@STER was another impressive production by A-1 Pictures for similar reasons, particularly the live performances.

Honorable Mentions: FRACTALE, THE IDOLM@STER, To Aru Majutsu no Index II

 

Story

As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here I’m looking at depth and what captivated me from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

Story

When it comes to a gripping story, three series immediately came to mind — Anohana, Madoka Magica, and Steins;Gate. After skimming some episodes of each, I had to go with Madoka Magica for its deconstruction of the magical girl genre and heavily character-driven progression where the heroines plummeted more and more into despair. It happened late in the series, but the story shares similarities with Steins;Gate’s hellish time traveling too — all in a mere 12 episodes. I loved how Urobuchi Gen’s dark tale cast a constant shadow of doubt on where things were headed and then completely twisted my understanding of everything that’s happened so far. It didn’t shy away from character deaths either. For those reasons, it edges ahead of Steins;Gate. Okada Mari’s touching story isn’t too far behind.

Honorable Mentions: Steins;Gate, Anohana

 

Soundtrack

What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.

Soundtrack

After listening to a bunch of soundtracks in the past month, Kousaki Satoru’s music in STAR DRIVER was by far the most memorable — even nine months after the series finished airing. There are a lot of tracks that I can instantly associate with scenes from the anime, plus the “version de l’approivoiser” songs by the four maidens that give me goosebumps to this day. (Listen below.) Other memorable soundtracks include Kajiura Yuki’s compositions in Madoka Magica, Ike Yoshihro’s in TIGER & BUNNY, and Sahashi Toshihiko’s in Sacred Seven. The last one was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t think much of the music while watching, but the soundtrack is really something. I loved Sahashi’s music in Gundam SEED/SEED Destiny and his pieces in S7 remind of something out of Final Fantasy. The OST features two fantastic insert songs by Nakajima Megumi too — “Koi” and “Tsunagaru made”.

Honorable Mentions: Sahashi Toshihiko – Sacred Seven, Kajiura Yuki – Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Ike Yoshihiro – TIGER & BUNNY

Listen to Divine’s favorite STAR DRIVER tracks ▼

 

Opening & Ending Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series. Sometimes, they’re completely irrelevant to actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that I enjoyed more than others.

C3 -C Cube- OP1
Beelzebub ED3

There were a lot of OP sequences on my shortlist, but the sight of Fear dancing to Tamura Yukari’s “Endless Story” in a forest of cherry blossom trees came out on top. I like how the camera zooms in on her hands, hips, and feet while purposely avoiding her eyes, as it helped emphasize that her playful movements are in sync with the music. While the rest of the sequence is fairly simple with Fear, Konoha, and Kirika running through the woods, the rainy scene in the middle provides an interesting change of mood before it’s blown away by the cherry blossoms. Every time I watch this opening sequence, it feels like it ends way too fast.

Honorable Mentions: Kami-sama Dolls OP, WORKING’!! OP, STAR DRIVER OP2

I decided to loosen the “completed series” requirement for OP/ED sequences this year, as Beelzebub’s third ED was easily my favorite. Long-running shounen series tend to have fun with their sequences by showcasing their characters in a very different light, and this one did just that with a drastically different art style from the actual show. The girls are depicted in a much cuter manner, particularly Kunieda Aoi who’s the main reason why I’m still watching the series. It doesn’t hurt when Tomato n’ Pine’s “Nananiro☆Namida” is one of my favorite songs of the year either (see below). Tegami Bachi REVERSE’s second ED is my other favorite, because of its SNES Mode 7-like sequence and equally catchy song by Yamazaru.

Honorable Mentions: Tegami Bachi REVERSE ED2

Song

With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something I didn’t get tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was even any good, as I’m simply picking my favorite song featured in an anime.

“Cross Over” by 9nine (STAR DRIVER ED1)

While I risk being labeled a Japanese teenybopper with my favorite song of 2011, the STAR DRIVER opening/ending themes by 9nine have stayed on my playlist to this very day, reiterating the notion that they’re songs I never got tired of listening to. They’re ridiculously catchy and have STAR DRIVER’s “fabulousness” associated with them. Of the two, I like “Cross Over” more because it doubles as the series’ instrumental theme song. I was seriously considering IDOLM@STER episode 20′s very touching insert/ending song “Yakusoku”, but I couldn’t overlook how 9nine’s songs have been stuck in my head for much longer. Some of my other favorites were the ongoing Beelzebub’s ED3 and FREEZING’s OP.

Honorable Mentions: “SHINING☆STAR” by 9nine (STAR DRIVER OP2), “Yakusoku” by 765PRO ALLSTARS (THE IDOLM@STER ED20), “Nanairo Namida” by Tomato n’ Pine (Beelzebub ED3), “COLOR” by MARiA (FREEZING OP)

Listen to Honorable Mentions ▼

 


Miscellaneous


Character

Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is my favorite character, who won his or her way into my heart for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

Character

When it comes to the character that made a series for me, no one was more crucial to my enjoyment than veteran superhero Kaburagi T. Kotetsu in TIGER & BUNNY. As a main character who’s a single father in his thirties, he was a breath of fresh air in a medium that’s predominately about teenagers. I loved watching Kotetsu deal with criminals who gave him a hard time about being past his prime, plus his no-nonsense partner Barnaby. Then there were his interactions with Karina, a.k.a. Blue Rose, whom he acted like a fatherly figure toward and started to win her over. His character struck the perfect balance between easygoing/goofy and dependable. All he wanted was for his daughter Kaede to think he was cool too. You’ll always be cool to me Wild Tiger!

Honorable Mentions: Okabe Rintarou (Steins;Gate), Shinonono Houki (IS Infinite Stratos), Konoe Subaru (Mayo Chiki!), Hoshii Miki (THE IDOLM@STER)

 

Seiyuu

As the natural extension of characters, the seiyuu who voiced and gave them life deserve some attention. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so I’m here to highlight whose acting I enjoyed time and time again. A variety of roles tends to showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, but sometimes all it takes is one unforgettable role to get my pick. Below are my favorite male and female seiyuu this past year.

Male Seiyuu

Whether it’s dazzling Kiraboshi as a Ginga Bishounen or swearing at street vendors as a mad scientist, Miyano Mamoru was there to deliver. When he’s not playing serious characters like in Death Note and Gundam 00, he’s usually playing optimistic and carefree ones like we saw this past year. His starring role in DOG DAYS as Izumi Shinku was a natural extension of Takuto, whereas his support role in Kimi ni Todoke as Miura Kento took a more manipulative turn. He wasn’t in too many other shows, but his starring roles in the first two more than make up for it. Fukuyama Jun’s roles in SD, Tegami Bachi REVERSE, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, and WORKING’!!, along with Kamiya Hiroshi’s in Ao no Exorcist and Break Blade were among my favorites as well.

Honorable Mentions: Fukuyama Jun, Kamiya Hiroshi

Female Seiyuu

While Toyosaki Aki impressed me more last year with her sheer number of distinct voices, this year was all Hanazawa Kana. Her spunky portrayal of Rana Linchen in FREEZING and absolutely psychotic portrayal of Hyuuga Mahiru in Kami-sama Dolls showed range I never knew she had. Kana only really has one voice that she uses in her roles, but she really took it to another level with her feistiness in those two. She also starred/co-starred in lots of other series, including the aforementioned FREEZING, Deadman Wonderland, FRACTALE, Ro-Kyu-Bu, Moshidora, Hen Zemi, Infinite Stratos, Ao no Exorcist, Mayo Chiki, and Break Blade, and gave memorable performances in each. Yuuki Aoi and Kayano Ai were two of my other favorites for using distinctly different voices in every role. It’s really hard to typecast either of them.

Honorable Mentions: Yuuki Aoi, Kayano Ai

 

Plot Twist

This is the replacement for the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. I’m looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that caught me off guard and delivered sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has people talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not anyone found it agreeable. Below are the plot twists I have in mind.

Show Plot Twist ▼

 

Death

This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but I’m concerned about the impact the death has on the story and me as the viewer. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression I’m basing my selection on.

Show Death Picks ▼

 

Trap

“It’s a trap!” and by that I mean a guy cross-dressing as a remarkably cute-looking girl. Gender bender is also acceptable since we’re simply looking for the character who gave off a disturbingly unsettling feeling with how well they portrayed the opposite sex. In short, the character who managed to deceive others (and me) into thinking they’re actually a hot girl, if even only for a moment.

Trap

I’m cheating this year by including reverse traps, but it was only way to give Konoe Subaru the attention she deserves for having a legion of degenerative female fans and kicking ass better than most male characters. It’s not like viewers are ever truly deceived by male traps, so it only seems fair to let the support characters decide how good a trap is. The added benefit of a reserve trap like Subaru is that neither gender is truly disappointed even if the supple truth gets out. Kusunoki Yukimura would be the obvious choice for a regular trap, but it’s somewhat unfair because there’s nothing masculine about him at all. His character is designed as a girl from the ground up, so he can even pull off wearing a female swimsuit. Now that’s cheating.

Honorable Mentions: Kusunoki Yukimura (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai), Shidou Mariya (Maria Holic Alive)

 


Genre


Action

In the genre section, the goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for my favorite anime of the year. First up is action, which ranges from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha ones. For battles, choreography plays a huge role so that was definitely taken into consideration.

Action

Much like the year before, there were a lot of series with action, but not many made it one of their main focuses. Ultimately, the mecha fan in me took the most enjoyment from seeing all of Banpresto’s original robots unleash all their trademark attacks backed by their awesome theme music in Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector . While my fond memories of the games come heavily into play, anyone who enjoys a good mecha series should be able to appreciates the action in SRW:OG. The final battle with all the robots cranking out their strongest attacks one after another was nothing short of “orgasmic” mecha overload. FREEZING also gets my nod for its Pandora battles with shounen action written all over them, as does BLOOD-C for some great fighting choreography and X-Men for lots of gritty superhero action.

Honorable Mentions: FREEZING, STAR DRIVER, BLOOD-C, X-Men

 

Romance

Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationships between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.

Romance

There weren’t as many pure romance series as I would’ve liked, so my pick practically defaults to the second season of Kimi ni Todoke. My only hesitation about this choice is that the portrayal of Kazehaya and Sawako’s relationship didn’t draw me in nearly as much as I would’ve liked. Instead of making me gush over how cute they are, I was mostly filled with a sense of relief to see all the misunderstandings come to an end. Still, I found myself so invested in the characters that the romance was incredibly sweet at times. I have to give a lot of credit to Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II though, as Chihiro’s arc really impressed me from a romantic standpoint. Manglobe studio carried a bit of that sweetness over to the confession in Mashiro-iro Symphony too.

Honorable Mentions: Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II, Mashiro-iro Symphony

 

Drama

A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.

Drama

When thinking of my favorite dramas in the past year, I didn’t have to look much further than my favorite stories. Anohana’s portrayal of a group of childhood friends who had grown distant after one of them suddenly died was one of self-discovery. They slowly come to terms with how they truly feel and do everything they can in memory of a ghost whom only Jinta can interact with. At times, the series had a lighthearted and very unassuming air, but the emotions were always prevalent and the main driving factor behind the story. While it wasn’t too moving for some, I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed in the finale. Moshidora also proved to be a powerful baseball-based drama at its core, whereas Usagi Drop was unbelievably cute and sent a good message.

Honorable Mentions: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Mawaru Penguindrum, Moshidora, Usagi Drop

 

Sci-Fi

When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation; however, it’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.

Sci Fi

It’s no secret that I love it when time travel is involved, so Steins;Gate’s take on it with a microwave that could send text messages to the past naturally gets my pick. The series didn’t have to contend with any major mecha anime this year — save for Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector — but its riveting depiction of the consequences of messing with timelines would have made a case for itself even if it did. The “D-Mails” were the only sci-fi element, but their effects were astronomical when Rintarou carelessly meddled with the timeline and found himself faced with an unchangeable fate. Watching him try to reverse the changes was incredibly gripping, especially when it revealed previously unseen facets of the support cast. C deserves a special mention for warping my image of financial districts and stock trades.

Honorable Mentions: C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector

 

Horror/Thriller

People asked for a horror category in past years, so I figured it was about time to make it a mainstay in these year-end posts. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.

Horror Thriller

As someone who hasn’t read too much of the manga, I really enjoyed Deadman Wonderland for its dark, twisted, and gore-filled story where a normal middle school boy is thrown into an amusement park prison and forced to take part in a sick life-or-death underground game. It was hard not to wince at the sight of prisoners getting organs forcibly extracted from their bodies or limbs lopped off, but there was a faint glimmer of hope in all the madness that made it impossible to stop watching. There was always an unsettling and even disturbing ambiance, which made watching the series a somewhat masochistic endeavor. Great for those who can stomach the violence, with the only drawback being the open-ended conclusion that’s in desperate need of a sequel.

Honorable Mentions: Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji Hakairoku-hen, Steins;Gate

 

Mystery

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Thought-provoking storylines that keep inquisitive viewers watching and speculating on where things are headed? Yes, please. They don’t necessarily have to have a horror element to them either, as all I’m looking for here is my favorite blend of detective/crime fiction.

Mystery

A supernatural twist always helps and this year both Dantailan no Shoka and UN-GO delivered in that regard. Between the two, I found myself much more taken in Dantalian no Shoka’s spin on it, as each episode gave us something different not only from a crime standpoint, but in terms of delivery as well. Part of the mystery came from trying to understand what Huey and Dalian had got their noses in next, which includes a very unforgettable case where they were caught up inside a phantom book. In their search for the truth and recovery of phantom books, they brought me to the ends or reality and back again and left me wanting more when the series completed its much too short 12-episode run. I still enjoyed UN-GO for its smart and witty take on a great detective, as well as GOSICK’s seemingly unrelated arcs that came together in the end.

Honorable Mentions: UN-GO, GOSICK

 

Comedy

The ability to make you laugh until you cry. That’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that I love.

Comedy

There aren’t many series that I can say trolled me and I liked it, so LEVEL E deserves mad props for doing that with its deadpan humor. This thirteen-year-old revival project from the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter was an absolute riot, changing things up with outrageous arcs before finally addressing the main plot. (Yes, there was an actual plot!) On the receiving end of Prince Baka’s sadistic sense of humor were usually Yukitaka and Kraft, who provided some of the most livid outbursts ever. This was hands down the funniest show for me, ahead of Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san, WORKING’!!, Yuruyuri, and Nichijou, which were all hilarious in their own right too. The degenerative stuff just kills me.

Honorable Mentions: Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san, WORKING’!!, Yuruyuri, Nichijou

 

Romantic Comedy

The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often — but not always — in harem-like scenarios. This is one of my favorite genres so I really wanted to highlight my favorites of the year.

Romantic Comedy

Infinite Stratos is easily my pick of the year for combining high-speed aerial battles with a cast of heroines with very distinct and lovable personalities. They all fell into the usual stereotypes, but distinguished themselves ever so slightly from the norm (e.g. a tsundere who can restrain herself). Most of my enjoyment came from watching them fight over the incredibly dense protagonist, which as irksome as it may sound, was actually the highlight of the series because of the amiable characters voiced by an all-star cast of female seiyuu. The character interactions were the focus like they should be, but it definitely didn’t hurt that the overarching plot involved exoskeleton mechs, effectively combining two of my favorite genres.

Honorable Mentions: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!, Mayo Chiki!, Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

 

Slice of Life

A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.

Slice of Life

I was originally set on Ikoku Meiro’s heartwarming tale about a young Japanese girl in 19th century Paris as my undisputed slice of life of the year, but THE IDOLM@STER made one heck of a push in its latter half, showing that it’s so much more than a slice of life with an idol twist. After giving a good feel for the lighthearted side of things with character-centric episodes, it injected large doses of heartfelt drama surrounding its two main heroines, Haruka and Chihaya. The build-up was cleverly spread out over several episodes too. While Ikoku Meiro had some really touching moments, episode 20 of IM@S was one to remember. Hanasaku Iroha paled in comparison, partly due to much less interesting episodes in the middle stretch, so it slots in behind even the carefree A-Channel for me.

Honorable Mentions: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation, A-Channel, Hanasaku Iroha

 

Fan-Service

While fan-service-filled affairs tend to go hand-in-hand with comedies, that’s not always the case. In addition, fan-service doesn’t only constitute breasts in your face, nor an abundance of needless upskirt shots. The only criteria here are character interactions suggestive of a sexual-related context, regardless of how revealing the scenes may actually be.

Fan Service

In 2011, my favorite kind of fan-service came in the form of teasing and the occasional wild scenario rather than flashing excessive amounts of skin, and no series had a better mix of that than Mayo Chiki. All it really took was Kanade’s sadistic ways to bring about all the fan-service, be it ordering Subaru to do a bunch of embarrassing stuff that she couldn’t refuse or giving Jirou some kinky ideas about what he could make Subaru do. That is, when Kanade wasn’t busy messing with Jirou herself. Before long, Masamune was manipulated for Kanade’s personal enjoyment as well, providing more “reluctant yet secretly willing” scenarios. Infinte Stratos providing something similar with the girls releasing their inhibitions, as did Onii-chan no Koto in a much cruder form.

Honorable Mentions: IS Infinite Stratos, Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!

 


Notable Others


Most Underappreciated

There are numerous shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because they’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. I make a point of watching and covering series that tend to be overlooked, so this is intended to highlight the series that more people should have checked out but probably didn’t.

Underappreciated

It may have been edged out as my favorite slice of life series, but Ikoku Meiro no Croisée was an absolute gem among anime these days. I loved all the cuteness Yune brings and how the show made me appreciate the small things in life more. At its core was a very sweet and heartwarming story about a girl who needed help familiarizing herself with a foreign country and culture and a boy who needed help rediscovering a side of himself that he had forgotten. It differentiated itself from one of my favorite slice of life shows of all-time ARIA by painting a less than ideal picture of 19th century France, but was still a “feel-good anime for the soul” in every way. A truly wonderful series.

Honorable Mentions: LEVEL E, Tegami Bachi REVERSE, Moshidora

 

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedence established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. I’m not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

Disappointment

I wasn’t terribly disappointed with FRACTALE despite director Yamamoto Yutaka’s bold statements about how he would retire if it failed; however, the same couldn’t be said about Production I.G and CLAMP’s latest addition to the Blood series. I was cautiously optimistic about BLOOD-C, but it was still hard to overlook how the entire series banked on a single plot device and continually piled up the death total to keep viewers watching. I loved the action sequences; I didn’t love how the story kept me in the dark until the final two episodes though. Saya’s realization on who she truly is came far too late for my liking as the series could’ve been so much better if there was more to it than that. The upcoming movie could change all this, but when looking solely at the TV series and its execution, I couldn’t help but go away disappointed.

 

Exceeded Expectations

Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. My picks here don’t mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.

Exceeded Expectations

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka delivered the laughs, battles, shocking revelations, and unexpected twists that the producers promised and in ways that I would have never anticipated. The mash-up of tropes took it to the extremes with the male zombie protagonist donning a “masou shoujo” outfit complete with a transformation sequence and somehow made it kind of cool. I was most impressed by how the progression managed to stay “randomly coherent” when it switched over to a more serious air surrounding Yuu and someone she resurrected in the past. I have no idea how someone comes up with a wacky story like this, but it just worked. Majikoi also turned out better than I originally thought with its unique combination of action and adult humor.

Honorable Mentions: Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!!

 


And Finally…


Favorite Anime 2011

The be all and end all of the year. If I had to pick just one series as my favorite, this would be it. If I could’ve only watched one show this past year, here’s what I would’ve been watching. There’s no other criteria here and being on the same page as the masses is the least of my concerns. You may not agree, but this category is for conveying what I enjoyed the most in 2011.

Favorite Anime

It was a tough choice between Steins;Gate and Madoka Magica as my favorite of 2011, as both series provided heavily character-driven storylines and a roller coaster of emotions. Story-wise, I liked Madoka’s deconstruction of the magical genre more as it was unlike anything I’ve seen before. Steins;Gate on the other hand built up its characters better with its two-season run and gave a hellish portrayal of the consequences of messing with timelines — something that totally won me over. I loved making sense of all the temporal implications of the “D-Mails” that were sent, as S;G was extremely well thought out and adhered to timeline theories. There was no shortage of twists either when Rintarou desperately tried to undo the changes made. To top it all off, there was even a love story hidden within this psychological thriller. Sci-fi, suspense, drama, and romance all rolled up into one. We’ll be lucky if we see another show of this caliber anytime soon.

Honorable Mentions: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, STAR DRIVER, TIGER & BUNNY, Anohana

 

Favorite OVA/Movie 2011

The same as above, except for the not regularly broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught my eye.

Favorite OVA Movie

The Gundam 00 movie made a last-minute steal as my favorite OVA/movie of 2010, but this year there wasn’t anything that I remotely enjoyed as much as the second Macross Frontier movie, Sayanora no Tsubasa. Movie-quality visuals backed by an epic soundtrack by Kanno Youko featuring new songs by May’n and Nakajima Megumi, plus a conclusion where Alto finally picks one of the songstresses? There isn’t anything more a longtime Macross fan such as myself could’ve possibly asked for. It was an absolutely fantastic movie, which when paired with the first one, could easily attract new fans to the franchise. The changes in the plot kept the story fresh while the ~90% new footage made the movie a spectacle to behold. I didn’t watch as many OVA/movies as I would’ve liked, but this is my favorite of 2011 hands down.

Honorable Mentions: Gundam Unicorn, Break Blade

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2011

Your choice for 2011. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.

Readers Choice Anime

The Top 5:
Steins;Gate – 3,283 (9.47%)
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – 2,805 (8.09%)
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai – 2,106 (6.08%)
Mawaru Penguindrum – 1,401 (4.04%)
Usagi Drop – 1,369 (3.95%)
Total Number of Votes – 34,640
Here are the full results.

I’m happy to report that the turnout for this year’s poll was very similar to the previous year with at least 6,900 voters taking the time to chime in with their top 5. Interestingly enough, three of my top 5 picks coincide with readers’ picks, where Steins;Gate also edged out Madoka Magica as the undisputed favorite of 2011. I’m somewhat surprised by that, since I figured Madoka would appeal to more viewers. In comparison, I’m very surprised to see Mawaru Penguindrum take fourth overall — regardless of the huge disparity between it and the #3 Anohana — as it didn’t seem to have that much of a following when I was blogging it. Other than that, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who enjoyed TIGER & BUNNY, STAR DRIVER, and Infinite Stratos, given how they all cracked the top 10. I was under the impression that a lot of people had qualms with STAR DRIVER in particular, so I wasn’t even sure if it’d make the top 10. Personally, I thought it was a great series, hence why it takes third overall on my list.

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2011

Your OVA/Movie choice of 2011. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching it and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2012, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.

Readers Choice OVA Movie

The Top 5:
Carnival Phantasm – 1,375 (7.87%)
Gundam Unicorn (eps 3-4) – 1,351 (7.74%)
Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa – 1,299 (7.44%)
Break Blade (movies 3-6) – 1,191 (6.82%)
BLACK LAGOON Roberta’s Blood Trail – 981 (5.62%)
Total Number of Votes – 17,450
Here are the full results.

Carnival Phantasm takes top honors this year, narrowly beating out both Gundam Unicorn and Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa. However, judging from the comments in the poll, this is likely due to the fact that more people watched Carnival Phantasm than the other two. There definitely weren’t as many notable OVA/movies releases compared to 2010, but I admittedly didn’t even make the time to check out all the ones that did interest me. This includes Carnival Phantasm, REDLINE, Mardock Scramble, Towa no Quon, and Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo — all of which did fairly well in the poll. If I did, I get the feeling that I would’ve had more honorable mentions for my favorite OVA/movies of the year.

 

As always, every year offers something different, and while 2011′s line-up didn’t have as many standout titles at first glance, a closer look revealed some original gems such as Madoka Magica, STAR DRIVER, and TIGER & BUNNY — three series that found their way into my top 5. I somehow managed to top my 56 out of 98 completed series from 2010 with 72 out of 99 in 2011, so there were significantly more shows that interested me too. Those who were willing to give most series the benefit of the doubt probably found it an enjoyable year for anime, whereas those who weren’t willing to expand their horizons likely missed out. Of course, that’s purely subjective much like this Best of Anime post itself, but it’s probably fair to say that you’ll never know if you enjoy a series if you don’t give it a fair chance. In 2012, I intend to delve into as many series as I can again, so here’s to hoping for another fun and entertaining year from the world of anime.

January 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm
320 comments »
  • January 4, 2012 at 9:33 pmCross

    Ah, now I’m gonna have to watch Madoka Magica and finish Stein’s Gate. I stayed away from MM since I thought it would be the typical Magical Girl series but I think I’ll go watch it now and see what all these twists are.
    Kotetsu of T&B is definitely one of my faves but he’s only my second after Aoi Toori from Horizon. His character was just too hilarious and refreshing.

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:09 pmAsakura

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, like hell it was. This was a good series and I didn’t even learn about it until recently.

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:22 pmakari_house

    Can agree with most of the top picks, but was truly saddened not to see hide nor hair of Wandering Son/Houro Musuko mentioned, not even in honorable mentions for “underappreciated” or “drama”. One of the best anime of the year, and yet it slipped under so many radars and was upstaged by Yamakan’s theatrics over Fractale.

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:43 pmMumu

    Can’t help but be disappointed to see that Natsume Yuujinchou couldn’t even make it in the Honorable Mentions for slice of life.

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pmChelsfofo

    This is my first time leaving a comment on this site but I just wanted to give the editors/ bloggers/ everyone who manages this amazing space on the vast web a huge round of applause/ praise/ thanks. I love checking this site out to see what new things are out, keeping up with the few anime series I do watch, and any other rambles. However, I most MOST MOST look forward to the previews of the seasons and these amazing end of year reviews. I do not have the patience to watch many series in real time (as in waiting a week to see the next episode) so I love to read posts like this and then go check out the animes later.
    Thank you thank you thank you for all of your hard work and effort!!!!
    Chelsfofo =)

  • January 4, 2012 at 10:49 pmThe_Magus_Killer

    Ben-To could have placed as a honorable mention in “Most Underappreciated” or “Exceeded Expectations.”

    • January 5, 2012 at 3:28 amDivine

      You have to keep in mind that for those two categories, it’s highly dependent on what your expectations are coming into a series. Ben-To turned out very similar to how I imagined it would, so it didn’t exceed or disappoint my expectations.

  • January 4, 2012 at 11:14 pmNovice

    madoka is the best story of 2011, (even it didn’t win for the best anime)
    maybe I should watch Steins;gate since it’s the best anime of 2011…

  • January 4, 2012 at 11:34 pmtheblackcontractor

    where the hell is my Penguin?

  • January 5, 2012 at 12:06 amChaos

    Woohoo, told ya Steins;Gate was anime of the year…HA HA HA :D

  • January 5, 2012 at 12:48 amLonghaul

    runner up “trap” Kusunoki Yukimura

    funny thing about that…

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:06 amzani

    I hope to see Chihayafuru here next year :)
    Anyway, not surprised why Madoka won those awards, they really deserved it.
    Hmmmm, I might pick up Steins;Gate seeing how it’s anime of the year plus everyone seems to be raving about it. I had my reservations about it since Chaos; Head was related…. And that was the worst anime I ever watched….. Ok maybe after Touko Gettan, but still.

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:06 amSlushiZ

    Thanks RC- I can’t wait to watch 2012′s anime NOOOWWWW :)

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:12 amrazi

    Not even mention of Mitsudomoe in comedy? I found it most funny this year.

    • January 5, 2012 at 3:32 amDivine

      The second season just wasn’t as funny as the first to me, much like Ika Musume’s sequel wasn’t.

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:17 amSeishun Otoko

    Can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that “Yakusoku” was ultimately bested, but glad to see MARiA’s “COLOR” getting a special mention. It’s a song that has been in my playlist ever since Freezing premiered.
    Great compilation as usual Divine, can’t say there were a lot of surprises since we were lucky enough to pick your brain in IRC. 2011 has been a pretty good year for animes and my favorites are Fate/Zero, Steins;Gate, The IDOLM@STER, Anohana, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Working!!, Tiger & Bunny, Kami-sama Dolls, Usagi Drop, Moshidora, LEVEL E, Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu!, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon and Infinite Stratos.

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:31 amwheate

    But Nichijou was so funny >.<''

    • January 5, 2012 at 4:58 amBaKaYaRou

      Agree that Nichijou was funny but there are several moments that can leave you blank… I think inconsistencies on the comedic part is a minus on this one. (TBH I’m a nichijou fan myself)

    • April 13, 2012 at 9:26 pmMatchatonyu

      Totally! My personal fave in 2011… “Nichijoy!”

  • January 5, 2012 at 2:06 amPrimus Lune

    I’m really glad for Star Driver. It was an anime which I thought was the best of 2011, but everyone’s subjected to their own opinion ^^ it’s good to see that it has landed its place in several categories here and even made it for honourable mentions showing that it is indeed well-crafted out. I’m also really thankful for Tiger and Bunny’s production ahs it has one of the better character developments by my take. I agree with divine’s pick for the position of character. Kotetsu is indeed a character of whom i never expected to be one of the most impactful, and here we have a leading father figure stealing the limelight ^^

    Looking forward to this year’s new intake of awesome~

  • January 5, 2012 at 2:10 amLitho

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • January 5, 2012 at 3:33 amDivine

      Once again, depends on who you ask.

  • January 5, 2012 at 2:28 amPockyG

    72 shows in a year… to put that into perspective that’s finishing 1.33 series a week which is at the very least around four and a half hours for a single cour series. Not to mention that blogging probably takes more time than to watch the show itself. Now that’s dedication!

    Also thank you for the hard work this year RC crew, this site definitely makes my day because of you all.

  • January 5, 2012 at 3:17 amR.C.

    Finished it, one of the best comedy/random/awesome shows of 2011

  • January 5, 2012 at 3:18 amUnicorn

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • January 5, 2012 at 3:26 amDivine

      Maybe you should read the post before you comment so you won’t look dumb.

      OVA/Movies are only considered for the Favorite OVA/Movie category, otherwise their higher budgets would get my picks for most of the production categories. I, like many readers, did hold Gundam Unicorn in high regard this past year.

      • January 5, 2012 at 3:25 pmShageki

        so, the BEST OVA is Carnival Phantasm, and the BEST MOVIE is Gundam Unicorn
        correct ?

      • January 5, 2012 at 5:26 pmSuppa Tenko

        Sayonara no Tsubasa is a better movie because Gundam Unicorn is… well its only 2 of the 6 episodes. Not saying either of them suck because Macross and Unicorn are both awesome. The reason why Carnival got more votes is because mecha doesn’t appeal to everyone.

      • January 6, 2012 at 8:09 amShageki

        pardon me, Gundam Unicorn was OVA

  • January 5, 2012 at 3:28 amEthan

    Trap should’ve been Yukimura from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.

    • January 5, 2012 at 5:01 amBaKaYaRou

      Yukimura?… mehhh

      Hideyoshi is still the trap god of the anime world

  • January 5, 2012 at 3:43 amCybersteel

    The only exception I have against your opinion is about Sacred Seven and Boku Wa Tomodachi not inside the fan-service. Other than that my own opinion closely mirror yours.

    El Psy Congroo!

  • January 5, 2012 at 4:26 amJhacks

    So this marks the end of 2011. What a great year for anime.
    I’m really happy & surprise that CARNIVAL PHANTASM Won the OVA/Movie category. The opening alone makes it one of the most memorable OVA I watched.
    And as to the reader’s choice for favorite Anime of 2011, I’m really glad that Steins;Gate won. When it comes to my enjoyment of watching the show, Steins;Gate really outshines Madoka (WTF Ending) and Anohana (Anaru & Popo are the only likable chars).

    And it’s also nice to see a lot of series that I enjoy,
    Infinite Stratos (Char!!)
    The iDOLM@STER (Azusa!!)
    Kimi ni Todoke (DAT 3-4 episode of confession)
    Dantailan no Shoka and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (Cuz, Dalian and Yume are one of the most adorable characters of 2011 including Kobato, Utao and Victorica also the loli Ilya and Rin) And Hanazawa Kana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • January 5, 2012 at 4:49 amNemuri

      Kobato O_o>) ~kukukuku~…

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:05 amBaKaYaRou

    Oh there’s another award….

    Biggest wtf/most lame ending…

    Yumekui Merry…

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:21 amEsque

    Been reading your Best of Anime posts for the past four years. Thanks divine.

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:27 amDeviluke

    Why all the hate for Blood-C i think it was way more enjoyable than the boring and stupid Blood+

    • January 5, 2012 at 5:34 amDivine

      I don’t hate it; I just felt that it had a lot of unrealized potential.

  • January 5, 2012 at 6:16 amTWWK

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I only have real disagreements with two areas – one, the inclusion of IS for almost any award (awful show, particularly in the second half) and you largely leaving out Mawaru Penguindrum. Your readers voted it fourth, but you included it in just one honorable mention category – I didn’t read your episodic posts, but I take it you weren’t impressed?

    • January 5, 2012 at 6:49 amDivine

      I was impressed by its unconventional storytelling, but there’s more to it than that. I suggest reading my final impressions on Mawaru Penguindrum.

  • January 5, 2012 at 6:56 amarashi

    Yes, Blood C is the biggest disappointed ever… Eh, I expected something much better after CLAMP, but unfortunately it was so dummy.

    Yay for Steins Gate! :>

  • January 5, 2012 at 7:29 amHinano

    uh why isn’t Penguindrum anywhere on this list? ಠ_ಠ

  • January 5, 2012 at 8:34 amKalliente

    First of all, many thanks for another year of hard work by Divine and the other RC writers. Oddly enough, I didn’t get around to watching Madoka and Steins Gate until last month. What a ride that has been! The best part about these year end reviews is that it shows me some things I missed out on. So now to aquire Tiger & Bunny, Dantalian and Gosick. This years picks were the most in-synch with mine ever, which is very pleasing. Please keep up the wonderful work. Remember, there are a lot of lurkers out there that depend on this site.

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:04 amJonBob

    I totally agree with the music award for Star Driver. It’s sad, however, that the videos are not working for me (I’m getting a list of music from natsume yuujin-chou)

    • January 5, 2012 at 10:32 amDivine

      Fixed. I re-enable the sidebar media player and both players were using the same ID.

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:28 amThe Story You Don’t Know

    I really like Baka Test S2 and Steins;Gate. Star Driver was good too, though the ending wasn’t really good enough for me. Just my opinion though, no need to flame me :(

    As for 2012, I’m pretty sure Guilty Crown will get one.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:42 amangelux

    Operation Miðgarðr was a success
    El Psy Congroo!!!!
    Muahahahaahaha :)

    Madoka was also great… :P

  • January 5, 2012 at 9:56 amStranger

    Kinda surprised that “Rock Over Japan!” didn’t get a mention for the Song category. It was definitely one of the most memorable, in any case.

    SEIZON SENRYAKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

  • January 5, 2012 at 10:44 amGhostalker

    Hmm…2011 is a very good anime year for me, let’s see, all in all I’ve completed about 31 series that started on January 2011, not included though are the series that started in 2010 and was carried over to 2011.

    In the previous reader’s choice poll Favorite Anime 2011 I’ve voted for the following series:

    1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (personal rating is 9.8/10) – I guess at this point it is no secret to many people I know how I like this show so much (yeah, I buy Madoka’s figma and are planning to but all of them).

    As for my full review:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Mashiroiro Symphony (8.8/10) – watching this series is like a refresh from all the other harem shows I’ve ever watched. I almost dropped this series after the not so good impression I have on its first episode. Thank goodness I gave this a chance and after completing this series, I felt this is one of the better harem-like themed story I’ve ever watched. The male lead is a good one with a clear focus to what he really likes, the girls on the other hand, while typical of harem, they have their own unique personality that made everyone of them likeable. Also a bonus for this series is it’s nice and consistent animation (also the eye animation is very good), music is good too especially the ED theme.

    3. Usagi Drop (9.0/10) – This series is very similar to Aishiteruze Baby except that Usagi Drop a more polished one. The series is predominantly slice of life about a man in his early 30′s, single whose life has changed completely after he accepted the responsibility of taking care of Rin. The story mostly revolves on how the two characters adjusted with the situation they are in which by the way was beautiful and heartwarming.

    4. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (8.0/10) – This is one prime example where SHAFT made good use of their style. This anime is a mix of sci-fi goodness and good comedy. The entire town seems to be an alien freak with its people talking about alien stuff like its the talk of the entire town. In addition, the girls sparkle! I say I enjoy all the talk and the visual style that accompany it.

    5. Boku Ha Tomodachi ga Tsukunai (8.4/10) – A story of people in search of other people they can call as “friends”, for the most part the series focuses on activities that will help them have friends, technically they are all friends, its just that they haven’t realize it yet. Animation is generally good with lots of good looking characters, music is also memorable, especially the wackiness of the OP, good replay value with tons of comedic moments.

    • January 5, 2012 at 10:47 amGhostalker

      …(yeah, I buy Madoka’s figma and are planning to but all of them). – It should have been “buy”

  • January 5, 2012 at 10:56 amJunchi

    Steins;Gate has da win! /o/

    RandomC, I’m proud!

  • January 5, 2012 at 11:28 amSakana-chan

    Steins;gate…….with all the comments its no USE
    4 me its not use to see it

    DROPPED 4 EVER

    • January 6, 2012 at 6:58 amzeroyuki92

      Sorry, I can’t even understand about what you want to mention in your post here @_@

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:09 pmhuaka

    i miss omni’s choices… sigh.. this is too divine.. only divine… so narcisisstic

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:24 pmspeed*X

    Yay Kotetsu Kaburagi! Yay Tiger & Bunny!

  • January 5, 2012 at 1:53 pmIchigomaru

    Just like I thought!

    “January 1, 2012 at 9:35 pmIchigomaru

    Reply | link Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    too bad I couldn’t vote ;/
    It’s a big expectation time
    and there are big shows on the wheel,
    like steins gate, anohana, madoka
    Anyway I believe that the big champion will be steins gate, not that I like it the most but it’s interesting, diferent and the charactes have a unique charisma.
    I’m waiting for result =)”

    Anyway I think that “COLOR” by MARiA (FREEZING OP) was way better than “Cross Over” by 9nine (STAR DRIVER ED1), but that is just a question of opinion. The rest of the post I couldn’t agree more.

    Divine and the others RandomC writters, congrats for this hard work this year ;)
    This post mean the end of 2011 year for this blog.
    I hope you keep with RandomC, because here is where I learned a lot about anime, where I shared opinion and this is my main reference for new seasons.
    I mean, I love this blog a lot, as much as A LOT of people do.
    Thanks for all and happy new year !

  • January 5, 2012 at 2:14 pmreiji

    I’m surprised that neither Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha or Haruka from Idolmaster dind’t get an honorable mention but MIKI did…ohh well…

  • January 5, 2012 at 3:48 pmYanDaMan263

    Great list!

    I’m surprised so little people voted for Kore Wa Zombie Desu ka as one of their 5 favorites. That anime was so random and made me laugh harder than most others. It had a charm that no other series had.

    Steins Gate is still my favorite anime of this year.

    • January 7, 2012 at 1:10 amdxb_blackwolf

      Kore wa zombie’s charm was the first episode which was a real surprise. It never got any better than that except for one episode that I remember was really good.

  • January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pmstaticology

    Wow, Steins;Gate really came out on top. It was a close call this year- there were a number of spectacular shows. I think I have about half that coincided with yours, and half that I differed on. I haven’t watched shows like Star Driver or Tiger & Bunny yet though, which I should really get around to.
    You didn’t include Ruka for Trap? Even though he’s technically a guy, despite the other world lines?
    Put my list under the spoiler, if anyone’s interested! Surprised to not see more lists.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:19 pmfishies

    no toradora ova? it was released end of december right? does it even count? wish i could’ve watched more to better compare, but why people like madoka i dont know why…did shock me but the characters seemed so bland, except for the blue haired girl. glad to see stein’s gate came out on top, i agree it’s hard to find shows like it. i am suprised how index has dropped off the face of the earth. i don’t think 2011 overall was a great year though, hope 2012 has better surprises.

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:24 pmrittyC

    c’mon!! Gintama ed 17 was by far the best ed

  • January 5, 2012 at 5:44 pmDusk

    Since we’re on the topic of “Best Of…”, here’s the “Top 10 Female Seiyuu of 2011″ list from Megumi Magazine Feb issue, as voted by its readers. I have also included a list of the characters they’ve portrayed this year, in case some of you don’t know who they are.

    1) Hanazawa Kana
    (Ro-Kyu-Bu!: Minato Tomoka, Infinite Stratos: Dunois Charlotte, Steins;Gate: Shiina Mayuri, Fate/Prototype)

    2) Kitamura Eri
    (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Miki Sayaka, Ao no Exorcist: Kamiki Izumo, Working’!! – Todoroki Yachiyo)

    3) Yuuki Aoi
    (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Kaname Madoka, A Channel: Ichii Tooru, Gosick: de Blois Victorique)

    4) Mizuki Nana
    (Blood-C: Kisaragi Saya, Dog Days: Elmar Ricotta)

    5) Itou Kanae
    (Hanasaku Iroha: Matsumae Ohana, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II: Elsie, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: Kashiwazaki Sena)

    6) Iguchi Yuka
    (Tamayura Hitotose: Norie Okazaki, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: Takayama Maria, Mayo Chiki!: Konoe Subaru)

    7) Kayano Ai
    (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Honma Meiko, Guilty Crown: Yuzuriha Inori, SKET Dance: Saotome Roman)

    8) Asami Imai
    (Kiss x Sis: Yuuzuki Kiryuu, Steins;Gate: Makise Kurisu, The iDOLM@STER: Kisaragi Chihaya)

    9) Tamura Yukari
    (Steins;Gate: Amane Suzuha, Astarotte no Omocha!: Touhara Asuha, Ben-To: Sawagi Kyou)

    10) Toyosaki Aki
    (Beelzebub: Kunieda Aoi, Mawaru Penguindrum: Oginome Momoka, UN-GO: Inga, Fate/Prototype)

    Hope you guys see your favorite voice actresses on the list! =D

  • January 5, 2012 at 11:15 pmXin

    Good reading, thanks for sharing your opinions Divine! My top 3 were identical to yours and I was also glad to see the Star Driver love from you and the reader polls. Its finale comments were plagued with negativity so I thought most people had tossed it aside. It certainly missed being much better than it could have by spending so little time elaborating on the most interesting parts of the story, but it was still a great watch and re-watch.

    I’ll have to check out the S7 OST. I don’t particularly remember it standing out while watching it either, and the ridiculousness that the story turned out to be probably didn’t help emphasize any of its good points either.

    Oh yea, glad to see Dantalian get your mystery pick also. Its lack of overarching plot turned a lot of people off, but I personally enjoyed every episode of it and preferred it to Gosick.

    A good anime year in my book and looking forward to exploring the new one alongside RC again!

  • January 6, 2012 at 12:31 amPellino

    Thx for the post Divine its very much appreciated

  • January 6, 2012 at 5:16 amaria

    Was Star Driver really that good? I watched the first 3 episodes and I kind of just left it hanging. I don’t put much emphasis on animation quality and I’m not really a mecha fan, so if you put aside those things, is it still worth a watch?

    • January 7, 2012 at 2:24 pmLen

      It’s essentially a magical girl show with giant robots, don’t take it seriously.

  • January 6, 2012 at 5:49 amreply

    Favorite character anime 2011: Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha
    One vote from me^^

  • January 6, 2012 at 9:46 amTenbatsu

    Probably more a case of a one-round voting that made S;G win. Those that voted for AnoHana and MawaruPenguin would most likely have voted for Madoka rather than S;G.

    If you make it several rounds, (or just calculate it with drop-down boxes where you can rank different animes between eachother, the result would most likely have been different) and achieve true majority, >50%, I think Madoka would have won. Reflects what the majority thinks better. There’s a reason you need >50% support in national elections.

  • January 6, 2012 at 10:13 amminhgurluver

    i just finished watching the whole Steins;Gate again and omfg it really made it as #1!!! omg omg! as so many fans of S;G here i’m so proud of it!
    A fantastic year of anime; and all thanks for RC crew for making it even better!
    El Psy Congroo!

  • January 6, 2012 at 12:33 pmKiria

    All of the agreement!

  • January 6, 2012 at 1:11 pmDavid Herbert

    Although I was hoping MSMM to win best anime, I’m happy that Steins; Gate won. In fact, after placing my vote, I realized “sh*t! I forgot to vote for Steins Gate!” Well done Steins; Gate!

  • January 6, 2012 at 2:23 pmBlacksun88

    great to see you giving fair judgement to all the anime as usul :D . and I’m glad that macross frontier movie made it to your lists. thumbs up.

  • January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pmemnr

    FYI Kusunoki Yukimura from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is NOT a guy/trap – the author has clarified that she is a she. A confusion of gender methinks.

    It is explicated in the light novel so in judging from an anime-only aspect it may not be relevant, but just a point to note.

  • January 6, 2012 at 5:48 pmoli

    tbh i am surprised and a little against Usagi Drop being so high, it was a good, nice anime but i think there were better!

  • January 6, 2012 at 6:07 pmahelo

    To divine: I do suggest that for next year, you should try to collaborate with the other writers fro the End Of the Year posts. 2009 was especially a nice read.

  • January 7, 2012 at 1:02 amdxb_blackwolf

    nichijou>>>level E

    Nichijou also had great animation. I can’t believe it was 12th in the polls. It’s definitely one of my top 5 anime.

    It was a good year for comedy anime anyway :)

    • January 7, 2012 at 1:07 amdxb_blackwolf

      Also Yukko is best character for 2011 for me.. maybe even of all time >.<

  • January 7, 2012 at 1:33 amhoiut

    Yep, pretty damn spot-on. Agreed with Divine on nearly all counts. I’m trying to understand the hype around Penguin drum, though, since I didn’t watch it. I hear it’s like Madoka (but less sadistic, if that makes any sense whatsoever).

  • January 7, 2012 at 8:20 amUnknownVoice

    freaking madoka, in all her overrated stuff, better in story than steins;gate? I guess steins gate got snubbed. :)

  • January 7, 2012 at 9:17 amthenewhorde

    I watched the entire Steins;Gate yesterday, I think watching the entire series in a day has somehow left my heart bleeding, though I can’t figure out why.

    It’s strange anime can feel more real than real life, but maybe that is the point it has proven itself to be a truly great story. I am ashamed for not watching it before, then I could’ve joined the crowd and said “HAI!!!” when the Steins;Gate’s voice actress cast came to FF18 and asked whether we seen their show.

  • January 7, 2012 at 2:42 pmhaseo0408

    Thanks Divine and all the bloggers in Random Curiosity, without you this year wouln´t have been half as good as it was. I would´ve given the Break Blade Movies a little more credit, but oh well Macross deserved the gold. I hope this years brings more awsome anime.

  • January 7, 2012 at 4:56 pmDarKamu

    Epic year for Anime :)

    Steins;Gate have the best screenplay and awesome plot twist.

    Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an incredible Anti-MahouShojo anime.

    but…

    Mawaru PenguinDrum is the most original show of the year with his all symbolism and theories of happiness.

    In my personal opinion

  • January 7, 2012 at 5:38 pmRaphy

    Nichijou!!!!

  • January 7, 2012 at 7:25 pmZero

    No Kaiji?

  • January 7, 2012 at 8:58 pmKamiyaCheap

    I agreed sooooooooo much in all the pick!!! Good job selecting it! Steins;Gate FTS

  • January 7, 2012 at 9:41 pmMako

    Best opening of the year was One Piece’s 14th opening. Nothing else comes close. Of course unless you follow the series you wouldn’t understand the emotional decade-spanning undertones of the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0oWRRGO_FI&hd=1

    But the 2nd opening of Toaru Majutsu no Index is the best opening this year of shows that this blog followed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRnbHAUgoMc&hd=1

    The OP voted in this article is borrrrring. The Beelzebub ending however is spot on, I also found that the best.

  • January 7, 2012 at 10:38 pmAiRiSuDaiSuKi

    as expected, Steins gate won. i’m glad about that. madoka has got a lot of hate because it’s said to be overrated so i think it lost to steins;gate. stein’s gate was excellent to me honestly but i find madoka more gripping so it deserves as best story.

    but where’s mah fate;zero???! it’s my favorite this year Dx maybe tied to madoka and slightly ahead of S;G.

    i agree with you divine about the best film. <<33 Carnival phantasm was very good too. XD

    • January 7, 2012 at 10:41 pmAiRiSuDaiSuKi

      ..and personally i don’t agree with the best plot twist. S;G managed to really shock the hell outta me several times madoka did so imo, it should have been steins;gate.

      just a suggestion, i wouldn’t mind you putting best couple of the year though. XDDD

  • January 8, 2012 at 12:39 pmzeroryoko1974

    Charlotte was the best reverse trap of the year. A travisity she was not even mentioned

  • January 9, 2012 at 6:51 pmPhoenix

    I haven’t seen many of the series above, and I’m sure most of these are entirely deserving, but I’m absolutely shocked that Rukako isn’t even mentioned under the trap category. When I watched the “…but he’s a guy.” scene Steins;Gate I thought to myself, “I guarantee this will win the “It’s a Trap!” award of 2011. I suppose I’ll have to watch those other series to make an accurate judgement…
    In any case, Steins;Gate is up there with Angel Beats and a few others for my favorite anime of all time.
    El Psy Congroo!!!

  • January 10, 2012 at 10:46 pmjawdrop

    Watched Tiger & Bunny after reading this, and now I am sad that I did not put it in my top 5. Great series though, and I can’t wait for the movies.

  • February 1, 2012 at 11:53 pmEnd3rr

    I would think that Hideyoshi from baka to test would win the best trap award ^ ^

  • February 13, 2012 at 6:15 amKanoun

    nothing beats the Best of anime 2007 !!!!!!!!

  • February 24, 2012 at 7:24 ampokpokza

    Ku-ri-su-ti-naaaaa!!!! ti-na ja nai!!
    Kyu-beyyyyyyy!!!!
    Yuuuuuuuu!!!!!
    Menma!!!!!!!!!!
    Changiiiii to ka!!!!
    wildo tigaaaaaa!!!

  • February 24, 2012 at 7:25 ampokpokza

    wow wow i think we forgot baka to test nii!

  • April 22, 2012 at 4:23 amOkabe Rintarou

    OHHHH YESSSSSS STEINS GATE COMES 1ST…….EL PSY CONGROO

  • May 21, 2012 at 8:36 pmcshin9

    The third ED for Beelzebub had great animation, but I kinda wish that the quality translated over to the show itself.

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