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Reader’s Choice – Best Anime 2012 Poll »« Poll: Spring 2011 Anime Season

Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2011 Poll

With the new year rapidly approaching, it’s time to look back on our favorites of 2011. This is the Sixth Annual Reader’s Choice poll, where it’s your turn to voice your opinion and have it heard!

Continuing the trend from two years ago, there are two polls for your to vote on — one for regularly broadcast TV series and another for OVA/movies. We’re asking for your top 5 picks in each poll to get a better spread of results that aren’t heavily skewed in favor of any unanimously popular shows. This year, you have 99 TV series and 57 OVA/movies to choose from, so have a careful look over the lists before deciding. Also, please respect other people’s choices in the comments and keep in mind that this is purely subjective. People like what they like.

The usual criteria applies here: For a regular broadcast TV series to be considered, it has to have finished airing in 2011. The general idea here is that you can’t really judge a series until it’s over, so shows such as Chihayafuru, Mirai Nikki, Guilty Crown, Shakugan no Shana III (Final), and Fate/Zero (upon further consideration) will appear in next year’s poll. Series with a second season already planned but a clear stopping point such as Kimi to Boku and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon are included.

For OVA/movies, it has to have been released on Blu-ray/DVD in 2011 to qualify, ensuring that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it. This mostly pertains to theatrical offerings. The difference from TV series is that it doesn’t necessary have to be complete, which is why you see Gundam Unicorn episodes three/four, and Towa no Quon movies one through five in the list as single entries. OVAs are released infrequently, so it could be several years before they’re included in a poll if we wait for them to be finished. For this year, I’ve also omitted one-off bonus/unaired OVA episodes bundled with BD/DVD volumes, simply because it didn’t make sense to treat them on even terms as actual OVA series and movies.

As far as I’m aware, the anime series list is complete, barring a handful of shows that are animated but unlike your “typical” anime. The OVA/movie is purposely less so for the reasons above; however, if you feel there’s something the deserves consideration, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll add it. Let the voting begin!

Note: The polls don’t have a fixed close date just yet, but it will be sometime next week when the Winter 2012 season starts.

Update: Polls closed. Thank you for taking the time to vote! Results will be posted soon in the upcoming Best of Anime 2011 post.

December 30, 2011 at 3:50 am
  • January 1, 2012 at 6:19 amThe_Magus_Killer

    Guys, there’s a troll who’s downvoting all replies that have Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.

    • January 1, 2012 at 4:21 pmShin

      That just means the troll fell for the downvote trap to waste his time. A better troll would have used his time to proxy fake votes and gotten the last laugh.

      • January 2, 2012 at 6:19 pmEspada

        well sh** its Shin

    • January 2, 2012 at 7:18 pmThe Moondoggie

      It just shows that it’s this year’s top contender:

      Just think: Great Goddess of Hope vs Mad Time Traveling Scientist, M.U.G.E.N. style…

      Oh man. This will rock the multiverse for sure.

    • January 3, 2012 at 9:09 pmricz

      That likes and dislike is useless for this voting

    • January 4, 2012 at 2:56 amNemuri

      Is the story that good? I’ll try watch if I have time :]

    • January 4, 2012 at 5:12 amThe_Magus_Killer

      Puella Magi Madoka Magica did for Mahou Shoujo the way Neon Genesis Evangelion did for Mecha. I highly suggest you watch it. You will never look at Magical Girls the same way again.

      To the troll downvoting replies laced with Madoka Magica: don’t waste your time, okay?

      • January 4, 2012 at 6:04 amEspada


      • January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pmNemuri

        I didn’t bother to watch it bcoz’ its about magical girls… but with the recommendations stated including yours I think I’ll give it a shot… thanks by the way…:]

  • January 1, 2012 at 7:06 amprinny

    looking forward to a good year!

  • January 1, 2012 at 7:21 amThe End of the World

    Utena 2: Electric Boogaloo was clearly the best show of the year, followed by Gen Urobuchi’s heart growing three sizes.

  • January 1, 2012 at 8:34 amlaaa

    I vote for Dog days as anime you should have seen but never watched lol its was funny as hell and pure action

  • January 1, 2012 at 9:23 amSupernatural

    To aru majutsu no index 2 best so far

  • January 1, 2012 at 9:46 amivangelism

    anohana was a bit short and would have benefited from more character devleopment and less plot rushing but was nevertheless simple but beautiful of a drama..GOSICK’s ending was disappointing and also rushed but that was only because the series as a whole was soo damn good that it set such high expectations for the ending! Anohana and GOSICK get my votes this year!

  • January 1, 2012 at 9:50 amMatroid

    My vote of favorite animes in order:
    1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
    2. STAR DRIVER: Kagayaki no Takuto
    3. Moshidora (full title: Moshi Koukou Yakyuu no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no Management wo Yondara)
    4. Bakuman
    5. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai

    With regret, I did not vote for any “second season” series, as I think it is more important to recognize the first-time productions. Series like Ika, Kaiji, God Only Knows, Natsume still live up to expectation. Even though some others, like Index, have declined a bit.

    I think Magica has a good chance to win this year. Star Driver has the potential to settle for other high ranks. Bakuman is still on-going. But I think it should be clear by now that this anime is packed with drama and deserves high recognition. I also like Moshidora for its “book smart” and its gentle approach to presenting ideas, something rare in the current market. Anohana gets lower rank simply because I personally can’t stand sad stories. Its overall quality is excellent nonetheless.

    My vote of favorite OVAs in order:

    1. Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo
    2. Bleach Movie: Jigoku-hen
    3. Tales of Symphonia THE ANIMATION: Tethe’alla-hen
    4. .hack//Quantum
    5. Kyousougiga

    Here Hoshi is another fine production from Shinkai Makoto. The middle three votes are just commercial products that suit my strong bias towards scifi/fantasy. Kyousougiga has cult-like elements that survive mostly on OVA releases. I gave it a chance here.

    • January 2, 2012 at 11:38 amthenewhorde

      personally, maybe because I read the novel first, but seeing the anime of Moshidora was a disappoint. It had my all star cast in there, but I couldn’t watch past episode 1. I did like the theme song though.

      Even actually wrote a fan letter to the author saying I liked his book much more than the anime and hopes to see new works soon.

  • January 1, 2012 at 11:10 amHéctor

    Great selection of anime there..

  • January 1, 2012 at 2:33 pmbijyu

    Wow it was a good year. I look forward to the results. Some of the shows on here I completely forgot even came out this year.

  • January 1, 2012 at 2:33 pmChaos

    I am pretty sure the top of the list are:

    -Deadman Wonderland
    -Infinite Stratos
    -Tiger & Bunny

    -Black Lagoon

    Not familiar with the rest…

    Why wasn’t Tekken: Blood Vengeance I on the list, Divine? It was a badass movie…Graphic was off the wall, too.

  • January 1, 2012 at 3:57 pmSoiyeruda

    My top 5:

    1) Stein’s Gate (already been said why)
    2) Madoka Magica (same as 1)
    3) Penguindrum (Though I wish I wasn’t as confused throughout most of it, it was a fun series to toy and theorize with)
    4) Nichijou (I was very surprised; great quality for a gag anime.)
    5) Hanasaku Iroha – 5th was a tough choice, though I ultimately went with Hanasaku Iroha. Despite its various flaws, it always looked great and I loved several of the characters, even if others didn’t.


    Anohana – Though it was decent, I felt it wasn’t as amazing as everyone seems to be labeling it as. Imho, it needed to be 12 or 13 episodes long to properly tell its story. Poppo and Tsuruko really needed more background, which were quite pitiful compared to the amount of attention Yukiatsu and Anaru received.

    Haganai – Simple, clean harem-like fun. I liked it a bit better than IS.

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee – This received much less attention than it could have. It had nice drama throughout much of its run and managed to mix in many light hearted moments. Also had Yune going for it, who was my top 3rd character of the season (behind Ohana and Yukko).

    • January 1, 2012 at 4:05 pmSoiyeruda

      Ah, almost forgot Moshidora. It used its 10 episodes wisely and managed to make me shed a tear, something Anohana couldn’t do.

  • January 1, 2012 at 6:18 pmsay_fuji

    Usagi drop, Kamisama no memochou could have been longer (more season to come?) but otherwise exercuted beautifully in the avaliable episode.

    Madoka, Madoka, Madoka, how could have we forgot. For those who still haven’t watched it, you should. It started out as a mascot granting the heroine a wish and returns graining magical power, a classic “mahou shoujo” setup but as the story progress, the fighting scence getting more violent and elegant at same time, then the “dark side” was reveal little and little… the finishing touches was in one hand, a big shocker, but in the other, a heart warming and tear-jerking, and let us not forgot the OP/EP ~connect~ by CalriS.

    One thing though, what happened to Suite precure?

    • January 1, 2012 at 6:39 pmsay_fuji

      oohh, my bad suite precure not finished… I knew it…
      and I too second for 10 votes vs 5 votes, if then I could have voted for anoExo, StarDriver, Bokuwa Tomodachi, AnoHana, Hiden no Aria…

    • January 2, 2012 at 5:59 pmSoiyeruda

      Suite Precure didn’t finish in 2011. It replaced Heartcatch Precure sometime in February. Even if it did finish, Heartcatch was a much better rendition of the Precure franchise and was the 2nd precure series I actually completed other than the first one. Suite Precure didn’t really have anything special going for it and I quit after ~25 episodes. (If it looks like I like the franchise too much, I’m really only making a tradition out of it by seeing how far I can watch the current series out before eventually dropping it)

      • January 2, 2012 at 5:59 pmSoiyeruda

        Didn’t see the 2nd post. So tired. =_=

  • January 1, 2012 at 6:53 pmlen

    First place is Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, scenery is very lovely. ^__^
    Second is AnoHana, can’t forget that moment T__T.

    Some other memorable are Carnival Phantasm, Tiger Bunny, HC Precure, Break Blade..

    Oh, and I hate Steins Gate, I would place it 1st in worst anime poll, if there are any.. :D XD

  • January 1, 2012 at 9:35 pmIchigomaru

    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 =)

  • January 1, 2012 at 11:19 pmhaseo0408

    There are so many that i like that it´s difficult to choose between them but to me To Aru Majutsu no Index remains as the best of the year. For the movie, I think Break Blade is the best of 2011. Happy New Year 2012 everyone!

  • January 2, 2012 at 12:41 amYuumei

    So weird seeing Redline there since I saw it last year. I also was looking out for the FMA movie since I saw it this year… But yeah, definitely wouldn’t be fair to most people, so… XD

    I kind of wish we could do ranked voting. This style reminds me of Bakuman. :p I had a really hard time picking my 5th vote. I feel bad for 6th and 7th place. XD

    Here’s my ranked list (Top 10):
    Steins;gate, Mawaru Penguindrum, Usagi Drop, Madoka Magika, Nichijou, Kimi ni Todoke S2, Star Driver, UN-GO, Wandering Son, Gosick.

    • January 2, 2012 at 7:09 amlaaa

      yeah hard picks are 4th and 5th but 6th nd 7th just feel like I could have added them too

  • January 2, 2012 at 8:48 amduDave

    1. Steins;Gate
    2. Hourou Musuko
    3. Usagi Drops
    4. Hanasaku Iroha
    5. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

    1. Black Lagoon – Roberta’s Blood Trail

  • January 2, 2012 at 10:41 amShanahan

    Nurarihyon no Mago Sennen Makyou
    IS Infinite Stratos
    Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
    Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
    Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?

  • January 2, 2012 at 4:25 pmCyrano

    No particular order for my picks. Looking back, it really was a great year for anime, at least for my own enjoyment. Hopefully, this year will be just as promising!

    - Steins;Gate
    - Usagi Drop
    - Hanasaku Iroha
    - Ano Hana
    - Madoka

    Plenty more that I enjoyed, but this would probably be my top 5.

    - Black Lagoon

    Only one that I watched, so I can’t really say much about the rest of the OVA/Movies.

    • January 3, 2012 at 4:31 amBilly D

      Hi, Yang!

  • January 3, 2012 at 3:46 amptitejuju

    TV :
    1. Steins;Gate
    2. Madoka
    3. Usagi Drop
    4. Ano Hana
    5. Kimi ni Todoke 2
    If there were more, I would have voted for Hanasaku Iroha, Tegami Bachi Reverse, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Working’!!, Ao no Exorcist, Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi 1 and 2 (so a lot of second season …)
    OAV/movies :
    I only watched Bleach Jigokuhen but I don’t think it was the best …

  • January 3, 2012 at 4:29 amBilly D

    I’ll only vote the anime that I watched towards the end:

    FRACTALE, original (not adapted) + good ideas, on par with Shangri-la (a very good adaptation of a serious novelia, 2008)

    GOSICK, adaptation of a novelia + fabulous character designs and fine details

    Hanasaku Iroha, original + a slice of real life from a true high school perspective

    STAR DRIVER, original + fun & good anime production

    Mawaru Penguindrum, original + oh it’s a tough one to swallow (more serious style than its fan-service and comedic reliefs appear)

    Honorary mention:
    Nuramago: Thousand Years of Kyoto

  • January 3, 2012 at 5:47 amPocarisweat


    1. Usagi Drop
    2. Madoka Magica
    3. Steins gate
    4. Horou Musuko
    5. Hanasaku Iroha

    Honourable Mentions to Ano Hana, Chihayafuru, Ungo, Mawaru Penguindrum and Fate/Zero

    Movies/OVAs (Didn’t watch much this year):

    1. Colorful
    2. Redline
    3. Mardock Scramble: First Compression
    4. Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo
    5. Karigurashi no Arrietty

  • January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pmDa5id

    About the current sidebar poll:

    I like the current format for shows that are being/will be covered, but I would also like first impression posts on shows that won’t be covered, like the original Snapshot posts. It would be nice if one of you would go over an impression of the first episodes of Kill Me Baby or InoXBoku SS, which are the only two shows that I have interest in that are not already going to be covered.

  • January 3, 2012 at 4:32 pmBlueDumb

    Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
    Level E
    Starry Sky

  • January 3, 2012 at 4:44 pmwebkid94

    #1 – Steins;Gate – This is the type of amazingly fun, over-the-top and serious series that i’ve been longing for. I wanted someone to remind me of Lelouch, and Okarin accomplished that easily. This series is memorable for me.

    #2 – Madoka – This is the Shaft i want to see, not Bakemono’s Shaft. Creative, imaginative and really used the 12 episodes well. Episode 10 is a legend for what it accomplished in 24 minutes for Homura’s development.

    #3 – Usagi Drop – Slightly better than Natsume in terms of slice of life, but i really digged the watercolor scenes before the OP played. Rin is adorable! But surprisingly i liked Kouki the most, idk why…

    #4 – Natsume Yuujinchou San – Loved it more than season 2, great animation and focus on the human aspect of the story was a plus for sure.

    #5 – The iDOLM@STER – This is a “Don’t judge a book by its cover” type of series. I have Yakusoku on repeat at the top of my playlist, all 7 minutes and 30 seconds of breathtaking talent.

  • January 3, 2012 at 9:13 pmAmiena

    Oh I wish I had more votes for anime ^^” I ended up only voting for 4 because I couldn’t choose which of the other anime I liked would make my top 5 pick.

    Honourable Mentions (in no particular order):
    IS Infinite Stratos, Usagi Drop, BakaTest 2, Kimi ni Todoke 2, Hanasaku Iroha, Tegami Bachi REVERSE, TIGER and BUNNY

    My votes for anime of the year (In no particular order):

    Steins;Gate – kept me riveted to my seat almost every episode, even during the beginning when they were just introducing characters and developing them.

    Madoka Magica – was the most surprising anime i’ve seen in a while. i haven’t watched any magical girl series since Cardcaptor Sakura when i was little. the twists and turns this story had, and my love for Homura was just… “awwww” T.T

    Star Driver – the ending felt like the most rushed “what on earth happened?!” moment ever (but then again, i had that feeling when i watched Code Geass R2 as well, and I still loved it). regardless of the ending and repetitive action sequences, i love mecha and i loved the maiden songs (me and my bias towards mecha, romance and music >.<). the characters were all very unique and easy to distinguish as well, and i overall just loved the romances brewing.

    AnoHana – the only anime this season that had me crying for almost an hour when it ended. it may not have had a complex plot, or a creative one at that, but this anime strung together all the right scenes, music and character reactions to bring out a beautiful amount of nostalgia and emotion.

    For OVAs (in no particular order):

    Carnival Phantasm – the hilarity and overall nostalgia of watching Fate/Stay Night characters was just too good (Saber Lion!)

    Tales of Symphonia (Tethe'alla Arc) – I am a huge Tales fan, especially ToS due to Lloyd and Colette. ufotable did amazing with the animation and I just loved all the character backstory they provided to us in the adaptation.

    Gundam Unicorn – the plot thickens, and as usual, I enjoyed the many action sequences and political / character struggles in the series.

  • January 4, 2012 at 12:53 amMixed Milkshake

    Top 5 Anime(In no particular order (Please don’t criticize my choices too much))

    Steins;Gate: Played the game, watched the show, what’s not to love about this wonderful anime? El Psy Congroo.

    Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai: Quite a tearjerker, the story both original and captivating. Both the opening and the ending of the show fits well with the theme within the show. Very ‘Cute’ if you understand.

    STAR DRIVER Kagayaki no Takuto: Bishōnen, bishōjo, a school on an island in the middle of nowhere, hanky-pan… Sorry I strayed off into my own fantasies. Beautiful pieces of music, awesome action and Mecha, a show truly worth singing out your youth to.

    Hanasaku Iroha: Excellent execution of the plot, has a very realistic feel to it, each character has a distinctive personality that makes them original yet familiar to the viewers. A lovely budding flower.

    Puella Magi Madoka Magica: What sets this show apart from other mahou-shojo themed animes is that instead of focusing on the wonderful life after obtaining magical powers, Puella Magi Madoka Magica shows the costs of such powers. Very differnt from what you would expect.

  • January 4, 2012 at 2:40 amgilou

    Favorite Anime 2011:
    1.Kami-sama no Memo-chou – Best anime series of the year
    2.Hanasaku Iroha
    3.Hourou Musuko
    5.Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
    Honourable Mentions to Dantalian no Shoka, Nichijou, Tamayura ~hitotose~

    Favorite OVA/Movie 2011
    1.Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo – Best movie of the year
    2.Karigurashi no Arrietty
    4.Break Blade
    5.Towa no Quon
    Honourable Mentions to HELLSING, Gundam Unicorn
    (my choice may change when I will have the opportunity to watch Mardock Scramble and Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa)


  • January 4, 2012 at 7:51 amKaz

    Steins;Gate by far. Just pulled an all nighter watching it again…
    El Phy Congroo.

  • January 12, 2012 at 11:37 amPanda~

    1 – Steins;Gate
    2 – Ano Hana
    3 – Madoka
    4 – Kamisama
    5 – Others Animes O:

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