02 January 2012

My Top 10: Anime of 2011

It has become sort of a tradition for us fans to list out our top ten anime of the year and since I've been doing it for the past couple of years, I might as well continue with the tradition. I think you can tell a lot from the list as to what the person's preferences are when it comes to anime, and how (or if) it changed over the years.

When I look at my 2010 and 2009 lists, I spotted a difference. Comedy anime pretty much dominated my list in 2010. However, I rather enjoyed anime with heavier plot and solid story in 2009. I am excited to see which anime will make it to the list for 2011.

My top 5 choices were easy but I was having quite a hard time with the bottom 5. Some I like because of the characters but found the story to be weak and the end anti-climatic while some I like for the story but didn't have anything that stood out. I need my criteria sorted out lol. Besides, shits were crazy at the start of the year and I hardly watched anything which mean I missed watching some few good anime like Madoka, Steins;Gate, Hourou Musuko, etc. I am pretty sure that at least my bottom 5 anime would be slightly different if I did completed those shows. Thus, after looking around the aniblogsphere I can see how my list is different from most of them. Oh well...

So for the time being, lets just get on with the list. After a long and very careful deliberation, here are my personal top 10 anime of 2011 in mixed orders:

9. Ao no Exorcist
Aired: Spring 2011
Episodes: 25
Producers: A-1 Pictures, Aniplex
Genres: Action, Shounen, Supernatural
My rating: 9/10

(c) pixiv id 3606202

If it wasn't for the anti-climatic ending and the fact that half of the episodes were fillers, Ao no Exorcist could have ended up higher up on my list because despite everything I just freaking love the Okumura twins. They also managed to keep me interested even through those fillers episodes that included the obligatory beach episode for the summer. At the end of the day, the casts and strong characters became it's backbone and carried this show through for me. Ao no Exorcist is a pretty darn typical shounen anime and A-1 Pictures knew this so when the series can't be original, they sure as hell live up to expectation by making sure that it was entertaining with a decent story for me to enjoy.

6. Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san!
Aired: Spring 2011
Episodes: 13
Producers: Production I.G.
Genres: Comedy, Supernatural
My Rating: 9/10

Each episode is only 12 minutes long but it manages to offend pretty much everyone and everything which in my opinion what makes this show so brilliantly funny. The comedy was unconventional and the characters even more so. Azazel-san pretty much reminds me of Gintama with it's random jokes and anything that reminded me of Gintama's humour deserved to be in my top 10 list. Beware though, enter at your own risk.

2. Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae O Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
Aired: Spring 2011
Episodes: 11
Producers: A-1 Pictures, Aniplex, Fuji TV
Genres: Slice of life, Drama
My Rating: 10/10

(c) XI-Hypocrisy-IX

This show is as real as it gets when it comes to dealing with friendship, death and feelings and learning to deal with all that while day after day you grow farther apart from each other yet the attachment, or that bond, is still as strong as ever. Ano Hana for short (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day - for the long English translation), hits so close to home that even to this day, I can't bring myself to watch the last episode of the show. I am not ready for either a disappointment, or a heartbreak. With Ano Hana, I was forced to see, consider and analyze far more than what would be considered healthy. Thanks to this show, it gave me the courage to seek those friends that I thought would have been best forgotten. Meeting them again was liberating and it made me see how much each of us have grown up as a person, either for better or for worse. For an anime show to have that kind of effect on a human being in real life, Ano Hana is definitely quite special in it's own right.

5. Kimi to Boku
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: 13
Producers: J.C. Staff, Aniplex
Genres: Slice of life, Comedy, Drama
My Rating: 9/10

(c) pixiv id 2678365

There is no practicing of trash music, or tea time after school. If you think this is the male version of K-ON than you are incredibly wrong so for the haters, clearly you are missing out on this one. Granted that it is full of bishies, but what is wrong with that? If us females can watch Lucky Star or K-ON, then it is definitely manly of you guys if you could watch this without feeling disgusted. People have the pre-notion that this show has no plot and is just a BL fantasies for us fans/gays. It is anything but that. Kimi to Boku tackles real issues growing up as boys (I grew up surrounded by boys so I have an idea or two). It was an honest show and because of that I found it alluring and it left me wanting more.

4. Fate/Zero
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: 13
Producers: ufotable, Aniplex, Nitroplus
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural
My Rating: 10/10

(c) Yukihime

I know shit about Typemoon and thus why I have some doubts going into the Fall season, as I've said in my preview. However after watching the first episode, and the fact that ufotable didn't disappoint me at all with their delivery, I quickly become a fan. Part of it was thanks to Reiki, a reader of my Fate/Zero episodic posts who never got tired in teaching me the ropes about the Fate-verse and gradually made me interested in it as well. It's true what the saying goes then... tak kenal maka tak cinta (you can't fall in love if you didn't know them). Fate/Zero far surpasses Fate/Stay Night, it's predecessor, in every way imaginable. I love Kara no Kyoukai for the dark themes and I basically got what I was asking for in Fate/Zero due to the awesomeness of ufotable, from the directing, visuals, character expositions and everything/anything else you can think of. It all adds up into a much more complex and intriguing tale, a journey that is certainly unforgettable and definitely fulfilling.

1. Working'!!
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: 13
Producers: A-1 Pictures
Genres: Comedy
My Rating: 10/10***

(c) Atsu Takashi

Wow, really klux? Two years in a row? YES REALLY. Working'!! is a fine piece of work. The changed of director and crew for the the second season really did pay off as can be seen from the story. Everything from the animation to sound, characterization to story are all quality materials and together form both a visually and emotionally satisfying experience. The anime is far past the point of debate whether watching it would be enjoyable and worth one's while, because it most certainly is. The comedy is casual and yet hit with such force that all you can do is laughed your ass off. Unlike in first season where the focus was only on Inami and Takanashi, we have different plots that keep us on our toes because the way Working'!! is written you don't know what to expect. Most of the comedies I watched were average if not mediocre so when something like Working'!! comes along, something new, something exciting, something that you can watch and be merry about, I just ended up enjoying it. The fact that it had pique my interest from season 1 meant that it had established itself as something special, something good enough that A-1 Pictures able to be improved on after every episodes. Just how did they do it, really? For everything that Working'!! does just beautifully right, there is usually little it gets horribly wrong. I absolutely endorse this anime to anyone even if they didn't ask for my opinion.

7. Persona 4 the Animation
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: tbc
Producers: Aniplex, AIC A.S.T.A, Sentai Filmworks
Genres: Mystery, Supernatural, Adventure
My Rating: 9/10

(c) pixiv id 1329357

I didn't play the games but from what I've heard from those who did play and watch the anime, the anime is pretty faithful to the games and though it has it shares of pros and cons, I want to pay my respect for the producers. I thought it would be straight as an arrow and just action from end to finish. Persona 4 surprised me at the humors which I didn't expect from such show and it is mostly the reason why it ended up on my list. Since the show is on going, it wouldn't be fair to exaggerate so I ended my thoughts here.

10. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
Aired: Summer 2011
Episodes: 12
Producers: Satelight, Sentai Filmworks
Genres: Slice of life, Historical
My Rating: 9/10

(c) Nya?

This show was the biggest surprised for me for the summer. It wasn't even on my radar until I watched the first couple of episodes. Croisee was mostly overlooked and quickly disregarded by many because just like me, the initial reaction to the preview was that this anime is nothing more than another "moe-trash" and simple pandering. Well, true that Yune was moe but damn she's adorable. This comes from someone who has a personal vendetta against moe (that of K-ON's standard). I love the interaction between the characters especially the two main protagonists. I found myself leaning a bit closer to the computer screen whenever the scene involved Yune and Claude. In fact, I didn't feel the slightest of guilt trying to make Claude a lolicon. Croisée of the Foreign Labyrinth is a piece of resistant to much of the failings that we often found in both historical and slice-of-life anime.

3. Mirai Nikki
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: 26
Producers: FUNimaton, Asread
Genres: Thriller, Action, Mystery
My Rating: 10/10

(c) pixiv id 345349

I love blood in my anime but sadly we didn't get enough of that lately. Deadman Wonderland was promising but damn it all those censorship, as well as the weak ass story, made me quickly lost my interest. Mirai Nikki on the other hand has a compelling story and a company of pretty wacky characters, especially Yuno Gasai, who quite possibly the only character that made this show so much win. Mirai Nikki has everything I am looking for in anime that isn't a comedy or a slice-of-life. It is a psychology thriller, with murders, gore, sins and some demented killers. They are the mechanics that makes this show so addictive. Nutcase is the right choice of word that really sums up Mirai Nikki as a show. Haters be damned.

8. Chihayafuru
Aired: Fall 2011
Episodes: 25
Producers: Madhouse Studios
Genres: Drama, Sports
My Rating: 9/10

(c) pixiv id 280496

The general idea that this show is about a Karuta card game should put us all to sleep but after one episode, most of us has nothing but praise for this show. It wasn't just about the card game, which they successfully made it looks like it was an exciting game, but it also has that element of friendship and romance that surrounded the three main protagonist. I quickly found myself rooting for Taichi, knowing very well how hurt and lonely it could be when your love is unrequited. The fact that I can identified with Taichi should be enough reason why this show ended up in my list but that is not all. The premise is simple and yet the story is so well written/thought of that it will just pull you deeper with every passing episodes. This is an anime that is best experienced one episode at a time as it thrives from the long exposure.

And so ladies and gentlewomen... that concludes my list. I'm pretty balance with my choice of anime of 2011 from heavy stuff that involved friendship, murders, horrors, and even Master/Servants relationship to the more light hearted comedy with a dash of slice of life (and perhaps a little BL) in it.

I wished for the anime industries to have better anime produced in 2011 and my wish was granted. Compared to previous couple of years, 2011 can be said as a come back year for some anime. They have everything that taste just right for my palate from thought-provoking anime to slice of life anime about boys instead of girls. Hopefully 2012 would be even grander than 2011.

Having said that, from 2011/12 Winter season preview... it looks rather disappointing... T_T


No Nichijou :(

But i have to agree with you Working!! has been great, better than the first imo.

Fate/zero has to be number 1, the input into production has been incredible!

No surprise that Working'!! was tops on your list! :)

I don't think people realize how great Working!! really is...it's simple and funny, but also so well done in how the characters interact with one another. Also, pretty much every single scene is funny.

No... sadly no Nichijou. I plan on checking it out soon (even though the OVA was a disappointment for me) because everyone said that the randomness of the humor will remind me of Gintama and you know how I feel about that.

There is no denying that Fate/Zero was incredible but I didn't get attached to the story as I did with my top two in the list. For me, something that is relevant and I can identified with is much more important that something with just solid story and amazing details on the production that somehow detached from my world. If I was a huge fan of Typemoon, then maybe.

Thank you Joojoobees, at least someone gets why Working'!! deserved to be on the top spot :D

In the end it's a matter of preferences. Though that doesn't mean I could not understand why Working!! is your number one anime 2011... ;D

However, I think animes which are not finished yet(as Fate/Zero for example only takes a break) cannot be judged at the moment. That's why I wouldn't have added FZ or Mirai Nikki for example in my top 10 2011 list yet.

Besides, one major problem of FZ is the fact that it cannot be adapted very well, since it's based on light novels and not mangas (I actually said the same thing to Haruhi Suzumiya and Kara no Kyoukai, though KnK was something different, since every novel was adapted into a movie), compared to Mirai Nikki or the Shounen Jump Trinity for example. Luckily, ufotable is responsible for FZ and they're doing a good job imo. I would have gone berserk, if either DEEN(FSN-series and the movie) or J.C. staff(Tsukihime) had taken the job.

One needs to have some knowledge about the Type-moon universes and the terminology or else watching FZ might be very confusing and frustrating. In general, many people(who either never heard anything of Type-Moon or only watched the FSN-anime) I know didn't like FZ, since they didn't know that Type-Moon works are mostly based on dialogue, instead of action (psychological fights <-> physical fights). Fortunately, there will be more action and the fights are really interesting imo. I'm looking forward to the second half.

P.S. Belated happy new year! ;)

Fall was a great season for anime. Chihayafuru, Mirai Nikki, and, of course, Fate/Zero were some of my favorite shows to watch this year.

I really like the Ao no Exorcist cast, too. I know there's a movie coming up, but I'm hoping for a remake.

I liked your paragraph on AnoHana. That's moving stuff. :)

A lot of these almost made my list. Ao no Excorcist was on it for a bit (then again, mine was only the top five).

God fuck I REALLY need to watch Mirai Nikki.

Reiki, you make me curious now. What other anime from Fall are you watching? Well at least you agree that Working is indeed a masterpiece in 2011 for it's genre.

I'm a noob in Fate-verse but even if I didn't know what's going on, I would probably love Fate/Zero all the same simply because of the details and the animation. That's why I keep on repeating the same praise for ufotable. They made a difference.

and happy belated New Year for you too. Speaking of which, I still need to watch episode 13 of Fate/Zero Orz

Renn, overall 2011 was a much better year compared to the previous years. We have so many good if not great anime to choose from. I can't wait to sit down and enjoy the more popular choices. At least I have them now when in case some mediocre season comes along.

Glo, just almost? What is your top 5 anime besides Nichijou. Don't tell me Shana was included...

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