With the 2012 on its way, it’s time to look back on the shows that aired this year. 2011 was a great year for anime fans, and it’s been a rewarding experience to blog about these shows. My top 9 list is a collection of some of the most memorable series I’ve come across this year. Without further ado, here’s Mira’s Top 9 anime of 2011.
Hunter x Hunter 2011
It felt unfair to include Hunter x Hunter in this list. It’s one of the greatest mangas I’ve had the opportunity to read and considering the fact that this might go on for more than one year, Hunter x Hunter is better off being left aside. It’s a great series, it’s been taking it’s time setting a proper mood but given my knowledge of the source, it’ll be worth every minute of your time. If you’re going to watch/read at least one long running shounen in your lifetime, let it be Hunter x Hunter.
Oh No.6. It would’ve been included in my list to make a top ten. But I just couldn’t. It had excellent production values, it’s very beautiful to watch and the attention to texture enriches the backdrop. The story itself wasn’t so bad either, and I have to commend the series for it’s portrayal of a same sex relationship– Shion and Nezumi together were intriguing to watch and you could feel how deep their feelings were for one another. The other characters, although not as interesting– also added life to the classic dystopian tale. It’s a shame that the last episode was a mess. Don’t get me wrong, it did grab me on an emotional level. However, No.6 just couldn’t pull itself together for the finale. No.6 is a hot mess. While it was enjoyable to blog about but I can’t place it on the list.
Again, it’d be unfair to include Natsume Yuujinchou. Like HxH, I follow the manga and there’s been 2 previous seasons worth of character development.
The Top 9:
I haven’t had the opportunity to finish this series yet. The problem with this series is that it’s rather difficult to get into. I don’t find myself aching to see the next episode and I admit, the most enjoyable episodes are usually the ones that spend a lot of time focusing on Rider and Waver. There are moments when Fate/Zero is bloody brilliant and there are times when the show warps into being just– bloody boring. Also, it seems that there’s a case of certain things in the novel being lost in the process of adapting the story in anime form. That said, this is an incredibly solid series filled with dreams of grandeur. It aims to be an epic tale (which it is) coupled with lush visuals.
AnoHana is an show I find to be incredibly easy to recommend to people who don’t necessarily have a lot of experience with a wide range of anime. It has a great story behind it and includes a bunch of memorable characters. The drama though, is a bit too heavy handed for me. It comes to the point where I just end up getting annoyed. Still, AnoHana has been one of this year’s better offerings.
[C] was ambitious and it’s ambition worked like a doubled edged sword for this series. It lost sight of what it wanted to say. Flaws aside, [C] is worth the watch and features a charming cast, a vividly colored setting and provides enough content I enjoyed reflecting on.
Steins;Gate was a beautifully crafted sci-fi story. The only problem is that I happen to like other shows more than Steins;Gate… It definitely could’ve pushed itself a little further, and it didn’t. A few characters got under my skin and the series just got too dark, I couldn’t see a thing and the palette choices didn’t do the animation a lot of justice. It’s not a bad series, it’s pretty fucking good– but it could’ve been so much better if they developed characters other than Kurisu and Okabe.
5) Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica isn’t perfect. In fact, I wonder why people didn’t come up with this before. It just seemed too easy to have cute magical girls suffer in order to pull at the audience’s heart strings, and yet– Madoka Magica was the first series to fully exploit that. In a way– it’s genius. On the other hand, it’s just emotional torture porn. Either way, Madoka Magica was one of the few shows that aired in winter that had me engrossed. There’s more to Madoka than just suffering, and it’s a clever take on the magical girl series’ usual premise.
4) Mawaru Penguindrum
Again, this is another flawed series. It’s earlier parts were incredibly heavy with symbolism and focused on twisted humor. I’m not quite sure what to make of how this story progressed. It did a very strange job with the build up, depending on a multitude of flashbacks (in fact, half of the show is probably made up of flashbacks) and rather contrived twists and turns. It gets tiresome after a while and seriously, it was something I wasn’t too keen on putting myself through. It’s an experimental series that falls short when it comes to portraying emotionally charged scenes but provides A LOT of intriguing imagery and symbolism. I find it an excellent show that’s interesting enough as long as you’re willing to sit down and listen.
3) Tiger & Bunny
Tiger and Bunny is awesome and you should feel bad for not putting it in your top 10.
Un-Go may have been tough to get into, but once it started building up momentum– it turned into one of the most bizarre and thrilling shows I’ve seen in a while. The one thing that sets Un-Go apart from most of the other series below it is that it never lost itself. It always knew what kind of show it was, regardless of what people wanted it to be. Un-Go was Un-Go and it refused to conform to people’s expectations. It has a powerful script, a set of likable characters and some very thought provoking mysteries and messages.
1) Level E
Level E is the perfect example why excellent source material is an important choice when creating anime adaptations. Level E is– for the lack of a better word, genius. It’s a comedy series starring the glorious troll, Baka Ouji– an alien prince who just loves to troll people. It’s a collection of short stories focusing on various kinds of aliens. The one thing that separates Level E from most comedy anime is that it features dry humor blended with dark humor and features a well thought out setting.
It may be a comedy series but features a lot of things worth pondering on. It’s funny but that’s not all it is. Level E is a unique kind of series that you won’t see everyday– or every year. For me, it was a well deserved no.1.
And that’s it for 2011! What’s your top 10? Feel free to disagree with me and start that classic ‘My Tastes > Your Tastes’ argument!