Mira’s Top 9 Anime of 2011 – It’s a Matter of Personal Preference

パンダとペンギン by hakko

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.

Honorable Mentions:

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.

No.6

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.

Natsume Yuujinchou

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:

9) Fate/Zero

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.

8) AnoHana

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.

7) [C] 

[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.

6) Steins;Gate

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.

2) Un-Go

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!

13 Comments

  1. Nice list, so no your list < my list from me. My six favorites (T&B, AnoHana, F/Z, S;G, Penguindrum, and MSMM) are all on here, and Un-Go would make my top ten along with Usagi Drop, Hourou Musuko, and maybe [C]. I agree with most of the comments/criticisms you listed here, too.

    Level E wouldn't make my favorites list (more of Ben-To fan), but it was a fun show, and one of the highlights of the winter season. Glad we got see the range of Togashi's talents this year, too. Nice to see it as a number one show on someone's list. :D

    • Never finished Usagi Drop or touched Hourou Musuko, so I can’t say anything about that but yeah, my list is actually a standard list. It’s just that the numbers are arranged differently.

      This was a great year for Togashi. But seriously, I couldn’t think of another show that deserved to be on that spot. That’s just me though!

  2. Very interesting list. I particularly appreciate your willingness to place shows on it that you considered flawed. In some ways I don’t think you can have true genius without having flaws — else the show is probably being too safe.

    • In some ways I don’t think you can have true genius without having flaws — else the show is probably being too safe.

      Exactly. I have a bias towards shows that possess a lot of ambition, I think it’s great to see more shows trying different things. Some shows might’ve stumbled along the way but that’s perfectly normal when you’re doing things you wouldn’t normally do. That’s why I think the deserve some recognition. And that’s why I’m going to buy Un-Go.

  3. The series I would put in a ranking would pretty much be the same, only the order would be a bit different. Especially around Level E…:D

  4. Five of on my top 10 list are also on your list.

    Madoka, Penguindrum, Un-Go, [C], and AnoHana are all in my list– quite different with how you ranked them, but I agree with your points. I guess for me the entertainment and anticipation factor dictated how I ranked them.

    • I guess for me the entertainment and anticipation factor dictated how I ranked them.

      Oh, I see. I think for me entertainment isn’t really as important because I’m entertained by terribad shows like Hoshizora and Blood-C (sometimes, Guilty Crown). So if I ranked it by entertainment or anticipation, we’d have a completely different list here.

  5. Happy New Year! Great list. I’m surprised but happy to see Level E take the top spot. I love the manga a bit too much so I was deeply unhappy about certain changes they made, but I still really enjoyed it nevertheless and bought the darn DVDs (why are anime DVDs so expensive!?). The only one on your list I’m not too sure about is Anohana which started out well but became a disappointment for me.

    • I know what you mean. To be honest, I wish another production company adapted this series MADHOUSE because the manga itself is probably a hundred times better. It’s a shame. It’s still my No.1 though. Every other show is great and all but I don’t think they were nearly as fun and clever as Level E was.

      Did you buy the Japanese DVDs? I don’t think anyone’s licensed it. ;_;

      • The Japanese ones. It didn’t sell well so I’m not sure if it will get licensed… It’s a shame they couldn’t include the honeymoon chapter as an extra.

  6. Great list! 4 of the series on your list are among my top seven, but that’s mainly because I haven’t watched Fate/Zero, T &B and Level E. Usagi Drop, HanaIro, and Kimi To Boku made my list, though. These top (#) of animes really tells a lot about the tastes and views of its writers, doesn’t it?
    As many of the commentors did above, I also agreed with most of your points, especially the one about Anohana’s drama being too heavy at times. That really showed during the last episodes, which was just a huge cryfest that went a bit overboard.
    Seeing how Un-GO and Natsume are on your list I should probably start watching those two sereies. I’ve been hearing a lot of good talk about those two.
    (Anyways, first time on your blog, and it’s quite great ^^)

    • That really showed during the last episodes, which was just a huge cryfest that went a bit overboard.

      It’s a shame, really. It was great the first half, and a bit too heavy in towards the finale. Still, it’s the only slice of life drama I have on my list which says a lot. I see you have Usagi Drop, HanaIro and Kimi To Boku on your list. I think you’re going to enjoy Natsume then! It’s a fantastic, mellow series! Un-Go is a great sci-fi/political/mystery series as well, so I hope you’ll like it too!

      Thanks for dropping by!

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