2011: A Year in Review

It’s nice to look back occasionally and look at the previous year. How was 2011 in terms of anime?

Most Pleasant Surprise

Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai
After the first episode’s panty flash from a little girl, I dropped the show and didn’t finish the episode. A few weeks later, I decided to give it another shot, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s setup with the “three” main characters gives a unique and much needed twist to the harem genre. Its jokes can be fairly witty, and the characters are not your straight-up harem tropes. And it’s pretty fun trying to figure out what’s going on.

Biggest Disappointments

3. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Secret financial districts controlling the world seemed like a cool idea at first… but the implementation ended up as a stream of endless gibberish.

2. No. 6
A cool setting with some exciting political intrigue was introduced in the first episode. Which was immediately forgotten in favor of our main character becoming a housewife until the last episode when everything was resolved with a deus ex wasp.

1. Fractale
Can anyone see a pattern now? Fractale started off strong, with a fascinating setting and some interesting ideas on human society, but quickly descended into pointlessness and endless jokes about Clain being a “pervert”

Best OPs

6. Mawaru Penguindrum
Catchy tune, with nice visuals and symbolism.

5. Nichijou
This cheerful, upbeat tune combined with hyperactive visuals was a perfect match for Nichijou.

4. Nichijou
See what I said for Nichijou’s other OP! I liked this one a bit more.

3. No. 6
Awesome visual effects (esp. the mosaic tiles) synched with good music. I love how everything builds up to the part where the tiles start coming off and the OP climaxes.

2. Mawaru Penguindrum
Sorry, I couldn’t find the shorter version of the song with the visuals. But the reason this one is here is for the song anyway: this was the catchiest song in anime of the year. And it’s sung fabulously too.

1. Kamisama Dolls
I love the visuals with the intersecting glass shards or whatever they are, and the song sounds great too, almost like some Spanish ballad.

Best EDs

4. Nichijou
Nichijou did pretty well with music… A light and fluffy song, once again perfect for Nichijou!

3. Kamisama Dolls
With this one, I really liked how they started playing the music before jumping right into the ED. Good song too, when I manage to ignore the English parts of the lyrics.

2. UN-GO
Another catchy tune, technoish, with some stylish visuals. Thanks to vuc for pointing out the one I forgot!

1. Mawaru Penguindrum
A calming and introspective song, a perfect fit for the corresponding episodes of Penguindrum.

Worst Female Characters

4. Utao (Kamisama Dolls)
Her main motivation in the final battle is to get revenge for her cookies.

3. Hibino (Kamisama Dolls)
Is it too much to ask for characters’ bodies to obey the laws of physics?

2. Alice (Kamisama no Memochou)
I will never understand how a grown woman who never leaves her bed is supposed to be cute. Or why anyone in this show puts up with her.

1. Rose (Dragon Crisis)
Screenshot omitted to protect hundreds of innocent computer monitors from defenestration.

Worst Male Characters

1. Ouma Shuu (Guilty Crown)
I know there were some other male characters I hated this year, but Shuu has wiped them all from my memory.

Best Female Characters

5. Kuramitsu Mine (UN-GO)
She only showed up in two episodes, but her vast array of facial expressions captured my attention. She needs her own show!

4. Christina (Steins; Gate)
Witty enough to keep up with Okabe. Yes, smart girls!

3. Kyouko (YuruYuri)
If I were going to be stranded on a desert island and needed to bring someone to prevent me from getting bored, I would choose Kyouko.

2. Chiba Saori (Hourou Musuko)
A character in anime who’s a jerk but who I can actually sympathize with?!!

1. Ringo Oginome (Mawaru Penguindrum)
Crazy and adorable.

Best Male Characters

3. Kraft (Level E)
I think this guy is even funnier than the Prince. (although they have to come as a pair)

2. Rider (Fate / Zero)
Ha ha ha ha!

1. Okabe (Steins; Gate)
“I am mad scientist, yo!”

Most Moe

5. Shidou Misaki (Softenni)
Too cute! And her costumes!

4. Ueno Kirika (C³)
Cute, smart and tragic girl who likes cooking!

3. Tohsaka Rin (Fate / Zero)
Look at her and feel your heart melt in your chest!

2. Eclair (Dog Days)
A great selection of facial expressions!

1. Teddy (Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing)

The Worst Anime

That I was masochistic enough to finish.

5. Kamisama no Memochou
Pretentious, boring and unimaginative with an obnoxious female lead.

4. Astarotte no Omocha
I guess it might not be that bad, if you’re a lolicon.

3. Mayo Chiki
The “draw memes from a hat” school of anime creation. 

2. Hoshizora e Kakaro Hashi
The perfectly generic and perfectly dull harem in its ideal form.

1. Dragon Crisis
Rose, please allow me to strangle you and make the world a better place.

The Best Anime

15. YuruYuri
Hilarious yuri hijinks. Do want.

14. Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?
Male zombie magical girls? Where could this possibly go wrong? 

13. Star Driver
Ikuhara’s warm-up for Penguindrum. Let’s pretend the last episode never happened.

12. Tiger and Bunny
I thought the superhero genre was exhausted, but they managed to put a new twist on it.

11. Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai
A harem protagonist actually has an excuse for being a three-timing bastard! 

10. Ben-to
Supermarket survival strategy! 

9. Usagi Drop
Adorable and lifelike characters with beautiful artwork. 

8. Steins; Gate
Human is dead, mismatch.

7. Level E
The prince of trolls.

6. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
Great drama, except for the last episode’s slobbering wailfest.

5. UN-GO
Intrigue, mystery, deception, and magical voodoo.

4. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The page turner of the year, with Shinbo’s characteristic flair.

3. Nichijou

2. Hourou Musuko
The deepest and most true to life characters of the year.

1. Mawaru Penguindrum
Symbols, allusions and conspiracy theories, oh yes!

17 thoughts on “2011: A Year in Review

  1. Great post. I felt like you were reading my mind and then putting down what I like in all the categories. If I did a post like this it would turn out very similar to this.

    I love it how you used the same picture twice in a row for Utao and Hibino. You saved us from Rose’s face to start with then posted it later on and killed us all 😛

    Poor shu can’t get any love. He really was the worst.

    1. You saved us from Rose’s face to start with then posted it later on and killed us all

      Bwah ha ha ha I was wondering if anyone would notice!

      Shuu is the worst.

    1. YES, I knew I would forget something! Thanks for pointing this out, yes, I loved UN-GO’s ED too! *fixes post*

  2. Great that Hourou Musuko (my favourite for 2011) ranks so high in your list! Seconded re: “The deepest and most true to life characters of the year.” H.M.’s characters’ depth and intensity imo is a different dimension, lightyears away from the other shows.

    Next to Saorin, Suehiro Anna would receive the top spot in my fave characters list. She doesn’t get much screen time but for some reason she touches me like few other characters, in particular in the last ep.

    1. Anna is number 6 on my list! She was a great character too— I loved seeing a couple that doesn’t fit the ideal mold that most anime want to fit people into, in the rare case that a couple starts dating at all.

  3. Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi was the worst show of the year…Hoshizoria wasn’t that bad…it is generic but at least it was watchable (unlike Itsuten, Blood-C, Freezing).

    Still haven’t seen 7 of your top 15! (Hourou Musuko, Level E, Un-Go, Bento, Tiger and Bunny, Star Driver, and Kore wa Zombie).

    Shows like Penguindrum, Madoka, Steins;Gate Usagi Drop, Nichijou, Fate/Zero, and Persona 4 left an impression, and will be remembered several years from now.

    1. You definitely seem to be more masochistic than I am, suffering through Itsuten, Blood-C and Freezing.

      Give some of those seven a try when you have time, I think that Ben-to and Kore wa Zombie especially might be up your alley (crazy, fun, with good fanservice).

  4. Phi Brain for biggest surprise and best OP.

    Oretachi makes sense for biggest suprise though…the same group actually made Shuffle and Soul Link…

  5. I love all these year end reviews. Glad you did one!

    Wow, I’m actually a little surprised that Penguindrum beat Houro Musuko. Does that mean it’s one of your all time favorites now?

    1. Yeah, if I updated my favorites list today, I think Penguindrum would displace Genshiken or Sola at number 15 or 16. This may be recency bias speaking though… we’ll see if I feel the same way in a few months.

  6. Great list, though I’d add Kotetsu as one of the best male leads this year, but that’s just me. It’s interesting that you liked Kraft better than Ouji in Level E!

    Mawaru Penguindrum also had practically 9 awesome ending themes and a fantastic soundtrack imo

    1. Kotetsu was great too. He’d definitely place somewhere in the next five.

      And yes, the Penguindrum soundtrack was fantastic, the music within the show as well.

  7. Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai– LOLOL same thing with me…I dropped it the first time and tried it again, I did laugh at some of the jokes and a few of the insane moments like the cake fight? Wow…so random and of course episode 13…all that uncensored stuff.

    Fantastic choices in openings and endings! wow I love those Nichijou ones and Kamisama dolls had a great op! And like everyone else Un-go <3

    Worst males! Ahahaha YES DAMN YOU SHU!! You are terrible…

    I love your best anime list! Nichijou, Kore wa zombie, Star Driver, Tiger and bunny, and Mawaru Penguindrum damn all amazing and addictive shows. And more Kore wa zombie in the future! I can't wait for season two…oh yes xD

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