2011 was a great year for anime with many standout titles all throughout the seasons. From magical girl shows with a twist to sci-fi time traveling shenanigans to series about the ups and down of running an inn--there were some great titles for fans to enjoy that will be remembered for years. We've polled the community at large to take a look back at some of their favorite titles from the last twelve months in anime and the votes are in! Before we get to the lists I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this years list with a big shout out to member
, who really helped a lot in reaching out to the community at large in the official thread, around the site, and on Twitter.
From the Anime Vice Community
Some of the the site's top wiki editors and forum users weigh in on their personal favorites from 2011.
Sket Dance is about a trio of high school students (Bossun, Hime, and Switch) who are in a club called SKET Dan, whose mission is to help students with their problems. It's like the lite beer version of Gintama in an innocent school setting and most of the issues that students face stem from romance to helping set up a puppet show to solving crime and much more. Sket Dance is a humorous, slice of life adventure, and you'll love the unique characters and their little stories.
Beelzebub centers around the unusual combination of a delinquent raising a demon baby to destroy humanity alongside a wet nurse. At first, Oga wants to give Beel away but as he has problems raising Beel and searches for the meanest and strongest, suitable parent for Beel, he bonds closer to Beel. Be prepared for a humorous misadventures of Beelzebub that is packed with zany fights.
|Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi|
Since my exposure to yaoi is limited to Descendents of Darkness and Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, this series is the only yaoi I've seen so far that isn't bloody and creepy. This series is also the only one I've seen besides Bakuman that deals with editing and publishing manga within an anime.
I remember the first two episodes got me hooked, yet the ending did not hit home with me. Despite the religious references, Blue Exorcist is a comedic adventure about Rin who is going to school to become the best exorcist to kick Satan's ass. If you like demons and exorcists, Blue Exorcist is a good show to try.
This anime is about an ordinary teenage boy named Shu who gets caught in a war between GHQ and Funeral Parlor after meeting Inori, a beautiful pink haired egotist. Shu is not your typical hero as he's a wimp learning what goes on in war. Guilty Crown's morbid, chilling music and stunning visuals truly creates an apocalyptic world that captures the viewers and its unrequited romantic story between Shu, Gai, and Inori is captivating.
This anime is a nice and normal Slice Of Life about a 30 years old nephew taking care of his 8 years old aunt (ok, it not that normal). This probably the best Slice Of Life anime out there.
|Puella Magi Madoka★Magica|
This anime is about magical girls with a twist. Madoka Magica has turned the Magical Girl genre completely on its side. It's no Sailor Moon!
|The World God Only Knows|
This anime is about a dating sim video game geek who likes 2D ladies instead of the 3D ones, if you know what I mean. This anime is really fun and funny and it makes fun of a lot of dating sim and anime tropes.
|Puella Magi Madoka★Magica|
Visually stunning and an emotional roller-coaster. Madoka ends up being a show that includes everything I have been asking animated shows do for the last two or three years. Depict real consequences for character decisions that have long standing repercussions. Employing different animation styles to create a sense of being in an "alien/new" location. Plot twists that are actually surprising. Madoka ends up combining all of these good elements in a final product that I found to be extremely compelling.
As someone who has a low tolerance for blood and gore I often find myself gravitating towards shows like this. The charm...the cuteness...the characters and their interactions between each other just warmed my cold dark cynical heart. In fact I would give this show my "Made My Heart Grow Three Sizes in One Day Award." It's really that cute.
|Tiger & Bunny|
More than just a refreshing new twist on the mecha genre, it's a down right great show. Its purposeful use of idioms and tropes for comedic purposes made this show one of my most enjoyable comedic experiences this entire year. Also this show has the best use of Product Placement since Talladega Nights.
Who would have guessed that a Japanese exclusive Xbox 360 visual novel would have become what it is now. Steins;Gate does however inherit a lot of the problems that anime adaptions often encounter, but so long as you have some patience the wait is worthwhile. The show's slow and deliberate pace leads me to award it my "Best Show to Make a Sandwich to While Watching Award," because sandwiches and anime are a match made in heaven.
Transformers Prime is a really good series in every aspect, though two of the kids can be a bit annoying.
I was amazed just how cool this series is considering the campy series it was based on. It is more enjoyable as an adult than the original was when I was a kid.
|Dragon Ball Z Kai|
The streamlined versions of the Saiyan, Namek, Android, and Cell sagas from Dragon Ball Z kai were a nice change from hours of, for lack of a better word, filler.
I was prepared to write this series off when I heard that the creators of the Chaos;Head game, which became an anime that I hated, were the same team behind Steins;Gate. I decided to give it a shot when I read that White Fox, the animation studio behind Katanagatari aka my favorite 2010 series, was working on the anime adaption and I'm glad I did. I immediately fell in love with the characters and I'm a sucker for a good time travel story, and this series delivers one of the better ones that I've ever experienced.
This year kicked off with the beginning of the end for Aizen Sousuke, my favorite character in the series and having read the manga, I wasn't sure if I'd even be watching Bleach this year. I'm glad I did. The reigai arc was some of the best Bleach I've ever seen. The animation was pretty awesome for a LOT of episodes and the Reigai storyline gave them an excuse excuse to mashup as many fanboy Shinigami vs Shinigami dream battles as they could shake a stick at. These episodes reminded me of why I fell in love with Bleach to begin with.
|You and Me|
You and Me really grabbed me. I've seen a lot of heartwarming shows starring school girls but this is the first I've seen that focused around school boys. The overall quality and characters of the series drew me in and the gender of the cast really made me relate to the characters on a personal level rather than the outside looking in perspective that I get with female characters.
This ended up being my toughest selection of all. I was deadlocked between including this or Hanasaku Iroha but at the end of the day I went with Un-Go because it completely gripped me and had me begging for more at the end of every episode. The combination of the intriguing history world the series takes place in, the characters, and the detective mystery that I'd liken to Death Note and Himitsu: The Revelation pushed it into Top 5 quality for me.
Every season we get capsule charts that offer a 2-3 sentence summary of upcoming anime. I'm usually upset at how "samey" everything is but Bunny Drop stood out from the crowd as something different. The series was touching, heart-warming, and more than exceeded my expectations. I'm very glad I checked this one out.
The Anime Vice Top 10 Anime of 2011
The list have been counted, votes tallied, and the final results are in. Without further ado I present to you the top ten anime of 2011 as decided by the community!
9. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
8. Hanasaku Iroha
7. Tiger & Bunny
6. Mawaru Penguindrum
5. Sket Dance
3. Bunny Drop
1. Puella Magi Madoka★Magica
Well, 2011 is over and we're already in the thick of the 2012 anime premiers. What anime really stood out for you this past year? Let us know in the comments!
-William Taylor ( sickvisionz ) is lazy by nature, procrastinator by trade. You can also find him on Twitter @mrsickvisionz and check out what he does while procrastinating on Tumblr.