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Anime Vice's Top 2011 Anime

Some of the the site's top wiki editors and forum users weigh in on their personal favorites from 2011.

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.

Takashichea

Sket Dance
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
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.
Blue Exorcist
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.
Guilty Crown
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.

Destinyheroknight

Bunny Drop

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.

ZombiePie

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.
Bunny Drop
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.
Steins;Gate
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.

EganTheVile1

Transformers Prime
Transformers Prime is a really good series in every aspect, though two of the kids can be a bit annoying.
Thundercats
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.

sickVisionz

Steins;Gate
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.
Bleach
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.
Un-Go
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.
Bunny Drop
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!

10. Beelzebub
10. Beelzebub
9. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
9. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai
8. Hanasaku Iroha
8. Hanasaku Iroha
7. Tiger & Bunny
7. Tiger & Bunny
6. Mawaru Penguindrum
6. Mawaru Penguindrum
5. Sket Dance
5. Sket Dance
4. Fate/Zero
4. Fate/Zero
3. Bunny Drop
3. Bunny Drop
2. Steins;Gate
2. Steins;Gate
1. Puella Magi Madoka★Magica
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.

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 10, 2012 at 4 a.m.

@AssInAss said:

They're the best kind of animes for me, zero fanservice, complex characters, interesting subject matter, and slice-of-life that's emotional. I guess I should check out Stein's Gate and Madoka, huh?

Steain;Gate > Awesome. Definitely check that one out. I haven't seen a single episode of it but based off of screenshots and an untranslated clip I saw on YouTube, I think Mawaru might be a pretty good one for what you like as well. Hanasaku Iroha pretty much fits your bill, but there's light service maybe once every 3 or 4 episodes. You and Me is another one. It came sooooo close to making the Top 10.

sotyfan16on Jan. 10, 2012 at 4:34 a.m.

I will have to give a look at the Google Doc. I am curious to see where the shows I have seen so far ranked.

Anyway, I think I have about 20 shows left from 2011 I plan to watch. I'm currently on Sacred Seven, Kamisama Dolls, Bakuman 2 (though it is a full series that is still ongoing), and Baka and Test 2. I've put those on hold the past week though because I've been entrapped by Fairy Tail (currently on ep 50). Once I get through all the shows on my list from 2011 I'll go through everything I watched from the year and make my own awards-style blog (title pending) and include a ranking of my favorites (prob top 10 considering how many I watch). Until then I hold judgment on 2011 as I work to catching up so I am only a season or less behind.

Now, for my thoughts on the choices at hand.

From what I know about the users mentioned in this article I would of figured they would have chosen the shows they did though I might of had a couple different guesses. Almost all the shows chosen by them I will not see as they are not to quite to my taste, however. There are some that are on my list to watch but I haven't gotten to them yet (Steins;Gate (due to having not seen Chaos;Head yet), Guilty Crown, Fate/Zero, The World God Only Knows 2, and Beelzebub). Hell, of those listed I've only seen Blue Exorcist and DBZ Kai (I'm too far behind on Bleach to even consider it).

Despite all the shows I still have to watch I can't help but think 2011 was not as good as previous years. But I might change my mind as there are a number of good shows not mentioned that I enjoyed and some good shows coming up on my list. Then again, I could have been all up to date if I didn't focus on manga last year and have more life troubles than I care to remember.

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 10, 2012 at 4:53 a.m.

@sotyfan16 said:

There are some that are on my list to watch but I haven't gotten to them yet (Steins;Gate (due to having not seen Chaos;Head yet)

Steins;Gate has no connection to Chaos;Head other than that the same company developed the games that the anime are based off of. You need to see Chaos;Head to get Steins;Gate as much as you need to play Mirror's Edge (DICE) to get Battlefield 3 (DICE) or Mass Effect 2 (BioWare) to get The Old Republic (BioWare).

sotyfan16on Jan. 10, 2012 at 4:58 a.m.

@sickVisionz:

I thought it was a sequel. In that case, I will start it when I get done with one of my current shows.

metalsnakezeroon Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:14 a.m.

This is a pretty good list of 2011 animes and glad to see that the community have a similar taste. I still feel that Fate/Zero shouldn't be on the list since it not finish yet.

zaldaron Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:25 a.m.

well glad to see the top three are good and that tiger and bunny dropped low as it is highly overrated. Reaffirmed my faith in the taste of the people on this site (which had been waning a bit) so good job!

sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 10, 2012 at 7:58 a.m.

@metalsnakezero: The series was split into two parts and the entire first part was 13 episodes and aired in 2011. Thirteen episodes, which is greater than or equal to most of the series on this list, is plenty of time and content to make a judgement on whether or not it was one of your favorite shows to watch in 2011. It not being complete doesn't invalidate it (or Sket Dance, Beelzebub, etc) to me.

By that same token... I like Bleach and I've liked it since like 2006. Would I have to wait until it ends in 20XX to say that it was one of my favorite anime to watch in 2006?

Shazam78on Jan. 10, 2012 at 8:37 a.m.
Judging by this list I'm got some 2011 anime I need to start watching before we too far into 2012. Tiger and Bunny is one of my favorite things on the list(that I've actually watched). Heck my fiancee got into after seeing how much I was enjoying it. I just started watching Un-Go near the end of last year. Transformers Prime was suprisingly good and the season finale really made me want more. Course I find only one the kids extremely annoying. Even the other characters on the wonder what's wrong with her. Thundercats I have to say is amazing(not perferct) but sometimes I not sure if I dislike Lion-O or Tigra more.
Halberdierv2on Jan. 10, 2012 at 9:36 a.m.

now I regret being too busy to finish the list. No Gosick Representation!

Victorique takes out her anger on Kazuya!
Victorique takes out her anger on Kazuya!
Daniel_Newton moderator on Jan. 10, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.

Aww man, none of my personal top 5 are mentioned anywhere in this article. Ah well, I honestly didn't watch many new shows in 2011, so maybe I missed out on most of the good ones. I know there are plenty I've been meaning to watch.

Bigheart711on Jan. 10, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.

This is very nice indeed. Congratulations to anyone that participated, especially in the voting processes! :)

Although there were no surprises on my end. ;p

takashichea moderator is online on Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

@Halberdierv2 said:

Victorique takes out her anger on Kazuya!
Victorique takes out her anger on Kazuya!

now I regret being too busy to finish the list. No Gosick Representation!

Sorry man. I was debating over Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, Blue Exorcist, Fate/Zero, and Gosick. I forgot to finish watching it.

Edit:

I thought Persona 4 would get in the top 10 because how much attention it got in Anime Vice, Screened, and Giant Bomb. Maybe, I should have contact them for next year in case we get an anime that touches both worlds, anime and games. Stein;Gates, I didn't know was based on a game.

fijilovesyouon Jan. 10, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.

I guess otaku likes mahou-shoujo. I ranked Steins;Gate as the best because of the awesome story and characters. It was impressive that half of the anime that I liked made the top ten. I have seen 3 eps of Madoka so far. Let's see if I'll get charmed by it.

Darokion Jan. 10, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.

Interesting list, and not surprised that Madoka so high although I didn't like it personally.

Interesting to see where my list is compared to the community. My first is third, my second is sixth, my third is seventh, and my fourth is second. (Yes, I thought there were three better anime this year than Steins;Gate.) I feel terrible after looking at the Google Doc that Wandering Son was one vote away from getting on the list, and I went back and forth about that or Chihayafuru before deciding against it. :(

Addfwynon Jan. 13, 2012 at 4:53 a.m.

Keep meaning to get back into anime, this list may be a good catchup point, a few of these I should probably give a shot.

takashichea moderator is online on April 26, 2012 at 4:41 a.m.

It's such a shame that the ones I picked, Beelzebub, Blue Exorcist, and Guilty Crown, had some mishap endings. Back when this article made, Guilty Crown was in its 1st season that is less confusing and random than its 2nd season and Beelzebub was not running into fillers.

Sket Dance and Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi did not disappoint me.

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