01-03-2012, 04:32 AM
I only watched a total of 13 new anime series last year, but at least that's a huge improvement over previous years. Anyway, here are some of my opinions of shows that aired in 2011. So all of my picks will come from one of these 13 shows:
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Tiger and Bunny
Mystical Archives of Dantalian
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing
Best anime of 2011: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Worst anime of 2011: Majikoi (dropped after three episodes)
Best ending of 2011: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Biggest downturn of 2011 after such a promising start: Mashiroiro Symphony
Biggest upturn of 2011 after a dreadful start: Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Most shocking ending of 2011: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Funniest anime of 2011: Astarotte's Toy
2011 anime that made you cry the most: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Best yuri couple of 2011: Margot Knight and Malga Naruze, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Best heterosexual couple of 2011: Cinque Izumi and Millhiore F. Biscotti, Dog Days
Anime that had the most gripping and unexpected plot twists of 2011: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Best animation of 2011: Guilty Crown
Best character designs of 2011: Guilty Crown (slightly edges out Horizon)
Outstanding male character of 2011: Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, Tiger and Bunny
Outstanding female character of 2011: Homura Akemi, Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Worst male character of 2011: Kenji Ito, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Worst female character of 2011: Liliana, Last Exile
Best villain of 2011: Albert Maverick, Tiger and Bunny
Best first episode of 2011: Fate/Zero
Most unnecessary character in a 2011 anime: Every male student of Class 3-Plum except Tori, Shirojiro, Tenzo, and Toussaint, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Best action sequence of 2011: Episodes 10-13, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Biggest tearjerker of 2011: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Best character growth (characters that start off with many negative attributes but changed to become a better person) of 2011: Lunatic, Tiger and Bunny
Sexiest character of 2011: Kimi Aoi, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Best sequel of 2011: Last Exile (by default, since Fate/Zero is a prequel)
01-03-2012, 04:00 PM
Kinda just using my favorites from the year over and over again, but it's something...
My top 5 favorite anime of 2011
3. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai.
4. Usagi Drop
My top 5 least favorite anime of 2011 (Based on what I saw; some of them I dropped after a few episodes)
1. Rio - Rainbow Gate!
2. Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise
3. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Best ending of 2011
Biggest downturn of 2011 after such a promising start
There have been a few... Guilty Crown is the newest, so it's the easiest to remember; it hasn't gotten too bad yet, but it does feel like it keeps getting worse...
Most shocking ending of 2011
1. Not sure... I guess the Steins;Gate ending went further than I expected on some levels
Funniest anime of 2011
2011 anime that made you cry the most/Biggest tearjerker of 2011 (Seems to be asking pretty much the same thing; nothing actually made me cry, but this one probably came the closest)
1. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai.
Best couple of 2011
1. Rintarō Okabe and Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate)
Anime that had the most gripping and unexpected plot twists of 2011
2. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai.
Best animation of 2011
2. Guilty Crown
Best character designs of 2011
2. Guilty Crown
Outstanding male character of 2011
1. Rintarō Okabe (Steins;Gate)
Outstanding female character of 2011
1. Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate)
Best villain of 2011
Not sure... Fate/Zero sure makes me hate Caster, which is... kind of a good thing for a villain?
Best first episode of 2011
Most unnecessary character in a 2011 anime
1. Fam Fan Fan (Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing)
Best comedic moment of 2011
1. The entire first two episodes of Gintama'
2. "Sonuvabitch" scene (Steins;Gate)
Best action sequence of 2011
1. Most fights in Fate/Zero
2. The climax of the first major arc in Gintama'
Biggest shocker of 2011
1. End of episode 12 (Steins;Gate)
Favorite OP (OP music and animation) of 2011
1. Kanako Itou - "Hacking to the Gate"
Favorite ED (ED music and animation) of 2011
1. Yui Sakakibara - "Toki Tsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku"
Best character growth (characters that start off with many negative attributes but changed to become a better person) of 2011
1. "Half the cast of Ano Hana" ... Yeah, that sounds about right.
Best sequel of 2011
Outstanding voice-acting of 2011 (One male and one female, tied)
1. Nobuhiko Okamoto (Tiger & Bunny, Blue Exorcist, Kamisama Dolls, Sacred Seven, Beelzebub)
1. Minako Kotobuki (Guilty Crown, Tiger & Bunny)
01-04-2012, 07:43 AM
Favourite Anime of 2011
1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
2. Stein's Gate
3. The iDOLM@STER
4. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
5. Tamayura ~hitotose
Guilty Pleasure of the Year
Honourable Mention : Maken-ki! (Am I the only one here who actually liked the show?)
Most Disappointing Show that I completed
Stein's Gate (Tough battle with Madoka Magica and AnoHana) but in the end the happiest of the 3 endings won
Best OP (Song)
Connect (ClariS) from Madoka Magica
Os-Uchujin (Oogami Asuka) from Denpa Onna - The perfect example of an earworm
Best OP (Animation)
Hyadain no Joujou Yuujou (Hyadain) from Nichijou
Best ED (Song)
secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta mono~ (Kayano Ai, Tomatsu Haruka, Hayami Saori) from AnoHana
Honourable Mention : Take Off (2PM) from Ao no Exorcist, Soshiete Ima (Seto Asami) from Chihayafuru
Best ED (Animation)
secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta mono~ (Kayano Ai, Tomatsu Haruka, Hayami Saori) from AnoHana
The petals stopping and then reversing and bursting out in colour gets me every time
Best Insert Song
"Itsumademo, Dokomademo" (765 Pro All-Stars) from The iDOLM@STER
Didn't know where else to put this song :)
Song that deserved a better show
"Junketsu Paradox" (Mizuki Nana) from Blood-C
Ben-to - Was pretty close between this and Haganai written on parts of the cast's bodies, but that XMas-themed eyecatch in the final episode pushed Ben-to over the top.
Most Shocking Scene aka "Did they really do THAT?"
Madoka Magica episode 3
Best Fight Sequence
Homura vs Walpurgis Night (Madoka Magica) - She threw a bloody tanker truck at it!
Honourable Mention : Sen vs Shaga (Ben-to) - Best use of chopsticks
Favourite Male Character
Okabe Rintarou (Stein's Gate)
Favourite Female Character
Touwa Erio (Denpa Onna)
Honourable Mention : Nano (Nichijou)
Favourite Supporting Character
Touwa Meme (Denpa Onna) - Practically steals every scene she's in
Honourable Mention : Yamada Aoi (Working!!), Ningyohara Kuroe (C3)
Favourite Character Quirk
Erio's Futon Speech - Denpa Onna
Maon's Whistles - Tamayura ~hitotose~
Utao's Facial Expressions - Kamisama Dolls
Most Impressive New Seiyuu
Kayano Ai - Got her big break with Menma in AnoHana and continued with lead roles in Kamisama Dolls, Guilty Crown and Last Exile - Fam the Silver Wing. Even her non-lead roles such as Isana in Yumekui Merry and UmeUme in Ben-to were good.
Honourable Mention : Seto Asami - Leads in Hourou Musoku and Chihayafuru, and she's got a nice singing voice too
02-03-2012, 11:57 PM
I'm including TV series only.
Note that I count short OVAs/specials/DVD bonus episodes explicitly attached to an established TV series as part of the TV series.
Numbering is ranked, '' is alphabetical-unranked.
Top 4 moments of 2011
I could list many more, but it's either keep it to the absolute top tier, or end up with a list dozens long. Oh and they're spoiler tagged for a reason. Interestingly only one is from a final episode.
1. Chihaya finds her voice, and keeps her promise - Episode 20, The iDOLM@STER
2. "Kami-sama demo nandemo ii... Kore ga watashi no inori. Watashi no negai. Saa, kanaete yo, Incubator!" - Episode 12, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
3. Madoka sacrifices herself for Homura, and Homura has to pull the trigger on her one and only friend - Episode 10, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
4. Yuri witches, kissing in the sky <3 - Episode 10, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
Top 10 shows of 2011
Since I've already done my 2011 Year in Review (http://www.mania.com/aodvb/showthread.php?p=1974698#post1974698), I might as well stick this here. And what a great, great year 2011 was.
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
2. The iDOLM@STER
3. Usagi Drop
4. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
5. Hourou Musuko
8. Yuru Yuri
10. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
The most important category, or at least tied with best series. I went with a Top 10 and then honorable mentions this year. I initially had honorable mentions broken out into two or three categories, but once I hit 50 characters I realized that was a bit much... I cut down to only my Tier 2 characters.
1. Sakura Kyouko | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - I can't quite explain or justify this using any of the normal explanations for why I love a character. Erio and Rin are cuter, Homura and Saori are more complex, Yuuko and Yamada are funnier, Miki and Sena are hotter, Masazumi and Rider give better speeches. And many characters in this list get more moving, more memorable scenes. But every time I see Kyouko, no matter the context, something just gets to me. At a very fundamental level. She evokes an immediate emotional, in some ways even physical, reaction. For much of Madoka's run I said Mami was my favorite, but in the long run, it's Kyouko that makes me feel this way. I'm just not sure who else could take the top spot.
2. Kyubey | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - I don't "like" Kyubey more than many others in the sense that I usually "like" a character. It's not even human. And yet QB is a most brilliantly written and executed character in so many ways. It's frankly impossible to discuss much outside of spoiler tags, but really, if you're seen it, you just know.
3. Chiba Saori | Hourou Musuko - Saori singlehandedly put Hourou ahead of Madoka at various times in the Winter season, until Madoka shot ahead at the end. What a complex, beautiful, self-destructive, strong, and melodramatic-tragic girl. I can't forget the scene in episode 7, where she's draped over her couch, hair mussed, grandly contemplating quitting school and becoming someone's mistress - oh the drama, oh the tragedy! In a show defined by nuanced character interaction and complicatedly developed relationships, Saori was the most powerful force by far. I only wish she had played more of a role in the final episodes.
4. Touwa Erio | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko - She's only the most attractive character design ever put to anime. Yes, I said it. Ever. In truth, I might like Maekawa more in some ways, but overall... well. Erio is just one of a kind, in so many ways.
5. Kaga Rin | Usagi Drop - I actually did the seiyuu roles section before finishing this, and pretty much everything I wrote about Matsuura Ayu's acting applies to Rin. Ayu is Rin as far as I'm concerned. Rin was written so beautifully, so believably, with so much respect and emotion, and that shines through in every scene from start to finish.
6. Aioi Yuuko | Nichijou - I came to love her as intensely as the story world of Nichijou hated her. Oh Yuuko! <3
7. Yamada Aoi | Working'!! - I don't know if there's any other character I more desire to take home and spoil and give cake and presents to. All she wants is a family. ;_; Aoi is a good girl! A very very good girl!
8. Amami Haruka | The iDOLM@STER - This one is a little odd, in that I can't base it purely on the anime. Miki dominated Imas for me for the most part, with Haruka sometimes not even top 5. Miki only slipped after her main story was complete, and by the end I started feeling most attached to Haruka. Then I played the game and chose Haruka as unit lead in my first playthrough, and that sealed he deal for good. Besides, Idolmaster is the epitome of mixed media franchises, so it's okay to cheat.
9. Kawachi Daikichi | Usagi Drop - I really feel like you can't have Rin without Daikichi. Daikichi is my #1 man of 2011. Rin raised him as much as he raised her, but that just made their relationship all the richer. Two very different individuals coming affecting each other's lives so deeply, and we have the honor to watch.
10. Tomoe Mami | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - Mami-saaaaaaaaan! Actually, I almost left the numbered portion a top 9 because it was so hard to pick one from the honorable mentions as being above all the others. I'm still not sure about this choice, but 10 is so much nicer a number. Could have also been Miki, Rider, Victorique, Popura or Kyouko, I guess.
Akemi Homura | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Hoshii Miki | The IDOLM@STER
Kaname Madoka | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Kashiwazaki Sena | Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Maekawa | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Margot & Malga | Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - No I most certainly will not separate them.
Merry Nightmare | Yumekui Merry
Mikazuki Yozora | Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Minase Iori | The IDOLM@STER
Nagase Jun | Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II - She sooo reminds me of Takako from SonoHana 7 now that I've read the latter. Except Keima isn't a precocious little girl with serious sex drive, alas! :sd:
Natsume Takashi | Natsume Yuujin-chou San
Nessa | Fracale
Okabe Rintarou | Steins;Gate
Rider | Fate/Zero
Victorique de Blois | Gosick
Taneshima Popura | Working'!!
Toshinou Kyouko | Yuru Yuri
Favorite male character
Gets its own because as seen above, the overall list is female-dominated but I still want to give kudos to he shows that managed to actually write likable male characters. The top 4 stand out far and above the rest, so they get real numbering
1. Kawachi Daikichi | Usagi Drop - Best anime dad.
2. Rider | Fate/Zero - Pretty much the most badass male character ever.
3. Natsume Takashi | Natsume Yuujin-chou San - Moe moe kyun~!
4. Okabe Rintarou | Steins;Gate - El psy congroo.
Aoi Toori | Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - This surprises me more than anyone else.
Cinque Izumi | Dog Days
Fujiwara Yumeji | Yumekui Merry
Hugh Anthony Diswald | Dantalian no Shoka
Ittoki Otoya | Uta no Prince-sama Maji LOVE 1000% - Totally deserves Haruka more.
Kasuragi Keima | Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II
Producer-san | The iDOLM@STER
Sakamoto-san | Nichijou - Hey, it counts. And I'm not making a separate list for animals...
Satou Jun | Working'!!
Souma Hiroomi | Working'!!
Takagi Akito | Bakuman
Best overall cast
This ends up being similar to my top shows list for obvious reasons, but not identical. I think a show has to have at least four reasonably equally important characters appearing in most if not all episodes to be eligible, hence no Usagi Drop despite it being my #3 show of the year. The order is also a bit different from my Top 10 shows.
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
1. The iDOLM@STER - Yes, a tie.
3. Hourou Musuko
5. Yuru Yuri
7. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
8. Tamayura ~hitotose~
9. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
10. Dog Days
Favorite seiyuu (individual performances)
This is different from an overall best list (which Sawashiro would top every year so long as she still draws breath), because a seiyuu could have had one epic performance and then disappeared; but rather than just go listing seiyuu and characters I like (yep, every Sawashiro Miyuki and Yuuki Aoi role!) I'm focusing on a smaller number of really special performances. This is heavily influenced by the characters, but not entirely..
1) Matsuura Ayu | Kaga Rin | Usagi Drop - She's only ten years old! And yet the depth she displayed as Rin constantly took my breath away, not just as a consistently good voice but as a voice that grew along with Rin. It perfectly reflected her gradual emotional opening, her intellectual development, her deepening understanding of who she was in the world. Either Ayu is an once-in-a-generation prodigy, or the casting director is the most skilled person to ever ply the trade, or both.
2) Saitou Chiwa | Akemi Homura | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - I've rewatched episode 12 and part of episode 10 and various other things Madoka-related while doing this post, and Saitou's Homura is something I come to respect more and more as time goes on. She's not my favorite Madoka Magical girl - that goes to Kyouko, followed by Mami and probably Madoka - but Saitou's performance beautifully captured the horror and the desperation Homura felt every step of the way, but particularly in episode 10. That is probably the best acted episode of anime in 2011.
3) Ootsuka Akio | Rider | Fate/Zero - So fffffffffffffucking manly and epic. I almost didn't list Ootsuka because it's not like this was anything particularly out of the ordinary for "guy who does deep manly man voices" (I mean he's basically up there with Nakata Jouji and Wakamoto Norio in that category) but Rider is just so goddamn awesome and it's totally Ootsuka who sells it.
4) Yuuki Aoi | Victorique de Blois | Gosick - Had to get Yuuki Aoi in here somehow, and I think this edges out Madoka for her best acting role. Or maybe I just want to stick to one role per show or something.
5) Sawashiro Miyuki | Dalian | Dantalian no Shoka - I liked this role for reasons very similar to why I liked Ao-chan's Victorique. Small girls with big wit and sharp tongues in gothic lolita clothing. Victorique was the better character in the better show, which probably gave that role an edge, but Sawashiro's Dalian benefited from working alongside the overall best male seiyuu around: Ono Daisuke. Dalian and Huey made a far far better intellectual match than Kujou could ever have provided to Victorique.
6) Honda Mariko | Aioi Yuuko | Nichijou - I definitely feel like any given Nichijou role
spent a little too much time with yelling, but I really had to get one of them on this list, because there was some hilarious acting in this show. it was either Yuuko or Mio, and I guess character bias sent it Yuuko's way. Honda Mariko has very few roles under her belt (her only other major role is Kurimu from Ichizon) and I'm hoping she sticks around. Se had to act a wide range of emotions as Yuuko, for damn sure.
7) Imai Asami | Kisaragi Chihaya | The iDOLM@STER - She may not be my favorite iDOLM@STER girl (though I like her!) but I like the unique quality she has in her voice (see also Kurisu in Steins;Gate) and most importantly, in an anime about singing, she gets the most impressive, most memorable, most moving moments on stage. One of them in particular is probably never going to leave me. So good...
8) Ootsuba Yuka | Toshinou Kyouko | Yuru Yuri - She makes the third very inexperienced seiyuu on my list for 2011. Honestly I don't know how well I can speak to her acting ability, but certainly it worked for me. The best thing about Kyouko was her timely delivery, with just the perfect inflection to crack me up every single time she said anything. Especially when she was trolling Ayano or Akari.
This was hard. It's a lot easier to list endings that didn't come near the heights the rest of the show reached (hi Penguindrum!) but the below all strongly enhanced everything that came before, which is what a truly great ending is for me.
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - And one of the best ever.
2. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shirana - Such a very very appropriate ending.
3. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai - Switching to Yozora's point of view was beyond a good choice, it was utterly show-making.
4. Uta no Prince-sama Maji LOVE 1000% - The harem ending! It was awesome. Granted there's a sequel which of course negates that but I at least give it recognition for pulling off what it did at the time. =P
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon would be #3 or #4, but then I remembered it's episode 12 and the first third of episode 13 that I really loved. Understandably, they set aside the emotional stuff in the second half of episode 13 in order to set up the second season. An honorable mention with great praise, then.
Best character art/designs
I removed "animation" from the list this year to distinguish this more from the next section. I'd rather focus on the designs, whether original or adapted and just character art in general.
1. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko - Shaft. Close-up shots of Erio are almost like cheating. Hands down the best looking character art, except when it was the worst. lol Shaft >_> Normally I wouldnt list a show with such massive problems keeping its characters on model (see also iDOLM@STER, which I loved the anime designs for, but wished were drawn better half the time), let alone at #1. But when it mattered, the magic they did with Erio was just seared into my eyes and memories. I don't know if I've ever seen a character look that good. In fact I'm certain I haven't.
2. Working!! - A1 Pictures. I was always amazed by how crisp the character art looked, in every scene without fail. I wonder if anyone was ever more than very very slightly off model at any point, ever. Popura and Aoi are also two of my favorite character designs. Short and busty with giant ponytail? YES. Slender and pretty with long straight black hair and straight bangs and impeccable zettai ryouiki? YES.
3. Nichijou - Kyoto Animation. Not here for having the cutest (well, sometimes!) or sexiest or most intricate character designs, but for the range of expression achieved. Gag comedy rarely if ever has much budget and skill behind it, but Nichijou did in spades.
4. Ano Hi Mita Hana wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai - A1 Pictures. Something about Tanaka Masayoshi's character designs for anime really really appeals to me. In addition to AnoHana, he's also done the same magic for AnoNatsu and Toradora!.
5. Yuru Yuri - Dogakobo. Namori's art is so very well suited to anime. It's got to be total cake to adapt them, not that I want to downplay what Nakajima Chiaki did. But they're so round and punipuni and lovable and CUUUUUUTE&@!*#(!@.
Dog Days - Seven Arcs. Purely on here because so many cute girls! Great range of designs.
Hourou Musuko - AIC. I wasn't sure how I'd take the heavily washed out pastels, but when I think back on it now, I have a very very favorable memory of it. The softness of the designs fit perfectly with the vulnerable emotions of the kids.
Yumekui Merry - JC Staff. Merry is almost cheating too, but it wasn't just her. This show had great character designs in Isana and Yui and Juukai and pretty much everything. The overall aesthetic was fascinating too, but it doesn't make the best overall art list because of the horrendous handling of action scenes.
Best overall art/animation
Not purely technical quality, though that's important. But a show with an amazing visual aesthetic - even if it suffers from subpar animation at times - belongs here too.
1. Nichijou - Kyoto Animation. So utterly surreal and lush and varied and wonderful. Production values as if they expected it to sell 20,000 copie-- oh, they probably did. :sd: Well, it didn't, but it still got the royal treatment. Once again, KyoAni proves that there's more to visual quality than hyper-realism or super-sharp art. Who would have guessed Nichijou would have some of the best action sequences of the year? But this is an easy #1 for me.
2. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - Shaft. At times, especially early on, it suffered from the same derpyderp animation almost every Shaft show does (please spare Nise, please spare Nise) but the ability of the visuals to convey emotion - happiness, fear, confusion, sorrow, surprise, discomfort - was no doubt a big part of the reason. And anyone who has seen Inu Curry's witch barriers is unlikely to forget them any time soon.
3. Fate/Zero - UFO Table. I expect quality from ufo Table, and I got it. Except CG Berserker, fuck that. Even docking some points for that, and admitting that I'm somewhat ambivalent about Type Moon character designs, it's still such an incredibly high quality production.
4. Working'!! - A1 Pictures. A strange addition perhaps, but as I said about the character art, I was really really struck by how clean and consistent and high quality everything felt.
5. Steins;Gate - White Fox. I'm a little stuck on knowing how to describe it other than saying that it was just really really good. It was just quality art, it almost feels self-evident why I'd list it. White Fox are just damn good.
Most satisfying anime from a yuri angle
Canon or otherwise. Mostly otherwise, because fuck anime. This year was actually a lot weaker on the whole than 2010 for yuri, but there were a few very very bright spots.
1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
2. Yuru Yuri
3. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - One particular scene would make it #1, hands down; but that was only one part of a much larger show.
4. Tamayura ~hitotose~
5. Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~
6. Suite Precure - I didn't finish it, and I'm way too far behind to do so now, but Kanade and Hibiki were soooooo gay.
7. Morita-san wa Mukuchi
Most attractive characters
Attractive in the "hot" sense. I'm trying to keep personality and quality of show out of this but for the most part, these are characters I really like. I've cut the list much shorter than the nearly 50 I had last year.
1. Touwa Erio | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
2. Lucy Heartfilia | Fairy Tail - Returning!
3. Yukikaze Panettone | Dog Days
4. Hoshii Miki | The iDOLM@STER
5. Taneshima Popura | Working'!! - Returning!
6. Millhiore Filianno Biscotti | Dog Days
7. Tokugawa Ieyasu | Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~
8. Kashiwazaki Sena | Boku wa Tomodachi ga sukunai
9. Anjou Naruko | Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
10. Maekawa | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko - The rare times she wasn't covered in eccentric full-body suits, she revealed a totally stunning figure.
11. Nishi Yuuko | A-Channel
This is much more reliant on personality and voice, no matter how hard I try to just focus on the visuals.
1. Touwa Erio | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
2. Kaga Rin | Usagi Drop
3. Ikamusume | Shinryaku! Ikamusume - Returning!
4. Yamada Aoi | Working!! - Returning!
5. Honma Meiko | Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
6. Taneshima Popura | Working!! - Returning!
7. Merry Nightmare | Yumekui Merry
8. Takatsuki Yayoi | The iDOLM@STER
9. Victorique de Blois | Gosick
10. Minase Iori | The iDOLM@STER
11. Akaza Akari | Yuru Yuri
12. Toshinou Kyouko | Yuru Yuri
13. Kaname Madoka | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
14. Shinonome Nano | Nichijou
15. Wendy Marvel | Fairy Tail - Returning!
16. Hide Yoshino | Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~
Best yuri (...and yaoi?) couples, real or desired
There's less this year than last, and last year's were mostly "desired" more than real as it was. ;_;
1. Akemi Homura & Kaname Madoka | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
2. Oomuro Sakurako & Furutani Himawari | Yuru Yuri
3. Toshinou Kyouko & Sugiura Ayano | Yuru Yuri - Toshinou Kyoukoooooooooooooooo!
3. Toshinou Kyouko & Funami Yui | Yuru Yuri - Because Kyouko is too much for one woman. And yes, tied.
5. Margot Knight & Malga Naruze | Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
Amami Haruka & Kisaragi Chihaya | The iDOLM@STER
Houjou Hibiki & Minamino Kanade | Suite Precure - Kinda the only reason I watched as far as I did.
Rider & Waver Velvet | Fate/Zero
Run & Tooru | A-Channel
Sakura Kyouko & Miki Sayaka | Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - Mostly for Kyouko, Sayaka never really got out of being my least favorite Madoka Magica girl. But they're an adorable couple.
Shihomi Riho & Yakusa Chimo | Tamayura ~hitotose~ - I really want to pick one from the main girls, but it's really hard to solidify a couple the way these two can be sooooo easily shipped. There's just more of a four-way love fest going on with the younger cast. Maon and Norie, Norie and Kaoru, Kaoru and Fuu, Fuu and Chihiro...
Best hetero couples
I can only come up with a few I really feel compelled to mention, plus some honorable mentions. 2011 was lacking in good straight romance while 2010 felt stronger. A lot of that had to do with Zakuro though, I guess. There are some very good male-female dynamics that I guess don't quite rise to the level of couples (e.g. many relationships in Hourou Musuko).
1. Horizon Ariadust & Aoi Toori | Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - These two clicked with me very hard, and all of a sudden. Ranked so high partly in anticipation of where season two could go.
2. Nitani Yukari & Kawachi Daikichi | Usagi Drop - At the very least, I hope that's where it heads because there are few more perfect couples to be had.
3. Yamada Aoi & Souma Hiroomi | Working'!! - Mostly just wishful thinking but I find them the most potentially awesome couple of the show by far. C'mon Souma, you know you can't resist Yamada.
4. Miyoshi Kaya & Takagi Akito | Bakuman - Maybe it's because Mashiro and Miho are so bad that these two look good by comparison, but I still think they're a great couple. Nice to have one healthy couple in a show full of romantic regrets, creeps, and women with questionable taste.
Dalian & Hugh Anthony Diswald | Dantalian no Shoka
Honma Meiko & Yadomi Jinta | Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai - In some ways I actually prefer Anaru to Menma, but eh.
Millhiore Filianno Biscotti & Cinque Izumi | Dog Days
Defined broadly. OP, ED, Insert, OST, etc.
1. The iDOLM@STER - Cheating perhaps, but a lot of the music was new to the anime as well. READY!! and CHANGE!!!! were two of my favorite OPs of the year, BGM versions of tracks like i were amazing mood setters, and a plethora of full vocal tracks - most of which I like - has ensured this is one of the biggest music franchises for me. And with more than a dozen vocalists, there's definitely variety.
2. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica - That first time we all heard Magia... Connect was also one of my favorite OPs, but his places so high on the strength of Kaijura's OST. Brilliant stuff, moody and oppressive one moment, beautiful and hope-filled the next. Always spot-on. Always.
3. Fairy Tail - Can't say I'd ever imported something related to a shounen fighting anime before I picked up all three OSTs for his show. One of the most important things that is needed for a 100+ episode show is music that you don't mind hearing over and over, because even with 124 tracks on those three OSTs, you know a handful are going to show up over and over at dramatic moments. Fairy Tail goes above and beyond by making them not only not tedious to hear a 30th time, but make it still fantastically exciting. Seriously, fucking Dragon Force was still amazing... in episode 114. Ditto on Fairy Tail Main Theme, in all its incarnations.
4. Nichijou - Not just the OP/EDs, but the awesome orchestral stuff that accompanied the episodes and complemented the gags perfectly.
Biggest upturn from a weak start
There are less of these, because I tend to drop weak shows early on, and the "eh" ones I stick with tend not to increase dramatically.
1. Kyoukai Senjou no Hoziron - Oh god, it's like this category exists purely for Horizon to be mentioned. This was a fairly extreme example.
2. Mashiro-iro Symphony
Good shows with a big downturn later on
These aren't bad shows, but this is purely a measure of their late-series compared against their superior earlier material. I'm not including shows that got so terrible that I dropped them.
Ikoku Meiro no Croisee - The biggest example by far. I went from "I am totally going to import this" to it being my second lowest rated completed show of 2011. Claude... just... Claude. Sigh.
Fractale - Disappointing even if you ignore Yamakan's dog and pony show about revolutionizing anime as we know it. Not a bad show, but massively squandered potential.
Imported anime, first aired in 2011
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Natsume Yuujin-chou San
(Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~ - 1 volume [v1])
Shakugan no Shana III -Final- (2 cour Fall, counted as 2012 for all other purposes in this post)
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
(Hidamari Sketch x SP - 2-ep special)
(Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon - 1 volume [v6])
Short list again. I try not to think about characters I hate, and frankly I dropped most of the shows that had really bad lead characters. There were some duds like Kujou in Gosick or the dude in Dragon Crisis, but they're not quite memorably bad enough to include here. I think a certain annoying evil scientist from a two-cour Fall show already has the top spot for 2012 locked down... or at least I sure hope there won't be anyone worse.
1. Caster | Fate/Zero
2. Claude Claudel | Ikoku Meiro no Croisee
3. Nakai Takurou | Bakuman. - Season two moreso, but he's a creep pretty much all the time.
I really didn't realize how subpar 2011 was for romance of any sexual orientation, beyond a couple bright spots. 2011 did so many other things so well that it wasn't the end of the world, but damn.
And I can't count how many times I type "Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Madoka" when trying to type MSMM's title.
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