2011 Year-Ender: Best Anime

Tenth and last in line: Best Anime nominations for 2011. Vote Away~

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And finally, we are at our last category of Awards for 2011 and what a year it has been. We got to see many glorious series, some of them came as surprises while others crashed and burned. Comparison to 2010, I definitely saw a lot more and can vouch for it to be a good year quality wise. Even when Japan was hit with massive earthquakes, the production didn’t halt. Hats off to the industry and hope there’s many more and even better years to come!
A whole year has passed already? Whoa! Where is my personal time machine to revisit some great anime! But forget that mess we should look forward to 2012! Have fun with out list of the years best in 2011 anime.
There can only be one anime of the year. It’s undoubtedly the most coveted award in the list, as it recognizes the series overall as being the best to offer. If you could only watch one anime from 2011, which would it be? It’s a hard choice, so think carefully! Or maybe you don’t need to think. Use your heart to decide. Or..your soul. Screw it, I don’t have either of those, what the hell do I know? Just vote!
2011 has been a terrific year for anime. Every anime on this list has something you can take away from it, whether it be a meme (“wanna form a contract?” or “YOU HAVE GAIN”), unique relationships (the No. 6 shounen-ai duo or Usagi Drop’s parent/child pairing) and dead people (Menma from AnoHana and Himari from Penguindrum). Good luck voting, cause you’ll be stuck on this page for about half-an-hour deciding where to put your votes.
…Can we even give out just one award? There were so many amazing anime that came out this year that I imagine that it’s going to be difficult to decide who to vote for. Well, it’s your problem now, not mine. Happy voting!
Wooo, we’re finally here! The almost most important part of the Year-Ender awards… Best Anime. Now, I’m sure this is going to be a tough one considering all of the good anime of the past year. But we gotta do this and it’s all up to you viewers. I’d probably have a hard time just choosing one, good thing we’re giving you all seven choices. XD

As an update, so far the following Year-Ender posts are out and voting is still open. Get in your votes! All polls except for Best Anime close on January 10th, 2012.

The list is in no particular order. So check out these super duper animes of 2011 and vote for the best~!

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[ 01 ] [ Fate/Zero ]

{ ufotable }

The bomb of Fall season and the most well-executed anime of this year, hands down. From the one hour first episode till the last one with a giant cliffhanger, this brilliant story intertwined by Gen Urobuchi for Nasu’s fate world has kept the viewers glued to their screen. I heard so many Type-Moon fags scream that I almost became deaf. The beauty of this is not only the movie-quality animation and music but the crisp plot and interesting fleshed-out characters. Of course, thirteen episodes are not enough to dish the whole story but wait till Spring and for ultimate glory!

//.kyokai

[ FALL ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 02 ] [ Steins;Gate ]

{ White Fox }

Steins;Gate started with a crawl and ended with a sprint, taking all the time in the world to set up a riveting storyline and flesh out the main characters in a way that most anime only dream of being able to achieve. The time travel elements are all carefully researched to mirror real life phenomena (with a few errors *cough* Ruka’s D-mail *cough*) and is used to spin an amazing story. But what really sets this show apart is not the time travel, but how everyone deals with it. Okarin and Kurisu are brilliant characters to watch, filled to the brim with realistic emotions that are never restricted to just one character type. Steins;Gate was a beautiful, unique show, and I appreciate everything it strives for.

//.overcooled

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 03 ] [ Usagi Drop ] 

{ Production I.G }

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Usagi Drop was the feel-good anime of the year. The story of Daikichi taking Rin under his care was nothing short of heartwarming; they were a great duo and both had a lot of likable qualities. Production I.G. should do more josei/shoujo series, because they seem to have such a great feel for how to animate a series of this nature.

//.jrow

[ SUMMER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 04 ] [ Tiger & Bunny ]

{ Sunrise

Tiger & Bunny accrued a massive following of fans after it took everyone by surprise when it someone didn’t suck. Having heroes with labels of real companies plastered on them seemed like an instant flop, but it somehow turned it around and made everything wonderful. It was a more real take on heroes and how they would be treated in real life, mixed with some ridiculous cheesiness and hilarity. Every single episode was entertaining and full of moments to think back on and chuckle over. The real pull to this show, however, is Kotetsu and his relationship with Barnaby. They go from being hostile to one another to the absolute closest of comrades. It’s one of the most addictive parts of the series, and it made my week…every single week.

//.overcooled

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 05 ] [ Mawaru Penguindrum ] 

 { Brains Base }

Kunihiko Ikuhara’s return to anime was a very crazy, twisted one with a multi-layered plot, symbolism overload and some of the greatest artistic direction in anime this year and of the 21st century. At times Penguindrum was charming, others it was funny, and it also was heartbreaking at times. All this with the music and dialogue voiced by an excellent cast blended together into what was one of 2011’s most compelling anime.

//.jrow

[ SUMMER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 06 ] [ Ao no Exorcist ] 

{ A1 Pictures }

One of the best action/shounen shows of the year. Ignoring the…er, anime original ending, A-1 took the story and gave us laughs, action and amazing characters. Rin and Yukio are probably the most kick ass set of twins this year. …A-1 also gave us some weird loving husband version of Satan, another Hanazawa character and twincest shipping fodder for the fangirls, but let’s ignore that for now.

//.karakuri

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 07 ] [ No.6 ]

{ Bones }

No.6 has its ups and downs, but I’m not about to ignore that this anime made me very, very happy as a whole. While I can’t say too many nice things about the way the dystopian society story was handled (wasps. it was handled with wasps.), the story of Nezumi and Shion coming together was spot on. The two of them shared a beautiful relationship while avoiding all of the horrendous traps and stereotypes most gay couples in anime tend to fall into. It’s not perfect, but it’s full of charm and a bunch of moments that made me melt like butter.

//.overcooled

[ SUMMER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 08 ] [ Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica ]

{ Shaft }

I’m sure not many people didn’t expect much from a magical girl type anime. But this Mahou Shoujou has surprised and won the hearts of many who wouldn’t even touch a magical girl themed anime. This anime isn’t just about little girls and their transformation sequences. No, this is about the struggle of friendship, self-less acts for a wish that comes with a heft price. This is pink gone dark and you’ll be touched by the hardships that these girls have to go through.

//.ness

[ WINTER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 09 ] [ Hanasaku Iroha ]

{ P.A. Works }

The slice of life anime that kept its regular pace with the regular life at Kissuiso inn. Life for Ohana sure has been tough with a careless mother and a tyrant grandmother. I still remember that slap in the first episode but the good thing about her is that she didn’t let it pull her down and conformed to the situation. Of course, her jilting Kou repeatedly pissed me off but the series ended at a good point with resolution for almost everyone.

//.kyokai

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 10 ] [ Kamisama no Memochou ] 

{ J.C. Staff }

This was a surprise of Summer with an interesting storyline and almost as engaging characters like Durarara!! if only it got similar episode length. Yes, it had its weak baseball episode but it started out really well and ended up with a bang, the latter two story arcs were definitely the best this story had to offer. I loved the character development of Narumi and how little bits were revealed about every character. I hope this gets another season so that we get to know more about the side characters.

//.kyokai

[ SUMMER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 11 ] [ C ] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

{ Tatsunoko Production }

Fighting with the power of money with some of the most interesting looking monsters next to something like Persona! From start to finish this series had some decent fights with lots of random English quotes, like ‘You have gain!’ and ‘Direct!’ If the world of C was real, I wonder how our very own Ness would do? She would probably keep all of her monehhs and kick so much ass!

//.foshizzel

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 12 ] [ Kore wa zombie desu ka? ] 

 { Studio DEEN }

Damn what can I really say about this little gem of an anime? Only one word comes to my mind FANTASTIC! I have to say Kore wa zombie has a very unique cast of supernatural characters. We get everything from a necromancer, vampire ninja, a few zombies and one over-powering magical girl! Hell we get to see Ayumu become a magical boy and his transformation? Watching those scenes will always make me laugh every damn time.

//.foshizzel

[ WINTER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 13 ] [ Level E ] 

 { David Production / Pierrot }

Probably one of the most underrated animes of the year. Level E isn’t just about extraterrestrial beings. It’s about a trolol in the form of a tall, not dark but handsome blonde alien man. This anime brings different stories, good laughs and likeable characters. As well, throw in some sci-fi alien elements and we’re set.

//.ness

[ WINTER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 14 ] [ Working’!! ] 

{ A1 Pictures }

Since the moment I found out, this was getting another season, my jubilation didn’t know any bounds. This is all about a bunch of misfits who gather in Wagnaria and somehow or the other end up complementing each other. Even if that means some employees getting bullied, punched, threatened and downright persuaded for being adopted. The gals and guys alike have insane obsessions and what ensues is nothing short of amazing comedy. Check this out, yo~

//.kyokai

[ FALL ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 15 ] [ Kamisama Dolls ] 

{ Brains Base }

Every time I sit back and think about this series I will always think of mecha Kyuubey, just look at the designs for Kukuri. Watching Kamisama Dolls is strange trip as  I remember a few episodes left me wanting more from Aki, Kyohei and Utao…not so much their character backgrounds but I wanted to see more fight scenes. Anyways, I did enjoy watching this series and I wouldn’t mind another season. The one thing I would change probably is the size of Hibino’s massive boobs…MY GOD do those things have their own zip codes?

//.foshizzel

[ SUMMER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 16 ] [ Kimi to Boku. ]

{ J.C. Staff }

The daily lives of some very normal and cute boys. Seriously. Along with random footage of cats that is somehow very appropriate with the subtext of daily life shenanigans. The story is about a quartet group comprising of a megane-kun, a girly looking boy and mischievous twin that is made even more interesting with the inclusion of a transfer student Chizuru. This jumping jack blondie makes the group a quintet, who makes different friends and sometimes even help out others. Even if the story sounds mundane, there are many comedic moments to enjoy and bonding moments between the gang.

//.kyokai

[ FALL ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 17 ] [ Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai ] 

{ A1 Pictures }

All of my tears=this show. This was the type of anime that made you actually care about the characters and then took you on an emotional roller coaster up until the last minute of the last episode. Every single one of the group of friends had their own side to the story and A-1 did a fantastic job of telling it.

//.karakuri

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 18 ] [ Un-Go ]

{ Bones }

This series got a late interesting-start and lot of us took time in warming up to the characters. It was around episode seven that things got really interesting, before which it was more of a case per episode and Inga’s transformed state asking a question. Not the best mystery out there but bones at least tried to be a bit different than following the usual formula. The ending mystery around Kaishou was the highlight of series, no doubt about it.

//.kyokai

[ FALL ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 19 ] [ Nichijou ] 

{ Kyoto Animation }

When this series came out I instantly fell in love with Mio, Yuuko, Mai, Nano, Hakase and Sakamoto. Hell, I love every character in this series. I can’t remember any anime that made me laugh as much as Nichijou. Whenever an episode got released, I would get so excited. While the first twelve episodes are introductions of the main characters, the second-half actually focused on Nano going to school. Those are great moments when Nano finally interacts with someone other than Hakase all the time. So, if you have not watched Nichijou, I highly recommend that you try it out; you just might laugh as much as me.

//.foshizzel

[ SPRING ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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[ 20 ] [ Star Driver ]

{ Bones }

Fosh:Crazy male transformations and tons of Kiraboshi quotes made this series so much fun even if some people hated the first episode….

Kyo: Yes, Fosh, I was one of those but then I came to like this series and all its craziness. Yes, its over-the-top and seems to be one mecha match per episode but it defied its own formula and took the school/slice of life route and getting to know the characters was better than APPRIVOISE all the time. Still, that ending fight scene was pretty epic.

//.foshizzzel + //.kyokai

[ WINTER ’11 ]

[ EXTRA ] Spoiler Video: Show ▼

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Honorable Mentions:Show ▼

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As mentioned in previous posts, the titles were chosen from Winter ’11 to Fall ’11 anime series. This does not include animes that will continue on into the Winter ’12 season that are 20+ episodes. As well, don’t forget to check out the other Year-Ender posts and vote for the best~!All Polls close on January 10th, 2012 BUT the poll for Best Anime will be closing January 12th, 2012.

You may select 7 characters. So vote for the Best Anime of 2011.

2011 Year-Ender Fan Favorites: Best Anime (Select 7)

  • Fate/Zero (8%, 191 Votes)
  • Steins;Gate (9%, 224 Votes)
  • Usagi Drop (5%, 135 Votes)
  • Tiger & Bunny (6%, 147 Votes)
  • Mawaru Penguindrum (9%, 214 Votes)
  • Ao no Exorcist (7%, 176 Votes)
  • No.6 (5%, 122 Votes)
  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (8%, 204 Votes)
  • Hanasaku Iroha (4%, 90 Votes)
  • Kamisama no Memochou (3%, 71 Votes)
  • [C] (3%, 70 Votes)
  • Kore wa zombie desu ka? (3%, 68 Votes)
  • Level E (4%, 90 Votes)
  • Working'!! (4%, 98 Votes)
  • Kamisama Dolls (2%, 46 Votes)
  • Kimi to Boku. (3%, 76 Votes)
  • Ano Hana (8%, 192 Votes)
  • Un-Go (5%, 129 Votes)
  • Nichijou (3%, 76 Votes)
  • Star Driver (3%, 87 Votes)

Total Votes: 2,506

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51 Responses to “2011 Year-Ender: Best Anime”

  1. Yuki says:

    This is a tough decision to make as well. D:
    But aww, Level E and Kimi to Boku deserves more love… And Madoka is really popular (as they are everywhere) although I have never watched before cause I am not a fan of Magical Girls unless I want to watch porn, in which I like seeing Magical Girls. Muahahahaha, *coughcoughcough* Forget that. Anyway, 2011 has its share of interesting shows so I am gonna take some time deciding what to vote. lol.

    – derp, I just realised that Penguindrum is leading, not Madoka, haha. But Penguindrum is awesome, so I might vote for it~ –

  2. skylion says:

    And as I should have expected, Steins is picking up the steam and a very narrow two vote lead at this time over a TIED Madoka and Pengu. Hotting up to say the very least.

  3. Orange says:

    Mawaru penguindrum is totally beautiful with the twist and turn…its one of the anime that totally keep me waiting for the next episode, you know the feeling of “omg,i cant wait!”…some other anime made me feel “oh,i see..ok..and forget about it”…some sort like this…somehow, kimi to boku also appeals to me, maybe because of its peaceful settings and also the comedy in it (or maybe i am just afraid of darker theme anime,lol) star driver is one that i initially thought i would not bother about it but after a few episodes, i am hooked! steins gate is awesome as well, i started googling about those time travelling stuffs and those physics thing after i watched it, such is its influence on my live. *pretty selfish of me to write whatever i am thinking now here, sorry*

  4. Miyu says:

    PINGUDRUM! I personally feel that the characters and plot in Mawaru Penguindrum are wayyy better than Madoka’s (even though Madoka was mindblowingly awesome too).

    I mean, an incredibly complicated plot, beautiful graphics, carefully crafted characters and lovely music – what more can you ask for? Definitely my favorite anime of 2011 hands down!

    Other than that I also voted for Madoka, Aoex, No.6, [C] and Un-go! 8D 2011 was a really awesome year for anime. ♥

  5. TSRL says:

    While everyone talks about the best shows, I’ll tell you in a few words the animes that were kinda not really good this year. But first, remember to not take my opinion like it’s your own. I’m aware that a lot of you will disagree with what I will say:

    Blood-C. Violence and gore cannot save a show with a terrible main character, an empty story and some of the most boring events in an anime.

    Ano Hana. Melodramatic and annoying, it almost felt like a parody of it’s own genre.

    Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi. Just the bland of the bland.

    C3. I think the director and the writer totally forgot what the show was about after 2 episodes. Talk about a show that aim at nothing and kept going with it.

    Kimi to Boku. Just boring, useless and not even funny.

    Ao no Exorcist. Talk about a generic shounen. Yes, the two main characters are good (and Mephisto is good fun too), but when the supporting cast is just annoying and uninteresting and the story is nothing there, it doesn’t deserve all this praise.

    Deadman Wonderland. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. It looked good on the surface, but it was really boring, didn’t really know what to do with the characters (plus, the opening is fucking terrible). Overall: it’s a typical boring shounen show with violence and gore, nothing more.

    Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. When you have Shaft animating a story by Urobuchi Gen with music done by Kajiura Yuki, it should have been amazing. And while it’s not terrible terrible, it is kinda mediocre. Nothing was accomplished, the main character sucked hard time and it didn’t manage to make you relate to those characters at all. Probably the most overrated anime of 2011 along with Ano Hana.

  6. Snowley says:

    The results look so far as I anticipated. (GO PENGUINS GO GO GO). There are plenty animes fighting for on the top, and no wonder – it was a relly great year for anime (as I said somewhere already), not like the last one, in which I couldn’t narrow anime I really enjoyed. Now I don’t know which one I like the most (ok, I know [pengiuns] but I don’t know what’s on 2nd place). 2011 shown that anime industry is not dead and somehow coped with the crysis; or maybe the crysis encouraged the producers to bet on something new, looking at the list (and top 5 for now are all not manga adaptations!)

  7. eli-la says:

    Bah, no Hourou Musuko >.> (Yeah, pretty much my favourite anime ever xD)

    I woulda liked to see Dantalian no Shoka in there as well, but otherwise I think all my faves were there – especially Madoka, KamiMemo, Un-Go and Star Driver ^^

  8. skylion says:

    PENGU FANS! SEIZON SENYAKU! Gots to beat that Stein.

  9. Brynn Alwang says:

    I really appreciate your help with my project!

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