2011 will soon end, and as I am a blogger, I feel somewhat contractually obligated to mention things that happened this year in a list-like fashion that is designed to get views. So here are my thoughts on the year.
5. Moving to my own blog. I owe a great amount of gratitude towards Toonleap and his blog for allowing me to get my feet wet in anime blogging, but it’s been good to get on my own and be able to not worry about post schedules and such. I’ve been back in school this semester and so blogging has taken a big hit due to the increase of time needed to study.
4. The journey of Hanasaku Iroha. After seeing PV 4 last fall, I was entranced and looking forward to the show. Though the middle portion left me wanting, the beginning and end cour segments were some of my favorite this year.
3. Journeying to Anime Expo 2011. Being able to see the technological marvel that is Miku Hatsune, seeing the premiere of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya‘s English dub, and just seeing cosplay in general was a fantastic trip. It also allowed me to discover that I have a love of Japanese curry (as those who’ve followed my Twitter ramblings know).
2. Translating The Observation of Haruhi Suzumiya. After working on the number one item on this list, this was my first real release by myself. The design and translation were all me with help by Lloyd and Kaisos on editing and TMSIDR for helping solve a PDF problem. It’s something I’m proud to say “I did that (mostly by) myself.”
1. Tracking, finding spoilers, and eventually leading a group translation effort for The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya (officially translated as The Astonishment of Haruhi Suzumiya. Since Baka-Tsuki couldn’t translate the latest Haruhi novels, Yumeka and I had our own Haruhi moment where it was just “why don’t we do it ourselves?” That led into some fun fun times. I still haven’t properly read the story in chronological order, so I hope my editing did alright. It was so fun.
Honorable mentions: Toradora‘s BD-Box and new episode, the Madoka MS3K-style viewing with Skorp, and all of the conversations I’ve had on Twitter with other anime fans. It’s been a great year to find other fans IMO.
Male Character of the Year: Rintarou Okabe. No other male comes close to this guy this year. Mamoru Miyano was able to convey humor, despair, anger, and nearly every single emotion known to man in this one role and do it all perfectly. His story is done so well and so touching.
Female Character of the Year: Ohana Matsumae. The whole story of Hanasaku Iroha was to get her to find a purpose in life. A really well fleshed out character who shows what a strong female lead should be: not perfect, not horrible, and not always gushing over a male lead. It was a pleasure to see her grow.
3. Kamisama no Memochou OP – Kawaru Mirai – When I was trying to catch up on the show, I watched this OP and said “I’m good.” That delayed me from catching up for about a month.
2. Hanasaku Iroha OP2 – Omokege Warp – A better song than the first one and it ties in nicely with the theme of the second half of the show.
1. Steins Gate OP – Hacking to the Gate – Very good animation design and the song is so addicting.
Honorable mentions: Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II – A Whole New World God Only Knows, Shakugan no Shana III – Final – Light my Fire
3. Hanasaku Iroha – ED1 – Hazy – A lovely song with calming animation. It made the shift to Hanasaku Iroha that much worse when P.A. Works changed the ED.
2. Nichijou – ED1 – Zzz – KyoAni strikes again! A very picture-bookish ED animation combined with such a sweet and calming song. Worth it every week.
1. Gosick ED1 – Resuscitated Hope – Such an incredible song with such a lovely ED animation. The highlight of every single week during winter 2011.
Honorable mentions: Shakugan no Shana III – Final – I’ll Believe, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai – Secret Base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~ (10 years after Ver.)
Top single episodes:
3. Hanasaku Iroha 1 – An amazing start to the series. Confessions, runaway trips, slaps, and “die.” all in one episode. It alone made me pre-order all 9 BDs of the series. Such a great way to start the show.
2. Steins Gate 22 – THE episode to watch for hopeful voice actors/actresses. 95% of the episode is taken by Okabe and Kurisu and yet they carry it to have such an emotional and dramatic effect on the viewer just by themselves. The sheer despair in Okabe’s voice when he returns is amazing. I nearly imported the show for this episode alone.
1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica 10 – I don’t like the characters. I don’t like the character designs. The art style is not to my liking. The story is fine, but tiring. Skorp and I were able to make fun of every single episode of Madoka but this one. We remained silent the entire way though this episode. Such a great twist on the story and it almost made me feel sympathy towards Homura.
Honorable mention: Shakugan no Shana III- Final 4 – Out of all the episodes, this delivers on the final scene from the S OVAs and puts things in motion for the rest of the cour.
Top 5 shows of the year (IMO):
5. Baka to Test Ni – A fun continuation that gives a lot of focus on our main characters. I enjoyed following this show every week.
4. Moshidora – An interesting take on baseball and management. Wish it was better animated though.
3. Steins;Gate – After a very slow start, the show turned amazing, but really climaxed two episodes early.
2. Shakugan no Shana III – Final (First half only) – A recent addition, but only the fact that it’s not ended prevents it from being number 1. I am enjoying this show immensely and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the second half. A very possible import at this late stage.
1. Hanasaku Iroha – A very emotional journey that brought a few amazing characters into our lives this year. Gorgeous artwork and an outstanding OST helped bring the inn to life.
Honorable mentions: Nichijou, Dantalian no Shouten, Chihayafuru (first half only)
2011 was really hit-or-miss for me. There were some shows like Working’!! and Mirai Nikki that would have outstanding moments, but would follow up with poor episodes that reminded me why they weren’t on the list. Conversely, you had shows like Nichijou and Steins;Gate, which started poorly, but became amazing in the second half. Most of my top 5 (with the exception of #3) remained consistent somehow throughout its airing. While Shana III packs enough punch (literally and figuratively) to make it onto the list, I feel Chihayafuru needs more time to finish its story before allowing it to be graded. It’s still my surprise of the year, barely beating out Shana III.
Looking forward to Winter (which I hope I can continue to watch all of these), I shall be continuing Shana III, Chihayafuru, and Mirai Nikki. Joining them will be Amagami SS+, Nisemonogatari, Another, and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. It’ll be challenging to continue all of these during another busy semester, but I’ll try to continue watching them. And in spring we have the spinoff of Saki, Saki: Side A, which I am really looking forward to seeing animated.
So what did you enjoy this year and what are you looking forward to seeing next year?