Another ultimate year comes to a close

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.

Top moments:
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.

Top OPs:
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 IIA Whole New World God Only Knows, Shakugan no Shana III – FinalLight my Fire

Top EDs:
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 – FinalI’ll Believe, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada ShiranaiSecret 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?

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12 thoughts on “Another ultimate year comes to a close

    • I feel so bad for episode 24. It’s not a bad ending to the series at all, but 22 just eclipses it in dramatic tension and acting. I can’t wait to re-watch it when Funi releases it in 2013.

  1. I have to say that every moment you picked, I pretty much agree with. It has been a pretty good 2011. I have to say that Iroha is not as high up in any of my lists as yours, though I confess that it is very good.

    It was pretty funny how slack jawed and quite we got during Madoka 10, I sometimes feel like that episode would have been a good way to end the series… even though the ultimate end was fairly well done. But alas, with few exceptions, most of the more popular ones (Stein’s:Gate excluded) barely broke my list. Gosick made a lot more of my lists then probably most peoples.

    I pretty much find it hard to find fault with your lists and again, pretty much agree with them on the whole.

    That and Shana III has been pretty rad.

    • I know Gosick was a big hit for you and it wasn’t that bad (minus the rushed ending). It’s just that the faults in it are shared with so many other series that it’s really personal choice for best of the year.

      I seriously doubt anything other than Madoka 10 would win episode of the year for the vast majority of people. It’s probably the best executed episode I’ve seen since Melancholy VI.

      Shana III is epic. There’s no other way to put it.

  2. Shana III is definitely my fav this year despite only being half done. The surprise of the year for me was Mashiro Iro Symphony since I literally had no expectations from it and it turned out to be one of the best eroge adaptations I’ve seen since SHAFT did the ef series.
    Despite making Deadman Wonderland shitty, I think manglobe had a fantastic year with their productions (but not their sales) churning out great series like TWGOK II, Mashiro Iro, and the Hayate movie.

    • I agree that manglobe had a pretty good year. Kami Nomi II is the only series of theirs I’ve seen this year, but it was really well done.

      Shana III took me somewhat by surprise at how well it’s been. I’m thrilled to be caught up, but angry that I have to wait a week for each episode now.

  3. No surprise that HanaIro is your fav for the year since you’ve completely imported it =) Since I don’t count uncompleted shows for favorites of the year, I’m almost certain Shana III will be among my top 5 for 2012 =D

    Though I have differing opinions on best OPs/EDs of the year, I’m with you on two of your top moments (I’m sure you know which ones) as well as your top male and female characters. And besides Amagami, I’ll probably be watching the same winter shows as you, too =)

    • Well, Hanairo is only 6/9 done thus far. There’s still three more volumes to go! I had to make an exception for Shana III on the list as not only is it in contention for strongest cour of a show this year, it’s the only show I’ve not found a fault in thus far. That it’s turned out so amazing is beyond anything I thought of. I knew people kept saying “It’s better than II,” but you don’t know until you’ve seen it. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

      After getting through Shana and Amagami SS, plus the preview for Danshi Koukousei, I’ve changed my mind on Winter. It looks to be pretty good. Hopefully 2012 will be just as good as 2011!

  4. Kind of interesting how you ended up liking Steins;Gate much more than me despite the fact that I was the one who was overly excited for that series at the beginning :p For 2012 January season, Kill Me Baby is the only one I’m interested in 😦

    • Just kinda funny how things go sometimes, isn’t it? Sorry to hear there’s not much of interest to you. Hopefully something will surprise you. I just seem to be getting more shows now with Zero F when I finish the other seasons soon. At least my busy time in lab shouldn’t be too bad this semester.

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