Yerocha’s 2011 Anime Awards – Part 1
I’m sure some of you know that in addition to running a blog about manga, I’m also an anime fan. There are so many anime blogs out there that I usually leave it to the other bloggers and focus on manga. However, now that the year is almost up and I missed my chance to do the 12 Days of Christmas, I thought it would be a good idea to say a few things about the shows I saw this year.
Now I could do a Top 10 of 2011, but there’s a little problem with that. For various reasons, I wasn’t able to watch all of the really popular shows from this year. To give you an idea of the shows that aren’t included in these posts:
- Deadman Wonderland, Blue Exorcist, Toriko, Bakuman II and Usagi Drop were series I read instead of watched. The first three will be on the upcoming Manga Countdown, but it didn’t feel right to include them here when I obviously haven’t watched them.
- Tiger and Bunny and Fate/Zero are shows I just haven’t watched. I actually saw the first episode of Tiger and Bunny, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to watch the next episode. Fate/Zero just plain doesn’t appeal to me, though I may take a look after it ends.
- Mirai Nikki, Mawaru Penguindrum, Usagi Drop and Steins;Gate are shows I haven’t watched yet. I eventually plan to, and I considered holding off on this until then, but I wanted this to be out at the end of the year.
In spite of all that, there are still quite a few shows I watched this year that I wanted to discuss. And so I put together my 2011 Anime Awards. For each series I saw this year, I’ll give it an award and explain what I thought overall.
Best New Character
Aika, Persona 4 The Animation
Yes, I’m using somewhat of a different definition for “new” character. I only briefly noticed Aika in the beginning, but it was the epic chase scene where I officially became a fan of her character. I’m not sure what they’ll have her do for her social link, but I’m hoping it’ll be just as epic. And that the Fantastic Mr. Fox still gets to appear somehow.
As for the rest of the adaptation, it’s been a little hit-or-miss. The thing about scenes like the camping trip or the upcoming school festival (can’t wait till you guys meet Alice) are that while they were funny, they’re the sort of scenes I’d only like to see once. I’m not usually a fan of uncomfortable humour, and the anime likes to dial up the uncomfortable factor a little too much. It still has some great moments, though, and I’m surprised they were able to work in the “meat dimension” scene. I understand that some people don’t like how the drama is portrayed, but here’s what I think: lots of adaptations have a tendency to screw everything up, so if we can say that an anime adaptation truly succeeds on some level, then we should call it a success. And we managed to get a funny comedy out of this series, if nothing else.
(Runner-Up: The little girl who wanted to play house, Invasion?! Squid Girl)
Most Gratuitous Use of Engrish
HAU HAUHAUHAU! (sorry, but I can’t get enough of that)
It’s an interesting experience when you watch the first season, read the manga, then watch the second season. You can’t help but view the two different seasons differently, especially when you know where all the different episodes came from. For instance, I know that the manga version of the Engrish episode ends with Eiko tearing off her shirt in frustration (and because there’s English writing on it). Not quite what the anime did, but I will say that I greatly preferred the anime version. There’s a lot of things in each version that I preferred, so it’s difficult to tell what’s really better. I understand that most people preferred the first season, and I can see what they mean. If nothing else, that season had more Nagisa.
(Runner-Up: Persona 4 The Animation)
There are only two things I can remember about this series: the breasts of the one character, and the fact that the mechs look like wind-up tops. Seriously, you could market toys based on them so easily! The mechs, I mean.
Other than that, there was never a whole lot to remember about this series. It reminded me a lot of Narutaru, which is not a good place to start off. The characters never felt all that dynamic and the mysteries never felt mysterious enough. It never really got bad, though (although the backstory episode was pretty dumb). I just lost interest around halfway and left to pursue better things. I may go back and finish it at some point just so I don’t have it hanging over my head. Until then, I’ll just wait and see if we ever actually get that shonen wind-up toy fighting series. It’s only a matter of time, really.
(Runner-Up: C – The Money and Soul of Possibility)
Best Excuse to Get An Attractive Girl into a Cute Dress
The World God Only Knows II
What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants. And if the heart wants to be cuddling up with kittens in between karate lessons, then who are we to deny it?
Something I noticed during this season was that The World God Only Knows only gets better at writing the romantic plotlines over time. Maybe it’s because of the practice, or maybe the characters just get less stereotypical over time. It’s a pattern that only becomes clearer in the later manga chapters. Kusunoki used to be my favourite girl in the show, but Yui and Chihiro later beat her out. The first season may have introduced an interesting concept, but it was this one that really made it worth the admission.
(Runner-Up: Shakugan no Shana Final)
Most Likely to Require Copy and Paste
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
Try saying that three times fast.
This was a really enjoyable series while it lasted, and definitely one of the better shows to come out of noitaminA this year. It takes a lot to get me to care about characters this way, especially when the show is primarily about their sense of loss regarding an event we never saw. A lot of people I know complained about the ending of the show being too melodramatic. However, as I was watching that episode, all I could think of was whether the writers would do some sort of last minute copout regarding the premise. They didn’t, and so I was able to leave pretty happy. That’s sort of what this series is about, I think. Sad things happen, but eventually you have to move forward.
(Runner-Up: Persona 4 The Animation)
Most Likely to Get Taken Home
Nyanko-Sensei, Natsume Yuujinchou San
There’s something you won’t see in any other show this year: a character hiding in a duffel bag.
Natsume Yuujinchou was always an entertaining series, but I’ll be honest and say I was never really excited for the next episode. I guess that’s the curse of any series with single-episode plots. I’m currently two episodes away from finishing, and I’ve been told the best stuff is yet to come, so that’s good to know. The stories were always unique and interesting, but I had great difficulty watching more than one episode at a time.
(Runner-Up: Menma, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai)
I’m only two episodes into this show so far. I didn’t start it as soon as it was released, and the big reason for that is that I don’t know anything about Tsukihime. Aside from what little information I have about Fate/Stay Night and Kara no Kyoukai, I don’t have that much information about this franchise at all. Are those cat things part of the main universe, or are they something the director of this series thought up? I don’t know, and it would take a lot of time and energy to figure this stuff out. Still, what I have seen has been enjoyable, and it’ll be interesting to see what it does next. Also, I saw a picture of Saber in a kitty suit online. ^_^ Really want to see that in context.
(Runner-Up: Dantalian no Shoka)
Best In-Universe Troll
Prince Baka, Level E
The Prince was what made this whole series. He’s like what you’d get if you had a nine-year-old as a DM. Sometimes you could tell what it was he was up to, but that didn’t make it any less entertaining. As strange as it sounds, I like to compare this entire series to Natsume Yuujinchou, only much sillier. The plots are mostly self contained, the cast likes to rotate in and out, and the different aliens featured have quite a lot of variety to them. Also, I could totally picture the Prince talking like Madara, for some reason.
(Runner-Up: Mai, Nichijou)
This was one of only two shows I was interested in for Winter 2011, with the other being Kimi ni Todoke II. So I suppose my main question is…WHAT HAPPENED?!
No, really. Looking back on this show, I seriously have trouble remembering what even happened during the show. There was a system of holograms keeping everyone happy, only they were mind-controlling them, and there were some super-powerful people around, and…I don’t even know. All I can remember is a lot of Ghibli-style artwork and that one girl who keeps taking all her clothes off. I’d have a longer, probably angrier entry for this series if I had any idea what it was I watched.
(Runner-Up: Guilty Crown)
Worst Character From a Show I Otherwise Liked
Yozora, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
From everything I read before this series came out I thought the relationship between Yozora and Sena was one based on mutual dislike. They’re supposed to be people who have difficulty making friends, but focusing all their attention on each other would make it easier to like them. Then the anime came out and I saw what they were really like. Somehow it felt different in the manga, where Sena comes off as several times more high-and-mighty. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Yozora feels like an enormous bitch! Almost all of her attention seems focused on putting down other people, and she never seems to find any problem with this. It says a lot that the anime version is harder to like when the manga version once wrote a relay novel with Sena getting gang-raped. If there’s ever a second season, I’m hoping she mellows out a lot before this turns into “I Don’t Have Many Fans“.
(Runner-Up: Inami, Working’!!)
Best Character From a Show I Otherwise Hated
Kyouko, Madoka Magica
If I could go back and redo my original post on this series, the only thing I’d change is that I would rename it “Watching Madoka is Suffering”. It’s kind of the polar opposite of AnoHana, since the message here seems to be “Sad things happen and you don’t ever move on. You just spiral out of control until you die in a very contrived and stupid way. Or you hijack godhood. But no, you’ll probably die.” Sorry, but that kind of series doesn’t sit well with me.
Luckily, despite all odds, I managed to find someone I liked in this series. I would say Kyouko embodies what this show should have really been about. Her intro brought the first sign of real conflict that wasn’t against an inconceivable force of nature (challenging causality to a fight is not as interesting as it sounds). She had an interesting relationship with the main characters. But most of all, I liked her because she’s just that perfect level of psycho. I’m a big fan of Black Lagoon, so you can see what I’m talking about. Sadly, this part of her character didn’t last as long as I would have liked, but it was entertaining while it lasted.
(Runner-Up: Gai, Guilty Crown)
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Here’s the interesting thing about Hunter x Hunter: I never watched the original anime. Or read the manga. Or watched/read Yu Yu Hakusho, while I’m sharing. I actually considered starting the manga a while back, but I decided on D.Gray-man instead (find out the conclusion to that story in the upcoming manga countdown). However, this show gave me the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in a long time, and that’s to watch a shonen from week to week. Like most anime fans I knew, I started off watching whatever anime Canadian TV would air, and it’s been so long that I almost lost touch with where I started off. That’s part of why I’m really glad I picked up this series. It let me see the sort of thing I used to love watching so much. And hey, it’ll give me the chance to pick up the manga later down the line, so that’s good too.
(Runner-Up: Persona 4 The Animation)
Most Improved Sequel
The first season of Working!! was good, but it still had its share of problems. Key among them was the immense focus on Takanashi and Inami. I hinted at this above, but aside from Yozora, Inami is the one character I’d most like to see get punched in the face, if only for the poetic justice. Thankfully, Season 2 realized that its biggest asset is the cast as a whole, rather than just these two characters. We got to see more of everyone, and because of that we got so much more variety. Plus, you know, more Yamada! There’s still some romantic scenes, but they’re scaled back enough that they don’t become as big of an issue. It’s an overall better season than the first, and showed just what this series could do when it really tried.
…but does anyone know why Yamada decided to grope everyone in episode 2? I’m still not sure how she decided that was a logical idea.
(Runner-Up: Shakugan no Shana Final)
To be continued in Part 2 (because wow, that’s a lot of text already)…
Posted on December 22, 2011, in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Invasion! Squid Girl, Madoka Magica, Persona 4: The Animation, The World God Only Knows, Top Lists and tagged AnoHana, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Carnival Phantasm, Fractale, Hunter x Hunter, Level E, Madoka Magica, Natsume Yuujinchou, Persona 4 The Animation, Squid Girl, Working. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.