It’s the end of the year, and that means it’s time once again to pick the top 10 anime series. As with previous lists, only anime that ended in 2011 are taken into consideration. This list is subjective and not based on hard numbers, but I’m sure everyone who enjoys anime would like several of the titles listed here.
Set in a fictional post-WWI European country, Gosick combines mystery, adventure, and cuteness into one neat little ball. When Victorique, the main female character, wasn’t being cute and adorable, she played the roles of detective and damsel in distress. The adventures that she drags Kujo (a Japanese exchange student) into are what make this series a joy to watch.
Take a loud, strong-willed girl out of the city and place her to work in an inn in the remote countryside and you get the Cinderella-like story of Hanasaku Iroha. Seeing as it was P.A. Works’ 10th anniversary project, they made sure the animation quality is the highest you can find in a TV anime. Besides the beautiful visuals, Hanasaku Iroha provided plenty of drama based around the trials of becoming an adult.
What do a futon-wrapped alien, a late-night cosplayer, a helmet fetishist, and a super-hot mom have in common? Not much, really. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is about a teenage boy that ends up moving to a town full of strange people. On the surface, it looks like a completely random comedy, but actually contains some underlying themes on social rejection and acceptance. It was also animated by SHAFT, which makes things interesting to watch.
Kimi ni Todoke once again makes it onto the list with the second and final season. As with the first season, it was sweet and beautiful. Any romantics interested in finding out what happens between Sawako and Shouta should definitely check out the ending.
6. I Don’t Have Many Friends
The story follows the daily lives of a high school club for people who don’t have many friends. Admittedly, the plot sounds dull, but I consider this series to be the funniest comedy of the year. Anyone who watches anime will understand the humour and laugh at every episode.
5. Bunny Drop
Innocent and naïve, Bunny Drop is the perfect family anime that even grown men would enjoy. Due to certain circumstances, Daikichi, a 30-year-old bachelor, ends up volunteering to adopt the 6-year-old daughter of his late grandfather. Throughout the series, we see a growing bond between parent and child as they both face the challenges of growing up.
The anime with the super-long name, also known as ‘Ano Hana’, is by far one of the most emotional series of the year. When a group of friends loses one of their members in a tragic accident, they go their separate ways until 10 years later, when the ghost of Menma appears before Jinta, the leader of the group. In an attempt to make Menma’s wish come true so that she can pass on, Jinta gathers the rest of the gang. The unresolved feelings of guilt, anger, and jealousy from 10 years ago soon surface and lead to some of the most shocking moments of the year.
A cellphone and a microwave start Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist, on a timeless (literally) journey of sacrifice and despair as he tries to prevent the demise of his closest friends at the hands of CERN. Few time-travel stories are as captivating as Steins;Gate, and the fact that it could be so complex while taking place within a few square blocks is impressive. Sci-fi lovers would definitely love this anime because of its complexity and dealings with time-travel theories.
The plot description of an alien hat appearing and ordering two brothers to obtain the penguindrum in order to save their sisters life is just a disguise to hide what Mawaru Penguindrum really is: a literary scholar’s wet dream. Seriously, if you don’t know your literature, it’ll be impossible to decipher the meaning behind all of the penguins, trains, and apples. If you do figure it out though, you’ll probably be in for more than just a wild ride.
1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The number one anime of the year comes as no surprise when you consider the waves it has made throughout the anime world. Episode 3 of Madoka was like an asteroid impact to anime, obliterating the fundamentals of the magical girl genre. Left in its wake was a desolate world of pain and suffering, all planned out by a cute, furry white critter. Madoka continues to be widely popular 7 months after ending, with a near sweep of the Saimoe Tournament and a swath of merchandise already out on the market.
2011 was definitely a year worth remembering in terms of anime. The top 5 titles on this list are sure to be talked about for years, which is not something you can say every year.