2011 is a bit of a weird year for my favourite anime. The choices ended up incredibly varied and we’ve got slice of life, comedy, drama and sci-fi anime all of which left an impact on me but for very different reasons. The sad thing is Season 3 of Natsume Yuujinchou came out but my rules prevented me from adding it to the list but you better believe it would have been my pick for the year. Also, No. 6 came out in 2011 and while I loved it dearly the disaster of an ending meant it couldn’t win its season. With these tough choices made lets look at the list.
No. 1: No sequels of any kind.
No. 2: Only one anime from each season which gave me 4 picks from each year.
No. 3: Other than 2019 anime, no matter how brilliant an anime was if I hadn’t rewatched it since it aired then it didn’t make the list. If I don’t like it enough to watch it more than once then it doesn’t deserve to be on an anime of the decade list.
Incidentally these anime are not the technical best anime of their seasons but are the ones I would pick if I could only watch one anime from that season. They are anime I loved, for whatever reason, and felt deserved to be remembered.
Wandering Son or Hourou Musuko is an anime I didn’t discover until well after it had aired. While I have watched this one twice I’ve never managed to get my thoughts around it together enough to write a series review. That said, it is an anime well worth remembering well after the year it aired as it takes a very calm look at some big issues concerning gender identity. While there are certainly some rough edges, to see an anime tackling such an issue at the forefront rather than as a side story or through a subplot, and seeing it do it in a relatively non-sensationalist manner was very impressive.
I really enjoyed this anime’s take on its subject matter and feel it is one of those anime worth watching even if the genre and style aren’t your usual interests. Definitely one to add to your watch list if you missed it in 2011.
How could it not be? Watching Steins;Gate was an actual experience and one that should not be missed regardless of how you end up feeling about the story. It takes a bit to get going but the quirky dialogue (and there is a lot of dialogue) will keep you dialled in until all hell breaks loose with time travel mayhem. And would you believe I haven’t written a full series review of this anime despite a multitude of rewatches? Something I’ll need to correct later this year I’m sure.
Incidentally, Steins;Gate is one of the few anime I firmly recommend watching the English dub of. Firstly, because it is well acted with the voices matching the characters very well but secondly and more importantly, because if you are reading subs there’s a lot of dialogue very quickly between characters and at times the subs can fill up to a third of the screen and even for someone who reads as fast as me they become a little hard to keep up with. Still, Steins;Gate is a must watch anime regardless of the decade.
Kamisama no Memochou
Kamisama no Memochou or Heaven’s Memo Pad might seem like a weird choice for a favourite from a season, however this anime is one that impressed me by bringing its threads together for a truly beautiful, if a little bit heart shattering, conclusion. I’m a sucker for a well realised ending and while the journey to that ending in this case is a little bit hit and miss with the story being broken into distinct arcs or cases, the final destination makes if worthwhile. That said, this story about a NEET detective agency where every character is basically a trope of some sort with little fleshing out, isn’t going to work for everyone. Throw in stories of sex trade, drug use and suicide and you have an anime that is definitely not going to appeal to everyone. Still, as I said, this one sticks with me because of its powerful ending and when looking back at the Summer 2011 season, this was the anime that called to me as one I am glad I didn’t miss.
On that note though, if you are on the lookout for something new to watch and missed Heaven’s Memo Pad, it might be worth checking out. There’s some interesting moments and commentary in amongst the somewhat murky presentation. I was sure I’d reviewed this already but apparently I haven’t. I’ll have to correct that.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sakunai
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sakunai also known as Haganai or I Don’t Have Many Friends is a school based, harem, comedy. Needless to say the fact that it was my favourite anime from a season is a little weird given that should be three strikes against it. And honestly, it isn’t exactly revolutionary for any of those genres. However, maybe it was the time and place but when I watched this anime for the first time, something clicked. Anyway, our protagonist Kodaka recently transferred schools and is instantly misunderstood because of his hair colour so doesn’t make any friends. Then he stumbles into a room where his classmate Yozora is talking with her ‘air-friend’ (like an air-guitar). Yozora decides to start a club to make friends with the plan of only her and Kodaka being members, however soon the rich girl Sena shows up and then a whole bunch of other girls. It’s silly and at times the comedy pushes it too far, but I still found this anime fairly enjoyable probably because at its heart it really does try to deal with the issue of feeling isolated for whatever reason.
While this one won’t have universal appeal it is definitely worth trying to see if it works for you. There’s even a season two which seems to focus more on the romance side of things so if you wanted to know where the relationships go at least you know there’s more to the story to watch after season one.
And that concludes 2011 except that it is time for my lovely readers to share their favourite anime from the year that was 2011. Leave us a comment and remember to check out the post tomorrow for 2012.
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