A Decade of Anime 2011

Anime of the Decade

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.

The Rules:

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.

Winter 451625886 1577945280422

Wandering Son

wandering

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.

Spring 1821512031 1577945325489

Steins;Gate

Steins

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.

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Summer 623397914 1577945307757

Kamisama no Memochou

Heaven

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.

Fall 1533177906 1577945346333

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sakunai

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Final Featured Image

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.

Anime of the Decade

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.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Check out my favourite anime from each year over the last decade:

Actually, I don’t Mind… The Occasional Harem Anime

actually i am

When it comes to stories, I like a lot of different types but what about harem anime or even reverse harem?

Karandi ponders watching Harem Anime

I mean I definitely have a preference in novels and TV for fantasy and science-fiction, although paranormal romances are certainly starting to fill my shelves in recent years. Whether that is because they are any good or because of the sheer volume of books that fall into that category being published is another story.

And when it comes to anime, I’ll give almost anything a shot. That ‘almost’ is important though because while I might try comedies, it is pretty clear I’m not in love with them and sport and idol anime have to do something to draw me in before I’ll commit.

I do state a preference for darker anime, action or mystery or drama. Maybe fantasy or science fiction if done well. But I watch romances, comedies, the very occasional sport, slice of life, and more or less anything else. The genre itself doesn’t put me off because I watch anime for the same reason I read books and watch movies.

I want a good story or some great characters. If I can get both simultaneously then I’ve hit the jackpot. And failing a good story or great characters, I want something that doesn’t bore me (though that is an entirely subjective judgement on my part).

But when you tell people you’ll try almost anything (even if not for long) they then start asking the obvious question. What about…? And inevitably the question of harem anime will come up.

Recently I had a conversation with someone after I mentioned in passing that I’d watched Super Lovers during the Spring season. After the interesting discussion that followed that (regarding BL in general) we began discussing other anime genres that sometimes get dismissed out of hand without really looking at the individual releases. That landed us squarely in harem anime territory.

If you were to ask me if I like harem anime my answer would probably be, not really. They are predictable and generally the protagonists are dull and surrounded by girls that are either cookie-cutter stereotypes, overly sexualized, or just plain stupid. But that isn’t every single anime that falls into the harem category – and even if it is, that doesn’t mean some of them aren’t genuinely entertaining.

Besides, harem anime crosses genres with a great number of isekai stories also being harem and the same for adventure, fantasy, rom-com and so on. Even if I flatly said I didn’t like harem anime it would be quite obvious that I enjoyed titles like Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon which most definitely has a harem queuing up behind the protagonist.



What are some harem anime that I’ve enjoyed?

Boku wa Tomodachi no Sukunai: It’s hilarious. Kodaka has more personality than most protagonists in this genre (though is still passive and clueless) and the girls still fit particular types (and treat each other horribly) but I laughed so hard while watching this and by the end of the second season I really wanted Kodaka to end up with someone.

Kodaka - great male lead in a harem comedy.

The Familiar of Zero: So the girls here are pretty much as standard as they come, as is our mostly personality-less protagonist. Why I like this one is because of the fantasy elements and the plot outside of the harem. I really like the story of Louise and her familiar and their trials even if the harem aspects of this show drive me a little crazy.

The familiar of Zero - another harem anime

Chaos;Head: Alright, like is probably not the right word for this one. I enjoyed it and was bemused by it. Frustrated because the storyline didn’t really find itself. Honestly, until someone else pointed out that this had a harem in it I hadn’t even noticed because I was too busy trying to figure out the plot.

It’s dark and interesting and the protagonist is actively pathetic at times rather than just the generic every man. I don’t know if that is much of an improvement, but at least it made him stand out.

chaos-head-anime-season-2 - Check out this harem anime

The Asterisk War: Yeah, our overly nice protagonist is overpowered and apparently irresistible, but I enjoy this anime. I do want them to finally let the two main characters get together and I know they probably won’t because that would ruin the whole harem setting, but I enjoy their relationship and want to see it develop.

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The Asterisk War - A Harem anime that is still pretty interesting.

Lord Marksman and Vanadis: I did a review of this recently and quite enjoyed this anime. The harem aspects are unnecessary and occasionally distracting, but the storyline is really interesting. But I love Tigre and the plot is actually pretty solid even if the anime leaves it unfinished.

Lord Marksman and Vanadis - harem anime

Okay, I could probably list more harem anime that I disliked, but the point it, I can hardly claim to dislike the whole genre when there are so many that I have enjoyed. I also quite enjoy reverse harem anime but I’m leaving that conversation for another day.

What about you? Is there a genre you avoid like the plague? Do you have a favourite harem anime?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James