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Ani-Bloggers Choice Anime Awards Top 12 Picks 2011

2011 has definitley been a prolific year for anime – both awesome and lousy. Before even writing my top picks on the blog I already have several favourites cycling in my head. Before you start raging at the list, think about this: this is my own personal picks for the ACAA awards on kiddtic.wordpress.com and I’m not necessarly labelling them the best anime of all time, just what I feel that had an impact on me during this year. Now without further ado: here are my top picks starting from the bottom to the number one! Note that I put images of my top three – I wanted to emphasise their importance to me!

12. The World God Only Knows
This show took dating-sims on whole new level! Keima employs his vast knowledge of dating-sims to capture the escaped souls plagueing the hearts of numerous heroines of vastly different personalties, and his life literally depends on it! It’s quite easy to pick a favourite girl (I may get some rage for this but I have to say shiori the shy librarian is my favourite of the first season!)

But what stops this from reaching higher on the list is that although there are huge strides in character development for the heroines, Keima himself doesnt really make any progress himself and pretty much remains the same throughout the series: naive and painfully snide.

11. Mayo Chiki!
I think Subaru is one of the cutest reverse-trap characters in anime (I hope that didn’t come off wrong). While Mayo Chiki doesn’t really break new ground, it was a very entertaining show filled with likeable characters. And I really feel out for Kojiro, considering that he is constantly tormented and used as a human punching bag. And there is a girl wearing neko-mimi and glasses! What more can you want?

10. Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko
Denpa Onna is an amazingly beautiful show, and I could expect nothing less from Shaft. While Denpa Onna doesn’t really have a coherant plot line, it outlines trying to live a normal teenage life. But this proves difficult for Makoto as he has to look out his cousin for Erio Towa, as she believes she is an alien after mysteriously disappearing for six months. Very similiar character designs to the more recent show Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai, so very moe indeed!

9. Astarotte no Omocha!
Not many gave this show a chance due to the premise set by the HYPERBOLIC show description: “…Astarotte Ygvar, the first princess for the kingdom of Ygvar, has just reached the age of 10. For the upcoming years of a young succubus’ life, it is necessary for them to have a male harem. In order to maintain their body and preserve a beautiful appearance, they must consume a substance only found in males…” and you can figure out the rest. Despite this supposedly “dangerous” premise, it was a very sweet and sincere show and nothing in the show description actually happened. I suggest that you give this show a chance and watch it without precedent.

8. The Idolm@ster
Since the Idolm@ster had been announced at first to air for 12-13 episodes, I was a bit concerned whether this would be rushed and the individual idols won’t get enough screen time respectively. But as I watched each episode I was pleasantly surprised! Each idol got an equal amount of air-time, without absolutely overwhelming the rest of the cast (especially the quiet achievers). What made me even more ecstatic is that they decided to prolong the series into a full season! Now each idol can get more screen-time without time constraints, and I do love my moe idols!

7. Kimi Ni Todoke
This show frustrated the HELL out of me, but I’m glad to say that it was good kind of frustration! This romantic comedy kept me hooked on right to the end, and I would ask myself: “is it going to work out in the end?” but the answer was of course painstakingly obvious. But sometimes I would get irrationally angry when Sawako would talk herself down and retreat to square one for the smallest things, but all the good points of this anime definitely makes up for this slight shortfall.

6. Nichijou
Probably the most unpredictable comedy to emerge for quite some! I would have to take a long break after each episode to gather my senses, as I’m left thinking “what the hell was that?!” and re-watch it on YouTube to make sense of it. My favourite character would have to be Yuko, the things that happen to her! Besides from her awful jokes and poor word-play, to summarise her daily life: anything that can go wrong will go wrong! Despite all these crazy events, they treat it as if life was normal which painfully ironic (hence the title Nichijou a.k.a My Ordinary Life).

Nichijou would have been in my top three, however! As the series progressed, it started to stretch out the gags and ended up feeling a little tired and repetitive. In the first half of the season it was “set-up and punch-line” and each episode was jam-packed with gags. In the second part of the season, the gags lasted a lot longer and it felt like the show had lost some of its energy in regards to humour. At times I would want the skit to hurry up and finish and move on to the next segment (ehhhhh?!), as I was getting bored very quickly and made me feel unsatisfied when the credits rolled. They also added some new segments to the anime such as “like love”. I understand that it was to add variety to the show, however it felt so incompatible with the nature of the show – hilarious and random. If this anime aired for the first half of the season, it would have been in the top three at least. But because of the sudden change of pace and drop in intensity in the second half, I felt reluctant to place it higher.

5. Steins;Gate
Riddled with incredible plot twists and conspiracies, this anime achieved many feats. It was moe with Mayuri (tutturu!) and presented exciting and mind-blowing plot twists. This show is definitely out of my normal comfort zone, filled to the brim with science-fiction references (Back to the Future, anyone?). Although I felt a bit lost with all the explanations, terms and changes in plot, I still thoroughly enjoyed the series. I highly recommend this to any science-fiction/time travel fans that are not exactly into the anime fan base, nya?

4. Squid Girl
You probably were expecting Squid Girl to make my list without question, though it may be surprising to you that it didn’t make my top three. While Squid Girl is a fantastical show of love and joy, I felt that it wasn’t deep enough to merit a place in the top three. Its hilarious and cute, but compared to my top three I felt that it was lacking something. Plus I would feel awfully biased if I placed Squid girl higher without proper justification, is it perfect? No, but than again no show truly perfect. Nevertheless I still love Squid Girl de-geso!

3. Working’!!
Working is related to Nichijou in that it uses wild and wacky humour in a slice-of-life format, but the similarity stops there! Working is a crazy show, but it’s more subtle which I thought was a very nice touch. I always look forward to every episode on Crunchy-Roll to the point where I’m shamefully replaying episodes in anticipation. I find it impossible to hate the cast, they are so different yet they seem to naturally fit together. Even though Working doesn’t really have a plot, I love everything about this show and not many series gets me this fired up!

2. Puella Magi Madoka Magika
A typical moe-moe Mahou Shoujo anime? Boy did I fall for that trap. This anime is a sight to behold with twisted art and dark undertones, and one deceptively evil and somewhat cuddly creature! Madoka Magika exceeded my imagination with twisted renditions of reality that seemed to blend naturally with the characters, its scary what Shaft is capable of… Puella Magi Madoka Magika reflects on equivalent exchange: the idea that you cannot gain something without sacrifice of the same level, and this anime stretched this concept to the limit!

1. Usagi Drop
I know that in the podcast I said I was unsure whether to put this as my anime of the year, but after weighing them up against all my other choices I decided this must be my number one. I learnt so many things from Usagi Drop such as responsibility and the sacrifices required to raise a child, especially when you’re single and working full-time! There are a lot of media outlets that focus on the difficulty of being a mother, which is very understandable. But has anyone really focused on what the dad is going through? Girls are prepared for motherhood at a considerably younger age, with all those baby toys and play-sets. But there was really nothing for the younger male demographic except action figures and toy guns and before you know it, you’re in your teenage years (and we end up as alien creatures obsessed with guns and video games without really giving responsibility much thought). Sure there are family planning centres, but as a guy I would rather have a visual example. I’m glad to see that there are a lot of young adults taking interest in Usagi Drop, its a light-hearted and sincere show filled with beautiful art and opening/ending songs. There is so much to love about this anime, and I’m glad that they put so much effort into this show! Perhaps it warrants a second season?

Licensor of the year:
My favourite licensor for this year would have to be NIS America, which may come off as unusual. Although they aren’t as large as the more dominant companies such as FUNimation and Sentai Filmworks, they put in a lot of effort into their releases and take care of their customers (Bandai should follow their example). They are also known to make magnificent box art displayed on such works as Tora Dora and Katanagatari box sets, and its a piece of art that you can display with pride! More companies should follow NIS America’s example and put more effort into their licenses and make it worth its price-tag. And please Bandai, enough individual volumes! I have to painfully turn down the K-ON volumes until the full collection… and they also have Working’!! and Kimi ni todoke. ’nuff said.

  1. December 17, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Some really good picks there. If I did a list like this I know Usagi drop and Madoka would be near the top.

    I might also note that your top 4 are dominated by little girls. :P

  2. Sam
    December 27, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    NIS America’s Special Editions are awesome…. I have to agree with you on that.

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