2011 AniBloggers’ Choice Anime Awards

In participation with Kiddtic’s 2011 ACAA, here are my picks for the past year.  I probably had the most difficulty narrowing down my choices for the current fall season since there are quite a few that vied for my second and third choices.  I’m also going to include an additional Licensor Award since I think it’s a great idea for supporting our local licensing of a medium we all love and hopefully want to share with others.

Marina’s 2011 Choice Anime Awards by Season

Winter: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Madoka
generated quite a tumult before, during, and after its airing. I was lucky since I came into anime blogging at the same time and was blessed with the variety of discussion available, and although I didn’t end up blogging the show myself, all the wonderful observations and analyses I read helped me really get a feel for what kind of blogger I wanted and still aspire to be.  English-titled Puella Magi Madoka Magica took a well established and beloved sub-genre and turned open, rainbow colors into garishly-bright wormholes; it dashed our expectations to the ground, reminding us that there are always multiple sides to a story.  And, Madoka introduced us to one of the most memorable magical girl mascots of all time: the red-eyed, logical, enigmatic Kyubey.

Runners up: GOSICK, Level E

Spring: Nichijou
There’s a reason why I chose this anime for one of my rotating banners, though Hakase drinking out of her mug is certainly incentive enough.  This bundle of short skits had me laughing from week to week, and it wasn’t just a giggle or a short bark of a laugh–these laughs were prolonged, and they hurt from their sheer force.  Not many other comedies of this year, or even for the past few years, have provided so many memorable scenes.  And while there were definitely some jokes that either went right over my head or that didn’t strike me as funny at all, Nichijou was never afraid to experiment.  I appreciate that bravery and creativity.  I never knew what to expect in the newest episode, and that’s saying a lot given my major complaint about most anime and predictability.  YOU, Nichijou, were NOT predictable, and that’s a compliment of the highest order.

 Runners up: Tiger & Bunny, AnoHana

Summer: Usagi Drop
Not often do you stumble across an anime so thoroughly centered on family with none of the fan service to which almost all others conform.  From the very first episode it’s evident that Bunny Drop is in a league of its own and is a classic that will still be talked about after many of the others of its season and year are already forgotten.  The story is one that many Americans like me readily recognize as that of the dysfunctional family, and one that also re-defines those preconceived notions of what it takes to be a successful parent.  Daikichi and Rin may or may not be blood related, but there’s no denying the sincerity of their feelings for one another.

 Runners up: Mawaru Penguindrum, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee

Fall: Chihayafuru
This title stands out all the more to me for two reason: one, we have had a shortage this past year of quality josei romantic comedy, and two,  we have had a shortage these past many years of game/sport-centered anime.  I’m a fan of both, and so when Chihayafuru was announced, I knew I had to watch it.  And the anime has certainly not disappointed, cooking up a wonderful mix of competition and romance, almost a mixture of anime like Hikaru no Go and Honey and Clover.  I find it an incredible feat for an anime to be able to interest its viewers in a game for which they have no knowledge or experience; I don’t understand the language, nor am I familiar with any sort of similar American card game, but I cheer them on like I would for some major sports team.  I find the romance unique as well as it isn’t your standard love triangle.  The female protagonist is one of the densest girls I have ever seen, and the boys who care for her are several levels up in maturity.  We still have a long way to go before this series is finished, but I look forward to each and every episode.

Runners up: Mirai Nikki, Fate/Zero

Anime of the Year
Having to pick one out of the above four is almost as difficult as narrowing down 12 out of the entire year.  But, Usagi Drop takes the prize as my 2011 choice for Anime of the Year.  It touched my heart in ways that only those who have had experience with single parent-child households can really understand, but still appealed to the general public.  It helped me appreciate my mother all the more for her strength in raising me alone for the short while she did before re-marrying.  The struggles of balancing work, home, and family are not easily tackled, especially when going at it alone and against the approval of friends and family.

Licensor Award
FUNimation: Summer Wars
This category was very difficult for me because there were quite a few titles I knew, but very few that I had seen licensed; most of them I knew from when they originally aired, or had just plain never seen.  The choice came down between two FUNimation works, Summer Wars and Evangelion 2.22, both of which I thought were of superb quality.

Thus ends my first attempt at anime awards.  Thanks to TWWK of Beneath the Tangles for first giving me the heads up about the ACAA, and to Kiddtic of Kidds’ Anime Blog for hosting this tournament! (Winners posted here.)

Please feel free to share and/or compare your own top anime of the year, as well as name your number one (if you can narrow it down that much!).

Read up on more ACAA!

2DT from 2dteleidoscope
TWWK from beneaththetangles
AJ from angryjellyfish
Kuuki from enkuuki
Sam from otakustudy
Cytrus from yaranakya
Nopy from nopybot
Ephemeral Dreamer from ephemeraldreamer
Marow from animeviking
Akira from akirascuro
Frozen from frozenmyst
Yumeka from animeyume
inushinde from shindeiie
Kai from deluscar
thatredsky from mystoryyourbeats
Justin from organizationasg
Shirokurou from tsundereblog
Judge from moarpowah
lostty from animeprincess
Kai from deluscar 

31 thoughts on “2011 AniBloggers’ Choice Anime Awards

  1. Hmmm, I don’t seem to recall Bunny Drop as something that struck me in your previous write-ups. Guess that’ll be part of my Winter marathon in a few short weeks. ^_^

    Did you ever watch C? It aired the same time as Madoka, right? I wouldn’t vote C as better than Madoka, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a contender.

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    • I don’t know if Bunny Drop would really make a good marathon-type anime since it has a slower pace to it and the atmosphere is very calming. You can certainly try, but I think you’d enjoy it more at a leisurely pace. And I hope your winter marathon goes well! You’ll have to tell me how it goes🙂

      I have [C] on backlog. I d/led it while it was airing, but never got around to watching anything past the first episode. It’s definitely on my list of ones I’ll watch soon, after Steins;Gate.

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      • Well, if I fall asleep in the midst of a marathon, naturally I’ll just blame the Anime for being boring.

        So here’s hoping!

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  2. Hmm listing top favorites is always difficult but will give it a try:

    +Winter
    I’m divided between Kimi ni Todoke S2 and Madoka Magica for top one of that season, and as they are pretty different genres, will just let them share the place.

    Madoka Magica had a great story, so great that even made me ignore my dislike for the character art and the “art style” for the witches-related monsters and places. Albeit with a slower start, it has a good progression, many interesting surprises and decent closure. As I’m a big fan of dark themes / bittersweet stories / drama, this show was right up my alley. Gave a 10/10.

    Kimi ni Todoke S2, like the first season, was a very sweet story. A great mix of sweetness, cuteness, adorableness… it’s a show that can make me really care about it’s characters, strongly rooting for them, hoping that they could be as happy as possible. Different from the first season, this one also showed results in the main characters romance, which could be sometimes frustrating, and did it well. Gave a 10/10.

    Other shows of note: Infinite Stratos. (9/10)

    I have yet to watch Gosick, and will likely enjoy it a lot, but don’t think it will be enough to add it to my top list of the season. Level E was enjoyable, but nothing great to me.

    +Spring
    This season I end up busy and have yet to watch/finish more than half of the shows i wanted from it. So it’s hard to make a list.

    From the ones I finished, Tiger & Bunny and Ano Hana are worth of note. Tiger and Bunny with it’s interesting setting and charismatic characters. Ano Hana with it’s beautiful drama. Gave 9/10 to both.

    Like I said before, Nichijou was able to only be an ok show to me.

    +Summer
    Was even busier than Spring, so have yet to watch mostly of the shows I wanted to.

    So far The Idolm@ster is the one I’m enjoying a lot from that season. Although it has a big main cast, they all manage to be likeable. Development is also handled pretty well, with all girls having their time to shine. Gorgeous art and great dance / musics / concerts scenes are other of it’s good points. Currently 9/10.

    Ikoku and Usagi Drop are still on my giant backlog. Mawaru Penguin is a good show so far, and may get better (I’m on ep 15) but can’t see it raise above 8/10 for me.

    +Fall
    While I have yet to watch many shows from previous two seasons, Winter is likely to be the best season of the year for me, with many very good or better shows.

    Fate/Zero gets both my best of season and best of year spot, even thought it’s still ongoing and is just the first half. Very well directed and with a great story. Plus is part of a series I love, which consolidates it as my favorite of the year. Currently 10/10.

    Other shows of note:
    Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: Interesting characters and story, very fun situations, beautiful animation, and well executed fanservice.
    Chihayafuru: Amazing how every episode is consistently great. Even though I would be bored to death by watching or playing Karuta in real life, the anime is able to make the matches very exciting.
    Bakuman S2: Like the first season, it continues to deliver, often leaving me looking forward to the next episode.
    Ben-to: Biggest surprise of the season. While the setting may seems ridiculous at first, it turns out into a very fun show, both regarding comedy and heated battles.

    There are other 3 shows I have yet to start or am to behind that I may like a lot: Shana S3, Guilty Crown, C³.

    Mirai Nikki been very good, but not great as of yet.

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    • Thanks for sharing your favorites of 2011 with me, CP!

      Winter–I realllllly enjoyed KnT2, but it felt more like a continuation, which it is, then something new. It didn’t ring as strongly with me as did the others. Infinite Stratos was definitely sub-par for me since the story was complete trollop and the characters all cardboard cutouts from other harems. The only character I really liked was Charlotte. Level E worked for me since it was so different, and the early episodes really caught me in gullibility :p And yes, I strongly suggest you watch GOSICK whenever you can!

      Spring–I also liked Hanasaku Iroha, but as I could only choose 3 per season…:p Quite the dilemma!

      Summer–Idolm@ster has become a guilty pleasure for me week to week, and I’ve become very loyal to Miki. What stops me from bringing it to the top of my list is its predictability. The story is formulaic, though I still enjoy it. I wonder if your opinion of Penguindrum will change the closer you get to the end🙂

      Fall–This was the toughest for me! Haganai, Bento, and Last Exile vied for my 3rd slot.

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      • I liked Infinite Stratos a lot, especially because I found the setting very interesting, the IS designs were very cool, I liked quite at least three of the main girls. I found Ichika likeable, even though he is completely dumb when it comes to romance. I liked how he had some “attitude”, to for instance, not just let Cecilia badmouth he and his country like she did in the start. And another reason I was able to enjoy it quite was because I wasn’t expecting much to happen on the first season, as it was going to do 3-4 novel volumes at most with that that pace while there was already 6 volumes out and seems like the story will go much further than that.

        One of main reasons I wasn’t able to enjoy Level E well was the Prince. I utterly dislike characters (and people) who like to have fun at the cost of bothering/harming others, the so called Trolls. Because of that, a scene like the end of episode 3, instead of making me laugh, actually felt very anticlimactic and got me really angry at the character. So I actually enjoyed the show more later, the parts where the prince didn’t appear much, or when he received some deserved retribution.

        Also Last Exile is another Fall show I need to add to the list of “shows I have yet to start or am too behind that I may like a lot:”.

        On a side note: I believe you’re a big fan of the Spice and Wolf novels. Did you know about the author new project? An all-ages visual novel called, World End Economica http://vndb.org/v7184 It’s being released in episodes during comiket, similar to how Higurashi and Umineko were released. Thought you might be interested.

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      • I did pick up the IS OVA by Ayako just a bit ago. I hate how they changed Charlotte’s personality so much in the OVA.

        The Prince was actually one of my most liked characters in Level E since I found his trolling hilarious. That’s part of why I like Mai so much in Nichijou, as well as Yozora in Haganai (though I think Yozora is a bit much).

        And thanks for sharing the info about S&W’s mangaka’s new project. I’ll take a look into it!

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  3. Nice list, and I don’t just mean the parts where we overlap.😛 I haven’t seen Gosick, AnoHana or Mawaru Penguindrum, but I’ve heard good things (particularly about the latter two), so I’ll be sure to go back to them.🙂

    Level E started very well in my opinion, but the latter arcs failed to bring as many laughs as those first few episodes did. If it had stayed consistent, I’d probably have rated it up there with Nichijou!

    For some reason, Tiger & Bunny didn’t grab me as much as it has for a lot of other fans I’ve spoken to – the premise was good, and I liked the banter between the lead duo, but I found the other characters and overall plot quite average.

    Ikoku Meiro no Croisee was very cute, and would certainly have placed on my list if I’d arranged it by season as you have. But Yune couldn’t quite compete with Usagi Drop’s Rin when it came to cuteness, hence why I left it out of mine.

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    • hehe, well I’m glad you like my whole list. I really do hope you go back to seeing AnoHana and Mawaru Penguindrum, as both are great shows in completely different ways. And particular reason why you’re not interested in GOSICK?

      I agree that the first part of Level E was a lot better than the mid or later episodes. The jokes started to repeat themselves, and I really wasn’t thaaat big a fan of the color rangers. I wish it had followed through with its initial humor and intelligence that it started with in the opening 3 episodes.

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      • I wouldn’t say I’m not interested in GOSICK – I’m definitely including it in my list of shows to go back to. It’s just that I’ve heard a lot more positive things about AnoHana and Mawaru Penguindrum from the people I’ve spoken to, and both seem to show up regularly on people’s ACAA lists too, so naturally I want to know what all the fuss is about.😛

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  4. Ahaha, it does look like we have very similar choices, with some differences. I haven’t watched Gosick, Level E, Tiger & Bunny, and Usagi Drop yet, but plan to do so. I think that if I had watched Usagi Drop, I might have included it in my awards, except that I had already read the manga and was very familiar with it. Nice list, by the way. ^_^

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    • Ooooh, you have some really good ones missing if you haven’t seen any of those yet🙂 I’m curious about reading Bunny Drop to see how different it is from the anime. Would you suggest it? And thank you!

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      • I’ve heard that the anime covered half of the manga, so that part is nice to read! The second half of the manga deals with Rin grown up as a teenager, so it’s more mature. The ending is quite controversial to a lot of people, I’ve heard, but I didn’t mind the ending at all. You’ll have to read it so you know what I’m talking about! I think it’s a great read, and if you don’t mind a possible very controversial ending, I would recommend it. ^_^

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  5. Glad to see some Nichijou love. That show blew me away with its ability to get me to laugh so much. If a laugh-meter was used to rate comedy shows, Nichijou would get a 10–but what’s impressive is it did a spectacular job with the animation, music, and even the character development(!) as well.
    I’m watching Gosick right now and really loving it. I’ll probably say that and Natsume Yuujinchou San will round out my top three, though Fate/Zero is quite amazing as well…
    Still planning to watch Ano Hana and Steins;Gate before the year ends, though, so we’ll see how my list (probably to be posted in January) fares…

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    • Yay, a fellow Nichijou fan🙂 Everything about this show had me in laughing fits, the characters, the art style, the music. I have Hakase’s shark/dog song as a ringtone and always wonder when and if I’ll ever stumble across someone in real life who will recognize it.

      Natsume Yuujinchou San was definitely a good show, but I didn’t include it because I just wasn’t as wowed by it as I was the first time around. Heck, there’s a fourth season coming in the winter!

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  6. Usagi Drop isn’t an anime to take lightly as it was great, but I don’t think it really deserved the top spot this year. It lacked conflict throughout most of its episodes and as such didn’t really grab me and hold me in. In contrast to that, shows like Steins Gate or Fate managed to create an atmosphere of excitement and tension.

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    • Well, we all have our opinions🙂 I juuust watched Steins;Gate, and I agree that it is a fantastic anime and has actually taken its place on my Top 30 Anime of all time. Fate/Zero is also going that way, but I want to wait for its completion before I make that decision. Bunny Drop just felt so much different than any other anime I had ever seen, and it’s bound to affect people differently with its slower pace and family-oriented theme. The story did have conflict, albeit a different one than what we normally see in action-packed anime.

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  7. You dont know how happy i am that you mentioned Nichijou, even as a Winner!
    A lot a criticism was brought up about the series, why i dont know because this show really cracked me up. apparently it wasnt as funny as the 4-panel manga..:/ weird.

    Anyway i do hope for a second season but first i want Kyoani to go back in the days of Kanon, Air, Clannad etc! why not Rewrite? that would be a good christmas or new year present! ^^

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    • Yay! More Nichijou love! Nichijou was definitely the series I looked forward to each week that season, and I re-watched my favorite scenes repeatedly. I always say I should read the manga of anime I like, but in this case, I definitely want to…especially if there are any specials or additional gags that weren’t included in the TV series.

      I’m not actually a big fan of Kyoani harems/drama, but Kanon (2006) is my favorite of the three you name🙂 I remember crying when I watched it, especially in the Makoto arc. Mai was also my idea of cool for the longest time.

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  8. I have almost similar anime on my list, it’s just a matter of how I ranked them. I haven’t seen Nichijou, GOSICK, and Level E thought. However, the rest on your list is also on my list. In terms of my top pick I have to go with Madoka. I guess I just enjoyed it the most.

    Btw, Happy New Year. ^^

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    • You go watch those shows, NAO! :p I think very highly of Madoka, for sure, but I’m not sure it was a show that I really enjoyed more than say an anime that had me rolling in laughter or grinning like a fool. And thanks, Happy New Year to you, too!

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