Posted by psgels on 28 December 2011 with categories: Yearly Summaries

This year, I started thinking what kind of new thing I could add to my yearly round-ups this time. My mind then came to how I’m always trying to praise the technical parts of each anime: the settings, animation, storytelling, etcetera. So that’s why I decided to take some of the awards I usually hand out, like “Most Imaginative Setting”, “Best Animation”, “Best Script” and “Best Story”, and dedicate an entire post to them, showing a bit more of what the year had to offer than just the one best. Also, as an extra to each post, I’ll be listing my top 40 series of the year, starting today with #40 to #31.

Overall, 2011 definitely wasn’t the best year we’ve ever had. I’d say that it was below average if you’d compare it to the past ten years, though it’s probably not the worst thanks to quite a number of solid series that even though they weren’t amazing, still were very solid to watch.

#Top 11 Best Settings

Honorable Mentions: Appleseed XIII and Hunter X Hunter

With this top list, I’m highlighting the settings that really delivered something special and really well thought out this year. First, I want to include some honorable mentions, though. The reason these two didn’t make the list is very simple: because they already had incredible settings, but their 2011 versions didn’t really add much to them to warrant a place here. Especially Hunter X Hunter is exactly the same as it was ten years ago. Appleseed meanwhile did add some interesting extra tidbits, but it’s too early to see whether they actually paid off. In both cases though, it still goes that they contain very imaginative settings Hunter X Hunter completely subverts the shounen genre, while Appleseed’s bioroids are definitely interesting science fiction.

#11: Fate/Zero

Fate/Zero also had both the tasks of expanding upon the universe created in Fate/Stay Night, and also prevent new viewers from being lost. And well, it actually succeeded. It presented a modern interpretation of the quest for the holy grail, and yet it is full of historical references due to the inclusion of all sorts of famous historical figures. It takes a look at what it means to be a king, with huge themes being laid upon chivalry. It’s not finished yet, but with the way this is going, next year this show may show up even higher on this list, if I’m doing it again.

#10: Steins;Gate

One annoying thing about Steins;Gate is that it was set in Akihabara, and the part of it that celebrates the otaku culture was nowhere near my interests. However, the part that was near my interests totally made up for it. This show had some well researched plot threads about time travel, and used some particularly imaginative concepts, yet at the same time restricted itself with some strong constraints. It pretty much was an interpretation about time travel that I had not yet seen before, and even though some parts were a little hard to buy, I still really appreciate the effort.

#9: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée

There are a lot of things that can make me consider a setting to be great. In the case of slice of life, I want it to be believable, and get the feeling that the world the characters are in are really alive. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée pulled this off. Here, it really holds a candle over Tamayura, Sato Junichi’s other slice of life series this year. It actually bothers to animate a lot of other people that walk around in the setting, but what really set it apart was how well it used the fact that it took place in 19th century France. Satelight have a bunch of French connections, and they used them really well for this series. Every episode is chock full of historical references, cultural differences and customs that even taught me things I didn’t know yet about Japanese life.

#8: Level E

Level E is about aliens on earth, and I especially love the creativity it throws in all lof its arcs to make this idea come alive. The amount of ideas that it uses earned it a place on this list,, and it’s just really interesting science fiction that keeps throwing you for a loop. The short story nature of this show means that it can show a lot of different aspects of its setting, which it makes gladly use of.

#7: Natsume Yuujin-Chou

This series made the list, because it’s just so dam believable. There are a lot of series about youkai, but few do it as well as Natsume. You really get the feeling that the world Natsume lives in is alive, and that the youkai in it are a core part of it due to the really strong characterization on nearly every one of the characters. This series also doesn’t’ just animate one town in Japan, it actually portrays multiple locations in the country that Natsume lived at, and it does an absolutely wonderful job at it.

#6: Hyouge Mono

This show… is unbelievable. After so many over the top portrayals of the Sengoku Era in the latest year that pretty much raped the era, this one comes along, does exactly the same, and yet it does it with an incredible portrayal of historical accuracy that puts every other installment just to shame. This is just a completely bizarre combination between accurate portrayals, with an incredibly detailed look at pottery, art and architecture, combined with characters making the silliest faces imaginable,consciously hammy overacting and a ton of parodies on the postmodernism that nowhere near existed yet in those ages.

#5: Last Exile ~ Ginkyou no Fam

Last Exile definitely gets the award for the grandest setting of the entire year. No other setting can top it, and if it wasn’t for some shoddy storytelling here and there, it actually would have easily made the number one spot. There has been an incredible amount of creativity and details into each location. The story here is epic and it actually manages to expand upon the setting of the first Last Exile massively.

#4: Un-Go

What really surprised me about this series is how actual it was. But even without that, the creators gave a very interesting vision of the future here. Again, the semi-episodic nature of this series really helped, because in this way it could show a lot of different technologies that were all really well woven into the story of each episode. This show also examines what kind of impact these technologies have upon the people who live in it, and all of that together make it into one of the most solid settings of the year.

#3: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

The reason why Madoka Magica’s setting is awesome would mean to delve into spoilers, which is not something I’m going to do. Let me just say that as a deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre: it really did its job well.

#2: Tiger & Bunny

This is a series that really took a very imaginative setting, and had its way with it. The concept of Hero TV, a television series in which superheroes are followed on camera and paid by sponsors already stood out from the very first episode. It’s a great parody, homage and criticism of modern society at the same time, and yet at the same time it also is a great concept for a really fun and enjoyable series. The creators really struck gold with it.

#1: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

None of the setting sthis year came as close to C in terms of ambition, though. It really wanted to do something interesting, and while it would have been even better if it had more episodes, it still really stands out as the ballsiest setting of the entire year with its focus on economics, delivering this crazy premise where people gamble away their futures with a ton of similarities to modern stock trading. More than any other series this year, this concept stood out for doing something different from the usual anime, and it definitely was a very interesting ride from start to finish.

#Top 3 Best Background Art

#3: Yumekui Merry

Shigeyasu Yamauchi is an amazing director. While he can’t do anything about bad stories, he really knows how to make graphics speak for themselves, and he knows a bunch of very good background artists who help him with this. The best example of this was Casshern Sins a few years ago, but Yumekui Merry has the same utterly gorgeous backgrounds. The nature of this series allowed the creators to come up with a ton of different designs and settings that all looked equally stunning.

#2: Hana-Saku Iroha

Hana-Saku Iroha gets a place on this spot due to how incredibly refined every single one of its backgrounds was. Seriously, there just are no weak spots whatsoever: every background just looks amazingly detailed and life-like. The use of CG is brilliant, in the way that the creators know how to use just enough to make the different drawings stand out, yet stay away from the “3D-look”. And it kept this going for 26 whole episodes. This may be much more grounded in reality than Yumekui Merry, but these creators found a way to show eye candy in every day situations.

#1: Last Exile ~ Ginkyou no Fam

No TV-series however, came close to the backgrounds that Gonzo delivered this year. I mean, people are often on Gonzo’s case that their visuals look rushed. But that’s the thing with their visuals: they’re either really good, or rushed through due to lack of budget. The cloudscapes look amazing, the landscapes are full of creativity. These people even brought entire cities to life in the most imaginative locations, with in particular the architecture of the huge and grand buildings in this series standing out as a feast for the eyes.

#Top 5 Best Animation

#5: Fate/Zero

Now this year, the category for “best animation” is an interesting one, because this year didn’t have a show that had the jaw-droppingly awesome kind of animation like in previous years with Full Metal Alchemist, Bounen no Xamdou or Seriei no Moribito. So instead, I started to think about which series did warrant a mention for this category this year, especially because I’m certainly no expert on the subject. At first I really thought to include series like Guilty Crown but the more I watched it, the less impressive the animation became. In terms of overall quality, I think that Fate/Zero does stand on top. The action scenes are consistently well animated, even in the non-action scenes, and there is plenty of movement through he entire series, not to mention how crisp the creators made everything look. The entries below here all did something special with their animation, because in terms of consistency, this one is unbeatable this year.

#4: Fractale

A-1 really knows their animation. And there is one thing that they were really, really good at this year: continuous movement. Characters hardly ever stopped moving in this series, and instead of the usual shortcuts you see in anime, they were really well animated while making all sorts of poses and elaborate body movements. This really was a series where the difference between key animation frames and inbetween animation frames was really thin.

#3: Dantalian no Shoka

Gainax only had one series this year. Perhaps it was because of this that the animators could fully focus themselves on trying new stuff out, and that is exactly why I gave it a spot on this list. Dantalian no Shoka’s episodes actually experiment a lot with different art and animation styles (not to mention that it has this year’s Osamu Kobayashi episode) that brought many different styles together, and made them work.

#2: Blood-C

I just had to place Blood-C’s animation here in this top list. I know that it’s definitely not the most consistently animated series: the quiet scenes do take quite a few shortcuts. But especially the early episodes had action scenes that just made my jaw drop. The animation here was incredibly fluid, and yet the characters moved around like nothing limited them. Usually with frame-rates like this, characters only look around, change angles, or just stand still. Here though, the direction of the movements was fully brought to life with that incredible fluidity.

#1: X-Men

In the end though, I do have to give this year’s best animation award to the X-Men. This show had excellent animation, that on top of that made use of some of the most gorgeous artworks and character designs. This show had a lot of movement, but also a lot of detail. A combination that is really hard to get right, as the more detail you put in your character-designs, the harder they are to animate. This is a syndrome that Madhouse knew fully well, and they actually averted this with the X-Men. The results were just gorgeous.

#Top 5 Best-Looking Graphics

#5: Heartcatch Precure

Of course, I have to mention Heartcatch Precure. It already was gorgeous in 2010, and its finale in 2011 did it justice in terms of pretty looking graphics. The final battle had some really nice animation. It doesn’t win this award this year because of how little episodes aired this year, but it still is a truly gorgeous series that’s full of eye candy.

#4: Last Exile ~ Ginkyou no Fam

Traditionally, I hand out this award for not the series the best animation, but the ones that simply look the best. Last Exile made this list because beyond anything: it has shown how good CG can look when done well. The aerial battles in this series look just amazing, with Gonzo pushing its CG to even more boundaries than it already did before it died for the first time.

#3: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

This show had two kinds of animation: normal, and completely crazy. The contrast between them in particular looked really good, and shaft put a ton of abstract eye candy in all of the different settings and dimensions hereto make this one heck of a gorgeous looking series.

#2: Yumekui Merry

I mentioned Yumekui Merry above already, but its backgrounds aren’t the only thing that looked absolutely amazing in this series. On top of the background art, the artist also put an amazing amount of detail and colours into the foreground art, brilliantly making use of CG for shading everything and making everything come together. It’s clear that the creators had a ton of inspiration when they started on this series, and by the end of the series this seemed nowhere near run out.

#1: X-Men

I originally introduced the category f “best looking anime” years back, in order to differentiate between the series that may not have the best animation, but still have visuals with undeniable charms. This year though, there is one series that has them both: X-Men both was incredibly animated and it looked completely gorgeous. Madhouse just went all out on this series and even though the storyline may have had its problems, it never failed to deliver gorgeous images with amazing use of colours.

#Top 5 Best Music

#5: Hyouge Mono

Bee-Train actually walked away with this award for the first four years I did these yearly summaries. Hyouge Mono’s soundtrack is too restrained for this to pull this again, but I still want to pull out a honorable mention to its originality. Again, Kou Otani is experimenting with a lot of different things, the use of instruments is great and this soundtrack always manages to strengthen each scene it appeared in.

#4: Ben-To

This may be a strange choice at first, but when watching this series, it really caught my attention how fun it actually was. The soundtrack here is completely over the top, which sounds this series perfectly, There are many different tracks which with their sheer power completely enhance the value of the scenes they’re played in, and they especially make the food battles even more fun than what they already were.

#3: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai

Now this is a soundtrack that fits its accompanying series to a T. Incredibly emotional, and it did exactly what it needed to do for the roller coaster that was Ano Hana. Every time it was played it was exceptionally well timed, plus the piano pieces in particular are just beautiful.

#2: Tiger & Bunny

Now, Yoshihiro Ike is one of my favorite composers. Above anything, he’s consistent, and always delivers something that is unique and highly atmospheric. It worked really well for Tiger & Bunny, with his violin strings that hardly ever seemed to die down. He could be both upbeat and downbeat with the same style, and he nailed both the exciting and dramatic parts of this series perfectly.

#1: Dororon Enma-Kun Meerameera

There is one soundtrack though, that stood light-years above all the others this year. There is just no contest with this one. What the creators had done here is completely un-rivaled by every other series this year. The creators here took a ton of classic tunes from the seventies, and gave them a modern coating and a new meaning through the series. They were all sung with a wonderful voice that makes them even more fun to listen to. Without a doubt, the most creativity has gone into these series to make them sound good and unique.

#Top 4 Best Scripts

#4: Level E

With this list I give a nudge to the best written scripts of the years: these are the series that are just technically really well written and constructed. Level E is the prime example of this. As a collection of short stories, every of the stories made its impact, and did something really clever with its script. It was a master of trolling and also its variety was very impressive. All of them were well written and incredibly fun to watch.

#3: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica on the other hand, stood out because of how well it used its format as a continuous storyline. Gen Urobuchi really delivered a storyline that made optimal use of its time. where things flow seamlessly into each other. It leaves no episode wasted, yet it does pay enough attention to building up in the first few episodes. The script itself does a great job in fleshing out its purpose as a mahou shoujo deconstruction as well.

#2: Un-Go

Un-Go meanwhile is a combination between the two series above, taking the best of both, and then putting in some more. It both shines with its individual stories, but in its second half its plot also is very well constructed and put together. On top of that, the creators also put as much dialogue in this series as they could muster. Dialogue that was full of hints to the different mysteries in this series where you really need to pay attention in order to catch everything. Because of this, the pacing is fast, and this definitely isn’t a series that you can just sit back to, but that really was part of this series’ charms.

#1: Hyouge Mono

The best written script comes from Hyouge Mono, though. It’s a show about some old guys talking to each other, but it does so wonderfully. The script it has to back up its views on aesthetics is incredibly solid and the way in which it describes everything in this series is just un-rivaled. The ramblings of the different characters also did a great job on giving detail to every major character involved.

#Top 4 Best Stories

#4: Tiger & Bunny

And finally, I’d like to present my list of series that had my favorite stories of the year. Tiger & Bunny was really well put together. especially in the way that it used its unique setting. It made great use of its individual stories to build up its overarching plot, which got more intriguing with every episode. Unfortunately it couldn’t keep up with this and so the finale dulled in a bit, but it still was one of the best stories of the year.

#3: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica

Madoka’s story rocked because of how well everything fitted. The story flowed really naturally here, in the way that it slowly deconstructed the Mahou shoujo genre and really gradually began to lose all of its innocence. All the major arcs here fit, and it found a great purpose for all of its characters.

#2: Mawaru Penguin Drum

Penguin Drum’s story isn’t for everyone. Unlike Madoka above, it does not answer everything about its story, and it’s really something where you have to read a lot in-between the lines. The story in Penguin Drum isn’t just told through its dialogue, but also its visuals, symbols, and emotions. The heavy use of flashbacks also gives this series a very non-linear and vague approach, but when it all comes together, it does come together wonderfully.

#1: Steins;Gate

Here there was no mistake: Steins;Gate had the single best story of the entire year, period. It had a weird way to look upon time travel, but it used that to create a story about time traveling unlike no other. There were a ton of layers in this series I just loved how it kept intertwining them in the most unexpected ways. That was just brilliant. It took a bit to build up, but it was definitely worth it.

#My top series of 2011: #40-31
I’d like to try something more elaborate this year. Usually I end each year with a top 20, but this time I’m going to list my 40 favorite series of this year, counting down ten shows each day. So here it is: the first part of my list of favorites of 2011.

#40: Kimi to Boku

Kimi to Boku was a peculiar show. For starters, it was a slice of life with the majority of characters being guys, rather than girls, but also it made no attempt at all to avoid getting on the viewers’ nerves. In particular Chizuru was consistently annoying, but the rest of this show also had this “bored” atmosphere. And yet, when you came down to it, it did have very well written characters. The end of each episode always made sure that the characters and their development came together. It was annoying sitting through it, but that alone is enough to give it the final place in my Top 40 of 2011.

#39: Wolverine

By far the most underrated franchise of 2011 was the Marvel Project. It made a really bad start with Iron Man in 2010, but after that they all delivered, but hardly anyone seemed to really notice them. Wolverine had its flaws: it had really simple characters, plus a bit of an acting problem. But when it came to the action, it was exactly what it promised to be? This series shows that even on a short budget, you can create an exciting action scene with creative camera work, great stunts and a pacing that doesn’t drag but keeps you on your seat. This show was simple, but actually quite effective.

#38: X-Men

The X-Men meanwhile lacked Wolverine’s problems of a small budget, acting problems and simple characters: these really are iconic characters who work great together, and the animation in this series was drop dead gorgeous, as mentioned above. Instead, the problems here were with the plot, which in the end boiled down a very crappy conflict. Wolverine had some pretty nice anime original characters, but Hisako in the X-Men completely unbalanced the series, taking away the spotlight from the real main characters of this series. Nevertheless, the action and atmosphere in this series made up for it.

#37: Appleseed XIII

For the record, I’m going to consider OVAs with 13 or more episodes as TV-series, because they very well might be, and are much easier to compare to TV-shows than time-constrained OVAs. Even though much hasn’t come out yet for this series, but it left me impressed. It’s definitely a series that’s very good at storytelling, and it uses its own setting very nicely in its stories. Its big flaw is that its acting leaves a lot to be desired. Especially Deunan acts much more feminine than what she was in the movies. So feminine that it feels like she’s on a non-stop period or something. This girl really needs to learn to control her hormones.

#36: Phi Brain

Phi Brain was just a series whose entire concept just didn’t make any sense. The whole thing about a world in which puzzles are so important that people make death defying puzzles, just to test this guy who happens to be the “Phi Brain”… it really was hard to buy it. And yet, after 13 episodes, that’s exactly what I did. This show can be rather stupid at times, but not when it matters. Its characters were surprisingly well fleshed out and fun to watch, the different puzzles were interesting to watch and very creative. Most of the puzzles are puzzles that you could try to solve yourself if you have the patience and the pause button.

#35: Kamisama Dolls

Kamisama Dolls was a show which nailed a combination between action, drama and comedy. It didn’t have too much of either, and all of them had good parts to really show off, making it a very diverse series and even though the story really left you hanging, and it devolved into a cheesy harem over time, it still brought consistent entertainment with some very good animation. It had some nice character development, the chemistry between the characters was great, and even though the story didn’t really live up to what it promised at the start due to some characters refusing to move out of their stereotypical roles, I still liked this a lot.

#34: Mitsudomoe

Comedy sequels that are as funny as their predecessors are already rare. So imagine my surprise when Mitsudomoe actually surpassed itself here. The first season had some very annoying flaws and jokes it milked too much. This season was much more stream-lined. As a result, it was a really hilarious series when it hit its stride. Sure, it was wrong on so many levels, but the chemistry between the different characters really rocked. What also made it a great series is that for once, it knew that it wouldn’t be able to fill 13 episodes, so it just stopped at 9. Seriously, more series should do that.

#33: Deadman Wonderland

This year of course also had its share of series that were just way too short. Deadman Wonderland was probably the show in which it was the most apparent: it rushed through its story and in the end left us hanging for a second season that will probably never arrive (it completely bombed in terms of DVD sales). But yet, the story that it tried to tell was completely crazy. In fact, unlike probably many others, I preferred this as a completely crazy and psychotic show over Mirai Nikki, due to the completely messed up system that the characters were thrown in. It had neat ideas behind its characters, and even though it had some weaker episodes here and there, the better episodes were very solid entertainment.

#32: No.6

Ah, No6. How I would have loved to put this show a little higher on this list. It really had the ingredients: terrific acting, great animation, an interesting post-apocalyptic setting and most importantly: character who just kept evolving. Seriously the characters kept developing in every single episode. Unfortunately, it’s stuck at place 32 due to that ending of its. This was a very believable series, so it doesn’t really work when the creators suddenly start pulling all kinds of nonsensical twists from out of their asses, just to wrap everything up in one episode, where it also went completely against the characters.

#31: Hunter X Hunter

Hunter x Hunter is another series that would have been much higher up my list of this year, if it weren’t for one thing: the existence of the first Hunter X Hunter series. It’s just too similar. I’m essentially rewatching a series here. The differences that are there are just minuscule, and the rest of the series will have to prove that a remake of this series was warranted for fans of the old series. But still: it remains one of the best shounen series ever. In 12 episodes it already did so much. Compare that to all other shounen genres, who keep having contests to see who can shamelessly drag on for the longest. 2011 was a year that broke a lot of subtle trends like this, and because of that I can call it a successful year.

22 Responses

  1. joojoobees says:

    I was actually quite impressed by the music for Phi Brain. The OST hasn’t surfaced yet, so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and really listen to it, but there have been any number of times while watching the show that I thought, “Wow! That’s a cool track. I hope the OST gets released soon.”

  2. kurini says:

    It’s interesting to put your 40 top! One thing I find it weird is that you inclued Phi brain in it even tough it hasn’t ended yet :o I enjoyed your post, you sound just so pro :)

    I have a question: which year has the best anime series? perhaps 2006-2007?

  3. Doug Napoleone says:

    Wait…. Where is part 1?!?!?!

  4. Cytl says:

    I’m a little surprised Mawaru Pendguin Drum wasn’t listed in any of the visual categories but it was a strong year in that area so it’s okay.

  5. miguel says:

    psgels:I,m sorry but i don,t think like you, about the visual work of the X-men.

    yes, it as his merit to move characters desigs as complex as this, but when this proyect was anounced I always think that theese series will have a american comic-book looking (use of black shadings, and a character desing a bit less anime-like) in EVERY frame of the series, think in something like redline, tokyo tribe 2 supernatural(it has 22 episodes, ten more, and the use the colours while isn,t always at the same level, never disapeared and had more variety of colours, blue,red, green,orange,grey, yellow,brown..),or casshern sins to see what i was expecting of this proyect.

    Its not like the X-men don,t have anything of this but only has this comic feeling in very few scenes mostly action scenes and with mostly a only monochromatic tone:a metalic red(althought was very impressive).

    All of the talking o calm scenes was really a down in comparation, that only increases my feeling that was a series to see only for the action, not a series in with the visual style complements the story. There was a lot of moralist dialogues, that not fixed the tone of the series, and also the visual style isn,t at the level of the fights so i felt disconected about the show.

    Yes, it had a few of impressive choreographies, with famous animators but ¿for what?: Spoiler-Nobody dies (or at least die in conlusive way ¿Jean was dead?)or suffer in the show, there wasn,t a sacriffice or effort in the fights.This series,with his atmoshpere needed a great amenaze, no the teenaged drama that it was-end of spoiler.

    And i.m not talking about the scale of the show: I can uderstand that wants to be centred in his atmosphere and for this, had to have a reduced setting, but ¿why open the setting in the last moment introduccing characters that only the comics readers are going to known?

    It only gives me the idea that the slow pacing of the show, and the use of only one team of mutants, while the last episode presents you another two, was a trick to save budget bacause they can only animate one team but hadn,t the budget to do a more world-scale series using theese addicional characters, and only generate hype for a hypotetical second seson with theese characters instead of take the risk to incorporate all of this elements at the series that you already has.

  6. Hogart says:

    I’m still surprised you enjoyed X-Men’s animation as much as you did.. it had potential but the shaky-cam effect and darkness often ruined my enjoyment of it’s most promising scenes.

    But hey, I’m kinda glad someone who actually watched the Marvel series is willing to give them a fair shake. Not having been raised on the comics, I actually found Wolverine and Blade to be on the good side of cliched Western stories. I guess I just happen to be in the right niche to not hate them by default or something?

  7. kero says:

    You’ve got me wanting to watch half a dozen more anime.


  8. KrazyKobun says:

    Nichijou had the best animation of this year, hands down. Always consistent, crisp, extremely fluid, and vibrant. Kyoto Animation did their thing for that anime. I’ve never been so visually impressed by a TV anime before it. While the comedy is definitely too random for it’s own good, the animation is gorgeous. I wish you stuck around just for the high quality “sakuga”.

    • Cholisose says:

      This. Nichijou not only had great character designs and crisp animation, but the team REALLY went all-out with many of their skits–utilizing camera angles, panning speeds, and transitions in extremely clever ways. And seriously, some of the action sequences in Nichijou are more spectacular than many of the best action anime *period* in recent years. Animation styles were also used to convey mood and atmosphere really well in Nichijou, exaggerating the characters’ situations to epic proportions. Brilliant stuff.

    • ender650 says:

      I was also very impressed by the animation quality in Nichijou. It was certainly in the top 3 this year (both in animation and enjoyment).

    • martin says:

      yeah, i have to agree nichijou had awesome, consistent animation. it reminded me of FLCL in its variety and you got the sense the animation team was having fun(like in FLCL). It even did those minor stuff super well (and i work in animation so i pay attention to that stuff). Not to mention this show was the 1st shojo show that really interested me(and I’m a guy so i tend to like actiony shonen stuff), most of it was due to the animation and the sometimes really funny humour.

      Now I feel like i gotta watch Kyoto animation’s K-on! because of that same team of awesome talent.

  9. rever5e says:

    Applaud Psgels

  10. Anraiki says:

    I disagree with Stein;Gate as the best story. It took too long to build up and because of the many flaws, I dropped it halfway through.

  11. SgCloud says:

    I also don’t understand why Steins;Gate ist so hyped by many. Sure, it was good overall but it was not so great as many people paint it afterwards. Due to the time travel mechanics only Okabe could get some real character development and the story while nice to watch was relatively simplistic

  12. jreding says:

    Good idea to prepare lists for the sub-categories – for me, the background art is particularly important and I’m glad that Yumekui Merry and HanaIro get some deserved praise in this respect!

    Some personal thoughts on your rankings:

    Re the setting, I’d have mentioned Gosick: While the mysteries were sometimes shallow I think this show succeeded well in world-building. After the last ep I felt like I had actually lived for a while in this pre WW II fantasy world!

    Re best script, Hourou Musuko comes to my mind (should this category be open for manga adaptations): The creators made a bold move by skipping the first manga volumes. Not a second was wasted in the 11 episodes and they fleshed out a lot of characters in a very short timeframe.

    Re best music, I would have included Penguindrum, which had a uniquely rich and varied soundtrack. UN-GO also has an excellent albeit unobtrusive soundtrack.

    I also second Cytl re Penguindrum’s graphics and KrazyKobun re Nichijou having the best animation!

  13. Aquarion says:

    Soo, did you just like forget about Horizon’s visuals and setting? I mean seriously, Horizon had the best CGI and action sequence all year. Not to mention that the animators kept a consistent quality throughout the show that’s only beaten by Fate/Zero.

  14. silv says:

    surprised that MPD is not mentioned for its doundtrack..

  15. c160 says:

    I’m also with the Nichijou supporters here, that show is beautiful. Definitely has the best looking graphics and a contender for the best animation.I’m actually quite surprised that you dropped it back then. The show’s second half was definitely a whole lot better due to certain spoilerific reasons too.

    I think I understand why psgels didn’t mention Penguindrum’s soundtrack. The soundtrack is really good, and was really used well.This is of course applies when it is used anyway. The show didn’t really use the soundtrack a lot. There were a lot of good tracks that were used only once or twice in the whole show, so maybe that’s why psgels didn’t put it in the best music category.

  16. DangerMouse says:

    Totally agree jreding, even if it ended controversially it’s good to see Yumekui Merry get some good praise for some things it really did well.

    It’s amazing the amount of shows covered in this years awards :)

    BTW, my only real disappointment was that I don’t understand how Last Exile: GnF’s didn’t get in for one of the top 5 Best Music especially given some of those that did, it has probably my favorite soundtrack ever (along with the first series) and the music has been used incredibly well.

    Was glad to see Tiger & Bunny’s OST make the 5 though at least.

Leave a Reply

Hey Aidan, thqt Kickstarter project Mecha-ude has passed its goal (nearly double now with 10 more days to go). Seems like people getting real hype for it
Wonder if Bam has played the new Dark Souls DLC. Found it rather lacking when compared to previous DLC from the last games.
@Anon, it's just a video of a still image of anime girls in bikini's with a red circle around one of their chests. Seeing as this thing has no views or subscribers my guess is someones is fishing for views. To which i say...what really is the point of making videos if this is the only way you can get people to watch them?
[link src="
I"] hate this crap that they corrupt anime with (crappy video that insults anime)
So RWBY's back. I actually miss the whole RWBY team. Still prefer Ruby's old custom more. Nora looks cool.
With the fourth episode, Vivid Strike seems to have crossed an invisible line that makes it more like the original Nanoha shows rather than Vivid. The kind of brutal beatdown delivered by the co-protagonist and the build up to it is something quite alien to a normal SoL/Sports anime show.
Ep. 4 of Tiger Mask was a lot better than the last 3, quite a hyped fight that was a full 6mins long. Will continue watching in hope of an awesomely long final fight.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
Going back to the fanservice topic, its very easy to complain about it in anything but then something actually comes along that actually does it for you. I mean I always say that I don't watch a show/movie for its fanservice elements and stick with pictures on image boards, but then I ended up seeing a film where I actually got something out of the fanservice while watching the film its.
Kaiser Eoghan
The oujia prequel was competent genre fare, the director cared about the characters and every now and the built up a decent mood. Although jump Scares are there . And I always appreciate a horror film having a mean spirited ending. One of the rare cases where the young actors do well in a horror film. The pace is a bit uneven, rushed and a bit laggy .
Kaiser Eoghan
In the sense of how messed up/especially bleak those two episodes were.
Kaiser Eoghan
There was the sense too with both those episodes of "Jesus...I wasn't ready for that...."
Kaiser Eoghan
Though the first episode of the first season and the third episode of season 3 are very hard to beat. Adding to what I thought of s3 ep3 I felt that one hit me on the same level as s1 ep1 did so.
Though in previous seasons I generally only really liked 2 out of the 3.
@Kaiser, though the previous seasons where only 3 episodes long and you enjoyed 3 out of 6 in this season. So yo essentially get the same amount of enjoyment as previous seasons.
Kaiser Eoghan
Based on my comments, it looks like I had a mixed reaction to the third season. Three out of six, but the great was was great and forgives it but I still feel that there was more of a consistentancy in quality in the other seasons. I enjoyed every story in seasons 1 and 2.
Kaiser Eoghan
The final episode felt like a movie all on its own, I'd have gladly watched another thirty minutes of it, ending was a nice punch in the gut.
Just finished black mirror season 3. I hear people basically complaining that it's not as strong as the previous two season but I disagree. I really enjoyed this and this is a show that deserves much more episodes. Personal favorite is between shut up and dance and hated in the nation. Worst I thought was San Junipero. Overall thought each episode was interesting.
Kaiser Eoghan
On the upside I loved black mirrors fifth episode, I'm a sucker for war/action-dramas and I particularly liked the tech in this one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah this is impossible for me to sit through, the romance part is also rather dull.
Kaiser Eoghan
Eh, this fourth episode is plodding and trite, feels like a bad, poorly dated 90s film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Third episode also instilled a great sense of paranoia.
@Kaiser: thanks for that mate. I have too much to say for Flipflappers but to put them all in coherent flow is goddamn hard. And like I said I still fell I left many details out: that gung-ho potato or Yayaka and the twins
@Friend: jugding from the last convention I went to, people loved Re:Zero customs (Emilia and Rem, Ram were highlights. Or you could try RWBY characters (I for once love to see someone cosplay Pirrha Nikos or Velvet Scarlatina)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Didn't care much for new black mirrors second episode, then again I'm not really the target for that story. The third episode while a bit heavyhanded and predictable was suspenseful, nasty/mean and I liked that about it, did in 50 minutes what some thrillers fail to achieve in two hours.
Holo is a good one :0
Materials aren't a problem at all for the most part, except for anything too crazy like working in brass. I'd prefer it to be characters I'm familiar with.
Does it matter to you that they're from shows that you like, or are you just in it for the challenge?
@Friend Aidan has some good ones there. I'd also give the cast of Akame ga Kiru a shot, I don't like the series but it has a lot of neat character designs.
I was thinking simple as I didn't know what kind of materials you got on hand. I was also thinking of Holo from spice and wolf or Kino from Kinos journey either.
Mm, Tatsumaki might be not challenging enough to design for. Doesn't Shiki simply wear either a coat or Japanese kimono? I do work in set design and not in character prop design, but I'd love to try something that would let me reasonably challenge myself.
@Friend, Spit balling here but Tatsumaki from One Punch Man? I know the costume for that one would be simple enough. Or maybe Shiki from Kara No Kyoukai?
*I don't want to do anything too complex for my first try, but I also don't want to do anything boring. Boring would be a character like Rukia or Celty. Any ideas?
I remember talking about this with Emma/Kaiser before, but has anyone here gone cosplaying at an expo before? I thought it would be neat to try designing my own costume and try something else beside drawing on a computer.
@Kaiser, I am up to episode 4. 3 has been the best one so far.Though in all these episodes I pretty much figured out the twist from the get go. Still this shows always tends to get you thinking.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think the roles/identity thing with flipflappers, at least with the protaganist does fit in well with adolescence.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I've only seen the first episode so far. I felt the acting was intentional and reflected the satire Brooker was going for on the shallow nature of society. Bleak as ever but gloriously grotesque.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario:Good in depth reviewing there Mario of flipflappers episode three.
Good god this first episode of black mirror is hard to watch. I know exactly how it's going to turn out but it's just so damn painful to watch.
Well, tbh up to where I've seen there's not much explicit yaoi in yuri on ice, only a lot of fujoshi fuel.
@Kaiser. thanks for the torrent. Gonna blaze through this today.
@Topgavin, as someone who watches a metric ton of anime I am rather surprised at that estimate that 90% of it contains Yuri.
My god those gay scenes in Yuri on Ice are hard to watch for me. Wonder if this is how it feels to be a girl watching 90% of normal anime nowadays.
okay, Flip Flappers episodic review was up. This is my lengthiest weekly review so far and I still feel I missed a lot of points. Damn you Flip Flappers
Kaiser Eoghan
You have seen the light, not needing to know everything thats happening to enjoy something ^_^
Kaiser Eoghan
I've given some consideration to reviewing that oujia film followup.
Whether you see one or the other is entirely up to your preferences, so it makes no difference to me which is worse. I have gotten very tired of generic character types, but again that's just because of the things I decide to regularly follow.
I will say if it must come down to either unnatural dialogue or unnatural character types, at leas the character type is speaking their own words and not the words of the script writer.
Or was that a black and white fallacy? Maybe it was a little of both.
@Realjustified, K-Off wasn't agreeing with me. That's a Moving the Goal Posts logical Fallacy but well I will answer regardless. Honestly it's preferable to have neither. The big mistake you are making here is that you are putting down a condiction that a show must have one or the other. But both cartoons and anime can have both. I just think it's a lot more prominent in cartoons than anime.
Like, having read hundreds of harem manga over the years, a majority of the ultimate love interest always happens to be the first girl the protagonist meets.
Wait wait wait wait. Aidan and K-Off. I get that dialogue in cartoon can seem like it was written by a script writer, but at the same time, lots of anime have characters whose sole purpose is entirely scripted. The whole spectrum of "deres" and everything. What do you think is worse? Unnatural dialogue, or unnatural character types?
You guys should really go fuck yourself, it's a solution and it's nothing short of great!
You guys should really watch the first 4 episodes of Bungo, it's a prequel and it was nothing short of great!
omg!! I just realized To be Hero was one of the show that I reviewed its 1st episode back in Chinese Animation post. I watched raw then though
forgive me if I'm a bit too overwhelmed by Flip Flappers... For this episode alone I took like 25 screenshots...trying to write a review now...
I have absolutely no idea what is going on in Flip Flappers plot. And yet for some reason I am OK with that.
Anyone out there that's a fan of crude humor should go watch ep.3 of To Be Hero. Certinately stepped it up a notch from the last two humor-wise.
One downside I can think of already is that I'm bound to lose or break one of the detachable controllers. The cost for those pieces is what I'm most interested in.
Nintendo Switch hmm? Honestly it looks too good to be true. I expect some major downsides to this thing.
I like cartoons, don't get me wrong. Certainly good for a change of pace. But there is something about the way they are written that I find rather distracting.
I don't know, maybe if I said it's like the difference from how characters talk in movie vs how characters talk in a sitcom?
@K-Off, I said one liner's or jokes. Not one liner jokes. It's hard to explain. Basically when I hear a conversation in anime even if it is based in stereotypes, it at least feels like a conversation that's being had in the moment. In cartoons however there is a layer of artificiality and it feels like characters know what a person is going to say and has a response prepared.
That's probably why some of my favorite anime in recent years haven't been very heavy on character archetypes, or were either parodies of it.
Comedic dialogue with anime in recent years have leaned too much on the idea of playing off character archetypes. The collected character vs the energetic character, for one. I'd like to see more variety. Some more word play, hyperbolic humor, body humor, etc etc.
@Aidan Not quite sure what you mean by that, because it's certainly not even a majority of cartoons that rely on cheap one liner jokes. I suppose it's entirely up to taste, but I can appreciate the energy in cartoons like Steven Universe or Regular Show when compared to the increasingly repetitive dialogue found in some recent anime.
@Topgavin: I just read that review and his main reason being Shelter is pretentious. oh well! Can't never please anyone.
Thought I'd check out the reviews for Shelter on MAl and the top review is a 1/10. Apparently because it's a cute girl we sympathise with her more, which is bad because reasons. I mean.. what? MAL never ceases to amaze me
@Mario, no. It's more that the dialogue keeps trying to push out one liners or jokes regardless of whose talking.
@Aidan: maybe because they spoke in your native language do you can feel that it's artificial, ya know? I know I have the same problem with Vietnamese drama/ cartoon and maybe Japanese people have that same issues with anime?
By which I mean, the way characters talk in cartoons is very...artificial. Like you can tell that the dialgoue was clearly written beforehand and it never really sounds natural. At least to me.
@Anon, I wouldn't. The writing and structure are too cartoon. What with the episodic nature and dialogue that generally pushes for a comedic tone.
Kaiser Eoghan
Flanagan also directed absentia which I haven't seen yet but I think someone I came across of 4chan linked it to being lovecraftian?
Kaiser Eoghan
Oculus was a film of two halves for me. Hush was a pretty standard home invasion thriller, making the victim deaf was an interesting twist but not as unique as you might think, still suspenseful though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never saw the first oujia film. Though Mike Flanagan who did the sequel, he's never made a bad movie but he's never really made a great one either.
Kaiser Eoghan
I stick to the firm belief that cartoons and anime, visually should do and be their own thing. I'll prefer a western artstyle for cartoons rather than one pretending to look like anime style.
But this is a good topic and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions so I'm looking to hear some more arguments
@anon352392: no they aren't. For me not because of where their production based, nor their intended audience, but rather their styles, both visually and storytelling-ly, are different
Anime,” they assert, is not a “style” of illustration or animation.
That's where I differ to those guys. For me, anime is a style. In that sense, I consider RWBY, and Canadian-produced short Flutter as an anime. Thunderbolt Fantasy is not and anime-influence shows/movies that are intented for Western audience like AniMatrix or Afro Samurai are anime
@Anon nah they wouldn't be because they aren't made by a japanese producer for the japanese market. Quality isn't the question, production is
NX and Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers tomorrow.
They are good series and i honestly like them alot more than most anime series, would their quality make them anime?
What about cartoons like Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Star Vs The Forces Of Evil?
In other news a sequel to an absolutely terrible horror movie called Ouija is out and it's...actually pretty good? Wondering if critics were paid off or it is legit good. Well it did have the guy who was behind Oculus and that was a pretty good movie.
Simplify the term down enough and anime is literally anything animated but the whole point of the term is to distinguish it. For to call Spongebob an anime makes me want to projectile vomit. Point is this, you say you watched a cartoon, people think Tom and jerry, Scooby doo etc. You say you watched an anime, people think Cowboy bebop, Attack on titan, etc. Whole point of the term.
For example, I don't consider Avatar or RWBY to be anime for while they use anime style, the writing is fundamentally structured like an American cartoon. Through I would consider Bloodivores an anime even though it was made by a Chinese animation company, making it technically a Chinese cartoon.
As far as what is and isn't anime I honestly think of the term as a means of distinguishing it from cartoon which gives the impression of being for children. It's like Graphic novel is to comic book. Though techically graphic novels are issues of comics bound in book form, the term Graphic novel is often used to distinguish works that go above superhero comics and whatnot.
Basically I think it was due to Porter Robinsons involvement that they didn't consider it anime.
@Aidan: Did the mods give any concrete reasons why they didn't consider it an anime?
@Mario, It wasn't the community that had the problem. It was the mods. The community made it pretty clear that they considered it anime.
So despite the art style is obviously anime, the character speaks in Japanese, and the production was animated by A1 Studios, it's not an anime? Sometimes I feel sad that the anime community keeps limiting themselves with such fixed minds.
I saw it yesterday and yes it was good. For a 5-minute story, they don't make it too overwhelme with details, and still pack an emotional punch. Moreover it elevates the song. Good stuffs.
Shelter was quite good though. It works well and the animation was beautiful. Song is not bad either. It's got a nice emotional punch to it though it's a bit simple a story.
Well anyway I only saw all this because I checked out the video for the first time and wanted to see how others thought of it with a quick scan through reddit. And I get this shitshow instead.
Playing the victim is the one really pisses off the internet. For refusing to admit you f*cked up only encourages people to shove how you f*cked up into your face. That's what really grinds peoples gears.
Yep, seen that too. The mods even put up another tread about the video and tried to guilt trip people by saying they got death threats. Look, internet rules 101. If you said or did something stupid admit to it and just walk away. Do not try to deflect blame or play the victim, that only adds fuel to the fire.
@Aidan oh yeah saw that live lol. Porter himself even commented on twitter about it, gotta love internet drama
So did anyone happen to catch the big old shitstorm of that Shelter music music when a mod of the Anime subreddit decided it wasn't "Anime" enough and removed the discussion post about it? Oh internet drama...what silly nonsense.
Finally caught up with JoJo. Diamond is Unbreakable has turned out to be much better than Stardust Crusaders. Should have waited for the season to finish through as I really loved marathoning it.
I had a feeling that might be the case considering the source materail for luger.
@Mario Oh I watched that, certinately worth it. Packed more story that some 12-episode shows do nowadays and gorgeous animation.
and I will check out "Shelter" music video to see what all the fuss is about
*this weekend to be exact.
Sounds like Luger Code 1951 is an OVA that will air next week, the same air date with "my" Zaregoto OVA.
@Mario: doesn't sound real at all to me lol
@Mario, I might be able to manage. If all else fails I can talk about the past of these historical figures.
While I don't mind watchinng Drifters, I swaer if I had to cover that show, I couldn't come up with anything to say.
Do you guys know what language the fairies speak in Drifters? It does sound like a genuine language
@topgavin: humanity has declined is a great show. It has good writing and dark, witty sense of humor. I could talk about it in length but psgels pretty much covered it all. He was really impressed by that show however.
That should be me covered till the weekend. Why do all my shows air on the weekend...
@Mario nah I've watched the whole thing but I'd heard about it at the start of this year and put it off. The dialogue between her and the fairies was great stuff, probably gonna rewatch it this weekend now that you mention it
Alright, I got three posts written up and will be throwing them out in about two hours or do.
I thought you've finished it. Yeah I love her character a lot, so cynical but witty. My favorite moment was when she read about fairy's plan to invent religions. She was like "so religions are invented?" (beat) "I've learn something new today". Priceless
@Mario Oh nice, it was one that I had heard about but never got round to. To put it in simple anime terms, Watashi is best girl
@topgavin: I just finished the series yo mentioned the other day: humanity is declined. Man, I love it. I know now I have a thing for dark twisted absurdist anime
@Ano340004: the name is Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or to put it short Motete. I have fun with it but i'm not that enthuastic
@anon the english name is Kiss him, not me. Search through the first impressions if you need the jap name.
then that girl really loves BL (boy love)
what is the name of the anime that the girl is fat and then she got depressed because her favorite boy anime died then she got thin?
Season 7 is awesome so far too. It feels like the tone of the show is finally back to normal and it feels like Adventure Time again.
Whew, I binged all seasons of Adventure Time this weekend. The show hit a low spot in Season 6 but I think it needed to happen...Poor Finn needed the serious character development after what he did to FP.
You guys are too hard on it
Motete is very funny
Kaiser Eoghan
When it comes to gag manga and four-koma, I just eventually reach a stopping point with a comedy series in that format. Even with hidamari sketch.
I think it was typical light novel trash based on what was in the PV. I laughed that despite it being horrible that the crowd still cheered anyway, likely because it had a bath clip in it.
The PV was hilarious. I had no idea what the anime was about.
@Aidan I'm good, I'll stick with Working.
@K-Off, you could switch to something like Gi(a)rlish Number if you like. I for one am really digging the satire of the show. Plus I like that it's basically showing how an utter train-wreck of an anime can be made. That PV in the last episode was truly painful.
Feeling pretty disappointed with Working. I haven't gotten any more cynical with comedies, at least I don't think, and its flaws are so irritating.
@Adam Le, I find that with Comic book dialogue. Which is one of the reasons I have gone off marvel movies. Cartoons have it to a degree as well.
I love the instagram shots in Yuri
Maybe I can have a watch through those live action films and do a compare/contrast to see which version works better. After all movie and tv series are 2 different medium, and live-action vs animation is the topic that we never get tired of
speaking of which, the overlap between anime and live-action adaptation from manga is overwhelming. For this year alone, there were Erased, 3-gatsu no Lion, Fune o Amu, orange, and Chihayafuru (part 1&2). Those were just the ones I know.
@Adam: Don't know which genre you're into but you can try Fune o Amu (The Great Passage)
Adam Le
I can't seem to get into any of these new shows. I don't know, the dialogue always seems off to me and the forced comedy is a big turn off.
Reminds me of a thought I had when I was last at the Getty art museum. People walking past works of art hundreds of years old, but only taking a second-long glance before moving on to the next one. Not their fault really, it's only the professional critics who can understand what they see with depth.
I'm the opposite really, they're getting paid for what they said so they better know their shits
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose I'm slightly envious of professional critics somewhat.
Sometimes you're just meant to experience the ride you know. I don't watch those explained video anymore because after all it's just one guy's opinions.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
And I mean people who art professionals or students.
Kaiser Eoghan
I guess I'm just unsure of something, how many people watching "arty" stuff are able to pick it up on their own. By looking up an "explained video" or "explained essay" to get it, am I copping out?
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