Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Anime of the Year 2011

What’s immediately clear about C^3 is that it’s trying to be a philosophical discourse about the bonds of humanity to the tools we use.  What’s amazing is how well it accomplishes this goal—shattering the initial trepidation that this series might turn out to be nothing more than a gilded brick.  Haruaki’s strong, competent personality provides a natural foundation for the other characters to rely on, but the real gem comes from the sadistically cute voice acting of Yukari Tamura.  Watching her magnificent portrayal of Fear was plenty to elevate C^3 to number five on my list of 2011’s best anime.

#4. No. 6

It’s not often an anime comes along that blends issues of science and morality as well as No. 6.  It reminds us that the natural resources of our world can be our greatest sources of inspiration and innovation.  But we also need to respect the power of nature, especially when dealing with phenomena we don’t fully understand. Accepting our own place in nature is also pivotal to our survival, which goes hand-in-hand with our respect for our fellow humans. Through a bit of fantasy, science fiction and post-apocalyptic ingenuity, No. 6 fits nicely into last year’s fourth place.

Wandering Son touches on some very important, often misunderstood and undiscussed issues dealing with the growth of children into young adults.  Its core theme deals with gender identity and how this confusion and desire to be someone very different from society’s expectations can lead to turmoil.  This anime takes a very candid view of what men and women are expected to be and tells a story through the eyes of some honest young people about acceptance and being who you want to be, rather than what someone else wants you to be.  It’s a powerful concept, the art is beautiful and the wonderful music is the icing on the cake that puts Wandering Son at third place for 2011.

I’ll come right out and admit that my choice for A-Channel to be the second-best anime of 2011 was highly biased by my own personal experiences—the lens through which I view the four main characters. Although each of the four girls are colorful and unique, I can see a little of myself in each of them.  Like Run, I have a hard time waking up in the morning and I’m bad at reading the atmosphere of social situations.  Nagi is smart, wears glasses and is sensitive about her self-image—just like me.  Yuuko and I are both tall and ticklish.  And Tooru hates hot summer weather, which is also one of my greatest enemies.  It’s just good, hilarious moe fun and its charms will put a warm smile on your laughing face.

Everything about this anime is so spectacular it’s easily capable of deflecting the attacks of any naysayer and I predict this title to be one of the most cherished, memorable anime in history.  We’re literally witnessing the rise of an anime for the ages—something that will transcend generations to come.  Its accomplishments are too numerous to go into detail here, so I’ll do my best to keep my enthusiasm brief.
1. Madoka took the magic girl genre that generally doesn’t get a lot of love from more casual anime fans, threw away everything wrong and then added its own original flair to show that the right amount of creativity can make anything shine brightly.
2. The story is deep and intellectual.  Between imagining ways of warping space and time, then twisting the delicate emotions of young people who wish to fulfill their kindest desires resulting in tragedy while distorting misunderstood feelings, culminating in a selfless, powerful will that can alter the physical properties of reality itself, there’s no shortage of deep thinking and fresh ideas.
3. Music and art that merge the story and setting into a complete piece, crafted with such flawless skill that we’re unlikely to see this level of quality again for quite some time. It’s just so tight and focused, not a second, not a color, not a single word is wasted fluff that would distract from the central story.

It’s really just a no-brainer that Magic Girl Madoka Magica would be my anime of the year.


5 responses to “Anime of the Year 2011

  1. TWWK March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Interesting list – particularly your inclusion of a couple of series that generally didn’t make others’ lists. I don’t know much about A-Channel, so it’s surprising to see here; less surprising to see is No. 6, which I know you enjoyed, and which seemed to be either be loved or hated by other anibloggers.

    I certainly can’t argue for Madoka being the best anime of the year. By general consensus, I think it was. I didn’t really do a ranking (I put anime in categories for my end-of-year list), but if I had to rank my top three, they would have been:

    1. Wandering Son
    2. Mawaru Penguindrum
    3. Madoka Magica

    Particularly, I could easily flip-flopped the top two, though I wouldn’t have a problem putting Madoka number one on my list either.

    Have you seen Mawaru Penguindrum, yet? It’s a deep series and I think one you would enjoy.

    • アレクザンダー March 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Heh, if I was going to make a list of bad anime released in 2011, Penguindrum would be a contender. Definitely not the worst, but still very bad. The ridiculousness of its premise would have been fine if the writing and art style weren’t so abysmal. Episode one of Penguindrum got me interested, but the following episode did nothing to forward any kind of acceptable story, so I dropped it. Looking back, I think giving it a 4/10 score was very generous considering my top two anime for summer 2011 were No. 6 and God’s Notebook. Heck, if you look at my standards, The iDOLM@STER was a much better anime than Penguindrum. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I have a very resolute opinion on this and I find it hard to believe anything about Penguindrum could have made up for its incomprehensible direction. Just for perspective, my worst anime of 2011 prize would probably go to Tamayura, UN-GO or Beelzebub.

      • Hogart March 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

        Wow, you’ve got some interesting opinions on anime. C3 is philosophical discourse, but Penguindrum is merely incomprehensible? That’s a new one to me. Kudos for challenging my opinions.

      • TWWK March 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        Whew…okie dokey. I often drop shows after two episodes (or even one…or even half of one), so I certainly can’t blame you for that. I will say that it’s impossible to know what the real premise is of Penguindrum, though, after only two episodes. Even after 13, it’s hard to know, and by it’s end, the series has taken such a dramatic shift in tone and story, that it’s difficult to comprehend that the show started out in such a goofy and over-the-top manner.

        Anyway, the premise of the first few episodes was purposely ridiculous. There was a shock value to the early shows, as the viewers wondered just what we were watching. As the series progressed, the director engaged us through storyline and characters that made us care, while the shock never left, though the audience came to accept the “rules” of the universe and found shock more in the unfolding plot.

        Anyway, the reason why I felt you might like it is because religion and spirituality are major themes in the show. Mythology, philosophy, the Aum Shinrikyo cult are omnipresent ideas and concepts in the last half of the series.

      • アレクザンダー March 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

        For me, the best measure of an anime (or any form of media for that matter) comes down to its ability to entertain. I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with random. I’m ok with silly premises and off-the-wall plots if I’m having fun with it. Episode one of Penguindrum succeeded at that. The second measure of media that I use is ability to tell a story. I want to see where things are going or to have some reasonable expectation of future developments going somewhere meaningful. Even if it ends up being misleading and there’s actually no plot to speak of, if it can’t even slightly hold my interest I’m going to drop it.

        While I do tend to like shows that deal with religion, mythology and philosophy, if it can’t keep my attention beyond the first two or three episodes then it’s clearly missed the mark. I think from your description of how it starts (even if it turns into some interesting philosophical discourse) I still wouldn’t give Penguindrum a high score because of its lackluster start.

        I don’t say things like this just to be contrary to popular opinion (or in simpler terms, “I’m not a troll”). But I’ll talk about my views of objectivity vs sentimentality more when I get around to writing my review of Shakugan no Shana.

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