Best of 2011 – Anime

2011 has been an interesting year in anime.  We saw more adaptations of American media and more Sengoku Period stories featuring our favorite samurai as pretty boys AND pretty girls.  There seemed to be a lot of ginormous breasts.  While I know anime always has an unrealistic idea of breast size (and when you combine that with American comic books, you get Emma Frost looking more buxom than ever), 2011 almost seemed to be the Year of the Boobie.   However, I am going to deem it instead to be the Year of the Loser Man who Turns Out to be Quite Cool because we finally got a different breed of protagonist.  Guys like Kotesu from Tiger&Bunny and Daikichi from Usagi Drop, were an unlikely choice in heroes, but they’re added heart and a realistic sense of determination that was much needed this year.

Best scene – Takano kissing Onodera who’s on the phone (Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi) – The first season of this yaoi series ends with a huge cockblock in the form of the mangaka Onodera’s working with calling in the middle of a heated make-out session. Talk about frustration. However, the ending redeems itself with one of the cutest moments this dysfunctional couple has shared. Onodera’s reaction is both sincere and sweet.

Best theme – “Küsö Mesorogiwi” by Yousei Teikoku (Mirai Nikki)
This is what you get when you mix symphonic metal with J-pop, and it is glorious. The operatic background vocals and rapid-fire drums are an attention-grabber, and the song isn’t so overly gothic that it would only work for a series of the same genre.

Best voice acting – Johnny Yong Bosch as Izaya Orihara (Durarara!!)
Bosch has become extremely good at voicing the arrogant jerk.  First there was Lelouch, and now as Izaya, he mixes in charm and snark to make the character an alluring snake. While I don’t speak Russian, his exchange with Simon sounded pretty darn convincing.

Cosplay this series if you want to be cool – Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
Much to the delight of photographers, many girls (and some guys) busted out their angel wings, high heels, and striped stockings to be the sassy duo.  Who can blame them?  You can look hot AND have a stellar costume that many would recognize.
2011-recap1, Photo by SciFiHun (http://scifihun.com/)
Photo by SciFiHun

Line we like to repeat – “Live by the boobie, die by the boobie!” (Kida Masaomi, Durarara!! dub)
I have to thank the screenwriters for daring to take creative liberties with the script because we get gems like these.  No one in real life would say such a thing (unless maybe they were drunk), but this line is so perfect for Masaomi and suits the ridiculous nature of Durarara!!.

Most egregious fanservice – Episode 1 of Last Exile -Fam, the Silver Wing-
Last Exile isn’t exactly known fanservice, but the first episode of the new series features a girl sleepwalking in her undies and what could be viewed as a “wet princess” contest.  While nothing is too revealing, I have to wonder why are teenagers wearing garters to bed and why did Princess Liliana wear a see-through dress?

Most overrated series – X-men
I have to wonder if the praise for this series was a result of low standards after Iron Man and Wolverine disappointed many Marvel fans.  This rendition of X-men had too much angsty Cyclops and a pathetic name for the bad guys (U-men? Really?).  Also, is Tohoku really so in the middle of nowhere that Cerebro gets messed up trying to find mutants there?

Most ridiculous premise – Seikon no Qwaser 2
I wound up checking out the first episode because I could not believe this anime, which centers on a Christian hero getting his alchemical powers from the breast milk of young girls, got a second season.  I don’t really have much else to say other than that those who wanted more boob-sucking got their wish.

Anime of the year – Tiger & Bunny
Tiger & Bunny puts a clever spin on the mutant hero genre while providing a bit of social commentary. The idea that people with powers would be exploited in the name of reality TV is totally conceivable yet there is hope for the hopeless masses. This series proves that good guys still exist and that they can triumph over corporate greed and a sensationalism-obsessed world.
2011-recap2

Most anticipated series for 2012 – Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean
I’m a huge fan of Eureka Seven, and I’ve always thought there could be more to the series. Since Astral Ocean has been deemed a direct sequel with a new protagonist, I am eager to see cameos from the crew of Gekko as well as more about the Sub Coral and more surfing.

Character Superlatives

  • Best Dressed – Baroness Roshanak Babar (Last Exile -Fam, the Silver Wing-)
  • Best Eyes – Ritsu Onodera (Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi)
  • Best Hair – Storm (X-men)
  • Best Legs – Oda Nobunaga (Sengoku Otome ~Momoiro Paradox~)
  • Best Smile – Rin Kaga (Usagi Drop)
  • Biggest Flirt – Dean Winchester (Supernatural)
  • Class Clown – Pin Arai (Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season)
  • Cutest Couple – Sawako Kuronuma and Shota Kazehaya (Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season)
  • Friendliest – Kou Yukina (Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi)
  • Most Athletic – Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Tiger & Bunny)
  • Most Likely to Succeed… in Taking Over the World –Eucliwood Hellscythe (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?)
  • Most Spirited – Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (Tiger & Bunny)
  • Most Talented… with a Weapon – Seraphim (Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?)

2011-recap3
Rin even makes smiling with missing teeth look cute.

Members of the anime industry who will be missed in 2012:

  • Osamu Dezaki – director of Tomorrow’s Joe
  • Osamu Kobayashi – Admiral Domel (Space Battleship Yamato)
  • Tomoko Kawakami – Soifon (Bleach), Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
  • Shinji Wada – mangaka of Sukeban Deka
  • Kohei Tokiguchi – Dokurobei (Yatterman), Uranai Baba (Dragon Ball)
  • Shingo Araki – director of The Rose of Versailles

Listening to: “In My Head” by CNBlue

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