Best Anime Series of 2011

We are now in 2012 and that tells me that it is time to visit all the polls, wrap-ups, ratings of anime in 2011 and see which one is rated above all others in 2011. I still like having a comprehensive ranking that I can personally look to with some confidence for the best animes to watch over the last year (considering I’m so far behind and have not heard of most of the top 10 before I wrote this!). Unlike 2010, there seems to be a consensus that 2011 is a very good year for anime with as many as five titles acclaimed as the best in the last few years. The roster at the top is more loaded with a clear consensus on what the top animes are. I sure cannot wait to watch them alll!

I have now also extended the data research to cover MAL among others, making the list more comprehensive that the 2010 version.


METHODOLOGY (Skip to ranking for the results)

Similar to previous analyses I have done, the trick to come up with the ranking is to combine sources that post their results as list or rankings (blogs, SA) with those that post it as ratings. To this end, I have adapted the method I have used before and streamline it a little bit to come up with the following methodologies:

–          Collect results (the most time-consuming part of all…)

–          For blogs and Something Aweful (SA) results, I use the following methodology:

  • grade each series based on:
    • Count: how many times the series is mentioned in the top list or ranking
    • Rank: What rank the series is placed in relative to others. Note that rank is converted to a log scale [see Appendix II]
  • Use ratio of 75:25 between the two metrics (Count:Rank). The ratio give more wright to any animes that are mentioned in any list. However, the better the animes are being ranked, the better it score.

–          For rating sites, I use the average ratings

–          For poll, I combined all polls and rank them based on the combined number of votes

–          Rank each of them

–          Assign weight to each sources. The weight is given based on the relative importance of each source taken into account the number of votes, number of ratings, etc. [see Appendix III]

Name Weight Type Description
Blog 9% Ranking  Rankings from 33 blogs around the web
Something Aweful 10% Ranking  Rankings from 74 users on SA forum
ANN 10% Rating  Ratings from Animenewsnetwork.com
MAL 22% Rating  Ratings from Myanimelist.net
AniDB 10% Rating  Ratings from Anidb.net
Ani-Planet 10% Rating  Ratings from Anime Planet
Vote 15% Poll  Data from 5 polls covering 55,000 votes
AniBlogger 7% Ranking  Rankings from +40 bloggers
Desu Ex 7% Ranking  Rankings from +40 bloggers

–          The average rankings are cross-multiplied with respective weights to give final rating. It is these final ratings that I use to rank the best anime of 2011

—–

RANKING

10). KIMI NI TODOKE 2ND SEASON (君に届け 2ND SEASON)

Average ranking: #15.6

Synopsis: It’s the same heartwarming romantic comedy about this clueless girl with a golden heart and this popular yet similarly clueless guy.

Watch this if you like: Kare Kano, Toradora!

Number of episodes: 13

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School

Studio: Production I.G

Director: Kaburaki Hiro (Kimi ni Todoke)

Best ranking: #6 (ANN, MAL, AniDB, Ani-Planet)

Excerpts:

While some people may not be interested in drama/romance, I thought the struggles that the characters had to face to make their relationships work was very touching and the overall story was just beautiful. [Forever Geek]

Picking up from the first season, the second season didn’t disappoint. The same well-executed plot with it’s share of everything a normal slice-of-life high school has was still there with its comedy and cliffhangers keeping you from dropping it and pulling you to want the next episode. [Desu Diary]

9). HANASAKU IROHA (花咲くいろは)

Average ranking: #11.2

Synopsis: After her single mother decides to run off with a boyfriend to dodge debt collectors, the young and energetic Ohana is sent to live with her grandmother. However, her grandmother is the strict owner of a hot springs inn and requires her to work at the inn to pay for her living expenses

Watch this if you like:  Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Bakuman, Working!!

Number of episodes: 26

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Family

Studio: P.A. Works

Director: Ando Masahiro (CANAAN, Sword of the Stranger)

Best ranking: #5 (Blog, ANN)

Excerpts:

A masterpiece when it comes to anime which revolve around the everyday lives of people. Even when the characters face some difficult situation, the show always has a bright atmosphere and it encourages people by a hidden message that hardships are meant to be overcome by work and dedication and that there is nothing like an utterly hopeless situation. [Anime Raku]

The setting and the world created in this anime became magical and while watching this anime series I just wanted to join in on the adventures and be part of the sense of family everyone had in this series. It was inspiring, realistic, and has the ability to charm you to no ends. [Anime Princess]

esides the beautiful visuals, Hanasaku Iroha provided plenty of drama based around the trials of becoming an adult. [Forever Geek]

Hanasaku Iroha seemed so promising, but lost itself by telling too many stories about its many side-characters. That said, one can still enjoy watching the characters having their own up and downs and the slowly unraveling relationships between them. [Polychromium]

8). TIGER & BUNNY (タイガー&バニー)

Average ranking: #9.8

Synopsis: A story about two very different heroes in a city filled with other heroes that compete for fame and sponsorships.

Watch this if you like: Batman: Gotham Knight, Death Note, Detective Academy Q

Number of episodes: 25

Genre: Mecha, Action, Comedy

Studio: Sunrise

Director: Satou, Keiichi (Saint Seiya The Movie, Karas, Ashura)

Best ranking: #2 (SA); #4 (Vote)

Excerpts:

It mixes action and comedy perfectly! Not to mention it has some of the cheezy themes you would find in the classic comic book hero story, but brings a new fresh look to it and revives it into something incredibly entertaining.  [Anime Princess]

Great premise. Great characters. Good story. Good humor. Good action. Great animation. What more can you ask? [Otaku Ako]

Tiger & Bunny offers a brilliant twist on the classic superhero genre while remaining faithful to the charm of its conventions. Although it’s by no means perfect, T&B is consistently engaging with bucket-loads of energy, a refreshing premise, and genuinely likable characters. In essence, Tiger & Bunny simply feels like good ol’ fashioned, “back to basics” entertainment at its prime. [Anime-Planet – Hesse]

[Sunrise] has completed a masterfully constructed superhero story filled with complex plots, amazing action, and deeply moving character drama. I believe that Sunrise has created a group of characters and, more importantly, a world that has the potential to rival any of the currently sitting Superhero or anime franchises. [Otaku in Review]

7). NICHIJOU (日常)

Average ranking: #9.1

Synopsis: The series follows the lives of a group of high school students and their school, encountering bizarre events such as robotic girl made by a scientist who is an eight-year-old girl, a boy who rides a goat to school with his butler, a girl who can procure various guns out of thin air and a cat that can speak

Watch this if you like: Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star, K-On!

Number of episodes: 26

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice-of-life, Psychological, School

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Director: Ishihara Tatsuya

Best ranking: #4 (Something Aweful)

Excerpts:

Nichijou manages to be an enjoyable show with its various jokes that are structured in such a way that it’s refreshing. The comedy manages to show that even events in Your Ordinary Life can be quite spectacular depending on how you look at it. [Polychromium]

The comedy of the year… The characters are forceful and memorable; the animation is superb; and the comedy is drop dead hilarious. Go watch Nichijou if you haven’t already. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

This anime is very very much enjoyable, but it probably is not suited for people who don’t like randomness anime, who’d rather be able to tell what’s going to happen next.  If you want a good laugh, or more than a laugh.. If you want to “lmao”, then yup, I recommend watch this! [Wan Abrar]

The sort of joy I gained from simply watching it and talking about it with my friends reminded me why I had started watching anime in the first place. In essence, Nichijou is the perfect exemplar of everything good in slice-of-life and comedy; simplicity, ingenuity, and most importantly, love. [Blickwinkel]

6). MAWARU PENGUINDRUM (輪るピングドラム)

Average ranking: #7.0

Synopsis: an alien hat appearing and ordering two brothers to obtain the penguindrum in order to save their sisters life

Watch this if you like: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, Revolutionary Girl Utena

Number of episodes: 24

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Mystery, Psychological

Studio: Brains Base

Director: Nakamura Shouko

Best ranking: #3 (Deus Ex); #5 (SA, Vote)

Excerpts:

This anime is a feast for the eyes with its vibrant colours and crazy awesome style. It has a story that always keeps us guessing and promises to entertain us with every episode. From the jokes, to the drama, the animation, to the soundtrack, this anime raises the bar of pure greatness to a new level! [Anime Princess]

Pen­guinDrum is a bizar­rely bril­liant piece, hap­pily embra­cing the absurd in its story and run­ning with it. Where preg­nant frog potions can become import­ant plot devices, child crush­ing machines are both meta­phors for child aban­don­ment and actual real machines, and a trio of pen­guins fol­low the main char­ac­ters around with appar­ently no effect on the main story. [Cart Driver]

if there was a reward for the most awesome and well-balanced character cast of the year, it would go to Mawaru Penguindrum. [Rabbit Poet]

It was relentlessly creative, occasionally very funny and found some real emotional power in the last few episodes.  [Lost in America]

The art is fabulous in this one, and level of details each episode bring in terms of animation is superb. Likewise the story as well is very captivating: it will make you wonder about what’s going on down to the very last episode. [Otaku Ako]

Trivia: Much of the locations seen in the show are real-life places, pivotally the Tokyo Metro Marouchi Line.

5). FATE/ZERO (フェイト/ゼロ)

Average ranking: #6.5

Synopsis: An epic series revolving around a magical artifact that harvests legendary heroes to duke it out for its wish-granting powers. [hyperboreans]

Watch this if you like: Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Number of episodes: 13

Genre: Action, Fantasy

Studio: ufotable

Director: Aoki Ei (Ga-Rei: Zero, Hourou Musuko, Girls Bravo)

Best ranking: #2 (MAL); #3 (AniDB)

Excerpts:

we are welcomed with nearly perfect animation. To top that off, we get a cast of fantastic characters, whether they be villains or not. It also has some great action and intelligent storylines.  [Anime Princess]

Fate/Zero had a superb plot (and it only gets better) and superb characters. ufotable did a good job with executing the source material, with great animations and interpretations of the story written by Gen Urobuchi.  [Otaku Ako]

4). ANO HI MITA HANA NO NAMAE O BOKU-TACHI WA MADA SHIRANAI (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない)

Average ranking: #4.1

Synopsis: A tragic drama about a group of childhood friends drifts apart after one of them dies.

Watch this if you like: Angel Beats!, Clannad, Honeyand Clover

Number of episodes: 11

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Supernatural

Studio: A-1 Picture

Director: Nagai Tatsuyuki (Honey & Clover II, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Toradora!)

Best ranking: #2 (Blog, ANN)

Excerpts:

The portrayal of the characters and their bonds was very deep and the general flow of the anime was well-paced. All of this and many other factors have made it possible… to sympathize with the characters, cheer for them when they were troubled, and shed a few tears or even a whole bucket. [Anime Raku]

it was a very well-written, well-produced, and well-executed anime show that demonstrates how the anime world should never cease making good, sincere life drama shows like this one. Anohana shows how anime is often at its best when it takes itself seriously, and with a touch of class. [Rabbit Poet]

What stands out for me about this series is that not a moment was wasted, and there wasn’t a mediocre episode in the entire run.  The series was built around six teenagers, and they were all remarkably well-developed by the second episode. [Lost in America]

the series was a beautiful tale about death, regret, friendship, and letting go. It’s easily one of those shows that you’d recommend to just about anyone who has a human heart. [Otaku Ako]

Trivia: The original draft script by Mari Okada featured more slapstick and more erotica elements, but was changed heavily during planning to include more supernatural elements – turning it into a much more contemplative slice-of-life story with a quieter tone. Much of these changes came from Director Tatsuyuki Nagai and character designer and chief animation director Masayoshi Tanaka. [IMDB]

3). USAGI DROP (うさぎドロップ)

Average ranking: #4.1

Synopsis: Daikichi a thirty-year-old man who discovered that his grandfather had an illegitimate child with a younger lover, he found himself obliged to look after her.

Watch this if you like: Aishiteruze Baby, Clannad After Story

Number of episodes: 15

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Studio: Production I.G

Director: Kamei Kanta (Tales of Verperia)

Best ranking: #1 (AniDB); #2 (Ani-Planet)

Excerpts:

It is a pure story of being a single parent and trying to raise a kid. It gives us a taste of the trials and joy behind it. Also a perfect image of how a children truly are. It’s a series that will really take you away to a place you won’t want to leave. It is also a plus that cute kids are cute. [Anime Princess]

This is the real pains but also the real rewards of par­ent­ing.  The pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is no longer attached to how many drinks you can chug before you die, but now attached to the hap­pi­ness of your child. It depicts this all in a lim­ited time­frame through vari­ous char­ac­ters, giv­ing us a com­plete view of the pic­ture. [Cart Driver]

What Usagi Drop demonstrated gorgeously is that parenting isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. It has its decidedly daunting drawbacks, but it also has really riveting rewards.[Rabbit Poet]

Usagi Drop was a smart, sensitive and funny look at a relatively underrepresented figure in anime, the Dad. [Lost in America]

This is also a story of parenthood, as Daikichi pretty much accepted the full responsibility of a parent, down to the sacrifices one has to make. [Otaku Ako]

Innocent and naïve, Usagi Drop is the perfect family anime that even grown men would enjoy. [Forever Geek]

2). PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA (魔法少女まどか☆マギカ)

Average ranking: #2.4

Synopsis: Madoka and her friends enter into a contract with a magical creature named Kyube. He will also grant them one magical wish, but in exchange they shall risk their lives by accepting the responsibility of fighting witches, whose presence bring despair to the world.[ANN]

Watch this if you like: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Number of episodes12

Genre: Adventure, Sci-fi, Magical Girl, Psychological, Horror

Studio: SHAFT

DirectorMiyamoto Yukihiro (Maria Holic, Denpa Onna to Seuishun Otoki, Arakawa Under the Bridge)

Best ranking: #1 (Something Aweful & Desu Ex)

Excerpts:

Each episode built up tension and when the series finally needed to deliver, it gave us a fantastic finale to an incredible series. It brought quite a few surprises that we would never expect could be shown in a thirteen episode series. [Anime Princess]

The pacing never faltered, every second felt meaningful, and you genuinely cared about the fate of Madoka and her friends. [Geek Revolt]

Madoka is a fantastic deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre. [hyperboreans]

For me, the best part of the show was all the twists and turns in the plot— it really kept you coming back for more, wanting to know what would happen… Don’t be deceived by the title— Madoka Magica is a show about magical girls, but it isn’t a show for little girls. Expect something dark and violent. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

The greatest achievement of this show is the direction of Akiyuki Shinbo as he weaved his fantastic cut out art style into the show which gave a stark contrast between the evil witches and Ume Aoki’s adorable character designs. The dark shadow filled world he crafts work to create the sinister undertone that drives Madoka Magica forward as it slowly destroys the emotional stability of the audience. [Anime In Review]

Trivia:

  • Apparently, the story was so popular that some people travelled across cities to watch the final episode when it was delayed due to the Earthquake aftermath
  • First original production (not being based on previous material such as manga, novels, or games) for Studio SHAFT.
  • Each episode title is eventually quoted.
  • Each of the main protagonists has a surname (Kaname, Miki, Akemi, Tomoe, Sakura) that can also be used as a given name.
  • Puella Magi was supposed to be Latin for “Magical Girl”. However, if that was the intended translation, then “Puella Magi” is a mistranslation, and should have been either “Puella Maga” or “Puella Magica”. As-is, “Puella Magi” translates to “Girl of the wise man”.
  • An episode aired one day before the 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami disaster in Japan, eerily featuring a flooded ruined city.

1). STEINS;GATE (シュタインズ・ゲート)

Average ranking: #1.8 (weighted average ranking of all groups/sources in the analysis, e.g. Steins;Gate is ranking ~2nd as the best anime of 2011 according to all these sources)

Synopsis: A group of friends have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN, who has been doing their own research on time travel, tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them. [MAL]

Watch this if you like: Death Note, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Number of episodes24

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Sci-fi,Psychological

Studio: WHITE FOX

DirectorHamasaki Hiroshi (Texhnilyze, Shigurui: Death Frenzy) / Sato Takuya

Best ranking: #1 from ANN, MAL, RC

Excerpts:

This is an incredibly unique science fiction story that you won’t find anywhere else. It creates mystery and takes its time to set up its story, but by the end it proves that the wait was definitely worth it when you see how everything unfolds. If you want an anime with some actual intelligence behind it, look no further! [Anime Princess]

The char­ac­ters were enter­tain­ing and well-rounded. The dir­ect­ing was mag­ni­f­cent, giv­ing the set­ting this grey-filtered feel of oppres­sion as though they really were liv­ing in a dysto­pian soci­ety [Cart Driver]

Steins;Gate starts off as a slow-boiling mystery, and halfway through, it successfully lurches into a thriller. Quite possibly the best use of time travel since PrimerSteins;Gate balances between subverting  classic anime tropes and spining a well crafted plot, while leaving the door open for future stories.[hyperboreans]

Visuals were superb, pacing was top-notch and the cast was among the best ensembles of the year. [Lost in America]

Overall a very enjoyable series that would leave you thinking and second guessing most of the time only to be proven wrong (for me that is) in the best way possible. [Sekijitsu]

Few time-travel stories are as captivating as Steins;Gate, and the fact that it could be so complex while taking place within a few square blocks is impressive. Sci-fi lovers would definitely love this anime because of its complexity and dealings with time-travel theories. [Forever Geek]

Note: They are ranked in the top 3 across all sources

In summary

#10 Kimi ni Todoke Season 2
#9 Hanasaku Iroha
#8 Nichjou
#7 Tiger & Bunny
#6 Mawaru Penguindrum
#5 Fate/Zero
#4 Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-Tachi wa Mada Shiranai
#3 Usagi Drop
#2 Puella Magi Madoka Magica
#1 Steins;Gate

Just missing the list:

#11 Gosick (15.8); #12 Blue Exorcist (17.5); #13 Level E (19.4); #14 Hourou Musuko (21.0); #15 I Don’t Have Many Friends (21.4)

Based on the final scores, here are a few conclusions:

  • Steins;Gate is a relatively clear-cut number 1, followed by Puella Magi madoka Magica
  • The top ten contains a pretty wide range of genres, including Sci-fi (Steins;Gate), Magical Girl (Madoka), Slice-of-life (Nichijou), Mecha (Tiger & Bunny), Fantasy (Fate/Zero), Romance (Kimi ni Todoke 2), Supernatural (AnoHana) and Mystery (Mawaru Penguindrum)
  • On the length of the animes, the top 10 splits nicely into 5 ~26-episode length and 5~13-episodes.

In the next edition, I will provide some more analyses on the rankings and a few interesting trends or tidbits that arise from all the data. Stay tuned!

APPENDIX 1: SOURCES

Blogs

These are the 33 blogs I used for rankings analysis. I am sure there are many more but I am relatively confident this list should give a pretty good representative of the bloggers’ top animes of the year.

Forever Geek
Guide and Stuff
Raison d’etre
CSICon
Squidoo
Seibun
Nukid101
TWWK
2D Complex
NKDS
Lost in America
Kuroshinko
My Sword is Unbelieably Dull
Yamaguchi Hoshiko
Anime Raku
Okasha Blog
Taringa
Kal01
Anime Princess
Wan Abrar
Rabbit Poets
Geek Revolt
The Cart Driver
Chikorita157
Anime Vice
D-2
Tofu
Heterodoxia
Otaku Ako
Hachimitsu
Otaku Study
Draggle’s Anime Blog
Blickwinkel

Votes

These are polls posted on the internet. I have included the following fives:

Random Curiosity (34,640 votes)
Anime Bioglobe (5,337)
World Anime (4,083)
Anime Bioglobe2 (13,935)
The Akiba (2,797)

APPENDIX II: LOG SCORE

This score is used to convert ranks into appropriate score to account for the relative ranking. The hypothesis is that, the higher you are in the ranking, the more a bloger will give importance to that ranking. For example, the gap between 1 and 2 should be more than 8 and 9 since it is easier for

Log Score = 1/Log(Rank)

Rank Log score
1 8.32*
2 3.32
3 2.10
4 1.66
5 1.43
6 1.29
7 1.18
8 1.11
9 1.05
10 1.00
11 0.96
12 0.93
13 0.90
14 0.87
15 0.85
16 0.83
17 0.81
18 0.80
19 0.78
20 0.77

*Assume rank 1 is +5 from rank 2 (big enough gap to represent the importance of being ranked #1.

APPENDIX III: WEIGHT DETERMINATION

Assume 33% of total share is made up of blogs/SA (Blog/SA/AniBlogger/Desu Ex). The remaining 67% is spread on ANN, MAL, AniDB and AniP based loosely on their voters/raters.

Sources Voters/raters % share Final Share
Blog  –  –
SA  –  –
ANN 6,501 2.1%  10%
MAL 192,318 62.8%  22.5%
AniDB 10,401 3.4%  10%
AniP 36,138 11.8%  10%
Vote 60,792 19.9%  15%
AniBlogger-  –
Desu Ex  –  –



25 Comments on “Best Anime Series of 2011”

  1. Digibro says:

    I hope you didn’t use the order that the shows were listed on my site to determine what I ranked them, because I listed everything on that page in random order. If you went with Stiens;Gate > Madoka Magica > Fate/Zero > Hourou Musuko then that would be pretty accurate.

  2. thoughtcannon says:

    Nice. It’s interesting that Steins;Gate is such a clear number one I would have thought it would be much closer to Madoka since a lot of people were clearly gunning for Madoka.

    I was not one of these people so I’m ecstatic to have statistical proof showing that Steins;Gate owned Madoka’s whiny face.

    Kimi ni Todoke genuinely surprised me. I didn’t think the 2nd season was anything special…I wonder how well season one ranked. Aside from that though I quite like this list. It’s got some shows I wasn’t ecstatic about but that I acknowledge the excellence of like Madoka and Penguindrumm. Then it has shows I loved like Steins;Gate, Tiger and Bunny, and Fate/Zero.

    Nichijou I hated but I can see how it’d be considered popular, but how on earth did Deadman Wonderland rank among the top 15 that blows my mind. It was okay but I’d never call it remotely the top 15 worthy. I also personally would have ranked Hourou Musukou much higher.

    • Thank you for your comment! On the Steins;Gate vs. Madoka issue, interestingly Madoka fairs unbelievably well on all ranking sources, coming at #1 in Blog, Something Aweful, AniBloggers and Desu Ex. However, in the rating sources (ANN, MAL, AniDB and ANiP) it does not fair quite as well, falling ot the #3-#5 range. Steins;Gate on the other hand does much better in the rating sources (#1-#2) than ranking sources (#2-#3). To me, this clearly shows the different types of viewers. Bloggers and people who spend more time writing about the shows they like seems to really really like Madoka whereas the general public will trend towards Steins;Gate. Does that result make sense in your mind?

      To be fair to Madoka, the rankings were relatively close, Madoka has more #1 (5 vs. 3) but aso more non-top-three ranking (3 vs. 0). Steins;Gate also happens to be ranked number 1 in MAL, which I gave it a lot of weight due to the sheer number of people rating on it.

      Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season is also the exact opposite of Madoka. It ranks spectacularly well in rating sites (ANN, MAL, AniDB and AniP; all ranks it 6th coincidentally) Whereas all other sources ranks it #18 or worse. Is this the reverse psychology in that the high school drama, romantic comedy just appeals more to the mass market than to the more serious, hardcore blogger group who critique such formula more harshly?

      I’m also so much more excited about finally getting to watch the show in this list at some point than 2010’s one (having K-On!! at #3 was a slight turnoff though I should give it a chance. Am not blown away so far by Angel Beats!…). The premises of Madoka, Steins;Gate, Tiger & rabbit and a few others just sound amazing!

      Seeing the premise of Nichijou, it seems very much a love/hate type anime. I stand corrected on Deadman Wonderland, though. I revised the weight to reflect the no. of raters/voters just before I publish the post and forgot to update the #11 to #15 ranking. It is now #18 in the list, with ‘I Don’t Have Many Friends’ entering the top 15!

      Hourou Musuko ranks around the 12-17 range for most for most of them so #14 is about right as far as my data is concerned…

      • thoughtcannon says:

        I think that the critical angle does make sense. You could maybe see similar correlation with Mawaru Penguindrum since it was also a more indie/artsy show. A lot of the people who really liked the show were the ones who carefully analyzed and recognized Madoka as something unique. I personally nearly fell asleep through several episodes because even though it was a unique premise the format was almost always do nothing but talk for 15 minutes>all hell breaks loose for 7minutes. So I would nap through the first 15.

        With Kimi ni Todoke there aren’t too many bloggers who followed the 1st season (or watched and dropped) so there would be even fewer giving ratings for season 2. Whereas the ranking sites with their larger user base will also have larger rollover from s1 AND those people are more likely to rate it high if they rated the first season high. However I do think there is a fair amount of underrepresentation among bloggers for shoujo series.

        Angel Beats was hilarious but wildly schizophrenic in tone which has been a trademark of the director Kishi Seiji lately. I feel like the further he gets from pure comedy the worse his shows get. Kamisama Dolls was not particularly well received and I’ve no idea bout Persona 4 cause I dropped it 4 eps in.

        I dug K-On!! quite a bit. I dug K-On! considerably less.

        No I’m not surprised Hourou Musuko ranked somewhat lower first because it’s extremely low-key and deals with serious subject matter without any fanfare. Its more of series of excellent character studies, but it also ends without anything resembling closure, which is a big problem. However I thought it was the best show in it’s season (though Madoka was the same season but it didn’t finish due to the Earthquake).

      • It’s always pretty awesome to get a really logical explanation on some of the interesting tidbits found from my data. Both Madoka and Kimi ni Todoke explanations make perfect sense:) Exactly like what you said, Mawaru Penguindrum follows the same logic as Madoka; its blog/ranking sources are around #3-#6 whereas the rating sources are around #8-#11!

        Once I have collected more info (that seems to be my standard restraint for anything I want to do), I would love to see whether the shoujo bias among bloggers you mentioned is actually material. I will also need to remember to do the best 2011 anime in each season in my post!

        What would happen if I skip K-On! and go straight to K-On!!? Will I miss a lot?

  3. thoughtcannon says:

    So continuing from the last comment…I too would be interested if that shoujo assumption holds any weight.

    As for K-On…it is kinda important since the fifth girl Azusa doesn’t get introduced until halfway through season one. I feel like a lot of the reasons I enjoyed s2 more is because it had:
    1. A much higher budget (seriously one of the best animated shows of the past few years)
    2. Because they actually built a little upon the characters. It wasn’t exactly back to page one when the new season started and it actually has somewhat of a direction especially toward the end.
    3. The chemistry of the girls became less stilted collection of moe tropes and more natural depiction of high schoolish (though they act a bit younger) girls.

    • I guess I can’t cheat and go to the second season then:) It’s nice to see that KyoAni actually produce a superior sequel rather than just stick with the old formula and flog it to death…

  4. Canne says:

    Thank you for this post!
    2011 was a slow year for me. I watched only a few show released last year.
    Nevertheless, from the talks around the blogsphere, I had guessed that Madoka Magica would win.

    ps. How could you keep up with so many blogs? I am amazed🙂

    • Glad you like it and thanks for stopping by! I can’t wait to find some time to browse through 2011 animes. There really seems to be so many gems in there. Any one you planning to watch now?

      Madoka definitely has more followings and ravings from the blogsphere but Steins; Gate beats it on the strength of its rating sources. As thoughtcannon has candidly pointed out, bloggers tend to rate the more thoughtful animes (Madoka, Penguindrum) much more highly and I have statistics to prove that too!

      I went on a blitzkrieg of searching through the net for every polls I can find. I have an initial list from my 2010 post so that helps. Granted, I think I still miss so many other blogs out there and I really hope one day I can capture upward of 100 blogs when writing this yearly ranking:)

  5. Thanks for the linking. I seriously forgot to thank you for linking to my blog.
    Nice research btw🙂

    • Thank you for the reply! No problem at all for linking.

      Looking back at your list, you probably have one of the closest matches to my final list! You got 8 of 10 series and nailing the top 4 (Usagi and AnoHana are pretty inter-changeable in my ranking anyway). I might also try to see if anyone else has better match that you:)

  6. alua says:

    I didn’t watch anything consistently anime-wise in 2011, but this list whets my appetite for some of these series. I think I will give ANO HI MITA HANA NO NAMAE O BOKU-TACHI WA MADA SHIRANAI a try. I did read some of manga sources of some of the above, Usagi Drop started well but I hated the later chapters – wondering if the anime sticks to story? (I heard the live-adapation doesn’t, but if the anime does, there’s no way I’m watching it.) I like and don’t like Kimi ni Todoke – love the premise, love the characters and how they are developed, but sometimes the manga was so sloooow.

    I find it very interesting that the above listed has such a wide representation of genres, that would suggest that many people like a little bit of everything, no? I would have liked Hourou Musuko to score higher though and not just make the list of honoury mentions….

    • I actually have not seen any of the series apart from Madoka recently so I cannot answer how faithful it is to the manga.

      Admittedly, Hourou Musuko actually has the highest variance among the top 15, with bloggers typically liking it (ranking group) while the normal voters and people on ANN (voting and rating group) giving it much lower score. This happens also to Madoka and Mawaru Penguindrum, two other more ‘serious’ anime.

      I’m interested to find out whether the variety in series is more the product of wide offering or randomness (just happens that top series are from different genre). By contrast, 2010 top 10 rank that I have compiled contains more action, drama and comedy genre than 2011 list. I love the variety though since everyone should be able to find something that they like from this list!

      Anohana seems like a good series to try. I just went through Madoka and want to try Steins;Gate now. The premise of that looks pretty awesome and hopefully it being number 1 in my list will not disappoint!

      • alua says:

        Hourou Musuko is totally my own bias… I actually have only watched some episodes, but I want it to score high so as to get more attention, because, well, it brings up serious issues that should make it into mainstream viewing and discussion!

        For the most part, I’ll not go back to 2011 and instead tackle 2012 anime – loving Tsuritama at the moment, and thinking about watching Uchuu Kyoidai and Sakamichi no Apollon. Never get round to reviewing these things though….

    • Taka says:

      To assuage your fears…though it’s been months since the anime aired and this comment was posted. Usagi Drop was only 11 episodes and pretty much covers just the first year of Rin and Daikichi’s foster family. It doesn’t cover any of the later manga. Some people didn’t find that reassurance enough and the later manga chapters colored their perception of the whole show. I only heard about the chapters secondhand but knowing the subject matter, I don’t really see anything that would hint toward that ending. They play up the romance of Yukari and Daikichi a little but the series ends well before anything develops.

      • Hmm, now I am interested to find out what you two are talking about with regards to Usagi Drop! Need to find time to watch the series first and then the manga. Do you think it will get a sequel at some point?

      • alua says:

        Well, it has to do with Daikichi’s and Rin’s relationship… the manga is really sweet at first and unique I think, since we get a single guy adopting a child that’s not his because every other adult around is being a selfish idiot (how can you be mad at a little girl about who her father is?) While much of the manga focuses on Daikichi learning to be a father, the moment we get time jumps and Rin being older it’s starts being a drag. Think Woody Allan and his adopted daughter. It’s been a while since I read the manga, but honestly it felt like the first part of the manga was written by one person, and the second by another…

      • Taka says:

        @aquablues

        I doubt it will get a sequel. I can imagine quite a shitstorm if it did.

        @alua or aquablues if you don’t mind getting what alua hinted at spelled out
        Either of you might be interested in this article by Yi from listless Ink on her take from the manga. http://listlessink.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/life-love-and-things-in-between-an-usagi-drop-approach/

      • Thanks for sharing the link. I still want to keep the ending of both anime and manga a surprise so I will save this article for when I have gone through both:)

  7. Felipe says:

    great job, all good anime I have seen was thanks to this web page. Greetings from Colombia and i waiting forward to the list of the best anime of 2012.🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind words:) Glad to know the list is benefiting other people apart from myself too. I will definitely want to know what good animes are around in 2012 as well so stay tuned for that by mid to end of January!

  8. […] as the clear number 1 (it is 0.14 points higher than the second place); 2010 has Angel Beats; 2011 has Steins;Gate and Madoka; 2012 has Fate/Zero 2. This breadth of quality anime series is probably […]


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