I always mean to write something like this and since I finished my Secret Santa rec so quickly, I devoted the rest of December to writing this. Didn’t actually finish until the last week though because I am lazy.
Shows I Loved
Nichijou: If I had to pick a favourite show of 2011, it would probably be Nichijou. It made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe or d’awww with every Like Love. At the end, one scene warmed my heart with such sincerity and honesty that was so understandably genuine after watching the girls do stupid relatable things for 24 episodes prior. That is why I hate comparisons to shows like Lucky Star who’s characters exist as nothing more than moeblobs designed to sell money. Make the same claim about the Nichijou characters and you might be half right. There was no need to sell the show, to make it appeal to otaku. It’s main goal was to be funny. That may be why it’s sales were so poor and it will likely never, ever get a second season. Otaku are a disgusting, powerful group.
Mawaru Penguindrum: I had heard it was by the director of Utena and Sailor Moon and that lots of people were excited by that. Well I watched Sailor Moon as a kid so that didn’t count and I had never seen Utena (though I gave it a shot in the same way that Madoka made me watch Card Captor Sakura). I was interested though since it seemed like a step away from the rest of the boring shows airing at the time. I can honestly say I wasn’t ready for what I watched. I was hooked after one episode, specifically, after the very first Survial Strategy scene. It was unusual, it was exciting and it was mysterious. It was also fun reading theories about the show and hearing everyone elses opinion on the show in various communities. Everyone had a different take and a different theory. I will admit the second half of the series wasn’t errible well done and even I was a little put off by the bad writing, sudden introduction of important plot elements and character warping. I really didn’t like the end. It was bittersweet and who expected anything but that? But a new timeline was just too easy. Though the mirroring of the same scene from the first episode infuriated me at the time, kudos to such a clever ploy. I will miss a Survial Startegy every week. (Except at the end where there was a severe lack of strategying. SEIZON SENRYAKU!
GOSICK: A rare light novel adaption that is not otaku pandering shit. I will admit that the show had a lot of flaws. It was boring a lot of times, the mystery was hackneyed and obvious and the characters were downright annoying most of the time (I’m looking at you, Kujo). So what made this show great for me was the last few episodes. Around episode 23 or 22 when shit hit the fan and things got worse, and worse and worse. It had caught me off guard and I had thought that SURELY things would go back to normal and they would all have a happy ending. Well, in a way they did. People had to die for it, main characters had to go to war for it. But they got some variation of a happy ending. I still wish they would have included the time skip because having the characters reunited so quickly instead of having to wait YEARS to return to each other seems too merciful given everything that had happened to them in the previous few episodes. I will always look back on this stupid show fondly just for the shock the last few episodes gave me. A bad reason, maybe.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: SURPRISE SURPRISE, RIGHT? Madoka the cash cow that just keeps on giving. It’s not like I’ve given in to it’s constant pandering though. I only have the Sayaka nendoroid and figma preordered and will most likely order the LE edition of the english release next year. Just the thought makes me want to cry for my wallet. Anyways, I will start off by saying I do not think Madoka is a great show. I agree, it’s overhyped and not a masterpiece like some people claim. I think it is decent. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the witches, I enjoyed the characters even if they were a little plain, I enjoyed the soundtrack, I enjoyed everything. I think fanon has made the characters better but it’s usually the fans who ruin any show and shipping wars are really fucking stupid (I like Sayaka x Kyouko but I’m not going to force you to like it and if you force people to like your ship you are a stupid jerk). I think episode 10 was really the best part of the whole show. Some people say it was trying too hard and maybe it was. But it got to me and almost made me tear up. It made me like and feel for a character I had previously detested. HOWEVER if they focus one of the movies ENTIRELY on an episode ten like set up where they only show the past that will ruin this episode.
Chihayafuru: When I looked at the charts and trying to deciede what to watch, this looked like the stupidest thing. However, maybe because I’ve been deprived of any good shoujo for awhile, I fell in love with this show. It wasn’t even the shoujo aspect. Because for a lot of times, it had no part in the show at all. The main focus of the show, karuta, was surprisingly interesting. I can’t imagine anybody watch who doesn’t live in Japan had any idea what it was but despite that, it was never really that boring. The show isn’t over yet so I was debating putting it in this list but the end will most likely be open-ended and stupid so hey why not. Really though, this show has no business being as addictive as it is.
Carnival Phantasm: I was going to only include five shows in this list but Carnival Phantasm is one of the funniest anime series I’ve ever watched and so it needed to be included. My knowledge of Type-moon things is very, very limited. I like Arc and Aoko but have never played or watched Tsukihime. I know a bit more of Fate/Stay Night and have watched some of the show and TRIED to watch Fate/Zero. You don’t really need any extra knowledge for this though. My only complaint? A lack of Aoko. There is however a Phantasmoon figma coming out next year thanks to this show so that is also extremely awesome (and I already preordered the trading figure weeks ago). ]
Shows I Hated
Where do I even start?
Ano Hana: To be fair, of all the shows I hate, I maybe hate this one the least. I mean I really dislike it and it is not worth the praise it gets. Maybe if I rewatched it I would enjoy it (fat chance though). There was a lot going on in my life and it was a really bad time so maybe I was just a bit cynical about stupid teenagers being angsty and stupid as all hell for twelve episodes. I’ve stated my problemswith it before but to recap: Menma was so goddamn annoying, WHY DIDN’T YOU FLIP THE FUCKING BARBEQUE MENMA YOU WOULD HAVE SAVED US LIKE FIVE EPISODES OF “menma is ded r u crazy but I luv u”. I did like Tsuruko and Yukiatsu and that was about it.
Fractale: There was a time, a distant, distant time when I was excited for this because the promo art looked so damn good. Then the actual show looked nothing like it. Well I mean how many shows do looks like art from the novels or manga? Few, right? Well this looked like shit. Not only that, for some unfathomable reason, they made artistic changes that created plot holes in the flimsy piece of garbage they called story. My problems don’t like only with the animation because that was decent sometimes. If the opposite of moe is making you extremely uncomfortable then well done, Yakamoto. Well done. From the implied incesterous rape (well wasn’t it just outright stated?) to, and it mostly this, to Clain’s reverse-fanservice loincloth. It was generally cliche, bordered on harem garbage, tried to make a statement about society which lead to more rape, and Clain was mindnumbingly stupid. Good things about it? The OP is still a good song, OST was pretty decent and the scene early on in episode three I think with the massacre was so unexpected that it was probably the only scene in the whole series I enjoyed.
Mirai Nikki: Unlike Fractale or Ano Hana, I could not finish Mirai Nikki. To be fair though, had I not read the manga up to the penultimate volume I would have continued. I know how it ends and I know how lame it is. Which is the difference between this and those other two shows. I don’t know why I watched them, maybe I hoped that they could have a decent ending. That was not the case with Mirai Nikki. First of all, Yuno. I cannot stand Yuno. THERE. I said it. I hated her in the manga and I hated her in the show. Everytime she does anything that can make her remotely tolerable, she screws it up and does something stupid and/or insane. But that’s why you guys love her right? Because she’s insane and that is just so edgy. Yuki is a whiny tool but we all know that. That is his purpose. I don’t mind him when he man’s up later on and does not give a single fuck about anything insane Yuno does. Then I can stand him. I lasted up until Akise showed up. I cannot stand that Mary Sue. I wish I could have kept watching for Minene because Minene is legit the best character but I just couldn’t do that to myself.
Ro-Kyu-Bu!: I didn’t want this show so I don’t know if I am allowed to add it to this list. I just wanted to say, it makes me feel dirty and ignites my previous dwindling disgust of otaku. Actually, when writing this right now I wondered if Ro-Kyu-Bu is so legitimately pandering to lolicons that it’s ironic? So unironic that is’ ironic? No that sounds stupid.
Shows That Were Mediocre But I Still Watched Them
Dantalian no Shoka: Oh Dalian. I had such hopes for your show. Gainax and Miyuki Sawashiro. I knew it was too good to be true. It wasn’t a bad show, it just wasn’t a good show. There was something nice about the disjointedness of each episode and when it tried to do the plot thing, it was usually pretty hackneyed. While I alos critizie Huey for not being skpetical of the situation he is in come episode one, I also commend him for not being a wussy protag who yells at everything in shock. He beat up some golemn by sticking his hand in a girl’s chest and when all was said and done had some tea and crumpets with said ladyfriend. That was just how he rolled. Also, Rasiel was pretty cool.
Ikoku Meiro no Croisee: Let me clarify. I am in no way calling Croisee mediocre (just forgettable). I would call the end that however, since it seemed to imply a sequel but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Croisee was a good show, and certainly different show. It was set outside of Japan and that is usually sort of rare. There was a nice attention to detail but that was also what bothered me. It kept making me want to believe that Alice would go and live an adventurous life, hopefully with Yune. Given the time and the rights of women, though, I have trouble ever imagining that at all. I can only ever imagine a depressed Alice forced into a marriage and living a bored life. Yune/Alice was another thing that maybe my shipper brain thought was hinted at too much to be coincidence. But of course, given the time that pairing would especially never happen ever. It would be easy of me to overlook these things though. A young japanese girl being sent to france and being so easily accepted by those around her? I suppose it wouldn’t be too farfetched.
Shows I Almost Missed
Steins;Gate: I was really bored one day. Really, really bored. I was lying in bed, looked at the CR app on my iPad and saw this (after finishing the last two episodes of Dantalian that I had been reluctant to watch). When it was airing, I had watched a few episodes but dropped because it was boring at the time and also due to it’s length, I assumed it would take a long time to get interesting. I decided to watch after hearing a spoiler about Suzuha the previous day and got instantly hooked. Admittedly, I didn’t understand half of what was going on but the characters were all great even if the set up implied there would be harem bullshit. It was minimal so that’s also cool.
Tiger & Bunny: I watched this for my secret santa but that is a technicality. I had zero interest in it when it was airing but afterwards found out about Kaede and father daughter relationships are cool so that gave me some interest in watching. Of course I was a little disappointed when Kaede only showed up for one episode in the first half of the show. She became relevant later on though I can forgive them. I’ve already complained about the ending like most everyone else though.
Ben-to: Well, I’m not done Ben-to but whatever. I didn’t give this a second thought when I first heard about. First of all, it sounded stupid as hell. Second, it looked like harem ecchi trash. That’s only mostly half true still. I heard everyone talking about it on twitter and for a long time thought they were only praising it ironically. Still was ironic praising but it was enough to make me want to give it a shot. I was surprised it was actually kind of funny and there wasn’t any ecchi at all. It was also a lot more bearable than Mirai Nikki.
Shows I Wish I Didn’t Miss
Hanasaku Iroha: I started watching this but dropped it because I was bored as hell. The episode with the writer at the beginning was pretty hilarious but when I saw comments like “if the rest of the show is like this, dropped” from the people watching it I sort of stopped being interested. It’s not the show’s fault that such people were watching but it really turned me off of it. Still, I think it’s pretty if nothing else so even if it bores the hell out of me, I would like to finish watching it one day.
Yuru Yuri: I didn’t even give this show a chance and I really regretted that after. Seeing clips and gifs and screenshots from it all seemed decent enough. But, I feel the same way about Haganai now and I gave that a shot. Also, yuri. Straight up yuri shenanigans. Really why did I not watch this?
Suite Precure: I’ve always wanted to get into precure if only for the fact that all the yuri on pixiv makes a really convincing argument.
IDOLMASTER: I am not sure I would have enjoyed ths had I continued and a lot of my imas enjoying friends really hated it but everyone else raved about it. I do like me some Miki (except not Awakened Miki because seriously screw that), Takane and Chihaya. I just don’t think I’ll ever have enough time for this. Or want to have enough time for this.
Movies of Note
Macross Frontier ~Sayonora no Tsubasa~: I counted the days down for this movie. I added the release date to my calender in July and looked at the date longingly for months until the day finally came in October when I could watch it. I was not disappointed. I never watched Macross Frontier, the show. I had some curiosity about it but since I knew the outcome of the triangle I had no desire to watch the show. Much like how I have no desire to watch harem shenanigans in the first season of Clannad but would not mind watching the second season some time. Though not the first, it seems the Macross Frontier movies were the gateway to (or at least apart of creating) the boom that lead to every single show (To Aru Majutsu no Index, Madoka Magica, Tiger & Bunny, Ao no Exorcist, etc) getting their own movies. Though you could argue that the Nanoha movie had an even bigger impace and the Kiddy Grade ones came out earlier than The False Songstress. I do like, in some cases, recap movies since I don’t have to watch Macross Frontier now. I know the endings are different though so that influenced my choice TFS in the first place. Also, you guys do not understand my love of Sheryl. I just love Sheryl so much. As for Sayonara no Tsubasa… Valkyrie was a really catchy song. I was singing it for weeks after watching this. Niji Iro Kuma Kuma is also just the catchiest, cutest song. I never really liked any Ranka songs before but how could you dislike it? As for the different ending… well it ended the triangle in the way I was hoping but I can understand why people were frustrated with it. Had I know known the director’s (?) comments about Alto returning and Sheryl waking up, I probably would have been mad pissed too.
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo: The only other Makoto Shinkai movie I’ve actually seen The Place Promised In Our Early Days and that was years ago (unless She and Her Cat counts). I am shocked that people didn’t enjoy this. I heard complaints that it seemed too much like a Ghibli knockoff and that it wasn’t… well it seemed like it wasn’t deep enough? I loved this movie. I wasn’t pleased with the ending (for awhile I thought it was requirement for anime movies to have disappointing endings) but I enjoyed everything else. It’s probably because I was/am so smitten with it that I can overlook any obvious flaws the movie had. Admittedly, cried a little.
Shows I Watched This Year That Didn’t Air This Year But Are Worth Noting
Card Captor Sakura: Madoka left me with an itch that could not be scratched. Going from Madoka to CCS isn’t a very logical choice because really, the two shows are complete different ends of the mahou shoujo spectrum. Nanoha would have been a better choice. I at first wanted to only watch the movies but a part of me decided that wouldn’t do and so I set out to watch the whole series. It took me a couple months. After I started watching, things in my life got a little out of control. While I know other people have had it worse off than me, I consider it a pretty low point and it seemed everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I’m not going to talk about the details just as long as you know that it was upsetting, confusing and just generally, at the time, seem pretty bad. It was during that time that I would watch CCS and I would instantly feel better. I watched the dub as a kid and it, specifically Watery, left a lasting impression on me. CCS is now one of my favourite series. I enjoyed it as a child and, much later in life, it helped me when everything around me seemed to be going wrong.