My anime roundup for 2011.
Due to anime companies not really catering towards my tastes (I hate moe/loli, am indifferent towards mecha, and burned out on high school anime), my anime watching has plummeted in recent years. It takes a lot of word of mouth, outstanding reviews, or a feeling of “something different” to pique my interest. This year, there wasn’t much doing that, but when it did, it was outstanding.
Chihayafuru: Chihaya, Taichi, and Arata are childhood friends, bonded over the poetry card game, karuta. When Arata moves away and abruptly cuts off all contact with his old friends, Chihaya continues to play, determined to find Arata again via the game. This is my favorite anime of this year, and a lovely one at that. The art is beautiful, and the card game has me itching to learn more about it; at least about the poems used. The flashback episodes are heart-rending and I completely choked up watching them. It’s about halfway aired so far and is viewable at Crunchyroll.
Tiger & Bunny: This is on my must finish list. I got distracted and I’m about halfway through so far. It’s a pretty awesome concept–a superhero reality tv show where superheroes get points for rescues, criminal apprehension, etc. That’s how it starts anyway, and then it starts delving into the past of one of the superheroes, Barnaby (or Bunny, as his crime-fighting partner, Wild Tiger, calls him). This is the first anime in a long time that will probably appeal to even non-anime fans. Possibly the first since Cowboy Bebop. Also viewable at Crunchyroll (click the name for the video portal).
Wandering Son: This anime I haven’t watched, but I know if I did, it would be up in the above list. The reason I haven’t watched this is because for some reason, the anime picks up in the middle of the manga. Since the manga just started coming out in the US, and I am naturally buying it, I prefer to wait to watch it until I get the backstory, and grow with the characters. The story is about two transgender children: Shuichi, who either wants to be a girl, or just likes to cross-dress (it’s not clear yet), and Yoshino, a girl who definitely wishes she were a boy, so much so that as she goes through puberty, her body betrays her wishes and it sends her into tears of anger and frustration. The story starts off with them discovering that they are indeed different in the fifth grade and proceeds with their life through middle school (and possibly later; I’m not sure how far it goes). What I’ve seen from the anime is beautiful, much like Bunny Drop with its pastel watercolor palette. Viewable at Crunchyroll and watchable if you don’t plan on reading the manga at all or until later and don’t mind spoilers.
Princess Jellyfish: Okay, so I know this isn’t really a 2011 anime, but I discovered and watched the whole thing this year and absolutely fell in love with it (see my review here), so I threw it up on this list as an HM due to the anime shortage. Funimation has given a release date for the BD/DVD set as February 28, 2012, and this is being preordered as soon as my favorite anime buying site, Right Stuf, announces a Funi sale. They should be about due for one…