American TV has slowly started experimenting beyond the standard “debut every series in September and see what sticks” model, but it’s still the case that fall is the season where the big ticket items are debuted. Similiarly, the big anime seasons tend to be spring and fall, with the winter and particularly the summer season left to left to flounder with continuing shows and one or two decent new offerings.
That was certainly the case last summer, as noted by our very tepid awards post for summer 2010. It was not the case in winter 2011, with some remarkably solid offerings including Madoka, which is still the most likely candidate for show of the year. It’s also not the case here, with some strong continuing series being equaled or bested by shows that debuted this season. Neither of us were prepared for how remarkably strong, on balance, this season’s offerings were.
It’s unfortunate that the strength of the best series of this season eclipsed some other gems. When the most competitive category is “Best Show We Didn’t Cover,” that’s a good sign that summer 2011 was a great three months for anime. And that remains true even though the second most competitive category was “Most Offensive Series.”
As bear didn’t have a chance to watch most of the summer shows, this post is written entirely by 3HM.
The main advantage to taking over an anime blog for a season is that there’s no one to contest your choices for best shows of the year. (Save you, gentle readers, which is what the comment box is for.) The Spring season started off with a greater number of watchable shows than there were are the start of the year, although few aspired to the same level of greatness of a Madoka. Combine that with the fact that some of season’s best shows are continuing into the summer (and are thus ineligible) and the field dwindles down to a handful.
Having to cover a season by myself has the downside of there being more than a few shows I just didn’t get around to watching at all. I don’t think I missed any of the season’s great shows, but feel free to chime in if you know of one or two that slipped by me.
These awards posts seem to be getting later and later. We figured we should post this before the current season ended.
Anyway, the winter 2011 season was an embarrassment of riches, with what will probably end up being the two best shows of the entire year, and a dear old friend returning for another go. The rest of the pack paled in comparison to these, which is probably why there’s not a lot of diversity on this list.
About a month ago, 3HM and I met in person for the first time in years. As usually happens, we started talking about anime. This time, though, I had a microphone with me, so we decided to record a podcast talking about the year’s best anime. You can listen to it here.
I’ll apologize in advance for the recording quality. We didn’t have a microphone stand, so we just laid the thing on a table, so it picked up a bunch of ambient noise. But, I hope you’ll enjoy listening to us talk for an hour and a half. If people like this, we might do more (shorter) episodes, talking about things we don’t get a chance to talk about in the review format.
Those of you who don’t want to listen can find our picks after the jump.