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My Top 50 Anime – updated

December 27, 2011

I finally got round to updating my Top 50 list – four new shows are in, which means that four shows had to go.  Here’s the one’s that got shoved off the bottom of the list as it would a shame to lose the entries to the ether.


katanagatariop-150. Katanagatari

Katanagatari was a very ambitious project; twelve 50 minute episodes aired once a month for a whole year – it could have been a disaster! The slow pace of Katanagatari put lots of people off, but for those that stuck it out, it was a rewarding watch. The character development in this series was amazing – Shichika literally transforms before our eyes, and his relationship & chemistry with Togame kept things interesting regardless of what else was going on. The unique character designs, interesting use of different art styles and varied soundtrack made Katanagatari a sensory treat, but it was always the brilliant characters and fantastic script that made Katanagatari sparkle – great series, hope more studios take a risk like this in the future.

5a7b49. Tenchi Muyo!

Ah Tenchi Muyo! This was one of my gateway anime (namely the original Ryo-oki OVA series) and probably one of the best harem series out there. While I was never able to watch Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo! was a series I could watch repeatedly, and is among the very first series I actually bought the boxsets for. The primary reason why I love Tenchi Muyo! so much is its characters – its a harem series before moe took over anime. The girls are all pretty standard stereotypes (and Tenchi is the original ‘dull harem lead’), but they’re well developed in their own right and lots of fun to watch, Washu & Ryoko have always been in my favourite characters list, and I doubt very much that they’ll ever get kicked out of it! Fun show – loses some of its charm in later incarnations (Tenchi in Tokyo is dire), but the OVAs & Universe are always fun……in fact I feel like rewatching them again now!

mahou-shoujo-madoka-magika48. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Another magical girl show with a twist – SHAFTs original series is notable for its creative use of different animation styles and for tackling the grim-dark side of being a magical girl – being Meguka is suffering. The series is stuffed full of wham moments designed to throw the viewer (and the girls in the show) for a loop – its a show where nothing is as it first seems, scratch the surface of that gleaming near future city and you find a world filled with nightmare fuel. Beware of cute mascot characters offering to grant you your deepest desire – nothing comes without a price, things are too good to be true, and with great power comes great responsibility and suffering.

SailorMoon47. Sailor Moon

Really notching up the magical girl shows here! Sailor Moon is a proper classic which combines the sentai, mahou-shoujo and action genres to create a show that everyone is familiar with. Sailor Moon was a gateway drug for me, I loved the show to bits because it was so much fun to watch. I really adored the character designs and the whole setup for the show – sure Usagi is an incurable idiot, but the other Sailor Scouts were awesome, and the whole battle against the forces of evil is the kind of classical plot that never really ages. Sailor Moon is a show that all anime fans have to have seen at least a bit of at some point; I should really get back to my rewatch of it at some point!


68d9418eacc3b6df503d925545. Natsume Yuujinchou Zoku/San

Rather than getting bored of this rather formulaic show, I’ve fallen more an more in love with Natasume Yuujinchou as time has gone on, so I decided it was high time the show made it into my Top 50. The series is slow, episodic and moe as hell – all things I usually don’t like, however the charm of Natsume is hard to resist. It’s such a lovely show – atmospheric and feel-good with excellent character development for it’s central character. Natsume is moe incarnate – an absolutely joy to watch. I just love this series.

39. Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate was a rollercoster ride. It had some spectacular highs as well as some bad lows, however I mainly remember it for being spectacularly well plotted and for it’s main character – Rintaro Okabe AKA HOUHOUIN KYOOOOOOOMAAAA~! Okabe is a self-proclaimed Mad Scientist complete with the mental laugh, perpetual lab-coat and larger than life persona and he carries this show almost single-handedly – yet another stellar performance by Mamoru Miyano. It was a lot of fun watching Steins;Gate weekly, as I found myself trying to figure out what was happening, and how Okabe was going to get out of the latest difficulty he found himself in. To see the story unravel, and Okabe change over the course of the series was very special. Steins;Gate is a great example of a VN adaptation done right – hard to believe it’s from the same people who gave us Chaos;Head!

131722350218239101611996535. Mawaru Penguindrum

Ah Penguindrum was a fun ride. Twist after twist, it could have gotten overly convoluted and impossible to close satisfactorily, however this thankfully wasn’t the case with Penguindrum’s ending. There was a tremendous sense of fun throughout the series, even when it was being depressing beyond belief the show somehow kept a light side – mainly thanks to the antics of the companion penguins. A lot of the enjoyment I got from Penguindrum came from the sheer volume of writing the show generated in the aniblogosphere – so many different opinions and theories floating about, it would be impossible to read them all, but I did make a good stab at it! It’s rare that a show captures everyone’s imagination on quite this scale & I’m sure we’ll still be talking about Penguindrum in a few years time – classic in the making.

RoseofVersailles127. Rose of Versailles

OSCAAAR~! I finally got round to watching this undisputed classic with a group of other anibloggers this year – it was truly an experience. Rose of Versailles is pure, undiluted DORAMA from beginning to end; just when you think things can’t get more dramatic, they do. Yet for all the overblown melodrama, Rose of Versailles maintains a quiet dignity – somehow the plot twists never feel gratuitous. The series takes a few liberties with history (and history books, as well as the narrator, can be such a spoiler minefield for this show!) but that’s to be expected in a work of entertainment. Above all though, I will remember Oscar from Rose of Versailles – a truly remarkable character and one I won’t ever forget in a hurry. An absolute must see for any anime fan – the influence of Rose of Versailles can still be felt today.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2011 10:25 pm

    Coincidentally, I also knocked Tenchi Muyo out of my Top 50 list a couple of days ago (to make room for Fate/Zero). But if Ryo-Ohki was going, I figured I should remove Ryo-Ohki 2 as well… so pushed Rose of Versailles up onto the list to replace that. 😛 I’m not sure why I didn’t put Rose of Versailles in my list the moment I finished it, but looking back it certainly deserves a place more than a lot of my other Top 50.

    Fully agree with you on Steins;Gate, as you probably know already, and yet again I’m left feeling obliged to give Mawaru Penguindrum a look. I think it just about beats Ano Hana on the list of shows from last year I should have watched but didn’t.

    • December 28, 2011 7:41 pm

      I feel bad about knocking Tenchi out – but Recency Bias reigns over nostalgia~!

      Rose of Versailles was brilliant – should definitely be in your Top 50 – FIX IT 😛

      And once again I have to urge you to pick up Penguindrum – seriously AJ how did you miss that show when you were choosing your Summer series?? Soooo good! AnoHana was rubbish though (IMHO), you can skip that 😀

      • December 28, 2011 10:11 pm

        I’d already ‘fixed it’ before you amended your list, hence why I said it was a funny coincidence that you made the same change (Tenchi Muyo out, Rose of Versailles in). 😛

        I missed Penguindrum because there was virtually no info released about it before it started airing… I’d already made a shortlist based on the trailers and synopses from various charts/your preview posts, and they all lived up to my expectations (based on first eps at least – curse you Kami Memo!), so I didn’t need to look at anything else.

        • December 31, 2011 3:27 pm

          And once again I see that I should read stuff more carefully before hitting ‘post’

          Well since the Winter season isn’t looking spectacular I’d highly recommend you check out Penguindrum now – it’s just that good, I wouldn’t want you to miss out! XD

  2. December 27, 2011 10:48 pm

    2011 was such a great year for anime! Nice to see Natsume, Steins;Gate, and Penguindrum on the list, as those were some of my favorite shows. 😀

    Rose of Versailles is awesome. Even though it was made in the 70s, it can hold its own against today’s stuff.

    • December 28, 2011 7:43 pm

      Some pretty good shows came out this year – nothing that got me completely flustered in quite the same way Shiki & FMA:B did the year before though.

      It’s amazing how Rose of Versailles remains brilliant even today – you can clearly feel the influence the show has had on modern anime.

  3. January 2, 2012 1:28 am

    *stamps stamp of approval* -BANG-
    You choose all the good ones! I can see why it was hard not to include these! While I only watched Mawaru so far (and because of what you wrote!!!), I knew the others were great, and I am still waiting to clear my list and complete watching steins; gate!

    Natstume is in the to watch list, and Rose of Versailles will definitely enter it too!

    Before I depart~ I must say, you were right about Mawaru (well, which is mostly why I watch you… you had similiar taste with mine, so it is good for picking animes to watch). Reading all the comments really make you think of more possibilites and enrich the ideas you already had, which in turn develop more ideas. It’s a very amazing process.

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