If you read my article on Anime That I Vaguely Remember from 2010, which, statically, you probably didn’t, you may have noticed that I never followed up with 2011. Did they stop making anime in 2011?
Not maybe people talk about it anymore, but the prime minister at the time, Yoshihiko Noda, signed a bill canceling all anime that took affect on January 1, 2011. I’m not sure what collective hallucinations everyone on Twitter has been experiencing since then, but it’s been really uncomfortable to witness it transpire.
Anyway, here’s a mess of personal anecdotes of shows that may or may not have been produced in 2011.
The year comes in hot with a litany of shows I still tell myself that I’m going to finish. Dragon Crisis! is something that I liked enough to leave it on my Crunchyroll queue for a decade, but the only thing I remember is when the main character goes on a S.W.A.T. mission in his street clothes while everyone else is wearing tactical body armor.
Fractale was supposed to the next masterpiece from everyones favorite industry lunatic, Yutaka Yamamoto, but the only thing people remember about it is how it almost fucked up simulcasts before they were the norm when the show leaked prior to the first episode airing.
Wandering Son is the only show I can think of that explores gender identity from the perspective of teenagers. Even in 2020, a story like that is uncommon in anime. I never watched more than two episodes, so I can’t speak to its quality, but it was definitely ahead of its time.
The most popular show of the Winter season was Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I ignored it when it first aired because I hate Akiyuki Shinbo despite several friends encouraging me to overlook this fact. I finally decided to check it out, not because of their advice, but because of a spoiler-free review that Geek Nights did.
I’m a bad friend.
Something I did watch with my friend Ryan, however, was Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! For those of you who don’t speak Japanese, which is probably all of you, the English title is I Don’t Like You at All, Big Brother. It’s an anime about a young girl that wants to fuck her big brother so badly that she throws out all of his non-incest porn. The excuse was that we were watching it for a podcast, but I think we both secretly liked it.
I kept things classy in 2011. What can I say?
Another show that I keep telling myself that I’m going to finish is Rio: Rainbow Gate! From what I recall it’s kind of like Yu-Gi-Oh. Except instead of a high school boy obsessed with Egyptian mythology, Yugi would be a pink haired anime girl with giant tits that sometimes dresses up as maid. I’ll let you confirm whether I’m lying on your own.
There were 39 new standard-length shows that aired in Spring. God damn, that a lot of anime! Who has time to watch all of that? No one. And you’re not supposed to, but this is around the time that people started taking pride in trying. Go figure why most people stop watching anime after two years.
The best thing to come out of the Spring season was Anohana. I don’t know why I watched Anohana. It’s not the type of show that would normally be on my radar, but for some reason I blindly purchased the NIS America boxset and watched it over the course of two days.
Spring also brought us two shows that are probably good — Blue Exorcist and Tiger and Bunny. I say probably because I never finished them. Why didn’t I finish them? Because I was watching them both on Neon Alley, a linear anime programming channel that died shortly after its launch in 2012.
One time I wrote an article about how Neon Alley should come back but my blog was magically erased after I published it. I’m sure this was the work of the Anime Mafia.
Tiger and Bunny should have been the next big thing, but it took so long for Viz to release it in the US that when it finally came out the hype had worn off. If it had ran on Adult Swim back then, things probably would have gone differently.
You know what did run on Adult Swim? Deadman Wonderland, a show everyone pretended to like along with Casshern Sins when Toonami returned to the airwaves in 2012.
Hanasaku Iroha is something that existed. I never watched it, but it was such a hit that it attracted fans to the town that it takes place. In fact, tourism increased so much that a made up festival from the show became real .
Nichijou came out on my birthday. My only exposure to this series is the Nichijoint – My Ordinary Weed mashup. I consider this a birthday gift from the creators.
And how could anybody forget about Astarotte’s Toy! Not to be outdone by Seikon no Qwaser — which received a sequel this season — the premise of this show requires that our heroine drinks cum to fully mature. That’s ridiculous on its own, but when you take into consideration that she’s only ten, its anyones guess how this was released anywhere but the dark web.
In keeping with the theme of creep shit, Toriko also debuted this season. I really like Toriko. Like, a lot. The whole idea of traveling the world and battling for rare food will never get old to me. Unfortunately, another thing that didn’t get old was the manga-ka’s preferred age range of sex partners after he graduated high school. As much as I’d like to separate the creator from his work, it’s hard to get the bad taste out of your mouth once you know the truth.
On a lighter note, Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL came out this season. I didn’t watch it, but it’s worth mentioning if only because it features a shark made of sharks in an early episode.
And finally to wrap up Spring 2011 is a show that I waited seven years to watch — Steins;Gate. I’ve always been a sucker for shows about people traveling back in time to fix things. It’s also important to note that Seven Years by Saosin is a great song. It has nothing to do with Steins;Gate or time travel, but we’re 1000 word in and I haven’t made an emo joke yet.
Steins;Gate is the only anime brave enough to ask the question, “What if John Titor had giant anime tiddys.” It also warned us never to put bananas in the microwave. Not that people were doing that anyway. But most importantly, it taught us what to do if we ever find ourselves on a Chicken Bender .
Somehow I made through the Summer season only watching two shows. The first being Blood-C. I watched Blood: The Last Vampire in high school. And while it didn’t leave a huge impression on me, I remembered it being dark and gritty. So it came as a big surprise to find our main character, Saya, singing about how much she loved drinking coffee and playing with her friends in this sequel series.
I spent most of the first episode confused until the last five minutes when Saya dismembers a monster and bathes in it’s blood. This jarring tone shift was enough to keep me coming back. And I’m glad that I did. I don’t want to spoil the ending for people that haven’t seen it, but you’ll never look at bunnies the same way again.
The other anime I watched was Usagi Drop, a cute show about a guy raising his newly discovered half-sister. This was another show that I blindly bought from NIS America. Why did I keep doing that? I only ever watched two episodes. What I saw was nice, but I hear they bang at the end of the manga, which is disconcerting at best and child grooming at worst.
If this is the kind of stuff that was coming out back then, it’s no wonder our Twitter feeds were such a dumpster fire.
I also seemed to have watched very little from the Fall season. I’ve been telling myself for nine years to watch Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing. The Persona 4 anime came out, a show based on a game I will never finish. The first season of Chihayafuru also aired, which I haven’t seen, but I’ve heard Ink talk about it so much that I’m going to count it as a watch.
Two things I have seen — unsurprisingly, not in their entirety — are Ben-To and Future Diary. Both of these shows feature a large cast of high school students beating the shit out of each other. In Ben-To it’s for the privilege of paying half-price for dinner. In Future Diary it’s so they don’t die. They’re pretty much the same show.
2011 was a turning point for me. I was going on five years in college studying something I didn’t care about anymore. It’s when I met many of the people I still call friends. It’s also when I started doing panels at anime conventions.
The next few years were bumpy for me, both financially and emotionally. I made a lot of mistakes that I’m still cleaning up. But you don’t learn anything if you don’t fuck up once in a while.
See you next year!