Now this anime year has been ridiculous, compared to previous years the quality and quantity of actual GOOD titles for 2011 has been at its best since the year 2007 in my opinion, and 2012 seems to be continuing this trend for now. It’s a great time to be an anime fan.
This countdown is something I wanted to try out for a while now, since the year is ending I decided to dedicate the next couple of days to list my personal top 10 favourite anime titles of 2011. If your favourite series happens to show up then congratulations, you have a refined and exquisite taste in anime. If your favourite series does not show up at the end then I probably havent seen it yet or (most likely) you just need to get better taste (like me). /trollface
Lets get this count down started!
Best of 2011 – #10
To celebrate P.A Work’s 10th anniversary, Hanasaku Iroha was produced as an original anime series for the spring season of 2011. With a synopsis that got me intrigued and character designs by Kishida Mel I just had to give it a try.
The main character Matsumae Ohana was a regular girl living in the city, who just happened to not have the best parental role model out there. Her mom decides to run away to avoid debt and Ohana is sent to live with her grandmother who runs an inn in a pretty rural city. Thinking that this was a good chance to change herself she doesn’t complain at all and actually looked eager to her new life. Needless to say her first couple of experiences were pretty rough, getting slapped, getting told to die, and just overall screwing up unintentionally. By the time I had finished watching the first episode, i was pretty moved. Hanasaku Iroha’s beginning was really strong and it really made me feel for Ohana as she was trying to fit in a new environment with people who had some pretty extreme personalities and ideals. A big part of why the first episode was so powerful was due to Itou Kanae‘s brilliant voice acting as Ohana, I was already a big fan of hers before but I honestly thought that her performance on this episode was worthy of an award.
As the series continued to move forward I realized that my first impression as to how this series’ story would progress was wrong. I had initially thought of a more dramatic story with Ohana struggling to adjust to her new lifestyle and eventually rising to prove herself to the rest of the inn. Instead the show was a more comedic slice of life take of what I had expected but with some moments of drama every now and then. For the first half of its 26 episode run, the dramatic elements, and mostly its focus on Ohana and its growing relationship with the people of the inn made the series quite the fantastic watch and I had this series marked to become one of my top 5 of this year. However when the show shift focus to developing the side characters more and the focus on Ohana was diminished on the second cour of its run it quickly started to lose steam for me. It was then that I realized that for me, Ohana was the main driving force than compelled me to watch Hanasaku Iroha every week. I’m not saying the other characters were bad, they were all good characters but my emotional investment on Ohana was clearly the strongest and it wasnt until the final 3 or so episodes of the series that Ohana finally became the main focus again.
Thankfully the finale of the series was pretty strong and certainly managed to put the show back on the map. With promises to return to the inn in the future, and a confirmed second season incoming, you can guarantee that I will be watching it in hopes that it brings back the level it had when it first started.