Recommendations: 2011

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“What should I watch now?” Thus is the question we, as anime fans, will ever wonder, for ever and ever. With an endless list of shows available for us to watch, it is sometimes complicated to filter out which ones are good and which ones would be better off disappearing into a deep abyss. This column serves exactly this purpose; in whichever category appears from one week to the next, the best shows will be picked out, leaving you with a good amount – enough to watch anime for entire days without pondering over the incessant question that attacks all anime fans.

“Why 2011?” You might ask. Why not any other year? Why that year in particular? Well… Aside from the fact that laziness took hold of me and just picked a random year from which I had seen enough anime to be able to recommend things from it, I also happened to take a look at the actual list of anime which came out in that particular year. Boy, did some good stuff come out in 2011. Some have risen to become more known, but many of them have fallen underground and would be forgotten easily had there not a post like this one to highlight them. From there, I present to you plain, good anime which, if you’ve just started following seasons or simply follow what’s strongly discussed on the Internet, you probably have not seen. Now get watching!

Spotlight

29490lFate/Zero

Episodes: 25, spread on 2 seasons
Rating: R-17+

Synopsis: Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete to obtain the power of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.

Founded by the Einzbern, Makiri, and Tohsaka families centuries ago, the Einzbern family is determined to achieve success after three successive failures, no matter the cost. As a result, they have elected to bring the hated magus killer, Kiritsugu Emiya, into their ranks, despite his methods and reputation as a skilled mercenary and a hitman who employs whatever he can use to accomplish his goals. Though Kiritsugu had once wanted to become a hero who could save everyone, he has long since abandoned this ideal upon realizing that saving one person comes at the cost of another’s life. For the sake of humanity, he will ruthlessly destroy anything and anyone who threatens the peace of others.

However, Kiritsugu finds himself deeply torn between the love he has found for his new family—his wife Irisviel and their daughter Illya—and what he must do to obtain the Holy Grail. Meanwhile, Kiritsugu’s greatest opponent appears in the form of Kirei Kotomine, a priest who cannot find any sense of fulfillment in his life and sets his sights on Kiritsugu as the possible answer to the emptiness he feels.fate zero awesome

Looking for some action-packed, bad ass, cool and especially short anime to watch? Fate/Zero is definitely an awesome candidate to do just that. If every battle shounen scares you with its incredible length and Shingeki no Kyojin wasn’t enough to give you your fill, Fate/Zero is probably the next one I would ever recommend over any other action show. With incredible art, heroes which literally come from another world and a story which will leave you hanging every episode, this show will make you want to marathon the whole 25 episodes in one sitting. Just make sure to get enough food and to have bathroom breaks!

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30238lMawaru Penguindrum

Episodes: 24
Rating: R – 17+

Synopsis: Once you make a decision, does the universe conspire to make it happen? Is destiny a matter of chance, a matter of choice or the complex outcome of thousands of warring strands of fate? All twins Kanba and Shoma know is that when their terminally ill sister Himari collapses at the aquarium, her death is somehow temporarily reversed by the penguin hat that she had asked for. It’s a provisional resurrection, however, and it comes at a price: to keep Himari alive they need to find the mysterious Penguin Drum. In order to do that, they must first find the links to a complex interlocking chain of riddles that has wrapped around their entire existence, and unravel the knots that tie them to mystifying diary and a baffling string of strangers and semi-acquaintances who all have their own secrets, agendas and “survival strategies.” And in order for Himari to live, someone else’s chosen destiny will have to change. It’s a story of love, fate, life, death… and Penguins! 

Honestly, this synopsis confuses even me. Heck, what is this show even about? Destiny? I’m not even sure, to be honest. All I remember is that, despite this being one of the weirdest shows I have ever watched, it was also one of my favourites of 2011. With its very intricate plot twists and a great amount of symbolism, Mawaru Penguindrum carries you from beginning to end with the sense that nothing, yet everything makes sense. It should be noted that this show is not for innocent, mainstream anime watchers, as there are some pretty crazy things which could traumatize those who haven’t yet been corrupted. If you get past the weird stuff though, this show can make you laugh, cry, freak out and think all at once in the same scene, making its re-watching value is incredibly high. The first time watching, however, is always the best time; and with Mawaru Penguindrum, you can be certain that nothing can ever be predictable, and that every plot twist will come out of nowhere.

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Other Recommendations

1. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
2. Deadman Wonderland
3. AnoHana
4. Steins;Gate
5. Chihayafuru

**Thanks to MAL for the summaries and info!**

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