When I wasn’t busy taking tons of photos of cosplayers at Fanime, I did manage to see quite a few new anime. Here’s my 2011 list, in approximate order from “must see terebi” to “if there’s nothing better on…”
A coming of age drama, sort of like Spirited Away, but without the fantasy elements. Ohana, a more-or-less useless young woman, is forced to move in with her grandmother after her mother flees the country to avoid debt collectors. Her very strict grandmother runs a traditional Japanese inn, demands that she start working at the inn, and shows little patience for anything less than perfection from her staff. Currently about 1/2 way through airing in Japan, and streaming at crunchyroll. Wikipedia entry.
Very funny school-life gag comedy; basically, take some girls who look like they’ve escaped from Lucky Star, drop them into Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, then turn the weirdness knob to 11. When I walked in, the girl on screen threw a Frisbee for her dog, then trap-shot it with her handy shotgun just before the dog grabbed it. Then it started getting strange. Currently running in Japan and streaming on crunchyroll. Wikipedia entry.
Otherwise known by some people as “that anime with the title that’s way too long to remember,” and known by me as “that anime with the long title that surprisingly I can understand, yet still has nothing to do with the story.” Kind of a combination drama / mystery. A group of childhood friends drift apart after one of them, Menma, dies in an accident. Years later, her ghost appears to one of them, asking him to fulfill a wish she made years ago but cannot remember. The catch is that the old group has to be reunited to do so. Currently running in Japan; I think the next episode is #9 out of 11. Link to Wikipedia Entry.
A comedy in which 19th century Japan is conquered by aliens, and a former samurai has to do odd jobs to pay the rent. Currently running in Japan. Here’s the Wikipedia entry. There are 200+ episodes available on crunchyroll; I’d be watching this right now if I wasn’t already 161 episodes into Bleach.
Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru
Surprisingly well executed comedy about a high school student who works in a maid cafe that never seems to get any customers. Completed, 12/12 episodes. Wikipedia entry-poko.
To Love Ru
More or less standard harem anime, except the main female character is an alien from another planet. No wait, that’s still within the standard. Somewhat funny, but nowhere near Gin Tama. Finished in Japan three years ago. Wikipedia entry.
Yet another anime made out of a dating simulation game. The funny thing is that the game upon which this is based came out during my first trip to Japan, and I saw posters and demos for it everywhere. Watching it on the big screen, it seems so easy – the poor guy makes stupid mistakes, yet the girl still falls in love with him. Conversely, when I’m playing Tokimeki Memorial 3, none of the girls ever agree to go on a second date with me, yet they keep rabbit-punching me in the back of the head because apparently I’m not paying enough attention to them. Wikipedia entry.
There were also several that I saw that didn’t make it above this line…