2011 Miscellaneous Favorites
Time for some random fun lists to finish off my 2011 Anime Palooza…
Let’s start with my favorites for voice acting in 2011:
6) Rin (Usagi Drop), as voiced by Ayu Matsuura – I feel that much of Usagi Drop’s impact would have been lost if Rin didn’t actually sound just like a little girl. Who better then to voice her then, than this talented child? Just born in 2001! An excellent first role.
5) Nyanko-sensei (Natsume Yuujinchou San), as voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue – As far as I can tell, he does both the Nyanko and Madara forms for this character. Since episode one of this series, I’ve found Nyanko’s voice very unique–both fun and wise-sounding, and overall quite interesting for a “cat” character.
4) Caster (Fate/Zero), as voiced by Satoshi Tsuruoka – Caster’s voice is just flat out insane, constantly jumping between ecstatic, gravely, shrill, melodramatic, menacing, outlandish, disquieting, comical, and… some combination of all of them at once. This character’s pitch is just everywhere, and those shrieks! Scary. o_o
3) Mio (Nichijou), as voiced by Mai Aizawa – I thought everyone did a great job with the voicing in this show (many of whom were newcomers!), but if I had to pick one that stood out a little above the rest… I’d have to go with Mio-chan. She’s kind of the epitome of Nichijou’s stark contrast between everyday normality and epic craziness, and to voice both sides to the character so effectively is very impressive. I hope the voice actress didn’t strain her throat too much for some of those really long, dramatic shouting sequences. x_x (Fun fact: She also voices Minene [Ninth] in Mirai Nikki!)
2) Okarin (Steins;Gate), as voiced by Mamoru Miyano – Now here is a spectacular role, that pushes the voice actor to be both dramatic comically, as well as dramatic seriously. And it’s pulled off perfectly! There is a lot of talented energy put into this, and Okarin still comes off sounding distinctive compared to his other famous roles I’m familiar with. (ie Light from Death Note, Tamaki from Ouran High, and Zero from Vampire Knight)
1) Victorique (Gosick), as voiced by Aoi Yuuki – I imagine Aoi Yuuki is near the top of other people’s lists for 2011–but for me, it’s not for the role of Madoka (of Madoka Magica). It’s for Victorique, who has one of the most unique-sounding voices in any anime I’ve seen. I went into Gosick with big expectations for the lead heroine’s role, as I had previously read the first light novel of the series beforehand. In the story, Victorique is described of having a creaky, low voice, similar to that of an old woman (presumably caused by her pipe-smoking). Of course, Victorique can’t just be voiced by an old woman, since she is still a girl (high school age, I’m assuming). As it turned out, Aoi Yuuki achieved the perfect balance for Victorique’s voice, and even managed to combine this with the two sides of the tsundere archetype.
And any mention of Victorique’s voice acting must include links to her amazing laugh, her moment of extreme bliss, as well as her epic singing! You should take the time to enjoy her beautiful character drama song as well. O_O
Next up on my random lists for 2011… Favorite Production Values! I’ll start with #3, and work my way up from there:
3) Madoka Magica
This show was a visual treat. Pretty much everything about it animation-wise was not only top-notch, but also extremely creative and well-thought out. The character designs, the backgrounds, the lighting… and the crazy art of the witch realms were all quite spectacular. The music is composed by Yuki Kajiura, my favorite (SEE: Pandora Hearts), and fits perfectly with the dark, fascinating setting of the series.
The animation for this show is absolutely stunning (movie-quality, really). This is one of those rare anime where the action sequences actually get my adrenaline going… It’s truly epic! I really love all the character designs as well–and again… wonderful music by Yuki Kajiura. :> It’s just a thoroughly classy series, and I really look forward to the second half this spring.
Shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but this is something I feel wasn’t acknowledged too much on the anime blogsphere… Just how ingenious Nichijou was with its animation and music! First of all, the color scheme of this show is just so… vibrant. It’s bright, but not annoyingly so. Makes you want to dance! And the animation is slick, smooth, and stylish. And thanks to its many series of gag skits, it’s allowed to experiment with art styles as well (eg I love the imaginative styles for the various Helvetica Standard segments). The background music is also surprisingly quite varied, and has a lot of memorable jingles and variations thereof to fit the many moods of the series. The opening songs are really energetic, and always got me excited for the show to start–and the ending songs (of which there are many) have a cute, quieter feel to them (a nice cool-down after all the frantic skits of the episode). And who can forget the dramatic orchestra pieces, such as that in the famous house of cards sequence? XD Or during Mio-chan’s high jump sequence, leading to the infamous fish flop?
Sigh… And now I just spent the last half hour watching Nichijou clips on Youtube. For the hundredth time.
SO MOVING ON
1) Gosick (2nd)
Feel free to watch and listen to these songs… and enjoy! I look forward to doing posts like these next year, and perhaps I can come up with other interesting lists for things, depending on what I watch.