A great thing about large statistical samples, like a 'top 110 anime' list, is that you can analyze the data to find trends.
One thing that should immediately strike people is just how many of these top 110 series occurred during 2011. Even though any series ever made is allowed to compete in this contest, it is so slanted towards currently airing shows that the rest are barely worth mentioning.
In the top 10, 6 shows aired in 2011.
In the top 20, 11 shows aired in 2011.
In the top 30, 15 shows aired in 2011.
In the top 40, 17 shows aired in 2011.
Out of all 110, 39* have aired in 2011.
* Rurouni Kenshin is airing in December of 2011, so it hasn't technically come out yet, but for comparative purposes it should be counted towards 2011's points total regardless.
That's over 1/3 of the best anime ever airing in this year alone. Now, many of these are long series, and I'm not saying they aired entirely during 2011 and at no other time, but the fact is the present has an advantage over the past -- good series stay with us while bad ones quickly die away, leaving an ever larger field of good series still in the mix. It's like watching evolution in action.
Previously I announced 2010 was the best year in anime. How does it fare against 2011?
In the top 10, 6 shows aired in 2010.
In the top 20, 12 shows aired in 2010.
In the top 30, 17 shows aired in 2010.
In the top 40, 19 shows aired in 2010.
Out of all 110, 36 shows aired in 2010.
So depending on what number you look at, either 2011 or 2010 could be the best year in anime ever. No other date comes close. Except, of course, 2012! If you look at the + signs attached to currently airing series, most of the new content from those franchises will be coming out in 2012. There's slated to be a new Berserk movie, a new Nanoha movie, a new Strike Witches movie, and a new Evangelion movie, just for starters. 2012, through + signs of known good series, is already shaping up to be a fantastic year for anime.
Even so, I think 2011 takes the cake, for providing so many series that debuted during this year -- Steins;Gate, Gosick, Moshidora, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, The Idolm@ster, Hanasaku Iroha, Usagi Drop, Ano Hana, and Nichijou. 2011 is not living off of 'borrowed light' in the least. 9 series, 2 in the top 20, have been created ex nihilo. (Though admittedly, 2010 managed to debut 2 series in the top 20 as well, Katanagatari and Angel Beats.)
2011 has had its ups and downs as a year in world history, but as a year in anime, it's the best year ever, by a tiny margin over the 2nd best year ever, 2010, the year before.
The trend should be obvious. Anime's future is much brighter than its past. Anime was already the best art in the best art form possible. But now it's becoming so far and away better than everything else -- music, books, paintings, sports, live action movies, plays, operas, ballets, video games -- it's just becoming embarrassing. The greatest thing that could ever happen to an alternate entertainment product is to be adapted into an anime. A good video game? In that case, adapt it into an anime. A good book? Turn it into an anime. A good live action movie? Make an anime of it for 1/10th the price and 10 times the quality. A sporting event? Instead make an anime of that same sport and it'll be even better. A painting? An anime is many paintings. A song? An anime is many songs. Ballets? Anime has great dance sequences in its openings and endings already. Operas? Anime characters can sing beautifully, and often do so, since they have the best voice actors on Earth.
Anime is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it.