Yup, it’s that time of the year again. Without further ado, my review of 2012’s anime.
The Best of 2012
This was a show that I did not expect to enjoy but turned out to be one of the best things of late last year/early this year. What Chihayafuru did really well was to tell a compelling story that was also very character-centric, with just the right amount of drama to make it engaging. Season 2 will be starting this year as well, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the show again.
Again, another show I did not held much hope for in the beginning. I mean, c’mon… female pirates in space? Yeah sure that sounds cool but… it turns out the show did deliver on the cool! I also liked how Moretsu embraced the cheese as well, with many a scene of Marika hamming up her role as the pirate captain of Bentenmaru. Oh, and who can forget that episode where she ropes all her classmates to help out… bedecked in all sorts of cosplay outfits. Understandably, this isn’t a show with much mass appeal, but Moretsu’s shameless adherence of the Rule of Cool really won me over.
Truthfully speaking, Nisemonogatari didn’t really manage to be better than it’s predecessor, Bakemonogatari, but it’s still the show with one of the funniest, sarcasm-laced commentary this year, no thanks to Araragi. Also, who can forget that toothbrush scene anytime soon? Ah, don’t forget Maaya Sakamoto’s awesome portrayal of Shinobu too. That laugh, seriously!
Ano Natsu de Matteru
Ahhh the spiritual revival of the nostalgic Onegai series. Blessed with some of the best production quality this year, AnoNatsu managed to invoke the fun times of 2003 while injecting enough identity in itself to stand on its own. Truth be told, the drama between our main couple lost its luster quite fast, but that was more than made up with the side-characters providing enough drama to carry the show through the end.
Another surprise of this year, Natsuiro Kiseki won me over with the character chemistry of the main cast, no doubt due in fact they are all voiced by members of seiyuu super-group, Sphere. It almost feels as if the four of them really have been long-time friends and brought that warmth over to the series for real. It was also helped that the show did not shy away from running with the premise of having a magical wish-granting rock, although in this case, it’s truly a lesson of “be careful what you wish for” :)
Yet another show that won me over with the strength of its character development and chemistry, and also restored my hope in P.A. Works after last year’s bungling of Hanasaku Iroha. Individually evaluated, the aspects of Tari Tari don’t really stand out much, but combined together, it was truly resulted in something much more than the sum of its parts. Combined together with some really good music, this was a show that slowly but surely won my heart over.
Kyoukaisenjou no Horizon II
Because fuck yeah more Kimi.
Best New Year’s Eve ever. Thank you based SHAFT.
Sword Art Online
Possibly the biggest hit this year, but also one of the most flawed. Unfortunately, the anime treatment made the flaws of the series much more glaring instead of fixing them, but still, it provided with me half a year of fun. If only it had swapped studios with Accel World :(
Coming from the same lineage as SAO, Accel World in some ways is the opposite of SAO with a weak protagonist, strong supporting cast and a much better overall treatment in anime format. The amount of rage it generated still remains as one of the more entertaining aspects of the series.
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
A refreshing take on comedy anime, Danshikou brings us the view from the other side of the gender by focusing on the boys rather than the girls. I have to say, the show truly elicited a good number of chuckles, especially when it took on the subject matter of boys dealing with girls.
Saki: Achiga-hen episode of Side A
Not exactly the Saki sequel I’ve been hoping for since 2009, Achiga-hen brings the focus on another under-dog school in the Nationals. What made the show truly entertaining was finally seeing Saki’s legendary sister, Teru, in action, as well as expanding the focus on the other major contenders in the tournament as well. Toki totally stole the show in the end though.
KyoAni’s best show of the year for me. Hyouka’s start really did not impress at all, but the school festival arc and subsequent ending episode made up for it. The “mysteries” are pretty damned terrible though.
Oda Nobuna no Yabou
I’m not a huge fan of gender-bender historical fiction, but Oda Nobuna’s Ambition is the exception to the norm. Ballsy main character plus a well-thought out and plausible setting for a historical genderbent fiction won me over in the end.
As far as two minute animes go, Teekyuu is like the FMP! Fumoffu of them. It’s pretty damn amazing how much madness can get stuffed in 120 seconds each week. Even better when the zaniest one is voiced by Kana-tan.
- Persona 4 the Animation: Saved me from playing the game I guess.
- Shakugan no Shana Final: Holy shit, I can’t believe it’s finally ended!
- Natsume Yuujinchou Shi: I have to admit, the show’s getting quite long in the tooth
- Amagami SS+: More of an omake kind of thing, but it was nice to have more Nii~nii~
- Another: Slow buildup, but solidly delivered at the end.
- High School DxD: Heh, great fanservice I’ll say.
- Senki Zessho Symphogear: Crazy twists and having Miyukichi as the villain was a nice touch.
- Rinne no Lagrange: I, for one, welcome our new jersey-clad lesbian overlords.
- Papa no Iu Koto Kikinasai: Totally not here just because of Hocchan’s Raika!
- Thermae Romae: Hahaha, can’t believe this is really a thing in Japan!
- Inu x Boku SS: I finished this show, I MUST BE AN ‘M’!
- Kimi to Boku II: Not exactly Danshikou, but close enough!
- Lupin III Mine Fujiko to iu Onna: They sure don’t make anime like this much nowadays!
- Acchi Kocchi: The show most likely to kill with moe overloads.
- Sankarea: ZOMBIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
- Fate/Zero II: Naked Gilgamesh
ruinedstole the ending
- Tasogare Otome x Amnesia: Ghostits.
- Haiyore! Nyaruko-san: (」・ω・)」うー！(／・ω・)／にゃー！(」・ω・)」うー！(／・ω・)／にゃー！
- Tsuritama: Pretty good for a fishing anime!
- AKB0048: The sheer Kawamori-ness of this warrants it a watch.
- Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita: Biting social commentary that most people wouldn’t even begin to comprehend!
- Yuruyuri♪♪: More Akkarin and friends! Wait… who’s that again?
- Binbougami ga!: Oh man, bitchy Kana-tan voice wins.
- Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate: Moe and politics can mix!
- Kono naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga iru!: Dammit, they should’ve kept WHO WAS IMOUTO for a second season.
- Natsuyuki Rendezvous: Extremely dramatic, but the strong cast kept it here.
- Joshiraku: Rakugo anime? More like Tokyo travelogue anime.
- Campione!: You will never get to be as SWAG as GARdou ;_;
- Dog Days’: Becky henshin 10/10 would watch again.
- Kokoro Connect: Inaban totally saved this show, terrible drama though.
- Ebiten: The parodies and homages were pretty good in this show.
- Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai: A fun ride until the last quarter. More ロング凸守 would’ve bumped it up a rank.
- Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb: What can I say, it’s more Hidamari :D
- Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun: Despite a bad start, this turned out a lot better than I expected.
- Guilty Crown: God, what a mess this show was.
- Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam: Sigh, why did Gonzo even bother?
- Aquarion EVOL: Actually worse than the original, which says a lot.
- Black Rock Shooter TV: This show taught me emo could be infectious.
- Kore wa Zombie desu ka? Of the Dead: I wanted more delusion Eu ;_;
- Medaka Box: Yeah, this series doesn’t really translate well to anime.
- Upotte!!: Unfortunately, I’m not a gunfag :(
- Jormungand + Jormungand: Perfect Order: Sigh, the show went nowhere only to end right when it was getting somewhere.
- Sakamichi no Apollon: Wow, I sure expected way too much from this show.
- Eureka Seven AO: Stop ruining the legacy of this franchise, BONES!
- Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse: Shitty Infinite Stratos clone.
- Moyashimon Returns: The change in character design wasn’t even the worst part of it :(
- Hagura Yuusha no Estetica: Got really tired very fast, strong fanservice though!
- Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t take my eyes off you: Wow, even the fillers of the previous Hayate animes were better than this.
- BTOOOM!: Tries too hard.
- Busou Shinki: I can’t believe I finished this.
- K: Too chuu2 4 me.
- Oniichan dakedo Ai sae areba Kankeinai yo ne!: Started out strong, but tapered off quickly. Ibuki Kido is good though.
- Sukitte Ii na yo: I can’t believe I finished this either.
- Tantei Opera Milky Holmes II
- Recorder to Randoseru
- Kill me Baby
- Brave 10
- Sengoku Collection
- Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan
- Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai
Total Shows Started: 76
Total Shows Completed: 68
What stood out for me most this year are that the shows I enjoyed mainly focused a lot on the character development and chemistry. I suppose after so many years watching, the more important aspect for me isn’t the destination but the journey.
Also, this year was marked by a number of series revivals, namely Aquarion, Last Exile and Eureka 7, which all sadly proved to be failures. I just don’t quite get why they would even be getting a second season when the originals already resolved their respective stories quite well. Sigh….
Comedies were quite a mixed bunch this year too, ranging from the good (Danshikou, Joshiraku) to the terrible (Kill me Baby) but I feel they are losing steam if it’s just going to be adaptations, adaptations and more adaptations. Well, 2013 is going to see at least two more Manga Time Kirara series getting animes, so hopefully those will provide more promising animes.
All in all, a decent enough year for anime. A few notable entries are missing I suppose, mainly Girls und Panzer due to circumstances beyond control. Still the show deserves a special shoutout for being one of the bigger hits of this year, but I suppose a proper review would be best done next year after the show ends.
Lastly, Happy New Year 2013 to all my readers!