Another year, another end of the year reflection basically as we look back at all the nice stuff we’ve managed to watch in the year 2012. One way I’m doing that is by participating in The Aniblogger Choice Anime Awards. Kiddtic started it last year, and I ended up taking part then — it only makes sense that I take part this year. But unlike the one I did last year, I can say this time I watched a lot more anime in 2012 than 2011, therefore, this list was even tougher to work on than usual because I ended up leaving some pretty solid shows out. However, I will only list the Top 12 shows of 2012 for me, with somewhat of a caveat: the list of really great shows didn’t really show up. Nothing really took hold of me like Mawaru Penguindrum or Usagi Drop of last year, as most landed either in the pile of “It’s okay” to “It’s solid” or to “It’s very good,” which is kind of disappointing. That being said, there were some pretty interesting series that aired this year, and I’m going to give you a list of some that turned out to be just that!
12. Natsuyuki Rendezvous
- Why It’s On The List: There’s an age difference between our characters in love! Scandalous! Surely has to be on the list for that!
- Why It’s REALLY on the list: Simply put, I was taken in by the relationship that revolved around the three main characters in Rokka, Ryousuke, and Atsushi. It was interesting and a definite step up compared to other romances of its type. Where it ultimately made its mistake was staying in the dream world for ages, as I didn’t gain anything, but I felt like it wasn’t a complete waste of time there, and I wasn’t as turned off as I initially thought I would be. It’s basically a reminder that, when it comes to love at the age the characters are, love is not quite as simple as one thinks it is, and I give it credit for attempting to give us that message, even if it did get too out of whack when it came to fantasy.
11. Moretsu Pirates
- Why It’s On The List: Cute girls, pirates, space, I mean, you can’t ask for more right?
- Why It’s REALLY on the list: Overall, it was a series to enjoy for the little things, with it featuring enough facets of space warfare and some strong accompanying music that landed on my list. Admittedly, it got boring in some parts. But Marika’s tale and the stories of the rest of the crew were pretty enjoyable, and the second half of Moretsu Pirates was pretty entertaining. Overall, a pretty solid anime series.
- Why It’s On The List: Has a really hot female lead.
- Why it’s REALLY on The List: Ok, ok, in addition to the hot female lead (Hi Sakura), it also featured lots of Jump parodying (Hi DBZ and Medaka Box), way too much dog abuse (or in the case of Inugami, that’s a good thing?), and even had some drama attached to it. The drama bits weren’t executed all that well, but overall, when I heard the current director of Gintama (not the former one) was directing it, I pretty knew what to expect, and got exactly what I came for.
- Why It’s On The List: I mean, it has hot Rakugo girls in this anime! Why the heck not to include it?
- Why It’s REALLY on The List: But these hot Rakugo girls were basically involved in an elaborate mission to troll its viewers. Thanks to the one who planted the seed (…That’d be Kouji Kumeta), instead of boring me with cute girls doing cute things, it actually made fun of politics, managed to educate its viewers on historical facts that may or may not be true (I can already see myself getting confused on the trains now), and even came up with an elaborate dance that I would not have looked for if Marow didn’t provide the link for it. Overall, I managed to survive some dull parts to get to the best parts, and it definitely was a favorite of mine this year.
8. Ginga E Kickoff
- Why It’s On The List: I obviously needed to include everything that most anime fans don’t like on this list right?!?
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: But if you can give Ginga E Kickoff a chance, you’ll understand why I somehow ended up blogging it from Episode 1 all the way to whatever episode’s subbed now. I was initially skeptical about it, but with its timely energy and actual realism when it comes to the game of Soccer, this is a series that has impressed me, but also has frustrated me too. But overall, it’s been one fun series to watch and cover, and hopefully a great ending is the ultimate payoff.
- Why It’s On The List: By law, since I’ve watched a KyoAni show this year, I definitely should have it in my Top 10 right?
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: But it’s a bit more than that. It definitely started out slow, but as expected, it got interesting the more the series went on, and it basically turned from a typical slice of life series to a slice of life series involving mystery, some thinking, and lots of questioning of the characters. Also, Houtarou turned out to be someone I can kind of relate to. So add that with great visuals and a solid soundtrack, and it earned its welcome into my Top list.
6. Daily Lives of High School Boys
- Why It’s On The List: DANSHI KOUKOUSEI NO NICHIJOU!!! OW!!!
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: I called it. While most bloggers were skeptical about the concept of this series, I knew better. Sure, it had the “cute boys doing cute things” persona which basically seems also like “cute girls doing cute things.” There was Kimi To Boku, a series that I don’t quite think it’s all that bad (well, the first 3 eps of it), but I can easily see why one would think so, that just aired in the Fall. Needless to say, some probably didn’t want to bother. But thanks to my Gintama background, once I heard the Director of old Gintama (Hi Takamatsu) was involved — and also Sunrise to a degree — I knew it would not disappoint. And not surprisingly, it didn’t. If you haven’t checked it out, well, I pity thee. You should somehow find the time to check out this fun show.
- Why It’s On The List: Epic Fishing Brothers Who End Up Fishing For World Salvation
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: The buildup. No really, the buildup to the climax of the series. In watching 8 episodes of Tsuritama, only Ep 2 really got my attention. Otherwise, all the other episodes either ranged to mediocre to just ok, with it floundering between fishing, Haru being weird, etc. But then the last 4 episodes showed up, and they were awesome. In a stunner, that is what really saved the show for me, as they hit all of the right notes and concluded Tsuritama in a style that I can rest easy on. It never wavered in quality, and thanks to that, its visuals, and its soundtrack, Tsuritama manages to crack my Top 5.
4. Kids on The Slope
- Why It’s On The List: Epic Music Bros Who Play Music Like Their Live Depended On It
- Why It’s REALLY On The List:…Well, for the most part. The focus of the show wasn’t mostly on the music however, as love entered the picture, and that really killed some situations. However, it didn’t come close to ruining it for me. While Tsuritama had the best climax on the noitaminA block, Kids on The Slope managed to be of consistent quality from start to finish, giving us some solid exploration into our main characters’s lives, and when the music did show up later in the series, it was pretty good. I ultimately will remember Kids on The Slope as commentary of an era with a different set of rules and regulations, and for what it was worth, it did it fairly well.
3. Lupin The Third: A Woman Named Mine Fujiko
- Why It’s On The List: Um, it has naked Fujiko. And she’s naked a lot. Obvious grounds to be included in my list!
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: But the series turned out to be a bit more than that, even if it may have taken way too many chances with the Owl experiment. I’ve generally (and others) kill lots of series that end up making their female leads exposed in a manner that its unnecessary and blatant, and more often than not, it’s generally deserved. But in this case, Mine Fujiko is taken to a level that actually uses it smartly (or in this case, a lethal weapon), dripping on sexuality and having quite the smarts about it at times. It also manages to make the series “darker” in a way, with it’s old yet kind of new school art and cold hard looks at how one usually views the cast of Lupin. To wrap it up, I found it enjoyable and thought provoking, and I say it’s worth a shot if you haven’t checked it out.
- Why It’s On The List: With S2 approaching, including Chihayafuru will obviously net me more views on search engines!
- Why It’s REALLY On The List: But that’s not the real reason, it just so happens to be convenient this way. And as it turned out, I also listed it in last year’s ACAA. But it happened to continue through the Winter. And yeah, let’s just say it got pretty epic in its second half. Needless to say, Chihayafuru is…actually kind of a weird show. We all know of it as Josei, but it feels like a cross between Shoujo and Shounen. It’s so weird. How did it become so enjoyable?!? I can only blame the characters, the music, the Karuta, and the visuals. Yeah, I think that’s why I enjoyed it.
But despite the love for Chihaya and her crew, it will get the best love from anime watchers in 2013. But in all respects, the series that made an impact to me this year and is my #1 is…
Space Brothers seems like a series that can get all too cheesy, all too drawn out, and very unappealing. While I did rank it solidly in my Spring Compendium, I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do now. Whether it is the characters, the idea of going to space, the music, whatever the case, I was impressed, and by either Ep 5 or 6 I became a fanboy. Space Brothers is such an awesome show, and this is a show that I would be looking to buy once it comes to the U.S.
So yeah, that’s my list for ACAA. Feel free to discuss below…I think! Also, thanks to Kiddtic for bringing this up once again!
You can also check out Kuuki’s Top 12 Anime of 2012.