With most of the Autumn series now approaching their ends, or at least their halfway points, I finally feel confident enough to compose my Top 12 anime list for 2012! Which, like last year, I’ll be doing as part of kidd’s Ani-Bloggers Choice Anime Awards. Basically, that means this list, along with the lists of any other anime bloggers who’re taking part, will be used to calculate an overall top 12… which last year ended up looking nothing like my personal list.
The rules state that each anime series in my list gets one point, with my number 1 show of the year getting an additional bonus point. You’d think that would make things easier for me, since the order of the other eleven shows doesn’t matter so much, but it’s actually made me even more critical – if my number 12 series is going to get the same number of points from me as my second favorite, it has to be good enough to deserve it!
The rules also state that any series which aired this year are eligible for nomination… but for my list, I’ll be keeping to shows that STARTED airing in 2012. That’s the way I’ve always done my end of year lists, as I feel the Autumn 2011 shows already had their share of the glory in my 2011 list, and I wouldn’t want to include them again if it meant excluding shows that weren’t around when I made that list. Anyway, if last year was anything to go by, I won’t be the only one adapting the rules to suit my own blog.
So here they are, my top anime picks of 2012!
Sankarea had an interesting premise, fun characters, a good balance of comedy and plot, as well as fantastic production values. I would have liked to have seen a few more episodes of Rea living as a ‘normal girl’, which could have provided a lot more opportunities for comedy and even romance, but that’s not really an issue. It would have ranked higher if the ending had lived up to the strong start, and if it weren’t for the poorly-timed (if otherwise very good) side character development episodes.
11: Kokoro Connect
The biggest surprise of the Summer season, Kokoro Connect quickly proved that, despite the K-ON!-like moeblob character designs, it was no ordinary school club slice of life anime. This show had a simple but interesting plot, plenty of drama, surprisingly complex characters, and frequently made the top 3 in my weekly rankings as a result. Unfortunately, as with Sankarea, I found the early episodes far superior to the later arcs, and wasn’t too satisfied with the ending.
I loved the three series that came before it, and the manga too, so Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb was always going to be a strong contender. I expected it to rank higher… but it’s actually the fact that I’ve already watched and read so much Hidamari Sketch before that’s holding it back. The episodes are starting to feel a bit samey, and the humour repetitive at times. Still, I love the characters and unique animation style, and it has had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
Space Bros. may have only been airing for three seasons, but it feels a lot longer than that, maybe due to the slow pacing. It’s the pacing which makes rating this series difficult to rank – while it has allowed for a longer, more in-depth story and greater character development, there have been several episodes (especially between arcs) where not much actually happened, and as a result it has had less of an impact on me than most faster-paced series.
I don’t know whether kidd will count both series of Jormungand as separate titles, or as two halves of the same show due to the continued episode numbers, but either way it’s the currently airing episodes of Perfect Order that have impressed me most, with the long awaited revelation of Koko’s grand plan in last week’s episode guaranteeing it a place on my list. It’s nice to see more of an ongoing story, as opposed to the short 1-2 episode arcs that made up the majority of the original Spring series.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!’s crazy, imaginative antics have made it one of the funniest (and most adorable) series of the year in my opinion. The grand, delusionally exaggerated and fantastically animated battle scenes were always fun to watch, and the shift from pure comedy to drama and romance in the second half of the series was also handled quite well.
While overshadowed by Sakamichi no Apollon while it was airing, Tsuritama was still fantastic. What it lacked in complexity, it more than made up for with absurdity. Bright colours, hilarious characters, mind-controlling water pistols, comedy, drama, dancing, fishing, Tsuritama had it all! Definitely the best comedy of the Spring season, and of the year as a whole in my opinion.
When I first made a start on the new Autumn offerings, Psycho-Pass was the show that impressed me the most from episode 1. The idea of a system which can read your mental state, limit your career options and label you a criminal before you’ve even done anything wrong makes for an interesting premise, and my initial worries about lack of character development have largely been addressed in recent episodes.
4. Fate/Zero S2
The only show to have made both my ACAA lists, Fate/Zero’s second half places slightly lower than the first. It had the same fascinating cast of characters, all with their own reasons for pursuing the grail, and the same fantastic animation (most of the time)… what it didn’t do so well this time was the pacing. The final episodes felt a little rushed and confusing, and the ending itself (while predictable to anyone who has seen /Stay Night) was an anticlimax. Still a very good series over all, though.
Zetsuen no Tempest impressed me early on, making the Final Five in my Autumn Anime Knockout… but it’s the events of the last three-four episodes that saw it overtake Psycho-Pass to become my favorite anime of this season. The battle of logic between Samon and Yoshino has had me on the edge of my seat every week, and there have been plenty of fantastic plot twists along the way. Best of all in my opinion are the characters, they are just so different from the usual generic protagonists and antagonists.
Just missing out on that bonus point, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a show that has been highly overlooked and underrated in my opinion. This show (nearly) moved me to tears on a few occasions, and I struggle to fault it – it was just a really good romance/drama series with an interesting supernatural twist. The only thing holding it back for me is the fact that it lacked any really memorable, epic moments that have stuck in my mind ever since… unlike my number 1.
And finally, my overall favorite series of the year:
Although I wasn’t hugely satisfied with the ending (as is so often the case with anime…), Sakamichi no Apollon thoroughly deserves to be my number 1 series of the year. The jazz sessions were fantastic, the characters all extremely likable, and the setting refreshingly different. The impromptu performance at the school festival in particular sticks out in my mind as THE most epic scene of any series this year. Here’s hoping it comes out on top in the overall ACAA list too!
Receiving no points from me, but worth an honourable mention: Binbougami ga!, Robotics;Notes, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Eureka Seven AO, and the 2012 Winter season (which failed to produce any new series good enough to make my list )
Bonus: AngryJellyfish’s Alternative Anime Awards (AAAA for short)! Because the less-epic shows deserve some love too~
3: Amagami SS+
1: Amagami SS+