Top 20 Anime of 2012

Without further ado. . .

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Aquarion EVOL, Sankarea, Jormungand, Mouretsu Pirates, Tsuritama (END)

I’m feeling a bit lazy about this so I’m combining everything else in the past season that I haven’t reviewed yet.

Aquarion EVOL

Besides Fate/Zero, EVOL probably had the best ending out of everything that ended last season. IT also had the best last few episodes. Everything was so overblown, dramatic, yet weirdly fun at the same time. The series does not know the  word “subtlety” and each interaction from the characters are always full of emotion. This series was both sexually charged and heartfelt at the same time and I have no idea how that even worked. The middle episodes of EVOL may have been a bit dragging but I’m gonna be a bit kind since the ending was really awesome.

Execution: 33/40 (Middle episodes were kinda. . .)

Engagement: 26/30 (Ending was really fun)

Characters: 16.5/20 (Ugh @ Zessikage)

Production Values: 9.5/10 (Amazing Soundtack)

Overall: 85/100 ( B- )

Sankarea

I honestly expected this show to be terrible. It was a recipe for disaster: an short unfisnished manga, a terrible studio, a terrible premise that screamed OTAKU BAIT. Astonishingly, the first few episodes were pretty damn fine. There was actually a STORY and the characters were actually pretty engaging and leaving their supposed stereotypes. Rea in particular really had a solid character development, IMHO. Apparently, Studio DEEN decided to hire a bunch of geniuses (SHAFT worker, script writer for Baccano/Durarara, Toradora/Penguindrum Composer) for this which explains why every aspect of the series exceeded my expectations.

It’s too bad though that this series didn’t get a proper conclusion. In addition to that, the stink of the manga which was heavily covered up in the first episodes, started showing. It’s also when I realized that there’s only a few characters that I actually give a damn about. Still I was pleasantly surprised with what went on in this series so I’m gonna be positive in grading this.

Execution: 36/40 (DEEN hired geniuses for this)

Engagement: 24/30 (I didn’t like it as much when the original material started stinking)

Characters: 14.5/20 (I like the main couple but I really don’t like WANKO)

Production Values: 9.5/10 (DEEN finally decided to look nice)

Overall: 84/100 (B-)

Jormungand

In preparation fro Jormungand, I watched Black Laggon and that show was just pure badassery. In the end Jormungand ended up the same albeit with a bit of nuances.

Jormungand is about KOKOLOCO and her arms dealer group doing some KOKOLOCO stuff. Each episode is exciting since all the characters keep on being badass. The story is sometimes hard to follow but the energy of the series really makes up for it. If there’s anything else to say though, I definitely prefer Black Lagoon over this a bit since Rock and Levy are just a tad bit more developed as characters than Koko an co. But still Koko is awesome so it’s not really a complaint.

I can’t seem to formulate anything to say for Jormungand. It’s definitely a series that’s so much more fun watching than writing about.

Execution: 32/40 (A bit hard to follow sometimes)

Engagement: 28/30 (Full of energy)

Characters: 16/20 (KOKOLOCO)

Production Values: 8/10 (Good enough for awesome action)

Overall: 84/100 (B-)

Mouretsu Pirates

It’s Pirates! In space! You’d expect Mouretsu Pirates to be exciting, overblown and full of blasting explosions but this series ended up being very grounded. There’s a number of people that gave up on this series because it was too slow but once it got going, it really got going.

This series doesn’t look down on your intelligence and in a way it expects you to follow the story without baby feeding you with all the information needed. I kinda like that aspect of the series. It’s not bad storytelling at all because it’s easy to follow the series if you pay attention.

The series consists of 4-5 arcs with different focuses. The arc that really made me fall in love with the series is the Gruier Serenity arc with the theme of “A princess finding her origins” kinda thing. I also loved it when Marika’s schoolmates ended up become her crew for like 1/4 of the series. It’s like We’re GAR pirates but we eat cake and shit inside. The last arc was the best though and it showed us what an action packed Mouretsu Pirates can be like.

I definitely enjoyed this series. It’s much better to watch this marathon-style because of the pacing.

Execution: 36/40 (Does not baby feed you)

Engagement: 26/30 (Really fun once you get used to the atmosphere)

Characters: 17/20 (Lots of time for development due to the slow pacing)

Production Values: 8/10 (Good enough to tell a solid story)

Overall: 87/100 (B)

Tsuritama

The other noitaminA series this year, I just have to say. . . I did not like this show. I’ve heard praises on how whimsical and relaxing Tsuritama is but I couldn’t see it. All I saw was baww forced dorama with really angsty male teenagers.

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t hate angst (I don’t hate Shinji) but with Tsuritama, I don’t even like the characters for me to sympathize with their boohoohoo problems. I honestly liked this show for the first few episodes until it started tackling its lol plot. Haru was my least favorite character of the four mains but he especially got annoying towards the end.

And oh my god that ending. It felt like the Brady Bunch with oohh the whole cast comes together and helps save Enoshima from aliens. BUT WAIT- one of them dies with some random explosion somewhere but that’s just a cliffhanger. He ends up safe anyway but whatever. Then woopdeedoo they save the world through fishing!

There’s obviously some good parts but this another Nakamura Kenji failure for me. If [C] had characters with non-existent personalities, Tsuritama had a terrible plot and overly emotional characters. I mean Tsuritama was supposed to correct [C]’s mistakes but it ends up overdoing the correcting.

Well there’s always Tapioca.

Execution: 32/30 (Nothing horribly bad except for the ending)

Engagement: 22/30 (Dwindled towards the end)

Characters: 14/20 (Angsty in a bad way)

Production Values: 9/10 (Admittedly creative)

Overall: 77/100 (C)

May Roundup

On hold: Space Bros, Dusk Maiden of the Amnesia, Fujitits, Shirokuma Cade

Dropped: Zetman, Accel World, Kuroko no Basuke

LAND OF THE TERRIBAD

nada

FAULTY BUT WATCHABLE

12. AKB0048 7.9

This show is stupider than Aquarion EVOL. Oh god the whole songstress thing. The thing is though. . . I like it. It also has the EVOL aura in which everything is taken seriously to the point where you realize that some parts are purposely dumb. Or just unintentional comedy but meh I like it. Oh god this whole paragraph doesn’t make sense. Kinda like AKB0048.

GOOD

11. (14) Saki Achiga-Hen 8.2

Well it’s never gonna be as good as Saki but I’ve made peace with this series. They finally have mah-jong battles and some parts are pretty interesting. Some build-ups are paying off; some are still working on building up even more. Maybe this spinoff is just some commercial for the original series since when the real main characters appear, they’re really glorified especially Saki herself.

10. (5) Tsuritama 8.4

I like the whole fishing part of Tsuritama. The way this series presents fishing is very educational (sometimes slightly technobabbleish) though I am curious if Enoshima really has that much variety of fish. I also learned from this series that you can actually have artificial coral reefs. Anyway the plot of Tsuritama is picking up but I really don’t like some of the character interactions (or I’m still pissed at Natsuki for slapping his sweet sister). Haru’s slightly annoying too at times.

9. (6) Eureka Seven Ao 8.4

Maybe it’s just me but do all mecha series have great BGMs? Ao’s even better than Rinne no Lagrange’s. That aside, I really have to see the original Eureka Seven (or the six other eurekas). I’m really curious about Ao’s mom.

8. (10) Aquarion EVOL 8.4

AHAHAHHA the whole MIXY plot is stupid but I LOVE IT. Evol’s finally revealing some plot points that I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the series and it’s all coming together. I hope the last stretch really pulls this series together.

SEASON’S MEAT

7. (4) Sankarea 8.6

This month in Sankarea had a lot of cracks, mostly because of content. It’s still great with damn fine execution, particularly in episode 8, but sometimes I do wonder what would happen if Sankarea’s staff got a better source material to work on. Anyways I do wonder how this will close off considering the manga is only up to chapter 26.

6. (7) Jormungand 8.7

It’s still fun, it’s still fresh, it’s still awesome. Anime about BANG BANG BANG is apparently always good. I just watched Black Lagoon recently and while Jormungand’s tone is slightly different, it has that snarky-devlish style that I really like. Also Jormungand’s writing is just flawless.

5. (9) Mouretsu Pirates 8.9

I finally picked this up. The refinement of Mouretsu Pirates is unrivalled. Its concepts and settings are well researched and I just love the way it’s used in this series. Bentenmaru’s tasks aren’t exactly the most pirate-ish (attacking luxury liners, saving princesses, guarding high school competitions) but the way it’s done is just brilliant. There’s also some form of mockery to other space operas with 5-6 episodes about High School girls managing Bentenmaru while eating cake and having parties. Moe in my space opera? Impossiburrruu!

4. (3) Fate/Zero 8.9

Kiritsugu’s backstory is very Kara no Kyoukai-ish. We got a view of the world outside of the Holy Grail War and it was slightly refreshing. It also helped that because of that backstory, the events that happened afterwards really hit hard. Kiritsugu will eat himself up by the end of this series.

3. (9) Hyouka 8.9

I have to admit, this is the series that has me excited watching each week. I don’t know why but it has this aura of perfection. Most KyoAni series have this but not as much as Hyouka does. Maybe this is why KyoAni always aims low. For perfection. Really though, Hyouka’s premise is so simple yet the way it’s executed makes it THAT MUCH BETTER. I mean when you have an episode just about Chitanda asking Houtaro why she got angry and you’re entertained, that’s something.

LEGENDARY

2. (2) Sakamichi no Apollon 9.3

I love how much stuff happens in an episode. It’s compact, concise while not losing the feelings and emotions. The romantic triangles actually go somewhere and the characters (especially Kaoru) go through so much maturity because of it. In any other season this would usually take the top spot but not when I finally found an anime that’s fit for my Top 10.

ALL TIME FAVORITE

1. (1) Mysterious Girlfriend X 9.7

This series is just AMAZING STUFF. Each trope in dating is deconstructed and turned into a way in which Tsubaki and Urabe become much more honest with each other. If drool is the way to make relationships work like this, then please every couple out there, exchange drools with your fingers NOW!

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I’d say last month’s stronger but the good crop did get a lot better this month!