The Top Anime of 2012

Lupin

2012 was the year I first started this anime blog, as well as the year that I fully dedicated myself to watching various anime religiously as they came out, only to realize that the vast majority of them were awful, which warped the original intentions I had for this blog a bit. It was definitely rough getting into the community, but that’s not relevant to this list. I’ve heard a bunch of people say that this year was one of the weaker ones, but I say fuck that, because the quality that came out from 2012 surpasses 2011 in every way. I love the top 3 or so on here way more than any of my top 2011 stuff.

But enough of my “incorrect to everyone but me” views in the intro. Let’s read them out here instead.

*****

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.42.29 PM10: Aquarion EVOL

EVOL is so dumb, but unlike your typical Sunrise mecha show, it knows it’s dumb and uses that characteristic in order to develop likable characters, hilarious comedy, and powerful climaxes (get your mind out of the gutter). Whilst most shows that are self-aware about their faults use that awareness in order to rub it in your face (with its venereal-diseased ridden ass) how bad it is, EVOL basically turns it in order to turn a generic story into something more. Plus, how you cannot love a character named Andy W. Hol is beyond me. I may not love it as much as other people do because the style has sort of grown normal to me after you get exposed to Kawamori so many times. Still, it’s definitely one of his better works.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.44.03 PM9: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

I loved this show back when it was fresh, but after constant exposure to its flamboyant style, I’ve grown tired of its manly poses and macho narration. There’s only so many times I can handle that sort of over-the-top manliness before I just stop laughing at it, especially considering my idea of action harkens more towards martial arts films and people doing well-choreographed action whilst shutting their fucking mouths. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Jojo. It’s still got fun characters and Battle Tendency works well enough as an above-average shonen story, style or not. I’m just not in love with it anymore.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.43.06 PM8: Thermae Romae

Pretty much the definitive “short is good” anime. It has a simple concept, it utilizes that concept in as many ways as it possibly can within a short time span, and then it leaves before it has a chance to wear that concept out. There’s not much else I can really saw about it other than that. Just go watch it. It won’t take up much of your time and it is hilarious to see Rome be influence by Japanese bath culture.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.43.31 PM7: Blast of Tempest

It’s a bit messy in its deliverance, but Blast of Tempest is still a pretty damn cool show about magical conspiracies, where revenge can take you, and all sorts of Shakespearean betrayals. You’ll never find an anime so full of itself, yet so endearing the way Tempest ends up being. Plus, I loved the drastic tonal change halfway through the series. It was pretty damn fun, all things considered.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.43.19 PM6: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2

This may come as a shock to the fans, but I’m one of the few people who thinks this season was weaker than the first one. It had way more over-the-top moments, but the thing lacked the structure the first season had and the whole God of Lard thing just came off as gross and unfunny to me. But even with that major flaw, Milky Holmes was still really insane and creative with its premise and all the funnier for it. It’s basically the moe show KyoAni should make. They killed moe by pandering to the fujoshi crowd. Now they need to kill moe by actually killing moe.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.44.12 PM5: Hyouka: You Can-Not Escape

Go read this post in order to understand why I think Hyouka is a great mystery series, let alone one of the best romance anime I’ve seen in a while. It’s no game-changer or anything. It’s mostly just using a simple formula in a new way. And sometimes, that’s all you need to impress me.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.42.43 PM4: Kids on the Slope

It’s a great love-letter to the jazz era of the 60s whilst also telling a genuinely touching story about the relationships between teenagers and the hard decisions they must face in regards to growing up and teenage angst. But most importantly, unlike most romance stories, it always moved forward without wasting a step whilst keeping to its themes, and I really appreciated it for that. A touch too melodramatic at times, but its ability to always weave jazz culture into its plot sold the show to me and it never annoyed me like that other Spring 2012 noitamina anime did. Solid stuff.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.43.52 PM3: Psycho-Pass

Psycho-Pass isn’t exactly the best when it comes to handling its themes, but when it was working, it had some of the most gripping moments I’ve ever seen in anime. I think what really sold me to it was how much of it was a call-back to the cyberpunk genre from the 80s and 90s, as well as some of the ultraviolent OVAs. As a guy who wishes they would make some quick returns every once in a while, Psycho-Pass was exactly what I needed. Also, unlike that godawful Jormungand anime that aired this same year (this must be your first visit to the blog if you think I’d include that on here), its action was good, its characters were…passable, its overall story was good, and the production values were mostly decent as well. Solid stuff.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.44.20 PM2: Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko Mine

Speaking of using a typical formula in a new way, that’s what my favorite TV series of 2012 did as well. Okay, Lupin has never been one for mindfuckery before, but basically this show was everything Angel Beats would have (and should have) been if Maeda had bothered to go all the way with his crazy conspiracy writing. It takes a familiar formula and uses it to explore new territory whilst retaining the old roots without any of the baggage that comes with them. It didn’t always work, but the end result is absolutely awesome. They spend about twelve episodes trying to add depth to Fujiko Mine and explain her actions, only to pull a fast one on the viewers and go “Fuck that shit! Fujiko is Fujiko, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that”. Greatest troll ending I’ve seen whilst fitting into everything that’s true about Lupin, which is what I’d expect from a reinterpretation. Shame most anime don’t have the balls to reinterpret as such, but the ones that do really strike a chord with me. In fact, my favorite anime of 2012 is the same way.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 5.44.47 PM1: Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo

Yes the official DVD/Blu-ray release was in 2013. That’s when I saw it too. But let’s just go by the original theatrical release because that’s where I’m ranking the other anime movies by their years. Anyways, take all the criticism you’ve heard about this movie, reverse them, and you’ll get why I fucking love it. Character development was reset? Nope. It just got developed in the negative way rather than the positive way people love so much. Even the titles gave away that they were going to do that shit. Nothing makes sense? There are no plotholes in the anime that had anything to do with what went down. Too much time showing off? Visual creativity at its finest. No joke. As a diehard fan of the franchise, I absolutely loved this new Rebuild movie.

11 responses to “The Top Anime of 2012

  1. Yeah I agree that Aquarion EVOL, Psycho-Pass, Blast of Tempest, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and K were pretty cool.

    Although I wasn’t too fond of Eureka Seven Ao but it was alright.

  2. I’m going to have to say I actually agree with you on Madoka and Steins;Gate: what made them stand out was how much of a strong first impression they made, but since they’re so straightforward once you unravel them, there’s really a lot less appeal to them when you’re rewatching them after the hype’s cooled down. It was just easy to get caught up in the fun and the enthusiastic discussion while they were airing, but on retrospect, they were never game changers in anime. Not even close to that. I don’t think they deserve the accolade that they got – and this is coming from someone who enjoyed both series quite a lot.

    So yeah, I hope in a few more years people will calm down about those series and see that 2011 was more than just the year of Madoka and Steins;Gate. Lots of overlooked little gems.

    As for your 2012 list, I don’t have a lot of comment about it: the list was more or less exactly as expected. Although for someone who was a huge fan of Mine Fujiko, I’m surprised that you didn’t mention it so much on your blog.

    • Steins;Gate is a decent anime once things start happening (for the most part). It’s just that the first half is so goddamn boring.

      As for Madoka…yeah the rewatch value of that is kind of low (same with EVOL, which is part of the reason it’s ranked where it is). I like the first half quite a bit, but the second half just pisses me off.

      As for 2011, I made a list somewhere, but I really enjoyed stuff like Tiger and Bunny, Un-Go, Enma-kun, and Azazel-san.

      Never talked about Fujiko because I only really loved it when I rewatched it near the end of the year. By then, I didn’t really have much to say about it.

  3. Pingback: The Worst Anime of 2012 | Standing On My Neck

  4. Don’t know if here is the right place to say anything but, I literally don’t understand you and your ratings. Dammit, there’s so much here that’s looks backwards to me I can’t put it together in a coherent way. You like 3.33 because… it’s different? You like Hyouka despite it’s godawful pacing after episode 5? Korra gets a mention because of it’s ending ( and some weak characters )? Your dislikes kind of lineup with mine but, the likes column is just a mess. Maybe I need to read your stuff more, which I’m going to do.

    TL:DR You’re weird. And so are opinions.

  5. Wow, within the first few episodes of watching Psycho-Pass, I was thinking:

    “I don’t care what happens to these people.”

    It’s probably because of the poorly-executed in media res at the beginning, with the whole “They are fated to meet!” and white-color-scheme-guy clashing with black-color-scheme-guy. That made me start the series with an exceptionally bad taste in my mouth.

    Yep.

    I do like the concept (though I don’t feel it was executed well?). And the ending, to some degree, because it’s more realistic. As a whole, I thought Psycho-Pass was ok — but not worth spending 22 episodes of time watching. Or, at least, there’s better stuff to watch before it.

    I personally enjoy Madoka more (cue “heresy!”, gasps, etc.). Okay, it did have crappy pseudoscience, and a bit of a disappointing ending, but as a whole I still found it more enjoyable than Psycho-Pass.

    So many different cups of tea in the world, eh?