2012 might as well be the year of the hype train. We had a lot of promising titles this year and a few of them have failed to deliver. It’s also unfortunate that 2011 was a strong year, delivering one big hit after another. But as quiet a year 2012 may seem, it’s not that bad. So Black Rock Shooter, Guilty Crown and Sword Art Online all ran in the same year, but at the same time we had legitimately entertaining shows worth talking about.
As of writing, subs for Kamisama Hajimemashita and Code:Breaker aren’t out yet but in case it doesn’t come out before Jan, 1 2013, Kamisama Hajimemashita is making the tenth spot.
10. Kamisama Hajimemashita
My favorite romance shoujo show of the season, Kamisama Hajimemashita is a light and fluffy series that served as a great breather in between a lot of shows. But as series progress I came to care more about Nanami and Tomoe. The series featured well-timed gags and is very heartwarming at times. The drama rarely feels heavy handed and the characters… Akitaro Daichi makes it really easy to like these characters.
9. Sakamichi no Apollon
It’s no secret that Sakamichi no Apollon suffered from pacing issues. It crams in as much as possible in an 11 episode format and that becomes very apparent during the third act of the series. Putting that into consideration, it still rises above plenty of shows this season. It’s competently directed, features a likable cast, a fantastic soundtrack and a decent coming of age tale set in the 60s. It has a particular charm to it that you won’t come across that often, like Watanabe’s Genius Party entry, Baby Blue– Sakamichi no Apollon is by no means ambitious. But what it lacks in ambition is makes up for simple heartfelt storytelling. Sakamichi no Apollon is an anime worth experiencing.
8. Eureka Seven AO
Oh, this is a rather infamous series. It’s take on the franchise hasn’t exactly received positive reviews. I myself am not sure why I like this series so much. It’s a bunch of floating ideas all labeled as ‘Eureka Seven AO’. However watching this usually kept me at the edge of my seat. I was surprised with every twist and I genuinely found myself caring for the characters. And while the ending didn’t answer a lot of my questions, I think I understood what the series was trying to say. That it was Ao’s turn to sacrifice something for his parents and the world he loved, and while it all seemed grim and almost overbearing of a message I knew I could go with that.
K seems to be a polarizing show in a lot of ways and an unfortunate scapegoat. Not watching Sword Art Online and can’t feel cool enough to make fun of that show? Pick up K. But for what it’s worth, this series is like putting together a puzzle and delving into the mysterious and weird world of K. Is it dumb fun? Yes. Is it worth talking about? Yes. The fact that I pretty much figured out the plot on my own is what makes me like K a lot. It coaxes the viewer to be a part of it. It all leads up to whether you’re in for the ride or not and I was with K until the very end.
6. Thermae Romae
This show was fun in a lot of ways and got me laughing a couple of times. To accomplish this level of entertainment through Flash is an unusual feat for anime. Thermae Romae is an enjoyable and entertaining look into the world of bathhouses as seen through the eyes of the time travelling Roman, Lucius. Quirky and immensely creative.
5. Kuroko no Basket
Simply put, Kuroko no Basket is fun to watch and I had a lot of laughs when it came to the gags. Add intense OBVIOUSLY FICTIONAL basketball games in and this turned into one of my most awaited shows every week. Great entertainment and man, I just cheered whenever one of those Kiseki douchebags got owned. Riveting stuff…yes.
Fate/Zero is a tough show to get into. It took me at least three to four tries to finally sit down and watch the first episode all through out. But after managing to sit through the series, I’m pretty glad I did. While it has its fair share of problems, Fate/Zero is one of the more memorable series for me. A lot of what happened in that show is still fresh in my memory. The weight of each character’s actions alongside their beliefs are well explained and it allows you follow their train of thought. F/Z never lost me. Yes, it’s heavy handed with its exposition and almost always takes itself too seriously but it’s still a series I find to be well put together and very aware of what it’s set out to do.
P.S: What truly makes this series fucking awesome is Rider.
3. Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve reached the conclusion of the Natsume series. Natsume has found his home, and his journey has quietly come to an end. It’s a very emotional series, and it’s very close to my heart. Natsume was one of the first anime shows I watched when I was getting back into anime, and seeing it go makes me incredibly sad. Brain’s Base has done a magnificent job with this series.
2. Daily Lives Highschool Boys
No other show has made me laugh and think of my awkward highschool days like Daily Lives of Highschool Boys did. The guys are great and I can relate with the girls in this show. Who would’ve thought that these pristine highschool girls in anime would be characterized just as immature, callous and insecure as their male counterparts? This is brilliant. The fact that it makes fun of popular anime tropes is an added bonus. From shounen fantasies, overdramatic shojo romances to cute girls doing cute things, Daily Lives of Highschool Boys has you covered. Just.Watch.It.
Was there ever any doubt that Tsuritama would make my No.1? I think not. Tsuritama was the best show this year simply because not only did it accomplish what it set out to do, it went ahead and developed its characters and went from one event to the other shifting towards an appropriate tone without completely losing its whimsical flair. It has all of the right elements to make it a fantastic show: great direction, a fun musical score, a stand out visual style and likable characters. It was executed so well and possessed a charm that very few anime do. It’s a unique and fun show that doesn’t run on its strange premise alone. It’s a tale about growing up and becoming a better person by developing relationships with other people. I vaguely remember comparing Haru to the Little Prince, but then I thought of Kate’s words to Yuki about how Haru reminded her of a flower. And Yuki too, has to become a Little Prince and treasures that flower. That’s when I realized that to some extent, this is a story meant for everyone. That just like Haru, Yuki grows by taking care of that bond he shares with Haru, and that goes for everyone in this series. No other show this year has left such a huge impression on me Every time I look back on this anime, I feel great.