Mira’s Top 10 Anime of 2012

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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7. K

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.

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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.

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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.

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4. Fate/Zero

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.

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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.

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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.

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1. Tsuritama

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.

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11 Comments

  1. I really need to watch Tsuritama. Pretty much everyone says it’s worth watching.

    Some of the others are obviously shows I wouldn’t enjoy. (Highschool boys, Apollon.) But I did watch Kuroko (for the hot guys, which was delivered in spades; also, amazing soundtrack) and some of Fate/Zero (too depressing, ultimately, but very stylish).

    You should do a “Worst Anime” post too, or at least “Anime I wish I hadn’t watched.”

    • I definitely recommend Tsuritama! It may not suit everyone’s tastes, but I do think it’s worth a shot regardless.

      Not a fan of slice-of-life / coming of age dramas? I have to agree with Kuroko, its soundtrack is one of my favorites this year. Come to think of it, 2012 is a strong year when it comes to anime soundtracks. Fate/Zero is one of the most misanthropic shows I’ve seen this year. But as expected of Urobuchi.

      You should do a “Worst Anime” post too, or at least “Anime I wish I hadn’t watched.”
      This will make a very, very interesting post.

  2. Kamisama Hajimemashita is my favorite romcom for the year as well. All the characters are really amusing, and there was a bit of a nostalgic lighthearted shoujo feeling to the whole series. Lots of fun, but also lots of heart. Love the idol crow yokai who has a cheesy pop song playing every time he shows up. XD

    I also enjoyed K, Fate/Zero, Natsume, and of course Tsuritama, so I think this is probably the closest list I’ve seen that matches with mine.

    (I’ll never agree with everyone on that Daily Lives of High School Boys show, though! I must have a different sense of humor than everyone else.)

    • I really agree with you on Kamisama Hajimemashita being a very nostalgic series, and it actually reminds me of what’s great about old shoujo shows. The Idol crow needed more screentime if you ask me!

      I also enjoyed K, Fate/Zero, Natsume, and of course Tsuritama, so I think this is probably the closest list I’ve seen that matches with mine.

      DESTINY?

      (I’ll never agree with everyone on that Daily Lives of High School Boys show, though! I must have a different sense of humor than everyone else.)

      Comedy imho, is the most subjective genre. Everyone has a different sense of humor so I can understand that!

  3. this is a great list! i think tsuritama, natsume yuujinchou and sakamichi no apollon are the kinds of series where i had no idea what to expect going in but they will probably stay with me forever. such beautiful stories about journeys from loneliness towards friendship and, in many ways, self-love. they’re kind of strangely therapeutic in some ways :)

    from the others, i’ve seen and enjoyed the hell out of KnB and K so glad to see them on this list.

    • they’re kind of strangely therapeutic in some ways :)

      That’s probably why I like these shows so much. They’re so reaffirming without being overly cheesy or dramatic. You witness these characters grow and it’s such an engaging journey.

      from the others, i’ve seen and enjoyed the hell out of KnB and K so glad to see them on this list.

      These shows turned out to be the bigger surprises of the year and both were fun and entertaining.

      • I was wondering if you had your eye on anything for the winter season btw. Nothing seems to stand out yet but I’ll keep a look out here :)

        • Not very keen on this season. I have a few picks, but none I feel like blogging weekly. Thank goodness we still have shows from fall carrying over from the last season!

  4. This list is so handy, thanks! This year I’ve been mainly watching J Drama and re-watching my old fave animes (such as Ghost In The Shell & Nana). :)

    Have a great year ahead! :)

  5. The fact that K is on this list and Natsuyuki isn’t makes me a sad panda. Kudos for putting Tsuritama and Apollon on here, though.

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