2012 really gave us a lot of noteworthy anime to satisfy my needs for the year, didn’t it? There weren’t any really big hits this year (unless you count Nisemonogatari and Persona 4 I guess, given how much they sold) to rival Madoka Magica (and yes, I remember the movies came out this year) or Durarara, but what we did get were quite a few quality titles that kept me entertained, and some of them even surpassed Madoka in terms of how much I enjoyed them. But what are the anime that 2012 will be remembered for the best? Well, unfortunately it’ll probably be for the two biggest stinkers I’ve ever seen, but these are the anime that I’ll remember the most. First page is for the notable anime I like. Second page is for the notable anime I’m not very fond of. Third page is my top ten best anime of 2012.
The anime that restored my faith in KyoAni, Hyouka is a brilliant anime that managed to touch me on a really personal level unlike anything I have seen from most anime lately. Everything from the atmosphere to the character banter to the animated set pieces melds perfectly together in order to create a really intelligent anime that actually knew what it was doing, unlike what a lot of Bones series ended up becoming (even though I’ve warmed up to Tempest, it’s not nearly as intelligent as it thinks it is). The fact that a studio that hasn’t exactly been known for subtlety in the romance division ended up giving me one of the most subtle romances of all time is also an accomplishment in of itself. If it wasn’t for a few slow episodes thrown in there, I’d probably rank it higher than Mushishi.
Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko
With all my praise for Hyouka though, this new Lupin III is my favorite anime of 2012. Take every criticism you’ve heard about how sleazy and desperate it is, reverse them, and you’d get why I loved it. I love how this show took the Lupin characters back to their roots whilst still making them incredibly fun, which is something I’d appreciate from more reboots/remakes/whatever. Even when the show does get a bit mindfuckery at times due to Okada going out of control, I still think it fit well within what this anime was trying to achieve…barring that Fidel Castro episode. That was pretty stupid. Add in the second best soundtrack of 2012 by Shinichiro Watanabe himself and you’ve got a truly astounding anime.
Aside from Psycho-Pass, this is my favorite Noitamina anime to air this year. It’s such a simple concept, but its short running time means that the jokes don’t wear out their welcome and it gets to end on its highest point instead of dragging itself out longer than it needed to be (*cough* Natusyuki Rendezvous *cough*). Plus, the joke itself is really funny. A Greek guy keeps on time traveling to Japan, learning its bathing customs, and applying it to the past in order to improve people’s lives. Trust me, it’s far greater than I make it sound.
A sequel to a terrible anime that I never watched, written by a woman who writes drama so terrible that I think only Seo Kouji can match her in terms of awfulness. That this anime turned out to be so fucking awesome is as much of a miracle as asread making Future Diary. Evol is a weird combination of sex, robots, and overblown emotions where the style greatly triumphs over its substance. But the style is so fucking awesome that I don’t give a shit, and neither should anyone else. I’m not as big of a fan as other people are of this anime due to the fact that like Milky Holmes 2, the second half just wasn’t very interesting compared to the first half. But goddamn, how can you hate an anime where ripping off clothes improves your robot fighting skills? How?!
Daily Lives of Highschool Boys
I’ve said a few times before that Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is like the Monty Python of anime. Not all of its skits work (in fact, the specials mostly failed to make me laugh), but it still felt like those skits were needed in order to build upon the world this anime takes place in; plus when it does hit, it’s really hilarious. Whilst not as good a satire on the “cute girls” thing as Milky Holmes, Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is definitely something the anime fandom needed. Stand-outs include Literature Girl, a girl who wants to live out a high school romance novel but keeps failing at it due to her own clumsiness, and Karasawa, a guy who always wears a cap and acts like a boss towards everything that comes his way. Plus, that nonsensical ending song is the shit.
If it wasn’t for the Shaft style and the fact that the fan service is legitimately sexy, Nisemonogatari (and Bakemonogatari for that matter) would be boring, pointless, and just flat out terrible. The entire second season was just a whole load of nonsense with fuck all happening in the plot and more fun characters getting shafted for those two sisters, who are about as interesting as a main character from Tales of Legendia (aka not interesting). But good god that style is just addicting. And when you combine it with nonsense dialogue and…yes…the “toothbrush” scene, you get something that’s really visually interesting to watch. Too bad that the story has to suck so bad. Nisemonogatari is basically the Avatar of anime…on drugs.