Best Anime Series of 2012
Now that we’re at the end of the year again, I’ll post my own top 10 list as well. This one is for the top noteworthy anime of 2012. These can either be anime series that were underrated or overlooked, and series that I truly enjoyed made me think. This is my rebuttal to a similar list posted at Sankaku Complex, where they listed Kill Me Baby at the top of their list (ugh).
#10: Gokujyo – Gokurakuin Joshi Kōryō Monogatari (Tales from the Gokuraku Girls Dormitory): Winter 2012
Absolutely hilarious inside look at how girls act when the boys are not around. Very similar to High School Girls from a number of years ago, but much raunchier. Apparently, a few of the episodes didn’t even make it to broadcast TV (because of concerns from the anime’s sponsor); instead, they became webcasts.
#9: Nazo no Kanojo X (Mysterious Girlfriend X): Spring 2012
This one didn’t even make Sankaku Complex’ Top 50 list either! Simulcasted on Crunchyroll, Nazo no Kanojo is another one of those wonderful animes that explores first love with a quirky female lead. This time, Akira and Mikoto share each other’s feelings by sucking saliva off of each other’s fingers. Sounds gross, but it is really quite romantic and touching. Really. Check out the manga too; for me, even more engaging than the anime.
#8: BTOOOM! (er, the sound of a bomb exploding): Fall 2012
A sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat anime about a bunch of do-no-gooders being dumped on an island forced to play a survival game. Simulcasted on Crunchyroll, I was surprised to find myself drawn into the action. The manga is out there in scanlation-land, and it is even better (and more graphic) than the anime.
#7: Sankarea: Summer 2012
This series centers around Chihiro’s obsession with zombies, and his resurrection of the girl he loves from afar (Rea Sanka) into a zombie after she dies from a fall escaping her incestuous father. Get all that? It is a funny and touching romantic comedy that’s just begging for a second season (did you hear that, TBS and Studio DEEN?).
#6: To Love-Ru Darkness (uncensored BDs): Fall 2012
Just as the To Love-Ru Darkness manga took ecchi-ness up a notch, compared to the original To Love-Ru manga, so has the To Love-Ru Darkness anime. Still as funny and titillating as ever, but the TV broadcast suffers from unconscionable beams of light and impenetrable steam. The first two episodes have just been released on Blu-Ray, and happily, all unnecessary encumbrances have been removed.
#5: Binbougami-ga!: Summer 2012
Non-stop slapstick between a buxom high-school beauty (Sakura Ichiko) and the the Goddess of Misfortune (Momiji) who has come to Earth to take some of her “fortune” and redistribute it. As part of her ongoing effort to remedy the problem, Momiji starts living with Sakura, which leads to all sorts of hilarious situations.
#4: Tasogare Otome X Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia): Spring 2012
The unbridled energy and flirtatiousness of the ghost, Yuuko Kanoe, really drew me into this series. Both fun and touching, the anime centers around Teiichi’s efforts to help Yuuko reconcile her past with her present. Simulcasted on Crunchyroll, and it didn’t even make Sankaku Complex’ Top 50!
#3: Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou): Fall 2012
Sure, Sakura-sou is a harem anime, but at a deeper level, it is about genius, the human shortcomings that often accompany genius, and reaching one’s full potential. And it is funny and sweet, and well worth watching.
#2: Sword Art Online (the first half only): Summer 2012
The first half of the series (perhaps through episode 12) were wonderful and intense. The animation was gorgeous (particularly during the fighting scenes), and the love story between Kirito and Asuna was very touching. But the anime storyline went all to hell once SAO was defeated and the action shifted to Alfhiem.
#1: Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!): Fall 2012
Another great anime from Kyoto Animation, this series is a romantic comedy between two high school freshmen, one trying to bury his embarrassing middle school persona (“chuunibyou patient”), and another still suffering from her grand illusions. Both touching and funny, the animation and story-telling are par excellence.
No top 10 list would be complete without the bottom three, right? Here are my biggest disappointments:
#3: Hyouka: Summer 2012
This was a beautifully-animated series, but frankly, boring. Ugh. Kyoto Animation let us all down with this stinker.
#2: Eureka Seven AO: Summer 2012
This is what you get when you have different scriptwriters for every individual episode. What a confusing mess! I’ve watched the whole series, but I still don’t get it. If you’ve watched it all and understand it perfectly, well then, you’re clearly smarter than me. ;-)
#1: Sword Art Online (2nd half): Fall 2012
The storyline really fell apart with the falling apart of SAO. They should have stopped while they were ahead and concluded the series there.