It seems the end of the year is nearing, and so passes another year of anime. Frankly, this was not a strong anime year for me, and I struggled a lot towards the bottom of my top 12, just because those shows actually felt pretty mediocre. Nonetheless, here I am, jumping in the bandwagon and doing a follow-up of this year’s top anime series. These are only out of the shows I watched this year, so if I missed a great show, I’m terribly sorry, but I probably didn’t watch it. (Gonna put it out there now, but I didn’t watch enough of Fate/zero to formulate a good opinion on it, which is why it’s not here.)
Anyways, without further ado, let’s dig in! Itadakimasu~
12. K-ON! The Movie
I won’t try to defend the plot of K-ON, since quite frankly, the story is as deep as a puddle, but in terms of enjoyment, it never fails to cheer me up. So, the reason the movie is on the list is simply because I liked it more than what didn’t make it onto this list. And seriously, who the hell cares, it’s K-ON! You don’t think for K-ON, you just watch and get full of feels. And feels, there were. I thoroughly enjoyed it, cried for it, and didn’t think much of it afterwards.
I don’t like listing unfinished shows, but as I said, this year was pretty weak for me. K is one of those shows for which I didn’t have high expectations. I figured, if a show is to have that many deliberately good-looking men in its cast, there’s no way it will be any good. Boy, I was sure proven wrong. The art is amazing, the fight scenes are bountiful and smoothly animated, the music is pretty damned good and above all, it’s not boring. That’s not to say the plot is fantastic, but it’s enough to keep me fairly interested, so considering all its other good points, I thought it deserved a spot on this list.
10. Ano Natsu de Matteru
Ano Natsu was a pretty solid show in all aspects, but it was nothing all that spectacular. Except for one thing: its music. I’m a real stickler for music, and Ano Natsu is one of the few shows I can think of at the top of my head that has both a great OP and ED sequence (“sign” by Ray, and “Vidro Moyou” by yanagi nagi). Plus, when I think back on it, Ano Natsu actually accomplished something pretty difficult. For someone who has an aversion to romance-heavy shows, Ano Natsu was actually pretty enjoyable for me.
Another romance from me, although it wasn’t quite as heavy as Ano Natsu was. This show was definitely really cute, and all of the characters were endearing in their every aspect. I was definitely surprised that I came to like Ririchiyo so much, since she has just a sharp a tongue (if not sharper) as any tsundere out there. But the fact that she’s this way around everyone, and not just the one she likes, sets her apart from the tsundere role, and her desperate effort to better herself made her just that much cuter.
8. Shirokuma Cafe
Shirokuma (Polar Bear) Cafe is one of the shows that have been brightening up every one of my Thursdays, for the last almost-40 weeks. They’re just 22 minutes or so of terribly un-serious antics between a polar bear, a panda, and a penguin. They they live in a town (or maybe a parallel universe) where humans and animals reside in harmony, and animals can all speak human languages. It’s a pretty laid-back show, and all in all, just really amusing.
7. Zetsuen no Tempest
There’s so much potential for Zetsuen no Tempest that it’d be a shame not to include it in my top 12 list. Zetsuen no Tempest has been strong from the get-go, and it still never fails to keep on my toes until the next episode come out. The characters are surprisingly deep, and, the main character (Yoshino Takigawa) especially, has one of the more original personalities that I’ve seen in a while in a main protagonist.
In particular, while Yoshino adapts to situations very well through his natural wit, he’s still a very honest person with a seemingly decent sense of what’s right and wrong. He’s very good at thinking calmly, and in general I find it very interesting that, for me, even though he’s very unassuming, he’s never overshadowed by the character that is his rash and colorful counterpart. (Although they’re both equally important, the story is usually told in Yoshino’s point of view, so I see him as the main-est character.)
6. Daily Lives of High School Boys
There’s nothing quite like stealing you sister’s underwear and trying them on, or acting out your favorite RPG with your friends on an off day, or even playing ping-pong while answering obscure trivia no one outside of your friend group would know. Ah, yes, this show brings so much nostalgia of the days when I was still a youthful high school boy (for the record, that was never). I’ll definitely say that this show isn’t for people who dislike nonsensical gag comedy, but for those who are not opposed to the genre, it’s gotta be the funniest stuff I’ve seen all year.
I’ll get shot for this, but Hyouka is only fifth on my list because I’m one of those impatient and tasteless people who dislike excessive build-up, talking and thinking in my anime. That first arc of Hyouka was almost a real chore to sit through, and all that build-up was ultimately solved within about 10-minutes of unusually accurate deductions by a lazy high school boy.
Hyouka’s unconventional execution was definitely something I had to accustom myself with before I could properly enjoy it, but in the end, I hate to admit, it was really quite worth it. Everything about the show was beautiful. From its art, to its ridiculously well thought-out backgrounds, to its subtle romance that became quite a driving force in character development, there is not a single thing I would have done different myself (aside from the aforementioned slow start).
4. Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
I’m a big fan of Natsume Yuujinchou, and so it’s no wonder that I welcomed a fourth season with open arms. Nothing differs drastically in this season, although some new seemingly-important characters are introduced, but it was nonetheless another heartwarming experience to follow Natsume as he goes around returning names and interacting with the many types of people, both cruel and kind, in the world.
3. Kimi to Boku
I really enjoyed this show, maybe too much for my own good. One aspect of Kimi to Boku that I think really sets it apart from every slice-of-life and romance out there is that it’s a show that focuses on unrequited love. Furthermore, there is no deus ex machina that miraculously tosses couples together, so I’ve ended up shedding quite a few unmanly tears for the characters in this show. Kimi to Boku definitely knows how to portray young love at its finest, complete with all the pure feels and the heart-string tugs.
2. Mardock Scramble – The Second Compression
Mardock Scramble is everything I could ask for in anything I watch. It has great fight scenes, a fantastical setting, interesting character interactions, and an adorable Stuart Little look-alike mascot character with the ridiculous name of Ouefcoque. The first part of this trilogy excelled at creating a premise that immediately draws one in, and at introducing characters that invoke many emotions on the viewers’ part. The second part, which is The Second Compression, focuses more on furthering the plot and, more importantly for me, developing the relationship between characters. All in all, this was just a very very well executed title so far, and I can’t wait for the final part to come out.
There is nowhere else one can find a story about an ambitious arms dealer and her merry band of muscular bodyguards. Jormungand is a show where everything just works so perfectly for me. If I had to muster one complaint, it’d be that the animation quality is inconsistent. Otherwise, the humor is so off-key it works, the cast is diverse, the soundtrack is amazing, the voice acting is great, the premise is unique, and above all, the story is never ever dull. This is a wonderfully fun series, and I guess I’m just really glad it got turned into an anime.
For my closing remarks, well this is always awkward, so I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that more good anime comes out in 2013. Thanks for reading, everyone!
Peace, everyone, over and out. Gochisousama deshita!