Re: Best and Worst of 2012
Favorite Anime of 2012
01. Kuroko's Basketball
A sports show? Really? Yeah, as much as I generally don't care all that much about sports, this was actually amazingly good in every way. And this isn't counting sequels or anything like that, or else this would be beat by at least the new seasons of Gintama, Natsume, and Fate/Zero. So given that, this... wasn't a very good year for new anime. Especially compared to the year directly before it!
02. Kids on the Slope
Watanabe and Kanno jazzin' it up. It couldn't not be good.
03. Sword Art Online
Definitely headed downhill more and more throughout the entire second half, but the high points it reached were engaging enough that it still deserves to be called one of my favorites of the year.
04. Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!
A new KyoAni/Ishihara series is similarly guaranteed to be of a certain level of quality, and this did not disappoint.
05. Space Brothers
Still going, but such a down-to-earth (so to speak) story needs its time to really feel out its story naturally, and this is definitely showing that the slow builds are more than worth it.
06. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
I was honestly going to skip this at first, but I am extremely glad I decided not to. This show is getting so damn good. It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's just a nice little slice-of-life high school romance, but it's got enough heart and emotional oomph to really carry that and make you care. Plus there's a lot more focus on personal endeavors than you generally get to see in this kind of story, and that's done equally realistically and well.
07. My Little Monster
I had said this was my favorite of the season, but... yeah, after reflecting on it, I decided that it didn't really deliver like I thought it would. But hey, it was still a really enjoyable half an hour every week, and I just want to spend many more with all of these great characters.
White Fox had a lot to live up to after Steins;Gate, and obviously they didn't, but they continue to show a commitment to quality that still made this a very well-constructed piece that only got better as it went along, especially in the second season.
09. Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic
Like Blue Exorcist before it, an interesting blend of age-old mythology brought to new life with tried-and-true shounen tropes, then turned up to eleven with Aniplex and A-1 giving it top-notch production values.
Urobuchi is at it again, making my screen as bloody as you could imagine, and fortunately, the storytelling behind it is finally starting to hit its stride in a major way, which leads me to greatly anticipate the second half.
11. Kamisama Kiss
A cute little shoujo show that ends up in some pretty emotional and beautiful places at times, while never taking itself too seriously, and resulting in a lot of smiles and chuckles if nothing else.
12. Binbogami ga!
Sunrise and the current Gintama director ensure a certain level of fun referential humor, and I got about what I hoped for. Unfortunately, it was only one cour, and likely won't get any additional seasons, since Japan didn't seem too keen on it.
13. Kokoro Connect
I haven't seen Michi Random since Crunchyroll didn't get it, but the TV series was pretty good on its own. It had its definite ups and downs, but the second arc in particular offered some really amazing moments that made up for some unfortunate missteps elsewhere.
14. Humanity Has Declined
I had no idea what to think of this with the way it starts you off, but I think that works to its benefit pretty well. It's weird as hell all the way, but the nameless protagonist's commentary on the events really makes the series for me.
15. Waiting in the Summer
Considering it's got Nagai behind it and he's brought Tanaka along again to make it look just like his previous masterpieces, this was a bit of a disappointment, but alas, it didn't have the essential third piece of the puzzle in Okada, and was essentially a successor to a previous franchise I was never a big fan of. Still, Nagai can't exactly make a bad show, so this was still enjoyable enough once I accepted it for what it really was.
Guilty Pleasure of the Year
I want to say something like Polar Bear's Cafe, but it's really not all that pleasant. Campione! was surprisingly good, but my favorite parts weren't the parts you'd consider it a guilty pleasure for.
Most Disappointing Show that I completed
Obviously I try to focus more on the good stuff and probably end up blocking out some of the earlier bad stuff, and as a result I find myself thinking of shows from the past season. Whether or not it was the absolute worst, the new Hayate show was definitely up there.
A lot of my favorites either weren't that great at the end or are still going. Hmm... I guess Kamisama Kiss was pretty damn good. There was probably something better, though.
Best OP (Song)
Sword Art Online - "crossing field" by LiSA
Love me some LiSA. The Kids on the Slope OP was damn good as well, but it bothered me a little that it had absolutely nothing to do with jazz. I didn't include sequels for most categories, but since this OP only aired in 2012, I think it's safe to include Fate/Zero's second season OP, "To the Beginning" by Kalafina, at least as an honorable mention. I may not have liked it quite as much as oath sign, because, again, LiSA, but Kalafina is still constantly amazing. Oh, and Kokoro Connect had eufonius, but that kinda got screwed anyway, so... I don't even know if I should include that.
Best OP (Animation)
Now in this case, Kids on the Slope probably does have a chance, since it did give some taste of that amazing music-playing animation that the series excels at so much. Both the Sword Art Online OPs had great animation, and Fate/Zero gets another mention as its animation was similarly consistent in its beauty. And... you know... KyoAni. Kinda the prettiest shit ever, as always. Hard to compete.
Best ED (Song)
Gintama' Enchousen - "Moonwalk" by monobright
I really like monobright, and although I'm surely forgetting some really notable ones, this is the only one that really sticks out in my mind right now as an ED that I particularly cared about on the level of a good OP. Inside Identity was pretty epic in its own right, I suppose.
Best ED (Animation)
Similarly, I really can't think of anything here. Many EDs don't have much in the way of actual animation at all, so I guess when one is especially good on that level, it's pretty remarkable, but again, I just can't think of what exactly that would be right now. Again, because KyoAni, Inside Identity was pretty damn snazzy.
Best Insert Song
A good chunk of Kids on the Slope.
Series based around music have a natural advantage here, so Tari Tari gets a nod as well. Sword Art Online had some really epic Kalafina pieces to go with some of the best fights. Iwasaki's bizarre soundtrack for Jormungand almost blurred the line between BGM and insert song at times, similar to how his soundtrack for Gurren Lagann did, but far less prominently. K showed a surprisingly impressive use of insert songs throughout its run.
Song that deserved a better show
There are so many choices here, since I love so many songs and not necessary the anime they come from, but I guess I'll go with the Btooom! OP for now. Honestly, I don't think it even compares to some of the other OPs even of just that one season now, but it definitely made an impression here, and the show didn't quite live up. But really, I just love so many anime songs so much that most of the songs I heard this year belongs in this category on some level.
Best OST (Vocal)
It almost has to be Tari Tari, although any of my choices for insert song qualify equally, I suppose. I wasn't sure whether or not to put this under the insert song category, and I'm not even sure if it belongs here, but because there's usually a chorus present, I guess so: Psycho-Pass and its use of classical music really accentuates the most epic moments brilliantly.
Best OST (Instrumental)
If insert songs count, Kids on the Slope still uses mostly instrumental songs, so that would probably take it. Sword Art Online and Fate/Zero if you count it are pretty easy choices since Kajiura is always perfect.
Kids on the Slope
A lot of my favorite shows didn't have eyecatches at all, now that I think about it, but Kids on the Slope really made them special, showing "before and after" shots of certain things pertaining to each episode. I seem to recall Binbogami ga! having particularly humorous eyecatches, but I can't quite remember any of them in detail right now.
Most Shocking Scene aka "Did they really do THAT?"
Most of the second half of the last new episode of Gintama, and the final episode of Medaka Box Abnormal.
Good trolling all around.
Best Fight Sequence
Most of Fate/Zero and much of Sword Art Online
I don't care if it was only the second season of Fate/Zero, goddamn those were some amazing fights. And if nothing else, Sword Art Online had some really amazing moments during those scenes as well.
Favorite Male Character
Tough call. Kirito was actually a pretty good character through all of Sword Art Online. Mutta may take it because of how much Space Brothers is a reflection of his likeability as a character. And I've really been loving Makishima in Psycho-Pass. A giant bastard, and the most fascinating part of the series so far.
Favourite Female Character
Nameless Protagonist - Humanity Has Declined
Easy choice, but there were loads of honorable mentions: Rikka, Dekomori, and Nibutani were all fantastic, Misaki from Sakurasou is always an absolute delight, Shizuku and Natsume make for a duality that makes My Little Monster a really fun show. Koko is a fascinating and a big part of what makes Jormungand interesting. And Remon in Waiting for the Summer is awesome as hell. But yeah, the choice is still pretty clear.
Favorite Hetero Couple
Kirito and Asuna - Sword Art Online
The fights were great, but this relationship made for the best of Sword Art Online. There were plenty of other great options, but that has to take it.
Favorite Yuri Couple
Jenny Dolittle and Lynn Lambretta - Bodacious Space Pirates
The obvious choice.
Favorite Supporting Character
I always have trouble deciding what constitutes a "supporting" character, so I'm not sure I have an answer here yet.
Favourite Character Quirk
Everything Rikka and Dekomori do.
Most Impressive New Seiyuu
Well I guess I did know her from Heroman, but yeah, it's gotta be Komatsu.
I'm sure I'll have more to add later on...
Avatar: Tomoya Okazaki from Clannad/Clannad After Story (courtesy of Jun Kuga/Fudce from The Fandom Post)