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Scamp’s top 10 anime of 2012

bath

2012 was a year in which anime was made. Some of them were really good. Most of them were not. After doing this yearly roundup thing for the past few years, I’m starting to realise that every year is pretty much equal quality-wise. When you have 100+ anime released every year, everything starts to balance themselves out after a while. All things considered, I’d probably rate 2011 higher than 2012, but it’s by matters of degrees than a significant dip in quality. Besides, 2012 had 100% more sexy toothbrushes and shirtless bathing Romans, so its more than capable of holding its own. Here is my personal top 10 anime of 2012.

#10: From Up on Poppy Hill

From_Up_On_Poppy_Hill_(2011)_[720p,BluRay,flac,x264]_-_THORA.mkv_snapshot_01.12.27_[2012.12.28_14.51.59]Technically a 2011 release, this year was the first we dirty pirates could watch it, so this is its first chance to get some credit. Considering how poorly received Goro Miyazaki’s last attempt at a movie was, it’s probably for the best that he went for something a lot less spectacular. From Up on Poppy Hill’s a ambitions are pretty modest. With those lowered expectations, it achieves them pretty darn well. It nails the 60′s feel that Kids on the Slope also had, its drama is low key and competently executed, the characters believable and sympathetic. Far from Ghibli’s best work, but it’s well executed and has their usual level of polish when it comes to the directing. Not as shining an example of the next generation for Ghibli as Arrietty was, but a promising sign nevertheless that the studio will still live after the original duo finally hang up their pens.

#9: Humanity has Declined

Jinrui-wa-Suitai-Shimashita-10-Large-19Humanity has Declined is one of the most bizarrely cynical anime ever. The cutesy pastel colours and directing style are done to deliberately contrast the deeply cynical undercurrent of utter contempt for humanity and its failings. The whole thing doesn’t really go anywhere or have any ultimate point it appears to be trying to make, but some of the moments stuck with me so much that it demanded a spot on this list. The idea that my marmalade is sentient but has no method of expressing itself so when we stab it with a knife and spread its body over our burnt bread has prevented me from eating marmalade ever since.

#8: Tiger and Bunny Movie

bf201c53b044a82552e0efe450e360f81321197548_fullI got to see Tiger and Bunny in the cinema this year, so haha screw you guys I get to include it in my year end list. It’s largely similar to the opening bunch of episodes, but the key is they managed to improve massively on them. It felt like this time they had a handle on where they wanted the story to go. They knew what to do with the characters they created. They explained what Rock Bison’s super power actually was. How the hell did the TV series never do that?

#7: Code Geass: Nunnally in Wonderland

Notgg_Code_Geass_Nunnally_in_Wonderland_720p_83CF3062.mkv_001081621

I am a humongous Code Geass fanboy, as I’m sure you are all well aware. Nunnally in Wonderland is taking this thing I enjoy so much, placing it on a stand and then laughing at it. It’s as simple as that, and gosh, do I ever love it for doing that.

#6: Thermae Romae

thermaeromae1Thermae Romae has a remarkable amount of depth. In the short 3 episodes it has, it has a lot to say about culture and the creation of it.  It sounds like I’m joking, but this aspect of Thermae Romae really resonated with me. Lucius’s internal struggle with his desire to implement the contraptions of the more advanced flat-faced people’s bathing technology versus his pride in Rome’s culture being destroyed by this nation of ‘slaves’ gives the otherwise ridiculous anime an almost melancholic feel to it. All this from some dumb flash anime. The bar for flash anime has been raised. We can no longer accept “it’s just a flash anime” as an acceptable reason for not providing a compelling narrative.

#5: Nisemonogatari

HorribleSubs-Nisemonogatari-05-720p.mkv_snapshot_06.53_2012.02.04_21.44.29

5, 4 and 3 are pretty interchangeable on this list. Nisemonogatari is the bottom of that pack because I figured I shouldn’t be giving too much credit to a sequel that wasn’t as good as the original. The weird thing about the -monogatari franchise is it ignores and blatantly goes against some of the things I consider vital to telling a good story, but its those things that it ignores that makes it so unique. The meandering, self-masturbatory dialogue and the animation style wandering all over the place, ignoring such basic laws of physics with the architecture. Its these things that make Nisemonogatari fascinating. Oh, and toothbrushes.

#4: Future Diary

GotSpeed_Mirai_Nikki_-_22_56149417.mkv_snapshot_13.19_2012.03.20_14.13.05If Future Diary had not stumbled as frequently as it did, it would probably be up there as one of my favourite anime ever. It has this refreshing approach to storytelling in where it ignores inconvenient barriers to telling an exciting story, such as logic. Future Diary doesn’t feel the need to explain how a character got to point a to point b or how this terrorist was able to story a motorbike up her skirt. What matters is character motivations to why they did these crazy things, and Future Diary is utterly fantastic at that. It’s several thrills a minute utter insanity and I love it for that. I just wish it was a bit more consistent.

#3: Girls und Panzer

[Commie] Girls und Panzer - 09 [F901356B].mkv_snapshot_17.42_[2012.12.12_16.07.05]On the opposite side of Future Diary, I can’t see any way I would improve Girls und Panzer, at least without significantly changing the core of the series. Perhaps the characters could be more engaging as people, but the entertainment lies in these girls acting all moeblobbery while doing something as ridiculous as full scale tank battles. The battles are so well directed, switching angles from first to third person at the exact right moments, hitting the Great Escape-inspired soundtrack at the exact right moments. It’s audacious in all the right ways. Roll on those last 2 episodes!

#2: Daily Lives of Highschool Boys

daily lives of high school boys breakfast

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys was a godsend. It was a mocking satire of a whole heap of genres in anime I was growing to despise. From self-important shitty highschool romances to anime about a bunch of girls being insufferably nice to each other, its mockery of these shows was exactly the kind of satire I like. Not one of those pussy ‘loving’ parodies, where it does all the same things but occasionally points to itself and says “LOOK AT ME, I’M DOING THOSE SHITTY THINGS BUT IRONICALLY”. No, it straight up poked holes in their entire concepts and was marvellous because of that.

#1: Aquarion EVOL

6962081862_7165e60b8a_b

I feel like I’ve been writing about why EVOL is amazing so many times recently that I’m starting to run out of new ways to say it. The ridiculousness of its actions is matched by how much exuberance it puts into each of these actions. But the extremes it goes to is all in aid of how much it truly loves it characters and their stories. Each arc the characters go through are well defined and executed. They all feed into this much larger narrative about THE POWAH OF LURVE! As sappy as that is, I too am a huge sap. EVOL loves itself and its characters, which is exactly the reason why it succeeds in making us care. It is far and away my favourite anime of the year, and I only love it more over time the more I think about it.

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37 Comments

  1. dene323
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Humanity has Declined, Future Diary and Girls and Panzer, drastically different but each with its own charm. Btw, having a hard time deciding my favourite pink haired gal, Watashi or Yuno…

    • Scamp
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Yuno > Watashi. I like Watashi and all, but gosh I wish she would stop explaining what was happening on screen and ruining jokes so much

  2. Redcrimson
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Welp. I guess I have to finish Girls und Panzer now.

  3. Posted December 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I always wondered what would happen if Lucius wound up in Araragi’s bathroom. “What kind of civilization would hollow out a church for personal use like this?”

    • Scamp
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Well, considering Christianity was literally just beginning when Lucius was around, he’d be like “gosh that Jesus guy got really popular quite quickly here”

  4. fathomlessblue
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Gee, now where have I seen that top picture before…

    Nice enough list, although it seems something of a shame that many of the shows I would include in my top 10 (Persona 4, Mouretsu Pirates, E7:AO) were decent at best. Sums up 2012 fairly well. Chihayafuru, Tari Tari & Hyouka were all slow burners & personal faves, but depends on your tastes I guess. Thermae Romae for number 1 every time!

    Oh yeah; 3 writers & still nobody watches Phi Brain? Home of cheese, my ass! Shame on all of you!

    • Posted December 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      I’d be surprised if Hyouka and Chihayafura didn’t get on the final APR end of year list, given how much so many people outside The Cart Driver love them, so you’re definitely not alone regarding them.

      Also, another thing to sum up 2012 is that it’s most memorable anime happen to be Guilty Crown and Sword Art Online. And that makes me sad.

      • hint
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Hyouka first half was boring.. what i really liked is the second half of the series. Kanya Festival was amazing.

      • shengar
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        So bad that even I who didn’t watch them knows their awfulness. Even more sad is that many people watch SAO for pure entertainment, not only for making fun of it.

        Good to see Humanity Has Declined manage to be in the list of all three writers. This (kind of) shows need more recognition.

      • Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Eh, the movie arc in the first half was fun too. Badly made movie that made the one in Haruhi look like a masterpiece and the rise and fall of the main character. Plus, those animated set pieces man. How can you not love those?

        Really, you just have to buy the premise of Hyouka in order to get into it. The mysteries may be crap, but aside from that, it’s probably one of the best mystery anime ever. Which makes me kind of sad for the mystery genre in general.

      • hint
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        hmm yeah, i’m not being fair. The first part, the hyouka mystery was very boring. I had mixed feelings when I was watching the movie arc but a big improvement though it contrasts somewhat in quality with the second fab half.

      • shytende
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:09 am | Permalink

        I think that to really appreciate Hyouka, you have to see it as a Slice of Life series with mystery element.
        And it’s one of the best Slice of Life series ever made.
        I won’t developp how it is Kyo Ani’s masterpiece, because it should be obvious for everyone who has seen the serie.
        And, even me have to accept that Chitanda Eru is a moblob plot point. Her only role is to make the story advance.

        The mysteries’ role is to help these child grow up. They participate directly to the melancholic feel of the show. They can’t be great mysteries because they are only High school boys and girls. It wouldn’t be realistic to have them investigate on a murder. The mysteries are here to show them that life isn’t always good or fair and to help them accept that fact.
        Moreover, Hyouka have one (or two) of the most well-crafted characte, and one of the most well-handled love story. I’m speaking of Satoshi and Mayaka.
        Even Houtarou’s developpement was well-made, even if anticipated.

        …In fact, you could compare Hyouka and Girls und Panzer. They are both surprisingly good (or at leastbetter than expected).
        And it would be hard to like another Slice of Life/Kyo Ani show again, because none would be as good as Hyouka.
        The same way, We won’t be able to see another moe serie after Girls und Panzer, because it would fail instantly.

        (Hidamari Sketch is the exception her, because it’s Hidamari Sketch)

    • shytende
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Phi Brain was fun, but it’s certainly not an Anime of the year…

      Persona 4 was pretty damn cool, however.

      And I couldn’t express enough my love for Hyouka !

    • Scamp
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Shit, I meant to credit you Fathomlessblue. Hey everyone! That guy made that awesome header image! He is awesome and stuff!

      As for Hyouka, I’ve read a lot about it but nothing that has made me desperate to pick it back up again. I might do in the future, but that’s a long way off, whenever I do my decade in review for the 10′s

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Kidding dude, help yourself. Spelling my name with a capital ‘F’ however… you’ve made a powerful enemy today!

        Honestly, I really doubt you’d enjoy Hyouka. I mean it improves, but unless you can deal with the characters/premise, I doubt this will be one of those mythical “It gets better, I swear” moments. I imagine you would have luck with Chihayafuru, whatever that’s worth.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Or at least more luck than Hyouka.

      • Erif
        Posted January 6, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Even though both are excellent. :/

  5. hint
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Vote Banana for Number #1.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Every time

  6. shengar
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just notice that Scamp’s and Shinmaru’s Aquarion EVOL picture is……I probably thinking too much about it.

    • Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      They represent the relationship between leader and underling.

    • shytende
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh my…

      Can… Not… Unsee…

  7. shytende
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I find strange the fact that Nichibros came after Girls und Panzer, since they both adresses the same problem radically differently. Nichibros completely mock and destroy High Schoolgirls and moe series, while Girls und Panzer shows the way to its possible evolution. By adding tanks to its story, it changed for one more series (I had a Manabi Straight feel at the episode 8 “reveal”..), to something really enjoyable.

    I hope that it will become the new standard from moe series !

    • Scamp
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Interesting point. Nichibros is more cathartic because of how it destroys the genre, but I can see how GuP would be considered more useful in the long run

  8. Sarif
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    A year for comedy. Though you missed the funniest one. Milky Holmes~

    • Shikamaru
      Posted December 30, 2012 at 3:41 am | Permalink

      THIS. Milky Holmes is hilarious. This second season wasn’t as good as first one but was still really entertaining. It is some kind of game adaptation but it has basically NOTHING to do with the game. They turned the game to pure comedy series. The girls lool like moe/loli characters but the comedy is just ridiculous and amazing. It’s hard to explain so let me name just few things.

      1. There is male teacher who has fetish for himself and his nipples are always hard. He also whips people with them.
      2. Main characters are searching a bomb in a train and they don’t care about anything else. There is guy that blows up a boat while riding this train but it’s not part of their mission so they don’t care. Also one briefcase has FACEHUGGER from Alien.
      3. One girl is afraid of the dark. She starts to sing and strip people whenever se goes nuts.
      4. There is awesome cat named Fish Paste.

      Everybody should watch the first season. First episode is bad because it doesn’t have that much comedy but other episodes are really good. The comedy might be stupid or annoying to some people but don’t be fooled because this is game adaptation. Or because the girls are moeblobs. Or because J.C. Staff made it. Everything clicks on this series.

  9. Shikamaru
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed everything on your list except Girls und Panzer and Tiger and Bunny.
    I have already decided to watch Girls und Panzer. Probably next month. I just have to.
    Tiger and Bunny just didn’t work for me. Nothing bad to say about it really. Just not meant for me. Well there was stereotypical/annoying gay character AGAIN in anime.
    I also have my own problem with Aquarion. I have watched so many mediocre harem/visual novel series during these 7 years that I’m so sick and tired of people not confessing.
    Just say that you love Mikono already Amata! But that’s just me. Aquarion was number 3 on my list.
    Number 2 is Kids on the Slope, I needed series like this. It’s so different from all the other anime series that I have watched.
    Number 1 is Ano Natsu de Matteru, stop laughing/cursing. One big reason was nostalgia. I watched Onegai Teacher about 6 years ago AND Ano Natsu did everything way better. The way the characters interacted felt really real at times. Dialogue was also sometimes really good. The characters weren’t that stereotypical. I enjoyed it a lot.
    I still feel bad for giving “Anime of the Year award” to this series. Nothing this year really deserves it.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      You know, I’ve genuinely never been bothered with characters not confessing to each other. Maybe this comes from my love of School Rumble, but it simply doesn’t bother me when characters can’t confess. I enjoy the frustration?

  10. Posted December 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Whoa. All three writers have Mirai Nikki on their lists.
    I admit that it’s good as mere entertainment, but the sheer number of plotholes/stupidity makes me hesitant to put it among top ten list.
    To name a few, other than pulling motorcycles from under the skirt:
    -an five years old kid can obtain military gas mask + poison gas.
    -the dog breeder woman agreed to play coin toss with Akise, even though she held all the cards, while he has nothing on her.
    -the kids need the help stupid Kousaka’s diary in order to realize that they can escape from the air duct.
    -MC-kun is pretty good at using guns even though he has zero experience with them.
    bla bla bla.

    • Posted December 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      You do not understand the logic of the show obviously. :)

      Third one is a bitty iffy though.

    • shengar
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      Hence the reason why the writers said “Future Diary’s Logic”
      This is the same rule applied to JJBA where we can’t use normal logic since the show have its own logic.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      As I said, why do you require an explanation to how any of those things happened? What do they accomplish by explaining them? Nothing, just your own desire for a series to go by your own logic world. Future Diary rejects your logic

  11. KingCrInuYasha
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but Nunnaly In Wonderland sucked; the worst Alice In Wonderland adaption I’ve ever seen, even worse than the Tim Burton film. At least in my opinion. I guess you have to be a big fan of Code Geass to get it, but even if I was, I probably still would not have found it funny.

    But that’s just me.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 1, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      If you went in expecting a serious attempt at Alice in Wonderland, then obviously you’ll be disappointed, but that’s like going to a music video and expecting a deep thrilling story. You’re missing the entire point

      • KingCrInuYasha
        Posted January 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        Okay, then what was the point? I admit that you’re right that it wasn’t supposed to be a serious adaption of the source material, but I still think that the script was just wretched.

      • AG
        Posted January 2, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        It was more a parody of code geass while using the story of Alice in Wonderland as a way to do it. I mean you can see it on the script, from the special administrated zone of croquet to the fleja cake to the over exaggeration of the pretentious lines in the normal series. The whole thing was meant to pick apart certain aspects of the series and mocking them.

        Funily enough it’s one of my favorite episode of code geass.

  12. hint
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

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