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Author Topic: 2012: A Year in Review  (Read 4839 times)

Offline ImperialX

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2012: A Year in Review
« on: January 02, 2013, 03:20:38 PM »
Where did the forum thread go for this post? I hope no one minds if I start one.

The eighth iteration of NHRV's yearly tradition has now been posted up for your viewing pleasure. So what are your take on the article? Anything you like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Let's discuss it in the post below.

Let's start with the likes. I agree with Shadowmage and Kylaran that 2012 lacked a idiosyncratic Anime series that stood above everything else. As Kylaran further elaborated: "there were plenty of shows that could have become a brightly shining star on the anime map. Unfortunately, most of these series stumbled on the last few steps of the way up." This can't be more true, and I'm still regretting how much unfulfilled potential Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai! had unfulfilled. Despite being relatively tame and conventional (I didn't hand out anything more than 8/10 this year), 2012 has been strong overall. The volume of better-than-average or great shows was immense, and this year has the best average score I handed out since 2008. If anything, the Anime industry is still going strong with no signs of regressing.

I was pleasantly surprised that Hyouka got so much praise, especially from TIF as his nomination for AotY. It was expected that zzeroparticle would like it, but TIF not only approving it but also naming it for his favourite of the year made me quite content. The inclusion of positive Jinrui wa suitai shimashita and Nisemonogatari reviews is also a relief. It would have been a nightmare if Reckoner became the one to write for either of those two series. :P

As for my dislikes about the article, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously the lack of my favourite anime of the year, Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai!. I know that the series is not without its flaws, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending either (especially coming from an Umineko no Naku koro ni VN background, which dealt with the exact same theme but in a far superior fashion). However, like K-ON!, this is a show that has the potential to touch the most inner-parts of one's soul. The joy that one extracts from watching Chu2koi is pretty much completely personal and emotional. There's no good way of rationally judging Chu2koi, and that's why it's practically impossible to convince people who don't like it to like it - or vice versa. Either you relate with the characters, or you don't. It's such a shame that I was seemingly the only one who enjoyed that series on this forums. I didn't actually make a post in the forums thread because I feel that everyone has missed the point of the show.

One more dislike from me is AC's mention of Wolf's Children. I saw that movie with a bunch of friends in the cinemas, and I was extremely disappointed with the film (I gave it a 4/10). I was never a fan of Hosoda Mamoru. I didn't like Summer Wars and I didn't like this movie by any means. There wasn't any moment in the film that I actually felt any kind of emotion, and I almost fell asleep towards the end because the entire movie kind of lacked substance for me. It all felt very artificial. I know I'm probably the only one, since almost all of my friends loved it.

Offline Sorrow-kun

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 04:56:54 PM »
I'm glad someone started this thread (I was hoping one of the current staff members would).

This is my first time looking at one of these as an outsider and it's a really different perspective.  I think the list itself is a good one.  The only absentee I want to complain about is a lack of Shin Sekai Yori, which is far and away the best thing airing right now, but that's eligible for next year's list too so it's OK.  I found myself strongly agreeing with TIF's and Kylaran's comments on Humanity Has Declined, even though I didn't quite rate the show as highly as they did.  It's a quirky and ambitious comedy which is an utter rarity these days and I strongly argue that Watashi (backed up by an astonishing performance from Nakahara Mai) was far and away the best character of the year.  She was just a constant surprise at almost every turn, starting with the stark way in which her appearance belied her actual personality.  So refreshing.

I too struggled to name a clear stand-out for AOTY.  It's probably a contest between Chihayafuru and Kids on the Slope, but as technically well done as these anime are, they're not as engaging or enrapturing as AOTYs in years gone by.  My take on 2012 is that it had a lot of fun series that were somewhat ambitious but flawed in some way or another: Hyouka, Kokoro Connect, Chihayafuru, Humanity Has Declined, Fate/Zero, Nise, the list goes on.  I think Hyouka and Chihayafuru deserve special mention because of the way they were presented.  Both series felt truly cinematic in their presentation at times.  It's a style that I really hope more anime embrace in the future, and polish and perfect.  Same goes for Guilty Crown too.  The presentation of Guilty Crown was exceptional... the script, well, we all saw what happened.  Fate/Zero as well also had very cinematic presentation.

This is what I see as 2012's legacy.  No one series will be strongly, fondly remembered like Penguindrum, Madoka, Bake, ARIA and Haruhi in years gone by, but hopefully anime, on a larger scale, will pick up some of the things certain series tried this year, and really embrace them.  Also, if Shin Sekai Yori keeps up what it's doing at the moment, it has the inside track for AOTY in 2013.

Offline Delphinox

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 06:41:59 PM »
Well, I'll echo what Imperial said already - Shadowmage and Kylaran pretty much hit the bulls-eye with the introduction and conclusion; there were a lot of enjoyable series, but virtually none of them stood out from the rest of the pack, and plenty fell short of being good enough to really make a statement. Generally ever since I started reading the YIR articles as they came out, there are usually one or two shows per year that I think were snubbed, but those are usually ticky-tack picks and I just shrug them off and chalk those up to me being along the upper curve of opinions. This year feels different in the sense that the pool of list-worthy shows feels a lot more open and that very few shows on the list feel like theyíre solid, universally agreed upon shows, so the list seems a lot more amorphous than usual. Heck, no one picked Chihayafuru Ė the show thatís my AOTY and by connection the one I thought was the most solidified in regards to its position as one of the yearís greats Ė as their AOTY, which I was a bit sad to see.

The two anime Iím personally most disappointed at seeing not on the list would have to be Hotarubi no Mori e and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. I know the former retreads very familiar territory given its association by OC with Natsume Yuujinchou, but in that line of thinking, Iíd consider Hotarubi to be up there with Natsumeís best episodes as a subdued, sentimental, and very serene short love story and one of the best movies of the year (accounting for the Arrietty rule that came up last YIR article), especially in what seemed to be kind of a weak year for movies given that Wolf Children was the only film to make the list. And Iím of the opinion that Nichibros was a solid part meta-comedy that managed to successfully subvert and subsequently exceed the admittedly mild expectations I had for it when I finally got around to it. I can see why they both were left off the list if the staff decided to rule them out, though.

Itís strange as Iíve got no substantial reason to question the showís quality so far, but the show Iíd disagree with most on the list Ė filtering out the ones I havenít seen - would actually be Psycho-Pass. Iíd figured that would tread the same path that Chihayafuru took; I mean, I enjoy it to heck and back and recent episodes have really begun to make a swing for the fences, but itís just something on which I want to see how far the ball will fly first. In that same vein, I donít know whether to be disappointed or not in seeing Shin Sekai Yori not make the list, but thatís something that Sorrow-kunís already covered, so I wonít go over that again.

But disagreements are just those, and Iím not going to be one to criticize whatís overall a good list; Iím happy to see the majority of shows I was personally gunning for, especially Tsuritama and Humanity Has Declined, get some recognition. Itís been a pretty enjoyable year, to put it simply.

Also, on a bit of a minor nitpick: Kylaran misspelled the director Kishi Seiji in his AOTY note on Humanity Has Declined. At least, Kishi Seiji is a more recognizable name than Kishi Seo; I Googled the latter thinking I was mistaken in believing the former was at the helm, and the search turned up empty.

Offline HirakuNoShadow

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 07:20:37 PM »
I'm kind of surprised TIF never mentioned anything about Inu X Boku SS, but oh well.

On a whole, I think the general quantity of good anime this year has been noticeably better in comparison to the last few years; the one unfortunate exception that can be pretty much agreed as a consensus would be noitaminA, which seems to have started declining in quality since '11 until when reached its all-time low in Winter '12 with the infamous combination of Black Rock Shooter and Guilty Crown. While its other shows were much better in comparison, I can confidently conclude that there really weren't any titles that really matched the likes of H&C and Tatami Galaxy in terms being able to stand out as a definite top contender for AotY.

I don't think there's going to be too many disagreements when I say Sakamichi no Apollon was the closest to being the best, if not the best noitaminA show of the year. While the show pretty much possessed almost every quality I'd expect from a great anime, its brisk pacing and rather controversial ending ultimately revealed enough cracks to prevent me from being labeling it as an undisputed contender of AotY. The fact that we had a number of dark horses throughout the year (Humanity has Declined, Chihayafuru and Hyouka comes to my mind) makes it all the more difficult.

I'm starting to echo the others' sentiment at this point - while all these shows were exceptionally good, none really exhibited any particular qualities which distinguished itself way above the rest. From the shows I've personally seen, my general patterns of response seemed like this:
Really hyped -> Doesn't quite live up to its hype; still great, but ultimately flawed in some way or another (Sakamichi no Apollon, Fate/Zero)
Sequel hype -> Enjoyable, but ultimately falls far too short of its prequel (Nisemonogatari, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, Moyashimon 2)
Hyped -> Trainwreck (Guilty Crown, Sword Art Online)
Interested, but no hype -> Suddenly a darkhorse material (Chihayafuru, Humanity has Declined, Hyouka)
Those that barely passed the 3 episode test -> I start questioning my taste in anime (Accel World, BTOOOM, Sankarea, K)

I think out of all the previous years, sequels like Moyashimon and Natsume really suffered the most from the increased overall quality of anime. In the previous years, even if they didn't match up the standards of its prequels at least they could stand out enough to leave some sort of an impression on its viewers. Nowadays, not meeting the predecessor's standards means that the show will struggle to do the same as before because there's just far too much competition compared to the past.

With all that into consideration, I think this is probably the one of the most difficult year to decide on an AotY. While I personally think Humanity has Declined had the single best MC of the year with Watashi, in terms of overall premise I also think it's a close battle between Chihayafuru and Sakamichi no Apollon. But at the end of the day, the former gets my vote because of how well-packaged everything was. The show's eponymous heroine Chihaya is one of the best well-rounded female lead I've seen in a while, the OST was great (although SnA's was equally great), the aesthetics were fantastic, and its story was simple but well-written with an ending that naturally makes me keen for its sequel. To put it simply, there's less flaws for me to pick at. Bonus points for being a premise built on karuta, which I think is quite an obscure and difficult sport to generate interest with.

@Delphinox I wish Hotarubi no Mori e was also on the list as well, although technically speaking I think it aired in 2011. It might have been subbed only in 2012 though.

Offline Reckoner

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 07:23:45 PM »
My viewpoint seems to differ from the perception in this thread and that of Kylaran/Shadowmage.

I think I largely disagree with the notion that 2012 doesn't have a stand out show. For me that was Fate/Zero, and I thought it excelled in ways that no show 2012 or even 2011 did. For all the praise Madoka gets, the action sucked as Shinbo harmed it more with his directing than he helped it. Steins;Gate is a good show, but the intensity takes quite a while to kick in to give it that dramatic edge. Penguindrum is the closest thing to what I'd call a really great series, but even that suffered from an unfortunate lack of cohesion in its narrative which detracted from its overall message.

Chihayafuru, Apollon, and Hyouka are also no slouches. I think if you put them next to any of the aforementioned "great shows of 2011," they stand out really well even if they do not have the same supposed industry impact (Which if we go by that then the only show that qualifies for that is the mega hit Madoka).

I honestly have a hard time seeing 2011 as any better than 2012.

. The inclusion of positive Jinrui wa suitai shimashita and Nisemonogatari reviews is also a relief. It would have been a nightmare if Reckoner became the one to write for either of those two series. :P

If I had my way, not only would those two shows not have made my cut for highlights of the year, I would've gutted half the entire list  ;).

Offline Delphinox

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 07:49:35 PM »
@Delphinox I wish Hotarubi no Mori e was also on the list as well, although technically speaking I think it aired in 2011. It might have been subbed only in 2012 though.

You're right, it did. Thing is, it also got a DVD release in February 2012, which was a situation which Arrietty faced on last year's list as well where the theatrical and DVD release were in separate years. As S-K mentioned on last year's thread that Arrietty qualified for 2011's list on grounds of its DVD release getting it more exposure, I kind of assumed Hotarubi would be in the same boat.

Offline KS

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 08:20:51 PM »
Forgive the presumption of motive here, but the catalyst of this whole thread or at least it's OP seems to be the insinuation that some Kyoani material didn't get enough love here, but I'm going to go out on a limb on this point and suggest that I think NHRV got the perspective on the year mostly right and that I'm actually quite glad the same old Kyoani/SHAFT stuff that's always instantly popular these days for whatever reason didn't get too much mention and steal the show at this venue.  It's really quite a relief to me it didn't because while the studio does a lot of things quite well I think they frequently get entirely too much attention, focus and praise around the internets that could be better spent on some things that are less well known but nonetheless pretty darn good in their own unique ways and I'm actually quite glad that the article that was written actually bothered to talk about some of the other interesting shows across a multitude of genres that came out this year (and there was tons of variety by my standards, something I don't get to say all that often anymore sadly and may not get to say again for quite some time) cause I haven't seen a lot of mention of some of these shows elsewhere. 

Also if I'm being even more blunt, I hear about Chuunibyou and the like enough every damn day (frankly I thought the show peaked incredibly early and was all downhill after the second episode and ended up being quite mediocre) that I don't need to see it's praises sung yet again by people on the internet so I thank the NHRV staff for acknowledging the variety of the year and giving it it's due in the article while leaving some of the more talked about to death (and IMO kind of mediocre shows like SAO and Chuunibyou) for others to chew the fat about.

Lastly count me as someone who thinks that there not being a clear standout anime of the year is actually a good sign.  I'm kind of in the same boat trying to reflect on the year, but it's not because I think the year lacked anything of interest, it's because there was so much variety and an above average unique set of qualities to a lot what was released that I have hard time weighing said qualities of them all against one another and deciding on a clear cut AOTY, though if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Lupin III: Mine no Fujiko.  The art style they used, the tone, the chemistry of the cast, the subject matter of the episodes, and the overall writing was like nothing I've seen in years for a TV anime.  I'm still baffled as to how it even got made in todays anime industry environment pleasant surprise that it was.  If I had to pick a person of the year it would probably be Gen Urobuchi.  I think he's possible the most interesting thing to happen to TV anime (which I see as really struggling to be interesting and progressive of late compared to it's OVA and movie counterparts) writing wise in a while because it never feels like he's just winging it and he really seems to try to challenge himself and the audience to explore his characters in a way I haven't really seen from TV anime since the late 90's.  Good stuff from that guy, hopefully he has a great eventful career ahead of him and it doesn't all get cut short like with Satoshi Kon.

Offline TypicalIdiotFan

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 09:06:04 PM »
Interesting thoughts all around.

Quote from: ImperialX
I was pleasantly surprised that Hyouka got so much praise, especially from TIF as his nomination for AotY. It was expected that zzeroparticle would like it, but TIF not only approving it but also naming it for his favourite of the year made me quite content. The inclusion of positive Jinrui wa suitai shimashita and Nisemonogatari reviews is also a relief.

Hyouka was too much damned fun, which is what ultimately did it for me.  I mean, at the end of the day if all things else are relatively equal, you gotta go with the one that you just enjoyed.  This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy any of the others, just that Hyouka was the most enjoyable.

Humanity Has Declined was right up my alley, tho.  I don't think I've ever seen an anime more "made for me" than that one.  The only thing missing was making Watashi look like Oka from Mysterious Girlfriend X.  But, then again, lusting after a character like Watashi just seems wrong, even if she was 5'1", busty, short haired, and sporting megane.  She's a cynical broad, and for that she is beautiful just the way she is.  Best sarcastic female lead since Daria.

I was less jazzed about Nisemonogatari, for lots of reasons.

Quote from: Sorrow-kun
My take on 2012 is that it had a lot of fun series that were somewhat ambitious but flawed in some way or another: Hyouka, Kokoro Connect, Chihayafuru, Humanity Has Declined, Fate/Zero, Nise, the list goes on.

How the balls did we forget Kokoro Connect?  Stupid fan-rage controversy aside, that one was highly enjoyable and not without artistic merit.

Quote from: Sorrow-kun
Also, if Shin Sekai Yori keeps up what it's doing at the moment, it has the inside track for AOTY in 2013.

I'm waffling on this one, though the most recent episodes have helped me realize that what we're seeing is a well disguised "connect the dots" type storytelling scheme that will eventually expose the big picture.  I guess I appreciate it, and probably like it a lot more than some others, but it has been kind of a grind at times getting to where it is now.  Certainly confusing without knowing where it is going.

I suppose that means it has one of the most brilliant constructions, but I think there's also certain aspects along the way that have made me unsure as to the level of brilliance.

Quote
Heck, no one picked Chihayafuru Ė the show thatís my AOTY and by connection the one I thought was the most solidified in regards to its position as one of the yearís greats Ė as their AOTY, which I was a bit sad to see.

Chihayafuru is one of those, I think, that I'll be coming back to in next year's YIR.  The second season begins soon, so to me the show isn't really over yet.  I suppose you could say that about a lot of shows that get sequels, but at the time of this writing, I didn't include anything in my list that I knew was going to get another shot.  I knew Chihayafuru was, so I didn't bother.  I also didn't try to convince my fellow NHRVers to pass on it, because not everybody thinks the way I do and there is enough merit to the show as is.

Quote from: Delphinox
Itís strange as Iíve got no substantial reason to question the showís quality so far, but the show Iíd disagree with most on the list Ė filtering out the ones I havenít seen - would actually be Psycho-Pass.

I almost tried to persuade the others not to include Psycho-Pass, because I it's going to carry over enough into 2013 to be eligible there instead.  I'm still not sure why I didn't.  Probably because we needed that last title.

Quote from: Delphinox
Iím happy to see the majority of shows I was personally gunning for, especially Tsuritama and Humanity Has Declined, get some recognition

I loved Tsuritama.  I've never seen a show start out with such a retarded premise end up making it both believable and poignant.  Throw in DUCK and I just couldn't help but adore everything about it.

Quote from: HikaruNoShadow
I'm kind of surprised TIF never mentioned anything about Inu X Boku SS, but oh well.

****!  Another oversight, I'm afraid.  However, I think I would have been in the minority for nominating it even if I did remember.  I know (almost) none of you were in on the selection process, but there were some other good and / or popular titles that ended up on the cutting room floor.  Inu Boku was just a brain fart.  I'm not sure how deserving it would be, even though I enjoyed the shit out of it, because it's not that great on a fundamental level.  Still, it should have at least been mentioned.

Kylaran and I were talking about doing some other lists, such as "worst of 2012", so maybe I'll try for a "forget me not!" list of titles that nobody remembers or talks about anymore, but were actually pretty good.

As an aside, I wish I had finished up TLR-Darkness before this article, because if there is one show that has been utterly overlooked by everybody, it is certainly that one.  I can't believe how good that was.

Quote from: HikaruNoShadow
Hyped -> Trainwreck (Guilty Crown, Sword Art Online)

I wouldn't go so far as to call SAO a trainwreck.  I was actually trying to sway opinion on including it on the list simply out of the merit of popularity, but then we realized that would also mean we'd have to talk about Horizon, and nobody wanted to do that.

Quote from: KS
Forgive the presumption of motive here, but the catalyst of this whole thread or at least it's OP seems to be the insinuation that some Kyoani material didn't get enough love here

I don't think that's what Imperial is saying at all.  I think he's just surprised that Chuu2 didn't get more consideration.  After all, KyoAni had two shows for 2012 and is well represented here with Hyouka.  I don't agree with him about Chuu2 at all; I thought it was an utterly disappointing waste of ****ing time and I really didn't (still don't) understand what the hell Kyoto Animation was trying to do with it.  It wasn't boring, and was fun, so it's not like it sucks.  I just don't consider it even close to one of the best titles of 2012.

Quote from: KS
though if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Lupin III: Mine no Fujiko.

If I had watched this beyond the first episode, I might have agreed with you.  What I saw I thought was interesting and a MUCH NEEDED facelift for a franchise that I have always thought was utterly childish and ridiculous.  Still, I didn't finish it because, deep down, I still can't stand watching a Lupin The Third anime.
I'm just like you, only smarterô.

Offline KS

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 09:58:30 PM »
Quote from: TIF
I don't think that's what Imperial is saying at all.  I think he's just surprised that Chuu2 didn't get more consideration.  After all, KyoAni had two shows for 2012 and is well represented here with Hyouka.  I don't agree with him about Chuu2 at all; I thought it was an utterly disappointing waste of ****ing time and I really didn't (still don't) understand what the hell Kyoto Animation was trying to do with it.  It wasn't boring, and was fun, so it's not like it sucks.  I just don't consider it even close to one of the best titles of 2012.

I'm still totally guessing here but I think much like with how Clannad After Stories final arc adaptation ended up they just trapped themselves between the story/moral that they (Original LN author?) started off trying to tell and not wanting to offend 2channers and ended up choosing the resolution that made the least logical/moral sense but would probably be least likely to set off a firestorm.  No way in hell Kyoani is actually going to go with an end that outright implies Rikka and friends had to grow up in terms of character, personality and maturity and face harsh reality directly cause it would be the exact opposite message of everything their brand seems to stand for and what they built their reputation on.  Escapism and eliciting largely net-positive feel good emotions from the audience.

And yes this is why I find that show and arguably the Kyoani brand as a whole to be fundamentally flawed in some respects in spite of the technical and small details they often get right.

Quote

If I had watched this beyond the first episode, I might have agreed with you.  What I saw I thought was interesting and a MUCH NEEDED facelift for a franchise that I have always thought was utterly childish and ridiculous.  Still, I didn't finish it because, deep down, I still can't stand watching a Lupin The Third anime.

It's definitely not anything like any Lupin property that has ever been done before.  I'd go so far as to call it a full on re-imagining of the entire concept.  The fact that long time Lupin fans don't know what to make of it and the fact that Lupin is rather infamous for it's entries often following a certain expected formula should attest to it being the black sheep of the franchise.

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 10:27:54 PM »
Here's my take on YIR 2012:

Aquarion EVOL: I didn't watch the first series so I kinda went in on this one without any prior knowledge about the Aquarion universe. The show is entertaining in a weird kind of way (perhaps even weird is an understatement in this case). There's also the nostalgic factor to this series with the several flashbacks and direct references to the first series, which is strange when I never watched it in the first place. But the thing is, flamboyant shows aren't my thing so preferentially it's not really amazing to me... well, the only amazing thing is perhaps Zessica or MIX only for gratifying reasons.

Tsuritama: I don't know; something about Tsuritama didn't really capture my attention. It's an awfully weird show which slowly made sense along the way but it was missing something special. Maybe it's the fishing hobby theme which I'm not really fond with from the onset. It's good, but not great and somewhat forgettable.

Nisemonogatari: This here is just 12 episodes of guilty pleasure. It was basically what Bakemonogatari didn't choose to become: there wasn't really anything happening, there's no shock value (no, not the "toothbrush" kind but the gritty kind we got in Bake), there was too much dialogue and the material was spread out too thinly. Well, this is what would happen if you have very little material and so much airtime. Perhaps things could've been a lot better had it try to fit in perhaps another arc or two.

PSYCHO-PASS: I LOVE THIS SHOW. This is what happens when GITS: SAC meets Urobuchi, and frankly it's the kind of show you don't really get often these days in this moe-infected industry. Maybe the character design could do some work, but it's just a tiny personal peeve. The thing is, I wouldn't judge this show when it's still airing. But for now, this is currently the show I enjoy watching the most... maybe even more than Shinsekai Yori.

Space Brothers: It started out amazing. In fact, I thought that the first episode is a contender for best episode of the year. And the show isn't exactly skimpy with the characterization and the storyline. Even if it feels like a Sunday morning cartoon, you have to give the show credit for having the most down-to-earth quirky characters you see on anime. There are only two problems with the show: one, the story isn't exciting. Maybe it's because things are happening according to plan way too easily or maybe it's because it's a typical shounen drama. Or worse, the story is dragging out for a little too long...

Wolf Children: ImperialX doesn't share the same sentiments as I do, but that's okay. I thought the movie was amazing. Don't want to explain why; I've had my say in my review, anyway.

Kids on the Slope: The 1960s Nagasaki setting, the art style, the jazz... this show had all the right stuff to make itself awesome. The only issue is the pacing and the ending; I thought the story was moving way too fast and instinctively felt that a lot of detail in the original story was omitted just so that it could fit into noitaminA's scanty 11-episode format. And the ending is just too anti-climatic.

Jojo: Not watching this series so I have no comments.

Lupin III: I love this show (or maybe just nudist Mine, whichever) because it's different. The art style is obviously different, the theme is different... everything about it is different from your typical anime. It had all the right people in the crew and the presentation was exceptionally unique. I just love the show.

Humanity Has Declined: What's interesting about the show is its ability to break the fourth wall. You don't get that in anime these day. And, some of the arcs are highly engaging and even thought-provoking. But that's the problem: only some of the arcs are great. The others are just okay and thus it renders the series inconsistent with the delivery. In the end, I find myself only recognising some good arcs in this series but not the series as a whole.

Hunter x Hunter: Dropped this series along the way due to time constraints so I have no comments.

Jormungand: I'll try not to compare this with Black Lagoon (this time): you know what, Jormungand had so much potential but it eventually didn't fully capitalize on it. It tries to show how grand the scale of the story is or how fearsome or influential Koko Hekmatyar was, but I never really felt them. It's because the show habitually shot itself in the foot with the light-hearted moments, especially Valmet's liking towards her which came off as unfunny. The root problem is the derpy execution: it didn't take itself seriously enough.

Hyouka: Based on ranking, I would put Hyouka as #3 in my top list, with #2 being Chihayafuru and Wolf Children as #1. It started out weak, and I saw some parallels between the show and KyoAni's past production, TMoHS. But gradually the show started to become much more amazing with the narrative and detective deductions. What the show could have done for improvement are two things: one, go easy with the animation. KyoAni, I know you're awesome with the visuals and animation but when it comes to storytelling, too much of it is distracting and even irritating. Two, go easy with the detective thing. I think that the characters are sometimes overzealous with solving everything that they make something big out of the smallest problems. And yeah, to be honest I find Chitanda's "KININARIMASU" annoying...

Chihayafuru: I would compare this show with Moyashimon (not the second season, though; that one was a complete disappointment): it made something spectacular out of something that's niche and dry. One criticism is that it dramatized almost everything, which I admit is legit. A number of moments was sensationalized but to me that's what made it engaging to watch. The pacing was pleasantly brisk -- which was great since sport anime series tend to drag too much -- the games were riveting and the characters were larger than life. Hopefully, the second season will keep this up and not fall into the "same old, same old" common trap.

Mentionables:

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!: Yeah, this show. Like I've mentioned so many times before, I would give a bulk of kudos to KyoAni simply because it made the show work to some extent. But for one thing, the issue with KyoAni titles is that it's always the same thing: it's always about high school life. So in a way, KyoAni only seem to produce no more than what it's good at. And secondly, there's nothing amazing about the story: it's funny, cute and the production values are expectedly enviable. But other than that, there's nothing special to it. Good but not great, as the usual mantra goes.

Fate/ZERO S2: Awesome ufotable show, I'd give it that. But I thought the ending was rushed and disappointing. Some episodes are stronger than others, so the series is a little imbalanced as a result. In fact, I find the first season more memorable than the second one for some reason.

Kokoro Connect: This show turned to be more interesting than it originally appeared, but as how the special 4 episodes reminded me, the flaws include how the arcs following the first one started becoming predictable. The highlights have always been about the effects of the experiments set out by Balloon Vine/Heartseed and how the characters played out with each other, but some things always remain predictable and the resolutions are always weaker than I hoped for. You have Iori always being emo over herself, Aoki always say the wrong things, Taichi always trying to do stupid things just so that he becomes the fall guy for someone else, etc. So even if the gameplay changes, some things remains the same so there's nothing constantly different to it. Good show, though.

Tari Tari: A Hanasaku Iroha composite, while the drama is fair, the characters are just too forgettable. Can't even remember the characters' names now...

Overall comments: As a whole, the year hasn't really been different from the past. One way I see a year in retrospect is that, if I can easily name one anime as the best of the year and a few for my top 5, then the industry is still doing fine. Wolf Children was easily my best, and I didn't have a problem naming my other top 4 so I think that anime as a whole was still churning out the good stuff. In fact, I even thought that it was the peak season at one point. Good year altogether, but not sure if it's the best that I can remember in recent memory, that's all.

Offline hyperknees91

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 11:02:28 PM »
Shin Sekai Yori and Jojo are the best shows that started this year if you ask me, one for both extremes (serious and mature, and typical anime over the top). Unfortunately neither are done so I can see why they weren't nominated (as they have all the potential to have a fail second half).

Also liked Robotic;Notes a lot so far. Chihayafuru, Kuroko no Basket and Fate/Zero are probably my favorite finished shows of the year though (though I do wish Fate/Zero's second half was a tad stronger towards the end). I don't count Hunter x Hunter because it's kinda a multi-year show with no end in sight. I like how there's no mention of SAO, guess that shows how over-hyped shows can still fail.

I thought it was a good year all in all, maybe no show that will rock your world for years to come but a good year with lots of fun content.

« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 11:08:52 PM by hyperknees91 »

Offline Kylaran

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2013, 09:47:20 AM »
Where did the forum thread go for this post? I hope no one minds if I start one.

Thanks for starting the thread!

As for my dislikes about the article, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously the lack of my favourite anime of the year, Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai!. I know that the series is not without its flaws, and I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending either (especially coming from an Umineko no Naku koro ni VN background, which dealt with the exact same theme but in a far superior fashion). However, like K-ON!, this is a show that has the potential to touch the most inner-parts of one's soul. The joy that one extracts from watching Chu2koi is pretty much completely personal and emotional. There's no good way of rationally judging Chu2koi, and that's why it's practically impossible to convince people who don't like it to like it - or vice versa. Either you relate with the characters, or you don't. It's such a shame that I was seemingly the only one who enjoyed that series on this forums. I didn't actually make a post in the forums thread because I feel that everyone has missed the point of the show.

While I personally also enjoyed Chuu2koi, I felt that its biggest problem was that it simply came off as far too high school or teenager oriented in a while that appeals to a younger audience and/or the core otaku audience, but nothing more. It didn't stand out in terms of framing the issues it went about trying to discuss in a way that was more mature and could've brought about more interest in the show. In the end, it sort of came off as lots of eye candy but tons of unfulfilled potential, and that's where even I had to step down from supporting it as a candidate for making our yearly list.

The two anime Iím personally most disappointed at seeing not on the list would have to be Hotarubi no Mori e and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. I know the former retreads very familiar territory given its association by OC with Natsume Yuujinchou, but in that line of thinking, Iíd consider Hotarubi to be up there with Natsumeís best episodes as a subdued, sentimental, and very serene short love story and one of the best movies of the year (accounting for the Arrietty rule that came up last YIR article), especially in what seemed to be kind of a weak year for movies given that Wolf Children was the only film to make the list. And Iím of the opinion that Nichibros was a solid part meta-comedy that managed to successfully subvert and subsequently exceed the admittedly mild expectations I had for it when I finally got around to it. I can see why they both were left off the list if the staff decided to rule them out, though.

Unfortunately I haven't seen either show so I wasn't a part of the argument to include either of those, but I do know that NichiBros was raised as a possible candidate by someone and there was an ensuing discussion as whether or not it was quality material.

Also, on a bit of a minor nitpick: Kylaran misspelled the director Kishi Seiji in his AOTY note on Humanity Has Declined. At least, Kishi Seiji is a more recognizable name than Kishi Seo; I Googled the latter thinking I was mistaken in believing the former was at the helm, and the search turned up empty.

Holy crap. Thank you so much! Someone was talking about Seo Kouji (the mangaka who did Suzuka and is serializing Kimi no Iru Machi at the moment) and that must've slipped into my head as I was writing my contribution.

While I personally think Humanity has Declined had the single best MC of the year with Watashi, in terms of overall premise I also think it's a close battle between Chihayafuru and Sakamichi no Apollon. But at the end of the day, the former gets my vote because of how well-packaged everything was. The show's eponymous heroine Chihaya is one of the best well-rounded female lead I've seen in a while, the OST was great (although SnA's was equally great), the aesthetics were fantastic, and its story was simple but well-written with an ending that naturally makes me keen for its sequel. To put it simply, there's less flaws for me to pick at. Bonus points for being a premise built on karuta, which I think is quite an obscure and difficult sport to generate interest with.

This actually sums up most of my feelings too. Well said!

Quote from: TIF
I don't think that's what Imperial is saying at all.  I think he's just surprised that Chuu2 didn't get more consideration.  After all, KyoAni had two shows for 2012 and is well represented here with Hyouka.  I don't agree with him about Chuu2 at all; I thought it was an utterly disappointing waste of ****ing time and I really didn't (still don't) understand what the hell Kyoto Animation was trying to do with it.  It wasn't boring, and was fun, so it's not like it sucks.  I just don't consider it even close to one of the best titles of 2012.

I'm still totally guessing here but I think much like with how Clannad After Stories final arc adaptation ended up they just trapped themselves between the story/moral that they (Original LN author?) started off trying to tell and not wanting to offend 2channers and ended up choosing the resolution that made the least logical/moral sense but would probably be least likely to set off a firestorm.  No way in hell Kyoani is actually going to go with an end that outright implies Rikka and friends had to grow up in terms of character, personality and maturity and face harsh reality directly cause it would be the exact opposite message of everything their brand seems to stand for and what they built their reputation on.  Escapism and eliciting largely net-positive feel good emotions from the audience.

And yes this is why I find that show and arguably the Kyoani brand as a whole to be fundamentally flawed in some respects in spite of the technical and small details they often get right.

While I think you're right about KyoAni's shows in general, I fundamentally disagree with you with regards to KyoAni's brand. Their brand really isn't just limited to the kinds of shows they do, but the fact that their production quality is so damn high. People can go into a KyoAni show knowing what kind of quality to expect and never be let down by it; such a feat is extremely difficult to accomplish on a week by week basis so I think it's amazing that KyoAni has been able to build up enough trust in this way. In other words, they really haven't hurt their brand name with Chuu2koi because it's still high quality in terms of the animation itself.

Offline KS

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2013, 02:07:34 PM »

While I think you're right about KyoAni's shows in general, I fundamentally disagree with you with regards to KyoAni's brand. Their brand really isn't just limited to the kinds of shows they do, but the fact that their production quality is so damn high. People can go into a KyoAni show knowing what kind of quality to expect and never be let down by it; such a feat is extremely difficult to accomplish on a week by week basis so I think it's amazing that KyoAni has been able to build up enough trust in this way. In other words, they really haven't hurt their brand name with Chuu2koi because it's still high quality in terms of the animation itself.

I appreciate this no doubt, but I think for certain types of people no matter how much you dress something up or how many coats of glossy paint you add to it in order to beautify it's aesthetic appearance they can't help but still see the same flaws, shortcomings of narrative, depth and moral fiber and nuances that just plain don't work for them.  I happen to be one of those types of people who think that the saying beauty and appearance is only skin deep also applies to his entertainment

Offline ckarasu

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 05:15:53 PM »
I can't say I was impressed by this year's offerings. Say I Love You already lost me, due to it kind of pushing the side characters to the side (the manga had more development for them). Tonari no Kaibutsu was kind of OK, but I really haven't seen much reason to watch more episodes. I hear Eureka Seven AO was a disaster, so I'm not touching that. The Nyarko-san anime was enjoyable, but could have used a few more episodes and some more variety in its humor. Campione was silly, but man did it get ridiculous(not in a real good way). Sword Art Online started off enjoyable, but kinda just stopped being fun to watch. Aside from a couple of other anime that I watched, which were good, nothing else stood out. All of the other, more talked about anime just did not look fun to watch.

I liked last year's anime better, but that's my opinion. I like Nurarihyon, despite what you reviewer thought of it. It was fun to watch. Not perfect or amazing, but enjoyable. Hanasaku Iroha was really nice, and more enjoyable than most of the anime I watched that showed this year. Same with Ika Musume. And Tiger & Bunny. But I can respect if people disagree with my sentiments. To each their own, as I like to say.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 05:25:34 PM by ckarasu »

Offline Kylaran

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Re: 2012: A Year in Review
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 07:25:14 AM »
I can't say I was impressed by this year's offerings. Say I Love You already lost me, due to it kind of pushing the side characters to the side (the manga had more development for them). Tonari no Kaibutsu was kind of OK, but I really haven't seen much reason to watch more episodes. I hear Eureka Seven AO was a disaster, so I'm not touching that. The Nyarko-san anime was enjoyable, but could have used a few more episodes and some more variety in its humor. Campione was silly, but man did it get ridiculous(not in a real good way). Sword Art Online started off enjoyable, but kinda just stopped being fun to watch. Aside from a couple of other anime that I watched, which were good, nothing else stood out. All of the other, more talked about anime just did not look fun to watch.

I liked last year's anime better, but that's my opinion. I like Nurarihyon, despite what you reviewer thought of it. It was fun to watch. Not perfect or amazing, but enjoyable. Hanasaku Iroha was really nice, and more enjoyable than most of the anime I watched that showed this year. Same with Ika Musume. And Tiger & Bunny. But I can respect if people disagree with my sentiments. To each their own, as I like to say.

As reviewers, I think we try to stay away from solely awarding scores based on how enjoyable something is; I find most harem comedy shows to be enjoyable as hell, but there is very little chance of me awarding most of the generic harem romcom fare a high grade because there's just something about cheap erotic humor that will probably never make it truly a hit. That is, you'd have to craft a very strong story or presentation style underneath it all (sort of like how the old school manga Futari Ecchi did) in order to really stand out.

I don't think any of us here at NHRV thought last year was bad by any means, especially if you take a look at our 2011 article, but I don't know if I'd compare these two years and say one is better than the other.
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