I’m not going to make a “ten best anime” list for 2012 because I haven’t watched ten shows all the way through. Two of the year’s best best are incomplete, and there are a couple of well-regarded series that I have yet to look at (Sakamichi no Apollon and Space Brothers). Instead, this is just a casual survey of this year’s offerings that I watched.
Series I didn’t make it all the way through the first episode of: Chihayafuru, Hayate No Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and Magi. The last I might give another try sometime, since the writers evidentally understand more about economics than do our betters in Washington.
Series I watched only the first episode of: Accel World, Binbougami ga, Campione, K, Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos, Sword Art Online and Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai. Jonathan thinks highly of the last, and I would watch more, but what I saw wasn’t sufficiently brilliant to warrant subscribing to Anime Network. (Update: Also Ozma, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate and Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan. See how memorable they were?)
Series I watched more than one episode of before losing interest: Kamisama Hajimemashita, Polar Bear Café and Sengoku Collection.
Unfinished series I might yet watch the rest of: Inu X Boku SS.
The year’s major disappointment: Moyashimon Returns. Too much soap opera, not enough craziness.
This year’s minor disappointment: Dog Days II. Entertaining, and the characters are mostly likable, even admirable; but the fanservice-to-story ratio is too high. It’s a kid’s show that I can’t recommend for kids. (And surely Leonmitchelli can find something more appropriate to her station to wear than daisy dukes.)
These are the shows that I can recommend:
Odds and ends:
I didn’t get very far into Haiyore! Nyaruko-san the first time I sampled it. Sticking a fork into a little girl is not amusing, even if the girl is actually Nyarlathotep. However, both Steven and Ken the Brickmuppet found the first two episodes not entirely worthless. So I gritted my teeth, put my feet firmly on the floor, gripped the armrests of my chair, and grimly stuck it out through the rest of the first episode. Well, it is an improvement over the wretched flash shorts of two years ago, and the forking is not quite as offensive. ((Kirika Yumera remains the only person in anime licensed to use the fork as an offensive weapon.)) Still, I found it more irritating than funny, and I doubt that I’ll watch more.
By the way, Howard Phillips Lovecraft for a brief period was a Miss Lonelyhearts, answering questions such as this:
I am Xah’gnui, who has long delved into the annals of subterranean lore, conducting forbidden researches into the unknown, with a view to resurrecting aeon-silent interplanetary necromancer-lizards. Why is it so hard for me to get a date?
I see there is an “aniblog” tournament underway. The candidates were drawn primarily from AnimeNano, if I’m interpreting the rules correctly. Unfortunately, this leaves out some of the most interesting weblogs that deal with anime. For instance:
All of these are worth a visit.
Allegedly, the more subtle your mind, the more difficult you’ll find this puzzle. I got it in about 30 seconds.
Mahou shoujo anime is pornographic. So is anime set in high schools. In fact, probably every anime produced this century is pure pornography.
Quote of the week, sobering thought division:
The greatest legacy of the internet may wind up being Cute Overload.
Quote of the week, anime division:
If I had a daughter, I’d want her to watch this.
Memo to Trek Bicycle Corporation: I see that your factory is in Waterloo, Wisconsin. There is a good chance that you can find literate native speakers of English there. Please hire one, and have him write directions for mounting your luggage rack on a bicycle, so customers don’t have to puzzle over the cryptic diagrams that come with the rack. By the way, it would be thoughful to note on the outside of the packaging that installing the rack requires a hacksaw and file, where customers can see it before buying the rack.
While at the bike shop earlier this week, I discovered that Trek bicycles include a line called “Neko.” Surprisingly, there is no suggestion of anything feline on the bike or on the Trek website. The Neko does feature “Women’s disc brakes.”
Two weeks’ worth of random stuff.
Of all the mysteries in Mouretsu Pirates, the most puzzling, and the least likely to be satisfactorily explained, are the Sailor Moon shout-outs. This Princess Serenity is anything but a ditzy airhead.
By the way, it is impossible to watch just one episode of Shingu.
A few very mildly spoilerish thoughts on Mouretsu Pirates.
Real life keeps getting in the way, but I make time every Saturday to watch Mouretsu Pirates. So what if the premise is unlikely and that there numerous minor details to nitpick? As long as the characters are interesting and the story is good, I don’t care that miniskirts aren’t suited to zero gravity. I think the pacing is fine. Tatsuo Sato knows exactly what he is doing. Constant action is boring. I’d rather get to know the characters and situation before the battles start. I enjoy spending time with Marika, and I look forward to 20 more weekends with her and her crew.
I enjoy the soundtrack, too, and I hope it’s licensed. I apparently am in the minority on this point, but I even like the opening theme, despite the singers. It would be much better with a less cluttered arrangement — ideally, just drums, bass and Marty Friedman — and a singer who can properly belt out the tune. Can Bruce Dickinson sing Japanese?
Sato makes anime that is more complex than it at first seems and which ultimately mostly makes sense, e.g., Shingu. There’s already much speculation on the history of piracy and related matters in Marika’s universe at Steven’s place.
Just wondering: One of the spaceships is called the “Odette II.” Will there be an “Odile”?
Update: Here’s the “sailing” theme.
Update II: Steven calls the tune “Odette II.” You can download a clean version from his site.
I watched the first episode of Mouretsu Pirates twice in two days. The last series I did that for was Madoka a year ago. Pirates has a lot in its favor, including:
A meganekko with a hime haircut and a sailor suit.
A bunny, a ducky and a pink bobblehead pig.
An absence of in-your-face fanservice. ((No surprise, given that Sato’s Shingu featured an outstanding example of anti-fanservice.))
There are a few negatives, e.g., green lipstick, skinny ties and really bad haircuts.
The positives greatly outweigh the negatives, and Mouretsu Pirates looks like, at the very least, a fun show. With Sato at the helm, there’s a good chance that the series will be a satisfyingly complex story and not just an excuse to put pirate hats on pretty girls.
A bit of music:
It’s not just for humans.
If French is the language of love, what is German the language of?
(The latter via John C. Wright.)
2011 is over. Good riddance. It was a thoroughly crummy year for me, ((2011 was a good year for volcanoes.)) and I am not going to compile any retrospective posts. If you want to know about the year in anime, see Ubu’s recaps here and here.