Miraculously this was the anime I started my year with, which also became my top pick. I do not think I have to draw you a picture here. It’s well animated, has VERY likable characters and a splendid story for its genre. The chemistry between protagonists Taiga and Ryuji is phenomenal for this slice of life show. Although not perfect and somewhat rushed towards the end, it is still the best one that I can, no, will recommend checking out.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachiwa Mada Shiranai *takes breath* is an interesting character study about mending broken relationships and coming to terms with your inner turmoil. It didn’t make the top spot because the said story was somewhat far-fetched towards the end, where it shouldn’t have been. Spanning only 11 episodes, the series manages to tell a clever story and deliver plenty of eye candy, give it a watch.
Detroit Metal City, looked, felt and smelled like a crummy anime, but was I ever so wrong about this one! It turned out to be comedy gold. I can only describe it as Beavis and Butthead blended with Looney Tunes ON CRACK! You get a series so hyperactive like a kid with given sugary coffee overdose on a trampoline. Yes, the humor is juvenile, but it is so frantic that when it catches you off-guard you just want to smack yourself while laughing to it.
Mirai Nikki came very close to NOT being my favorite anime of the year. It just didn’t quite make it because I knew how the narration went by reading the manga prior to the anime release. It had some VERY attractive visuals and well adapted story, but had quite a few dubious character portrayals that strayed from the original source material (which handled the story better at certain points). Also I was hoping they would improve the mediocre ending the manga had. Truth to be told, they just took the lazy approach and made it worse.
Berserk, oh Berserk, I really wanted to love you, I really did. You are a fine tale of friendship, injustice, love and revenge. Yet you did the worst thing an anime could do to a person, you left me hanging of a chilly cliff above the ocean. You tried amending for this with Berserk Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King and you partially succeeded. Yet until I can see a fitting conclusion of your story arc, I remain dangling here with only resentment in my heart.
Surprised that Shuffle is on top of the list? Well frankly, I was too! Based on an adult visual novel, it is stripped bare of its 18+ elements and instead simplified into your typical run-of-the-mill harem story. Indecisive male pussy protagonist lives with childhood friend in house, taking life for granted and being surrounded by well-endowed cast of attractive love candidates. Has every anime archetype for everyone: yandere childhood friend with mental issues, older sister type with mental issues, shy girl with issues, hyperactive, ditsy girl with issues and a supernatural loli with issues. Yes, the entire cast has some sort of burden to bear which is fleshed out AND nicely explained as the story progresses. Some of said heroine’s stories were quite interesting and made me scratch my head at how the male protagonist reacted to them, but in the end they did managed to carve that little niche spot into my memory. Why, might you ask am I writing this huge chunk of text about yet another stereotypical harem anime #789532? Well this one just had the balls to do what little anime of that genre does: it actually made the protagonist choose one of the female cast! The way harem anime usually (read: 99% of the time) ends is that the male protagonist never picks anyone of the potential love interests, he just goes ‘meh, I can pick one of them later’ making the goddamn story just feel like a waste in the end. I applaud the writers of this VN adaptation for crossing the line and giving the story a proper conclusion.
Black★Rock Shooter (BRS) was incredible when its original OVA came out. The story was fully chopped and randomly mixed in a non-linear fashion. You didn’t quite understand what was going on, but that blended oddly with the narration and somehow worked well in the end. The style of the OVA was very artistic, sharp and mesmerizing. I was incredibly glad when I heard that the anime adaptation was in the works. This meant that I would see more of those great visuals AND get a detailed explanation of what was going on! Sweet! What I got was neither of those. The drawn portion of the series was good, but not as beautiful as its OVA adaptation. The 3D portion, wasn’t. The fights were all cg and poorly constructed too, the girls were behaving like mechanical robots which lost its sense of speed from the original OVA. That plot I was talking about? There was one, it just wasn’t any good. In the end I gave this series too much credit and received too little in return. Fool be he with wishful thinking and that fool is me.
Anyone who ever talked to be about anime, surely heard me singing praises about Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA) during some point of our conversation. I regard the original FMA as one of the best titles I have ever watched in my life, period. It was a show that was born a shonen, yet due to it being ahead of the manga production, was given an original ending by the writers. It avoided lots of the cliché-riddled traps that plague the shonen world and managed to tell a highly emotional, dark and mature story. Inevitably once the manga ran its course, the show that scored so well would receive a ‘true’ adaptation. Hence the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (FMB) was born. The budget for this thing was INSANE, so was the payoff. This series rocked the marked and delivered some impressive sales. Can’t really complain about having cinematic quality anime show, it was dripping with the animator’s effort. It, however did not deliver stellar performance on its story. Being a literal page-to-page adaptation of its manga counterpart, it was inevitable for it to become a pure shonen series. Everything you know and love is there: hero getting defeated and returning with tremendous power gained– check, bonds of friendship overcome everything – check, happy ending for everyone – check, ending is a deus-ex machina – check, villains turning into allies and sacrificing themselves – check, …etc. The only thing missing is here originality. Do not misunderstand me, the story is outstanding, but in the end of the day, it is still a tale you have heard times and times again.
This movie situates somewhere in the continuity of the FMB series, in the unexplored neighboring region of Amestris called Creta. We find the Elric brothers traveling by train to investigate a case of an escaped alchemist and his ties to the region. They get attacked by a wolf-chimera and swiftly afterward they are tangled in a mess bigger than the region of Creta itself. Basically what this movie boils to is a rehash of the entire story of original FMA crammed together. It’s bad, very, very bad. Surely, the visuals are nop-notch like the original FMB series, right? WRONG! This is a slap in the face with a wet tuna compared to both FMA and especially FMB. The art is bland, the frames are limited and the cg is just uninspired (why is there even cg here?). The worst part is that this movie is supposedly tied into the FMB story, according to its creators. However I have to strongly disagree, if this pile of waste is tied to the FMB story, then you got yourselves a plot hole which no alchemy circle can ever fill, regardless of how skilled an alchemist the user might be. It really is unfortunate, this had so much potential on exploring the FMA universe which turned out to be a petty money grab. In the end this movie just gave me a middle finger and left me standing in the cold rain with a broken heart.
Grave of the fireflies is often described as a masterpiece of human emotion and animation. I have heard the name drop quite a few times, but never gave it a watch. It was supposed be very moving and let people sobbing in the end. With this supposedly soul rending fame I decided to give it a watch. What I saw, however, was not this incredibly deep and emotional movie that everyone takes this movie to be. This nicely animated picture pries your mouth open with a crowbar and shoves its sole message down your throat: ‘cry please, we really want you to cry’. Perhaps I am just a soulless fiend without a shred of human emotion, but when you throw me into a basement filled with peeled onions, accompanied with sad violin music, you can only expect me to kick your ass when I come out instead of shedding a tear. This sucker just tries too hard and fails miserably at doing so.
Oh balls, you got bad but then you got Gyo. I was really not going to write a word about this attrition because I know someone out there will go and watch it afterwards and then hate themselves for doing so, like I did. I was hoping to watch a decent horror anime about dead, robotic fish, but instead I got such a scat infested turdfest, it made me cringe in horror. The imagery, the plot… the fucking… goddamn… plot… What sick mind smoked what hallucinogenic narcotics to produce this movie? I shudder to even think. Stay. The. Hell. Away. Period.
Remember watching some obscure OVA from the early 90’s? Their plot was hacked, visuals looked like bolox and the whole experience made you feel dirty afterwards? Holy Knight (OVA) is a very fine example of this. The catch? It is created in 2012! Woah, just woah. Where do I begin… non-existent plot, story vital characters that show for a minute to never to be shown again, cardboard characters and their questionable motivation to do the things they do, poor animation, random tits inserted for no reason, … This feels like some teenager got his daddy to hire some people to draw his wet dreams and share it with public. It insults the mind so much, it makes Queen’s Blade series pale in comparison. Bravo, you did the impossible Holy Knight, now go die in a corner!
Next we got Iriya no Sora, ufo no natsu. Same as with the previous entry, this one seemed pretty bad. The story is very convoluted right to the very end where they try to explain everything. They try to do so and the payoff’s interesting, but the ending left me dangling with too many questions to enjoy this 6 piece OVA.
Karas was this highly acclaimed piece of anime where everyone screamed its 3D effects to be nearly realistic and its story very deep. I watched it once, the cg was shit and the story was incredibly convoluted. I watched it another time, the cg didn’t improve, but the story became less confusing. I read a detailed essay published by its creators about the story that was never explained in the 6 episodes and then I watched it again. I really came to love the story afterward, but those horrible 3D visuals just ruined the overall experience time and time again. Sorry Karas, cell shaded 3D may be highly artistic, but does not a good animation maketh.
Koi to senkyo to chocolate, I had shrugged thee off as a horrendous and lazy harem anime. Well you turned out to be a mediocre and quite decently produced harem-ish series. You managed to mislead me like this, I suppose you deserves a moment in the sun, otherwise you’re still pretty forgettable in every aspect of the word.
Because let's take a beloved series, half-ass it and change the story for no reason.
Sankarea was kind of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s a story about a dude who wants a zombie girlfriend and manages to get one. The show ends rather abruptly and is just begging for a second season but wowzers, that is some lovely character artwork they got going on there. The female protagonist Sankarea has some of the most captivating design I had laid my eyes upon this year and the male protagonist just looks like a male version of Mato from Black Rock Shooter. Bonus points for making me laugh like that when I saw him for the first time. But the story is plagued by questions that are never answered (yet). Despite that fact I can neither recommend, nor discourage you checking it out at least once.
Quality just left the building.
Voices of a distant star is a one man made movie that makes me give its creator a standing ovation. Making animations is hard as hell, folks. This man managed to write a consistent story and animate it on a rather outdated technology too, driven by pure willpower. The result is an animation that lacks a punch in the animation department, but makes up for it with an interesting tale and an avant-garde artistic approach. Give it a chance, you won’t regret spending 25 minutes on it.
Making an incestual anime in visual novel format is a recipe for disaster.
Three times the mediocre.
Not as good as the anime it is tied to.