And now we bid farewell to another year and, quite frankly, one I’m quite happy to see the back of. It started well enough but the later half is definitely one I’ll be happy to forget. But enough about that, time to look back at the non-figure stuff which have caught my attention over the past year. Some of the more fondly remembered anime and video games over the past year. And so, here are my fave anime shows of the year!
It was surprisingly hard to pick out a top 5 this year. Many shows were good but it took a while to settle for a top 5 as there weren’t really any which really stood out above the rest. It was easier to make the worst of 2012. In fact, here it is!
*edit: I added a little more which I initially forgot about when I wrote this post. Not sure how I could have forgotten going to the May’n concert in October!*
Worst shows of 2012
- Shining hearts: Shiawase no pan – I can’t think of a bigger waste of time. Not only was it a bad show, but it made the game seem bad as well!
- Guilty Crown – This went Code Geass R2 right on the halfway mark. It was just awful and the characters were all completely unlikeable with no redeeming features whatsoever!
- Kill Me Baby – The 4koma is OK but the anime was unbelievably boring!
- Kono naka ni hitori, Imouto Ga iru – Not bad, per se. But utterly forgettable!
- Saki Side A – Even for a side story, the anime just had nothing to add! Heck, there wasn’t even much Mah Jong going on! Manga is much better.
- Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – Started off strong but was completely undone by the last arc which tried to paint the antagonists as tragic characters but they were just arseholes who deserved a far worse fate than what they got. Yes, even the elder princess! Screw her and screw all those jackasses!
- Hagure Yuusha no Aesthetica – Actually not a bad show but desperately needed more episodes! So much potential still to be unlocked. Here’s hoping for a second season.
- Gundam Age – A show which suffered from the crew simply not knowing what they were making. Try to please all and you end up pleasing none and that’s what happened here. Definitely one of the lower tier gundam shows. Still better than Seed Destiny and ZZ gundam though. And probably 00 as well!
- Dakara Boku wa H ga dekinai – It might have been better remembered if it didn’t appear in the same season as Campione!, which was much better by almost every account!
- Mysterious Girlfriend X – It was just lacking something from the Manga. Better to keep reading rather than watching.
- Upotte!! – I know I shouldn’t have enjoyed the show but I did. It was rather charming and the rounder, cuter character designs helped it a lot more than the manga.
- Campione! – Wasn’t expecting much from the show but I really enjoyed it and the light novels it was based on. Not quite at the same level as Infinite Stratos but pretty high up there!
- Zenki Zesshou Symphogear – I’ll say it again, a Mahou Shoujo show which I didn’t hate!!! A proper one at that, not like Nanoha or Madoka which weren’t really magical girl shows!
- High School DxD – Again, another show with low hopes but managed to entertain thoroughly. The anime did up the fanservice compared to the light novels but were pretty accurate in its adaptation.
- Mouretsu Pirates – So fun, the show made my best of the year list!
The rest worth Noting
- I am so glad that Zero no Tsukaima has ended. The last season felt more like I was watching it out of obligation rather than enjoyment.
- Shakugan no Shana III also felt a little anticlimatic after waiting for a conclusion for so long…
- Persona 4 was a really good adaptation of a game. Companies for other adaptations should take notes *cough* Valkyria Chronicles *cough*
- Nisemonogatari didn’t seem as memorable as its predecessor. Also, I really started to take notice of the shaft shortcuts where nothing happens in scenes while the characters talk on. It’s a sneaky way to make the animation quality look good!
- Ano Natsu de Matteru wanted to be Onegai Teacher so badly but couldn’t cut it. Ichika doesn’t come close to Mizuho, but Lemon was still great!
- Accel world was decent enough but, like the light novels, I found it harder to go back to the story as it went along, especially during the Dusk Taker arc.
- Sword Art Online went through the exact pattern I expected it to. Strong start, great middle and then fizzle away after the Aflheim Online arc started. the later GGO arc isn’t particularly great either, which doesn’t bode well for a sequel…
- Amagami SS was exactly half great, half pointless. At least the great parts included 2 of my 3 fave girls! Yay for Kaoru and Haruka!!
- Both Aquarion Evol and Eureka seven:AO were pointless sequels which really had no reason to exist (other than to try to make money)
- Jormungand is really quite fun. Not as good as Black Lagoon though.
- I just don’t know what to make of Saint Seiya Omega. It’s not bad, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original.
- Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna was ultimately pointless and really overdid it on the artwork style they tried to pull off.
- Rinne no Lagrange very nearly made it into my top 5 but it suffered due to the gap in between the 2 seasons and the last arc was rather weak.
- Tari Tari was decent enough but I feel that it’s one of the weaker P.A Works titles. It doesn’t stay with you like Another, Hanasaku Iroha or True Tears did.
- Watching Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon really made me wish that the light novels were translated. That and a good Kimi Aoi figure was released.
- Binbougami-ga! was also a great comedy show. Not quite Nyarlko-san level but still good!
- I really missed the cast of Seitokai no Ichizon. Took a little while to get back into the swing of things but they’re still great! Especially Aki!
- Kore wa Zombie Desuka? Of the dead! Felt like a filler. But the various Eus were great in the credits!
- It was rather hard to really get into fate/zero
- There seemed to be a good base for Natsuyuki Rendezvous but I couldn’t stand the show by the end because the characters (especially the deceased husband) were such unlikeable, selfish pricks!! God, I hated the cast so much… If it wasn’t a NoitaminA show, I probably wouldn’t have been able to have finished it. Good thing it was only 11 eps…
Also, Congrats to Tintin, a close friend of mine who got hitched to his longtime gf, Rosalind at the start of the year! And a shoutout to TonyBSD, Avan, Coffeebugg, Adun50 and Quentin! Fellow anime and figure fans who I hung out with in Hong Kong! I had known Quentin for a while but it was the first time meeting the others. Fun was had by all (I hope!). I also went to Paris to see May’n live. I can’t stand the city but the concert rocked, especially since I was right next to the stage. The only down side was that she played my favourite song near the start!! Also, I am now a 2nd Dan kendoka!! Need to spend the next 2 years preparing for my 3rd dan grading now!!
As for movies, I didn’t see any major anime movies this year, though I really wanted to watch Evangelion Q. I did see the Fullmetal Alchemist movie at the BFI during their biennial anime weekend but the movie was pretty crap. The biggest problem was that it was a side story so it wasn’t allowed to have any effect on the main story so it was basically one very long filler. I also saw the princess and the pilot. That was a much better film but the ending didn’t feel particularly satisfying, even with the epilogue. We never did find out what happened to the pilot or if the queen ever saw him again.
There was a more productive front for the hollywood movies though. I got to see the Avengers at the IMAX and it was a fantastic watch! My movie of the year!! I also saw the Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX but was rather underwhelmed by the ending to the Nolan Batman trilogy. I think it was the comic book fan in me which was most disappointed though. Same with the amazing spiderman. Dredd, on the other hand completely nailed the character. It’s just a shame that it was released so close to the raid! Skyfall was another big title I saw this year but I have never been a fan of the Daniel Craig bond films and this was no different. But for disappointments, nothing beats Prometheus.
And now, onto the video games
Game of the year
X-Com: Enemy unknown
Pretty much no contests here. X-Com gave me hours of entertainment and it’s a genre which I love but is nearly extinct. I love turn based tactical squad strategy games, as my love of Valkyria Chronicles will attest (can’t wait to dig into the 3rd game but I need to set aside some time. Maybe after I finish project X zone). This was also one of the surprises of the year as I don’t think anyone though it would be this good! Still need to finish the final stage but it shouldn’t take too long!
- Pandoras Tower was a really great game and one of my faves on the Wii (not hard). It could have been so much more, but it was still good with what it provided
- The Last Story was also a great Wii game this year and one which I really enjoyed playing through. Was too short but then again, on the other side, xenoblade did feel like it was dragging sometimes.
- Dead or Alive 5: a welcome return for one of my fave old fighting game series. I was far from perfect but its return was still welcome. Almost certain to get the Vita version next year. Speaking of which…
- I got a PS Vita during my trip to HK. A really great piece of kit which doesn’t deserve the stick it gets and just needs some support from the devs. Seriously, the vita releases are barren. It’s good that it can play PS1 and PSP games but we need more vita games!
- Project X Zone is a fantastically good sequel to Namco X Capcom. It has its faults but it’s still a blast!
- I finally understand why Final Fantasy VI is so well regarded!
- Gravity Rush on Vita is so close to being a system seller but not quite.
- I don’t quite get the fuss over the walking dead. For the most part, it’s a visual novel where the only important bits are decisions you need to make. the gameplay parts are kinda duff and the game itself is linear to a fault. But the story and characterisations are great!
- Journey defies attempts to explain it. You just have to play…
- Theatrhythm has a really stupid name but the simple pick-up-and-play factor picks it up as one of the better 3DS games out there, especially after you unlock “dancing mad”, “Blinded by light” and “Those who Battle.”
Disappointments of 2012
- Soul Calibur 5 started off really strong but the limitations quickly started appearing and the scene died soon afterwards.
- The 3DS continues to disappoint. It got some games which got rave reviews but they didn’t really appeal to me, and forcing me to get a second system just so I can play japanese games by region locking everything was a dick move by Nintendo!
- PQube continues to disappoint everyone by failing to release their games in a timely manner. We’re still waiting for a release date for Persona 4 Arena. By the time it is released, the scene will be DOA.
- Sega were also not much better. We’re only getting Anarchy Reigns in the early weeks of January!!
- Lollipop Chainsaw ended up being far more shallow than I had initially thought. Played it through twice, got the platinum trophy and then didn’t go back to it since. It was fun chopping up zombies while dressed up as Haruna from Korezom though!
- Ridge Racer unbounded was a slightly above average racing game which failed to explain its systems properly and tried to sell more by using the Ridge Racer brand.
That’s about it. All that’s left is to wish the readers あけましておめでとうございます