This post marks the 500th post I’ve written for The Null Set. Stack that milestone on top of the other ones that I never thought I would actually accomplish. I had wanted to have my fifth year anniversary post last month be my 500th post for the symmetry of it but I didn’t get this look back at the anime of 2012 done in time. :(
Oh well, this post is almost as good because there is nothing I spend more time on here then these yearly looks back at the anime series that aired.
Sorry; I’m pulling a Peter Jackson. I intended to do this countdown in two parts but, as I finished up, I realized that I had been writing at Extended Edition speed and both halves were entirely too long. I know this takes some of the fun out of the final part because between knowing 2/3 of the countdown along with the honorable mentions means which series are in the top 5 is probably a no-brainer. Oh well, onto the countdown.
Examining the anime of 2012 through awarding winners in various categories only tells part of the story. To compare the relative strengths of the different anime series I also like to rank the top series of the year in one listing. Many of the series listed below have won multiple categories but others have not.
Sure it’s causes one to compare apples to oranges, as the saying goes, or maybe more aptly, forces one to mix oil and water together but humans seem hardwired to try to do just that.
Step three for awesome anime – after creating memorable characters and giving them a worthy stage – is to use every part of the production process to bring-out/enhance the positive aspects of the anime and hide the negative aspects. Getting the right seiyuu can be the difference between a character being a success or failure. Inappropriate music can ruin the climax of a series and nothing can make a whole anime series fail as assuredly as poor animation quality. In the right hands, a small budget can be overcome through creating the right animation style. Stellar OP/ED with it’s combination of music and animation can build excitement and anticipation for the anime and ensure viewers come back next week.
There’s other parts to an anime’s production – like script writing, cinematography, sound editing, etc. – that won’t gets awards here because I’m not knowledgeable enough in these areas to put any confidence in picking winners. Which is why I call this set of awards the Voice, Music, and Audio awards. I’m hoping, yet again, next year I’ll be able to include a few more areas of the production to these awards.
I really should think of a better name then “misfit” for this group of awards because the word makes me think of the Isle of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph Christmas special which then gets me to mentally add, “I’d like to be a … a dentist!”, and I start wondering again why would anyone want to be a dentist. The two most likely scenarios I can think of is, one, it’s easier to become a dentist then it is a doctor or, two, the person in question likes putting their hands in people’s mouths. If the internet has taught me anything it’s that number 2 is probably the more likely explanation.
I apologize if you were eating something while reading this and now you’re not hungry. It does, though, show why I want to rename this section of awards.
Anyways, this group of categories is a bit of a hodge-podge. Several of my favorite awards appear in this section like Best Show No One Saw. If you have a suggestion for an award I should add feel free to leave a comment.
As I’ve said before, with competent execution, a shoujo anime is as good as a shounen anime and/or a slice-of-life anime and/or a sports anime and/or a science fiction anime and/or romantic comedy anime and so on and so forth.
Each genre, though, has a different tool box of tropes, clichés, common elements, and understoods at their ready disposal to craft an anime in that genre. Some tool boxes are bigger, more versatile, and just plain better than others; so, the trick for those people working with the smaller tool boxes is to know how to maximize the usefulness of their tools and know when to borrow from someone else’s toolbox. Chihayafuru is an example of a shoujo anime that also borrows liberally from the sports anime genre to augment itself and is much stronger as a result.
That said, I elected to not include some genre awards like Best Shoujo and Best Shounen series because I’ve not watched enough of the potential contenders to make an informed choice.