The Best Anime Of 2012 – Part 2: Genre and General Awards

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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.

Before getting to the awards, as a reminder, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. As for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this year is under consideration for this year’s awards.

 

Best Action

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Aquarion Evol
Spring – Jormungand
Summer – Eureka Seven AO
Autumn –
Jormungand: Perfect Order

Wildcard:

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Winner

jormungandfall201207914

Jormungand / Jormungand: Perfect Order

For an anime to have good action a few things are needed: above average animation, animators who know how to infuse their animation with a sense of movement (action) and excitement, a script that knows when to include the action scenes and how to keep them feeling fresh, a reason for these action scenes, and a staff that knows how to pace these scenes to create a sense of taut suspense. This year there was no anime that could match Jormungand / Jormungand: Perfect Order overall. It’s closest competitor was KyoAni’s Chuunibyou; if this series has been more action oriented then it would have won through it’s peerless animation.

Most Entertaining

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2
Spring – AKB0048
Summer – Dog Days 2
Autumn –
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Wildcards:

Natsuiro Kiseki, Aquarion EVOL, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Winner –

winter201213514

Aquarion EVOL

If there’s anyone that pays close enough attention to these awards then you might have noticed that the winner of this category is one of the wildcards which, I believe, is a first for me. Having this series split between seasons (and considered in parts) hurt it’s chances for the seasonal awards but here Aquarion EVOL can shine at it’s full strength. Time, reflection, and a rewatch helped me better appreciate the well thought-out absurdities of Aquarion EVOL.


Most Interesting Setting

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Last Exile – Ginkyou no Fam
Spring – Eureka Seven AO
Summer –
Eureka Seven AO
Autumn – Shinsekai Yori

Wildcards:

Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, Girls und Panzer

 Winner

shinsekaifall201202187

Shinsekai Yori

I wasn’t surprised when I found out that the creator of Shinsekai Yori has been developing it for more than 30 years because the world it takes place in is so very thought out and tightly constructed. It’s not a nice place to live but it’s a very fascinating one.

Best Plot

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter –  Another
Spring – Eureka Seven AO
Summer –
Eureka Seven AO
Autumn –
Shinsekai Yori

Wildcards:

Hunter x Hunter, AKB0048

Winner –

summer201223589

 Eureka Seven AO

Eureka Seven AO was one of the most divisive anime series of 2012 amongst fans It seemed like for most people, the more one enjoyed the original series, the stronger the negative reaction towards E7AO was. Which puzzled me because I thought it had a very strong plot and it actually had a real, honest-to-goodness, ending. Sure we had to wait months to get it, thanks to the Olympics, but Bones didn’t mess the ending up like they always do and this allowed the plot to actually work. Now if only the characters had been more likeable.

Best Story

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Chihayafuru
Spring – Space Brothers
Summer –
Space Brothers
Autumn – Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Wildcards:

AKB0048, Hyouka

Winner

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Space Brothers

Though this category is called Best Story, it’s really about storytelling because even the most humble of stories can become equals to the grand stories if the person telling the story does it right. Space Brothers is, oddly enough, about two brothers that wanted to become astronauts from the time they were kids. One never gave up on his dream and became an astronaut and the other one, the older one, deemed his dream impossible until falling into a bad situation pushed him into seeing if his dream of space was really that impossible. Over the seasons the story to Space Brothers has unfolded and it’s become apparent that it’s an example of a humble story told right, really right.

Best Final Episode

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Spring – Aquarion Evol
Summer –
Hyouka
Autumn –
Nekomonogatari – Black

Wildcards:

Bodacious Space Pirates, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Winner –

hyouka_22

Hyouka

Not that I knew it at the time but coming into the last episode of Hyouka there was one thing this series still needed to do – flesh out Chitanda’s character. All the other main characters were given the opportunity to let the viewers get to know who they were except for Chitanda. That she was constantly curious about everything and slightly ditzy was a given but that was all she was until the last episode came along. Along with Houtarou, the viewers finally got a peek at what grounded her and what she held dear in her heart. It was just the thing to give Hyouka that sense of completing something needed for an ending when the story continues. It also made me really want a sequel.

Best Ending

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Chihayafuru
Spring – Aquarion Evol
Summer –
Binbou-gami ga!
Autumn –
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Wildcards:

Bodacious Space Pirates, Sakamichi no Apollon

Winner –

summer201229881

Aquarion Evol

For a series so bent on being absurd and over-the-top, Aquarion Evol never forgot that it needed to do the basics, like tell a story, as well. I was surprised, though, to see it weave it’s various story arcs and plot points into a coherent, satisfying conclusion where love conquers all. Not the most original ending but I don’t particularly care when it’s done as well as Aquarion Evol did it.

Best Slice-of-Life

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Natsume Yuujinchou Shi
Spring – Space Brothers
Summer – Space Brothers
Autumn –
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb

Wildcard:

Natsuiro Kiseki

Winner –

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Space Brothers

I mentioned above about how with the right execution even humble stories can be magnificent; this category’s nominees all help prove that assertion. We have a show about a boy who can see spirits, a show about a guy who wants to be astronaut, a show about a girl who is an art major in high school, and a show about four girls who discover a rock that can grant wishes. The best this year was Space Brothers and who knows maybe a year from now I’ll saying the same thing for 2013.

Best Science Fiction

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter – Bodacious Space Pirates
Spring – Space Brothers
Summer – Space Brothers
Autumn – Shinsekai Yori

Wildcards:

Aquarion Evol, Psycho-pass

Winner –

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Space Brothers

This was another very good year for science fiction anime; between the titles listed above and Doctor Who, I almost forget there’s almost no good SF series being produced in the US anymore. That’s a topic for another day, though. It was very difficult to pick the winner because of the wide variety of SF seen in the nominees but I picked Space Brothers in the end because Shinsekai Yori and Psycho-pass are unfinished and still have a few surprises in store for the viewers and also because Space Brothers has a more positive outlook for the near future. (Depressing near-futures are so common that those that run counter deserve a little extra credit.)

Best Comedy

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter –  Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
Spring – Upotte
Summer – Joshiraku
Autumn – Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Wildcards:

Binbou-gami ga!, Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!

Winner

winter201225988

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Last winter I was sure that Nichibros had a lock on this category but as 2012 unfolded there were quite a few strong contenders with Joshiraku being the strongest. If Joshiraku had been produced by a stronger animation company that could have and would have added onto the source material then it probably would have won. Shaft was the obvious choice but they weren’t the only ones; instead, J.C. Staff handled it along with their trademark lackluster adapting skills. In the end, though, I was right; Nichibros was the best comedy of 2012.

Best Drama

Nominees

Seasonal Winners:

Winter –  Chihayafuru
Spring – AKB0048
Summer – Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi
Autumn – Shinsekai Yori

Wildcards:

Psycho-pass, Another

Winner

shinsekaifall201205962

Shinsekai Yori

I am a bit leery about awarding this to Shinsekai Yori when it’s only half done but only a bit because it’s been so perfect at building the tension and drama that I don’t think I’ll regret this choice later. In case that happens, the runner-up for this category is Chihayafuru.

That’s it for part 2, the next part is the VMA awards.

Top anime 2012 Awards Part 0: Introduction and Anti-Awards
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 1: Cast and Character Awards
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 2: Genre and General Awards <- you are here
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 4: The Misfit Awards
Top anime 2012 Awards: Top 15 Anime – #15 – #11
Top anime 2012 Awards: Top 15 Anime – #10 – #6
Top anime 2012 Awards: Top 15 Anime – #5 – #1

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One thought on “The Best Anime Of 2012 – Part 2: Genre and General Awards”

  1. You’ve been talking about AQ Evol that it makes me want to watch it, even though I’m pretty sure I dropped it in a first few episodes because I thought it was some kind of fan service romantic comedy for teenage boys.

    Recently Japanese studios have been doing a better than average job at adapting novel length stories. The institutional knowledge is increasing via experience, if you ask me. Some people still have no clue, of course, but usually those can be detected early on. It’s really a matter of priorities, getting the first few episodes correctly, and slowly adding the relevant details in the middle so that the ending “actually makes sense”. If the studio can do that, the rest takes care of itself. They have stopped “fan writing” stories in by adjusting “little things” in the novels, too. Case example, Chrome Shelled Regios was rewritten almost entirely. Not by the author though. It showed.

    The action in Jormungand was great. They even got the index safety finger thing right, most of the time.

    Like

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