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.
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.
Winter – Yuuji from Shakugan no Shana Season 3
Spring – Mykage from Aquarion Evol
Summer – Spider Troupe from Hunter x Hunter
Autumn – Sibyl System from Psycho-pass
Tyrannos Japan from Btooom!, DES from AKB0048
Sibyl System from Psycho-pass
Maybe not what one initially thinks of when talking about villains, but, few traditional villains could match the Sibyl System from Psycho-pass in terms of harm caused to humanity. And the kicker is that it’s supposed to be a great aid for humanity. The second half of Psycho-pass will probably continue to focus on the attempt to capture Shougo Makishima but I’d really like to see a sequel that features the dismantling of the Sibyl System.
Winter – Chihayafuru episode 22
Spring – Hunter x Hunter episode 35-36
Summer – Hunter x Hunter episode 47
Autumn – Girls und Panzer episode 8-10
Hyouka episode 14, cooking contest
Hunter x Hunter episode 35-36
I’ve already talked about this fight both during the spring season and for the 12 Days of Christmas but I don’t mind mentioning again how great this fight between Gon and Hisoka was. Every facet needed to make a memorable fight scene was perfectly done for this fight. The creators also got the often overlooked concept of distinctiveness correct. There’s been other very good fights in Hunter x Hunter but they all feel different from each other which makes it much easier to remember them individually. (Which was one of the problems with Bones’ fights in E7AO, they all were very nicely animated but they were all the same and hard to remember.)
Most Unexpectedly Good Show
Winter – Aquarion Evol
Spring – Mysterious Girlfriend X
Summer – Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
Autumn – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Another wildcard win; chalk this one up to the one season AKB0048 running across both the spring and summer season. I’m not even slightly into Japanese idols or idol groups so I only decided to watch this because the animation company, Satelight, had earned a measure of positive credibility after finishing Aquarion Evol and Bodacious Space Pirates. To say I was surprised is hardly surprising. Much like how Aquarion Evol – which had the same writer and director – was absurd but still told an interesting story; namely, AKB0048 was about an idol group that fought against a ban on entertainment that many planets in the solar system had by giving guerilla concerts. It took it’s absurdity seriously and was a great show to follow.
Best Show No One Saw
Winter – Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2
Spring – Natsuiro Kiseki
Summer – Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
Autumn – Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse
Upotte, Dog Days 2
There always seems to be at least one good series that falls through the cracks each season and gets ignored by almost everyone. Sometimes the reason has obvious factors like having an apparently very overused storyline – like with Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate – or the animation style leads people to the wrong conclusion – like with Milky Holmes. And sometimes there’s multiple factors like with the case of Natsuiro Kiseki. The description for it put it solidly in the crowded and much maligned genre of “cute girls do cute things” and it’s budget constrained animation quality removed one the big reasons people will give these types of shows a shot. I picked it up on a whim and was surprised when I couldn’t immediately dismiss it. The execution of Natsuiro Kiseki was excellent and the addition of a wishing rock with a snarky sense of humor really maximized the entertainment value.
Most in Need of a Sequel
Winter – Chihayafuru
Spring – Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko
Summer – Dog Days 2
Autumn – Btooom!
Hyouka, Bodacious Space Pirates, Another
Chihayafuru would have won this category, if I wasn’t already watching the sequel 🙂 . After Chihayafuru there was a very spirited battle for this award with each nominee having a very good reason to need a sequel but Btooom! edged the competition out to win. Like the other nominees, I want to see what happens to the characters next but I also want to see the evil organization behind the “game” taken care of.
Best Anime Extra Seen in 2012
Young Animators Training Program 2
Daily Lives of High School Boys Specials
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Lite
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – 13
Steins;Gate – 25
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – 13
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko taught me that one of the reasons I so often like Shaft/Shinbou series is because, no matter the type, they present the view that the world is more amazing, more interesting, a more unknown place then it appears to be. (Which is why Shaft/Shinbou is my most desired studio to make Yotsuba into an anime series.) From Arakawa Under the Bridge to Bakemonogatari to Hidamari Sketch to Natsu no Arashi to Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei to Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru to Puella Magi Madoka Magica this has been a constant part their series. Denpa Onna taught me this because it specifically rejected it – the girl who said she was abducted by aliens wasn’t – and, when I figured this out, I figured out why I wasn’t enjoying the series. It was only at the very end of the season that it began to hint that maybe there was more going on then it first appeared to be which is where episode 13 comes in. This extra episode decided to clear things up by having the main character witness something that was so profoundly unexplainable that he’s even willing to re-entertain the thought that his cousin might actually had been abducted by aliens. So, the way I look at it, this episode saved the entire series and made me want to see a sequel season.
Best Anime OVA Seen in 2012
Un-go – Inga-ron
Hotarubi no Mori e
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (2012) – BD Special
Un-go – Inga-ron
Speaking of saving the series, Un-go – Inga-ron did the same thing for Un-go. I realize it’s more artsy to not explain everything and make the viewer come up with their own answers but the risk in doing that is the resulting work is undermined and no one really cares anymore. That’s basically what happened with Un-go. As a mystery series Un-go was a complete failure because if someone like me can figure them out before the detective then there’s something seriously wrong. This left the story to carry the series and it just wasn’t up to the task because the creators decided to withhold several key pieces of the story from the series by airing Un-go – Inga-ron after the series aired. As a result I had a rather low opinion of the series the first time through but that radically changed for the better with my second viewing because I’d had the chance to watch Un-go – Inga-ron. And like episode 13 of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, I’d now really like a sequel to Un-go.
Best Anime Movie Seen in 2012
Time of Eve
A Letter to Momo
Sora No Otoshimono – The Clockwork Angeloid
The Secret World of Arriety
Time of Eve
Being as focused as I am on the currently airing TV series I sometimes miss watching an anime movie that I probably should have; so, I should clarify that the nominees above are also all the anime movies that I watched this year. If I missed something good, I wouldn’t mind a quick comment pointing out my error 🙂 . From these nominees, then, Time of Eve wins by being a really awesome science fiction movie that entertains, makes one think, laughs, and cries. This was a secret Santa recommendation and another good one, made me grumble at myself that I shouldn’t have needed to watch something that was so in my sweet spot. The K-On! movie was it’s stiffest competition and I think if I was actually familiar with London I probably would have picked it instead. Now if Kyoto Animation would make another K-On! movie that features them visiting the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, eating spaghetti and pizza in Little Italy, watching the Cleveland Browns play while getting freaked out by the fans in Dawg Pound – I would find it unstoppable.
Best Past Anime Series Seen in 2012
As the years pass where I watch anime as it comes out, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to find a non-current series that interests me enough that I find the time to watch it. I know there’s still plenty of good stuff I haven’t seen yet but it’s hard to figure out what show from 10 years ago is still worth watching which is why I started doing the Secret Santa Project that the blog Reverse Thieves does around Christmas time every year. Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to watch many good older anime series so I thought I’d include this category this year.
A part of me really wants to give Thriller Restaurant the award because I had so much fun watching it and was very sad when I reached the end but Simoun is the obvious choice. Simoun is the type of intelligent science fiction that I can never get bored watching. It was set in a very interesting world, it explored some of the problems inherent with that world, it created characters with depth and let their motivations drive the story, and the plot was interesting. If I allowed to rank in my top anime countdown, it would have done very well.
That’s part 4 of my retrospective look at the 2012 year in anime. I’ll try to have the next section up tomorrow.
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
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 3: VMA Awards
Top anime 2012 Awards Part 4: The Misfit Awards <- you are here
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