Is it me or is anime getting weirder? This year we had magical drool, a polar bear-run cafe, fighting with a skateboard, and girls learning how to operate assault rifles and tanks in school. Nevertheless, I came across a few enjoyable series, and picking my favorite turned out to be a big challenge. Do I go with the unique idea (Thermae Romae), the technical masterpiece (Kids on the Slope), or the heartstring tugger (Say “I Love You”)? Read on to find out.
NOTE: This recap may contain spoilers!
Best scene – Kaoru and Sentaro’s reunion jam (Kids on the Slope)
Whenever the two of them start playing jazz, it’s magic. This scene definitely proved it while bringing everything full circle. I won’t spoil the unique setting, but it was unexpected and made the scene more fun to watch.
Best theme – “En Otoko. -Adiós-” by ADAPTER (Brave 10)
I hate really obvious autotune and vocal distortions, but the shamisen in this song was awesome enough to make me overcome that bias. The use of a traditional instrument in an electronic rock song is a perfect fit for the Sengoku Era fantasy.
Best voice acting – Takahiro Sakurai as Izumo Kusanagi (K)
I wish I was able to find the seiyuu for the American character in episode 1 that spoke the best English, but the second best would probably still be my top pick for how many character I recognized in Sakurai’s 2012 body of work. Izumo Kusanagi just stood out for the range in pitch and emotions he covered.
Cosplay this series if you want to be cool – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sparkle Pipsi and Rynn (second and third from the left) as Madoka characters
Non-anime cosplays have been dominating the con scene so it was hard to pick an anime that stood out. Madoka seemed to be a favorite among advanced cosplayers (notably the judges at the cons I attended).
Line we like to repeat – “I update my blog where I please!” (Fleur Blanc, Eureka Seven: AO)
This is something I’d say in real life if I had an iPad or a smart phone. All of us bloggers should aspire to be like Fleur who finds time to update despite having to pilot and maintain an IFO.
Most egregious fanservice – Neko in K
If the impractically short skirts, butt shots, and homoeroticism wasn’t enough, K gave us Neko, a curvaceous catgirl who does not like to wear clothes and often gets in positions that the Hawkeye Initiative likes to mock.
Most overrated series – Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean
This sequel made me realize how much of my love for Eureka Seven lied in the sky-surfing mecha and the romance between various characters. Without either, Eureka Seven: AO fell flat. Plus the ending was more frustrating than a convoluted Steven Moffat plot.
Most ridiculous premise – Upotte!!
Girls learning how to shoot guns who are actually personifications of the guns themselves? It’s best to not think too hard lest you start realizing what “pulling the trigger” means. A part of me is convinced that the NRA is behind this series; I’ve learned more about assault rifles in one episode than I have my entire life.
Anime of the year – Thermae Romae
I decided to go with Thermae Romae because it connected two very different cultures (ancient Rome and Japan) with a simple pleasure: hot baths. Although the animation seemed low budget, it was a clever breath of fresh air from the too pretty with little substance works. It even had a couple of meta references!
Most anticipated series for 2013 – Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon was the first American dub I watched, and it’s both a classic and a very progressive series. A remake is going to appeal to people like me who grew up wishing they were a Sailor Scout, as well as the current generation who will be reminded of one of the original magical girl series. I’m interested in seeing how Sailor Moon will evolve.
- Best Dressed – Bainas (Ozma)
- Best Eyes – Maya (Ozma)
- Best Hair – Megumi Kitagawa (Say “I Love You”)
- Best Legs – Yamato Kurosawa (Say “I Love You”)
- Best Smile – Tatara Totsuka (K)
- Biggest Flirt – Yuri Kamanosuke (Brave 10)
- Class Clown – Ichiyon (Upotte!!)
- Cutest Couple – Mei Tachibana and Yamato Kurosawa (Say “I Love You”)
- Friendliest – Ritsuko Mukae (Kids on the Slope)
- Most Athletic – Misaki Yata (K)
- Most Likely to Succeed… in Taking Over the World – Ao (Eureka Seven: AO)
- Most Spirited – Gazelle (Eureka Seven: AO)
- Most Talented… with a Weapon – Sig (Upotte!!)
Members of the anime and manga industry who will be missed in 2013:
- Sayuri Yamauchi – Lady Une (Gundam Wing), “Twilight” Suzuka (Outlaw Star)
- Noboru Ishiguro – director of Legend of Galactic Heroes
- Takeshi Aono – Shiro Sana (Space Battleship Yamato), Sugoroku Mutou (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Shuichi Higurashi – cover artist for Big Comic
- Yugo Sako – director of Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama
- Susumu Ishikawa – Puss ‘n Boots (Puss ‘n Boots)
- Mitsunoko Mori – Hii-sama (Princess Mononoke)
- Keiji Nakazawa – mangaka of Barefoot Gen
- Takashi Taniguchi – Harry Anders (Hellsing), Montblanc Cricket (One Piece)
Listening to: “Furisodeshon” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu