Now that 2012 is coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the great anime series that ended this year. To count as a 2012 anime, the series must have ended during the year, so series that are still airing aren’t included, but ones that started in a previous year but ended in 2012 are. As usual, I’d like to point out that this list is entirely subjective and meant to be used as a list of recommendations rather than a definitive ranking. I’m sure there are series that many of you feel should’ve been mentioned and others that shouldn’t have, but that’s what comments are for. Feel free to discuss at the end of the article.
I first thought Jormungand was an excuse to stick a bunch of guns and explosions into an anime for all of the military action buffs. For many guys, that’s a good enough reason to watch anything, but Jormungand also happens to have a real plot. Jonah is a child soldier that finds himself working as a bodyguard for an arms dealer named Koko Hekmatyar despite his hatred of weapons and conflict. As Jonah travels with Koko, he learns more about her ideals and plans to change war forever.
9. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
Many people are split between loving and hating Kyoto Animation’s slice-of-life series of late. Chuunibyou is a throwback to the days when they made romantic comedies that appealed to a wider audience. Yuuta Togashi has just recently recovered from “8th grader syndrome” in which he believed that he was the “Dark Flame Master” and lived out his fantasies, much to the amusement of his classmates. In order to escape his embarrassing past, he goes to a high school where no one knows him and tries to act as normal as possible. There he meets Rikka, user of the Wicked Eye, who discovers his past identity of the Dark Flame Master.
8. Kokoro Connect
People may have been drawn to Kokoro Connect because the plot summary mentions body swapping, but I think the drama kept them watching. When the five members of the Cultural Research Club start swapping bodies at random, it causes a lot of confusion and panic. They soon find out it’s an experiment by some higher being and their friendships and sanity are pushed to their limits as they face old scars and emotional wounds.
7. Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? of the Dead
The second season of Kore wa Zombie Desu ka continues with the zany events that happen to Ayumu Aikawa, but takes it a notch further with a few more additions to the cast. Not everyone may enjoy nonsensical humour like in this series, but those that do can look forward to things like rainbow-puking fairies and voodoo dances.
6. Mirai Nikki
Fans of stories about free for all death games like The Hunger Games or Battle Royale will enjoy this anime. Likewise, fans of the yandere archetype will probably enjoy the series too thanks to Yuno. As a dying god prepares to pass on his powers, Yukiteru Amano finds himself caught up in a death game where the winner will become the next god. Each player gets a diary that can predict the future to a certain extent. Yukiteru ends up cornered early on in the game, but is rescued by Yuno Gasai, another player that claims to be in love with him.
It’s hard to believe that 8 years have passed since Ichigo first met Rukia and later snuck into Soul Society. Along with Naruto and One Piece, Bleach was one of those series that seemed like it would go on forever but finally came to a close this year. Bleach might not have the best plot out there, but you have to admit that it has an interesting world and the battle scenes are great to watch.
4. Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
Set in a future where humanity has declined to the point where cities are a thing of the past and the creature comforts we enjoy today no longer exist. Most post-apocalyptic series tend to be dark or full of action, but Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita is pure comedy. A new race, called fairies, has overtaken humans as the dominant species on the planet. Their technological advances are unmatched, but they lack culture and history, often looking to humans to help in that regard. The result is suicidal talking bread, running headless chickens, and the rise and fall of an empire in a matter of weeks.
3. Ano Natsu de Matteru
From the creators of the Onegai series, Ano Natsu de Matteru is a new romance between a human and an alien. Much like Onegai Teacher and Onegai Twins, Ano Natsu de Matteru focuses on a taboo relationship and the obstacles that the two lovers have to face in order to get together and stay together. There is some humour thrown in with cameo appearances by the Men in Black and a “special” drink that makes everyone tipsy. It’s a great series for anyone looking for something heartwarming.
If you like heartwarming moments, but still need your action fix, then Sword Art Online is a good watch. Set in the near future, a virtual reality game has just been launched in Japan. Shortly afterwards, players discover that they can’t log out and the game’s creator announces that he has trapped them all inside the game. Any attempts to disconnect will lead to death, and dying within the game will also lead to death in real life. Amidst the chaos, Kirito somehow manages to find love and kick butt at the same time as he strives to finish the game.
Those familiar with Gen Urobuchi’s works know they’re not for the faint of heart, and Fate/Zero is no different. The Holy Grail war is a battle between seven magi and their summoned servants – heroes from the past. The participants range from ruthless assassins to corrupt priests and psychopathic serial killers. On the flip side, there are also heroes that hold honour and righteousness with the highest regard. When these characters clash, you get some shocking scenes and amazing battles. If you’re looking for a thrill, then Fate/Zero is your best bet this year.