Love, anime, and other delusions from 2012

I’ve always looked back fondly on 2012. It was a peak year for my creativity. More people were listening and interacting with my podcast than ever. I was collaborating with people on new projects. It was also when I started learning more about the sound equipment that I went into debt for.

But when I look at the year of anime, I’m grossly underwhelmed. For such an important year of an anime podcast, I expected more shows to stand out. My memory was so fuzzy that I had to turn on “English Titles” on AniChart before I started to recognize things.

In a way, this is a metaphor for how we interact with life. No matter how good the present is, we still find ourselves yearning for the past. Esteemed scholar and poet, Conor Oberst once said, “That summer never stopped, I still pretend I’m there.”

But we must be Grateful For This Day, because it’s time to look back at the anime of 2012.

Even when I sort the Winter season from alphabetical to release date, the first thing that jumps out at me is Another. It was based on a horror novel by Yukito Ayatsuji. Judging by his Anime News Network entry, the only other noteworthy thing he’s ever done is marry Fuyumi Ono, the author of The Twelve Kingdoms. However, she later went on to create Shiki, so I can only assume they’re divorced now.

Another was an easy sell for me. It’s a quick watch, it’s hyper-violent, and it doesn’t waste anytime fucking around. It’s like if Final Destination was a cute anime girl with a medical eyepatch. You could say I was predetermined to enjoy it.

That’s the only thing I remember watching this season.

I’m not sure if I was busy with college or suffering from anime burnout, but I’m struggling to find anything that left even a mild impression on me. Of course, Noel would never forgive me if I didn’t mention that Symphogear debuted this season, but I couldn’t tell you what that show was about if my life depended on it.

There was also a show called Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father!, but after the nonsense that came out in 2011, I’m afraid to read the summary.

The Spring season was more of the same, except this time I didn’t watch more than a few episodes of anything.

Space Brothers happened. I guess. I really enjoyed what I saw, but got intimidated when the episode count jumped to 99 when I wasn’t paying attention.

Zetman probably should have left a bigger impact on the fandom after how well Tiger and Bunny was handled by the American publishers. Guess it’s back to drawing butts and jerking off to Batman for you, Masakazu Katsura. Actually, I might have those two things backwards.

Another show that should have set the world on fire was Kids on the Slope. After eight years of minimal directorial output, Shinichiro Wantanbe finally had a new show coming out. And it featured jazz prominently! Fans of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo rejoiced. The problem is that Kids on the Slope isn’t about people kicking ass to smooth jazz; it’s about people playing smooth jazz.

Spring was also when The Woman Called Fujiko Mine aired, a show that Sayo Yamamoto may or may not have made so she could masturbate to it later. My only experience with Fujiko Mine was when I blindly purchased it from Right Stuf, made an unboxing video — which is uncharacteristic for me — and sold it on eBay years later without having watched it.

And, of course, we can’t talk about Spring 2011 without mentioning Mysterious Girlfriend X, an anime about a guy obsessed with his girlfriend’s saliva, and Kuroko’s Basketball, an anime with a fan obsessed with sending the creator death threats.

My watching habits remained light in the Summer. But when the world gives you Humanity Has Declined, do you really need anything else? Despite being one of my favorite shows of the year, the only things I remember is that it features a bunch of asshole fairies and that a loaf of bread commits suicide in the first episode.

I also hate-watched was Kokoro Connect. The reason I did this is because I’m a masochist and I was reviewing it for Anime 3000. The premise was a frustrating combination of Freaky Friday and Bokurano, and I just wasn’t having it. There was an episode where a character tells his crush (while inhabiting here body) that he jerks off to her in an attempt to win an argument and prove that he’s in love with her. She gets mad at him, because who wouldn’t, and then admits that she also jerks off to him. I almost threw my laptop out a window.

Why does jerking off keep coming up in article?

I guess Sword Art Online also came out this season. The first episode was pretty cool and reminded me of .hack//SIGN, but I was warned that it gets really creepy after that so I dropped it and never turned back.

If you thought things couldn’t get worse in 2012, the Fall anime season would like to have a word with you. My Little Monster starts off with what seems like an innocent romance story about two unlikely best friends. Then, like an RKO out of nowhere, the male lead threatens to kidnap and rape his friend as a joke. Why the writers thought this was a good idea is anybody’s guess.

Things weren’t all bad, though. This is the same season that gave us Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions, a show that joins Madoka Magica as something my friends had to beg me to watch. Contrary to what Another may have you believe, I generally stay away from anime about cute girls wearing medical eye patches.

But I’m glad that I made this exception, because Chunibyo became my favorite show of the year. On the surface, it’s a silly show about pretending you’re an anime character and screaming out special moves while fighting in the park. But beneath the surface, it’s a touching look at how anxiety and loss can fuck a person up and stunt their growth. It’s beautifully animated, never failed to make me laugh, and has a character that’s obsessed with taking naps. What more could you ask for? It’s also responsible for me using the phrase “Dark Flame Master” in a professional setting more than once.

I’m a nerd. I know.

This was also the year that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure finally saw mainstream success outside of Japan. It should come as no surprise that I still haven’t watched it.

Despite its anime roster, 2012 was a special year. It was when I got the courage to face reality and change majors from psychology to sound production. After spending most of my life recording and manipulating audio for fun, I decided that it was no longer just a hobby. This was something that I could do as a career. It started with taking a course on the fundamentals of radio, which lead to working as an intern at a low power station, and ultimately resulted in me going to a school that specialized in sound.

I wouldn’t see real success in my field until the end of the decade, but this is where I began to lay the groundwork for where I am today.

Gary Piano
Gary Piano
Fake Anime Fan. Professional Audio Boy. Founder of GONZO.MOE.