Jormungand – 24 (Fin)

Two years after Jonah left Koko, the entire world has been set ablaze by wars and sits on the brink of WWIII. Koko hires Kasper’s men, including Jonah, to guard her as they launch the completed quantum computer into orbit in Kazakhstan. Kasper knows her plan, but he tells her it won’t stop him from selling weapons. Jonah decides to quit, and wanders on his own. Two days later he is in Baku, where Koko and her team are waiting for him. She’ll stop an impending New Soviet attack on the oil fields by activating Jormungand. Jonah agrees to return to her side.

Well, unless there’s a film or another season to follow up, we’ll never see the new world Koko Hekmatyar created, with the help of her hot female scientist friends and merry band of bodyguards. But we’re okay with that. Ending things the very moment she activates Jormungand still leaves open infinite possibilities. Will her way work? Conventional wisdom says no; and so does Kasper. He makes the argument we made last week: people will fight with rocks and sticks if they have to. But Koko is surely well aware of this and any other arguments.

Bottom line: rocks and sticks can’t cause the same mass death and destruction as bullets and bombs from the sky. She also believes putting a proverbial leash on humanity will humiliate them into submission. If they are as nasty, brutish and short as Kasper (and Hobbes) think, there may be nothing Koko or anyone else can do to stop the human urge to wage war. But it’s nice to think that just as two years of watching the world ignite taught Jonah that Koko’s plan is worth a try, perhaps a few years without the use of the skies will convince calmer heads that peace is worth a try.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

RABUJOI’s Top 15 Anime of 2012

We watched 48 series this year, including six carryovers from 2011. We dropped eight of them and became better at not sticking with shows we didn’t like.

In August, we changed our rating scale from 1-4 to 1-10, meaning more colors and more nuance in our ratings. We started documenting car cameos, kept track of common tropes, and even drew a few org charts. We dabbled with summaries-as-cocktail recipes. We started a successful Tumblr and a not-so-successful Twitter account.

But all that aside, this site has been and always will be about the reviews, and what we thought of those 48 series and hundreds of episodes we watched. From that large collection, we present you the top 15 of 2012, by average rating (Current as of time of publication).

15. Rinne no Lagrange – Winter/Summer (7.708)“Competent action and space battles take a backseat to the characters and their bonds”

14. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – Fall (7.727)“We can never totally reject the extraordinary from our lives, because the fact of the matter is, when you take a moment to look at it, every aspect of life is extraordinary”

13. Kokoro Connect – Summer (7.769)“We liked all three arcs, all the characters, and cared about what happened to them. Their interactions under duress were always engrossing”

12. Natsuiro Kiseki – Spring (7.917)“4 parts high school girls yearning to stick together, muddle a few wishes on a big rock, top with club soda and a scoop of ice cream. Repeat”

11. Moretsu Pirates – Winter/Spring (7.885)“Lots of cool sci-fi procedural action tempered by hearty heaps of heart”

10. Aquarion Evol – Winter/Spring (7.923)“Mix everything, ever, for thousands of years. Doesn’t matter what. Just MIX. MEEEEEEKUUUUUUSUUUUU!”

9. Kamisama Hajimemashita – Fall (8.000)“A veritable smorgasbord of neat supernatural concepts and story twists”

8. Hyouka – Spring/Summer (8.045)“The festival arc was epic in its scope, complexity, and conclusion, never neglected the little details, and gave the whole cast something to do”

7. Another – Winter (8.077)“The horror series which gets the fundamentals right, even if it isn’t breaking any particularly new ground”

6. From the New World – Fall (8.308)“As the characters age, the danger intensifies, and the tension over their fate continues to build”

5. Sakamichi no Apollon – Spring (8.333) “1 part each rich egghead pianist, poor delinquent drummer, cute earnest girl, pretty adventurous girl, and depressed trumpeter. Combine and shake well to the stylings of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.”

4. Nazo no Kanojo X – Spring (8.385)“1 part each strange, horny girl with an unusually natural voice and normal, horny guy. Pour in mixing glass with a whimsical soundtrack, retro 80’s character design, and liberal amount of saliva. Stir well, garnish with hundreds of lemons.”

3. Zetsuen no Tempest – Fall (8.583)“Everything happens for a reason. The daily tragedies and misfortunes are all meaningful events, leading toward an ideal conclusion.”

2. Sukitte Ii na yo – Fall (8.615)“Mei and Yamato both prove inexperienced with romantic relationships (though in different ways), but at least they’re trying to overcome their stumbling – and mostly succeed”

1. Natsuyuki Rendezvous – Summer (8.636)“A short, sweet, mature, and absolutely moving romantic drama”

RABUJOI’s 15 Favorite Episodes of 2012

We’re doing something we’ve previously done with Sket Dance (and one Skepisode almost made it on this list): identifying the episodes that we enjoyed the most, regardless of rating. That being said, all of these episodes are highly rated.

So out of 550+ episodes watched in 2012, here are 15 of our favorites. There are many others we liked quite a bit, but we wanted to limit this list to a nice clean 15, listed alphabetically. We could re-watch any one of these episodes many many times.

Another – 08 – 27 Feb
Theory about being safe outside Yomiyama? Disproved. The importance of Matsunaga remembering more about the past? Crucial.

Aquarion Evol – 15 – 10 Apr
This episode had a cinematic depth and breadth that drew us in…and on more than one occasion had us laughing and yelling out loud at the sheer…kick-assery of it all.

Eureka Seven AO – 19 – 8 Sep
We had a feeling the company had a tough road to follow, but we didn’t expect its absolute obliteration.

Eureka Seven AO – 22 – 28 Sep
We’re not going to mince words like we always do, and just curse instead: that was a fucking awesome episode.

From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 09 – 24 Nov
[Saki] cares about [Shun] so much she’s willing to risk everything – her freedom, her life, her parents’ peace-of-mind – to find him. Which is badass.

Hyouka – 17 – 12 Aug
To put it perhaps too simply, there are passionate failures and casual geniuses in Hyouka.

Kokoro Connect – 05 – 4 Aug
One of the trademarks of a great anime is…breathing life and vitality into the characters.

Moretsu Pirates – 12 – 24 Mar
…the characters didn’t shrink to insignificance in the face of such mindblowing vastness.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 02 – 8 Jul
Now we know why the characters were so bland last week: because they never made it past this week.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 11 – 13 Sep
…we wanted nothing less than a good old-fashioned happy ending, and by gum, we got one.

Nazo no Kanojo X – 01 – 11 Apr
The quirky but warm Mikoto is so lovably weird, you have to root for Akira to try to win her, and he does…

Sakamichi no Apollon – 07 – 24 May
Just as jazz was the catalyst for Kaoru and Sentaro’s friendship, it’s also the salve that mends it when it’s asunder.

Sankarea – 03 – 20 Apr
She’s a brave, strong young woman. Only…by episode’s end, she’s no longer a living woman.

Sword Art Online – 10 – 8 Sep
…Kirito gives Asuna a kiss when she most needs it, and when his intentions couldn’t be conveyed any more powerfully.

Zetsuen no Tempest – 09 – 29 Nov
This episode may just be three guys yelling at each other while holding weapons while a half-naked girl lies on a distant beach but good God was it powerful.