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 Top 15 Anime of 2011

Because RABUJOI started up at the start of the Fall 2010 season, we only compiled complete reviews and ratings for 15 2010 shows (two more were dropped). We watched series throughout 2010, but did not yet have RABUJOI up and running in earnest until Fall, so we had to approximate ratings for our Top 15. However, RABUJOI has been in operation for the entirety of 2011. We watched and assigned reviews to a total of 31 series, and dropped ten more. So without further stat-ado, here are our Top 15 of 2011, by their average episode rating:

15. Dantalian no Shoka (3.542) – Gorgeous Victorian aesthetic, with magical mysteries and plenty of Gainax weirdness.

14. Kamisama Dolls
 (3.615) – For most of its run, the hero sits back and lets his little sister be the hero…and that’s okay!

13. Kamisama no Memo-cho (3.625)
– J.C. Staff serves up a deeper, slightly darker alternative to Railgun and Index.

12. Usagi Drop (3.636) – Extremely realistic depiction of the trials of taking care of a little kid, without coming off as annoying.

11. Blood-C (3.667) – Like Shiki, it’s gorey, chilling, addictive, and not what you initially thought.

10. Hanasaku Iroha (3.692) – Excellent slice of life, fantastic ensemble cast, charming setting, and a healthy dollop of romance.

9. Deadman Wonderland
 (3.708) – A hellish scenario in which pretty much everything bad that can happen to a kid…does.

8. Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (3.727) – GONZO returns with a gorgeous sequel that does the original – one of our favorites – justice.

7. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (3.750) – Don’t let the cutesy-looking characters fool you – Shinbo crafts a dark, broody, time-bending Magical Girl tale we can get behind.

6. Ben-To (3.833) – A supermarket fight club where the prize is half-priced food? Yes, please. Especially when the battles are as lyrical as they are zany.

5. Guilty Crown (3.864) – Copious eye candy and tremendous action setpieces more than make up for ho-hum characters and scenarios.

4. Chihayafuru (3.875) – Who thought an obscure game could engender such strong appeal. Some of the best characterization of the year certainly helped.

3. (Tie) [C] (3.909) – When your future is your currency, caution is warranted. Consistently impressive and imaginative.

3. (Tie) Un-Go (3.909) – A classic mystery literature-sourced success story.

2. AnoHana (3.955) – Genuinely moving teen drama about old friends reconnecting, with some help from a ghost.

1. Mawaru Penguindrum (4.000) – The only series to earn a perfect rating for its entire run – all the more impressive as it ran for 24 episodes. So far, it’s the anime of the decade.