Greetings guys! Samurai here ready to help you close out the year by giving you a breakdown of some of the best, and worst, of the year that was 2012! Please keep in mind that the selections you see are strictly my own choices, so your mileage may vary! You have been warned! We’re also going to do something a little different this time around than last year; I’ll be awarding both a difinitive winner and a “Runner Up”, just to see what exactly what a particular show/person/character went up against…and to show my very freaky thinking patterns at work. So, to kick things off, let’s have a look at the Best Overall Anime of 2012!
Even though this series premiered on April 1, this show was anything but a joke. “Space Brothers” is one of the most intriguing, in-depth, detailed anime regarding space travel to come along that I’ve ever seen since “Planetes”, and I have no qualms about saying that at all, even though the series is still ongoing. “Space Brothers” is based on an ongoing manga created by Chūya Koyama and follows the story of two brothers who, after a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with a UFO when they were kids, decide that they want to be astronauts and head off to space. Fast-forward a few years and younger brother Hibito is the only one to realize the dream while older bro Mutta is still landlocked and newly unemployed. Encouraged by his younger brother to keep his dream alive, Mutta applies for and subsequently goes through the astronaut evaluation program at JAXA [The Japanese equivalent of NASA…]. The story follows Mutta as he experiences the ups and downs of the astronaut selection process both physically and emotionally as he tries to play catch-up with his younger brother, who is already a big name in both Japan and the US and is slated to fly to the moon. I’ve heard complaints by some that this story is too long and too drawn out, but in my mind, it’s the length of the story that makes it good and the agonizing yet addictive cliffhangers that keep you coming back for more week after week. Even though this show doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, I feel more than confident in saying that this show will maintain its awesome status for episodes to come.
When you get the production staff that worked on the epic anime “Cowboy Bebop” involved with an anime project, you can count on two things: a good story and good music. “Kids on the Slope” is no exception to this rule. This twelve episode series, set in 1960’s era Japan, tells a great story with some awesome characters and a soundtrack that will make blues fans out of anyone! Where this series fell short for me was the fact that it was…well…short. I mean, I wanted MORE from this one, truth be told. I wanted to see our main characters develop a bit more in front of our eyes as compared to doing it off-camera. It took 26 episodes for the “Bebop” Characters to really develop and mature, why not do the same for these characters? It would’ve made for a much better product, I feel. But, that being said, I still feel that “Kids on the Slope” was a very well done anime and worthy of your time and possibly money should it be released to the masses on DVD/BluRay.