Yes, it is that time of year again. I was going to delay this until Wednesday or Friday, or even the weekend at the latest, but I decided to simply do so, since I had everything sorted and delaying was pointless, really. Slacking off is no good.
You probably remember my previous awards list. This time, however, I decided to actually be serious about it. Why give a series that is good and continues to be good a humorous award for the author being good, when another new series could also be good? This time, the awards are to be serious, and intended to convey any sort of weight of being ‘the best in this category.’ Not much weight, since this isn’t a huge blog, but some weight, as I don’t get bribed, nor do I have any incentive to award awards to well known mangaka, games studios, or anime studios. They usually don’t send me review copies, so I get to remain independent and not have to worry about sucking up to them so that I may continue to be on their good side.
These awards work simply: I have a few categories, and will award the award in each category for what was the best in the category. A new game/manga/anime will be weighted more so than one that didn’t come out this year. However, if something from this year was that far from par, something from a previous year that was still good may take precedence.
Let’s get started, then.
The Game of the Year Award 2012 for the best Visual Novel goes to:
Analogue: A Hate Story
Analogue was amazingly good, with an interesting setting, interesting developments, interesting and well-rounded characters. The main plot of the disaster on the Mugunghwa is also nicely underscored by much deeper sub-plots, dealing with all sorts of various topics. Even better, Analogue makes a point about certain topics by basing the setting of the game on the actual Joseon Dynasty in Korea. Analogue is an incredibly good game, and well worth buying.
The Game of the Year Award 2012 for the best H-game goes to:
3D Custom Girl
Basically, TechArts 3D figured out what people want from an H game and made it. This game is actually a pretty good design exercise. It takes what people want from H games and puts all that in one package. Sure, there may be no plot, but it isn’t like most H games have a plot either. Plus, at $96.31 USD with the…accessories, it is much cheaper than a lot of H games tend to be. The game Skyrim has a bit over 10,000 modifications in the Steam Workshop. That is Skyrim, a big name AAA title from a huge game studio that sold the game to huge numbers of people, so it isn’t like 3D Custom Girl can beat that number, being an H game from a small studio, and being sold in fairly small numbers. And it doesn’t, as 3D Custom Girl has only a bit over 5,000 modifications. 3D Custom Girl has literally something for everyone, and that fact, combined with the fact that it works toward new…levels of interactivity and a broad appeal among H Game fans makes it the H Game of the Year for 2012.
And the JRPG/RPG of the Year 2012 Award goes to:
Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale
Recettear is something that is worth getting if you like JRPGs or regular RPGs, or just games that are fun. That is the first thing you get when you play Recettear, is that the game is fun. It maintains a sense of humor about things that happen, as well as just being an overall good game. The combat mechanics work well, and it never gets really boring or grind-tastic like other games tend to do. Plus, the twist of having you be an item shop owner instead of the typical stalwart hero of the land is a nice twist, and brings a nice twist to the game. About half of the time will be adventuring, and the other half will be selling things. In other words, not only do you need to figure out combat stats, but basic economics as well. You can’t just price gouge people, you actually have to barter, figure out what they can pay, and all sorts of other somewhat intuitive details.
The Manga of the Year 2012 Award goes to:
Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou
This one gets here partially because of the weighting in preference to things created recently. That isn’t to say that Monster Musume No iru Nichijou is bad, just that it hasn’t really had a long enough life to fully cement it into good or bad. So far, the series is acceptably good, and the best anyone can do is hope it stays good. I honestly appreciated the metahumor that this series had about tropes common to the harem genre. As I said in my review, it takes the piss out of the harem genre, and pokes subtle and not so subtle fun at overused tropes of the genre. Where literally every protagonist in harem manga and anime has lucky accidents and ends up with his face in various parts of the women he hit, this series inverts that by having the accidents with the protagonist be mostly injurious to him, and rarely of any overall benefit (he is always getting smashed with doors.) I find that Monster Musume No iru Nichijou is a good enough twist on the standard harem story, as well as being interesting enough and good enough so far as a standalone manga that I chose to award it this award. I honestly wish this would get an English release, it is genuinely good and has quite a few people who want it. I’d buy it, especially if it stays as good as it is. After all, I reviewed it, I buy it.
The Manhwa of the Year 2012 Award goes to:
Girls of The Wild’s
Anyways, Girls of The Wild’s is, for lack of a better description, somewhat a blend of coming-of-age, sports, high school life, and romance. The series is well written, and is best described as a page-turner. You have a very well written story about a protagonist who has moved to a new high school and ends up coming out of his shell, making friends, and becoming unafraid to stand up to the people who constantly beat him up, by learning to fight in the Wild’s League tournament the school hosts.
Actually, it is far better than it sounds. The best bit? Girls of The Wild’s is a webcomic. That is right, it is published free on the internet. And yet, it is good enough that you woudl expect an experienced writer did the story and characters. the characters are well-rounded and interesting, and overall, everything would indicate that this was a published series from an experienced author. But the fact that it isn’t makes it an additional level of interesting, and I honestly want to cheer for the people making it. They have done a good job. Again, this is a series that deserves an English release. Yes, I know, webcomic, but it is honestly just that good. And it isn’t likely that the person reading this award speak Korean either, so there may as well be a way to read it and give the deserving artists some money.
And the Manhua of the Year 2012 Award goes to:
School Shock continues to maintain a high level of production, and has taken a bit of a darker and slightly more brutal turn at times, but has remained an overall excellent series that is highly worth reading. Well, that and I didn’t read any other manhua this year, as it can be quite hard to find.
I will also admit that, seeing as how people have managed to get manga, manhua, and manhwa published in the US by themselves, I figured I would do the same with School Shock, as it is that good. yet actually contacting the author is next to impossible-even the place publishing his work doesn’t really know how to get in touch with him. It’s like the man doesn’t even exist.
Either way, School Shock is a good series worth checking out. And honestly, it deserves an English release too.
And, finally, the Anime of the Year 2012 Award goes to:
Bodacious Space Pirates
Honestly, I found this series to be the best anime released this year. The blend of some moe and sci-fi worked quite well, and made a moe series that other people can stand to watch. It has quite a bit of substance, instead of being just a half hour of cute for each episode. Compared to most everything else released this year, Bodacious Space Pirates was a breath of fresh air. It set up an incredibly good base for an epic space opera series. Even better, it showed a modicum of self-restraint and a basic understanding of how things work. In zero gravity, people do simply float around, yet it showed restraint by not having any skirts fly up for panty shots. It had action packed moments hat made you want to continue watching, and as a whole, it was a very good anime.
My nitpicks was the ending. It was building up as something utterly amazing, yet the ending it got was something that a series this good did not deserve. In my review, I said they were building up an epic space opera. This could have been the Star Trek or Doctor Who of anime, a long lasting series that remains fairly fresh, interesting, and yet has an exceptionally long life. I am honestly saddened at the ending itself, and the fact that the potential that this series had was not full used. We almost got to see the Star Trek of anime appear, and yet it was decided to end it.
This is for anything that really didn’t fit into the above. basically, this is an acknowledgement of interesting and good things made that simply don’t fit into one of those categories, or just weren’t eligible.
Neurowear: for the necomimi. they made a pretty fun and very unique product.
Studio Rikka: Calling their work exceedingly good would be an insult to them.
U17: An excellent place for Chinese works, with an amazing selection of works.
Jmanga: They do an exceptionally good job, and I would highly recommend them.