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The Top Ten Series – Best of 2012 (Movies/OVAs)

January 5, 2013

Okay part two then! This year I watched about 30 movies/OVAs that got subbed/released this past year – plenty to choose a top 10 from.  I am so relieved I decided to write down everything I watched this year – I sometimes struggle to remember exactly what I saw in the past year, especially when it comes to OVAs and movies.  Anyway, on to the list.

10. Mai Mai Miracle

Mai Mai Miracle was an enjoyable wee film.  Set in post war Japan it explores the stark differences in social class in the period, but is mostly about friendship.  The two wee girls strike up an unlikely friendship fueled by ushakable enthusiasm and rampant imagination.  On the whole it made a fun watch, if ultimately rather forgettable.

Mai Mai Miracle touches on a lots of different themes but fails to commit to any of them fully which is kind of disappointing.  The best thing about the film is the direction and visuals, which were both wonderful.  Not a must see, but enjoyable.

9. Minori Scramble

Minori Scramble is a really fun, childish romp.  Utterly madcap there’s never a dull moment in this OVA, and it is amazingly cute (so much so I was actually freaked out a bit by Minori).  The pacing is frantic, but crammed with laughs and smiles – the entire show is full of mental characters who are a lot of fun to watch. It’s about a little girl who’s half penguin, half android – what’s not to love!?

Cute and colourful, fast paced and fun; I can think of worse ways to spend 40 minutes – worth checking out if you want something to make you smile.

8. Wasurenagumo

This year’s stand-out from the Young Animators Training Project was undoubtedly Wasurenagumo.  An impressive combination of cute and creepy, this short OVA is about a little spider girl and her affect on those that take her in.

For the majority it’s just a cute and fun little caper similar to Minori Scramble, however its the twist at the end that really makes this OVA stick in your mind – just amazingly creepy.  The other instalments in this years Young Animators Training Project were rather forgettable, but Wasurenagumo was definitely worth checking out.

7. Miyori no Mori

Miyori no Mori is your standard forest threatened by developers fare, but it is a nicely presented example.  Miyori carries this film and she is really is interesting to watch, being well developed and well acted.  If it wasn’t for Miyori this movie would be pretty forgettable.

The real star of the show though is the visuals.  The way the forest and it’s inhabitants are presented is just a treat.  It is still a rather run of the mill story, but it is nicely presented, if not a must see.

6. From up on Poppy Hill

Ghibli’s latest offering was a much more grounded piece than the whimsical, magical escapades that Studio Ghibli are famous for.  I quite enjoyed the much more realistic tale, but it wouldn’t be my favourite from Ghibli, feeling over-long and with a few elements that I really didn’t like.

As with all Ghibli movies the visuals are utterly stunning and the entire world is beautifully portrayed.  I also liked the characters and the dialogue was fun.  But it still feels rather ordinary and lacks that extra sparkle I’m used to seeing from the studio.

5. Steins;Gate OVA

This was really an epilogue for the TV series and I just enjoyed having the characters back on my screen again.  No new information was given, it was just closure and gave greater attention to Okabe & Kurisu’s relationship, which was nice.

But mainly it was just seeing the whole cast acting like lunatics in LA that made the OVA fun.  The cast of Steins;Gate are a major part of why the show was so genius, and lets be honest, more Okabe is always brilliant.

4. Berserk: The Golden Age – Egg of the High King

So this year I finally watched the original Berserk series, and then the subs for the first of this set of remake movies came out, so I watched that too.  I really enjoyed Berserk, and this animation upgrade sure made the show look a bit prettier.  However there is a bit of dodgy CGI going on, but that doesn’t really detract much from the movie since Berserk has a great story to tell.

While I would recommend watching the original show, the movie is not at all a bad way to be introduced to the series.

3. UN-GO Inga-ron

The UN-GO OVA really answered a lot of questions left over from the main series.  Being a prequel it addressed the origin story of Inga and how Shinjurou ended up becoming a detective.  I’d probably recommend watching this OVA before watching the final arc of the TV show because the information it contains make the finale make a hell of a lot more sense.

The OVA has the same deft direction and interesting dialogue that made the TV series so good.  Definitely a great way to finish off one of the better shows of the past few years.

2. Code Geass: Nunnally in Wonderland

Yeah I’m  sure a lot of you are rolling your eyes right now, but my god was this fun!  Taking a cast of characters and sticking them into a Alice in Wonderland theme has been done to death, but screw it, this was hilarious.  I giggled my way through the whole episode, and then immediately rewatched it just to laugh all over again.

The OVA isn’t exactly stunningly animated.  Like the majority of Geass specials this is more of a picture slide show, the fun is all in the writing and voice acting.  Really short and pointless, but a lot of fun.

1. Hotarubi no Mori e

I loved this film.  It’s by the same author as Natsume Yuujinchou and a very similar atmosphere permeates the movie – which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.  I really like these kinds of  stories and Hotaru & Gin’s story was really lovely and bittersweet.

The visuals are quite simple employing a soft palate and again rather its all very reminiscent of Natsume.  The writing and voice acting are excellent making you feel really invested in the characters.  It’s just a very simple story well told – I loved it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So that’s my top ten movies & OVAs of 2012.  Honourable mentions to Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha I: Departure, Dantalian no Shoka: Ibarahime OVA and Ai no Kusabe.

Again nothing monumental or overly memorable in this list (unless something came out in the last few months that I’ve missed??).  Here’s hoping 2013 has some gems in store for us!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2013 12:29 pm

    Hotarubi no Mori e was great! Very sad and yeah it does feel a lot like an extra episode of Natsume

    • January 7, 2013 10:35 pm

      Great bittersweet tale – all the best Natsume episodes have the same feels.

  2. January 7, 2013 10:44 am

    That’s a very nice selection of movies and OVAs. I tend to neglect looking for new movies and OVAs, so thanks for all the ideas. The Code Geass movie, Steins; Gate, and From Up on a Poppy Hill seem like the most interesting.

    • January 7, 2013 10:39 pm

      Being an obsessive “WATCH ALL THE THINGS!” (this travelling lark is tough on that aspect of my personality) I like to check out whatever appears on my Tokyo Toshokan feed – means I get to sample lots of OVAs/movies. Remembering them is always problematic come end of year, so now I have a google doc where I write down everything I finish – worked really well last year!

      Also, I’m glad my list obsession is helpful to someone😄

  3. January 13, 2013 3:42 am

    I gotta get going with some of these (and their corresponding shows).

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