In 2012, I managed to finish or otherwise catch a significant part of over 40 anime series. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch much of the Winter or Spring seasons, and Fall season was just too filled with stuff for me to follow all of it. Still, take a look at my favorite shows of 2012, both in-season and off-season.

Top 11 Shows Aired in 2012 (That I Watched)

11. Moyashimon Returns
The Moyashimon series as a whole ranks much higher, but the second season is admittedly not as strong as the first season. However, it still had great moments of fun times with those wacky microbes and the equally wacky cast of characters, including newcomer Marie.

10. Yuru Yuri(insert two musical eighth notes)
On the other hand, the second season of this show was a marked improvement over the first, which I also watched this year. Both seasons provide great comedy with an amusing cast, but the second season is notable in giving the protagonist, Akari Akaza, proper screentime, instead of shifting her out-of-focus as some kind of joke. More screentime for some of my favorite side characters, as well as the debut of Akane, is another plus for this season over the first. Overall, it is a very enjoyable series, if not necessarily my first pick for a slice-of-life comedy with yuri undertones.

9. My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)
A classic shoujo series with some interesting twists. The female lead, Shizuku "Mitty" Mizutani, has her share of feelings to deal with, but unlike most shoujo leads, she doesn't let those feelings derail her and keeps her focus on her own goals. At the same time, she is deeply flawed, but in ways that are quite relatable. There are also some great friendship themes provided throughout, supported by a great supporting character in Asako Natsume. The main problem with this show? It is almost painfully obviously just a promo for the manga; the show runs out of episodes before anything really gets resolved. A second season is unlikely, but hey, stranger things have happened... but in the meantime, I guess I'm reading the manga.

8. Tari Tari
This little anime original can be counted as one of my favorite types of shows: music shows. And while choral music isn't up there among my musical favorites, the show provides good enough entries here that I do have great appreciation for that aspect. More than that, though, is the solid writing done for a very nice core cast of five, three girls and two guys, that shows that anime can work really well even without skewing the gender balance to one side.

7. Hyouka
It shouldn't be surprising that this excellent series appeared on my list, considering what I said in the entry before; it is yet another show carried by great writing for a great core cast of characters, this time two each of guys and girls. The mystery aspect is also interesting, in that the mysteries themselves are really pretty ordinary, and are used more as a framework for character development. Like Monster, though, this show is painfully incomplete, and one can only hope that, eventually, the original novels will finish and KyoAni will animate the full story.

6. Kokoro Connect
Oh look, another show with a great core cast of mixed genders! Though, admittedly, this show's writing was a lot... riskier. The show really tries to go deep into each characters' psyche and really try to make the most out of each arc's "gimmick" to develop the core characters, and unfortunately in doing so they may have written themselves into a couple of corners, particularly with the arc endings. However, while the show definitely has its shortcomings, its successes are so great that they cannot be ignored: this show portrays a real, true group of friends that get angry with each other and yet still have to rely on each other, and the character development overall is still one of the best I've seen this season. Sometimes, at least for me, it's better to take those risks, as the successes stick out more than the failures. Note that, as of my writing this, I have yet to see the final Michi Random arc, though I'm definitely looking forward to that.

5. Listen to me, girls. I am your father!
The show that seemed like it'd be your typical fanservice romp in the first episode, but then on the second completely changes its tune to become a heartwarming story about family. Which, incidentally, is one of my favorite types of stories. There's a lot that this show just does so well: it has a great cast of characters, great character development, great emotional moments, and a very satisfying ending even considering that there's still a ton more story left in the original light novels. If you haven't seen this show, or you dropped it after one episode, I highly recommend you go back and watch a few more, because it really is one of this year's hidden gems.

4. Kids on the Slope
Another music show, and another show that excels in great characters that are flawed yet relatable. The friendship between male leads Kaoru and Sentarou is very memorable, for sure. Oh, and that music! This show has gotten me re-interested in jazz music, and when a show can do something like that, it's definitely a great show. Episode 7 in particular has to be one of my all-time favorite episodes of anime ever, especially outside of series finales.

3. Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions
The other KyoAni show, Chuunibyou is a masterpiece crafted out of a careful blend of hilarious comedy and compelling drama. Those two elements don't often mix well together, but Kyoto Animation is one of the few who can do it, and the result is amazing. The first half is among the most hilarious things to come out this year, while the second half provides a look at just what drives this strange "chuunibyou" phenomenon, while providing, IMO, the year's best romance. Yep, Kyoto Animation knocks one out of the park again.

2. Hidamari Sketch (x Honeycomb)
Over the latter part of this year, I watched a total of 58 episodes of Hidamari Sketch--that's all four seasons and all the specials currently out. The fourth season, Honeycomb, is the one that aired this year, and it is simply amazing, but really, the whole show is amazing. Having the main characters all be in the same apartment complex creates a sense of family even deeper than many top-notch slice-of-life shows already have, and this is Hidamari's great strength. (Not that those outside the circle are ignored; the extra love given to Natsume this fourth season just makes the whole show even better.) This is definitely the feel-good series of the year, and Hidamari Sketch has cemented itself in my Top 10 Anime as the shining example of slice-of-life. Here's looking forward to Season 5!

1. Humanity Has Declined
Yes, this show is my favorite of 2012's new offerings. Shows like this which display a sense of complete insanity are personal favorites of mine, but this show does far more than just that: it does so in a crafty, creative way that pokes fun at various aspects of modern society. In the process, it invokes a very strange charm through a cast of wacky fairies that provides great laughs and moments of simultaneous absurdity and brilliance. All this is capped off by the presence of Mediator, one of my favorite characters of anime, period. With her knowledge of the world and more than enough snark and cynicism, and backed by one of the strongest seiyuu performances out there, Mediator is the best protagonist to observe the decline of humanity and the world's takeover by those crazy little fairies.