Posted by psgels on 25 December 2012 with categories: Yearly Summaries

Top 19 OSTs
I mentioned this before, but one way in which 2012 stood out, was its huge amount of stunning soundtracks. Seriously, where I could count the number of soundtracks that really caught my attention in 2011 on one hand, here I’ve got nearly 20 shows that delivered beyond expectations in the audio department. Because of that I’m dedicating this part of this year’s summary to the soundtracks.

#19: Uta Koi

I’d love to be able to showcase a sample of each ost this season, but for some series I just can’t find them. Anyway, Uta Koi’s soundtrack was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, who is famous for composing the soundtracks for Chrono Trigger and Xenogears. His soundtrack here is quiet and stays much to the background (hence the lower place here), but he did nail the romantic undertones of this series. There is one particular violin track that seems to be this series’ main theme, that really impressed me.

#18: Mirai Nikki

Mirai Nikki has lots and lots of paranoia. What with the mother of all yandere being one of the main cast members. Such a series deserves a paranoid soundtrack, and Mirai Nikki in the end ended up delivering that. It took me a while to warm up to it, though, because it kept saving its best tracks for its second half so in the first half the soundtrack sounded a bit generic and monotone. After a while though, the combination of all sorts of distorted instruments won me over.

#17: Uchuu Kyoudai

I was debating whether or not to put Uchuu Kyoudai on its list. Sure, it has a fantastic selection of OPs and EDs, but its soundtrack isn’t really that big, and it just keeps playing the same songs over and over again. But then I realized: we’re three seasons in and I’m still not bored of those songs. They are incredibly recognizable, and whatever scene they’re used for, they make it work and they manage to draw out a ton of emotions. It’s simple, yet effective.

#16: Zetman

This is the kind of epic soundtrack you needed to make Zetman work. It contains a ton of fast-paced tracks that are great at drawing out the adrenaline with lots of violins and bombastic sounds and drums. I also love how well produced everything is. That’s not always something in a show’s advantage, but it definitely is here.

#15: Fate/Zero

I’ve said it before: I prefer Yuki Kajiura’s older work above her newer work. These are a bit too overproduced and sound much of the same. Nevertheless, I am a big fan of the use of choirs, and these are used wonderfully here. It’s a very gloomy soundtrack in the same vein as used with Kara no Kyoukai, just heavier.

#14: Natsume Yuujin-Chou

Natsume Yuujin-Chou used the same soundtrack that it has always had this year, but that does not make it any less charming. Here it’s not so much that there is one track that stands out, but the entire OST just fits together wonderfully in creating a dreamy atmosphere. It’s something that this series has been great at from its first season, and yet again it gets the award for the most relaxing soundtrack of the year for me.

#13: Saint Seiya Omega

Heck, we’re not even in the top 10 yet and we’re already getting to the soundtracks that made a big impact on me. That’s how good this year is. At first I didn’t think much behind this soundtrack, but as I started listening, I was surprised at how many stunning tracks it had. Heck, this soundtrack is one of the big reasons why Saint Seiya Omega elevated itself from an average action show to something that just made me keep coming back, even after more than 26 episodes. As this plays, I could just feel the tension rise. This is also one of those soundtracks where it’s impossible to just pick one track that really stands out.

#12: Jormungand

I really love experimental soundtracks. Because of that, I’m completely sold on the Jormungand soundtrack. This really sounds unique, and this one track, “Time to Attack” just exemplifies everything about it. The silly over the top lyrics just scream cool, even though at first I admit that I was wondering what the heck I was litening to here. The rest of the soundtrack also has some really well fitting techno-tracks.

#11: Natsuyuki Rendezvous

I love what the creators did with their sound in this series. Unlike the above mentioned soundtracks, this one is simple, but the way it uses its instruments to build up tension: they really spent time into thinking how to make it work best. I especially fell in love with this particular track using just a bass and a piano using very minimal sounds that gets played during a few heavy scenes. The tension that that managed to create was amazing.

#10: AKB0048

Um… I’m sorry… I hate J-Pop! I really do. But this soundtrack just had me bouncing up and down on my chair. Heck, Shoji Kawamori. This guy knows how to make an animated musical that kicks ass with a number of great and exciting songs. In this show, the performances, they all sounded right and were clearly very very well produced to make them as bombastic as possible. Well, they succeeded for me.

#9: Eureka Seven Ao

For most OSTs, it’s the main tracks that sound the most impressive. That’s how they’re made. Eureka Seven Ao is slightly different, though. The main tracks are nice indeed, but the side tracks that you only hear once or twice were the ones that really sold me, especially in the second half. And especially the ending, that contained many actual songs as the background, and that’s where it really started coming to the foreground. This is the kind of series that just keeps spiraling out of control, and the soundtrack just went along with it perfectly.

#8: Chihayafuru

This soundtrack still astounds me as to how ridiculously solid it is, for 25 episode it managed to keep the same addictive pacing. The creators just took one tune, and based an entire soundtrack around that that feels so huge and complete. The creators really needed something that captured the essence of working towards your dream and not giving up. Well,they succeeded.

#7: Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass has an interesting OST that uses whatever it feels like fits best for its songs. As a result we got to enjoy Beethoven’s 9th symphony a few times where it really fitted with its themes. Apart from that there is the above main track (which only got played once so far), slow tracks, fast tracks, suspenseful ones. It’s very varied overall.

#6: Nazo no Kanojo X

This one really surprised me. I thought that this would be just a normal romance show, and then BAM! Awesome soundtrack. The composer actually went for this theme park theme that feels all like a dream, just as what the romance of this series is supposed to be: weird and too good to be true. The main track in particular is just something I’ll probably listen to a lot before it really gets boring: the use of instruments and sounds really is wonderful.

#5: From the New World

From the New World is based on a novel that is DARK beyond belief. The composers actually nailed that feeling by using children’s choir on one hand, and dark music on the others with a lot of electric guitars. Like, the soundtrack of a full fledged horror series. This combination between horror on one side and innocence on the other. It works really well.

#4: Sakamichi no Apollon

Yoko Kanno is back! And how. If I had to name my favorite composer for 2012, it’d be her (*hint*). But this just is completely amazing how well this show managed to capture the feeling of jazz, alongside various of the classics. The entire show is just full of some of the most amazing pieces, and seeing the characters actually play them using rotoscoped animation makes it even better. I mean, this was by far the series that had the best combination between animation and music of the entire year and you can really see that the musicians here are playing with feeling and freedom, rather than being too constrained (which I notice about a lot of other OSTs).

#3: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Now we’ve gotten to the OSTs that completely blew me away this year. I mean, what the producers did with this series is just absolutely amazing. Not only does the soundtrack of Jojo KICK ASS beyond belief: it also gets just better and better as it goes on. The series consists out of two halves, and the creators actually made two separate OSTs for both halves, composed by two entirely different composers with entirely different feels. Both OSTs would have made it on this list, let alone a combination between these two. There are so many tracks on this soundtrack that just scream manliness, it’s unbelievable.

#2: Zetsuen no Tempest

This is a soundtrack that I still can’t believe how good it is. It is its composer’s, Michiru Oshima, best work most definitely and the complexity of some of the songs on this OST is still unbelievable. Again this is a soundtrack that just blew me away. It has classical influences, yet it’s not. It just keeps going and it also manages to use its tracks at the best possible moments. My musical knowledge is by far not good enough to really explain why this soundtrack is so fantastic and miles above the others. Just… listen to it.

#1: Aquarion Evol

For Aquarion Evol, the creators also combined two OSTs together: the ost of the first Aquarion, and some crazy guy on a piano with ridiculous skills. Really, the creators needed someone with incredible skills for one of the characters in this series, and they actually found one. I mean, this soundtrack is the only one this year that I’ve called a godly soundtrack, and for good reason: some of the tracks here are just insanely good. This show has so many orgasm references, and the soundtrack just fits in completely with it.

Top 61-46 TV-Series
Ah you know what? I’ve seen a bit fewer series this year compared to other years. I’m going to rank all of the shows for this year’s summary. In order to egilibile, I need to have finished watching it, or need to be watching it right now. So if a series is missing: that’s why. Today, I bring you numbers 61 to 45.

#61: Guilty Crown

For the worst show I managed to finish this year… I just have to go to Guilty Crown. There really is no contest here: it just went wrong on so many levels. The story revolved way too much around Shu, who could never really decide what he wanted to be. It kept forcing the most ridiculous plot twists through, and despite all that, it was incredibly boring with incredibly bland characters.

#60: Ozuma

Ozuma just managed to make this list because it was so short: only six episodes long. The whole premise around underground submarines really had me intrigued for a while, but this show never really uses it. Add in some incredibly stupid characters and a background that is nothing but empty exposition, and you’ve got a show that I’m not gonna recommend…

#59: Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is the last show that I reluctantly finished this year. As in, I’d given up hope on it but just finished it for the sake of finishing it and having a good view of what went wrong there. It started off very interesting, but it just jumped the shark in its second half by completely disrespecting its female lead and just making no sense in so many ways.

#58: Medaka Box

Medaka Box’s biggest problem was its timing, especially in its second half. Here it had set out this interesting shounen series, only to air right next to two other shounen jump adaptations that were just in the midst of breaking all boundaries in the genre. The result was that it just paled in comparison. It had some interesting ideas, but spent too much on explaining stuff and too little on actually delivering a good storyline and characters.

#57: K

K was gorgeously animated and fun, but unfortunately also a tad unambitious. At first I thought that this would be a really ambitious series, but in the end the only thing that the characters ended up doing was run around trying to find the truth behind some murder that actually turned out to be pretty simple, all amidst some talk about seven kinds of kings whose significance I still don’t really understand…

#56: Tari Tari

Tari Tari aimed to be a character study, and for most part it worked out. In the end though, it was a bit too bland for its own good, and it rather looked down upon its male characters, who got much less attention than the female cast members. Add that to a rather flimsy ending that just felt lazy, and you have a series that I’m looking back to with rather neutral feelings.

#55: Sankarea

Ah, Sankarea. You had great ideas, and a number of really good episodes there. There were some points that really impressed me, but most of the show just moved too slowly, or just plainly got on my nerves. Especially that damn cousin was annoying, and the resolution itself was one that I found rather flimsy.

#54: Papa no Iukoto ni Kikinasai

Here is the thing with Papa wo Iukoto ni Kikinasai: I remember that it was better than expected and had some genuine moments, but I can hardly remember anything about it now, 9 months later. It was rather… forgettable, even though it did show some interesting things about a guy having to take care of his cousins and having to find ways to cope with it. Usagi Drop it wasn’t, though.

#53: Teekyu

Teekyu was just the people from Studio Mappa wanting to do something completely silly and nonsensical, so they made a show about a tennis club that tried to be as random as possible. Just something to shut my brain off to and enjoy the energy and weird camera angles.

#52: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon in the end never really managed to convince me with its combination of really creative powers, over the top action and huge setting. In the end, none of the characters caught my attention, and they all never really went beyond their one-dimensional caricatures. Even though there was so much interesting stuff going on in the background, it made the show a bit of a pain to sit through at times. Nevertheless though, I do appreciate this show for trying to be as creative as possible.

#51: Little Busters

Little Busters is a show that still needs to redeem itself, but it’s right now harmless enough. It has some incredibly annoying characters, but it still is enjoyable enough to watch and it’s got some good characterization amongst its main cast that helps a lot. The male characters in particular are quite well done. The female characters… yeah.

#50: Thermae Romae

I originally wanted to list this series a bit lower on this ranking due to its incredibly crappy animation, but in the end I just had to acknowledge: this show was really entertaining with just its three episodes about roman bathing. It’s unique, and I love the risk that Noitamina took in order to air it. Just next time, let it get animated by an actual animation studio, rather than DLE.

#49: Ano Natsu de Matteru

This series was solid romance. Nothing more, nothing less. It never really gets really high, but it wasn’t pointless either. It’s got some good climaxes, believable acting and an interesting overall theme of making a movie, which are balanced out by a few rather annoying and pointless episodes and contrived twists.

#48: Nisemonogatari

The past winter was definitely the season that made me the most angry and pissed off. There are three series to thank for that: Guilty Crown, Persona 4 (which got so bad that I had to drop it), and Nisemonogatari. DEAR GOD, talk about wasted potential. The animation is stunning. It just oozes style. It has so many interesting ideas. So why on earth did it take so incredibly long to get somewhere? There were so many points at which this show just wasted ages on pointless fanservice. One episode okay, but this show just had to do this for every single girl in the cast or something. It took way too long to get from A to B because of that. Aargh, I really hope that the next Monogatari series are a bit better balanced so that they can really show off their creativity like with the toothbrush scene.

#47: Black Rock Shooter

You know? I think that in the end, I did like Black Rock Shooter. It had some… really weird design decisions and the whole set of characters in the black rock shooter world were just there to fight, but the action was epic and really well done, and the plot, while really weird actually did lead to a very nice conclusion in the end. Despite some over the top characters who were a bit too much like psychopaths, I enjoyed the ride. Also, the show had the guts to just be 8 episodes instead of being dragged out. More shows need to do that.

#46: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Perhaps not the funniest comedy of the year, but it did have moments that really made me laugh with its combination between weird role play and weird reversal of high school stereotypes. There were enough scenes at which it just wasn’t funny, but the funny scenes made up for it. Tomokaze Sugita as a voice actor especially was on fire in this show.

16 Responses

  1. Airies says:

    All in my opinion
    (don’t rage people who think that I state everything as fact, its not okay!)

    Okay I just listen to that zetsuen track and I must say, I hated it! really did not like that one sorry. Chihayafuru I absolutly agree on but should of be placed higher. good that Nazo no kanojo X, ShinSekai Yori, sakamichi no apollon and akb0048 are on this list because they all have fantastic tracks. Rinne no lagrange should be on there and also ano natsu de matteru.

    but your actual list of anime I pretty much agree on except for some. ano natsu de matteru which I actually thought was an awesome show so thats interesting that it scored low here. Nisemonogatari was far better than black rock shooter, which was a very horrible show. medaka box is better than K and Sankarea is better than teekyu. But other than that its pretty agreeable.

    • aoi says:

      That’s because the truly amazing soundtracks of Zetsuen are nowhere to be found on youtube :P

      Just watch the first episode, and you’ll hear the theme playing somewhere.

    • boa_sting says:

      Likewise I disagree about Ano Natsu not delivering any highs. *general spoilers below*

      The main couple was pretty lame once hooked up, the alien subplot didn’t really fit, the action scenes and alien healing didn’t really fit either, the movie-making backstory didn’t particularly do much, the beach episode was a beach episode, and so on, sure.

      Kanna and Tetsuro in particular had some decent character development, and I thought the directing was pretty good at times. As just one example, notice that in Episode 1, Tetsuro’s talking to Kanna, trying to prod her towards Kaito and give her a chance to score. In Episode 12, with pretty much the same setting and backdrop, Tetsuro pretty much starts to say the same thing–but this time, Kanna (knowing what’s going on, having been hurt but having moved on, etc.) cuts him off and changes the subject.

      I also don’t particularly mind the slow pace and excessive dialogue in Nisemonogatari, though I’m not really a fan. I’d also put that a bit higher. Some of the interesting ideas and animation really put it far ahead of a lot of shows.

      Maybe my tolerance for inconsistency and poor parts of shows is higher than the norm. Dunno.

    • anona says:

      I won’t listen to zetsuen’s ost separately since it’s not to my liking. but it really fits and really enhances the scenes in zetsuen so I consider it to be very good.

  2. info600 says:

    Eventhough I agree to most of your reasonings, I wish you would give the characters in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon another chance…

    (or did I misinterpret something there?)

  3. kram says:

    Tonari Kaibutsukun OST was actually pretty good too.

  4. imredjimmy says:

    I have to agree almost completly with your choices. Aquarion Evol’s OST is without any doubt one of the best of the year. I still get chills when I listen to Aquaria Mau Sora.

    I don’t seem to see anything wrong with your top anime for now. I’m curious to know if Uchyuu Kyoudai will be #1. That would be your kind of choice.

  5. nasary says:

    You´ve liked this zetsuen no tempest OST because this is BEETHOVEN!!!!! And the beethoven _tempest_ sonata 3rd movement (yes this is not a coincidence!!!)… http://youtu.be/LfjD-DQ5REk How I love when they use classical music and revisited them…. regards!!! I just love your blog!!!!

    • boa_sting says:

      Somehow I liked this reference a lot more than From the New World’s usage of Goin’ Home as the signal for kids to go home for the day. (Goin’ Home is heavily based on the Largo theme from Dvorak’s 9th Symphony aka New World Symphony).

  6. Komosha says:

    Hmm. I mostly agree, but I am immensely surprised to find Niseimonogatari so low. I found it very enjoyable, in particular the excellent dialogue and random fun.

    • KaZuHiRo says:

      psgels had high expectations with the -gatari series. The expectations were not met apparently.

      • FreshSushi says:

        Personally I thought that Nisemonogatari was one of the best shows this year (sadly it wasn’t as good as its predecessor). I guess I just have different views on entertainment than psgels.

  7. Vonter says:

    The AKB0048 medley sounds like something I’ll hear in Super Smash Bros.

  8. Entrav says:

    Interesting pick for the number 1 OST. Haven’t really paid attention to Aquarion Evol.

  9. reverse says:

    good work on compiling soundtrack, Nazo no Kanojo X sounded interesting

    • reverse says:

      so i assuming ranking of the soundtrack based on how well sounded or does it fit with the situation, what are the priority

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 09:06 AM)
    @SuoerMario: oh you’re Aussie man? Cool. One of my booth girls is from Sydney, and has just moved to SF about a year ago. She said it was a fairly easy process- well, at least in contrast to getting here from the midddle east. So many people out at these events have thrown everything into the wind and taken the plunge, it’s nearly mad. One guy wanted to hitchhike back to Hague in Netherlands. Not sure if he was aware of the Atlantic ocean.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 09:01 AM)
    I’ve seen most of the good acts on the roaster, but would like to catch Robyn, Eagles of Death Metal, The London Souls and Cold War Kids. Other things like Kanye and Deathcap for Cutie put me off tho. I also like to camp at my festivals, that’s a big part of the fun, and the wild tribal community that forms within the campgrounds.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 08:56 AM)
    @K-off: yeah I’ve heard good things about TGB. This year’s line-up ain’t bad and pretty eclectic, which I do enjoy, bit it’s also in just a few days, sold out, and all the way in NYC- unlike you I don’t hop coasts as much.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 05:23 AM)
    Qualidea Code is a collaboration of 3 authors. I look forward to Qualidea Code because it has Watari Wataru involved. He wrote Oregairu, and it was very well written. I’m not entirely sure how much influence Watari will have, but he gives this show some potential. The other 2 Authors involved don’t particularly seem to be anything special, but who knows.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 03:34 AM)
    Ah the moment only Prisma Illya Drei, 91Days and Berserk catch my attention. Everything else is pretty Meh.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jun 1. 2016 03:32 AM)
    @K-Off, That’s rather disappointing. Playing it now and they really do paint it black and white. Nohr are assholes, Hoshido are super amazing fun people. It’s all rather shallow.
    Considering what my friend told of Zestia it doesn’t give me much hope for the plot and I am not keen on Tales games to begin with.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 10:41 PM)
    You mean you don’t look forward to ufotable’s Zestiria X? It’s obviously going to be as good as the game…
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 10:29 PM)
    @Aidan There were only 2-3 original locations for each, the rest are shared by both games.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 06:02 PM)
    I am beginning to do a write up of next season’s preview and currently doing the research. So far next season isn’t looking good with not many interesting titles.
    When I get something decent made up I will send it out to all you guys to make comments or add your two cents.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 05:41 PM)
    Hmm..I would have thought the missions would be different at least.

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