We're celebrating the end of 2012 with our favorite anime, manga, and video games of the year! In our Best of 2012 Staff Picks, each of our contributors selects two titles and writes a short post for each about why it's awesome.
Controversial Opinion: 2012 was a disappointment for anime releases. In a year full of deflated expectations and too many shows that were almost great, I’d never have put my bets on a spin-off to a mediocre Moé Mahjong show to come out on top as my favorite show. Saki Episode of Side A rides its Cute Girls Doing Things concept for all its got and in the process becomes a legitimately good show with its razor-sharp editing and pacing. Side A is the most exciting depiction of a sedentary activity since Madhouse animated a bunch of old men playing rock-paper-scissors on a boat for nine episodes (please watch Kaiji). The final episodes of the show are basically "The Real Folk Blues" with mahjong. Side A isn’t necessarily flawless or accessible, but it sure tried a bit damn harder than every other show I thought would have been worth watching this year.