10 Year Retrospective, Month #3: Throwback to March 2012

As we celebrate our tenth anniversary on Beneath the Tangles, we want to take some time each month to look into the past, not only to commemorate our ten years, but also to see where we were and how far we’ve come as a site and collectively as anime fans. For most months this year, we’ll do that by looking back at a particular year and at the month corresponding to that year. For instance, we started this off a couple months ago by looking at January 2010. Today we throw back to March 2012.


We’ll dive into anime a bit, but I want to us to look at what else was happening at this time in 2012. Here are the most popular songs, movies, and series on this day or during this week eight years ago. I don’t know about you, but some of these seem too recent to have been so long ago!

Top Selling Album
Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen [Amazon]

Number One Song
“We Are Young,” fun. [Amazon]

Top Movie
The Hunger Games ($152.5 mil) [Amazon]

Most Watched TV Show
Dancing with the Stars (season 14)


Here’s what was happening in the world eight years ago this month…

  • The GOP was looking for a candidate to challenge Obama, but after Super Tuesday, it wasn’t yet clear who that would be.
  • Tornadoes raged through the southern and midwestern U.S., killing more than two dozen; Tropical Storm Irina killed 65 in Madagascar.
  • Putin was reelected amid chargers of voter fraud, leading to protests and arrests of said protestors.
  • A U.S. soldier killed 16 Afghan civilians, leading to major fallout in U.S. relations with the Karzai government.
  • The Kentucky Wildcats began their run in March Madness toward the NCAA basketball championship.


Back toward the end of 2011 and into 2012, the anime that all the bloggers were talking about was Fate/zero, whose second season aired beginning in April of 2012. It was such a stunning, painful, and beautifully animated series, and a vast improvement on its anime predecessor. But it certainly wasn’t the only critically acclaimed series that year—perhaps even more well-received was the first season of PSYCHO-PASS, which of course completed its third season just several months ago. Space Brothers, Hyouka, Nisemonogatari, Shinsekai Yori (which I still have not finished!) and Kids on the Slope also received considerable attention, and the first season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure launched.

But no series got as many eyes on it as Sword Art Online. It was such an impactful show, and one that has of course become so decisive. Like Attack on Titan would do a year later, SAO invited commentary about whether it was truly a good show or one that was just great at grabbing viewers’ attention. I was glued to it for sure, and halfway into season one, I thought I might be watching my new favorite series. Season one’s conclusion couldn’t match the excellence of the earlier episodes, and then a divisive season two seemed to start the real hate toward the show. But there was no doubt that in 2012, the love for the series far outweighed the negative feelings toward it.

There were of course many other series that aired that year, Some disappointed, some disappeared, and many still having a strong fandom. Did you watch any of these 2012 anime?

  • High School DxD
  • Say I Love You
  • Another
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
  • Little Busters!
  • Kokoro Conect
  • Love, Chuunibyou, and Other Delusions


Where do I begin? 2012 was a weird year for the blog. A weird year for me! Maybe I should start with the state of blogging around that time—the new bloggers that had started around the same time as I did were hitting their stride (well, most of them—a good number had already come and gone). For us, it became the first (and last) opportunity to participate in the Aniblog Tourney, which was awesome for Beneath the Tangles. I think we may have just won one or two rounds, but it certainly spread our name far and wide (and resulted in a lot of hate on social media regarding what we do). I’m glad for those that continued on the ride, because it’s quite apparent I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted the blog to do, besides get lots of hits. I tried some things that I think were good: bringing in new columnists, including Zeroe4 who wrote about mission experiences, and other writers like Hansha, and also trying to engage our readers through asking them questions more directly (Untangled was birthed, for example) and by requesting that other bloggers and journalists write guest posts for us. Meanwhile, there were misses as well, particularly as I tried to draw readers toward older posts through columns called Mileposts and A Year Ago. It was also a strange year because I was hospitalized for the first time in my life, which, as you would guess, led to content.

One thing I realize these days is how diverse our content is. Besides the types of media (anime, manga, light novels) we cover and the ways we cover it (blogging, Instagram, podcast), we also discuss a lot more series. While my co-bloggers brought in a variety of shows and movies to complement my own posts, I generally stuck to the tried and true. I was able to develop multiple articles from shows like Suzuka, Claymore, Evangelion, and Toradora, and 2012 anime like Kokoro Connect, Hyouka, and Kids on the Slope. Some of the connections I reached for in those articles were tenuous, which would be an issue for years, as my passion for the series and desire to share my thoughts were often greater than my ability to write strong articles.

We did have a few strong features, though, including a series called Fruits of the Spirit, where we compared characters like Kamina to the fruits, joining our usual look at a theme during Holy Week. We also focused on Haibane Renmei as the series finally received a DVD release. And though not a feature, our look at disability through Katawa Shoujo, a visual novel that was absolutely consumed by the English-speaking anime community, became one of our most popular posts at all time. It’s timely that I bring it up, as we make efforts to reach out to individuals with disabilities, and especially next month when our Holy Week focus will be on that topic.

One relatively minor thing I noticed is that our article titles were so much more fun back then. I particularly like this one: Trial by Juri: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Believing in God v. Believing in Yourself. I think I need to get back to those more creative titles again…

I hope enjoyed this look into the recent past, both on a bigger, societal level and at Beneath the Tangles. We’ll keep up this throughout 2020. Come join us again next month, as we tackle April 2013!

Featured art by Zki (reprinted w/permission).

4 thoughts on “10 Year Retrospective, Month #3: Throwback to March 2012

  1. And here we go again with me spotting crazy light novels that I’ve read for a significant while years ago, especially during high school. To be exact, they’re SAO and HS DxD, which I’ve never watched an anime episode of, unlike Infinite Stratos and BakaTest. I remember friends at school recommending SAO to me, while wanderings through the same fan translation site I read SAO in had me encountering HS DxD as well, and while I had my enjoyment with them, I never expected the former to be such a hot topic and the latter to even have an anime adaptation. And yes, my history with anime and all that has a lot of perverted indulgences…If anything actually good came out of that, then credit goes to God, hahaha! XD

      1. You’re very welcome! And I think I’ve never bothered to see any probably because mainly, for better or worse, I’m pretty sensitive to public opinion, even when it’s not aimed at me, hahaha! X”D

  2. Good post, it’s funny as I read some of your past ideas/columns/posts that those are things I am looking to try now in 2020 haha. I hope to learn from things that didn’t work, and just try things for my own blog and not be too cautious on how it will go. I think it’s better to just try several things (in blogging anyway) and see what sticks, and don’t worry about what didn’t. It’s more fun that way anyways! Will be checking out some of the older content you mentioned, there’s too many articles for me to read !

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