Top 20 Anime of 2013

the senpai we all need, the senpai we all deserveAfter a barrage of really good series last year, 2013 stepped things back a little to take a breather, slowly working its way up from an empty winter season to a promising-but-disappointing spring to an acceptable summer before finally pouring its heart and soul into the fall. Looking at the makeup of my list for this year, it indeed seems to be the case that Fall 2012 was the best season of 2013. That says more about how amazing last fall was than anything else, though. While this fall didn’t have any anime to match the highest tier of last year’s shows, it outstripped fall 2012 in terms of the sheer number of interesting series and served as a great showcase for several up-and-coming creators, and the summer – normally a pretty dead season – had an uncharacteristically large variety of enjoyable (if flawed) shows.

This list – like my list for 2012 – will specifically be looking at the portion of each series that actually came out in 2013. Continuing series from fall 2012 will have primarily their second halves taken into account, and long-running shows will only have this year’s worth of material accounted for.

Some notable series absent from this list include: Blast of Tempest, GJ-bu, Monogatari 2nd Season, and Majestic Prince – which I dropped early on but want to give another chance, Yamato 2199 – which I put on-hold and need to get back to, and Hajime no Ippo Season 3 – which I plan to watch once I’ve seen the first two seasons.

Also, honorable mentions go to Yama no Susume, Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman, Danganronpa, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta, and Attack on Titan.

20. Psycho Pass

aw yisssThe second half of Psycho Pass saw it trying to be smarter than it actually was, leading to some silliness like HYPER OATS and Uncle Gen’s Book Club. But once I realized that I couldn’t take the show as seriously as I once had, the quickly vanishing poor-man’s-Ghost-in-the-Shell appeal resurfaced in the form of kinda-dumb-but-still-awesome action-movie appeal, with some cool fight scenes and dramatic moments to spice things up. The best part of the show, for me, though, was the very strong character growth from Akane – it was a real treat to watch her grow from the naive, directionless rookie cop into a confident, self-assured woman who don’t take crap from nobody, while still maintaining the youthful idealism that was such an important part of who she was. Her character arc really helped to offset a lot of the show’s weaker points. I’m kind of iffy on the idea of watching a second season, but there was certainly enough to like this time around. Plus I got some delicious cookies out of the deal.

19. Samurai Flamenco

samurai staplerThe first 6.95 episodes of Samurai Flamenco were a character-driven dream, and a real contender for a top-ten slot this year (there’s admittedly not much that could penetrate that top five). The characters were relatable, their interactions subtle and meaningful, the commentary on superheroes and culture was clever, and the gags were pretty consistently funny. And then there’s the Guillotine Gorilla in the room. It’s at this point that it became clear that at its core, Flamenco is truly a love letter to various tokusatsu tropes, and while I can appreciate them on a sort of meta-level, from this point on I imagine that enjoyment of the show depends heavily on your familiarity with/tolerance of toku. While this has been a barrier for me as the series has gone on, it still manages to bring the laughs when it wants to, and the first seven episodes alone warrant an inclusion on this list, because they are much more universal and absolutely fantastic.

18. Space Brothers

they're bros... in the seaThis year of Space Bros was much more of a mixed bag than the last. We had a lot of great arcs like Hibito’s haunting moon mission, the CanSat arc with Pico (which spoke a lot to me as an engineer), flight training with the crazy DeNeil Young, and Mutta’s undersea training with Kenji (which brought back a lot of what made the astronaut exam arc so excellent) – the moon and undersea arcs especially were some of the series’ best output to date. Along with the show’s move to a primetime slot however, came a lot of extended recap and unfunny cartoon animals that substantially cut down the effective runtime of each episode, exacerbating the already slow pacing. What content there was in that runtime has been good, however, and Space Bros has been a nice, calm break from all the busier things every week. I look forward to following it into the next year, which has been off to a strong start so far.

17. Gatchaman Crowds

gat-cha maaaaaaaaaanGatchaman sees Kenji Nakamura teaming up once again with scriptwriter Toshiya Oono of Tsuritama, and the results are fairly comparable – a very bright, colorful series of endearingly obnoxious characters on a whimsical but purposeful adventure to save the world. Instead of fishing, though, the theme this time is superheroes. It’s an exploration of the necessity of superheroes and the dangers and benefits of social media – a decidedly modern tale – and while it had a bit more ambition than it was able to consistently handle, it’s always clearly having a lot of fun doing so, looking and sounding good in the process. Main character Hajime is both the show’s biggest strength and weakness, so if her X-Treme Genki personality doesn’t scare you away, you’re probably in for a good time.

16. Eccentric Family

uchouten has some of the most amazing backgroundsThe Eccentric Family is a bit difficult to pin down thematically, but in a word, it’s a show about family (makes sense, given the title). Told through a guise of Japanese folklore and a sprinkle of bizarre eccentricities (this show is exactly what it says on the tin, folks), it’s very metaphorical and very character-driven, and while there’s very little “plot” to speak of, there’s a good deal to think about in each episode. The rookie team on this (well, they’re veteran animators but this is their first time at the helm of a show) did an excellent job and provided a refreshing break from the frustrating melodrama of PA Works’ typical fare, while keeping the studio’s inimitably beautiful background art firmly in place.

15. It’s Not My Fault I’m Not Popular (WataMote)

all that poplan-chan really neededPoplan-chan (as I’ve lovingly taken to calling it, by way of a convoluted perversion of the abbreviated title translation, an internet meme from Working!, and a character from Legend of the Galactic Heroes, with an honorific tacked on for good measure) is cringe humor epitomized. The voice acting and source material are the big strong links in this series – it all centers around being able to feel for the main character. All of Poplan’s problems (I’ve called her this for so long I don’t even remember her real name) are real problems that she’s desperately trying to sort out but are also entirely self-inflicted, and the show is an exercise in laughing through the pain as you watch her dig herself deeper and deeper into the delusional mindset from which these problems stem in a fruitless attempt to insulate herself from the reality of both her loneliness and the fact that it is all her own doing. Poplan-chan’s vicious cycle of self-destruction is the series’ only real joke, and while it does get repetitive, it’s also deeply relatable – this is such a personal work that I found it incredibly hard not to put myself in her shoes and remember times that I had been in the same pathetic boat. It’s very easy to attach yourself to Poplan-chan and hope that she can find some way out of mound of crap that the show cruelly piles higher and higher upon her as each episode wears on, and it makes the one beautiful cathartic moment at the end of the series all the sweeter.

14. Rozen Maiden Season 3

shinku slappedAfter the huge surprise of Sankarea last year, I was quite intrigued to see how director Mamoru Hatakeyama handled this new adaptation of Rozen Maiden. While not as memorable as Sankarea was for me, what we got was a massive step up from the Rozen Maiden that I remember. The focus on adult Jun here was wonderful – I’ve always found him more interesting than all the fantasy doll nonsense and Hatakeyama (along with lead writer Tomomi Mochizuki) bring out this part of the story extremely well. Not to mention that, like Sankarea, this series has some beautiful visual direction. This director is going places, artistically if not financially – I hope that he can continue to find work despite the commercial flop here because whatever he touches seems to turn to gold.

13. Kyousougiga

kyousougorgeousKyousougiga was, like Eccentric Family, very centered around the idea of family. It was big and flashy and colorful and had saving the world and giant robots and space and multiple dimensions and what have you, but all that was just eye-candy for a touching family reunion (and BOY is this show full of eye candy – this is one of the most beautiful anime I’ve seen in a long time). I’m still not completely sure what all happened in the series, but this family-reunion centerpiece gave Kyousougiga the firm grounding it needed even as everything around it swirled in chaos. While I did have some trouble digesting it, this show is near the top of a large number of anibloggers’ 2013 lists, and it’s there for a good reason – I imagine that going back for a rewatch will only increase my love for this show.

12. Kuroko’s Basketball Season 2

kuroko is the true kiseki hereDespite the higher ranking, I felt like this season of Kurobas has been a bit of a step down from last year so far. It’s started a descent into more typical shounen territory that has me worried, and despite the large success of season 1, there’s still very little animation to be seen (outside of the jaw-dropping OP). That said, this is still Kurobas, with all of the wacky hijinks and ridiculous basketball that come with it. Kuroko is still a great main character, we’re getting to meet more of the Generation of Miracles (as well as a secondary set of “uncrowned kings”) and potentially some more backstory that I’d be interested to learn. I’m hoping that once the winter tournament gets going that the show will pick up its stride again – the first season didn’t really start to shine until its second half, either.

11. Yowamushi Pedal

the after-credit sequences are the best part of yowapedalThis fall, to me, was characterized by two things: up-and-coming creators with fresh and unique styles (Kyousougiga, Yozakura, Meganebu, Kill la Kill, etc), and a rush of quality sports anime. With its lovable, upbeat characters, d’aww-inspiring after-credit sequences, and unique choice of sport, Yowapedal carves out a niche for itself among the rest of the season’s sports offerings. The characters’ friendships and rivalries are the driving (or pedaling) force behind the series, and these are being built up so well that the slow pacing and wonky CG have done little to get in the way of what makes the show so much fun. Onoda is a great little-engine-that-could that has believably-built raw talent, and the support and competition his teammates offer him is the tool that will help bring out the best both in him and in the show.

10. Silver Spoon

that'll do, pigSilver Spoon is quite a departure from mangaka Hiromu Arakawa’s shounen epic Fullmetal Alchemist, but her background as a farm girl makes it feel incredibly natural. She’s clearly writing about topics she’s very knowledgeable about and experiences that hold great sentimental value to her, making Silver Spoon a very frank story that gives a nostalgic, familiar feeling to the struggles and joys of farm life, which I’m fairly sure most of us are neither nostalgic for nor familiar with. As Hachiken slowly finds a direction for himself, learning the values of labor, the values of love, the value of life, it’s easy to see the passion that Arakawa has for this subject, and it’s hard not to get caught up in it.

9. Meganebu

feel the power of meganeI am thoroughly flabbergasted at how much I ended up loving Meganebu. It’s such a stupid idea. It’s such clear fujoshibait. The characters are such one-note archetypes. There doesn’t seem to be any possible room for merit here at all. But there is. It’s astounding. Once it gets going after a somewhat unwieldy start, Meganebu is consistently funny – it knows how dumb it is, and uses it to its advantage. It plays off the ridiculousness of the glasses theme for laughs and for visual creativity. For a show based on a drama CD, Meganebu has a terrific sense of aesthetics – Soubi Yamamoto knows what she’s doing, and the once-maligned Studio DEEN has been hitting it out of the park recently with picking up bright new talent like her and Hatakeyama. The comedy, when not derived from the inherent outlandishness of the premise, is reminiscent of Milky Holmes in the way it lovingly punishes its characters (or rather, has them punish themselves) for being a bunch of endearingly useless good-for-nothings. I never thought a show would get me excitedly talking about the Power of Glasses or make me want to run into the horizon shouting “MEEEEEGANE,” but, well, here we are.

8. Kill la Kill

one more makofaceKill la Kill is Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima’s continued love letter to all things retro-awesome. After taking on the super robot genre with Gurren Lagann, Killer Kill sees them tackling the old-school shounen action formula. With school tournaments and The Four Great Generals and the ridiculous outfits and powerups and the deceptively slow pacing and Imaishi’s wacky Go Nagai-inspired sense of humor and fanservice, the feel of the show is decidedly vintage, with the experienced eye for flowing and impactful action choreography that only Trigger can provide. Full of yelling and wackiness and energy and over-the-top showiness, there’s so much cool stuff happening in every episode that the plot has barely had time to move forward. Oh, and Mako is the most bestest.

7. Ace of the Diamond

so this is high school baseballOf all the sports series I enjoyed this fall, Ace of the Diamond stands proudly atop the heap. While Production IG and Madhouse were busy working on sequels for their current ongoing big sports franchises (Kuroko and Ippo), some portion of each studio must’ve gotten jealous and decided to join forces to make their own sports anime. The results were splendid. Its knowledge of baseball is as encyclopedic as Yowapedal’s is of cycling, and it doesn’t resort to Shounen Jump tricks to make things happen – everything develops naturally and believably (at least to my limited understanding of the finer points of the sport). While it doesn’t move quickly, it never feels like it’s dragging its feet, and the characters all have a lot more to them than meets the eye. A definite high point of the entirety of the fall season, episode 13 was a powerful release of all the emotions and tensions that had been running through the show, and would’ve easily nabbed a last-minute spot on my 12 Days of Anime if I hadn’t fallen four episodes behind while writing the posts. Of the year’s sports anime, it is Ace which takes its sport the most seriously, and Ace that has best portrayed the story it wants to tell.

6. INFERNO COP

super inferno cop landINFERNO COP is pretty much the anime equivalent of a bunch of grown men playing with action figures: Studio Trigger sitting on the floor in their basement, smashing toys together and making funny mouth noises for sound effects while enthusiastically making up a nonsense stream-of-consciousness story using their outdoor voices. It’s an irreverent, juvenile parody in exactly the style I’d expected and hoped for from the studio’s debut work, with imagination oozing from every pore. The paper-cutout-style lack of animation comes off as endearing as it does cheap, strongly invoking the smashing-action-figures-together imagery described above. It’s one of the funniest anime I’ve seen for a while in all respects – many of the best comedy moments in Kill la Kill are those that channel INFERNO COP. At about four minutes an episode, it goes on just long enough to be substantial, just long enough to be funny, but not long enough to get old. It all adds up to INFERNO COP being every bit as fun to watch as I’m sure it was to make.

5. Flowers of Evil

the flowers of evilFlowers of Evil was my favorite new anime to come out of 2013, and if the ending hadn’t choked like it did, it would’ve been up there in the overall top 3. This is the type of anime I’d like to see more of – it’s a series that took a bunch of big risks that in my opinion succeeded handily (from an artistic perspective – financially, well, there’s a reason this is the type of anime we don’t see more of). From the unconventional and offputting animation style to the agonizingly slow pace to the reworking of the manga’s overall mood, almost every controversial decision worked in the show’s favor, lending it a voice both in line from the manga yet entirely the adaptation’s own. Drenched in atmosphere, so familiar yet so alien, Flowers of Evil uses the medium in ways that go above and beyond the stagnant status quo of anime’s self-imposed limitations, and establishes itself as the type of series that made me start watching anime in the first place.

4. Girls und Panzer

miho nishizumi - olympic long jumperWe only got two episodes of Girls und Panzer in 2013, but they were two absolutely glorious episodes that brought the series to the spectacular conclusion that it deserved. This was everything that makes Girls und Panzer great, taken to the fullest extent it could be taken. There’s a movie due out sometime this next year (I think), and if they can top this, I’d really love to see how.

3. Hunter x Hunter

broctopusAfter a year and a half, Hunter x Hunter has finally reached new ground. The Chimera Ant arc is upon us at last, and it has not disappointed in the least. The Greed Island arc was a short-but-sweet training arc that, from what I hear, greatly outstrips the equivalent section of the original series, and I’d believe it. The Chimera Ant arc, all through 2013, has been almost entirely buildup – establishing characters, setting the scene, putting all the pieces in place, but even the buildup packs as much punch as the big payoff of any comparable series as Hunters shows again and again that everything is connected, everything is important, everything is there for a reason. Every fight has meaning. Every character, no matter how minor, no matter how inhuman, is a full human being with relevance to the story – nobody’s there just to fill an archetype, and no one can be easily placed inside a single mold. The heroes are out of their minds in the best way possible, and the villains are so likable and well-developed they could just as easily be the heroes were they in any other show. It’s utterly astounding how Hunters has managed to maintain so high a level of consistent quality without slipping up for over two years now, and it’s only gotten better as it’s gone on – the show’s biggest flaw at this point is that they haven’t changed the opening song in over a hundred episodes. And it’s not just good in the sense that it’s not bad – Hunter x Hunter is consistently genuinely emotionally stirring, with animation quality ranging from “good” to “awesome”, a sound designer that – despite struggling at first – seems to have found his way last year and is now nailing it every time it counts, a strong respect for both the audience and the characters, and a true sense of adventure and the thrill of the journey. There’s no filler, there’s no nonsense, there’s just Hunters.

2. From the New World

our lord and saviorThe second half of From the New World is nothing short of amazing. Not only is it outstanding in its own right, but it incredibly manages to redeem a first half that I had enjoyed but thought too flawed to save. It doesn’t just make the first half worth it, it makes the first half better. The fantasy, the politics, and especially the horror rear their head here, striving for and achieving an ambition that few series even dream of attempting. All the tiny details of the world converge to form a whole that thoroughly exceeds the sum of its parts, and when your parts are as good as the horror episode with the Fiend or Squealer’s triumphant stand, that says a lot. Top that off with an eerie art style and one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in an anime and you’ve got something really special. There is nothing out there like this, and it is nothing short of miraculous that it was even made at all. I hope the lack of commercial success for shows like this and Flowers of Evil doesn’t discourage studios from making more anime this good, this risky, this ambitious. Shinsekai is a prime example of anime’s power as a medium, and truly pulled itself together into something absolutely stellar.

1. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

AWAKEN, MY MASTERSJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is once again my favorite anime of the year. I think I’ve made it quite clear why.

About BokuSatchii

Yoroshiku ne!
This entry was posted in Ace of the Diamond, Eccentric Family, Flowers of Evil, From the New World, Gatchaman Crowds, Girls und Panzer, Hunter x Hunter, INFERNO COP, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Kill la Kill, Kuroko's Basketball, Kyousougiga, Meganebu, Psycho Pass, Rozen Maiden, Samurai Flamenco, Silver Spoon, Space Bros, WataMote, Year Review, Yowamushi Pedal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Top 20 Anime of 2013

  1. Alex says:

    >Opens the post with the noble Chris-sempai.
    I approve 100%.

    I’ve completed most of your top 10 and seen at least some of the others. Except Meganbu. Might give that a watch sometime!

    • BokuSatchii says:

      Chris-senpai is best senpai.

      Here’s a more detailed post I did on Meganebu if you’re interested in checking it out: https://satchiikoma.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/all-you-neeed-is-m-e-g-a-n-e/
      The first few episodes make the show seem pretty droppable at first glance – it takes a little while to develop the mindset you need to make everything click. That mindset, of course, being a near-religious passion for glasses and all that they stand for. It’s the kind of show you’re going to hate if you try to take it at all seriously, but operates on a bizarre logic that’s a lot of fun if you let yourself get swept up in it.

  2. gedata says:

    I see nothing wrong with a top 3 that consists of Hunter x Hunter, From the New World, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Top class tastes my good sir.

    • BokuSatchii says:

      And the same to you. Looking forward so much to seeing Hunters air alongside JoJo again, especially in its current state where it is just beating the pants off everything else this season (even Space Dandy can’t top it).

  3. I’m just glad someone put Rozen Maiden 2013 on this list, even if it’s outside the Top 10. That and your top three (though I have yet to finally sit down and start watching From The New World) makes up for the fact that Ace of Diamond is over Kill la Kill. Just everrr so slightly!

    • BokuSatchii says:

      I’m really bummed that Rozen Maiden wasn’t more popular. I loved the focus on grown-up Jun (that said, I’m a huge sucker for unfulfilled adult characters searching for fulfillment in life) and the aesthetics of the series were fantastic – there was such great atmosphere and this director is a guy who KNOWS what he’s doing. I’ve long fallen out of love with the Rozen Maiden I remember, but I really would’ve liked to see more of this. As for it being outside the top 10, well… it was a good show, but not something that I’ll truly look back and remember 2013 for giving us. That said, it was still my number-two summer series after Silver Spoon, which only just squeaked into the tenth slot, and in fact, Rozen Maiden would have taken that spot had I not included ongoing 2011/2012 shows.

      There is almost no room for debate in that top 3. I could MAYBE accept an argument for Kyousougiga (or Yamato 2199, which I haven’t seen yet), but if you didn’t watch those, you done goofed.

      >implying Ace of Diamond isn’t everrr so slightly better than Kill la Kill
      Though I will concede that Killer Kill had better yelling. And Mako. But honestly, Ace of Diamond was probably the hardest title to find the right place for on this list. Considering that they’re only one spot apart and both in the top 10, and how fundamentally different the two series are, I think it’s safe to say that I love them both and the numeric distinction is relatively arbitrary.

      But yeah, From the New World is excellent; I’d highly recommend sitting down and giving it a run if you haven’t yet. It’s a slow burner, so it may benefit from a marathon session in the early episodes, but once the final act comes around things just take off like wildfire.

      • I actually did watch a few episodes of From The New World — but then I put it on-hold. Just didn’t keep me interested enough to watch it weekly. After seeing how it landed the #1 spot in the APR of the year and how it was voted prior to that (as in, it didn’t get a lot), I think just leaving it alone may have been the best thing for me, so now I get to marathon it.

  4. Flawfinder says:

    My criticism of your top list:

    Jojo- Awesome
    From the New World- Snore
    HxH- Alright
    Panzer- Okay
    Flowers- Decent
    Inferno Cop- INFERNO COP
    Ace of Diamond- eh
    Kill la Kill- Great
    Meganebu- Eh
    Silver Spoon- Zzzzzzzz
    YowaPedal- Meh
    Kuroko- What?
    Kyousogiga- Decent
    Rozen Maiden- Shrug
    Watamote- eh
    Eccentric Family- Snore
    Gatchaman Crowds- *Throws up*
    Space Brothers- No reaction
    Samurai Flamenco- Fun
    Psycho Pass- Cool

    • BokuSatchii says:

      Jojo- Best taste
      From the New World- Worst taste
      HxH- lol narrator
      Panzer- Acceptable taste
      Flowers- That ending…
      INFERNO COP- Well, at least you spelled it right once
      Ace of Diamond- This year, sports were for me what shorts were for you
      Kill la Kill- Mako-tier taste
      Meganebu- Not everyone is prepared for the awesome power of megane
      Silver Spoon- Pork Bowl died for your sins
      YowaPedal- I can understand your meh
      Kuroko- Are you really that surprised? Were you not following me on twitter when I changed my handle to Boku no Basuke?
      Kyousogiga- Agreed, but I feel I’ll like it more after a rewatch, maybe dubbed
      Rozen Maiden- I’d agree it’s not all that memorable but I enjoyed it as it was coming out
      Watamote- A Silver Link show getting an “eh” from you is basically the highest of praise
      Eccentric Family- More like PRETENTIOUS FAMILY AMIRITE
      Gatchaman Crowds- Yeah, I do kinda hope that Kenji Nakamura teams up with a different writer soon because this and Tsuritama were super annoying and while I enjoyed them, I did so almost despite themselves.
      Space Brothers- No reaction
      Samurai Flamenco- I still don’t care for the post-GG stuff as much as the earlier episodes but it has been getting legitimately hilarious lately after that kinda mediocre middle stretch
      Psycho Pass- CAUSE I FEEEEEEEEEL

  5. Nice list, though sadly it seems I’ve only watched a quarter of the series there.

    I didn’t keep up with Psycho-Pass as it aired but I watched it over the summer and enjoyed it a good deal. I really liked the second half since it touched more on the moral question and the conflict between the dystopian society’s order vs. chaotic individual freedom, and it really built Makishima up into a fantastic and complex character. I’m not sure how season 2 can top Makishima’s characterization but the potential for plot and theme development could allow for those areas to surpass season 1.

    Space Bros was awesome as always with great characterization and many memorable moments. But it has always been pretty slow-paced and it did suffer even more from that as episodes were shortened and the Mr. Hibbit shorts were added. And now that Space Bros is (very sadly) done, it seems something I’ve kept up with for 2 years has reached its conclusion, and at a very bizarre 99 episodes at that. Hopefully when there’s more manga content, the anime will continue, it’s very worthwhile.

    Kuroko S2 was pretty fun, but I too feel it isn’t quite as captivating as season 1. Part of it is that I’m a tad bitter that Kise never got a game at all in S2, but there was some good characterization from the season and (while this is from 2014 rather than 2013) the Seirin vs Yosen match was very entertaining. Overall, however, I found the S1 matches a lot more engaging, and I still have yet to encounter matches that surpass my enjoyment level of Kaijo vs Touou or Seirin vs Shutoku.

    Kill la Kill was quite fun, my favorite anime is Gurren Lagann so the style similarities were very appealing to me. The two are different stories at their cores and the themes and atmospheres are very different, but something about KLK’s style reminded me of Gurren from day 1 and I really appreciated the over the top nature of the series so it was very enjoyable.

    And JoJo’s, well, JoJo. Of course it’s gonna be awesome. Looking forward to what’s ahead for Stardust Crusaders, especially since it’s my favorite part of the manga.

    In any case, my personal favorite of 2013 was White Album 2. WA2 is one of the strongest romance anime I’ve seen up to date with powerful themes, great characterization, and subtle foreshadowing throughout. It’s quite a well constructed tale that, even if a bit predictable, really got me attached to the characters and eager to see more, and I’d say it’s my favorite one-cour anime yet. I loved it enough to give it a 10/10, which I haven’t given a series in a while so that was a treat for me. I didn’t keep up with it ongoing but that’s probably for the better. I’m really hoping that a season 2 is made since I hear the series gets even better beyond what was adapted, though the thought of keeping up with that ongoing is quite intimidating indeed. Right below WA2 for me was Monogatari S2 with its great role shifts, reversals, and twists on the Monogatari formula. I was especially fond of how well it handled Kaiki, who is now easily my favorite character from the Monogatari series.

    • BokuSatchii says:

      Goes to show just how much good anime there is out there nowadays! And people say the industry is dying.

      I didn’t care as much for the second half as many of the moral questions were raised by haphazardly introducing new elements to the world that had me laughing more than thinking (helmets, oats, a few other things that I don’t remember since I haven’t seen the series in a year). The questions themselves were interesting, but their means of presentation was pretty hamfisted. That said, I can’t say no to that delicious Takahiro Sakurai voice. Akane may have been my favorite character, but Makishima had a fantastic presence.

      I think this was the year that everyone I know dropped Space Bros. Probably because (a) there was no end in sight, (b) the pacing slowed dramatically thanks to recaps/cartoon animals, and (c) they’d already seen enough to get the general idea and wanted to watch new shows instead. I’m glad I stuck with it, though – it was exactly the easy-to-watch, high-quality show to kick back and relax with every weekend and just have fun with the characters. I wouldn’t worry about the second season – Space Bros was (and still is) insanely popular in Japan. The TV series consistently ranked among even powerhouse shows like One Piece, Pokemon, and Detective Conan in terms of broadcast ratings, it’s got a second movie on the way, the manga is selling like hotcakes – I don’t think there’s any way we won’t be seeing more once the manga has moved a little farther along.

      Having now finished S2 of Kurobas, I can now say with certainty that there was no game in this season that came even close to matching the excitement of season one’s best games (and the one against Hanamiya was just frustrating). It’s also starting to get deeper into arbitrary powerup/powerlevel territory than I’m comfortable with, and the good animation was still confined to the first OP and a few select scenes (some of the The Zone stuff looked really cool, though, as ridiculous as it is for the show to treat The Zone as anything more than a figure of speech). I guess IG is funneling all their fujoshi sports money into Haikyu – THAT is what I wish Kurobas could look like. Still, some of the character development was interesting, and I liked the game against Yosen, as well as parts of the game against Aomine (though DANG did parts of that game drag), and the wacky hijinks were as excellent as ever (if seemingly sparser). I’m kind of wondering if the soundtrack is a partial culprit here – it was much more orchestral and dramatic and serious compared to the sillier guitar and dubstep of last season, and I think it might have colored the tone of the matches for me and made them seem less fun. That’s enough of being a downer, though, I’m still looking forward to season three! We’ll be getting the match against Kise, as well as another game between two kisekis (Aomine v Kise was my favorite game from S1, so I am hyped for this).

      Kill la Kill’s stylistic similarity to Gurren Lagann is no doubt due to the fact that it was made by almost exactly the same team. I still have a couple episodes to go on KLK, but it’s been one of the most consistently entertaining shows I’ve watched in the last year for sure. It goes so far over the top in so many ways that work so well. If you liked KLK, you might want to check out INFERNO COP as well if you haven’t yet – a lot of KLK’s funniest scenes are basically lifted straight from the INFERNO COP playbook.

      OH MY GOD STARDUST CRUSADERS IS HAPPENING AND IT’S AMAZING

      I watched a little more than half of WA2 and enjoyed what I saw because of how intelligently it treated its characters. It put a lot of effort into developing them and building up the romance. I ended up dropping it at about the time the love triangle started to kick in at full force because I simply cannot do that kind of drama, especially not drawn out over a weekly basis. Was it a realistic development of the romance and the characters? Did it progress the themes well? Maybe, but it’s definitely not something I’m going to enjoy watching. I’ll give you that it was good, but it’s just not for me.

      I do need to pick up Monogatari again. I’ve heard so much good about it since I dropped it.

      And you need to pick up From the New World. Of the 3/4 of my list you haven’t seen yet, if that’s the only one you watch, that would be enough.

  6. EVerything is fine… But, I would replace Meganebu by Log Horizon for sure…

    • BokuSatchii says:

      I had some trouble really sinking my teeth into Log Horizon, and never really made it past the first couple episodes, but I’ve heard from people who watched it that it ended up being a pretty solid fantasy series, and that the creator was a cool guy who’s pretty knowledgeable about the RPG elements he uses in the story. Not being as much into gaming as I once was, that side of the appeal is somewhat lost on me, and I tend to prefer my anime more on the bizarre side than not, so it didn’t jump out at me like some of the other shows from the fall season. I really enjoyed Meganebu for how totally out-there it was, and for the unique style the show’s rookie director gave it. So that’s more or less why Meganebu makes the top 20 for me over Log Horizon, though I have no beef with anyone putting Log Horizon on their own list. Hope you enjoy the second season coming out this year!

  7. You know, for kids! says:

    I liked Samurai Flamenco when I thought the story was about how a normal person can make a difference even if he’s not really a superhero. It was very character-driven. But then the monsters appeared.

    • BokuSatchii says:

      Yeah, like I mentioned, I was a bit miffed at getting thrown for a loop like that, too. I’d really been enjoying the character-driven side of the story and wanted to see more of it. What the show ultimately delivered did still end up being fairly clever, but a part of me still can’t help but wonder how great of a show could’ve come about had it continued in the vein of that first arc.

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