Top 12 Anime of 2013
Here we are again, the end of the year and boy what a mediocre year it was for anime as whole. Fortunately for us there were a few stand outs that were pretty much close to masterpieces and we even had a few shows that could pass for mainstream hits, Lord knows the Western anime fandom really needs one of those so thank Goodness for that. I was also incapable of running the Anime Bloggers Choice Awards this year for personal reasons but trust me it will be back in full force next year, so without further ado here we go, The best 12 anime that aired in 2013 were:
12- Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is definitely the most popular anime that aired this year, so why is it at the end of my list then? Well its not because I’m trying to be a hipster if that’s what you’re thinking, I’m the guy who loves moe remember?
Shingeki had that mass appeal right from the very first episode, the stakes are raised really high right from the beginning and the feeling of helplessness is always emphasized in the shows art direction as the series progresses. Its a shounen series but without the tournament trappings of most and a dash of thriller and mystery thrown into the broth to mix things up a little.
I enjoyed how super angsty it was and the fight scenes in some of those early battles made the show feel epic. My only gripe with it was how it left me with so many unanswered questions and unresolved plot lines. Hopefully the sequel will clear those up. If you want a show to watch with some friends that are not into anime this is the one you should pick out, it’s an absolute blast!
11- Kill la Kill
I think it’s safe to say that this was the most highly anticipated anime this year, after seeing what Studio Trigger was capable of with their Mirai Works anime short, Little Witch Academia (which I’ll talk about later) expectations were high and boy did they meet them, smash them and throw those expectations back in our faces with a gleeful look on their faces.
I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Hiroyuki Imaishi fan but I can certainly say I have always respected the work he does, this one just happens to be the one I connected with the most. The show feels like old school wacky Gainax, mostly because Trigger consists of a lot of the original members of that studio with some fresh blood to make things even a little bit more crazier.
This show is on this list for the shallowest of reasons, it’s an animation showpiece that I happen to not find boring. I find the characters hilarious and it reminds me of Gurren Lagann a lot so I guess some nostalgia is coming into play, regardless, Kill la Kill is super, crazy, wacky, over the top, dumb action FUN and sometimes that’s all you need.
10- Nagi no Asukara
I don’t think a single year can pass by without me having a Mari Okada anime on my list, last years Sakurasou was amazing for example. Its no secret that I adore Mari Okada I don’t think all her works are good but the ones she does nail, she nails really hard, NagiAsu is one of those shows.
Okada’s strength is in how she writes her characters but NagiAsu has a world as memorable and lovable as its main characters. The lore behind how the people of the sea and the people of the land came to be is really fascinating, their differences is what is at the core of this anime’s plot, which I think is a good thing because you don’t have to care about the main cast to get into it.
That said, I love the main cast, sure it’s your standard Okada fare but their slow character growth and overly emotional reactions to situations is why I come to these shows in the first place. It helps that the show looks amazing as well, Ive said it before and I’ll say it again, I really think PA Works has surpassed Kyoto Animation of late, certainly this year atleast.
9- Monogatari S2
I feel like I’ve had a Monogatari on my top list every year. Well same as always I suppose. You guys know this is the only fanservicey show I thoroughly enjoy, Nisemonogatari may have thrown the plot right out the window and umped up the sleaze but Monogatari season2 brings some of the plot back but the teasing remains which is awesome.
The animation is not quite as good as Nisemonogatari for some weird reason, maybe they are saving up money for the Kizumonogatari movie? Maybe…. I hope…. just make that damn movie already Shaft geez!
8- Aku no Hana
Flowers of Evil, the communities response to this show was just as fascinating as the show itself, it certainly wasn’t as exciting though. Aku no Hana was incredibly slow, it really took its time to set up its scenarios, I fell asleep watching the 1st episode 3 times before I actually managed to complete it and I still remember that one episode that was just the 2 main characters walking home for 15 minutes, 15 minutes I kid you not!
All that aside, Aku no Hana is one of the most unique and risky animes I have ever seen. The character I related with the most was Nakamura, I liked her “screw the world and its finely laid out rules” attitude and how she actually did something about it rather than just whine. I also really like the sexual tension between the 2 main characters, it was oddly unnerving but kept me looking at the screen.
The subjects that this show tackles are not always handled by other shows which is probably why it felt so different and unique, the execution I think may have been a little bit better and the the show really, really needs a second season which unfortunately we will never see because of how poorly it sold in Japan.
7- Suisei no Gargantia
I was immediately drawn to this show because it was written by one of if not animes best writer at the moment the Butcher himself, Gen Urobuchi. This show was different though it was colourful and not as dreary as most of his previous works, it was also very “anime” for lack of a better term.
Im a huge sci fi dystopia guy and Gargantia scratched that itch so hard it made a brand new bruise. Seeing our world from the viewpoint of an alien really put our actions on the microscope and in a whole new perspective “is it it really efficient to keep providing for the sick and the elderly?” questions like that which would normally lead to a resounding and unanimous answer are genuinely brought into question here even the good old classic what does it mean to be sentient is in this show.
It helps that the show looks absolutely gorgeous, I can even go as far as calling it the best looking series this year. It also gave me my favourite dance sequence this year, Belly Dancing FTW!!
6- Gatchaman Crowds
Just like I always have an Okada show on here every year I feel like I always have a Kenji Nakamura show. Unlike last years Tsuritama, this year Nakamura pulls out the ol’ politics trick from his big bag of writing surprises quite similar to C: For Control in some respects but definietely better, well much better actually.
Gatchaman Crowds starts off by taking the normal conventions of a superhero monster of the week anime, which it parades to be and throws them right out the window faster than you can say Gatcha! Actually its not the show that does this directly its actually a single wildcard in the entire thing the one part of the show that makes this entire premise unique and fascinating, Hajime.
Hajime can easily win Character of the Year for me, she’s super Genki, cute and a strong female lead who always kept me on my toes. The way in which she approached problem solving really fascinated me and it turned out she was actually the smartest of the bunch. Gatchaman Crowds is a great show its so hip too, the fashion, the music, My God the music, are all so great and they come together to make one of the most relevant shows to date.
5- Girls und Panzer
Okay so here’s the thing, I only saw Girls Und Panzer early this year when it rolled out those last 3 episodes and while it was extremely popular last year, I feel like I have to give this show its due credit.
Girls Und Panzer just might be one of the best examples of how a moe show can be great. There are so many moments in that show that are just plain awesome, the drifting Panzer, The Katyusha song, the moment when that dude celebrates coz his house just got blown up by a frigging Tank.
Garupan is serious silly business, it knows what it is and it does its thing extremely well. I showed Garupan to a bunch of friends that actively dislike moe and they like it more than I do, thats how good this show is, its certainly a cult classic in the making, Panzer Vor!
4- Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia was easily the best anime short of the Mirai Works this year, it just stood out among that crowd and even stood out with most shows in general. Studio Trigger really shows that they have a special gift for animation and a certain kind of wacky story telling that just resounds with a very wide audience. Their Kickstarter campaign is proof of this and I certainly cant wait to see the results of their Kickstarter.
LWA got a fair number of comparisons to Harry Potter which in my opinion is pretty high praise all things considered. I loved it because it was a cute little story with cute little charming characters and some over the top animation. What will Studio Trigger give us next year? We can’t even begin to imagine but we know its most likely going to be glorious.
Watamote is by far this years best series, it is the show that without fail managed to hook anyone even slightly nerdy (that I have shown it to) I think Watamote’s greatest strength is in how realistic most of its scenarios are, there are a lot of moments that I personally thought were ridiculous and over the top but speaking to others made me realise it was quite the opposite for them.
The art style of the show, the music and even the voice acting is all in service of the mood and atmosphere the show is trying to represent. Its quite simply excellent in its execution and is a show many a Nerd will return to years down the line to revisit.
Ive written about Watamote at length already so give that article a read if you want to know more about the show.
2- The Garden of Words
I saw the Garden of Words at a pretty tumultuous time in my love life so maybe that helped me like it a bit more than I should, but I recently watched it again just to make sure I wasn’t just “feelin the feels” if you know what I mean. It held up, I actually enjoyed it more on my second viewing.
Makoto Shinkai is a genius, he’s a genius that tells the kind of romance stories that I like the most, his characters are not particularly memorable but the setting and situations always are. The Garden of Words looks brilliant, almost any frame in that movie is screenshot worthy and its short running time means there is absolutely no filler. It also helps that Hana Kanazawa was in it as well, coz you can never have enough HanaKana amiryt?
I wrote about The Garden of Words earlier this year as well so check that out if you must.
1- Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki
Alright this one is a technicality, it didn’t air this year but most of us saw it this year and that’s why it makes my list. I also feel like a Masterpiece like this deserves its due course on my site so here it is.
Wolf Children had that Mamoru Hosoda magic that just grabs you and never lets go till the end, the movie reminded me of Totoro and Summer Wars and Spirited Away, it has that special something that just made it… special. technically the movie is great but it really comes into its own with the way it tells its characters stories.
I really love Wolf Children and I could gush about it all day long if I could, at the end of the day all I have to say is Mamoru Hosoda really outdid himself after making what I still think is the greatest kids film ever made.