Oh look, is it time already?
Hello everyone, and welcome back to a new edition of my annual anime review! I know I abandoned my blog half a year ago and moved to facebook instead, but nevertheless, I’ll continue my tradition of writing an anime retrospective view at the end of each year like I did in 2012, 2011 and 2010.
I have rather mixed feelings about the anime series in 2013. There were many series, which had great potential in the beginning, but ended up into a disappointment. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, Vividred Operation, Red Data Girl, just to name a few. We only had a hand full of anime series, which were really great from start to finish and some series will probably be completely forgotten by the next year.
Nevertheless! 2013 brought us one particular anime series, which has generated a hype in the anime community the world has never seen before. A hype which has surpassed titanic proportions and united the entire anime fandom on the world.
Without further ado, let’s get straight to business! Here are my personal
Top 10 anime series of the year 2013!
#10: Yahari ore no Seishun / Hataraku Maou sama
These two are prefectly on par in terms of entertainment value and I still can’t decide which one I liked better. Both aired in spring 2013, both were one cour (13- episodes) and both were fun, memorable series with a great cast of characters. Hachiman in Yahari deserves a special mention because he was very refreshing MC in a Highschool RomCom. His cynical world view and sarcastic personality was brilliantly executed. (same reason why I like Kyon in Haruhi)
#9: Railgun S2 (WITHOUT THE FILLER SECOND HALF)
Yes, without the filler in all caps. Because the entire sisters arc was UTTERLY AMAZING from start to finish and probably the pinnacle of the entire Railgun/Index universe so far. The TouMAN-punch against Accelerator was the single most awesome moment in Railgun S2. And then, after the sisters arc, JC Staff suddenly decided to shit on us viewers and gave us a super boring “original story” aka filler episodes. *sighs* JC staff, why don’t you even try anymore…
Kyousougiga is in every aspect unique: experimental animation, extensive soundtrack, ghibli-like atmosphere, and it tells us a heart-warming story about an eccentric family and it’s adventurous life. Unfortunately it loses it’s “magic” after episode 6. They rushed expositions, the story developed into nowhere and they didn’t focus enough on the other characters and didn’t utilize enough proper world building . It could have been much better if the storyline has been better polished. But nonetheless, it’s still one of the most aesthetic series I’ve seen for a long time. Also, Kyousougiga has the best OP of the year 2013.
#7: Suisei no Gargantia
After watching the first episode, I immediately thought “this is going to be the best anime of the year”. The idea of “civilisation clash” was very interesting to watch, the makers put in a lot of details to make the setting credible (like the language barrier, or Ledo getting more and more tanned with each episode). Adding an astonishing oceanic scenery and exotic character designs, this show was also a feast for the eyes. It loses a bit of steam in the middle part, because the story didn’t progressed at all, but the last few episodes picked up the pacing again, and the finale had a really great conclusion. Overall, a really enjoyable series and I’m really happy a second season has been green lit for 2014!
#6: Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill marks the official TV anime debut of Studio Trigger, aka former GAINAX, and it’s probably the most hyped anime series aside from Attack on Titan. Did it live up to the hype? After watching episode 1 for the first time, I can only say one thing:
Studio trigger didn’t LOSE THEIR WAAAYYYYYY~ *guitar riff*
This show is just full of batshit insane action scenes combined with animators on crack and adrenaline pumping music. But one of the most important factors, why I like this show so much is its simplicity: It’s not trying to be too deep or anything like that. It’s just … FUN, simply by making a mundane setting (girls fighting girls in super powered uniforms) AWESOME. Not everyone can deal with the borderline ecchi fanservice shots of Ryouko though, but I loved every second of it.
So, is Anime SAVED? It’s still too early to tell which direction this anime will be going but I like what I have seen so far and I am confident that Studio Trigger will surprise us again in the second half of Kill la Kill.
#5: Gatchaman Crowds
This was one of the surprise hits of the summer season and probably one of the smartest anime series of this year. The entire anime is basically a metaphor about the dangers and benefit of the social network in the future. Imagine a group of post-modern Power Rangers are rescuing the world from a huge alien troll, who just want to watch the world burn. Add a bit social network elements, a color palette like having an acid trip, a crossplaying pervert who is actually a pretty nice guy and an eargasmic-fantastic soundtrack. It also has one of the smartest main Heroine and at the same time, the most cunning villain of this year. Combine all these ingredients and you’ll get a unique series like none other, called Gatchaman Crowds. This is definitely one of the highlights of this year.
#4: AKB0048 NEXT STAGE
Probably one of my most anticipated continuations, AKB0048 NEXT STAGE has thankfully tied almost all loose ends from the first season and delivered another spectacular ride, full of emotions, idol space fights, many FEELS, new catchy insert songs and awesome moments. And the best of all: they didn’t even screw up the final episode! In fact, episode 13 of AKB0048 NEXT STAGE was one of the most grandiose finale I’ve ever seen.
*sighs* I will miss my weekly dose of AKB0048 because I had so much fun watching it, and with the conclusion of NEXT STAGE, AKB0048 has officially ascended into my “immortal” top 5 favorite anime series of all time. I just love this series so much.
And now, we have reached my top three anime series of the year 2013, which deserves a special mention, because they have made a huge impact on me. They made me tremble because of the excitement, they made me feel relaxed, and they made me cry like bitch.
#3: Shingeki no Kyojin
This anime took the entire anime community by storm and created a global hype I’ve never seen before. Thousands of cosplays, fanarts and fanfics were made, new memes were born, everything associated with Shingeki no Kyojin was instantly awesome, and merchandise of Shingeki no Kyojin became a bestseller in every anime conventions. The question is, why is this anime so successful and became that popular? Is it the fact, that the “enemies” are not ninjas, nor vampires, nor mechas this time, but 20 meter tall humanoid behemoths? Or is it the fact, that the 3D maneuver gear is the most awesome anime invention ever made since the introduction of pokeballs? Or is it simply the incredibly atmospheric animation and the bombastic soundtrack by Hiroyuki Sawano? Maybe all of them combined. Either way, I, for once, joined the hype-train and I have to tip off my hat to the makers of Attack on Titan for delivering one of the most spectacular actions series of the year 2013. It does have some pacing issues, yes, and it ended with a cliffhanger and many questions left unanswered (which is a bit frustrating), but I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy the TENSION in every episode. I really hope there is a second season announcement in 2014.
Also, the first opening “Guren no Yumiya”, triggered an internet sensation on youtube and thousands of parody videos has been made. I have never seen something like this before.
(I still like Jiyuu no Tsubasa more though.)
#2: Non Non Biyori
The polar opposite of Attack on Titan, Non Non Biyori is slice-of-life anime in its purest form and is one of the most relaxing anime series of the year 2013. The very first thing I do on Mondays, after I arrive home after a tiring day of practising the piano is watching the newest episode of Non Non Biyori. After finishing the episode, my bad mood is instantly gone and I was “healed” from any negative thoughts. Every time, when I was watching Non Non Biyori, I couldn’t help but smile the entire time, and whenever a heart-warming scene happened, I left out a quiet “d’awwww~”. Sometimes, the time passed so fast while watching Non non Biyori, I didn’t even realize that the episode is already over. Every time when I hear the ending song, a sad shadow is hanging over me and-
-I’m sorry, this reads like a sappy diary now. Anyway, Non non Biyori is a genuinely good Slice-of-life series with a setting in the countryside and it features a loveable quartet of girls. Recommended for every slice of life fan.
#1: Little Busters! ~Refrain~
My personal number one may surprise some people, but Little Busters Refrain just totally deserved to be my favorite anime of this year.
First off, the technical aspects has improved vastly compared to the first season. The animation was more vibrant and fluent, the direction was more creative and utilized more symbolism. The atmosphere has also changed drastically into a darker, more dramatic tone and – finally – the five main Little Busters characters get tons of character development. We are basically getting to the “essence” of Little Busters. I have played the Visual Novel before and therefore knew the entire story, but I was still anticipating the legendary “truth of the world” revealing scene. And then episode 11 happened. As soon as Faraway began to play, I prepared for the incoming feels, but when I heard the voice acting of Kyousuke… during that scene…. it was …. just absolutely phenomenal, and I cried bitch tears. I cried for several minutes, until the episode has completely ended. This really, really, really rarely happens, and this shows that Little Busters is capable to deeply affect our hearts and is therefore on par with other key works like Clannad or Angel Beats!.
For once, I have to congratulate JC Staff’s for doing a really solid adaption of a super complex visual novel, which was impossible to adapt for a long time. They did a good job in combining all heroine routes into one route without feeling too much out-of-place. And after watching the final episode, I got the dreaded “after-anime-blues”: It’s the empty feeling inside your head after watching an unforgettable series, that probably affected in some way or other your life. I will miss every member of Little Busters. It feels like I’ve known them for a long time, as if we have always been good friends, Kud, Mio, Kurugaya, Haruka, Komari, Masato, Kengo, Kyousuke, Rin and Riki, all of them. And it’s hard to let it go.
Little Busters ~ Refrain has won my heart in 2013 and therefore is the clear winner of this year!
Now, after getting this out, here are my other favorites in different categories. Let’s start with the
Top three anime soundtracks of this year
#3: Shingeki no Kyojin OST
Hiroyuki Sawano strikes again after his Guilty Crown OST. Many memorable tracks like “The reluctant Heroes” or “Vogel in Käfig” has made into my anime playlist, and since I am a sucker for the usage of vocal choirs in soundtracks, I enjoyed many tracks to the fullest. Most of the tracks have a really “bombastic” feeling, perfect for a action-packed series like Shingeki no Kyojin.
#2: Kyousougiga OST
I never heard about the composer Go Shiina, before, but after listening to the Kyousougiga Soundtrack, I immediately want to hear more from him. The soundtrack has a fantastic instrumentation (the japanese Flute Shakuhachi for example) and some of the tracks sounds straight from a Disney movie. Also, notice how he brilliantly quoted the main motif (c-f-e-f-g) in the other tracks of the OST. And the “secret of my life” is such a hauntingly beautiful track, that everyone MUST listen to it at least once, to feel it’s incredible intensity.
#1: Gatchaman Crowds OST
My personal favorite Soundtrack of this year. Ranging from Dubstep-heavy electronic beats to melodic warm strings, this soundtrack has it all and shows once again, what Iwasaki Taku is capable of: mixing many different musical genres and still blending together perfectly. Especially the track “Ziel der hydra” with the unique mix of Soprano and Dubstep was utterly brilliant. Definitely another milestone of Iwasaki Taku and another must-have in any anime soundtrack collection!
Top three Movies / OVA’s of this year
#3 Evangelion 3.33
Alright, this movie left a big question mark around all evangelion fans of the world. Retconned almost everything and explained next to nothing, plus adding a 14 year timeskip out of nowhere, this movie is basically Anno Hideaki’s idea to troll the Evangelion fandom again. Oh well, at least the animation and the soundtrack were really great, especially the ED theme, Sakura Nagashi, which is one of my favorite ending themes of this year.
I hope they don’t need another 2 years to deliver the next (and final) movie…
#2 Little Witch Academia
This small OVA was a smash hit among all the OVAs that got released this year. Take a Harry Potter setting, replace the MC with a cute girl, and crank it up to eleven with awesome animations and fabulous soundtrack. Little Witch Academia is only 25 minutes long, but many people (including me) liked it so much, they cried for more. And Studio Trigger actually listened! They started a kickstarter campaign to finance a potential second season, and it exceeded its goal by 417%! This is why we CAN have nice things.
#1 Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki
One of my favorite movies this year is definitely “The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki”.
Absolutely heartwarming story about a single mother raising up two children who were part human, part wolf. Despite all the troubles she has to deal with her daily life, she still carried on and raised the two troublesome children. She never gave up and always did her best to survive on her own in the rough countryside. A truly inspirational movie. One of the few anime movies I would rewatch anytime. Go and watch this fantastic movie if you still haven’t!
Top three favorite characters of the year
I know, Levi is mostly a favorite character among female anime fans, but in all modesty: He just kicks some serious ass in combat. Surprisingly he also share a same trait with me, – being a clean freak. Always having himself in control even in the most dire moments of danger; that itself deserves real respect. One of his most awesome moments was his battle against the female titan. He just totally massacred the same female titan who killed countless elite Survey Corps without any effort. He is -without a doubt- “humanitiy’s strongest soldier”.
#2 Naoe Riki
Starting as an ordinary boy, who was neither very athletic, nor super intelligent in season one of Little Busters, Riki has developed in season two into a strong leader, who was capable to bring together the shattered members of Little Busters with his own power. He became stronger and finally surpassed Kyousuke, his role model. In the end, it was thanks to his and Rin’s help, that everyone could be saved. Naoe Riki definitely deserved a medal for his character development.
#1 Ichinose Hajime~ssu
Hajime is probably the most eccentric protagonist of this year, and at the same time the most inspirational character for me. Optimistic, intuitive, energetic, friendly, courageous, sometimes very bold, despite having a goofy appearance, she’s more intelligent than you think and you’ll never know what she is doing next. Sometimes her dangerous actions seems careless, but if you look closer, she always have a certain intention in her mind beforehand. Either you just love her or hate her exaggerated behavior. For me, she is one of the most interesting characters of the year 2013. And I especially love her verbal tic of adding “ssu~” at the end of each sentence.
Top three potentially great anime series I’ve missed this year due to time constraints
This basically means, that these series are added to my backlog and I’ll watch it if I have found some time. These are Bakemonogatari S2, Chihayafuru S2 and Silver Spoon.
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Alright, my anime summary for the year 2013 is almost over, but wait, I got more! For the first time I will give another 7 anime series a special award. The first special award is
The “cocktease” award for having the most misleading first 10 minutes of the entire anime series
Anyone still remember the 180° mood shift in after the first 10 minutes of episode 1? I still feel like I have been totally trolled. I expected Kotoura-san to be a grimdark, cynical series, but then it developed into a bland highschool romantic comedy series. Meh.
The “Sunrise”-award for having the most stupid case of “character-revival”
Kyoukai no Kanata
I don’t want to spoil too much, but seriously, I hate “last-minute” asspulls in final episodes. Why are you always pulling this crappy plot-device, japan. You’re toying with our feelings, man. Not cool.
The “Fujoshi-bait” award for having the most blatant manservice
I still can’t believe I actually watched the whole thing, despite being in the wrong audience target. But hey, at least the manservice was spectacularly animated. Also, Gou-chan is waifu of the year.
The “Trainwreck” award for having the most “wtf-am-i-watching” moments:
Kakumeiki no Valvrave (S1 + S2)
Valvrave is a show with immortal body-hijacking vampire highschool students piloting overpowered demoniac self-stabbing mechs instructed by an unexplainably white-haired young psychopath prophet rambo genius revolutionary against goddammed space nazis where the good boy can randomly rape the bad girl and then marry her after abandoning his childhood soulmate that became the prime minister with jingle bells.
Seriously, Sunrise has outdone themselves once again in terms of sheer craziness and stupidity, but damn, it was so entertaining to watch. Still, I am still quite sad, that certain characters have passed away in Valvrave in the end… ;_;
The “Fail” award for having the most disappointing closure of this year:
Infinite Stratos S2
So why the hell are we still watching this harem lunacy? “Oh hey, let’s introduce two new characters we couldn’t care less about and let’s throw in some stupid forced drama plot!” Seriously, Infinite Stratos should stay away from SUPER SERIOUS PLOT, because we are watching Infinite Stratos for the delicious fanservice and potential waifu-battles and NOT for the story. Because Harem series + serious plot = fucking stupid.
Also, too much time were wasted on Houki and we still didn’t get a charlotte end. Why.jpg
The “Shitstorm” award for creating the biggest controversy of this year:
Aku no Hana
Alright, nobody really expected THAT abomination. Soon after the first episode of Aku no Hana has been aired, it was immediately universally loathed and mocked in the entire anime community, because of the atrocious rotoscoping animation. Still, I wanted to give this series a chance and kept watching it and I slowly get more and more interested with the inner conflict of the MC. After a while I even got used to the rotoscoping animation. Probably worth a watch if you can deal with the rotoscoping animation and if you appreciate deep psychological themes or artsy animation styles.
The “faggot”-award for being the most annoying Harem Protagonist of this year:
Kodaka from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Even Ichika from Infinite Stratos is a better Harem protagonist than this useless piece of shit. I want to self insert myself as a little girl in the series and kick Kodaka in the balls, because he is fucking stupid. The end.
And now, AFTER THE SEVEN SPECIAL AWARDS, IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR THE MAIN EVENT.
IT’S TIME TO ANNOUNCE THE “worst anime of this year“.
AND IT goes tooooooooo-
Ore no Imouto S2!
Alright, what do we got here:
-Kyousuke rejected Kuroneko, and therefore ruined the chance of having a perfect normal life with a poorfag – I mean humble – girlfriend, who is geniunely in love with him.
-Kyousuke rejected Ayase, and therefore ruined the chance of having a perfect normal life with a model-girlfriend, who, albeit detested him initially, now has deep feelings for him
– Kyousuke rejected Kanako, which was kinda random, because why the fuck would Kanako suddenly confess to Kyousuke, but oh well, it’s anime after all, so yeah, Kyousuke ruined the chance of having a perfect normal life with an idol-girlfriend.
– Kyousuke rejected Manami, and therefore- wait, Manami is a shit.
– Kyousuke finally admitted his true love is Kirino and decided to go for the incest route (wait, WHAT)
I still couldn’t believe what I saw, but since Kyousuke is actually dead serious about his decision, I just promptly told my reason to fuck off and prepared my body for the “full incest menu”. I mean, why the hell not, incest is not uncommon in anime and at least they both are happy and-
– “jk, we were only pretending, lololol”
FUCK THIS SHIT I’M OUTTA HERE.
(And Manami still a shit.)
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And that’s it, everyone! That was my anime summary for this year!
This turned out a bit longer than initially planned, but nonetheless, I had my share of fun writing my anime summary for 2013! Thank you for reading so far and I wish you a successful new year!
Now, let’s see what exciting anime series 2014 will deliv-
…. oh boy.