Hey there everyone. This past year was the year I got back into being a hardcore anime fan. I've always been an anime fan for as long as I can remember, but there was a period of time between from 2009 through the early part of this year where my anime viewing dropped significantly. What changed that this year was Richard Eisenbeis doing his anime reviews over on the main site. Starting with his Spring 2013 picks, I slowly eased my way back into anime, watching more and more series as each season started. So to reflect on the year my anime passion returned to full force, I decided to list off my top 20 favorite series that aired in 2013 that I have finished so far.
If one of your favorites isn't here, it means I haven't finished watching it yet(examples of this being Yuyushiki, Non Non Biyori, Kyousougiga, Tamako Market, and Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet), I haven't started watching it due to it being a sequel series and haven't seen the earlier seasons yet(Monogatari, Kuroko's Basketball), I am avoiding because of less than stellar word of mouth(Valvrave the Liberator), I just plain didn't like it(Coppelion, Beyond the Boundary), I liked it, but not enough for it to make the cutoff of 20, or it was part of the Fall season and carried over to the Winter 2014 season, and thus hasn't finished at least one season. However, that by no means doesn't mean you shouldn't discuss your own favorites(in fact I openly encourage it!). So let's get started!
#20 - I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job
This was one of the many surprises I encountered throughout the year. While this series could have simply been pure wall to wall ecchi, it actually does have some good themes going for it. An example of this is the struggle all of these heroes go through finding gainful employment now that the war with the demons is over, rendering their skill set useless. That is an all too often realistic thing for soldiers and athletes to go through once their careers are over, so it was nice to see an anime at least cover this. Another thing this series has going for it is its pervy parody of Jean-Luc Picard. Though yes, there is quite a bit of "plot" as well. I'll admit, this was one of my cheesecake viewings. :P
#19 - Wanna be the Strongest in the World!
Long and short of why I even watched this in the first place, I am a wrestling fan. Now while the show did start out something I would absolutely not watch with anyone else around(ok, even now I still wouldn't), it did improve over its course, imo. When they finally got past Sakura's boring ass losing streak(she would lose to the same move over and over to the point of boring the audience, and I mean the actual in-show audience), this show really picked up and the matches were great to watch. Hell, if nothing else, this is better women's wrestling than what is going on in the WWE right now. Also, it gets some bonus points for being one of the few, and I mean *few*, anime series to have a satisfying ending that I watched this year. Nay, it wasn't merely satisfying, it was, dare I say, actually a good ending!
#18 - Miss Monochrome: The Animation
Much like #19 this has a simple reason for why I watched it, I like the Vocaloids and Miss Monochrome is a virtual idol. So I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a legitimate funny short series that ends up featuring cameos ranging from Wooser to Hulk Hogan to Sylvester Stallone. Also that ending theme was an ear worm for me.
#17 - Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
I'll be honest, I think it is great that female anime fans got a fanservice show aimed at them. That's not what I watched Free! for, though. I was genuinely entertained by the characters and the swimming. And that animation, of course.
#16 - Danganronpa: The Animation
I love a good mystery, and this series delivered on that front. Sure I spoiled the game for myself, but at the time I never played the game, nor did I know about the Vita port coming to the West, so I didn't care. The cast was mostly pretty unique in their designs, and I enjoyed trying to figure out how each murder happened.
#15 - Watamote
When I first started watching this show, I was in love with it, laughing my ass off week in and week out. However, in the middle the show kind of drags for a couple of episodes and I was lucky to laugh even once an episode. Thankfully the show picked up again for the final stretch of episodes. This was another series I felt had a satisfying ending.
#14 - Kiniro Mosaic
This show was just pure concentrated cuteness. There, said it. The first episode alone can cause a heart attack from the sugar overload. Now while the majority of the show is simple slice of life gags, what really makes this show is its last episode. Did it wrap anything up? Well....no, but then again there wasn't really anything to wrap up. But it was a wall to wall epic musical.
#13 - Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen
Before my anime love died down, the Rozen Maiden series was one of my favorites, so I knew that I had to see this reboot/sequel/Idon'tknowwhatitis. While it narrows its primary focus to just three of Rozen's dolls, it was nice to see what happened to the Jun Sakurada who didn't meet Shinku while he was a kid.
#12 - Servant x Service
From the person who brought us the hilarious restaurant workplace series, Working!, comes another workplace comedy. This time the series focuses on the poor souls who work as welfare civil servants. Barely anything happens story wise, but the show is carried by its small, but funny cast of great characters.
#11 - The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat
I know, I know, "ew, moe". Well tough, this show was pretty damn funny, and towards the end became shockingly heartfelt. Also, I don't care what you say, Tsukiko was adorable, damn it!
#10 - The Devil is a Part-Timer!
This show. This show was the first of Richard's Spring picks that I watched. This was my reintroduction to anime. It was funny, really, really funny. One of the strongest first impressions out of all of the series I watched. Unfortunately, for me, the series kind of gets weaker gradually as it goes on. This culminates with the series just....ending.....definitely not a satisfying ending. It was still a good episode, mind you, but it easily could have been put anywhere in the series after episode 6 and still made sense for the most part.
#9 - Sunday Without God
I really dug what this show did with doing its own twist on a zombie apocalypse. It is also gorgeous to look at and Ai Astin is probably pound for pound the cutest damned thing to come out of anime this year. All that said, it does have some slight problems. First of all is, each story arc is only loosely connected to each other. It is clear that each arc is its own book. Now that doesn't mean the arcs are bad. Only one of them is bad. The rest are all really damn good, just....disjointed with each other. Also the end of the last episode is pretty vague. As in I don't know what the hell happened.....
#8 - Outbreak Company
Well this was a nice surprise. I looked at the synopsis and the promo image and thought to myself, "Shallow harem series....pass". Then I caught wind of some good word of mouth for it and watched it. Holy. Crap. I don't even really know where to begin. The commentary about racism and classism really took me by surprise. I also liked how they handled Shinichi's harem, too. Above all, though, this show was hilarious. Unfortunately, another bungled ending. Not a *bad* ending, but rather, I guess, a disappointing ending. Like I feel as if the last two or three episodes could have been better.
#7 - My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy
First off, holy crap that is quite possibly the longest anime title I have ever typed(which is kind of ironic, as the series itself is only a mere 10 episode long.....). Secondly, this was yet another surprise. I watched it based entirely on its premise and hoped for the best, because I thought it could have either been just pure fanservice or another Henneko and be part fanservice combined with great comedy. Thankfully it was the latter. The very first episode had me short of breath from laughing, and nearly every other episode had similar effects on me. Really the weakest episode was, yet again, the finale. And mainly because, while again a fun episode, it didn't resolve anything......
#6 - Gatchaman Crowds
I love this show. I love how this show flips the conventions of its genre on its head. This all starts with Hajime, the female lead who would normally be relegated to the supporting cast. Yes Hajime is annoying at first, but she clearly has a method to her seemingly airheaded madness. I also liked how the show tackles society's growing attachment to smart devices. I even liked how Rui was a crossdresser, and aside from some in-show online trolls, no one bats an eye at him while he's crossdressing. Hell, Hajime even gives him makeup tips. Sadly, once again, the ending is a low point for this show. The ending makes absolutely no sense, as if half an episode worth of content explaining the ending was lost, which very well may have happened, considering half of the previous episode was just recaps(admittedly done in a great way by having the characters talk over the recap footage, thus expanding their characters).
#5 - Genshiken Second Season
I love Genshiken. Easily one of my favorite manga and anime series of all time, and *the* quintessential anime club series that every anime club needs to screen. So you should imagine my glee finding out that the sequel manga, Genshiken Nidaime was getting an anime adaptation. The anime was just as good as the manga. Lots of laughs, great characters, focus on some taboo subjects(for example, one of the characters is a shotacon fan). It even had a good last episode. Albeit an anime original one, but still it was a good one!
#4 - Attack on Titan
It had to appear at some point, right? I mean why would I cosplay a character from this show and not have it in my top 20 favorites for the year? So here it is. Before I started the anime, I read all the manga chapters that were out at the time, so I kind of knew where the first season would end. That said, in some areas I like the anime more than the manga. Obviously there is the art, and the awesome openings, but also how the anime expands on some of the characters, especially Levi and his Squad. Speaking of them, they tie into why this show is only #4 for me. The first half of the show, while good, drags on during the Battle of Trost arc. They simply take too long to finish that arc. And that's not even touching how the Female Titan arc is just plain and simply better in every way. Honestly if it wasn't for the Female Titan arc, AoT wouldn't even be in my top 10, let alone the top 5 like it is.
#3 - Silver Spoon
Hiromu Arakawa's work has a special place in my heart. Fullmetal Alchemist is my favorite manga and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is my favorite anime of all time. So I was eager to see the anime based on her current manga, Silver Spoon. I don't know what it is about this show that rings out to me. Maybe it is because I've lived my entire life in Oklahoma and even have extended family members who have ranches and farms, and thus I am accustomed to the agricultural setting of the show. I don't know. What I do know is that Hachiken Yugo, the protagonist, goes through one of the best character arcs I have *ever* seen in an anime. And episode 10? Screw me running was that an emotionally charged episode for me.
#2 - The Eccentric Family
As previously stated, I love a good mystery, and a good mystery is what is at the core of The Eccentric Family. The members of the Shimogamo family, a family of Tanukis living in Kyoto, try to find closure with the mystery surrounding the murder of the family patriarch. Along the way, we get some stunning character growth from the Shimogamo brothers, as they learn about the importance of family and just living life. I will admit that I almost passed on this series because the characters had some weird looking designs(it is the ears, really). So glad that I sucked it up and watched it anyways.
#1 - Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova
And to the surprise of no one who read my comment in Richard's review article for Arpeggio, we have my favorite anime from 2013 to have ended in 2013. Yes the animation is weird to look at at first, yes the human characters get zero character development, yes they try to rush to tidy everything up during the end credits of the last episode. I don't care. The Fog Mental Models are just too damn good of a cast of characters. On top of that, the animation became stunning to me once I grew used to it. The music if phenomenal, and matched each scene perfectly. And of course, as I mentioned, it has a lot of damn good episodes.
So, there you have it. If you've managed to make it this far, congrats! So what are some of your favorites from the past year?