Best anime of 2013

2013 was a decent year for anime, although a lot the most note-worthy stuff is somehow divided between 2012 leftovers and Fall shows that aren’t done yet. NoitaminA taking half the year off didn’t help. Still, there was a lot to like here.

Without further ado, my personal favourites of the year :

[1] Puella Magi Madoka Madoka Movie #3 – Rebellion
By far the best anime I’ve watched this year. Not only is it on a completely different level from anything else on a technical level – pure eye-candy from beginning to end – but it also manages to square the circle of justifying its existence despite the original series having a definitive ending already. It could have been empty fanservice (and let’s be honest, most of the movie is), but it’s actually a worthwhile addition to the series.

[2] PSYCHO-PASS
Best cyber-punk anime this side of Ghost in the Shell. A harrowing experience, but well worth it.

[3] KILL la KILL
It’s yet ambiguous what this series’ game really is. (If TTGL is any indication, the stakes are going to keep escalating.) As of now, it’s already a compelling and entertaining ride, ridiculous in all the right ways.

[4] JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
A classic manga adapted right. Sure, it only started really working for me with “Part II”, thanks in no small part to Tomokazu Sugita’s charismatic portrayal of Joseph and Taku Iwasaki’s awesome score. But it’s everything a battle manga wishes it were : crazy, smart, and above all fast-paced. Part III will be one of 2014’s most awaited shows for me.

[5] Eccentric Family
Completely off to the side from the heavy hitters, this quaint little piece of Japanese folklore is a nice change of pace : slow, quirky and character-driven, it thrives on the little nuances its characters leave unspoken.

[6] -Monogatari 2nd Season
The -monogatari series has always been a bit hit and miss for me, and this season hasn’t deviated from that trend ; I cared little for the two Mayoi/Shinobu stories. On the other hand, when it’s on form (and I’ve noticed it’s whenever Ararararagi is out of the picture), it’s been AWESOME. It’s a delight to watch and listen to, and the guest narrators have been a welcome change of pace.

[7] The Flowers of Evil
One could argue it’s more than a little pretentious, and that it stopped before getting to the really good part of the manga. Still, it took perfect advantage of its unconventional animation choice to inject tons of atmosphere into this tale of angsty, unhealthy romance.

[8] Little Witch Academia
Strictly speaking, this one-shot didn’t do anything new. But the execution is so spectacular (and efficient) that it deserves the praise it got.

[9] Gatchaman CROWDS
A fun exploration of the sentai genre and how it interacts with modern social media ; that it looks and sounds great only makes it more appealing.

[10] Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVAs
Did we truly need a prequel about Section 9’s formation ? Not really, but this is a perfectly acceptable addition to the franchise : byzantine plots, impressive action sequences… It’s not as impressively good as Stand Alone Complex, but it’s far from an embarrassment. Also, Miyuki Sawashiro voices some lovely Logicomas.

Honorable mentions : (in no particular order)
A Certain Scientific Railgun S wasn’t as good as the first season, as its core plot deprives Mikoto of much of her agency and sidelines the supporting cast. On the other hand, the prelude and epilogue arcs were as strong as ever.
Attack on Titan wasn’t without problems : noticeable padding, an annoying protagonist who’s vastly outshined by the supporting cast… But it’s still a visceral experience which combines superb action sequences with an epic score for maximum impact.
Devil is a Part-Timer is what many adaptations of adventure-comedy light novels wished they would be : it features intelligent characters who behave like recognizable human beings, and it’s actually funny.
From the New World got a bit too much overtaken by the ratpeople for my tastes, but it’s still an intriguing piece of speculative fiction.
Girls und Panzer technically aired its last couple of episodes in March, so it’s in.
Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home was a nice epilogue for the series, especially as it focused on the backstory of Ohana’s mother. It was just nice to spend some time with those characters again.
Kyousogiga is a bit of mess, but it’s an entertaining one, and it’s certainly got heart in its exploration of a bizarre family. Each episode brings a new angle to it, and it’s never boring.
Log Horizon is only getting started, but it’s been a fun ride so far. It’s doing a very good job of making its politics entertaining.
Love Lab was the unexpected surprise of the year : a gag show that’s just very, very funny. Maki was comedy gold everytime she was on screen, and the other characters were no slouches either.
Love Live! School Idol Project should have been the most cynically put-together show ever (an idol series that is very obviously just a vehicle for selling songs and merchandise)… and still it’s surprisingly endearing and self-aware.
sasami-san@ganbaranai was SHAFT at its more self-indulgent, deliberately abstruse and excessive on every regard… and it’s still worth watching.
Samurai Flamenco… I’ve got no clue what this show is doing, but I’m there for the ride.
Silver Spoon looked like crap, let’s be honest. But it knew what it was doing, and doing it well.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199 : to be honest, I’ve yet to watch the final few episodes, but it’s been one of the most impressive remakes in anime history. I haven’t even watched the original, but the love for its source material is obvious.

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Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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