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Anime of the Year 2013 (10 to 6)

In case you’re just joining me as I count down to 2013’s anime of the year, be sure to go back to the beginning with (25-21), (20-16) and (15-11).  Just to be clear, if you research my posts throughout the year at the conclusion of each season, I may have reordered some of the titles for anime of the year–it just can’t be helped.  While I used those reviews as a starting point, I have to judge some anime based on how much of an impression they’ve left on me several months later as compared to other titles that are fresher in my mind.  If you disagree with my conclusions, feel free to leave a comment explaining why you think so.

Tsukiko, Youto and Azusa sit on the Stony Cat10. HenNeko

Despite its title, no hentai to be found here.  Instead it’s a terrifically fun comedy series about young people coming to understand themselves and finding what they truly want out of life—which is simply to have fun loving and being loved.

 

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Summer 2013 Wrap-up

I imagine that the summer anime season is the least watched since nobody wants to be inside when the weather is nice outside and therefore tends not to get the highest quality titles.  Despite the logic of that deduction, I did end up watching quite a few anime this summer that impressed and surprised me.  If you want to read my predictions for how summer 2013 would turn out, you should go here.

Misaka falls from space1. Railgun S (Unchanged – 9/10)

Misaka Mikoto and friends deliver another great action series full of comedy and camaraderie.  The icing on the cake is seeing Misaka really grow as a character over these past two seasons.  If there’s a third season, I’d watch it in a heartbeat.

Koyomi and Shinobu reflect2. Monogatari Series (formerly 7 – ongoing)

Maybe the disappointment of Nisemonogatari lessened my view of this franchise because I can’t believe I ranked it at only #7 at the start of the summer 2013 season.  The philosophical comedy series is back on track and as hilarious and insightful as ever.

Illya and Miyu fire their finisher3. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (unchanged – 8/10)

I expected a series of cliché jokes that call out the ridiculousness of some of the stuff that goes on in the magic girl genre.  I didn’t expect there to also be a fair amount of badassery as well.

Gatchaman Crowds - The Team4. Gatchaman Crowds (formerly 14 – 8/10)

Sometimes the performance of a single character is enough to make an entire series worth watching and Hajime is such an unlikely, spunky hero in an otherwise serious anime that she makes the whole experience shine incredibly bright.

Lucy won't let Hasebe get the better of her5. Servant x Service (unchanged – 7/10)

If you enjoyed Working! (Wagnaria in America) then you’ll probably enjoy the unconventional humor in this series that forsakes established settings and blows a breath of fresh air into the anime world.

 

Kuroki sees something she can't unsee6. WataMote (formerly 2 – 7/10)

Often more miss than hit, I think this series was easy to relate to for anyone who had a tough time in high school.  Although it makes light of Tomoko’s depressed personality, there’s also a lot to learn from her as she deals with being ignored.

 

Alice and Shinobu walk to school7. Kiniro Mosaic (formerly 8 – 7/10)

I haven’t enjoyed a moe anime this much since Acchi Kocchi.  A ridiculously fun group of girls and an interesting premise about the cross of western and eastern cultures.

 

Genshiken heads to an onsen8. Genshiken Nidaime (formerly 6 – 7/10)

You’ll not find another anime that is a better representation of what otaku culture is really like.  We’re not deviants to be feared, we just have more eccentric tastes and hobbies compared to most other people, but we still have feelings.

Seira, Luna, Akari and Ginka begin their world tour9. Daybreak Illusion (formerly 18 – 5/10)

As magic girl shows go this one was good, but the rather run-of-the-mill story tried too hard to overreach what it was truly capable of.  Its only really distinguishing quality was its original art style that went the moe direction in an otherwise unmoe anime.

Titan Eren rages on fire10. Attack on Titan (formerly 9 – 5/10)

I fail to see why this series is so popular.  Yes, it has some really cool moments and it’s strong on action.  But this should not have been a 25 episode series.  As it dragged on, the animation degraded terribly and the story was horribly padded.

11. Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen (formerly 17 – 5/10)

I quite enjoyed this revisit of an older title that takes a look at an alternate timeline.  The characters were given proper treatment and while it wandered a bit, the story kept me wondering how it would turn out.

12. Sunday Without God (formerly 13 – 4/10)

I saw some potential in this series, but after the events of the third episode, it suddenly felt completely played out and I lost all interest.

13. Blood Lad (formerly 4 – 4/10)

This anime was a lot of fun and could have easily stolen my #9 slot from Daybreak Illusion if it had made any effort to have some sort of ending.  If it gets a second season, this rating may be worthy of revision.

14. The World God Only Knows: Goddesses (formerly 164/10)

This series has officially run out of ideas.  I would have thought it still had plenty of material to continue making jokes about dating sims, but I don’t like this new direction it has taken.

15. Fantasista Doll (formerly 134/10)

Since the premise is about trading card games, I thought I would have given this series more of a chance to see where it was going, but it just couldn’t hold my attention.  It was just missing a special little spark to keep me watching.

16. Hyperdimension Neptunia (formerly 113/10)

Based on its premise, I wasn’t expecting much from this series and my expectations were right on the money.  That’s not to say that some of its jokes about the console wars weren’t funny or clever, but a plot that should have been catering to an older audience felt like it was written for eight year olds.

17. Stella C3-bu (formerly 103/10)

I have to admit that the reimagining of critical moments in history that involved guns through the eyes of an airsoft club at a girls’ private school was an interesting enough premise that I gave it a good shot, but it just wasn’t delivering—especially in the acting department that left every character feeling flat.

18. Love Lab (formerly 123/10)

A story about a bunch of girls pooling their collective ignorance about romance and fighting over student council duties was probably doomed to go nowhere fast before I even gave it a chance.

Anime of the Week (9/22 – 9/28)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Nadeko makes a deal with the serpent

Actions are always so much more meaningful than words and because she immediately volunteers to correct her mistakes rather than simply appologizing reveals just how sorry she truly is.                              

September 22 Attack on Titan Ep. 24 There’s actually a great story to be told, but it’s taking FOREVER… We should have been at this point by episode 11.
September 23 Railgun S Ep. 23 Sometimes doing the right thing means you’ll need to dirty your hands. But that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.
Monogatari Ep. 12 It’s one thing to ask for forgiveness, but actively asking how you can make reparations is on a whole different level.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 12 It took half the series to resolve Madarame’s issues, but I feel cheated to have Ohno’s worries finished in one episode.
September 25 Day Break Illusion Ep. 12 I’m not sure what to say… This series is so average and unremarkable aside from its slightly fresh art style.
WataMote Ep. 12 I think the lesson to learn from Tomoko is to not give up on social endeavors and keep trying to make new connections.
KinMosa Ep. 12 The dynamics of Japanese and American school life are so different because of how Japan maintains a consistent homeroom.
September 28 Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 12 A part of me believes that with the popularity of simple casual games, such a system just might work in Japan.

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Anime of the Week (9/15 – 9/21)

Anime of the Week – Gatchaman Crowds
Hajime makes a phone call in Gatchaman form

The information age has brought us a world where everything is at our fingertips. And even though you can use this power to be anything you want to be, it’s a shame that so many people choose to be stupid.                              

September 15 Attack on Titan Ep. 23 I knew this would happen six episodes ago. And if the writing didn’t suck it could have happened five episodes ago.
Railgun S Ep. 22 I love how Misaka backs up her chivalry with power. I’m reminded of the phrase, “speak softly, but carry a big stick.”
September 17 Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 11 I don’t know why anyone would look to OreImo for examples of anime that humanize otaku when this series exists.
Kiniro Mosaic Ep. 11 A valiant effort is made to show a fairly realistic clash of east and west, but even so it still gets a few facts wrong.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 11 There’s plenty of room for dramatic twists in this series, but every character is too unwilling to make a mistake.
September 18 WataMote Ep. 11 The lesson to learn from this anime is expectations. If you set your standards too high, you’re bound for disappointment.
September 21 Servant x Service Ep. 12 I think the most attractive feature most people truly lack is not beauty, brains or brawn, but merely confidence.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 11 Although social networking is a terrific system for disseminating information, it’s too often highjacked for evil.

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Anime of the Week (9/8 – 9/14)

Anime of the Week – Gatchaman Crowds
The Gatchaman pose for the final battle

Last week’s episode was a perfect illustration of my own political views. Pure conservatism is a hindrance to the change that is necessary to move society forward, but pure idealism leads to short-sightedness and even unnecessary revolution. I take a middle, progressive stance that advocates slow and steady change that strikes a balance between holding onto the stability of the past while remaining flexible enough to sort out new quandaries as they arise.                              

September 8 Attack on Titan Ep. 22 Another example of this anime wasting time. Six episodes and we’re right back where we were a little over a month ago.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 10 Many find fault with those of us who can’t read the mood in social situations, but we do help to keep people honest.
Monogatari 2 Ep. 10 It takes a confident writer to have the courage to create something heartwarming and insightful rather than violent.
September 9 Prisma Illya Ep. 9 It’s a very tired trope in storytelling to have someone quit after a traumatic experience only to come back later.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 10 Now that this series is coming to its conclusion, they’re just piling on the misfortune thicker and thicker.
September 10 Blood Lad Ep. 10 It would hurt to lose my family, but giving up my memories in order to come back from the dead is too high a price for me.
Kiniro Mosaic Ep. 10 Shinobu’s fondness for western culture is cute, even if it leads her to make some completely nonsensical fashion statements.
September 13 RWBY Ep. 9 Now that everyone is wearing their school uniforms, this series is really showing off its anime roots.
September 14 WataMote Ep. 10 In America the students change classes, but in Japan the teachers do, so you could be stuck with people you don’t like.
Servant x Service Ep. 11 Make sure to phrase things carefully because even if we mean well sometimes our words can be interpreted differently.
Prisma Illya Ep. 10 Only ten episodes? That’s not a normal run length, but I’m happy to know that this lighthearted series is getting more.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 10 From what I’d seen thus far in the anime, I’d figured that Utsutsu was the only character without a Gatchaman form.
Rozen Maiden Z Ep. 11 As is usual towards the end of a Rozen Maiden series, the solution to the problem at hand is so shamelessly made up.

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Anime of the Week (9/1 – 9/7)

Anime of the Week – Watashi ga Motenai
Tomoki and Tomoko collect cicada shells.

I’ve actually had people tell me that children reveal the reality of humanity’s instinctively selfish nature. But I only see the innocence of youth that’s yet to be weighed down by the responsibilities of adulthood. The world would be such a happier place if we could return to the time in our lives when social status didn’t matter and we wouldn’t have to wear false personalities to appease different people.

September 1 Attack on Titan Ep. 21 Good job Eren. Last time you taught us the importance of trusting your comrades and today you take it all back.
Monogatari 2 Ep. 9 No matter how good your intentions, you can’t predict the outcome. If you ever get a chance to change the past…don’t.
September 3 Prisma Illya Ep. 8 As entertaining as this series has been, it’s also got some shamelessly cliché moments—case in point, quitting the job.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 8 I’m not sure what Hajime hopes to accomplish by revealing the existence of the Gatchaman other than it’s fun for her.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 9 Hato has continued to lament Madarame’s lost affections; all the while refusing to face his own romantic failures.
September 4 WataMote Ep. 9 Often when we focus too much on our own comfort, we tend to forget the altruistic joy that comes from helping others.
Railgun S Ep. 20 No matter how kind and generous you are, if you hold a position of power, there will be those who seek your downfall.
September 5 Day Break Illusion Ep. 9 This series will never be Madoka Magica because unlike the passively “evil” Kyuubey, Cerebrum takes an active role.
September 7 Blood Lad Ep. 9 It’s rare that someone will pursue power not for himself, but to put a more worthy person in a leadership position.
KinMosa Ep. 9 As someone who admittedly can’t speak Japanese well, even I can tell that Karen’s broken Japanese sounds unnaturally fake.
Servant x Service Ep. 10 Once again with the comedic misunderstandings. This anime would be getting dry by now if it wasn’t so creative.
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 10 With as little time the dolls spend pursuing the goal of being the ultimate girl, why does the Alice Game even exist?
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 9 Perverting someone’s well-intended creation towards morals counter to its intentions is the height of despicable.
Railgun S Ep. 21 As badass as Misaka is on her own, I’m really looking forward to seeing the fruits of working together with her friends.

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Anime of the Week (8/18 – 8/24)

Anime of the Week – Attack on Titan
Eren chooses to place his trust in his comrades

Just like Eren, we all must realize that we are not islands in a sea of society, but immensely dependent on each other not only for our own surival, but also for achieving accomplishments greater than any individual could ever dream of. If only it didn’t take grave matters of life and death to forge bonds of trust as strong as those between the members of the Survey Corps.

August 18 Railgun S Ep. 18 Just because someone has power, it doesn’t mean they’re going to abuse it. Don’t fault others for your own inaction.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 6 Rui’s goal sounds courageous, but if he succeeds at making everyone a hero, then everyone would be the same.
KinMosa Ep. 7 As much as the students in anime value their test scores, testing in Japan isn’t actually as important as you would think
Attack on Titan Ep. 19 Trust is something that must be earned and continually preserved. This anime is beginning to slowly regain mine.
August 19 Monogatari 2 Ep. 7 I always find Araragi’s meandering, philosophical conversations to not only be enlightening, but immensely entertaining.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 7 I’ve always found it to be oxymoronic that despite otakus’ social dysfunctions, we can relate well with each other.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 7 I was able to appreciate the little references in this otherwise uneventful episode because I live near Nagasaki.
Blood Lad Ep. 7 I think that selfishness isn’t always a bad thing. If you enjoy helping others, on some level you’re doing it for yourself.
August 22 WataMote Ep. 7 The reason this anime resonates with people is because while our whole lives may not be like Tomoko’s we can understand her.
August 23 Servant x Service Ep. 8 I admire Hasebe’s patience. Though if I was in his shoes, I’d also probably be willing to wait two months for a date.
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 8 Yeah, I totally called it. After all, it wasn’t that hard to predict that everything was going to be Jun’s fault.
August 24 Prisma Illya Ep. 7 The way this anime mixes risqué comedy with harsh reality isn’t always the best stylistic choice, but it sure is funny.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 7 I really like Hajime as the main character. Most protagonists immediately go for the violent solution, but not her.

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Anime of the Week (8/11 – 8/17)

Anime of the Week – Gatchaman Crowds
Rui - Play the game!

I’d originally written this anime off as a remake of a boring old relic of the past like Jojo or an empty hero story amounting to nothing more than a string of action scenes like Tiger and Bunny. Boy was I wrong. What an amazingly courageous show full of unique characters with vastly different, but nonetheless lofty methods about how to make the world a better place.                              

August 11 Kiniro Mosaic Ep. 6 There’s a lot of fun stuff to do in Japan during the summer, but I find it to be so hot that I can’t stand to go outside.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 6 I was hoping for something more ambitious, but sure enough Seira has softened and she’s becoming less interesting.
Attack on Titan Ep. 18 The female titan is cruel, the recon corps is getting pwned, nobody knows what’s going on. We get it. Get on with it.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 6 The mark of a good otaku is knowing what needs to stay in 2D and what’s acceptable to bring into the real world.
August 13 Blood Lad Ep. 6 The difference between maturity and immaturity is being able to correctly judge the limits of your strengths and weaknesses.
Prisma Illya Ep. 6 I’m not sure how the Fate purists are going to feel, but that was one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 5 Rui may seem naïve and idealistic, but she knows that to change the world, you can’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
Stella C3-bu Ep. 6 I want to forgive this anime because it’s trying so hard, but it just can’t blend all its themes into a cohesive piece.
August 16 WataMote Ep. 6 I don’t understand why Tomoko was looking nice this episode, but if she took better care of herself she’d be pretty cute.
August 17 Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 7 I seem to recall fans being able to submit designs for a doll. I wonder if the one Jun is working on is that doll.
Servant x Service Ep. 7 I like how this series shows that men have emotions, but social norms dictate that they can’t reveal those feelings.

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Anime of the Week (8/4 – 8/10)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari: Second Season
Hanekawa accepts her flaws, which mark her hair with tiger stripes

As Hanekawa literally embraces her past mistakes, she proves that it’s never too late to admit you were wrong and change yourself for the better. Even if his role was small, it would seem that Koyomi’s presence really makes this series work.                              

August 5 Attack on Titan Ep. 17 It’s hard to remember during all of the downtime in this series that when it’s on the ball it’s totally awesome.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 5 Isn’t it better to seek new horizons than to fantasize about a past that has left you behind and can never be again?
Monogatari 2 Ep. 5 People are neither white nor black—we are all shades of gray. Something pure black or white would cease to be human.
Servant x Service Ep. 5 I agree that dating coworkers is a bad idea. If the relationship goes bad, you still have to see each other every day.
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 5 Suigintou is tsundere, but the overwhelming “tsun” to the tiny “dere” part of her personality makes her interesting.
KinMosa Ep. 5 Speaking from the position of being an only child, what I’ve seen of bigger families makes me glad I don’t have siblings.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 5 Madoka Magica was so much more original and heartfelt, while this series is much more predictable and cliché.
Blood Lad Ep. 5 A lot of other shounen action anime get way too full of themselves—focusing too much on drama and forgetting to have fun.
August 6 Prisma Illya Ep. 5 For as average as this series has been so far, I must say it has a terrific sense of pacing—especially in the battles.
Stella C3-bu Ep. 5 The writing in this anime is really falling apart. It has lost a lot of its intrigue and replaced it with predictability.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 4 Being a hero isn’t always fun. There’s a lot of pressure to live up to the great expectations others place on you.
August 7 WataMote Ep. 5 If we focus too much on the parts of ourselves we want to change, sometimes we forget we’re just fine the way we are.
August 10 Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 6 I have a suspicion that I already know how this series goes. Adult Jun is probably the cause of everyone’s problems.
Servant x Service Ep. 6 We can do our best to make our feelings clear, but sometimes in an effort to be polite, we may be too ambiguous.
Mondaijitachi OVA I very much appreciate it when a series tells its story while it airs and saves the fanservice for the bonus material.

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Anime of the Week (7/28 – 8/3)

Anime of the Week – Attack on Titan
We salute the new recruits to the Recon Corps

Courage and pride can only take someone so far. When it really counts, it’s not a matter of bravery or duty that drives the best of us, but the acknowledgement that if someone doesn’t step forward to do what’s right, nobody will.                              

July 28 Attack on Titan Ep. 16 I often complain about the pace of the story, but this series has its moments of courage, determination and insight.
July 29 Day Break Illusion Ep. 4 Someone will always be the winner. But if you brought your A game and still lost, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
KinMoza Ep. 4 A big part of the fun in this anime (for me at least) is listening to the English that’s almost right, but not quite.
KoiChoco Ep. 13 After what was a surprisingly serious series, it’s nice to have a bonus episode where all the characters can let loose.
Genshiken N Ep. 4 I don’t know what others see in doujinshi, but unlike many otaku I’ve never gotten into them, nor would I go to Comiket.
Monogatari 2 Ep. 4 I’m wondering if we’ll ever see Koyomi this season. Perhaps it’s time for those he protected to stand up for themselves?
August 2 WataMote Ep. 4 You know you’ve got cool parents if, when they catch you in a private, “embarrassing” situation, they don’t freak out.
Blood Lad Ep. 4 The names of Staz’s family members are nice word-play, “Blood D” “Blood T” but it’s too bad they won’t work in English.
Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 3 Individual survival is important, but creating a better tomorrow through trust in our fellow man is a worthy goal.
Prisma Illya Ep. 4 Abandon logic and act on imagination. Those are the rules to being a magic girl. Explaining magic only complicates things.
August 3 Railgun S Ep. 17 One of the reasons I love this series is because while the cast is quite large, it never fails to give everyone some time.

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