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Anime of the Year 2013 (20 to 16)

Continued from Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21)

Now I continue my rankings for anime of year 2013 with twenty to sixteen.  If you haven’t read the first part of this five part series here’s Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21).  Just for clarification, anime movies aren’t factored into my list of series as it’s limited to only TV anime that finished airing in 2013–including series that started in fall 2012 and finished in winter 2013.  Similarly, ongoing series from fall 2013 that won’t finish until the end of the winter 2014 season won’t be on this list, either.

Izumiko at her shrine20. Red Data Girl

Supernatural anime based around Shinto always intrigue me.  RDG also tells the story of the reluctant hero, who finds there’s more to his role of protector than just fighting off the forces of darkness.

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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 (9/15 – 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 (8/25 – 8/31)

Anime of the Week – Monogatari Series: Second Season
Shinobu and Koyomi return to the present.

Monogatari is always at its best when Koyomi starts talking. I can rarely find fault in his reasoning, but messing around with the past is one of those situations where no good deed goes unpunished.                              

August 25 Attack on Titan Ep. 20 This episode is another fine example of this series taking way too much time to tell a simple segment of the story.
August 26 Monogatari 2 Ep. 8 Let this be a lesson to everyone who thinks of returning to the past to change an unfortunate event out of kindness.
Day Break Illusion Ep. 8 Unlike Madoka Magica, this latest dark drama feels forced because it was predictable and there was no shock value.
KinMosa Ep. 8 There isn’t a more appropriate culture festival event for a moe anime exploring the differences between Japan and the west.
Railgun S Ep. 19 Because the sisters arc got wrapped up rather early, I feel this new story is getting stretched for additional time.
Genshiken Nidaime Ep. 8 I can’t see how anyone who hasn’t experienced REAL otaku culture firsthand will be able to truly appreciate this anime.
August 28 Blood Lad Ep. 8 Sometimes I wonder if just like Staz, I too have been oblivious to the subtle, romantic advances of a woman close to me.
August 30 WataMote Ep. 8 Just because you think your life may be uninteresting, it doesn’t suddenly mean you should feel the need to impress others.
August 31 Servant x Service Ep. 9 Some of the best comedy that comes out of anime is in the form of misunderstandings caused by Japanese ambiguity.
Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen Ep. 9 I really like Kirakishou because she embodies the creative necessity of ideas preceding their existence in reality.

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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 (7/21 – 7/27)

Anime of the Week – Servant x Service
Yamagami has to put up with Hasebe's flirting

While there is certainly a lot of humor that transcends cultural barriers, I really like the very Japanese-ness of this series. Having experienced Japan (as well as working in a city hall) myself I can appreciate a lot of the silly jokes—such as the section manager that nobody ever sees. For those of you who want to know more about what Japan is really like, pay attention to this anime; you might learn something.

July 21 Gatchaman Crowds Ep. 2 The simplicity of the story clearly shows it’s meant for a younger audience, but I still like it for some reason.
Attack on Titan Ep. 15 I thought we established the Recon Corps was full of weirdos seven episodes ago. More time wasted stating the obvious.
July 22 Blood Lad Ep. 3 Good themes of standing up for those who can’t protect themselves and bad guys going against their nature to do what’s right.
KinMoza Ep. 3 Being able to read the atmosphere of social situations is one of the hardest things for a foreigner to learn about Japan.
Monogatari 2 Ep. 3 Sometimes I feel like I could watch this franchise just to see how Tsukihi’s hairstyle changes as the story progresses.
Genshiken N Ep. 3 If only people could be honest with their hobbies, they wouldn’t have to make personas in order to hide their true selves.
Servant x Service Ep. 3 Back when I was younger and I worked boring jobs, like Hasebe I was also good at finding hiding places to slack off.
Neptunia Ep. 2 Yeah…turning the major game systems into anime girls is about as lame of a story premise as I imagined it would be.
Stella C3-bu Ep. 3 As antagonists go, Rin Haruna is the kind that I despise—dragging unrelated parties into her vendetta against Sonora.
July 23 Day Break Illusion Ep. 2 People were comparing this anime to Madoka and while I can see the similarities, my interest hasn’t increased.
KamiNai Ep. 2 While this anime has an interesting concept, it’s getting bogged down by explaining everything instead of telling a story.
Rozen Maiden Z Ep. 2 I’m glad I didn’t dismiss this as a boring reboot of the original. It’s proving to be an interesting alternate timeline.
Love Lab Ep. 2 There’s so much underhandedness going on that the story can’t move forward. I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to be about.
KamiNomi Tenri Ep. 1 I’m only watching this to get context for Megami. I’m not a fan of OVAs that are required to watch the main series.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 9 Taking forever to get started and rushing to the end—I knew 13 episodes couldn’t give this story the proper treatment.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 10 I’m glad at least Io got her good ending where everything else in this series seemed to go down the bad route.
Prisma Illya Ep. 3 This anime may be intentionally cliché but at least it’s emphasizing the good parts of magic girls and still having fun.
WataMote Ep. 3 At first I thought Tomoko was the victim of the people around her, but she actually brings a lot of her grief upon herself.
Rozen Maiden Z Ep. 3 If something truly miraculous happened before my eyes, I wonder if my rational, adult mind would be able to accept it.
July 24 Day Break Illusion Ep. 3 Ok yeah, I’ll admit there’s some interesting moral quandaries in this series. And I was ready to dismiss it on ep 1.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 11 I’ve found that MegaTen anime just can’t capture the suspense of a final boss fight the way the video games do.
July 25 KamiNomi Tenri Ep. 2 What a worthless OVA. It’s only tangentially related to the established plot, and it also has no real conclusion.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 12 Based on the way the rest of this series had been going, I fully expected this turn of events. Sadly predictable.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 13 For as bad as the rest of the series was, the ending was shaping up to be pretty cool until it turned thick.
July 26 Strike Witches Movie 1 It’s more of the over-the-top silly and straight-faced series I’ve come to love, but it’s a beginning without an end.
KamiNai Ep. 3 I’m not sure I like how fast this first story arc has finished. I would have liked to have gotten to know everyone better.
July 27 Stella C3-bu Ep. 4 Breaking gender stereotypes was enough, but now this anime has gone over the top by altering history through imagination.
Rozen Maiden Z Ep. 4 It’s interesting to see the differences and similarities between Shinku’s reactions towards young Jun and adult Jun.
Servant x Service Ep. 4 There are differences between coworker camaraderie, flirting and sexual harassment and I’m glad this anime knows that.
Railgun S Ep. 16 Why would Accelerator punch Kamijou when just a few minutes earlier in the fight ranged attacks were working just fine?

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