Anime: 2013 in Review

I’m sorry for those of you who follow me for my saxophone resources, but today’s post has nothing to do with saxophones! It does, however, have a LOT to do with the anime that I’ve been covering on saxophone, which brings me to the topic at hand: 2013 in review. This has definitely been my most active year in terms of anime, considering the below list is merely what I have finished that aired this year (not including the many shows I watched that finished in past years).

Without further ado, here are the 54 anime I watched in 2013 in order from worst to best. Enjoy!

54. Ishida to Asakura: 1/10
Ishida & Asakura

Simply the worst thing I have ever seen, anime and other media included. I’ve read some positive reviews of Ishida to Asakura citing it to be hysterical thanks to its intelligent use of unintelligent humor. If that’s the case, then I must be missing something. All I see is an abomination that does not deserve to even call itself a comedy.


53. Senyuu.: 2/10

I’ll give this anime one thing: it is hysterical due to its zaniness and shock value humor. In fact, I even used this aspect of it to share it with some of my “non-anime” friends. However, past its shock value and constant references, it is utterly pointless and, honestly, just stupid.


52. Senyuu. 2: 3/10
Senyu. 2

Same as the first season, although with some funnier bits. I really wish I could say it was better…


51. Devil Survivor 2 The Animation: 3/10
Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

I’ve been told by my good friend Marlin-sama that this anime does not reflect the game of the same name in any accurate fashion. Frankly, that is a wonderful thing, because if this was a faithful adaptation, I wouldn’t want to touch Devil Survivor 2 with an eleven-foot pole.


50. Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!: 4/10
WATAMOTE ~ No Matter How I Look At It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular! ~

I harbor no hard feelings with this series. Despite portraying those with social anxiety in an extremely negative, albeit humorous, light, I never once felt offended by this series. However, I also didn’t feel very amused by it. I would say that is quite a problem in any show that calls itself a comedy.


49. Vividred Operation: 4/10
Vividred Operation

Perhaps I am simply inexperience with the magical girls genre, but I just didn’t gain much enjoyment from this series. At best it was okay, but at worst, simply a worthless experience.


48. Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru: 4/10
My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering With My School Romantic Comedy

Man, did this series let me down. With an interesting premise centering around a “real life” version of what visual novel gamers, such as myself, go through in the form of “Absolute Choice”, this anime had the potential to be extremely entertaining. Instead, it did nothing beyond playing up its ridiculous tropes and remaining barely funny with a barebones plot with so many holes it might as well be sliced up and put on bread as swiss cheese.


47. Kill la Kill [Prior to 2014]: 4/10
Kill la Kill

I really have a love-hate relationship with Gainax. On one hand, they produce works like Diebuster, one of my all-time favorite anime, and on the other hand the produce works like this. This is one example of where I simply don’t understand what makes popular things popular. Sometimes pushing zaniness can go too far.


46. Date a Live: 4/10
Date a Live

Much like Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru, I had high expectations for this series. However, instead of being treated by an entertaining experience geared for visual novel gamers, I found myself face palming at the poor story, characters, and treatment of tropes in general.


45. Zettai Bouei Leviathan: 5/10
Leviathan: The Last Defense

There was not really anything outright wrong with this series, except for one thing: it felt like a children’s show. Now that might be fine for a children’s show, but that was not the impression I got of the intention of this series. Even if that were the case, I’m still basing this list on my personal tastes, not on execution of the show’s intent. That said, it simply didn’t deliver an entertaining experience for anyone expecting even a teenage-level production.


44. Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi: 5/10
Sunday Without God

One of the biggest let-downs of the year. As a Christian, I am always extremely intrigued to see portrayals of God and religion in anime. This immediately made the series a focal point of mine. However, unique setting aside, it failed to deliver in nearly every other way, making for a disappointing waste of a season.


43. Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun: 5/10
Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East

In a sea of generic shounen, a shounen anime has to have some terrific facet to keep people coming back. While Hakkenden didn’t do anything wrong, per se, it managed to not really do anything especially right. Thus, despite a few great episodes and characters, it is doomed to fall into obscurity.


42. Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun 2nd Season: 5/10
Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East 2nd Season

See previous. This entire series just screams “Generic!” and it shows, down to the final episode of season two.


41. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W: 5/10
Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos W

Similar to Date a Live, Nyaruko-san is a fun little show with very little going for it besides its occasional genuine humor and constant references. More specifically, Nyaruko-san truly shines in its constant barrage of anime, video game, and miscellaneous references (even including western films such as Tom Hanks’ Castaway!). However, references alone do not make a series, and so it fell short when it was forced to operate on its own.


40. Amnesia: 5/10

As I’m writing this now, I honestly remember very little of Amnesia (irony?), which is its major problem. Amnesia had no truly good hook or cohesion. I recall thoroughly enjoying parts of the series, particularly the art and the use of unique textures a la Gankutsuo, but nothing especially specific, which is a problem.


39. Coppelion: 5/10

Another disappointment thanks to high expectations. The first few episodes of Coppelion had me stoked to see where the rest of the series was headed, only to see it end up… nowhere really. As a very green anime, both in theme and colors, it had a lot of potential that was wasted thanks to poor writing and execution.


38. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge: 5/10
The Severing Crime Edge

I barely know what to make of this show after having finished it. On one hand, it’s very intriguing and unique in some senses. On the other hand, it’s just downright weird. I’m sure some people will get significant enjoyment out of this one, and I definitely liked it as I watched it, but I can’t recommend it as being a fulfilling experience by any means.


37. Mangirl!: 5/10

An utterly pointless slice of life. That can be an awesome thing with smart writing. However, that can also be a terrible thing in terms of writing. In this case it was neither. Mangirl! is not good. Mangirl! is not bad. Mangirl! simply is.


36. Kyoukai no Kanata: 5/10
Beyond the Boundary

Easily KyoAni’s worst anime to date (Although I have yet to see Tamako Market). This is a case where high budget, high quality animation simply cannot save a poorly-written story. Between its barren character development and utterly confusing events, I had to rate this even lower than Air, which was previously my least favorite KyoAni work (though I still liked it). I hope that Chuunibyou 2 does not suffer this as well next year.


35. Kotoura-san: 5/10

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Kotoura-san when it aired, it seemed to suffer from a bit of a lack of cohesion, particularly based on the first two episodes. Episode one was one of the most heart-wrenching opening episodes I have ever seen, which set the bar pretty high for the handling of emotions in the series… only for it to become a romantic comedy in episode two. While it was definitely an enjoyable watch, and one of the better anime of its season, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants a memorable watching experience.


34. Hataraku Maou-sama!: 5/10
The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Perhaps the largest score flip-flop on this entire list. When Maou-sama aired, it was easily my favorite anime of the season, scoring at a 9/10. Then the season went on. And the comedy began to wear thin. Then the story took a front seat. Except the story was bad. Looking at the series as a whole now, I look back and wonder how I could have possibly rated it a 9/10 at the beginning. While this show definitely had its moments, they pale in comparison to the two much better Hero-meets-Demon-King anime later on in this list.


33. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo [Finished in 2013]: 6/10
The Pet Girl of Sakuraso

An unfortunate waste of potential. I definitely enjoyed the drama of Sakurasou, but when all is said and done, it went practically nowhere. While not a bad watch by any means, it could have been so much more, and I really wish it had been.


32. Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko.: 6/10
The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat

A fun little comedy that touched on a few serious notes, but mostly existed just to entertain. Definitely not deep, but a series like this doesn’t need to be.


31. RDR: Red Data Girl: 6/10
RDR: Red Data Girl

A show with more potential than many on the list, and it managed to capitalize on part of it. I recall greatly enjoying the series as I watched through it, with my main complaint being that it ended before it could really dig into an overarching plot or more of the characters. I don’t say this often, but I frankly wish that it had been longer.


30. Shingeki no Kyojin: 6/10
Attack on Titan

Next to Kill la Kill, probably the most overhyped anime of 2013. I absolutely loved Shingeki no Kyojin in the first few episodes, but its fresh take on a “zombie apocalypse” wore thin quickly, and as soon as the insurmountable foes became quite easily surmountable (thanks to Eren, Mikasa, and Levi, though I’ll say no more so as not to spoil anything), the satisfying terror that the show invoked at first was quickly lost. Unlike most people, as well, I think that the character development and pacing were both rather subpar. Overall, while I enjoyed the first season, I simply do not understand its popularity.


29. Aku no Hana: 6/10
Flowers of Evil

One of the, if not the, most controversial anime of 2013, easily. While I absolutely loved some things about this series, particularly a few moving scenes with stirring music, I also disliked quite a bit about it (the rotoscoped art style, for instance). However, I have no negative feelings about this series, and I definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to try anything different from anything else out there.


28. Aiura: 6/10

A forgettable little two-minute slice of life. There’s very little that’s memorable about Aiura, minus perhaps the outlandish inclusion of Steve Jobs in the opening, but it’s still a really nice watch. Plus, it’s beautifully animated!


27. Outbreak Company: 6/10
Outbreak Company

Another rather overhyped anime. Although the setting is great for otaku such as myself (and perhaps wishful thinking for many), it simply lacked substance. Nothing about the show was really that good. However. Somehow Outbreak Company managed to be much more than the sum of its parts by culminating in something rather satisfying. If you watch as much anime as I do, or more even, you will appreciate many aspects of Outbreak Company past its rather subpar facets.


26. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S: 6/10
A Certain Scientific Railgun S

The fourth entry in the “A Certain” series… a series that is perhaps extending past what it should be. Although Railgun improved on its Index counterparts with an improved cast, it has continued to do so at the expense of a less interesting overarching plot and rehashed arcs. It’s a nice sci-fi action romp if you’re into that sort of thing, which I can enjoy from time to time, but not much past that.


25. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru: 6/10
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

As the name ironically implies, this show was actually a pretty standard romantic comedy. Which I am always up for. Sadly, it only really excelled in one thing: portraying the asocial in an informative light. I loved how the solitary characters were not portrayed as in need of dynamic social change, but simply as they were. You can’t go wrong here, but you can definitely find many better RomComs out there.


24. Love Lab: 6/10
Love Lab

I’d love to rate Love Lab higher, but despite its occasional comedy gold, it really just isn’t that great. Like many comedies, Love Lab is a great, mindless watch. Expect to get some good laughs out of it, but not much else.


23. Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita: 6/10
I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job

This one actually surpassed my expectations quite a bit. I had originally dropped the series on episode one due to the shameless ecchi, but was convinced by medievalotaku to keep up with it, and I’m actually glad I did! Yusibu was one of the more hilarious shows I’ve seen in quite a while, and easily superior to Maou-sama, which I mentioned earlier in the list. However, despite these positives, it fails quite spectacularly in the story department. Honestly, I would have preferred they had laid off the story completely and focused on the strong points of the show, namely the interaction of the main characters and the comedy therein, but, alas, it was not to be.


22. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha: 6/10

The best of the three Hero-meets-Demon-King anime this year, easily. I actually quite loved this show, as it reminded me greatly of Spice and Wolf, one of my absolute favorite anime. Unfortunately, it was cut off after one short season, which leaves me unable to rate it any higher than 6/10. Too many plot elements were introduced and not resolved, or not even addressed, which makes watching it a rather unfulfilling experience. If it happens to receive a second season, I will definitely revisit this score, but for now it just feels unfinished.


21. Ore no Imouto ga Konnai Kawaii Wake ga Nai. 2: 6/10
OreImo Season 2

A solid follow-up to the first season. It actually provided a rather satisfying ending in the form of follow-up OVAs as well. Oreimo’s strength has been, and always will be, its characters. But, even though it is an enjoyable watch, it still falls short in many ways, particularly in its portrayal of otaku, in which Genshiken shines many times brighter.


20. Tamako Market: 7/10
Tamako Market

Although perhaps not one of Kyoto Animation’s stronger titles, Tamako Market has a lot of character. While not particularly memorable, I adored the general atmosphere of the anime. In many ways it reminded me of a Kyoto Animation spin on Croisee in the Foreign Labyrinth, another anime I liked considerably and rated a seven. If it weren’t for that annoying bird, I probably would have given it an eight.


19. Little Busters! [Finished in 2013]: 7/10
Little Busters!

A great entry into the Key-gone-anime genre (if that is even a genre). The show features a wonderful mix of serious drama and hilarious comedy, often slapstick. This classic “Key” formula does an impeccable job of making the anime feel like a visual novel, transporting you to this fictional school vicariously through the protagonist, Riki. However, all of this comes as an asterisk in the form of Refrain.


18. Little Busters!: Refrain: 7/10
Little Buster!: Refrain

An amazing drama that capitalizes on the emotional attachments formed in the first season. But also an enormous disappointment. As a big fan of Key, Little Busters! and its sequel, Refrain, were both rated 9/10 in my book until the finale. Without spoiling anything, all I have to say is that Little Busters! had a lot going for it, particularly in terms of comedy and drama, which all culminated in an amazing second season… only to be ruined by an awful finale. That said, though, I still feel that the series deserves to be watched.


17. Free!: 7/10

A surprise for me this year. I originally dropped Free! on episode one thanks to its gratuitous male fan service, but I pressed on later due to its enormous popularity and was pleasantly surprised. I can’t quite put my finger  on what I liked about the show, but I realized by the last episode, when I was wholeheartedly cheering for the characters to succeed, that I had become strongly attached to them. A good watch.


16. Silver Spoon: 7/10
Gin no Saji

Rarely do you see much on the agricultural side of Japan, and Silver Spoon does an excellent job of focusing on something that anime tends to ignore. With a solid cast, solid writing, solid animation, and so on, it does practically everything at an average level. However, its entertaining portrayal of something you rarely see pushes it from average to good. If you want a high school slice of life that has a unique setting, you can’t go wrong here. Plus, you get to look forward to season two next season!


15. Gingitsune: 7/10
Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods

An unexpected hit for me, and perhaps the most underrated anime of 2013. While Gingitsune doesn’t do anything particularly unordinary, it does what it tries extraordinarily well. This is one of the few anime that I could watch with nearly anyone, anime fan or not, and not only feel unembarrassed and comfortable, but uplifted as well! I love the general positive themes that it teaches and I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a break from some of the more mentally taxing anime out there.


14. Girls und Panzer [Finished in 2013]: 7/10
Girls und Panzer

Although not truly a 2013 anime, it did finish this year. That said, those few months of waiting for the last episodes to air in March of 2013 were torture to any and all fans of the show! Girls und Panzer did not seem like an anime I would enjoy, and much about it honestly isn’t all that great. The characters are not very deep, the story is cliche, and the setting is a little strange. That is all true. But. The tank battles are so fun!! I’ve never had this much fun watching a series about tanks! If you have any doubts about this series, just wait for a few of the tank battles and their creative resolutions!


13. Kiniro Mosaic: 7/10
Golden Mosaic

A successful adaptation of a four-panel comedy, in the tradition of Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star. While not particularly amazing, the show had me rolling on several occasions, especially in its use of a musical in the final episode. It also referenced one of my favorite anime of 2013, Yusushiki!


12. Yuyushiki: 7/10

Speaking of Yuyushiki! This was another one of the funniest anime of the year, in my opinion. Although entirely devoid of plot, and even point in some cases, I absolutely adored the characters and the interaction between them. By focusing the short series entirely on three students and their teacher (with minor interaction with a few other students), the writing successfully managed to communicate some true character-based hilarity. I also share a certain fondness for it with Cytrus.


11. Golden Time [Prior to 2014]: 7/10
Golden Time

From the original writer of the Toradora light novels comes Golden Time, a wonderful little RomCom! I’ve always had a soft spot for anime about college students, perhaps due to being one myself. That aside, though, Golden Time, while only halfway through as of writing, has definitely been pulling at my heart strings thanks to its great spin on a classic love triangle. If you liked Toradora, you’ll definitely like this one. And if you didn’t like Toradora, I’d still recommend it! Especially if you’re a fan of Charles at Beneath the Tangles.


10. Kyousougiga: 8/10

Well I completely trashed Kill la Kill earlier in this list, so it might be a bit of a surprise to see an anime with a similarly zany atmosphere to reach my top ten, but Kyousougiga managed it. My opinion of anime that is crazy to crazy ranges from abysmal (Kill la Kill and FLCL in some respects) to amazing (Diebuster and Gurren Lagann). The truth is, Kyousougiga, and similar anime, is not for everyone, but for those who like it, it is definitely great. Kyousougiga features not only some fun action, but some wonderful characters and an outlandish story on par with Gurren Lagann. I missed this show while it was airing and only caught it just as it finished, but it was definitely worth the watch.


9. Genshiken Nidaime: 8/10
Genshiken Second Season

A great third season to a great series! As I mentioned earlier, Genshiken is perhaps the best series on portraying otaku in a realistic sense. As the series has progressed, it has lost much of its realistic flavor and turned into much more of a standard anime, but that has not reduced its enjoyability in the slightest! In fact, the third season has actually had my favorite portrayal of the struggles of an effeminate male, particularly dealing with cross-dressing and homosexuality, in any media ever! I’d recommend this to any fan of the series and anyone familiar with otaku culture.


8. Little Witch Academia: 8/10
Little Witch Academia

Darn you Gainax! I seriously don’t understand you at all! I’ve already made clear that I have very little positive to say about Kill la Kill, but Little Witch Academia is a totally different story! Perhaps I’m just easier on it because it is only a 30 minute short film, but Little Witch Academia is simply a seriously entertaining romp in witchcraft. With its short length, it’s hard for me to NOT recommend it to anyone who has an extra 30 minutes of free time.


7. Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Deja vu: 8/10
Steins Gate Movie

The greatly-anticipated follow-up to the hit anime Steins;Gate. Like most people, I’m a pretty big Steins;Gate fan, which I also rated an 8/10, and the movie managed to meet my expectations. I wouldn’t say that it was a break-through of any sort, really, but it definitely was an awesome counterpart to the series that has received so much love. An easy recommendation to any fan of the series, and those who haven’t seen it should change that right now!


6. Shinsekai Yori [Finished in 2013]: 8/10
From the New World

I watched this series totally on a whim, but I am so glad that I did! Shinsekai Yori did an amazing job of defying expectations. At first it presented itself as a horror, which turned into a sci-fi slice of life, which turned into a drama, which turned into… well, you get the picture. This series had me guessing the entire time, with plot twists at every turn. Easily one of the best anime of the year, and probably one of the best I have seen! An easy recommendation for people who don’t mind some pretty gruesome, plot-drive action.


5. Suisei no Gargantia: 8/10
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

One of the most intelligent commentaries on absolute and relative morality, combined with a pinch of apocalypse and mecha. Can’t go wrong there. No, seriously. It’s really good!


4. Nagi no Asukara [Prior to 2014]: 8/10
Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea

PA Works is another studio that I have a love-hate relationship with. They create some truly beautiful anime, however that beautiful animation can range from awful (I hated Another and gave it a 4/10) to wonderful (Hanasaku Iroha is one of my all-time favorite slice of life shows, which I rated 8/10). This is, so far anyway, an example of a great entry to their repertoire. Although we’re only halfway through the season so far, I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!


3. Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen: 8/10
The World God Only Knows: Goddesses

I’ll be honest. I am a shameless fanboy of the Kami nomi series. I rarely get around to reading manga, but the Kami nomi manga is actually the only manga I regularly stay up with! That said, I can hardly give this third season a proper evaluation. I was so excited to see the continuation of the cancelled anime that it probably could have been a complete piece of garbage and I would have eaten it up. Nonetheless, I absolutely loved it (especially its soundtrack, including the opening and ending). I sincerely hope that we see a fourth season because of the vast amount of source material.


2. Kotonoha no Niwa: 9/10
Garden of Words

Makoto Shinkai makes good movies, that is a fact. However up until now, I’m not sure that I could have said that he made amazing movies. Kotonoha no Niwa is just that, however. Clocking in at only about 50 minutes, this was one of his less ambitious titles. However, I think that only improved it. By honing in on fewer characters in less time, Shinkai provided us with a masterpiece in animation. Easily the most beautiful animation I have ever seen in any television show or movie, I could watch this movie over and over (and I have actually, five times!). Couple all this with a great soundtrack and atmosphere and you have a masterpiece!


1. Monogatari Series: Second Season: 10/10
Monogatari Series: Second Season

I rarely give out tens. In fact, up until now, I had only given out three of them, namely Time of Eve: The Movie, Now and Then Here and There, and Bakemonogatari. While Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari were great, as with the rest of the series, Second Season revisited what was absolutely stunning about the Monogatari series, with an amazing mix of comedy, philosophy, fantastic animation, romance, drama, and much more! The worst part about this season was that it had to end! I am absolutely stoked for the next entry in this series, as I have, more and more, found Monogatari to be pure perfection in animated form. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you absolutely must!

*NOTE* I did complete all of the above anime with the exception of the three that are airing into 2014.

1/6/2014 EDIT: I added three more titles to the list that I had not seen as of writing.

9 thoughts on “Anime: 2013 in Review

  1. Hey, I take offense to your comment about Outbreak Company being overhyped, considering I did about half of the hyping. :P (Seriously, it didn’t seem all that hyped up to me, certainly not nearly on the same levels as Attack on Titan or Kill la Kill.)

    That aside, nice list. Not that I necessarily agree with it, mind you, but still, nice list. And I guess maybe I ought to give Yuushibu a try after all? I’m trying to keep down the number of shows I follow a season due to time constraints, and ecchi comedies have become among the first to get passed on…

    • Haha, yeah I’ve been told the same thing about Outbreak Company. However, I’ve seen a LOT on Twitter and Crunchyroll that led me to that belief. Whether or not it is true, I don’t really know, haha. You’re at least right about it not being as hyped as Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan.

      As far as Yuushibu goes, I still did only give it a six, even though I thought it was enjoyable. It has its hilarious moments, but it still has some pretty lame ecchi and a less-than-good story.

  2. I liked 1-4.

    Gargantia kind of bored me in the middle and at some point I was no longer watching it…

    I really need to watch Shinsekai Yori, I know.

    I haven’t seen the Steins;Gate movie, but I have a strong dislike for the franchise anyway, since the writing was borderline insulting at points ;).

    I get the idea you look for consistently good shows that are also well-rounded in as many categories as possible (art, setting, characters, soundtrack etc.). I like my series to accomplish something great (and often completely crazy), even if they have to trip on the way there xD. (Garden of words, for example, was pretty and all, but if I want to talk about it, all I can say is “it was pretty, check it out”, which doesn’t make for much of a conversation >_>).

    Did you finish all those shows? If so, I admire your patience xD. Some of them I dropped like fire xD.

    Vividred was a bland series regardless of your mahou shoujo experience. It peaks at episodes 2-3 and introduces nothing noteworthy afterwards. It did seem at first it might continue the work Nanoha did in fusing mahou shoujo and science fiction, but it turned out the series was nowhere near Nanoha’s level.

    Hataraku Maou Sama – same thoughts here. The show would be in my top ten if it had just ended after the first arc. The second was a completely unnecessary rehash which actually weakened the impression of some of the characters.

    Some obvious recommendations:

    Uchouten Kazoku – A well crafted novel-based series which combines beautiful visuals with reasonably mature storytelling. Not much happens here, so it wasn’t really in awe of it, but it is worth checking out.

    Kyousougiga – Strongly recommended. Take a look at the first episode or two and you’ll know whether you want to continue or not. (You will :P.)

    Less obvious recommendation:

    Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova – I missed watching this before writing my year-end post, but man. It’s like Girls und Panzer in terms of action but with sentient warships instead of tanks and a stronger focus on a thought-provoking story. Not only is it a great watch, but you could also tell me whether you see the themes as pro- or anti-Christian, since I can’t quite wrap my mind around it xP.

    • My respective responses!:

      Haha, well at least we share 4 of the same in taste!

      Yeah, I haven’t heard many other extremely positive opinions of Gargantia like mine. It seems most people seemed to share the same sentiment you did, although I thought it was amazing! Easily my favorite mecha (although I’m not much a fan of mecha in general…)

      Yeah if you didn’t like S;G, you wouldn’t like the movie. It really wasn’t that outstanding, but it was a solid follow-up to a series that I really enjoyed, which earned it the same score that I gave the series (an 8/10).

      I suppose that’s probably true, at least in the negative (I harp more on something that does one thing extraordinarily poorly than on something that does a lot only slightly mediocrely). I actually loved the characters and emotional buildup of Garden of Words. The emotional scene at the end still makes me tear up, even after having seen it five times! Granted, I’m also a big fan of stand-alone OVAs and short films…

      Yes I did actually finish them all. The entries at the top of the list were less than pleasant to finish… but I kept thinking that they would improve by the end (they didn’t). Curse my positive thinking!

      Glad I’m not the only one who thought that about Vividred!

      Same with Maou-sama.

      I think MALgraph actually automatically generated that as a recommendation based on my MyAnimeList account, haha. I’l be sure to check it out eventually, although I’m slowing down majorly on my anime consumption this coming year as I watched far too much (between shows and movies) over the past year.

      Seeing as Kyousougiga is only 10 episodes, I may just take you up on that recommendation. A friend of mine has spoken much praise of it over the past season, but for some reason I never picked it up.

      I actually had originally planned to watch that this season, but I didn’t want to pile on any extra anime and it somehow escaped the cut just barely. Looking at it now, my main hold-back is that I am NOT a fan of the CG style. I watched through the first season of Wooser, which was also CG, and thought it looked absolutely awful. That, of course, says nothing about the story, characters, etc… so I could still enjoy it.

      • To do Gargantia justice, I found a lot of it really good: Sugita-bot always brought a smile to my face, the negotiations in the first episodes felt really fresh, and the setting was nice. Heck, even the battles didn’t suck. But i suppose the series wasn’t open enough about where it wanted to go and it somehow lost me along the way.

        Garden of Words was by no means bad in its build-up, but I tend to be pretty harsh on movies and stand alone OVAs (the opposite of you xD?). I feel that it is difficult for many movies to create a story that extends beyond the hour-or-so of the production’s airtime, and that’s something critically important to my enjoyment. Witch Academia was great fun, too, but when it was over, it was over. A good series can haunt my mind months after I finish it, but few movies/OVAs can do the same. In this sense, Death Billards was the superior short this year, as it showed off what it had during its short runtime, then left the trap of interpretation as a farewell gift.

        Skipping to Arpeggio, I was wary of the CG too. But what bothers me most about CG is that it stands out from regular animation, breaking the immersion effect. But Arpeggio deals with that by doing basically everything in CG, so after watching a few episodes in a row I started barely noticing it. And then the advantages of the technology come in – the CG looks great during battles, like it did in Girls und Panzer. And, surprisingly, there are scenes where the characters benefit from the animation thanks to some unique movements. There’s a scene where the main character asks him submarine Iona to dive deep down and crawl along the sea bed, and Iona’s mental model (the humanoid representation of the ship’s will) does a small pretend-crawl motion that almost killed me from cute overload xD.

  3. With a few notable exceptions (Little Busters and SNK among them, of course!), I’m pretty much on par with your rankings – at least for the series I watched. Your list also reminds me that I need to watch the Steins;gate movie and finish Shinsekai Yori (I have like 6-7 episodes left!).

  4. I saw “Girls und Panzer” on your list, and was immediately intrigued by the title. Not only was part of it German, but it was about TANKS! I checked it out soon after after and was really impressed by it. (It’s currently in my top 3 animes, the top two being “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor) I’m a huge weapon buff (Much like Yukari in the anime) and I was really impressed with the level of detail they put into the tanks. Everything was historically accurate and the 3D animation of the tanks were nice. I especially loved the little clip where the girls were watching “Kelly’s Heroes.” But yes, I felt it kinda hurt the show a bit when they gave it a “save the school” plot. I would’ve been happy with the “underdog takes the lead” story that the show started out initially. But I gave it a lot of points for accuracy nonetheless.

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