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The Best Anime of 2013

Updated on January 1, 2014
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Nigel, AKA Bubblegum Senpai was voted most likely to die due to accident involving a cuddle pillow. Haruhi Suzumiya for Life.

The four girls (so far) fighting for Eita's heart.
The four girls (so far) fighting for Eita's heart. | Source

Honorable Mentions

Some series that were great to watch, but not enough to crack the top 5:

  • Coppelion
  • Kyoukai no Kanata
  • YuYuShiki
  • Red Data Girl
  • Love Lab
  • Pokémon Origins
  • Miss Monochrome

A New Year

Well, with 2013 behind us, It's time to take stock. Reflect on our accomplishments, failed resolutions, remember trying times, and the times we spent with loved ones. Of course, by accomplishments, I mean finding a job in Japan when you're used to being the evil overlord of a parallel universe, and by failed resolutions, I mean not defeating the hero. By trying times, I mean trying not to cry when our favorite resident of Hope's Peak Academy was executed. By spending time with loved ones, I mean of course, Tohka, Kurumi, and Yoshino on many a date.

That's right, 2013 was an amazing year for anime, and as we look back on the year, let's revisit the best of the best this year had to offer. And if you have no clue what I'm referring to in the previous paragraph, check out these shows to find out what you're missing.

Number 5: Oreshura

This one kind of snuck under the radar for most of us. In fact, I discovered it looking for episodes of Oreimo. There are lots of series with abbreviated titles, most of them beginning with "Ore-" and Looking into the series and watching it, It did fairly well for itself. Of course, a catchy theme song in anime always helps and I often find myself wanting a "Girlish Lover" ringtone.

Oreshura - an abbreviation of Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru ("My Girlfriend and my Childhood Friend Won't Stop Fighting") - is about Eita, a former Chuunibyou (literally translates to "Eighth Grade Sickness", refers to youths who pretend they are fantasy characters in the real world, including at home and at school; often shunned by their peers) who believes love is little more than a mental illness (He calls them "Love on the Brains") who gets stuck sitting next to the most beautiful and desired girl in school. A transfer student named Masuzu.

Masuzu however, has her own secret: She too shuns love, and has a lower opinion of "Love on the Brains" than even Eita. Using Eita's diary from when he was in his Chuunibyou phase, she blackmails him into pretending to be her boyfriend.

Of course, this makes all of Eita's childhood friends - namely Chiwa above all of them - extremely jealous as he had passed all of them up for this new girl who could have anyone she desired... it didn't have to be the guy they crushed on. And as such sets the stage for an intense four way rivalry spanning 13 episodes of comic - and sometimes tearful - mayhem.

What Could Have Helped it Score Higher?

The ending. Of course, it's based on a light novel series, and there is way more to the light novel and the story after the series has taken place, but ending on a cliffhanger that might never get fulfilled (Season 2 has not been confirmed at this time). Though I would love a season 2, since there is another story arc that needs to be addressed that was hinted at with the series.

It looks like Maou and Shirou have discovered the internet.
It looks like Maou and Shirou have discovered the internet. | Source

Number Four: Hataraku Maou-Sama!

Hataraku Maou-Sama! ("The Devil is a Part-Timer") turns our understanding of good and evil upside down. Because in this one, the Devil is actually a decent guy. Well, at least by the end of the first episode he is.

In a parallel world known as Ente Isle the Demon Lord Maou is defeated by the Hero Emilia. Rather than face certain death, he escapes in a portal that brings him to Japan. Having lost his powers, he now has to develop a new strategy for taking over the world - by starting at the very bottom of the corporate ladder of a major fast food chain!

However, despite being an evil overlord, we see him do some very nice things. He takes great care of his coworkers, particularly the young high-schooler Chiho. He saves the city, doing everything in his power to prevent innocent people from dying because of his conflicts on Ente Isle, and even those who would follow him into this world to kill him - whether they be Supporters of the church in Ente Isle, defectors of the church, or even members of his own army, he treats them with the utmost benevolence. And helps expose the corruption of the Church to the Hero who came to destroy him.

This does not, of course, excuse any of his crimes committed on Ente Isle, and that's where the story becomes philosophical. Considering the crimes committed by those who would have his head, than maybe neither side was truly good or evil. Perhaps, the only thing that determined good and evil was perspective. Whatever side you were on, that would be the "good" side.

What Could Have Helped it Score Higher?

That thirteenth episode was completely unnecessary. They wrapped up two story arcs by the twelfth episode, and while there is no doubt good content from the Light Novels packed into the thirteenth episode, it came across more as filler. If they do a second season (And I certainly hope they do) then this would have been better as an OVA DVD release between the two seasons.

Promotional Poster for DanganRonpa
Promotional Poster for DanganRonpa | Source

Number 3: DanganRonpa The Animation

DanganRonpa is based on the Playstation Portable visual novel DanganRonpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair. And it is a very faithful adaptation. Unlike most Visual Novels, there is really only one linear story line. While there are multiple endings, they are all bad endings, so of course, the anime follows the story line that gets the good ending.

Fifteen students are enrolled in Hope's Peak Academy for the super-talented. Everyone admitted is admitted based on excelling in a special talent. Everything from being super lucky, to being a super idol, to being a super yankee (basically a thug). Upon enrollment, the students find that they are in lockdown and forbidden to leave the school. The only way to leave the school, or to "graduate" is to kill another student and not get caught. If a student is found to be murdered, a classroom trial is held to determine the killer. If the killer is not found out, then the killer "graduates" and all the other students are executed. But if the the killer is successfully identified and the majority of the students agree, then the killer himself is executed.

This series hinges between horror and psychological thriller. While the murders are not so violent - as they are always seen after the fact - the executions border somewhere between comical and gruesome - oftentimes both. The biggest asset is that each person in this school is extremely unique, and the audience can build some form of sympathy for them fairly quickly - although some students are easier to sympathize with then others.

What Could Have Helped it Score Higher?

It was an extremely faithful adaptation to the game. Perhaps a little too faithful. Pretty much if you played the game, you knew exactly what was going to happen. Additionally, the executions were exactly as they were in the video game. Right down to the animation, they just lifted them from the game and placed them in the show. In fact, there was a constant need to suspend disbelief for the fact that there were several references to the whole thing being a video game (such as the little graphic that would show up announcing guilty students, or the graphics during the end credits). I think they could have used the executions but come up with their own original animations for them.

The whole video game aspect added a great deal of charm to the show, don't get me wrong, and for the most part, it worked for comic purposes, but it did make it difficult to take the show seriously at the moments where it was required to take the show seriously.

Imagine trying to kill guys like this for a living.
Imagine trying to kill guys like this for a living. | Source

Number Two: Attack on Titan

Shingeki no Kyojin or Attack on Titan in English, is my number two anime of 2013. Now I know what you're thinking: "Bubblegum! You Cray-Cray! This should be number one!"

Keep in mind I'm not normally into action animes so I actually didn't watch a single episode (I know, more hate will come my way). I have a really good friend that lives nearby who's also a hardcore anime, but the stuff she particular likes, I normally can't stand, so when she mentioned she was watching this i kind of passed it up. tell you what: Winter is slow for anime so I'm going to make it my New Year's resolution to watch Titan.

Anyway, this still made it on my list because it indeed was wildly successful. I couldn't log into Facebook without seeing hundreds of posts of Titan. Still can't. It's spawned countless hundreds of memes, shippings, It's been extremely popular in cosplay, and there's even a live action movie on the way. Additionally, the success of the series led to a North American release of the manga much earlier than expected for an anime.

Remember the mention of it being successful in cosplay? Here's some trivia. In Servant x Service one of the characters, Megumi, is an avid cosplayer. In one scene, it breifly shows her costume closet, and one of them is the uniform for the Survey Corps, the team that goes out to hunt titans.

Oh yeah, I should include a synopsis: In the future, everyone lives in walled cities because giant men known as titans have devastated the planet. One day, a titan larger than any ever seen breaches the wall of one of these cities. Eren, the main character, lost his mother that fateful day, and signs up for the Survey Corps in order to exact revenge on the strange beings.

What Could Have Helped it Score Higher?

Firstly, If I had watched it, it very well could have been number one on my list. That said, I'm not really into action, so it could have scored lower. I still have to recognize just how wildly successful it has been though.

The other flaw is that there isn't enough manga material yet for a second season. And believe you me, there is a very high demand for a second season. Volume twelve is out now, and volume fourteen will be out by April (containing a special Original Video Animation on DVD). At this pace, a second season might be plausible for fall of 2014, but most likely Spring 2015 to coincide with the live action movie.

Counting Down our 4 spots so far

My Personal Rating
Hataraku Maou-Sama
Attack on Titan
Counting down my top 5 before the drumroll...

What was YOUR Favorite Series This Year?

What anime series do you think is the best of 2013?

See results

Number One: Date a Live!!!!

Okay, so what could possibly top Titan as the best anime of 2013? How about a harem anime that doesn't overplay the harem part to the point where it becomes nauseating?

In the future, the world is attacked by a strange race of human-like creatures called "spirits" who do all sorts of damage to the planet. It's initially believed they are malevolent aliens, but in actuality, they are panicking and confused and have no idea what's going on. They release an energy that causes different types of destruction when this happens and lose control of their bodies.

However, it turns out a young High School boy can tame them by "increasing their emotional levels and then kissing them." In other words, much like in a Japanese dating simulator, he has to take them out on dates, do things that increase their affection towards him, and as in all successful dates - at least in a dating sim game - he then kisses them if their affection towards him is high enough.

This series has it all: engaging characters, including a new yandere for the yan lovers; great humor, since the series actually parodies dating sim games; Pretty good story with a few plot twists here and there; and a second season (coming out in April of 2014), and with only four light novels covered out of 9 released so far, there is no shortage of material. for that second season. If anything, they could spread the next two light novels across the second season instead of four and still have plenty of material for a third season - which also buys time for the release of more light novels.

Also, it produced just as many memes as Titan did, though it hasn't been as popular in cosplay. Still, just look up Kurumi or Yoshino, and you will see several humorous posts.

What Could Have Helped it Score Higher?

Are you kidding me? I'm giving this a 10/10 and It's already number one on my List. Still, everything could be improved to some point, so I do think they sometimes oversold the humor, Especially in the first few episodes. Still, overall this was an amazing show to watch. If you haven't, you should definitely watch it. Now. Do it! Seriously, I'm promising Attack on Titan the least you can do is check this out.

© 2014 Nigel Kirk


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