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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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Spring 2013 Wrap-up

This has to have been one of the most up and down seasons of anime since I started writing this blog two years ago.  Several of the anime I had a good feeling about initially ended up turning sour at their conclusions (or in the case of Attack on Titan, the midpoint).  That’s not to say my predictions were totally off, but to see so many fail to meet even my most basic expectations…I’m just at a loss in the wake of this unexpected twist.  There were also a few nice surprises, but they weren’t so Earth-shattering as to overcome the lack of quality that emerged from my other, former top picks.  What follows are my final impressions for spring 2013 and how my ratings changed from the beginning of the season.

Ledo wishes he didn't have to fight1. Suisei no Gargantia (unchanged)

I’m at least glad that my top two picks were spot on.  I expected a story of culture shock on a life-altering scale and I got it and more with some amazing conundrums that challenged my assumptions about the boundaries of morality.

Misaka destroys everything2. A Certain Scientific Railgun (unchanged)

I’d have been very disappointed if this sequel to an anime starring one of my favorite characters had let me down and it didn’t.  Misaka continues to be the honest girl who will never give up in her pursuit of what’s right.

Tsukiko and Yokodera go on a date3. HenNeko (formerly.7)

I’ve heard of never judging a book by its cover, but from now on I guess I have to remember never to judge an anime by its title.  I was expecting a really ecchi comedy series without much substance and what I got was a quirky, yet wonderful romance story punctuated by moments of sheer hilarity.

Izumiko dances to restore balance4. Red Data Girl (formerly.9)

Stories that revolve around Shinto mythology always have a flair for making up their own rules—a sort of free for all with the content of the setting.  So in order to be successful, anime in this genre need to tell a great story with relatable characters, which RDG does very well.

Tohka rages at Origami5. Date A Live (formerly.6)

Harem anime are a dime a dozen, so for one to come along and actually surprise me with some fresh character archetypes, clever writing and a scenario that isn’t about turning some random loser guy into a sex object is worthy of praise.

Eren supports the hope of humanity6. Attack on Titan (formerly.5)

For me, everyone’s favorite series this past season falls a notch to an anime I’m sure many people dismissed. My contentious reason for this is because I feel it’s taking forever to tell its story.  The action is great and the emotional pursuits are moving, but it’s just spread too thin to really, fully satisfy me.

Leviathan fights off a giant lucasite7. Zettai Bouei Leviathan (formerly.10)

KISS (keep it simple, stupid) applies to this surprise hit very appropriately. Dragon girls, a fun-filled adventure, saving the world as a side benefit?  All good stuff that doesn’t need anything deep to overcomplicate it.

Muneakira and Juubei fight together8. Samurai Bride (formerly.13)

Nowhere near the level of smart writing that made the first season of this  fanservice-laden anime stand out, it still did a better job telling its mediocre story than the series that follow.


Yuzu spills a drink in Yui's room while Yukari laughs9. Yuyushiki (formerly.8)

I wanted a cute, moe anime and what I got was a repetitive, moe-ish anime.  It’s fine to
have one character deliver all the random thoughts, but that can’t be all there is to make up for the lack of any plot whatsoever.

Hibiki faces Yamato before Polaris10. Devil Survivor 2 (formerly.11)

Don’t watch this. Play the game.  And then after you’ve played that game, you still shouldn’t watch this.  The people who let this go to air should be ashamed of themselves.  That’s all I have to say.


Maou Sadou in Emilia's imagination11. Hataraku Maou-sama (formerly.3)

What wasted potential.  The devil works at McDonalds and is thwarted by an angel who works at a call center.  The possibility for comedy was golden, but instead we got a sub-par adventure story that didn’t really go anywhere and was devoid of substance.

Kiri resumes cutting Iwai's hair12. Crime Edge (formerly.4)

A series that was shaping up to be about poetic pairings of opposites that when put together create a  wonderful harmony—tarnished in the end by bad pacing and a lost focus on what made it really cool in the beginning.

Yukino backs up Hikigaya during a tennis match13. OreGairu (unchanged)

OreShura disappointed me last season and only 1/3 of the way in, this was shaping up to be more of the same.  I dropped this at episode 3.

Anime of the Week (6/2 – 6/8)

Anime of the Week – Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
Ledo encounters a juvenile Hidiaazu At what point does a human stop being human? At what point does a person stop being a person? And at what point can you be forgiven for being fooled by propaganda?                              
June 2 Attack on Titan Ep. 9 It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, even if it’s the truth there will be some who don’t believe you.
HenNeko Ep. 8 Yokodera is no saint, but the fact that he had the opportunity to wish for his paradise and didn’t shows he’s not so bad.
June 3 Gargantia Ep. 9 I’d suspected all along that the Hidiaazu originated from the Earth just as humanity did, but I didn’t expect this twist.
Leviathan Ep. 8 When enough coincidences start to add up, it’s easy to mistake the natural connections between our lives for fate.
June 5 Date A Live Ep. 10 I love how the plot has managed to creatively and logically explain why all these girls are clustering around Shidou.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 8 All bets are off. There’s barely anything left in the anime’s story that even vaguely resembles events in the game.
June 6 Otoboku Ep. 5 I’ve found something I have in common with protagonist, Mizuho. Despite being guys, the two of us both have our mother’s hair.
June 7 Maou-sama Ep. 10 Yes, we get it. Maou Sadou has been very circuitous about his methodology of returning to power. Now hurry up and reveal.
June 8 Railgun S Ep. 9 I’d hope that pursuing a path to uphold your morals gives you a strength of conviction that an unscrupulous person lacks.
Red Data Girl Ep. 12 There are times when we feel helpless and it seems all we do is hurt those around us. But we are never truly alone.

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Anime of the Week (5/26 – 6/1)

Anime of the Week – Attack on Titan
Mikasa embraces Eren Real friends are there for each other in their darkest moments to pull them back from the brink of the abyss. It’s very powerful to watch these brave young men and women assess their situation, develop a strategy with the limited resources available to them and put it into action (not without a few problems to be addressed along the way). And in the end, it’s also nice to be reminded that sometimes the little things are what’s most important.                              
May 26 HenNeko Ep. 7 We may long for someone to love us, but it isn’t something that can be forced. You have to let it happen naturally.
Red Data Girl Ep. 10 We can seek the advice of our friends and family, but at the end of the day we are responsible for our own decisions.
May 27 Attack on Titan Ep. 8 My prediction was spot-on that Eren had turned into a titan, but Mikasa’s reunion was more touching than I expected.
Gargantia Ep. 8 Ledo is much more complicated than he appears at first glance. He’s not fighting for the glory, but to protect humanity.
May 28 Date A Live Ep. 9 It bothers me that Ratatosk had a way of preventing space quakes for some time, but hasn’t been using it for some reason.
May 30 Samurai Bride Ep. 8 It’s disappointing to see a series with a strong first season get such a lacking sequel. Even the ecchi feels lazy.
June 1 Railgun S Ep. 8 Justice without power is impotent. Power without justice is tyranny. Misaka is power and justice combined in one person.
Maou-sama Ep. 9 Other than being ironically creative in its reinterpretations, I didn’t see anything that was essential to the story.
Crime Edge Ep. 9 Though it’s not the most eloquent of stories, this anime nonetheless still manages to have its touching moments.
Red Data Girl Ep. 11 Isn’t it better to trust in how things actually are than to deceive ourselves and others with preferable, wistful lies?
Leviathan Ep. 7 This series isn’t very sophisticated, but because it knows it isn’t supposed to be sophisticated it’s still fun to watch.

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Anime of the Week (5/12 – 5/18)

Anime of the Week – Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
Accelerator reflects Misaka's railgun Nothing makes your heart stick in your throat more painfully than having a righteous cause, but finding yourself powerless in the face of your seemingly invincible adversary. But giving up never enters into Misaka’s mind and I can’t wait to see how she puts that fighting spirit to good use.                              
May 12 Leviathan Ep. 6 I’ve been wondering how these reluctant girls were going to get roped into saving the world… but who’s the kid?
HenNeko Ep. 5 It’s a real treat to watch Yukari Tamura do her tsundere. And Azusa also shows how to turn things around when plans go awry.
May 13 Gargantia Ep. 6 It’s my theory that the Hidiaazu are not aliens, but are a species from the Earth that hitchhiked with humanity into space.
Attack on Titan Ep. 6 Yes, yes. Backstory is important and we’ve established that Mikasa is badass. Now can we finally start moving forward?
May 15 Samurai Bride Ep. 6 Another second season that’s not living up to its predecessor because the writers just wander aimlessly without focus.
Devil Survivor 2 Ep. 6 We’re missing a lot of the complexity the characters showed in the game through their relationships with Hibiki.
May 16 Yuyushiki Ep. 5 If anyone is interested in how my thought process works while I’m brainstorming, watch this anime. It’s about like that.
May 18 Date A Live Ep. 7 What this series was missing has arrived—a sense of foreboding and dread that has really ratcheted up the suspense.
Crime Edge Ep. 7 We shouldn’t become overwhelmed by our jealousy of what others have, but instead pursue that desire in our own way.
Railgun S Ep. 6 If we can draw a clear line between chemistry and biology, why is it so hard to draw the line between animal and human?
Maou-sama Ep. 7 In the words of Elie Wiesel, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference,” which is why Emi still cares about Sado.
Red Data Girl Ep. 9 I don’t get the impression a deific being would enjoy empty flattery, but it would be foolish to make her angry, too.
Samurai Bride Ep. 7 With the plot finally starting to get rolling, it feels like the first half of this series was just wasting time.

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Anime of the Week (5/5 – 5/11)

Anime of the Week – Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
Misaka plays happy slaps with her clone. A terrific balance of comedy and philosophical quandaries juxtaposed by some sinister dealings to maximize the tension level, last week’s episode was a perfect example of why the Toaru franchise is brilliant.                              
May 5 Leviathan Ep. 5 Don’t you hate it when everyone goes fishing, you’re all using the same bait, but you’re the only one who can’t catch one?
HenNeko Ep. 4 After Yokodera got his facade back so easily, I was worried the conflicts in this story weren’t resolving dramatically enough.
Red Data Girl Ep. 4 What is going on here? There’s a lot of people with supernatural connections at this school, but who regulates it all?
Red Data Girl Ep. 5 Why is it so viscerally satisfying to see an egotistical overachiever get brought down by an unexpected turn of events?
Red Data Girl Ep. 6 If we learned anything from Totoro its when anime gets too deep into its own mythology it starts making its own rules.
Red Data Girl Ep. 7 I always find it interesting to think about the various ways we apply morality differently to animals and humans.
Yuyushiki Ep. 3 To anyone who decides to come to Japan from June to September: be prepared for hot, humid, energy-draining weather.
Muromi-san Ep. 2 I wish I’d been able to made the connection between “leviathan” and “Levia-san” without having to get it explained.
May 6 Gargantia Ep. 5 So even Gargantia has a red-light district. They said it’s good for him, but talk about throwing Ledo into the deep end.
Attack on Titan Ep. 5 Just what are these titans? The story is trying to explain them, but in doing so it may demystify them too much.
May 7 Yuyushiki Ep. 4 Unlike Yuzuko, I very much like wearing my glasses because it has the additional side-effect of making me look smart.
May 8 OreGairu Ep. 3 It’s said that discretion is the better part of valor, but sometimes the situation calls for standing up for what is right.
May 10 Crime Edge Ep. 6 Women are often accused of forcing men to be mind readers, but that doesn’t mean males can’t make their own feelings clear.
Maou-sama Ep. 6 Ugh. As episodes that connect story arcs go, this was poor. I see where they’re coming from and going to far too clearly.
May 11 Date A Live Ep. 6 What happened? Was this episode concepted by the writer’s teenage son? Even as onsen episodes go, this is darned campy.
Railgun S Ep. 5 It’s interesting to consider just how much of our personalities are determined by our upbringing and how much is DNA.
Red Data Girl Ep. 8 It seems to be human nature to resist change at every opportunity. But we need to accept that change is inevitable.

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Spring 2013 Recommendations

I had unbelievably low expectations going into this season because the only titles I recognized from my previous experiences with anime, manga, games or image boards were Railgun, Devil Survivor, Samurai Bride and OreImo.  Of those, only the first two filled me with optimism.  However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover spring 2013 to have a lot of gorgeous gems that I never expected to find.

Ledo defeats the pirates1. Suisei no Gargantia

A mecha story about a clash of cultures.  I know this is going to be awesome because I keep rewatching every episode over and over again to soak up the writing, which masterfully interweaves the exposition of the beautifully expansive setting with moving the plot forward at a steady pace.

Misaka an company enjoy beautiful Academy City2. A Certain Scientific Railgun S

Mikoto Misaka is possibly one of the best designed characters in the history of anime.  Proud but not boastful, rich but not extravagant, powerful but still humble, she was the centerpiece of an awesome story in her first season and I expect to see nothing less from the sequel.

Overlord Satan considers using his powers to fix the deep-fryer3. Hataraku Maou-sama

A once powerful overlord brought low finds there’s more to life than he thought he knew.  Humbled by the circumstances he finds himself in, will he be able to reform his ways or is his darker nature all there is to him?


Kiri protects Iwai4. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Contrary to what other reviewers have said, this anime is not about magic scissors that can cut otherwise indestructible hair. It’s a delicate dance of opposites attracted to one another who create a beautifully poetic symmetry through their partnerships.


The fleshy titan is back and this time Eren is ready5. Attack on Titan

In a word…EPIC.  In this world of vengeance it’s go big or go home as the last stronghold of mankind literally stands with their backs against the wall to fight what by all rights ought to be an insurmountable foe.


Touka goes on a date with Shidou6. Date A Live

While not the most sophisticated of premises, applying dating game logic to real life yields some surprisingly comical interactions.  But the real treat in this series is how well it manages to tell a story through the actions of the characters rather than having to walk the viewer through every detail.

Tsukiko is annoyed with Youto7. The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat

The strength of some series lies in their art style, others have great music and still others have amazing writing.  This show does respectably in the first three categories, but where it’s impressive is in watching its terrific cast of voice actors practice their craft.

Yukari and Yuzuko borrow some of Yui's hair8. Yuyushiki

There hasn’t been a really good moe anime since Acchi Kocchi, but this title is showing promising signs with its freshly endearing art style and story that randomly follows the daily lives of the trio of quirky girls that make up the primary cast.


Izumiko dances and flowers bloom9. Red Data Girl

On the surface this is just a pretty environment that is dominated by an ominous and foreboding atmosphere, but dig deeper and you’ll find it’s one of those tense stories where emotions run high and the ability of the writer to make the audience feel for the characters is paramount.

Honorable Mentions

Zettai Boei Leviathan ∙ Devil Survivor 2 ∙ Samurai Bride ∙ Muromi-san ∙ My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Anime of the Week (4/14 – 4/20)

Anime of the Week – The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat
Tsukiko eats a pork bun After a great opening week in which we saw the rest of the spring 2013 anime air their first episodes, week two had nothing really outstanding. So I’m choosing HenNeko because Yukari Tamura sings the opening theme and it’s so happy it makes me forget all my troubles.                              
April 15 HenNeko Ep. 1 Despite its overly forthcoming start that follows the uncomplicated title, the premise and characters have a definite charm.
OreGairu Ep. 1 After OreShura finished last season, I’m surprised to see another story about a high school romance SNAFU I can relate to.
April 16 OreImo 2 Ep. 2 I guess the lesson all of us otaku need to take away from this is not to act like the characters in our favorite series.
OreGairu Ep. 2 These people TOTALLY remind me of how I was in high school. I never tried to appease others and I always spoke my mind.
Arata Ep. 1 While it looks interesting, all I see is a lineup of boss characters for our hero Arata to finish off before the season ends.
Arata Ep. 2 There really is a missed opportunity for more focus on Arata’s culture shock instead of Hinohara’s confused and whiny demeanor.
Attack on Titan Ep. 2 Ok, now that this tragic story summary is out of the way, it’s time for Eren to start working on his revenge.
April 17 Yuyushiki Ep. 1 What a curious way of drawing people. Compare the characters’ heads to any other anime and you’ll see they have no skulls.
Red Data Girl Ep. 1 There’s just enough mystery in the setting and heroine plus disgust towards the antagonist to get me to keep watching.
April 18 Red Data Girl Ep. 2 What an underhanded catch-22. In trying to get away from Izumiko, Sagara has gotten involved in something over his head.
April 19 Crime Edge Ep. 1 At its start, this series is relying quite heavily on its weird premise, but it’s complimented by some good acting.
April 20 Railgun S Ep. 2 If there’s anything to be learned from Railgun’s first season, it’s that every petty crime is a small part of a bigger one.
Valvrave Ep. 1 The concept of some random high schooler just hopping into a mecha and having no trouble piloting it is hard to swallow.
Majestic Prince Ep. 1 Yech. Talk about a hard-to-swallow premise. A bunch of screw-ups get selected for a suicide mission and they succeed?
Maou-sama Ep. 3 They say love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin, but I hope that’s not the case with Maou and Emi.
Red Data Girl Ep. 3 Rather than actually telling a story, this series seems to be visiting all the usual set pieces associated with Shinto.

*Keep up to date with my daily mini-reviews by following me on Twitter.