A Look Back at the Anime of 2013: The Good, The Bad, and The Titans

attack-on-titanThere is a certain melancholy feeling I get when I look back on a year. It’s all flown by so fast and somehow didn’t go how I expected.

Goodness, remember all the anime I recommended for the beginning of the year (Spring Anime 2013)? I didn’t end up following any of them. One or two episodes was as far as I got on most of them.

I didn’t even watch the now popular Attack on Titan.

So what did I watch?

For the spring season, as mentioned, a lot of one episode hit and runs from “the Hentai Prince and Stony Cat” (blow up doll sacrifice to a tree….yeeeeah) to “Uta-Pri 2000%” (doki doki 4ever) to “Dansei Bunri no Crime Edge” (scissors!) and Valvrave the Liberator (vampire mechs). Somehow, none of them were holding my interest. Maybe I’m getting too picky in my old age, but even the first episode of Attack on Titan was too much for my nerves. I have watched some rather graphic and violent stuff in the past, but somehow seeing a human eaten was too disturbing for a poor college kid trying to stay upbeat and happy during her last semester.

So I watched happy things, like Hataraku Maou-sama! and My Teen Romantic Comedy Is Wrong as I Expected (aka: SNAFU).

Pic1aHataraku Maou-sama! ended up being better than many of us expected. The idea of a great dark demon lord becoming a part timer at a fast food place seems more absurd than interesting, but the show turns into something heartwarming and fun for all the characters. It makes heroes and villain rethink their motivation and be able to, for once, make their own decisions in life.

SNAFU was appealing not because it was an outstanding anime, but because it had great characters, a great plot, and a solid drive to keep it going. The show was clever and fun, yet it also addressed relationships, mainly friendships, and how to make them work in a setting where perfect friendships are impossible.

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet was another series I checked out, but it was a mixed bag for me. The characters were interesting, the story was good, but it didn’t strike a chord with me until the ending episodes. The end was great, but I somehow wished we had gotten there somewhat earlier. XD

For summer, there were quite a few unexpectedly good series. And no, I’m not talking about that swimming anime (I mean, it was good to, but er…). The summer of 2013 brought us Uchouten Kazoku, Servant X Service, and Kitaku-bu Katsudou Kiroku.

29071-Uchoten-Kazoku-01Uchouten Kazoku was translated by Crunchyroll to “Eccentric Family”, and while not an accurate translation of “uchouten” (which means literally “ecstasy”), I think it captures the show rather well. The kanji for uchouten (有頂天) literally breaks down to “possessing the heavens on your head”. Thus it could be said that a family who possess something like that will probably be a bit eccentric or even idiots (as they do call themselves) that take pride in able to living to their fullest potential, even as tanuki. I would even go so far as to rank this the top anime of 2013 for me.

Servant X Service had a slow and rocky start, even as a light romantic comedy. Granted, it had a tough act to follow from the fans who are still wishing for a Working! Season 3. I actually dropped it for a while because the behaviors of one of the characters in particular irked me too much. But, after hearing it did improve, I picked it up again and found the show develop into a charming and sweet story about people learning about what’s really important in life. Though the stuffed bunny manager may still need some time to sort his own issues out, at least the main characters find some resolution.

Now, for an anime I’m sure I’m the only one who watched, Kitaku-bu Katsudou Kiroku (known as “The Chronicles of the Going Home Club”). This was a fun comedy that referenced everything from “Star Wars” to “Saw” to various other anime, including Giant Robo at one time. The plot was simple, a group of high school girls who formed a “going home club” (a term used in Japanese for someone who is not part of a club), where they address the important issues of life like feeding pigeons, playing video games, and figuring out how to make their anime not canceled. 51a53ea8c166c4466b4b10df83670c111371267420_full

It was a fun ride and something to follow the fun times that the GJ-bu anime gave me last year.

The summer season would not be complete without KyoAni’s swimming anime Free! that left anime fans everywhere in tears of joy (or sadness). And that’s before we even knew what the anime was about! Free! was like a fun summer; full of pools and swimming kids, sunshine and barbeques. But like every season, summer has to end. It’s sad to see it go, but you know it will be back next year. Or so the rumors say…

And finally, here we are, at the tail end of the chilly fall season, where I’ve actually fallen a bit behind in my watching because of the big months of November and December are always busy for me. But don’t worry, I’ll catch up in January when I have nothing else to do (besides the new winter anime!). XD

But here’s a preview of what I have been trying to keep up with.

1387889889_kyoukai_no_kanataKyoukai no Kanata: KyoAni revives after a long summer of boys in swimsuits to bring us a fantasy series with a blood wielding girl in glasses. One thing I will give KyoAni, no matter the setting, they can still make great story full of friendship, happiness, sadness, love and really pretty animation. While not the best KyoAni show by far, it made me happy to see a supernatural setting again (see: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) as well as a hopeful and happy ending.

I’m a sucker for happy endings.

Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~: According to some friends, I really need to catch up on this one. I believe this is a reboot of sorts to an older series of the same name, but I’m finding this one much more exciting and thrilling. It has action, drama, and just enough mystery to keep the plot interesting and moving forward at a steady, quick pace. It’s about a town where humans and youkai (spirit monsters) exist in peace. Our main characters have the job of helping to maintain this peace, but there are currently unknown forces trying to disrupt this peace. Our heroes must find out who’s behind it and quickly.

Gingitsune: I’m watching this more for the calm feel and interesting characters. While not as lovely as Natsume Yuujinchou, the day to day adventures that a girl and a shrine herald come across are heartwarming in a way.

Kill la Kill: I feel like my morals are questioned every time I watch a new episode of this show. Undoubtedly created by a studio containing Gainax members that worked on shows like Gurren Lagann, Trigger debuts a full length series that is much different than their kick-starter, Little Witch Academia.tumblr_mmje5edfpD1rw9b6io1_1280

Once this show is over, I hope I’ll be able to put all the pieces together and find some deep meaning in this show. It feels like it’s trying to tell me something, but all the fanservice seems to be burying any important meaning. Granted, Medaka Box still somehow shined even through it’s fanservice.

But overall, Kill la Kill is about breaking out of a mold, living your own life, never giving up and of course, the power of friendship.

Or it could all a conflict of whether clothes are important in life or not. Only time will tell.

So what about you? What were the hit and misses of 2013? What anime did you enjoy this year? Did you have any anime that surprised you? 

11 thoughts on “A Look Back at the Anime of 2013: The Good, The Bad, and The Titans

  1. I also watched Chronicles of the Going Home Club. It started off kind of weak but got better as it went along, especially once it hit episode 7 and the epic shiritori battle. All in all, I say I enjoyed it.

    1. Yay, I wasn’t alone!
      The Going Home Club was a nice relaxing and fun show to watch every week, I think. XD The shiritori battle was definitely one of my favorite moments as well. I didn’t think anything could replace the shiritori battle in Nichijou as the best, but the one in Going Home Club took the cake.

    2. I really liked it too, I was actually sad when it ended. Not many shows have such an easy going, and lighthearted attitude.

    1. And thank you for commenting! 😀
      I remember being quite skeptical when I first watched Hataraku Maou-sama, but it ended up being a great comedy with excellent timing and smart writing. It’s a short series, so definitely worth the watch.

  2. Of the ones listed here, the only ones I saw were Kyoukai no Kanata and Kill la Kill (Attack on Titan was mentioned as well, so I guess I could include that too). I tend to enjoy KyoAni series so Kyoukai no Kanata was an enjoyable watch, though admittedly I do feel it didn’t quite get to act on its full potential. Kill la Kill has been a very enjoyable watch for me since it shares quite a few stylistic similarities with Gurren Lagann, my favorite anime. Attack on Titan was quite enjoyable too and a really good adaptation of its manga, though I can’t say I have as much love for it as most of the fanbase, mainly because I feel it didn’t have a long enough runtime to truly develop and get to the parts I loved in the manga.

    Though as far as this year goes, I think my favorites are Monogatari Series: Second Season and Little Busters!: Refrain. Monogatari S2 was a fantastic watch, during the summer I started watching through the Monogatari series and caught up to S2 early in its run, I certainly liked it but did not expect to find something as enjoyable as S2. S2 had so much development and interesting role shifts for its cast that I was captivated by it and by the end, it was easily my favorite of the year. Little Busters!: Refrain was also an amazing experience for me, I’m a big fan of Key series so Refrain was definitely no exception. Refrain was full of development and emotional moments, and while it didn’t quite get to do everything it could have, I still found it to be a really fun watch and very worthwhile.

    It seems like there’s a lot I haven’t seen from 2013 though so I have to go back and check out some of these series sometime.

    1. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed Kyoukai no Kanata (and I agree with you, it could have been a lot more than it was) and Kill la Kill as well.
      Concerning Attack on Titan, you may be confirming what I feared about me watching the series. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the manga. Thus I wonder if I do read the manga, will I enjoy the anime more? Granted, if I couldn’t stomach the anime, I’m not sure if I could handle the manga. But it seems like a series with a lot of interesting themes in it, so I hope to finally watch it in the future.

      Thank you for bring up Monogatari S2! I just now remembered i was going to mention it in my post, but never did. D: Probably because I would way too much to say about it and the post was getting too long already. XD; But it was one of my favorite series of the season as well, mainly because it had one of favorite character arcs, Tsubasa Tiger.

      I think I gave up on Little Busters after the first series didn’t catch my interest after the first few episodes. I did hear stories that Refrain was much much better, though. Would I have to watch the first series to watch/understand Refrain?

      Thank you for you reply! ^_^

      1. As far as Attack on Titan goes, I’d say I enjoyed the manga more than the anime, but that’s primarily because the anime only has one season of material to work with right now. Considering it’s very likely that an S2 is on the way with AoT’s great success (well, once the manga progresses enough at least) I think it’s very possible I’d put the anime over the manga once that happens. The anime has much nicer visuals (especially compared to the really rough art of the manga early on, but this does improve) as well as a really good soundtrack to go along with it all. If you do end up reading the manga, it’s probably a better idea to wait on watching the anime. One of the big reasons I didn’t enjoy the anime as much (aside from its storytelling limitations like I mentioned before) was that I already read the manga so there weren’t any surprises. And this was considering the fact that it was around 2 years after I started reading the manga that I saw the anime, so I’d forgotten a lot. It’d be a much less engaging watch with the manga material fresh in your mind. If you end up watching the anime first, you could probably just wait for the second season to come out. In the very strange situation that it doesn’t, the manga is a fantastic read and the material beyond the first season was exceptional in my eyes so it’s definitely worth it.

        Monogatari S2 was a really nice watch indeed. Tsubasa Tiger was a really good arc and I loved how the Hanekawa development progressed with it all, the last episode of the arc was really powerful in particular. My favorite arc of S2 (and the series actually) would be Hitagi End though, it really added new dimensions to multiple characters and was just a fantastic conclusion to S2. Kaiki also became my favorite character of the series with how it played out.

        LB! S1 wasn’t the greatest of watches (and while I did enjoy it a good amount, I wouldn’t put it on the level of most Key anime) but Refrain really went above and beyond in my opinion. Refrain really is the culmination of all the events and a really moving story. The greatest moments of the series are definitely in Refrain and I felt it lived up to the other Key stories. And I’d say you definitely have to watch the first season to get the most out of it, Refrain is only 13 episodes so much of the development for the heroines takes place in the first season. It loses a lot of impact without getting to know the characters and seeing their stories before the big events of the anime take place. Even with Refrain, I’ve heard a lot of VN fans complain about how it was all adapted (though I personally found Refrain to be an amazing watch), so I suppose if S1 really does feel like a drag to watch, the VN might be a better option. To be honest, it probably is the best way to go, but I haven’t actually played the VN myself so I wouldn’t know. There’s the issue of time as well, the VN is probably a great deal longer than the anime was so if you do play that, it will probably take a while to complete.

        No problem, it’s always nice discussing the wonders of the new anime. Well, anime in general really.

      2. I don’t think you’d have to watch the first series, except the last few episodes, to “get” Refrain, but you certainly wouldn’t feel as emotionally connected to the characters, and for Key that’s everything. I think you made the wise choice in skipping Little Busters – the first season was horrendous (though JP would say otherwise).

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