You are now entering the Nine Days of GLORIO, our non-stop year in review. Each day for the rest of 2013, a member of the Glorio crew will share some of their highlights from the past 12 months, all culminating in our Top 10 Anime of the Year. First up is Jel with a random mix of awards he made up to blab about things he likes.
The Honorable Mentions
Most HNNNGGG Worthy Moment
Haruka’s Decision (Kotoura-san)
There’s probably a dozen moments I could have chose from Kotoura-san, but I decided to go with my gut and pick the first thing that came to mind. In episode 9 Haruka is feeling uneasy after reading the mind of criminal and asks Manabe to stay with her. In some ways this makes her even more frightened, but after deliberating in her mind she finally just yells “whatever happens, happens!” and that kind of sums up why I love the romance in Kotoura-san. The relationship between Haruka and Manabe is totally natural and the way their personalities mesh make them the most adorable couple of 2013.
Best Finishing Move
RAILGUNS… IN… SPAAAAACE (A Certain Scientific Railgun S)
Coming into the return of Railgun this year, the previous series was still the defending champion in this category in my book. Mikoto’s super railgun against Telestina was one of the best finishing blows in recent memory, and Railgun S takes the formula to the next level. Instead of a coin or one measly robot part, she launches an entire giant transforming robot at an incoming orbital warhead… IN SPACE. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more over the top attack this year.
Best Opening Song From An Otome Game Adaptation
“Zoetrope” by Nagi Yanagi (Amnesia)
From what I can tell, Amnesia actually made some attempt at being a legitimate series beyond being a showcase for attractive, starry eyed boys. While most people might think they failed, it does it mean we got a pretty cool opening song from ex-Supercell songstress Nagi Yanagi. OK, I’ll be honest I totally made this award up because I am love with her crystal clear voice, and for the record zoetropes are pretty cool too.
Best Opening Song That Was Better Than The Actual Series
“ViViD” by May’n (Blood Lad)
When this OP was circulating around to promote the show, I must admit it got me pretty excited. I couldn’t help being drawin in by the colorful, stylized art and May’n’s super powerful voice. Sadly Blood Lad didn’t pan out to be as good as I had hoped, but at least we got this cool May’n song out of it.
Best Evolution Joke
Lungs are for Losers (Muromi-san)
I could tell from the beginning Muromi-san was going to exceed my expectations, but Muromi’s flashback to her deadbeat, mid-evolutionary boyfriend in episode 3 may have been the moment that confirmed it. The way they so casually throw around the idea that she’s existed since THE BEGINNING OF TIME and establish her undying hatred of sea mammals made it clear Muromi-san is something special.
Best Side Story
Momedai’s Love Song (Tamako Market)
For as down as some people can be on Tamako Market, it did handle some aspects of the story incredibly well. My personal favorite was how they approached the loss of Tamako’s mother, which clearly affected the family but did not destroy or define them. This was best hammered home in episode 9 when we flashback to Tamako’s parents’ school days and how they got together. Momedai was able to recall his love song with some tears, but also with a smile. For me, it was easily the best part of the series and one of my favorite moments of the year.
Best “Meta” Moment
Rika Beats Up the Harem Protagonist (Haganai NEXT)
Breaking or bending the fourth wall can be tricky as it’s too easy to come off as lazy or self indulgent. Haganai, however, used it in the final episode to justify its own existence. Rika not only calls out the Kodaka for his indecision, she calls out the entire idea that you can be nice to a bunch of girls that have feelings for you and just expect everything to work itself out. The series always had a little satirical subtext lurking inside of it, but bringing it to the forefront cast Haganai in a whole new, better light.
If looking at their face makes you want to have their babies, you’re in love with them. It’s that simple. – Karen Araragi, Nekomonogatari Black
Best Game Adaptation
Next topic please.
Best Anime to Make You Quit Anime
Oreimo Season 2
I’ve already wasted more words on Oreimo than I care to think about it, but if you’re thinking about giving up anime and need one last push you can’t do better (worse?) than this. You can read our final impressions for details why, but it’s a definitive example of so many things people hate about present day anime and just bad storytelling in general. Oreimo Season 2 is far and away the worst anime I’ve watched all year, possibly of all time.
The Actual Honorable Mention Award
Stella Women’s Academy High School Division Class C3
With their previous staff grabbing headlines at Trigger and a relatively inexperienced crew at the helm, C3-bu was all set to be an embarrasing stain on Gainax’s downslide. Instead, the series showed the old studio might have some fight left in it. C3-bu is by no means a masterpiece, but once the story turns into some classic Gainax trolling it becomes clear the series is more than just “K-ON! with guns”. Yura’s path from shy wallflower to fierce warrior definitely deserves a little acknowledgement for exceeding everyone’s expectations.
A Couple of NOT ANIME Awards
Best (and Only) Manga I Read From This Year
Binbougami Ga! by Yoshiaki Sukeno
OK, I don’t read manga, but as regular Glorio Blog readers may know I really love Binbougami. I broke down and read the source material, which ended this July, and I’m really glad I did. Everything that made the anime so funny and charming is only amplifed as the series progresses, all culminating in a sweet and satisfying conclusion. The only negative is I’m now sad we have no word on a second season of anime. If you liked the anime I definitely recommend checking out the manga, and I would love to pick it up should it ever get published in English someday.
Best Most Controversial Video Game
Dragon’s Crown is an addictive, beautifully crafted homage to the side scrolling beat ‘em up games of my youth. However, there are problematic aspects of the art style that leave me conflicted. The game is certainly fun to play, but the depictions of food drawn by artist George Kamitani are gross exaggerations of reality. Personally, I find them offensive and degrading to real food. It’s like the images were ripped from some sick Chef’s fantasy, to the point where I don’t know how anyone else could enjoy or appreciate this game.
Some LEGIT Awards
Actual Best Opening Song
“Kogarashi Sentiment” by Chiwa Saito & Shinichiro Miki (Koimonogatari)
In a series know for awesome opening songs, this one just might be best. “Kogarashi Sentiment” does a fantastic job capturing the dangerous, creepy relationship between Kaiki and Senjougahara while alluding to the looming threat posed by Nadeko. Also, that retro effect on the characters is AWESOME.
Best Ending Song
“Sorry, I’m Done Being a Good Kid” by Miku Sawai (Kill la Kill)
Speaking of retro, Kill la Kill’s delightfully old sounding ED makes for a stunning contrast to the series’ in your face, hot blooded style. The visuals and overall tone are notoriously ripped from the low budget 80’s TV series Sukeban Deka, from which you can see a lot of influence when you watch it. Video of the actual Kill la Kill ending is on lockdown (thanks Sony and Aniplex), so check out the equally cool/ridiculously serious Sukeban Deka ending and spot the similarities.
Dogakobo (Love Lab)
YEAH I SAID IT! In a year that brought us several productions from top studios like Kyoto Animation, P.A. Works, and hey I’ll even throw in Trigger, the studio best know for YuruYuri trumped them all. Not only was the animation in Love Lab shockingly great, it helped sell some of the best sight gags I’ve ever seen in an anime. Small details like Riko’s changing hair styles only further helped making what could have been a visually dull show jump off the screen.
Best Voice Acting
Yui Horie, Ai Kayano, et al (Golden Time)
I’m pretty reluctant to give out awards for shows that are still airing, but I have to give credit Golden Time for the fantastic acting in a series that requires both silly comedy and serious drama. It’s awesome to see veteran actress Yui Horie still commanding strong lead roles nearly 20 years after her debut, and Ai Kayano’s bittersweet performance as Linda is cementing her as one of my new favorites. I think I’m going to have a lot more to say about Golden Time around this time next year, and part of that is the stellar voice work from the cast.
Shin Oonuma (Watamote)
Not since Baka and Test (also directed by Oonuma) have I seen one man try this hard to save a series with directing as Shin Oonuma with Watamote. I guess that’s kind of his thing. As the story began to loop around on on the same joke over and over, he pulled out every directorial trick imaginable and probably invented some new ones. Whether it was the shifting art styles or playing with colors or adding other abstract visuals, Watamote was always, at the very least, cool to look at.