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. For Day 4, Irothtin watched like two episodes of everything. Here’s what he thought was OK.
What a year, huh? As per usual, there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t watch that I’m sure everyone else is talking about, and I’m just fine with that. Alas, I’m consequently known as the perennial hater among the Glorio crew, either disliking everything or dismissing it as merely “okay” (“I watched like two episodes”). I assure you this isn’t true (mostly)! There are some things I do like! That’s why I have so many negative awards in this post. Wait, that came out wrong. Regardless, read ahead to find out some of the things I really liked and some of the things I really didn’t over 2013. Can you guess the handful of shows I actually watched?
And so, in no particular order…
An anime is only as good as it’s opening sequence. Okay, that’s not true at all, but a good OP can get me stoked for the upcoming episode like nothing else. Seeing as how I’m not really a fan of what were highly regarded recent OPs (see Guilty Crown and Monogatari), instead enjoying older styles, you can probably see where this is going.
Winner: Bloody Stream – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
I already talked about this one in an OP/EDs post, but it truly deserve this award. I said back then that Bloody Stream was “a crazed, psychedelic romp through the utter silliness that is the Battle Tendency arc, full of colorful silhouettes and bombastic action,” and every word of that is still true. It was pure fun and got me fired up to watch the episode that followed it every week, which is exactly what a good OP should do.
Runner Up: Space Battleship Yamato 2199
Yamato 2199‘s OP is a full-on remake of the original 70s number, with Isao Sasaki once again providing his excellent voice. It was good then, it’s good now, and it’ll be good for all time.
Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~, Log Horizon
Sometimes, you just never expect what will end up good, especially since I’m rather skeptical of almost every single show these days. If I had never given some shows a chance, I wouldn’t have had some of my favorite anime experiences this year. I learned my lesson to not judge too quickly, I suppose.
Winner: Love Lab
Biggest sleeper hit of the year, by far. I usually haaaaaate dumb schoolgirl comedies, but Love Lab somehow hit the sweet spot of humor and drama without pandering to the typically creepy fanbase. It was funny, heartwarming, and utterly unexpected.
Runner Up: Golden Time
I didn’t like Toradora!, so I didn’t expect to like Golden Time. But the characters ring true (if overblown), and Golden Time managed to get me angrier (in a good way!) than any other show this year. I’m completely invested in Tada Banri’s twisted romance at this point.
Samurai Flamenco, Majestic Prince
As a person who already hates everything, a show has to screw up pretty badly for me to consider it a disappointment.
Winner: Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
I usually love Type-Moon. This is Type-Moon, but is fucking terrible. Do the math.
Runner Up: Beyond The Boundary
The original commercial and the trailers leading up to this show filled me with hope that KyoAni could avoid most of the narrative pitfalls their shows usually fall into, but the first few episodes proved that they stuck to what they knew would work and what I knew I’d dislike.
Tamako Market, The World God Only Knows: Goddesses
-Worst Ear Worm-
THESE SONGS WON’T GET OUT OF MY HEAD ARRRGH
Winner: Love Shitai! – Love Lab
While it’s generally a rather mundane and forgettable OP, Love Lab as a show just stood out in my mind so much that the intro song did as well. I still don’t know why. Arrrrgh.
Runner Up: Database – Log Horizon
DATABASE DATABASE JUST SAY WOW WOW WOW WOW
all quartets lead to the? – Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~, Stand UP ED! – Ixion Saga DT
-Best Title Drop-
What better way to tell a scene is important than dropping the title of the work? Done poorly, I just end up rolling my eyes, but when done well the title drop can be a truly great.
Winner: “My guild’s name is…” – Log Horizon
This moment was absolutely brilliant. I was already sold on Log Horizon, but this shot it immediately up to my top five of 2013. The call back to an earlier scene, the emotional catharsis of the entire episode, and the opening notes of the ED song made this unquestionably one of my favorite moments in anime.
Runner Up: “You truly are a…” – Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
To be honest I made this category just because I wanted to feature the Log Horizon bit, but this was okay too I guess. I’m the only one around here who reads the Magi manga, so this in medias res bit of Aladdin cutting loose was a great indicator of things to come. Especially since the first half has been somewhat dull…
“Launch!” – Yamato 2199, Anytime anybody says the title – Samurai Flamenco
Sometimes you wonder just how something so disjointed got approved to air on television. This is for shows where maybe the writing wasn’t garbage, but the package said writing was delivered in is shoddy.
Winner: Tokyo Ravens
How this show mangled its pacing so much, I’ll never know. Half the episodes ended on cliffhangers that were resolved in the lamest ways possible in the next, and overall it was just a miserable train wreck. Any fun to be had watching Tokyo Ravens was derived from mocking it.
Runner Up: Maoyu
This story wasn’t meant to be in a weekly serial format, and it shows. Episodes cut off at seemingly random points, and the entire show just up and ends without any real sort of dramatic climax. It’s a pity, since the story itself isn’t bad. Blame the studio for this one, I say.
BlazBlue Alter Memory, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic
These shows are perhaps not the smartest or most ambitious things in the world, but they’re sure as hell fun.
Winner: Kill La Kill
Kill la Kill oozes spirit with every low-budget frame, embracing the lack of funds instead of being bound by it. Well, KLK is clearly still bound by Trigger not having money, but it’s fun as all hell. Few other anime can bring a smile to my face so quickly.
Runner Up: Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~
Yozakura Quartet is equally as spirited as Kill la Kill, just not as high profile. Despite problems, it remains an incredibly fun show to watch. I just wish they were less enthusiastic about panties…
Little Witch Academia, Love Lab
Winner: “Graceful Like A Swan” – Love Lab
This single moment sold me on the entire show, and it still makes me laugh. I can’t fathom why I found it so hilarious, but I was in utter stitches when I watched the first episode. Only a few jokes throughout Love Lab reached the same level.
Runner Up: Tea Club – Golden Time
Everything about the crazed, party-heavy Tea Club in Golden Time is hilarious, and their first appearance managed to turn every following one into a punch line. The one that really takes the cake though is in the sixth episode, where Tada Banri sacrifices his friends to their dark rituals. I was practically on the floor laughing, and it only made the subsequent mood whiplash hit harder.
Armored Bus – Kill la Kill, Tequila Joseph – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
-Best “Hell Yeah” Moment-
Winner: Volcanic Eruption – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
This moment exemplified the silliness and greatness that is JoJo: an immortal super-vampire is tricked into using a magic solar-powered martial art to activate a volcano, which summarily blasts him into deep space, all while one of the greatest anime songs in recent memory plays in the background.
Runner Up: SHOCKWAAAVES – Kill La Kill
One of my favorite stupid things about anime is when someone throws an attack that’s blocked or dodged, and the strength behind the attack causes a massive backblast or shockwave. In the third episode of KLK, Trigger goes all-out with this shit and I thought it was amazing. The rest of that fight was cool too, I guess.
Shiroe buys the Guild Building – Log Horizon, Wave Motion Gun – Space Battleship Yamato 2199
-Most Mindblowing Moment-
Sometimes you can only barely process what just happened on the screen. Under normal circumstances Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors would have won this by a landslide after I picked up the game at Anime Expo, but it wasn’t released in 2013! Alas, instead we have to settle for stuff that happened in actual anime. Here’s what made my brain break momentarily after I watched it.
Winner: Guillotine Gorilla – Samurai Flamenco
Considering this moment, perhaps this should be the “Most Shocking Swerve” award? In any case, Samurai Flamenco making the jump from Toku spoof to full-out animated Toku was absolutely ridiculous and completely unforeseen.
Runner Up: Time Travel Reality Marble – C3-Bu
To sum up, after three episodes of (relatively) mundane airsoft fun times, Yura deploys her Reality Marble and changes history by opening fire on Genpei forces with an airsoft submachinegun possessed by the ghost of a feudal archer. It was certainly a thing, and the moment brought C3-Bu to my attention. Too bad it managed to lose it again after the next episode.
Everything – Valverave the Liberator, Nui Harime – Kill la Kill
-Best Random Manga-
This manages to comprise the bulk of Random Manga Theatre, seeing as how two-thirds of the entire feature has been in 2013. It seems to be the norm that the Random Button enjoys seeing me suffer, but occasionally I managed to find a manga that I truly enjoyed and would have never known about on my own. I just have to keep telling myself the few diamonds in the rough are worth suffering for.
Winner: One Punch Man
Apparently this was making the rounds on 4chan long before I found it, but I’d never heard of One Punch Man before it came up on my monitor. It’s a re-drawing of a popular webcomic, and overall a pretty excellent series. Murata’s artwork is mind-blowingly good, and the story is a fun riff on superheroes. I enjoyed OPM enough to keep reading it today, and that’s a worthy indicator of something pretty great.
Runner Up: Rock n’ Roll Ricky
A washed-up everyman rock musician who decides he wants to make something of his life? Sign me up! RRR was a ton of fun to read, even if it started to go downhill about halfway through, and it’s easily one of my favorite random manga.
-Best Anime-Themed Board Game-
What? It’s a fun game! And it came out in 2013, I checked!
Winner: Channel A
Playing Channel A with a bunch of friends and strangers at Anime Expo was some of the most fun I had all year. One person picks two “genre” cards (ranging anywhere from Super Robot to Boys Love to Steampunk), and everyone else has to jury rig a title out of their limited word cards and come up with a synopsis for their fake anime. Right around when I came up with Creamy Cowboy, the Western-themed Boys Love show, I decided this was a pretty amazing game.
-Best Show I Watched At The Last Minute-
Winner: Space Battleship Yamato 2199
There’s a reason Space Battleship Yamato is considered the classic sci-fi anime. ‘Nuff said.