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 5, Our go-to man for romance Marlin gives us his favorite moments as well as some other things that he felt worth mentioning.
While 2013 may not have had as many romance shows as the year before, there were still plenty of great gems scattered throughout the season. Plenty of my favorite memories of the past year have been from the development of a good romance show. Kotoura-san surprised us early with a sweet romance about a girl opening up after being hurt in her childhood. Henneko showed us that even the most ridiculous boobs anime can have heart. The Eccentric Family set a fiery will-they-or-won’t-they against the backdrop of a family feud and an adult coming to terms with his family and his place in the world. Just recently, Golden Time showed us how complicated things can get when past emotions meet current mindsets. With that said, there was plenty to give accolades for as this year draws to a close.
Kotoura and Manabe – Kotoura-san
This was the year of the underdog. Coming fresh into the winter season, no one expected anything of Kotoura-san. It would be the first of many shows to bore us with an uninspired premise only to blow away every expectation in its opening salvo. Far from being a cheap gag story that just so happens to have a psychic, Kotoura explored the darker concepts which living as a genuine psychic would bring. In the depths of despair, Kotoura finds trusting anyone hard. In Manabe, she finally finds her rock. Stupid and honest to a fault, he brings a new kind of relationship that Kotoura never expected to see from others. His genuine care for her well-being starts a healing process that eventually allows her to trust in others again. Out of all others, their blossoming romance was by far the most satisfying to see come to fruition.
Most Mature Romance
The Goddess and the Tanuki- The Eccentric Family
The Eccentric Family is the one of the few stories this year that starred legitimate grown ups as opposed to the dime-a-dozen teenagers that usually populate anime. It really shows greatest in the relationships between the Shimogamo family and their rich society, and none more so than the complicated relationship between Yasaburo and Benten. There is an obvious attraction between them, but the baggage both of them bring to the table keeps Yasaburo from pursuing anything further. Benten sees Yasaburo as a kindred spirit. She had known him for some time through Professor Akadama. He is also someone that doesn’t quite fit in his own world like her, and his attempts to undermine it remind her of more carefree days. She also is burdened with some guilt, as her actions with the Friday Fellows hurt his family directly, so she finds it hard to be entirely truthful when dealing with him. It’s a shame the story ended before we got to see more, as that particular dynamic made The Eccentric Family one of the best shows this year.
Most Dysfunctional Relationship
Koko and Banri – Golden Time
Golden Time is probably my favorite straight romance of the year. Not because it is heartwarming, not because it’s adorable, but because it can be depressingly real — Amnesia Ghosts aside, of course. Real relationships can get messy, and so can one’s memories. Tada Banri is easily the least likeable protagonist of a romance I’ve ever seen, and yet that makes him so much more complex than your average nice-guy everyman. He’s a constant maelstrom of emotions, and nowhere is that more visible than his relationship with Koko. Initially desperate to gain her affections, trapped between the lies of his supposed friends and the frustration with his current situation, it’s hard not to see him forcing Koko’s hand in forming this couple.
Despite that, no more than a few episodes afterwards it seems like Koko is the one that actually cares about the relationship. As Tada Banri’s feelings for Linda become stronger and his memories less muddled, he never seems to know what he really wants. This leaves poor Koko at a loss. Now that she has become invested in this relationship, she wants to make it work after her previous attempt so horribly backfired. Unfortunately, we see the exact same reasons why Mitsuo was turned away from her — her pushiness, her possessiveness, her jealousy — but Tada Banri feels too guilty to correct her unhealthy habits. We’re only at the middle of the show and yet things seem to already be full to bursting, so who knows what will happen between these two as time goes on.
The Scene That Made You Give Up On Love
Kyousuke and Kirino Fake Tie the Knot – Oreimo
The Dusk Maiden Award for Excellence in Being Simultaneously Cute and Smutty.
The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat
Man, that was getting kind of depressing there for a moment. Let’s get back to brighter things. Henneko was not a show I expected to enjoy. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that I picked it up from Life mid-season, I may not finished it at all. The initial premise made it seem like it would be another shallow fanservice anime, but after giving it a shot I found an earnest comedy that just wasn’t shy with throwing boobs in your face. Not just stilted one dimensional caricatures, each person had their own fleshed out personalities and inter relationships that endeared you to them. The main relationship between Yoto and Tsukiko itself was so cute that if it weren’t for Kotoura I could have easily seen them winning the prize. If you have the stomach for some awkward fanservice, you can do a whole lot worse than Henneko.
And now on to some other awards of varying degrees of silliness.
Opening Parody of the Century
Shingeki no Bollywood – Attack on Titan
This was one of the first of many to run the gamut after Attack on Titan‘s amazing OP debuted in Spring. It was amazing in its simplicity — all it entailed was scenes cut from some famous Bollywood actor’s movies, put to tempo with the opening music. A similar work was made back when Steins;Gate was around, using the same actor. There’s something just absolutely addicting about watching him in motion, and the content of the scenes is timed perfectly for the stings in the song. It’s no surprise that when we made a blog picking our favorite parodies, Gee immediately called dibs on this masterpiece.
Best Worst Ending
ED3 – Watamote
Watamote was a bit of a disappointing venture for me. I don’t even think I watched much more than a few episodes after this ending before dropping the show. However, this one moment, when they decided to buck the normal ending again and go for something insane, was an earworm that stuck with me for a good week after the episode aired. It’s so fantastically stupid that it hit me just right. I don’t know if it’s the tenor of the singer’s voice, the effects straight out of an 80’s DIY soundboard, or the hilarious subject material, but so much of this is just so stupid that it curls around into amazing.
Most Hypnotizing Gif
Okay, I won’t lie to you. This is just another excuse to post that one gif from Love Lab.
Bouncing Maki – Love Lab
I don’t think any of us at the Glorio Blog can emphasize how blindsided we were by Love Lab. I have always been a sucker for a good schoolgirl comedy, but this show really knocked it out of the park. Marrying the style of a Nichijou-sized budget to Azumanga Daioh-quality substance made for a hilarious and heartwarming show. As with any good show, it spawned a myriad of gifs capturing all the best visual gags the show had to offer, and this particular gif of Maki bouncing around like an adorable spaz always manages to put me in a good mood. You can tell a show is good when even just animation loops can remind you of the joke enough to have you go through countless Youtube videos for the next few hours.
Most Glorious Moment
Eren Moves the Boulder – Attack on Titan
I have a lot of love for Attack on Titan. While the second half may have been disappointing, nothing compares to the feeling I had watching Eren slowly march the boulder towards the wall. It all starts with a low rumble, even the audience doesn’t see what’s going on yet. Then, Eren’s Titan form slowly rises up from the background, with boulder slung on his shoulders. Immediately the music starts to build as the remaining fighters realize they need to go on the attack. Even though people are dying quickly as the Titans start to overwhelm them, they know they are fighting for a bigger goal than themselves. My favorite part of the entire scene is Eren’s speech. Despite how cruel this world is, or perhaps even because of how cruel this world is, we must always fight for our freedom. We must fight so that we can see how beautiful this world can truly be. If Attack on Titan had ended after season one, I assure you it would have been my favorite anime of the year.
Best Use of Homosexuality
Saving Mitsuo’s Privates – Golden Time
Golden Time has had a lot of priceless moments in its short tenure, not least of them being when Tada Banri brought the camp to Tokyo in an effort to save his best bro Mitsuo from some unwanted action. I have called Banri a bastard quite a few times since the show started, but this was the first time the word “Magnificent” accompanied them. That smug smile he slips on as he gets between the pair was absolutely priceless, and Mitsuo’s ability to quickly sell the situation just made it that much more hilarious. Just remember the next time your bro is in a bind, do you have the guts to fake some fabulous and get him out of it?
Only Show I Dropped Even Though I Was Already 11 Episodes In
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
This year sure was full of disappointments from the big names and surprises from the small stuff. Gargantia started out very promisingly as a fish-out-of-water story akin to Dances with Wolves, a man from a technologically superior race coming to live with primitive peoples and see the beauty in their ways. I was loving the clash between Ledo’s Brave New World-esque indoctrination and the understanding he was reaching through interacting with this radically different society. The late season reveal of the Hideauze’s true origin was melodramatic, but worked for the setting and had the right edge of body horror that I could get behind. However, the final switch to the sudden and unannounced arrival of Kugel seemed like a drastic shift from the message the show was trying to send, and put me off from completing even though I had come so close.
Best Imouto, 4th Consecutive Title
Elucia de Lute Ima – The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc
The World God Only Knows is probably one of the best parody shows we will ever see. Its first seasons managed to effortlessly make a show about lampooning romance and visual novel stereotypes while also making genuinely sweet stories. While the latest season was one of my greatest disappointments, the one thing I will never get mad at is the ever loveable Elsie. Normally airheads aren’t my most favorite thing, but Elsie manages to do it in a way that is absolutely adorable. I think part of that comes from the fact that our hero, and I by extension, don’t view her as a romantic interest, but as a goofy and reliable friend. It shows that every time Elsie showed back up in the story were my favorite parts of the new season. She is a fantastic character, and the fact that she had been relegated to the sidelines really bummed me out.
Well, that’s enough from me. Tune in tomorrow when it’s Lifesong’s turn to step up to the bat! I’m almost 99.5% certain there will be something about Outbreak Company.