2013 Anime Year in Review: The Top 10

There’s really only one thing wrong with this year’s #1 series.

Once Shin Sekai Yori was revealed as my #2 anime for 2013, there certainly wasn’t much mystery left about the last entry on the list.  It could only be Coppelion.  Or… not.

#1 – Hunter X Hunter 2011

[HorribleSubs]_Hunter_X_Hunter_-_66_[720p].mkv_snapshot_11.47_[2013.02.10_16.49.42][2] H x H - 68 - 37[2] Hunter - 69 - 42[2]
Hunter X Hunter - 73 -14[2] Hunter X Hunter - 76 - Large 37[2] Hunter X Hunter - 87 -42[2]

Believe it or not, this wasn’t an easy choice.  Both Shin Sekai Yori and Kyousougiga spent some time at the top of my leader board over the last several weeks, as I watched Kyousougiga and weighed the relative merits of three great series in my mind.  But in the end, Hunter X Hunter always won the day. I can only look at what it’s accomplished with an awe that borders on disbelief.

There is the one problem though, as I said – how can I possibly come up with anything new to say about this series whose praises I’ve been singing for 110 weeks?  Hunter X Hunter is, simply, great – a miraculous marriage of a genius mangaka, a top-notch studio that’s budgeted the show generously and a creative team (led by underrated director Koujina Hiroshi) that’s been religiously faithful to the letter and spirit of the manga while making small changes that have almost always been for the better.  In adaptation terms, it’s a perfect storm.

One could ask why H x H was #3 last year and moved up to first in 2013 (while, for example, Chihayafuru dropped 8 places to #10).  There are a few factors I think, the first being that 2012 was a marginally better year than 2013 for anime.  There’s also the fact that the series is defying all precedent by staying this good (and this beautifully animated) for this long – to have been this superb in a second year is an even greater achievement than a first.  But I also believe that, just by the tiniest sliver, Hunter X Hunter has actually been better in 2013 than it was in 2012.  It’s a brutally tough call – “Heaven’s Arena” may be my favorite arc (purely a personal choice) and last year also gave us the tail end of the “Hunter Exam” arc along with “Zoldyck Family” and “York Shin”.  The beginning of 2013 coincides almost perfectly with the start of “Greed Island”, which segued into the ongoing and epic “Chimera Ant” arc.

Damn – how in the world does one choose between those bodies of work?  If there’s anything that nudges this year just slightly into the lead, it’s the fact that the series (because the same is true of the manga) has been a hair more consistent.  That, and because Togashi is such a brilliant writer than he continually builds on what’s come before, and that allows him to take his characters into even deeper and darker psychological territory than he could with the material covered last year.  But truth be told, both years are so stellar that it’s difficult to choose between them.

That gives you an idea of where H x H is now – it’s really only completing against itself and history.  These are the yardsticks now – not whether it was the best show of 2013, but whether it’s the best shounen adaptation of all-time (in my eyes, clearly yes), the best straight manga adaptation ever, and the greatest long-running series ever.  For me Hunter X Hunter’s 2013 was the greatest full year of anime since Cross Game, and even there it’s a photo-finish.  Anime simply don’t do this – no clunker episodes, consistent brilliance, exquisite sakuga animation aplenty – for 110 weeks.  This is the adaptation Togashi’s masterpiece deserves, and the miraculous thing is that it’s the adaptation it’s received.

The future for Hunter X Hunter is a bit unsettled for the moment – Togashi is still on hiatus, the anime is now on late-night (somehow avoiding a drop in animation quality), and it seems likely that the series will end – for now – after the remaining manga chapters are adapted rather than continue with original material.  But what a legacy it’s creating for itself.  The friendship of Gon and Killua is one of the most complex and emotionally powerful in anime, the cast of supporting characters (especially the irreplaceable Hisoka) probably unmatched, and the current arc is one of the darkest and most elaborately plotted in manga history.  Hunter X Hunter continues to deliver on every front – character development, social commentary, action, and subtly asking profound questions about what makes humans and the societies they create tick.  This series is the benchmark by which all other shounen adaptations will be judged, and more than that, a show that I love unreservedly.  There can be no more fitting or deserving choice as my top anime of 2013.

#2 – Shin Sekai Yori

[UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_02_[h264-720p][217766BF].mkv_snapshot_19.53_[2012.10.07_02.06.57][2] [UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_13_[h264-720p][878BE995].mkv_snapshot_03.14_[2012.12.22_19.25.37][2] [UTW]_Shinsekai_Yori_-_17_[h264-720p][C5DB2A34].mkv_snapshot_11.17_[2013.01.26_23.49.11][2]

We’re at the point of this list where it’s just a matter of parsing tiny slivers of personal preference – all of the top three series this year are truly great anime, timeless treasures that will be regarded as important works for years to come.  And that certainly applies to Shin Sekai Yori.

I’ve discussed the sad trend that runs through my Top 10 this year – commercial failure – but Shin Sekai Yori practically redefines the term (it’s right there with Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, at least).  The show averaged well under 1000 units per volume, and while I recognize that this isn’t an especially mainstream or commercial story, I do shake my head and wonder – how can a show this spectacularly good possibly convince so few anime fans to support it and – by doing so – more series like it?

If I start to list the reasons why SSY was such a superb show, we’d be hear till next year (even if that is this week, it’s a long time).  Absolutely superb score by Shigeo Komori (“Kage no Denshouka Daisanbu” may be my favorite BGM track of the year), brilliant use of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”,  and ED by Taneda Risa (who also plays the lead, Saki – and beautifully).  A truly astonishing job by director Ishihama Masashi and A-1 Pictures in delivering beautiful visuals with a distinctly tiny budget.  The best pacing of any series this year, both intra-episodic and beyond.  Great work by the cast, especially Risa and the always awe-inspiring Namikawa Daisuke with one one of the greatest chameleon roles ever as the villain (or not) Yakomaru.

I opened my series review for Shin Sekai Yori by thanking everyone involved with making it – starting with novelist Kishin Yusuke, right up to the people who had the vision and courage to adapt his novels and give them two cours (and took a bath for it, as it turned out).  Anime adapted from novels have a much better track record than those adapted from any other sources, and the sheer intelligence and complexity of this story is staggering.  It’s fearless, merciless with the audience – sparing us none of the ugliness of the world it depicts, and offering no easy answers for the questions it raises.  It grabs you from the shocking first few minutes of the premiere and never lets go for 25 episodes, pulling us into a world somewhere in our future that feels so real it completely absorbs you.  Each of these episode felt like it lasted about five minutes, yet they were densely packed with character development, plot and challenging intellectual and moral questions.

Like Kyousougiga, this is an anime that both aspires to greatness and has the chops to achieve it.  There are a few slip-ups here, mostly involving the ill-advised attempt to fetishize the character Maria and her relationship with Saki, which damaged the more-important relationship between Saki and Satoru (some of Kaji Yuuki’s best work ever) – certainly more mistakes than by Kyousougiga, which was as close to seamless as any show this year.  But this was a much longer series, telling a story with even greater depth and breadth, spread over two timeskips – so I think that kind of thing is close to unavoidable. Two-cour series that come close to perfection are basically in the Seirei no Moribito class, i.e. once-a-decade masterpieces.  By any other standard besides that impossibly lofty one, Shin Sekai Yori stands tall.

I always fear that when I see a brilliant show like this abysmally fail that it’s going to be the last one I ever see made, but for now at least anime as a medium still seems to have the ambition to try at least once or twice a year.  A series like this should be treasured, though, because anime this good have always been rare and are likely only going to become more so.  Thank you again to A-1, the director, the novelist, the cast, and everyone involved – this is a series than transcends commercial considerations and achieves historical significance, and for some of us at least that’s enough.

#3 – Kyousougiga

Kyousogiga - 05 -6 Kyousogiga - 05 -32 Kyousogiga - 10 -64

I’ve known the top three spots on this list for a while now – it’s really only been a question of how the order would shake out.  And truth be told there isn’t a whole lot between them – I could easily have made a case for Kyousougiga as the top show of the year.  As I said in my series review this kind of series isn’t just the reason I love anime – it’s the reason I started loving anime in the first place.

As in the last couple of years, I don’t feel like saying as much about the shows on this list that aired in the current season – the words are fresh in mind, and there for anyone who cares to read them.  But in brief, the essence of Kyousougiga is, for me, that it aspires to greatness and achieves it.  The level of care and commitment that went into this series is astonishing – aside from the stellar art, animation and music, the story is pieced together like a delicate spiderweb.  So much goes into it – so much talent, so much symbolism, so much cultural literacy – and the end result is a story that resonates deeply on the human level.

It has, indeed, been a good year for Kyoto in anime – and like the other Kyoto series on this list, Kyousougiga is at heart a love story about family.  It’s beautiful, deep and profound, and like few series before it is capable of engaging both at the intellectual and emotional level.  Kyousougiga ended up being very different than the frantic, bewildering and exhilarating mess I expected – it was much more grounded, coherent and sentimental.  I was expecting to like this show a lot, and ended up loving it for a completely unexpected set of reasons.  Not every anime has the potential to be great, but one thing’s for sure – if you don’t try to be great, you definitely won’t be.  I only wish more shows had the towering ambition of Kyousougiga – if they did, anime would be an even more fascinating medium.


#4 – Ginga e Kickoff

[Doremi-Oyatsu] Ginga e Kickoff!! - 15 (1280x720 8bit h264 AAC) [FA42A21E].mkv_snapshot_12.43_[2012.07.18_13.51.27][2] [Doremi-Oyatsu] Ginga e Kickoff!! - 33 (1280x720 8bit h264 AAC) [45A8B8AE].mkv_snapshot_18.36_[2013.01.23_23.02.57][3] Ginga e Kickoff - 38-39 -48[2]

I’ve referenced the famous movie review by the late, great Roger Ebert, the movie in question being North.  Well, with one small change it applies to my #4 series of 2013 – I love, love, love Ginga e Kickoff.

This show works for me on every level, but the equation is really very simple – there’s no anime in years that I’ve loved more.  There are a few series I can objectively say are better this year, but none which so completely charmed me and made me care so deeply for the characters.  As I said when covering the show, the feeling when Shou or one of the other Predators had a milestone moment was like watching my own kid do so – that’s how happy those moments were for me, and how agonizing it was when things didn’t go well for them.

Make no mistake about it: GeK is able to do all that because it’s a truly great anime.  It’s beautifully written, with some of the most realistic material related to youth sports in anime history and tremendous character development that occurs gradually and naturally.  It has a fantastic cast, including Yuu Kobayashi in her best male role ever as the tireless terrier of a hero, Outa Shou, and Koyama Rikiya absolutely winning as Hanashima-Koochi, the adult mentor who anchors the series.  The strength of his character (and the performance) allows Ginga e Kickoff to switch back-and-forth between the kids’ perspective and the adults’ without missing a beat – something very few anime focused on kids can do.  All of the kids on the Predators are interesting and distinct personalities, and Shou is a truly great main character – an undersized and under-confident kid who sees things others don’t see and absolutely refuses to be discouraged by anything life throws at him, on the pitch or off.

I have an even deeper connection to this series, though, because in a way it feels as if it’s the show I most closely identify with as a blogger.  Even in the niche world of the English-language anime fandom I’m a tiny fish in a big ocean, but there was pretty much no one paying any attention to GeK when I started blogging it.  It was a sports series – strike one.  The main characters were 12 year-olds – strike two.  There was no best-selling manga – strike three.  I can state with almost total confidence that I made a bigger difference with Ginga e Kickoff than with any other anime – I believe I’ve had more people thank me for turning them on to it than every other show I’ve ever blogged combined.  In this very small pond, for once I was a big fish.

There are rewards that only a great sports series can offer, and a great show about kids is likewise a unique experience.  It’s a shame so many anime fans dismiss both, but I was pleased that Ginga e Kickoff did make some converts in Japan – it placed quite highly in several fan surveys, and actually managed to make a sizable splash with the fujoshi fanbase.  In terms of pure enjoyment and emotional buy-in, this little series is a positive titan – a great example of how to do this sort of show right.  If you’re willing to open your mind to the possibility than an anime outside your normal comfort zone can win you over, by all means give Ginga e Kickoff a chance.  It’s full of heart, humor and intelligence and richly deserves its place on this list.

#5 Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!

Watamote - 03 - Large 04 Watamote - 05 -2 Watamote - 05 -12

How can a series this painful be such a pleasure to watch?

Summer is normally the dog days for anime, but in this episode-down year it was probably the best season in terms of truly elite series.  And Watamote certainly meets that description.  There was plenty of reason to be hesitant about this series: the manga is unrelentingly bleak and seemed like a tough candidate for adaptation, and Oonuma Shin’s recent track record has been decidedly mixed.  But Watamote was a triumph – this year’s Nazo no Kanojo X in the sense that it was a case of a director improving on a very good manga, and that it transcended my expectations in every way.

I analyzed the hell out of this show in my episode posts, so I won’t rehash all that now.  But I will say that I really admire how it stayed true to the dark perspective of the manga while still somehow injecting the tiniest amount of hope.  As anyone who grew up with a family member who suffered from severe social anxiety will tell you, this series was obviously the work of a writer who knows the subject painfully well.  Tomoko isn’t remotely likable in the conventional sense – she’s often mean-spirited and petty, and clearly the source of most of her own problems.  But my heart still breaks watching her suffer through her own personal Hell, and of course she can’t help the way she is – and that’s largely the point.  Tomoko is moe in the original sense of the word.

Amazingly enough, while never pulling punches Watamote still manages to be one of the funniest series of the year.  Shin does an amazing job with showing us the world through Tomoko’s uniquely paranoid point-of-view, and Izumi Kitta delivers a truly spectacular performance – she’s alternately hilarious, grating, snarky and achingly subdued.  Watamote, like the other series on this list so far, didn’t do much in terms of sales but the manga continues to be popular – including, interestingly, in America.  Sentai has licensed it and I’ll be very interested to see how the anime is received, though absent Kitta’s performance it likely won’t be nearly the same.  What does it say that a brilliant and funny series that’s incredibly literate and astute about otaku and fujoshi culture can’t succeed commercially as an anime in Japan?  Nothing good, that’s for sure.

Watamote was a very personal experience for me, I freely admit.  Yet I think it’s a truly noteworthy series on its own terms.  Smart, moving, funny, visually brilliant with a terrific soundtrack.  I also think it does a great service by shedding light on a truly authentic life experience without sugarcoating the harshness of it, asking the audience to understand Tomoko without softening any of her razor-sharp edges.  If you like your anime to be about something, look no further than Watamote – it’s a series of significance and, I think, one that will stand the test of time better than most.


#6 – Uchouten Kazoku

Uchouten Kazoku - 06 -6 Uchouten Kazoku - 07 -8 Uchouten Kazoku - 08 -27

It’s been a good year for Kyoto in anime.  Uchouten Kazoku is another love letter to the magical city by Morimi Tomihiko, who also wrote The Tatami Galaxy.  I think this is the better series – warmer, more honest and less pretentious.  It’s also yet more proof that anime adapted from novels (not light novels) tend to be some of the best around, and that P.A. Works is one of the most artistically ambitious and admirable anime studios. 

Naturalistic Surrealism is about the best term I can use for Uchouten Kazoku as far as style goes, and watching it truly is a magical experience.  It’s an anime full of mystical creatures and bizarre events, depicting a Kyoto where the human residents are unaware that much of the population is made up of tanuki and tengu.  Yet it treats all this in a very matter-of-fact way, and the triumph of the series is in the way it depicts the simple and very human emotions that drive it – especially love for one’s family.

Uchouten was a mildly slow starter for me, and the last couple of episodes weren’t the show at its best.  But for a stretch it was as good as any anime this season, especially the sixth and eighth episodes.  I consider the latter among my ten favorite anime episodes of all-time – it’s a masterpiece of powerful emotions that left me drained and exhilarated at the same time.  This is wonderful series, with fantastic and fantastical art unlike anything P.A. Works has done before and a superb cast of characters, including the supporting players.  It tanked commercially, predictably (as has every show on this list so far except, debatably, Chihayafuru 2), but I hope that doesn’t discourage P.A. Works from taking more chances on stories like this.

#7 – Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge - 08 -10 Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge - 09-1 Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge - 13 -44

I knew from the very first episode – the first few moments in fact – that Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge had something exceptional going for it.  There were some awkward narrative transitions but that premiere was overflowing with style and a weird and compelling sensibility that grabbed my consciousness and never let go.

The first thing that strikes you with Crime Edge is certainly the visuals.  The series was produced by Studio Gokumi (of whom I knew very little before this show) but the visual staff is peppered with big names, many of whom worked on Gurren-Lagann (the similarity in look was apparent to me immediately).  It was a fabulously creative effort start-to-finish, lush and gorgeous and full of iconic imagery, with some of the best cinematography and use of lighting I’ve ever seen in anime.

Like the visuals, the story itself is adept at juxtaposing ugliness and beauty.  Contrast is a powerful narrative weapon in the right hands, and it’s used like a scalpel in Crime Edge.  It’s a series about fetishes as much as anything, and people trying to do terrible things to each other.  It’s about trying to contain the evil impulses that reside inside all of us.  But it also features one of the most refreshing and innocent romances in years (helped by the casting of seiyuu who aren’t the usual suspects), and moments of real grace and transcendence.

Dansai Bunri is like an art-house film, a weird and challenging and idiosyncratic work that whiffs commercially and pisses off half the audience even as it entrances the other half.  I love it for its fearlessness and insight and intelligence and wit, and for the true passion it displays for creating anime that’s art, and not just craft.

#8 – Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen

Rozen-Maiden - 04 -23 Rozen Maiden - 07 -15 Rozen Maiden - 12 -17

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the earlier adaptations of Peach-Pit’s manga, I had a suspicion Zurückspulen was going to be a different animal.  I always preach “look at the staff” and with Mochizuki Tomomi writing and Omata Shinichi directing, it would have been an upset if this series hadn’t been great.  And it was great.

There are certainly many deserving series this year, but I chose Rozen Maiden here because it’s a beautiful, thoughtful and technically brilliant anime that worked on many different levels.  Perhaps I can pay it no greater compliment than to say that it was so good, it made we want to read the manga, knowing this was a more faithful version than the Nomad editions.  And the manga is indeed far better than I expected, though Shinichi’s visual flair (like Shinbou with taste and restraint) and Mochizuki’s dialogue and sound direction make this anime even more special.

I love the way this series weaves together the stories of “wound” and “unwound” Jun while asking profound questions about identity and free will.  I love the way the dolls are less fetishized and more complex as actual characters (Sugintou and Kanaria are night-and-day from the Nomad versions, and Shinku has never been more sympathetic).  I love the respect it shows for its audience by challenging them and letting them figure things out on their own.  This is a great series, part of a Summer 2013 season that may be one of the best that normally weak time for anime has offered in many years.


#9 – Zetsuen no Tempest

Zetsuen no Tempest - 24 -5 Zetsuen no Tempest - 24 -15 Zetsuen no Tempest - 24 -37

This may be the first pick where I meet some serious disagreement – maybe not – but this is one of those shows that stands up better than most.  Like last year’s Hyouka, Zetsuen no Tempest reveals its charms fully only upon reflection.  This series isn’t as great as that one and they could hardly be more different thematically, but they both have a specialness about them that makes them quite different from most anime.

Zetsuen was, in a sense, a marriage made in Heaven.  Shirodaira Kyou’s brash, operatic manga was the perfect muse for Okada Mari, and in Andou Masahiro the show got the strong director it needed both to give it the theatrical sweep it needed and to keep Okada’s bad habits in-check. And if there was ever a series that was custom-designed for the BONES sensibility, this was the one.  I used the same words over and over with this series – grand, operatic, sweeping – and of course, a premise that’s a sort of fusion of Shakespeare and Beethoven isn’t going to do anything to take away from that.

There are flaws with Zetsuen, no doubt – the second cour wasn’t as great as the first, and the opening couple of episodes were a bit hard to appreciate, for starters.  But the show grew on me in a big way, and the middle third is one of the best stretches any anime achieved this year.  How many shows could pull off a four-episode swing which basically consisted of four characters unmoving, debating with each other, with Koyama Rikiya’s Samon saying “Shounen!” while pounding his sword hilt on the rocks every few minutes?  It was great stuff – and Zetsuen no Tempest was full of great stuff.  It’s one of the most spectacular anime I’ve seen in a quite literal sense of delivering “spectacle” – soaring music, dramatic dialogue, signature BONES visual snapshots.  It’s a unique and special series, and that’s more than enough to transcend its flaws and earn it a place on this list.


#10 – Chihayafuru 2

Chihayafuru 2 - 20 - Large 22 Chihayafuru 2 - 21 - Large 33 Chihayafuru 2 - 25 - Large 36

Chihayafuru makes the list for the second year in a row, though it was a much tougher call this time around.

It’s no secret that I love Chihayafuru, but it’s also no secret that I loved the second season somewhat less than the first.  In fact as I read the manga, it seems to me that the second season covered the least compelling part of the story – certainly the chapters taking place after it ended (spectacular, mostly) are more gripping for me than much of what we saw in this season.  So it’s a testament to how great the series is that it still cracked the top 10.

I could certainly attest to the reasons why I didn’t love this season as unreservedly as the last – mostly due to some imbalances in the themes, direction and pacing.  But at its best it was still spectacular.  It still managed to move and thrill and anger and inspire me and break my heart like few shows can.  Chihayafuru is special, very special, and as I read the most recent chapters I was consumed by a burning desire to see Madhouse animate them.  For all its shortcomings, in the end there was simply too much of what makes this such a special series to leave it out of the top 10.  And as always, those last couple of cuts were brutal ones.

Honorable Mention – Bakuman 3

Bakuman 3 - 24 -28 Bakuman 3 - 25 -8 Bakuman 3 - 25 -49

This award is really for all three seasons of Bakuman, which never received the attention they deserved.  Since I always lead off the year’s-best list with shows that don’t make the Top-10 but stand out in spite of that, this seems like a perfect time to celebrate this underrated gem.

Bakuman didn’t have the best animation, or the most star-studded seiyuu cast.  But what it did have was an amazing amount of passion for manga – it’s a true labor of love for the team of Obata and Ohba.  With the superb Kasai Kenichi at the helm Bakuman 3 managed to steer through some of the less-beloved sections of the manga and deliver a really stirring and heartwarming conclusion.  I love manga and I love anime, and seeing an anime about manga (sometimes being made into anime) was a fascinating experience.  As usual it was the cast that really closed the sale, and there have been few series that have seen me care as much about the characters as I did with Bakuman.

Kasai-sensei had a lot of ground to cover in this season, and it was certainly the most fast-paced of the three.  But it got where it needed to go, with all of the major relationships in the series – finishing, as it had to, with Mashiro and Azuki.  It leaves Mashiro in the middle of his life’s journey but that’s fitting, as the journey is much more the point of Bakuman than the destination.  As much as Bakuman is a manga and anime for people who love manga, it’s in telling the human stories that it’s at its very best.  Ultimately the heroes of Bakuman – Mashiro, Takagi, Azuki, Kaya, Eiji, Hattori – are relatable characters who are incredibly easy to root for because they’re fundamentally decent people who work their asses off to chase their dreams.

A Refresher on Eligibility:

I’m going by the same eligibility standard I used for the 2012 list – that is, shows that finished airing in 2013 or split-cours that finished in 2013, plus shows that aired for the entire year (such as Hunter X Hunter and Uchuu Kyoudai).  The only show that really fell in a grey area was Little Busters! – not whether it was eligible, but whether to consider Little Busters! and Refrain as one contiguous series or separately (ultimately I chose the latter).  In effect, then, the only shows not eligible for this list are the multi-cour series that began airing from Spring 2013 onwards and are still airing into Winter 2014.

And a little contest – anyone that guesses the Top 10, in order, gets a made-to-order haiku.  If no one does that, I’ll go with the closest guess.  Guesses made by 2359 JST 12/22/13 will be eligible.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

171 comments

  1. i

    1. H x H
    2. Kyousogiga
    3. Uchouten Kazoku
    4. Watamote
    5. Uchuu Kyodai
    6. Little Busters
    7. Crime Edge
    8. RDG
    9. Attack on Titan
    10. Valvrave

  2. i

    That's yours is my guess. I was surprised by Bakuman making it as I thought of about 6 other shows you'd pick over it for a #11.

  3. Honorable mention is not #11. It's honorable mention.

  4. i

    Can I change my list to:

    1. H x H
    2. Kyousogiga
    3. SSY
    4. Uchouten Kazoku
    5. Watamote
    6. Uchuu Kyodai
    7. Little Busters
    8. Crime Edge
    9. RDG
    10. Attack on Titan

    I completely forgot that SSY ended this year.

  5. i

    My own list would look something like:

    1. Chihayafuru 2
    2. H x H
    3. SSY
    4. Uchouten Kazoku
    5. ZnT
    6. Minami ke Tadaima
    7. Gin no Saji
    8. Watamote
    9. Kyousogiga
    10. Rozen Maiden

    Looking back on it, it was a pretty good year for anime.

  6. e

    Hunter x Hunter eligible this year again? Saves you from having to stress over number 1 place I guess>_> I managed to guess your top 5 in order for the 2011 list under the nick 'Smuglord' so I'll try giving it a go again though I'm less confident this time.

    1.Hunter X Hunter
    2.Kyousogiga
    3.Shin Sekai Yori
    4.Uchouten Kazoku
    5.Ginga E Kickoff
    6.Watamote
    7.Dansai Bunri
    8.Silver Spoon
    9.Rozen Maiden
    10.Chihayafuru S2

    Order is nearly impossible to accurately guess this year cause the extents to which you praise most of these series in your reviews are nearly exactly the same.

  7. i

    I don't think Chihayafuru S2, coming from one of the biggest fans of the series, would be in GE's list. I just thought that the extended team tournament, foreigner team and a few other things that GE disliked will keep it out. But damn I forgot SSY was this year, felt it was decades ago.

  8. e

    Yeah that's the one I'm by far the most unsure of – the other 9 series have an extremely high chance of being in his list though, just probably in a different order:p Now that I think about it Maou-sama or Blood Lad would be much more likely candidates.

  9. e

    Okay so I just saw that haiku prize thingy and I also just realized Litbus 1 and Refrain will be judged separately. Swapping Chihayafuru 2 out for Refrain if I'm allowed to.

  10. t

    no chance chihaya 2 won't be in top 10.
    although it wasn't as great as S1, it was still great. I even thought it would be higher..now I am not so sure..but definitely top 10.

    yeah, both LB and LB-refrain is hard. I agree with separating them..but it's hard since both so good.

    maou-sama and blood lad were really good, but I don't think we'll see them in top10.
    the only thing I am not so sure about is SxS…
    I'll post my guess later on.

    but…no surprised over #1 Ha?well, HxH proved it gets better with age.. 😛

    BTW, I think it was also a great year of movies.
    my ultimate pick will go to Ookami kodomo and Garden of Words. Hosoda VS Shinkai…??? having both of them in the same year..oh god. I can't decide.
    too bad you are not familiar with Berserk. 3rd movie was just awesome. seriously..
    other than that we had: 3rd mardock scramble which finished a lovely trilogy, saint onii-san the hilarious, madoka recap movies which ignite my fire again, steins;gate – great continuation movie of the series, Nerawareta Gakuen and Ao no the gorgeous, Eva 3 (still waiting for 4 ha) and more.

    great year for anime movies!

  11. Changes noted Elijah. We'll see if you're a prophet.

    It is a good year for anime movies, but that discussion has to include the sublime Kaguyahime Monogatari.

  12. t

    HaHa I knew you'd say that.
    I counted only BD… 😛

    BTW..why haven't you watched Berserk?god, this is masterpiece!

  13. S

    Well I suppose that Uchuu Kyoudai won't be on the list this year. Too bad because it wasn't eligible for the 2012 top 10 back then.

    I haven't seen comments about it, have you finished to watch Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 Enzo? An other series that won't reach your top due to circumstances that you've already evoked way back then but I'm interested if you've enjoyed it.

  14. s

    1. Hunter X Hunter
    2. Shin Sekai Yori
    3. Kyousogiga
    4. Watamote
    5. Uchuu Kyoudai
    6. Chihayafuru S2
    7. Uchouten Kazoku
    8. Silver Spoon
    9. Crime Edge
    10. Ginga e Kickoff

    Not sure at all, but maybe. 😛

  15. j

    I suspect Enzo's 1st place will be Kill la Kill
    /troll

  16. It's not eligible. ;-P

  17. M

    OreImo S2 & it's OVAs,no doubt about it.

  18. G

    Space Battleship Yamato 2199 was a fantastic series and finished earlier this year. If you didn't see it you seriously missed out.

  19. It is very good indeed (it is based on a fantastic original story of course), but I confess I just haven't had time to watch it all the way to the end. I definitely will, but it won't be on this list.

  20. S

    I think it's rather pointless to guess what somebody else prefers the most. It's a little bit like guessing Beckham's favourite dish.

    Maybe Enzo's tastes matches my own though:

    1.SSY
    2.Uchouten Kazoku
    3.Ginga e Kickoff!
    4.Uchuu Kyoudai
    5.Chihayafuru 2
    6.LB refrain
    7.Watamote
    8.Kill la Kill
    9.White album 2
    10.Rosen Maiden
    (11) Dansai bunri

    The top two had me saying "this is the best anime ever" after each episode, and GeK is the one that is closest to my heart. So no real competition there. number 5&6 could have easily ended up anywhere between 5 and 10, and was extra hard to rank. I love Chihayafuru, but does season two hold it's own against the competition? and LB season one was very taxing, and sometimes a pain (my poor ears, Komari), but when everything turned pitch black in season 2, something brilliant emerged.

    Disclaimer: I never watched Hunter x Hunter.

  21. S

    *were
    and: Crap, Kill la Kill not eligible? good thing I submitted 11

  22. s

    hmm this sounds like fun; ill pitch in and see if i can make an accurate guess to your top ten list. By the way i gotta say that your doing a good job making your blog a place that is more than just "about you". Im impressed with how you have been slowly making this blog space more interactive social space for anime lovers such as the amazon store, the shout-outs, and giving incentives to your readers. it makes this blog feel connected and that's a feat that i mostly dont see in other anime blogs so kudos to you on that accomplishment but ah, back to my guess of your top ten

    Im going to start from the bottom and climb to the top with a brief explanation as to why i think you may place those in your top ten.

    10. Ginga E Kickoff- upon your first watch of this series, you mentioned it being a fun series that you enjoyed but with every step into this series, you found yourself loving it more and more than you expected. Ive noticed your the type of anime viewer whose appreciation for a series intensifies with how something can gradualy make you care about it and this shows ability to gradually pull you in throughout its 38 episode run is why i have put it in number 10.

    9.Dansai Bunri no Crime edge- A show that didnt get as much love as it probably should but it sure did from you. The art provided by Studio Gokumi was very akin to your taste in art direction and while Dansai never broke new ground, it told its story very well and made you care about its cast of characters..even the minor ones

    8. Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen- A nice tale of a depressed man coming out of his shell through the help of mystical dolls; a show that you never got into back in the day when its previous incarnations were airing (and neither did i) but tomomi michizuki's take on this tale received great praise from you and from what i saw, you enjoyed it thorougly. I put this over crime edge because this was more of a character study series in comparison to crime edge and characters are very important to you

    7. Gin no Saji- A show that had you thinking about your own life decisions when it came ot your perception of food, and not only that, it was filled with characters you truly cared about. With season 2 on its way, you will have more time to invest into this series and who knows, maybe it will be higher up in your 2014 list.

    6. Watamote- I placed this series here because you personally can relate to this series and to tomoko. The character (i dont think its actually confirmed) suffers from what i believe to be anxiety disorder and the difficulties she has within every ep served with the glitter of hope for her with each ep spoke to your heart. I personally thought that while the series was good, it needed to handle tomoko's personal interactions with others much more intricately but still, how you identify with the series is why i have put it at #6.

  23. s

    5. Uchoten Kazoku- this series was a godsend to you in a summer of not so stellar anime (expect for the few that were truly good). Your praise regarding this series was pretty high and as you are a fan of P.A works, you enjoyed the visuals, often comparing the feel of them to a miyazaki film (and not a bad comparison either). While the final third of the series wasn't as strong as the first two-thirds, you were still enamored by what you described as the show's "photo-realistic surrealism"

    4. Kyosogiga- A late contender in 2013, but a strong one nevertheless (in your opinion at least). While the comparison to Uchoten Kazoku are there, it is clear that you deem this show the better of the two as the layers and effort behind Kyosogiga is more soulful and overall, better constructed and told than Uchoten. Kyosogiga has a lot of love put into its composition and it shows throughout its run. But with your praise so high for it, what other shows could possibly top it this year?

    3. Chiyafuru S2- You have been following this series since its inception and its no secret that you love this franchise. The first season of chiyafuru if i remember correctly would have won your best series of 2012 (i think it was 2012) if it wasnt for tsuritama Now you consider this season to be weaker than the first so then why do i have it in your top 3? The characters that's why. Regardless of how you felt about the tournament taken up a huge sum of this season, taichi's character arc hit ya right in the feels, and upon looking back at both seasons, you realize just how intricately it was done, just how well it was told, and how you came to love this kids overall throughout the two seasons. Chiyafuru S2 doesnt really stand on its own; it builds up on what has come before it and compounding upon your love for this series already, this is why i strongly believe this will be your number 3 (it could be your #4 but ima stick with 3 on this one was there's just more history and love behind this series for you). As i said in the Ginga e kickoff summary, when your passion for a series grows with every step, your love for it becomes that much more intense and in this case this effect was with the characters.

    2. Shin Sekai Yori- A series that completely went off like a WMD commercially, but a truly dark and gripping tale with great cinematography despite its low budget and a show that i remember you constantly saying "why does every ep feel like 5 mins?" Series that can do that to your are very rare, and the fact that you mentioned that so many times makes me positive that it will place the number two spot. Oh but there's more: A series with an intricate storyline that always had you thinking, two of your favorite seiyuu's in what was perhaps one of their best performances in anime (Hiroaki Hirota and Namikawa Daisuke), a series that actually didnt make you want to scream upon hearing kaji yuuki, and a strong female lead that you could really root for. In my opinion, if it wasnt for the good but weaker third act (and some of the story-telling mechanics), i would have claimed this anime as an Amazing piece of work both in and outside of anime (but alas it was just really really superb though i still think it transcends the phrase "it's good for an anime because it was superb period, regardless of the medium) still, i know you loved it plenty and you probably find it amazing yourself regardless of the third act or anything else for that matter.

    1. HunterXHunter- ………………………………….It's ok Enzo, you dont have to feel embarrased that everyone guessed this one right……you dont have to ask yourself "damn, do i really praise this series that much?" it's ok. You could always troll your readers and have the number 1 anime be something else we wouldnt have seen coming, but i know heart doesnt have the balls to do that. I myself havent been following this series, but i think i might start to just to see what all the Hububaloo is all about…

  24. G

    HxH is still ongoing.

  25. Same rules as last year – if it aired for the entire year, it's eligible.

  26. C

    Well here's my guess. It was alot more difficult then I thought it would be especially the middle ones.

    1. Kyousogiga
    2. HunterXHunter
    3. Shin Sekai Yori
    4. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge ( Honestly didnt know where to put this one)
    5. Ginga e Kickoff
    6. Uchouten kazouku
    7. Watamote
    8. Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen
    9. Chihayafuru S2 (as a stand alone series since you already judged S1)
    10. Uchuu Kyoudai

  27. t

    well, here is my guess for Enzo list:
    1. HxH
    2. SSY
    3. chihayafuru 2
    4. LB refrain
    5. kyosogiga
    6. uchouten kazouku
    7. watamote
    8. silver spoon
    9. space brothers
    10. attack on titans.

    THO I am not so sure why I didn't include PP. maybe I should've done so instead of the titans or watamote, but never mind.
    in fact I am not so sure what watamote is doing here..but judging by your final review post..it's high likely to be there..so that's why I put it.

    I placed refrain in high position since you like LB very much, but if something out of the two will make it to top 10 it's refrain since it's based on LB S1. and it's much more intense and all.

    as for chihayafuru 2. even though it wasn't like s1. you like chihayafuru so much. and in one of my comments in this very blog, I said, when you truly love something with all your might, you love even the "bad"(more like "less good") things. besides, I think chihaya 2 was great enough.

    as for HxH..needless to say it's like wine – getting better with age 😛

    I even consider some other honorable mentions like Servant X Service, rozen maiden, Shirokuma Café, blood lad, maou-sama..but there are only 10 slots…(:

    I look forward seeing your top-10.

  28. M

    "HxH..needless to say it's like wine – getting better with age :P"

    It certainly has the benefit of a few cours over any other show from winter-fall, which is why it seems a bit unkind to rate it against wee 2013 imo. But, iiwii.

  29. A

    GE,
    It seems arbitrary rule to exclude great shows that began last year's fall season and finished in winter such as Shin Sekai Yori, which is probably the best show of the last 15 months. There's no way to assess the place of those shows that overlap two years without seeing it in its entirety, and therefore, your rule is somewhat discriminating. :(

  30. I don't exclude those shows, and never said I did. If it finished in 2013 it's eligible.

  31. A

    This is what I am replying to:

    Guardian EnzoDecember 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Same rules as last year – if it aired for the entire year, it's eligible.

    ShinSekai Yori and PSYCHO-PASS are in my top 5 of 2013, and they did not "air for the entire year."

  32. M

    That was specifically referring to anime that are ongoing, like HxH and Space Bros. Since both those series you mentioned finished this year they are also eligible. Happy days!

  33. One hour left to get your guess in…

  34. K

    I am not even going to try to guess order (though like everyone I expect Hunter X Hunter is no 1). I also expect Kyousogiga, Eccentric Family, Shin Sekai Yori, Ginga E Kickoff, and Watamote to be on there somewhere.

    However I am surprised no one is guessing Shirokuma Cafe. I know it got honorable mention last year but it ended this year so I wonder if it will rank.

  35. K

    Ah Chihayafuru made the top 10. :)

    I feel the same way about the 2nd season as you. I still think it had some great highs (mainly Taichi finally making it to A and the team winning the high school tournament) but there were also some episodes that dragged in the middle that made the 2nd season (while still great) a little less strong than the 1st season.

    I am also currently reading the manga and I also agree with you that what hasn't been animated is some of the best that Chihayafuru has to offer, so hopefully we will eventually get that 3rd season.

  36. e

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I hate my indecisive self

  37. I sooooo wanted to try and stop you – but that wouldn't have been fair. It was like when I make a change on my fantasy football team 2 minuted before kickoff and the guy I subbed out scores three touchdowns.

  38. e

    Oh well – such is life. Can't be as painful as you having to choose between cutting out either Uchuu Kyoudai,Refrain or Rozen Maiden from the list (if my predictions are correct that is, which probably isn't the case). Though I guess making a top 20 shortly after alleviates some of the guilt 😛

  39. e

    That being said, Chihayafuru 2 was the best series of the year for me and nothing really came close, so I'm still glad it made it.

  40. G

    It was a good series but not as good as the 1st season.

  41. R

    I agree — the first season completely captured me like no other. I still love the 2nd season — and it's higher up on my list than Enzo's — but I agree with Enzo's decision and his judgement on the 2nd season.

  42. e

    Well I preferred it to the first and felt that the matches were more tense and overall more fun to watch. I also felt more attached to the characters in S2 thanks to all the development they got in the first season. To each his own.

  43. m

    ahh, chihayafuru. i agree with most of you all, general pacing is long in unnecessary parts and short in others :)
    now i'm excited for season 3! how much can the current chapters cover? as in no. of episodes. i wonder how long it'll be for a third season
    also, hoping madhouse would unearth more gems to animate, cos they're really coming out as a very respectable studio. they give the best consistency within a show 😀

  44. Figure 18 months – if one is going to be made.

  45. R

    I'm just glad that Bakuman made it to your honourable mention. It's not the best show, and there were "slumps" here and there, but the journeys of struggling and hard-working people — mangaku in this case — blazing their trails to reach their dreams is inspiring, and this alone had got me stuck with Bakuman since season one. Of course, I'm curious about the whole manga/anime business in Japan. I'm glad — and with sincere gratitude — that Enzo kept blogging this show. Seriously, the last arc was moving and uplifting — I welled up a few times — and it gave the series a satisfying closure. I have to say that I enjoyed Bakuman more than the creators' hugely successful Death Note.

  46. M

    01. Aku no Hana
    02. Watamote
    03. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
    04. Psycho-Pass
    05. Uchouten Kazoku
    06. Shingeki no Kyoujin
    07. Gin no Saji
    08. Rozen Maiden – Zurückspulen
    09. SSY
    10. Kyousougiga

  47. M

    Honorable Mention: Little Witch Academia (needs moar)
    Dishonorable Mention: Suisei no Gargantia

  48. t

    chihayafuru 2 is definitely worthy for top10.
    true, it wasn't as amazingly awesome as S1. but it was still great on its own.
    besides, with S2 (even 3,4 and so) the expectations are higher and sometimes it's not entirely meet our expectations. especially if those are hyped.
    but chihayafuru 2 was great season even if it didn't entirely reproduce the same success.

    let's not forget, it's a direct continuation of S1. so nothing has really changed when you think about. maybe it's just us who are judging differently because of the separation created by the divide?after all, the manga is one whole creation. no one who reads the manga will say it's less good or something.
    I think if madhouse were to adapt chihayafuru consecutively like with HxH or DnA, it could have been way better.
    true, it's problematic since the manga hasn't finished and for now there isn't enough material for another season.
    but that is a problem as for today as I see it. since studios are adapting on-going series instead of completed ones. SnK is a great example for it…if they were patient enough till it will be done (around volume 20) it could have been way better, since they knew which way to approach and to what level develop characters and so…

  49. K

    The thing is anime is usually used as advertisement for the manga. Companies want to increase manga sales while the series is ongoing. It kind of sucks for us international fans though when we don't get the manga over here.

  50. R

    I'm a little surprised that Chihayfuru landed on the 10th spot, but it makes sense after thinking about it. Season one of the show was my favourite in 2012, but season two didn't live up to what the previous season offered in my view even though there were still moments that completely stole my heart — namely when Taichi finally won his Class A seat and when the Mizusawa team gloriously took the championship. I had my eye on Chihayafuru way back — regardless of how much hype that Guilty Crown got at the time — because of Asaka-sensei. I love Nana and, most importantly, I love how Asaka-sensei transcended and brought the manga to life in anime form and gave the viewers one hell of an emotional ride. Season one of Chihayafuru didn't disappoint at all, but season two was operated on a different level that it felt like it's just a straight page-to-screen "conversion", and I sometimes wondered how much Asaka-sensei had infused his heart in the project like he did in Nana…

    Having said that, Chihayafuru still holds a very very special spot in my heart. It's one of the few series that I would loosen my purse strings — no matter how broke I am — just to show support, as little as that is. It's also the show that got me completely switched over to LiA from RC — it's a show that unites people together. Even though season two wasn't as great as season one, it still ranks higher on my list, and I'm just glad that it's on your top 10. I'm reading the manga now, and I just hope that we will see a season 3 in the near future.

  51. S

    Hmm, maybe I can make a top 9 predictions post, just for reference?

    1. HxH
    2. Kyousougiga
    3. Zuruckspulen
    4. Gin no Saji
    5. Little Busters
    6. SSY
    7. Psycho Pass
    8. Minamike Tadaima
    9. Kakumeiki Valvrave

    Although I suppose Valvrave's spot is pretty heavily reliant on its ending.
    These are a bit of a mix of my rankings and your interests, I think, in general…

    I may be late, but I suppose I'm not really in this for the haiku anyway, it was more of a thinking exercise on my part. Too busy watching Chip Kelly destroy the Bears.

  52. K

    Not gonna make a whole list guess because I haven't seen everything you have, but SSY is probably top 3-5 (if not first, though HxH or Kyousogiga might do that) and I could definitely see ZnT in there too somewhere.

  53. t

    Zetsuen??that surprised me.
    I kinda agree with your..analysis or thoughts.
    mostly this one "no doubt – the second cour wasn't as great as the first"
    but it's deeper than just that.
    ZnT lost its charm in the middle. and it wasn't just for a single 1-2 eps..looking back..there is huge gap between first and second half. it's so wide that it's not enough to say the sceond wasn't as great as the first..it lost its charm.
    don't get me wrong – 2nd half wasn't completely bad..but something was lost here. and it was too much significant.

    I am not here to complain or judge or something..as I said, I share almost the same thoughts as you about ZnT. I was just surprised it's gotten into top-10. especially above Chihayafuru 2 HaHa 😛 how did it happened?XD

  54. I'm surprised everyone is so surprised, to be honest – Kairi seems to be the only one to have guessed it. I certainly like the second cour better than you did – there are some individual episodes, like the confrontation on the roof between Hakaze and Aika, that are just lights-out for me. Not the most consistent show of the year – but then, that's another way in which it's like Hyouka.

  55. t

    I don't know…bringing ZnT and Hyouka in comparison is..doesn't feel right despite there something within it.

    I think everyone is surprised because…well, I can't talk for everyone, but at least for me, ZnT didn't feel like it's belonging to top 10.
    the top 10 is kind of "hall of fame". and it only contains 10 slots. and while ZnT is good anime, despite its inconsistencies and problems (again – I did liked ZnT, there were parts in 2nd half I liked too like the confrontation on the roof), it doesn't feel like it's belonging to this very special place. that's how it is when there are only 10 slots.

    that's how I feel it. and I believe others too.

    but hey, I am not complaining or something. it's also a matter of taste and even though we may like an anime in general, each one of us think of it differently.

  56. M

    It is the only BONES show from this year, so it surely gets special leverage. I must say, the way GE describes it here does sound like he appreciates the 2nd cour less than remembered. I could see what the manga/writers were aiming for, but it didn't make me despise the tonal shift into epic loony romcom any less. The small clump of episodes before that shift sold the ZnT's ideas/characters more successfully.

    SSY is narratively far from perfect and it made it to a similar spot in my esteem for similar ambitiousness (and a strong finale).

  57. D

    Ah, I wish I'd seen this sooner. I know it's too late for me to be eligible (and I would have totally put Tempest on your Top 10 list, too!), but I kinda wanted to play anyway, so what the heck. Top 8 predictions below:

    1. Hunter x Hunter
    2. Kyousogiga
    3. WataMote
    4. Shin Sekai Yori
    5. Uchouten Kazoku
    6. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
    7. Gin no Saji -Silver Spoon-
    8. Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen

    Goodness. Putting those in order was impossible. Good thing I'm not playing for realsies.

    Oh, and side note: I broke my rule about watching ridiculously long shounen series and started HxH a couple weeks ago, and the sole reason I did this is because you speak so highly of it. Now I'm two cours in, completely hooked, staring at another 24+ hours of my life that I'll be giving to this damn series, and I don't know whether to thank you or shake my fist at you. But it's probably the former. :)

    So thanks for another blogging year! I truly appreciate your thoughtful reviews and recommendations, and look forward to reading in 2014, too!

    Cheers!
    Dee

  58. A

    I think one of the things that really hooked me on Zetsuen no Tempest from the start was the music. Absolutely glorious soundtrack that pushes all my buttons (I'm a sucker for strings…)

  59. n

    Zetsuen WAS good. It had a grand cinematic story and great characters. Not to mention, the plot twists were simply superb; let's admit it: very few anime can pull that kind of series of intertwined plot twists like the one about Hakaze's condition and the one about Aika's death. I'm so glad you included this in your list Enzo.

  60. b

    i love zetsuen no tempest
    good choice

  61. J

    For me, Zetsuen's 2nd cour (or final episodes) left such a bad after taste in my mouth, it put the whole show down by a couple of spots. So I'm honestly surprised that Zetsuen made it into your top 10 (Above Chihayafuru at that!).

    Now I'm really curious about your full list.

  62. R

    Following you, I started building my list yesterday, but then I completely forgot about Zetsuen no Tempest — how could I ever forget Riki-san's Samon? Shame on me… Zetsuen no Tempest is quite a different show, and I agree with Enzo that the best part of the show was those four episodes — the dialogue was so good and Riki-san's performance — and his "Shounen!" — was top-notch.

    Like Anthony, I love strings — and ZnT had lots of great ones to offer — but perhaps I was so drawn to string-based BGM and classical music that sometimes I got carried away and had to rewind to focus on story and dialogue. I think as much as I love strings and classical music, I will choose another show that the BGM forms an integral part of the overall enjoyment of the story — well, I actually have my pick for the best BGM for quite a while already.

    As for ranking, my heart still goes to Chihayafuru — and other shows — a lot more than ZnT. I guess I will just break the rule and do a top 13 to include ZnT instead…lol.

  63. I should probably point out (spoiler alert) that as I'm going by the same rules as 2012, Gin no Saji isn't eligible. It's a split-cour and was announced as such at the beginning, so it gets judged as a single series and is eligible for the 2014 list.

    FTR, yes – it would have made it this year if it had been eligible. Where? Dunno. Somewhere in the second 5, I suspect.

  64. t

    LOL
    I suspect you should've said that sooner 😛

    for me, silver spoon has never ended and the anime is just split, as you've said, but when I read this post for the first time, it seemed pretty clear that silver spoon is eligible. I did wondered about that..maybe I should've asked…

    never mind.

    anyway..I just thought about it..I didn't include JoJo. but I haven't seen any post related to it. so..did you watch this anime?

  65. I'm going by the same eligibility standard I used for the 2012 list – that is, shows that finished airing in 2013 or split-cours that finished in 2013

    I watched JoJo but it didn't thrill me the way it did some folks. It was good – just not anything great AFAIC.

  66. t

    LOL my bad.
    you are right. I am not here to blame or something. we should've known. sometimes things like that happen 😛

    about JoJo – I see…well, some might like it more and others less. it's a matter of taste.

    thanks!

  67. R

    I see…that frees up one spot. Got to rethink about my list.

  68. m

    i'm pretty surprised by no. 9! well mainly cos not many people guessed it here x)
    i for one didnt finish it (but i do.plan to continue someday since it's damn beautiful for starters – its little stylistic details, colours and lighting)

  69. e

    Well my guesses have been pretty bad so far – zero in the right position and I completely wrote off Zetsuen solely based on my memory of your impression of the first couple episodes (you weren't exactly blown away by them).
    I've started Rozen Maiden solely because of how much you praise the newest season and while I'm finding the first season rather dull, I have enough faith in your fine taste to push on and hope things get better.

  70. I don't find any of the earlier versions nearly as good as the Deen one, to be honest. Certainly not top 10 material.

  71. m

    you're watching all the way back from the old rozen maiden?

    for me, i just went straight to watch zuruckspulen (without watching the first two seasons), and i don't think it affected me at all. if it bores you, you can just stop and watch zuruckspulen 😀

  72. e

    Well I'm around halfway done with the first season already and I figure I'd enjoy the newest one more if I got to know the characters a little better first so I'm still going to finish it. You guys really have me hyped for the third season though, hopefully it does not disappoint!

  73. m

    OMG rozen maiden zuruckspulen!

    more than anything, i loved the direction of the show – the symbolism and the way the story structures itself, stories within stories, layers within layers of a character.

  74. A

    I'd not seen any Rozen Maiden before, so I watched Zuruckspulen more out of curiosity than anything else, but it hooked me completely which I'd not been expecting.

  75. G

    I'm surprised no love for Girls Und Panzar. It had to be one of the most fun animes to watch this past year.

  76. S

    I'm going to be super sad if you don't rank Valvrave in here somewhere– or maybe just it's second season, if that's allowed– but when you "the cream rises to the top" I for sure thought that was a Valvrave reference.

    Also, seems like I overrated Zuruckspulen quite a bit (#3 by my estimation of your ranks), but still it was great so no harm done.

  77. B

    Glad to see Tempest get some love! I'd actually rank it higher on my list, but then I watched far less stuff than you did this year. My time for watching stuff hasn't been the same in the last couple years, lol…

    Still, I agree completely with what you said about it, and I'll even throw an extra which is what made me enjoy the series even more — I thought the romance part of it was extremely enjoyable and fulfilling. Yoshino and Hakaze had some great chemistry going on, and moments such as the confrontation between Hakaze and "you know who" in episode 21, or the actual Yoshino x Hakaze pool bit on 23 are scenes I'll hardly forget, because I thought they were handled just right.

    It is a very unique series, and while some bits here and there might've been a little rough, there's nothing quite like it out there. Plus, it's also got my favourite score in the whole year. Oshima's score fit the series like a glove.

  78. R

    Yes, yes, and yes to Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen — it took the 4th place on my list. Episode 2 of RMZ blew me away, and episode 4 completely sealed the deal. Thank you, Enzo, for including this show on your top 10.

    There are many things that I love about RMZ, and this show is a true testament to the brilliant work by the talented people. I love how Mochizuki Tomomi and Omata Shinichi completely changed my mind on a story where gothic dolls played a dominant role. I didn't like Shinko at the start but absolutely adored her at the end. It's not just for Shinko, and you can tell how much respect that the creators had for the characters in the story and for us the audience to appreciate their work. I also love — and this is where talented people insert their magic — how Mochizuki-sensei completely ripped the manga story apart, rearranged, put all the puzzles back and presented to us such a lovely and emotionally engaging story in anime form. (This is what I was hoping for Chihayfuru season 2 — which took my 5th place — from Asaka-sensei, but it turned out to be something different.) I'm quite excited about Pupa — which will premiere in a couple of weeks — and I'm ready to be challenged by Mochizuki-sensei and see how he will change my mind on a story that screams for incest.

  79. Sadly, Pupa has been confirmed to be a 5-minute series after all, so my enthusiasm has nosedived.

    But as for RMZ, yes – it's a real testament to the simple power of talent to produce quality art.

  80. s

    It's pretty apparent why this series is getting the 5 min treatment. I honestly dont know how mochizuki plans on making a series, which at times waves its cannibalism and incest around in an "unprofessional" fashion into something enriching and deeply layered past those two things. Still, i trust that he has a plan (most likely he'll deal away with some of the fetish aspects of the series and take an even darker look, if at possible, at the themes beneath the surface) to take pupa into an interesting direction. Either way ill be watching.

  81. R

    That's very sad…Pupa is one of the shows that I anticipated since it was announced. A 5-minute series doesn't do Mochizuki-sensei the justice in my view, but I guess there may be budget issue, and probably Mochizuki-sensei still takes this on as a challenge to himself.

  82. Z

    No point in airing it really. A 60 minute OVA release would be better. Less need to hold back also.

  83. R

    That's a great idea. A 60-minute OVA or even a 90-minute movie would be awesome, and Mochizuki-sensei is known for his theatrical work, too.

  84. A

    Vaguely surprised that Uchouten Kazoku isn't higher, top three material at least. If there's any justice in the world, as soon as Morimi has written the sequels they'll get adapted as well as this one was. We need to see more of these characters and the world they inhabit.

    The false Eizan Electrical Railway is up there with the Catbus, in my view.

    If anime studios content themselves with purely commercial success, then anime will consist of nothing but "Whoops are those your boobies" shows, and that would be abhorrent.

  85. K

    Eccentric Family was my personal favorite of the year (tied with another series which I also expect to see on your list).

    And I know we disagree but it was my favorite of the two "family focused series this year". Although I am still quite fond of the other one which I expect to see higher on your list.

    Obviously I would have marked this much higher than you did but I am happy to see it made your top 10.

  86. G

    It was a very good series overall but some episodes were much better then others (uneven).

  87. G

    It makes me very sad that good quality anime often does not sell well but shit that is full of panty and boob scenes sell like hotcakes. Leave that stuff for the series that are designed for it like Queen's Blade, Seikon No Quazar, or High School DxD.

  88. This list is not a litany of financial successes, that's for damn sure.

  89. e

    Initially surprised that you ranked Eccentric Fam so low, but on hindsight it makes sense. Many other bloggers tend to focus on the high points of the shows they liked when ranking them and don't let the slow parts factor in too much, but it's apparent that you value consistency slightly more than others. This probably was why you ranked Hyouka so low last year too, (I was honestly surprised it wasn't in the top 5) another show that was fantastic and completely magical at its best, and (IMO) mediocre at its worst, and why Tsuritama ranked above Chihayafuru (not to say that the latter was inconsistent, more like the former was practically the epitome of uniform quality throughout its run).

  90. K

    Now that you say this I guess this is where I differ from Enzo because I can forgive a show having a slow start or even having a slow middle if it delivers overall. Although of course being a bit slow is one thing having scenes that I actively dislike is something else and even a good ending can't really save that. But well there was nothing I personally disliked about Eccentric Family.

    I personally also really liked Eccentric Family's 2nd half even if it is true it never reached the heights of episode 8 I think it ended on a perfect note (and the false Eizan Electrical Railway as someone already mentioned was just magical and the epitome of creativity for me).

  91. M

    I thought the last few episodes redeemed the show somewhat from the tired slump of everyone moping on about their past in the form of dead Souichirou. I also said elsewhere that at that point, the show spent too much time talking of "idiot blood" and less time demonstrating it. I feel like the final few episodes managed to show us explicitly what the Shimogamo family were on about.

    The Friday Fellows were also talked up to be an omnipotent force of tanuki eating evil – but were just a bunch of old dudes facing moral dilemmas. And Benten's drive was rather vague.

    My overall impression of the story, setting and effort put into the series by the studio is high indeed. I'd been keen to see PA do more of the series but shift focus onto the other characters.

  92. I have to say I disagree, Elijah, because in my own mind I think I value having the highest highs more than consistency. That's why shows like Zetsuen and Hyouka are able to make the lists at all. Consistency is certainly important, but I try to weigh them more or less equally.

    As for Uchouten, I think it's a matter of simply having 5 shows which graded out higher (not that I have a report card I use for this list), nothing more. I don't think it was all that inconsistent and I don't think its lows were especially low – all the episodes were at least good.

  93. t

    glad to see uchouten in the list.
    definitely deserved a place in top 10.
    I must admit, the first episode didn't appeal me that much, but I knew not to give up on PA. and as the series progressed, it's become better, especially its second half. it was intriguing in terms of plot. but there was more..like episode 8 which thrilled me by any means.
    a word about the animation – great use of Sakuga..however I am not happy with what they did to the characters' ears. characters design is OK, but the ears…S:
    well, I got used to it after sometime..but it's still weird…

  94. R

    For us who have been following your blog know how much you liked Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge — that's not a surprise. What surprised me a little is that this show ranked above both RMZ, ZnT and Chihayafuru.

    I'm not a big fan of the show, and I knew that this show would be the first show — ever since I started reading your reviews on Steins;Gate at RC — that left a big gap in our fondness. I agree with you completely about the visuals and cinematography. The celebration of fetishes was a little repetitive — and becoming boring mid-way — but it's really the characters — in my view — that made the show lose its race. I don't like any of the female characters in the show, and there were just many times that their movements and reactions were used to portray something that didn't show enough respect. The female lead appeared to be a little soulless, and there were characters whose purpose was just there to read the script. I also don't like the sudden change of character of the younger sister of the female lead. The writing of show wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either — I prefer the writing of RMZ and ZnT more. The message about containing evil impulses is actually a good one — if only there's more respect given to the characters, in my view.

    Please don't hate me for voicing out my view. I didn't hate this show at all — and I did try to like it — but I just couldn't like it as much as you do.

  95. It would be fine with me if you did hate it – that's what opinions are, after all. I certainly recognize that Dansai Bunri isn't a series for everyone's tastes, but to me it was one of the most creative and stylish anime in years and had many moments of genuine brilliance.

  96. R

    Thanks, Enzo, for not hating me :-).

  97. s

    I am surprised as well that Dansai placed higher than RMZ but i personally thought Dansai was a good series. Sure the series was rough around the edges, but it was good at sticking to its strong points and when it did, it was on fire no if ands or buts about it (in my opinion of course). Still, i personally would not have put it over RMZ as i think there was a bit more cohesion and ambience in the craftsmanship of its narrative than Dansai. With RMZ, i felt that you could really feel the talent behind the script and series composition. It had a sense of delicacy that could only be achieved through the hands of skilled staff and it illustrated that throughout its run.

    So yes, i was surprised to see RMZ lose to Dansai but it still was a very good series filled with brilliant moments and i cant wait for a second season…………i can still hope for a second season right??? right???? …….anybody???? H-h-hello???

  98. You've got a better chance (which is to say slim) chance of seeing the rest of the RM manga adapted than seeing any more Crime Edge anime.

    The rest of the RM manga is excellent, by the way, so I certainly hope that happens.

  99. s

    It better happen what with that cliffhanger and everything

  100. R

    Uchouten Kazoku…the great sleeper hit that amazed many and proved the P.A. haters wrong.

    When it started, a lot of people imagined it to be another Tatami Galaxy, and some hesitated or simply didn't have faith in P.A. That's understandable — Tatami Galaxy was quite well received, and P.A. had been known more for its visual works than its storytelling. As it went on, more and more realized that this show is a completely different beast — it's an absolutely well-structured, meticulously-composed, masterfully-directed, and beautifully-produced anime that celebrated Morimi-sensei's achievement as a novelist and put P.A. Works on a different rank as a competent studio.

    I love Uchouten immensely. While I wish to see it rank higher on your list, I'm just glad that you included this show in your top 10. There are just too many things that made me love this series so much. I don't mind if a show is magical and poetic or not — it's great when it is — but I care deeply about how well a story is told and how human, interesting and relatable the characters are. For that, Uchonten did a miraculous job, in my view. I never find the show inconsistent but was amazed by how well it blended comedy and drama into a slice-of-life story that tugged my heartstrings so deeply. Perhaps I can relate to the story — the familial love, the loss of a parent — but I really love the message about living life to the fullest. To me, Uchouten is sensational and sentimental — it's a show that cherishes love and celebrates life, and it took the number 2 spot on my list.

  101. m

    Haha yet another pick on your list that I couldn't get into. (I did love tempest and Bakuman tho) Even though our opinions on anime tend to differ a lot of the time I still always ready your reviews bc they are more thoughtful and well written than any other anime reviewer I've come across. Keep up the good work.
    Did you ever watch The Office and think "man it's not possible for a show to make you feel more awkward and uncomfortable that this"…well Watamote succeeded in shattering that belief. It's like the feeling of going to your friends house and them fighting with their girlfriend right in front of you. I see its technical merits and the social commentary is astute, but I didn't find it entertaining enough to keep watching.

  102. Yes, I watched The Office (and also Extras) and yes, Gervais has an amazing ability to make you feel uncomfortable, but Fawlty Towers was my ultimate example of that.

    The thing with Watamote, though, is that – as with Basil Fawlty and the Gervais leads – you end up sort of liking the main character in spite of yourself. And in Tomoko's case she's just in so much existential agony and it's depicted so honestly and accurately that I find it impossible not to get emotionally involved. I was worried about whether I would find it entertaining enough too, but somehow I did.

  103. c

    1. Chihayafuru2 (this is totally bias)
    2. SSY
    3. SnK
    4. Watamote
    5. Aku no Hana
    6. Uchoten Kazoku
    7. White Album2
    8. Hatarakou Maou sama
    9. Yahari ore no sheishun
    10. Nagi no Asakura

  104. i

    I think the best thing about end of the year lists is that it reminds one of all the great stuff from the year. Already I've rewatched Chihayafuru, ZnT and SSY. H x H is next on the list before an Uchouten Kazoku new year, woohoo.

  105. R

    Good for you. I have rewatched SSY, Uchouten Kazoku and Chihayafuru. Now, I'm trying some oldies, like the World Masterpiece Theatre.

  106. Z

    1. Psycho-Pass
    2. Aku no Hana
    3. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken
    4.Watamote
    5. Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen
    6. Shingeki no Kyoujin

  107. G

    I just don;t get the guys that are picking Aku No Hana for their top 10 list. Iy was mediocre at best. I kept waiting for it to get better and rise up but it never did. I know some folks hated the animation style but that didn't really bother me. There really wasn't anyone decent and likeable in the cast except for maybe the girrl that got her gym clothes stolen.

  108. M

    Well you can agree that it wasn't ordinary, even less so than all the little "gems" advertised on this blog. I think it nailed atmosphere and tension. The visual style (which was unfairly dismissed by most) was the perfect fit for really honing in on and elevating the themes of the show. I think more so than any show this year, the audience was taxed to keep an open mind. The story revels in the adolescent trappings of self disillusionment and escapism, proposing the act of shedding our self-consciousness as the way out.

    If it comes across pretentious or petulant, that is because it frames reality from the perspective of Kasuga, a young man who uses the book Flowers of Evil to distinguish himself in a town he feels dissonant towards. Nakamura becomes the machination for Kasuga to escape his mundane and sheltered existence; a bridge to enlightened self discovery through violent and sexual acts. Of course we all know that these are just plain kids trapped in an ordinary life – but the psychological study can be fascinating to some.

    My only concern with your post is the last part. Do the characters in your favorite shows need to be darlings for it to be recommendable?

  109. J

    personally I don't mind keeping an open mind had the creator not said something similar to "watch this or fk you" at the end of the first episode. That display of arrogance pretty much killed any leniency I might have toward that series.

  110. Z

    Actually the (mock)abusive messages were directed at the people following the series each week.

    Cojones.

  111. R

    This may come off as after the fact, but I knew that Watamote would end up in your top 5. Watamote is very rare and special. Thank you, Enzo, for sharing your experience, thoughts and feelings in your reviews — you probably are the only blogger who truly understands Tomoko and the show. Watamote is pretty much a one-man show, but it's very personal and heartbreaking — I couldn't laugh as much as most could. It's not about being able to laugh at one's pain; I just couldn't help but feel for Tomoko — as annoying as she could be — and her family, and this is really the power of the show to me. I should thank the author and the adaptation team for giving us such an honest and accurate story of a suffering soul, and I hope that this show has brought bigger awareness and concerns to people suffering from mental disorders.

  112. G

    I have a brother similar tp Tomoko so I did not laugh as much as others, much of what happened hit close to home. Was still an interesting show to watch anyways.

  113. R

    Glad to know someone sharing the experience :-).

  114. K

    "It was a sports series – strike one. The main characters were 12 year-olds – strike two. There was no best-selling manga – strike three"

    Honestly I thing the biggest strike against the series was no one was streaming it legally. I don't really like to download anime anymore and I especially don't like to download anime that is subbed slowly. I know a lot of other people feel the same.

    I think that is the same reason why Kyousougiga didn't pick up a bigger audience. While it eventually did stream it was after the fall season was already underway. Though I am glad it did eventually go on CR for my sake.

    Although I haven't watched Ginga e Kickoff yet it is on my list.

  115. e

    Aw GeK :,). It's at the same time the easiest and hardest anime to place in my list in a way. Heart-wise there is simply no other title this year whose cast worked better for me and to who I grew more attached to as a whole, but objectively speaking I also liked series who either had more budget or were more 'ambitious' or complex in terms of plot, or had single characters I love as much.
    Unless Kyousougiga completely wins me over characters-wise in the episodes I have still left to watch therefore subverting the top positions GeK will probably end tied for first place with HxH… even nudge the latter to #2 :,D. GeK just that sunshine warm factor that just wins me over… and similarly to my fondness for Shirokuma Café the more I grow older the more I find mysef craving for that kind of warmth and those crowning moments where you just want to hug your laptop screen or book in tearful happy gratitude for the fictional boon. It's like hot cocoa for the kokoro – and heaven and hell know I am addicted to cocoa – .

    Thank you for blogging GeK Enzo ;*.
    And now let's see what the top titles are gonna be – or rather in what order – *grins*.

  116. e

    Well GeK's high placing was well-deserved as well as completely expected. It was an awesome experience watching this while following your posts on it – always fun seeing someone having modest expectations of something at the start then gradually falling more and more in love with it. For pure, relentless fun, it'd be hard to do better than it in my opinion

    Anyway, just for fun I'm gonna try guessing the shows in your 11th-20th places now since I think the final 3 shows in your top 10 won't be surprising anyone. Not gonna do it in order though cause I doubt getting everything right is possible:P
    Space Brothers is most likely a lock, and I reckon one of the more difficult inclusions from this list considering how good it's been lately.
    Same with Refrain, unless the final episode really soured your opinion of it (highly unlikely, as it was pretty damn good)
    Polar Bear Cafe is definitely in.
    Is Bakuman still eligible for the list despite being in honourable mentions? Cause if so, that too.
    Blood Lad and Maou-Sama have decent chances, though I'm not sure if they did enough to distinguish themselves from the multitude of other shows you found good.
    I remember you liking Robotic;Notes a whole lot more than most people did, so that's definitely a strong contender too.
    RDG had an inconclusive ending which I personally hated, but there's a chance the rest of the show was good enough for you for it to make it as well.
    WA2 is one of my personal favourites and I'll be pretty disappointed if it doesn't make your list, especially since some of the problems you had of it in the beginning (distasteful fanservice for instance) are far less prevalent in the show now then in its beginning.
    I recently read your review of Gingitsune which seemed really positive, so that will probably make it too.

    Wow that was much harder than I expected. With your top 10 most of the shows in it were quite obvious to anyone who has followed this blog the entire year but there are so many shows that have the potential to make it in the top 20 it was difficult sifting through all of them and guessing which would make the cut.

  117. This year was deeper than it was strong at the top. The second ten was in some ways harder than the first.

  118. Sorry, let's not spoiler the ending of the series for those who haven't seen it.

  119. R

    Love Kyousougiga…one of the few well-rounded series this year. It is also my third favourite.

    Kyousougiga is a very beautiful, mythical and magical show with a very human story at its core. The first ONA released two years ago was great visually. The 5 ONAs released last summer were even better — they gave context to the characters. However, come to think of it now, they were simply "teasers" of the TV series. I love the ambition in Kousougiga, but what I love the most is how the creators kept going confidently with their ambition and then brought it to life flawlessly and beautifully.

    It's very hard for me to choose between Uchouten and Kyousougiga — both tell touching stories about familial love and meanings of life. I find Kyousougiga more imaginative aesthetically and poetic narratively — the experience with Kyousougiga was quite whimsical, and sometimes romantic. Please don't laugh if I said I did do a bit of soul-searching. At the end, Uchouten got the edge over for simply because I can relate to its story a bit more.

    Talking about both shows, we really got some rising stars this year. Rie Matsumoto is pretty young and is also a woman in a male-dominating industry. Even for Uchouten, as experienced as both Suga Shoutarou and Yoshihara Masayuki are, they are not of A-list, I assume. This is actually very good to see.

  120. G

    SSY was one of my top choices for anime of the year (along with Space Battlesxhip Yamato 2199). I think the trend of Otaku/moeblob/panty/boob culture is slowly but surely strangling anime. Good series add panty and boob shots for no good reason other then to try and get more sales (I'm looking at you Yozakura Quartet).

  121. i

    I feel pretty proud to be one of those less than a 1000 who own a copy of SSY. I'm rewatching Bakuman and its the sort of thing I could seed Takagi writing if he had just become a novelist. At least A-1 did it and can take a financial blow like SSY.

  122. K

    Well I don't import anime unless it is a movie or something 1 off (like the Natsume OVA) but I definitely plan to buy it when it is released over here from Sentai. Day 1 purchase.

  123. t

    SSY, definitely one of the best of the best of anime in 2013.

    as you stated above, this year was a good for anime. provided a lot of good anime in variety of genres: romance, romcom, fantasy, action…however, in terms of really strong and outstanding anime..very, very few actually stand out. but every year we have a few anime that are on top of anything, and SSY is definitely among those very few anime. not only for this year, but in general. it was brilliant. and if it can be said about anime in 2013 that is close enough to title of "masterpiece" then it's SSY. it is sorta masterpiece I think.

  124. s

    SSY stumbled in its pacing and characterization in a few instances so i personally wouldnt call it a masterpiece (not to mention a bit in its animation but i didnt fault it that much for it especially since the art direction was its saving grace from a visual aspect) but it certainly was a superb anime that tells a somber story that can touch the hearts and minds of its viewers both in and out of the anime fandom

  125. t

    you are right.
    if there is something about SSY, it's that SSY really scratch the imaginary "threshold" between superb and masterpiece. but for this year, I certainly didn't see something better or even in par with SSY (well of course there is Hunter but I didn't include it). maybe refrain and monogatari…still SSY was…top of the top this year. and in general, it's really a worthwhile anime for every newcomer to the anime world (well maybe not completely newcomer..but you know…)

    it's true – animation wasn't consistent enough. some episodes provided very good, others were…not so good at all. but mostly they kept an average level (or so I remember).
    as for the pacing, well I don't why people say it's confusing, it's true that there were a 2-3 timeskip (or more). but I really liked that in SSY. it allow SSY provide a full-time view about their entire childhood and also about their adulthood. I really liked that in SSY.

  126. H

    Err…

    1.Jojo's
    2.Majestic Prince
    3.Watamore
    4.Attack on Titan
    5.Hataraku

    Still catching up with long shows like hxh and enjoying unfinished fall 2013 stuff, so thin list is thin.

  127. s

    Since I know neither show could be number one, i'll just say i'm surprised neither Gargantia or Psycho Pass made top ten this year. Where's the love for the Butcher?

  128. Z

    No surprises there.

  129. Let me just say I watch something like 100 anime a year, so not making the top 10 doesn't mean I don't think highly of a series.

    If you read my posts on those two shows, you have some idea what I liked and what I didn't. I don't revere Urobuchi the way some do – he's like Okada (while being totally unlike her thematically) in that he has massive talent but usually doesn't get as much out of it as he should.

  130. K

    Shin Sekai Yori was tied with Eccentric Family as my favorite of the year. Both very different experiences but both extremely memorable.

  131. s

    It's looking like i pretty much guessed every single anime in your top 10 list save for zetsuen, which i would have put in the list had i known about the split cour rules regarding gin no saji (but that was my fault for being a derpa derp). Overall, a strong looking list filled with a lot of commercially failing anime…that' so you

  132. ROFL.

    Sad, but true. I love loving the losers.

  133. Z

    Shin Sekai Yori was good but not great for me. While it could be said to be good on a technical level, it just lacked a certain pizzazz. A lot of the potential for mystery elements were squandered away with premature exposition. The narrative POV is largely through Saki's eyes/voice, and I didn't find her the most compelling of characters truth be told. Don't get me wrong the basic story was sound, however there were so many elements I found less than smooth that I just can't give it the masterpiece status.

  134. R

    Well I think it's obvious that Hunter x Hunter is number 1. Why even pretend at this point enzo? 😛

    Well you've come up with an interesting list as always. I didn't feel much for Watamote because it wasn't entertaining to me at face value, despite whatever thematic weight it carried. Something about Silver Link always manages to rub me the wrong way. I also wasn't very fond of crime edge so I can't really share the same sentiment about that series failing financially.

    Like you though, it still pains me that a series like SSY couldn't even push above 1k discs. It's perhaps the greatest travesty of the industry this year.

  135. M

    "Well I think it's obvious that Hunter x Hunter is number 1. Why even pretend at this point enzo? :P"

    For more page visits.

  136. R

    Enzo, what a lovely review to my favourite series — I'm moved. I know that Shin Sekai Yori may not have touched the heart of everyone, but it certainly did to mine. I really don't have much to add to what you said for my love for the show, and I can't express as well as you. To me, Shin Sekai Yori is like a classic — and like you said — that can stand for many years to come, and to hear that it is in the same class of Seirei no Moribito is pretty amazing. This is the one show that has grabbed me so much emotionally and intellectually. I have rewatched it twice. I did it in the summer, and after each episode I went back to your review just to unload all the emotions, pause and think. I did it again recently with my cousin — who is just 16 and usually only picks up shows like Naruto Shippuden — and he loved it. Glad to hear that you like "Kage no Denshouka Daisanbu" — I love the BGM of the show, and "Sad Separation" is my favourite. I'm still waiting for the novel to be translated and released — if that ever happens — but till then I probably may just find time and rewatch this show again.

    As for the lucky winner of your #1 show…hmmm…it must be Gatchman Crowds…bwahahaha… Anyway, here's my top 10 favourites, and I probably haven't said enough, thank-you, Enzo.

    1. Shin Sekai Yori
    2. Uchouten Kazoku
    3. Kyousogiga
    4. Rozen Maiden
    5. Chihayafuru season 2
    6. Uchuu Kyoudai
    7. Watamote
    8. Hunter x Hunter
    9. Psycho-Pass — I do want to see Urobuchi Gen stretch beyond more, but this is still one solid show that did way better than many shows this year.
    10. Attack on Titan — I put this show in for its broad impact and for the parts that I liked.

  137. G

    Everyone has their own personal prefrences. I myself did not like Kill La Kill or Kyousogiga but I think we can all pretty much agree that HxH was clear and away the very best series of 2013.

    My list:

    1. Hunter x Hunter
    2. Space Battleship Yamato 2199
    3. Shinsekai Yori
    4. Gingitsune
    5. Uchuu Kyoudai
    6. Rosen Maiden
    7. Gin No Saji
    8. Watamote
    9. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
    10. Psycho Pass
    11. Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio -Ars Nova-
    12. Kingdom

  138. Q

    I'm surprised WA2 didn't make the cut. It may not be as unconventional or as epic as some of the anime that did get on the list, but the story, writing, and voice acting were – at least for me – some of the finest I'd seen in recent anime.

  139. It didn't miss by a whole lot…

  140. i

    Do you think that HxH will become your favorite anime of all time?

    I knew the moment that I got the first DVD box, popped into the player and heard Chihaya recite the poem of the Naniwa bay in the first scene that even 70 years from now Chihayafuru would always be my favorite anime. I was shivering, tearing up, laughing all at once. I think if anyone else feels that way about an anime that's the their favorite too.

  141. At this point it would be hard to imagine anything unseating Seirei no Moribito as my favorite anime of all time. Much love to H x H and several others, but something is going to have to really astonish me for that to happen.

  142. i

    Have you ever rewatched SnM (this short form feels wrong…)? D. Gray Man used to be my #1 until Chihayafuru but after rewatching it didn't feel as awesome while Chihayafuru was even better the second time.

  143. e

    @Ish: your reaction to Chihayafuru is my TL;DR to Rose of Versailles ( that anime is a bit of a special case for me even without the childhood nostalgia goggles ). But next to it I'd also put Seirei no Moribito on my personal top. . Enzo's glowing post for the latter in retrospect ('finally another fan of SnM! Yay. Someone gets it' ::,D ) is probably the main reason I started following this blog for good. And his above average grasp of English (I'm weak to delicious prose and arguments with a rich vocabulary. Yay for learning new English words :p )..
    That said HxH would still rank pretty high in my all-time list. In the top 5 I'd say if we're talking anime series :p.

  144. G

    My all time favorite is Claymore just for the coolness factor and storyline. I also put HxH and FMA:B at the top of my all time faves.

  145. K

    Here's the thing do you really need to have only one absolute favorite anime? I tend to say my favorites are Mushishi & Princess Tutu but that's just for longevity now. I feel the more anime I watch the more are added to my ever growing "top 10 list". I don't actually have a top 10 list because I don't unseat any of my favorites and I don't rank them either.

    It's the same with movies & books. You don't only have to have one favorite and the more you watch your favorites should keep growing.

    Just my perspective on the whole matter. :)

  146. i

    @Kim I don't think you do need an absolute favorite and if someone has more than 1 favs that it is impossible to choose between I totally understand. But for me I know that Chihayafuru is my favorite just because it feels more special than any other I've seen. It's like comparing all the girl/boyfriends one has had to the 'one'.

    @GE earlier question was whether you still felt the same love after a second watch of SnM (still wrong…) because my excitement for D. Gray man faded quite a bit after the second time.

  147. Z

    Ooh Princess Tutu. High class Kim! *toasts*

  148. R

    @elianthos80: I finished Rose of Versailles. It's good…a classic I would say. Thanks for the recommendation ;-).

  149. s

    @kim
    I definitely see where you are coming from as i personally dont have a top 10 list yet alone a top 5 list of favorite anime or anything. I think a part of that has to do with the knowledge that the medium is ever expanding and i personally have trouble making such a list of all time favorites when there's new stuff constantly flooding in (making a top 10 of the year list on the other hand is much easier).

    But the matter of having an all time favorite list is not really a need; there are just some people who are able to decisively make a list of shows that they hold dear no matter what, so much so that no other series has come that has yet to top them. Having a favorite also helps other people understand your tastes in case they want you to recommend something to their liking and that's always helpful. Overall, being able to have a list and and all time favorite illustrates the merit of those shows and the impact they had on you personally; afterall, your making for yourself, not for other people to feel validated for your opinion (which honestly, i think a lot of people just seek validation in general, forgetting that one's own enjoyment is the most important thing. Opinions exists, and that's part of the fun of discussing things or making a list in the first place).

    Like you, while i could say this particular anime im about to mention is my favorite anime of all time. I think its more accurate to say that this is the anime that has impacted me the most and made me feel a sense of wonder that no anime has done in the same way and that anime is Serial Experiments Lain. There is no other anime like it in my opinion; absolutely nothing like it, and to this day, no other anime has made me feel the same way it has, which is why i personally say its my top anime; it transcends the anime label and is just a compelling series in general.

  150. Ish, I've rewatched it twice in Japanese and once dubbed. If anything I love it more.

    I never felt a need to have a #1 anime, per se – it's just Seirei no Moribito demanded it after I watched it. It was as obvious as the sun rising in the East. Does that mean I love FLCL and NGE or H x H or Cross Game or Outlaw Star or… any less? No. But the heart wants what it wants.

  151. Z

    For me I feel, at least on the aesthetic front, older anime have an edge over newer digital anime. Heavier reliance on computer generated imagery, a skew towards cuteness in character designs, lack of nasal definition etc plague it.
    Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna showed us that it could be done, while Gankutsuou pushed what could be done with the technology.

  152. e

    Warning for TL;DR

    @Ronbb: I'm so glad you enjoyed it :,D.

    @Ishruns: just completed my third visit to Yogo – New Year Eve marathon- . That is my 4th SnM rewatch ( 2x fansub, 2x official dvd. I havent watched it dubbed yet. Next year maybe :p). Yep it holds well. Verrrry.

    @kim and sonic: I see Kim's point but I also believe that as in any art form there are works that can speak and connect to you uniquely regardless of how old or new they are. Sometimes is also a matter of imprinting so to speak. When these two factors overlap with enduring admiration for that work again and agan then a certain work entered my best of all times. Rose of Versailles was my anime imprinting among may other animes airinf back then. Michelangelo's David was my fine arts imprinting. And Disny's Robin Hood animated feature X,D. And both in my memories and my family's memories those three imprinting have stayed wth me since I was 2 years old among many other good works I experienced afterwards. Their relevance hasn't faded in the slightest plus their ramifications are such that I'd be a different person without them.
    Then came another Robin Hood (this was one hell of a imprinting but unlike the previous is a pretty mediocre work) , then Jane Eyre and the P&P + Persuasion books. Emily Dickinson. And Browning's Sonnet From the Portuguese. Gibran's The Prohet.
    Back to anime and manga I really enjoyed Saior Moon (and some of its fandom to these day). It's still a favourite. But I wouldn't dream to consider the series, movies or manga best of all times in any way. I dont even consider it a great work or good work. It's mediocre at best with a few good moments – and in the manga a surprsingly ingenious little twist on the metaplot -.
    Moribito on the other hand… it just works for me in every aspect: storytelling, characters, aestehics, the story in itself. And I know I would also love it in any case et at any age without reserve. I won't think any less of it decades from now. If it had aired when I was a kid I would have been drawn to it all the same. It's up there in the all times best with RoV, Michelagelo's David and a few of my favourite books.

  153. e

    @Zeta: I agree about the nose (d)evolution. It'ss the one element I really miss in many recent series (one exception that worked for me was Kaiba). And I do confess have a weeknes for old school shoujo eyes (that detailed, full-lashed goodness. You could spot galaxies in those irises X,D. Yase's design in Kyousougiga is quite an affectionate spin on about three decades [roughly 1950- 1985] of old school period piece shoujo design not to mention her super thick spiral curls hair and her clothes.) but in terms of storytelling and aesthetics the digital input can work .
    Digital *colouring* did improve the slickness (I prefer a bit of traditional grit – think Tiger Mask in his sketchy glory XD – rather than ultraslick but the cleanest pic from the start the more streamlined the process ) and – more 'objectively' – visual continuity. With digital once you select a palette you can replicate it with 100% accuracy whenever you need and gradients filling plus pattern/textures becomes a breeze. And provided you have you area selection right you're les likely to leave blank spaces [I remember spotting the occasional misses as a kid :D] – ,
    CG objects&people on the other hand imho are a very bad choice when you're on a budget *points at Kingdom* . In the old times you would rather get some stills . I'd take any hand drawn stills and even a mini slide-show over bad CG any day :,D.
    Charades-wise you could make a pros and cons case for both older and newer works but both manga and anime have offered a range of styles in any era really, even among a certain trend for 70s anime characters to be on the thin and detailed side – plus flowing locks XD – , gaining flesh and roundness during the 80s – plus preferrably poofy hair – , then slimming down and getting angular in the 90s and simplifying the eyes .- plus hair spikes – . After that I find it harder to (pardon the oxymoron) pinpoint a generalization , also because I couldnt access anime titles in the early 2000s as bountifully as before. – Hell of a catchup for me in 2006 XD – .
    I like my characters fleshy, detailed and rounder rathen than rail thin and angular but among my favourites there are both types and anything in-between :D. That said in the fleshy and round camp Akemi Takada in the majokko by studio Pierrot and KOR series era reigns supreme (her Creamy and KOR illustrations are just a wonder :,D) , while Sugino and Araki&Himeno in mid to late 70s are my angular old school shoujo champs.
    And Fujiko… ah. Well I've liked Monkey Punch's design since my childhood and that update didn't disappoint. Visually that is.
    On the simpler modern side Mushishi's design is another favourite. And the series itself does straddlle the line of best of all times for me btw.
    Gankutsuou is my texture porn series X,D, but if you strip those lovely textures away the charades while nice is really simple bordering on cutouts – a detailed linework on charcters feature would have been overkill on the other hand -. And I do remember some CG architectural/vehicles elements really standing out in a bad way (and the less I remmber about a certain armoured duel the better). Still looked fabulously trippy as a whole. I think a much better balance of design texture and digital tricks and colouring was achieved with the Medicine Seller arc in Ayakashi Japanese Horror. Plus the main character looks sounds and is fantastic.

  154. R

    Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna was one of the underrated shows last year. It's not just the art, the BGM was quite good, too.

  155. e

    True that. But I cut the music bits least my comment broke the characters limit – again :,D – . My attention plot-wise sort of faded midway though. To this date Zetsuen and Simoun are the only series with Okada as scriptwriter that I really liked…

  156. R

    Simoun is a great show — I like how each character is unique and fleshed out probably.

  157. M

    I also have an affinity for Simoun. Great ideas and setting. I remember it got a lot of bizarre backlash for using harmonies.

  158. Z

    @Elianthos80: I feel you on the the nose devolution – as you put it. perhaps it ties in to the cute thing. Lack of detail = cute apparently? Not every character designer has succumbed to that line of thinking fortunately (Kyoji Asano and Yoshimitsu Yamashita from this year).

    There are all sorts of oldschool tricks that can be used when on a budget. Detailed still-frames, silhouettes (this works really well for say a section of men/women on horseback). Ironically CG is used when on a budget but I've hated it even in well funded venture. The CG in the new theatrical releases makes the Evangelions Units look like over-sized clowns rather than the terrifying titans they are.

    A fair point, however sometimes you can be too slick. On palate I do feel there is a tendency to make the colours too bright even when a darker palate would better suit the ambiance.

    I agree with the CG Duel part. In retrospect it's funny how Gonzo got bad wrap for early adoption of that sort of crap that all the studios pull nowadays.

  159. t

    coppelion?I thought it would be Kyokai no Kanata…seriously…or maybe miss monochrome?XD

    jokes aside, HxH is amazing.so amazing that the real deal is about to begin only next episode (which is still next year for some of us HaHa) as we've seen from the preview.
    I expect nothing less than superb execution of it.

    true, 2014 seems like the year of farewell from HxH anime. we already see the signals to this – lack of material, a movie unrelated to Togashi in any way and the change in time slot (THO it might be because anime has somewhat become more "brutal" at this stage. at least that's what some said..I don't buy it).
    still, let's enjoy those amazing moments (and there are a lot of them) that left with HxH.

  160. G

    I have always thought the HxH might have been moved to a later time slot due to the Chimera Ant arc and the violence in the series. The suits that make the scheduling decisions probably cringed at the thought of human sized ants eating people.

  161. t

    while it's true that this arc contains..lets say more of violence than the rest.
    but if I recall correctly, the first parts of violence were aired in regular schedule. I am talking about the beginning of the arc when the chimera ants established their nest and all (with the queen eating dozens of human daily).
    besides, even previous arc contained some "violence" like the battle of Gon and Genthru the bomber or heaven's arena or some other
    so, to change time slot only because of violence? I don't know…sounds weird.

    I think it's a matter of priority. when you have HxH that established itself enough after 100+ episodes and is also about to end in let's say X eps..then this timeslot doesn't realize its potential anymore. and putting there something new and exciting like DnA that will keep boosting..it's a smart decision.

  162. Congrats to Carrie – you've won a free haiku! Carrie guessed 9 of 10 correctly and came closest on overall placement for 79 total points. Runner-ups are Sonic (72 points, 2nd place), Elijah, and Sushitushi.

    Sonic, as you're the top overall contributor to LiA as of now (thank you!) I'm going to extend the haiku offer to you as well. Let me know what you'd like as a theme, you two, and I'll cook something up.

  163. C

    OH MY >.<
    I definitely wasn't expecting that haha lucky me I guess!
    If you get a spare second than how about a Haiku on the topic of what makes anime great. It seems fitting considering the post.

    Also I'm honestly very glad to see ZnT make your top 10. It was one a enjoyed very much and connected with. Thanks for the posts and goodluck with 2014 :)

  164. K

    FINE, ENZO, I'LL START HUNTER X HUNTER.
    2 years in a row and #1 this year? It has to be at least a little good. ^^

  165. It is, trust me.

  166. S

    Not putting SSY as #1 is such an outrage that I have to start HxH to find out why! Jesus, there's more than 100 episodes!

  167. K

    Hahaha, Stot, that was close to my line of thought! xD I was mostly putting it off because of how much there is to catch up on, but now I have no choice.

    Good news is that it's really quite charming so far. Little over 20 episodes in and I'm really enjoying it. =)

  168. e

    Join us in the HxH world. We have guts, gum and *cue Namikawa Daisuke* ♥elastic♦ ♠love♣ ;p

  169. w

    I was looking back through some of your older posts, and I found this from way back in your Fall 2011 check in:

    "Hunter x Hunter 2011
    Episodes Watched: 4
    Rating: B-
    Comments: Not too knowledgeable about this shounen titan, but I know this update is faster and somewhat less dark than the 1999 version. So far I’m enjoying it, and it seems to be getting better."

    And get better it did..

  170. G

    please hxh 1999 fans, open your mind hxh 2011 is very good ( because it follows the manga closely) and it has already passed 1999 imo,( i am a big fans 1999 too), thanks for the list, cant wait to watch number 2 and 3 :)

Leave a Comment