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The Best of Anime 2013


Now that 2013 is officially over, it’s time for our yearly foray into annoying everyone with our crappy opinions, the Best of Anime 2013 post! As with last year this post is a collaboration between the writers who watched the most series this year (and who didn’t say “Not it!” quickly enough), Zephyr and Stilts (that’s me!). We each watched upwards to…I don’t know, a lot of anime this past year, so while I can’t promise you we’ll be totally objective (such a thing is impossible), at least we’ll be well-informed about whatever we’re wrong about.

Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous (fun stuff), Genre, and Notable Others. We’ve also added a few new categories, including Best Short and Best Category Defying (also known as the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Memorial Award, though only by me). For most of these Zephyr and I came to an agreement, but when it came to our Best Anime and Best OVA/Movie picks we just said screw it and did them individually…and as a bonus, we allowed any interested writers to include their picks as well! (You can find a list of all 2013 shows watched by participating writers here, to give a little context on our choices). Also included at the end are the final results of the Reader’s Choice Poll.

 

Disclaimer: As always, disclaimers abound. Please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for us isn’t necessarily best for you, and that’s okay. This list shouldn’t be taken as some kind of inviolable truth, but rather the opinions of two guys who watched a lot of anime and then argued about it for about eight hours until a list appeared. Naturally our choices will be influenced by our own tastes, experiences, and personal impressions. Before you go bashing one of our choices, please make sure you’ve at least seen it and know where we’re coming from. Finally, all we ask is that you respect our opinions, just like we respect yours. Thank you.

Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Stilts) and Zephyr, save for where otherwise noted. Also, bare in mind that when two people come together to talk about matters of taste, the results can be a bit wonky. Though we agreed on many categories, sometimes both of us felt strongly about a nominee and one of us had to bow to the other’s choice. These picks are reflective of the two of us as a group, not necessarily each of us independently. Thank you for your understanding.

Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.

 


Production


Animation

Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as we’re trying to think of the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

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Truth be told, each of the series listed here made a case for winning this category. Railgun S was noted for its striking visual upgrade to the Sisters’ Arc, KamiNai provided scenery porn worth dying for, Prisma Illya gave things more of a CG blend, and Zetsuen no Tempest gave its magical elements the pizzazz they deserved. A choice had to be made though, and it was Suisei no Gargantia that came out as the ultimate winner. With its clean-cut style, sharp-lines, vivid colors, and an impressive array of hand-drawn art, Gargantia delivered great animation from the get-go and kept it up throughout its run. Huge (and immensely detailed) shots of the Gargantia fleet highlighted the series’ animation prowess, which were complemented by spectacular views of an ocean-covered Earth, along with a mystifying dance that was every bit as mesmerizing as it was controversial.

Honorable Mentions: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Zetsuen no Tempest

 

Story

As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

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Traditionally one of the hardest categories to judge, the choice for best story ended up much easier this time around. That’s not to say that there weren’t a plethora of great stories this year–there were plenty–but when you properly adapt an award-winning novel, few things can come close. Shin Sekai Yori comes in as the no-doubt winner, powered by a mature story with immense depth, shocking plot twists, and spectacular developments. Horror, supernatural, drama, and Sci-Fi elements blend seamlessly to give a dark take on what it means to be human, challenging viewers to think about its double edged nature while not shying away from controversial topics such as homosexuality and genocide. Thought-provoking to the end, Shin Sekai Yori didn’t hesitate to take risks and gave viewers an unrivaled experience that will be remembered for years to come. This was a demonstration of the heights anime can reach as a storytelling medium.

Honorable Mentions: Uchouten Kazoku, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Gin no Saji, Zetsuen no Tempest, Little Busters! ~Refrain~

 

 

Soundtrack

What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.

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After composing a laundry list of memorable soundtracks over the past few years, Sawano Hiroyuki finally lands in the winner’s circle with his work in Shingeki no Kyojin. Powered by epic themes that keep the adrenaline rush going for days and his trademark vocal inserts, this was a true Sawano soundtrack through and through–endlessly repeatable and equally memorable. No one else who could have crafted a more fitting soundtrack for a series such as this, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say his work played a part in the series’ success. It has to be noted that last year’s winner Kato Tatsuya also made it onto this year’s list due to his impressive work with Prisma Illya. With both of him and Sawano actively composing music, I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing their names again here next year. That’s just the kind of quality and consistency they bring to the table.

Honorable Mentions: Iwashiro Taro – Suisei no Gargantia, Kato Tatsuya – Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, Kanno Yuugo – PSYCHO-PASS

Opening & Ending Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series, though sometimes they’re completely irrelevant to the actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that we enjoyed more than others.

Shingeki no Kyojin OP1
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo ED1

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Could there be anything else? Endlessly remixed and amusingly fitting no matter what you used it for, Guren no Yumiya takes the cake as the easy pick for this category. Linked Horizon just scores the jackpot here, and there were few things more appropriate for the series than the progressive metal style they bought with this theme. The lyrics were a perfect representation of the Shingeki universe’s circumstances, and the sequence itself was chock full of budget-blowing animation to boot. The slow motion demonstration of the 3D gear in action was just superb, and having dozens of soldiers fly through the air gave the sequence a climactic finish that set the atmosphere for the beginning of each episode. This was a sequence I never got tired of watching, and it’s unlikely anyone will be forgetting it anytime soon–especially if you spend time on YouTube.

Honorable Mentions: Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san OP, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo OP1, Mondai-Ji-tachi ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? OP, PSYCHO-PASS OP2

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It’s impossible for me to separate a song from the context in which it belongs, and how an ED is used is as important as its sequence or sound. What elevates Days of Dash above the rest is how it was used and how well it fit the tone of its series. J.C.Staff’s old trick of starting the ED before the episode has finished was used to maximum effect, until just hearing the opening bars were enough to send chills down my spine. Days of Dash embodies everything Sakurasou sought to convey, from the struggle and pain, the relentless drive, and the audacity to reach for one’s dreams no matter the odds. This song has become my anthem if anything ever has, and the last scene where it played in the series runs through my head every time I hear it play. There were a number of other excellent EDs this year, and some had better sequences, but none were wielded so well or cut so deeply as Days of Dash.

Honorable Mentions: PSYCHO-PASS ED1, Aoki Hagane Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~ ED1, Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi ED, Shin Sekai Yori ED1

Watch Honorable Mentions ▼

Song

With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something we never got tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was any good, we’re simply picking some of our favorite songs that were featured in an anime.

“Rain” by Hata Motohiro (Kotonoha no Niwa)

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Last year this was one of the hardest categories to agree upon, but this time agreement came easily when our winner was first suggested. Kotonoha no Niwa was a beautiful movie, and it was helped immensely by its soundtrack, with Hata Motohiro’s “Rain” being the best of them all. It’s beautiful and mournful, melancholy and uplifting, and it fits its story well. I think I’ve listened to it at least once every week since I first heard it play, and I’m sure there will be many more to come. As usual there were so many songs that deserve honorable mentions that we completely abandoned trying to agree and just added two more songs that we loved each.

Honorable Mentions: “Shape My Story” by Yano Anna (Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu OP), “RE:I AM” by Aimer (Gundam Unicorn Episode 06 ED), “Little Busters! ~TV animation ver.~” by Rita (Little Busters! OP), “White Album” by Yonezawa Madoka (White Album 2 Insert)

Listen to Honorable Mentions ▼

 


Miscellaneous


Character

Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

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Occasionally a character comes along that deserves this award despite possessing a multitude of flaws. In fact, it’s their flaws and their ability to live with and overcome them that makes them worthy, and Shin Sekai Yori’s Watanabe Saki was a perfect example. She was delicate, sensitive, and emotional to a fault. She made mistakes and wasn’t the strongest fighter. Yet despite losing close friends and almost dying multiple times herself, she continued on. With tears in her eyes and every reason to give up, she tripped and stumbled her way through one obstacle after another. It was never a pretty sight, but she willed herself to the goal with her efforts, and into the hearts of viewers while she was at it. Shin Sekai Yori was an award-winning tale about humanity, and Saki was the centerpiece of it all. Like humanity, she was flawed but full of potential, and it’s the realization of that potential amidst brutal circumstances that powers her to her victory in this category.

Honorable Mentions: Benten (Uchouten Kazoku), Kuroki Tomoko (WataMote), Fuwa Aika (Zetsuen no Tempest), Joseph Joestar (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), Natsume Kyousuke (Little Busters!), Hikigaya Hachiman (OreGairu)

 

Seiyuu

As the natural extension of characters, the seiyuu who voiced and gave them life deserve some attention. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so we’re here to highlight those whose acting we enjoyed time and time again. A variety of roles tends to showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, but sometimes all it takes is one unforgettable role to get our pick. Below are our favorite male and female seiyuu this past year.

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Kaji Yuki had a busy year. You’re probably thinking of his role as Eren in Shingeki no Kyojin, but that was just the tip of the iceberg for 2013. From the psychotic child Q-vier (Kakumeiki Valvrave), the unsure hero Alibaba (Magi), the cool pretty boy Felix (Unbreakable Machine-Doll, and the happy pervert Youto (HenNeko) – not to mention the far more badass pervert Hyoudou Issei (High School DxD)…he’s good at playing the pervert – the breadth and variety of Kaji Yuki’s work this year was impressive. Some may have a bad taste in their mouth from previous roles, but remember that you should hate the character, not the actor, because any actor that can go from Q-vier to Issei is doing something right. Rounding out our honorable mentions are Ohsaka Ryota with leading roles in Blood Lad and Hataraku Maou-sama!, Sakurai Takahiro for Makishima of Psycho-Pass and Yasaburou of Uchouten Kazoku (among many others), and Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, who damn near won the award for his role as Sorata in Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo alone.

Honorable Mentions: Ohsaka Ryota, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, Sakurai Takahiro

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This was a breakout year for Taneda Risa. From Xenovia (High School DxD) to Watanabe Saki (Shin Sekai Yori) to Yukari (Yuyushiki) to Aya (Kinmosa) to Kuriyama Mirai (Kyoukai no Kanata), she was in a major role every season, and she played them well. More impressive was the variety of voices she used to bring her characters to life; out of all the seiyuu I heard this year, Taneda Risa was the one I was most frequently surprised to find voicing a character. “Wow, that was her? I never would have guessed!” Such is the power of a talented seiyuu. Honorable mentions go to Mimori Suzuko, who had an excellent year with roles like Umi of Love Live!, Shion of GJ-bu, Kanzashi of Infinite Stratos, and Myuseru of Outbreak Company, while veterans Noto Mamiko and Hanazawa Kana round out our honorable mentions by consistently doing good work every single year. Special kudos go to Noto-sama for stepping outside of her normal roles to play dangerous, powerful, and even perverted characters. They were all a treat to listen to.

Honorable Mentions: Mimori Suzuko, Noto Mamiko, Hanazawa Kana

 

Plot Twist

This is the replacement for the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. We’re looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that caught us off guard and delivered sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has people talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not anyone found it agreeable. Below are the plot twists we have in mind.

Show Plot Twist ▼

 

Death

This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as viewers. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re basing our selection on.

Show Death Picks ▼

 

Trap

“It’s a trap!” and by that we mean a guy cross-dressing as a remarkably cute-looking girl. Gender bender is also acceptable since we’re simply looking for the character who gave off a disturbingly unsettling feeling with how well they portrayed the opposite sex. In short, the character who managed to deceive others (and us!) into thinking they’re actually a cute girl, if even only for a moment.

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This was a banner year for traps, as dubious of an honor as that is. From cross dressers so convincing they’re prettier than most girls to the return of last year’s winner, who doesn’t even need a skirt to make you feel confused, it was a hard decision to make…or it would have been, if one trap hadn’t stood head and shoulders above all the others, and that trap was Gasper. In the best tradition of Hastur the High School DxD team weren’t even pretending Gasper was the least bit masculine, not with Sakura Ayane voicing him in full kawaii girl voice. He wore the girl’s uniform better than most girls, spent time as a damsel in distress, and was even featured in eyecatches like all the haremettes. Hastur made a good case for a repeat victory, and the return of both Genshiken’s Kenjirou Hata and Minami-ke’s Mako-chan gave him a run for his money, but none could match the new kid in the cute skirt.

Honorable Mentions: Hastur (Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W), Kenjirou Hata (Genshiken Nidaime), Mako-chan (Minami-ke Tadaima)

 


Genre


Short

In the genre section, the goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for our best anime of the year.

First up is a new category, Best Short. Shorts tend to get a bad rap. Where once they were mostly low-budget productions not worth your time, nowadays many shorts are of very high quality, with stories and situations exceedingly well-suited to their short run times. This category is for any series with a run time of less 15 minutes or less that defied the stereotype and gave us a good show.

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This was a great year for shorts, with a lot of high-quality series that challenged the assumption that shorts are cheap and crappy. Mainly belonging to the wider slice-of-life and comedy genres, it was hard to compare them because so many were good in their own ways, but the nod goes to Yama no Susume for combining atmosphere with character development. Explaining the atmosphere is easy – a warm, growing, fuwa-fuwa atmosphere permeated the entire show, and made for a relaxing watch. But if that were all then Aiura would win – and it nearly did. It was Yama no Susume’s fidelity to its mountain climbing premise and the character arc of protagonist Aoi that proved you can fit a character-driven story into a short runtime. Honorable mentions also go to Muromi-san and Senyu., both of which were frequently hilarious, with Senyu. even adding in a surprisingly touching story at the very end.

Honorable Mentions: Aiura, Senyu., Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san

 

Action

Action, action, and more action! The action genre ranges anywhere from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha shows. For battles, choreography plays a huge role, so that was definitely taken into consideration.

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Looking back on the year, there were quite a few action series, and good ones at that. Put them all together and there was plenty of ass kicking to go around, and probably enough explosions to cover the Earth a hundred times over. It’s only fitting that this category has a lot of honorable mentions, even if all of them end up losing out to the indomitable action beast that was Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Every bit as over the top as it was bizarre, this was an adventure filled with fisticuffs, god-slaying, monster-pulverizing, vampire-trashing action. In fact, there was so much action that it carried over multiple generations, bringing with it epic machine guns on top of already flashy ripple techniques. With apologies to the other series listed on this category, there just wasn’t any action series better than JoJo this year, which was helped in part by an old-fashioned style we just don’t see much of anymore.

Honorable Mentions: Shingeki no Kyojin, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S, Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince, Kakumeiki Valvrave, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya

 

Romance

Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationship between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.

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Ignored by many due to sharing its name with its (ultimately unrelated) cousin, White Album 2 rises to the top of this category as a diamond in the rough. Powered by an emotionally riveting love triangle, White Album 2 was a story of how fated encounters don’t always end up well, how the best of intentions may only do more harm, and how there’s no substitute for real life experience. This was a story where three people met, tried to fight against the impossible, and hurt themselves more in the process. And what a story it was! White Album 2 was an example of the best this genre has to offer and a standard by which serious romances should follow. There’s no impossibly dense main character here, no straight forward happy tale of romance. This was a whirlwind of emotions and a testament to what an actual romance typically is – unpredictable and filled with a mixture of good and bad. And best of all? This was a series where you knew what was coming long before it happened, and it didn’t matter. There might have been a dearth of romances this year, but this more than made up for it. Did I mention that this was only the introductory chapter?

Honorable Mentions: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen

 

Drama

A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.

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It took a while to build. Little Busters! started out slow, and after the first few episodes some people were condemning J.C.Staff for ruining the latest Key adaptation. For those of you who said that, know this: you should have held on. It built slow because the fast punch isn’t nearly so devastating as the freight train slamming into your soul. By the time Refrain rolled around it had built up a head of steam, and when all the emotions finally came crashing down, I wept. I wept unabashedly for two whole episodes, so potent was the drama unfolding on the screen. There were many great dramas this year, with Uchouten Kazoku almost winning for a similarly slow build up and an emotional gut punch on Episode 8, but only one show pulled us in so deeply only to rip our hearts out with friendship and love. It made every minute that proceeded it worth it many times over.

Honorable Mentions: Uchouten Kazoku, White Album 2, Shin Sekai Yori, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Zetsuen no Tempest

 

Sci-Fi

When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation. However, that’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.

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Like the Action category, this year was a good one for Sci-Fi, and all the series here were noted for their unique take on the genre. Despite the strong contenders, all of them end up playing second fiddle to Shin Sekai Yori, which revolved around people who possessed the ability to use “cantus.” Essentially the ability to manipulate and create things with their minds, this was a power that stretched the limits of human imagination—a vital part of any Sci-Fi story. Notably, it was key to the series’ award winning premise as well playing an integral part in past events dating back centuries and the characters’ everyday lives in the present. This was a series that just breathed Sci-Fi, and was made even better by the fact that it didn’t shy away from the more controversial aspects of people having such powers.

Honorable Mentions: Suisei no Gargantia, PSYCHO-PASS, Shingeki no Kyojin, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S

 

Horror/Thriller

The best horror shows are those that incite visceral feelings of shock, fear, and pulse-pounding dread. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.

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Typically a category where the winner is either a great horror or thriller, both Shingeki no Kyojin and Shin Sekai Yori come in as shows that buck the trend by providing both. In the end though, Shingeki wins due to its Titan-oriented story. What could be worse than living in fear of multi-story tall creatures randomly peering in your windows and eating all your friends and family? With an insane diversity of creepy faces, Titans are things nightmares are made of–all of which made it all the more thrilling when they were hunted down. In this respect it was more of an old-fashioned thriller more than a psychological one, but that doesn’t change the fact it was thrilling, because there are few things better than the overhead view of a soldier flying through the city with his 3D maneuver gear. Oh how much budget must have been blown on those scenes!

Honorable Mentions: Shin Sekai Yori, DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei

 

Mystery

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Thought-provoking storylines that keep inquisitive viewers watching and speculating on where things are headed? Yes, please. They don’t necessarily have to have a horror element to them either, as all we’re looking for here is a blend of detective/crime fiction.

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Like last year, 2013 didn’t provide much in terms of mysteries. That didn’t mean that there weren’t good additions to the genre however, and one mystery ended up particularly good. By that, we mean the “Secret of the World.” Set up in its original run and finally culminating in this past season’s Little Busters! ~Refrain~, this was a mystery that hung around for over two dozen episodes, occasionally disappearing and reappearing when we least expected it. It taunted us with red herrings and subtle hints, giving viewers the general feeling that something wasn’t quite right while holding the actual secret until the very end. And what a secret it was. No matter what you thought about the original series, the fact is that Refrain was a spectacular piece of storytelling, and its mystery elements were a big reason why. This was a mystery whose revelation sucker punched you when you least expected it, turned the entire series upside down, and was something whose emotional impact made it an easy winner for this category.

Honorable Mentions: Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Zetsuen no Tempest

 

Fantasy

Where science fiction seeks to explain the remarkable happenings of its universe via technology and logic, fantasy is less concerned with that. Wizards, dragons, and Tolkien-esque adventures are what usually come to mind, but those aren’t mandatory. As long as the focus is less on what makes the world tick and more on using magic and wonder to tell a story, it’s probably a fantasy tale you’re looking at.

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Considering that its previous iteration won last year, it’s only fitting that Monogatari Series: Second Season takes home the trophy this year as well, albeit barely. Zetsuen no Tempest gave the series a good run for its fantasy money, but in the end there are few things quite like Monogatari. Hailing back to its fantasy-themed foundations, oddities (and some other category-defying critters) were out in full force this time, and the witty banter was as good as ever. New characters came in to make things even more fun, which combined with an increased focus on a few older characters–I’m looking at you Kaiki–to make this yet another great addition to Shaft’s Monogatari adaptations. There’s not much else to say here. Monogatari’s a fabulously unique modern fantasy and Shaft was the one studio capable of bringing out the series’ full potential. They did, and we got this year’s best fantasy as a result.

Honorable Mentions: Zetsuen no Tempest, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Outbreak Company, Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi

 

Comedy

The ability to make you laugh until you cry – that’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.

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Comedy is one of the most subjective forms of art, so in this your mileage may vary, but to me no show was as consistently and uproariously funny as Outbreak Company. In truth it wasn’t just a comedy, with poignant moments, dramatic face offs, and a deep plot that didn’t have enough time to fully come to the fore. When it came to comedy though, it truly shined like no other. It did parody, and it did parody right, showing a great deal of self-awareness for the medium it was so lovingly ribbing. Its timing was superb, with a deft use of silence and of not explaining the joke adding to the hilarity. It was even lovingly self-deprecating, poking fun at its seiyuu and its own staff in search of another laugh. But above all else Outbreak Company was the show that most frequently had me laughing out loud, and for a comedy there is no better compliment than that.

Honorable Mentions: Hataraku Maou-sama!, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W, Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san. Z, Noucome

 

Romantic Comedy

The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often – but not always – in harem-like scenarios.

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This was quite the crowded category, but one sequel shined above the rest for imbuing extra depth into the harem concept. A dense male protagonist is nothing new, but how often is it justified? In Kodaka we got exactly that, and Haganai’s second season was where this became clear. It’s not that he didn’t know, it’s that he didn’t want to know, and the questions this raises – not to mention the warped view of friendship he and the other Rinjin-bu share – made for a surprisingly deep ride. On top of that Haganai continued to be laugh out loud funny, all the girls were still interesting and cute, and it left us on a cliffhanger that leaves me yearning for a Season 3 even now. A large crop of heavily abbreviated light novel adaptations make up our honorable mentions, with all of them sporting fairly strong male leads, plenty of interesting girls, and at least a laugh or five every episode.

Honorable Mentions: OreShura, OreGairu, HenNeko, Noucome

 

Slice of Life

A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.

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GJ-bu is pure, unabashed slice-of-life, and it does it well. It had a nice laid-back atmosphere, and the skits each episode offered up were almost always good for a laugh or a smile, but to me it was the characters that really sold it. Feisty club president Mao, her domestic little sister Megumi, cool chess prodigy Shion, and the mysteriously animal-like Kirara were all delightful to watch in their own ways, and they were helped by leading man Kyoro, whose Ore Man bits never ceased to make me smile. What I really liked was how they kept adding in characters and elements, adding new GJ-bu members (Tama-chan), introducing new jokes (Kyoro’s hair brushing skills, Mori-san’s twirls, the imoutos), and generally striving to keep things fresh by never resting on their laurels. Capping the series off a surprisingly touching graduation ceremony, GJ-bu does everything right and takes home the gold. But I still encourage you to take a look at all of our honorable mentions, because each one was good enough to win the award in most other years.

Honorable Mentions: Yuyushiki, Gingitsune, Love Lab, Servant x Service

 

Fan-Service

While fan-service-filled affairs tend to go hand-in-hand with comedies, that’s not always the case. In addition, fan-service doesn’t only constitute breasts in your face, nor an abundance of needless upskirt shots. The only criteria here are character interactions suggestive of a sexual-related context, regardless of how revealing the scenes may actually be.

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If you eat nothing but cake, you’ll get sick of cake; that’s how I feel about fanservice. As a flavoring it can be exemplary, and you can even have a big old piece once in a while and enjoy it mightily, but when fanservice takes over the show it’s all the worse for it. YuShibu was not that show. It had plenty of fanservice, and it was enjoyable – Asread spared no expense in animating this series, and it shows in every scene. What made it great was that there was always something else going on. It had a plot, it had comedy, it had likable characters, and all of these served to make the fanservice even more enjoyable. Free! nearly grabbed this award thanks to its thoroughly justified fanservice – why come up with contrived reasons for your characters to be half-naked when they need to be half-naked as a matter of course? – and High School DxD and the rest clocked in with the usual plentiful fanservice, but for my money YuShibu does it best by using fanservice to enhance the experience rather than trying to make it carry the whole thing.

Honorable Mentions: Free!, High School DxD NEW, Senran Kagura, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride

 

Category Defying

Also known as the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Memorial Award, this is the category for those shows that deserve to be on this list, even if we don’t have a clue where they should go. Many series cross into multiple genres, which is why you see shows being featured in multiple categories in this section. These series defy genre. They twist and squirm, evading our attempts to label them and are just themselves, as well as good. This is the category for shows that deserve recognition, even if we aren’t rightly sure what they were.

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Kyousougiga was one hell of a ride. Stylish, confusing, and heartfelt, I can’t say I always knew what was going on, but I enjoyed the entire crazy experience. When I watched the original OVA I thought it was a ridiculous action series, and it had that, but additional time revealed a story with more depth. This was a tale of family, a family made of humans, demons, and gods, with the fate of all thirteen worlds hanging in the balance of their explosive reunion. It had style, it had panache, and at the very end it made me want to give my own family a hug. Kyousougiga shows what a family ought to be, even if the very laws of time and space stand in the way. It defies categorization, but it’s everything anime should aspire to be, and it warmed my heart to the very end.

 


Notable Others


Most Underappreciated

There are numerous shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because they’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. We make a point of watching and covering series that tend to be overlooked, so this is intended to highlight the series that more people should have checked out but probably didn’t.

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While there are many anime that are fun to watch, rarer are those that make you learn, and even rarer still are those that approach their topic with the honesty and authenticity of someone who has stood in the character’s shoes. Arakawa Hiromu’s Gin no Saji is one such story. Coming from an author who lived the agricultural life, it approaches the idea of raising animals for meat with neither judgement nor moralizing, instead merely offering up the question and letting us decide how we feel about it along with the characters. It doesn’t take the easy way out, it doesn’t claim to have the answers, and instead focuses on asking the right questions. Gin no Saji will make you consider facets of morality you may never have considered before, and it also has a well-paced plot, likable and commendable characters, and a deeply unsure protagonist who nevertheless keeps struggling against his past and in search of the man he wants to be. Honorable mentions go to Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, whose uncommon atmosphere belies powerful characters and a riveting plot, Blood Lad for being a solid story all the way through, and Uchouten Kazoku for being one of the most deftly told stories all year.

Honorable Mentions: Blood Lad, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, Uchouten Kazoku

 

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedent established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

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With a great apocalyptic backdrop and a superb animation from GoHands at the ready, Coppelion was a series many had high expectations for. When done right, such premises yield some of the best stories and characters, and this was a series that could have been one of the better entries of the year. Sadly, it ended up as one of the worst. With terribly executed developments, forced drama, forgettable characters, and a laundry list of moments that required immense suspension of disbelief, the only constants Coppelion had were animation quality and its propensity to disappoint. Characters would cry for no reason (or didn’t evoke any emotional response when they did), complex topics ended up being shallow and uninteresting, and glaring inconsistencies plagued the show throughout. It takes a lot to get me riled up about a show, and Coppelion managed to do just that. It’s a good thing I dropped coverage of the series early, because it just got worse from there. Interestingly enough, this was just one of three fall series mentioned in this category.

Honorable Mentions: Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (particularly the ending), Kyoukai no Kanata (& KyoAni this year in general), Infinite Stratos 2

 

Exceeded Expectations

Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. Our picks here don’t necessarily mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.

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One shouldn’t judge a show by its art style, but most of us do. When I heard about Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~ I was trying to cut back on how many shows I was watching, so I said “CG? Not even going to bother.” I’m glad I did. After Zephyr and others vouched for how good it was I checked it out, and wow, what a ride! Epic naval battles with tons of explosions and tactical brawls that made every week exciting were the rule, but they still took time to explore what it means to be human and put plenty of characterization into allies and antagonists alike. And that CG I was so worried about? Sometimes it’s hard to remember how far CGI has come, because after half of the first episode I was comfortable with it, and I’ve come to enjoy how vivid and active CGI can allow the characters to be. Our four honorable mentions are excellent as well, so I encourage you to check them out. They’re far better than you probably expected.

Honorable Mentions: Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, YuuShibu, Outbreak Company, Zetsuen no Tempest

 


And Finally…


Best Anime 2013

The be-all, end-all of the year. This pick is always a hotbed of controversy, so here’s the exact criteria we used to make it: if we were to meet an anime fan for the first time and they were to ask us to recommend a show that aired in 2013, what would it be? Without knowing the person’s tastes, we would naturally default to the show that did the most things right, one that had wide appeal and deserved it, that had superb animation and told its story well, and above all else, that we enjoyed. The winner of this category should be a high anticipation show that supremely deserved it, or a dark horse that blew everyone out of the water. This is subjective as hell, but you can find a list of our best picks below. For your reference, we also compiled a list of shows watched by each writer this past year.

Stilts: The most important elements in an anime to me are emotion and execution, and each of my selections reflect this. Hataraku Maou-sama! and Outbreak Company are some of the most well-executed anime I’ve ever seen in a while, with every move they made advancing their plots, developing their characters, and giving me a damn good time every week. Sakurasou makes my list for emotion, because while it was certainly flawed, the passionate striving of would-be artists positively sings to a would-be author like me. Little Busters! ~Refrain~ earns a mention for emotion as well, because any show that can make me cry for two straight episodes is something I’ll remember for a long time to come, whereas Shingeki no Kyojin is featured for an evocative world and some extremely chilling moments, though pacing and character problems kept it from the top spot. In the end though, it’s the show that brought both execution and emotion that gets the gold. No other show this year melded nearly flawless execution with powerful emotions that drew me in and socked me in the gut, leaving me crying in sadness and elation. Uchouten Kazoku is, simply put, a superbly well-told story from start to finish, and that’s why it’s my top anime of 2013.

Honorable Mentions: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Shingeki no Kyojin, Little Busters! ~Refrain~, Outbreak Company

Zephyr: Masterpieces come once in a blue moon. If you’re lucky you’ll get a handful in a given year. If not, you’ll only get one. In 2013, there were a lot of good series, but few reached the top-tiers of “great” and “masterpiece.” In fact, only one reached the latter this year, and that was Shin Sekai Yori. With an award-winning source material, Shin Sekai Yori was a series that came in with high expectations and still managed to exceed them. It was just that good, mixing ambition and a bit of controversy to form a captivating story that showcased the potential of anime as a storytelling medium. Powered by plot twists that often left viewers in shock and a great cast of characters that made you fear for their lives, this was a great example of superb content meeting perfect execution. To top things off, it did all of this with a limited budget–that’s how risky its ideas were–making Shin Sekai Yori a series that really beat the odds in terms of being animated in the first place. It’s just a pity it didn’t have any commercial success, because this was exactly the kind of series anime needs more of.

Honorable Mentions: Little Busters! ~Refrain~, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Shingeki no Kyojin, Zetsuen no Tempest

Takaii: GJ-bu, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~, OreShura, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Little Busters! ~Refrain~
Guardian Enzo: Hunter X Hunter, Shin Sekai Yori, Kyousougiga, Ginga e Kickoff, Watamote
Asobi: Shin Sekai Yori, Kyousougiga, Hataraku Maou-sama!, Uchouten Kazoku, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru.

 

Best OVA/Movie 2013

The same as above, except for the not-regularly-broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but we’ve each had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eyes.

Stilts: Mournful and yet uplifting, optimistic and yet sad, Kotonoha no Niwa mixes emotions aplenty among the remarkable visuals it paints on the screen. It’s not a big story – in fact, it’s quite a simple one – but it’s told with the expertly minimalist skill that’s a hallmark of Shinkai Makoto. In no time at all I felt for the characters, it transported me entirely into their world and sunk me into their problems, and the visuals…oh my, the visuals! Never have I seen such a beautiful garden, such sparkling leaves, such wondrous rippling water; it’s as our own Guardian Enzo said, “more real than real”. I didn’t watch a lot of movies or OVAs this past year, so perhaps there was one that could have beaten this one out, but I think it would have been hard pressed to make the cut. To me, Kotonoha no Niwa set the bar very high.

Honorable Mentions: Little Witch Academia

Zephyr: When you have film legends in Hosoda Mamoru and Shinkai Makoto both releasing films in the same year, you know it’s going to be a good year for this category. And it was. Powered by masterpieces of storytelling and stunning animation that redefined the term “scenery porn,” this was arguably the best year for movies/OVAs in recent memory. Among all these elites though, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki takes the cake easily as my pick. A two-hour masterpiece, this was Hosoda at his best. It may not have had the kind of animation Kotonoha no Niwa had, but it did have a story unlike any other. When it comes to anime the concept of parenthood is something that’s rarely touched on, and anime parents are frequently missing altogether. Not in this film. Hosoda intentionally centers Ookami’s story on the challenges parents face (especially single parents) while raising their kids, and it’s a masterstroke of storytelling that pulls on the emotional heartstrings. This was a story that gave you the best mother ever to grace the big screen and a tale of maturation, overcoming challenges, and the realization of one’s identity. Overflowing with layers of subtlety, there were just few films that were done better, and it’s no wonder Hosoda has the reputation he does.

Honorable Mentions: Kotonoha no Niwa, Steins;Gate – Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu, Nekomonogatari (Kuro), Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home, Little Witch Academia

Takaii: Steins;Gate – Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu, Death Billiards, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! OVA
Guardian Enzo: Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Kaguyahime no Monogatari, Kotonoha no Niwa, Aura: Maryuuinkouga Saigo no Tatakai
Asobi: Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Kotonoha no Niwa, Steins;Gate – Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2013

Your choice for 2013. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.

The Top 5:
Shingeki no Kyojin – 3,010 (9.85%)
PSYCHO-PASS – 1,760 (5.76%)
Shin Sekai Yori – 1,414 (4.63%)
Monogatari Series: Second Season – 1,313 (4.30%)
Hataraku Maou-sama! – 1,240 (4.06%)
Total Number of Votes – 30,563
Here are the full results.

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Shingeki no Kyojin taking the top spot is no surprise, and I for one am pleased to see it there. Though not a perfect adaptation, the world of Shingeki is an evocative one, and its story was powerful. From the bone-crunching fear of the giggling, sickeningly moe Titans, to the unshakable resolve of Eren and the boundless skill of Mikasa and Levi, this is one of the shows I’ve been suggesting to my casual anime-watching friends, and they took to it nicely. Originals had a strong showing with PSYCHO-PASS, Valvrave, and Gargantia all making the Top 10, while nearly all of the other top-ranked adaptations made an appearance in my or Zephyr’s lists, with the others just barely missing the cut. I don’t know about you, but to me that says that RandomC readers must have really good taste!

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2013

Your OVA/Movie choice of 2013. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching them and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2013, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.

The Top 5:
Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu – 1,213 (6.65%)
Evangelion 3.0 – 989 (5.42%)
Nekomonogatari (Kuro) OVA – 778 (4.27%)
Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 2 OVA – 682 (3.74%)
Gundam Unicorn Episode 6 – 655 (3.59%)
Total Number of Votes – 18,235
Here are the full results.

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Finally, we have the reader’s choice for best OVA/Movie in Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu. Considering how beloved the original series was on RC, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Following closely behind was the Evangelion 3.0 movie, which was followed by the Nekomonogatari (Kuro) OVA, Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito 2 OVA, and the most recent episode of Gundam Unicorn. In general, the polls ended up about as expected, even though I was surprised that the Shinkai and Hosoda movies didn’t rank higher than they did. There was definitely more of a split on the votes here than in other years, with Steins;Gate garnering only 6.65% of the votes (no previous winner had under 7.87%). But even this ends up as expected considering the strength of the OVA/movie scene this year.



 

Now that 2013 is officially over and the awards are dolled out, I find myself looking back on the year with fondness. There were a lot of good shows in 2013 which I enjoyed a great deal, both to blog and to watch, but I say this with some caveats. I’m reminded of a few days ago when some of us writers got together to talk about the past year of anime, and about a question Enzo ended up posing. “What do you think this past year was lacking, execution or ambition?” he asked. To this I immediately replied “ambition”, and if there was anything I would change about this year, it was that.

This year there were a lot of extremely well-executed shows, shows that were animated, directed, acted, and told so well that you would swear they were made for the TV screen, even when they were adapted from something else. Yet we didn’t have as many standout series as we have in the past, and that’s something to pay attention to. For those who were willing to give many series the benefit of the doubt 2013 was undoubtedly an enjoyable year of anime, but for those who dabble in fewer series it may have felt lacking. I don’t know, I’m just guessing there. I watch a lot of anime.

Yet I remain optimistic for the future, because when you are producing anime as good as we saw this year, it’s only a small leap to go from making the same old thing to making true art, as some of the top series of 2013 did. I hope you’ll join me and the rest of Random Curiosity for another year of anime in 2014, as we find out whether it can best the year prior and bring us more series that positively shine. Get excited!

January 4, 2014 at 12:25 am
317 comments »
  • January 4, 2014 at 12:31 amvayuu

    Thank you stilts/zephyr for choosing worthy AOTY. As for the readers… We’ll I suppose hype is might.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:25 amAlec

      I love the picks. It’s the best picks I’ve ever seen in this site

      • January 4, 2014 at 1:26 amAlec

        Oh, damn. Dunno how it got here. Wasn’t meant as a reply

    • January 4, 2014 at 2:22 amFlappy

      I do not agree hype is might, look what it did to Coppelion. Too much expectations that cannot be met.

      • January 4, 2014 at 6:18 pmMgMaster

        Nah,it mostly is. I don’t think Coppelion was THAT hyped. At the very least,it doesn’t hold a candle on the truly hyped shows. What we should be grateful is the fact that the most hyped up show this year actually did a good job in meeting most viewers’s expectations.

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:34 amKoroshiyaKi

    Wtf, someone posted already? Do they even read the post before posting!?

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:45 amvayuu

      Of course I do

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:46 amNeck Neck Neck

    Just so you know,
    Shin Sekai Yori completely flopped in Japan.

    http://www38.atwiki.jp/uri-archive/pages/55.html
    (2012) **,587 新世界より

    It’s one of those shows westerners love but Japanese hate,
    kinda like Ergo Proxy.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:21 amNeck Neck Neck

      hey man, don’t hate the messenger,
      I’m just telling you what really happened.
      I enjoyed SSY too.

      Shin Sekai Yori flopped so bad that
      its director Ishihama Masashi stopped working in anime afterwards.
      I don’t know if it’s because he’s taking a break from anime
      or because none of the anime production committees were willing to hire him in 2013.

      It’s a pity really,
      I loved R.O.D. and NHK so much.
      (Ishihama was the animation character designer)

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:23 amAlec

      I’m not surprised. It’s not SAO after all (that’s not a compliment).

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:05 amKuntzy

        The sad thing is… like 95% of anime actually sold better than it so singling out a single show for doing so is… kind of pointless. Especially when there are far worse offenders.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:24 amTheMoondoggie

      They say anime was intended for Japanese viewers and it’s main target were Japanese viewers(which exceptions like Log Horizon). I guess that shows how much SSY failed to capture it’s intended audience.

      • January 4, 2014 at 3:41 amJel

        If that were true then there would never be licenses overseas with subs and dubs in other languages. Space Dandy is even going to be simultaneously aired in English during the air in Japan for people overseas.

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:26 amNeck Neck Neck

        anime creators don’t care about western anime audiences during production.
        this is because

        1. the size of japan-only anime market is already large enough:
        158 billion yen, roughly $1.58 billion U.S. just for the anime video,
        604 billion yen, roughly $6 billion U.S. for character merchandise.
        (I didn’t even include the music and publishing figures.)
        http://on-msn.com/1awk1kn (**EDITED, SHORTENED IT FOR YOU)

        2. The director/writer/producers don’t cater for foreign viewers,
        but it’s not because they hate westerners or anything.
        It’s more like they can’t, none of them speak the language, and
        making the show for japanese market is already a formidable challenge by itself.

        One of the few exceptions to this is Utena, (the director got involved in U.S. localizing)
        but that’s about it.

        Any foreign licensing is bit of an afterthought,
        translations and dubs are done by local companies and there is no input from the original creators during the process.

        It’s kinda like how French movie industry doesn’t cater for American audiences.
        There are American viewers of subbed French movie, but it was never intended to do that
        during the movie production.

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:27 amNeck Neck Neck

        crap i think i just broke randomc.net

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:49 amTheMoondoggie

        @Jel

        I just said there are exceptions(like LH, where Touno Mamare said he got the idea after visiting 4chan).

        SSY, though, isn’t an exception.

    • January 4, 2014 at 2:21 amNeck Neck Neck

      Shin Sekai Yori’s BD costs roughly $50 per volume (5000 yen. DVD costs even less.)
      so you can imagine how pissed off the investors were
      when it sold only 587 volumes.

      $50 x 587 = $29350
      for 6 months’ work of a production company,
      and investors hate charity.

      • January 4, 2014 at 2:30 amTheMoondoggie

        Watch: they’ll blame poor sales to pirates and fansubbing again…

      • January 4, 2014 at 3:13 amwxiagz

        This unfortunately is probably true.

    • January 4, 2014 at 2:38 amEmD

      Saying they expected it to sell was a PR move. No one expected it to sell, no one. It goes against everything the market is geared towards nowadays.

      It was someone’s pet project. Someone wanted to see SSY animated, so they pulled strings and got it approved. And in turn we got the best adapation of anything in a while, precisely because it wasn’t trying to cater to the otaku so it could sell.

      And Masashi has worked on Attack on Titan after Shin Sekai Yori, off the top of my head. No one’s going to completely drop him because one show sold bad. There would be no directors if that were the case, and PA Works would be operating out of a cardbox box.

      Though his credentials post SSY are admittedly small. So perhaps there’s some truth to your claims.

      • January 4, 2014 at 2:58 amNeck Neck Neck

        I stand corrected.
        Further research taught me he was involved in
        Shingeki no Kyojin (2013) and Tokyo Ravens (2013).

    • January 4, 2014 at 3:14 amnhelraios

      As someone who just recently watched the entirety of Shinsekai Yori, I must say it totally deserves the spot. Though it had some flaws(awful CGI,art inconsistencies), it didn’t stop it from delivering a compelling story like you guys mentioned. Just wanna say I’m glad I gave it a try when I saw most folks have it on their five picks in the poll’s comment section. Here’s to hoping we’ll see more of shows like these in this year. The emotional ride is just something that will be remembered.

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:45 amcharml4

        Yeah it’s really sad how SSY is so unappreciated in Japan. Well I’ve got to say that for you to watch SSY you’ll need to have patience and it’s not catered for everyone. The meaning of this show is deep and people don’t watch these type of anime often. I really hope more anime will be like this though, but it’s really rare…I love SSY, easily one of my top anime of all time

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:26 amKorrange

      For adaptations, having low sales is not necessarily a sign of something being disliked. Adaptations are often used as marketing for source material which is why they will so often get 2 seasons even if the first one had terrible disk sales. Unless there is something striking about the visuals of the show or the way it is told, people end up buying the source material since it is significantly cheaper and tends to continue on from where the story left off. In the case of SSY being a novel, you could probably pick it up for $20-30 as opposed to paying ~$800 for it.

      The Animation studio tends to suffer in this case in a way. While they receive a budget to create shows, an interview with nitroplus revealed that the majority of the animation studios profit comes from the disk sales. It is the part of the franchise they are most connected to after all.

      Of course there are still adaptations that do bomb regardless like Aku no Hana, which didn’t receive a significant boost to its manga sales either.

      Basically SSY could still have done well financially as series, you would just need to look at whether its novel got a sales boost from the adaptation

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:53 amAnanas

      Most of the praise goes to the original novel here. The anime adaptation was often fighting its lack of budget with shaky directing.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:18 am*v*

      Hm, I won’t say SSY isn’t popular with Japanese. The novel did well after all. I read bits of it & in hindsight, the anime really didn’t do it justice. It’s still amazing, of course! But maybe that’s one of the reasons.

    • January 4, 2014 at 9:06 amnaoya

      It flopped because of the lack of fan service and touches of shounen-ai.

    • January 4, 2014 at 11:56 amdxb_blackwolf

      I’m wondering, do you happen to know how well SSY’s novels did in Japan? I doubt that they would pick up the anime if the novels didn’t do well, which leads me to believe that there is a chance it flopped because it didn’t rise up to the fan’s expectations. Even if this isn’t the case, I’m still interested in how well the novels did in Japan.

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:05 pmWrench

      Did everyone forget Kaiba? Of course you guys did; that anime sold just as much as SSY.

      I genuinely think that the people who buy BDs/DVDs have shit taste if they don’t even support one of the best adapted works of 2012-2013 with a story that isn’t, you know, juvenile.

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:36 pmEmD

        Of course they have shit taste. Have you seen how many people bought Infinite Stratos 2? Too many.

        IS2 is objectively terrible. Not Guilty Crown or SAO terrible, which is different, but completely and utterly terrible in just about every way.

        And it sold.

    • January 5, 2014 at 1:16 amdanes256

      i’m completely lost about their taste, i just began watching SSY and by god i just can’t believe it didn’t sell, i couldn’t stop watching it until finish even if i wanted to, it’s too enhancing

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:48 amKevin Yamagata

    No Saika?

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:51 amPancakes

    The choices line up pretty neatly with mine for the ones I’ve seen. Thanks for taking the time to give me another late night post to ponder and find new shows to add to my list :)

    Sort of disappointed though you never included Non Non Biyori as a SoL mention, I personally found that to be one of the best SoL shows for 2013. Quite soothing and cute, not to mention easy to relate to for those who grew up in the country.

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:51 amKevin Yamagata

    Anyway, decent list. I’m a bit surprised SSY gets a lot of love, but I won’t be complaining. If I can complain, maybe lacks of Oregairu and again, why not Saika as best trap??

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:50 amZephyr

      Oregairu was one of those shows that for me, felt solid and touched upon some things that other shows wouldn’t, but as a result, it didn’t really fit into any of the categories above. It wasn’t exactly category defying either. It did get an HM in RomCom at least, and Hachiman got a mention in characters. Personally it was in my top 10-15, but we don’t go that far in terms of listing HM’s here with this post.

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:53 amdanes256

    i was hoping hataraku maou sama would be in the top 3 because if you ask me that was the best anime of last year, but i’m still happy it still made the top 5 :) (here’s hoping for a second season)

  • January 4, 2014 at 12:58 amploon

    I’m glad so many people enjoyed SSY and Psycho-Pass as much as I did. Those two in addition to Zetsuen no Tempest pretty much formed the perfect trifecta for me that season.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:00 amKyosuke

    Love the picks, obviously I would change a few, but I don’t see a need to contest any of them. Great work guys!! I’ll be looking forward to what this year has in store for us! (P.S. I could see some of these picks were inspired by me/Babu/SeishunOtoko, right Zephyr? ;). )

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:51 amZephyr

      Hm?

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:00 amkatsudon

    I don’t think you understand how glad I am a certain overrated anime didn’t win anime of the year, definitely agree with the two that won though, as both series were outstanding. Thanks for writing this up guys! ^^

    And I didn’t know Taneda Risa voiced Mirai… Definitely unexpected.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:01 amSheapy

    Good reads. Disappointed My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU didn’t make any of the writers’ list. It was such a nice play on romantic comedies

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:06 amdanes256

      i agree that it was a very good romcom anime, but i still think it might be too much for it to make the writer’s top list, but it was definitely a very good show that i enjoyed throughout spring

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:42 amJel

      It’s on Asobi’s list!

    • January 4, 2014 at 3:51 amAmiluhur

      Was Oregairu even a “legit” romcom in a sense that there’s actual romance going on? Instead i was surprised that this show didn’t even make it into the “drama” category considering its strong character-driven story with lots of psychological flavor

      • January 4, 2014 at 12:00 pmdxb_blackwolf

        Yes it was. There was definitely romance with Yui, but the romance with Yukina didn’t develop a big deal, or at least wasn’t obvious enough. It’s still a romcom.

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:52 amZephyr

      It was just one of those shows that at least I felt didn’t quite fit into a category, which is why you don’t see much of a mention of it. We did watch it though, and generally did enjoy it, so… yeah. My previous reply above talks more about it.

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:01 pmFortis

      Oregairu is just like Hachiman. It just sitting in the conner, doesn’t have much visual appealing, outstanding mind but never have enough attention

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:03 pmdxb_blackwolf

      It was definitely a great anime that made me laugh a lot. Although I have to admit it got worse when it came close to the last episodes. The comedy dropped a big deal and the drama was sorta weird.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:32 pmMgMaster

      White OreGaIru is one of my favorite shows of 2013 I really don’t think it should rated too high. It’s certainly not a bad show but it’s main appeal is mostly Hachiman and there’s a limit to how much one character can do for a show. I put it as my 5th favorite(although it’s mostly tied up with my 6th and 7th picks) because I just went full subjective on it because 8-man is one of my favorite anime characters of the year.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:03 amlivevoid

    Coppelion was more disappointing than Oreimo?!?!? Damn now I’m really glad I didn’t pick up that show.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:38 amabyss

      ¿Coppelion more dissapointing than IS2? ¿Really?

      • January 4, 2014 at 6:16 amAnanas

        It was more disappointing, not worse. IS alrady put the bar very low the first time. IS2 and Diabolik Lovers are probably the worst shows this year.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:45 amdanes256

      IS 2 is more of a disappointment after everything they did with the 1st season

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:08 amAni_BEE

      Coppelion had to much hype going into it. Story wise it wasn’t great but I still enjoyed the ride.

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:09 amcbhl

      Keep in mind that “disappointment” is relative — expectations for Coppelion were much higher at the start of the season.

      • January 4, 2014 at 9:14 amEbbicake

        yeah… they killed the goddess blessing harem anime that is (err was) Charlotte :( for that they deserve to be shot but the anime was already a mid-low expectation at best, so there’s not far to fall from ^_^ but expectations of coppelion were so high and it delivered so little – definitely the most ‘disappointing’

    • January 4, 2014 at 9:00 amAmiluhur

      What makes Coppelion way more disappointing for me is the fact that it was delayed by two years because of Fukushima so you’d think they would have had plenty of time to address all of the show’s many, many flaws.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:04 amDa5id

    Wow, probably the first year since I started watching anime on a weekly basis that the Best Of Award was something I didn’t watch.

    Although I’m glad that Kyousogiga and Silver Spoon got their due.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:05 amGravitan

    I thought Show Spoiler ▼

    from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure was a shoe-in for best death. :/

    Episode 20 of Jojo was best episode of the year by a longshot.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:06 amILikePopCans

    I do not agree with any of the picks. So…. who do I fight?

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:59 amNeck Neck Neck

      your inner demons.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:08 amAnimestuffsometimes

    I can agree with your list, quite a bit; I watched quite a lot of anime this year and I’m surprised I not only dropped Shin Sekai Yori, but didn’t bother picking up Uchouten Kazoku. I’ve heard only good things from those so zero argument there. My biggest issue with this list is how is it even possible that Sakurasou was even considered. That anime was almost as bad as Valvrave, if not worse in a lot of ways.
    The majority of the plot was just teenage angst, and “the power of youth”; the scenes in which the issues climaxed were ridiculously cliche. The majority of the show’s popularity was in due part to the boring dandere main female protagonist who I can understand the story appeal of (however the story appeal gets a flat zero in execution considering she pretty much did absolutely nothing for most of the show). Meanwhile, the character who was actually genuinely appealing, kept the audience dangling with whether or not she was going to confess (which she never did); the rest of the story just had to do with the side characters (which only genkifemale was good) and how being an independent introvert is a bad thing because for some weird reason an irritating blonde girl will start harassing you and you’ll become the bad guy.

    I could go on and on about how insane it is that Sakurasou is on a “top” anything list short of a “Top Most Irritating Anime to Follow When Airing” list.

    Other than that, good list; the only thing I can agree upon is that Sakurasou’s first OP/ED and second ED were excellent tracks.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:55 amNeck Neck Neck

      ?
      Wouldn’t teenagers (or early 20′s viewers) enjoy teen angst shows?
      What’s wrong with Power of Youth?
      Please don’t tell me you are displeased with romantic elements in anime.
      Cliche still works just fine if the viewer is young and hasn’t watched too much anime yet.

      Let the numbers speak for themselves.

      http://www38.atwiki.jp/uri-archive/pages/80.html
      http://www38.atwiki.jp/uri-archive/pages/51.html

      (2012) *2,834 さくら荘のペットな彼女
      (2013) *1,858 有頂天家族 (3巻/7巻)

      Granted, Uchoten BD is not fully released at this time, but the sales numbers indicate
      that there are more people or there will be a similar number of people
      (when Uchouten BD is fully released)
      who prefer Sakura Sou Pet over Uchouten.

      You may not be be the majority here, so please don’t use phrases like
      “how is it even possible” to disapprove of someone’s opinion that’s different from yours,
      because it happened, for real, in real life.

      On a side note, I loved Uchouten too.

      • January 4, 2014 at 2:03 amNeck Neck Neck

        I guess someone doesn’t like uchouten.

      • January 4, 2014 at 5:46 amKuntzy

        Just an fyi, but judging Sakurasou’s reception based on its sales isn’t a very good idea. It ended up getting screwed by nationalistic fags who damned it for changing the food Nanami was given when she was sick to a Korean dish.

    • January 4, 2014 at 3:19 amFortis

      You should watch Oregairu then
      “Youth is a hoax. It’s evil.” – Hikihaya Hachiman

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:37 ambrajt

      Being 32, I’ve got completely nothing against teenage angst and I loved Sakurasou. Now I wonder how old would have to be somebody who claims that teenage stuff is too naive for him to watch.

      • January 4, 2014 at 3:52 pmAnimestuffsometimes

        Hell, I’m all for teenage angst and power of youth; it’s good and entertaining a lot of the time. Personally, I like it; but as far as Sakurasou goes, it was ridiculously overdone and the show was pretty much 100% overbearing power of youth. It felt like one of those sub-par mid 90′s love comedies your girlfriend forces you to watch with her out of fear of castration.
        Admittely, Sakurasou wasn’t a TERRIBLE anime; it was just a really irritating one full of overdone themes, annoying characters (and annoying “character development”) and was actually really awesome for the first 13 episodes. Then after that, it just became irritating to follow every week; with every character repeating the same mistakes and never improving until the big heartfelt finale which was I guess good if you like that kind of stuff. I felt it ended pretty well, but pretty much everything from episode 13 to the last episode was absolutely awful.

        I’m less talking about Sakurasou being what it is, and more about how dumbfounding it is that it could be considered anime of the year by any stretch of the mind. Even I can say I enjoyed it for a time, but I still can say it was irritating as hell to watch past the first cour and felt similar to the downhill slope Sword Art Online had once it got past the Aincrad arc. It’s another case of a really promising and fun anime becoming irritating and overbearing and having one of the most overly defensive fanbases who think it can do no wrong. I’m personally glad the whole “Korean dish” controversy caused it to flop in Japan, even if that was a stupid reason for it to flop given the fact that 90% of the second cour was sheer, irritating melodramatic garbage.

        It’s not a terrible anime, it was easily passable and at some points was genuinely fun to watch; but it was by no means at all anime of the year, or anime of it’s given seasons at all.

    • January 5, 2014 at 3:24 amflCer

      It was okay.

      I agree, Nanami was the most interesting character in that series.

      Main character made irritating remarks.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:09 amGuardian Enzo

    Kaji Yuuki? I may have to wear a mask to the next employee meeting at RC HQ… ;-P

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:22 amKoroshiyaKi

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:54 amZephyr

      We all shall wear masks next time.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:47 pmMgMaster

      Haha,I was so expecting you to say something about that Enzo :D

      I think his best roles are in the shows you don’t usually watch. I know it’s hard to take him seriously so if he’s voicing a character in shows that aren’t meant to be taken seriously as a whole then he’s pretty good but in others like Shingeki? Not so much. The exception to this is definitely SSY where I’d say he did quite a good job as Satoru.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:11 amoliviaven

    I was expecting Gargantia to score way higher, seeing it score behind valvrave is kind of insulting…… And my god so much content to read in this year’s Best Anime, thanks for the hard work ^^

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:13 aminfo600

    Gosh, now I really got to watch marathon Shin Sekai Yori and Yama no Susume

    /”Thanks Obama” meme

    OTOH, I can very willing to bet that “Niji no Oto” is going to be on 2014 list…

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:13 amXxVanitasXx

    I thought Coppelion was okay, but after the series ended. I was pretty much meh about it. I’m still gonna say that Infinite Stratos 2 was even worse then Coppelion.

    JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure as the best action anime of 2013. Heck yeah, I approve of this all the way.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:53 amAnonymosity

      Yes, IS2 was worse than Coppelion.
      Coppelion failed more expectations though, hence its achievement on the list.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:13 amnexuszero

    Butthurt fanboys,get ready your pitchforks and torches,I’ve seen not just the worst anime of 2013 but also one the worst anime of all time. LET THE DOWNVOTES BEGIN!!!!!!!!
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:37 amNeck Neck Neck

      yeah it was bad alright.
      really, really bad-ass….

      • January 4, 2014 at 1:42 amnexuszero

        It was definitely BADASS,the 1993 OVA of course. XD

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:43 amabyss

      You have my support, furthermore JoJo will have another season… while I’m expecting second season for million of milles of better animes… this is live… so sad, so cruel.

    • January 4, 2014 at 9:10 amOkira Bioranda

      Gilgamesh and this way of writing
      Tay Eifong huh

      • January 4, 2014 at 10:21 amnexuszero

        …..Huh????

        …..because the batman is a symbol,he can be anyone and I’M THE GODDAMN BATMAN!

      • January 4, 2014 at 7:23 pmOkira Bioranda

        Batman isn’t skinny

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:14 amFaint Smile

    I thought it was gonna be Zetsuen No Tempest..

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:15 amframefreeze100

    Senran Kagura got an honorable mention for fanservice?

    Well different tastes I suppose. I thought it was a waste of time since there was never any actual nudity so IMO shouldn’t even be considered. Too bad none of the staff covered Freezing Vibration despite the numerous requests back at the start of the Fall season. Even Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai! was a better fanservice show than Senran Kagura and it was a sports anime…

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:21 amAni_BEE

      Freezing Vibration also ended up being a truer adaption then the original Freezing anime as well. The amount of injected fanservice compared to the manga to sell it killed to story for me. >_<

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:17 amTheMoondoggie

    PP tops SSY at reader’s choice…

    HA! I knew it. But Shingeki? Can’t be helped: people love zombie apocalypse, or any apocalypse for that matter. The more despair and deaths the better.

    Emos and edgy kids! Wryyyyyyyyyyy!

    That’s said, this was a good year. Though I really just can’t agree with their choice of Exceed Expectations. It was disappointing it had to deviate from original material. IMO original content is really, really bad when there’s a lot of canon material to cover/can be covered.

    • January 4, 2014 at 2:12 amKevin Yamagata

      As a manga reader initially, it’s regrettable to have the anime deviate from the manga. Though I can imagine it will end with no proper closure if the anime follow the manga.

      Also, no mini Takaos makes me sad…

    • January 24, 2014 at 11:47 pmameko

      way too many ppl watched shingeki ;(

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:17 amdanes256

    i thought IS 2 are definitely the flop of the year, it was a clear disappointment after everything they did in the 1st season

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:19 amoliviaven

    I’m also suprised that the Mizuki Nana and TM Revolution duets were not mentioned at all. My first reaction was “No! It’s too good to be true!”

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:21 amdanes256

      now that you mentioned it, it’s definitely weird because for the very least it should get an honorable mention. i mean, it mizuki nana and TM combining together

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:47 amTheMoondoggie

      There were plenty of good songs this year. Valvrave S1′s OP does tops my list, if you compare the full song with the full song of Shingeki, not just the anime’s OP version.

      The anime’s OP version is good, really. The whole damn full version, however, would make the full version of the OP of Maoyuu sound like a masterpiece.

    • January 4, 2014 at 3:04 amoliviaven

      somehow, my last part of the sentence was deleted. Too good to be true when I first heard that they were collaborating was what I wanted to say.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:20 amAngelus

    It’s almost as if Non Non Biyori didn’t exist.

    Of course I understand why there’s little point in actually blogging slice-of-life, because if an SoL show really were blogworthy then that of itself would probably be enough to disqualify it from that genre. And that goes even more so for iyashi-kei as a subgenre. But NNB was a very strong contender for my personal anime of the year. It was one of the very few shows this year that could make me laugh out loud, and yet on one occasion it reduced me to tears (if you’ve seen it, I’m sure you’ll know which bit). It had an elegiac quality too. “Old Japan” usually meets “new Japan” in a supernatural setting, but here the meeting is much more down-to-earth. Right from the beginning where the other children in ex-Tokyoite Hotaru’s new class don’t so much marvel that she has a house key, but that her house actually has locks, to the end where the children forage for food on a mountain owned by one of their families, this is a show that challenges established views of how modern society ought to work. Not that’s it’s neo-hippy eco-agitprop by any means, but at least it gives pause for thought.

    Anyway, apart from that, it’s good to see SSY getting the praise it deserves for once. But the “Deaths” section??? Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:31 amtotoum

      Yeah,I understand that this is subjective but when it doesn’t even get honorable mention and something way too plot heavy to be a SoL like Love Lab (though it is my favorite comedy of the year) gets one I start scratching my head.

    • January 4, 2014 at 9:56 pmcozziekuns

      I agree!

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:20 amMeName

    Gatchaman Crowds didn’t win best soundtrack? Not even an honorable mention towards it? I’m sad, because the music in that anime is REALLY good. Definitely my number one soundtrack this year. :(

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:26 amTassadar

    Thanks for your hard work everyone!
    I can agree with most of the picks, especially those concerning Shin Sekai Yori as best story and anime of the year. No surprise about Shingeki winning in the readers’ poll; it truly deserves it. Also, glad to see White Album 2 getting the recognition it deserves, as well as Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio.

    Lastly, both movie/ova awards were excellent picks; I wouldn’t be able to decide between the two.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:28 amTassadar

      My only “complain” is the fact that Yamato didn’t get muchh popularity. In my opinion, it was both a stellar sci-fi remake and an amazing show on it’s own, even if you are not familiar with the original series.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:35 amMormegil

    There’s really nothing to argue about here. It’s an all-around good list with plenty of categories and diversity.

    Though for best seiyuu award, I’d have to go with Miki Shinichiro. He kicked ass this year as Gintaro and Kaiki.
    And no love for JoJo and Kyousougiga in the Reader’s Choice award makes me sad.

    Thanks for all the hard work(as always), guys. It was a great year of anime.

    …also, you missed one last category. Worst Anime of 2013: Diabolik Lovers.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:35 amabyss

    Not that I disagree, but seriously, is there any show with more fanservice than HS DxD? If it is almost porn!
    I just agree with Comedy, Exceeded Expectation and (almost) Fantasy. Maybe too with romance and Movie with Kotonoha …
    Opening and endings: pse… “Savior of Song” by Nano? “Preserved roses” by T.M. Revolution and cia? “Spirit Inspitation” by nothing craved into stone?
    Song: “Silver Sky” by Nano (again) is not good enough?
    I could spend all day here … But for the first time in years, as someone commented above mine, is the first time winning many series I have not seen / abandoned / not interested … and remain so.
    It’s just my personal opinion, but I expected these results … and left me with a bad taste, however the effort is appreciated.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:44 amJuan

    Thanks to Zephyr and Stilts for giving White Album 2 the recognition it deserved even with the specter of White Album 1 pulling the show down in terms of recognition that series really was one of the best Romances in terms of story and more especially in execution, in a long time. Hopefully we can get the continuation soon.

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:32 amseltzermx

      Yeah, I was really happy WA2 got recognized. I was a little sad only the first ep got blogged, especially once everything ramped up in the show, but this does make up for it :)

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:25 amZephyr

      If only you were there when we live recorded Stilts catching up to the show.

      • January 5, 2014 at 5:14 amJuan

        Hahaha I’m sure that would have been interesting ^^ I remember commenting on one of Stilts posts that I was disappointed that WA2 wasn’t blogged here on RC, not complaining or anything of the sort, it was just that good in terms of this genre.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:49 amDon834

    Little Busters Refrain won 3 categories?! Are you kidding me?!

    Plot twist? Yeah, sure, why not. I can agree with that.
    Drama? O’Right, you’re pushing it.
    Mystery? Above Zetsuen no Tempest? SERIOUSLY???

    And where’s the sports category? The action category was won by a series not even covered in RC?

    Random Curiosity’s quality drop in 2013 was staggering. Late posts being the norm, empty apologies all over the place, inconsistent writing styles, posts sounding more like a youtube review instead of an episode review. You guys need to get your act together this year.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:55 amronbb

      If it’s a constructive criticism then it’s great, but when it’s not, it’s just mean. The writers don’t owe you anything — they are volunteers. Also, what’s wrong if the writers’ tastes are not the same as yours?

      • January 4, 2014 at 2:03 amDon834

        I think the way a wrote is fair enough to anyone who doesn’t suffer from self-righteousness. And from what I wrote, it can be inferred my argument it’s not a matter of taste. Also, the writers not owing me anything is just stating the obvious.

      • January 4, 2014 at 5:08 amKF

        Some reviews are really good. Others not so. I hope RC will adress this…

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:00 amZephyr

      Again, subjective views are subjective views. It’s clear you didn’t like Refrain as much as the writers did, and that’s fine.

      That said, the sports category was considered, but a fair amount of the sports anime we got (that we’re watching) are carrying over, so we scrapped it in the end because otherwise it’d be an extremely biased category with like, one show considered. Lol.

      And, I would like to ask though, what’s wrong with a series winning that wasn’t covered? It’s not exactly like we cover everything. If anything, shouldn’t the reaction be something like… “Yes! It got recognition even though they didn’t manage to cover it?”

      • January 4, 2014 at 12:09 pmDon834

        With respect to a series that wasn’t covered winning a award… Excuse my manners, but I’ll answer with another question: How any of you guys could not find the time (for whatever reason) to cover such a great show, good enough to actually win an award; yet you managed to find the time, and motivation, to cover shows you highly criticize and even “said” where tedious to cover, didn’t make it to honorable mentions, and even flat out dropped?

        Please explain the thought process on that, because I don’t get it.

        Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure wasn’t even on the radar! Heck, should’ve you declared Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince the winner, and I would’ve kept quiet about it (and that show didn’t make it to my top 5 for the action category).

        To quote you: “If anything, shouldn’t the reaction be something like… ‘Yes! It got recognition even though they didn’t manage to cover it?’”… Mmmm, I think a honorable mention would’ve been enough.

        When I said my argument is not a matter of taste, I think it’s pretty clear I’m leaving subjectivity out of the picture. Can you honestly sit there and tell me with a straight face LBR was a better mystery than ZnT, PP, and others? If so, then what’s the purpose of taking people’s feed back into consideration if you’re just going to be subjective about it?

        Like someone else said, you guys went overboard with LBR – and I’m calling BS on that.

        I’ll go even further. Look at the honorable mentions for best anime. Can you really say Hataraku Maou-Sama! got a honorable mention ahead of say, Robotics;Notes?

        Uchouten Kazoku got a honorable mention for most underappreciated, yet it won best anime? Can you see the incongruence there?

        There were some choices I don’t agree with, yet I’m not giving you crap about it because at least a case can be made for those choices. Since 2005, this is the first time I’ve felt let down by The Best of Anime post. I could call it a small slip, but it reveals a lot about what’s been going on with RC as of lately.

      • January 4, 2014 at 2:20 pmZephyr

        Please explain the thought process on expecting us to know that shows will turn out “good” or “bad.” Also, it’s site policy not to pick-up shows mid-way. So by the time the first few episodes rolled by, picking it up was no longer an option. So let’s not go ahead and jump the gun here with assumptions on the situation circumstances here. There was no choice to pick it up. And no one knew it was going to be as good as it was when it first aired.

        In regards to shows ending up tedious to cover, shows were occasionally dropped/swapped throughout more than any other of the previous years, so it’s not as if we’ve all stuck to the same shows even if we disliked them. I even personally dropped my first show in my nearly 2 years here this past season.

        And are you leaving subjectivity out of the picture? By giving me examples of shows you believe were better, you’re clearly putting subjectivism into it. I clearly explained why I felt LBR got the award. If you don’t agree, again, then fine. I never said anything else aside from that. Let’s not put words or assumptions in my mouth. This goes for the general feeling where you call BS with too much LBR. Again, you’re fine to disagree. But it’s subjective, because you’re saying something else “deserved to win” more.

        Going further, where’s Robotics;Notes even fit into this? It’s not mentioned in any of the honorable mentions at all.

        Next, for Uchouten Kazoku, the pick for AOTY was Stilts’ subjective pick. Does this means it is exclusive of it being underappreciated amongst the general community? No. There is no incongruence there. Just because one writer thought it was the best does not mean it was any less under-appreciated by the general community based on comments, views, and overall discussion. That’s what the category definition says it is, and has always been.

        And let’s not go trying to link an extremely subjective post with “the state of RC.” That’s one thing and this is another. Subjective views do not link to post timeliness or any of the issues you mentioned before. You cannot use something subjective from two writers to make a bigger point about the site, especially when the two writers behind this post are two of the most consistent ones in terms of post timeliness and overall coverage. Subjective posts like this do not represent much about the state of a site at all.

        And if you really wanted to say it, our picks (especially our top picks) generally coincided with the viewers choice poll, so we are mostly in line with most of the viewers that come to this site. I’m also seeing a lot more comments this year than the last in regards to agreement. So if anything, our views are more reflective of our viewers than they have been in a while.

        So let’s leave this post out of the “state of RC” stuff. If you want to talk about the state of RC, be my guest. I’d be more than willing to discuss it with you separately. Just don’t link it with a subjective post like this.

      • January 5, 2014 at 8:35 amDon834

        Well, obviously you can’t know before hand if a show will be good or bad. Mentioning the site’s policy would’ve been enough. Keep the snide remarks to yourself.

        Do you know on what basis I regard a show as better or worse than another? No, you don’t. So how do you know I’m being subjective?… Let’s leave it at that. I’m not going to argue semantics.

        Robotics;Notes not being mentioned anywhere at all is precisely what illustrates my point. Go back, read again, scratch it and substitute X for it.

        The whole Uchouten Kazoku thing… Let me get this. The community is taken into account for The Most Underappreciated category, yet it is left out for The Best category? No incongruence there? One criterion for one, and a different one for another. Ok, fine.

        The state of RC thing being linked… Did I singled out Stilts or you at any point? No, I didn’t. I always talked about “you guys” as a reference to the whole staff. You are the one making it personal. Do you realize what you did with your comment of being the most consistent and what not? Leave me out of it, because I’m not singling out anyone.

        And this takes me no the next point. Yes, I can use something from two writers and make a bigger point about the site; because you are part of it. You make up an essential part of that team. Your actions reflects on the whole site. Just like an employee’s actions reflects on the whole company. Just like a member’s action reflects on the whole family. Just like a player’s actions reflects on the whole sports team. And so on.

        So yes, subjective posts like this represents a lot about the state of the site; specially the most waited for, and dare I say, most important post of the year.

        Your picks generally coincide with the viewers’… So what? I just made a tally, and about 60% of your choices coincide with mine. So what? Heck, with your season’s previews, RC pretty much dictates what I watch. And I made that choice because that’s how good I think RC is. So what? I don’t care about your ego.

        Leave this post out of the “state of RC”? Sure. Make a post where we can all talk about it. Since it’s the beginning of the year you can even call it “the state of RC so far, and where are we heading”. In the mean time, I’ll bring up the subject wherever I see fit.

        My initial post was very benign, and I wish to keep it that way. Feel free to have the final word, I’m not replying anymore. Thanks for your time Zephyr.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:50 amronbb

    Very nice picks…and it’s interesting to see how my favourites are similar to yours. Thanks for the hard work and great job for pulling this together.

  • January 4, 2014 at 1:56 amFT5.Havok

    No award for Kaiki Deishuu? 2011>2012>2013 IMO. I hope we get better sets of anime this 2014! Thanks RandomC writers! :*

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:00 amXSharkNinja

    Well most of my favorites this year won something (even Highschool DxD LOL). A bit sad that OreGairu and Hataraku Maou-Sama! only got honorable mentions but I guess that just shows the strength of the other shows in their categories.
    Anyways thankyou for your dedication to blogging anime over that past year and I hope we get to see more of it in 2014!

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:06 amJason Isenberg

    Hell yeah Steins;Gate! Also had a feeling Ars Nova would win the biggest surprise of the year! Kinda sad Bakuman 3 didn’t rank as good as I hoped, then again the fall season really was one of if not the best anime line up I’ve seen in decades! Especially seeing White Album 2 get in there. That was such a strong show and the music was great too of course. Shingeki no Kyojin was no surprise either since that’s a very great show like Sword Art Online did last year (also on another note, excited to see SAO II soon, probably expect to be one of the top animes of 2014!). Thanks so much guys for posting this up and awesome seeing all those votes.

    Sad to see another chapter close but hey, there’s a lot more anime to come and who knows maybe we’ll get another awesome fall season again ;).

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:09 amHagiri

    Excellent !!!

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:22 amSylpher

    What is meant by “this year lacks ambition”? Is it that most anime play it safe by applying established profitable formulas?
    Overall it’s probably true but I’ve seen plenty shows with more daring concepts like Watamote, Eccentric Family, Free and especially Flowers of Evil, an anime I would deem as a masterpiece due to the brilliance in thematic use, symbolism and every technical aspect. In a pool of generic anime it makes them stand out more.

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:25 amFlappy

    Happy that Hataraku Maou-sama! and PSYCHO-PASS made it to top 5 in the reader list. Though expected SSY to do better.

    Thanks for the year RC!!

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:26 amlegwkio

    I love that GJ-bu got its due, probably my favorite Slice of Life of all time.

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:27 amEmD

    Some good choices all around. Especially in regards to Shin Sekai Yori and GJ-bu.

    I was saddened that Kaiki wasn’t even mentioned for Best Character though. Perfect Husbando stole the show in a cast of memorable characters this season.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:06 amStiltzkin

    Shin Sekai Yori & Uchouten Kazoku. I’m glad both of my favourites of the year were shared by our authors. I seriously think Uchouten is highly underrated (as already mentioned).

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:11 amJesus H. Christ

    Honestly, I think the list is one of the better AOTY’s I’ve seen. I’ve been on RC since 2006 and this is one is well executed. Omni and Divine should be proud. My only slight criticism is the lack of PSYCHO-PASS in the post. You gave it some due diligence in the music categories, but having only one honorable mention outside of that is troublesome to me. PSYCHO-PASS was certainly more true to the spirit of what mystery is, with actual crimes, detectives, and an overarching Sherlockian villain, than Little Busters Refrain was, and, for the sake of diversity, LBR had already gotten plenty of spotlight in the post (Its a great drama but…). It’s clear you guys like to stretch the idea of “genre” for these posts, but maybe if you narrowed the scope of the genre winners, animes like LBR would give way to shows like PSYCHO-PASS or Zetsuen No Tempest.

    In PSYCHO-PASS, Urobuchi Gen’s philosophical and sociological points were integrated in a way that made them tangible and understandable without becoming burdensome (a problem that many animes striving for seriousness fall into). The characters were refreshingly adult but still growing internally, and the questions raised about society had me and my friends debating for months. Not to mention, the show’s conclusion was open and yet satisfying (a truly difficult balance). Of course these are just my thoughts and I’m not trying to say PSYCHO-PASS was the best of the year (I agree with Zephyr about Shin Sekai Yori), but after going through the post I was most excited when I saw PSYCHO-PASS at least get second place in the reader poll. It provided me with some consolation. Thanks RC readers.

    But again, thanks to the authors for this awesome post!

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:34 amZephyr

      Mmm, I see where you’re coming from re: PSYCHO-PASS. The big thing for me was just I kind of felt like it was Sci-Fi first and foremost, and the rest of the elements people liked about it came from that, so it only showed up in the Sci-Fi category because of that.

      But yeah, the thing about P-P is there was a lot more to it than just met the eye. It was also a really open reference to classic Sci-Fi sources (both Western films like Blade Runner, The Minority Report and Japanese films like the original Ghost in the Shell). As a Sci-Fi fan, that really hit the spot for me. The rest was just icing on the cake.

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:13 pmCherrie

      If it’s any consolation, I agree with you about the lack of Psycho-Pass wins. I think the problem when it comes to “categories” is that Psycho-Pass doesn’t stand out enough to win any of them. It’s got great mystery, sci-fi and even individual characters and story – but it’s not the BEST of the year. I think it deserves more honorable mentions, but that’s just a personal opinion as well.

      I didn’t put up my favorites of the year, but if I did, Psycho-Pass would definitely be up there as AOTY worthy. It might not be deserving of a category win, but hell yes to being a great overall show… and it’s seen in the reader’s choice that people agree =)

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:12 amShuA

    Decent choice imo
    But, the word “KyoAni in general” in the biggest disappointment category is really unnecessary. Just list all the KyoAni shows in that category if you want to rather than list KyoAni as a studio

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:13 amGiorno Giovanna

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:14 ambaseone

    WRRRRYYYYYYYY!!!!!

    “Honorable mentions go to Mimori Suzuko, who had an excellent year with roles like Umi of Love Live!, Shion of GJ-bu, Kanzashi of Infinite Stratos, and Myuseru of Outbreak Company”
    Stilts you forgot her ending song in GJ-bu that one was a keeper.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:17 amnhelraios

    Outbreak Company for best comedy, you know your stuff Stilts, you do.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:30 amFortis

    In my opinion Oregai should win SoL arward. that’s anime is as real as it gets

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:32 amJel

    After reading this post, I agree with the bulk of RC’s picks (at least of the animes I’ve watched and heard about).

    I strongly agree with Shingeki no Kyojin for Soundtrack, White Album 2 for Romance, Kaji Yuki for Male Seiyu (ep21 of Shingeki no Kyojin, anyone?), Shingeki no Kyojin for Horror/Thriller, Monogatari Series 2nd Season for Fantasy (deserves the 2 years in a row win, and Gin no Saji for Underappreciated.

    I would say personally I would have chose…
    -Hataraku Maoh-sama should have won Comedy (Even when I felt the story itself being a little meh in the middle, it was still hilarious week after week)
    -Oregairu for Exceeded Expectations (Thanks to a podcast where Kairi I think mentioned it, I started to watch and loved it– and this is coming from someone who isn’t into RomComs)
    -Kaiki Deishuu for Character (Maybe it was because it was a short part of the end of the anime that he showed up that he was overlooked? Definitely lots of love in the RC posts and comments)
    -Kami-nai for Animation (but then again it was mostly breathtaking scenery than being balanced with character animation I guess)
    -Great Escape by Cinema Staff (Shingeki no Kyojin ED2) for ED theme (musical taste plays a part!)

    With all that being said, it was a nice read of Zephyr and Stilts’ opinions here, as well as the AOTY picks from a couple other writers. I appreciate all the hardwork and time it takes to put this together, so thank you for your time and effort.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:38 amchad28

    I really liked Zetsuen no Tempest a lot. Kind of sad that most awards I thought were going to Zetsuen went to Shin Sekai Yori and Little Busters.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:07 pmBluth

      Zetsuen is a classic 2nd or 3rd choice. It’s good, really good in fact, but it just doesn’t have that little extra something to put it above others. Though I can totally see giving it a bone by giving it the mystery of the year. I thought Psycho Pass and Zetsuen were very similar in this regard. Really good, but not good enough to be considered the best.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:38 amMisk

    Thanks for the post, I enjoyed reading through it. I suppose I should pick up the Little Buster series and Shin Sekai Yori :3

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:39 amtsukioniisan

    With so many praise-worthy anime we had this year, it’s not a surprised to see other series winning in their respective categories. Even the giant, SnY, fell short of its expectations. Now I’m curious enough to watch Uchouten Kazoku and give the verdict myself.

    PS. I regret watching White Album 2 as much as I regret the ending for the three of them. #manlytears

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:43 amKaba

    How the hell did Zetsuen no Tempest not get the mystery slot?
    Damn the readers choice for anime of the year.
    Shinsekai Yori or Psycho pass is the clear winner without a doubt.

  • January 4, 2014 at 3:50 amKuntzy

    Thanks alot Stilts for picking an anime that I haven’t watched yet as your Aoty. It’s not like my backlog isn’t already completely f*cking me up the a*s… (Though I figure I’ll probably be thanking you in the end, but that’s that and this is this)

    Now for the more serious stuff i.e. your favorite anime is sh*t, my tastes are clearly superior

    Mostly choices I agree with. I’d pick Hataraku as Comedy of the year myself, and Oregairu was my romcom of the year, hands down, for starters. Loved the GJ-bu as SoL winner pick (That was actually the first show I watched Mimori Suzuko in, who’s climbing my favorite female seiyuu charts). White Album 2 was a no-brainer as romance. The best is yet to come still too, just as long as the production committee aren’t a group of douche bags and expect 15k, or something along those lines, or no sequel (Truth be told, they’d probably need two more 13 episode seasons to really do it justice so it really is a bit of an investment).

    The exceeded expectations winner was a bit of a head scratcher for me though. Not because of what won, but what wasn’t even listed (and which I already mentioned). That, of course, being Hataraku Maou-sama. I don’t recall that having any hype whatsoever going into its anime adaptation.

    Everything else was rather expected or I haven’t watched the winner and can’t comment on it.

    Overall, a good list in my opinion. I doubt you’ll be receiving as much negative feedback as last year.

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:27 amRed HeartGold ZX

    Why is Gin no Saji not on the Slice of Life category honorable mentions? And White Album 2 should be on a category about anime that haven’t been watched but once watched, watchers can’t stop (well, mostly)… Though not sure what category is that.

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:08 pmMgMaster

      Probably a underwatched category.

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:32 amLibélula

    Thank you very much for this list!:) I mostly agree

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:35 amJiCi

    Biggest disappointment for me was BlazBlue: Alter Memory:
    + I’m a fan of the series since Calamity Trigger.

    + I love how ASW and Toshimichi Mori made one Hell of a story… in a fighting game.

    + I love the art of the game. Seriously, the sprites are nicely done in-game.

    + I like the characters.

    + I even like the English dub of the games.

    Here’s where it falters…
    - Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift each take like at least 20 hours to get through the story mode with each character, not because you’re fighting a lot, but because there’s a lot, and I mean a LOT, of dialogues. A 13-episode long series isn’t gonna cut it.

    - The events of Calamity Trigger were retold in Continuum Shift Extend. By “retold”, I mean “recapped” for people would didn’t play Calamity Trigger first. Basically, before being able to play CS’s story mode, you must complete a single, but lengthy chapter that tells the events of CT, but only from Ragna’s and Jin’s and Noel’s perspectives. That chapter alone could have been made into a 13-episode series.

    - Calamity Trigger alone, if used like the first game’s structure with character chapters, should have been told as a 26-episode series, easily. People would have been introduced to the characters in a better way AND it could have added exclusive elements for the characters that were added in CS, Chrono Phantasma and even the light novels and mangas.

    - Continuum Shift would have been better as a 26-episode series as well, again to cover each of the characters’ stories.

    - As of now, Carl, Bang, Arakune, Litchi, Tao, Makoto, Valkenhayn, Platinum and Relius were barely developped; Carl and Bang got only 1 appearance each.

    *spoilers alert, don’t click if you don’t want to be spoiled.*
    Show Spoiler ▼

    So yeah… for a project that Mori wanted to make so badly, he… kinda blew it.

    Only thing that made the watch tolerable?
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:00 amKuntzy

      Being a fan of Blazblue myself, I actually never expected it to be very good in the first place. One of the main things I kept hearing about Mori’s wish for an anime was that it was money issues that kept it from coming to fruition. That right there is a big warning sign for me.

      Having finished it, I can safely say that budget issues were the main culprit in its inadequacy. The last two-and-a-half episodes were actually pretty well animated (Besides that completely lol worthy Devoured by Darkness) and, quite honestly, not too bad. Everything before that was below average to downright terrible. Especially that god awful hot spring episode.

      One of the main things I disliked about it was Jin’s characterization. His relationship with Tsubaki is one of his few humanizing aspects to his character beyond “Nii-san!” and his constant harsh treatment of everyone and everything. They mostly had him treat her as a nuisance in the anime, very contradictory to how he was in the game. I still can’t believe they made him shoot f*cking ice cubes instead of swords in the first episode…

      Another was the usage (or lack thereof) of Hakumen… just… why? Like, the most badass mofo in the entire game (before Azrael) and he gets like 5 minutes in the entire series.

      I will admit, they did Hazama/Terumi justice though. Nakamura Yuuichi once again put out one of his best performances, just like the games. Particularly near the end.

      But yes, like I said, budget issues were the main villain. They blew most of it on the last 2 episodes and Noel’s Bolverk summoning sequence and the rest was thrown to the wolves. They probably just spent the minimal possible, just so they could get an anime out there, rather than thrown together a quality product.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:39 amSherylfan

      It’s the game adaptation curse. Same with valkyria chronicles anime. I’m always so excited for these adaptations because the games are fantastic but ultimately they are no where near as good and part of it is because the ep count and the amount of hours don’t add up properly (anime has no where near as much character depth because it has measly 13-26 ep to work with 20-30+ hours of material to cover).

      • January 4, 2014 at 5:06 pmJiCi

        Guess the only exception was Persona 4 The Animation. It followed the story pretty closely AND didn’t miss any important event. Sure, it had to be shortened, but it was to a reasonable degree.

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:47 amUnknown

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:22 amDomo-kun

      Thanks for the link :) a must watch :)

    • January 5, 2014 at 5:41 pmdaikama

      Wow… IMO, that is nothing short of impressive – done on a professional level. Thanks for the link.

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:47 amLicolis

    best Romcom Is Haganai Next? why not Tamako Market? Tamako Market is a Romcom show like what you said at episode 5, isn’t it STILTS?
    http://randomc.net/2013/02/06/tamako-market-05/

  • January 4, 2014 at 4:50 amcharml4

    I agree with Zephyr Shinsekai Yori and Ookami Kodomo are my favs this year! Not to mention railgun, psycho pass, Uchouten Kazoku,Sakurasou and really, many many more~ Year 2013 was quite a good year of anime for me

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:05 amShouta

    I really have to agree that Shinsekai Yori really is the best anime of the year (and its my personal favorite) not only because of its mature and unique storyline with unexpected plot twists and shocking revelations, but also takes us to a journey by exploring and venturing into the seemingly tranquil world, with full of dark mysteries and dangers ahead.

    As for soundtracks, I would prefer Free! soundtracks better. No offense, just my opinion.

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:18 amShouldIWatchSnK

    The first episode of Shingeki no Kyojin gave me goosebumps and I was irresistibly drawn towards the manga. But as I read on, I got more and more frustrated at the MC for Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m rather suprised that Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2177 didn’t get any mention in the lists. Also rather amused at how LB beat ZnT in mystery but whatever, this is meant to be subjective. Anyways, I’m glad SSY got some love despite its commercial flop in Japan. I’ll also consider finishing Uchuten Kazoku now (dropped it after ep1 before :P).

    PS. Go Asobi for having OreGairu on list :D

    • January 4, 2014 at 5:27 amMisk

      About SnK (not much of a spoiler but still…):
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:18 amcutemi2

    GARGANTIA, yeah, I’ve watched them in TAGALOG DUBBED exclusively aired in Philippine TV EVER!!!!

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:21 amechykr

    Not really sure about Kaiki’s “death” in the “Best Deaths” category. How can you be sure Kaiki is dead? Gravely injured he seemed, and the scene closed with no one coming to his help. I’ve not read the novels, but the ending is still too open to conclude he’s dead to me.

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:02 amZephyr

      It’s included with a kind of virtual asterisk. To be removed if we see anything else. Lol.

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:29 amDos

    i thought mushibugyou will come at least as an honorable mention at most underapreciated.

    • January 4, 2014 at 10:20 amAnanas

      That would required people watching the show long enough for Naa Hime to appear.

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:48 amdaikama

    While I may not agree with all picks, for the most part I can understand why they were made. A lot of this (all?) is subjective anyway. A couple of things did strike me as a bit odd.

    For Female Seiyuu, not so much disagreement with the choices, but rather I thought Satou Rina deserved honorable mention as well for her work voicing Misaka Mikoto in Railgun S. Her voice acting in episode 14′s “bridge scenes” was simply outstanding IMO. Very emotional and very believable. Hard to do both.

    I’m surprised to see Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W receive honorable mention for “Best Comedy”. I watched the entire first season and thought it was pretty good. This season, however, missed the mark for me. I finished it, but it wasn’t anything I looked forward to by the end of the season. The show simply relied too much on the same jokes which got kind of old by mid-season. More frustrating was the lack of any real progression between the male lead and potential haremettes. Might have been more tolerable had the plot not be so insubstantial as well. It wasn’t as bad as another show which also stagnated in terms of the male lead and his relationship with the haremettes, but also wasn’t worthy of “honorable mention” IMO.

    “Best Character” is definitely subjective, but for me Hachiman(Yahari/OreGairu) was the winner among a strong crowd. Maybe I’m suffering from male lead density overdose, but Hachiman was like a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale rom-com male lead role. A “dark knight” who fights with his words and intelligence rather than fists, often exposing the grim side of personal relationships. IMO, Hachiman is a great rom-com male lead, and one of my all-time favorites. I truly hope OreGairu gets a second season because the H-man was just starting to roll.

    That brings me to my last item – “Exceeding Expectations”. Last year’s winner, IMO, was pretty clear. A lot people derided Girls und Panzer preseason and were genuinely surprised at how it turned out. I was “moderate” (neutral) going into the season, and it still greatly exceed my expectations. Shame that the final two episodes were delayed so it couldn’t be fully considered for other awards.

    This year, I don’t think it’s as clear. The winner didn’t surprise me. I disagree, but that topic has been commented upon ad nauseam. What did surprise me was Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu receiving honorable mention while OreGairu did not. I remember people being quite skeptical that OreGairu was nothing more than a Haganai copy, possibly a bad one. Instead, IMO it clearly distinguished itself, and ended up as one of my favorite anime last year. JMO, but I wasn’t impressed with Stella. TBH, I dropped the show mid-season. It was OK, but just that. Perhaps many liked the show, but for me, for it to receive “honorable mention” would mean expectations were pretty much abysmal rather than “moderate” as stated by the RC Season Preview. Though perhaps not qualified for “honorable mention”, Mondai-Ji-tachi was another show that definitely exceeded my expectations.

    All in all a pretty good year. Hopefully 2014 will be as good or better.

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:50 amDomo-kun

    Uff, only 7 votes for Kotoura-san (one of them is mine), certainly not AOTY but it probably deserved better, if only for the 1st episode :)

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:13 amdanes256

      while i agree that kotoura-san is good anime, but it’s a tough choice because there are many other anime that is better, so i can understand why kotoura-san didn’t get many vote

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:15 amdaikama

      FWIW, I didn’t vote for Kotoura-san because I only had five votes. I agree that the first episode, the first 10-15 minutes really, was just killer. An incredibly emotion and memorable scene. Overall, I thought the show itself was pretty good, but it started to lose focus a bit towards the end. The “4-koma heritage” showing through a bit. In the end, for me, the first EP just wasn’t enough make it surpass five other shows I watched. Even so, I don’t think badly of Kotoura-san.

      • January 4, 2014 at 6:17 amdaikama

        Bah, stupid typo: “emotional” in 3rd sentence.

  • January 4, 2014 at 6:20 amkyurenjo

    I disagree with LOTS of authors’ picks, yet I think this review is definitely very well-written and understandable. Good read, great AOTY there, it is easy to making recommendation and refering some titles to my friends with these lists.

    Hope for more great read this year, and kudos for all authors, especially my fav, Stilts-san! =D

  • January 4, 2014 at 6:32 amSherylfan

    Nice list, this has been the least polarizing best anime list in years for me, really agree with the majority listed here, and nice diversity. Glad GJ Bu and Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~ got mentions as they were my personal unexpected anime that exceeded my expectations and really enjoyed them (same for majestic prince). I would add that ghost in the shell arise and yamato remake as my personal top anime (though yamato was technically 2012)with the readers choices top 5 and Gargantia, tempest, AKB0048 S2, Kaze Tachinu, and chihayafuru 2 are my personal favs of the year.

    Really with monogatari season 2, titans, Shin Sekai Yori, Phsyco Pass, tempest, little busters, Gargantia (especially the robot AI) it was a great year for great characters and stories.

    I would also like to shout out to Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo and Valvare. I’m not the biggest fan of the former type of show but I did enjoy these. Also as much as valvare was trainwreck material and for a time I did hate season 1 I must say that the characters are fantastic. If anything I hope sunrise learned how to do more engaging characters from valvare in their future projects. I like their mecha shows but holy hell they need some work on their main cast a lot of the time. So really it was the characters that won me over in both these shows.

    Also I too didn’t enjoy any KyoAni show. It’s like I’m checking them out by obligation from their past work.

  • January 4, 2014 at 6:49 amilion4o

    Great list guys! Thank you for the hard work! I’m glad you noticed how many great female characters we got this year. Let’s hope we get some great male ones too this year :)
    The only thing I would add would be the Shinsekai Yori OST as a honorable mention to the Best Soundtrack list. I remember the first time I heard the children’s choir in Kage No Denshouka Daiichibu – it sent chills down my spine!!! And having watched the whole series I cannot think of a more fitting theme for this series, especially considering the subject matter of the story.

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:20 amRockmanshii

    Yay Pretty Rhythm got 4 votes, two more than last year. Some stuff I like I thought no one would vote for got votes too, like Aikatsu! and Gifuu Doudou.
    Good luck with 2014 guys. Looking forward to read the posts.

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:26 ambo

    It’s like nobody watched psycho pass..

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:24 amHochmeister

      I watched the first episode and was infuriated by the whole premise. Figured that the show would be bad for my blood pressure and end with me yelling politics at the screen, so dropped it.

      • January 4, 2014 at 4:24 pmEspada

        because are not for kids like you who likes shhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuu pwaaaaaaaaa pinnnngggggggg things go stick to your SNK and go away from watching psycho pass

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:27 amPega

    Well, tastes are different, but in general you picked nice shows. I’d just like to add two things:
    - Imho Little Busters didn’t deserve so many mentions, it was just boring.
    - Non Non Biyori really deserves a mention – either in Slice of Life and / or Exceeded Expectations. It is much better than you’d expect.

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:30 amOBAMABASEDGOD

    Thank you for the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita award. i am still sadden that Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita was so overlooked last year

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:37 amlolicon

    shock much…i konw coppelion will turn into a shity anime(just kidding)anime but most Underappreciated?? why? it should have been infinite startos but then that’s just me….

  • January 4, 2014 at 7:58 amamado

    takaii, why u no have monogatari in your honorable mentions D:

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:02 amEspada

    at least i know i have superior taste than majority of the people visiting randomc
    CAUSE I FEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:09 amZephyr

    Just for reference, since it was asked. The following is a comparison of the votes tallied by comments in the polls’ post versus their actual placement in the Reader’s Choice.

    Show Name / Rankings from Comments (Comment Tally) / Actual (How many ranks off prediction)

    1. Shinsekai Yori (61) –> 3rd (2 off)
    2. Shingeki no Kyoujin (51) –> 1st (1 off)
    3. Monogatari 2 (41) –> 4th (1 off)
    4. Hataraku (39) –> 5th (1 off)
    5. Psycho-Pass (38) –> 2nd (3 off)
    6. Zetsuen no Tempest (36) –> Exact
    7. Oregairu (28) –> 12th (5 off)
    8. Sakurasou (23) –> 9th (1 off)
    9. Chihayafuru 2 (21) –> 10th (1 off)
    9. Gargantia (21) –> 8th (1 off)

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:13 ambrajt

      The most important differences were too high position of Oregairu in the comments and too low of Valvrave. Thanks for the comparison! :)

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:22 amZephyr

      Mmm, just note also that the # of votes turned out quite different ratio wise too.

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:13 amZJZJ

    Thank you for the list! It probably wasn’t easy to make the list, and I can’t agree/disagree with it much since I don’t watch a lot, but I trust that shows you guys think are good will really be good! :P
    I usually watch stuff only after someone tells me it’s good, so this list would help me a lot :D Thanks for the hard work! I’ll surely start watching some of these shows. I’m also very glad to see Jinrui wa suita shimashita be mentioned here :D

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:23 amHochmeister

    It’s interesting how many of everyone’s top pics I missed out on. I’ll have to go and check out some of these shows I didn’t watch when they were airing. Not surprised that AOT is the top reader’s pick. I started watching and loved it, but made the mistake of reading ahead in the manga which killed any enthusiasm I had for the entire franchise.

    My only gripe is that Yamato 2199 didn’t make anything, it was hands down my favorite show the entire year. The story was great, characters good, and the visuals simply fantastic with an amazing soundtrack to boot. Then again, it wasn’t covered here and the appeal is rather niche, so I’m not surprised it didn’t show up.

    Thanks for all the work covering shows this year, looking forward to another one!

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:50 amShiawase

    Personally, I’m much more satisfied with this AOTY compared to 2012. In any case, a giant thanks to all the writers. Keep up the good work!

    I’m happy about the attention for SSY, certainly one of a kind. And though he’s won the seiyuu award in the past, shout-out to Miyano Mamoru for Berge-Katze in Gatchaman.

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:56 amBigBongBundy

    Not many choices I totally disagree with, and most of the ones I thought would win ended up being an honorable mention, but the fact that Gatchaman CROWDS got snubbed for best OST is almost criminal.

    Also, it’s like Non Non Biyori and Yamato don’t exist, those two deserve to be somewhere.

    On the viewer poll side of this, I can’t say I’m surprised that the show that got the most viewers won, but there are shows on that list which I would say are significantly better than Titan which are ridiculously underrepresented. Sometimes it helps to go on the road less traveled rather than following the hype, you might find something truly great.

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:57 amfishies

    Shingeki no doubt is the most popular, mainstream anime so not surprising it’s reader’s choice. But I’m willing to bet a lot of people who listed Shinsekai Yori or Monogatari in their top 5 probably put those 2 above Shingeki in their personal top 5. It’s just not as many people have seen Shinsekai Yori or Monogatari because they’re not as well known, promoted, or audience can’t appreciate a really good setting, story. Shame really but least they’re up there. Maybe instead of picking top 5, should also rank your top 5 and have a point system.

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:31 pmMgMaster

      I think that’s quite true. SSY and Monogatari 2nd made it in my top 10 list(they would’ve made it in the top 5 but I’m very subjective when it comes to my top choices and even so they weren’t too far off) whereas I only gave Shingeki an honorable mention.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:04 amTorami

    I tend to disagree with randomc’s picks, but this time they were pretty much the same as mine. Which is funny, because it’s still written by the same bloggers :p
    since this is kind of a wrap up for 2013, I will take the time to thank all the writers of randomc for being here and you know, write reviews and stuff ^^

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:05 amJ_the_Man

    Mixed reactions to this list. There were a lot of things that you guys brought up and reminded me of. I expected Show Spoiler ▼

    to win death of the the year, but your choice made a lot more sense. In fact, some of your choices were things that I forgot about. I’m surprised Psycho-Pass was kept off the list.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:08 amAtalla Wanderer

    Dear RC writers:

    Could you please do a best-of Sport anime section next year? Though a small genre, it is no less deserving.

    ~ A. Wanderer

    • January 4, 2014 at 10:36 amKyrix

      Well said. Is definitely a major genre, especially this year with so many sports shows.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:11 amtheirs

    Looks like I need to give Outbreak Company a go. The loli put me off, but after reading this, it might be worth a shot.

    Watching Aoki Hagane during New Years holiday was great. Really enjoyed it. After reading the manga, I think I can see how the manga fans might disagree with your choice there. Different expectations will give different results. I watched it for sci-fi naval combat, and ended up getting much more than I anticipated. In a good way of course.

    Lastly, it’s kinda funny how I have no interest in the top 5 readers choice. They’re just not my cup of tea this year. Even though I loved Bakemonogatari, I just can’t get myself to watch the sequel somehow.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:18 amCroos

    Eh!
    Yuyushiki not best Slice-of-Life!
    I guess not everyone here isn’t into Japan word play.
    Nantsutte tsuchatta + Zvyozdochka = PURE AWESOMENESS!!
    No one will ever get understand the awesomeness Yuyushiki is.

    And at put a honorable mention for
    Kiniro Mosaic DESU~
    as it was sold out

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:31 amlorenzo

    It’s interesting to see how in a readers poll for WORST series of 2013 on Anime News Network, Shingeki no Kyojin got 5th place. Of course, that’s ridiculous, but that just goes to show how a serie as this one is so popular that they a split fanbase will develop: one side that absolutely loathes it and the other side that considers it the best anime ever.

    I’ve been a SnK manga reader since well before the anime (which I haven’t watched) was even announced, but it seriously, seriously bugs me how as soon as a series, especially a really good one like Snk, gets popular enough, a fanatical war between total, mindless haters and childish fanboys (and fangirls) breaks out. What about those that like it, but don’t consider it an all-time masterpiece, like me? They get crushed in between. And that’s happened all the time in the anime industry, from Evangelion to Code Geass to Madoka.

    Frankly, I consider Psycho-Pass a better work than Snk; but apart from the objective content of each series, it also helps that Psycho-Pass doesn’t have such a fanatical opinion war surrounding it. Good thing there are still places like Random Curiosity, where you can read honest opinions, independent of hypes that should simply stay what they are: hypes, not extensions of the series itself.

    • January 4, 2014 at 8:39 pmCherrie

      I agree with a lot of your points and it’s something I thought a lot about while being a writer on RC – especially around “popular” anime that get a lot of hate just because. As someone that never watched a lot of anime (or at least Div’s definition of “a lot”), I always had a pretty laid back opinion of how to judge shows. Most of them were fair, and I didn’t really dislike any that I deemed worthy enough to even watch.

      It’s not until I became a writer that I saw that a lot of the shows I usually enjoy or actually find worthy of being AOTY, are actually either a) hated by a lot of anime viewers or b) seen as overrated and therefore not as appreciated. Not to say that these people are WRONG; everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But I think that because these shows are so highly anticipated or popular, that any little slip, will make people hate it or think that it’s a disappointment. It’s a shame and I hate fueling the fire, but I like popular shows – I think they’re popular for a reason and it shouldn’t be overlooked just because it is what it is.

      In the case of Shingeki, I definitely think it deserves the top spot for AOTY for Reader’s Choice. It’s because it’s able to appeal to regular anime watchers and non-anime watchers. Friends of mine that never regularly watch anime told ME to watch it >_> and that never happens. Personally I agree – Psycho-Pass is better imo, but I’m not offended in any way that more people enjoy SnK. I’m just sad when I see so many people hating on it as much as loving it.

      • January 5, 2014 at 6:14 amlorenzo

        Yeah, of course – like I said, it’s a matter of opinion whether PP or SnK deserved the top spot, it depends on personal tastes, but what I really find annoying is that sometimes I have the feel that I’m somehow being unfair to a popular series, because everyone is in a rage about it while I’m not, or, in the opposite case, that I like it simply because everyone else does, while maybe it’s not that great. It makes it hard to judge a series by yourself when everyone is screaming in your ears “It sucks!” or “It’s awesome!”

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:34 amzeroyuki92

    Thanks for the AOTY list as usual, RC bros! I think I find the list more agreeable than last year (although I have stalled SSY in 3rd episode to wait for the series end, I think I should continue ASAP), and this year is also a great year for anime overall.

    I think this year follows consistent positive trend of quality, consistently bouncing back from what I consider disaster years (especially 2009-2010). However, one thing which I think is lacking is masterpiece (or as Stilts said: lack of ambition). Seeing that reader AOTY poll and writer AOTY poll is kinda different, I think it’s could be deducted that masterpiece (total success in popularity, quality and impact) is kinda not meet this year, and rather diverted to a lot of very-high quality shows for their genre.

    Random things :
    1. As much as I liked LB!Refrain, I have to admit that Refrain for mystery is a kind of weird choice lol (Not because it doesn’t has a great mystery, but simply because it’s not a show that place too many focus as a mystery. IMHO it kinda serves as a (brilliant) plot device for the drama.)

    2. Still disappointed that WA2 is not covered in RC. I’m crossing my fingers for coverage of WA2 closing chapter when it airs someday (I hope it will happen).

    3. Perfect picture for Outbreak Company. I think it’s the funniest gag in the show and one of the funniest that I watched in a long shot.

    4. “In general, the polls ended up about as expected, even though I was surprised that the Shinkai and Hosoda movies didn’t rank higher than they did.” < Also very intrigued about this. I wonder if it's correlated to not enough people have watched Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki and Kotonoha no Niwa this year. That would be a waste of good movies!

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:39 amZetsuni

    Oh DAMN! Free! and Watamote BARELY got mentioned! And that’s a good thing to me.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:47 amGonzalo

    You really hit me good on that Uchouten Kazoku as best anime of 2013. You won one more reader for that. Nevertheless, Titans was very good. Too bad the fandom has become naruto-like.

  • January 4, 2014 at 9:47 amTre

    I always somewhat disagree with your inclusion of gender bender into the trap category. Trap is highly deceptive because there is immense danger lying underneath the trap’s clothes. Crossdressing is trap.

    In gender bender, the body is 100% female. That is not a trap.

    For example, the supreme twin tail goodness, “Ore, Twin Tail ni Narimasu”, is getting an anime, maybe airing this year. The main character is a boy who is transformed into the red haired girl in this picture: http://i.imgur.com/WxWXWvU.jpg.

    We can properly wear our yuri goggles here, confident that the only protruding flesh we see is in the upper body.

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:01 amTwisr

    Really happy with the winners this year.

    Also, I think you guys should start doing best Anime Studio of the Year. Personally this year I think Production I.G went to town on everyone. With SnK, Gargantia and Psycho Pass. So if you ask me those guys should definitely get some credit.

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:12 amBlablabla

    Is it just me, or did Shin Sekai Yori own almost everything this year?

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:20 amMagoiichi

    I disagree with just about everything except Best Soundtrack, Opening, Comedy, Horror/Thriller, Death, Fanservice and Category Defying. Dat Kyousougiga was definitely something else, gave me old school Gainax feels, or better yet Trigger feels.

    I don’t remember Seiyuus by name, I only remember their voice and the characters with the same voice like every english dub that JYB does, but these VAs got a lot of vocal range and can do different voices so sometimes I can’t tell who is who.

    How the hell is Saika not the best trap?! Didn’t even get a honorable mention, I call shenanigans!

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:22 amRukia

    SNK and Psycho Pass were both really bad. Lots of idiots voting I guess.

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:34 amKyrix

    Noucome best comedy of the year by a mile. Definitely more so than apparently the best comedy of the year that is … Outbreak Company…

    OC was a great series, don’t get me wrong I liked it, but it was a show with comedic elements, while Noucome was a through and through comedy (with romantic elements).

  • January 4, 2014 at 10:43 amWatcher

    Gargantia got best animation? Sure its “artstyle” was nice, but in terms of actual animation there were much better shows. Yozakura Quartet had better animation(on a technical as well as aesthetical level) than Gargantia and every single one of your honorable mentions and it wasn’t even mentioned.

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