To entice you to read this post, here is a picture of two guys kissing from one of my favourite shows.
This post was actually really difficult to write, for a number of reasons.
Firstly and most obviously, I have been out travelling for the last fortnight or so and the Internet connection has been really spotty out here in the Philippines.
The other reason why I thought this post was hard to write is because I hate picking favourites, since I tend not to mentally rank anime.
But there’s no better way to tell others about your taste than to list your favourites, so without further ado, here is a short list of my top anime that aired this year:
One of the most common disclaimers for these kinds of lists is that they’re simply opinion. I’ve always thought hiding behind a disclaimer prevents you from saying anything meaningful about what the anime was trying to do and how it succeeded (or didn’t succeed, for that matter) in its intent.
But art really is a matter of perception, and at its best, watching anime becomes a journey of self-discovery. I’ve learned a lot about myself through watching anime this year, and my tastes have changed immensely as a result.
I don’t think I’m really all that different from other anime bloggers. In early 2013, I had tastes which were standard among discerning fans. Like many of them, I’m university-educated and I’ve had a strong background in western literature before coming to anime. (My taste in literature is very much classics-oriented.) Shinsekai Yori and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure were natural shoe-ins for this list, and their merits should go without saying.
What changed? I gradually became more immersed in otaku culture. I think my various posts on this blog track my evolving thoughts on the subject, so I don’t need to go over it all again here. Suffice it to say that without this grounding, I would never have appreciated OreGairu to the extent that I did. The most others appear to have said about it is that it succeeds as a narrative in spite of its otaku-isms, which is kind of a backhanded compliment that fails to give light novel subculture any credit.
Little Busters! and Sakurasou got onto the list because they addressed worries and concerns in my personal life. I’m still young, trying to find myself as a young adult, and both series managed to speak to my heart by first pandering to my inner otaku. They’re both very anime-ish anime, but I think it was those very charms that allowed me to accept their messages on more than an intellectual level. They made me laugh and they made me cry. By the end, I was enormously attached to the characters.
Speaking of characters, here were some of my favourites from this year:
Top 5 waifus:
5. Rika (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai)
4. Nadeko (Monogatari)
3. Rin (Little Busters!)
2. Kuuko (Haiyore! Nyaruko-san)
Naturally, with my fetish for pink-haired girls, the top choice was obvious. Kuuko’s chemistry with Mahiro elevated her to waifu-tier in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W and Rika also improved herself greatly with her general craziness in Haganai NEXT.
The real surprise, though, was Nadeko, whose development in the latest arcs of Monogatari took me completely off-guard. I went from completely apathetic about her to completely in love with her, but I can’t explain what happened without spoiling it. Those who’ve watched it should know what I mean, though. I really enjoyed writing her post for the 12 Days of Anime.
Top 5 husbandos:
5. Hiromi (Kyoukai no Kanata)
4. L-Elf (Valvrave the Liberator)
3. Hakuryuu (Magi)
2. Ledo (Suisei no Gargantia)
I like male characters who take themselves too seriously. I’m not sure why but it strikes me as endearing. These guys are all pretty much the same person, although some are angstier than others. Every fangirl knows that angsty guys are hot, though.
On that note, Free! was a disappointment to me, as someone who loves sport shows with gay subtext. It lacked the nuance in its characterisation that makes the cute guys shippable, though it had a decent sense of humour, its drama fell totally flat. The reactions to the show were pretty good, fortunately. It was fun pretending to ship myself with Rin, although as it turned out, he was quite the little bitch by the end.
As for the big blockbuster of the year, Attack on Titan, it certainly had its moments and I enjoyed the ride, but I wasn’t as in love with it as the mainstream fandom was. I’m sorry I could not have written more about it on my blog, but at least my friend uminohoshi gave it some of the attention I thought it deserved but lacked the interest to write.
Overall, I would describe 2013 as a year of disappointing sequels. OreImo, of course, was the biggest offender, but other series like Infinite Stratos, Chihayafuru and Kuroko no Basuke have not clicked with me as strongly as their original series did. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT was surprisingly an improvement, though, as was Monogatari: Second Season, so it wasn’t all that bad.
I enjoyed a lot of anime this year, and I think blogging about it really changed how I saw these shows for the better. While many of the anime I watched never fully connected with me, I was able to appreciate the medium as a whole a lot better, so I think I came through this somewhat mediocre year in anime very satisfied and confident in the potential of anime.
My Plans for 2014
I checked out the winter 2014 previews and I have to say it seems like a great time to quit anime. That’s no real biggie, though, as I’ve been planning for a while to watch more older anime and to revisit some old favourites. I think I’ve gained a strong enough perspective on what the current anime trends are like from following anime for a year, and I would rather use my time now to watch more artistically important series. There’s a lot of good stuff I feel I’ve missed out on, so any and all recommendations are welcome!
I’ve also decided to spend more time reading light novels and playing visual novels. As for the light novel I’m translating, the poll results are in and it looks like I’ll be translating Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. Thanks to all who voted. I’ll be beginning the project as soon as I get back from the Philippines.
Here are the results:
Anyway, Happy New Year, guys! What did you think of 2013? What was your favourite anime and who were your favourite characters?