Written by Shiggins and Claydragon
New anime keeps constantly appearing and this year has been one of the best. Tons of new stories and monsters and random creations by the minds of people we'd never even heard of until recently, but wished we'd always known deep down. You won't have heard of all of these but damn it, you should have!
So to celebrate and show our appreciation, we show the list of the top 5 series of the year that have become available for your viewing.
Hands-down the strangest entry on this list, Senyuuis a gag anime about a hero, a psychopathic sidekick, a tiny demon king, and popcorn. Yes, you read that correctly. Basically, a hole in the world opened, demons flooded through, and the human king rounded up all 70-odd ancestors of an ancient hero and sent them off to save the world. The story mainly follows Alba, a descendant of said hero, and his heroic comedic sociopathic sidekick/bodyguard, Ros.
There's also this guy. He's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.
As you may have guessed, drama is not at the forefront of this show. Whilst there are the occasional serious moments, they're heavily outnumbered by all the wacky, outlandish funny moments that run throughout the show. One of the more interesting aspects of Senyuu is that it riffs on a number of staples of RPG games, mainly the Final Fantasy series. This is at its most blatant when you take a close look at Ros' character design.
Now all we need is a character who resembles Lightning.
Sadly, the worst thing about this show is that each episode is only five minutes long, and so the plot (what little there is) takes a long time to go anywhere. In fact, at the climax of the first season, it looks as if the plot is less than a tenth of the way through. As a result, it's probably best to watch Senyuu all in one go. It won't take long, and it's worth the watch.
4TH - MAGI: THE LABYRINTH OF MAGIC
It turns out that we don't get enough of manga based on an alternate form of history. In this one, Aladdin is a young boy with a magical flute which contains the Djinn known as Ugo. He soon befriends Alibaba and Morgiana, causing great fun and adventure, where they meet tons of characters like Sinbad, Ja'far and Kakuryuu Ren. It's all great and wacky fun, with almost every character being extremely memorable. One or two are quite unforgettable and it might confuse you at times because of all the names that seem a bit too complicated or familiar to another.
I feel much love for all three of them. Four if you count the flute.
The main cast are one of my all-time favourite trios, with Aladdin being generally cute in every scene, Alibaba being both hilarious and badass in almost every scene, and Morgiana not needing lots of words to show that you don't mess with a girl who doesn't wear panties. Other great features of this series are the mood and atmosphere, which can make you jump back-and-forth between a bright and hysterical world of funny reactions and accidental nudity, to a dark and brutal one of slave-drivers and kid-hitting. At times, the anime can fail to blend the two together but the series still has them both and the majority works very well.
The Sexiest Group Of Badasses You'll Ever See
Surprisingly, the arcs don't ever bore you and never feel too stretched out. This is mostly thanks to the new characters that appear in each arc, as well as the big battles and transformations. It's a great example of how a shonen should be, and although it might focus on politics or romance a bit too much at times, it is a great series that deserves your attention. Do yourself a favour, and learn to fall in love with the trio like I do. Literally.
3RD - DANGAN RONPAPlot twists! That is the first two words that I think of when somebody asks me about this series. It's got tons of them, and they all work together brilliantly. Keep an open mind and this series could be one of the best little journeys you ever go through in anime. It's based in a high school but in no way does that mean it's filled with shitty romances, cheating, comedy about exams or being all angsty over the fact that they can't get asked out by some emo shit. No, no, no. This is about a group of classmates who are trapped in a school by a remotely controlled teddy bear, and the only way they are allowed to leave is if they kill one of their fellow classmates!
They're All Great But My Favourite One Salutes You!
Now, this series could have easily failed. When you first hear about it, you sigh and think it will bore you instantly but you'll get the opposite reaction. Every character is immediately eye-catching and you want to learn about almost every single one of them in every way, loving their personalities and brilliant designs. The main villain, Monokuma will both anger and fascinate you because of his wacky charm, mocking attitude and visual gags. Of course, the biggest con with this series is the heartache of watching characters die, one-by-one. By the end of it, you might just be wishing that every character would suddenly be resurrected in some random way.
The Animation Cleverly Changes It's Art For The Most Gruesome and Wacky Scenes
The highlight scenes of the series are all the trials, where the entire class try to figure out who killed a certain character, in what way and through what method. It's genius seeing all of the pieces come together, although I do wish they hadn't rushed it so much because the video game this series is an adaptation develops the characters even more and really shows how clever the murders are. That's the anime's only flaw: It was a bit too rushed. Don't let that stop you though because by the end of this, you will ship a yaoi couple, you will cry at a suicide and you will gasp in shock at the true mastermind that caused so much pain.
2ND - ATTACK ON TITAN
Let's face it, there was no way Attack on Titanwouldn't have made it onto this list. In fact, it's so popular that it's currently the only manga series that poses a serious threat to One Piece in terms of sales (in 2013, One Piece sold 18,151,599 volumes, whilst AoT sold 15,933,801 volumes. For comparison, the third best-selling series was Kuroko's Basketball, with 8,761,081 volumes).
"Hello sir. Do you have a minute to talk about our Lord and Saviour?"
In AoT, humans have been forced to live in walled cities to protect themselves from the giant, man-eating Titans. Of course, it isn't too long before one of the walls gets breached and the main character, Eren Jaeger, sees his mother get devoured. As such, he swears to wipe out all the Titans, and enrols in the military to do so. After that, the story begins to branch out, with some plotlines focusing on where the Titans came from, and other plotlines involving traitors and murders.
"I'm awesome. Deal with it."
The only real problem with this show is that most of the characters aren't particularly endearing, and after watching the series I found myself with only three or four characters I actually really liked. However, the question of whether or not AoT deserves those sales isn't really up for debate - the show is good. There's enough action, humour and drama to keep everyone happy. And there's blood. An awful lot of blood.
1ST - POKEMON ORIGINSTo be honest, the decision to name Pok mon Origins the best anime of 2013 was probably influenced heavily by nostalgia, but screw it. Sometimes nostalgia can be a very good thing. It's Pok mon - and what's more, it's Pok mon done right. Forget Ash and his scary age-defying powers, his inability to win battles and his almost-empty Pok dex - Red is the better protagonist by a mile.
"A wild Pikachu appeared!" Let's hope you've not run out of Pokeballs.
Instead of telling a story only loosely based on the games, Pok mon Origins is essentially the story of the Pok mon Red & Blue games in a lovely, well-animated series. It starts like every Pok mon game ever - Red goes to Professor Oak's lab to choose his starter, and his rival Blue joins him. From then on, the story follows Red through many events of the original games, such as the Gym Leader battles, the fights against Team Rocket, the Pok mon League challenge, and the final battle against Mewtwo.
The only time you will ever see fear in Mewtwo's eyes
The only real shortcoming that this show suffers from is that it's only four episodes long, and as such large chunks of the story are only shown in a montage. Whilst it's arguably the best and most dramatic bits from the games that get the most screentime, it would have been nice to see everything get an equal amount of focus. And to be honest, if the only complaint about a show is that it's too short, then it's not really that much of a complaint.
Given that we've had such a good run of anime in 2013, we can only hope that 2014 will be even kinder to us. Do you agree with our list? What anime series did you enjoy this year? Let us know in the comments.
And have a happy new year!
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; SHIGGINSISHERE. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at SHIGGINSISHERE@GMAIL.COM, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at KYLEROULSTON1993@GMAIL.COM. The alternative is his Skype account at KYLEROULSTON1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. His New Year's Resolution is to actually study for once.