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2013

2013 is finally over, at least for any future timezone, real timezone, and any super cool but outdated timezone (also known as my timezone). It’s not over yet for the lame timezones though. For those in superior timezones who are no longer stuck in the past and are instead looking optimistically towards the future, let’s all sit down, have a toast (also eat toast), and think back on this past year.

Man, those sure were the days. Good times. Anime was also pretty great this year and anime will never be as great tomorrow as it was today. In fact, it was so great that I decided to write about the anime and opening/ending sequences that I thought were the best from 2013. I’ve never done this before, so bear with me.

Pictured are the four anime that finished this year that I thought were the bee’s knees: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Shin Sekai Yori, and Uchouten Kazoku. Yes, the decision to use translated names or romanized names is completely arbitrary! I’d feel strange if you disagreed with me on these best four series, but I guess you’re sort of allowed to. I’m not sure how you expect me to stop you.

Benten is best

I’ll talk about Uchouten Kazoku/Eccentric Family first. This is probably the one where people are going to disagree with me, unless literally everyone just forgot it existed. Whatever the case, I think you people are crazy because I thought this was great and very memorable. It had such a great sense of fun, easily making me smile at my laptop throughout most of the episodes.

The moments that were not making me smile through their amusement factor were instead either making me think about how perfectly it captured certain aspects of family, or making me try really hard not to cry over a frog being handed a phone. If you’ve seen the series you would understand, man, so don’t judge me unless you have! In fact, don’t judge me even if you have.

Another of its strengths beyond the family theme and its general goofiness is its characters. Pretty much every character is really enjoyable to watch for one reason or another. It might be because they’re stupid and silly like the Ebisugawa brothers, or it might be because they’re awesome like the mother (whose name escapes me). Benten in particular was a favourite of mine. She was always fascinating and unpredictable.

It doesn't feel like murder at all!

Next up is Shin Sekai Yori/From the New World. When it was airing I was pretty critical of it, mostly in the earlier episodes that did not involve the summer camp or whatever. Those things still didn’t sit well with me during a rewatch, but negativity is hardly the point of this post. Shin Sekai Yori did some amazing world building throughout, and the final arc is just so great that I’m more than willing to forgive that earlier on half an episode was spent pushing around a CG ball.

Everyone’s motivations for every action they take make perfect sense. And on that note, cause and effect were wonderful in this, too. Nearly everything that happens in the series helps set up for later events, so everything falls into place so perfectly in the end. There’s never any need to ask why this or that happened, or why one character acted a certain way. Shin Sekai Yori made sure all of this would be totally natural given the situation.

I’ve rewritten this last paragraph three times now, and I’m sick of feeling like I’m failing to accurately convey everything I want to in it. So I’m just going to make it simple, and expect that those who have seen it will understand all the details and feels without any more words: That ending hurt my heart.

[Nubles] Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (2012) episode 10 (720p 10 bit AAC)_Dec 18, 2013 2.20.37 AM

Next up is Space Battleship Yamato 2199/Uchuu Senkan YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAAAAAAAAAAATOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (2199). I think a lot of people passed up watching this because of the way it was released and the practically nonexistent choice in fansubs. Hopefully they’ve realized by now that this was a mistake on their part.

This has so much to offer to the various types of anime fans out there. There’s plenty of action and fighting, much of it being between CG ships (except the CG is actually good), and there’s less actiony action too, with people getting into dangerous situations and having to think up ways to get out of it. There’s definitely some adventure aspects to it, too, which pretty much comes naturally with the basic premise. And while I personally disliked how most of the romance was handled in this, it’s got that too.

But by far my most favourite part of this series is the more down to earth emotional scenes. The episode where the crew of the Yamato are contacting their loved ones on Earth gets me every time… and it’s hardly the only example of what I’m talking about; the series is full of these sorts of moments for both the Yamato’s crew and their enemies. It’s just really solid in so many ways. I think it would take a really rare person to not get a ton of enjoyment out of this series. Don’t assume you’re that person. Please.

[gg]_Jojo's_Bizarre_Adventure_-_23_[FFA418F9]_Nov 26, 2013 12.02.16 AM

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a challenge for me to write about. I’m working with some really vague but strong feelings, here. I jumped in without any real knowledge of what JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was. I knew it was a manga series, yet I associated it with fighting game crowds that I’ve come to strongly dislike over the years. Despite that, the series sucked me in with its fantastic visual style, complete ridiculousness, crazy voice acting, and speedy pacing.

When I started watching Phantom Blood, the first arc of the story, what sucked me in was the style (as I mentioned previously) and the absurd level of cruelty coming from Dio. It was so ridiculous and over the top that I found the most horrible things hilarious. And then it actually got sort of cool. Supernatural stuff happened, and people came up with a billion different ways to punch Dio in the face. I’m just kidding I just wanted to say “punch Dio in the face.” Sorry guys.

As if my love for that was not enough, though, Battle Tendency had to go and exist. Instead of laughing inappropriately, I received massive amusement from Joseph Joestar being Joseph Joestar for the rest of the episodes. Unfortunately, I had to come to terms with Caesar being both fabulous and a jerk (really, who takes a wrench to a person’s face?). I also had to come to terms with the fact that Lisa Lisa would never actually get to do anything nearly as cool as she looks. And then I had to come to terms with…

yeah actually I didn’t really care about any of those things. Not a negative thought went through my mind when watching any part of this series. I was too busy being super excited for the entire second half to care about any of that. What’s going to happen next? What crazy plan is JoJo going to pull out of his ass next? How many more times is Cars going to play with the one piece of clothing he appears to be wearing? Will I ever get over the scene where he shows off his mad guitar skills? Did that squirrel just gore someone?

The answer to one of these questions is no. I will never get over that scene, nor will I ever get over anything in this. This is because JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is perfection in anime.

[gg]_Jojo's_Bizarre_Adventure_-_23_[FFA418F9]_Nov 26, 2013 12.15.19 AM

Now, for my favourite opening and ending sequences. You probably forgot I was going to do this because I merely glossed over the fact that this was supposed to be included in this post, but here we go anyway.

For my favourite opening of 2013, I almost chose Psycho Pass’s second opening. I mean, I really liked the visuals a lot and had a thing for the verse part of the song and some of the transitional bits. Ultimately I decided against it, though, because the refrain hurt my ears and that was quite depressing. Instead, I’ve settled on… the opening for the Battle Tendency portion of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

The visuals are cool because it’s just all these colorful silhouettes doing cool poses and stuff, with some random vague nudity (which is the best kind of nudity). And it’s just really stylish in different ways, like when suddenly it’s super sketchy, or when it uses CG in a way that doesn’t look terrible. And don’t get me started on that song, man. Bloody Stream is just such a cool song and you have no idea how much I love it. I’m pretty sure I spent an entire day just singing and transcribing it. My only regret is that I did not also pull out my cello on this particular day. Maybe tomorrow.

At the risk of sounding like all I watched was JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, my favourite ending from 2013 was… JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s. No link because then I’d have to make decisions and that is just a bit more scary than I’m willing to deal with right now. I had never heard Roundabout before for some reason. Probably because Americans are losers who won’t admit that they love British music. It is a song that I like, now that I’ve heard it, and I loved the way it was used in the series.

It was used at the very end of episodes quite a bit to sort of bleed into the ending sequence, and that is both a thing I enjoy and a thing that worked perfectly in this case by virtue of the way the song starts out. The visuals of the ending sequence were nothing special, usually just scrolling around some art.

But there’s still another cool thing that they did with Roundabout here, and that was how they made more than one 90 second version to use for different episodes. It kept things fresh and helped get people aboard the hype train better with its magic, and we actually got to hear more of the song than you usually do with opening/ending sequences in anime. That’s particularly noteworthy when we’re talking about a song that’s over 8 minutes long and changes quite a bit over time. It’s just really cool.

There you have it. My four favourite 2013 anime, and my favourite opening and ending sequences from 2013. If you ask me, you should hurry up and watch the series I’ve discussed in this post. Go ahead, make it your resolution for the new year to watch the things Sandra tells you to watch.

[gg]_Jojo's_Bizarre_Adventure_-_18_[FEA9E4C6]_Nov 24, 2013 10.40.49 PM

I’ll be waiting.

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