The Five Anime Of Q4 2013 You Should Be Watching

The Five Anime Of Q4 2013 You Should Be Watching
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When the Q4 2013 anime season started early last month, I told you a little bit about each anime and where to watch them. However, with 49 new anime to watch this season, one can’t help but ask: Which of them should you be watching?

Keep in mind as you read that these are simply the anime that should not be missed this season. There are many more airing currently that are perfectly watchable — in fact, of the 16 anime I watched, I’d only call one “below average”. But, that said, these listed here are the cream of the crop.

Kill la Kill

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 25)
Genre: Comedy, Fighting, Magical Girl

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Searching for the person who killed her father, Ryuko enters a high school where the student council rules with an iron fist thanks to their superpower-granting uniforms. Armed with a superpowered uniform of her own, Ryuko must fight her way through the student body and defeat the student council president — the one person who knows the identity of her father’s killer.

Why You Should Watch It: If you’ve seen Gurren Lagann or Panty & Stocking, you know what you are in for with Kill la Kill. On one hand, it’s a slapstick comedy, mocking everything from the Japanese school system to fanservice in anime. On the other hand, it’s a series that embraces over-the-top action and uses it to take a magical girl anime to its most absurd extremes. Add in an amazing original soundtrack and it becomes a crazy ride that is just fun to watch.

Watch It If You Liked: Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

Beyond the Boundary

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 13)

Genre: Modern Fantasy, Fighting, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: There is a world hidden within our own — one filled with supernatural creatures and the spirit warriors who battle those who get out of control. When Mirai, an outcast blood-bender, arrives in town in search of vengeance, she reluctantly befriends an immortal half-human — an act that changes her life forever.

Why You Should Watch It: Beyond the Boundary is the story of two outcasts finding true friendship for the first time in their lives. It deals with what it’s like simply to be born different and to be ostracised for it. But as interesting as their budding friendship is, it’s the setting that is the star of the show. Beyond the Boundary builds a compelling modern fantasy world by throwing you right into the middle of it — it forces you to figure out the rules of this supernatural world by watching the characters’ interactions instead of overloading you with exposition. And as it’s topped off with some of the most beautiful-looking animation this season, it’s definitely one to watch.

Watch It If You Liked: Red Data Girl

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

Nagi no Asukara

Currently at: Episode 7 (of 26)

Genre: Coming of Age, Modern Fantasy, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: There are two towns that border the ocean: one above the waves and one below. As the population of the underwater town begins to wane, their middle school is forced to close — causing the four remaining sea-human students to attend school on dry land.

Why You Should Watch It: While set in a fantasy world where some humans live underwater, Nagi no Asukara is an anime that tells a universal story: It’s about growing up. The kids in the story try to cope with the awakening of new emotions, all while learning the greater implications of how the world of adults actually works. On another level, it’s a story about racism and segregation and how the two perpetuate each other. It also gives insight into the problems stemming from a low birthrate and the gradual extinction of a native people. All in all, it’s a series that uses a personal story to which we can all relate to explore societal problems.

Watch It If You Liked: Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 10)

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Romance

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: Normal high schooler Kanade finds himself under a devilish curse. Randomly, throughout his day, he is confronted with a series of multiple choice questions where he is forced to pick an option and then carry it out. Of course, the possible choices are never good and range from the embarrassing to the downright perverted — and they are completely ruining his life in hilarious ways.

Why You Should Watch It: Simply put, this anime is funny as hell. What makes it great is that it is full of layered humour. The first layer is the obvious joke — the absurd choice he has to make and then the awkward humour as he enacts it. The second layer of humour is how the people around him react in ways you would never expect. This makes nearly every scene doubly funny. And thanks to its crazy premise, you never quite know where it’s heading next.

Watch It If You Liked: Henneko — The “Hentai” Prince and the Stony Cat, Bruce Almighty, Bedazzled

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

Currently at: Episode 6 (of 12)

Genre: Science Fiction, Military

Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: One day, a fleet of mysterious AI-controlled ships appeared in the Earth’s oceans and drove mankind from the sea. Now, seven years later, a former naval cadet finds himself the captain of one of these mysterious ships and wages a one ship war against the others to retake the seas.

Why You Should Watch It: Arpeggio of Blue Steel is a classic one-ship-against-the-world-style naval adventure with a sci-fi twist. It also has a great mystery: where did this nearly invincible fleet come from and why have they not only forced mankind off of the ocean but also destroyed all our satellites as well?

Beyond that, this is also the story about the evolution of AI as some of the ships have created a human-looking avatar for themselves in an attempt to understand humans (and thus retain an edge over them). Of course, this has countless interesting implications as the ships begin to experience humanity on a personal level.

Watch It If You Liked: Yamato 2199, The Hunt for Red October, Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.

Where You Can Watch It: Crunchyroll

Now that you’ve read my recommendations for what anime you should be watching this season, you may wonder why your favourite series is absent. There are four potential reasons: (1) I think it is terrible (or at least not quite as good as the five above); (2) it is the second/third/fourth season of an anime and I haven’t seen the first; (3) it is an anime continuing from last season; or (4) it simply didn’t cross my radar.

But if you feel I have left out an anime that’s something special, feel free to give me a heads up in the comments and tell me why you feel that way. Or pop over to Talk Amongst Yourselves: ANI-TAY and post your thoughts on your favourites.

Oh, and if you feel the need for even more anime to watch, be sure to check out the five anime of Q3 2013 you should have watched and the five anime of Q2 2013 you should have watched.


  • I dropped Nagi no Asakura after a while, felt like it was just heading into melodrama but that’s purely my opinion and might pick it back up after its over if it doesn’t end up heading that route. Don’t really agree with Noucome being a must watch while it is funny it probably isn’t really for everyone. There’s so much awesome stuff on this season though absolutely loving Kill la Kill and rather enjoying others such as Coppelion, Tokyo Ravens, Strike the Blood, Golden Time, Log Horizon, Beyond the Boundary, White Album etc.

  • Pretty spot on, though i would replace ‘my mental choices…’ with ‘Unbreakable machine doll’ even though the main characters partner can be quite annoying at times, i’m really enjoying it.
    I am also watching yowamushi pedal, a sports anime about a sport i enjoy (yay!).

  • The top 8 shows of the season are as follows. There are some other fun shows but these are the best.

    Kill la Kill
    Kyoukai no Kanata
    Valvrave S2
    Log Horizon
    Samurai Flamenco
    Yowamushi Pedal

    Nagi no askura is good, but also boring and melodramatic. Blue steel is un-watchable due to horrible CGI.

    • SAO is up there with some of the greatest executed ideas of an anime and plot. I don’t put a lot of things next to it. Log Horizon whilst good felt only “good” to me. Nothing amazing personally.

      • It’s up there with stealing an original plot device from the .Hack series, then turning the 2nd half of season 1 into this unbelievable “IM LOVEEE WITH YOU” bs that barely made any sense, they just suddenly start going at it.

        Don’t even get me started on the non-biological little sister shit in the second season.

        Maybe you have only watched newer anime.

        • You sound just like a fanboy with that rant, it doesn’t matter if you think it copied the entire work off of someone else, its 100% irrelevant to the quality of the show.

          I have watched many of the top rated animes, from death note, full metal alchemist, gintama (that was some serious bad anime), steins gate. None of which even compared to the first half of SAO which has been almost universally praised as one of the top animes.

          The 2nd half, was yes terrible by comparison, it was so bad it almost tainted the show completely.

          • High school of the dead was also universally praised… just saying. Popular with the masses does not automatically equal a work of art. I don’t go around calling the new rhiana or jay z pile of shit a post modern masterpiece just because it appears to a lot of people.

            You may have noticed my only complaint with the show was not just the fact that it copied the plot of another. The narrative and episode sub plots are pretty lackluster, the relationships are pretty unbelievable and forced. Season 1 ends accidentally – not much of a real build up there.

        • I don’t recall calling it original. If you’re into the badly paced and executed plot that is .Hack then by all means. As good it was .Hack failed to complete its story just like Neon genesis evangelion. Everything made sense in SAO though. Everything explained. Loose ends and all. GiS is another one that destroys .Hack. You must like convoluted sub-plots that never get explained.

          Growing watching anime for the better half of my life there isn’t a lot I have seen except for slice of life genre. Are you anime hipster always calling people when they talk about new anime(haha) and how you’re so cool because you like the holy-trinity before it was cool?

          • You said it had some of the greatest executed ideas and plot. That is just crazy talk. Hack has multiple series you know? Not all end up being as muddled and crazy as the original.

            I agree, the plot/story in SAO was very simple, making it nice and easy for people to follow. However, I have problems with how it was executed. He didnt really work towards finishing the game or anything, just kind of hung around with some lowbies, did some pk stuff, then magically fell in love with some girl, and it accidentally ends. I dont think much of the narritive. The only thing that is really great about it, is the plot that hack already used.
            I’m not even going to comment on the 2nd season because I think you know how terrible it is.

            Also wtf is GiS? I don’t just know every acronym ever. Are we talking about GITS?

          • Not its not, see my below post under Captain ballsack.

            Its fine for you to not have liked it, but to keep ranting on about how shit every single aspect is (incorrectly i might add) is just annoying.

            For starters a game world where death will kill you is a fantastic IDEA, what SAO did with it, as in its EXECUTION WAS FANTASTIC. They gave you a set of characters that were given a choice fight for thier freedom and possibly die trying or do nothing and be consumed by every negative thought processes possible. They showed how the game effected people, some couldn’t cope dying for silly reasons, those in denial refusing to believe they could really die and those who would commit murder and everything in between.

            The anime showed almost ALL facets of the Human condition within the show, sometimes they were subtle others were not, but it was executed close to perfection.

            To claim that he didn’t work towards finishing the game is just silly, he was the one who FINISHED the game, he put the pieces together, he was driving force in many of the boss fights, without him they would have likely never finished the game. so no it didn’t end out of nowhere.

            To also state that he Just fell in love with a girl is equally asinine, the whole story was about these two. How subtle things like appreciating the sunshine or helping those in need in a desperate and dire situation helped wooo the girls, throughout the entire show the romance was blossoming.

            Its like you didn’t even watch it, instead just read a stupid blurb because you seem to have missed EVERYTHING that happened within the show, i’m not going to bother responding again and everyone already agree’s the 2nd part of the show was just bad so no need to keep on it.

        • While it has the same basic concept as .Hack//, but it had a lot of details in the world that made it unique and interesting. They’re no more similar than Log Horizion is to SAO.
          The romance thing was building up over 2 years in the story, and it actually made a lot of sense.

          And I’ll admit, the second part of it did have weird stuff. Though I’ve read through most of the books, and that is probably the worst story arc so far, and none of that weird stuff shows up again.

      • I wasn’t a fan of SAO. I saw about the first 15 or so episodes and just couldn’t handle it. The protagonist seems to have no flaws whatsoever, and it moved at this fast pace that just didn’t give me time to understand the characters (or maybe there just wasn’t much of the characters to understand).

        I felt like it was written by a 14 year old, to be honest. I loved the premise, I thought the whole stuck in a killer MMO idea was fantastic, but the characters and drama made me cringe. If you’re going to make the protagonist such a strong character, don’t give him the shonen coming of age boy trope, look towards characters more like Spike from Bebop or Alucard from Hellsing – I can deal with OP characters, so long as they are cool and lovable characters to begin with. It was like they wanted me to relate to the protagonist, but the fact that he had no obvious flaws and was almost surrounded with mystery, I just couldn’t, and when I don’t relate to a character, I try admiring them, and when they are cliche shonen dark haired boy, then I have a lot of trouble with that.

        I really have no idea why people love it so much. I saw the first half, and the first half was terrible. That’s just me though.

        • See this is where people falter, YOU say its “Terrible” which is WRONG and yes reviews can be wrong because of what im about to explain.

          If im watching vampire movie #43 about a love triangle, the fact that I might dislike another vampire love triangle doesn’t make it a bad movie, thats just me putting my prejudice into my “review” of it, which is what you seem to have done with SAO. The movie might be a master piece with fantastic sound choices and timing and be perfect in every aspect except that its a vampire movie so I give it 2/5 stars and tell everyone its crap. Which would be piss poor job as a reviewer because im not supposed to be biased.

          • No, that is not what I’m saying at all. Just because the protagonist is a cliche doesn’t mean he’s inherently bad, what I am saying is that it is the cliche shonen anime boy trope without what makes the shonen anime boy trope WORK.

            Compare Shinji from NGE, the perfect example of the trope, to Kirito from SAO. Shinji is a deeply flawed character who spends the entire series overcoming deep, complicated coming-of-age flaws and self-esteem issues through eventual existential themes, whereas Kirito has this shonen boy personality yet has no real flaws, which is what defines this character type, to overcome. The result leads him to be an extremely flat character who is terribly hard to relate to which is, again, what makes the shonen boy cliche interesting and actually work.

            There isn’t anything inherently wrong with cliches, as cliches are cliche for a reason, but when somebody uses a trope and ignores its defining characteristics, it just appears as a token character who has had 0% thought put into them – they just exist in that role because, hey, every other anime does it. It just seems like they used the cliche because it is convention without understanding why it is that way.

            So, with this in mind, lets rework your analogy.

            If vampire film #43 features a love triangle without actually understanding why it is such a common convention in the genre, vampire film #43, regardless of its quality cinematography and sound engineering, will suffer from extremely flat characters and plot because there isn’t a core thematic system from which they are coming from, unlike the original vampire films that came before it. It lacks depth because it never really shows the audience why a vampire love triangle works.

            SAO imitates the cliche shonen boy protagonist trope, whereas other anime that feature this convention recreate it and improve upon it.

    • In all the discussion nobody else actually seems to be discussing Log Horizon, which started slowly but is improving over time.

      The fact that killed characters are not actually killed but lose their gear makes a big difference. The fact that the main character (Shiroe) actually has some depth and intelligence also matters.

      I liked SAO, but Log Horizon has me hanging out for the next episode, which was rarely the case for SAO. The characters are a lot more believable and you can see that they are planning rather than just reacting. There are fewer people being evil just because the plot needs somebody evil. (I never really believed in Laughing Coffin. A population of 6-7000 people would not have enough psychopaths to sustain a guild of assassins, let alone enough population to make PKing a way of life.)

      It’s definitely not an SOA clone, nor a .Hack clone. It’s its own show, and is taking its own path.

  • No Magi? Easily one of the best shows floating around right now. If you are going to include mental, you gotta include the likes of infinite stratos season 2 and tokyo ravens. Log Horizon is a nother nice choice if you are looking for a replacement for Accel and sword art online. Monotgari is still going strong too.

    That list is made up with a bunch of average titles.

    • I have a question for you, can i watch The latest Monogatari without watching any of the others? I ask because there seems to be like 4/5 different seasons and they are next to impossible to track down right now.

          • Well that’s the only way you can watch anime these days, unless you speak Japanese.

            I’m certainly not going to stream the shows from individual sites with terrible subs and quality that butcher the content and meaning. I much prefer the fan subs, hell even the dvd releases of animes can have worse subs than the fan made stuff.

  • what about valvrave second season?? strike the blood? hajime no ippo??

    those list seems to be aimed for type B otaku (just saying)

  • My watch list this season:
    Golden Time
    Valvrave S2
    Outbreak Company
    Beyond the Boundary
    Strike the Blood
    Nagi no Asakura
    White Album 2
    Log Horizon
    Infinite Stratos
    I couldn’t become a hero, SIRDTGAJ…
    My mental choices are completely interfering WMSRC…
    Non Non Biyori
    Walkure Romance
    Miss Monochrome
    Diabolik Lovers

    And of course…
    Pokemon XY

  • We should know by now this is just an article written by one dude who watched a lot of anime at Kotaku. There is no real sense of concensus thrown in.

    The article title should read more “My favorite…”

  • you guys do realise the title of this article isn’t “the 5 anime’s this season you have to watch and everything else is shit” right?

    this season is pretty damn good, it’d be hard to fit just 5….

  • This list is missing some real gems:
    Golden time – it’s actually based on college, not highschool, which is novel in itself but then it goes and has a nice story with likeable characters and a plot that makes you want to see more.

    Log Horizon – A lot of people draw comparisons to Sword Art because the premise is similar but they are quite different (minor difference is its not players stuck in a virtual reality, it’s players stuck in an alternate dimension – think Final Fantasy tactics advance. Also there are respawns), Log Horizon actually consistently manages to feel like an actual MMO made real, Where as SAO kind of threw that out a while into it in favor of shounen tropes such as giving the main character a unique skill and the capacity to break the game’s rules through willpower. I feel like it presents a more in depth look at how people would react and change if an MMO actually became their reality.

    Gingitsune: Nice, pretty relaxing show about a girl who can see shinto spirits and lives at a shrine with her father (who can’t) and the guardian of the shrine Gintaro, a somewhat sarcastic and world weary fox spirit who tries to hide how much he cares.

    Non Non Biyori: A relaxing show about some japanese school kids living out in the countryside. Not a ton to say about it other than the characters are likeable, the setting relaxing and some of the jokes are genuinely funny and its just a nice show to watch.

    Kyousougiga: A somewhat erratically told story about a fantasy city created by a monk that could make his paintings real. The main character is a girl with a hammer who turns up there decades after the monk left world. She searches for a black rabbit who is apparently the key to getting out while the inhabitants come to suspect she’s a reincarnation of the city’s Goddess. It’s hard to describe simply so I’ll just say it’s funny, crazy, exciting and occasionally heartwarming.

    There’s also these:
    Miss Monochrome
    Outbreak Company

  • So are the characters Asian or is this some alternate universe where Asians have really big eyes?

    Either way over-compensation.

  • Is it just me or does Kill La Kill’s summary sound like the first season of Utena? Replace super-power granting uniforms with Rose Signets, and “Father’s Killer” with “Childhood prince” and then change the main character’s name to Utena.

  • Disappointed at no mention of Outbreak Company.

    It’s easily up there as one of the best anime this season in my opinion.

  • Will any anime compare to Evangelion ? I am a fan of Anime but find myself just looking at new ones and saying “Yeh but it ain’t Eva” Even with the drama ones im like “Yeh its just not GTO or Love Hina”

  • Continuing from previous seasons:
    – Toriko
    – Cardfight Vanguard
    – Freezing Vibration

    New titles:
    – Golden Time
    – Kill la Kill
    – NouKome (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy)
    – Outbreak Company
    – Yuushibu (I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job)

    Titles I’m watching but considering dropping:
    – Gundam Build Fighters
    – Log Horizon
    – Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai
    – Yowamushi Pedal

  • Magi:Kingdom of Magic Is a really good anime
    Front-runner to be one of my favorites
    Log Horizons not to shabby and i haven’t seen much other anime from this season.

  • Akatsuki no Yona
    Fairy Tail
    The Daily Lives of High School Boys
    Kamisama Hijimemashita
    Kaichou wa Maid Sama

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