The Five Best Anime Of 2013

The Five Best Anime of 2013

Over this past year, I've shown you my picks for the anime you should be watching for the spring, summer, and fall seasons. You've even had the chance to weigh in on your favourites. So without further ado, here are Kotaku's picks for the best anime of 2013.

But first, the ground rules (which I shall bold in the vain hope that people will read this before commenting).

1) The series must have finished its run in 2013. This means that still airing shows like Kill la Kill are not eligible, but 26-episode anime that started in fall 2012 are.

2) Movies, TV specials, and OVAs don't count. (Movies will get their own little section below).

3) We'll keep Hulu in the "Watch On" list for those Australians that do use it.

The Five Best Anime of 2013

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is clearly the breakout anime of this past year; so it's probably no surprise to see it on this list. And while I still maintain it has some nagging pacing issues, it delivers an exciting adventure in a world unlike any we have seen before.

Attack on Titan is filled with deep mysteries and complicated characters; but what really makes it stand out is the sense of true danger — the possibility of death that threatens each of the characters at nearly any given moment. Add to this the Spider-Man-style visuals and amazing action climaxes, and you have a series that will capture your imagination for weeks — if not years — to come.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu

The Five Best Anime of 2013

The Devil is a Part Timer

We all know the typical tale: The evil Demon King raises an army to conquer the world, but the hero and his/her allies appear and eventually defeat him — who, of course, escapes at the last moment. This is where The Devil is a Part Timer begins, as the Demon King comes to our world and begins to conquer it from the ground up... by becoming an exemplary employee in the fast food industry.

In other words, The Devil is a Part Timer is a comedy that revels in subverting all the tropes common in the classic hero versus demon king story. But more than that, it is a critique of entry-level working life in Japan that uses a cast of — quite literally — otherworldly characters to excellently hilarious effect. From start to finish The Devil is a Part Timer is a funny, thought-provoking, and surprisingly touching anime that is bound to put a smile on your face.

Watch on: Funimation, Hulu

The Five Best Anime of 2013

Silver Spoon

I generally don't enjoy slice-of-life anime; that should tell you how enjoyable Silver Spoon must be to make it on this list. Silver Spoon is the tale of a city boy entering an agricultural high school in rural Japan as a means of escaping his old life. Of course, this leaves him in a world of horses, cows, pigs, and chickens that he knows nothing about.

But more than being a fish-out-of-water comedy, Silver Spoon is a story about growing up — the struggle to find what you really want to do in life. Yet, on top of that, there are even more layers to Silver Spoon: a commentary on the moral quandaries of raising animals for food and an investigation of old versus new ranching techniques. But perhaps the most telling aspect of Silver Spoon is how interesting and entertaining all of this becomes.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

The Five Best Anime of 2013

Gatchaman Crowds

While at first glance Gatchaman Crowds appears to be your run-of-the-mill Sentai-style superhero show, that is actually little more than the frame the series is built around. What the show is really about is the creation of a smart phone app that turns being a good person into a video game and the social implications that stem from it. Moreover, it is an exploration of what it means to be a good person — as well as what it means to be a superhero.

With a captivating female lead, fun visuals, and a great central concept (that is especially relevant to gamers), Gatchaman Crowds is one of this year's biggest surprises.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

The Five Best Anime of 2013

Beyond the Boundary

There are a lot of things to like about Beyond the Boundary: It's visually stunning, with a wonderfully creative world, and meticulous in building a believable love story between its protagonists. One of its best aspects is that it doesn't hold your hand. Rather, it throws you headlong into a world hidden within our own — one brimming with monsters, magic, and monster hunters — leaving you to learn the rules of the world by observation instead of exposition.

Another strong point is its characters — especially insofar as their motivations. Everyone has their own secrets which dictate their actions in Beyond the Boundary — though many are far from what they appear to be on the surface. Best of all, Beyond the Boundary is one of the few anime out there that isn't afraid to use the viewers' knowledge of anime tropes against them in order to build a surprising (not to mention satisfactory) twist.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu


Bonus List: The Five Best Anime Movies of 2013

If you are more interested in anime feature films, here are Kotaku's picks for the best five to hit theatres this year (click the links for the full reviews).

Steins;Gate: The Burden of Déjà Vu The Tale of Princess Kaguya Bayonetta Madoka Magica: Rebellion Berserk: Golden Age Arc III: Descent


Bonus List #2: The Five Anime That Should Have Been Recommended

Over this past year, despite the massive amount of anime I watched, several anime managed to slip through the cracks and did not get a mention in the "five anime you should be watching" posts each season. Some of these didn't really get good until past their mid-way points. Others were not mentioned because I hadn't yet begun recommending anime mid-season. However, these anime below all deserve a shout-out regardless, as they all never made a top five anime list but probably should have.

Maoyu

Maoyu is a deconstruction of a demon-king-versus-hero story where the two realise that no matter who wins, everyone loses. Thus the two set out to advance the world technologically and economically to a point where peace won't inadvertently cause more death than war.

Watch on: Crunchyroll

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is the tale of a friendless, pessimistic slacker who is forced to join a club that has no other purpose than to help people with their problems. Thus, along with the club's only other member — a girl so beautiful and intelligent that she finds herself ostracized as well — he does everything from proofreading bad fiction to planning school festivals, all with enough snarky humour to make Daria fans proud.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat

The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat is the hilarious (and more than a little perverted) story of a boy who wishes away his ability to lie and a girl who wishes away her ability to show emotion. Beginning as "Liar, Liar: The Anime," it only gets funnier — not to mention crazier — as it goes on, as more and more wishes throw their little corner of the world into chaos.

Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

A remake of 1970s classic anime Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers to those in the West), Yamato 2199 is an anime about a starship that must travel across the galaxy alone to retrieve the one item capable of saving the human race from extinction.

Watch on: Japanese Blu-ray (It has English subtitles.)

Psycho-Pass

In a world where your mental state is constantly monitored and being mentally troubled gets you sent to prison despite no crime being committed, Psycho-Pass is the story of a young cop caught up in a series of serial killings that threaten to pull down the entire society.

Watch on: Funimation, Hulu


Well, there you have it: the best anime series and films of 2013, as well as a few anime series that are finally getting their well-deserved recommendations. .

For all of our Kotaku anime reviews, click here.


Comments

    AOT:

    After the third episode where he didn't move the rock, I stopped watching and waited for the season to finish to watch the rest.

      This is where I quit too. Not worth my 20 minutes per ep.

        Thats the part where I started reading the Manga, you can read each one in 10 minutes even less than that sometimes.

    Didn't really care for Gatchaman, Maoyu was a snooze fest, wasn't entirely sold on yamato (however I didn't like the original series either).

    I do agree on SNAFU, stoney cat, psycho pass (even if it felt like it overstayed its welcome), Golden Arc was beast, the devil is a part timer.

    I personally also liked
    -blood lad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Lad
    -I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Couldn%E2%80%99t_Become_a_Hero,_So_I_Reluctantly_Decided_to_Get_a_Job.
    -Date A Live http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_A_Live
    -Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gargantia_on_the_Verdurous_Planet
    -Haiyore! Nyaruko-san http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiyore!_Nyaruko-san
    -Haganai http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haganai
    -High School DxD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_School_DxD (one of my guilty pleasures, don't judge me)
    -Infinite Stratos http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IS_(Infinite_Stratos)
    -Kill A Kill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_la_Kill
    -Little Busters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Busters! (Prepare the man tears in season 2)
    -Log Horizon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Log_Horizon
    -Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi:_The_Labyrinth_of_Magic
    -Majestic Prince http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_Prince_(manga) (Not what it sounds like)
    -Monotgari http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogatari_(series)
    -My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Mental_Choices_are_Completely_Interfering_with_my_School_Romantic_Comedy
    -Oreimo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oreimo (I didn't really enjoy the main characters, but the supporting cast are pretty funny)
    -Oreshura http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oreshura
    -Tokyo Ravens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Ravens
    -The World God Only Knows http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_God_Only_Knows
    -Code: Breaker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code:Breaker

    PS. This would have been a lot shorter with hot links, just saying.

    Beyond the Boundary started strong but became unwatchable (for me at least) after the first arc. Most characters are never fleshed out with history or back story, what twists there were were ludicrous, and key characters spent whole episodes vacilitating before making a decision between two clear positions. Throw in an antagonist whose motive is barely mentioned beyond a few minutes in the final episode and a final scene in the season that makes no sense whatsoever, and you have an anime you can safely skip.

    It looks nice, but the characters remain ciphers and the plot makes no sense.

    Just like Sword Art, I'm confused as to why Attack on Titan is something people actually like. I get "diff'rent Strokes for different folks," but god damn AoT was utter crap.

      I actually really enjoyed the first story arc of Sword Art Online (the 2nd was utter crap), but Attack On Titan I really don't get. I watched the first 13 episodes I think, and the pacing was APPALLING and the characters were all unlikeable, angry versions of standard stereotypes. The setting of the world was excellent, but they did nothing with it.

      Maoyu was interesting on an intellectual level with a quirky take on fantasy whilst sneaking some heavy economics in there, but not for everybody.

      My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU I actually watched on the recommendation of this site that it was akin to Daria...It wasn't. It's pretty generic High School comedy with a few funny one-liners. Daria would not be amused.

    Yeah psycho pass and yamato in the bonus list are way better than most of the absolute shit in the original post. I'm aware that most anime fans like moe blob terrible comedies or stories featuring highschool kids and ghosts though.

    Psychopass is also getting a second season next year.

    Last edited 28/12/13 5:43 pm

      Psycho Pass was amazing. Also missing is Monogatari Second Season I have no clue why that isn't at the top of this...although it does feature highschool kids and I guess ghosts.

    My wife's the anime buff in our house but I have to say I loved the devil is a part timer, funny stuff

    Hm, the only one I'd agree with here is Beyond the Boundary, and maybe The Devil is a Part Timer.

    Huge fan of Silver Spoon. Watching that pizza episode was murder for all of us there and we all went and got pizza right after that episode ended.

    no Magi: labyrinth of magic?
    I love that anime

    I'm curious as to why so many of the stupid, mind numbing slice of life and comedy crap gets put up here on kotaku. Silver Spoon is fucking awful, like most slice of lifes, and yet it gets a place on top 5 anime this year? I get opinions and stuff; i just don't get how these opinions are formed.

    Speaking of opinions, why isn't Valvrave the Liberator up here?

      Because majestic princes was better? Jks... sorta.

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