It was likely a practical, scheduling-minded choice to air Kyousogiga in the fall, but it certainly made for an appropriate ending. As the show drew to a close, so too did the year itself, the season’s promise of family and renewal mirroring Kyousogiga’s own humble themes. It’s a rare show – though it mirrors this summer’s Uchouten Kazoku in a number of interesting ways, perhaps the most review-relevant parallel is that it’s one more of those occasional glimpses of how good anime can actually be. It’s a world unto itself and a message both personal and universal. I’m sure I could ramble on it at length, but the show demonstrates its own strengths freely, so I’ll try to keep this concise.
And so 2013 comes to an end. This has been a big year for me in blogging, what with it being my first year in blogging, and so a lot of these shows hold a possibly unreasonable place in my heart. Nah, I don’t think that’s actually true. I think we’ve just had a great year, and that blogging really has done what I always wanted it to – force me to apply a more critical eye to my media, which, contrary to popular belief, has actually made me appreciate my favorites even more.
And there sure were plenty of favorites! As I said, this has been an excellent year in anime, with tons of genres, styles, and themes represented by stylish, confident productions. If this is your first time checking the blog, let me introduce myself by saying I’m a horribly biased shithead who wouldn’t know a good action show or comedy if it comically murdered me. I like people, and I like ideas, and my list reflects that (if you’re looking for Attack on Titan or Maou-sama, you can find my reviews of those here and here). I like to think I’m pretty good at telling good writing or direction from bad, but everyone has different things that appeal to them, and so you can consider the numbering here a mushy compromise between favorite and best, though the list overall encompasses both. I’m not gonna give you synopses here – if you’re interested, each title links to that show’s description, but that’s not what you’re not paying me for. These comments will cover why I loved these shows. I was aiming for a top ten, but when compiling the list, the shows that immediately bubbled to mind ended up numbering twelve, and instead of arbitrarily cutting two off I’ve decided to honor them all. Also, I’m only counting shows that ended in 2013 here, so no Kill la Kill or other half-finished two-parters. So here it is: my top twelve anime series of 2013!
All good things must come to an end. I think I’ll be able to take this one a little more gracefully than Uchouten Kazoku – at this point, it’s actually a nice feeling to see great shows finish strong. That doesn’t end our engagement with them – the best shows can be watched again and again, our relationship with them enriched by sharing them with others. Additionally, sales or no sales, Kyousogiga marks the creative debut of a great new director, which is always something to be celebrated. I don’t want this story to continue – it’s come back around to where it began, and I’m very ready for it to end well.
What can I even say about this week? Everything got ridiculous. Everything got climactic. Everything got cathartic. I’ve dropped everything I was iffy on, and all the shows I’ve enjoyed are pulling off thrilling finales. Let’s get slobbery.
Oh jeez, two episodes to go. Last episode made me a little worried about this series’ conclusion, but I’ve heard this one steers the focus back onto the family, so that’s a relief. It’s honestly kind of terrifying to me to watch a show as good as this one as it’s airing – as with my OreGairu writeups, I pretty much approach every episode praying “don’t screw up, don’t screw up” to myself. The easiest way for this show to screw up would be for it to forget its own strengths – its careful character focus and ability to build intimate family moments. And it wouldn’t be at all hard for the show to do this – finales naturally tend towards bombast, the original ONA for this series was bombastic as fuck, and the busyness of the conflict with Shrine and need to save the Mirror City could easily overwhelm the small character conflicts the show spent its first six episodes building. To stick the landing, this show will need to avoid indulgence and keep the focus on its fundamental emotional truth. Many shows feature a lot of busy stuff happening – few shows are able to make their events mean something.
Welp, the season’s winding down and, as always, with it comes both rising tension in our favorite shows and a bracing awareness of our inescapable mortality. Let’s run down the list!
The family’s all together now, and Koto’s enthusiastic break-in has apparently heralded the end of the world. Turns out Dad wasn’t lying after all – he did come back, and he did indeed bring with him the beginning and the end.
Nothing too out of the ordinary this week. The season has settled – the good shows are very consistent, the bad shows have been dropped, and those in the middle are 2-cours, hopefully building towards something noteworthy. Running it down…
Oh man am I ever ready for this one. The prologue flash-forward has been reached, Koto has been devoured, and we’re well on our way towards new, uncharted material. This is a delicate stage for any show actually seeking emotional truth – the search for a resolution that doesn’t invalidate the poignant, complex nature of the feelings presented so far. “Koto’s back! Everyone’s happy!” wouldn’t do it – that would basically end Yase’s arc without any growth whatsoever, and wouldn’t be particularly meaningful for either Kurama or Myoe. “Everyone escapes the Mirror City!” certainly wouldn’t do it either – both Kurama and Myoe need to learn from this place before they can be given their rewards. However narrative victory is achieved will be somewhat beside the point – this is a show about people, and waving a wand to fix characters’ problems renders any story about people emotionally meaningless. The key here is obviously young Koto – she’s the new variable, the person who’s already succeeded in giving Myoe something worth protecting, with the potential to change the other two as well. Her return from her visit with Mom should herald some serious shifts – though as I said in my week in review post, I’m hoping that return doesn’t cometoo quickly, because I’m eager to see Myoe legitimately angry at his siblings. In fact, I’ll take more of Myoe however the show feels inclined to show him – he’s easily my favorite character of the season. So let’s get to it!