RABUJOI’s 2013 Anime Rankings, with Haiku

Here they are, dear readers: all 44 series we watched this year (five dropped), ranked by their cumulative ratings as of today. Seven Fall shows still have one episode to go this year, so we’ll update this list as we complete them.

We’ve also included what the thousands of denizens over at MyAnimeList (MAL) thought about these same shows (again, as of today). One of the reasons we switched to a 10-point rating scale is so we could roughly compare our ratings to MAL’s.

Analysis: While we’ve always thought we had a tendency to overrate things, we actually gave 21 non-dropped shows lower ratings than MAL, while rating 18 shows higher.

Our ratings actually came quite close to MAL’s—within 0.4 points or less—on a dozen shows:

  • Kimi no Iru Machi (+0.020)
  • Amnesia (+0.077)
  • OreShura (+0.082)
  • Tamayura: More Aggressive (+0.177)
  • Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (+0.217)
  • Kyousougiga (+0.310)
  • Free! (-0.013)
  • Nagi no Asukara (-0.177)
  • Oreimo 2 (-0.242)
  • Vividred Operation (-0.273)
  • Tamako Market (-0.320)
  • Kakumeiki Valvrave 2nd Season (-0.375)

MAL also agreed with us that Valvrave’s second season has been better than the first.

The biggest outliers (not counting dropped shows) were Aku no Hana (we rated it 1.358 points higher than MAL), and The Unlimited (we rated it 1.290 points lower than MAL). There’s a good reason for each: Aku was incredibly polarizing, while The Unlimited likely went over better for those familiar with the Zettai Karen Children universe (which we weren’t).

In all, we were off of MAL’s scores by +/- 1 full point or more on only six non-dropped shows. By no means do we strive to match the average consensus from MAL (we just looked them up today), but it’s fun to compare, and it’s good to know we’re not totally insane about our taste in anime. We may be way off the consensus on a few occasions, but that comes down to personal preference, which is unique to everyone.

Finally, we decided to write a haiku either summarizing the show or our impressions of it…with, er, varying results. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

44. InuHasa

Guy turns into dog
Become’s favorite author’s pet,
who then tortures him.

Final Cumulative Rating: 5.000 (scissored after 5 episodes)
MyAnimeList Score: 6.74

43. Log Horizon

Trio of heroes
in a real-life MMO;
Low rent SAO?

Final Cumulative Rating: 5.667 (logged off after 3 episodes)
MyAnimeList Score: 8.08

42. Strike the Blood

Powerful vampire
meets pretty young sword shaman
Childhood friend jealous.

Final Cumulative Rating: 5.714 (struck after 7 episodes)
MyAnimeList Score: 7.67

41. Coppelion

Follows adventures
of radiation-proof girls
icing stealth bombers.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.000 (copped out after 4 episodes)
MyAnimeList Score: 6.74

vivid

40. Vividred Operation

Color-coded girls
with cool CG mecha suits
Lots of booty shots

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.417
MyAnimeList Score: 6.69

39. Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke

Really long-lived dude,
bad guy from the older show,
main character here.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.500
MyAnimeList Score: 7.79

38. Valvrave the Liberator (1st Season)

Kids form a nation,
vampire mecha pilots,
screwed at every turn.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.583
MyAnimeList Score: 7.44

37. Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta

High hopes for this show
after Hoshi no Umi.
Huge disappointment.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.600 (panty-shot down after 10 episodes)
MyAnimeList Score: 7.51

36. Danganronpa: The Animation

High school whodunits
Demonic bear and pink blood
Hope versus despair

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.615
MyAnimeList Score: 7.56

amnesia

35. Amnesia

Heroine gets lost
jumping back and forth through time
Is caged at one point.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.667
MyAnimeList Score: 6.59

34. Love Lab

Better than OP
Better than “love club” premise;
Better than rating!

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.692
MyAnimeList Score: 7.67

33. Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova

World War II vessels
Pretty girl avatars
Ample explosions

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.727
MyAnimeList Score: 7.69

32. Servant x Service

Office slice-of-life
Long-named lovable she-goof
Tacked-on imouto

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.769
MyAnimeList Score: 7.93

31. Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince

Underachievers,
armed with shiny new mecha,
proceed to kick ass.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.917
MyAnimeList Score: 7.52

oregairu

30. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (Oregairu)

Three social outcasts,
linked by a car accident
Snappy dialogue.

Final Cumulative Rating: 6.923
MyAnimeList Score: 8.05

29. Tamako Market

Weird conceited bird
Lovely lived-in market town
Slice-of-life done right.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.000
MyAnimeList Score: 7.32

28. Blood Lad

Otaku vamp boss
Human girl turns into ghost
He vows to save her.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.000
MyAnimeList Score: 7.74

27. Kimi no Iru Machi

Guy moves to Tokyo,
dumps new girlfriend for his ex.
A bit of a cad.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.250
MyAnimeList Score: 7.23

25. (tie) White Album 2

Light music club formed
Love triangle formed with it
One girl cut in line

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.333
MyAnimeList Score: 7.98

railguns

25. (tie) Toaru Kagaku no Ralgun S

Railgun in too deep
Fights city’s dark underside
Gets help from her friends

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.333
MyAnimeList Score: 8.27

24. Valvrave the Liberator 2nd Season

Safe on neutral moon
Then things get complicated
Lots of people die

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.455
MyAnimeList Score: 7.83

23. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (OreShura)

Fresh take on harem
Girls have good motivations
Nice pastel palette

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.462
MyAnimeList Score: 7.38

22. Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen

Goddesses in girls
Gamer must reconquer hearts
Third time is the charm

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.500
MyAnimeList Score: 8.52

21. Oreimo 2

Kirino returns
Kyousuke dates the black cat
Then “marries” sister.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.538 
MyAnimeList Score: 7.78

rdg

19. (tie) RDG: Red Data Girl

Shy god-vessel girl
Her reluctant protector
A quiet romance

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.583
MyAnimeList Score: 6.73

19. (tie) Nagi no Asukara

Town under the sea
Four struggle with their feelings
As their world’s end nears

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.583
MyAnimeList Score: 7.76

18. Hataraku Maou-sama!

Devil comes to earth
Gets a fast-food part-time job
Comedy ensues

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.615
MyAnimeList Score: 8.16

16. (tie) Tamayura: More Aggressive

Girl starts photo club,
which only has two members,
including herself.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.667
MyAnimeList Score: 7.49

16 (tie) Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Demon King’s a girl
She and Hero join forces
Great allegories

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.667
MyAnimeList Score: 7.45

stella

15. Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3

Girl joins war games club
Has a knack but grows obsessed
Alienates friends

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.692
MyAnimeList Score: 6.76

14. Monogatari Series: 2nd Season

Cat finds self; time travel
Snake god; the darkness comes
Deceiving a god

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.909
MyAnimeList Score: 8.67

12. (tie) Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

Amaterasu
Stuck inside a listless girl
Wants a normal life.

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.917
MyAnimeList Score: 6.81

12. (tie) Free!

Cast is mostly male
Swim club returns to glory
KyoAni trolling?

Final Cumulative Rating: 7.917
MyAnimeList Score: 7.93

11. Chihayafuru 2

Karuta battles
heat up exponentially,
much to our delight.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.042
MyAnimeList Score: 8.67

The Top 10

kotourasan

10. Kotoura-san

Shy girl can read minds
Finds someone suited for her
Doesn’t ruin it.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.083
MyAnimeList Score: 7.40

gatchaman

9. Gatchaman Crowds

Social media
Very cheerful heroine
A whimsical romp

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.250
MyAnimeList Score: 7.58

samflam

8. Samurai Flamenco

A hero rises
Bad guys get more outrageous
Never accept evil

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.182
MyAnimeList Score: 7.28

gargantia

7. Suisei no Gargantia

Earth one big ocean
Space pilot and his mecha
Fish out of water

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.308
MyAnimeList Score: 7.81

kyoukai

6. Kyoukai no Kanata

Girl with cursed blood
Half-demon half-human guy
Fall for each other.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.333
MyAnimeList Score: 7.83

kyousougiga

5. Kyousougiga

A fantastic world
A tale of love and rebirth
of one family.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.400
MyAnimeList Score: 8.09

kllllakill

3 (tie). Kill la Kill

To avenge her dad,
girl dons a strange uniform
Powerful weapon.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.500
MyAnimeList Score: 8.04

goldentime

3 (tie). Golden Time

Guy has amnesia,
forgets old love, finds new one…
Then he remembers.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.500
MyAnimeList Score: 7.99

akunohana

2. Aku no Hana

When he’s caught with shorts
Girl makes guy contract with her
Deviant within.

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.538
MyAnimeList Score: 7.18

ucho

1. Uchouten Kazoku

Tale of redemption
A family of tanukis
With “idiot blood”

Final Cumulative Rating: 8.769
MyAnimeList Score: 8.13

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15 Great Characters from 2013

We showed you whose voices we liked this past year, now let’s take a look at some of our favorite characters. Mind you, this isn’t a ranking, just an alphabetical list.

Bell Hydra (Blood Lad)

Bell was our favorite character from this relatively so-so show, because you never quite knew whose side she was on, or rather she was always on her own side, and always tried to stay on top. Her magical trickery was more than a match for Staz’s brute force, regularly frustrating him to no end. And then she fell for the guy. We also liked her sense of style, as she’d randomly change outfits throughout the run.

Chamber (Suisei no Gargantia)

Ledo’s trusty, badass Machine Caliber wasn’t just a tool, or the brunt of numerous sight gags as he performed manual labor, but a character in his own right, with his own arc that paralleled Ledo’s. The strict Galactic Alliance subroutines that drove his behavior gradually softened the more time he spent on Earth, to the point he rebelled against authority and sacrificed himself to save his pilot.

Ebisugawa Kaisei (Uchouten Kazoku)

By the time we actually see Kaisei in human form, it’s nine episodes into the show. But before that she’s seemingly always around in disguise (something she excels at), including at crucial point in one of the show’s many flashbacks. As Yasaburou’s would-be fiancee, she represents the peace that was meant to be struck between the families, and her playful banter with Yasaburou always tinged with a kind of quasi-spousal loyalty. She even plays the heroine by freeing Yashirou when things get hairy.

Gokou Ruri (Oreimo 2)

When she showed up at the Akiba real-world meetup in the second episode of the first Oreimo, we would have never guessed how far Kuroneko would come, leapfrogging over all others to become the best character on the show. As Kyousuke struggles with his relationship with Kirino, he also independently forms a bond with ‘Neko, who gets better the more sides of her we see: be it at home, at school, and in girlfriend and post-girlfriend modes.

Goto Hidenori (Samurai Flamenco)

While he may look good in uniform to some, Goto is neither a model, idol, or gaudy superhero. He’s just an ordinary guy with a quiet police gig with a loving long-distance girlfriend and a modest abode. As things go absolutely apeshit around him, he stays grounded, even when driving pink Hummers into rockets. All these superheroes and villains around him have made life a lot more interesting, but it hasn’t changed the decent, unassuming man that he is. He’s the show’s steady anchor.

Hayashida “Linda” Nana (Golden Time)

While she delayed her response to her longtime childhood friend’s confession by mere hours, Linda ends up losing everything once he gets amnesia, has his feelings for her resurface year later when they reunite in college, and he then decides to distance himself from her so he can focus on his girlfriend, after much will-they-won’t-they teasing. It’s a shame she has to go through so much, considering she’s such a kind, caring, beautiful person. But the cookie just didn’t crumble her way.

Kaga Koko (Golden Time)

Koko is one of the most interesting characters of the year because of how quickly she transitions from irritating crazed shrew to sympathetic love interest. After chasing the wrong guy for years, she finds Banri. She’s not as perfect as she looks, but she’s very tough on herself, constantly trying to be a better person and girlfriend. Considering what her status as Banri’s girl means to Linda, you’d think she’d be a character to be loathed, but the show excels at making everyone’s situation understandable and sympathetic.

Kaiki Deishu (Monogatari Series: Second Season)

We first met him in Nisemonogatari, where he was unveiled as the con-man who gave Senjougahara crabs (well, it’s not quite that simple…) but in any case, he was something of an easygoing villain: powerful, but not particularly motivated. In Koimonogatari, he’s given a mission by that same Senjougahara in her time of dire need, hits the town, and gets to work. It’s been extremely enjoyable watching him playing the role of hardboiled private eye, father figure, even unspoken love interest.

Katsuragi Keima (Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen)

The second season of The World God Only Knows wasn’t as good as the first, but this third one was excellent, as all the chickens come home to roost and things get infinitely more complicated for our cynical, bespectacled gamer. Keima is most effective (and entertaining) when his back’s against the wall, but this season he also actually ended up feeling something for his conquests. There’s no easy reset button for him, which showed growth.

Kotoura Haruka (Kotoura-san)

Kotoura-san may be an almost disgustingly adorable character, but the show wastes no time establishing precisely the kind of person she is and why, based on a traumatic past in which her parents basically abandoned her. Watching her transition from looking at herself as a curse upon all who associate her to someone with worth who deserves a happy life with caring friends (and a boyfriend) was immensely fulfilling.

Mankanshokou Mako (Kill la Kill)

We touched on this in Suzaki Aya’s profile; Mako has made the full transition from goofy comic relief sidekick to full-fledged crucial participant in the overarching drama of Kill la Kill. She’s the one who first reached out to Ryuuko, opened up her home to her, gave her the family life she never had, and then snapping her out of a near-fatal frenzy. She’s also not afraid to speak her mind to everyone, be it Ryuuko, Elite Four, Satsuki, or Nui.

Nakamura Sawa (Aku no Hana)

An example of a character we liked precisely because she scared the hell out of us. A part of that fear comes from the intense realism of the series. Subtle human movements that more stylized animation wouldn’t pick up are on full display, and Sawa slinks and slithers across the screen, and sometimes breaks into sudden startling movements while messing with Takao. Yet for all of the mayhem she causes in his life, she’s far from evil incarnate: she’s an intensely frustrated young woman, a victim of the benign dullness of the town that doubles as her prison.

Nana (Golden Time)

Nana is one of the best supporting characters we’ve come across this year, someone with a fierce sense of individuality who forces people to either accept her or fuck off, and gives off the air of not caring about anyone, when the polar opposite is true: Nana turns out to be both a caring reliable friend to Linda (and unwitting would-be matchmaker) and a decent neighbor to Banri. Hopefully his disassociation from Linda won’t mean much less Nana.

Shimogamo Yajirou (Uchouten Kazoku)

Like Kaisei, part of what we love about Yaijioru is how much impact he makes despite how little we see of him. For the vast majority of the show he’s a frog in the bottom of a well, where he tries to forget his life as a human, which he deemed as an abject failure. As another victim of the Ebisugawas, he was forced to believe he was responsible for getting his father cooked. Even when the truth came out, it took getting him drunk to spring into action to save his family, but his contribution was vital.

Wakamiya Shinobu (Chihayafuru 2)

Another supporting character introduced as a “big bad” in the first season, the brilliant, quirky, melancholy Queen Shinobu plays a much larger role in the second, showing us her past and how heavy is the head that wears the crown, as she simply isn’t interested in team matches or fulfilling any of the royal responsibilities expected of her. She and Arata also spend a lot of time together, making her a rival to Chihaya in love as well as karuta.

Images Courtesy MyAnimeList

Weekly OP: Koimonogatari

Every Monday, starting today, we’ll be sharing a Weekly OP or ED that we like. It could be from a show we’re currently watching, watched long ago, or never watched. Note that the videos may not hang around forever, since we have no control over them. 

This week is the final arc in Monogatari Series: Second Season: Koimonogatari or “Lovestory”, a shining example of blending old and new animation styles and a retro song evoking a superb feeling of nostalgia. 80’s Senjougahara and Kaiki rock!

The Top 20 Episodes of 2013

20

We’ve sat through 544 episodes of anime in the 353 days of 2013 there have been so far, a not-excessive-at-all 1.54 episodes per day. The following are the twenty episodes we enjoyed the most, comprising 3.68% of the total; the cream of the crop. These episodes stuck out, and in every case had a significant emotional impact on us, whether that emotion was elation, despair, excitement, fuck-yeah-ness, etc.

We realize there are still twelve days left in the year, and many shows save their best for last, but rather than replace the episodes on this list we’ll merely add them. Accompanying each of our 20 choices is a quote from our review of it. Let’s dive into the cream:

kami310_3

20. The World God Only Knows III – 10

“This is the second time in two days we’ve dealt with an episode in which the bad guys…puts our heroes’ backs up against the wall…Last week’s diversion to Point Rock was a little flimsy, but the raised stakes work here…Keima completely abandons pretense and tact. He mutters things out loud that he’d normally only think…in the end, he’s the cooler head who rejects going out in a blaze of glory”

kyouso9

19. Kyousougiga – 06

“The more we learn of Yakushimaru’s past, the more it seems like he was the victim of a mad scientist/priest…Yakushimaru didn’t sign up for any of this…but he’s stuck…there’s a striking contrast between the playful bliss of the siblings’ past and their over-the-top sparring in the present…Myoue’s beads, Yase’s brawn, and Kurama’s tech smash into each other in a brilliant amplification of rough-housing”

Team Mizusawa

18. Chihayafuru 2 – 19

“[Taichi] grabs luck by the scuff of the next and gives it a good shake until it finally favors him. Of course, he didn’t win just because of luck. It was a team match and it was a full team effort. It was also, not surprisingly, the best match of the season to watch. With the table so deftly set and the pieces in position and the stakes loud and clear, all this episode has to do is let ‘er rip”

kotoura3

17. Kotoura-san – 03

“Once Kotoura is in the hospital, peeking in at a battered Manabe, thinking about how he doesn’t mind getting hurt for her sake, she chokes, and decides to run (though, obviously, not for good).What she has yet to learn is that part of letting people get close to you is accepting that sometimes they’ll get hurt, and so will you. It’s not her fault, nor anyone else’s. It’s just life”

gold63

16. Golden Time – 06

“we were expecting Banri’s “just friends” situation with Kouko to be drawn out a little more to underline how miserable it’s making Banri to be around someone who doesn’t share his feelings…but all the conditions necessary for him to let Kouko go—and confront Linda—were met this week, and in short order…In a superbly emotional, adrenalin-charged moment that nicely skirted the edge of schmaltz, [Kouko] gives him the straight answer he had been awaiting for years: No, she doesn’t want them to be apart. Yes, she loves him too”

15. Maoyu – 01

“We love anime with a Final Fantasy-like epic vibe to them, and this series truly delivers…FF can be a bit stodgy, taking itself too seriously…that’s not the case here, as there’s a nice balance of the serious thematic elements of a huge war, while also finding time for tongue-and-cheek moments…the entire situation is a bit absurd, and the series itself is aware of this, but it’s not too winky, either”

Misaka Mikoto

13/14. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S – 14/15

“Had Touma not been worried about his friend…he may have sat in that room with Kuroko as Mikoto let herself get killed…but he was worried, and he wasn’t going to let her sacrifice herself for such a limited return”

“[Mikoto] wasn’t prepared for Touma putting his body on the line…in that moment [he] fulfilled the inner wishes Mikoto had long repressed as foolish: miracles can happen, heroes can emerge, damsels can be saved in the nick of time. And most importantly, she has worth”

railguns15

“We didn’t think this episode would be able to match the emotional powerhouse of last week, but it ended up doing just that with an unconventional but grand battle…You have to hand it to Railgun; they don’t mess around with their uber-villains”

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12. Kill la Kill – 07

“Like Mako’s family (briefly), this episode had it all. It grabbed and held our interest. It made Ryuuko the architect of her own near-downfall through a seemingly harmless choice. It rocketed us along with the family during their meteoric rise, not skimping on the details of the ritzier life they gain. It slowed them way down when they grew rich and stuffy. Perhaps most impressive was Mako’s transformation from kooky comic relief sidekick to serious foe who doesn’t hesitate to turn on Ryuuko despite all they’d been through. It was a veritable windfall of magnificence”

c3bu42

11. Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 – 04

“This week, the ancient surroundings have a powerful effect on Yura, and there she not only discovers “her idea of airsoft”, but also manages to change history itself…one could dismiss the awesome, fantastical elements of this episode as just that: Yura’s delusions, but…that all goes out the window when Rento sees the same scene as Yura…the ramifications are positively spine-tingling, and elevate C3-bu to a whole other level”

(A Level that wouldn’t be reached again, as Yura’s “power” was rarely used again.)

Kousaka Kyousuke, Gokou Ruri

9/10. Oreimo 2 – 07/08

“We were fully resigned to Kyousuke further stalling or outright rejecting Ruri so that he can continue his dead-end quasi-romance with his little sister. Instead…Kyousuke finally makes the right choice: he chooses Kuroneko. And we couldn’t be happier…”

“If you’re not a fan of Kuroneko or this new union, then it was a pretty rough and tedious episode to watch. As for us, we loved every last moment…They go out a ton, have lots of fun, and Kyousuke ends up learning far more about Ruri and liking her much more than before. We love seeing Kyousuke like this, because lord knows he’s earned the right to have an normal relationship with a smart, beautiful girl who isn’t his sister”

maousama51

8. Hataraku Maou-sama! – 05

“Not only was this the most action-packed episode, it was also the funniest by far…with an epic, cinematic feel and a lot of well-oiled moving parts humming along in perfect harmony and formidable speed. But in the midst of all the magic spectacle and comedy, the four core characters stay true to themselves throughout”

koyu6

7. Kyoukai no Kanata – 06

“A curious cold open…is the harbinger for perhaps the funniest, most inventive, and most satisfying episode of Kyoukai no Kanata yet…one that helps the show take one more step out of the shadows of its KyoAni forebears…there are times when the characters act a little bit too dumb or short-sighted, but the episode knows this as well as we do…In fact, it revels in it, as things go from bad to worse, despite the gang exerting more and more energy each go-around”

suisei1_2

6. Suisei no Gargantia – 01

“The opening battle is a tour de force of sci-fi mayhem, with a lot of different weapons and formations and tactics flying around the screen. After that thrilling and auspicious start, the episode slows down and takes its time; we go from a fantastic hi-tech world to somewhere that wouldn’t be out of place in a Miyazaki film”

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5. Chihayafuru 2 – 25

“This was a beautiful episode that had Chihaya cooped up in hospital, leaving her little to do but study Arata, think about Arata, talk to Arata, and summon feelings for Arata that she doesn’t understand…Also brilliant was the use of Chihaya’s poetry, as read by Oe (by far the best character in the show at reading poetry) to indicate that Taichi’s window is rapidly closing, and further dalliances only make his climb steeper”

ucho10

4. Uchouten Kazoku – 10

“[Ginkaku and Kinkaku’s] petty mischief lulled us into forgetting that the family they represent is not merely a political rival but an existential threat to the Shimogamo family. This week they’re charged with capturing the youngest, weakest Shimogamo, while their father, Soun, takes the lead in executing a carefully-planned takedown that is devastating in its efficiency. The episode oozes with imminent dread that gradually builds like that storm as things go from bad to worse…A day filled with so much hope and promise turns to utter shit for the Shimogamos, many of whom never see what’s coming”

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3. Aku no Hana – 10

“[Kasuga and Nakamura’s] great deviant adventure stalls in its infancy, and isn’t allowed to start back up. Nakamura muses that over that hill could be the end of the world, and until they actually get there, for all intents and purposes, it is… It isn’t until he’s between the two girls, faced with the choice of one, that he completely tears himself down in an effort to make himself undesirable to both”

mono182

2. Onimonogatari – 02

(Monogatari Series: Second Season – 18)

“In the last episode we remarked that Oshino Shinobu is unlike any other entity inhabiting the series due to her longevity, scale of experience, and moral complexity…we knew when we delved deeper into her past, it would be something to behold; and so it was: a bold, indulgent, tantalizingly unique approach is utilized in visualizing Kiss-shot’s epic tale”

Nakamura Sawa, Kasuga Takao

1. Aku no Hana – 07

“Kasuga adds to his sins and the relationship between him and Nakamura becomes even deeper, more intimate, and more fucked-up, culminating in one of the tensest, sexiest, most powerful sequences we’ve ever seen on television, period”

Top 20 Female Seiyus of 2013

kana

Last year, in our first Top Female Seiyu list, we ranked fifteen female seiyus. This year things are a bit different: the ladies below are listed alphabetically; we decided not to rank them, as there’d inevitably be a couple messy ties here and there, and we’re not getting into the mathematical nitty-gritty required to create ratings for them.

Below is a rundown of everyone we liked and why. There are also five more ladies on the list this year, all of whom appeared in three or fewer shows, but still made strong impressions. Main characters the seiyu voiced are in bold, while our favorite characters the seiyu voiced are starred*.

Akasaki ChinatsuAkasaki Chinatsu

Love Lab (Maki Natsuo*)
OreShura (Harusaki Chiwa)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (Kinuhata Saiai)
Kotoura-san (Mai)

In the two main roles we caught her in last year, Chinatsu played the restlessly creative comic half of the double act in Kill Me Baby, and a reformed dork in Chu2Koi. This year she plays another manic comic weirdo in Maki Natsuo, and plays it well coming up with ridiculous scheme after another in an effort to understand love better, though like her Chu2Koi character, she initially hides behind a veneer of normalcy/perfection.

Asumi KanaAsumi Kana

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (Tsukuyomi Sasami*)
Tamayura: More Aggressive (Hanawa Kaoru)
InuHasa (Harumi Madoka)
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Kosaka Chihiro)
Suisei no Gargantia (Melty)

We first noticed Kana as voice of the patient, peppy, hardworking Popura in Working!!, but she makes our 2013 list thanks to her role as an unmotivated hikikomori trying to ignore the fact she’s the vessel for Amaterasu. Both Sasami and Chihiro got pretty emotional at times, and Kana was able to connect us with both Sasami and Chihiro as they struggled with their various issues.

Hanazawa KanaHanazawa Kana

Coppelion (Fukasaku Aoi)
Kotoura-san (Mifune, Yuriko)
Nagi no Asukara (Mukaido Manaka)
Oreimo 2 (Gokou Ruri*)
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (Yagami Kagami)
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Shiomiya Shiori/Minerva)
Monogatari Series: Second Season (Sengoku Nadeko)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (Haruue Erii)

One of our favorite seiyus due to her very earnest, distinctive, almost otherworldly voice, “Hana-Kana”s 2013 was mixed. While she stole, broke, and re-stole our hearts in Oreimo 2, did a decent job with Yuriko-senpai, and really got our attention when Nadeko finally snapped (seriously, that rant was outstanding), her roles as Aoi, Manaka, and Erii often cross the line from charming to cloying/annoying. On the other hand, the uber-shy Shiori worked for us, so go figure.

Hayami SaoriHayami Saori

Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Haqua)
Oregairu (Yukinoshita Yukino)
RDG: Red Data Girl (Suzuhara Izumiko*)
Kimi no Iru Machi (Kanzaki Nanami)
Love Lab (Tanahashi Hiroka)
Monogatari Series: Second Season (Ononoki Yotsugi)
Oreimo 2 (Fujisaki Ayaka)

When we listen to them side-by-side, Saori and Hana-Kana’s voices aren’t that different; Saori’s is a little more down-to-earth, less ethereal and typically a bit deeper. She was busy this year playing strong, matter-of-fact characters like Haqua, Yukino, and Ononoki and Ayaka. But our favorite role of hers this year was her turn as Red Data Girl Izumiko.

Hisaka YokoHikasa Yoko

Aku no Hana (Saeki Nanako*)
Danganronpa (Kirigiri Kyouko)
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (Kugimiya Kei)
Hataraku Maou-sama! (Yusa Emi)
Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki (Sequenzia Shutaura)
Tamako Market (Kitashirakawa Hinako, Uotani Mari)

Another voice we’ve only recently discovered, Yoko brought a great strength, independence, and assertiveness to some characters (Kirigiri, early Kei, Emi), but was also capable of great grace and delicacy in her role as Kasuga’s angelic muse, Saeki. We’ll definitely be looking for future shows where she contributes her voice.

Horie YuiHorie Yui

Golden Time (Kaga Kouko*)
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Nanami Rion)
Monogatari Series: Second Season (Hanekawa Tsubasa)

Unlike Yoko, we’ve known about Yui for a relatively long time, starting with her goofy, frisky yet surprisingly textured performance as Kushieda in Toradora!, one of our favorite rom-coms. She’s back at it in Golden Time—as of now another of our favorite rom-coms—in another awesome and textured performance as Kaga Kouko. She’s been able to make us not only empathize but relate to a clingy character with stalkerish tendencies.

Ise MariyaIse Mariya

Aku no Hana (Nakamura Sawa*)
Oreimo 2 (Akagi Sena)

We cannot overstate how much ass Mariya kicked in Aku no Hana as Kasuga’s unbalanced molester/tormentor/anti-muse. Her work in that show was a revelation; so much so that chills ran down our spines when we heard her voice in Oreimo 2, even though we’d heard her as Sena before we ever heard her as Sawa. A lasting impression, to be sure.

Kanemoto HisakoKanemoto Hisako

Kotoura-San (Kotoura Haruka*)
OreShura (Akishino Himeka)
Suisei no Gargantia (Amy)
Strike the Blood (Minamiya Natsuki)

Our first encounter with Hisako was when she voiced Squid Girl, a game but lightweight comedy series that accentuated her very high-pitched, cutesy voice. Last year as Yui in Kokoro Connect and this year with Kotoura-san, she got some dramatic meat to chew on, and she doesn’t disappoint. Kotoura-san hinged entirely on whether you cared about Kotoura, and we definitely did right from the start.

Kato EmiriKato Emiri

Log Horizon (Akatsuki)
Monogatari Series: Second Season (Hachikuji Mayoi*)

We know Emiri best as the voice of that catlike-thing in Puella Magi Madoka Magicka, and give credit where credit is due: she made that little guy thoroughly despicable with its calmly-delivered, cruelly matter-of-fact monologues. We include her on this list not because she’s a main character in a series we dropped (in which she was fine), but for her moving performance at the end of Onimonogatari arc, a fitting sendoff for the Snail Girl.

Kayano AiKayano Ai

Golden Time (Hayashida Nana/Linda*)
Nagi no Asukara (Hiradaira Chisaki)
OreShura (Fuyuumi Ai)
Servant x Service (Yamagami Lucy (…))
Stella Jogakuin Kotou-ka C3-bu (Hatsuse Karila)
Tamayura: More Aggressive (Mitani Kanae)
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Sakurai Aina, Pino)
Suisei no Gargantia (Saaya)
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (V Lila F)

While down from her thirteen roles last year, nine is nothing to sniff at, and Ai-chan retains her position as busiest seiyu in the business, at least among the shows we’ve watched. She also leads the field with no fewer than six leading roles. She tends to stick with the same voice for most of them, but uses a very different, much tougher tomboy voice for Karila in C3-bu, and kicks up the frazzle with Lucy, our second favorite role of hers this year. Our favorite role of hers by far this year has been Linda from Golden Time, who as a result of indecision, horrible timing and circumstance, finds her self in one of the most unenviable yet engrossing love triangles in recent animemory.

Koshimizu AmiKoshimizu Ami

Kill la Kill (Matoi Ryuuko*)
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Maou)
Oregairu (Kawasaki Saki)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (Mugino Shizuri)

Perhaps it’s because we first noticed her voice as Holo in Spice & Wolf, but Ami has a knack for channeling a comforting confidence and wisdom beyond her years—as if she’s done this before in a previous life—which she also achieves when voicing the sage badass Maou. Her other three characters listed above are also confident badasses. Ami’s killing it as Ryuuko in Kill la Kill, though in that case Ryuuko is in the dark about a great many things, and she longs to know the truth.

Nakamichi MihokoNakamichi Mihoko

Chihayafuru 2 (Wakamiya Shinobu*)

To date, the eccentric karuta goddess-queen Shinobu is the one and only role Nakamichi-san is listed as voicing, and it was a good one. A great blend of aloofness, cockiness, and, later on, vulnerability. The Yin to Chihaya’s Yang; the water to her fire.

Nazuka KaoriNazuka Kaori

Amnesia (Heroine)
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Ayukawa Tenri/Diana)
Nagi no Asukara (Sakishima Akari*)
OreShura (Kiryuu Saeko)

The only main role we saw the veteran Kaori (voice of Eureka) in was as the unnamed heroine in a show that never really wowed us, but that wasn’t her fault. Having not seen the Tenri-han OVA, we were pleasantly surprised to hear her voicing Diana in Megami-hen, and have greatly enjoyed her semi-main role of Akari, for which her calm, smooth, gentle, motherly voice is most appropriate

Numakura ManamiNumakura Manami

Love Lab (Kurahashi Riko*)
Arpeggio of Blue Steel (Takao)
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (Edogawa Jou)

Another new voice, for us, Manami stood out in all three of her roles this year. Jou was appropriately haughty foil-turned-friend of Sasami’s, Riko was a worthy straight man for Chinatsu’s Maki, and Takao was one of the most consistently human of the cel-shaded AI battleship girls.

Sakamoto MaayaSakamoto Maaya

Monogatari Series: Second Season (Oshino Shinobu*)

Maaya’s another veteran  seiyu who has distinguished herself with only one role we watched this year: that of the centuries-old vampire stuck in a child’s body, who didn’t even speak in Bakemonogatari. We’re not experts on dialects, but lilting manner of speech sounds old-fashioned yet regal, a perfect fit considering Shinobu’s age. Her soliloquy in Onimonogatari, paired with the gorgeous visuals, was a highlight of the season.

Sawashiro MiyukiSawashiro Miyuki

Stella Jogakuin Kotou-ka C3-bu (Kashima Sonora)
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (Isone Kotoha)
Danganronpa (Fukawa Touko*)
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Onna Kishi)
Monogatari Series: Second Season (Kanbaru Suruga)

Like Hana-Kawa and Ai-chan, Miyuki’s warm, slightly mischievous voice seems to show up in pretty much every other series we watch, for which we’re thankful. She rarely changes up her style—Sonora, Kotoha, Suruga, and Kishi sound pretty much the same—but that’s never bothered us. If we had to choose a favorite among her 2013 roles, it would probably be her turn as Fukawa Touko, since she actually has two voices: one the extremely shy, nervous, and paranoid Touko, and her gloriously-insane (and irreverent) Genocider Syo alter-ego.

Seto AsamiSeto Asami

Chihayafuru 2 (Ayase Chihaya*)
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Sashinami Shouko)
Stella Jogakuin Kotou-ka C3-bu (Haruna Rin)
Strike the Blood (Aiba Asagi)
Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki (Marie Spearhead)

Asami broke onto the scene with Chihayafuru, and in the sequel she proves just as good at playing the lovely, passionate, tomboyish, romantically-dense, fiercely-competitive narcoleptic we’ve come to know and love. She changes gears in C3-bu with the far sterner, fun-hating Haruna Rin (though that character eventually softens a bit), while the increasingly enormous weight of responsibility that rests on young Madame Prime Minister Sashinami’s slender shoulders comes through loud and clear in her voice.

Suzaki AyaSuzaki Aya

Kill la Kill (Mankanshoku Mako*)
Tamako Market (Kitashirakawa Tamako)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (Takisubo Rikou)

We’d assumed by her short resume that Suzaki was quite young, but she’s actually older than Hana-Kawa. No matter: her youthful, energetic voice brings both Tamako and Mako to vibrant life, as those long-surnamed characters practically leap out of the screen thanks to her enthusiastic performances. When Mako turns aloof and evil for an episode, Suzaki makes the necessary adjustments to her voice, elevating Mako from mere comic relief to dimensional anti-heroine. Her emotional support later on is crucial to Ryuuko’s success.

Tomatsu HarukaTomatsu Haruka

Naruse Ibara (Coppelion)
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Rukino Saki)
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Lune)
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Maid Ane)
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (Wannai Kinuho)
Samurai Flamenco (Maya Mari*)
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (Kishi Touka)
Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke (Sannomiya Shiho)

While it may look like Haruka-chan had a light 2013 with only two main roles (one of which in a series we dropped), those bolded roles can be deceptive (as they are for many Monogatari characters). Maya Mari is a starring role in everything but name, despite what King Torture might think, while even Maoyu’s Maid Ane has one episode in which she is the main character, and Haruka delivers one of her more moving monologues. Meanwhile, Haruka continues to bring a nice edge to idol-turned-holy spirit pilot Rukino Saki, who has unfortunately not gotten a load of screen time in the second season.

Touyama NaoTouyama Nao

Hataraku Maou-sama! (Sasaki Chiho)
Oregairu (Yuigahama Yui*)
Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke (Yuugiri)
Arpeggio of Blue Steel (Hozumi Shizuka)
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (Yamada Peko)
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen (Nakagawa Kanon/Apollo)
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Maid Imouto)
OreShura (Natsukawa Mana)
Tamayura: More Aggressive (Tomo)

Last but not least we have Nao-chan, who appeared in an impressive nine shows we watched this year, many of them as small, nauseatingly cute characters she paired with a high-pitched voice that can border on shrill and syrupy. The roles that did interest us were the two at the top of the list: Sasaki Chiho and Yuigahama Yui. They may both be cute high schoolers, but both are in the process of maturing into adults in control of their lives and feelings. As such, Nao tones down the sugar for their voices – a welcome adjustment.