Meet the Staff!

(This isn't what we really look like.)

Starting with the Spring 2014 season, the reviewing duties around here will be split between three authors, who will watch, review, and rate three to four shows each. They’ll continue to deliver the concise, insightful anime reviews RABUJOI is known for. They will not always succeed.

We felt the change from Winter to Spring was the ideal time for the staff to step out from behind the monolithic rabujoistaff moniker, and take their places behind new, distinct identities. Where there once was one voice, soon there will be three. Please be nice to them…or don’t; they can take it!

Braverade

Handle: Braverade | Real Name: Hannah Brave | Gender: Female | Birthday: 3 July | Blood Type: O- | Favorite Food: Steak Tartare | Favorite Anime: Evangelion, Macross Frontier, Kill la Kill, Eureka Seven, Book of Bantorra

Greetings. Hannah here, and I like watching things explode, or at the very least moving very fast. To that end, I’ll be focusing on action, adventure, space, and sci-fi genres. This spring, I’ll be watching Akuma no RiddleBlack Bullet (here’s hoping they’re any good), and the second cour of Nobunaga the FoolYoroshiku onegaitashimasu.

sesameacrylic

Handle: sesameacrylic (no caps) | Real Name: Zane Kalish | Gender: Male | Birthday: 12 May | Blood Type: AB+ | Favorite Food: Ceviche | Favorite Anime: Toradora!, Haruhi Suzumiya, Kare Kano, Zetsubou-Sensei, Nazo no Kanojo X, Sket Dance

My focus will be on comedy, romance, school, and slice-of-life; less explosions and punching, more jokes and hand-holding. Where those overlap with genres of Hannah or Preston, we’ll play Jan-ken-pon, but come Spring I’ll be checking out Mekaku City Actors, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, and the final seven eps of Nisekoi‘s odd 20-episode run. I wanted the school series Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, but Preston claimed it because it’s a magic school… :P

magicalchurlsukui

Handle: MagicalChurlSukui | Real Name: Preston Yamazuka | Gender: Female | Birthday: 22 Jan | Blood Type: B+ | Favorite Food: Tamagoyaki | Favorite Anime: Mawaru Penguindrum, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, AnoHana, Serial Experiments Lain, From the New World, Shiki

If Hannah is Strength and Zane is Stamina (you need it, getting through some of those will-they-won’t-theys), then I’m Magic. I’ll be delving into the realms of fantasy, magic, mystery, and the supernatural. My Spring watchlist will consist of Gokukoku no Brynhildr, Hitsugi no Chaika, and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, in addition to the second cour of Nagi no AsukaraDouzo yoroshiku!

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

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.

RABUJOI’s Top 15 Female Seiyus of 2012

Japan’s anime industry produces more than 60% of the animated series in the world, so with all those series being produced, you’re bound to hear the same seiyu in multiple places. It could be said that a good seiyu is one you don’t notice – that is, you’re focused on the character and not the person voicing him or her. But it’s inevitable that you’ll hear someone enough that you’ll recognize them instantly upon watching a new series.

It’s really no different than live-action actors. You know who they are, but there’s a contract in place between performer and viewer that puts aside the reality for the duration of the performance. We’ve been watching anime for many years, and in that time, we’ve taken a liking to a number of seiyus’ voices, and in some cases have given series a try purely because they voice a character. For whatever reason, we’ve also always paid far more attention to the female voices than the male ones.

Hundreds of seiyus contributed to the 48 series we watched last year. The time for end-of-year lists has passed, but we thought we’d go ahead and list our 15 favorites from 2012 anyway. Note that the list only includes female seiyus who voiced at least one main/leading role in a series RABUJOI reviewed in 2012 (including dropped series). We love Chiwa Saito and Hirano Aya, for instance, but we only heard them in bit roles last year. Main characters are in bold. Our favorite characters are starred*.


15. Omigawa Chiaki

Eureka Seven AO (Elena Peoples*/Miller Joe)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Magnolia)
Moretsu Pirates (Endou Mami, Flora Chapie)

We first heard Omigawa as Maka in Soul Eater, and like that manic series, her voice is…an acquired taste. It’s a bit on the shrill side, even when she isn’t worked up, but she did a really good job toning it down with Minko in Hanasaku Iroha. She merged Maka’s energy and Minko’s angst in her turn as Elena Peoples, who can be upbeat and dorky one minute and seriously scary the next. She was a nice fit for Elena.


14. Yuka Iguchi

Girls und Panzer (Reizei Mako)
Nisemonogatari (Araragi Tsukihi*)
KoiChoco (Ougibashi Kana)
Medaka Box (Mochibaru Sasae)
Sankarea (Furuya Mero)
Sket Dance (Usami Hani)

We know Yuka well from the Index franchise, and all the roles she played in 2012 are the same kind of small, cute moe characters at which she excels. While her performances as Mako and Mero were intentionally low-energy affairs, Tsukihi was a more balanced, nuanced role, requiring her to verbally spar with the great Kamiya Hiroshi.


13. Taketatsu Ayana

Sword Art Online (Kirigaya Suguha*)
Guilty Crown (Tsugumi)
Hyouka (Kimura)
Sket Dance (Obaanyan)

Prior to this year we knew Taketatsu primarily as Kirino in Oreimo, in which her role as a tsundere imouto was eventually overshadowed in our books by Kuroneko (more on her further down). With her role in SAO, we’re now comfortable labeling her the “little sister seiyu”, though that may not be entirely fair. It’s not a mark against her; her voice, capable of harsh anger, biting drama, indecision and cutesiness, is well-suited for sibling roles.


12. Kotobuki Minako

Natsuiro Kiseki (Aizawa Natsumi*)
Guilty Crown (Kusama Kanon)
Hyouka (Henmi)
Medaka Box (Nabeshima Nekomi)
Sket Dance (Akina)
Sukitte Ii na yo (Kitagawa Megumi)
Tari Tari (Mizuno Youko)

Kotobuki’s is an interesting voice capable of evoking an air of defiant earnestness and determination with underlying notes of vulnerability, which matches perfectly with Natsumi, who is strong and athletic but also emotionally uncertain. Ditto Megu-tan, who for all her glamour and popularity, is a self-loathing misanthrope nevertheless desperate to be wanted and needed.


11. Takagaki Ayahi

Natsuiro Kiseki (Mizukoshi Saki*)
Tari Tari (Sakai Wakana)
Chihayafuru (Young Mashima Taichi)
Sket Dance (Nanba Kyouko)
Sword Art Online (Shinozaki Rika/Lisbeth)

It’s fitting that Saki and Natsumi are best friends who start the series with a falling-out, because Takagaki, like Kotobuki, has hints of fragile definance in her voice. We first heard Takagaki in Umi Monogatari as the very hard, cold, skeptical Kanon who eventually softened in her dealings with Marin. Saki, Wakana, and Rika are all characters that are perfectly pleasant on the surface, but whom you don’t really want to piss off.


10. Uchida Maaya

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Takanashi Rikka*)
Sankarea (Sanka Rea)
K (Hyuuga Chiho)
Kokoro Connect (Mihashi Chinatsu)
Moretsu Pirates (Yunomoto Izumi)

Uchida impressed us with both of her main roles, which both happened to be emotionally wounded individuals living outside conventional society; one by choice (Rikka), one against her will (Rea). Uchida channels the pure, innocent Rea’s deep pain from a lifetime of abuse an humiliation by her overbearing, borderline father. Rikka wasn’t the victim of abuse, but she was deceived by her parents, and she found solace in Eighth-Grade Syndrome.


9. Kayano Ai

Aquarion Evol (Suzushiro Mikono)
Guilty Crown (Yuzuriha Inori, Ouma Mana)
Hyouka (Ibara Mayaka)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Millia)
Medaka Box (Kikaijima Mogana)
Rinne no Lagrange (Muginami)
Sukitte Ii na yo. (Tachibana Mei*)
Chihayafuru (Ooe Kanade)
KoiChoco (Shigemori Mao)
Moretsu Pirates (Hoshimiya Ai)
Natsuiro Kiseki (Okiyama Chiharu)
Sket Dance (Saotome Roman)
Tari Tari (Matsumoto Fumiko, Kurata Tomoka)

Kayano was the busiest of our Top 15 this year, providing talent for more than a quarter of the series we watched, plus a few we didn’t, including seven main roles. The majority of them are right in her wheelhouse: her delicate, gentle, willowy voice is ideal for characters who – at least initially – lack confidence and a sense of self worth.

You can say that about Mikono, Mayaka, Millia, Mei, Kanade, and Ai. That’s not to say she’s one note, only that she has a speciality and is good at it. Inori is a more opaque, ethereal character, while with Saotome Roman she just has fun poking at shojo tropes. But our favorite character she voiced would have to be Tachibana Mei.


8. Tomatsu Haruka

Natsuiro Kiseki (Hanaki Yuka)
Sword Art Online (Yuuki Asuna*)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (Mizutani Shizuku)
Accel World (Wakamiya Megumi)
Binbougami ga! (Rindou Ranmaru)
Kokoro Connect (Nishino Nana)
Moretsu Pirates (Gruier Serenity)
Sket Dance (Kanou Arisa)

With Tomatsu, versatility is the name of the game. You can’t get much different than the peppy ball of energy that is Hanaki Yuka and Mizutani “Dry Ice” Shizuku, yet she nailed both. In between those extremes was Asuna, one of the best heroines of the year despite turning into a simple damsel-in-distress in the second half of SAO. She voiced the super-girly Princess Serenity and the super-manly Rindou Ranmaru – another pair of opposites.


7. Shizuka Itou

Amagami SS+ (Morishima Haruka)
Jormungand (Koko Hekmatyar*)
Kokoro Connect (Fujishima Maiko)
Moretsu Pirates (Misa Grandwood, Talvikki Launo)

Our first encounter with Shizuka is as Tachibana’s first conquest in the anime adaptation of the Amagami SS dating sim, in which her clear, crisp, almost aristocratic voice goes well with the character’s beauty and popularity. But there’s also a maturity to her voice, best exhibited with Misa, who is the ship’s doctor and voice of reason, and also a mentor of sorts for Marika.

She commands the respect of the crew despite her odd outfit. And then there’s Koko, the young arms dealer who seeks to force cumpulsory world peace. There’s breeding, money, and a certain arrogance in her voice, but also a keen intellect and copious confidence.


6. Yoshitani Ayako

Nazo no Kanojo X (Urabe Mikoto*)

The saliva-obsessed mysterious girlfriend was 20-year-old Yoshitani’s first and to date only role, and we’re going to pilfer the sentiments from a commenter on MAL: we fell in love the second we heard her voice. It’s not your usual anime girl voice; it’s very natural, warm, sensual, and subtle. This one role was more than enough to earn her a spot on this list, and we can’t wait to hear her in something else, though it will be hard to top her performance as Urabe.


5. Chinatsu Akasaki

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Nibutani Shinka*)
Kill Me Baby (Oribe Yasuna)
Kokoro Connect (Nakayama Mariko)
Moretsu Pirates (Harada Maki)
Tari Tari (Hirohata Nanae)

We didn’t notice Chinatsu until we watched Kill Me Baby, in which she portrays Yasuna, the comic half of the double act comprised of her and Sonya, the high school student who assassinates in her free time. As the funnier, sillier, and more unorthodox partner, Chinatsu exhibits a unique blend of manic energy, restlessness, and melodrama, when appropriate.

With Shinka she’s given a more dimensional character, one with a dorky past she’s not proud of that still leaks out. She’s a reformed weirdo, like Yuuta in a club otherwise full of raging weirdos.


4. Kitamura Eri

Nisemonogatari (Araragi Karen*)
One Off (Maezono Rie)
Black Rock Shooter (Izuriha Kagari)
Girls und Panzer (Darjeeling, Tsuchiya)
Kyousogiga (Yase Douji)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Tatiana Wisla)
Sket Dance (Quecchon)

It was a relatively quiet year for Kitamura, who at least in our viewing experiences specializes in portraying haughty/smug/arrogant characters like Toradora’s Kawashima Ami, though she can also do kiddie stuff like Rie. Her Tatiana in Ginyoku no Fam is a smaller, more role and is more polished, lacking the sizable chip on her shoulder in the first series.

Most of what we heard of her this year was in Nisemonogatari as the older of Koyomi’s little sisters; the one who almost lets things go a bit too far between them during a very intimate toothbrushing session.


3. Toyosaki Aki

Accel World (Kurashima Chiyuri)
Kokoro Connect (Nagase Iori*)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Fam Fan Fan)
Medaka Box (Kurokami Medaka)
Natsuiro Kiseki (Tamaki Rinko)
Hyouka (Zenna Rie)

Like Iguchi Rika, our first exposure to Toyosaki was in Railgun, in which she portrayed the delicate but diligent, flower-crowned Uiharu. While she was pleasant enough, she was pretty much outshone by the more prominent Misaka and Shirai. In Last Exile she has top billing and a whole big steampunk world to explore as the valiant, fearless, adorable sky pirate Fam. It’s the role she was born to play, and while she gets a little preachy and idealistic towards the end, that’s the writers’ fault, not Toyosaki’s.

We were most impressed by her powerful performance as Nagase Iori, still fresh in our minds as the last four episodes were mostly about her totally losing her shit. Her descent into darkness and eventual redemption comprise some of the best character work of the year in our books, and showed that Toyosaki has the chops to do heavier stuff when called upon.


2. Sawashiro Miyuki

Black Rock Shooter (Takanashi Yomi/Dead Master)
Kokoro Connect (Inaba Himeko*)
Zetsuen no Tempest (Kusaribe Hakaze)
Btooom! (Kira Kousuke)
K (Awashima Seri)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Liliana)
Natsuiro Kiseki (Aizawa Suzuka)
Nisemonogatari (Kanbaru Suruga)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (Yoshida Yuuzan)

Every time we hear Sawashiro’s unmistakable voice, our ears perk up; we can’t help it. We’re not exactly sure why we like it so much; it’s a difficult thing to put into words. Is there an untranslatable Japanese term for “vulnerable strength?” Or “warm force?” Granted these aren’t traits unique to Sawashiro (many other seiyus on this list possess it), but there’s just something about her. Even if it defies easy description, Sawashiro’s golden pipes are always welcome. We could watch a Kokoro Connect spinoff focusing on Inaba Himeko all day.


1. Hanazawa Kana

Aquarion Evol (Zessica Wong)
Binbougami ga! (Sakura Ichiko)
Black Rock Shooter (Kuroi Mato)
Moretsu Pirates (Kurihara Chiaki)
From the New World (Akizuki Maria)
Zetsuan no Tempest (Fuwa Aika*)
Guilty Crown (Shinomiya Ayase)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Alvis E. Hamilton)
Nisemonogatari (Sengoku Nadeko)
Sket Dance (Agata Saaya)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (Ooshima Chizuru)

Really? We need to say why? She’s Hanazawa Kana. She’s the shit, THE END. She wields the voice of an angel sent from heaven (Ooshima, Sengoku), a demon from hell (Sakura), and everything in between: tsunderes, pirates, bitches, little sisters, shy introverts, loud exhibitionists, conflicted souls. She makes subpar characters better just by voicing them and makes good characters great.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Whether you see (or saw) the first sunset from the horizon, or from the top of a nearby building, or sleep right through it, doesn’t matter; it’s still pretty. The people who misrepresented the Mayans were wrong, dattebayo! Anyway, here’s hoping 2013 is an even better year for anime than 2012 was.

Top 10 Car Cameos of 2012

In no particular order, here are some of the more interesting car cameos we’ve spotted in all the anime we’ve watched this year. We’re unsure as to the real car content of Winter 2012 series, and to be perfectly honest, we haven’t been Johnny-on-the-spot as we’d like with every cameo in every episode, but we’re only human-youkai hybrids. But this post isn’t about regrets, it’s about the celebration of horseless automotivation!

The Principal’s Ferrari F40Girls und Panzer – 02
Later in the series, we learn that Ooarai is in financial trouble and will be shut down due to a lack of accomplishments. Apparently that pain isn’t being felt by the principal, who is wealthy enough to afford one of only 1,315 F40 supercars ever built. In an act of prescient karmic retribution, it is flipped then crushed by Chouno Ami’s surprise tank-drop.

Shrade’s Ferrari CaliforniaAquarion Evol – 07
Shrade is by all accounts a very privileged, cultured young man who comes from money. As such, he drives a red Ferrari despite still being in high school, and tailgates fellow travelers of the road, to boot. “Out of my way, PEASANTS!”

Evangeline Yamamoto’s VW New Beetle Zetsuen no Tempest – 03
Evangeline is friendly, cute, and curvy on the surface, but all business underneath. So too is her tomato-red Volkswagen New Beetle (let’s make it a Turbo, because why not?), which is really just a Golf in retro clothes.

Malloy’s Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v Evoluzione II  – Aquarion Evol – 15
Like we said when we saw it, it’s probably no coincidence that this same, very specific model of car has shown up both here and in another one of Shoji Kawamori’s works, Macross Frontier. No matter where it shows up, it’s one of our all-time favorite cars.

Ao’s Flying Piaggio ApeEureka Seven AO – 01
Okay, it’s not exactly an Ape (Italian for Bee), but it’s pretty clearly inspired by it. Not quite a car, not quite a motorbike, but damned practical all the same. Making one that can fly is the next logical step.

Sakura Ichiko’s Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow – Binbougami-ga! – 01
It’s only seen in for a moment as Ichiko is dropped off at school, but it’s the perfect car for her: something not to drive, but to be driven in, and ruinously expensive.

Mayor Bacchus’ Toyota CenturyMirai Nikki – 19
Bacchus travels in style in perhaps the quirkiest executive car money can buy: a brand-new car that looks thirty years old. It’s still hella cool.

Mr. Tatsuji’s Volvo 240 WagonAnother – 12
Aside from the fact that old boxy Volvo wagons are the mainstay of educators (and cool moms), there’s a certain morbid irony in a Tatsuji driving a car that’s the paragon of safety in a series where no almost no one is safe from a grisly death.

Koko’s Armored Volvo S80Jormungand
We can’t remember if she called it by name (she gave up on “V” trying to name a new car she bought for Ugo, which was incidentally a VW), but one thing’s for sure: while other arms dealers roll in Mercs and BMWs, Koko prefers Swedish Volvo S80s, and while she had to grudgingly abandon one in South Africa, it wasn’t long before she procured another.

Unyuu Rintarou’s Car Collection – Sket Dance – 74
Student Council Treasurer Unyuu Mimori’s family has more money than many developed nations. Among her father’s many possessions is a formidable collection of model cars, along with a collection of the real things. It’s an eclectic, even eccentric mix…but that’s par for the course when you own an underground city. Also, it’s apparent the cars in this episode were hand-drawn, with no shortcut CGI; a nice touch.

BONUS: All of the Background Traffic in K – 01 
It may take teams of video editors years to discover every car cameo in the shiny first episode of K, but it’s not just the volume of vehicles, it’s the quality of the models. They’re shiny, detailed, not all the same color, and add a lot of richness to the background. Sure, they’re mostly CGI models that may have been modeled by a third party and inserted in the animation, but when they’re this pretty, who cares?

RABUJOI’s Top 15 Anime of 2012

We watched 48 series this year, including six carryovers from 2011. We dropped eight of them and became better at not sticking with shows we didn’t like.

In August, we changed our rating scale from 1-4 to 1-10, meaning more colors and more nuance in our ratings. We started documenting car cameos, kept track of common tropes, and even drew a few org charts. We dabbled with summaries-as-cocktail recipes. We started a successful Tumblr and a not-so-successful Twitter account.

But all that aside, this site has been and always will be about the reviews, and what we thought of those 48 series and hundreds of episodes we watched. From that large collection, we present you the top 15 of 2012, by average rating (Current as of time of publication).

15. Rinne no Lagrange – Winter/Summer (7.708)“Competent action and space battles take a backseat to the characters and their bonds”

14. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – Fall (7.727)“We can never totally reject the extraordinary from our lives, because the fact of the matter is, when you take a moment to look at it, every aspect of life is extraordinary”

13. Kokoro Connect – Summer (7.769)“We liked all three arcs, all the characters, and cared about what happened to them. Their interactions under duress were always engrossing”

12. Natsuiro Kiseki – Spring (7.917)“4 parts high school girls yearning to stick together, muddle a few wishes on a big rock, top with club soda and a scoop of ice cream. Repeat”

11. Moretsu Pirates – Winter/Spring (7.885)“Lots of cool sci-fi procedural action tempered by hearty heaps of heart”

10. Aquarion Evol – Winter/Spring (7.923)“Mix everything, ever, for thousands of years. Doesn’t matter what. Just MIX. MEEEEEEKUUUUUUSUUUUU!”

9. Kamisama Hajimemashita – Fall (8.000)“A veritable smorgasbord of neat supernatural concepts and story twists”

8. Hyouka – Spring/Summer (8.045)“The festival arc was epic in its scope, complexity, and conclusion, never neglected the little details, and gave the whole cast something to do”

7. Another – Winter (8.077)“The horror series which gets the fundamentals right, even if it isn’t breaking any particularly new ground”

6. From the New World – Fall (8.308)“As the characters age, the danger intensifies, and the tension over their fate continues to build”

5. Sakamichi no Apollon – Spring (8.333) “1 part each rich egghead pianist, poor delinquent drummer, cute earnest girl, pretty adventurous girl, and depressed trumpeter. Combine and shake well to the stylings of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.”

4. Nazo no Kanojo X – Spring (8.385)“1 part each strange, horny girl with an unusually natural voice and normal, horny guy. Pour in mixing glass with a whimsical soundtrack, retro 80’s character design, and liberal amount of saliva. Stir well, garnish with hundreds of lemons.”

3. Zetsuen no Tempest – Fall (8.583)“Everything happens for a reason. The daily tragedies and misfortunes are all meaningful events, leading toward an ideal conclusion.”

2. Sukitte Ii na yo – Fall (8.615)“Mei and Yamato both prove inexperienced with romantic relationships (though in different ways), but at least they’re trying to overcome their stumbling – and mostly succeed”

1. Natsuyuki Rendezvous – Summer (8.636)“A short, sweet, mature, and absolutely moving romantic drama”

RABUJOI’s 15 Favorite Episodes of 2012

We’re doing something we’ve previously done with Sket Dance (and one Skepisode almost made it on this list): identifying the episodes that we enjoyed the most, regardless of rating. That being said, all of these episodes are highly rated.

So out of 550+ episodes watched in 2012, here are 15 of our favorites. There are many others we liked quite a bit, but we wanted to limit this list to a nice clean 15, listed alphabetically. We could re-watch any one of these episodes many many times.

Another – 08 – 27 Feb
Theory about being safe outside Yomiyama? Disproved. The importance of Matsunaga remembering more about the past? Crucial.

Aquarion Evol – 15 – 10 Apr
This episode had a cinematic depth and breadth that drew us in…and on more than one occasion had us laughing and yelling out loud at the sheer…kick-assery of it all.

Eureka Seven AO – 19 – 8 Sep
We had a feeling the company had a tough road to follow, but we didn’t expect its absolute obliteration.

Eureka Seven AO – 22 – 28 Sep
We’re not going to mince words like we always do, and just curse instead: that was a fucking awesome episode.

From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 09 – 24 Nov
[Saki] cares about [Shun] so much she’s willing to risk everything – her freedom, her life, her parents’ peace-of-mind – to find him. Which is badass.

Hyouka – 17 – 12 Aug
To put it perhaps too simply, there are passionate failures and casual geniuses in Hyouka.

Kokoro Connect – 05 – 4 Aug
One of the trademarks of a great anime is…breathing life and vitality into the characters.

Moretsu Pirates – 12 – 24 Mar
…the characters didn’t shrink to insignificance in the face of such mindblowing vastness.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 02 – 8 Jul
Now we know why the characters were so bland last week: because they never made it past this week.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – 11 – 13 Sep
…we wanted nothing less than a good old-fashioned happy ending, and by gum, we got one.

Nazo no Kanojo X – 01 – 11 Apr
The quirky but warm Mikoto is so lovably weird, you have to root for Akira to try to win her, and he does…

Sakamichi no Apollon – 07 – 24 May
Just as jazz was the catalyst for Kaoru and Sentaro’s friendship, it’s also the salve that mends it when it’s asunder.

Sankarea – 03 – 20 Apr
She’s a brave, strong young woman. Only…by episode’s end, she’s no longer a living woman.

Sword Art Online – 10 – 8 Sep
…Kirito gives Asuna a kiss when she most needs it, and when his intentions couldn’t be conveyed any more powerfully.

Zetsuen no Tempest – 09 – 29 Nov
This episode may just be three guys yelling at each other while holding weapons while a half-naked girl lies on a distant beach but good God was it powerful.

Tumbujoi…or Rabujoilr?

RABUJOI is pleased to offer a new way to reach us: our very own tumblr.

It’s a minimalist affair: a grid composed of episode grabs and quotes that caught our eye or ear, with clickthroughs to our reviews and ratings, located here. It’s not much to look at yet, but feel free to stop by anytime.

As to what to call it, well, we took the easy route and just called it…RABUJOI.

RABUJOI Joins MyAnimeList

RABUJOI has finally entered the 21st Century and will no longer be relying solely on its proprietary html code to keep it’s watchlist straight. Instead, we’ll update our anime-watchin’ info on MyAnimeList, like everyone else. Click here or on the MAL logo above to see our profile. Click here for the list itself. What a time to be alive!

Here’s the tricky part: ratings. MAL ranks range from 1 to 10; ours from 1 to 4. We won’t be changing our rating system here, so here are some quick RABUJOI-to-MAL conversions: 1 = 1; 1.5 = 2-3; 2 = 4; 2.5 = 5; 3 = 5-6; 3.5 = 7-8; 4 = 9-10. Simple! We’re proud to be joining the MyAnimeList community and look forward to easier anime data management.

– RABUJOI STAFF 

RABUJOI’s Top 15 Anime of 2011

Because RABUJOI started up at the start of the Fall 2010 season, we only compiled complete reviews and ratings for 15 2010 shows (two more were dropped). We watched series throughout 2010, but did not yet have RABUJOI up and running in earnest until Fall, so we had to approximate ratings for our Top 15. However, RABUJOI has been in operation for the entirety of 2011. We watched and assigned reviews to a total of 31 series, and dropped ten more. So without further stat-ado, here are our Top 15 of 2011, by their average episode rating:


15. Dantalian no Shoka (3.542) – Gorgeous Victorian aesthetic, with magical mysteries and plenty of Gainax weirdness.


14. Kamisama Dolls
 (3.615) – For most of its run, the hero sits back and lets his little sister be the hero…and that’s okay!


13. Kamisama no Memo-cho (3.625)
– J.C. Staff serves up a deeper, slightly darker alternative to Railgun and Index.


12. Usagi Drop (3.636) – Extremely realistic depiction of the trials of taking care of a little kid, without coming off as annoying.


11. Blood-C (3.667) – Like Shiki, it’s gorey, chilling, addictive, and not what you initially thought.


10. Hanasaku Iroha (3.692) – Excellent slice of life, fantastic ensemble cast, charming setting, and a healthy dollop of romance.


9. Deadman Wonderland
 (3.708) – A hellish scenario in which pretty much everything bad that can happen to a kid…does.


8. Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (3.727) – GONZO returns with a gorgeous sequel that does the original – one of our favorites – justice.


7. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (3.750) – Don’t let the cutesy-looking characters fool you – Shinbo crafts a dark, broody, time-bending Magical Girl tale we can get behind.


6. Ben-To (3.833) – A supermarket fight club where the prize is half-priced food? Yes, please. Especially when the battles are as lyrical as they are zany.


5. Guilty Crown (3.864) – Copious eye candy and tremendous action setpieces more than make up for ho-hum characters and scenarios.


4. Chihayafuru (3.875) – Who thought an obscure game could engender such strong appeal. Some of the best characterization of the year certainly helped.


3. (Tie) [C] (3.909) – When your future is your currency, caution is warranted. Consistently impressive and imaginative.


3. (Tie) Un-Go (3.909) – A classic mystery literature-sourced success story.


2. AnoHana (3.955) – Genuinely moving teen drama about old friends reconnecting, with some help from a ghost.


1. Mawaru Penguindrum (4.000) – The only series to earn a perfect rating for its entire run – all the more impressive as it ran for 24 episodes. So far, it’s the anime of the decade.