Top 13 Anime Shows Ending in 2013

Well, the year is ending, and I’ve actually watched a large amount of anime shows ending this year (over 60), so here is my list of the top 13 shows which ended in 2013. The shows and their positions are factored by how much I enjoyed these shows and how good (artistically, thematically) I think the shows are. Only full shows had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).

13. Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil)

Aku no Hana / Flowers of Evil anime

This show is all about atmosphere. An oppressive atmosphere of self-inflicted fear, of being closed in, that one can’t escape. Not much actually happens in the show, but the constant fear of what is about to happen, of what is going to strike our protagonist drives both him and us as we watch the show. It’s hardly a “fun watch”, with each episode weighing you down until you seek respite elsewhere. Its masterful control of psychological horror and how well it conveys Kasuga’s life and the feeling of the town in which he lives make this show one that cannot be ignored, however.

It seems that had there been a second season a lot more would actually occur, and all that happened in this season was merely a precursor, but due to exceedingly poor sales, that is unlikely to happen. The rotoscoping is interesting, but believe it or not, the show I believe is closest to Aku no Hana is K-On! due to its absolute reliance on atmosphere over plot or character development.

12. Maouyu Maou Yuusha (Maoyu, Hero and Demon King)

Maoyu Maou Yuusha / Maoyu / Demon King and Hero anime

On the one hand, this appears to be a fantasy story, where each character is so much of archetype they don’t even have names, but are called by their roles, but this is actually a science-fiction story, about someone from an advanced culture helping a less-advanced one. This show’s premise had me from the get-go, where the hero meets the demon king who wishes to form an alliance rather than fight, and then I had my mind blown by them actually bringing up the concept that the rich wish for war to continue to remain in power and because the alternative is mass starvation.

So yeah, the show has the ideas to get me involved and actually managed to surprise me, but it also had me liking the cast, liking the easy chemistry between the two mains, and it also had the single most memorable moment in anime I’ve watched this past year – I think the show is worth it for the sake of that moment alone, but it’d have also been worthwhile without it.

Check my editorial-review of the show here.

11. Psycho-Pass

Psycho-Pass anime

I was actually less sure about this show, but it ended up making it in, because I have a hard time justifying it not being included. This show is a cyberpunk sci-fi thriller, and that alone is worthy of some mention. A serious treatment of sci-fi in anime isn’t something we get much of, and this show actually had a couple of concepts it dealt with in-depth, chief amongst them being the nature of human choice and its importance to human nature and society, while showing us a utopia/dystopia (many dystopias are presented as if they are utopias, after all) which is quite similar to the type you can see in Minority Report.

The show brings up a variety of ideas, and ties them all together in a bundle of well-directed, well-acted, thriller with a veneer of sophistication and “mature, dark” scenes. I’m not sure what it needed to be “great”, but it was very good, and that’s good enough – its position on this list is actually less sure than that of the shows appearing before it on the list.

10. Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail anime

This show ended in 2013, and I’ve watched it in its entirety in 2013, so I think it counts. I actually like shounens, and I like determinators, who always keep going forward no matter what happens. To me, Fairy Tail is the most mature and emotionally “complete” long-running shounen show, and aside from not having things drag along too much, we actually get to experience emotional moments on a regular basis that actually hit the mark for me. I actually appreciate the humor, I like the cast, and I find the action sequences to be well-made, with the show sporting one of the better OSTs, one good enough that I’ve listened to it for numerous hours on my portable player.

Yes, this is definitely a show that I enjoy a lot, and if you’ve always been fond of shows such as Bleach or Naruto, and look to see them done “better” (less dark, singular hero of Bleach, less fillers of Naruto), then you might want to give Fairy Tail a whirl. It’s been recently announced that the show will resume in April, in a new season, which will be filler-free!

Check my editorial-review of the show here.

9. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun 2nd season)

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S / A Certain Scientific Railgun 2nd season

This is the best season in the Index-verse thus far, which might not be saying much, considering it’s a “popcorn”-show – light snack that makes you feel good but isn’t with much substance, right? Well, Railgun had always been the better franchise, where the various characters all feel important, no matter how powerful they are compared to one another (reminds one of The Scooby Gang in Buffy). This season had shown us that viewing the same material but from a new perspective can be a fresh experience, while it had tied the show’s themes together.

Of course, that the show had some of the best fights and action sequences of this past year, and episodes which felt like outtakes from movies hadn’t hurt either. This show has a likeable cast, emotional moments, a message that it stays true to, and solid acting. While it may be a “popcorn show”, it can hold its head high as the best, and most enjoyable action show I’ve watched this past year.

8. The World God Only Knows 3rd Season: Goddesses (Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen)

The World God Only Knows: Goddesses / Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen anime

Watching the first two seasons of the show, I was genuinely surprised by how much fun I had, given the premise – boy has to make girls fall in love with him in order to drive evil ghosts away from them, but it was fun, and it was funny. The third season had really mixed things up, finally actions had consequences, and things weren’t reset after a successful conquest. Keima had to face the fact that his actions hurt people, and that his actions hurt him, and no matter what he’s going to do, someone will have to get hurt. It was still funny, it was still charming, but we’ve got a big bucket of drama and feels on top, enriching the show even further.

Also, this show had me participating in “Best girl” wars, which shows you how involved I’ve been, which is a good sign.

7. Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family)

Uchouten Kazoku / The Eccentric Family anime

A proper drama, of the sort that for some reason or another isn’t too common in anime. A family-drama at that, with an interesting and quirky cast. It’s a show that I suggest letting it wash over you, with the fairy-tale visuals and motifs that appear throughout the show. In the end, it’s a small show revolving around a singular event, the disappearance of the father, and how his children who take after him deal with their world. And yes, they’re shape-shifting raccoon living alongside humans and tengu who soar the skies. The world and characters feel real in the sense that they exist apart from us, and the show doesn’t go out of its way to explain everything to us; in fact, there are a couple of events mentioned throughout the show that never receive further elaboration – we’re just guests to this world.

While the show is a very good and understated drama story, and will join my recommendation list along shows such as Planetes, and I could certainly relate to the characters, something stopped me from fully immersing myself in the show, which is why it’s in 7th spot and no higher (though that’s quite high already). Should you watch it? Sure, if you’re looking for something without much action, but which is well-made, well-told, and showcases a deft directorial hand.

6. Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) 1st Season

Gin no Saji / Silver Spoon anime

I was surprised how much I liked this show, but I liked it a whole lot. A slice of life about a city-boy going to an agricultural school in rural Japan, what could be interesting, right? Well, the characters oozed charm, we had the cutest pig we’ve seen in media since 1995’s Babe. That’s only a small part of it though, like all good slice of life shows, the characters and the issues they had dealt with felt real – who am I? Who am I trying for, whose dreams am I following? This was a charming show full of real characters, facing real issues and doubts that people of all ages face as they enter adulthood or flail in the adult world. We’ve seen a varied cast of characters, each with their own lives and dreams, who as a whole explore the issue from various angles.

While the gags had me laughing, I can see not everyone appreciating them. The non-romance romance felt real, and my only two real issues with the show is that they cut some emotional moments too quickly to move to jokes, and that like it or not, it doesn’t feel like a complete story – thankfully, we have the second season starting next week or so. And yet, it’s not enough to keep this show from the lofty 6th spot.

Check my editorial-review of the show here.

5. Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. (Oreimo, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute!) 2nd season

Oreimo / Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. 2nd season

After a slightly rocky start, the show got into full-swing, and felt like the 1st season all over again. It’s really quite simple, if you liked the first season, I think you’d have liked the second season, and vice versa. This show had me emotionally invested. I smiled at the characters’ antics, at Kyousuke’s wry thoughts, about the characters’ easy manner with one another. I wanted Kuroneko to win and cheered for her, and felt both her sadness and my own when her “ship” went down in flames, and even felt somewhat disappointed in the show when it didn’t work out for her.

Every single week, when the episode ended, I was surprised that it was already over and felt like crying “Noooo! Where’s my next episode?!” which going alongside me smiling, laughing, and crying, as a testament to the show’s greatness – it made me care. If anything about this show made me sad, it’s that looking through the LNs to see where we are in comparison, I realized the show had enough material for another season, which they simply cut out. I’d have loved another season with the cast.

No real opinion about the finale, I’ve known it was coming, and it had great and bad moments, but it still was more time with the lovely cast.

4. Genshiken Nidaime

Genshiken Nidaime / Genshiken The New Generation anime

A slice of life which truly feels like a slice of life – nothing fake, nothing manufactured, but as if someone had truly curved off a piece of real people’s daily lives and had shown it to us. Also a show not afraid to deal with people who are entering the worlds of adulthood and the fears and uncertainties they face. Also, a comedy that arises from the characters’ personalities and interactions rather than merely relying on gags and references. Finally, and certainly not least, the best and most mature treatment of cross-dressing to ever appear in anime (that I’ve watched), which is fueled by the above two points – feels real, and everything feels true to the characters. I really feel like this is the show the anime-culture needed, but couldn’t appreciate.

3. Gatchaman Crowds

Gatchaman Crowds anime

I loved this show – I loved watching it for its boundless energy and vibrancy, in its pacing, in its characters’ personalities, in its colours. I loved thinking about this show, and I loved discussing this show. This is the best theme-driven show I’ve watched in a long while, and it was certainly a brave show – it knew where it wanted to go, it knew what it wanted to say, and it didn’t care about the nay-sayers, going as far as to make fun of them within the show. The main character was more of a plot-device, but considering this wasn’t a character-driven show, it was refreshing for a show to embrace its character nature rather than try to obfuscate it, and rather used the character in order to topple genre-conventions, or espouse ideas on human worth, horizontal societies, the nature of online interactions, or trusting humans to be good left, right, and center. That went along with a great villain who also embraced his role as a villain, and wasn’t only a villain, but acted as one within the conventions.

This isn’t a show about everything, but it’s certainly a show about a lot, which yet handles most issues deftly. This is a show that could be watched on so many levels, that we’re just getting started. It had more than earned the title of the third show on this list, and is likely to be one of the shows I return to fondly in future years.

Check my in-depth episodic notes on the show here.

2. Shin Sekai Yori (From the New World)

Shin Sekai Yori / Shinsekai Yori / From The New World Anime

A mature sci-fi story, spanning over 30 years, it’s really unsurprising that this show is based off of a novel. The scope of the story, and the world-building are vast. The world is the main focus of the show, and we get glimpses of it, of the past, and of the generational war for survival that the humans engage in. It’s a post-apocalyptic tale, many years after the fact, and the small touches of horror do a lot to add to the atmosphere of the show. The show deals quite heavily with the nature of humanity, of concepts of utilitarianism and necessity, of sacrificing – races, children, emotions, or even feelings, for the sake of mere survival. Finally, if you let it, this show makes you think, which is the goal of science-fiction, and as such, it stands as a triumph.

This show has issues, don’t get me wrong, especially about how the lack of focus on the characters and their characterization always keep us at arm’s length from them, and it’s not a show you can truly relate to on an emotional level (though it had one of the most nuanced antagonists in an anime), for the most part, but the fact a show such as this even exists is a testament to what anime can do, and to what anime is sometimes even brave enough to carry out. I think in years to come, this might be one of the most oft-recommended or oft-mentioned shows for me, and it is probably in that regard the most important show to end in 2013, but the show that earned the first spot was just more relatable, more enjoyable.

Check my editorial-review of the show here.

1. Kyousogiga (Capital Craze)

Kyousogiga / Kyousougiga / Capital Craze anime

Kyousougiga is something special, it is an experience. Kyousogiga weaves family drama, mythological overtones and undertones, and a stunningly powerful show structure together. We have worlds colliding, we have immortals, the creation of the world, the death of the universe, we tie in Greek Mythology, and we do all these things on a scale that isn’t merely epic, but mythic. And yet, for all the grandness of the show, for all of its boundless energy, and bright colours, and world-bending hijinks (for all of whom Koto is the avatar of change), this is at its core a small, and very personal story, of one family, of a few siblings, who are left behind and are aching for their parents’ return, and how the centuries of waiting transform them.

The characters are all just so human, with sibling rivalry, parent envy, resentment. It’s amazing how this show ties its format to its messages and themes. Family is a cycle you can never break out of, meeting your parents as an adult is something that always brings you back to your childhood, and often leads to disappointments where it doesn’t. The way the story and direction handled revealing the present by showing us the past, or made us understand the past by showing us the present was nothing short of spectacular. I could understand and appreciate the characters, and the themes, and the conflicts. The scale was at the same time all-encompassing and not just personal, but private, as if something precious had been shared with me.

Uchouten Kazoku with all of its antics is the more well-grounded, understated sibling of Kyousogiga, but this one just blew me away.

Feel free to check my episodic thoughts on the show here.

Kyousougiga / Kyousogiga / Capital Craze anime

Closing notes:

Why shows ending in 2013? Because this is when I made the list, and on one hand shows that are still running might yet falter or pick up, and if we do this yearly as the year ends then shows straddling two years will never get a chance to get mentioned.

Notable absentees: These are shows which might have made the list, but I hadn’t watched them and thus hadn’t listed them: Yamato 2199, Monogatari 2nd season (I am waiting for the BDs), White Album 2 (7 episodes in), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (5 episodes in), and Zetsuen no Tempest. I only have so much time :<

Anything you find egregiously missing, or disagree with? Looking at the list, there’re probably shows for everyone to like, and for everyone to dislike strongly here, I guess.

P.S. I find it unsurprising I found the top 4 shows this year to have been “brave” in some way, but also what drives them. Genshiken Nidaime is character/situation-driven, Gatchaman Crowds is theme-driven, Shin Sekai Yori is setting-driven, and Kyousougiga is character-driven. None of them are what I’d call “plot-driven”.

12 comments on “Top 13 Anime Shows Ending in 2013

  1. Lance says:

    no monogatari second season? SAD

    • Guy says:

      I actually made a comment on it ;-) That’s the downside of lists, people look at what you listed over what you said :)

      Monogatari is one of the most improved shows between airing and BD release, and I’ve watched the rest of it on BD, so I’m going to wait for the BD release of the whole series before watching it.

  2. k robert m says:

    In the end, I preferred Gatchaman Crowds to Kyousougiga because of Hajime and Katze. The gods in Giga behaved like people. These two in Crowds behaved like gods. And that ending. So great. Hajime does what she wants.

    • Guy says:

      It’s very interesting. Kyousougiga is a family story, and in the end all the deities are people in it too, which also goes along with what the narrator says before each episode, “In a time when the line between men and deities hadn’t been as clearly defined.”

      Berg-Katze and Hajime are both “plot devices”, which is actually going to be the topic of one of my write-ups for the show. It’s most interesting because the show actually deals with “gods”, and it says gods do nothing, so on that front, Hajime and Berg-Katze are very much not gods, but on the other hand, much of what they “do” actually revolves around driving others to action, just like JJ ;-)

  3. Rc says:

    I already commented on this topic on another blog before, but I’ll do it again.

    Kyousougiga it was indeed a great show, BUT the beginning its a simple a rehash of the OVA part and it’s MUCH superior than the ‘original’ content produced later, so I don’t think it’s fair to put it on a list of the best of the year since it was already screened in another year.

    About the other shows, I personally couldn’t do a list with thirteen shows definitely worth watching because I don’t think there were so many good shows this year, checking my score I ranked only nine shows above eight from the fifty eight I watched through this year (aired 2013) and two of them are movies, so it’s kinda hard.

    Anyway, good job on your list though I disagree with 90% of it, but as they say, everyone has their own taste.

    • Guy says:

      About Kyousougiga, I’m going to have to disagree with you on all accounts. First, the placement of the show.

      1) The place the story had been taken was quite different, and I’m rating the story as a whole here.
      2) I don’t really care if part of the material is a rehash. That’s equivalent to saying FMA:Brotherhood can never be in a list because part of it is a rehash. I literally couldn’t care less, and think that’s an arbitrary step designed to show why the show “isn’t deserving” – it aired, all 10 episodes, this year? Yes? Then it’s in.
      3) Fairy Tail had ran over multiple years, yet ended this year, and was rated as such, same for Kyousougiga.

      Now, I don’t think I agree with you on which parts are “best”. To me the best part of the show is episodes 5-7, which truly carry the thematic and drama heart to the end. Now, episodes 0-2 had wowed me, I was speechless, I was floored, by the manic energy and sense of direction. Sure, they had been much more impressive than what came after. But what had come after was what everything else had built up to, and to me, the “better” content.

      Two shows on this list scored under 8, Aku no Hana and Psycho-Pass, but that’s the thing, this list is a combination of enjoyment and “merit”. Some of these shows merit being acknowledged as exemplars, as standing out, even if they had some serious flaws, or that I didn’t fully “enjoy” them. Which brings me to my last comment:

      Anyway, good job on your list though I disagree with 90% of it, but as they say, everyone has their own taste.

      I know you’re not outright saying it, but this is something I feel directed at the list, which bugs me a bit. First, of course I outright admit this list is very much about my taste, but, this results in people dismissing it “Oh, he enjoyed this list, it’s not actually good, but nothing to be said there.” which is overly dismissive and misses the point.

      Every single show on the list is very good at what it does. Every single entry on this list had earned its place here, and not via me enjoying it alone. These shows can stand tall as some of the best shows to end this year, shows which set themselves goals and met them.

      Though yes, in the end we all have our tastes, and they also judge not just which goals we found to be met well, but whether we care for said goal at all – Evangelion 3.33 is an exemplar of succeeding at a goal, which I didn’t care for, and in fact found meeting that goal detrimental to my enjoyment.

  4. Artemis says:

    I don’t think I can either strongly agree or disagree with this list as a whole, since as it turns out I’ve only seen 5 of these 13 anime. That said, of those 5 I have seen – Aku no Hana, Psycho-Pass, Gin no Saji, Shin Sekai Yori, and Kyousogiga – I can think of no reason why any of them shouldn’t have made it onto the list. (Though just as a side-note, I have mixed feelings about Kyousogiga. I both respected and enjoyed the series, yet I find myself oddly conflicted in some way that I can’t really define just at this moment. Maybe I’ll wait on that and comment in a slightly more coherent way later on.)

    • Guy says:

      Kyousogiga, though I think it has some issues, is still a “perfect show”, I’ll touch upon it in my piece for it, which will hopefully come out this week, which might help you pinpoint the problem? I think a lot of it is just how different it is, tonally, in various places, and how it goes from being obtuse to literally spelling out things.

      And yet, I just think it’s too darn impressive :3

      Also, you watched two of my top three, you should watch Gatchaman Crowds and make it 3/3! :) I think we’ve discussed it, and you paused after the first episode, right? I too didn’t care for it back then, and only after the 2nd episode I was hooked, and at the third episode you get to see the thematic depth of it, and that it truly is a theme-driven show.

      • Artemis says:

        Nope, I don’t think I’ve watched anything at all of Gatchaman Crowds just yet. No doubt I’ll get around to it eventually, but for now there are plenty of other titles vying for my attention.

  5. Jura says:

    So From the New World isn’t loli-moe-harem-smutty piss?

    • Guy says:

      Erm, no, it’s a mature science-fiction story. I originally didn’t pick it up because the synopsis and synopsis of episodes read as if nothing happened.

      It’s quite good, and I heartily recommend it.

  6. […] only that, but I consider it to be excellent, enough that I’ve given it the title of “Best Anime of 2013“. Kyousougiga is a family drama, at its heart, but it does very interesting things with the […]

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