For pretty much my entire life, anime has been one of those things that I’ve been constantly back and forth with. From watching Pokemon as a kid to becoming enamored with the original Hunter X Hunter series, I’ve constantly taken the opportunity to get into anime whenever something just looked cool. That is until 2013, which I still regard to be one of the greatest years anime has ever seen.
2013 was incredible to me. So many new series hit exactly what I was looking for within the medium. Kyousogiga showed off a style of presentation that was beyond anything I’d seen in any medium, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta was a spectacle that I couldn’t draw my eyes away from and Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet presented an incredible world and narrative that was simple, yet inescapably brilliant at the same time.
Despite my love of classic anime such as Mobile Suit Gundam, Cowboy Bebop and Delinquent in Drag (You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s brilliant), the world of modern anime is an evolved one and these are the exact sort of shows that a 10 year old me would have loved to see amongst the Pokemon and Digimon Adventure.
5. Non Non Biyori
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2013 - December 2013
Sometimes in life, we want to get away from the constant tedium of work, school and general life and dive into a completely different world. Whilst Non Non Biyori doesn’t present us with the alien world you may be imagining, it’s a world that many of us may still be unfamiliar with. The country. Following a group of kids in the countryside, this slice of life comedy never fails to put a wide grin on your face with moments of sheer joy throughout.
Whether it’s just going up a mountain to see the stars or jumping in a river, they’re moments that are so separate from our adult reality that it feels nostalgic, yet painfully foreign. We watch through the eyes of Hotaru, a girl who has come from the city to the small country town of Asahigaoka as she contrasts our lives with the lives of those who live the simpler life. If you’re ever at all stressed, Non Non Biyori is the cure for you.
[PV] "Non Non Biyori" animated decision! Promotional video
4. Gatchaman Crowds insight
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2015 - September 2015
Superheroes have been on a rise recently. With Marvel and DC competing when it comes to their film franchises, fans are given the opportunity to see a whole variety of different sorts of heroes on the big screen. However, when it comes to the modern hero, Gatchaman Crowds has a completely different perspective on what heroism is all about. It’s not about saving people from an evil villain, but rather saving society from itself.
It sounds vague, but Gatchaman Crowds executes it with ease and this is especially true when it comes to its sequel, Gatchaman Crowds insight. Whilst the first season dealt with the Gatchaman trying to stop Berg Katze, an alien that inspires chaos throughout society, insight takes on the opposite approach with an alien that tries to bring society together. What sounds like a brilliant idea at face value quickly turns disastrous as Gatchaman Crowds conveys these themes and messages phenomenally.
"GATCHAMAN CROWDS insight" DVD & Blu-ray PR video
- Episodes: 16
- Aired: July 2007 - November 2007
Baccano is a story about a train and the things that happen on that train. Well, maybe that’s underselling it. Baccano, along with the writer’s other work, Durarara!! takes advantage of a huge cast of characters to deliver a wider narrative. Whilst most other stories struggle with balancing this amount of characters, Baccano employs a structure dependant on capturing slices of time and seeing events from a new perspective. If a train carriage explodes (It doesn’t, this is hypothetical), then we may get 5 different viewpoints on that event throughout a single episode as we see the aftermath in every way.
This isn’t limited to current events either, as Baccano shows the audience all of the information we need to know that leads up to current events with the same kind of structural brilliance. We’ll watch a scene and have no idea what’s going on, only to continue onto the next scene happening at the same time but from a different perspective that fills in those essential gaps. It’s the perfect series to marathon as you’re always searching for that small bite of extra information to complete this mental jigsaw and I highly recommend that you go ahead do so.
2. Gundam Build Fighters
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2013 - March 2014
Do you remember Beyblade? How about Pokemon? Now what if we took those tournament battles and put mecha from the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise in them instead? Gundam Build Fighters takes the battles from the Gundam series and reinvents them into a lower stakes context, really allowing other parts of the series to shine out. With friendships and rivalries being born in the Gunpla Battle Arena, it plays out much like a sports series with many of the ideas being carried over into this (unfortunately) fictional sport.
With exciting action, motivated and interesting characters and with slower inconsequential episodes strewn throughout, it achieves a blend that other series within its vein struggle to get close to. With Se Jun Kim as chief animation director, each of the battle scenes are fast, flashy and a spectacle to watch as mecha unleash new and more elaborate weapons as the show continues. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Gundam fan or not, watching Gundam Build Fighters may be the best decision you make today.
GUNDAM BUILD FIGHTERS ガンダム ビルドファイターズ PV
1. Chronicles of the Going Home Club
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2013 - October 2013
Coming up with my favourite anime overall is an odd choice but everytime I think of it, one series just keeps popping up. It’s in my bio on Honey’s Anime, it’s in my Twitter banner and I even take the chance to mention it whenever I can on my Youtube Channel. Chronicles of the Going Home Club, one of the best comedy anime available. With even the name of the series itself being a joke, Chronicles is a non-stop barrage of jokes that never stops. Driving through every style of comedy there is, including meta-comedy, surrealism and even simple word-play, it’s an absolute joy to watch through.
Each character in Chronicles offers an extreme personality of some kind and with great dialogue, these are fully utilised in each and every skit to great success. If you’re a fan of comedy series, you have no excuses not to watch Chronicles of the Going Home Club. There’s no episodes where it stops being funny, no moments where it gets dull, it starts at 110% and somehow manages to not crash and burn as it uses its extreme characters to their full extent. And that is why it’s my number 1 anime overall.
Chronicles of the Going Home Club
This is only 5 of my favourite anime and it pained me that there was some picks I just couldn’t put on here, such as Silver Spoon, Kyousogiga and Durarara. But I’m always looking forward to adding more to my ever growing list of favourites. Despite the prejudice against regarding newer shows among your favourites, I’ve been enjoying anime recently more than ever.
So hopefully that has given you a better impression of who I am as an anime fan and the sort of stuff that I really like. I hold a certain love for the new, but always under the context and always with the appreciation of the classics that helped develop these new stories in the first place. Also, watch Chronicles of the Going Home Club. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get people to do that. Watch it already. For me. Please.