The Top Ten Series – The Best of 2013 (Movies/OVA/ONA)
Part two of my Best of Year list then – I watched 54 movies/OVAs/ONAs this year. I also included shorts in this, because there were some excellent ones this year, but I didn’t like including them on the full TV series list due to their much shorter run-time. Once again I am so glad I have taken to writing down everything I watch in a year!
10. Berserk: The Golden Age II & III
So this year we got the final two instalments of the remake of the Golden Age arc of Berserk – basically covering exactly the same ground as the original TV series. There are very few changes in these movie versions of the story, but it was still great to rewatch this material.
Berserk is still a fantastic story, and the animation upgrades did wonders for my enjoyment of the series – maybe I’ll finally pick up the manga this year?
9. Kick Heart
Masaaki Yuasa’s crowd-funded short is an absolute joy to watch. It is pure Yuasa, off the wall, silly, gloriously well animated and exceptionally well directed. Kick Heart neatly demonstrates why Yuasa is one of the very best anime directors out there – his creativity is just off the charts. Kick Heart is also pretty important just by sheer fact of how it came into existence – a Kickstarter funded project bursting with ambition and creativity. I hope we get more treats like this in the future.
8. Little Witch Academia
The stand out short from this years Anime Mirai project (formerly the Young Animators Training project) is this offering from Studio Trigger. It is a very straightforward story told well and with exceptional animation. The entire thing is just really endearing and fun to watch with it’s Hogwarts-esq setting and loveable characters.
Definitely set up Studio Trigger as a studio to keep a close eye on.
I really enjoyed Senyuu. A series of shorts taking the piss out of RPG & shounen tropes, it was exactly my kind of humour and often had me in a fit of giggling. The short run time and quick-fire style of the humour meant that it never really out stayed its welcome, and even if some of the jokes fell flat, we moved on to the next one quickly. I enjoyed the ridiculous characters a lot, and even if the animation was nothing spectacular, it was pretty creative at times. Would definitely watch a 3rd season.
6. Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu
So the Steins;Gate movie wasn’t really necessary and you don’t actually have to watch it – I still really enjoyed revisiting the characters. For me it was the characters that really made Steins;Gate special, and so I really liked this film since we got to see them all again. It really is one for the fans though as it goes over old jokes and settings, but it also gives an extra dimension to Kurisu & Okabe’s relationship, which I really liked. It doesn’t offer anything massively different or new, but it is an entertaining extended episode of Steins;Gate and I liked that.
5. The Garden of Words
Shinkai’s latest offering once again struck a cord with me. The animation is absolutely breathtaking – the sheer attention to detail with the water and rain is just amazing. But the story is also poignant, well written and beautifully directed. Garden of Words really shows how Shinkai’s unique style has continued to develop over the years – it is his favourite subject matter, but it is presented with greater maturity and skill. A gorgeous short movie, one of the highlights of the year.
4. Gintama Final Chapter – Forever Odd Jobs
Most franchise movies aren’t all that interesting and are mostly forgettable exercises to milk more cash from fans, few actually contain any of the charm that makes their TV series so popular. Not so with this Gintama movie! With an interesting storyline and all the humour of the original series, I had a stupid amount of fun watching this film. Great action, all my favourite characters and an engaging plot – what wasn’t to love!?
3. Wolf Children
Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film is just as heartwarming and enjoyable as his previous offerings – Summer Wars & The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The focus is kept on this small family and their struggles over a twelve year time period – it is just delightful to watch and creates a really lovely atmosphere throughout the film. It is a bit overlong, but that is a minor criticism – I got so many Feels form the movie and really grew to love the characters. Highly recommended viewing.
2. Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33: You Can [Not] Redo
Had to rewatch this recently because I originally watched it in eyecancer streaming quality over numerous hours in a couple of different coffee-shops in Melbourne (I was pretty determined not to get spoiled). But now that I have seen it in glorious HD I love it all the more. Sure the story has diverged wildly from the original TV series, but Shinji is still getting screwed over so it is all good. Pity Kaworu didn’t hang around a bit longer, but he was wonderful while he lasted. These Rebuild movies are a different kind of Evangelion, but they have the same feeling at the core and I for one really enjoy watching Shinji break in new and interesting ways.
1. Inferno Cop!
The best short to come out this year – no contest! Inferno Cop was glorious – even my Imouto who isn’t really an anime fan, loved this inspiring tale of one ordinary man’s ascent to god-hood. What I particularly loved was that this was Studio Trigger – the new home of the creative minds behind Gurren-Lagann and Panty & Stocking – and they decided that the best way to flex their new found creative freedom, was to produce this uber-cheap series of nonsensical, yet inspired web shorts. Inferno Cop is distilled genius – all must bask in its burning glory!
And that’s my list – honourable mentions to Yami Shibai, Nerawareta Gakuen and HAL.
So 2013 was the year of the Short – I’m enjoying this new trend, some concepts just work better in a short format. Looking forward to seeing what 2014 holds~!