Looking back at the Fall 2013 anime season

January 2, 2014

Since all of the fall shows that were going to finish have done so (and been subtitled, which was looking chancy at one point), it's time for the usual retrospective look back (as before) to go with my early impressions and my more or less midway views.

Clear winners:

  • Kyousougiga: The show did not let us down. It ended excellently, with many great moments and developments along the way, and it never lost its sense of whimsy and spectacle. It earns significant bonus points from me for making what was previously an inscrutable background detail into an important plot point. Following my usual rule of thumb, younger Myoe is the major protagonist because he gets the most character development (although it should be noted that younger Koto gets her share too).

  • KILL la KILL: It remains BURNING ANIME and populated with a whole collection of excellent characters. The Four Devas only improve as we get to know them and Mako continues to steal the show with her awesomeness. I am very much looking forward to more.

Plain good fun:

  • Yozakura Quartet - Hana no Uta: My final view is that this was solid but not deep. On a technical level it has the best fights of the season (although KILL la KILL's were more fun and gripping). One drawback to the show is that it's not a complete work in and of itself; it is simply a slice out of an ongoing series that doesn't reach an ending so much as come to a finale and then stop.

  • Log Horizon: This has developed into a fully enjoyable blend of good characters, amusing MMO stuff, cleverly evil plotting, and interesting philosophical issues. I suspect that the eventual ending will not really satisfy me but until then the journey there is nice.


  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova: For all that the ending actually improved the show for me the whole thing was not a particularly exceptional show. It was decent and some of the battles were fun, but that was about it.

  • Kyoukai no Kanata: Episode 10 excepted this show was a disappointment. KyoAni brought its A game as far as the art went and spent some effort on the characters, but pretty clearly fumbled the writing. The end result was a disappointingly generic and unconvincing light novel adaptation with better production values than usual.

    (KyoAni also supplied a masterclass demonstration in how beautiful art and complex animation does not create good fight scenes, but that's another entry. For now see the sidebar on my midway views.)

Carried over from the summer:

  • Monogatari Series Second Season: I wish I could appreciate the depth to this that other people see but at this point I can't see past a bunch of characters standing there spending a lot of time talking at each other and not saying very much while not much happens. I liked scattered moments of this season and many of the climaxes but not much of the stuff in the middle. I also think that Shaft's visual design has long since passed the point where it detracts from the experience instead of enhancing it.

In the worth mentioning category there is Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which I finished midway through the season. Although I have qualified views of it I still think it was great.


  • Valvrave: Let me summarize my view of the second season with a tweet:
    I like the first season OP song for Valvrave more than the second season.

    I'm serious about that. First season Valvrave was at its best when it was throwing one crazy thing after another at us, topping itself each time around. The second season mostly dropped that; while it had occasional moments of craziness it never really exploited them and in fact sometimes immediately killed off the characters it had just made so interesting. Oh, and I've gathered that the ending descends to carnography, which is not one of my favorite things.

My experiences with Valvrave this season are a valuable reminder that I should listen to my gut. If I am repeatedly unenthused about watching more of a show it is a big flashing sign that I should drop it right away. Doing that with Valvrave at the first sign of lacking enthusiasm would have freed up quite a number of episodes of time.

Overall I think that this has been a great season. Ignoring Space Battleship Yamato 2199 as not really being a 'this season' show, this season is going to more or less contribute two shows to my 'best N of 2013' entry.

Written on 02 January 2014.
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Last modified: Thu Jan 2 00:15:33 2014
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