Best Anime Series of 2013 – Meta-ranking from around the WebPosted: January 20, 2014
After some data collection, here is my top 10 list for the best anime series in 2013. Similar to the previous list, I have excluded series that have not finished in 2013 (hence the likes of Kill la Kill and Log Horizon are not in the list). See Appendix for the sources I use and the methodology to give rise to this list.
10. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S (A Certain Scientific Railgun S / とある科学の超電磁砲（レールガン）S)
Average rank: 14.4
No. of episodes: 24
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Watch if you like: Darker Than Black
One-Line Synopsis: Mikoto Misak, a Level 5 espers in Academy City, discovers an experiment when her cloned sisters are being used to create a Level 6 esper
Railgun S has a ton to offer. It has an intriguing metropolitan that I kept referring to Gotham City in my impressions, as they both have dark underbellies and Misaka is pretty much the Batman vigilante in the Sisters Arc. It has an amazing cast of characters, from Misaka and her close group of friends to all of the great bad guys. (Mahou Tofu)
Railgun S mixes fun, excitement, and heart with a healthy dose of production values. The experience is similar to a well-made comic book movie – definitely moreAvengers than Fantastic Four. (Makigumo)
9. The Eccentric Family (Uchouten Kazoku / 有頂天家族)
Average rank: 14.0
No. of episodes: 13
Director: Yoshihara Masayuki
Animation Studio: P.A. Works
Watch if you like: The Tatami Galaxy
One-Line Synopsis: In a world where humans, tanuki and tengu live together, a tanuki named Shimogamo Yasagamo approaches a truth about his father’s death, who was eaten as a hot pot by human members of a group known as “Friday Club”.
Emotionally satisfying and reinforcing the theme of familial and personal commitment, this is a touching series with long dialogues and gradual character development. (Anigamer)
Pros: Interesting concept and execution, great writing, interesting characters, amazing artwork and animation style, nice musical score (Moonlitasteria)
8. Bakuman. 3 (バクマン。3)
Average rank: 13.9 (#3 in ANN, AniDB and AniP; Unranked in SA, Blog, Aniblogger and other sites)
No. of episodes: 25
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
One-Line Synopsis: Mashiro Moritaka and Takagi Akito continue their quest of getting an anime adaptation for one of their manga.
This has been one of the better anime of recent vintage, and it remains the most comprehensive and balanced look inside the manga industry that’s ever been put forward… Bakuman is and always will be a love story – the love of family, the love of a soulmate, of friends, and the love of manga and anime itself. It’s packed more genuine emotion into its three seasons than most series could ever dream of, and for that alone I would be a devoted fan. (Lost in Anime)
My take: Interestingly, this series is rated incredibly well on the four rating sources I have (MAL, ANN, AniDB and Ani Planet) but barely mentioned at all among the blogs and Something Aweful’s rankings. Is it because people actually consider this part of a series and do not want to include it in their list.
7. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji / 銀の匙)
Average rank: 9.8 (#2 in Blog)
No. of episodes: 11
Director: Ito Tomohiko (also directed Sword Art Online)
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
One-Line Synopsis: Hachiken Yugo enrols in an agricultural school and learns the inconvenient truth about agricultural life.
Silver Spoon is a remarkable series. It’s grounded in important life lessons, but it imparts its wisdom with warmth and humor. The show never feels didactic. But it’s not all serious. Silver Spoon is also uproariously funny, with a good helping of surprisingly dark humor. (The Cart Driver)
Silver Spoon delivers a story that I couldn’t help but love. It is never too serious and never too comical; it remains light-hearted but with its feet firmly on the ground… More than anything, it’s a truly human story of growing up that anyone can relate to. (Kotaku)
My Take: From the writer of Fullmetal Alchemist, this is probably the only comedy-focused series of the whole top ten list.
6. From the New World (Shin Sekai Yori / 新世界より)
Average rank: 8.8 (Ranks #1 in Aniblogger and Other Sites)
No. of episodes: 25
Director: Ishihama Masashi
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
One-Line Synopsis: Watanabe Saki possesses the “gods’ power” of psychokinesis and enters the Zenjin Academy to train along with five other children, while finding the darker history of the world they live in.
From start to finish, From the New World has an uncanny ability to draw the viewer in, making each episode a breeze to watch. Furthermore, it also delivers a plausible, well-thought out world that is both chilling and fascinating to behold. (Nihon Review – 9/10)
Taking a unique setting, along with a “screw conventions!”-mentality, Shin Sekai Yori delivers a storyline with a ton of depth to it for those with an open mind. (Star Crossed Anime Blog – 90%)
5. Psycho-Pass (サイコパス)
Average rank: 8.1 (Ranks in top 10 in all but Blog)
No. of episodes: 22
Director: Motohiro Hatsuyuki
Animation Studio: Production I.G
One-Line Synopsis: An enforcement officer, Kougami Shinya, is tasked with managing crime in a future world where it is possible to measure and quantify a person’s state of mind and personality and recorded and processed them as ‘psycho-pass’
Psycho Pass explores its unique sci-fi setting really well with thought-provoking dialogue, characters and a great plot, and mostly keeps true to its promise that there would be no moe included. (Star Crossed Anime Blog – 87.5/100)
Outstanding anime with thought provoking themes that made the anime experience a pretty amazing on (The Pantless Animeblogger – 8/10)
4. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険)
Average rank: 7.7 (#2 in SA)
No. of episodes: 26
Director: Suzuki Kenichi
Animation Studio: David Production
Watch if you like: Fist of the North Star
One-Line Synopsis: In 19th century England, a young aristocrat Jonathan Joestar finds himself locked in a bitter rivalry with Dio Brando, a low-born boy who Jonathan’s father took under his wing.
An excellent adaptation, full of incredibly over the top shounen action with a very creative plot and really likable, albeit simple, characters. (Star Crossed Anime Blog – 89%)
JoJo is indeed a riotously ridiculous experience, packed full of comedy, high camp and magnificent insanity. That’s part of what makes it such an enjoyable romp. But to reduce it just to a parody of muscled men in dumb poses is to discredit the genuine storytelling substance that’s here. JoJo is a magnificent pulp adventure, full of goodies to cheer, baddies to boo, exotic locales to coo at and hideous monsters to defeat. (Glorio – #3 ranked in 2013)
3. Chihayafuru 2 (ちはやふる2)
Average rank: 6.6 (Top 5 in all rating sites)
No. of episodes: 25
Animation Studio: Madhouse Studio
One-Line Synopsis: Chihaya continues the quest to become the queen of karuta and lead her club to the high school championship.
Even though most of the attention is on competitive katura, Chihayafuru doesn’t skip out on the character aspect of what sports brings out in people — like their competitive nature, comradery, disagreement, and drama within the team. (Mindtap – #2 ranked)
Watching a well-written show about fascinating and endearing kids you come to care about deeply is one of anime’s greatest pleasures… Chihayafuru is very, very special, and whether the OVA is the end of the anime or not, I’ll never forget the experience of watching it. (Lost in Anime – #10 ranked)
My take: This is a really worthy sequel to the first season which came 3rd on my 2012 list. I have not yet seen many series this year but it will be hard for any series to top this as my favourite series of the year.
2. Monogatari Series Second Season (物語＞シリーズ セカンドシーズン)
Average rank: 3.2 (#1 in ANN, Top 5 in all but SA and Other Sites)
No. of episodes: 26
Animation Studio: SHAFT
One-Line Synopsis: In the absence of Koyomi, new dangerous apparitions begin to appear appear for Tsubasa and Hitagi to deal with on their own.
[This is] the season that managed to make every previously boring character interesting. The season that had each arc end in a genuinely satisfying manner. The arc that showed a slow maturation of the Monogatari Shaft aesthetic…. [a] wonderfully unique anime. (The Cart Driver – #4 ranked)
My take: Neck-to-neck with Attack on Titan but this series might be a little bit more difficult to get into since prior knowledge from the prequels (Bakemonogatari, Nekomonogatari (Black) may be required to understand the series.
1. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin / 進撃の巨人)
Average rank: 2.8 (#1 in Blog, MAL, AniP and Vote
No. of episodes: 25
Director: Araki Tetsuro (also directed Death Note and High School of the Dead)
Animation Studio: Wit Studio
One-Line Synopsis: Humanity survived within the walled city against the onslaught of man-eating Giants. Some people may have grudges against this but it you can’t deny its brilliance.
Attack on Titan has that same summer blockbuster appeal that has the dramatic tension and thrilling fight sequences that make it a true crowd-pleaser, while also having an engaging story behind the action. (The Cart Driver)
If you’re only going to watch one show from the spring or summer 2013 anime line up I’d say Attack on Titan has to be it. Not only does it have one of the most engaging story of that season, but its art, music, and everything else is to die for. (IGN)
ttack on Titan delivered some of the most spectacular action sequences and memorable characters of the year, capturing a huge audience with its mix of fantasy, action, and intrigue. (Tor.com – #3 ranked)
My take: Attack on Titan has 4 #1 rankings, the most among all titles and is probably the most recognizable, if not the best, title to come out this year. I have not seen the animation but am in love with the manga series.
The next five on the list are:
11: The Devil is a Part-Timer – Receives #1 ranking from Something Awful but are rated only in the 9-15 ranking from the rating sources, hence its lower position
12: Blast of Tempest
13: Little Busters! Refrain
14: White Album 2
15: The World God Only Knows: Goddesses Arc – The series actually ranks pretty well among the 4 rating sources (#5-10) but also most likely suffer the same sequel syndrome that Bakuman. 3 has.
Some other statistics from this year:
- Four of the top 10 are sequels while six are based on manga
- Only 2 of the top 10 are 13-episode (Silver Spoon and Eccentric Family), while the rest are 24-26 Episodes long
- A1-Pictures (From the New World & Silver Spoon) and J.C. Staff (Bakuman. 3 & Railgun S) are responsible for two series each in the top 10
Comparison to 2ch ranking
Admittedly, my ranking is Western-centric. I do not have any Japanese sources at all. This is why it is interesting to compare my list with the ones conducted on 2ch, one of the more outspoken Japanese forums. Not saying it represents the Japanese test but it should be a fun exercise. Below are the top 10 from their year-end poll, with the ranking from my list in the bracket (note that the list is based on series that starts in 2013, so JoJo or Girls und Panzer (last year’s #1) are not represented. Otherwise, we might see the tanker girls besting the Titans)
1. Attack on Titan 
2. Non Non Biyori 
3. Love Live! 
4. Chihayafuru 2 
5. Gargantia 
6. Eccentric Family 
7. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 
8. Arpeggio 
9. The Devil is a Part-Timer 
10. Monogatari Series Second Season 
All in all, it is actually a pretty similar list to what I have come up with. I tend to have a bias on 2ch list and was expecting something a lot wackier with more moe titles. In fact, 4 of the top 10 between the two lists match. Live Live! and Arpeggio are the only two slightly over-represented titles on 2ch list.
I am personally looking forward to watching Psycho-Pass (for the action), From the New World (for the mystery) and Silver Spoon (for the comedy) at some point. I follow manga from most other series so they won’t be quite as high on my to-watch list. Do you agree with this list? Is there a particular title that is a crime to make it?
Appendix 1: Sources
Here is a list of sources that I use in coming up with the list above
Blog – I have included rankings from 51 blogs (see appendix 4 for the whole list)
Something Aweful [SA] – Based on their year end thread to ranking anime series in 2013, I have collected information from 105 users
Anime News Network [ANN] – Ratings as given in Animenewsnetwork.com
My Anime List [MAL] – Ratings as given in MyAnimeList.net
AniDB – Ratings as given in AniDB.net
Anime Planet [AniP] – Ratings as given in AnimePlanet.com
Anime Power Rankings – Rankings by bloggers administered and collected by aniblogger.com
Appendix 2: Source weights
The weighting again is loosely based on the number of voters/users/raters each source has.
Appendix 3: Methodology
I use the same methodology as my analysis from previous years. Here are the recap:
- The data for all series are collected
- For each source., each series is given a rank based on its position relative to other series.
- Weights are assigned to each source based loosely on the numbers of raters/reviewers/bloggers and what I view as important.
- A composite rank is then calculated based on the sum-weight of ranks and weights in the last two parts. I have toyed with using logs of the ranks to favour high ranks but I find straight weight average gives simple and reasonable enough results.
Appendix 4: Blogs
Thanks to these bloggers who put up their thoughts of the best anime series in 2013 on their sites. I always enjoy going through them to form the list of good anime and find out more about what the year has to offer!
Cart Driver – Shinmaru
Lost in America
The Canjun Samurai
Cart Driver – Inushinde
Fast Top Ten
Kotaku – Australia
Unleash the Fanboy
Anime Blog Reviews
Cart Driver – Scamp
Standing on My Neck
You Are Now Breathing Manually
One Pixel Jump
The Anime Chair