Posted by: Leek | December 31, 2013

6 Series From 2013 You Might Have Missed

I realize I’ve been doing a lot of these countdown posts recently but you always end up looking back at the end of the year. At least there’s new articles going up, right? But I’ll be honest for a moment though. This is all just an excuse so I don’t have to work on editing the next episode of SUAP.

So maybe you’re one of those people that’s kind of busy and you don’t check out much anime and when you hear about it it’s always the popular big name series. Chances are if you have friends who watch anime then you heard all about how excited they were for things like Attack on Titan or Kill la Kill. But we all know there are a ton of things that come out during the year and even some big things that we may overlook because of how standard franchises have become. So this is basically a compilation of the things that I felt people would overlook for various reasons. Not to say it was definite but they were things I didn’t see get the discussion they deserve. So don’t throw a fit if you see don’t see something that you think deserves more credit. Since it’s either that I saw it get talked up a lot or was just something that I didn’t consider that out of the ordinary.

So this article is pretty basic and nothing too drawn out. I’ll give you a short plot synopsis of the series to give you an idea of what’s going on. After that I’ll give you some good reasons why you should watch them. Simple right? I thought so.

Rank In #6: Gundam Build Fighters

That’s a Zaku II’s head exploding Hokuto no Ken style. Hidebu.

Gundam Build Fighters is the latest installment in everyone’s beloved Gundam franchise. But instead of taking you to the usual battlefield, this franchise takes you to a battlefield you would never expect: Plastic Models. Build Fighters takes place in a universe where Gundams only exist as models (not far from us) but thanks to the marvel of Gundam level technology are allowed to battle in a virtual field. The story follows two characters (Sei and Reiji) who, with their combined skills, turn towards becoming the most renowned fighters in the world. Build Fighters follows the standard competitive series with all the wacky characters and competition after competition.

So you probably read that summary and thought, “Wow, that’s a cheesy piece of shit”. You don’t have to say it. I know you’re thinking it. So why am I recommending Build Fighters, especially when it’s not even done? The staff is putting a lot of love into Build Fighters. And I don’t just mean to make it friendly for everyone to watch but as something great that any real Gundam fan can enjoy. It seems a little kiddy on the surface but it’s just the same competitive stereotype you get from your ordinary Shounen Jump sports manga. In other words, it’s something for all ages. But beyond that you’re watching Gundam for the Gundams.

And the Gundams look good. The fights in Build Fighters have probably been more entertaining and grotesque (in a mecha sense) than any Gundam in recent memory. And the staff puts in plenty of small touches that you’ll notice with the more Gundam you’ve watched. If not you’ll be like me and breakdown all the various suits, armors, and technology that they incorporate. If you’re a Gundam fan and not watching it you’re literally committing a crime against yourself. And if you really don’t watch that much Gundam but love mecha, then you’re in the same boat. In all honesty if it runs in genres you like you should be watching Build Fighters. It’s only ranked so low because it’s only gotten started.

Rank In #5: Vividred Operation

Strike a fabulous pose.

Vividred Operation is a pretty simple story. There lives a crazy scientist who likes robots and has two loving grandchildren. So he gives one child a mecha enhanced suit to fight against evil. Vividred is a simple good against evil story that echoes a lot of what Nanoha did so many years back. It just takes one step farther from magic and more towards mecha.

Vividred kind of stumbled it’s way onto this countdown. To be honest, it’s nothing really special yet incredibly fun to watch at the same time. The series itself doesn’t push itself to be too serious and tends to keep a good humor about itself the entire time. It’s just an honest series and took it’s thing and ran with it. Sure, it has a lot of backside low angle shots. But no worries, it’s just a mix of bloomers and spandex shorts. And the only thing I could warn is that the series is a little rushed. It’s obvious that it suffered from maybe not having the budget to do everything it wanted to but it still did a great job with what it had. And that’s it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing specific I can cite about Vividred. It’s just fun to watch.

Rank In #4: Kyousougiga

I call it a ten part movie.

Kyousougiga is what you would expect of a typical Alice in Wonderland story. A young girl wanders from her own world into a strange one filled with all types of inhabitants. Koto (our heroine) slowly learns more and more about the world as she interacts with the various inhabitants and especially the three siblings that watch over it’s entirety. Koto’s past, the past of the siblings, and all the secrets of the other world are soon revealed as larger and larger scale events continue to unfold.

Kyousougiga is not the most underground series but I believe it’s something that easily got buried in the excitement of other shows that aired in the same season. Which, if people really chose to ignore it, is a shame. Kyousogiga really echoes a lot of what I like about anime. A really good cast of characters, great music, and scenery and animation that is just fun to watch. Every week when I turned on Kyousougiga it felt like I was watching a really great movie that didn’t require me to sit on my ass for hours. Each episode tells a really great mini-story that gives you a small piece of the larger puzzle.

And for something that’s only 10 episodes it really tells a great story within that time. Which is funny since it’s very rare that I enjoy short series. I always find that every series that tries to do it struggles to develop characters properly or tries to do too much with the time it has. But Kyousougiga really had great planning and, because of it, pulled off a concise story with little problem.

Rank In #3: Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore etc. aka Yuushibu

Adorable.

Yuushibu takes place in a mixture of a fantasy and modern world. I’m sure you know the common RPG where you play as the hero who goes out to defeat the ultimate evil. But what happens to all those heroes who never joined your party? What do they do with their lives in a world where heroes aren’t necessary anymore? Work in the service industry of course. Yuushibu tells the story of one of the wannabe heroes who’s taken up a normal job. But just as his work appears to be boring he finds out he needs to train a very unimaginable co-worker.

In the wake of last year, there were even more light novel adaptions that came out this year. So why Yuushibu? I think what got me about Yuushibu was that it managed to keep itself a little out of the ordinary without getting too crazy. In general, Yuushibu does what Kyousougiga does and tells a really concise story within the time it has. It took a single plot and ran to the end with it, all while developing the two leads and teaching some really great lessons at the same time. It also has all the small social critiques and commentary that you expect from light novels. Heck, it even leaves itself just open enough at the end that it could get a sequel but if you really don’t want to watch more it’s a good enough conclusion.

But I won’t lie, Yuushibu is an incredibly fanservicy series. So I’m sorry if that kind of thing really bothers you but I’d hate not to recommend a good series just because they used budget to make the boobs bounce. I remember reading an article about how fanservice was something that should never be the death of the series as long as it’s just there (and not taking center stage). All it really does is pull more viewers. I don’t think it makes the series unwatchable (unless you have the maturity of a prepubescent child) and if anything at least it tells you the staff used budget for something. I mean people complain about so many light novel adaptions being nothing other than moving mouths, so there you go. They went through all that trouble to give you unreal physics.

Rank In #2: Dokidoki! Precure

Love is a battlefield.

Just like Build Fighers, DokiPre is another installment in a long franchise. Dokidoki is the newest Precure installment with a focus on everyone’s favorite emotion, love. Just like you would expect, the main characters lock horns with evil as they attempt to protect their own world as well as save a distant one in peril.

Since I put Build Fighters on the countdown I would feel like a criminal for not allowing DokiPre to show up. It’s very hard to summarize but is far from something you should skip watching just because it’s “just another Precure”. It’s hard to say that Precure series always create an environment that really can pull in audiences of all kinds. Not to mention, Precure has a bad habit of being heavily scenario based. DokiPre not only defies the idea of only being for little girls but manages to focus nicely on the overarching story. And it really just became that show that threw a lot of curve balls you’d never see coming. Really, I think it’s just a series where staff really has something going for them and have a good idea of which directions to take and where. And it’s a really fun ride. There were two things I really looked forward to every week in the latter part of 2013 and DokiPre was most definitely one of them. Which is great since something had to pick up the slack for how terrible Kamen Rider Wizard was.

Rank In #1: Love Lab

Let’s study.

Love Lab takes place in a all girls school where two very unlikely characters cross paths. Rico, the stereotypical bad girl, and Maki, the picture perfect angel and money pockets, soon find themselves joining forces as they try and learn the ways of love. After finding out Maki hasn’t been raised around guys, Rico takes her under her wing in learning how to properly interact and win over the opposite gender. But with cross gender relations banned at the school, the two find themselves creating a secret alliance to not only benefit themselves but the entire student body.

Love Lab is what I like to call the full package, feel good story for everyone. In all honesty, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s something that doesn’t require you be of a certain gender or is out of the question for any age viewer (well young kids but why would they be reading this). Love Lab has a good balance of everything. Humor, drama, character development, story, you name it. And it’s all fit into a very nice package that is wrapped up perfectly at the end. They even put a ribbon on it.

Just watch it. Enjoy it. Love it. I think the best thing is that Love Lab goes out of it’s way to keep you entertained. Every time you feel like you’re getting tired it manages to introduce something new to pull you back in. It’s just good.

At The End of the Year
Were you expecting me to put Aikatsu! on here? I bet you were. But no. I think the real theme of this year was love.

Love Lab, Love Live!, Dokidoki! Precure…love surrounded us. But in general it was a really packed year filled with a lot of great things. But even as the year turns over there are still great things on the horizon. So don’t look back too long or you’re going to fall behind on the greatness that lies ahead.

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