31 Dec 2013

Anime of 2013: 2012 and a Blast from the Past

I'm starting this year's "Anime of" by highlighting a bunch of shows that carried over from the Fall 2012 season (Shin Sekai Yori, Sakurasou no Petto na Kanojo, PSYCHO-PASS, and ROBOTICS;NOTES) as well as an old series.


While I enjoyed all of them but, let's be honest, Shin Sekai Yori was leaps and bounds better than the rest. Sakurasou was enjoyable but rather cheesy. PSYCHO-PASS tried hard to be shocking and interesting but it fell short of my expectations. Urobuchi Gen is capable of much better things (Madoka, Fate/Zero), but this certainly isn't his worst (Suisei no Gargantia's "beach" episode?). As for ROBOTICS;NOTES, that show took a ridiculous turn and just didn't make any sense to me. What makes Shin Sekai Yori stand out from the rest is the writing and execution. Honestly, the animation wasn't all that great. Some moments of brilliance, but it was obvious that they did not have a big budget as the series is quite niche and wouldn't do all that well sales-wise anyway. There was incredible build up and the atmosphere was so horrifyingly tense, it really made me breathless at several points in the series. Definitely one of the best sci-fi series I've ever seen.

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This show from 1999 was really painful to watch. Now and Then, Here and There tackles themes such as death, suicide, genocide, torture, and rape. The art style and subject matter are in stark contrast of each other. Even the main character, with all his positivity, energy, and Ghibli-like animated movements, didn't seem to fit into the story at all; but that's the point. The series slowly tries to break him down, showing him the nature of war and human greed, and putting him through torture both mental and physical. The first episode amazed me with it's Ghibli-like animation so much so that I had to double-check the studio that did it. The sound design and music is pretty barren but kind of fits this series. The TVTropes article for this show sums it up the best: "This one belongs on the shelf right beside Grave of the Fireflies. Overall a really great show that deserves a recommendation.

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