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Another year is over and we UK anime fans have been blessed with another twelve months choc full of steady, quality releases to keep us entertained through the four seasons of 2013. As always the genres covered is as diverse and eclectic as one would expect from the world of anime – from human wolf cubs to high school jazz bands; from schoolgirl space pirates to alien penguin hats; from zany riverside dwelling misfits to time travelling via microwave ovens – it is fair to say we once again were spoiled for choice.

With something for everyone to enjoy it is difficult to argue that 2013 was a good year for UK anime fans and as a result compiling a list of just ten titles to represent the best the year had to offer was an arduous task but it was done, and while some sacrifices were made – having to exclude re-issues for one, so no Code Geass I’m afraid – here are what I eventually chose to be the titles released in the UK during 2013 that I enjoyed the most or which resonated the most with me.

As usual agree or disagree as is your wont.

 

10. Another

anotherIf you hate your school then spare a thought for the pupils of Class 3.3 at Yomiyama North Middle School, where every year they must pretend one classmate does not exist to avoid everyone being killed per a twenty five year old curse! Unfortunately nobody told new boy Koichi Sakakibara. Oops! This gory, creepy, supernatural horror mystery ramps up the tension in the great tradition of classic J-horror. 

Read the full review  HERE

 

9. Bakuman

BakumanEver aspired to draw your own manga but don’t know how to go about it? This (pardon the pun) comic drama from the creators of Death Note lifts the curtain on the competitive world of manga through the plight of school friends Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi as they pursue their dream while Mashiro tries to win the girl of his dreams. Love, laughs and many late nights are exposed in this informative and entertaining show.

Read the full review  HERE

 

8. Journey To Agartha

agarthaMakoto Shinkai takes a brief detour from his usual melancholic take on personal relationships to try his hand at a fantasy adventure in the great tradition of Studio Ghibli kingpin Hayao Miyazaki – with this luscious yet touching film. A young girl hears voices from beneath the rocks on the hills where she lives and finds herself embarking on a magical journey to the mystical world of Agartha where dark secrets await. A real treat.

Read the full review  HERE

 

7. From Up On Poppy Hill

poppy_hillWhen your father is considered the Godfather of Anime the pressure to follow in his footsteps is immense as Goro Miyazaki discovered with his reluctant debut, Tales From Earthsea. This second outing, the 1960’s set story of student solidarity and a threatened relationship between a proverbial chalk and cheese pairing, is much more the ticket, showing that the Miyazaki name might have a chance of continuing after all.

Read the full review  HERE

 

6. Arakawa Under The Bridge

arakawaThis surreal comedy is a genuine marmite show: you either love it or hate it. Businessman Ko Ichinomiya has lived under the rule “never owe anyone” but finds himself in debt to a beguiling blonde woman named Nino, who claims to be from Venus and lives under the bridge over the Arakawa River with an assortment of social misfits. Subversive genius or incomprehensible silliness? You decide!  

Read the full review  HERE

 

5. Tiger & Bunny

tiger_bunnyThe Japanese take on the Superhero genre has always been unique and this show is no exception. Tiger & Bunny is an acute satire on commercialism with corporate sponsored Superheroes fighting crime on live TV for ratings not justice. Packed with action, drama and humour this tale of a broken down veteran (Tiger) and his new younger partner (Bunny) is a great example of an anime series firing on all cylinders.

Read the full review  HERE

 

4. Black Lagoon – Roberta’s Blood Trail

BlackLagoon_OVARevy and the crew of Lagoon Company return for this ultra violent and disturbingly dark five episode OVA mini series in which gun toting maid Roberta finally flips out after the assassination of her master and takes on the US army in revenge! Everything you already love about Black Lagoon is turned up to eleven as Revy and co are brought in to help stop Roberta, with the aid of Roberta’s Mini Me apprentice Fabiola. Oh hell yeah!

Read the full review  HERE

 

3. Steins;Gate

steins;gateRintarō Okabe is a self professed Mad Scientist who has developed a time machine using a mobile phone and a microwave oven to send texts back in time until a mistake sends HIM back in time after he witnesses the murder of a girl he then meets alive and well a few moments later! Conspiracy theories, bananas, transvestites, cat girls, maids and more can be found in this sublimely scintillating and intelligent sci-fi drama.

Read the full review  HERE

 

2. Wolf Children

Wolf_ChildrenThe latest film from the man labelled the “next Miyazaki”, Mamoru Hosoda, tells the tale of a young woman who falls in love with a wolf man and is forced to raise their children/wolf cubs alone. An utterly gorgeous, heart warming and emotional fantasy yarn of growing pains and a search for identity with a lupine twist, Wolf Children is a beautiful looking opus and a future classic film for the ages, animated or otherwise.

Read the full review  HERE

 

1. KIDS ON THE SLOPE

kids_slope

It was a tough race for the top spot but as much as Wolf Children was pure magic this nostalgic look at the rebellious jazz boom among teenagers in 60’s Japan just scraped into first place. Occasionally a show comes along that just has that intangible quality to touch the viewer on a number of levels and Kids On The Slope is one of those shows. Re-uniting director Shinichirō Watanabe with music legend Yoko Kanno, this already successful duo once again deliver the goods with this charming and heartfelt tale of teenage love and authentic jazz soundtrack that will have you bopping and jamming with the best of them. One of those rare shows that reminds us why we fell in love with anime in the first place.

Read the full review  HERE

 

And that concludes my Top Ten anime titles as released here in the UK for 2013. It was tough with so many great shows and films not making the cut – including K-ON! The Movie, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Mawaru Penguindrum, Waiting In The Summer, Bodacious Space Pirates, Fractale, CANAAN and even the long awaited UK debut of One Piece – this truly is, in my opinion, the crème de la crème of this year’s offerings.

I’m sure you all have your own personal favourites which may or may not have appeared here, or you’d have a different ranking, so rant away if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for reading and until next time, this is the Man in Black saying Sayonara!