Top Anime of Summer 2013: What (and why) to Watch

This is a more detailed look at the best anime the summer 2013 season has to offer and why you should watch them. To see a brief summary of all the shows I previewed (the first 3 episodes), go here.

To see the midseason report on every show I’ve been watching during the summer 2013 seasons, go here.

#1. A Certain Scientific Railgun S (continuing from Spring 2013)

  • That’s right, Railgun S is the number one anime to watch this season, even passing the much adored AoT. Focusing on the Sister’s Arc from Misaka’s perspective, Railgun S holds a few advantages over the aforementioned Attack on Titan. Misaka HotelFirstly, Railgun S is building off a previous season, one that focused mainly on character building, rather than plot. That is not to say the first season was boring, for it certainly was not, but having that groundwork to stand on allows the show to connect you better to the characters. Railgun S, thus far, has done characters better than Attack on Titan, mixing in excellently animated action scenes with potent moments of human pain. Furthermore, the thematic discussion that the series engages on human cloning is one that is relevant to today’s world, a trait that can be hard to find in the midst of a fantasy setting. Misaka is a fantastic protagonist, who runs through the full gauntlet of human emotions as she struggles to bring an end to the inhumane experiment that oppresses her conscience. Combined with a lack of annoying fanservice and excellent OPs and EDs, A Certain Scientific Railgun S is the best anime of the season.

#2. Attack on Titan (continuing from Spring 2013)

  • Miku TitanNo surprise here, Attack on Titan is the obvious choice for the number two anime of the summer 2013 season. If you want quality production, Attack on Titan has it in spades. The animation, music and voice acting are all top notch. More importantly and more impressively, Attack on Titan spectacularly engages the human emotions and passions awakened in a desperate struggle for survival. Death is everywhere in this show, but unlike your typical shounen, Attack on Titan makes it clear that each of those lives was valuable. People aren’t thrown away in this show to die for the sake of the plot. When they die, whether it is in battle or because the government has sacrificed them to sustain itself and the upper classes, the tragedy is not dismissed. You will think after this show. It’s impossible to avoid. And it’s not for everyone. The Titans are terrifying, the animation doesn’t shy away from displaying blood, but none of it is overdone to the point of being gratuitous. I rank Attack on Titan behind Railgun S mainly for the characters. I’m not sure if it is due to the pacing (which can, incredibly, seem absurdly slow and blinding fast at the same time), but I still struggle to relate and connect with Eren, Mikasa and Armin. Perhaps that is simply because I am so detached from their circumstances that I cannot understand them. Regardless, if you can stomach the violence and bloodshed, watch Attack on Titan.

#3. Sunday Without God

  • The first note about this anime: beautiful animation. It is reminiscent of the gorgeous backgrounds from the K Project, and the whispy, iridescent quality is sometimes breathtaking to see. I haven’t taken my declared three episodes to make up my mind about this one, but I didn’t need the third episode to make up my mind. Two was enough. I absolutely despise the premise of the plot (God abandoning the world), but the rest of the show is good enough to make me want to watch more. Plus, it seems like the assumption made about the God “abandoning” the world may not be exactly what happened.Sunday Without God
    At this point in the show, there is a still a wonderful intrigue about the setting, the main characters and where this is all going. It hasn’t tipped its hand yet, which is something I really appreciate. It’s not that the show doesn’t know where it’s going; there is a clear agenda behind everything, but the reasons haven’t been unvieled yet. More characters are to come, and that should continue to keep the show interesting as personalities and people pile up. For those concerned about the abandoning God thing, as I somewhat am, remember that a lot of people in the modern world feel exactly that away about God. Sunday Without God could turn out to be an excellent chance to engage that question and try to understand the implications of it.

#4. The Eccentric Family

  • The Eccentric Family, about a family (duh) of tanuki living in Japan and the odd relationships they have with each other and their sort-of-friends, is definitely the sleeper hit of the season. Up to this point, it’s been pretty light stuff, but there is a strange edge to the show that seems to indicate there is another level of depth beyond what we’ve seen up to this point. I hate the vocals in the OP, but that’s not enough to knock the entire show.The Eccentric Family The cast of characters is quite varied and the relationships between them is delightfully odd. There is a tension between the characters that, while not explained initially, continues to develop and deepen. The Eccentric Family is all about the characters, something that is highlighted by the unique art style utilized for the main characters. There isn’t much to say about the thematics of the show. It’s the simple importance of family that shines through, no matter the differences that may come between. It’s a blast to watch, and I only expect it to get better. A couple cautions: the show does seem to ramble and bobble about overall, but supposedly, that is how the tankui are, so it may fit in better as the show moves on. Also, the main character is a male, but engages in some cross dressing as a human female. It’s quite odd and a little distrubing, but then again, he’s a raccoon to start.

#5. Servant x Service

  • I was a little surprised to find Servant x Service this low in my rankings, but it belongs below the other two shows. I still think this show will be a cantidate for the best OP of the season (and the accompanying animation is really cool), depending how the new OPs for Railgun S  and AoT turn out. As someone who works in customer service myself, I can definitely relate to a lot of the customer interactions that the cast has/will run into. The last episode was a bit worrisome to me, as it seemed to drift away from that, carrying one stupid joke through the entire episode. There is TONS of comedic gold to be found in this setting, so based on potential alone, Servant x Service  could be the funniest show of the entire season. Cross your fingers that it continues in the vein of the first two episodes, not the third. That being said, the cast is wonderfully well-rounded, with the main characters avoiding be totally sterotyped. Each is given a second aspect that keeps them from being too generic. Definitely a good watch, even if it doesn’t tap into its full comedic potential.
Servant x Service OP

It looks even cooler when moving.

Honorable Mentions

  • Stella Women’s Academy, Class C3: A fun, light-hearted show about a girls’ club involving airsoft guns. Wonderfully varied cast of characters, and some hilarious lines, “She responds to cake!” being my favorite by far.
  • Gatchaman Crowds: Seems like a Japaense version of Watchmen, or maybe Teen Titans. I didn’t like it after the first episode, but the second one intrigued me, so I’ll probably keep watching through the end. The main character is a token “bright side of life,” character and a bit of a ditz, but that hasn’t deterred me thus far. I’d recommend Gatachaman Crowds if you have room for just one more show in your watching schedule and don’t want something too heavy.
  • Silver Spoon: La, la, la. I said at one point that I hadn’t made up my mind about this one, but after episode 4, Silver Spoon is a definite recommendation from me. It’s excellent from top to bottom, as expected from the author of FMA, and unexpectedly engaging and deep. You have to watch this show.
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One thought on “Top Anime of Summer 2013: What (and why) to Watch

  1. I am enjoying the second season of Railgun a lot more than the first as well. I haven’t been able too watch many of the second episodes this season since I’m on vacation and my internet sucks, but it’s good to hear that Sunday Without God looks good. I liked the first episode, but I wasn’t really sure if it would turn out to be great.
    Also, I’ve heard good things about the Eccentric Family but I wasn’t too impressed by the first episode. I guess I’ll take another look at it.

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