Great question, something I’ve been trying to gauge every week as great new episodes come out,
#01. Hunter x Hunter - This is the easiest selection. This is arguably the greatest adaptation I have ever seen a shonen series get; honestly, it’s like right up there with Fullmetal and the rest of the greats. What isn’t arguable for me though, or even a question, really, is that it’s the greatest adaptation of a shonen series in the past year. That title goes hand in hand with it being current number one throughout all genres. Simply put, it’s just a masterpiece on nearly all levels: its source material is a brilliantly written story that supersedes typical shonen constructs and studio Madhouse is doing an unbelievably amazing production of it in terms of animation, consistency, sound and the like. Each episode is just something special, and it’s pretty much been that way since its premiere, which was over 100 weeks ago. That is fucking impressive shit. Hunter x Hunter fell short to my number one anime for 2012, only because Fate/Zero was a damn worthy adversary; but at this point it’s all but secured the position for 2013, especially considering the arc its in right now being a Holy Grail of shonen series arcs, only comparable to the greatness of One Piece’s Water 7/Enies Lobby, fucking shit, just typing about it makes me excited for the new episode on Tuesday!
#02.Monogatari Series Second Season - Monogatari has always been a chance-y show just because of structure. Not only do you have NisiOisiN who is a dastardly unique writer,but also you have Shaft who just took the idea of adapting his work and went to the moon with it. Granted, the result was something that definitely appealed to a more niche audience, but there’s an indubitable feature of magnificent craftsmanship there. While I admit that it can be less accessible, watching Monogatari on a weekly basis; when you finally do get to watching that week’s episode or just waiting to marathon them all at the end of its airing, it has the opposite effect where it’s refreshing to watch something do different and creative, in writing and visual performance. Monogatari is an excellent series, one of my favorites. Personally, it may just because that’s my bias, NisiOisiN’s engaging dialogue that reminds me of a Quentin Tarantino movie and his sequence of events that take advantage of outright cool happenstances like bodacious vampires, snake gods and the plenty, which again remind me of a Quentin Tarantino movie. It’s all just bad-ass weaved together with actually damn illustrious and meaning, don’t forget meaningful, writing. For me, Monogatari is one of the most thought-provoking series because it can twist the daily, slice-of-life, school-life scenario of its exuberantly uncommon characters and turn it into this extended metaphor about life and all its fucking zany grandeurs.
#03. Nagi no Asukara - NnA is a series that tailors to a lot of my preferences, in premise and production (Two words: P.A. Works and BURIKI). I’ve been looking forward to its premiere since January of this year, and it’s pretty much living up to my expectations, which are known (to me, at least) to be greatly, overly, prematurely generous. Wherein the previous two, Hunter x Hunter and Monogatari, appeal to my more “shonen” preference of watching, Nagi no Asukara tailors to the more dramatically emotional side. (If I had to put it terms relevant to what I’m currently learning in my Japanese literature course, the other two have a more face-value delivery while Nagi no Asukara is more introspective mono no aware response. I wouldn’t bring myself to say more “artful” though, that’s an outdated perception.) It’s a great series that has a more toned down plot in order to do some real deep soul-searching for its characters. It’s definitely one the series with the best production value and premise currently airing, for me.
#04. Kyousougiga - Like Hunter x Hunter, Kyousougiga is a series that dated back to last year’s round-up. Since it was a short series of roughly five-minute long episodes, I didn’t include it in my personal rankings for the year and instead gave it a withstanding and respectable award as Best Short Series. To be honest, I would have expected it to be in Nagi no Asukara’s position at this point and even be a considerable challenger for Monogatari. But more than half of its episodes so far have been recapping what has already been premiered, and it’s only recently really starting off (And also, I haven’t actually seen the latest episode, because of things). But to address it generally, Kyousougiga is a spectacular show. It’s fucking daring, out of this world and in your face at the same time; and it has a further developing knack for taking elements on the opposite sides of any spectrum (Buddhist culture and what I can only put into words as postmodern art-think) and amalgamating them into something astronomically entertaining. Kyousougiga is just a series that exudes so much style that if you took the anime part of it away, people would still be able to admire its swag from still-images and concept art, which is incidentally how the story pretty much begins. To be clear though, let that be no indication that the plot is anything lackluster in comparison. It’s just as intricate as any other aforementioned series, with its symbolism, metaphors and other devices reciprocated fantastically into the medium of animation. I can do it better justice in describing it, but its really just a spectacle better worth checking out for yourself.
This is kind of the line of separation that distinguishes the top four as series with the potential to be considered masterpieces in my book and the next tier that is more really great series that are excellent at what they seek to accomplish but nonetheless are absent of distinguishing feature(s) that give the “oopmh” or a masterpiece. Wow, how pretentious does this sound, HAHA. Yeah, I think you get what I mean though.
#.05 Log Horizon, Yusibu, Little Busters!, Yowamushi Pedal, Kill la Kill