Ranking The Anime Movies of 2013

End of the year for anime blogs means a bunch of reflective posts. On this blog, it means a LOT of reflective posts (as you’ll see later). And this one is the first. A quick ranking of all the anime movies I saw this year.

kick heart

Keep in mind that barring Yuasa’s thing, I only include movies that aired in Japanese theatres (or I think aired in Japanese theatres), so no OVAs or that Shinkai commercial or those Mirai shorts. Also, whilst I try to see as many as I can, I’m not some major anime buff who sees everything under the sun. So don’t expect most of the franchise movies (DBZ, Index, etc.) to show up on here. Was also debating whether to put the the first two Madoka movies on here since I saw them last year, but they were made available to us dirty pirates this year. I decided against it since the third movie has got fans mad enough as is.

With that said, let’s get to the ratings. All the movies are ranked from worst to best. Most of them were pretty mediocre and only the last five are so are stuff I actually have any real affection for.

20: Asura

Godawful in every way! Extremely exploitative without any camp value. Morbid without any sort of direction. Boring without the slightest bit of entertainment. Just an awful uncomfortable experience.

19: Psychic School Wars

Wrote about the movie here. Short of it is that it’s beautifully animated. A bit excessively, but at least it remains visually interesting for the most part. It’s a shame it’s being applied to substance so empty that I could drive an SUV through it. The movie feels a lot like it’s trying to be The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but it comes off like one of those generic VN adaptations that happened to get a budget. Kind of like the Key-Ani series, only replace bad drama for “nothing”.

18: Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home

Why exactly was this movie released in theatres? Nothing about it screams film-worthy in any way. It feels like an hour-long extra OVA that somehow made it to the big screen in the same vein as Monsters University.

17: Steins;Gate: Loading Area of Deja Vu

The main problem with the Steins;Gate movie, besides what I wrote here, is that it’s painfully boring. It’s in the same vein as the Hanasaku Iroha movie in that it feels like an extra OVA and is completely unnecessary, especially since Steins;Gate has had three endings prior to this film. On top of that, changing the director to the Kai Doh Maru guy didn’t do this thing any favors. A complete snorefest from beginning to end without any reason to care about what was going on, and yet somehow it’s ranked #38 on MAL as of this writing. Lame.

16: Rainbow-colored Firefly: Never Ending Summer Vacation

I literally forgot to put this on my MAL after I finished this movie and I only remembered it when searching through the movies that were made available this year. Think that says enough regarding how forgettable this thing was.

15: Blood C- The Last Dark

I forgot I saw this one too until I looked at the movies that came out this year. I never saw the series, but based on what I’ve read, as well as this joyless movie, I don’t care to. There’s one cool action scene in the beginning, but that’s pretty much the only good thing I remember about it. The only other thing I remember is that terrible CG monster I can’t remember the shape of.

14: Nekomonogatari

Kind of skirting on the edge with this one since it was released in parts right at the beginning of the year rather than in theatres, but fuck it. I don’t care. Anyways, it was the same old Monogatari shit, repeating all of its old tricks without giving anything all that new in exchange. All I have to say is that Shaft better stop making the series now that the second season has ended. I know it sells well, but as a fan of anime, I don’t care about that when they put off stuff that could be potentially enjoyable to the side in exchange.

13: Fuse-Memoirs of the Hunter Girl

I still don’t remember anything about this movie besides animals blowing up and spilling blood.

12: The Life of Guskou Budori

All I remember about Guskou Budori is that it was well-animated, but the story was shitty environmental stuff. Basically, another Avatar.

11: Re: Cyborg 009

Can anyone explain this movie to me in a way I can understand? I only remember some cool CG action and a lot of cryptic dribble that prevented me from figuring out what was going on, leading me to watch this thing with a load of indifference.

10: Saint Young Men

Word of advice guys: just because you put Jesus and Buddha together and have them live in the suburbs does not automatically mean comedic masterpiece. Such team-ups are never as good as they look without actual effort into the writing. The only real good thing this movie did was convince me to give Life of Brian another shot after not liking it the first time and finding its humor hilarious. And when your only real accomplishment is to make me wish I was watching another religious comedy, you know something has gone wrong.

9: Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust

This movie (and the entire series in general) is the definitive example of trying to be good, but not pulling it off very well. It tries to create a long, but intense blackjack scenario and doesn’t quite pull it off. It then goes into some more undercover spy stuff and doesn’t quite pull it off. Then it ends on a final climax of action that is pretty cool, although the GoHands’ filters and camera tricks make it hard to follow at times. Then it ends on a conclusion that left me more with an “eh” feeling than a rush. So yeah, not a great conclusion to this ambitious series, is it? With that said, the movie was trying to be cool and just didn’t pull it off, so it’s not on the same level of suck as the other anime movies.

8: Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge

Perfectly acceptable Shonen Jump franchise movie. Nothing much else to say here.

7: One Piece Film Z

Same as Phantom Rouge. Acceptable, but nothing grand. Certainly not as good as Baron Island or Strong World.

6: Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War

Yeah, this is pretty much one of the routes in A Drug That Makes You Dream except without the sex. You can literally see Romeo Tanaka’s VN profession coming from this film. It’s not a bad watch though. There’s some creative scenes and the finale is pretty cool, if questionable. But dude, cut back on the one-sided nature of your deep topics.

5: Garden of Words

Kind of fell out of love with this overtime, but it’s still easily the best of Shinkai’s stuff. The pacing is quick, the characters are likable, the romance is genuinely touching, and the animation is gorgeous. It recaptures the old-school romance vibe that has fallen out of popularity in most anime pretty well, and I have to give the film props for that.

4: Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki

Not as big into this movie as I know others are. It’s a little too long for the story it’s trying to tell and the tone is a little too heavy for my taste at times. It kind of reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth and Millennium Actress in that whilst they are both critically acclaimed films that so many people love, I’m a shallow asshole who just wants to see the director go wild. In this movie’s case, I just wanted to see beautifully animated snow chases and shove all the “growing up” themes to the side. It’s still a good movie though.

3: Ghost in the Shell: Arise

What the writer of Mardock Scramble got wrong in that series, he gets right here. In addition to the origin story feel, I’m really liking how the Arise OVAs are balancing out the character moments with the pseudo-intellectual moments and the action well. It introduces some new concepts into an existing franchise without coming across as try-hard, and that’s what’s making these OVAs worth while.

2: Kick-Heart

It’s a genuinely touching love story told through crazy visuals, masked identities, and kicking people in the heart. Enough said.

1: Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo

If you guys expected another movie to be #1 on this list, this must be your first visit to the blog. If you’re one of those naysayers who thinks this movie betrays the themes of Evangelion, you suck.

Currently Unranked Due to Unforeseen Circumstances: Madoka Magica Movie 3: The Rebellion

Didn’t get to seeing this movie at the time I wanted, but I should be able to see it soon. Anyways, I’ve heard a bunch of mixed things about this movie, which just makes me want to see it even more. There are some people who said it ruined the awesome ending to the series (pffffttttt) and there are people who basically it was some mixture of End of Evangelion and Beautiful Dreamer, which are two of my favorite anime movies of all-time. Most of all though, I heard the movie “ruined” the redemptive ending of the show by making it all grimdark and unhappy, or whatever (hence the EoE comparisons). Unhappy endings make me happy. I don’t think it’ll be enough to make me fall in love with Madoka all over again at this late stage, but I can’t help but anticipate seeing this next weekend and determining where it goes on the list.

14 responses to “Ranking The Anime Movies of 2013

  1. Oh, Aura came out this year?

    I agree with you that the finale was pretty cool, but I was also really confused watching it. I was almost convinced she really was a wizard if she was able to do that with those desks.

  2. MMM3:RebellionStory “betrays” the previous two movies and the series like Eva3.0:YouCan(Not)Redo “betrays” its previous two movies and the series. They each seemingly come out of nowhere and rip to pieces the bittersweet “ending” that was presented before, but ultimately present one that is truer to the long-standing themes of the series. Also practically begs for one more sequel. Shinbo may really be trying to outdo Anno with this franchise (half-joking, half-serious). And in terms of how impressive I think the movies looked, Rebellion Story outdoes You Can (Not) Redo by a huge margin (totally serious). So this is where all of Shaft’s budget went to! Well, no guarantee that you’ll like it, given your predisposition to Shaft’s brand of artsiness, But I liked Madoka’s magical girl action/fanservice far more than Eva’s mecha action/fanservice.

  3. I’m expecting this to be updated once you see The Wind Rises. Since — like Evangelion 3.33 and Madoka — it’s highly divisive, I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on it.

    Always great to see some more 3.33 love, though. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been so impressed by a film, live action or animated — maybe Scorsese’s Hugo.

  4. Thanks for the list! It seemed you only liked three or four movies this year, as most of your reviews were complaining about the films rather than praising them. I don’t mind that at all, cynicism is a-okay in my book. Thanks again, hope 2014 has some winners for you!

  5. I’m going to assume everything above Re: Cyborg 009 is absolute crap, That movie had a terrible plot and the animation was probably done on a downgraded N64. Based on the few movies I watched and the fact that you pointed the irrelevant nature of that Steins;Gate movie I believe this is a solid list.