Anime Vice News

Top 3 Underrated Shows of 2013

Why are you not watching these shows? Such good shows are they!

This is from KYOUSOGIGA. You should be watching it, don't you think?
This is from KYOUSOGIGA. You should be watching it, don't you think?

That's right folks: it's the ides of December, so time for the year-end lists!

With all the hype dedicated to shows like ATTACK ON TITAN and KILL LA KILL, it's easy for titles to get swept under the rug despite being amazing. Today I'm going to shine a light on three titles you should start watching over your winter break.

And yes, you will be quizzed on the day back!

#3: SAMURAI FLAMENCO

Vice Pit guest host Marlan Moore hit the nail on the head with this one. SAMURAI FLAMENCO is Japan's answer to Mark Millar's KICK-ASS franchise. A bumbling but well-intentioned man decides to become a masked vigilante and patrol the streets to stop any crime, no matter how petty. As he steps up to bigger challenges, the world around him ramps up with stranger characters and more dangerous situations.

This is happening in front of you whether you pay attention or not, people!
This is happening in front of you whether you pay attention or not, people!

And when there's downtime, the show is surprisingly philosophical. Characters have distinctly different views on Justice (capital J, fo' sho') and frequently debate with each other the proper way to distribute it throughout the world—sometimes even while the exchange blows. And you know what? Some of their points hit home, and it makes you wonder what YOUR excuse is for some of your actions.

Don't mess with Flamenco Girl. She will eff you up, man.
Don't mess with Flamenco Girl. She will eff you up, man.

#2: NAGI NO ASUKARA

Remember in middle school when suddenly you had all these FEELINGS? You want your friendships to evolve, but how can you risk ruining what you have? And what if you risk losing those relationships forever due to the way their own feelings are changing?

Try dealing with that while attempting to desegregate two communities divided by the fact they are almost different species. Sometimes adolescence is a real minefield.

The parallels between the personal and societal conflicts in this show are beautifully crafted, but what's amazing is just how much the big societal things serve to underscore the internal conflicts of the characters; as above, so below. It's the tugging of the heartstrings between the five middle schoolers that's the core of show.

And did I mention the art is gorgeous? While it's not exactly a beacon of animation quality, the art direction and design is enchanting.

Atlantis ain't got s**t on Shioshishio.
Atlantis ain't got s**t on Shioshishio.

#1: KYOUSOGIGA

OK, confession time: this show is technically the retelling of an OVA series that came out a couple of years back. But they expand SO MUCH on the concept, world, and characters that it's a whole new experience even if you've analyzed ever single frame of the original.

If you took THE MATRIX and changed the setting from one of a dreary and gray modern world to one made of geometric figures, dreams and folk tales, you MIGHT get close to the amazing originality of KYOUSOGIGA. The story goes that a black rabbit fell in love with a monk who had the power to bring his beautiful drawings to life. Granted human form by a buddha the couple had three children together, but were persecuted for their love. The family was forced to flee into the world of the monk's paintings, where they lived quite happily.

Until the monk and his wife vanished, that is. And now the siblings maintain an uneasy alliance as they govern the reality their parents built for them.

And then the girl with the giant cosmic hammer shows up and starts wrecking stuff with her two demon-boy sidekicks.

Wait--you're asking ME!? You're in the show!!!
Wait--you're asking ME!? You're in the show!!!

The pacing is dreamlike and jerky, but never feels like it's maliciously holding things out from the viewer. Every piece of the puzzle you get makes you want to see the bigger picture more, and the fact that none of the characters have a total grasp on what's going on gives the feeling of high stakes despite the world of drawings being purposefully static.

So there you have it! Have you been watching any of these titles? Are there others you think are deserving a little more love? Let us know in the comments below!

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 12, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.

I admit Samurai Flamenco and Nagi no Asukara surprised me. I was never a strong slice of life fan. I find most slice of life show boring. I crave action, sex, and comedy. I haven't tried Kyousiga.

For Nagi, it reminded me of Pet Girl of Sakura combined with Shin Sekai Yori and Tari Tari. I loved the deep undertones about race. It's a brutal reality that the surface human benefit genetically from the unison of both races. There will be always a winner and a loser among human beings. Oh yeah, Nagi is going to be 26 episodes. I was surprised because I thought the series was going to end. I always wonder what was that Manaka ending foreshadowing. I had fun with the Love Square thing.

For Samurai Flamenco, I tried it because the plot remind me of Tiger and Bunny a bit. Despite episode 7, I keep on watching. It's ballsy risk to change the mood and the game. I was disappointed a bit.

Edit:

My underrated anime for 2013 is Shin Sekai Yori, The Devil is a Part-Timer!, and The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.

yllekkramon Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:48 p.m.

I second 's pick of Shin Sekai Yori as an underrated anime. It did an excellent job of building slowly up the plot and raised some interesting philosophical questions about humanity.

edit: removed extra word

AURON570on Dec. 12, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

Good thing I'm watching or already planned on watching all of those. *sunglasses*.. My taste in anime is too goooooooood.

I'm enjoying Hajime no Ippo: Rising a lot, despite me being completely new to the franchise! But I guess that doesn't count as underrated because there is already a huge fanbase. Anyone check out that bicycling anime, Yowapeda? It looks cool.

@takashichea: I still want to get around to watching Shin Sekai Yori and Sakurasou! XD But Nagi no Asakura post apocalyptic, wha? Guess I'll find out after watching more recent eps. xD

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 12, 2013 at 11:33 p.m.

@yllekkram:

Welcome! You're a new face around here. I hope you enjoy your stay in the community, and I encourage you check out the Vote for Your Favorite Anime in 2013! page. Nice way to summarize Shin Sekai Yori. I love how it shows the ugly side of human nature.

@AURON570:

You should definitely check it out Shin Sekai Yori. I was surprised that Nagi had 26 episodes in store. I can't wait to see what surprises it has. Under that Moe blog, something dark will come out. You never know. Samurai Flamenco did the same thing. Before I vote, I need to watch this one series, Psycho Pass.

sickVisionz moderator on Dec. 13, 2013 at 5:53 a.m.

I've heard good things about Nagi and added it to my queue as well as Kyou. Samurai Flamenco started good but turned into hot garbage around episode 7. I'd compare it to Kick-ass but Kick-ass is somewhat grounded in the real world. SF started that way but ended up as fantastical as One Piece. It deserves to be ignored imo for it's ridiculous shark jumping.

From the New World deserves a nod as well. One of my favorite shows in both years it aired.

Marshal Victoryon Dec. 13, 2013 at 9:38 a.m.

Opinions vary but KYOUSOGIGA is good. If you like FLCL this show is for you.Tho be warned miss a episode an your gona be searching to figure out where you left off.

NAGI NO ASUKARA i might go back later on an try another run at it.3 episodes an its negatives out weighted its positives for me.

SAMURAI FLAMENCO is a deconstruction of the sentai / tokusatsu stuff .

3 i think are underrated atm... in no real order..

1. Valvrave the Liberator 2 deep story with twisted long arch story plot an subplots. Great animation.

2 Unbreakable Machine Doll not as eechi as you would think.Another dark story. least 3 sub plots of revenge an 2 national spy sub plots.light hearted at times but very dark at other.Not for those who cant see the irony of a animated doll that wants to sleep with its master, an he wants nothing to do with her that way.

3 an probably the most underrated Log Horizon ...

Many just see it as a Sword Art Online knock off which is wrong. It suffers from its art style not fitting the story.But its a deep look into mmorpgs. From classes an skills to how guilds work.From the writer of Maoyu based on his past game knowledge of everquest an other mmorpgs.

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 13, 2013 at 12:43 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

Knew you would put Log Horizon. I was waiting for someone to put Arpeggio. For me personally, Log Horizon needed to balance between Maoyu's economic talks and slice of life coupled with some nice comedic moments. It reminds me of Gargantia where the plot doesn't progress a lot. It leaves you wondering what is going on?

Marshal Victoryon Dec. 13, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.

@takashichea: I almost put Arpeggio on their.But im not sold just yet .That build up to the last episode is as much of a sucker punch as any this season.Next two espisode will make it or break it. As it is now its on pace to make my above average list.But to judge it on the curent episodes its just average.That was why i didnt put it in my list.It does get some minus for the poor cgi at times to.

Your fair an spot on about Log Horizon .Problem is when you have alot of dialoge you better have stuff to look at to.The saterday morning cartoon look does no justice to the story.Its almost semi chibi because when it does a little chibi its hard to notice.He even got how monks are gernaly overpowered in most game worlds right to.

It does have some comedic moments but i thik their more humorus to mmorpg players.The whole lolicion gag an dress up for the ninja parts .The warrior tallking about boo then thening smakced by the ninja before he can add the last b an s.Its just the art style distracts from it.or at least for me.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon Dec. 13, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.

@Marshal Victory said:

Opinions vary but KYOUSOGIGA is good. If you like FLCL this show is for you.Tho be warned miss a episode an your gona be searching to figure out where you left off.

NAGI NO ASUKARA i might go back later on an try another run at it.3 episodes an its negatives out weighted its positives for me.

SAMURAI FLAMENCO is a deconstruction of the sentai / tokusatsu stuff .

3 i think are underrated atm... in no real order..

1. Valvrave the Liberator 2 deep story with twisted long arch story plot an subplots. Great animation.

2 Unbreakable Machine Doll not as eechi as you would think.Another dark story. least 3 sub plots of revenge an 2 national spy sub plots.light hearted at times but very dark at other.Not for those who cant see the irony of a animated doll that wants to sleep with its master, an he wants nothing to do with her that way.

3 an probably the most underrated Log Horizon ...

Many just see it as a Sword Art Online knock off which is wrong. It suffers from its art style not fitting the story.But its a deep look into mmorpgs. From classes an skills to how guilds work.From the writer of Maoyu based on his past game knowledge of everquest an other mmorpgs.

Valvrave is Narmtastic... They are trying to mix Gundam with Code Geass.... and failing hilariously. I prefered Majestic Prince or Gargantia more as Robot series this year.

Marshal Victoryon Dec. 13, 2013 at 4:07 p.m.

@Kuma_From_Argentina: I did like Majestic Prince alot.Other than the facial animations no nose is good nose i guess.An i did enjoy Gargantia even tho it telegraphted its plot surprise .

But i dont agree on Valvrave being a mix/copy of two other shows. Heck i can see some headnods to Gundam but also see some Robotech/macross headnods as well.Where as Gundam shows war an both sides most of the time this seems to show more of the whole war an way more dirty tricks.Heck one could argue Valvrave is a downer over all.It almost feels like the 1st season world build was a set up for a sucker punchs this season.

Kuma_From_Argentinaon Dec. 13, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.

@Marshal Victory:

How many Gundam series did you watch? As many of the things you mention about Valvrave are present in several Gundam Series.

What Macross headnods?

Valvrave is a Gundam AU where the whole plot is pushed by the existance of a race of Inmortals that can bestow powers to humans. Not at like Geass? Right?

Marshal Victoryon Dec. 13, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.

@Kuma_From_Argentina: seen 2 series still working my way threw them.Wanting to start an finish the 1st one from 1971.Other one i have not seen all way threw starts off with the gundam group basicly saying their gona be vigilatie U.N. type group .

Well macross/robotech has the big aliens are foundation of humans ( Magestic Prince went this route to) But it mixed every day life with the batles.You have a similar dynamic here with the high school kids geting part of their regular slice of life back for while.The badies in Valvrave have been on earth an fed on humans for long time an it was hinted they may have shaped human history.so thats two things.

Geass i wount say its close rip off or to far from only got threw 1st episode an i keep watching other anime .People do compair L-elf to the main character from it tho alot.Then later on some even say thats unfair .But the argument put forth is Valvarave is these two shows combined an poorly.I wount argue they all share same genes an themes but so does Star Wars an Star Treck, an they are difrnet things.

Edit: forgot to ask how many of this season have ya watched on Valvarave?

Kuma_From_Argentinaon Dec. 13, 2013 at 7:58 p.m.

@Marshal Victory: Watched both seasons of Valvrave (well up until the newest episode of the 2nd) and I watched all the Gundam Series and most of the other Sunrises shows, and I can tell without a doubt that when they did this job somebody in the creative team used a massive wheel of plots to push this sucker out. Or maybe Manatees like Family Guy in South Park. In Sunrise they have a big pool filled with ideas and the manatees pick some and the writers work out a series from that.

High School - Prototype Mechas - Immortal Race - Powers with manifestations in the eyes - Cold War

@AURON570: Yowapeda is Awesome! I love the show. I'm a sucker for good sports anime or Manga, Hajime no Ippo also enters in that category

Kino88on Dec. 13, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.
Thanks for the heads up Mat,
Marshal Victoryon Dec. 13, 2013 at 9:41 p.m.

@Kuma_From_Argentina: i can see what your saying. But this doesnt fit cold war. Hell the move by the magus to make the kids look like what they are was straight from politics last 5 years or so.Worst part of the series is the flash forwards they have at the pre intro some times.That ruins who lives who dies .

One of the reason i avoid the intros an credits in anime they just give to much away.Heck the pre intro sceen last episode did ruin for me the tension in that episode.

takashichea moderator is online on Dec. 30, 2013 at 7:56 p.m.

Well, this series befuddles me. It's not a love square or a love acute angle because of the complicated relationships in the series.

Dig Deeper into Samurai Flamenco

A young male model tries to live his dream of being a superhero as he dons the costume of Samurai Flamenco.

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