Saturday, April 19, 2014

Favorite Anime #yaoi Ships in 2013

It’s almost half way into 2014, but I decided to venture back into 2013 and talk about my three favorite new anime shows of the year. I wanted to do this much earlier (like in January) but time got away from me.
I’ll be using the term “ship.” Shipping refers to romantically (or only for the smut aspects) pairing up two (or more) characters who are not together in the official story.

I also use the term trope. In this sense i'm using it as a narrative style or a concerpt that has been used before and is well known. (example: opposite personalities fall in love despite their differences)
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Number 3:
Karneval – 13 episodes.
Available online through Funimation. Licensed by Funimation.

I read this manga a few years ago but dropped it due to time restrictions. The anime follows Nai as he searches for someone important to him who’s missing. Gareki agrees to help Nai in exchange for a bracelet Nai wears. The two are caught up in some dangerous circumstances and are saved by a security organization of talented members called Circus. The anime gets Nai to his someone special and hashes out Gareki’s past along the way.

I loved Gareki and Yogi in comic form and I still love them animated. I was excited to hear about this anime and was satisfied with the outcome. I can’t remember enough of the early manga chapters to know how close the anime stuck to it, but the anime itself wrapped up enough by the final episode to not leave the viewer hanging, but also leaves it open for a second season. It has enough action to not be stagnant, and enough drama to stay interesting.

The Ship – Yogi and Gareki. The “opposite personalities” pair is a weakness of mine. Both have a dark, painful past, but Gareki is a grump and Yogi would rather mask the pain with smiles and laughter.
Fan art by: inma on deviantart
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Number 2:
Attack on Titan – 25 episodes.

Fan art by: aileine on tumblr
When 2013 started I swore to myself I wouldn’t watch any shows as they aired. (I even put off Karneval until all episodes were out before watching it.) But this show broke my rule. 

If you already watch anime you know how this one seems to do things differently. It’s a welcomed change of pace. The tropes and plot ploys aren’t entirely unique but some are handled and set up differently. The hero surviving largely on good luck and an unbreakable spirit is common, but Eren doesn't feel like the typical anime hero. Maybe it's his ability to fail (and fail often) that puts him off from the rest.

The characters themselves are for the most part rich in differences, and they respond (again, for the most part) appropriately to the terrible world in which they live...and behave differently as well. there isn't a blanket reaction to death for every character. Some cry, some give a corpse mouth to mouth, others suffer in silence. The world building, including the characters, is worth watching for.

It has plenty of action, but boy howdy is there a lot of “previously on” flashbacks. I assume the flashbacks are out of concern the average viewer will be lost in the world building, but it can get annoying if you're watching more than one episode in one sitting.

The Ship – Commander Erwin and Corporal Levi. Height difference is another weakness of mine. But dissecting the two characters (seen more in the manga) has also given me a laundry list of reasons I pair these two. 
Levi is so short next to Erwin <3
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Number 1:
Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – 12 episodes.

This fucking anime. Unless you don’t have internet access, I don’t know how you lived this past year without hearing about this one.

All the way back in 2012, Animation DO (property of Kyoto Animation) used a splash image associated with an untitled project about a boy's swim team. It gained interest online. March 2013, Kyoto released a promotional trailer for the project. (view it here) That trailer ignited interest among English speaking viewers.

The fans called it “swimming anime” and petitioned the studio for more. Despite it not being an actual anime, the fans' created fanfic, fanart, and even cosplay of the unnamed characters.

Kyoto Animation gifted the world this beautifully animated series in July of 2013.

Adapted from a light novel, the story is about three high school guys reconciling a friendship with their estranged friend with the help of their bespectacled team mate. (That’s the plot in very tiny nut shell) It's a friendship is magic sort of thing. (the light novel takes place when the four are much younger, and before the friendship fell out.)

Fan art by 如月マナミ on pixiv
While it's a show about friendship and swimming competitions, it appears to be about a swim team consisting of overly gay men bonding with their estranged friend who’s on his own swim team of overly gay men. The fan service is aplenty but the plot is beautiful and the character development is top-notch—especially Haru’s, Rin’s, and to a lesser extent Makoto. Haru and Rin had a lot of need to grow and change, so the difference between their episode 1 and episode 12 personalities really shine. Makoto is a character whose actions don't always portray his thoughts, and it’s nice to see a more complex design in a show about gay swimmers—I mean friendship. It’s about friendship.

The Ship – My favorite is Makoto and Haru. The trope of childhood friends who know each other as well as they know themselves is another one of my favorites. Makoto will sometimes speak for Haru or “read his mind” when he stays silent. Makoto dotes on all of his friends, but I mainly ship him with Haru.

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I have a regular tumblr I reblog men for inspiration (Hayley B James) but I also have an anime-centered tumblr as well (OTP Tears). Feel free to check out the pretty on both.

Share your ships below regardless of show or year ~