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The Most Ubiquitous Anime of 2013

u·biq·ui·tous  (y-bkw-ts)
Being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent

You must have seen these three everywhere, again and again, like oversized hype-monsters trampling on the media landscape, feeding on doting fans. You must have, like me, at one point of time wanted to take a loaded rifle and embed a piece of rock salt into it.

But while we think and say this, we also know that hype only begins with something has a fervent following and a lot of merits. Right here we look at three of the most ubiquitous anime of 2013 and why we hate to love them.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.

Free! ubiquitous? Absolutely, just look at every anime board and news website. Pixiv and Deviantart are where they frolic and tumblr is where they erect their thrones, which is fitting, considering that they would never have existed without the aid of their fans.

The Free! boys started life as a 30 second animation spot for KyoAni (of K-on fame), they got so popular that fans began to arrange character names, quirks lores and rules for this irrestible 30 second universe.

This gave rise to Free!

The concept of a group of half-naked, well-muscled anime boys opening a swim club and doing suspiciously adorable things together was, unsurprisingly, ill-received by Japan’s predominantly male anime fanbase, which found themselves mostly won-over in the end. (needless to say, the anime has never had this problem with females)

Because, above and beyond the swoon-inducing physiques in the series, Free! manages to retain a sort of small-town charm about it with its tiny but rich cast, regaling its audience with gentle tales of sportsmanship, perseverance and friendship, all balanced out with a some good-natured, sometimes slapstick, humor.

Free! has left its mark on the 2013 anime scene for a good reason and it is doubtful that its place in the hearts of its fans and audiences will not be replaced for awhile.

Shingeki No Kyojin

Japanese have proved time and time again that man-eating threats to humanity will never go out of fashion, ever.

Except, this time it has done so with a terrifying stream of crest-emblazoned hoodies, key chains, collar pins, notebooks and badges, with countless facebook pages and incredible online presence. 

I'm not going to insert any pictures because I am beyond sure that it will sap up all the bandwidth of this account.

The wave of Shingeki no Kyojin tat was, at a point of time, near omnipresent and for the most part, absolutely unavoidable.

Despite it becoming something of a overhyped, overfed monster of a phenomenon towards the end. Shingeki No Kyojin was nevertheless an adrenaline-filled joyride for the anime-watching crowd of last year.

The story of humanoid titans took us to the addictively uncomfortable depths of uncanny valley and the raw brutality of the titan wars had a morbid beauty to it. We were, collectively, hooked. SNK has a way of doing that, the way it enshrines chaos and brutality with a kind of reverence that enables the more human qualities of an otherwise mindless and violent story shine through.

Expert cinematography, beautiful lighting and incredible sound engineering makes SNK stands out in quality. Throw in expert pacing, somewhat realistic gas-powered flying harness systems and a vertically challenged middle-aged fan favourite and we have a winner.

And boy, is it still winning.

accurate pictorial representation of "winning"

Dangan Ronpa

Offbeat, quirky, with an addictive comic-book pacing and feel. Dangan Ronpa is all about murder, megalomaniacs and more murder. A death game in which the only way to escape is to kill, every murder is followed by a investigations and class trial and, unavoidably, an execution.

We loved every second of it.

Plot twist upon plot twist pile up on the crowded plotline of murder investigation, conflict and tension (characteristic of people locked in a compound trying to kill each other.) All presented in bubblegum tinted shots, literally, just look at the neon pink shades blood comes in.

The villain is animatronic stuffed bear who wields the voice of Doraemon like a machete against the throat of your childhood. It gets off on bloodshed for entertainment and as 4chan aptly puts it, “the lulz”.

And before you know it, the cute girl attempts to murder someone and gets murdered in return, the goofy-looking, pompadour wearing guy murders a defenseless skirt-donning boy, strings up his corpse and is subsequently churned into butter on a carnival stage as a means of execution.  

Because if Shingeki No Kyojin treated violence with reverence, Dangan Ronpa dances over it’s mangled body with happy irreverence and this dissonance is what makes Dangan Ronpa so addictive.

It is pure, unleaded fuel for your worst nightmares and also oodles of fun. While it’s not as prolific in it’s merchandising in the other two, it has a pretty firm standing in fanart circles and Tumblr.

 Written by Ash

Edit: Changed the year in the title from 2014 to 2013. Thank you Yong Ting!

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