Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

7 January 2014: 2013 Girl of the Year

As always, no wagering.

I started these Girl of the Year awards in 2009 mostly as a goof. Then I kept doing doing it every year and now I can't stop. Can I still pass judgment in a fair and balanced manner even though I watched relatively few shows in 2013? What if I refuse to accept nominations for girls from shows I haven't seen? Not to worry. This contest has always been rigged. Actually, it's not so much a competition as it is an exhibition.

Akane and Reika.
Don't try that weak shit on Reika. She'll fuck you up.

Cure Beauty, the BEST GIRL from the past three years of Pretty Cure, claims the first nomination for 2014's Girl of the Year award. Although Smile Precure! mostly ran during 2012, the late start of each yearlong Precure season means there's a corresponding brief qualifying period the following year. In Cure Beauty's case, she was the only Cure from her generation worth a damn from start to finish. Moreover, she didn't just look good because everyone else was necessarily bad. Cure Beauty had real credibility. As far as I'm concerned, she's welcome to eat at the Pretty Cure grown-up table.

Misaka Imouto 9982
They really should have kept a few long-haired models.

Surprisingly, I have a Girl of the Year nomination from To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S. Even more surprisingly, it's not SATEN. Instead, I am issuing a group nomination for all the MISAKA clones. It's not as much of a cop-out as you might think, though. They sort of share a hive mind. I also think they deserve it because they're all so much better than the original. Lest you think I've got a weak spot for kuudere girls, I'd like to point out that they also seem to have a better sense of humor than the original. Considering that each clone only costs about $10,000 [Update: 180,000 yen. That's less than $2000!], I'm shocked that these smartypants evil scientist guys decided to kill them all rather than selling them for what surely would have been huge profits. Hell, get two. You know. For redundancy.

Some hair days are better than others.

Girls aren't permitted to change their hairstyles in anime. With very rare exceptions, you can reliably count on an anime girl to have the same hairstyle in every episode for the duration of the entire series. This is true even if the series contains flashbacks to scenes of early childhood. This is why it is so noteworthy when Saten has a different 'do every once in a while. And this is why Riko's propensity to fuck with her hair at least once in every episode of Love Lab is so significant that it earns her a Girl of the Year nomination for that practice alone.

I'm pretty sure this is a gang sign.

Hajime from Gatchaman Crows is so TOP FUEL GENKI that she really should have been 2013's Girl of the Year. Unfortunately, I got so tired of her show that I dropped it despite being so close to the series finale. Hajime doesn't win the Girl of the Year award, but she at least gets a "Characters in Need of Better Shows" nod.

Someone finally tells Mikasa her scarf smells nasty.

Mikasa from Shingeki no Kyojin is another nominee whose placing suffered due to her show's flaws. Attack on Titan, unfortunately, is not about Mikasa being a badass and tearing shit up as everyone around her dies. (It's also not about attacking titans, in case you were wondering.) Instead, the show is about people being paralyzed with fear long enough for the animators to finish churning out another action scene. I understand both the anime and the manga are insanely popular, but I was frustrated and disenchanted by both. I can give Mikasa's unswerving dedication to Eren a pass, but there isn't any other character development unrelated to Mikasa's single-minded obsession. This is not so much a flaw of Mikasa alone as an indictment of the show as a whole (e.g., I didn't learn anything about Sasha in the anime besides that she likes potatoes), but it's enough to keep Mikasa from winning. Not that Mikasa could really win in a year with Cure Beauty in the running. Mikasa's a badass, but she's no Cure Beauty badass.

Plus she smokes.

Anime needs more characters like Suzuki "Benten" Satomi. She's a supremely self-assured young woman admired and feared by everyone around her. She's capricious and selfish, yet wildly charismatic. Originally the prey of an old man's desire, Benten stopped being a victim and freed herself from even gravity's grasp. And she did it in less time than it takes to watch the Uchouten Kazoku ED. These points are more than enough to earn Benten a Girl of the Year nomination, but when you consider that she marks the return of Noto Mamiko in one of her most commanding roles, well, she was so MAMIKORE it was inevitable she would win this thing in a walk. Congratulations, Benten, 2013's Girl of the Year. Please don't hurt me.

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