Top Ten Anime Series of 2014

Another year came to an end, I’ve sampled nearly 60 shows, watched about half to completion, and it’s time to see which shows stood out (in a good way). If we’re frank, this year hasn’t been nearly as good as 2013. Had I used the cut-off criteria of 2013, only the top 7 shows would’ve made it in, compared to 12 that passed that bar in 2013 (and Aku no Hana that passed using different criteria). But even if the year as a whole was weak, the top shows were still worthy of your time. There’d be “Notable Absentees” and “Honourable Mentions” at the end of the post, so if you don’t see a show, keep reading!

Only full series had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).

10. Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis anime / Rage of Bahamut: Genesis anime

One of my favourite films is the first Pirates of the Carribean film, which I describe as a 10/10 performance by Johnny Depp, lifting a 5/10 film to the realm of 7/10. The show had a great sense of action and fun going for it early on, which in the second half all but abandoned it for slow and tepid non-action weighed down by a non-character taking center stage. The first half of the show and the finale though are more than worth the price of entry. Just like Pirates of the Carribean, loveable rascals with an extreme penchant for getting in trouble and over the top facial expressions while swashbuckling dominate the show. Zombies join on our crusade to bring down a CG dragon, as we cross against angels, demons, drunk gods, and inflatable ducks. How can you not love a show so in love with its own irreverence?

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Winter 2015 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Fall 2014 is over, and I’ve barely watched any series, roughly 7. But enough with that, the season that just ended was apparently pretty great, but we need to look ahead! Winter 2015 begins officially tomorrow, with Tsukimonogatari’s release. Most everything else begins on January 4th, which is next Sunday. This season is a bit sparse, but continuations (Shirobako, Parasyte) and returning shows (Durarara!!, JoJo) pick up some of the slack.

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, since I might pick or not pick a show up based on how busy that day is. That’s only sensible.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from RandomCuriosity’s page, the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).


Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch anime Winter 2015Junketsu no Maria / Maria the Virgin Witch – The Hundred Years’ War. Maria decides to stop the war by summoning a succubus and incubus to sleep the armies’ commander into a happy stupor. Heaven intervenes and decrees Maria will lose her powers if she were to lose her virginity. Manga-based. I am often tired of “non-humor gags” that proliferate through anime, but I actually laugh at many such gags when they appear. Speculative pick of the season for me. Of special note is the director behind the show is Taniguchi Goro, knows as the director behind Code Geass and Planetes. Not exactly known for comedy, but a solid pick.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’m not a huge fan of anime comedies, but I do enjoy them when they work. It seems the combination of humor and comedy might work out for me. Hope springs eternal.
Airing Date: January 11th. Preview.

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12 Days of Anime #6 – “Do The Combination!” – Aldnoah.Zero’s Spectacular Failures

Well, rather than talk without end, let’s start with showing you today’s topic:

Okay, you’re back? So what did we have here? A transformation sequence that lasted 72 seconds, which has a lot of glitter, but no real impact. There’s no visual impact, it’s not actually impressive. More important, within the show, you don’t at all care for the transformation. This came in the finale of the first half of the (split-cour) show, and I couldn’t help but laugh when this played on my screen, and kept on playing (you can read the episodic notes for the finale here).

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Aldnoah.Zero episode 12 (Finale) – “Everybody, Do the Combination!” / Reaching, and Failing

So, the finale of the first-cour is upon us, and the second-cour was double-confirmed to begin airing in January 2015. The director or author of this show promised us this episode will end in a massive cliffhanger, but really, was such a promise necessary? Considering about 70% of the episodes ended in a cliffhanger or a twist (episodes 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and the rest ended on “Cool!” moments), it was sort of given that the finale of the first half would end on one as well.

So, we’re having a face-off, between humanity’s greatest hope (Inaho in the orange corner!) against the tragic and ironic Martian Rebel Leader (Count Saazbaum in the red corner!), and everyone else is just trying to survive. This is a fight for humanity, and for the survival of mankind, and justice.

Slaine keeps running around, always late to help people. So, if we want the episode to end on a suitably ironic and “ZOMG!” moment, we probably need something like Asseylum shooting Slaine, or better yet, Slaine shooting Asseylum, while he tries to shoot Inaho, or just join Saazbaum in order to backstab him in the second half. Let’s see how it goes. Write-up incoming.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

Edit: Here’s a webm of the combination. It’s friggin’ 62 seconds long. is down, will reupload there later.

1) Foolish Earthlings:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 12 notes - Calm Craftman the warmonger

1) “The Deucalion? Why is it here?!” – The nightmare of those on the advance forces, who risk their lives in order to keep everyone back safe – to find out the rear had been made a front of its own. But if you think about it, that’s sort of a recurring theme in this show thus far, about how they’ve had to keep fighting on board the refugee-filled ship, about how their civilian homes had been destroyed immediately after they managed to escape. All of Earth is a front.

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Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 11 (Anime Power Ranking)

Hunter x Hunter, I’m caught up! Two series reach their conclusions (finally), and other shows amble about.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, Hunter x Hunter(2011),  JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).

Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups. Write-ups ordered by how much I enjoyed or thought the episodes were good.

Barakamon episode 10:

Barakamon anime episode 10 overview - Handa Seishu is having fun

This episode continues the ideas expressed in most of the series, but especially in the 8th episode, where Sensei watched over the grave of Naru’s grandmothe. Handa is part of the crowd, happy to help with building an anti-typhoon wall at the behest of Naru’s grandfather, how he has a phone-call while taking care of the girls as if they were kittens, how he goes with them to their spot to watch the fireworks…

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Aldnoah.Zero episode 11 notes – “We’re in Hollywood Now!”

Write-up this time is a lot more “observations and chuckling” than deeper content. Well, that’s what I was in the mood for.

So, Rayet’s choice was made for her by Inaho, who continues to be the one who gets to make all the decisions, including for other characters, and also makes the adults entirely redundant. But Slaine! Slaine finally got a break and got to make a decision of his own, but not due to his charming personality, just paying back for someone else’s act of saving Saazbaum. In fact, Slaine’s father is to blame for this whole war! “If only I hadn’t come to Earth!” said Asseylum, but if only Slaine’s father hadn’t saved Saazbaum’s life, eh?

Well, time for the last bastion of humanity and all of its death flags raised last episode to come under attack, though we have Inaho to save us! In Inaho we trust.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Martian Domination, Take 20:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 11 notes - Calm Craftman doesn't understand death flags

“Alex, ‘what are “Death Flags”?'”

1) “I have to say, I didn’t expect them to make a move on this place,” alongside with “I thought this war was supposed to end.” That’s what happens when you don’t consume media, or read literature, you don’t know how death flags work, heh. Someone should make an anime equivalent of the Scream series.

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Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 10 – Haiku Edition! (Anime Power Ranking)

Barakamon and Zankyou no Terror return! Anyway, writing these long posts about this season got tiring, and I like haikus, so this entry will have a haiku per episode! And a line or two more in play text. I hope you like it.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).

Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups. Ordered by how much I enjoyed or thought the episodes were good.

Barakamon episode 9:

Barakamon anime episode 9 overview - Handa Seishu and Kido Hiroshi are children

Handa is a child,
playing with children as one;
Adulthood lurks by.

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Aldnoah.Zero episode 10 notes – Individuals Matter

Last week’s episode was one of my favourites. I actually prefer it when people talk and make clear what matters to them to fights that don’t have stakes, or drag on too long. Last episode we’ve seen Marito try to make progress towards dealing with his past, we’ve seen Saazbaum explain why he does what he does – including how he too blames the Martians, and it concluded with the point that if we’re constantly told to be jealous of something, we’ll try to take it away. And so, Rayet tried to take Asseylum’s life, of which she was jealous, away from her.

I wrote about it last week, but I don’t think Rayet’s actions had been a plot-twist, or an ass-pull, they were built up over the whole episode with her thoughts and Saazbaum’s words. It was a cliffhanger, but we all know the Princess will make it, right? Well, time to see what the crazy kids are up to this week.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album

1) Stating the obvious:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 10 notes - Kaizuka Inaho will rescue Princess Asseylum vers Allusia

1) “The Aldnoah Drive shut down.” – “That shouldn’t be possible, so long the Princess lives, no one else can shut it down without her permission!” – Poor Eddelrrituo, your words contain your answer, and it’s also obvious. But then again, people can’t consider what they consider to be the unthinkable. To Eddelrittuo, Asseylum dying is exactly that sort of “unthinkable”, but Inaho knows, “Once you remove everything that’s impossible, the remaining solution, however improbable, must be true,” and it’s actually obvious here, painfully so.

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Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 9 (Anime Power Ranking)

What a sad week for anime it’s been. Barakamon and Zankyou no Terror, the most enjoyable shows of the season took a week off, and The Legend of Korra’s season finale is also behind us, so we had to make do with what was left. Some of the entries are shorter than usual, and some longer.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Sword Art Online II,  and Tokyo Ghoul.

Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups for Aldnoah.Zero and Sword Art Online. Ordered by how much I enjoyed or thought the episodes were good.

Aldnoah.Zero episode 9:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 9 overview - Saazbaum explains to Slaine what Asseylum's crime is

This episode had several very good shots.

First, I want to get something small out of the way – Enough with the cliffhanger/twist endings to episode, please. First of all, in many of the episodes they were used it’s just to cover how weak the material in the rest of the episode was, most notably in episode 7, where the “Fist-fight” was a whole lot of nothing, but no one remembered how bad or non-event of an episode it was because Inaho shot down Slaine.

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Aldnoah.Zero Episode 9 Notes – Jealousy: Becoming What You Hate

Count Cruhteo’s role in the story, at least thematically, appears to be over. He was here to make a choice, and that is how to react when he discovered the truth, of Asseylum being alive, would he go with honour’s demand that he save her and oust those who sought her death, or would he do everything to maintain honour, by going along with the plot? Well, he made his choice, and now he’s out. Poor Slaine keeps getting shafted just as each episode ends – being shot down, kidnapped, and having to shoot other people. Poor boy.

Asseylum is now working with humanity, and had gifted them a fighting chance, to go with their poker-faced military boy-genius, Inaho. Let’s see where they go from here, fighting the Martians, trying to bring back peace? And how will the Martians react? Tensions run high, and the plotters will foster the suspicion amongst those who might listen.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album. Not 100% SFW due to the shower scenes.

1) A Villain and His Guest:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 9 notes - Count Saazbaum declares his guilt

Hard to believe the pre-opening sequence was only 1:45 minutes long, considering how many mental turns I took there, and how packed it felt. I actually laughed out loud when it ended, and I think it could’ve gone even better had we had Lelouch Lamperouge, voiced by Fukuyama Jun, talking to Slaine, instead of ol’ Count Saazbaum.

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