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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12 Days of Anime #8 – Clothes Are Original Sin! Clothes Are People! – Kill la Kill and Infodump Love

It’s hard to remember that it’s been this year, as it was a Fall 2013 carry-over, and it ended without a big bang, but Kill la Kill aired this year, and it actually had a couple of episodes that spoke to a very specific part of me, a part that might not be seen all too often, but my episodic write-ups are the best place to see it. That part is the part that likes semi-obscure symbolism, reads occult and religious literature, and cares more than a wee bit for exciting infodumps, and then dislikes how shows use them.

Kill la Kill Episode 16 anime - Nudist Beach! truth

Infodumps! Glorious Infodumps!

I often call this sort of thing “The Neon Genesis Evangelion Effect”, though it’s older, you can see it in most 2-course or longer series, such as in Code Geass, Eureka 7, Wolf’s Rain, and even in Visions of Escaflowne, where there’s a mystery, there’s a “real truth going on behind the scenes”, and often it’s semi-mystical in nature. Almost makes one think of Planet of the Apes. Well, Kill la Kill certainly had it, and though I’m not entirely fond of this phenomenon itself, I’m always intrigued in how it manifests.

Few Kill la Kill Spoilers beyond this point.

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Kill la Kill Episode 24 (Finale!) Notes – Matoi Ryuuko, Rebellious Princess, It’s Time to Graduate

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

The last two episodes had been build-up. The episode before last was the thematic build-up, so to speak, the fan-service, giving us all the themes and gags we were expecting. Last episode actually brought us back to Satsuki’s theme of “Pigs in human clothings” and Ragyou’s meta-theme of biblical references, and servitude as power (which contrasts and compares nicely with Satsuki).

Also, this is a show where everyone is a shounen hero. Ragyou now has had her power-up again, the second since being betrayed by Satsuki.

Time for the final fight. I expect much to be a spectacle, we’ll see how much goes beyond :)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) The Spirit of Man: (The War of the Worlds Musical reference, check it out)

Kill la Kill Episode 24 notes anime - Sanageyama Uzu

1) Hundred Men Assault – Sanageyama had always been a gang-leader. Though he, like the other members of the Elite Four are all powerhouses on their own, they are also leaders, they also know the power of working together. Note this shape, he can only get as high as he is because he stands on the shoulders of his comrades (yes, I’m paraphrasing Isaac Newton here). But, some could also consider this a reference to the Tower of Babel, the conceit of thinking you could stand against God.

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Kill la Kill Episode 23 Notes – Humanity’s Dignity, and The Power of the Meek

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

As is the case every week lately, I set up an alarm clock for 0130 AM for the latest episode of KLK. Staying up to watch it is usually ill-advised as I need a power-nap. Today I woke up, and at 0230 felt too tired to truly give the show a good coverage and headed to bed. Good thing too, as the episode materialized at 4 AM, I see. Well, no time like the present ;-)

Last episode had been fan-service oriented. It gave fans what they wanted, with the characters bonding and finally everyone being on the front page. Now it’s time for the final battle, as allies, as sisters, and yes, it’s also time for Fight Club Mako!

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Enough Biblical References to Drown Out Noah’s Arc:

Kill la Kill Episode 23 notes anime - End-screen cast shot

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Kill la Kill Episode 22 Notes – Time for Some Traditional Shounen Friendship!

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Last two episodes had been an arc, and the culmination of a thematic thread – Ryuuko hadn’t had a nice life, she’d always been used, and constantly her decisions which she had thought were her own had been revealed as the machinations of her parents. Continuing with the “Clothes are Original Sin,” we have the parents’ original sin, as well as “Sins of the parents.”

Ryuuko was filled with self-disgust which progressed to self-hatred and sabotaging her own life, until the power of friendship and self-disgust that’s been too large to bear had brought her back. It’s now time for the two sisters to finally join forces.

More interesting was Satsuki being revealed as not entirely honest, she says she will do anything to obtain her goals, including lying, and perhaps this too is such a lie. Well, let’s see what the two sisters can manage.

(Note: Earthquake warning makes for less than ideal screenshots. I’ll look into fixing it after going to sleep and waking up. It’s still 4 am as I’m typing this, and we’re not done just yet.)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Ryuuko’s Back!:

Kill la Kill Episode 22 notes anime - Matoi Ryuuko Matoi Ryuko

1) You’ve messed with the wrong girl, dude. Covered in her heart’s blood, fulfilling the theme of self-hatred, she had cut out her own heart, she had sacrificed herself, so she could become a noble warrior berserker once more.

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Kill la Kill Episode 21 Notes – Killing My Heart is My Punishment / On Lying to Win.

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

I set up an alarm clock in the middle of the night in order to watch this, and I actually woke up, unlike last week. Go me!

Anyway, Ryuuko hates herself. Ryuuko hates herself enough that she’s self-sabotaging her life, turning on her allies, going into something she knows is a trap, almost akin to suicide, because she wants to be punished. All of this is about Ryuuko running away, under the guise of fighting the problem head-on. Ryuuko’s world had been turned upside down, so she was an easy mark for conversion and lies by mama-Ragyou. She was just so lonely, because if you hate yourself, you can’t let others in either.

Well, now it’s time for friends to fight one another, it’s time for a sister versus sister battle. For the world, for friendship, for family. Will they be able to snap Ryuuko out of it (you know they do), will the go the full distance (Probably stop at the last instant)?

Thoughts and Notes:

1) In the Den of Hedonism:

Kill la Kill Episode 21 notes anime - Matoi Ryuuko

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Winter 2014 Weeks 8-9 Overview – (Anime Power Ranking)

Was tired last week, and didn’t feel like making that post, so this is a double-feature, for two weeks. Some shows will only have my thoughts for them stated in the second week, and a note in the first week noting so.

Anime Power Ranking is no longer held, so here are the shows I’ve watched this past week and how I order them. Each link leads to my episodic write-up of the relevant show. In parenthesis the score relative to last week’s placement.

(Shows Covered, in alphabetical order -Chuunibyou Ren (2nd Season), ‘Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha’, Kill la Kill, Log Horizon, Nagi no Asukara, Nisekoi, Nobunagun, The Pilot’s Love Song (Koiuta), Sekai Seifuku ( World Conquest Zvezda Plot), and Tokyo Ravens.)

Week 8:

1) Kill la Kill Episode 19 (+0) – The spectacle of the side-characters being badasses was nice, but this episode was a study in self-revulsion, in hating yourself, heck, it was pretty short, but it was great scaffolding for next episode.

Kill la Kill Episode 19 episodic overview

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