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 #3 – Sword Art Online II Isn’t My Top Anime – Watching Myself Watch a Show

When the anime year of 2014 began, I made a comment that I sure hope Sword Art Online II would be my top anime for the year, with Mushishi’s second season being #2. I added a wink at the end of said comment, and partially the reason was that I knew it’d annoy the rest of the Aniblogosphere/Anitwitter crowd, but there was more than a bit of truth to it. 2013 had been an amazing strong year for anime, and had Sword Art Online’s first season ended during 2013, it’d have still made it to the top 3 of my personal list.

Sword Art Online II Anime - Death Gun

I could’ve probably used some more action in my shounen.

It’s not that Sword Art Online II was bad or disappointing in its own right, it had actual character development, it had quite a few moments where you could see a strong control of the medium by the director. I agreed with most of the decisions made by the adaptation, such as when they cut out most explanations that speak to the nerd within us all, but just take up time (a lesson Mahouka could’ve used). But while everything was fine on paper, it just didn’t click with me as strongly as the first season did.

Part of it is certainly connected to yesterday’s post, about “outgrowing shounen” shows. Continue reading

Sword Art Online II Episode 24 (Finale) – Saying Goodbye

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Here it is, the finale to Sword Art Online’s 2nd season. Two episodes ago the drama failed me, as I thought it might, but last episode the drama I expected did get me. The material within today’s episode always gets me when I read that part of the novel, so let’s see if they manage to make it come through in the anime.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Living in the Virtual World:

Sword Art Online II anime episode 24 notes - Asuna Yuuki, Konno Yuuki and the rest go out.

Seeing the world.

1) A relaxed barbeque isn’t so simple to organize when all the people you know are political leaders, who don’t entirely get along with one another ;-)

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Sword Art Online II Episode 22 – The Indelible Sickness

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Yuuki ran away crying after Asuna said she called her “Big sister”, and the drama overtones are heavy in the air. Ah, yes, my favourite arc, let’s see how it progresses.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Everyone’s a Martyr:

Sword Art Online II anime episode 22 notes - Asuna hurt over being cared for

Asuna wants to be hurt or not by /her/ decisions. No one likes martyrs.

1) Look how they made the scene of Asuna sitting alone in the darkness, lit by flames, mirror the one where she had dinner with her mother – a feeling of being alone, and seeking contact from another who’s not reciprocating.

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Fall 2014 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Fall 2014 is nearly here, and the season actually begins on Thursday, October 2nd (Terraformars aside). So time to see what I’m more interested in. this post doesn’t really focus on my “predictions” for how good something will be,  but is about my interest levels, on what I think will be interesting, and why. Shows that “didn’t make it” are usually shows I’m slightly less interested in, or find it interesting to remark on.

What do I think of the season? It’s the season of sequels or returning shows! Almost everything I’m actually excited for falls under that purview, from Psycho-Pass 2, to Log Horizon 2, and of course, Legend of Korra Season 4 (not anime, I know). Aside from that? Some seasons have no comedies, others have no action. This season has it all, the only thing I see lacking is romantic comedies, but between straight comedies and straight romances, I think most people will be satisfied.

As always, organized by days of the week, because I might pick a show on an empty day or cut shows I enjoy on days already overfilled with other shows. Order is by expectation within that day. Continuing from Summer, I’m cutting down on my coverage of posts with episodic write-ups, so only up to a couple of shows will get that.

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.

Sunday:

The Seven Deadly Sins / Nanatsu no Taizai anime Fall 2014The Seven Deadly Sins / Nanatsu no Taizai – This looks to be a pretty standard shounen fantasy adventure – a group of super-powered klutzes who must be convinced to save the kingdom from tyrannical Holy Knights, with the usual shounen manga gag humor. It’s going to be a long-running shounen, so don’t expect any real form of closure. Directed by Okamura Tensai and series composition done by Suga Shoutarou, who between them worked on Cowboy Bebop, Darker than Black, Kannagi, Sekai Seifuku, Wolf’s Rain, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and OreGairu. That’s impressive.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3.  I like shounen action, and the people behind it make it likely for this to be on the more enjoyable end of the spectrum for a sort of show I already enjoy, even if it’s likely to be “nothing special”.
Airing Date: October 5th. Preview.

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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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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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