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?

Continue reading

Zankyou no Terror Episode 10 – The Tension Between Nationalistic Pride and Individualism

Last episode was definitely interesting. We’ve been told flat-out that the kids are going to die, win or lose. That means that here we see what they care for. Nine cares for the truth behind their situation to come out, and for justice to be done. Twelve repeats what he said in the first episode when they first saw Lisa, how they used to be too weak to save their friends, but this time they’ll do it, this time they’ll save someone else. But what about Five? Does she wish to destroy her former friends’ dreams, does she wish to win, or is she just trying to have fun and not be lonely before she dies?

Shibazaki and his allies are circling around the truth, and the nuclear bomb wielded by terrorists who do not wish to kill anyone is still looming as a specter over everything else. Two episodes to go, and it’s time to start tying up the various threads, and have confrontations, to continue the one we’ve had last episode – where we’ve had Twelve choose Lisa over Nine, or rather, Twelve choosing the future over the past, twice.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Turning Yourself In Makes it Easier to Talk to Cops:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 10 notes - Kurahashi wants to understand why Nine surrendered

1) Nine turns himself in, meaning he thinks it’s his best option at this point. He also trusts Shibazaki, so there’s that, and this might force Five to stop doing shit all over the place, and she couldn’t pull stuff and blame it on him. Well, there’s still the nuke, which he can use, and it’d be so much easier to discuss things with the police directly, rather than over videos, eh?

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Zankyou no Terror Episode 9 Notes – Picking Sides. On Betrayal.

So, last week was a framing of the conflict. Conflicts need stakes, something you stand to gain, something you stand to lose. With all the explosions, you’d think it’d be lives, but lives of faceless masses, especially where no one died yet isn’t terribly compelling – so we’ve seen Shibazaki’s family, and another detective’s pregnant wife. We’ve seen Lisa get kidnapped.

Stakes have to be personal, and the show, and Five, made it so. Time to see the final(?) conflict, where it’s all up for grab.

So, today is September 11, and they actually delayed an episode so today’s episode would come out on this day. Makes you wonder what’ll happen.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Grounding Ourselves:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 9 notes - Twelve rides to Mishima Lisa's rescue

1) Reminder, everyone having to reaffirm their resolve, “many people could die.” “I don’t care what happens to me,” a line that’s easy, but Five throws in her face it’s her life in question, the life she didn’t really own since Twelve rescued her, and that it’s meaningless, that Twelve’s friendship is meaningless. Then again, different people attribute different worth to the same things.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 8 (Anime Power Ranking)

This week was alright? Thematically more shows that are generally lower on the pole did well, but there was nothing that wowed me. The order is roughly by how good/how much I liked the episodes, but aside from Fate/Kaleid which was terrible, most of the shows are pretty interchangeable this week.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sword Art Online II,  Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) (Also, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, including finale!, and previous weeks’ Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun and Sabagebu!).

Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups for Aldnoah.Zero and Zankyou no Terror.

Barakamon episode 8:

Barakamon anime episode 8 overview - Kotoishi Naru loves Handa Sensei

Before I get to anything else, there was a noticeable dip in drawing quality in this episode. Faces and figures were not drawn to the usual standard, with a lot of off-model shots.

Continue reading

Zankyou no Terror Episode 7 Notes – Hard Choices, Obvious Decisions

(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.)

Two weeks ago we’ve had the best episode of the series to date, full of smart writing, showing how everything’s connected, and addressing the appearance of both plot elements and scenes. Sadly, last week might have been the show’s weakest episode to date. It wasn’t terrible, or “randomly bad”, but it was an intermission episode, which is what you get when you try to stuff 10 minutes’ worth of content into 20 minutes

Why did they do it? So that this week’s episode would get to start with a bang, and get to continue full-steam ahead, without the episode-break coming at an inopportune time. Well, let’s see how they managed. I expect a pretty brisk episode.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Adult Problems – Kept in the Dark:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 7 notes - Shibazaki Kenjirou

1) Considering that my biggest complaint with last episode is how much of it felt stretched, that up to 4:12 minutes into this episode it’s all content from last episode aside from the OP feels like adding insult to injury. You make that content take even more time, eh? Well, I guess it fits with how they need all of the content shown to fit into one episode, and were wary of splitting it up. Show me what you’ve got, show-makers.

Continue reading