Well as they say, better late than never. Now I am aware that I am not psgels and so the summary is not quite as extensive as I only joined the site at the end of the year. Not to mention my tastes are far away from psgels tastes. But to have an anime year without a summery bugged me. Also thanks to a few commenters for bringing it to my attention. I will try my best. Another thing to note is that there are likely shows that deserve a spot on the top anime that are not there. Reason for this is probably because I didn’t see it. Examples such as Ping Pong or Gugure! Kokkuri-san.
Now many people claim anime is dead and needs saving. And certainly when looking at anime this year it can be quite depressing. There is a reason why it’s a top ten this year instead of a top twenty. Though part of that is because I simply didn’t watch every good show in each season this year. Shows with some great potential that lead to great disappointments. But the creative process is a lottery. Despite what many anime fans believe, there has never been a golden age of anime in the past were masterpieces came out at regular intervals. And to say there were no interesting anime this year would be a lie.
So without further ado, the 2014 summary.
Grisaia no Kajitsu
I was willing to hand this to Sword art online 2 but couldn’t as I gave up on it in its ninth episode. As I have not seen the remainder of the series I cannot judge it as the worst. But if the rest of the series is anything like what I watched then it would have taken the award. To give it to a harem would be shooting fish in a barrel. But what did I watch fully that was just terrible in every shape and form? Grisaia, it breaks my heart to give you this but what did they do to you? Bad animation. Music ripped straight from the visual novel without any attempt to fit it with the visuals. An adaption which crushed and ripped apart the source material only to attempt to duck tape it together into something coherent which failed completely. Some of the most out of place, downright insulting fanservice ranging from a panty shot of a girl who is panicking while buried alive to slow pan of a girls underwear clad body when she is dying from disease and malnutrition. Think about the context of the scene for gods sake. But what makes it worse is there is potential for a good anime here but now because of general incompetence and a lack of care it shall never be realized. And to top it all off there are two sequels coming. Just stop.
Psycho Pass season 2
The first season of Psycho Pass had problems but the blade runner-quese world of Sibyl it built was rife with potential. So surely with the writer of Le chevalier d’Eon and Ghost in the Shell arise doing the series composition for the second season that world will now be explored with greater detail. Or…that’s what we hoped. Maybe the script should not have been placed in the hands of Jun Kumagai, a man responsible for writing some of the worst episodes for series such as Gaila Donna, Resonance in Terror and Persona 4. Its clear to tell that Jun either didn’t see the first season of Psycho Pass or just didn’t care about it. The script of this show starts decent and goes downhill fast with events becoming so nonsensical that one would claim it’s bad fan fiction. At the end of the story no one’s choices made sense and the entire season is made pointless. Only to be a large blemish on a decent anime franchise .
Most pleasant surprise
Sidonia no kishi
CG in anime is not very good. So one would think that making a full anime in CG when anime characters CG models are in uncanny valley territory sounds suicidal. But against all odds and iffy CG aside Sidonia turned out to be a good anime. A very good anime. The story has great pacing and action visually impressive and exhilarating. There are problems with mild harem elements peaking in but the strengths of the show help those moments become tolerable. The world is fascinating and the situations do or die. To an anime I expected nothing with it came and gave me so much more than I anticipated.
Best animation studio
Ufotable is quite the mystery. At a time when KyoAni and Madhouse were the height of quality animation, Ufotable came out of nowhere and blew them both away. A studio whose most notable work being Coyote Ragtime Show it was a shock to see them come with something as finely produced as Kara no Kyokai. As it is now they are the pinnacle of japanese animation. If asked by someone to show them the quality of of anime visuals I would likely take out a Ufotable work. My only concern is that they may become limited to just creating type moon works. I love type moon but I would like to see Ufotable branch out from just that. Gyo was a decent attempt to do so, even if it was misguided and not really a wise choice to attempt with. Though I do think that it was brave of them to choose something so obscure and downright unadaptable.
Best Guilty Pleasure
No Game No Life
Quite a polarising anime to say the least. Now don’t get me wrong. If you said that No Game No Life was garbage I would actually agree. It is garbage. Its wish fulfilment tripe with an absolute minimal level of intelligence. But it’s entertaining garbage. I had fun watching this show despite its many, and I do mean many, glaring flaws. However if you were to come up to me and ask if it was good I would hesitate. And then mumble a incoherent response. I even considered putting it in the top anime below but it just felt instinctively wrong. I can’t even promise I would like it on a rewatch. But for what it is, it was fun. Just hope there isn’t a second season. Lighting like this does not strike twice.
Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works
Yes yes, I know I have a personal bias for this series. I would like you to know how hard it was to restrain myself from putting it in every best of category. But whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny this is one beautiful series. The animation is phenomenal and art equally so. I would even be so bold to label this show the best looking anime series to date.
There are characters you love to hate and then there is Mika Shimotsuki. A character whose very nature is to insight utter contempt in the viewer. It makes no sense considering her character in the previous series but in the second season of Psycho Pass Mika was made into a pro Sibyl puppet. Her every action, her every line of dialogue only there to anger viewers. At any chance of improving her character she does a 180 and regresses further. To the point where they will make her as stupid as possible in order to make choices no human would ever make so that she is hated further. This is not a well written character. This is just an object to inspire hate, a quite literal animated troll. In the end her role in the story is pointless and she didn’t even give the viewer the satisfaction of seeing her recognise her mistakes or paying for them.
Top 10 anime of the year
10: Gin no Saji 2nd Season
Basically the same as the first season. It’s hard for me to talk about Sliver spoon. This is due to myself becoming tired with the heavy saturation of slice of life anime. This is unmistakable a solid show as anything that can make something as mundane as agriculture watchable is commendable. Out of the series in 2014 it was one of the most solid.
9: Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis
The show that could have been so much more. With more character development this could have really stood out. However despite that it did have good animation and a fair amount of action. If you walk into it expecting a adventure it will deliver on that front. The story didn’t throw any twists or turns that you won’t see coming but it does excel when it comes to presentation.
8: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
It does not have the same spark as it did in the first season but it certainly is trying. The stands have made the battles less inventive, the story is a long episodic line of one note villains, and the main characters are not as amusing as the previous entry. This season to me seems to be quantity over quality which is a shame. But despite all that, the over the top nature of the show is intact. The latest episodes of the egypt arc have gotten better and few shows have the infectious energy and ridiculousness of Jojo.
7: Isshuukan Friends
Slice of life is a genre that has been beaten into the ground already. Despite that One week friends managed to be a lighthearted enjoyable watch each week. Considering that I have grown completely sick of the genre that this show could get me to tune in each week was quite an achievement.
6: Log Horizon
Essentially the anti-thesis of Sword Art Online. I mean that literally as Log Horizon was in fact created by those dissatisfied with SAOs presentation of MMOs. The first season was a fascinating look at how living in a MMO would be like. Essentially delivering on all the things SAO left to the side. While the comedy is weak and relies on repeating gags, the world building aspects are solid. With the change in studio for the second season not really bringing any changes and the quality of the show more less the same, it still remains a decent watch. My only real complaint being that it’s very slow and the current arc’s are not quite as interesting. So I place the first season here instead of the second.
I was late to see this little gem. Shirobako was something I shunned as I saw it as yet another show of moe drivel pretending to be about a subject but instead just uses it as a setup for cute girls doing cute things. But I seen some comments about it and gave it a chance. And was honestly surprised. Shirobako is a nice look into the trails and tribulations that give you your weekly anime fix. It has a lot of uncomfortable truths about the workplace environment in general. There are issues of course, such as the main cast of five girls not really being interesting at all. Two of whom I could swear where essentially taken from other Pa works like Hanasaku Iroha and Nagi no Asukara. They seem like a flat attempt to bring Moe to the show that quite honestly, didn’t need it. But when it focuses on the animation process, it shines.
4: Sidonia no Kishi
A fully CG anime should have been doomed from the start. But if you can put aside the uncanny valley you will have a addictive battle for survival. The are problems with clunky romance and harem moments but the action is intense and the situation dire. Was honestly looking forward to each episode. And I did get left wanting more by episodes end.
3: Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu
Truthfully despite a hugely faithful adaption I find Parasyte to be missing an ingredient that made the manga special. That said there are not many anime like it. The horror genre is surprisingly stark with the anime medium so I welcome any new entry that dares to be different. Ah, but less dubstep please.
2: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Obvious choice. I know. Fantastic production values, great action and a overall solid ride with a likeable, distinctive characters. Its not for everyone but if it is your thing then you get entertainment in spades. There are problems such as a number of battles where characters decide to battle another day for the sole purpose of delaying servants from being taken out of the war and calm which might put off those who want more action. Another thing is that this is essentially only one half of a story, so it is incomplete. Truthfully these things do not concern me.What does concern me is whether UFOtable can continue to deliver for the second half.
1: Mushishi Zoku Shou
It’s hard to beat an undeniable classic. The first season of Mushishi is considered a must watch for all anime fans. The second season carries it’s legacy. The only real negatives are its formulaic nature of the show and the character designs can make people look too similar. But it still can spellbound even the most tired anime veteran. There’s truly not much more to say about it.