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Ok, I know I’m WAY late to be posting this, but my new year was super-busy with me moving and getting a new job. My life has been rather hectic these first few months of 2015 and things still haven’t really settled down, but I’m finally getting around to ranking my favorite anime of 2014. Better late then never, right?
As in previous years, I won’t be including anime that didn’t finish airing until after the fall 2014 season. So if a series started in fall 2014, but ended sometime in 2015, to me it doesn’t count as a 2014 anime. Any of those series will be included in my 2015 anime of the year list, which I’ll write in early 2016. I’m also only including series that I watched all the way to their conclusions, so if I dropped a series halfway or gave up after one or two episodes, it won’t be on this list. Lastly, I’ve only included TV anime, so there won’t be any movies listed, either.
I also want to be clear that I’m not evaluating these series by any metric other than how much I enjoyed them. So don’t expect some breakdown of plot, art, music and characters each getting a certain number of points and then the scores being added up to determine which is better. I’m going to try to keep my reviews much simpler than I have in the past because I want to get this done. Ok, here I go!
At long last I’ve reached the final part of my series for 2013’s anime of the year. Keep in mind that this is not a ranking of which anime I think other people would enjoy or which anime I thought was the most popular amongst the anime community as a whole. This is solely my conclusion based not only on how much I enjoyed these series, but also on a wide range of technical accomplishments I observed–from musical composition, art style, plot development / writing and many other important details. But first, a quick summary of the titles I’ve covered so far. Click the section headers to read each part of my countdown in greater detail.
Finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The top five and my pick for anime of the year 2013.
In case you’re just joining me as I count down to 2013’s anime of the year, be sure to go back to the beginning with (25-21), (20-16) and (15-11). Just to be clear, if you research my posts throughout the year at the conclusion of each season, I may have reordered some of the titles for anime of the year–it just can’t be helped. While I used those reviews as a starting point, I have to judge some anime based on how much of an impression they’ve left on me several months later as compared to other titles that are fresher in my mind. If you disagree with my conclusions, feel free to leave a comment explaining why you think so.
Despite its title, no hentai to be found here. Instead it’s a terrifically fun comedy series about young people coming to understand themselves and finding what they truly want out of life—which is simply to have fun loving and being loved.
Each time we’ve revisited this amazing philosophical comedy, it has unfortunately decreased in quality—relatively speaking. A franchise that was my anime of the year for 2009 and took my number six spot last year still tells really smart stories portrayed by a top-notch cast of voice actors.
Continued from Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21)
Now I continue my rankings for anime of year 2013 with twenty to sixteen. If you haven’t read the first part of this five part series here’s Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21). Just for clarification, anime movies aren’t factored into my list of series as it’s limited to only TV anime that finished airing in 2013–including series that started in fall 2012 and finished in winter 2013. Similarly, ongoing series from fall 2013 that won’t finish until the end of the winter 2014 season won’t be on this list, either.
Supernatural anime based around Shinto always intrigue me. RDG also tells the story of the reluctant hero, who finds there’s more to his role of protector than just fighting off the forces of darkness.
It’s that time again. It’s time for me to reveal just how much I disagreed (and to some extent agreed) with the greater anime community over the past four seasons. This year I decided to do the most comprehensive list of my top anime of the year I’ve ever undertaken and to hype up the suspense I’m going to count down from twenty-five in five anime increments. It’s going to be a journey that I anticipate will be controversial, but as I constantly remind my readers, I’m here to represent my own tastes in anime because I’ve not found another critic who will even come close to agreeing with me. And so I start with the bottom five of my top twenty-five of 2013.
Any magic girl anime that avoids the common pitfalls those types of shows are prone to is ok in my book. It also has a fresh art style and enough darkness to give its story some real edge so you can feel for the characters.
Fellow Aniblogger Justin at Anti-Social Geniuses has brought to my attention my need to network better with other bloggers. He participated in a Bloggers’ Choice Best Anime of 2012 collaborative rating project done by another blogger, Kiddtic, and while it’s too late for me to enter according to his rules, I’ve still decided to expand my anime of the year list out to twelve titles for two reasons. The first being that it seems most other people have lists longer than a top five and so I’ve given in to peer pressure and I’m following suit. The second reason is because reading some other anime of the year lists has reminded me just how important my existence in the AniBlogger community is, since I find myself agreeing with only one or two of the ten or so anime that most people seemed to have picked as their favorites for 2012.
Being that one of my missions here is to represent my own taste in anime when nobody else seems to be challenging the majority, I feel compelled to shine my own—admittedly small—spotlight on the series I feel deserved more credit than most Anibloggers were willing to give. And so begins the bottom seven of my top twelve anime of 2012.
Most horror series don’t interest me in the slightest. So when this well-written title actually gave me chills and tingled my spine, I can’t possibly fail to give my honors to an anime that I found to be genuinely scary. This one takes the title of Horror Anime of the Year.
To say the last installment of the story about the flame-haired, burning-eyed hunter saved the franchise would be an overstatement. But it was definitely a sharp wrap-up to a truly rolling epic.
I always have a soft spot for “summer adventure” stories and this one was really fun; filled with strong, kindhearted friends, humorous trouble-making, a difficult romance to sort out and…aliens. It’s the best Romance Anime of the Year.
The literal “ghost president” of the occult club proved to be a playful, creative, ironic and perceptive look at people’s beliefs and reactions towards unexplained phenomenon.
There have been survival game / battle royal anime a plenty over the past few years, but most have lacked this anime’s emotional psychology that really gets into the mind of people pushed to the edge.
With a really strong story focused on the topsy-turvy, but bright friendship of the three leading ladies, colorful side characters and some well-paced battles, I pronounce this to be the Mecha Anime of the Year.
Nishio Ishin is a master at creating weirdly funny, twistedly creative and insightful adventures that really challenge us to look at the world in new ways.
This list continues with my top five here.
Happy New Year everyone! To kick off 2013 I’m going to start by looking back on the past year and highlighting my favorite titles for 2012. And just to make things clear, series that are currently airing and won’t finish until the end of the winter 2013 season are not candidates for this list. Those anime will have their chance at Anime of the Year come 2014. With that explanation out of the way, here we go!
A very original premise, beautiful art style, insightful plot points and kind, fun-loving characters give this series a serious charm that’s rarely seen in a romantic comedy.
4. Acchi Kocchi
A bucketful of smiles and laughs. Adorable girls, suave guys, awesome punchlines and heartwarming youth solidifies this as the Moe Anime of the Year.
Enrapturing characters, an endless flow of intriguing conundrums and just enough tension to keep everyone on their toes means that we’ve finally been treated to a mystery series done right.
2. Accel World
With its daring character designs combined with fast-paced action that rewards tactical prowess over pure physical might and deep, multifaceted antagonists—I proclaim this to be Action Anime of the Year.
In a word? Concise. Not a shred of excess. It has beautiful music, mold-breaking storytelling methodology, a sharp and original art style and a cast of talented voice actresses. There was never any doubt in my mind that Black Rock Shooter deserves the title Anime of the Year.
What’s immediately clear about C^3 is that it’s trying to be a philosophical discourse about the bonds of humanity to the tools we use. What’s amazing is how well it accomplishes this goal—shattering the initial trepidation that this series might turn out to be nothing more than a gilded brick. Haruaki’s strong, competent personality provides a natural foundation for the other characters to rely on, but the real gem comes from the sadistically cute voice acting of Yukari Tamura. Watching her magnificent portrayal of Fear was plenty to elevate C^3 to number five on my list of 2011’s best anime.
It’s not often an anime comes along that blends issues of science and morality as well as No. 6. It reminds us that the natural resources of our world can be our greatest sources of inspiration and innovation. But we also need to respect the power of nature, especially when dealing with phenomena we don’t fully understand. Accepting our own place in nature is also pivotal to our survival, which goes hand-in-hand with our respect for our fellow humans. Through a bit of fantasy, science fiction and post-apocalyptic ingenuity, No. 6 fits nicely into last year’s fourth place.
Wandering Son touches on some very important, often misunderstood and undiscussed issues dealing with the growth of children into young adults. Its core theme deals with gender identity and how this confusion and desire to be someone very different from society’s expectations can lead to turmoil. This anime takes a very candid view of what men and women are expected to be and tells a story through the eyes of some honest young people about acceptance and being who you want to be, rather than what someone else wants you to be. It’s a powerful concept, the art is beautiful and the wonderful music is the icing on the cake that puts Wandering Son at third place for 2011.
I’ll come right out and admit that my choice for A-Channel to be the second-best anime of 2011 was highly biased by my own personal experiences—the lens through which I view the four main characters. Although each of the four girls are colorful and unique, I can see a little of myself in each of them. Like Run, I have a hard time waking up in the morning and I’m bad at reading the atmosphere of social situations. Nagi is smart, wears glasses and is sensitive about her self-image—just like me. Yuuko and I are both tall and ticklish. And Tooru hates hot summer weather, which is also one of my greatest enemies. It’s just good, hilarious moe fun and its charms will put a warm smile on your laughing face.
Everything about this anime is so spectacular it’s easily capable of deflecting the attacks of any naysayer and I predict this title to be one of the most cherished, memorable anime in history. We’re literally witnessing the rise of an anime for the ages—something that will transcend generations to come. Its accomplishments are too numerous to go into detail here, so I’ll do my best to keep my enthusiasm brief.
1. Madoka took the magic girl genre that generally doesn’t get a lot of love from more casual anime fans, threw away everything wrong and then added its own original flair to show that the right amount of creativity can make anything shine brightly.
2. The story is deep and intellectual. Between imagining ways of warping space and time, then twisting the delicate emotions of young people who wish to fulfill their kindest desires resulting in tragedy while distorting misunderstood feelings, culminating in a selfless, powerful will that can alter the physical properties of reality itself, there’s no shortage of deep thinking and fresh ideas.
3. Music and art that merge the story and setting into a complete piece, crafted with such flawless skill that we’re unlikely to see this level of quality again for quite some time. It’s just so tight and focused, not a second, not a color, not a single word is wasted fluff that would distract from the central story.
It’s really just a no-brainer that Magic Girl Madoka Magica would be my anime of the year.