Now that 2014 is officially over, it’s time for our yearly rage fest foray into annoying everyone with our questionable opinions, the Best of Anime 2014 post! As with last year, this post is a collaboration between the writers who watched the most series this year (and who didn’t say “Not it!” quickly enough), me (Zephyr) and Stilts. Through hiatuses and book releases, we both still managed to watch upwards of a 100 series this year, and while we won’t guarantee total objectivity (like such a thing exists), we’re generally well-informed about whatever we’re wrong about.

Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous (fun stuff), Genre, and Notable Others. Adding to the list is a category everyone’s been clamoring for, Best Sports, and while it’s not fully comprehensive, it should cover most (if not all) of the sports shows worth watching this year. This addition complements two previous additions in Best Short and Category Defying—though that’s not featured this year, nor is Fan-Service, since neither of us watched many of those series this year—adding to the scope of the series we hope to cover in this post.

2014 brings a departure from previous years, in that both Stilts and I will be doing our picks separately for each category (cue a throwback to the 2009 version of the post), which was done to ensure we keep what little sanity we have left a greater range of picks, and cut out the dozen hours or so of deliberation that would’ve been necessary to strike some sort of consensus. Some categories may only feature commentary from one writer, however, in which case the author with the most affinity, expertise, or experience with that category was given carte blanche. In regards to the encoding and videos for the OP/ED/Song categories, resident cage master Xumbra was gracious enough to assist us, so here’s a shout out (thanks!) for him and everything he does for the site behind the scenes. Included at the end are the final results of the Reader’s Choice Poll.

 

Disclaimer: As always, disclaimers abound. Please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for us isn’t necessarily best for you, and that’s perfectly fine. This list shouldn’t be taken as some kind of inviolable truth, but rather the opinions of two guys who had too much time on their hands and spent it conjuring up a list of picks based on all the anime they watched. Naturally, our choices will be influenced by our own tastes, experiences, and personal impressions. Before you go bashing one of our choices, please make sure you’ve at least seen it and know where we’re coming from. Finally, all we ask is that you respect our opinions and the opinions of others in the comments, just like we respect yours. Thank you.

Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Zephyr) and Stilts, save for where otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.

Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on BD or DVD, so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.

 


Production


Animation

Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. Any lack of consistency due to poor outsourcing should be taken into account, as we’re trying to think of the most jaw-dropping series across the board. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

Zephyr: Depending on personal preference, one could make a case for any of the series mentioned here (and then some). Buddy Complex and Captain Earth bought immense detail and godly HUDs to their respective Sci-Fi universes, Fate/kaleid liner blew boatloads of budget on slow-motion scenes and 360 camera pans, Kawaisou bought an artistic touch to its visuals, and Amagi Brilliant Park scored points for its vivid colors, sharp lines and consistency. All pale in comparison to the visual excellence that was Nagi no Asukara however, which had a dual land/sea focus and nailed them both. This was a series that was beautiful to watch from beginning to end, filled with scenes like the Tomeobi (representative of real-life ice halos) and the Ofunehiki festivities that sent a chill down your spine and left you mesmerized. It only helps that extra effort was put into the audio aspects here, which emphasized the fact that this was a fantasy story through and through, and one that wouldn’t nearly have been as enjoyable without the effort P.A. Works put into its visuals.

Honorable Mentions: Amagi Brilliant Park, Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Buddy Complex, Captain Earth, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!

Stilts: Great animation ought to serve the narrative. It’s not an end in and of itself—if it doesn’t support the story, it’s all light and noise, without substance. Which, granted, can still net you an honorable mention if it’s done well enough, as it did this year for ALDNOAH.ZERO. But it’s the beautiful animation that enhances the story which is always greatest to me. The visuals in Nagi no Asukara were reliably beautiful, the backgrounds stunning, and the detail top-notch. But it’s not just P.A. Works showing off—they poured so much into the animation in order to build the world and convey the story’s tone, enhancing everything the show did in the process. No Game No Life did this as well, with an utterly unique color pallette to boot, as did Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, especially when they entered the world of the Shinju-sama. Finally, special mention goes to Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei!, whose studio, Silver Link, once again signed their souls away on Type-Moon’s Unlimited Budget Works contract. I swear they were showing off sometimes, but it was fun to watch.

Honorable Mentions: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei!, No Game No Life, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru

 

Story

As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

Zephyr: When it comes to judging stories, it’s easy to be misled by the presence of detail and multiple plot layers. Having those don’t automatically equate to a quality narrative, and it’s important to remember that some of the best experiences arise from the simplest of stories. In this way, Uchuu Kyoudai comes in as an example of the latter, illustrating the beauty of a simple, singular focus on two brothers and their dream of becoming astronauts. Complemented by an abundance of well-developed characters, this was a story that made you want its characters to succeed while bringing you on an emotional roller coaster that highlighted all the ups and downs life brings with it. Best of all, it didn’t use cheap theatrics or overly dramatic events, choosing instead to rely on a realistic approach that was low key yet powerful, and held its audience through a run that lasted two years but felt much shorter. It emphasized the possibilities that lie within us as individuals and as a species, and dared its viewers to not only dream, but to try and make that dream a reality. Like Shin Sekai Yori from last year, Uchuu Kyoudai was a truly a demonstration of the potential anime has as a story telling medium.

Honorable Mentions: Gin no Saji 2nd Season, Hanamonogatari, Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, Nagi no Asukara, Ping Pong the Animation

Stilts: This was a tough decision for me. Log Horizon nearly took the prize for taking a simple premise—a bunch of gamers trapped in an MMORPG—and building a socio-political drama on that foundation. It could have been a dungeon crawl story, but instead it tells its story on a national (and global) scale, and does it well. But what clinched the win for Gin no Saji 2 was how often I’ve gone back to rewatch the critical moments, and some of the not-so-critical ones as well. There’s so much power in a simple story told well, both in the source material and then transported unadulterated to the screen. The coming-of-age struggles of Hachiken and all the others strike a nerve in us all, even if most of us have spent little time on a farm. As I watch Hachiken’s insecurities and doubt, I remember my own insecurities and doubt; as I watch Mikage fight to pursue her dream, I feel the echoes of my own struggles; and as I watch Komaba’s dreams die, sundered on the harsh rocks of reality, I know that they may happen to me, and that I too will survive. The story speaks to something in all of us, and every moment brings that forth beautifully.

Honorable Mentions: Log Horizon, Mushishi, Nagi no Asukara, Tokyo Ravens

 

 

Soundtrack

What would a series be without the music to help set the mood and tone? A good soundtrack enhances the power and emotions behind scenes in such a way that you start associating imagery with the music unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s cheery, inspiring, or heartfelt. Lasting impressions say a lot, plus it just has to sound good too.

Zephyr: Every year brings a selection of diverse and memorable soundtracks, and it’s pure insanity trying to decide between something like Zankyou no Terror (vintage Kanno) and ALDNOAH.ZERO (vintage Sawano). Adding in soundtracks such as those found in the honorable mentions—all notable for their unique styles, how they complemented their respective series, or their pure individual impact—only complicates the equation, which gets even more convoluted when you realize those are only a handful of 2014’s great works. It would’ve been easy to pick Sawano again for his work in ALDNOAH.ZERO or Kill la Kill, but that would have been an disservice to the soundtrack Kanno produced in Zankyou no Terror, which was low-key yet powerful, diverse stylistically, and amazing in regards to the emotional impact felt when combined with the events of the series. They don’t have the immediate oomph like Sawano’s works do, but tracks like “Von,” “nc17,” “crystalized,” and “cket” simply didn’t need it, relying rather on a gradual build up that allow our ears truly reap the audio bang for the metaphorical minute.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO, Buddy Complex, Kill la Kill, Strike the Blood, Trinity Seven

Opening Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.

[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Sidonia_no_Kishi_OP.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Sidonia_no_Kishi_OP.jpg 355 200] Sidonia no Kishi OP
[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Space_Dandy_OP.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Space_Dandy_OP.jpg 355 200] SPACE☆DANDY OP

Zephyr: When it comes to openings, it’s all about the theme itself, its lyrical relevance to the series, and the sequence that go with it. Sidonia no Kishi may not have a leg up on others in regards to the animation within its sequence, but makes it up with its thematic relevance. Essentially a military anthem, this was a theme that pumped me up before every episode and played a large role in making the series as enjoyable as it was. Its lyrics were a perfect summary of what the show was about—battlefields, survival, and fighting for a cause bigger than yourself—and this was a sequence I made sure to watch without exception week in, week out. That said, you can’t really go wrong with any of the themes listed here, as ALDNOAH.ZERO “heavenly blue” also provided its own brand of adrenaline rush, Log Horizon’s “Database” was extremely popular, and Soul Eater NOT!’s “Monochrome” exceptionally catchy. Barely missing the cut is Brynhildr’s OP, which earns a mention due to its vocal-less nature.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO OP, Log Horizon OP, Nagi no Asukara OP2, No Game No Life OP, Soul Eater NOT! OP

Stilts: Some openings are so good that, the first time you see them, you know you’re watching this show. I lack the musical vocabulary to properly describe Space Dandy’s OP, but it’s one of those. Upbeat, peppy, and absolute fun, it makes me want to dance every time I hear it. Combined with the colorful and energetic animation that Bones and Space Dandy itself are known for, and it perfectly fits the ethos of the series. The Log Horizon OP is a runner-up for the same reason, and it answers the eternal question: If you have the perfect OP, what do you do next season? Answer: Don’t change it. It may have taken the prize, if not for the spoilers in the sequence. Special mentions go to the first OP for Gokukoku no Brynhildr, which hits this list without vocals—but the tone and animation was so pitch perfect, it deserves to be here. I also have to mention the Hanayamata OP, which I can’t hear without thinking of their final yosakoi. It always makes me smile.

Honorable Mentions: Log Horizon OP, Hanayamata OP, Gokukoku no Brynhildr OP, Nagi no Asukara OP2, Sidonia no Kishi OP

Watch Honorable Mentions ▼

 

Ending Sequence

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series, though sometimes they’re completely irrelevant to the actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that we enjoyed more than others.

[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Black_Bullet_ED.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Black_Bullet_ED.jpg 355 200] Black Bullet ED
[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Witch_Craft_Works_ED.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Witch_Craft_Works_ED.jpg 355 200] Witch Craft Works ED

Zephyr: I thought this category would be harder than it was, but the second I saw Black Bullet’s “Tokohana” for the first time, I knew that was going to be my pick. Equal parts haunting and powerful, this was a sequence that captured the essence of the series’ “Cursed Children,” testifying to a bittersweet existence highlighted by a youthful innocence and nonstop suffering. The series itself may have fallen short of expectations, but courtesy of Nagi Yanagi’s great vocals and personally crafted lyrics, this ending does not—instead earning permanent place on my “endings to remember” list. Rounding out the list are a selection of songs that all earn their places here on this list as great individual works and worthy complements to their series.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO ED, Gin no Saji 2nd Season ED, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane ED, Nagi no Asukara ED2, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta ED

Stilts: It’s the combination of song + sequence that most often makes the winner, and that’s why the Witch Craft Works ED is my pick. The song is infectious (what’s a fancy crisis? I don’t know, but it sounds fun!) and the visuals go well with the light-hearted tone of the show. There’s just something whimsically ridiculous about five antagonists happily singing while being tortured. A close second is No Game No Life’s ED, for implementation as much as anything else—the episode where the ED is fractured to signal Sora’s complete disappearance still haunts me. Honorable mentions also go to Gin no Saji 2’s ED, for being the reason I follow Goose House so closely now.

Honorable Mentions: No Game No Life ED, Gin no Saji 2nd Season ED, Barakamon ED, ALDNOAH.ZERO ED1, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei ED2

Watch Honorable Mentions ▼

 

Song

With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something we never got tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was any good, we’re simply picking some of our favorite songs that were featured in an anime.

[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Kill_la_Kill_-_Blumenkranz.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Kill_la_Kill_-_Blumenkranz.jpg 355 200] Kill la Kill – “Blumenkranz” (Sawano Hiroyuki)
[flv:Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Love_Live!_2_-_Snow_Halation.mp4 Best%20of%20Anime%202014/Love_Live!_2_-_Snow_Halation.jpg 355 200] Love Live! S2 – “Snow Halation” (μ’s)

Zephyr: Ever have a bout of megalomania? Feel like taking over the world? Just want to stand in your room and look cool for a bit? Well, look no further for the accompaniment to that fantasy. As the theme to the Kiryuin Ragyo, the ultimate in 2014 megalomaniacs, Blumenkranz earns its place here as one of the most memorable insert themes of the year. The German pronunciations may be a tad off, but there’s no denying the epic nature of the theme, which plays off its strength-related/survival of the fittest lyrics. Every time this theme played, you knew something was going to go down, and I’ll admit I spent a bit just putting this on repeat and imagining myself the ruler of some small county. Okay, I lied about the last part, but you know what I mean. Rounding out the list are ALDNOAH.ZERO infamous theme of treachery, Gundam Unicorn epic final ending theme, our favorite rain summoning theme from Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, and some burning of my dead dread.

Honorable Mentions: “aLIEz” by Sawano Hiroyuki [nZk] (ALDNOAH.ZERO ED2), “StarRingChild” by Aimer (Gundam Unicorn ED7), “Amefurashi no Uta ~Beautiful Rain~” by Maeda Reina (Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii INSERT), “Burn My Dread (Spring of Birth Ver.)“ by Shoji Meguro (Persona 3 the Movie: Spring of Birth OP)

Stilts: One of the things I love about anime music is that it’s so inexorably tied with the stories it comes from. I can’t hear the music without reliving the story, and that heightens the experience in my mind. “Snow Halation” is an idol song, peppy and J-Pop to the core, elevated on pure merit perhaps only by its ensemble nature, and the emotions the singers infuse into their vocals. It’s the scene that clinches it. Every time I hear it, I can see μ’s performance in my mind, the one that lifted them above the reigning champions and sent them to Love Live. Special mention goes to “Kimi ja Nakya Dame Mitai”, which nearly got the knod for being Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun incarnate, proudly declaring that this comedy is different, with style, flair, and a swing in its step.

Honorable Mentions: “Kimi ja Nakya Dame Mitai” by Ooishi Masayoshi (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun OP), “Blade Dance” by Ni-sokkususu (Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance ED), “Seijatachi” by People In The Box (Tokyo Ghoul ED), “azurite” by petit milady (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta OP)

Watch Honorable Mentions ▼

 


Miscellaneous


Character

Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

Zephyr: Each year’s candidates come in with a diversity of backgrounds and accomplishments. This year was no different, bringing us characters such as Shiroe (the one who trademarked the glasses adjust), 「」 (the brother/sister combo who were as unbeatable as they were inseparable) Tanikaze Nagate (the rice thief turned humanity’s savior), Akatsuki Kojou (the immortal vampire who got himself a harem and a dozen plus familiars) and Nanba Mutta (perhaps one of anime’s more realistic characters). In the end though, the title of best belongs to the one and only Esdeath. She was someone who knew what she wanted and didn’t care what she had to do to get it. Conqueror of entire armies, she was the one enemy you didn’t want to face, and on the flip side, one of the best allies you could ever have. Fiercely loyal to her subordinates, she was also so skilled at wielding her Imperial Arms that she could freeze time itself! Esdeath was also the sole survivor of her village, led an elite group of arms wielders in the Jaegers… you get the gist.

Honorable Mentions: Shiroe (Log Horizon), 「」 (No Game No Life), Tanikaze Nagate (Sidonia no Kishi), Akatsuki Kojou (Strike the Blood), Nanba Mutta (Uchuu Kyoudai).

Stilts: Is it cheating to pick two characters? Perhaps, but my reasons are sound. Sora & Shiro refer to themselves collectively (as Kuuhaku, lit. “Blank”), and they operate collectively almost exclusively, to the point that they’re almost completely useless when apart. Together they are invincible, and together they are the main character, while neither of them could be subtracted from the story without utterly destroying it, as the ninth episode so ably demonstrated. But more than that, everything that makes No Game No Life so much fun—the crazy tactics, the insane gamibts, the irreverent humor, the casual teasing of Steph—springs directly from them, and the number they’re doing on their crazy new world. Shiroe of Log Horizon is a close second, for his outsized effect on a world that isn’t sure what to do with someone like him, while he still retaining the imperfections of a human character. But as always, there were far too many great characters this year to list them all.

Honorable Mentions: Shiroe (Log Horizon), Mikorin (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Momoka (Sabagebu!), Kuro (Prisma Illya), Tirame (Amaburi)

 

Seiyuu

As the natural extension of characters, the seiyuu who voiced and gave them life deserve some attention. A character’s appeal can change drastically depending on the voice behind it, so we’re here to highlight those whose acting we enjoyed time and time again. A variety of roles tends to showcase a seiyuu’s talent better, but sometimes all it takes is one unforgettable role to get our pick. Below are our favorite male and female seiyuu this past year.

Stilts: I was surprised when I realized how many roles Ishikawa Kaito had this past year. From Harutora (Tokyo Ravens) to Tsumugu (Nagi no Asukara) to Nine (Zankyou no Terror), and more besides, he’s held a wide range of pivotal roles, and done them all well. If he’s the workhorse, Yoshino Hiroyuki (Favaro in Bahamut and Meow Space Dandy) is the fun one, because while he may not get as much of that main protagonist work, whatever character he voices has a flair all its own. Rounding out my picks is Terashima Takuma, whose roles as Shiroe (Log Horizon), Wanipi (Amaburi), and Leo (Mahouka) show his range of serious, supporting, and comedic roles, as well as Kimura Ryouhei (Hachiken in Gin no Saji, Wakamatsu in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Touji in Tokyo Ravens) and Konishi Katsuyuki (Kazama Kenji in D-Frag!, Bulat in Akame ga Kill, and Tsumugu in Kill la Kill) for the exact same reason.

Honorable Mentions: Yoshino Hiroyuki, Terashma Takuma, Kimura Ryouhei, Konishi Katsuyuki

Stilts: Usually it’s a breadth of work over the year that earns a voice actor the top spot. This time, it all came down to one incredible performance. Not that Hayami Saori isn’t a reliably top-tier seiyuu—I’ve been following her since she first played Ikaros in Sora no Otoshimono, a role she reprised in this year’s final movie. But it was her role as Hatoko in Inou Battle that tipped the scales in her favor. She gave a solid performance throughout, but it was the amazing rant in episode seven that made me go “Wow. She’s good.” A lesser seiyuu could have filled the role, but she infused it with so much emotion as to make it almost hurt to watch. Honorable mentions go to Ozawa Ari for her role in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Not many newbies can head up such a stellar cast, but she’s got kawaii and comedic chops in spades. Rounding out the top picks are Amamiya Sora (Akame in Akame ga Kill, Asseylum in ALDNOAH.ZERO, Kaori in Isshukan Friends, Touka in Tokyo Ghoul), another newbie whose star is on the rise, and Saito Chiwa (Kuro in Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya, Fredrica in Hitsugi no Chaika, Uomi in Seitokai Yakuindomo*), the veteran whose every role this year was filled with flirt.

Honorable Mentions: Ozawa Ari, Amamiya Sora, Saito Chiwa

 

Plot Twist

This is the replacement for the category previously known as “Biggest Shocks”. We’re looking for a sudden unexpected turn of events in the story that caught us off guard and delivered sheer shock value. It’s that “WTF” moment that has people talking about it for the next few days, regardless of whether or not anyone found it agreeable. Below are the plot twists we have in mind.

Show Plot Twist ▼

 

Death

This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as viewers. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re basing our selection on.

Show Death Picks ▼

 

Trap

“It’s a trap!” and by that we mean a guy cross-dressing as a remarkably cute-looking girl. Gender bender is also acceptable since we’re simply looking for the character who gave off a disturbingly unsettling feeling with how well they portrayed the opposite sex. In short, the character who managed to deceive others (and us!) into thinking they’re actually a cute girl, if even only for a moment.

Stilts: No matter who won this award, I knew one thing going in: Hanazawa Kana would be voicing them. Of all the traps this year, two were lightyears ahead: Megumu of Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, and Daruku of Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin. Megumu was the girlier of the two, the one who everyone treated as part of Souta’s harem even though he kept protesting that he was a guy! Which was funny, and certainly confusing (as a good trap ought to be), but to me, Daruku takes the cake because of his clear attraction to his “master”, Tensai. Most traps are treated so completely like girls that being gay is practically mandatory, but Daruku remained interested in the ladies, even if he was cuter than most of them. Add in some hilarious opening skits when Juugo didn’t yet know the maid was packing heat—and then how his crossdressing settled into complete normality, remarked upon by no one—Daruku wins the Admiral Akbar award for the year.

Honorable Mentions: Megumu (Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara), Kashima (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Tsugumi (Nisekoi)

 


Genre


Short

In the genre section, the goal is to pick the series of the year for their respective classes. These are pretty much the series that brought their A-game to the table and are viable candidates for our best anime of the year.

First up is a relatively new category, Best Short. Shorts tend to get a bad rap. Where once they were mostly low-budget productions not worth your time, nowadays many shorts are of very high quality, with stories and situations exceedingly well-suited to their short run times. This category is for any series with a run time of less 15 minutes or less that defied the stereotype and gave us a good show.

Zephyr: There were plenty of shorts worth watching this year, but none more enjoyable than the hilarious and nostalgia inducing Tonari no Seki-kun. We were all kids once, and this show was one that highlighted some of the hilarious things many of us did at one point or another during our childhood. Granted, we probably never did the things Seki did (or had an outside observer like Yokoi), but there’s a measure of fun to be had messing around (or watching someone do it), and Tonari no Seki-kun really caught the essence of that while also setting a mark for consistency—providing laughs on and off for nearly half a year. Just make sure not to get caught watching this in the middle of class or something.

Honorable Mentions: Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san, Orenchi no Furo Jijou, Yama no Susume Second Season

Stilts: When Yama no Susume 2 began, I thought I would be giving this award to it, just as we did last year. I’m not. The animation, atmosphere, acting, and pacing were all still there. The problem was in the character arcs. That’s what made the first season stand out so much, but when Aoi spend a third of the season complaining, it lessened my enjoyment. The character growth and drama felt more manufactured this time around. Instead, it’s Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken that takes my top spot, for giving us an adult story in an industry so filled with high schoolers. Seeing a relationship begin is only half the story, and this gave us the other part. That, combined with funny jokes, touching moments, and an unexpected ending that leaves me with high hopes for a different kind of second season, make it my best short of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Yama no Susume 2, Onee-chan ga Kita

 

Action

Action, action, and more action! The action genre ranges anywhere from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha shows. For battles, choreography plays a huge role, so that was definitely taken into consideration.

Zephyr: Kill la Kill might not have met the lofty expectations put on it, but it certainly set the bar high from an action perspective. Endlessly over the top and flat out ridiculous at times, this was a series that put its foot on the action pedal early and never let up. Cannon fodder were dispatched almost every episode in the thousands, flashy transformations preceded each butt-kicking (which inevitably led to someone being stripped of their clothing), and that’s not even scratching the surface. Did I mention the giant scissor blades, new opponents showing up every week with ridiculous abilities, the epic Kamui battles between Ryuuko and Satsuki, and the half-naked nudists that ran around with city-sized ships (and glowing private parts)? How about the fight with the megalomaniac who went around trying to take over the world by slipping things in people’s clothing? Or the epic, adrenaline rush inducing soundtrack made to complement it all? This was one show where “don’t lose your way” meant defeating all your enemies with overwhelming force, and that was fine with me. I’ll say, each of the candidates here had some pretty darn good action scenes, so you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices here.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO, Akame ga Kill!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Strike the Blood

Stilts: There were a lot of good action shows this year, so this pick was especially hard. Honestly, consider any of my honorable mentions the winner, and you won’t be wrong. I hardly need to explain why Kill la Kill is there, nor the blood-soaked, superpowered combat of Akame ga Kill. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei! was stunning, with Kuro and Bazett proving themselves to be exciting (as well as unpredictable and/or terrifying) challengers. I almost picked ALDNOAH.ZERO, because, though the plot was a bit of a mess, the action was always exciting, especially when Inaho entered the field and came up with some ingenious way to take down the baddies. But Sidonia no Kishi takes the win for giving us the kind of full-throttled space combat I didn’t realize I missed so much. Not only was it exciting, I was never sure which way a given battle would go, nor how Tanikaze & co would (or would not) pull out a win. With the very real possibility that characters could die, that amped up the tension and uncertainty to highs no other series matched. Plus, how could I not give the win to the series with a friggin’ trench run? Not an easy choice, but it’s the only one I could make.

Honorable Mentions: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei!, ALDNOAH.ZERO, Akame ga Kill, Kill la Kill

 

Romance

Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationship between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.

Zephyr: At some point, you’ve probably wanted to do something over again or be given another chance. It didn’t always end up happening, but sometimes life does gift us a second chances, and Ao Haru Ride’s all about the potential that can come from it. Amid thematic foci relating to being genuine vs. pretending to be someone else, Ao Haru Ride was first and foremost about a romantic opportunity being given a second life, and whether or not one can overcome issues that resulted from missing the chance in the first place. This was a romance that took its time to develop, and even if it didn’t conclude with a confirmed relationship, was easily the best pick for this category due to the great romantic interactions between the main pairing and the friends that joined them. This was a story that demonstrated how even though time changes people and circumstances, it doesn’t have to change everything, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to change something either. Ao Haru Ride was a romance that reached further thematically, ultimately eclipsing the romantic decagon (or something) that Nagi no Asukara gave us and the great chemistry we got between Soredemo Sekai’s Livius and Nike.

Honorable Mentions: Isshuukan Friends, Nagi no Asukara, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

Stilts: Part of me wanted to give this Nagi no Asukara, and that may have been the romance that I enjoyed the most, for I’m a sucker for a story I can’t call ahead of time (between the time skip and the couple scrambles, they made it hard). But romance has such a greater role to play in Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, and the transformation that takes place within and between Nike and Livius is, simply put, beautiful. It’s a cliche to say that love conquers all, but it’s a cliche for a reason, and it’s one we saw unfold naturally between them. This is an anime I wasn’t sure I’d even watch—sadistic king throws feisty princess in jail isn’t a premise that filled me with optimism. But like my beloved Sakurasou, the premise turned out to be a pale shadow of what we got. Nike changed Livius by being herself, and was changed in return, as love blossomed amid the blasted lands like the rain that came when Nike sang. It wasn’t the dramatic love of so many romances, but that’s all right. Sometimes love is enough.

Honorable Mentions: Nagi no Asukara, Isshukan Friends, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

 

Drama

A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.

Zephyr: Love her or hate her, you have to admit that the drama category would be incomplete with entries from Okada Mari. In this case, it’s three separate entries—she ain’t the queen of drama for nothing—and each one piles on the drama like no other series this year. M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane had trauma filled cast compounded by the Earth’s imminent demise at the hands of the darkness known as “the Lightless Realm,” Selector Infected WIXOSS was a tale of girls that merely wanted to have their wishes granted and then found those wishes horribly twisted, and Waremete (the only non-Okada entry and surprise late-comer) finds itself here on part of its trauma-filled, time travel-related story-line. Each of the aforementioned filled the drama void for those seeking it, but all pale in comparison to Nagi no Asukara, which provided an apocalyptic backdrop, a love polygon with so many sides that I don’t want to bother specifying, and two-cours of land/sea division elements to boot. Despite this, Asukara isn’t the most dramatic of the works listed here, but it wins the category due it being the best executed one—ironic considering how this comes on the heels of Okada easing off the drama pedal rather than flooring it.

Honorable Mentions: M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete.

Stilts: Drama is bound into the very DNA of Isshuukan Friends. The very premise promises it, at every step, and it delivers with a balance of lightness and worry that runs through the story. Every happy moment comes with the knowledge that Kaori will forget, and if something goes wrong—she misplaces her diary, or doesn’t see her note, or someone from her past comes back—the delicate happiness she and Hase-kun have built will shatter. It’s gentle, letting us hope … only to pull that rug out from under us. But not too much! Never too much, so we always keep coming back for more. It makes us earn the happy ending as much as the characters do. Nagi no Asukara ranks for mixing romantic drama with worldwise peril, and throwing an unexpected time skip into the mix, whereas Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru is nearly a classical tragedy, with all the pain that implies.

Honorable Mentions: Nagi no Asukara, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta

 

Sci-Fi

When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation. However, that’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.

Zephyr: Praised by the likes of Hideo Kojima and other industry figures, Sidonia no Kishi comes in as the easy pick for best Sci-Fi series of 2014. Set in a post-apocalyptic future and rife with conspiracies, mecha combat, aliens, and even touching upon genetic engineering, Sidonia no Kishi was everything a Sci-Fi fan could want and then some. It showcased the resilience, imagination, and potential of the human race, teased a future where we’ve left our home planet (albeit unwillingly), and topped things off by taking the effort to account for the physics of motion and projectiles while it was at it. The series was a blast of fresh air in more ways than one, capturing the essence of the genre like few others have in recent years. The 3D CGI left some things to be desired, but as a kind of series that doesn’t come around often anymore, that’s one small flaw I’d gladly take. Following behind and worth a mention is Uchuu Kyoudai, which brought back bittersweet memories of a now defunct manned space shuttle program, the potential it had (and still has), and the notion that space is indeed humanity’s final frontier.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO, Black Bullet, Captain Earth, PSYCHO-PASS 2, Uchuu Kyoudai

Stilts: I feel like I didn’t get to watch much sci-fi this year, but it hardly matters, because Sidonia no Kishi would have clobbered just about anything the industry could throw out. It’s old school hard sci-fi, an epic tale in outer space, complete with a war against an alien species that’s threatening to push humanity the rest of the way to extinction. It’s rare to get an anime with this kind of ambition or scale, but more than that, it’s how it thinks about (and answers) all the little questions we have about life aboard a ship like Sidonia. How do they grow food? What happens when they die? What’s with that talking bear? (That one’s still a bit weird) The wrinkles with photosynthesis and the third gender are especially interesting. Add in a bunch of badass mechs, and Sidonia no Kishi is the unquestioned king of the sci-fi realm.

Honorable Mentions: ALDNOAH.ZERO, Uchuu Kyoudai, Log Horizon

 

Horror/Thriller

The best horror shows are those that incite visceral feelings of shock, fear, and pulse-pounding dread. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.

Zephyr: As much as I wanted to select Tokyo Ghoul for this category, there was just no avoiding Zankyou no Terror as the winner here. The whole cat and mouse game between Five and Sphinx might not have floated everyone’s boats, but there’s no denying the thrilling nature of their interactions, especially when put together with the backdrop of terrorism, 9/11 style attacks, and the specter of nuclear annihilation. This was a story that surprised people by even making it to broadcast, and I’m glad it did, because there were few shows quite like it when it came to the overall experience—one that was gripping at times, unsettling at others, and flat-out controversial when it came to the messages Watanabe might’ve wanted to send with it. The latter was worth watching the series for on its own, as was the breath-taking finale, which left many of its viewers with a range of emotions a true psychological thriller should.

Honorable Mentions: Black Bullet, Gokukoku no Brynhildr, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, Tokyo Ghoul

Stilts: When it comes to an unsettling atmosphere, Tokyo Ghoul has this award locked down. The gore, the warped personalities, and the uncomfortable connotations all combine to make a chill slide up the spine. Yet, when it comes to unsettling ideas, Zankyou no Terror is well ahead, and its superior execution gives it the nod. Terrorists are so maligned in today’s climate, but it’s worth remembering that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and that the “good guys” can be more evil than even the villains. Seeing the way of the world flipped on its head, where the police are detonating bombs and the terrorists are trying to stop them, was disorienting, and the message we were left with at the end was an interesting one.

Honorable Mentions: Tokyo Ghoul, Gokukoku no Brynhildr, Akame ga Kill!, Black Bullet

 

Mystery

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Thought-provoking storylines that keep inquisitive viewers watching and speculating on where things are headed? Yes, please. They don’t necessarily have to have a horror element to them either, as all we’re looking for here is a blend of detective/crime fiction.

Zephyr: This year was interesting in that none of the candidates were mysteries in the sense that GOSICK or UN-GO were years back. All the “mysteries” here weren’t so much detective stories as they were just a part of a plot line that bled into other genres (Nanana was more an adventure and Zankyou more a thriller) and the fact that some candidates had plot twists intricately tied with their mysteries made this an even harder category to decide on. There’s going to be a lot of differences here depending on personal preference as a result, but personally I settled on Hitsugi no Chaika, as the mystery behind the Chaikas were arguably one of the biggest questions of the year. Every few episodes bought even more questions as to who was the “real” Chaika and why there were so many of them, and the end game only served to deepen the confusion further. The fact that none of them were actually real—Gaz had no daughter—just added to this mystery’s impact and played a big part in why this series ended up exceeding expectations.

Honorable Mentions: M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete, Zankyou no Terror

Stilts: My favorite thing about Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin was probably the treasure hunting, which is something I wish we had more of. Seeing Juugo, Tensai, Isshin, and all the others—though mainly Tensai—think their way through the puzzles to get to the treasures was both fun and interesting, though it was the overall mysteries that kept it from being Legends of the Hidden Temple: The Anime. (Not that I wouldn’t watch that.) I still wonder who murdered Nanana, though that’s so far out there I never expected to get an answer in the season we got. The motivations of all the various factions (and the continual reveals or double-crosses) are what kept me interested, providing a new mystery all the time.

Honorable Mentions: Hitsugi no Chaika, Gokukoku no Brynhildr

 

Fantasy

Where science fiction seeks to explain the remarkable happenings of its universe via technology and logic, fantasy is less concerned with that. Wizards, dragons, and Tolkien-esque adventures are what usually come to mind, but those aren’t mandatory. As long as the focus is less on what makes the world tick and more on using magic and wonder to tell a story, it’s probably a fantasy tale you’re looking at.

Zephyr: It seems like every year that there’s something Monogatari related in the running for this category, and rightfully so. There are few things quite like it, and Hanamonogatari is the latest in the long line of sequels and side-stories to take the mantel of best fantasy. Arguably one of the better iterations, Hanamonogatari was a step up on the maturity scale in terms of how it tackled themes ranging from emotional insecurities to schadenfreude, the importance of meat, and the duality of wishes etc., while also serving an important role as a sequel by showing us how some of our well-loved characters from the original series ended up. Araragi’s car was worth watching for in and of itself, and one can’t forget the confirmation that Kaiki’s indeed alive following the dramatic ambush of the previous season. Aside from that, it was the usual mixture of witty dialogue, enjoyable banter, strange oddities, head-tilts, and fan-service that the series has been known for, allowing this fabulous modern fantasy franchise continues its roll as the top devil monkey dog of yet another year—even in the face of stiff competition from a year filled with some pretty darn good fantasies.

Honorable Mentions: Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, Log Horizon, Nagi no Asukara, No Game No Life, Tokyo Ravens

Stilts: This was a fantasy-filled year, and as Random Curiosity’s resident fantasy author, I could not be happier. I love fantasy where magic seeps into every facet of the world, and this year gave me plenty to choose from. Of them all, none were so incontrovertibly shaped by its magic as No Game No Life. It’s a world where magic can do anything, provided it’s wagered on a game, but because it’s only the magic that results from games that shatters all the rules, it doesn’t feel like they’re pulling spells out of their asses all the time. (That the main characters have little magic themselves helps.) The entire world also oozes with fantasy, from the color palette to the fantasy races to the vibrant scenery that undergirds everything. Honorable mentions go to Log Horizon, which is more hard fantasy/sci-fi, Tokyo Ravens for the ways magic has changed a world similar to our own, and Hitsugi no Chaika, for being an old school D&D-style adventure.

Honorable Mentions: Log Horizon, Tokyo Ravens, Hitsugi no Chaika, Nagi no Asukara

 

Comedy

The ability to make you laugh until you cry – that’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.

Zephyr: If you ever find yourself looking for a good comedy, you needn’t look far. 2014 was one of the best years for the comedy genre in recent memory, and every single series here made its viewers laugh for one reason or another. The only question is which series made viewers laugh the most, and for me, it’s quite clear this year’s winner was Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Powered by misunderstandings that started only thirty seconds in, Nozaki-kun was a riot that left me in stitches week in and week out, powered by a memorable cast of characters that could make you laugh without saying a single word. Whether you’re into deadpan humor, jokes at others’ expenses, bathroom jokes, slapstick routines, or any mixture of jokes you can think of, chances are it was used at some point with this series, and to great effect (especially when you include cardboard boxes). In a year filled with great laughs, this was a head taller than the rest, even though you can’t go wrong with any of the shows listed here.

Honorable Mentions: Barakamon, D-Frag!, Nourin, Seitokai Yakuindomo*

Stilts: I feel like 2014 was the Year of the Comedy. There were so many good ones, I had a hard time deciding which would make my honorable mentions, but the winner was never in question. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun was not only hilarious every episode, it was smart. By playing with gender conventions, it felt fresh, and had an undercurrent of satire that poked fun at the tropes we’ve come to expect. Aided by a cast of colorful characters which could be mixed and matched for endless fun, it’s one of the rare comedies that not only remains funny, but gets better every week. Sabagebu! gets honorable mentions for its slapstick comedic sociopathy, Barakamon for being equal measures funny and heartwarming, D-Frag! for bringing the pure gags, and Amaburi for bringing back that old school KyoAni comedy.

Honorable Mentions: Sabagebu!, Barakamon, Amagi Brilliant Park, D-Frag!

 

Romantic Comedy

The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often – but not always – in harem-like scenarios.

Zephyr: When it comes to Nisekoi, the first thing that comes to mind for most viewers is how it could’ve been over in its first episode or two. Combine that with the prevalence of generic elements, and it’s easy to see where some would end up disliking this show to no end. For me though, the fact that it didn’t try to be something it wasn’t made it an enjoyable watch, and it’s not every day that a series makes me binge watch the entire series in the span of a few days. Once you get past the aforementioned, Nisekoi’s a series that fits the RomCom genre perfectly, and it was pretty darn hilarious getting trolled week in and week out in regards to who made the original promise with Raku ten years prior. Shaft being Shaft added a unique stylistic touch to the series only they could do, and this was a show that led me by the nose throughout its entire run. Nisekoi might not have floated everyone’s boats due to clichéd nature, but it was darn enjoyable to watch regardless (sometimes inexplicably so), and it’s this consistent entertainment value that ultimately propels it above the other “fresher” series listed here in this category.

Honorable Mentions: Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, Sakura Trick

Stilts: While this category is usually dominated by harem shows, but only one of my honorable mentions features a harem this time. It’s the comedy and the teasing that won out this year, and none were so good at that as Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou. Usa-kun’s progress with Ritsu was so agonizingly slow, with little hints and teases to say that he was getting somewhere, maybe, just maybe! He came to understand her so well, so I was really rooting for them, but it was clear that Ritsu’s personality would make any progress slow, so the tease marched on. Add in plenty of colorful comedy from the cast of crazy characters, and Kawaisou is a certifiable winner. Runners up Mikakunin de Shinkoukei and Sakura Trick both avoided the harem train, with the former all around the main couple while the latter was lusty indeed. Only Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? had an identifiable harem, a budding one at least, and one I feel that many didn’t catch. it’s funny, lovey, heartfelt, and worth it.

Honorable Mentions: Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, Sakura Trick, Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?

 

Slice of Life

A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.

Zephyr: I came into this entry thinking I’d be picking Barakamon, but that’d be forgetting Gin no Saji another year, which I just couldn’t do. The second season was emotionally powerful, packed full of quality character development and interaction, and gave insight into a life style that many of us can only imagine. It’s a story led by one of this year’s more memorable characters in Hachiken Yugo, and it’s a coming of age tale filled with many of the pains and aches associated with that notion. This was truly a slice of life in every sense of the word, encompassing the potential one’s future can hold, the harsh realities that lie in the shadows, the fact that each day will bring both good and bad times, and included personal experiences straight out of the author’s life to boot. It only helps that the series had a pretty darn memorable ED sequence to boot (even if it didn’t make my final shortlist), and this was a testament to how a slice of life series can be so much more. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that a slice of life has to have extra themes or perfect execution to be notable, but it sure helps, and many of this year’s entries gave that extra mile thematically—a notion that made this year a strong one for this category.

Honorable Mentions: Amagi Brilliant Park, Barakamon, Hanayamata, Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de, Isshuukan Friends

Stilts: I’ve heard Barakamon likened to the family television of old, something heartwarming and reliably funny that the whole family can watch together. That strikes me as the right way to look at it. I’ve heard that the source material has a different (and deeper) tone, but from my anime-only perspective, Barakamon did what it set out to do: show us the everyday life on a backwater island, show how it changes you through Handa-sensei’s character arc, and make us laugh along the way. It’s the kind of slice of life I like, the kind where, most of the time you’re just enjoy the sights, until all of a sudden you realize that the characters have changed forever. Hanayamata was perhaps my favorite slice of life of the year, but it doesn’t have the depth to earn itself the title of Best. For the record, I would have picked Gin no Saji 2, but I don’t consider it slice of life. We just don’t have a category for coming-of-age stories, so it gets an honorable mention here.

Honorable Mentions: Gin no Saji 2, Hanayamata, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?, Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de

 

Sports

Eagerly requested and the newest addition to this post, this category seeks to celebrate the competitive past times many of us cherish—at least, the animated equivalents of them. Chances are you’re no Roger Federer or Lebron James, but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine ourselves as him or enjoy watching people like him play, and this category seeks to include those series that gave us a great take on a particular sport, with bonus points given to quality animations, insight into mental aspects of the game, and other athletic intangibles.

Zephyr: With volleyball, ping pong, tennis, and cycling on the agenda, there was something for everyone this year, and all of them had a unique take on their sport that made them worth watching. I didn’t get to watch all the sports series this year, but out of the ones I did get to watch, Ping Pong the Animation was the one that stood out for me the most, narrowing inching out the great Haikyuu!!. Short and sweet, Ping Pong demonstrated the ability to tell an engaging narrative in a short time span and with shoestring budget. Stylish to boot, this was a series that focused not so much on the matches itself (which were pretty epic), but the memorable cast behind it and their reasons for being involved in the game. It didn’t shy away from broaching topics like talent vs. effort, and there’s much to be said about how it depicts the difficulties of aiming for the top and the perspective of casual players. Ping Pong was a series that truly hit on all aspects of the sport, left viewers with important life lessons while it was at it, and it’s a show that has value not only as a must watch for sports fans, but also for those not normally interested in the genre and/or the sport. Did I mention how much I loved the extra effort put into ensuring the Chinese players were voiced with genuine speakers of the language?

Honorable Mentions: Baby Steps (Enzo’s recommendation), Haikyuu!!, Yowamushi Pedal

 


Notable Others


Most Underappreciated

There are numerous shows out there that people don’t watch or continue watching because they’re so fixated on what’s unanimously popular. We make a point of watching and covering series that tend to be overlooked, so this is intended to highlight the series that more people should have checked out but probably didn’t.

Zephyr: Each of the series named here came short of the appreciation that it should have received during its initial airing, but none fell short as Nobunaga Concerto. Left at a miserable #2000+ rank popularity wise on MyAnimeList at time of writing, this was a series that initially turned off viewers due to its 3D CGI and the fact that it was yet another Nobunaga related plotline. Those that looked past the CGI though, were ultimately rewarded with a series that threw expectations out the window and provided some quality laughs and enjoyment before it was all said and done. The circumstances that lead to our protagonist’s taking of Nobunaga’s mantle was an absurd way to start, and the series only followed this up with some hilarious misunderstandings and abuses relating to the Saburou’s modern knowledge and gadgets. It may not have been a masterpiece and it’s not something everyone would enjoy, but there’s certainly a huge discrepancy here in terms of popularity, ratings, actual content, and discussion about the series—a common thread that links all the candidates in this category.

Honorable Mentions: Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Uchuu Kyoudai

Stilts: It’s probably the old school aesthetic that turns people off on Majimoji Rurumo. I understand, I really do—had I not previewed it, I may not have watched it either. That would have been a mistake though, because it’s one funny show. It’s adapted from a manga written by Watanabe Wataru, more famous for Yowamushi Pedal, which is popular for a reason. The same skill, care, and execution that made Yowapeda such a success is on display in Majimoji, and its seemingly generic premise only serves to hide its quality. But all of my honorable mentions are similarly overlooked, and worthy of your time.

Honorable Mentions: Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?, Inou Battle, Nobunagun, Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara

 

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedent established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

Zephyr: When it comes to disappointments, the important part to consider is the discrepancy between expectations and the actual results. As much as I wanted to fit in series like Mahou Sensou in here (one of the worst shows I’ve ever watched), the fact I never had that much prior expectation makes them ineligible for this category, which is why this’ll be a short and sweet entry rather than a rage filled one. The “winner” of the biggest disappointment should come as no surprise, owing to the collective hype train that followed its initial announcement and PV and the rapid downfall following its broadcast. Whereas one initially expected a magical fantasy + romance, the only magic that came out of Glasslip was how it was possible to make a series this bad in the first place, and there aren’t any words to describe how badly this series missed the mark. Awkward confessions, terrible character interactions, nonsensical developments, chickens, and a conclusion that didn’t resolve anything were just some of the problems that plagued this, and every extra word I spend on this show is one too many.

Honorable Mentions: Pupa

Stilts: I’m tremendously lucky, because I fell behind on Glasslip after only watching the first episode, and when I asked if I should marathon it the week before it ended, I was met with a resounding “NO!”. Bullet dodged. I’ve actually gotten better at dropping losers early in general, so I had to dig deeper for this category. Golden Time hits the list primarily because it was written by Takemiya Yuyuko, who also wrote Toradora!. That gave romance fans high expectations, so when Golden Time exposed itself as a total mess, disappointment was inevitable. Mahouka is here not because of its polarizing source material—though it has that too—but because they rushed through the source material so fast that even most fans were disappointed with the anime. (Though it’s not like it’s the only rushed adaptation. Not by far.) But the biggest loser to me is Tokyo ESP, for having good source material full of lively humor and strong characters, and screwing it all up. The unnecessary cold open episode one destroyed the pacing for the rest of the season, and it never caught up. Whoever made that decision shot Tokyo ESP in the foot, and wasted everyone’s time.

Honorable Mentions: Golden Time, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

 

Exceeded Expectations

Naturally, there’s the exact opposite of the above, where we go into a series with low or little-to-no expectations and it turns out much better than we anticipated. This could easily be considered finding diamonds in the rough, which is only possible if you tend to give new shows the benefit of the doubt. Our picks here don’t necessarily mean they’re blockbuster hits in disguise, but that the disparity between expectations and the actual series goes in the favorable direction.

Zephyr: When it comes to multi-cour series, it’s imperative that one consider the whole picture before making a judgment, lest you miss a series that ends up being a hidden gem. Tokyo Ravens was one such example. Starting off with a slow build filled with potential, this was a story that really got off the ground the second half and exceeded expectations with just how enjoyable it ended up. Key revelations were abound, plot twists ran rampant, and epic contests of magic a constant in what turned out to be an intricately crafted story. I’d go on in depth, but as Stilts and I already wrote a whole finale post about it, I’ll just say that this is one fantasy I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, and it’s just a pity that the lack of sales it received will likely mean we won’t ever get the sequel it deserves. Rounding out the category are an assortment of other similar series that weren’t masterpieces, but good/great series that did a lot more than what they were expected to initially or turned out more enjoyable than expected. Sadly, most of the series here also shared the common fate of not having received weekly coverage, a notion I hoped is rectified to some degree by their inclusion here.

Honorable Mentions: Hitsugi no Chaika, Nobunaga Concerto, Strike the Blood

Stilts: It’s not that I went into Tokyo Ravens with low expectations. I thought it looked decent. The Japanese-style magic didn’t tickle my fancy, but it was well animated and the direction seemed good, so I thought it’d be all right. And for the first half, that’s what it was. Then it got awesome. Everything that came before built into an explosion of revelations, confrontations, and plot twists where every episode surpassed the one before it, no matter how high my expectations soared. Strike the Blood was similar, though it didn’t rise to quite such great heights, while Sabagebu! was something entirely different from what I expected, in a good way. As for Shingeki no Bahamut GENESIS and Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, these originals sailed into the fall season under the radar, only to explode into something great once they arrived.

Honorable Mentions: Sabagebu!, Shingeki no Bahamut GENESIS, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, Strike the Blood

 


And Finally…


Best Anime 2014

The be-all, end-all of the year. This pick is always a hotbed of controversy, so here’s the exact criteria we used to make it: if we were to meet an anime fan for the first time and they were to ask us to recommend a show that aired in 2014, what would it be? Without knowing the person’s tastes, we would naturally default to the show that did the most things right, one that had wide appeal and deserved it, that had superb animation and told its story well, and above all else, that we enjoyed. The winner of this category should be a high anticipation show that supremely deserved it, or a dark horse that blew everyone out of the water. This is subjective as hell, but you can find a list of our best picks below.

Zephyr: The great, consistent narratives typically win the best of anime category for me, so it’s only fitting that another in Uchuu Kyoudai takes the reins as this year’s big winner. I went in depth in the story category already, but this was a series that demonstrated the ability of anime to tell a realistic and potent narrative without relying on excess drama or cheap thrills, and it was a near hundred episode series whose run felt much shorter than it actually was. Topping it off with great interactions and a strong cast of characters, this was a series that was strong all around, and made me remember the days I looked into the sky and thought about going into space. Motion sickness and general physical frailness derailed that idea, but that doesn’t stop me from believing that even though we were “born on this Earth, we were never meant to die here.” Space is truly the final frontier for humanity, and Uchuu Kyoudai highlighted that and everything it entails. That said, many of the other candidates were all quite close to one another impressions wise, and I’ll say I did not have fun sorting through the honorable mentions. I’ll just say some shows that deserved to be here didn’t make it and I’ll point you to my individual category winners for a better idea of the full list. (I did not manage to complete Hunter x Hunter (2011) so it was not considered.)

Honorable Mentions (In Order): Nagi no Asukara, Sidonia no Kishi, No Game No Life, Ping Pong the Animation, Hanamonogatari

Stilts: I’ll admit, I have pulpy tastes. While some assuredly outstanding series have slid onto my backlog thanks to an overly busy life, it’s the shows with the most pure entertainment value that took my top spots. No Game No Life was, from the very first episode, pure, unadulterated fun. It took its fantasy premise and played it to the hilt, delivering a clash of the titans based not on shounen-style power ups, but corkscrew cleverness, intellectual one-upmanship, and the guts to wager everything—and I mean everything—in the name of winning the game. It’s over-the-top in the best of way, and expertly guided by the woman who is quickly becoming my favorite director, Ishizuka Atsuko. The art is beautifully surreal, the main characters are as brilliant as they are broken, and every episode is ingenious, thrilling, and frequently hilarious. Few shows burst to life like No Game No Life, which is one of the many reasons why it takes my top spot. But my honorable mentions aren’t far behind.

Honorable Mentions: Log Horizon, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Gin no Saji 2, Nagi no Asukara, Sidonia no Kishi

 

Best OVA/Movie 2014

The same as above, except for the not-regularly-broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but we’ve each had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eyes.

Zephyr: Controversial as it may have been, Madoka Magica’s third movie comes in as the easy winner for this year’s Best OVA/Movie. As a die-hard fan of the original series, this was an addition I feared initially but came to love—impressive considering the many issues I could’ve had with it. Instead of being a mere money grab, it added to the story where I didn’t anticipate it could, and guided things down a natural path that made a whole lot of sense in hindsight (more on that in my initial post). The verdict’s still out on whether that ending was what should’ve transpired or not, but there’s no denying the fact the movie was a spectacular watch—filled with budget blowing transformations, action, animation and yet another great accompaniment from Yuki Kajiura. It was equal parts a nostalgia trip and a powerful story, and it was great being given one more chance to revisit the amazing world where magical girls reside, risking their lives to protect us from threats that we don’t even know exist. That said, if it were anything but Madoka Magica, it would’ve been a pretty interesting fight between the respective finales of both the Kara no Kyoukai (a series I loved so much I bought a ton of exclusive, signed art from it) and Gundam Unicorn franchises. The stars didn’t align to allow that to happen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still appreciate the series and respective franchises for what they were though: simply amazing and worth watching again and again.

Honorable Mentions (In Order): Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin, Gundam Unicorn Episode 7, Persona 3 the Movie: Spring of Birth, Sakasama no Patema

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2014

Your choice for 2014. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.

The Top 5:
Hunter x Hunter (2011) – 2765 (10.6%)
No Game No Life – 1,653 (6.34%)
ALDNOAH.ZERO – 1,290 (4.95%)
Kill la Kill – 1,145 (4.39%)
Log Horizon – 1,052 (4.03%)
Total Number of Votes – 26,074
Here are the full results.

Excerpt by

Hunter x Hunter takes the gold for this year! Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it, though the glowing praise Enzo and others have heaped upon it make me feel guilty for not having watched it. It’s on my (ever-growing) backlog, I swear. I’m pleased to see a couple of my own shows, No Game No Life and Log Horizon, break the top five, with my own number one taking the number two spot. Woo! ALDNOAH.ZERO and Kill la Kill (both covered by Zephyr) aren’t surprises, if only because they’re so widely watched, though it’s hard to deny the style in Trigger’s first original. I’m also pleased to see three comedies cracking the top ten, including Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun at number six.

 

Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2014

Your OVA/Movie choice of 2014. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching them and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2013, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.

The Top 5:
Madoka Magica the Movie – Part III: Hangyaku no Monogatari – 589 (5.38%)
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn OVA (Episode 7) – 465 (4.25%)
Kill la Kill Special – 424 (3.87%)
Tamako Love Story – 408 (3.73%)
Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin – 379 (3.46%)
Total Number of Votes – 10,952
Here are the full results.

Excerpt by

Rounding out things for this year’s post is the Reader’s Choice for best OVA/Movie in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica the Movie – Part III: Hangyaku no Monogatari. Similar to last year’s winner in Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu, Madoka Magica was a beloved series on RC and among many fans in general, making this an unsurprising winner. Following behind is another expected front-runner in Gundam Unicorn’s climactic finale, which was followed by a higher than expected #3 and #4 ranking for the Kill la Kill Special and Tamako Love Story. I had been expecting Kara no Kyoukai, Persona 3, and Sakasama no Patema to score higher than they did, but all three did do fairly well, along with the AnoHana and GITS ARISE movies. Overall, the votes were interesting in terms of overall number—the winners received only half of last year’s—which reflected the strange decrease in the amount of OVA/Movies released in 2014 and correlated with a decrease in interest in them. Aside from that, the Reader’s Choice ended up very similar to my own personal picks, with four of the top six Reader’s Choices matching up with my personal favorites.


 

Excerpt by

While 2014 didn’t have a clear AOTY like in the past, I feel like we had a good crop of anime. Comedy and Fantasy were the big winners, with plenty of high quality series in both. We also had a lot of long-running and/or atypical shows that came to the end, series which probably weren’t featured as much in this post as they deserved to be, since some of them snuck past my and Zephyr’s fantasy/sci-fi biased eyes. Mushishi, for instance, would likely have featured prominently, were I not still working my way through the first season. My backlog, as ever, continues to grow. Help!

On a personal note, 2014 feels like the first year since I started blogging at Random Curiosity where I missed major shows due to sheer lack of time. From my full-time job to publishing a book, time has been scarce, and shows I really wanted to watch ended up falling through the cracks. Which is to say, if your favorite show isn’t here: It’s not it, it’s me. Or maybe Zephyr, but probably me. Am I saying this to cover my ass? Absolutely, though that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Looking forward to 2015, I’m optimistic once again. Winter is looking a little weak—which will hopefully give me some time to work on that backlog—but Spring is already looking like a winner, with high profile series in spades. If the trend of strong Summers continues, and we finish out strong with another good Fall, we could have another great year of anime ahead of us. I hope you’ll continue to visit Random Curiosity, so we can find out together.

313 Comments

      1. At least pupa was a series that let viewers slowly adjust their expectations from their delays and the announcements it would be reduced to a censored short. Glasslip was a full production from a studio and people we had no reason to expect less than above average from given what we knew going into its first few episodes. Alas.

        Just another example of how hard it is to predict these kind of things.

      2. Considering these:
        A studio known for creating great series in this specific genre,
        A stellar job from a just finished series,
        Great visuals,
        Extremely interesting plot and a more intriguing mystery that would have had you hooked
        Relatable characters with a good amount of buildup
        and a setting that people can sympathize with.
        They had all the elements to make a great story and a crowd that was hooked even before the show started, It’s no great wonder that the disappointment would be the highest. As they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

        Justpassingby
    1. Especially since before the hype was built, Nagi no Asukara became the awesome anime (if not masterpiece) it is, viewers were expecting the same for Glasslip, therefore the expectations were born. Oh, as I type this here, I keep on remembering the nightmare which is the moments of Glasslip in my mind…

      Red HeartGold ZX
      1. i think are from the people that only saw like three animes in the year and while answering the poll was like “ooh i remember the name “gasslip” lets choose it!” because that happens to me when it is for answering the ova´s/movies poll

        pimpolla
      2. Some people might actually like Glasslip. Everybody has different tastes.

        I watched it. It wasn’t the worst anime I’ve watched this year and out of the three anime I chose in the poll, Glasslip wasn’t one of them.

        theirs
    2. The reviewers have shit taste. Here’s the official top 5 anime of 2014:
      – Love Stage!!
      – Dramatical Murder
      – Free! -Eternal Summer-
      – Pupa
      – Glasslip – – – the undisputed masterpiece

      dfp396
  1. Prefect agreement on the OP/ED selection. Sidonia is such an appropriate song for the series I hope they keep it for S2 and Nagi-sama makes everything better. Tokohana’s intensity contrasting with Wasurenai tameni’s delicacy is so typical of my favourite angel voice.

    celebrinen
  2. I’m confident that Hunter x Hunter would be part of the Best List if you guys have seen it! At least it’s #1 on Reader’s Choice poll.

    + Unpredictable plot twists
    + Main characters are well developed and loveable
    + Villains also have depth and are very interesting
    + Minor characters themselves are unique
    + No fillers
    + Plenty of comedy to keep it balanced
    + Plenty of action , great battles
    + Never a dull moment
    + Mature theme
    + People actually die (if they are killed)
    + Music fits perfectly
    + Good pacing

    “You should enjoy the little detours in life to the fullest, because that’s where you’ll find things more important than what you want.” – Ging Freecss

    Dio
    1. HELL YEAH!!! Been a Hunter x Hunter fangirl since I was a fetus floating inside my Mama’s womb. It’s currently in the ”Top 5 Highest Rated Anime” on MAL so I’m glad it’s FINALLY getting the recognition it deserves. ✌(◕‿-)✌

      Togashi, Kentaro and George RR all need to write faster before I die of old age.

      Gon = a 12-year-old pro at handling older women. Still wondering if he truly is as innocent as he looks.
      http://geminispark-w.tumblr.com/post/96101121759/does-gon-really-like-older-women-thats-kinda

      silke13
      1. Silke said “in the top 5”, not that it was #5…

        More on topic, I should probably start watching HxH, though I’m always kinda hesitant to start watching something that’s longer than 2-cour. I believe I read that there isn’t boatloads of filler like Bleach/Naruto that I can skip, correct?

        SK
  3. Full on agreements for the romances and disappointments.
    For all the stuff I did watch, I pretty much agree with this list entirely.
    *Patiently waits for AHR s2 and Soredemo s2*

    Kabble
    1. I wonder if we’ll ever get those second seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’d gladly watch if they did, but there’s kind of that feeling that they might not have garnered enough sales/popularity to get a sequel sadly, if not only barely on the cusp (thus won’t get one for a while).

  4. Agreed with NGNL even though so many people are going to hate it. Thing is, I don’t finish that many shows because I only watch things that are entertaining to me. I drop shows like crazy and the fact that I couldn’t wait for NGNL every Wednesday seals the deal for me. Are there better action shows than NGNL? Definitely. Are there better quality animes than NGNL? For sure. But NGNL was the MOST entertaining (completely subjective) anime that I always looked forward to while it aired.

    Sheapy
    1. I’ve always felt that polls like this that judge series based on when they start did not think things through when they made the poll because it could easily be a 50 episode series that starts at the end of the year and you are expected to judge the entirety of the series based on 12-13 episodes (25% of the series). It could be a slow starter and you rate it low but it ends amazingly or it could be the complete opposite and start off strong but land itself into the wtf category not to long after. As a person we need to judge quickly if it’s something we like because we are in need of budgeting out our time to maximize our own personal entertainment. But when your goal is the comparison of series then compare apples to apples and judge them only after they have finished so you have the complete picture.

      With that said though Kiseiju so far has been a great anime adaptation deserving of praise.

      KoroshiyaKi
  5. Hunter x Hunter #1! Awww yeah!

    Great choices this year. I’m loving all the awards for Knights of Sidonia. Well-deserved. Best sci-fi anime in ages.
    Nice picks for the Most Underappreciated category, as well. Nobunaga Concerto and Majimoji Rurumo deserve more love.
    And on a side note, that Witch Craft Works ED is so damn cute.

    2014 was a good year for anime. Thanks to everyone at RC for all the hard work you guys always do. Let’s hope 2015 is an even better year.

    Mormegil
  6. If I myself could make the choices here, I’d probably place Space Dandy in the animation bit for sheer creativity. Also, some scenes were animated brilliantly.
    No surprise on the readers’ choice. I do feel compelled to tell the both of you to prioritize watching Hunter x Hunter, but you guys have busy lives and 148 episodes is quite a load. You get the benefit of the doubt on that one.

    On another note, I’m rather glad Tokyo Ravens got its well-deserved attention. It’s a show I’d wind up forgetting -even though I loved it- and that’s kind of a shame, really.

    And no worries about No Game, No Life. Though it wasn’t my definitive favourite, it was fun to no end, which is really a core value of entertainment that many people (including some writers) tend to lose sight of.

  7. I feel like Mushishi got overlooked. Just read the review on each episode on this very website! “Perfect anime” and “Could not add to this episode if I tried” are said like 100 times in the RandomC.

    Critically speaking, Mushishi is like The Godfather, or Breaking Bad, since it is a television show, while the rest of this is like LOST or The Walking Dead, supremely entertaining, but cannot compare in terms of pure quality.

    I suppose people like a show that has more continuity and less of a serial nature, but I can’t help feeling like we took entertainment over actual quality of story and artwork here.

    AlexKaplan
    1. I think that comparatively, Mushishi would be more like that piece of music that tugs your heartstrings whenever you hear it. Something that embodies the words “I’m speechless” through and through. Ephemeral, it is, yes, yet in simple things it brings about its nostalgic feel again and again. It’s greatest feat is that what it brings is an emotional reaction so sublime that few words can do it justice. A sad and happy thing it is, though.

      OK. Enough drama from me now.

      Justpassingby
      1. @Grant

        Believe me, if Stilts or I had the time to do it, we’d gladly watch Mushishi and Hunter x Hunter. But time as an obstacle is a real thing. I have a full-time job that keeps me busy essentially 7 days a week. Stilts was publishing a book. There’s only a certain amount of time available for either of us to watch anime.

        Given that, you tell me the choice to make when considering between Glasslip (a 13 episode show that showed a lot of promise prior to its airing), Hunter x Hunter (148 episodes), and Mushishi (46 episodes).

        Watching any of the latter two would have meant sacrificing time that could have been spent watching as much as 4-10 other one-cour series. That’s a huge difference maker when it comes to posts like this. Take 10 shows away and this post might’ve ended up a lot different. In fact, it might’ve ended up so off the mark or missing in the required “shows watched” totals that we would’ve had to scrap the post completely. You tell me which scenario is better.

        So you say stuff like “oh so the reviewers watched Glasslip instead of Mushishi or Hunter x Hunter?” like we knew Glasslip was going to be bad (Stilts didn’t even have time to watch it at all, by the way, so it goes to show you how much less time he had). You say that like we intentionally chose not to have time to watch a show that required a lot of it. You say that like we wanted to not watch the two shows.

        Nope. You can sit there believing otherwise, but that’s your prerogative, and it shows how little you understand about the perspective from our angle.

        To top things off, if Mushishi and Hunter x Hunter (2011) are the masterpieces that people claim they are, would you really want to be put in a scenario where you’re forcing yourself to watch them in a time-constrained environment out of a feeling of obligation to complete them in time?

        I would think not. I don’t know why you think it should be different for us.

        Masterpieces are meant to be savored. To be watched with the proper mindset in order to be enjoyed to the degree they were supposed to. I’m not sorry for not trying to force those shows into my schedule at the expense of my enjoyment, not only of those shows, but of anime and blogging in general.

      2. @Zephyr I think that’s 100% the right thing to do, especially as a writer on this site. Long shows are simply a long commitment and the expectations for them become established after a certain point and predictable for many episodes, so I feel like there would be diminishing returns from writing about them. It’s still good that they got covered though.

        I watch much less anime than you and the number decreases every year. My screening process involves skipping through the first episode of each anime and deciding if the anime is worth my time. So posts like this “Best of Anime” become more important to me year by year to catch up on anime that I missed out on. Therefore, I personally appreciate that you try to be as comprehensive as possible when it comes to watching shows, and I selfishly prefer it to you simply watching shows with established expectations even if you know they’re good.

        dxb_blackwolf
    2. Mushishi is exactly the kind of anime that tends to get overlooked. It’s neither the summer blockbuster nor the charming comedy that are easy to get into. Relative to other anime, it’s an art house piece, which stymies its mass appeal somewhat. Mushishi is also hard to market; there’s something to be said for the power of subtlety, but that doesn’t necessarily make for good PR. The magic of Mushishi is something one must experience oneself, which a lot of people are going to miss out on the first pass.

    3. We also had a lot of long-running and/or atypical shows that came to the end, series which probably weren’t featured as much in this post as they deserved to be … Mushishi, for instance, would likely have featured prominently, were I not still working my way through the first season. My backlog, as ever, continues to grow. Help!

    1. Aye, I missed Zvezda on this list too. It was such a quirky, weird little show. Definitely worth a mention for ‘most overlooked’ – though it’s kind of funny that it’s so overlooked that it doesn’t even make that list.

      At least Kanojo Flag got a mention.

      Dvalinn
  8. Congrats to the masterpiece that is Hunter x Hunter. The Yorkshin City and Chimera Ant arcs are my personal favorites.

    Haven’t seen or heard of Uchuu Kyoudai but I’m okey with No Game No Life being picked by Stilts. I at least enjoyed it. The game battles kept me guessing.

    esdesu
  9. Although my favorite season of the year was Fall and I did not see any of those get anything I still got reminded about some shows I totally forgot.
    I m still happy to find 1290 people share my taste for Aldonah and well yeah No game no life was awesome.
    Well I cannot blame anyone with so many shows to watch and lets hope next year is even better.

    laaa
  10. As a fan of comedy/slice-of-life/romance, this year has been a standout in my opinion. Top 5 for me were Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Amagi Brilliant Park, Mikakunin, No Game No Life, and Barakamon. I cannot remember a year packed full of such high quality series of this type, especially since the common norm over the past few years is to bank on the success of K-ON! (i.e. throw 4-5 girls together and show them do normal things in cute ways).

    Taiakun
    1. After the mediocre 1st arc, everyone was saying 2nd arc is better so I kept watching but no, it was not. Then they said 3rd arc is the best so I decided to give it another chance to my utter disappointment. And guess what? Now the LN readers are saying 4th Arc will be spectacular. Yeah, right! Lesson learned! Will avoid future SAO seasons like the plague.

      James
      1. x2
        I toiled through the first half of S1 because “It gets better, really. ALO is awesome”. Two episodes into ALO and dropped. Since Accel World and SAO I find it safer to just avoid Kawahara’s stuff as a whole.

        celebrinen
      2. I’d question whoever said the Fairy Dance(ALO) arc was better than the first, I thought it was clearly the least interesting of any even from an LN standpoint. As for the next arc, it’s by far the longest, though you (not you guys personally, but in general) should really know whether you would want to watch more of the series by now. 4 cours is more than enough to be able to tell someone, “No, I’m done with this series, I don’t care if you think it gets better.”

        SK
      3. Hm, I never heard anyone say that the 2nd arc of season 1 was better than the first.

        For second 2, the author more or less completely deviated from the initial formula and started exploring different kinds of stories, so each arc would naturally be hit or miss.

        Player
    2. Sadly, a lot of fans would say it’s “the best” simply because of the Mother’s Rosario arc, but not take into account the entire rest of the series (individual seasons or both together). When you do that, SAO was lacking a bit overall. It’s a pretty common thing when it comes to judging something – people will think the entirety of the thing being judged is good or better simply because one (small) part of it was good, even if the rest was average at best. (I liked the Mother’s Rosario arc, but the rest wasn’t really that spectacular to me, so I don’t think it deserves any sort of “best” praises.)

      Like, even today, I come across people who think James Cameron’s Avatar is still such a great movie SOLELY because of the visual technology that was used back then (which is now pretty commonplace), and never listen to others when they try to explain how the plot was overly preachy and just a sci-fi mixture of Ferngully coupled with the cliched “army vs. indigenous population” story, and the characters were boring, but no, just because it looked pretty, that’s all that matters to them and, sadly, the same can be said for a lot of people with any media. As long as it’s cool-looking, flashy, pretty, fast-paced, or something, that seems to be enough…

      HalfDemonInuyasha
  11. Great list. I agree with almost everything and I’m glad you noticed how great Gin no Sagi 2 was. D-Frag! was one of my favorites though but at least it got a mention 😛

    dxb_blackwolf
    1. I would have voted for Silver Spoon. The problem was that it was listed as Gin no Sagi and I didn’t recognize it at all. I think Silver Spoon would have gotten more votes if they placed the English name instead of the Japanese.

      grant
      1. Series have been and will continue to be listed by their initial Japanese pronunciation names here unless their English equivalent (“Death Parade” for instance) is actually used by the anime itself during broadcast as an official equivalent.

        For future reference, you should refer to the most commonly used official broadcast name and know that if it’s a regular non-OVA/Movie series it’s always going to be on the poll list. So no Japanese pronunciation –> look for English. No English –> look for Japanese. We compile independently using two different sources to make sure at least that list is complete.

        OVA/Movies are less so due to the nature of their releases as extra add-ons on BD/DVD’s instead of official broadcasts with large amount of information when any delays/issues occur.

      1. do please enlighten us with your definition of fantasy, because as far as i’m concerned a world where many supernatural phenomenon happens (hanamonogatari) and the protagonists being sent to another world where playing games replaces war(no game no life) are fantasy

        danes256
      2. @danes256

        That’s an arrogant way of asking, do you really want to hear another opinion?
        You’ve answered part of the question yourself, I’d place Hana in the supernatural genre. I’d accept that NGNL is fantasy-lite but when someone says “fantasy” I think high fantasy. So sorry that my tiny little insignificant opinion is so incredible narrow and small minded.

        celebrinen
    1. The fact that it’s based on a card game probably caused some prejudice in some people. Its actually the greatest High Fantasy anime we have in a long while. Even better than Log Horizon or SAO.

      TheMoondoggie
      1. Anime adaptation of card games are shit.

        But WIXOSS and Bahamut proves it can be more than that.

        In terms of selling toys, I feel WIXOSS and Bahamut outdid a recent Gundam show. Though I haven’t seen the real numbers yet, seeing people in /a/ play WIXOSS and post cards(Maya’s RL card is sexy) makes it look like it succeeded.

        TheMoondoggie
    1. This was just sad man
      I mean do the writers get to edit this post later or what “Just kidding .. not gonna happen”
      because this is not just , not in the right of a great anime like Mushshi

      Urahara
      1. Well , here is the thing , in four years or so when people read this to decide which anime they should watch and why , they will miss some big stuff
        I know because i have made some judgments based on ” Best of anime ” that you write each year
        and every year you never seem to miss anything big , except for this one

        Urahara
      2. We are not omnipotent. Things get missed. The question is just whether or not it’s the series you felt was great. I mentioned in depth the reasons behind not watching Mushishi and Hunter x Hunter above in a reply to Grant, so I won’t go into that, but I will echo Stilts’ sentiment.

        The real great shows will get people watching anyway, with or without this post. People will see its easy win in the Reader’s Choice. People will read the comments. If you’re confident in the show’s greatness, let it stand on its own. It’ll weather the test of time. I guarantee it.

  12. I checked out Hunter x Hunter last month after a youtube anime reviewer kept talking about it nonstop. And OMG I’m so glad I did. This is one of the best well thought out, character developed, and packed full of action packed fun I have seen yet. Every episode kept me hooked. I spent all winter break watching it. Somehow I finished all 148 episodes in 2 weeks. It was so good. If you haven’t seen it yet GO WATCH THIS ANIME!

    upsha
  13. Kind of a shame that even with Reader’s Choice, Gundam Build Fighters didn’t make the cut. Not often you see such a fun, honest love letter for long-lasting franchises like that.

    Suppose there is less broad appeal there, as opposed to existing Gundam fans.

    Nex
    1. True. It seems people here prefer the usual shallow, boring wars and politics of a franchise originally meant to sell robot toys than a show where it really shows what the franchise is all about: toys.

      TheMoondoggie
  14. It only shows that Madhouse creates almost quality animes I mean just look at NGNL,Hanayamata, HxH and the ongoing Parasyte, the way they create the story plus the visuals are so great, in short they are one of the best anime studio ever existed along with ufotable.

    Kirigiri
      1. I tried reading the LN, but I just couldn’t get hooked. Though I still think that the basis for magic are incredibly thought out, what it really needed was an anime which could translate this complexity onto the screen. Honestly, what it lacked most, for me, was the lack of a good soundtrack. I thought the soundtrack was terrible and was never able to set the mood

        Pharaoman
  15. Tokyo Ravens was a sure bet for exceeded expectations, I figured it for anther bland series like Mahou Sensou and Seirei Tsukai no Bladedance (two shows that will soon be forgotten forever) but it turned out to be awesome.

    I was sure Mahouka Kouko would have won for biggest disappointment, god that turned into a chore to watch quick.

    deVaras
    1. Eh? Seirei Tsukai‘s no masterpiece (though in all fairness, it never tried to be), that’s for sure, but I’d never put it alongside the crapfest that was Mahou Sensou.

      Ryan Ashfyre
    2. In all fairness, Serei is simply harem fantasy at its core, it never tried to be different, just be able to fit in with its niche appeal. But Mahou Sensou, tried too hard in being unique and failed at every turn. It is one of the animes that I knew would be bad that I even recommended people not to watch even before episode one. Something that I didn’t expect to happen in a million years.

      Justpassingby
      1. Considering I forgot Vanadis even existed until you mentioned it, I think you are right. That weird generic fantasy harem show with light action genre is so forgettable. Remember Campione! or Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero or 11 Eyes? I sure don’t and I own 11 Eyes. :p

        Absolute Duo started yesterday and it too will join the list.

        deVaras
      2. You should blame budget, we should all blame budget. Lack of budget is the only explanation that makes sense on why an anime is shit/forgettable.

        If Blade Dance has 25-26 episodes, we’ll actually see the actual Blade Dance and plot development.

        If Vanadis was any longer we’ll reach the second and third Arcs.

        TheMoondoggie
      3. I’ll say there’s a point in which budget only goes so far. There’s plenty of shows that survived and thrived on shoestring budgets. The “it gets better” reasoning was something a lot of people used for certain shows this year and it didn’t pan out even for shows with that budget. Lot more than that goes into a production the way I see it.

      4. But you can’t do anything good without enough money, let’s agree to that. No person would work his ass off over a pittance. You cannot expect great anime if the budget is low.

        The “it gets better” only works if it actually get’s better. Sad to say SAO’s MO arc was boring and it only worked in GGO, and LH 2 started with an alienating animation. The story was okay for a while but it didn’t make the show anymore interesting than season 1. Totally over-shadowed by other shows IMO.

        Even Akame Ga Kill, which was pretty bad and all looks more interesting than those two.

        TheMoondoggie
      5. You know, there’s a reason why the term “karoshi” exists. There was just an article less than a year about where A-1 was found guilty of overworking an employee with hundreds of hours of overtime. There were plenty of other articles detailing the pitiful pay animators and mangaka get. You can’t be more wrong about how people there don’t work their butts off regardless (and love what they’re doing in many cases too). Because they do. A lot of them do. Many times we’re even talking about unpaid overtime! You can’t say these guys aren’t giving their all despite that.

        And if you’re going to tell me that you can’t make something good without a high budget despite that and/or if you can’t name a a few good series that received a shoe string budget… I don’t know what to say.

        Link to one of the articles by the way: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-05-07/government-office-cites-overwork-in-suicide-of-a-1-pictures-staff-member

      6. Zeph why are you presenting an article about A1 oppressing their employees when the argument is about budget?

        Here’s what that article lacks: How much were the employees being paid and what is the reason for overworking. Because I’m sure as hell people won’t work themselves to please you for free, it isn’t about making the anime unnecessarily beautiful. With how they even describe the worker, it isn’t about meeting a deadline either. No.

        Either the employee was working overtime because they’re being paid a pittance and needs more money, or A1 is somehow threatening their employees with something that they’ll even agree to work for any amount of wage and overwork themselves.

        And, please, naming an anime with low budget and is bad is easy(G-Reco), one with high budget and is meh is easy too(Last Exile FTSW). Naming an anime with low budget and is so good? Impossible, right?

        You’re too deluded to think animators will work happily to death to make you happy without them getting paid properly. You think that people who goes into animation are the type that will churn out good shows just because they like to put a smile on their viewer’s face. That’s just putting a show to the audience during interviews, making people think that anime studios will spew out good anime just because they like their work. Try making those animators work for a dollar a day. Let’s see what puke-worthy show they can give you.

        TheMoondoggie
      7. Because it factors into the overall budget and you mentioned explicitly as a related notion, “who would work for a pittance.” They would. Animators work for a pittance.

        You’ll note that I explicitly said it’s only one article. Go ahead and research animator pay per episode. Go read other articles about overwork in the anime industry. You’re the one who clearly has no idea, not me. Plenty of threads all of the place discussing matters like this.

        Here have another one. Pay for an animator per frame hasn’t changed for 30 years. 220 yen or 2 bucks per frame. That’s NOTHING.
        http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2011/10/30-1/how-much-does-one-episode-of-anime-cost-to-make

        You’re delusional if you don’t believe people there work themselves to death and can’t make quality material despite getting paid less than they should be.

        You’re delusional if you don’t believe animators typically don’t get paid much for their efforts.

        You’re delusional if you believe that such an event can happen at a big studio at A-1 and it’s not happening anywhere else.

        And never did I say they’re definitely happy, but does that mean they don’t churn out maximum or near effort? No. The 600 hours of overtime for that one guy? Just one of many guys that do it. You can’t tell me that’s not effort. You can’t tell me they don’t love anime either. An enjoyment of the product one produces is not necessarily linked to the monetary compensation one receives.

        And you obviously have no understanding of the Japanese and their work philosophy either. Go research karoshi and tell me why that’s a thing.

        To top things off, you emphasized my point. You clearly believe there’s no such thing (or close to) as an anime that can be good/great with a low budget. Here’s where I’ll say without a doubt you’re completely off the mark. Agree to disagree if you want, but I’ll say it’s clear you don’t really recognize the effort being put in by those animators who do in fact give top effort for low pay, whether in a series with low or high budget. Just because you wouldn’t doesn’t mean others won’t.

        I’ve done my research. You should go do the same. I’m done.

        EDIT: Since I have them, have some more articles.

        http://www.examiner.com/article/animators-japan-paid-an-average-of-11-600-around-1-million-yen-per-year

        http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2014/11/19/a-shirobako-guide-to-anime-industry-salaries (No one willing to confirm these yet, but they jibe with numbers from years back).

      8. My god, you’re deluded. You yourself confirm that they’re all paid with low wages. So you’ll equate that 600 hr overtime as “their biggest effort to make Zeph happy about their shows”? Not “so they can earn more to make end meet”? You clearly are evading that part. If every person is like how you imagine then please explain why the QUALITY meme was such a thing.

        If all animators are okay with low wages we won’t have issues of Japan hunting down subbers and scanlation communities, calling them pirates.

        You have no idea the lies and shit people put in print to promote their products. But, hey, I guess you haven’t tried to earn a single coin yourself.

        TheMoondoggie
      9. You missed my whole point. That was the point that they work 600 hours of overtime despite low pay. This was in direct answer to your accusation that they do not. They do.

        Does this mean they don’t put in their full effort? It does not.

        You also missed the part where it was “unpaid” overtime. So no, it does not help them earn more to make ends meet. You can argue they could get fired if they decide not to do so and that would harm their livelihood, but could you honestly tell me if you’re earning that little that many of them would not be able to find another job that pays similarly or more? Cause that’s pretty damn easy to do. 10,000 USD a year. Think about that number for a moment. Yet, they still do it and don’t quit or complain. Why?

        Because they have a strong sense of duty and obligation. And because they love what they do. That’s a leading cause for karoshi, which you still obviously don’t understand, is “death by overwork.”

        And you are also an idiot for believing the quality meme is a thing because the animators didn’t put effort. Those are almost always 100% because of time constraints. It’s a rush project every week to create an episode because they’re simply not given enough time. Cut-frames, lack of animation for scenes? All because they didn’t have enough time to do it, not because of effort. You think 600 hours of unpaid overtime is a product of not pulling effort? This is exactly why they pull over time. This is why they overwork. Because broadcasting schedules and the buffer time they get to actually create a finished product is bullshit. Get it into your head. Clearly you didn’t read any of the aforementioned articles from previous comment.

        Alternatively, the point you make about pirates is a whole other topic because it ties into the whole business model of the anime industry (which is heavily reliant on a small amount of people buying BD’s at high prices), not the low pay of animators. The low pay of animators is a separate issue that has existed long before piracy. You’ll note their pay hasn’t changed for 30 years. That’s way before piracy started happening to a significant degree. It was a higher ratio then, but that doesn’t change the fact it hasn’t differed in a large time span since, which does not correlate with the rise of piracy. But I guess you ignored that and the research showing that piracy by itself does not actually correlate to lost sales. You claim I listen to the lies and shit people put in to promote products, but the funny part is you’re actually the one buying the notion that pirates are being hunted because they are creating “lost sales.”

        Just another textbook example of you not doing your research. Don’t go trying to assert things you know nothing about.

        EDIT: Here have some research since you’re too lazy to do your own.
        http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/01/judge-17000-illegal-downloads-dont-equal-17000-lost-sales/
        http://archive.news.softpedia.com/news/EA-Admits-Pirated-Copies-Do-Not-Equal-Lost-Sales-94516.shtml

        And oh, you’re going into personal insults now? Guess the fact that I work a job that keeps me busy 7 days a week was something you missed in the time period you abandoned the blog eh? Didn’t even bother to see that I’ve been on hiatus blogging for 2 seasons now for a reason right?

        If you’re going to try and insult someone, make sure you get your facts straight. Cause damn, you’re really bad at this insult/argument thing. But I suppose when you have nothing factual to base your arguments on, that’s all you have left.

        Are you done embarrassing yourself yet?

  16. Perhaps I’ll never understand why it is that so many people seem to like Sidonia no Kishi. Honestly and truly, I just don’t get it.

    Sure, it’s not a terrible series by any stretch of the imagination the action scenes were damn awesome, but even after having read far ahead in the manga, the story just never seems to go anywhere. Even now, I still don’t know what the Gauna are, what their purpose is or why they do what they do.

    And, honestly, that’s really disappointing. After a decent introduction and their human assimilation providing for some potentially really interesting plot twists, their presence seems consistently downgraded to being more of a plot device meant to push the story along whenever needed.

    In retrospect, they strike me as kind of space equivalent of the Blue from Blue Gender, which would be fine, if they ever got around to actually explaining that.

    But really though, it’s the characters that kill it for me, especially Nagate. He’s just about as cookie cutter, stereotypical, and convenient as you’ll find anywhere (also, he’s voiced by Johnny Bosch in the English dub, which… is just oh so appropriate). How else do you explain him stumbling onto a supposed secret facility and magically finding out that he’s already been preselected to be a test pilot there? Ugh.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Ryan Ashfyre
    1. You seem to be familiar with Nihei’s works so you should know it takes a while for him to get to the plot in any story.

      “having read far ahead in the manga, the story just never seems to go anywhere. Even now, I still don’t know what the Gauna are, what their purpose is or why they do what they do”
      I think this is a little unfair, Nihei obviously doesn’t want the reader to know.

      “How else do you explain him stumbling onto a supposed secret facility and magically finding out that he’s already been preselected to be a test pilot there?”
      I’m pretty up to date with the manga, can you tell me which chapter this takes place?

      Finally, Nihei is not really good at flamboyant characters, if fact Nagate shows more emotion that most of his other MCs put together. I think the main allure of any Nihei story is the atmosphere, the world building and the scenery porn. In this respect Sidonia is pretty decent.

      celebrinen
    2. Well, the manga isn’t finished yet, so it makes sense that some of the questions haven’t been answered yet.

      I can’t say anything about the manga(since I haven’t read it), but based on the first season of the anime, I’m a big fan. I’m just disappointed that I don’t have a nice speaker system. The sound in the anime was incredible.

      Mormegil
      1. Exactly this. Honestly I never got the justification of Five. Her motives were completely random and while kind of within the theme of the show, it was unnecessary, convulted the story which could have been explored with better depth other than “kids with experimentzz,” and like, just because things ahve an explanation that doesn’t make it good. :/

        Though with 20+ thumbs up that either means that ZnT was a snub (jk lol) or that this year wasn’t a good year for thriller LOL

        Noragami!
  17. Nice to see Inou-Battle getting honorable mentioned.

    As an aside, what is the most rewatchable anime of 2014? HxH is the best but ~150 episodes is not exactly rewatchable.

    legwkio
    1. I’ve rewatched Barakamon episodes over and over again =X Most light-hearted anime will entice me to watch it again.

      I wouldn’t mind rewatching long-running anime with friends who I’m trying to convince to watch the series =P Recently I rewatched FMA (all 60+ eps) in a few days with a friend because he’s never seen it before >_> So if there’s anyone that wants to marathon HunterxHunter with me… =D

    2. Nozaki-kun by far. Normally I’d have thought that the jokes would have stopped being funny after 3-4 watches. But have watched for the 6th time and they still get me in stitches. Maybe watching with friends help. :3

      Justpassingby
      1. nozaki-kun is a breath of fresh air to romcom genre, but still don’t think that will beat hxh. although i’m a bit disappointed that nozaki-kun finished outside top 5(#6).

        danes256
  18. I’m so sorry if I kinda crash the party, but I feel like it’s easier to talk about what I hated this year than what I liked:

    Sengoku Basara: End of Judgement
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Riddle Story of Devil / Akuma no Riddle
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Blade & Soul
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Psycho-Pass Season 2
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Persona 4 Golden The Animation
    Show Spoiler ▼

    That’s what I noticed this year…

    JiCi
  19. Surprised I saw this in /a/ and no one even cared.

    I guess it’s a given, since “the best” list is quite bad on Zephyr’s side. :/

    Also looks like everyone ate NnA even with the bullshit ending pulled by Okada.

    Dat Exceed list tho: Nice to know people here still have a shred of taste.

    1k lead by HxH? Smells like proxy.

    TheMoondoggie
    1. This wasn’t a good year for anime as a whole and yeah their choices are pretty dire with the exception of Ping Pong. And yeah those HxH votes were pretty much proxied, the fanbase is always pulling shit like this whenever it gets nominated for something or put on a ranking (see it’s MAL list)

      ChocoBar9
      1. Hmm, that could even be true. Of course, I really liked that show SOOOO MUCH and I also voted for it, but I admit that I was surprised to see it as #1. Not because it doesnt deserve that spot but because I always had the impression that there werent even that many people who watched HxH. The number of comments to every episode was not small, but it wasnt big either…And I get why – its a shounen after all and the MCs are kids…IMO its the best shounen out there and the MCs are characterized very well despite being kids, but it could actually be true that the votes influenced somehow.
        Oh well, but since it does deserve to be voted as No. 1 I dont really care this time;)

        Libélula
      2. @Libélula
        Actually based on what I’ve seen on the forums, people started recommending it bec of the ending of Chimera Ant arc (Gon vs Neferpitou, Chairman vs Neterou, etc). It wasn’t very popular before that. In fact, I was surprised that HxH is #3 on MAL right now bec I recall checking the rankings after Summer season ended and it was #11. It rose up so quickly in 3 months.

        cj
      3. hxh got popular after it ended. as someone that watched it from 2011 until now have noticed that throughout it’s 3 year run hxh has been underappreciated, only now that it has ended it finally get the appreciation it deserves. so it’s not another proxied anime, you will find out yourselves if you watched it properly yourself

        danes256
      4. You do realize lots of people prefer marathoning shows than waiting for it to update weekly, or for a new season. This could have been a factor in the sudden up in rankings. Besides, HxH is indeed a good anime, you can’t deny it deserved its spot.

        Justpassingby
      5. @cj

        I don’t understand Enzo’s obsession with Baby Steps. The manga was great but the anime was just a piece of shit. Maybe it got better later on and I missed out, but I tried really hard to keep watching and I just couldn’t stand it and dropped it after 8 episodes. Other than that I really like his taste in anime, but sometimes I feel like he lets the initial expectation of an anime (whether from the manga or the first episodes) take the best of him.

        dxb_blackwolf
    2. @TheMoondoggie

      I find it interesting you point me out specifically despite half or more of my picks overlapping Stilts’, but alright.

      Color me curious though, what would your “good” picks be then?

      It’d be a lot more productive conversation if you did a bit more than “this was shit, that was shit, this must’ve been proxied.”

      1. And I come back and see people misread my post. LOL. Did that shook you guys up a bit? Ha!

        Anyway I was referring to your Best Anime 2014 specifically only, where you pick Uchuu Kyodai with Ping Pong being in HM.

        It’s shit. Both are shit in terms of animation. And art. Feels like people who likes this are those pretentious geeks who thinks “my art is too deep 4 u LOL”.

        And that’s the best for you? Ha. I guess “ART DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S THE STORY.” is the highest level of elitism I have seen. I really have to point out:

        Anime is 50% story, 50% looks. Mess one up and it’s shit.

        TheMoondoggie
      2. @Moondoggie,
        It’s not like I don’t get what you’re saying, it’s just that I don’t get why you choose to say it in the way you do. You can make a valid point in a plethora of ways and right now, with all due respect, you’re coming off rather unfriendly. You can keep that attitude in /a/ for all I care, because I don’t believe it’s what people have come to expect of RandomC in general.

      3. It’s not a misread if you left out multiple parts on your point. You don’t seem to understand what a misread is. But no matter.

        I find it rich that the person calling everything shit throughout this post and judging stuff based on half looks is calling others elitist. A show’s only good if it has great animation/visuals and a great narrative to you eh? Meanwhile, anything that you liked that didn’t quite end up too well gets blamed on “shit budget”?

        Having the view that visuals matter is one thing (and perfectly fine), but you’re clearly using that to sugar pick aspects and skewer views to make sure only the shows you like would be considered “good.”

        I’ll note you didn’t answer with your own picks to make it a productive discussion, but you can forget I asked. There’s no need to continue a conversation with someone so unwilling to have one and who is so arrogant that anyone with a different view is a “pretentious geek.”

        Keep it up. You’re well on your way toward your usual record breaking streaks in terms of down votes. Figures that even the posts that just say “SHIT!” have less down votes than your comments do.

      4. @Crook

        And what should we do? Should we sugarcoat all the bad aspects of the shows the bloggers liked? If I remember no one does that before when I was here. Trashtalk everything when it deserves it.

        @Zephyr

        Because the shows you like are bad in its original form. Also I never said the shows I liked were good. It was bad adaptation, I even said that Blade Dance didn’t even get to where the story truly starts. The anime fails in that regard and it fails even more so if the point of having it adapted to anime is to sell the LN. It’s the same with Ore Imo and I know for a fact everyone here knows what plagues an adaptation most: low budget. If you have a bigger one, you can hire a better studio. Or get a better team of animators, writers, directors, etc.

        And with regards to my pick for this year, I don’t have any. I have only finished a few shows this year, because plenty of them have been practically terrible for different reasons.

        But if I were to pick the best one now, for me it’ll hard to choose between NGNL and Bahamut. Go on. Go shit on those if you want.

        TheMoondoggie
      5. BTW I’ll just pretend you didn’t read the part where it says “the best” or ignored the word “best” and jump to the “list” part. I forgot how much all of you like spoonfeeding and everything should all be explained to you word by word.

        As for having lots and lots of useless downvotes, it’s not like I care. Go downvote me to over 9999, if that will amuse you. It won’t make Space Bros. or Ping Pong look any better anyway.

        TheMoondoggie
      6. All I wanted specifically were which picks you disagreed with and why so I can see where you were coming from. You mentioned that briefly now and while I may disagree profusely with you, that works for me. Wasn’t a difficult request.

        As for the rest, I’ll just say everything makes sense now. You didn’t watch many shows and thought most of the ones you did were terrible. I don’t know why you’re even continuing to watch anime with that perspective and why you’re bothering to comment on this post despite that, but to each their own.

        By the way, there’s a difference between trash talking shows that deserve it and just trash talking on almost every show except the few that you liked out of the few you watched). I’ll let you figure out that difference.

        Anyway, have a good day. I hope you have fun elsewhere with your antagonistic behavior. I don’t know what’s happened between the times you frequented this blog and now, but you definitely had a more rosy view of anime, which you obviously don’t appreciate or like as much as you used to. And that’s fine. Just don’t go bringing that negativity or antagonism to a place where people do still like the medium.

        That said, I don’t know why I would be shitting on your picks. NGNL was an honorable mention for me too, and I haven’t said a single bad thing about Bahamut here at all.

        Zephyr
      7. Moondoggie, you seem to be having difficulty understanding everyone’s points so let me summarize for you: you’re being a dick for no reason. Chill, brah. Agree to disagree.

        randomly
      8. You’re wrong Zeph.

        I only ever watch shows I like/follow in a different medium. The only ones I thought were bad were the ones from LNs(except NGNL).

        So that’s like only 3 shows.

        TheMoondoggie
  20. Why is Nagi no Asukara so low in Readers’ Choice? LoL. But at least No Game No Life is on second so I’m still pleased.

    Btw, whenever I see a mention of NagiAsu, TokyoRavens, and NGNL in this post, it brings me a smile on my face as I agree wholeheartedly. I totally agree with almost all your posts, dear 2 writers, except for your Best Sports section, which didn’t even mention KuroBasu, which is a VERY GOOD sports series. Well, I respect that. You two have great tastes, I can almost agree all the time 🙂 As Shiro used to say: Omega-Good job!

    Most mentioned series: Nagi no Asukara. Proves this anime is near perfection.

    Red HeartGold ZX
      1. One of these days I’m going to start one of these big, epic anime/mangas like HxH, Naruto, One Piece. I read a bit of Bleach before stopping.

        That said, is there any reason why HxH made it and the other adaptations don’t? I assume they’re all very popular if only due to their source material.

        baubo
  21. While it’s a great season for comedy, fantasy and SoL (also Sports probably, but I’m not really into sports anime), I find 2014 to be quite disappointing overall. We have some long runner like FSN:UBW and Parasyte though, and with some promising shows in 2015 I hope we could get a better next year for animu.

    That makes choosing best of the year selection for me personally to be really hard, not because of the competition but because there’s nothing which stands out that far. Probably the best would be Gin no Saji S2, but shows like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun are also very charming that it might be my most favorite this year.

    Also, I need to seek time to start HxH and Mushishi watching.

    zeroyuki92
  22. Thais year there is like a ton of things I don’t agree with you in the slithest and only a few that are spot on. Last year’s bests were so much closer to my taste.

    Well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    Urizithar
  23. Honestly pretty surprised at some of the choices on the list. While stuff like best show and story tend to be more subjective, I thought that on pure technical merits, Zankyou no Terror and Shingeki Bahamut minimally deserved nominations for Best Animation for Mappa’s stellar effort. The animation of those shows were really a cut above the rest.

    Saki
  24. Oh poor Zephyr, had to suffer through Mahou Sensou as well, had ya? That show really was a new low, to the point that my comparison scale nowadays goes ‘from good to Mahou Sensou-level’. It’s rare to see an anime without any good points whatsoever. At least I dodged a bullet on Glasslip, I suppose. Wish I could’ve said the same for Tokyo ESP…

    While this overall list did have some glaring omissions in my opinion (Space Dandy only got best OP, for one, and you didn’t see Mushishi), it’s pretty much in line with mine for the most part. Nozaki-kun really was the best comedy this year (in a year filled with comedies), No Game No Life was the epitome of fun and is in my top five as well and plenty of mentions for other favourites, like Log Horizon. And Hunter X Hunter won the reader’s poll, yay! And the lists also remind me of the fact I still need time to watch NagiAsu and Space Brothers. The backlog grows ever larger.

    The only thing I vehemently disagree on? That awful rain song from Soredemo Sekai getting an honorable mention. Uh, okay. Whatever floats your boat…

    2014, in the end, wasn’t a stellar year, but a decent one nonetheless. There weren’t any shows that immediately cemented themselves as classics in my eyes (well, besides HxH, but that one doesn’t count) and we had some new lows, but it had enough stuff to entertain me the whole year long. The seasons weren’t as uneven as in 2013 either (which had two good ones and two really bad ones) and it was nice to see a year full of fantasy shows (one of my favourite genres). So yeah, onward to 2015!

    Dvalinn
      1. It’s a good watch if you want to see an example of how not to adapt a source material and why you shouldn’t do adaptations in general of stories where even the author himself questions why it was picked up.

    1. The manga is so much better. Would have been cooler if they just went ahead with the Bishamon arc. I wouldn’t even have minded a cliffhanger ending. Though the odds of that happening to any anime is astronomical.

      Justpassingby
  25. I’d say the picks were overall pretty good this year.

    Here’s a few that I was quite happy about:

    -Esdeath as best character on Zephyr’s side.

    -Hayami Saori as best female seiyuu from Stilts. *glomps Stilts so hard*

    -Tokyo Ravens as the unanimous choice for Exceeded Expectations.

    I also had a good laugh at Nisekoi getting Best romcom from Zephyr. I could just imagined the conversation when he revealed that pick to Stilts. I just remembered his comments on twitter for that and the scene in my head was quite comical.

    As an aside, I think adding a category for best episode might be a nice idea in the future. (If only because I feel the lack of Tokyo Ghoul actually winning anything sucks despite that amazing final episode.) I can see how that might be a bit difficult from the selector’s standpoint though.

    Time to add Uchuu Kyoudai to my wonderful backlog.

    Kill the Backlog.

    Kuntzy
    1. +1 for “Best Episode” suggestion.

      While I’m on it, if it’s possible please add double spoiler tag on the “Best plot twist” section, or simply add the spoiler tag on the content of the spoiler. This way, it would be like : “Best plot twist for this year is definitely the twist in X series, where [spoiler tag]. “

      zeroyuki92
    1. Samumenco’s plottwists make you want to go punch a baby, though. Shocking, certainly, but not exactly what I’d put on a best-of list. I’m still trying to scrub that show out of my brain…

      I would’ve considered putting Juugo’s real identity in Nanana’s Buried Treasure in there though. That kind of took me by surprise, as it made his character instantly a lot more complex.

      Dvalinn
      1. Oh I agree, I don’t think Samurai Flamenco was that great of a show personally… but I think it’s debatable whether or not these plot twists were good or bad. There’s a fair bit of individuals that enjoyed the series (at least 200+ from the Reader’s Poll) and thought that these revelations were different and liked it for what it attempted to do for the genre. For that, I think it deserves recognition… obviously whether or not it’s “The Best” is also up to personal preference. I was just surprised that no one else (I think?) on the writers’ list finished it other than myself… I joked about it a lot but hey, I thought someone else was watching… >_>

        Having blogged both Akame ga Kill and Samurai Flamenco, I’d definitely say that AgK only surprised me once (or twice) with its death count… but Samumenco surprised me every week because who knew what they were going to air next! One week you have a guillotine gorilla and the next you have Flamencos everywhere! It was madness and pretty comical in hindsight.

        @ Stilts: If you haven’t finished it by now… I don’t necessarily think you should go back to it lol. I’m sure you’re already time-crunched and you should save that for next year’s anime rather than going back to old ones that weren’t the best and ain’t getting a sequel =X

    2. I was someone that really looked forward to Samurai Flamenco and it started great but after guillotine gorilla it was more like genre changed not just a simple plot twist and either you loved it, hated it or hoped for the best…I hoped for the best and even though I dropped it for a while just before the last episode I caught up. I am someone who likes Kamen Rider and all that Sentai shows but it was somewhat chore to watch it in that form and bland characters coupled with lack of Goto didn’t help ..That said that last few episodes were good and I could honestly recommend anyone to watch beginning and the end without middle…

      Also, that end and proposal were hilarious and made laugh so hard like no other scene 😀 I should go re-watch it 🙂

      Kaguya
    3. I watched it. It was definitely borderline on a few categories, but just ultimately missed the cut for me personally. I would’ve put it in underappreciated or exceeded to give it some attention, but I also felt like it was watched by a fair amount of people and the overall impressions I had of it were generally in line with my initial expectations etc.

      That said, I don’t doubt that it’s very early air date also played a part in me not remembering it as fondly as I might have otherwise. Just one of those things sadly. Flamenco was just one of those shows for me that ended up in limbo. Not bad, but not great enough (in my opinion) to be mentioned either. Those who followed my twitter will remember my temporary obsession with Mr. Justice’s truck though.

  26. Akame Ga Kill winning best death is kinda silly. Having the most deaths to the point of over-gratituousness does not a good death make. Even the shock value with Sheele wore off real quick.

    Also the best character section is more like ‘most popular doujin characters’.

    Eugene
    1. For me the best dead was in HxH final of Chimera Ants (everyone who watched should know what I’m talking about). Akame ga Kill? Well, after the first kill shock value I didn’t even care. It’s almost a blasphemy as this category winner. xd

      Urizithar
  27. Good overall , but DAMN did Mushishi get overlooked !!!!
    I mean you have missed something really big this year , can’t say i agree with ” best anime ” category but can’t blame them if they haven’t seen Mushshi or Hunter x Hunter
    on a side note , I really think Tokyo ghoul opening was good , like THAT good ,IMO should have gotten at least honorably mentioned

    Urahara
  28. Glad to see Tokyo Ravens get several mentions! It definitely didn’t have the best start, but my god that end completely turned the series around for me. There was something magical about the ending, and Harutora’s scene with Natsume in the end sealed the deal for me, making it one of my most memorable series of the year! Still sad the sales were poor since the series is really only beginning by the end of the anime.

  29. 8 bit disappoints me because the adaptation of Tokyo Ravens could have been better. as a 2 cour show with good source material they should’ve done better with it, because now apparently all hopes of watching it’s continuation have faded. thank you 8 bit studio

    danes256
  30. I must say, I cannot imagine why Mushishi S2 was left out of this list. It is unimaginable, as it is the show with the best anidb rating this year, thus it should be at least mentioned, if not get a place of honor.

    Quallenyuu
    1. “Mushishi, for instance, would likely have featured prominently, were I not still working my way through the first season. My backlog, as ever, continues to grow. Help!”

      This is a personal list of two persons who haven’t watched it although they want to, thus it can’t enter the list. Same case with HxH.

      zeroyuki92
  31. i think that mikakunin de shinkokei are another anime very underappreciated. dogakobo are becoming an expert on adapting those kind of anime. i’m still disappointed though about donten ga warau from dogakobo, they don’t appear able to break out from their comfort zone

    danes256
    1. i’m a big gundam fan, but i’m not surprised it turned out this way even before the vote. mado magi is something special from shaft. although personally i still liked gundam unicorn better, it’s the best gundam series this century so far and one of the very best gundam out there

      danes256
    2. Eh, it’s not too surprising.

      Even for those who have more in-depth knowledge on the Universal Century era and know what’s going on, unfortunately, such people can pick apart pretty big holes that sort of kill the main plot…not to mention that, for being the main antagonist, we learn next to nothing about Full Frontal (and the way he goes out is kind of chump too), and we never really get any sort of (new) insight into the whole “Perfect/Awakened Newtype” stuff, much less more on Newtypes in general even though those 7 years (ZZ Gundam in UC 0089 to Unicorn in 0096) were pretty much the epitome of Newtypes and Newtype mobile weapons.

      Though, this is just in terms of the anime version. From what I’ve heard, the manga and novel go deeper into some things.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
  32. I’m really spot on with Stilts this year, really agree with his choices. But it’s hard pick especially when you are picking Barakamon over silver spoon, or Soredemo over Au haru Ride. The Honorable mentions are good too.My overall fav was definitely Knights of sidonia. The only thing I really disagree with is characters and death category, so pretty good year being in sync with the RC staff. I guess I will continue to try new shows that stilts blogs, they are usually out of my preference zones but once in a while something amazing comes.

    But my biggest surprises are No Game No Life, Log Horizon, M3 and Hyrikku and Ping Pong. Usually I feel whatever and ignore these shows but I gave them a chance and really ended up liking them. Also might not be the best show and ignored a lot this year, but I really liked Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen second half, was decent enough for devine to cover so there some really good redeeming qualities. Like tokyo ravens you can’t completely count out a show when it’s got 2-cours to develop.

    Speaking of 2 cour, I hope Aldnoah second season lives up, seeing as everyone seemed to enjoy it being in multiple HM and Third in fan favourite, be shame if it ends up in biggest disappointments in next years best of.

    Seems like Love Live is really hitting off in japan with their CD sales, hasn’t been this high since K-on and Macross Frontier. Guess sunrise knows how to cash in. All fun and games I did enjoy it and definitely snow halation was the peak of that show for me especially all the events leading up to it, was more awesome then the finale.

    Sherylfan
  33. The best thing about “Best of the year” list is that you can pick up great series that somehow you overlooked, thanks for Tokyo Ravens.

    I’ll add to the music section:
    Best OP: Hello Sleepwalkers – Goya no Machiawase/Noragami
    Best OP: Bakudan Johnny – Tada Hitori/Ping Pong the animation
    Best ED: Dare ka, Umi wo/Zankyou no Terror
    Best song: Yoko Kanno featuring Anór Dan – VOn/Zankyou no Terror

    Carma
  34. This is honestly the list I agreed with the most, so glad this site didn’t hop on the KLK obsession train. Giving rep to the shows that deserve it, this is honestly the site that makes the best and most accurate AOTY lists.

    Bjordtel
  35. For all you guys ragging on the writers here to watch Hunter x Hunter, thank you – but you should know (and do, if you’re a podcast regular) that I’ve been doing the same for years. Maybe this will be the impetus to finally get it done!

    The thing I find ironic is that for most of my H x H posts here I barely got any comments, but it actually won the reader poll by a wider margin than it looks like it will at LiA (though it’s going to win there, too). Go figure…

    1. I have no idea why great shows like HxH and Haikyuu!! don’t get many comments but if I had to guess why, I’d gander that it’s because they’re almost universally and consistently liked by their viewers, so it can be a bit repetitive to just say how great it is all the time.

      randomly
  36. A little surprised that NGNL made it 2nd. Not because it was bad, on contrary, but I honestly didn’t expect it to top some other shows. Since I don’t really like LN that and Chaika were such pleasant surprises for me 🙂

    For some time I have been avoiding any shoujo romance as a result getting annoyed with characters (especially girls) and melodrama so at first I didn’t even plan to even give a chance to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki! Then I saw trailer and it looked funny and the song was great and Gekkan Shoujo became one of my favorites anime with adorable girl lead and just the right kind of romance for me that makes me feel go ‘awww’ and feel fluffy (if that makes sense)…and the comedy is pure gold!

    Aside enjoying in all sport and mecha anime, pleasant surprises were Bahamut,Selector infected/spread WIXOSS (probably best drama for me), Witch Craft Works, Hamatora, Hozuki (became one of my favorite anime)and even MekakuCity Actors (had no prior knowledge about anything) and Terra Formars (I can not explain it but I love that anime ).

    And I even watched shows like Bakumatsu Rock and Z/X because of some unfathomable reasons -.- Feels weird even typing and admitting that -.-

    What disappointed me were Nobunaga (I think it had potential but execution was bad) and Sengoku Basara. I love Sengoku Jidai adaptations and previous anime but this was somehow lacking :/

    I am planing to continue to watch Yuuna since I heard great things about it and now I have some morbid curiosity to watch Mahou Sensou to see how bad it was XD

    Kaguya
    1. COUNT ME IN. Wait.

      Er. I mean. I’ll get on it. Likely in the summer when I have a long 2 month break. If the series is as great as people say, I want to watch it when I know I got the time to do so and without worrying about work obligations and such.

  37. Absolutely psyched there’s so much recognition for uchuu kyoudai

    Good job Zephyr!

    Ping Pong was also legitimately the best we got in the sports department last year.

    Mushishi Zoku Shou being pretty much un-mentioned is regrettable but all in all i’m happy with the write-up

    KingofConquerors
  38. I’m also surprised Kaze Tachinu and KaguyaHime no Monogatari didn’t garner more love in the poll. The BD of Kaguyahime came pretty late in the game so we can assume people haven’t had enough time to see it but Kaze Tachinu has been around for a while and it’s the last hurrah for Hayao Miyazaki. I kinda expected it to gain more attention.

    I also believe it’s one of his most immaculately directed movies to date.

    KingofConquerors
    1. Well l, speaking personally, I didn’t know Kaze Tachinu is The Wind Rises. I’m assuming most people did too. I mean it did get nominated in the Oscars as The Wind Rises, its english title. That kind of impression pretty much imprints the english title as the label.

      Justpassingby
  39. Ever since I discovered this site, I visit once a year just for this article. You guys are always on point with your reviews. I was tipped off on some of my favorite anime due to this site.

    Excellent yearly review as always and you’ve given me a bunch of anime to check out. I dunno how I’m going to wait a year for the next one.

    Nobody
  40. I have no disagreement over any of the anime mentioned above, some of them deserved it. Though I think I will just mention my own preferences:
    1 – Ending Sequence:
    Zankyo no Terror’s ending song is worth a mention, Magi ending 1
    2 – Opening sequence:
    Tokyo Ghoul, Black Bullet, Mahouka (1st)
    3 – Soundtracks:
    Ao Haru Ride – I will by Chelsey (is one of the most beautiful songs this year), Soredemo Sekai wa Utskushi – Beautiful Rain.

    Nagi no asakura was good but I am still damaged from watching it and still unhappy with some inconsistencies so I can never give it a good ranking. It destroyed my emotions and for that I cannot forgive it, just thinking about it brings the pain xD maybe that’s what makes it good, but I wouldn’t put it ahead of animes like Ao Haru Ride, or Magi, or Tokyo Ghoul, or Barakmon or issukan friends or no game no life. The last episode of the anime made it 5/10 for me, the first 5 is equal to the 10/10 i gave it for the first cour lol..

    Though I would say this year’s good animes for me are few, I have not finished Zankyo no Terror to judge it but here’s a few I enjoyed dearly: No Game No Life, Ao Haru Ride, Barakamon, Soredemo Sekai wa Utskushi, Free, Magi s2, Issukan friends, Mahouka. I might have forgot something, or I feel so, but this is all I remember. I can tell though that if Garo had ended this year, it’d be one of the best shows!

    Thanks for the list and your hard work! I would always come to read here on series reviews, just too bad this last season none of the shows I watched were getting weekly reviews, but! Looking forward to another amazing year =)!

    Cheers,
    M

    Mi-Chan
  41. so no one is commenting about Tokyo ESP asit was well establish to be a huge disappointment from the first episode it self. we already saw a lack of comedy, changing the original character design and the overall diviation from is original material. huh ah well, still like the manga though

  42. I can’t believe how so many people in the anime community have so much hatred. I mean, can’t you just accept that people have varying tastes? One would say that this show is great then another would counter and say it’s stupid and call it shit. I can’t even run through a page of comments without users blasting another for his/her choices. Grow up trolls. Enjoy what you want and respect other people’s tastes.

    bossarvin
  43. Biggest disappointment was Sailor Moon… Oh wait, who had expectations for that when Toei delayed it so much and gave it to a bunch of rookies? It was a piece of crap waiting to happen.

    No, I would say the biggest disappointment was Captain Earth… God Almighty, talk about the blandest most boring mecha of the year. I will never watch another original BONES mecha ever again.

    Also, I can’t believe all the people who voted NGNL as the year’s best. Seriously? It was good but it’s a basically juvenile power fantasy with tons of pandering. Doesn’t even deserve to be mention in the same sentence as Ping Pong, Mushishi or Silver Spoon 2.

    Archiepiscopus
  44. rather a lot of inconsistency with classification of animes, these 2 are most glaring:

    Best Story -> goes to slice-of-life with a minimal story; Silver Spoon (the characters are excellent, but story is essentially non-existant)

    Best Action -> goes to essentially a pure sci-fi; Sidonia no Kishi

    few others as well.

    lebleu
    1. Story and plot aren’t the same thing, nor does it exclude a character-driven story.

      And Sidonia has more than enough action to be eligible in that category, even if sci-fi is its main genre.

      Most stories belong to multiple genres, and we treat them accordingly.

      1. Following that way of thinking, you could also put Hunter x Hunter into ‘drama’ category, since a major element is of familial drama regarding Gon’s absent/missing father and his attempts to ‘reach’ him.

        However, if you follow normally-accepted genre conventions you wouldn’t do that, because the ‘drama’ genre is generally accepted by most people to consist of series of a different type. Most people would expect genre conventions to be at least broadly followed – nothing wrong if you don’t, but it should be indicated if so.

        And true, slice-of-life charter-driven story IS technically story, it isn’t ‘story’ in more widely accepted sense. Also, of all the possible stories that were found anime this year, to pick that as the best (explicitly as having the ‘Best Story’) – I think many people would consider that rather strange.

        lebleu
  45. I’m surprised ALDNOAH.ZERO rate soo high in the Reader’s Choice votes. I liked it but I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here. I think it’s how they ended the series that really stuck with people.

    It’s not one I voted for because I wasn’t always excited for the next episode. lol

    Ani_BEE
  46. Great job guys! I’ve only seen around six shows that are in your list–with two or three extra not included for reasons you’ve reiterated several times. I really can’t comprehend how you can watch 100 shows (and blog about some of them), but you all continue to help spread anime appreciation. My regular anime viewing started after reading a Best of Anime post here in RC years ago, after craving for more when I finished Full Metal Alchemist (1st adaptation). Thanks for the hard work! 🙂

    JD
  47. Strange ranking you got there.

    Parasyte was certainly very well liked this year. You do not even list it.

    “Nagi no Asukara” or “ALDNOAH.ZERO” as best animation quality ?
    Sorry, but Fate/stay does not really look that bad to me.. especially when you compare.

    Moreover Uchuu Kyoudai or Gin no Saji as best series or best story. Uchuu Kyoudai was solid, and not much more. Gin no Saji (no comment).

    I do agree on Biggest Disappointment and Exceeded Expectations… but again thats pretty much it.

    Therefore a little strange.

    Mb
      1. UBW kinda did btw. I do consider it two own seasons. Otherwise you cannot take Tokyo Ghoul or ALDNOAH.ZERO into the ranking as well… since they did not END. For Parasite… well, can be seen that way.

        Mb
      2. Divine made the decision that UBW wouldn’t be eligible since it’s split core (as opposed to multi-cour … it’s a fuzzy difference, but it’s there), and because we did the same for Fate/Zero. So even if it ended, we didn’t count it, which is why it didn’t appear.

  48. This is going to be the longest I’ve ever typed because you guys NAILED this years 2014 awards, this hands down was the best picks and they’re pretty dang obvious too! So Kudos! So here’s my opinion on what I’ve seen.

    Nisekoi I may add had a really addicting OP so I was surprised it wasn’t in an honorable mention since it’s ClariS and I can’t get enough of those girls (unfortunately things changed with the group, it’s still good with the new content!). Also the transitions were so silky smooth it was amazing. The biggest agreements were Comedy, Comedy Romance, Drama, Deaths, Action, and Mystery.

    The biggest surprise was Shingeki No Bahamut, not even once was I in my chair through a lot of the action sequences it was nonstop amazement (almost like when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time) and it was so unexpected from a card game that I played on my iPad that it blew me away! (Why isn’t the game like the show?! haha) So I’m extremely surprised it didn’t win fantasy or at least an honorable mention for Anime of the Year because holy sh!t it was just as a WTF as Aldnoah.Zero was at the end.

    Majimoji Rurumo…biggest and I mean the biggest under-appreciated anime this year, or hell in my history of watching anime this show actually blew my mind how lovable the characters were, the laughs I got and the emotions…holy crap that one episode with the cat, I balled my eyes out because a lot of people know what it feels like to lose something. This deserved more love, WAY more love. One of my favourite animes I’ve watched (that’s saying a lot)

    Nozaki-Kun, oh god damn this show was gold, pure gold. This reminded me of when Minami-Ke first aired and I laughed so so hard I almost fell of my chair. Totally great series and great cast.

    Akame Ga Kill = Game of Thrones and Esdeath = Best girl, awesome anime, so so good I couldn’t pick a favourite anymore because I just stopped wanting to get attached to another character and possibly losing them! XD
    Enough said

    Aldnoah.Zero = Slaine of Thrones can’t wait for season two!

    No Game No Life: Jibril vs Sora & Shiro basically sealed the deal plus Steph = best waifu

    Isshukan Friends…man how this show went, I can’t really say but I loved it to death, it was sad and I loved to see what the next episode was like. Literally I wanted next week to come fast, it was that good.

    Finally the last few were Chiaka and Nanana’s Treasure were amazing, especialy Nanana with the quality animation. Loved the adventure so much it was priceless (Again Kudos on those picks, right on the money). Sidonia and Kill la Kill were just animation bliss and finally Nagi No Asakura was just amazing after it got to the second half of the show, I was shocked just as I was with Hatoko’s scene in Inou-Battle (which again Hayami Saori deserved that for sure! She has a blockbuster voice and funny but true story is that she said she just came up with that entire part herself and they used it! How awesome is that?!).

    Anyways there’s a lot more I could’ve said but I think I’ll just stop there and say well freaking done guys! 2014 might not have been good for me (or for news wise AKA missing planes) but anime? Oh boy it was amazing! Here’s to 2015! Woohoo!

    Jason Isenberg
  49. was surprised that INOU BATTLE didnt even made it in the list of honorable mentions in “Exceeded Expectations” part thinking how it also indeed exceeded expectations.

    The Last Idiot
  50. I actually expected SAO to win the poll. And what’s more two shows I voted are in the top five, and are exactly the same of Stilts. What happened? I don’t know if I should be happy or afraid of the results…

    Solaris
  51. Wow, I expected Akame ga Kill or SAO II will take 1st. But Akame is #17?! And I also voted No game No life as one of the 5 but I did NOT expect that one to hit 2nd place.

    drzero7
  52. I think the only think the only good things NnA had was animation and music, designs were screwed up when those were supposed to be Buriki-like. The rest was baffling as its drama storm over little things were, just see how much is discussed after the series ended.

    Miraluka
  53. Interesting and solid list. Hunter x Hunter winning the readers poll is expected.

    For the AOTY picks:
    Uchuu Kyoudai was a great pick on your part Zephyr, I have yet to finish it but I am at that point where stories like these resonate with me deeply. I wonder if you enjoyed Planetes too. Nothing like a realistic show involving space to highlight the potential of humanity and inspire. Looking forward to complete it.

    No Game No Life was awesome too, it was pure eye candy and a fun ride. The premise was really entertaining(especially Materialization Shiritori). Also the fact that the LN was written by someone originally Brazilian fascinates me.

    kondee
  54. The staff here (Enzo excluded) are clearly in it more for self-promotion than love of anime if they don’t even bother to watch Hunter x Hunter and Mushishi. Who gives a shit about how long an anime is when it’s consistently great and you can pretty much start watching from the middle and still get that. I dare you to take ANY 10-13 episode slice of HxH or Mushishi and argue that it’s not better than 95% of one-cour animes on offer. The excuse about cour lenghts is really lame. But hey, if you want to promote yourselves by reviewing all the 15-minutes-of-fame shows with no lasting impact, keep it up…

    Kil
    1. It’s mean of you to say that the other writers have lesser tastes than Enzo simply because they don’t watch HxH or Mushishi. It’s even more spiteful of you to belittle their interest in anime as a whole by saying that they’re doing this for “self-promotion”. Please respect people’s preferences and circumstances.

      N
    2. I can’t speak for you, but there is a thing called “real life” that most people have to deal with. Time is very much a factor in watching a show with 100+ episodes; finding ~40 hours to watch the entire show (assuming you skip OP/ED) isn’t exactly easy. If you want to say “OK, then just drop shows to watch HxH”, then that goes against what I appreciate RC for; covering a variety of shows across different genres. If Enzo has it covered, why care about who else watches it? You want RC to turn into a blog where all the writers start circlejerking to a couple shows? There’s enough of that on the web already, don’t need more of em. This list even comes with a disclaimer:

      Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Zephyr) and Stilts, save for where otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.

      If it really bothers you that much that these shows didn’t make their “Best of” list, I’m sure you can hop on over to Enzo’s blog and look at his, where they come in 1-2 (shocking absolutely no one who follows his blog).

      You can’t honestly tell me that I could pick a random 13 episode slice of HxH and come away feeling like it’s as great as you say it is; I expect to step in, get to know the characters, see some sort of development, and reach some sort of resolution within that time span, even if I happen to step into the middle of an arc. If that’s seriously your claim, I shouldn’t need to rely on any outside information to know what’s going on. If I see a plot hole that is actually just explained elsewhere in the series, that’s too bad, since I didn’t see it. If something else seems like a deus ex machina since I missed the foreshadowing, the grade goes down even more. And if it truly is as good as you say it is, then why would you want the writers, me, or anyone else to devalue that experience by not giving it the time it requires to watch the whole thing.

      The SAO fandom gets a lot of hate for saying stuff exactly like this, do you really want to drag your shows down to that level? Regardless of any difference in the quality of the shows, if you’re gonna start insulting those who haven’t seen the show, all you’re doing is pushing people away. All it takes is a few rotten apples to spoil the perception of the fans of a show.
      Likewise, by singling out Enzo as a quality writer, I form an association between Enzo and some idiot commenter bashing the other writers; while I don’t often follow Enzo’s posts since our tastes differ, I respect his opinion and perspective when he does happen to write about a show I’m watching. If I had no experience with Enzo, I would assume he must be some elitist douchebag from your comments, and just back away from him, too. Sure, it might be my loss, but if your goal is to get people to watch your favorite shows, you aren’t doing a very good job of it.

      SK
    3. Excuse me, but what fame and self-promotion are you talking about? What do Zephyr and Stilts stand to gain by spending hours a week working on this website? Do people recognize us on the street and give us free merchandise wherever we go? I don’t understand how NOT watching a 100+ episode anime has anything to do with getting “15-minutes-of-fame”. Wouldn’t that make them LESS popular? O_o

      I’m quite offended that you would lump all the writers on RC together and claim that we’re only writing for “self-promotion” and “15-minutes-of-fame” when we get none of that. Do you understand that we write on RC on a VOLUNTEER basis? We don’t make money and yet we spend probably 10+ hours a week on this website to get what? A thank you? Some appreciation from readers? Is that what you’re hating on us for now? I think the amount of time that goes into a single post like this and the season previews goes unnoticed – especially when Stilts, and Zephyr spent WEEKS (not days, not hours, but weeks) watching what they could and then actually coming up with a list that they thought was appropriate. The worst is not when someone disagrees, but when someone doesn’t appreciate their work and say that they’re not doing ENOUGH or claiming that they do it for other reasons. I see no reason why someone would be such a masochist, other than to make the readers happy. This post is for you guys because RC is built upon a community of readers and we want to continue to grow it. If you can’t see that, then you need to learn to be more appreciative of things in life. Not everyone is going to watch or like everything you do but that doesn’t mean they don’t have good intentions.

    4. I don’t even know where to start with such an outrageous statement, but here goes.

      1) Self promotion? Really? What exactly is it are we promoting of ourselves? You make it look like I get paid or advertise myself as a ani-blogger somewhere to get perks or something. You make it look like I’m forcing you to read this and/or saying these are 100% UNDOUBTEDLY THE BEST OF THE BEST!

      You clearly don’t know what it means to self promote.

      2) Love of anime? The person telling people that 95% of one-cour anime are essentially crap considered to 2 shows is telling me that I don’t have any love for anime? You’re good at this word play thing.

      So basically, you’re telling me love for anime is dropping everything to watch only one/two shows on the assumption most of the rest is trash and to try and squeeze them into whatever small periods of free time I have, because that will actually give me maximum enjoyment. I see.

      I always thought love for anime was giving everything a try given the real-life and blogging priorities you deal with and to really take your time and savor series that are considered truly great, but I guess that was just me. Probably just me who seems to feel your “love for anime” seems to be more of a “love for just Mushishi and HxH” too, but hey, even if it was, it wouldn’t be an issue if you weren’t…

      3) Forcing your opinions on others and telling other people what to do. Opinions differ. Respect it. Just as I’m not forcing my views on you here, you should learn not to force your views on others.

      Would you really drop everything to watch a show someone told you was “great”? To the point where you’d leave thousands of other viewers in the dark who wanted to read this post for some potential shows to watch that they might find interesting? I wouldn’t, and that’s why I didn’t do it. I guess you would, but that’s all you, and you’re absolutely free to do what you want to do.

      I’ll just say I’m not sorry for balancing my priorities and obligations as a full-time worker and a blogger, because I unlike you, actually care for more than just myself in prioritizing watching a lot of other series to make sure I can give other people a better picture of the year overall. Yet apparently I’m only someone who self-promotes. Who knew. I always thought self-promotion meant something else.

      4 to Infinity) Honestly, the list can go on forever, but it’ll just go back to the same thing. You have your views and we have ours. You might think it’s great to drop everything for two shows and that’s fine with me. I don’t have anything against that.

      Just don’t give me that bullshit that we’re “giving lame excuses” for not doing what you yourself feels like should be done. Pretty sure you wouldn’t want someone telling you what to do, but I guess it’s fine when you do it. Gotta love it when people apply exceptions to themselves and themselves only.

      And just to repeat what I mentioned 30 times already, I will watch both shows when I can actually take the time to watch them and actually savor them. I’m not sorry for actually wanting to enjoy something rather than trying to force rush through something in a limited time span and likely not feeling as great about it as I otherwise would have.

      Either way, feel free to continue acting like you are. As SK said, your comments are only serving to be a detriment to anyone else who might be considering to watch it.

    5. Disregarding the majority of this discussion, as far as Enzo is concerned, his blog took a huge spike after he joined RC. Self-promotion is his main motivation for sticking around here. It’s no secret what he thinks of RC’s collective taste and pedigree of readership.

      Yes, being here has enabled him to gain extra exposure to shows high in his esteem, like HxH, but reader response hasn’t exactly been glowing. At least he’ll get those clicks. 🙂

      Don't drink the Kool-Aid
    6. Thanks for saving me the need to say that 95% of the time, when people talk about not having time for something, what they really mean is that it’s not a priority for them. Clearly you do have the time, because you’re spending a lot of it replying even to comments you consider stupid (like mine). So what it comes down to is that you’re not interested in HxH and Mushishi for whatever reasons, but instead of coming out and admitting that, you’re hiding behind a wall of words. It’s not me who’s telling you to watch these shows, it’s a ton of people or who voted HxH to be the anime of the year. So, yeah, if despite of that you still continue with excuses instead of giving it a try, that doesn’t reflect positively on your love of anime. I don’t know, maybe you find Mushishi too cerebral and that’s not what you’re watching anime for, but you’re watching other shounen and HxH is the best shounen of 2014. Not just my opinion, you know. So don’t give me this line about obligations taking your time if you’re OK with wasting it on saving face against what I said. And coming up with curious logic like if I said 2 shows are better than 95% of others then by that I must have meant meant all of that 95% is crap. You’re good at this word play thing.

      It’s also funny how you say you don’t do this for self promotion and yet you demand recognition for your service to fans, which you then say you’re engaged in for purely selfless reasons. Well, at least you’re not promoting your writing skills and great upcoming novel, so there’s that. Anyway, it’s cool that you’re blogging about various anime and you can blog about any anime you like and I won’t judge you for that. But when you start making lame excuses for not being into two of the best animes of the year, don’t act surprised when people are going to call you on it. Just be honest about it and don’t hide behind walls of text.

      @SK: Enzo actually is an “elitist douchebag” of sorts, he just happens to be one with great taste and writing skills. 😀

      @Don’t drink the Kool-Aid: Don’t eat the sour grapes. The vote speaks for itself.

      Kil
      1. …I literally have no idea what your argument is about. :\

        OK, so you’re mad that Stilts and Zephyr didn’t include HxH and Mushishi. I get that. But they included in a disclaimer at the top of the post that they didn’t have time to watch them, so they weren’t included on the pretense that they wouldn’t judge something they haven’t seen.

        …so again, what the hell is your problem? I haven’t watched any of HxH and only 3 episodes of Mushishi, so does that invalidate the 127 other things I completed this year? According to your logic, it does. I have both on my watch list, but OH NOES, I didn’t watch it yet, so I’m LAZY and DON’T GET IT. Is this correct? (Also, if you bothered to read the comments, you would notice that both of them have stated multiple times that they plan on watching both. Can you not read or something?)

        Also, in what universe would you have someone jump into a show in the middle of an arc and expect them to instantly like it? With that logic, if I jump into Game of Thrones right now in the middle of some season, I should just be instantly blown away, right? That’s like me telling someone to jump into One Piece at the 500 episode mark and say “Oh no, you’ll just LOVE it. What, you want to know who these people are? Ah doesn’t matter, you’ll get it. Huh, the plot? Oh it’s OK, just piece it together.”

        TL;DR Don’t be an ass and act like you’re the king of the hill for watching something and others haven’t.

        P.S. The thing about RC is that it’s a community, meaning that the writers also participate. Or do you not know that ‘community’ includes the people who run things? Like seriously. Responding to comments is part of their jobs. Idiot.

        P.P.S. So by saying that they’re not allowed to feel happy/grateful that they got a thank you from fans, they’re ‘self-promoting’? …again, your logic is just beyond insane.

        platinum
    1. Late, but yes, Stilts did both the seiyuu this time because I can’t ever keep track of who does what. I usually end up listening more to the soundtrack, so I did that instead.

      Zephyr
  55. Thank you, RandomC for posting Uchuu Kyoudai!
    Such a great title, and I never got a chance to discover it, that is – till I read the above!
    So many episodes, books, and it even has a drama movie!
    Uchuu Kyoudai is a jackpot for people who long for a space opera anime close to something as good as Planetes, and for those who long for animes that are truly worth watching.

    Stargen
  56. Holy cow, I didn’t even expected Nobunaga Concerto to be mentioned here! I noticed it only after hearing its beautiful rock ED by MY FIRST STORY on osu!, and watched it out of curiosity. It totally exceeded my expectations. Sure, the ‘Nobunaga’ tag might turn off some, but imo, this is the best ‘Nobunaga’ titled show among those previous ‘Nobunaga’ shows in terms of character development and humor. Never mind the CG, it’s quite great though.

    R_Jaeger

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