AngryJellyfish’s Top 12 Anime of 2014!

2014 is nearly over, but wow, what a good year for anime! The year may have lacked a real stand-out, obvious #1 for me, but the overall standard was very high, which made cutting the list down to twelve harder than it was last year.

People who’ve been following my weekly rankings may find some of the positions/omissions a bit odd, so I’ll explain: I’m currently rewatching a lot of my all-time favourite anime series, some of which I hadn’t watched in almost a decade. That’s really served as a reminder of what a truly great anime feels like… and it’s made the flaws in some of my more recent favourites all the more apparent. So, some re-arrangement was in order, but now I’m very happy with how this list has turned out. 🙂

Image by sanageyama99

Image by sanageyama99

12: Yowamushi Pedal514b72f3aa1aaa5830da11ebb55e09e680158e2a

I have very little interest in any real life sports, watching or participating in them. In addition to that, most sport-themed anime follow similar patterns and tropes, so I’m always wary that they’ll have nothing new to offer. Despite all that working against it, Yowapeda has really won me over with its great characters – starting with Onoda’s love for anime and cycling, then with the introduction of the rest of the Sohoku team, their rivals Hakone… and let’s not forget the year’s greatest villain in the form of Midosuji Akira! 😀

 

11: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders11413e2f20322ebb2049b93e44aad40fbfa728d7

The first David Production JoJo’s series only got an honourable mention from me last year, but despite the tougher competition this time around, Stardust Crusaders had to be in my list. Again, this is largely down to the characters; while Jotaro himself is quiet and sensible (relatively speaking), the rest of his party provide plenty of laughs, and the villains and their powers have all been varied and interesting. More to come next season, and I’ll be watching it!

 

10: Break Blade TVdc8cf37424ad2cba485ff465af94787f37633cc3

Seeing as this series was just several movies edited together into a TV series, it’s no surprise that it looked good. But not only were the mech fights well-animated, all the weapons were made of glorious, magically-manipulated, shattering quartz, which really stood out for me (to the point where regular readers are probably sick of hearing about it). The lack of an ending and no sign of a sequel hold it back, but still worth a watch IMO!

 

9: Barakamone150e79ecea3cd3af645ec9783d021d5133b5407

My standards when it comes to comedy anime are pretty high, and they tend to drop like stones in my weekly rankings after the first few episodes… not so for Barakamon! Watching Handa Seishu come to terms with life on a remote, rural island never got old, neither did all the interference and teasing from Naru and her friends. But seeing him develop into a more friendly, gracious and (slightly) less impulsive person by the end of the series was also nice. 🙂

 

8: Hitsugi no Chaika (+ Avenging Battle)bc778acbfc01db7c86053b73a20954fe27d914f3

Okay, I cheated. This is technically now a Top 13 list. 😛 But I couldn’t decide which series to include, and didn’t want the franchise taking up two places! This season’s Avenging Battle may have ranked higher, with its faster pacing and higher number of plot twists & fantastically animated battles… but I’m not sure I’d have been able to appreciate it as much if it hadn’t been for the slower first half, which allowed more time to introduce the plot and characters.

 

7: Zankyou no Terrorac2753df16c9d74629ea8650cad710161ebc15d2

A fairly decent thriller, with plenty of suspense, and some clever riddles (which I’d never be able to solve in a million years, even with the power of Wikipedia, though I got enough entertainment from watching Detective Shibazaki work it all out). Plus it managed to have its main characters pull off acts of terror, while still making me sympathise with them! All this, and one of the best ED themes of the year, mean that I won’t forget Zankyou no Terror in a hurry.

 

6: Hunter x Hunter3ba834f1f40a80b69e7913e2aebf2c3fe14a74ea

This one was the hardest to rank, seeing as it’s just so much longer than everything else. The arcs that stick in my mind are the more recent and extraordinarily good Chimera Ant and 13th Hunter Chairman Election arcs, and if I was just basing this on the episodes that actually aired in 2014, it’d be in or near first place. But it did have its weaker moments, especially during the Greed Island arc seasons… after giving it a lot of thought, I feel 6th is about right for Hunter x Hunter. The shows that scored higher may have far less complex and less developed characters, but given their smaller episode counts, it’s not a fair comparison.

 

5: Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circusec5f078ad740962a02f884c93eb6c81cdf4090ab

Finally, a series that proves it is possible to for a well paced anime with a decent plot to wrap up in only 10 episodes! Nine, if you leave out the re-introductory, anime-original first episode! 😮 Helps that the characters were already well established from the earlier series though. A good balance of plot and comedy, and the circus is always an interesting setting – Sebastian and William’s rivalry, and Ciel’s unfortunate stage name got the series off to a fun first half, but things soon got rather tragic. 😦

 

4: Aldnoah.Zerofd44aea0686a6edbe8671894135a348bd7636be0

Something of a guilty pleasure, but one that impressed me enough to briefly put it in my all-time Top 50 list, before common sense kicked in. Plot-wise, not the strongest show of the year – it was always interesting, with all the twists and revelations, but it almost seemed as though they were making up the story as they went along! It’s the production values that give Aldnoah its high ranking – fantastic character designs, arguably the best animation and battle scenes of the year, and without a doubt the best soundtrack of the year to accompany it all.

 

3: Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis 027137a8a757de994aefd7e2edef4de61e1feffe

I only finished this series a few hours ago, so it is possible I might be slightly biased… but somehow, I don’t think so. While its plot was fairly basic compared with most of the other shows in this list, it was just so fun! Favaro and Kaisar’s rivalry, pretty much everything Amira did, and Rita simply being a loli necromancer who summons zombie hoards to AID the main characters… brilliant. Plenty of drama, action and sad moments when the story called for it though, and the change in tone didn’t annoy me as it has in other comedies-turned-serious in the past.

 

2: Kill la Kille12fd97fe067e27797d459e26b86d0aa5b0fc2e1

Another show that, like Shingeki no Bahamut, didn’t have a particularly deep or complex storyline, though the premise was certainly original! Completely over-the-top characters and action, very reminiscent of Gurren Lagann, but much faster paced. Great character designs, plenty of ridiculous costumes, and even more ridiculous powers to go with them. It may have had more style than substance, but in the end it’s that style that’s made it stick in my mind until now.

 

And finally, my overall favourite series of the year:

 

1: Sidonia no Kishisample_01cf71eb91e3c3b55998195983225bb05136a7dc

I read volume 12 of the manga earlier, but again I’m (reasonably) confident I’d still have ranked Sidonia no Kishi 1st if I’d written this post last week! My excitement at the news of an anime adaptation turned to anxiety when I heard that it would be in 3D, but it didn’t take long to get used to the style, and now I doubt the space battles would have looked as good in 2D, or the gauna quite as creepy. A fantastic sci-fi series with memorable characters, one of whom happens to be a bear. Can’t wait for the sequel~

Honourable mentions: 

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren

Love Song of a Certain Pilot

Tokyo Ghoul

Psycho Pass 2

Hozuki no Reitetsu

Guilty pleasures: 

Phi Brain S3

Blade and Soul

Bakumatsu Rock

Samurai Flamenco

Sabagebu!

Series I probably should have watched, but didn’t: 

Mushishi Zoku Shou 2

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso

Ping Pong the Animation

Nisekoi

D-Frag!

<< AngryJellyfish’s Top 12 Anime of 2013!

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4 Responses to AngryJellyfish’s Top 12 Anime of 2014!

  1. I should have guessed that Sidonia no Kishi would be at the top of your list! A very dark show which stands out in stark contrast from the other anime we’ve seen this year.

    I love your top four. Kill la Kill probably won’t end up among my top anime for the year, since I reated it at three and a half stars. But, I can’t help but wonder if I was too harsh on that fun show. After all, I did love writing about Kill la Kill more than anything else which came out this year.

    • I think that it was that contrast, along with the surprisingly good 3D animation that also helped Sidonia stand out. Though the fact it was a strong adaptation of a manga series I already liked definitely worked in its favour as well. 😛

      I was also quick to call Kill la Kill ‘all style and no substance’ early on, but in the end that style was enough. The show was consistent, ended well (which is where a lot of the others slipped up), and the fact that it had twice the number of episodes as the other series in my top five meant that actually there was more substance than I gave it credit for.

      • Kill la Kill has a lot more substance than people are willing to give it credit for. I also moved from thinking the show was simply ridiculous to discerning that it tried to comment on certain important ideas. Or maybe I’m just crazy. xD But, I did especially like its commentary on wealth and how it borrowed from the Oresteia.

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