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Justin’s Top 10 Anime of 2014

Posted on the 27 December 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Oh hey, remember when 2013 happened and we didn’t do a Top 10 of that year? Well, aside from just not actually planning it out, I found 2013 to be pretty weak in terms of any good anime that came out.

…Ok I admit I probably missed some shows (Outbreak Company, Non Non Biyori, etc), but in the end, I wasn’t feeling it. This year, a little bit more. I don’t know if most of the shows on this list will stand the test of time, but I can say that they’re all good, and the few at the top will definitely be my favorite for years to come.

If nothing else, this year made me come up with excuses for not including some shows on this list. Nagi no Asukara, Haikyu!!, and Chaika were shows that got some hype this year, but I unfortunately couldn’t find the time to check them out. I decided to leave off Aldnoah.Zero and Stardust Crusaders since they’re both airing in the Winter season (But with me mentioning them that means you should go watch them). So with those excuses, I have my list of 10, which ultimately leads to my favorite anime of 2014. You may already know what that is already.

So, let’s get started on this list!

Well, before that actually, I feel I need to get a shout-out to a few shows that finally ended this year after they ran for a long while. Basically, these shows are probably my favorites of 2014, but in fairness, they had their build up. And this list is more or less for the shows that did air in 2014. So, while they won’t be ranked, any of you reading this post should watch these shows:

Justin’s Top 10 Anime of 2014

Space Brothers is the type of anime people say would never actually be popular, even if it is actually good. Why? It has some kid disgusted as an adult (trust me, Mutta is definitely a kid that’s an adult), it talks about Space and NASA (who does that crap), and who would find any interest in that stuff?

As it turned out, it was popular in Japan. And it was a very good anime.

Its last half of the series (about towards the end) notwithstanding, Space Brothers was simply a joy to watch every week involving two brothers and their dreams of going out to space, their trials and interactions, and how they talked to other people. Just seeing some of the tests in order to be a part of NASA — whether true or not — was fascinating and great to see. It still feels weird to not have this show around anymore, but I think it’ll be back. Too bad if it ever does come back, it won’t be with it’s other half.

Justin’s Top 10 Anime of 2014

Space Brothers’ other half everybody!

Just for clarification, Space Brothers and Hunter x Hunter used to air back to back on Saturday nights (Sunday in Japan) on the east coast for the longest time, and while Space Brothers created drama with nothing but characters and their background in space, Hunter x Hunter created drama with lots of things — characters, backstory, pacing — and it all came together to create a pretty powerful hour of anime. That ended once HxH was moved to Tuesday (I think Space Bros then moved to Saturday mornings soon after, but it may have been first to move before HxH).

Now with that explained, HxH is my “true” favorite of 2014.

From where it started (Gon aspiring to become a hunter to find his father) to when it ended (you can guess Gon met up with his father) it was a wonderful, captivating, literally soul crushing ride that started with me marathoning it, then watching it every week and, just when my expectations were tempered due to the Greed Island Arc (which was nice, but nothing compared to the Phantom Troupe Arc), in comes the Chimera Ant Arc, and I’m done. So much about it was special, and so much about it was memorable. It really made shiver in anticipation every time the episode launched, as I had no idea what to expect, but I expected to be enthralled. I was definitely enthralled, and maybe more.

So simply put, you may have a bias against long running shows of any kind, especially shounen. Please end that with HxH. It won’t be a mistake.

So, special exceptions out of the way, here’s my top anime that aired in 2014:


10. Sabagebu

Surprisingly funny, crazy, and a pretty “interesting” twist on shoujo standards, Sabagebu is the first girls with guns anime that I watched in season and liked. (I did watch and finish Girls und Panzer). It had the right amount of jokes, it looks decent enough, and yes, the characters are obnoxious, especially the narrator. This is the right time to use obnoxious characters — in a comedy. It was a pretty fun watch from week to week.

9. No Game No Life

Finally, a show with losers that actually hits most of the right notes! It basically manages to do enough with the silly light novel premise (and it’s penchant for fanservice) and turn it into something most of its ilk fail to do — make it entertaining and good. This show had an episode where a game of chess involved not just knowing how to play, but your “will” — and it manages to have the chess pieces stage a rebellion. The games were actually fun and interesting, which made it tolerable and easy to watch. Definitely one of the few good LN shows.

8. Barakamon

I call this Usagi Drop lite — not as good, but it has some of its spirit, and that’s good enough. To be honest though, I can’t hate on a show where the main character, who does pro calligraphy, ends up socking a snobby sounding old man in the face in front of dozens of people.

Wow that sounded very wrong.

But it was this moment, and when Handa is sent to an island to cool off, that kicks of what was a very pleasant watch every week. This is where we meet some wonderful people on an island where everyone has to work together or they ruin everything, and it takes Handa some time to learn how to trust, learn how to believe in himself, and how he can improve his craft and get back to the pro level. Barakamon was a lot of fun, and definitely a show I’ll miss. Thankfully the manga will hold me down.

7. Silver Spoon 2

It actually physically pains me to put S2 of Silver Spoon down to 7, since S1 was great and probably would have been my #1 of 2013. (Yep, that’s how I viewed 2013, for better or worse) I just don’t think S2 was as great. Still is better than most of the anime that aired this year. Again, you need a show about farm life, food, some romance, and lessons about life? S2 will have you covered, just like S1 did.

6. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun

Surprisingly funny, crazy, and a pretty “interesting” twist on shounen standards, Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun (my staff being JP only and naming it Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun!!!) was actually close to me dropping it by Ep 2. It was pleasant enough, but I didn’t think I’d want to keep up with it every week. Then Ep 3 happened. I laughed. I then kept on watching it. That was a good decision. This show is on most Top 10 lists for a reason — it’s hilarious. And easy to watch. That can generally be a bad thing, but *looks over shoulder of anime that aired* sometimes that can be a good thing. In this case, just seeing Chiyo, Nozaki, Mikorin, and everybody (even Nozaki’s editor — the former and the current!)– brought a smile on my face. I think that’s good enough.

Tonari No Seki Kun

5. Tonari no Seki-Kun

Goodbye DD Hokuto no Ken. Eventually a short was going to upstage you and declare itself to be the best short ever, and Tonari no Seki-Kun did just that. You’d think eventually a show revolving around two characters, and with one of those characters being one of the worst students in all school history with his consistency in slacking off, would get stale at some point. This never did. Definitely one of the best anime shorts you’ll see this year, and most likely down the line.

4. Space Dandy

So I guess this journey is over, baby? Space Dandy is definitely one of the weirdest anime series ever — featuring different animators and acting exactly like an American cartoon series (even aired on an American station!), this was either a creator’s dream to get to splurge and do what they liked, or a viewer’s nightmare as they did not welcome its inconsistency. Me? I don’t care, I was rolling on the floor for two seasons! The jokes were funny, the characters were enlightening, there was a place called Boobies — there wasn’t a lot to hate. I think the only thing I hated was because I had to work, I no longer could watch it on Toonami. Soon enough though, I’ll check it out again. And laugh again too.

3. Knights of Sidonia

I remember thinking as I was watching this show — which was well received by people I trusted — “I guess I’m gonna watch a couple of eps of this and call it a night, maybe watch the rest in the morning.” I ended up spending most of my Friday night attempting to finish this in one go. From someone who did not like the manga very much, this made me want to give the manga another try. While it’s CGI was very much discussed, it did not interfere with the excellent interactions that took place with our male lead and his harem I mean team, the battles that took place, and it definitely didn’t obstruct the sound. Simply, Knights of Sidonia is fantastic. And considering what I had watched until a couple of weeks ago, I was sure this was going to be my #2 show…

Justin’s Top 10 Anime of 2014

2. Terror in Resonance

…And then I watched Terror in Resonance and simply had no choice but to bump it down to 3. My Terror in Resonance story is pretty lame. I watched two episodes of it during the summer, promptly forgot about it (like I do a lot of things), and then once I heard it wasn’t doing so hot with people, I was tempted to say I never watched it. Instead, I checked it out. I was mesmerized. While some may argue it doesn’t go to far, for the two main characters, it wasn’t about going too far or actually being real terrorists — it was about exposing something far greater, that would require all to see. It doesn’t necessarily justify their actions, but it gave an ample motivation to see things through. There’s nothing overly complicated about this show. But what it does worked for me, and if you’re in need of seeing the best show that “aired” in 2014, this is definitely it. The thing is though, there was an anime that aired in 2013 and concluded in 2014 that I was actually shelling Aniplex money at…

1. Kill la Kill

And that would be Kill la Kill.

Justin’s Top 10 Anime of 2014

My history with the guys behind Trigger might be considered lukewarmish at best? Little Witch Academia was fine and looked great, but I dunno if it really was as great as everyone says it was (maybe the story itself wasn’t just my thing). Inferno Cop…I mean, it’s Inferno Cop, you can’t hate it, but I would be lying if I said it was the greatest thing ever. Kill la Kill, on the other hand, is my second current greatest thing ever until something in the future takes its spot. I still have yet to commit a full watch to Gurren Lagann (which the team behind KLK worked on), so I had no idea what to expect when watching this show.

What I got was a lot of laughter. A lot of smiles. A lot of fanservice that somehow was classy (think of Mine Fujiko classy, if that floats your boat as classy). Episode 1 was ok, but I don’t think it set the tone for the series. Ep 2 did, and since that moment, I loved this show. Hectic, involving, it was certainly not something you’d want to turn your eyes away from on a regular basis. It’ll be hard to forget a character like Mako in my lifetime. And the dog, most definitely the dog. Simply put, I’m glad a show that was “hyped” finally lived up to its billing. After years of disappointment with Guilty Crown, then Sword Art Online, and then to a certain extent Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill filled a good void for me, and since I’m apparently committing myself to buying the series (now that I have a job and all), I guess it’s one of those good anime people talk about.

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