Winter 2015 – First Half in Review

Dear god, it’s somehow that time again. The time when we all get together to celebrate the cartoons we love by putting them in a meaningless ranking system that denies the very purpose of storytelling altogether. The halfway point rankings feel even more meaningless than usual this season, as the current season is both very good and also full of shows that I’m enjoying all around the same level, but trifling problems like that won’t stand in the way of tradition. Let’s run ’em down!

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Top Ten Anime of 2014

I had to stretch to get a top 10 this year. I’m ready to admit that. Last year, it was easy – in fact, it was too easy, and I ended up expanding my list to twelve shows basically by necessity. But this year didn’t have quite the top shelf of 2013, and so concessions had to be made. There are certainly a couple notable absences here, with I’m guessing the biggest ones being Kill la Kill, Space Dandy, and maybe Nozaki-kun. The reason for those absences is simple – I didn’t like any of those shows very much. If you’re looking for a general “all the shows that enjoyed positive appraisal among the kinds of people who make a point of appraising shows,” I’m guessing all three of those would be included, but this is my list, and I’m gonna talk about what I wanna. (Incidentally, if you are looking for a list like that, my fellow critics at ANN all contributed their own top five lists to this recent retrospective – and that’s all shows that started in 2014, so even my list over there is pretty different). My list may be a little shorter this year, but it’s still got some real gems, and considering three of the year’s best shows aren’t included simply because they aren’t finished (Shirobako, KimiUso, and Parasyte), I’d say we made off okay. Let’s run it down!

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ANN’s Top Five Anime of 2014

ANN just posted their big top five anime of the year retrospective, which includes the results of their reader poll and lists from a bunch of their staff, including yours truly. This list was based on full-length shows that started in 2014, meaning no Hanamonogatari or Samurai Flamenco, while shows like Shirobako are eligible. Meaning the list I submitted there is actually fairly different from the top ten list I’ll be posting here in a week or so, but it still offers a fine preview of my thoughts on the year, and actually highlights how badly I think this fall season pulled everything together. This was a weak year in anime, but the silver lining is that fall’s continuing shows (Shirobako, KimiUso, Parasyte, FSN) are almost single-handedly ensuring 2015 will be better. And the other ANN writers highlight a whole bunch of other compelling stuff, so clearly animeland will survive. Here’s to 2014!


Fall 2014 – First Half in Review

It’s that time again! Forget earnest textual critique, emotional reflection, or thematic exploration, it’s time to PUT SHIT IN A LIST WOOOO. This season has offered us a ridiculous bounty of shows, and I’ve responded in kind by ruthlessly punishing anything that fails to continuously dazzle my senses. I dropped Garo, I dropped Grisaia, I dropped Inou Battle… at this point, it’s pretty likely I’m even dropping Psycho-Pass (I’ve stalled on watching the latest episode, so I left it off the list). In spite of that, this season continues to offer a hefty pile of top-tier shows, all of them jockeying for that storied number one spot. Who gets the spot? Why, it’s motherfuckin

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Summer 2014 – First Half in Review

We may already be halfway through August, but fortunately, it appears the anime season shares my overwhelming fear of death, and is dealing with that by denying the summer is ending altogether. I respect that, and will honor the season’s wishes by today placing all of the shows I’m watching in a reductive, nigh-meaningless hierarchy of Objective Worthiness. Unfortunately, it turns out I got tired of most shows’ shit even more efficiently than usual this season… so to pad out my list, I’ll also include the unlucky casualties of the first several weeks. Let’s run them down!

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Top Shows Addendum

So I wrote my Top 30 Shows of All Time list, and that was great and super convenient for a while, until I came to a startling revelation – there are more than thirty good shows, and even worse than that, people keep making new ones. Clearly there’s no way I could have predicted this turn of events, but I’m doing my best to take it in stride. And in the spirit of promoting More Good Things, I’ve decided to create this Additional Top Shows supplement.

I don’t really want to cut off shows when they fall out of the thirty – I’d rather recommend more good stuff than less, and the number was initially envisioned more as a quality marker than a hard, arbitrary line. And so instead of having shows disappear and be gone forever, shows that drop out of the thirty, or that just barely don’t make it, will instead find their home here in the Top Shows Addendum. I hope you enjoy this jumbled list of Slightly Less Top But Still Pretty Great Shows!

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Spring 2014 – First Half in Review

Welp, we’ve reached the season’s halfway point, which means it’s once again time to roughly shepherd everything I’m watching into a reductive hierarchy that through its very nature misses the point of art altogether. Everybody loves lists!

Incidentally, the fact that it is so reductive is why I do this nonsense in the middle of the season, and not the end. Lists are fun, but I don’t want lists anywhere near my actual takeaway from shows, so I use this mainly just to sort out my general feelings on the season’s overall tenor. This season has turned out to be very good, and I have already dropped every single show I’m not solidly enjoying – if anything on this list looks entertaining to you, I can confirm that even the lowest shows have been solid enough at what they’re doing. And the top shows… yeah, this is a season to be proud of. Let’s run it down!

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Top 30 Anime Series of All Time

Yep, I’ve finally put together a top shows list. As I hopefully made clear in part one and part two of my critical biases post, this is obviously my list – it represents the things I think are most valuable in stories in the way I think they’ve best been articulated. It’s also just a list of shows I enjoy – there’s no hard criteria here, so I wouldn’t stress the numbers too much. Also, it’s a bit front-loaded – I only started watching anime seasonally about two years ago, so the last couple years are disproportionately represented. Incidentally, I’m not including movies here either – I think direct comparisons between shows and films are a bit of a stretch, but if they were included, this list would certainly be somewhat different. And finally, I’m absolutely (and thankfully) certain this list will change over time – there are still piles of widely beloved shows I’ve never seen, so I’m sure the current rankings will be filled out in the years to come. So with that all said, let’s get to the list – Bobduh’s Top 30 Anime of All Time.

-edit- I have now created a Top Shows Addendum for shows that have either fallen off or just barely missed this list. Please enjoy these additional almost-top shows!

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Winter 2014 – First Half in Review

So, looks like we’ve reached the season’s halfway point-ish, meaning it’s time for me to once again go against all my misgivings about turning art into some kind of reductive hierarchy and make a big ol’ ranking of my current titles. Keep in mind, I’m doing this not because it’s actually meaningful, but because lists are fun – if you disagree with my evaluation, you’re probably right. Opinions! They’re crazy.

Anyway. Overall, this season has been a little better than I’d expected, meaning it’s a good deal worse than average. While I’ve had a consistent shelf of shows I’m enjoying, there’s been nothing that really wowed me on the level of a Kyousogiga, Monogatari, or Uchouten Kazoku, and even the next tier down of “generally great” shows has been pretty barren. So yeah, sorry, this one might be kind of a bummer! Fortunately, a lot of shows have actually been steadily improving, and honestly, my own apathy towards some of my picks might just be because I’m watching Too Many Damn Shows, and no season is really that full of gems. But that’s enough preamble – let’s run down my picks.

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Top Twelve Anime of 2013

And so 2013 comes to an end. This has been a big year for me in blogging, what with it being my first year in blogging, and so a lot of these shows hold a possibly unreasonable place in my heart. Nah, I don’t think that’s actually true. I think we’ve just had a great year, and that blogging really has done what I always wanted it to – force me to apply a more critical eye to my media, which, contrary to popular belief, has actually made me appreciate my favorites even more.

And there sure were plenty of favorites! As I said, this has been an excellent year in anime, with tons of genres, styles, and themes represented by stylish, confident productions. If this is your first time checking the blog, let me introduce myself by saying I’m a horribly biased shithead who wouldn’t know a good action show or comedy if it comically murdered me. I like people, and I like ideas, and my list reflects that (if you’re looking for Attack on Titan or Maou-sama, you can find my reviews of those here and here). I like to think I’m pretty good at telling good writing or direction from bad, but everyone has different things that appeal to them, and so you can consider the numbering here a mushy compromise between favorite and best, though the list overall encompasses both. I’m not gonna give you synopses here – if you’re interested, each title links to that show’s description, but that’s not what you’re not paying me for. These comments will cover why I loved these shows. I was aiming for a top ten, but when compiling the list, the shows that immediately bubbled to mind ended up numbering twelve, and instead of arbitrarily cutting two off I’ve decided to honor them all. Also, I’m only counting shows that ended in 2013 here, so no Kill la Kill or other half-finished two-parters. So here it is: my top twelve anime series of 2013!

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