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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Barakamon – Episode 12

Barakamon’s ending is a little messier and less graceful than I’d hoped, but it still hits all the notes it needed to hit. A reasonable ending to one of this summer’s best shows.


Summer 2014 – Week 12 in Review

I don’t even know what to say in this intro, because nothing else this week comes close to Aldnoah’s lunacy. Everything else was fine, good shows are good, yada yada. Let’s get to the show.

Oh wait, also, I’m apparently gonna be one of ANN’s staff reviewers now in addition to my streaming work. Meaning I’ll be doing regular full-show reviews there, along with participating in their completely insane Preview Guide. Meaning I’ll be watching the first episodes of basically every goddamn full-length show coming out this season, and writing some sort of reflection on every single one of them. Meaning my hands are probably going to be bloody stumps by the end of next week.

So that’ll be fun! Something to look forward to. Anyway, Aldnoah fuckin’ Zero.

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Barakamon – Episode 11

I’m sad to see Barakamon ending, but I’m glad to see it ending well. It’s nice to see the show has decided to legitimately pull Handa’s various art-related anxieties into a legitimate finale, instead of the show just ending with a brief goodbye – that meant this episode wasn’t quite as endearing as they usually are, but the show’s always had compelling ideas at its center, and they deserve to be honored with a real resolution. In spite of that, I’m looking forward to the last episode hopefully bringing Handa home.


Summer 2014 – Week 11 in Review

No crazy shakeups to report this week – my lineup’s approaching the end with relative grace, and everything I’d hoped to be good or at least okay has been good or at least okay. This is disappointing! I miss being able to tell you guys something is absolutely awful and wretched and a wonderful thing to get really childishly disappointed about! Hopefully next season will fix this – I’m planning on checking out way too many shows, and have no idea what I’ll end up covering for ANN, so there’s a solid chance I’ll have something to be a big jerk about again. Until then, please accept these humble reflections on shows that are actually pretty good.

Incidentally, I haven’t gotten to this week’s Hunter x Hunter, but I’ll likely watch that later tonight and either add my comments or make an additional mini-post. Busy week!

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Shounen Hollywood – Episode 11, Barakamon – Episode 10

Great episodes from both Barakamon and Shounen Hollywood this week. The two shows actually kind of play off each other, in a weird way – both are tackling questions of making a career out of art and performance, and both cushion those questions with strongly grounded slice of life. They’re a nice pair.


Summer 2014 – Week 10 in Review

No complaints about this week in anime – my favorites were great, my second-strings were either solid or great, and I’m barely even watching anything beneath those. Aldnoah continued last week’s “wait, let’s try to be actually good again” streak, Zankyou recovered from its wonky Hollywood interlude, and Hunter x Hunter is just making me too emotional right now. Also, Shounen Hollywood whipped out one of the most absurd, confident concept episodes I’ve seen in… ever? A long time, at least. Let’s run them down!

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Sword Art Online II – Episode 10, Barakamon – Episode 9

Two of this week’s ANN posts are up, featuring somewhat lesser episodes for both Sword Art Online and Barakamon. Sword Art Online in particular was a real head-shaking disappointment this week – after all my tentative hopes, Sinon’s arc managed to find her collapsing into Kirito’s arms after all. This author just can’t friggin’ help himself…

Sword Art Online

Barakamon – Episodes 1-8 Overview

And here is the last of my first wave of ANN posts, acting as more or less an overall review of the first two thirds of Barakamon. Look at that, I can put on a weird hat and almost pretend I’m a normal reviewer!


Announcement: I Am Now Working For The Man

You may have already heard, but Anime News Network recently announced they’re going to be doing episodic posts on airing shows, and holy crap what is that name right there on the list. So yeah, I’ll be doing some writing for ANN! I’ll be covering Sword Art Online, Barakamon, and Shounen Hollywood (yes) every week, and my first posts will be going up this weekend. I’ll be starting with “season to date” posts covering episodes 1-8 of each, and then doing episodics from here on out. Very excited!

Pretty much the only thing this means for Wrong Every Time is that, sadly, I’m gonna be ending the weekly timestamp SAO posts. I’ll be linking my regular ANN posts here (meaning you guys will actually be getting more content overall), but they’re going to be in a format much closer to the one I used for Ping Pong – coherent full-episode reflections, similar to what ANN currently does for its preview guide. The Week in Review posts won’t be affected (outside of me primarily just linking the bigger posts on shows I’ve already written about, like I currently do), and essays and whatnot will all still be hosted here. I’ll still be rambling about the same old stuff, I’ll just sometimes be rambling on behalf of our friendly neighborhood overlords.

Anyway! I’m very excited to start being yelled at by vast new groups of people, and I hope you all enjoy the work. There’s a great crop of writers being highlighted here, some of whom I’m already good friends with, so I’d recommend giving the other writers a shot too and seeing if you like their styles. A new adventure begins!

Sword Art Online