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!

Shirobako

Fall 2014 Season Preview

You guys excited about some new cartoons?! This summer was very nearly the weakest season since I started this blog, so I know I’m sure ready. This fall is looking to be the Season of the Sequel – I’ve already got four sequels I’ll be checking out, along with Sword Art Online continuing on its merry way. The list of originals is looking a bit more sparse, but I’m often surprised by what ends up grabbing me anyway, so I’m not too worried about that. As always, all upcoming shows can be seen at anichart.net. And as usual, I’m only going to be covering the shows I’m actually checking out – if your favorite’s not here, feel free to make a case for it in the comments! Let’s start with my top pick and run it down…

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Spring 2014 – Week 11 in Review

Not the most impressive week in anime, but Ping Pong was so damn good that it doesn’t really matter. JoJo also pulled off a stellar episode this week, and Chaika at least promised a great upcoming episode, so I can’t really complain. I guess I’m mainly just annoyed that One Week Friends has fallen apart.

Now that I’ve told you about my week in anime, I guess I should tell you about my week in anime.

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New Podcast! Spring 2014 Action/Adventure/Fantasy

Hey guys, I was on this week’s Friday Anime Podcast, which you can check out over here. Aeroblip hosts as usual, and I’m accompanied by DreamKatari, lvlin, and redball. This one focuses loosely on this season’s action, adventure, and fantasy shows, and I’m actually only there for the first half, but we cover three of my favorites – Mushishi, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Hitsugi no Chaika. Check it out!

Mushishi

Spring 2014 – Week 10 in Review

This week, I actually fell behind on Ping Pong, of all things. Not because I don’t have any interest in watching it – on the contrary, it was actually because of precisely what I warned myself I wouldn’t do this season. I’ve somehow found myself doing Ping Pong writeups, meaning Ping Pong tends to get pushed back until I feel like I have time to do a Ping Pong writeup, meaning Ping Pong gets neglected. And it’s so good too goddamnit this system is terrible.

Not that that’s any real excuse, considering I posted another three SAO writeups this weekend. Can’t really justify that one, huh.

Alright, enough of my moral failings. Let’s get to the shows I did watch!

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New Podcast – Spring 2014 Mid-Season Discussion

Yep, I was on another podcast this week, discussing season impressions with a bunch of other bloggers. I gush about Ping Pong, we argue about Sidonia and Titan, and basically everybody takes a few cheap shots at Mahouka. You can check out the whole thing over at Deadlight’s blog, which includes time stamps for specific show discussions and links to everybody else’s blogs. And if you enjoy the podcasts, it turns out I’m actually going to be a regular on these ones from now on, so, uh, lucky you!

Once again, here’s the link to the podcast. I don’t have anything else to say, so here’s Star Platinum punching a shark.

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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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Mushishi and the Hand of God

Mushishi is a broad and ambiguous collection of vignettes, and it offers few easy answers. In light of this, it seems silly to try and impart any “one truth” of Mushishi’s narrative  – everyone will take something different from its stories. In light of that, I hope my audience will forgive me for my own somewhat selfish experience of this series. Mushishi can mean many things to many people, but it means one very important thing to me.

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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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