It has been truly a great year of awesome anime! After much thought and consideration, here are my top 10 anime of 2014. I did put in quite some effort in ranking these and I have to say I am pretty satisfied with the outcome.
This is what good taste in anime looks like.
Also, note that I consider any anime that has aired within this year. Yes, uncompleted fall anime and also long running anime are also considered. All ongoing anime (Fall carry forwards) are considered based on the number of episodes that have aired at the time of writing this post.
10) Fate Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works
Alright. I have to admit I hesitated and was pretty reluctant about giving FSN the #10 spot. (was debating hard between Mekakucity Actors and this). It’s a little sad that there were almost no better contenders (amongst those that I have watched). I felt that FSN was overall the most deserving due to it’s high production value + general acceptance in the anime community. Objectively, it has few flaws. But subjectively there were some episodes that were Glasslip-tier boring. This anime is slated to end soon, (with 1 more episode). I am only caught up till episode 10. I won’t go so far to say it’s badly written, it’s just really sucks in being really inaccessible for casual fans. (had I not known that Archer is actually Emiya I would not have picked up all the clues they’ve been dropping all this while and it would be a hundred times more boring). Animation is brilliant and superb blah blah blah but I’m really sick of constant fanboys raving at how “epic” the fights are. (which IMO, are mediocre). But overall, well done FSN as I reluctantly crown you #10 in my top 10 anime of 2014.
Okay, this probably should have been much higher actually being the only worthy anime of summer 2014. Great comedy and really loveable characters. Love the laid back, slice of life vibe that this anime gave. It was truly a great series that is hard to find faults with!
8) Bokura wa minna wa kawaisou
I had a hard time deciding if this or Barakamon was better. They were both light hearted slice of life anime that I really found a soft spot for. My final conclusion was that I liked Bokura wa minna better and one of the contributing factors was that I really loved Kawai Ritsu’s character. (her shyness was so hot and her character was pretty well written + believable, i.e, felt real). And it’s also one of the anime that I actually regret not writing much about after I was done watching it. After coming to realise that I would be actually so much happier if there would to be a season 2 for this (over Barakamon), I gladly placed this above it. In short, great humour + believable romance + characters, awesome atmosphere. It’s one of the hidden gems of 2014. I really enjoyed this! People need to pay attention to this series more! It’s actually very good.
7) Silver Spoon (Season 2)
Ahhhh Silver Spoon! All slice of anime needs to take notes from this master here! This anime on pigs,horses and crops is legitimately good stuff. The second season introduced us to an array of feels inducing problems like parental issues, chasing dreams, love etc. The material is definitely formidably inspiring/life changing and it’s surely one of the best slice of life I have ever watched! (Full series review here).
Everywhere I go this show seems to enter the top 5. (or even top 3, or the actual freaking top) Parasyte is good, but how does it stand up to the other top 10 contenders? This shit is dope, no doubt and I have a feeling I’ll be spending this whole space here explaining why this is not ranked much higher.
This show is more like a “hit or hit” show. In other words, it hardly misses. Most people that watch Parasyte will like it to some extent. (this is why Parasyte does so well in polls I reckon) Some crown it as one of the best animes of 2014, or the anime of the season/year. While some will find it only moderately good. I have never seen anyone who disliked this anime. It’s probably the safest thing that you can recommend someone to watch this year. They’re almost guaranteed to like it. For me, I belong to the group of people who really enjoy Parasyte, but I don’t think it’s the best. It’s one of the best, yes. But not totally. It hardly has many flaws, maintains a high level of tension and suspense and coupled with one of the best character developments of anime, Parasyte is surely a very well written series. It’s very very good, but there are just stuff out there better.
Upon introspection I was wondering if the lack of an episode last week did influence my affection for this series. It might have. Idk. but if it makes you feel better I did hesitate pretty long about whether to give this the #5 slot.
EDIT: Yeah indeed. I think the absence of an episode last week did influence my opinion on this series. (I did the rankings around that time). The episodes during that period wasn’t too strong either. But after watching episode 12 (at the time of posting this list, episode 12 have not aired yet), I am compelled to write this. This series has skyrocketed to probably minimally 3rd place (or 2nd?). I don’t know. I don’t intend to adjust this list. This episode 12 was the strongest episode to date and it’s a pity because I should have written this after watching it.
Surprise? I thought this series was pretty average all this while. But the recent episodes have struck a chord in my heart. Suddenly everything seemed to magically work, as if they were all building up to this point. I have grown very fond of this series and almost looking forward to this more than I do for Parasyte. This is also another example of how a slice-of-life anime should be done.
This is the first time I’ve seen a slice of life really attempt to build a world with such a large number of characters. Everyone has a minor line or two once in awhile (with the exception of the main characters like Miyamori or Tarou) but you can honestly really FEEL the atmosphere and realism that the characters have to offer. Musani animation feels real (but with all due respect, are there really cute girls that work in an anime studio?). Tarou has got to be the funniest villain-ish character of the year. I have to say that Shirobako really does bring something really unique to the table. It’s fresh, creative and tackles real world problems. Surely deserves the #5 spot!
Heh. Haikyuu is definitely one of the best sports anime of all time! It’s also the best anime of Spring + Summer this year. (YES, Haikyuu > Ping Pong, no matter what you say #truth). As for sports, I definitely find myself preferring the commonly used shounen cliches. As long as they are able to piece together and orchestrate moments (like they did in Haikyuu) where I can feel like crying while watching a freaking volleyball game then it’s all good. The author of Haikyuu is surely very talented and I’ll am hyped for the 2nd season (which was just annouced recently). A very well deserved #4 amongst the other very powerful competitors in this list! Haikyuu is indeed a solid example of a top tier anime.
3) Yowamushi Pedal
Yowapedal is a really “cute” show. It’s both unique yet cliche at the same time. As strange as that sounds, it is actually very very good. There were also really memorable moments where I felt compelled to rewatch a dozen of times and never got bored of (That Tadokoro and Onoda singing the Hime Song, priceless!). Yowapedal can be cheesy at times, but it is greatness. It is probably one of the best “real shounen-ish” sports anime of all time (the best IMO, being Chihayafuru). It reminds me a lot of Prince of Tennis which I used to adore. It’s just a wonder how the author manages such a large cast of characters and makes each one memorable, likeable and relatable while some other authors struggle with even making a few seem alive (*ahem* Ping Pong…). And yeah, also just because..Midousuji.
Also if you’re wondering. It was a very close fight between Yowapedal and Haikyuu but I found Yowapedal to be a little more interesting. (and well deserving of this #3 spot).
2) Shigatsu wa kimi no uso / Your lie in April
No surprise here. This anime is simply beautiful in so many different ways. A masterpiece, if you will. This anime also takes best animation of 2014 (No, it’s not FSN’s fights because gorgeous piano animation > random blue and red flashing lights). The cinematography and production value behind this series is phenomenal. This anime is god tier and will probably be one of the best anime of all time. Best music, best animation and a compelling, moving story that is bound to reduce one to tears. What more could we ask for? Again, this anime is god-tier. And only a select few, (Chihayafuru, Nodame Cantabile) can possibly hold a candle to it. Possibly top 5 anime EVER. We’ll see. But this is a definite cream of the crop anime that you should be watching. It’s like the anime we’ve all been waiting for. Picture that, but better.
1) Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Ah hah. Remember I gave this anime in 11/10. And that I was actually depressed over this anime ending. Now it’s currently on Hiatus x Hiatus but I will screaming my lungs off if someone told me that they were going to resume this. Hunter x Hunter, is probably the best anime ever. The studio behind it (Madhouse) has also done a very commendable job in adapting the manga. It’s shounen, but the feels are strong with this one. The chimera ants arc (which mainly aired in 2014) was one of the best this (already too good) series has to offer. Epic feels + intense action + best written characters (and of course villains, Mereum yo). This has to be the best anime that aired during this year.
My Wednesday mornings are sad and void of meaning ever since this amazing series ended. 😦
Mekakucity Actors (#11) – For introducing the vocaloids to me (which were awesome). Wonderful music, a pretty good “mind fuck”. The anime adaptation was kinda weak but on a whole the franchise was really wonderful.
No Game no Life (#12)- Objectively this anime wasn’t anything great. It is riddled with flaws. But I did have a great time watching it. It’s surely not top 10 material, but entertaining enough for it to deserve a mention.
Knights of Sidonia (#13) – I loved the first few episodes of this series but it went downhill. But this anime is generally very underrated.
The rest of what I’ve watched
For those who happen to be curious to what anime went into consideration for this top 10 list. Here are the other anime that I have watched this year.
#14 – Cross Ange
#15 – Terraformars
#16 – Akame ga Kill
#17 – Ao Haru Ride
#18 – Ping Pong
#19 – Sword Art Online 2
#20 – Tokyo Ghoul
#21 – Aldnoah Zero
#22 – Nanatsu no Taizai (ongoing)
#23 – Brynhildir in the darkness (dropped towards the end)
#24 – Baby Steps (dropped at mid point)
#25 – Glasslip (dropped towards the end)
#26 – Zankyou no Terror
#27 – Jinsei (dropped at mid point)
*note I considered anime that I’ve dropped but invested a considerable amount of time watching. (at least half of the whole series). I may publish a full list of all the anime I’ve tried (including those I dropped at episode 1-2)
Most of the above (especially ranked 11-29) felt very average. An anime like Akame ga Kill or Ao Haru ride would qualify as a very average anime of this year. (seriously though why does Akame ga kill pop up in some top lists I’ve seen. like what??). Tokyo Ghoul and Aldnoah Zero were definitely below average (almost bad) anime. While Zankyou no Terror and Ping Pong are the most overrated shit anime of this year (besides Bahamut, which was terribly mediocre at best). Garo had the worst first episode of this year that I’ve watched. (and probably the worst anime of the year? idk) Oh and yes, Nanatsu no Taizai is pretty overrated too. It’s not terrible, but just mediocre. Very mediocre.
Oh and I also notice that about half of the above list comes from Fall. It’s a real pity because of the lack of good anime throughout the rest of the year. And that reminds me that I should probably do a Reflections on Fall 2014 post very soon.
Whew. What a long post. Merry Christmas Eve anyway people. Upon close examination of my own top list I’m pretty happy to find that I’m a pretty “balanced” anime watcher. Slice and life anime should have equal importance as action! When you see top lists these days that go like this : “FSN, Tokyo Ghoul, Akame ga kill, Nanatsu no Taizai”. It kinda sickens me like what are you? a 12 year old action obsessed kid? But since it’s Christmas I’ll leave the inevitable attack on other people’s bad taste for another day. 🙂
Great anime taste I have. You can’t help but agree. I know. Haha