So the end of 2014 has come and all the anime are wrapping up for a Christmas break before another year of anime begins in 2015. I apologise immensely for not getting out my reviews for the Fall season…
In short, professional work took precedent and TeamFourStar content ate up the rest of the time. HOWEVER – I have been able to catch up on some of the anime and tabulate them into this list. Two make the cut! The Top Ten Anime of 2014 according to Anifile. Let’s waste any more time and get on with the show starting at number ten.
#10 – I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying
Despite this anime being only four minutes in length per episode, it is a sweet story of two people who marry for convenience and their mutual feelings of futility which quickly becomes a genuine fondness for one another. It’s short, sharp and mostly funny despite the cultural divide between East and West. If this had been a full length show, maybe it would be higher up this list; or maybe not. Its brevity makes its potent. It’s four panel comic origins have been sustained and indeed improved upon. Definitely give this anime a watch, the whole series will barely take up an hour of your time. Especially if you love otaku gags!
#9 – Gugure! Kokkuri-san
One of two anime from this season that I didn’t get to review fully but I did keep an eye on it and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a hilariously dark comedy which is also a four-panel comic in origin; but it works in a full-fat episode. Cleverly pacing its comedic elements with endearing touches which have quickly become an internet smash and one that Sentai Filmworks shall spread further. There’s the whole gamut of comedy here – from slapstick to wordplay to one-liners to seriously macabre skits. If you’re looking for something different, then the tale of a hermit-like elementary school who summons a fox spirit after playing a game of Kokkuri and their journey together shall satisfy you a lot!
#8 – Majimoji Rurumo
I think this year has seen anime which start to buck the trend of their respective genres and instead choose to satirise them or bring new life into them. Indeed, the fallen witch Rurumo is a prime candidate for this notion. You think that when she comes into Kato’s life, she’ll be the typical transfer student; nope! She works in the school cafeteria. Unexpected! There are lots of moments in this series which don’t follow the traditional route of harem anime [although it DOES come close at times] but it staves off convention enough to present something truly unique which can only be good! I recommend this to anyone wanting a light-hearted magical comedy that wants something new!
#7 – One Week Friends
One Week Friends is one of those shows which makes me proud to be an anime fan. It’s an example of how the medium can tackle a serious issue like mental trauma and turn it into a tale which is laced with positivity and love. Brains Base has produced an animated gem along with Matcha Hazuki’s brilliant premise. It might not be as action-packed or filled with gut-busting comedy to satisfy most slice-of-life fans, but it’s a touching and pragmatic story. It marks what true friendship really is; stand by your friend and help them through their woes, be there for them in their darkest hour and in their moments of happiness. I was blown away with how well this whole package came together and this is definitely a candidate for my top five list for this season.
#6 – When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace
What an interesting concept. Instead of making people with superpowers a rarity, why not make them common and those without powers the figures of interest or derision. Jurai, our main guy, has to deal with something worse; a lame power. A pithy fire…blob. This series may be unpredictable, but perhaps that’s what we need in a show these days; something we don’t expect. One episode could be action-packed, the other quite relaxed. You don’t know for sure! There is a smattering of character development but this anime is clearly meant to poke fun at the likes of Haruhi Suzumiya, D-Frag and all other school club anime be they imbued with superpowers or not. I can dig it!
#5 – Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
Ah, yes. This had to be on this list. It’s such an adorable show with an amazing soundtrack; so peppy! An adventure into the world of manga with a team of quirky individuals who work together to produce an acclaimed creation free of any awkward suggestiveness or nuances of sex. It’s simply a joy to watch and will generate a smile and leave audience members pleased to have dedicated their time to it. I was so glad that I got to see this and by the huge amount of requests I got to review it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Tsubaki’s four-panel work has easily generated a four-star anime. Perhaps five stars for some. A must-see; it’s easy to pick up and understand and requires little background knowledge to fully appreciate.
#4 – Nobunagun
This anime is absolutely bonkers. Despite the alien threat, there are ridiculous heroes with absurd names and powers which creates an aura of epicness which is hard to emulate anywhere else; you can’t explain it, you have to see it to believe it. I may not be a gun aficionado, but I like some farcical action from time to time and the way that Shio [a gun fanatic] conducts herself both in and out of action means that I want to get behind her as she is not a whiny wimp or a callous prude; she’s a scared little girl who has felt out of place in the world and now she has found her calling. It’s wonderful to see her so happy, blasting aliens into itty bitty pieces. How sweet.
#3 – Sabagebu (Survival Game Club)
This comedy is amazing. It wrong-foots you every step of the way; what you think is going to happen doesn’t and instead you’re left with hilarity. Sabagebu is one of those shows that you simply have to see. I was sold after only a minute when I witnessed in admiration Momoka effectively giving the bird to tradition and carving her own path in the narrative. Girls packing heat! Not only that but it’s more accessible than most anime as most of its tropes and quirks are framed around Hollywood action movies and as such feels familiar to American audiences.
#2 – Kiseijuu (Parasyte)
Parasyte. THE standout anime of the second-half of 2014. A twisted and graphic romp which doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to detailing the sheerly horrifying idea of a parasite infecting humanity and turning them into terrifying abominations [If you watch episode one, then you might want to cover your eyes when a dog gets infected. Yeah].The package is mostly perfect; a right balance of horror, intelligent plot devices, emotional capacity and even a little bit of comedy here and there. Despite the iffy soundtrack in some places, the feeling of tension is spot-on. The buddy act of Shinichi and Migi quickly turns into a formidable team from what was a bumbling one-sided duo. It’s a manga from the late eighties which has now had its chance to shine and it shall now cements its place in the pantheon of manga and anime.
#1 – Knights of Sidonia
Yes. Despite the constant takedowns of my reviews praising this show [Thanks, Molebeat.] I will stand by this fantastic series and celebrate the fact it’s spearheaded Netflix’s recent sojourn into anime on its streaming platform. A ‘Netflix Original’, the story of Tanikaze answering the call to protect humanity from the evil Gauna menace is an accomplished tale using cutting-edge technology to present a wholly 3D anime experience in a polished way. I’ve exhausted all I can say about this anime as I’ll be repeating myself; check out my main review for all of what I love about the show.
So there we have it. Anifile’s top ten anime of the year. You might be wondering what were my worst anime of the year. Well…hold on and you’ll find out soon enough.
I once again apologise for the lack of reviews from this season but I’ll work on rectifying that in the new year, ready for our first anniversary! Stay tuned!