I’ll just say outright that this is a list that is based entirely on my opinions. While I think being objective is nice, I think the only way to make your own top 10 is consider what you enjoyed and rank them. I also spread it out so if a few episodes were in 2014 then I’m counting it no matter when it started up. That also means I’m giving shows that will carry into 2015 respect and put them on here even if they have story left to tell. It did make assembling this list a bit more difficult for me and I can probably say few will have a list exactly like this one XD.
There is just going to be overlap with shows I blogged and shows in my top 10. Which I think is a given since I try to blog shows I expect to like. This was a great experience to remember the good times we had in 2014 and look forward to another great year.
10. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! (Summer)
If this doesn’t tell you that it’s a completely personal list, I don’t think anything else will. I really enjoyed 2wei and can’t wait for part 2 that will come out sometime in 2015. When I first saw the source material I never thought that basically combining magical girls and Fate would work, but I think it did. This second season takes off where the first left off with Illya and Miyu able to relax after their card collecting in the first season. But the show adds the mysterious Kuro to the mix and things get complicated. The show just had a lot of things that I found myself enjoying. It had some good action in there. There weren’t a ton of fights, but they spread them out nicely throughout so every few episodes you had something memorable. The last battle at the end here was just really fun to watch and showed the abilities of these characters when put up against a real force. It also had its yuri elements, but also some good development for Illya and the newcomer Kuro. All that put together left me with a show that I truly enjoyed.
9. Golden Time (Fall)
This is one of those shows that didn’t start in 2014, but ended in there. In terms of shows with romance as a major focus, this was up there for me. Not the top show in my list for that, but still making the list. I have to give full props to a show that blatantly says “here is the main couple.” The material teased some other options, but the show remained pretty consistent with Banri and Kouko. I did have some story issues of what they did with Banri, but as a whole I really enjoyed this. There were ups, downs, it was a pure rollercoaster show. The emotional highs were great, the lows were agonizing. It’s a show that will be remembered by me. A good main couple that always made things interesting.
8. Soul Eater Not! (Spring)
This was a great return to a world that I really enjoyed. Obviously, I really enjoyed Soul Eater and the idea of its spinoff getting adapted was pretty exciting for me. This show certainly delivered in my book. A kind of slice of life show, and yet set in a very unique world. You have a girl transferring to a new school, making friends, and having some adventures. It sounds normal until you add in that this girl can transform into a weapon and is going to a school that basically produces superheroes. There are a lot of normal moments just seeing the main character Tsugumi grow and get along with her new friends, but also scenes where they get into the action and have to fight. This show is much more slice of life than Soul Eater, but it fits into that world so well because it’s such a good setting. It had a great OP in my book and told a good self-contained story. I liked the main trio in this show and enjoyed watching it.
7. Sword Art Online II (Summer)
I feel like this will be the controversial show just for being on the list. SAO is a series that really gets a lot of controversy for some reason. I haven’t looked at the source material and have just judged this show as I’ve gotten it. I said in my review that this was a good show overall. It had some good arcs and introduced some characters I really liked. While I would have loved them to stay in the first setting forever, I can get behind the different settings that season 2 gave us. We had Kirito fighting people using a light saber. That has to get some awesome points with people. Asuna’s arc to wrap up the series really revived her character and told a story that had weight to it. The issues in that arc were believable no matter if this is a world further in the future than us. This isn’t a show where the lead is my favorite part of it, but it’s a show that I had fun coming back to.
6. Mikakunin de Shinkoukei (Winter)
Finally, some overlap with Flowers list, XD. It’s not quite as high, but I feel rankings for a top 10 list are pretty fluid in my case. This was definitely one of the strong romance series of the year. This show just amazed me at times. It started out with so much mystery about these newcomers coming into the life of the main character Kobeni. It does such a great job of giving you a piece of it almost every week. You slowly understand the truth and get to learn about these characters. I also liked how many of these people felt really flawed, but in a good way. Kobeni isn’t a perfect lead. She has health troubles, but she can cook really well, she has an inferiority complex in regards to her sister, but she really cares about the people around her. Everyone had their weak points that made them people I could care about. This was just a show I will come back to in the future just to see this cast again.
5. Gundam Build Fighters (Fall)
This could get confusing since the first show and it’s sequel both cross into 2014, but I am talking about the first season. This honestly was a show that revived my enjoyment of Gundam and mecha to a degree. Not that I didn’t care about the genre, but Gundam had kind of lost me after Age. This was a show not even in the same type of domain as the other Gundam shows. It was a competitive game style of show. I think the characters told it best. The stakes weren’t high in this show most of the time, but because of that you could just have fun. The action in this show was just really fun to watch. Whether you are new to Gundam or a veteran you could just watch this and get into the story. The gunpla being customized versions of suits people have seen throughout the history of Gundam. The main duo was really balanced and likable. Sei was the somewhat reserved builder who designed the gunpla, while Reiji was the energetic action type that ‘piloted’ it. The show also did a great job having some straight forward romantic pairings that didn’t overshadow the show, but actually helped build it up. The action near the end was a small gripe since it was the same kind of finish too many times, but it still was such a great and enjoyable show.
4. Baby Steps (Spring)
This gets on the list because I just really like this show. Probably was one of the best pure adaptation of a source material last year. The animation quality wasn’t great, but the rest was just so strong that it still rises up here for me. A show that was not only loyal to the original story, but used new material to add onto what was already there. It just made the whole show that much stronger. There are some sports anime that are impossible to get into because you don’t understand anything. This was the kind of show where you can know nothing about tennis (like I did) and learn about the sport while being told a great story. The lead Maruo is a really likable guy. His rapid growth in the sport is believable because of his incredible work ethic, almost insane obsession with perfecting things, and a natural talent that he only discovered once he picks up the game. You get this slow building, but enjoyable romance. This isn’t a case where the female lead is there just to be a romantic partner. You see a person who has their own life and goals and is pursuing them while the main character is chasing his goal. Just a good combination of story and characters that had me always excited for the next episode.
3. Majimoji Rurumo (Summer)
This might be the biggest surprise of the year for me. Not a show that I ever expected to get into much less have in my own top 10 list. But this show just worked in my mind. It felt like an older show when watching it. In contrast to other shows on this list, here is a show where magic just does crazy stuff. A show where you don’t have as much hammered out logic about how magic interacts with the world, but rather where you say a spell and a blimp crashes down! But it wasn’t just about the magic, but rather the leads. Rurumo and Kouta were just really likable people. Kouta being that perverted character with a heart of gold. The guy will do some outrageous stuff, but he’s a really kind person. It’s not really a front, he’s just both. Rurumo is a pretty quiet person, who is also kind, but slow and extremely uncoordinated. Her relationship with Kouta is a great part of so many episodes. This show has some really surprising and emotional moments. Moments that will just build up and just pull those heartstrings. This is a show I honestly miss and wish there were episodes airing right now.
2. No Game No Life (Spring)
Here is another show I didn’t expect to be nearly this good. I was looking forward to it out of curiosity, but it really blew me away. The obvious distinctive element for this show is the visuals. They are the type that will either be too much for you or you’ll enjoy them. But the real pull for me was the main duo. Sora and Shiro were just a great draw for me. A pair of siblings that most of the time felt like siblings. There was legitimate care and concern between these characters. They were motivations and support for each other on a level that most shows don’t hit. I don’t exaggerate in saying that these two literally saved each other before the show ever began. You can truly feel that without the other these two would have broken down completely at some point in their lives. Together they are an unstoppable force unleashed on this fantasy world, but separated they almost shut down. Gifted people, but with aspects of themselves that didn’t fit into regular society. There is a lot of fanservice in the show and craziness, but it was the connection between these siblings that made this a special show in my mind. The games of this show are a big aspect to it, pretty spectacular and fun to watch. Victory or defeat comes from a variety of factors; luck, skill, tactics, and manipulation. It’s a show that really stood out for me. I will also just say that this had one of the best ED’s of the year in my book. I especially loved how they actually incorporated what was happening in the story into one version of the ED. I have never been affected by a change to an OP/ED like I was in this case.
1. Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (Fall)
I just cannot avoid giving this show top honors this year. I don’t care if it isn’t over yet, this was still my favorite show to watch in 2014. For all that Baby Steps didn’t get a budget it deserved, UBW did. This show just did so many things that I want to give it props for. The two 40+ minute episodes to start things off, along with the 40+ minute episode to end the first part. They just decided what was needed to tell this story right and did it. The show looks amazing, it has some great action scenes, and I really enjoyed the main characters. Rin and Shirou really are a strong part of the show. Rin is a great female lead, with energy, skill, the ability to absolutely mess with people and get shaken emotionally in return. Shirou is a clearly flawed person with a traumatizing background. He’s a good guy who wants to help people, but can go too far with that. The show is willing to show blood, be flashy, and leave an impact. If it wasn’t giving some memorable action it was developing the cast and advancing the story. It’s a show incredibly easy to spoil yourself about, but definitely one of the best we got in 2014 in my view.
Some honorable mentions would go to: Hanayamata, Gin no Saji 2nd Season, Nanatsu no Taizai, Kill la Kill, and Buddy Complex. So basically, half way to a top 20 list XD. Hard to cut shows I enjoyed.
And, those are my thoughts on the anime of 2014. I think the year had some pretty good balance including the shows that started more in fall 2013. It gave us some shows I really hoped were going to be good and some shows I completely did not have on my radar until I was being amazed by them. When it comes to making up a top 10 list you realize the good shows that are going to be left off it.
My top 10 list is as biased as any list out there. For me these 10 shows made 2014 a whole lot of fun. There are probably great shows I missed and show that people will think I gave too much credit, but that’s the fun of a personal top 10. It is as much to give people a heads up for shows they missed out on as it is to remind oneself that this year was a good one.
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