Anime of Tomorrow
Category Archives: Commentary
Ok, I know I’m WAY late to be posting this, but my new year was super-busy with me moving and getting a new job. My life has been rather hectic these first few months of 2015 and things still haven’t really settled down, but I’m finally getting around to ranking my favorite anime of 2014. Better late then never, right?
As in previous years, I won’t be including anime that didn’t finish airing until after the fall 2014 season. So if a series started in fall 2014, but ended sometime in 2015, to me it doesn’t count as a 2014 anime. Any of those series will be included in my 2015 anime of the year list, which I’ll write in early 2016. I’m also only including series that I watched all the way to their conclusions, so if I dropped a series halfway or gave up after one or two episodes, it won’t be on this list. Lastly, I’ve only included TV anime, so there won’t be any movies listed, either.
I also want to be clear that I’m not evaluating these series by any metric other than how much I enjoyed them. So don’t expect some breakdown of plot, art, music and characters each getting a certain number of points and then the scores being added up to determine which is better. I’m going to try to keep my reviews much simpler than I have in the past because I want to get this done. Ok, here I go!
I recently had a dream in which I envisioned the entire setting and plot of the sixth Holy Grail War (the Holy Grail War in Fate/Zero was the fourth and the one in Fate/Stay Night was the fifth). I’ll call this “vision” I had Fate/Futures and it was such a vivid dream I feel like sharing it with all of you. The rest of this article is something of a fan fiction, which isn’t something I set out to do with my blog, so don’t expect to see this kind of post… well… ever again, probably. Here we go
The setting is Mars over 300 years in the future. Mars is a mining colony and people live in a connected series of domed and underground cities. The planet is in the process of being terraformed, but the surface is far from habitable. Our antagonist is the head tycoon of this mining colony and is from a mage family. Unbeknownst to his workforce, he has been preparing Mars as the setting for sixth Holy Grail War rather than Earth by directing the mining project to set up leylines and reactivate the magic circuits of the planet. Because the population of the cities and colonies are small and none of the laborers in the mine are from mage families, the antagonist (nameless in my dream) predicts an easy victory, the outcome of which he will gain full control of Mars.
Hello everyone. I’ve been on a little hiatus for the better part of the past year, but I want to get back into blogging. I’m not sure how often I’ll be writing new content, but I have to start somewhere.
Here’s my thoughts on Fall 2014’s anime lineup followed by my recommendation of either “watch,” “maybe,” or “don’t watch.”
Terra Formars – While I was intrigued by the idea of an anime that dealt with the subject matter of a terraformed Mars, in the end the first episode didn’t sufficiently hold my attention with its mediocre story and dark art style. (maybe)
Denkigai no Honya-san – A wonderful mash-up of the best parts of Working!! (Wagnaria) and Genshiken, this series is set in an anime bookstore with a great cast of moe characters, romantic comedy and jokes any serious anime fan will enjoy. (watch)
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At long last I’ve reached the final part of my series for 2013’s anime of the year. Keep in mind that this is not a ranking of which anime I think other people would enjoy or which anime I thought was the most popular amongst the anime community as a whole. This is solely my conclusion based not only on how much I enjoyed these series, but also on a wide range of technical accomplishments I observed–from musical composition, art style, plot development / writing and many other important details. But first, a quick summary of the titles I’ve covered so far. Click the section headers to read each part of my countdown in greater detail.
Finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The top five and my pick for anime of the year 2013.
In case you’re just joining me as I count down to 2013’s anime of the year, be sure to go back to the beginning with (25-21), (20-16) and (15-11). Just to be clear, if you research my posts throughout the year at the conclusion of each season, I may have reordered some of the titles for anime of the year–it just can’t be helped. While I used those reviews as a starting point, I have to judge some anime based on how much of an impression they’ve left on me several months later as compared to other titles that are fresher in my mind. If you disagree with my conclusions, feel free to leave a comment explaining why you think so.
Despite its title, no hentai to be found here. Instead it’s a terrifically fun comedy series about young people coming to understand themselves and finding what they truly want out of life—which is simply to have fun loving and being loved.
Each time we’ve revisited this amazing philosophical comedy, it has unfortunately decreased in quality—relatively speaking. A franchise that was my anime of the year for 2009 and took my number six spot last year still tells really smart stories portrayed by a top-notch cast of voice actors.
Continued from Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21)
Now I continue my rankings for anime of year 2013 with twenty to sixteen. If you haven’t read the first part of this five part series here’s Anime of the Year 2013 (25 to 21). Just for clarification, anime movies aren’t factored into my list of series as it’s limited to only TV anime that finished airing in 2013–including series that started in fall 2012 and finished in winter 2013. Similarly, ongoing series from fall 2013 that won’t finish until the end of the winter 2014 season won’t be on this list, either.
Supernatural anime based around Shinto always intrigue me. RDG also tells the story of the reluctant hero, who finds there’s more to his role of protector than just fighting off the forces of darkness.
It’s that time again. It’s time for me to reveal just how much I disagreed (and to some extent agreed) with the greater anime community over the past four seasons. This year I decided to do the most comprehensive list of my top anime of the year I’ve ever undertaken and to hype up the suspense I’m going to count down from twenty-five in five anime increments. It’s going to be a journey that I anticipate will be controversial, but as I constantly remind my readers, I’m here to represent my own tastes in anime because I’ve not found another critic who will even come close to agreeing with me. And so I start with the bottom five of my top twenty-five of 2013.
Any magic girl anime that avoids the common pitfalls those types of shows are prone to is ok in my book. It also has a fresh art style and enough darkness to give its story some real edge so you can feel for the characters.
The conclusion to this season left me a little more disappointed than the last few seasons. A lot of anime that seemed to have tons of potential just flopped and even the ones that had a strong story throughout the past three months often left me high and dry upon their conclusion. There were a few surprising gems that glittered amongst the mud, but metaphorically speaking, none of them were diamonds. Click here if you want to see how my final rankings differ from my predictions at the start of the season.
What made this series so strong was the priority it gave to its character development. Not a single second was wasted on little side characters, but at the same time their significance to the story was not ignored. This series also had the courage to go 100% CG, which made for epic maritime battles that flowed seamlessly with the rest of the animation.
The vision of this anime’s setting cannot be given enough praise. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s hard to imagine the complex clash of cultures emerging so organically from this simultaneously heartwarming and tragic story. We’re only halfway through, but if things keep going at this rate, I think I’m looking at a candidate for anime of the year 2014.
What an adventure these three young people undertook. Their talents and chemistry brought them together to have a ton of fun, which was a treat to watch and in some ways almost experience along with them. The real tragedy of this series is the ending that left nobody happy. I wonder if like the first season of this IP, when the season of White Album returns we’re going to get a sequel that will give a better conclusion.
I can’t think of many other recent series that understood what made the premise of their setting so much fun and managed to just keep the jokes coming one after another (Servant x Service did come close). It also had an amazing, underlying theme about salesmanship, economics racial equality that could be the cornerstone of any moral compass.
Oh Kyoto Animation. What will you come up with next? It’s one thing to take a bunch of random anime tropes and throw them into a blender–but this series takes nearly everything that I love about anime and sets it into a story that merges serious and ridiculous fun arranged into a complete piece that never failed to make me smile.
After the ups and downs of the summer season, this fall season that follows feels really stable and full of a lot of smart, touching, comedic and action-packed series that manage to cover every possible genre with something worthwhile. I like to keep my watch list around ten or so and after viewing the first episode of everything that’s airing this season I expected that assembling this list into a reasonable number was going to be much more difficult than it actually turned out to be. With two solid years of blogging under my belt and my third year getting started, perhaps I’m finally finding my groove and getting better at determining what’s going to impress and what will end up flopping.
I’ve always found the way apocalypse stories explore humanity to be endlessly interesting. I’m expecting to see an amazing story about three saviors who enter a world that either isn’t expecting them or flat-out doesn’t want them.
I’m starting to look at this series as the true sequel to Bakemonogatari both in terms of spirit and style rather than Nisemonogatari, which in hindsight seems more like an offshoot side story.
Just when I think the anime genre has explored every conceivable scenario for a setting, I’m treated to something beautiful and—most appropriately in this case—immersive.
After making a seemingly endless stream of moe anime, I feel like Kyoto Animation is trolling us. Last season it was a yaoi-ish swimming anime with the first male-dominated cast I think they’ve ever made and this season they’ve gone dark and bloody.
Picking up EXACTLY where things left off last season, Little Busters continues the wonderful journey of a bunch of high school friends who have always been there for each other as only Key can tell it.
I’ve always loved the rogue hero. He’s the explorer that forsakes allegiances to live the life of a mercenary and wander the world pursuing the truth. And I’m pretty sure the last time a submarine was a central element to a military anime was Full Metal Panic. It’s been too long.
I think there’s really only two formulas that work for sequels. Either go the Little Busters route and just continue with no introduction or summary of what happened before, or take the White Album method and do a spin-off with a similar premise, but a whole new cast and setting.
Revenge story. Check. Steampunk setting. Check. Underestimated protagonist with a wealth of potential. Check. Love crazed doll that’s always making sexually awkward jokes…uh…check? …yes, check.
There was immediately something familiar about this crazy series. At first I thought it had been written by Nishio Ishin, but that wasn’t it. Maybe it was being made by Gainax. No, that’s not it, either. So upon closer inspection I discovered it was written by Kazuki Nakashima, the creator of Gurren Lagann. Hell yes!
Hero and demon lord anime have seemingly flooded the anime environment as of late, so each needs to put a new twist on the concept. That being said, I have a feeling comedy is going to erupt forth from this band of unsung heroes who didn’t finish their hero-ing fast enough and now must find ways to apply their adventuring skills in the service industry.
We just discovered a fantasy world. We need to send a representative. Who would be the best choice? Well, who knows fantasy better than an otaku? And while he’s there, lets get him to market anime and manga to the masses because clearly that’s the only viable export Japan possesses…uh huh. What could possibly go wrong?
Gingitsune • Galilei Donna • Non Non Biyori • Golden Time • Freezing Vibration • Magi 2