Project #107: The Top 11 Anime of 2014

(Isis): Coming to you live from his home in beautiful suburban Cincinnati. Project Nitsuj presents the Top 11 animes of 2014! Here’s your host Nitsuj.

*Random applause as Nitsuj enters the room*

(Nitsuj): Thank you thank you. Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj and happy new year to everyone out there. Well guys 2014 has ended and what better way to celebrate the year than by taking a look at the best animes that came out that year. As you all know back in November I asked you guys to send me your list of the 11 animes you thought were the best of 2014 and I’m here today to report the results. Why top 11? Because just like someone else I too like to go one step beyond. The votes have all been counted so let’s take a look at the list. These are the top 11 animes of 2014 as voted on by you the fans.

#11. Sailor Moon (2014)

For many of us Sailor Moon was one of the first animes we ever watched so it holds a special place in our hearts and to see it make a return is very pleasing. Unlike the first anime which had a lot of filler and strayed from the source material this anime stays true to the source material and gets rid of the needless filler. The end result is an anime that’s more focused and to the point giving us good character development, providing good backstories into characters who really weren’t focused on all that much in the previous anime, and driving the story forward showing both the tragedy and happiness of romance and friendship. On top of that the voice acting is very good in this anime. Having the original VA of Sailor Moon really brings back that nostalgic element and new VAs who are currently well-known and popular match up to their respected characters perfectly. Animation is top notch although it can look a little weird when they switch between hand-drawn scenes and computer animated scenes but that’s just a niptick and you’ll quickly adjust to it. This adaptation of Sailor Moon is a joy to watch and if you grew up watching Sailor Moon like I did it’s worth checking out.

#10: Amagi Brilliant Park

This is an anime I think deserves to be a bit higher on the list just because it’s so funny and likable. The plot is that a narcissistic high school boy who used to be a child actor is tasked with reviving a failing park filled with magical beings from a different world who rel high school boy who used to be a child actor is tasked with reviving a failing amusement park filled with magical beings from a different world who rely on the fun of guest to stay alive. The plot is silly and goofy but it works here and keeps you intrigued. But the plot isn’t the thing that keeps this anime afloat. It’s the characters that make this anime work. Each character his or her own personality and character that gives them an identity and makes them funny in their own little way. That alone is impressive. To actually give every character both main and minor a personality and character that you can tell them apart from each other is amazing and done so well here. All of the characters are zany, absurd, funny, and most importantly likable. You will fall in love with these characters and love them. They are the force that keeps you coming back and watching this anime. The animation is also amazing to look at. This was one of the best animated shows of the year. The park looks great even when it’s on the decline, the camera shots and angles are great, and the character designs while silly on a few are memorable and recognizable. What else can I say about this anime other than it had great and funny characters, excellent animation, and it was just a good and funny anime to watch. Do yourself favor this year and checkout this anime and if you’ve already check this anime out watch it again just for laughs.

#9. Tokyo Ghoul and Aldonah Zero

Well we have our first tie in the list. The first of two to be exact. Both of these two animes were being built up as big animes long before they came out. One was based off a popular manga the other came from the creative mind of a mecha writer. Now out of these two I’ve only been able to watch Tokyo Ghoul so let’s start with that one first. Tokyo Ghoul is a horror based anime where Tokyo is in terror of these creatures known as ghouls. People who look and act like humans but secretly have a hunger for human flesh. But despite having a hunger for human flesh some ghouls seek to live in peace with humans and just live their lives in peace so you do develop a bond with them quickly and hope they all make it out alive. The main character has it tough because he starts off human but due to an accident has ghoul parts inserted into him turning him into half-human half-ghoul. The main character is constantly battling between his ghoul instincts to snack on humans and keep his humanity in check. You really do feel bad for this guy because he’s somewhat of an outcast on both sides of the specter but he still keeps on living with his new friends and allies. The anime also does a good job at showing us both sides as we see there are humans fighting against these ghouls and vice versa. You see that both sides are good and bad and are just doing what they believe is the right thing to do thus making the anime more engaging.

Next up is Aldonah Zero a mecha anime that gained a lot of popularity this past year. From what I can tell the things that make this anime standout is the plot. The way the plot is introduced is great and how the anime progresses with it is done exceedingly well. Another good factor is the action and its emphasis on an effective strategy. One side has the superior technology and numbers while the other side has little technology and is out numbered. But this anime shows us that the key to victory isn’t the side who has the most numbers or better technology but the side that can out think their opponent best. The action scenes in this anime are fantastic each one getting better and more suspenseful with each episode and scene. The only major downside I’ve heard about this anime is the poor character development and the anime ending on a bittersweet note. Actually this is what Tokyo Ghoul suffered from as well. Both of these animes started off great introducing the plot and story excellently but they both ended on a bad note which could have been done better. One could say this was done on purpose because they both knew they were getting a second season and wanted to leave the audience wanting more but they could have ended their first seasons better. Well despite their bad endings there’s no doubt these two animes made a big impact in 2014 and I’m sure they’ll make an even bigger impact in 2015. I look forward to seeing where these two animes go in the future.

#8. Akame Ga Kill

Yeah I watched the anime too I know nobody liked the way it ended but still that doesn’t destroy the anime as a whole it’s still a good anime. This anime was a like a cross between Assassin’s Creed and Game of Thrones. It was like Assassin’s Creed in that we’re following a group of assassins trying to save a city that has been corrupted by politicians by killing them off while another group of assassins who also aren’t necessarily evil try to stop them. It was like Game of Thrones in that no matter how badass, cool, or likable a character was the death flag was always above their head. Everyone in this anime had a chance to die you just didn’t know when or how they were gonna die but when it happened you were sad. That’s one of the things this anime does well. You know there’s a high possibility that the character you like will die but you still develop a bond with that character anyway and get sad when that character dies. Another thing this anime does well is it goes all out on its action scenes. The fights are very well done showing off each characters fighting style, personality, and not holding back on the blood and gore. This anime shows no fear at showing blood and gore. In my opinion it’s one of the most violent and goriest animes I’ve ever seen. But despite this gore and violence the anime manages to get a good laugh out of you and pull at your heart strings. I know this anime ended badly but I still think this was a good anime and it earned its place on the list. Good eyes guys.

#7. Akatsuki no Yona

I normally don’t watch shoujo animes because they’re not directed at me but this anime just drew me in the minute I got done watching the first episode. The story is great. I was expecting this to be a tale of just girly romance but instead it’s a tale of love and betrayal, adventure, action, drama, comedy, and growth. Without giving too much away the story is about a princess who is driven from her own kingdom by her cousin. After getting rescued by her childhood friend the princess now journeys the land seeking allies to regain her life and possibly take back her kingdom. As I said before the story is great, the choices they make and the directions they choose to go with it are spot on and get you more interested in the show. But what really drives this episode is the main character Yona. Her character development in this show is amazing. She’s one of the best female characters I’ve seen in anime as of late. She starts off as this weak and timid girl who knows nothing about the outside world or her people but as episodes go on we see her become stronger both physically and mentally gaining a new perspective of life and herself. She doesn’t want to be a burden to others she wants to fight right beside them and she takes the initiative asking to be trained and everything. Along with her the rest of cast is also great. The childhood friend is a pretty strong badass who cares deeply for the princess willing to risk his life and everything but at the same time he’s not afraid to poke fun at her or annoy her. He’s also quite noble, the guy becomes a wanderer just to save his village from starving to death. There’s also a narcissistic young boy who despite not fighting earns his keep with his brilliant mind and another warrior who’s just as strong as the childhood friend and has a somewhat Zoro/Sanji relationship with him. This anime really caught me by surprise and I wish was a little higher on the list because in all honesty this was one of favorite animes of 2014. Guys, men, check this anime out. It’s an engaging anime and if you have a girlfriend it’s a good anime to watch with her.

#6. Nanatsu no Taizai/The Seven Deadly Sins

Based off the popular manga and one of my favorite mangas that I’m currently reading, Nanatsu no Taizai gained a lot of excitement when the news was given that an anime of the manga was going to be made. This series is like the middle ground between One Piece and Fairy Tail in that it has that magical RPG like world like Fairy Tail and it has great and funny characters who are overpowered, badass, and have tragic stories in their past like One Piece. In all honesty I kind of like this series a little more than Fairy Tail. The story focuses on a princess trying to save her kingdom from the kingdom’s holy knights who are trying to start a holy war. In order to stop them she seeks the help of the Seven Deadly Sins a group of strong criminals who were actually allies of the knights but were framed for a crime and force to go on the run. The princess has found their leader and is now searching for the rest of the members so that they can wage war on the holy knights. The story is good, I like how the supposed “villains” are the heroes and the “heroes” are the villains. The fight scenes in this anime are fun to watch, everybody in this anime is overpowered as hell and their personalities and characters work each other so well. We have the perverted leader, the immortal prankster, the giant who likes the leader, the fairy boy who tries so desperately to keep everybody in line, and of course the princess whose the most normal out of all of them just accepting all of this as normal and adjusting to it. What else can I say other than it’s a great manga adaption and if you’re a fan of One Piece, Fairy Tail, or the manga itself it’s worth checking out.

#5. Log Horizon and SAO

Our second tie on the list everybody and one that I was expecting. The two MMORPG animes came back this past year continuing their stories giving us plenty to think about and make us wish how this technology was real or that this situation would happen in real life. Both of these animes deliver on what they delivered in the first season. SAO gave us our badass MC, a cool virtual world, a neat new character, and gave us the feels that we felt last season. Log Horizon gave us all the characters we came to like from the previous season, developed them, and showed us that just like they’ve learned to adapt to the world and situation they’re in so too has the world learned to adapt to them. Whether you’re a fan of SAO or Log Horizon one can’t deny that these two animes are fun to watch and increase our interest in virtual reality as well as MMORPGs. Which one do I think is the best? I’ll save that talk for another time.

#4. Space Dandy

No surprise seeing this anime on the list however it’s ranked higher than I expected it to be. I guess people liked this anime more than I give them credit for. After staying quiet for quite some time Watanabe made his return to anime by returning to his roots and making a sci-fi anime. Only this time instead of trying to balance out drama and comedy he instead decided to go with straight up comedy with this anime and in my opinion it works so well here. This anime is so funny to watch. Every episode is filled with bizarre and crazy situations involving our main characters and it’s just so funny and interesting to see where the anime will take us next episode. But the real driving force behind this anime for me are two things. One is the top notch animation. This anime has some of the best visuals and animation I’ve seen. If I was to name which anime had the best animation of 2014 than Space Dandy would win. The planets are all so vivid and beautifully done, each one looking different and better than the previous one. Even the vastness of space looks great. I could spend hours staring out into their version of space and never feel bored. The other driving factor for this anime that wins me over is the music. The music for this anime is out of this world. It combines, funk, R&B, hip-hop, jazz and rock all into one giving us the music that just hits all the right notes. Even if you’re more of a rock guy you’ll easily find yourself enjoying the funk and hip-hop music and if you’re a fan of R&B and hip-hop you’ll love the rock music just as much. Another factor that wins me over for this anime is that it has an amazing dub which I think is better than the Japanese version and given that a lot of dubs have been lackluster as of lately it’s great to see a dub step up and deliver. Space Dandy truly was a dandy guy in space and this anime was dandy as well. Let’s keep our fingers cross for a movie in the future.

#3. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei

The anime that combines magic and technology into one and plays the incest card without going too overboard with it. This anime takes place in an alternate future where magic has become a part of everyday life and in that future we focus on possibly the most badass overpowered big brother attending high school and trying to have a normal life with his little sister who obviously has the hots for him along with other girls in the school. This anime came across as a combination of Attack on Titian and Aldonah Zero. There’s a lot of talking and explanation about the world they live in and how their magic works (and I honestly put this anime low on my list because of this) but when it’s time for action this anime delivers on it and keeps you wanting more of it. That’s what the anime does well it shows off how well and cool magic is in this series and explaining it to you so you’re not confused by it but sometimes it goes on for far too long and you just wanna see the characters mainly the badass MC go badass on us and start kicking ass. I know a second season is going to air sometime in future so hopefully we get to see more action, less talking and explanation, and more of our MC being badass and character development from other characters.

#2. No Game No Life

Man did this anime get a following quickly. The year wasn’t even halfway over yet everyone was already calling this the anime of the year. And for good reasons this anime was awesome. The story of two NEET siblings journeying to a world where games decide everything from small disputes to the fate of an entire race is without a doubt epic beyond words. The two main characters are just so funny and crazy to watch with both of them being geniuses who pretty much do whatever they want without any cause or concern for others but at the same time you know you can trust these two to come out and win in the end. The games that they play are all pretty simple but it’s what they do in them and strategies that they come up with that makes this epic and fun to watch. I also like how we have all sorts of different races from just about every RPG game out there. We got humans, elves, animal people, angels, gods, the list goes on and it’s all a race to see who can conquer all the races and face the god of this fun world who is great character too. He’s not evil nor did he send our two MCs here to save the world, he’s just a guy who’s bored, looking for strong opponents, and just wants everyone including himself to have fun. This anime is what I think Mondaji wanted to become but just couldn’t reach that level of epicness the writer intended for the series. No Game No Life hit all the right notes and had the perfect MCs to lead the way for this anime. This anime is epic and fun to watch and I’m sure the second season will be just as great if not better when it airs.

Honorable Mentions

As always, before getting to the number one anime of the year here are a few honorable mentions. Animes that people voted on but just didn’t make the list however I think they’re worth mentioning and I might even check them out when I get the chance: Hoozuki no Reitetsu, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Nobunagun, Noragami, Nourin, Sakura Trick, Wake Up Girls, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, Wizard Barristers, Black Bullet, Blade and Soul, Fairy Tail (2014), Gokukoku no Brynhildr, Haikyuu, Hitsugi no Chaika, Ping Pong the animation, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, Mekakucity Actors, Puchim@s season 2, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei, Free, Black Butler: Book of Circus, Seirei Tsukai no Kenbu: Blade Dance, Donten ni Warau, Grisaia no Kajitsu, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu, Madan no Ou to Vanadis, Psycho-Pass, Ore Twintail ni Narimasu, Sanzoku no Musume Ronja, Trinity 7, Terra Formars, Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis, Yowamushi Pedal, and Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka

(Isis): Oh my God you actually voted for Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka!?

(Nitsuj): Hey! It was a cute, relaxing, and fun to watch.

(Isis): So that’s what you were doing in private on Thursdays. Oh you gotta do a review on this anime.

(Nitsuj): No.

(Isis): Oh come.

(Nitsuj): No. Now get out of here.

*Isis leaves*

(Nitsuj): Sorry about that. Well guys here is. As voted by you the fans the number 1 anime of 2014 is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1. Zankyuu no Terror

Watanabe does it again by giving us a suspenseful, psychological, dramatic, and thriller filled anime that puts us in the shoes of terrorist trying to accomplish a goal. Much like how Space Dandy showed us how funny, nonsensical, and one-shot Watanabe can be, Zankyuu no Terror shows us how serious, dark, and deep Watanabe can be. The story is amazing. There’s no wasted motion in any of the episodes, each episode introduces something new and important to the overall story which will play out in the end. This anime is smart, it introduces the exposition in each episode perfectly not talking down to the viewers or going too fast that we miss something. The events and the characters that take place and appear in this anime are all realistic and believable not once do you feel the anime slipping away from reality. The anime does a really good job keeping you in the dark on what exactly the goal of the terrorists are and constantly makes you wonder who you should be cheering for. Should you cheer on the good hearted terrorist or cheer on the smart detective who wants to deliver true justice. As with all of Watanabe’s animes you can expect the animation to look great, and the music done by Yoko Kanno is also great to listen to. I’m not really that big of fan of her music but when she nails it she nails it and she nails it big time in this anime. While Space Dandy was probably the funnier and more welcoming of the two animes Watanabe worked on this year Zankyuu no Terror was the one that pull us in, kept us on the edge of our seats, and had the story that kept you constantly thinking and wondering what would happen next. Watanabe showed off his two styles of writing and story-telling incredibly last year and I can’t wait to see what his next project will be about.

Well guys that’s the list. Did the animes you vote for win? If not there’s always next time. Thanks for reading, happy new year, and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

Thanks for reading. As always feel free to leave comment, feedback, or request in the comment section below or send them to iamprojectnitsuj@gmail.com

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