Top Winter 2014 Anime: Final Ratings

The Winter 2014 season has come to a close, and so it’s time to assess the shows that I watched, rate them and rank them. What follows is are short reviews and rating on a scale of 1-10 of the shows that I watched during the winter 2014 season. Overall, the season was one of the least impressive I’ve seen, although it did has a few shows I genuinely enjoyed.

Here’s the format I’ll be following. I will be going through the list of shows I’ve been watching in ranked order. Each show will be given a rating out of 10, as well as a short review and any awards the show won (Best Animation, Best Comedy, etc.).

Tiered rankings will be found here, and full series reviews for the shows that need them can be found on the Reviewed Anime List, as well as on the front page of the blog as I post them.

Let’s get started!

Kagari Ayaka

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World Conquest: Zvezda Plot Review

At the beginning of the season, World Conquest: Zvezda Plot was one of my time casualties, a show that I dropped after the first episode because I simply didn’t have time for it. I ended up picking it up a little more than halfway through the season for my time guesting on the CrunchyReport, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

World Conquest is a whimsical, imaginative and bright little show that holds a lot more weight than it seems on the surface. It’s wonderfully creative and quirky, with a distinct sense of humor and a few bones to pick (sorry, smokers). And underneath all that are valuable themes on family, childhood and ideals. World Conquest is a high 7/10 from me (ranked over at the Ongoing Rankings Page) and, significantly, earned an instant entry into my re-watch queue.

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Golden Time Response

NOTE: Having finished this review, I recognize that it is largely devoid of those prized reviewing things called “logic” and “good analysis.” I apologize. And yet, I think it might still be worth reading. It’s not really a review; it’s a response, because that’s all I can manage for this show and because maybe that’s what this show really needs.

I’m just going to start off here: this was the most difficult review piece I’ve written all season (although I haven’t yet seen Nagi no Asukara), and I apologize in advance (again) if this review is disjointed or just ends up making not a lick of sense. Golden Time hit me emotionally and connected at a very personal and visceral level, and yet, I see that there are inherent and obvious flaws in the show. At what point does a reviewer have to scrap their own feelings and aim to be objective? Is it even possible to be objectively review a show when there is so much emotion bound up in one’s impressions of said show?Golden Time Poster Continue reading

Silver Spoon (Part 2) Review

And so passes the best show (by far, I should add) of the Winter 2014 season, Silver Spoon, as Hiromu Arakawa adds to the legacy of her writing. This was a show that transcended both the genre and the medium as the sheer, unbridled (that was intentional) authenticity of Arakawa’s personal experience shines through at every moment. It wasn’t the flashiest; it was the funniest; it wasn’t even necessarily the most fun to watch. But it was honest and true to the human experience, and there is no replacement for that.

To be totally honest, I was pretty torn as to how I wanted to rate this show. My gut instinct was that Silver Spoon is a 9/10, the first one I’d seen in a quite a bit. But my current rankings didn’t really allow for that, which lead me to believe that my rankings, once again, needed something of an overhaul. So, that’s what I did. Silver Spoon gets a 9/10 from me, setting it at the very top of tier II. This is a show I would want to show to my kids when they are Hachiken’s age, because it hold that much meaning and that many valuable lessons.

Silver Spoon Victory Poses Mot

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Witchcraft Works Review

And so, I bid farewell to one of my beloved pet shows from the Winter 2014 season, Witchcraft Works, a show that gets better the less seriously you take it. Although Witchcraft Works wasn’t the best show of the season, it was probably the most fun. And I’m partial to fun. Fun things have good re-watch value. And they make me happy.

On the strength of the fun factor and the ridiculously lovely art from J.C. Staff, I am pleased to award Witchcraft Works with a rating of 7/10, to be found comparatively ranked over at the Ongoing Rankings Page.

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 7.12.00 PM

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Catholicism in Anime: The Consequence of Sin in Noragami

In lieu of a traditional review, I have opted to take a different approach for Noragami. It really is fascinating to see the overlap between different religious traditions. Noragami, with its (mostly) Shinto-based characters, displays a wide overlap with Catholic teaching on the nature of sin. It is a fascinating and hopeful experience to be able to bring two different traditions together and find, for once, the similarities, rather than the differences.

Disclaimer: Before I begin this discussion, I want to first guard against the criticisms that may come from undertaking an interdisciplinary approach to this topic. Any analogies that are made within this article are first and foremost that: analogies. When I discuss Yato as a Christological figure, I am not forgetting that he is a Shinto god of calamity, whose existence is directly resultant from the evil wishes of humans. The analogy is not perfect. I recognize this. But in fact there is no perfect analogy between God and anything extant on earth. My concern here is to distill parallels where they can be found, not to draw the perfect metaphor for the Catholic concept of God using this anime.

Noragami Yato

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Tokyo Ravens Review

Tokyo Ravens is the second show to finish up for me this season, after a couple shows I thought were ending earlier wound up having another week (I’m not complaining). Following the magical adventures of Harutora Tsuchimikado adapted from Kōhei Azano’s light novel series, Tokyo Ravens was a solid genre entry into the shounen fantasy pantheon. Not exceptional except for a few episodes, but solid nonetheless. It’s a 6/10 for me, definitely a good rating for a show like this, and the comparative ranking is up on the Ongoing Rankings Page.

Tokyo Ravens Banner

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