The Top Anime of 2014

Well, it has been a year, hasn’t it? 2014, as a whole, was a pretty disappointing year in anime. This has been the first year that I’ve actually watched simulcasted seasons for the entire year, so perhaps there’s some of Sturgeon’s Law in effect, but overall I felt that 2014 was far inferior to 2013 in terms of top level quality, mid-tier depth, and low-tier hilarity. To be completely fair to 2014, I did end up watching a lot of 2013 shows this year, but, by way of comparison, shows like Chihayafuru 2 and Monogatari Series: Second Season only served to further expose the weakness of this year.

But it’s more fun to talk about the good things that happened this year, so that’s what I’m going to do. Unlike last year, I’m not going to do caption awards. I’ve already done that with each season, so if you want to see which shows were notable in certain areas, check out those posts:

Winter 2014 | Spring 2014 | Summer 2014 | Fall 2014

So, without further distraction, I present my top anime of 2014! Here’s the Best Girl of 2014 to kick things off!

Nisekoi

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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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The “Normal Protagonist”

Sometimes, we see tropes over and over again and gloss right over them, barely even noticing that we’ve seen the same archetype a hundred times before. Other times, something is just enough the same or just enough different that we sit up and take notice.

The particular trope I want to take a look at today is that of the “normal protagonist.”

While the normal protagonist archetype takes various forms, such as the much decried blandly nice guy, the “ordinary high school student” monologue, the clueless harem lead or the personality-less main character (or the “generic brown-haired/blue-haired MC), this particular pattern appears in numerous anime, sometimes explicitly, sometimes not. Examples follow:

Kajimo Touma

Kajimo Touma, A Certain Magical Index

Shu Ouma

Shu Ouma, Guilty Crown

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 7.56.50 PM

Honoka Takamiya, Witchcraft Works

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