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Author Topic: 2014: A Year in Review  (Read 3925 times)

Offline Shadowmage

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2014: A Year in Review
« on: January 04, 2015, 01:21:03 PM »
We have arrived at another year and have yet another year to look back on and review.  This is our assessment of the year past.  Agree?  Disagree? Nitpick the details?  This is the thread for it.

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Offline KS

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 03:00:25 PM »
2014 was a bit of a weird year for me.  In general I was pretty down on anime but also pretty down on most things in life in general so it could just be that.  There were the usual highlights and low-lights but the highlights seemed to come at me very sporadically and as kind of surprises while the low-lights and disappointments seemed kind of concentrated somehow so that perhaps it felt worse than it actually was.  In general for me the memorable series will probably be Knights of Sidonia, Space Dandy, Gundam Build Fighters/Unicorn and maybe G-Reco depending on where it ends up, Ping Pong, the two final Ghibli films Kaguya Hime no Monogatari and The Wind Rises, the shounen sports trio of Haikyuu/Yowamushi Pedal/Ace of Diamond, the just concluded Hunter x Hunter, Shingeki no Bahamut and Garo.  Low-lights would probably be disappointing originals like Kill la Kill, Zankyou no Terror, the continual signs of the decay of my favorite genre mecha/sci-fi and all the failed attempts at original series in that vein like Nobunaga the Fool, Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun, Aldnoah/Zero, Captain Earth, Daimidalar, M3, Cross Ange and to some extents Argevollen and Buddy Complex mainly due to horrible budgeting and retreading of tropes respectively.  When Aldnoah/Zero and Argevollen are probably the best (and I use the term very loosely and as a comparative standard only in that they didn't completely and utterly shit the bed) overall of those that I mentioned in that cluster and I still have a laundry list of problems with them that says a lot about where the genre is at right now.  Like for the sheer amount of titles the only mecha series that ended up good for me were Sidonia and the Gundams which is really brutal considering the sheer number of opportunities this year compared to recent ones and no doubt this severely impacted my impression of the year in the negative.

I'd almost swear Japan is actively trying to kill off my favorite genre and the reason I got into anime in the first place the way they've treated mecha/sci-fi of late and would implore creators if they are serious about what they are doing in trying to make the genre economically viable again to pay special attention to what Sidonia no Kishi did.  You don't need an all star creative team of popular industry names and aggressive advertising to make this genre work, all you realistically need is a solid budget, a set of ideas you want to tackle and to damn well follow them through past the concept stage, decent scheduling so the animation quality doesn't crater too much (you don't necessarily have to have everything all done ahead of it airing like Sidonia did) and most importantly a staff that just actually gives a remote **** about what they are doing.  I'd argue Argevollen got everything right outside of the whole budget thing too now that I think about it.  In any case it should not be anywhere near this hard but for some reason it is and it's no small wonder the mecha genre gets little respect anymore from todays audiences and they think it's the den of shit/kuso anime the way the industry and creative producers treat it.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 03:11:53 PM by KS »

Offline MCAL

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 11:00:24 AM »
Not much to disagree with, though its been a week year for anime overall, though I don't think as bad as some people say it is. Thank goodness for Hunter x Hunter I say. And on that note my top 10 of the year...

1.) Hunter x Hunter (2011)
2.) Mushi-shi Zoku Shou
3.) Gin no Saji
4.) Space Dandy
5.) Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus
6.) Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
7.) Barakamon
8.) Zankyou no Terror
9.) Tonari no Sekai-kun
10.) Baby Steps
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 11:20:25 AM by MCAL »

Offline Marid King

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 12:31:08 AM »
This year, the NHRV and I disagreed on what great anime looks like, but I think we all knew what the good anime were. Gekkan Shuojo, Barakamon, Tonari no Seki-kun, Gin no Saji, JoJo, Kill La Kill, Bahamut, and Amagi Brilliant Park were all solid shows. 
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Offline AHideyo

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2015, 01:06:31 AM »
I am surprised that Gekkan shoujo didnt get any honorable mention when NHRV apparently liked it so much given the forum comments about it...

Offline AC

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 07:41:11 AM »
Here's my rundown of what I think for the other shows for 2014:

Barakamon - Very charming and quirky show. I watched this show as a marathon after missing it for the season. I just feel that, to be a contender for Best of 2014, it has to be very special and Barakamon seem to lack something.

Haikyuu!! - Didn't watch it.

Hozuki no Reitetsu - Watched it only halfway but gave up on it due to personal time constraint.

Kill la Kill - This show is somewhat similar to Attack on Titan: very intense over-the-top, and tremendously popular. But unlike AoT, it's incredibly unintelligent. TTGL was kind of similar too because of the same director but it's just not memorable and charismatic. In the end, I feel that it's too overrated despite some highlights here and there.

Log Horizon - Didn't watch it.

Mushishi Zoku Shou - I love this show to bits. But it suffers what I call a diminishing novelty effect: unlike the first season, the second one is basically the same thing again albeit different individual stories altogether. Some episodes are truly amazing but others are forgettable which renders the series inconsistent.

Parastye -the maxim- in all honestly, I would vote this show the Best of 2014. The only problem is that the show is still ongoing so I can't really vote for it. For too many times have I seen shows that were so promising at first but screw themselves up towards the end... just look at Zankyou no Terror.

Ping Pong: The Animation - Didn't watch it.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis - Like Barakamon, I marathoned the series in a few days. It's a very good show with amazing production values... but it's hardly amazing. It's basically a fun show, like Macross Frontier fun. But that's it. Wasn't really blown away by it.

Silver Spoon - I remember watching a few episodes and dropping it for some reason. Either it was because of personal time constraint or that there wasn't anything about the show that hooked me to continue watching it.

Space Dandy - Quirky and eccentric show. Think Cowboy Bebop and REDLINE meshed together. The problem is inconsistency: some episodes are amazing (remember the zombie one?) while others, I can't even remember.

Shirobako - Didn't watch it.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya - Didn't watch it.

Not sure if there has been any other anime titles that NHRV completely missed out. I hope not.

Offline Delphinox

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 08:56:41 AM »
I think it's very fitting that TIF talks about how wide the anime offering was in 2014; there might have been nothing that blew anime fans away, but this wasn't exactly a year where people lacked things to watch. There were more shows on the list than usual that I haven't yet watched, and the same can be said about the number of shows that I'm kind of bummed not to see make the list. But the selection this year was a lot more well-rounded than I could ever hope to make it - one of the advantages of making such a list by committee, for sure.

It'll be lost amidst the more interesting talking points of 2014 (and itís kind of unfitting to highlight one particular subset in this kind of year), but my personal takeaway from 2014ís anime year is the upswing in the mediumís acknowledgement of a female viewer base. One thing that I neglected to mention in hindsight at 2013ís end that I thought was especially worrisome was that shows geared toward females became mostly concentrated into otome game adaptations and fujoshi bait. And of course those showsíll carry on - Free got a second season this past year and UtaPri will have a third season coming up - but the pool of shows dried up quickly once you got past those series.

Then one looks at what came in 2014, and the mediumís suddenly launching an attempt to make the shows aimed at the demographic more varied than it's been as of late, something that definitely gave the year a leg up. Romance tries to mount a comeback with Ao Haru Ride and Wolf Girl. Fantasy does the same with SoreSekai, Yona, and Donten ni Warau. As maligned as it might be both internally and externally, Sailor Moon: Crystal airing in this day and age still undoubtedly counts for positive yardage. Special mention goes to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun for being the home run hitter of the group; although it didn't have a real chance of being groundbreaking (Ouran sees to that) or a surprise hit, Iíd argue that no show this season outright broke demographic barriers as effectively as it did even with a premise that could have easily turned into something more exclusive. Iím dismayed to see it left off the list and I think its exclusion was a huge missed opportunity, but I canít fault the staff for making the cuts when it came down to it Ė sixteen titles is already a lot to have.

Sure, not all of these shows took off, and the usual suspects still floated around Ė otome, bishounen shows, backdrafts of sports series, and combinations of two out of the three. More power to that, if thatís what it takes to hold those viewers in the first place! But put it all together, and we have far more for the demographic than whatís been done in at least each of the last two years. Going along with a year that as TIF got at in the intro was marked by variety, it was encouraging to see that it seemed like the idea of a wider female viewership was finally being treated as something more than chopped liver. Who knows whether this trend will still have momentum in 2015 Ė and whatís going on here with the female fanbase could extend to account for all of 2014ís variety as well - but if it proves to have lasting power, itíll definitely contribute its part to me feeling better about animeís prospects of pursuing a more well-balanced audience on the whole.

What of 2014 as a whole, though? I think that it's hard to get a read on what kind of impact the year will have at the moment, actually. It was a year where a mesh of just about everything came out as the medium threw the net out wide, and whatíll end up staying around remains to be seen. The year saw some eye-raising things happen, for sure. TIFís already talked about how the creativity went around. Well, what kinds of shows are going to keep that creativity two or three years down the road? Ghibliís got only one more film before they've fully bowed out for now Ė where do movies go from there? The Under the Dog Kickstarter showcased a bunch of creative minds out to try to circumvent the usual production structure Ė so far, itís looking upward, but do we see Masashi Ando and Hiroaki Yuraís ambitions to reach a larger audience come to fruition? Space Dandyís experimental nature and simultaneous broadcasting Ė flash in the pan, or something that could be more seriously considered in the future? I donít really know what 2014ís legacy is at the moment outside of a load of diversity and ensuing potential, but Iím pretty confident that the worst-case scenario for anime is if none of the good from this year ends up sticking in the long run.

Offline Yuri_my_Bear

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2015, 08:17:53 PM »
I agree with this list but I feel like removing Aldnoah.Zero and replacing it with Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun would be better. The show fell apart. That is all.

Offline Aelms

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2015, 11:11:54 PM »
I agree with this list but I feel like removing Aldnoah.Zero and replacing it with Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun would be better. The show fell apart. That is all.

If making a statement is all that's needed to validate it, this forum wouldn't exist.

Offline Pebble

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2015, 12:01:15 AM »
In practice, most of us don't demonstrate our statements beyond stating them. I think YMB has a valid point; one show remained solid throughout while the other decided to throw away its relatively patient, considered tone in favour of inconsequential plot twists* worthy of a generic "Sunrise twistfest". In part the bias against the stereotypical mecha "trainwreck" plays into this, but I don't think anyone is going to argue against the idea that A.Z's ending was a letdown. Even AC's take on A.Z takes an apologetic tone. That tells you something.

(*though calling them plot twists feels a bit odd given how they were seen through so quickly)

Offline Aelms

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Re: 2014: A Year in Review
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2015, 03:24:06 AM »
It's not too bad of an idea to encourage newer posters to write more, right?

I also agree that Nozaki is clearly the better and more well-rounded show that surpassed many people's expectations in how good its execution was. It's difficult to label much in it as faults and it provides consistency in a comedy show, something that not many shows can claim to have done.

That being said, I can't find myself agreeing with people who simply discredit the show based on its ending. It's easy to point to one glaring aspect and let that spill over but I feel the show was good enough to deserve a mention of its merits.
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