The Josei’s Top 10 Anime of 2014: Part 2 (#1-5)

Panning the anime stream to bring you the year’s shiniest gold nuggets.

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Did you miss out on Part 1? Fear not! You can click here for the year in review and the bottom half of the Top 10, including honorable mention(s). Or, if you’re ready to check out the cream of the crop, you can hit that jump and read on for more.

The Rankings

As a reminder, all shows that ended in 2014 are eligible for this list, including sequels, even if they began their run in 2013 or earlier. Ongoing series (like Parasyte or Aldnoah.Zero) will be eligible in 2015.

So here we go, my picks for the best shows of the year! Drums rolled? Fingers crossed? Angry comments about the series I didn’t include typed and at the ready? Perfect. Let’s do this thing.

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Glancing Upstream: Fall 2014 Retrospective and Review

Fall is at an end, but that doesn’t mean its best shows have to be.

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We saw two forms of storytelling make a welcome comeback this season: The high fantasy and (perhaps even more importantly) the long-form anime series. As anyone who’s been watching simulcast anime over the past few years will know, one-cour shows have become the norm, and anything longer a happy exception. This season, though, a whopping nine of the 13 shows on my watchlist ran longer than that, and seven of them will be continuing into the coming seasons. So there are a ton of “midseries” reviews in this bunch – and hey, what better time to catch up on some great shows than over the holiday break?

Overall it wasn’t the best of anime seasons, full of shows that fluctuated dramatically in tone and quality (Fate/stay night, Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Your Lie in April), one that shot itself in the foot (Yuki Yuna is a Hero), and a few that suffered to varying degrees from not getting more episodes to tell their extensive stories (Rage of Bahamut, Laughing Under the Clouds). But hey, no season with Mushishi will ever be a total failure, and there were two incredibly consistent, solid, just good old-fashioned well-told stories to round out the Top Three. So let’s focus on those first, starting with one of the great masterpieces of anime, back for its (sniffle) final round of episodes.

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Panning the Stream: Fall 2014 Midseason Review

Good sequels and good fantasies keep the stream from drying up this season.

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My fall watchlist is considerably smaller than my summer one, partly because of time constraints on my part, but mostly because there just isn’t as much that interests me this season. Not counting sequels (and yes, I count Fate/stay night as a sequel even though it technically isn’t), I’ve only kept up with seven new shows this season. Compare that to summer’s whopping 13 at the midway mark, and it sounds pretty dismal by all accounts.

That said, there is a pleasant ray of hope this fall: Fantasies have made a sudden and welcome comeback, as nearly every new series on this list features some element of magic or “arealism.” Better still, a fair number of them are two-cour, continuing this year’s trend of studios producing longer series (a very nice trend indeed). And hey, I’m also trying to watch half a dozen U.S. shows and a trio of sports, so maybe the shortened list isn’t such a bad thing.

Most everything falls (pun always intended) in “solidly watchable” B-range territory, with a couple standouts and a couple series hovering near the chopping block. What’s shining and what’s dimming? Hit the jump for a midseason check-in.

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Panning the Stream: Mushi-shi: The Next Passage (Part 2), Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru, Girlfriend BETA

The stream may have slowed to a trickle, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find some gold.

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It always feels strange to do a premiere post after doing a Rule of Three Review, but due to licensing issues and delayed release schedules, sometimes it happens. This time we’ve got girls both magical and vanilla (in every since of the word), plus an old friend returns (again!) and I’m very happy to see him. Hit the jump to read what may very well be the last premiere post of the fall season.

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Glancing Upstream: Spring 2014 Retrospective

Summer Premiere Week is upon us, meaning I’ll soon be hard at work panning the simulcasting stream for gold nuggets. But before we turn our eyes ahead, let’s take a quick look back at the Spring season and see how it held up.

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Oh, and this is a spoiler-free zone, so please read through and keep your eyes peeled for a series that catches your eye.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup (6/21-6/27)

Celebrate good times~ come on! 

Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Remember, these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.

The week’s highs and lows below the jump.

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Quick Dip: Anime Weekly Roundup (6/14-6/20)

The saga continues.

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Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Remember, these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.

Who stumbled? Who soared? The answers to your burning questions below the jump.

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