Throwback 2014 (Part 1): Prince Kouhii’s Year-End Anime Special (Thematic Anime Related Discussions)

Well………………………….

…………………….there goes 2014.

I tried to put this article up like right after the clock stroked midnight, but it’s impossible, considering the Earth’s complicated number of time zones.

Also, covering all the seasons would make an extremely long article.  Thus, to prevent you guys from reading through a hell of a lot of texts, I decided that I would make this thing a two-parter, just to take things a bit slower.

So plenty of things happened during the course of this year, both good things and bad things, that shaped how humans perceived the overall nature of 2014.  A plethora of trends, both exciting and stupid, also defined our year, such as the semi-narcissistic act of taking multiple insubstantial photographs of one’s self on a regular, sickening basis that humans refer to as “selfies”, and the odd method of transmitting information of a neurological disease through mass showering using water that has been chilled to the least-optimal degree, probably causing increased multiple cases of hypothermia around the planet.  We also had ebola, proving just how much chaos and disorder simple human errors can do in terms of trying to control the outspread of the disease to global epidemic levels, and also how much people would freak out if you coughed loudly at a mall and shouted “I HAVE EBOLA” (please don’t try it).

Also, Flappy Bird was created; a game that frustrated many casual and hardcore players to the point where the level of phone fatalities skyrocketed to such an extent, that Apple tried to compensate by creating a, *ahem*, “new” iPhone.

Aaaaaand multiple conflicts emerged from different parts of the world, proving once again that a theocratic government makes a Republican-Communist-Democrat-ultra-combo look much more viable for a country.

Damn, I’m beginning to realize how much this year sucked.

Then again though, good things came about too.  League of Legends went on a full-time high during this year’s worlds championship series, taking in tens of thousands of live audiences in Seoul’s grand finals and having additional millions of viewers around the globe, causing e-sports to be more and more recognized by different institutions as a sport (TAKE THAT YOU OLD GEEZERS WHO THINK POKER IS A SPORT BUT VIDEO GAMES AREN’T).

Props to you guys who gets this picture

Additionally, the new series of Doctor Who aired this year, with a new Doctor that has easily become one of my favorites.  For additional thoughts, check out my review of it (shameless plug).

Sorry Doctor, it had to be done.

Twitch Plays Pokemon proved to us that, through the power of mixed anarchy and democracy, a million random people can put aside their differences to more or less defeat the elite four after 16 days, start multiple real-life world issue debates that would put the Canadian Parliament to shame, and ultimately create a new religion.

It knows all

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And yeah……that’s really all I cared about this year……..that and more games, I guess, but that’s a different article.

 

 

Oh.

 

 

Right.

 

 

There’s anime too.

 

 

I forgot, that’s what I was supposed to talk about today.

 

 

Ok then.

 

So, all manner of joking aside, this year hasn’t been too bad, necessarily.  There were ups and downs, but essentially, I am grateful for whatever good things that happened this year.  Same thing for anime:  there were some moments where I just wanted to question my reason for the existence of certain shows, but there are some really stand-out ones that aired during this year that I am truly thankful for, and it’s my self-appointed task to lead you guys on a trip down memory lane, as we trek through the ups and downs in the media we all know and love for the year 2014 .

What’s up, everyone, my name is Ken, from Prince Kouhii’s Anime Reviews, and welcome to my year-ending anime special, where I highlight the good, the bad, and the various anime that made this year 2014 (yes it’s and adjective now).

Leftovers from Fall 2013

We start off with leftovers from the Fall 2013 season.  Kill la Kill was coming down to a close during its second-half, where the anime truly showed off its wondrous colors.  Along with it followed the romantic comedy Golden Time (which you SHOULD WATCH if you want an accurate romance show that tackles the many issues of real life relationships), the-gaming-anime-that-is-much-better-than-SAO Log Horizon, and the action-packed Seirin basketball goodness that is Kuroko no Basket Season 2.  Oh, and there was also Nagi no Asukara, which surprised a lot of viewers during its second-half by being a wonderful little slice-of-life show from P.A. Works.  I personally haven’t seen the show, but let me know how good it was in the comments if you have seen it.

Winter 2014 

The Winter 2014 season kicked off big with BONES’ unveiling of the anime Space Dandy, an effectively fun show from Shinichiro Watanabe (director of Cowboy Bebop).  What makes this anime a groundbreaker in the industry is that it is the first anime to have an english dub released in the west BEFORE the original broadcast aired in Japan, which is vital in its popularity boost and for the popularity of anime in the western audience as well.

Another great BONES show was Noragami, which was a short but sweet (and action-packed) little supernatural urban fantasy-take on Japanese mythos.

SHAFT had their own little love child on the Winter 2014 scene as well, in the form of the adaption of a romantic-comedy manga, called Nisekoi.  Love SHAFT or hate SHAFT, there is no denying the popularity of this manga series, more so now that it has been adapted, and it went pretty well and was an amusing take on the romcom genre, and  with a second season on the way early next year, we can expect more Team Chitoge vs. Team Onodera wars across Reddit and different battlegrounds on the web that will prove just how conflict over 2D women can ruin friendships, crumble relationships, and effectively start a new world war.

KyoAni, of course, cannot be left out from the season, as they have brought to us the second season of a fan-favorite series, Chunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren.  Although not having the ending that satisfied a lot of people, the entire show itself was wonderful and amazing to watch, while being an obvious continuation of where the first season left off.  By obvious, I meant that the story develops itself in a way that it maintained the same style and flair that the first chuu2koi had, but at the same time the plot progresses, with the introduction of a new character whom I’ve grown attached to by the end of the 12 episodes.

Hmmm, let’s see what else was there…….Super Sonico the Animation, Nobunagun, Nobunaga the Fool, Sakura Trick, Hamatora…………………who cares.  Moving on!

Spring 2014

Moving on, we have the Spring 2014 season, the season most people deem as the actual start of the 2014 anime year, as there are no more leftovers from the previous year, thus the slate is wiped clean, and the year is left to fend off for itself from now on.

We had Captain Earth, BONES’ attempt at hyping up a mecha series by the director and the writer from the anime Star Driver.  While the first episode was pretty entertaining and did cause some hype with its beautiful animation and mystery surrounding the setting of the story, after that, there really wasn’t much to it, and the hype died off faster than Yusuke in the first episode of Yu Yu Hakusho.  Seriously, I was disappointed, as this series could have easily been a more-than-average mecha series, but alas, we got what we got.  To be fair though, they had to juggle this show with the more successful Space Dandy and another different show this season, so forgiveness may be considered, but really unlikely.

If you’re a fan of giant mechs, I guess you can find something in this show…..

Speaking of dying hype, we have Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, from Madhouse.  Ah, I miss the old Madhouse days, the days of Black Lagoon and BTOOOM! and Death Note.  Nowadays, they just adapt manga that has an average plot weighed down by one too many attempts at a clever premise and one-dimensional characters.  I guess they tried to pick up the pieces at the second half, but it still doesn’t make the entire first-half sludge fest any more appealing to go through than a Transformers movie.  Overly complex plot devices, unexplained plot points, reliance on fanservice, and one-dimensional characters;  not exactly sure what you guys would like in this show.

Really good things to start the year off so far, right?

 

Don’t worry, it gets worse.

 

 

Because now, we’re talking about Mekakucity Actors, a show that cockteases itself to be a nice little urban-fantasy from SHAFT and Akiyuki Shinbo, with a large, interesting cast of characters, and that wonderful SHAFT-quality animation to wrap everything up in a nice little bow.

I DIND’T GET ANY OF THAT.

THE STORY BASICALLY JUST PANDERS TO THE FANS OF THE ORIGINAL SOURCE MATERIAL FOR THIS SHOW, WHICH WAS ESSENTIALLY A SERIES OF VOCALOID SONGS THAT MAKE UP A SUPPOSED STORY, CALLED KAGEROU DAYS.  THE CHARACTERS ARE EITHER ONE-DIMENSIONAL OR JUST WEIGHED DOWN BY THE LACK OF A DECENT STORYLINE, THEREFORE PREVENTING ANY SORT OF INVOLVEMENT OR DEVELOPMENT.

THE STORY ITSELF IS ALL OVER THE PLACE, EXISTING AS IF ONLY TO LET ITS CHARACTERS MEANDER WHILE THEIR RESPECTIVE CHARACTER THEMES PLAY IN THE BACKGROUND FOR THE VOCALOID FANS TO SING-ALONG TO.

AND THE ANIMATION!

MY GAAAAAAAAAWWWDWKMNFWKNMFGVOJNGOEJNBGFUEKJNJKBKBFWJNDW!

DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HOW DISSAPOINTING THE ANIMATION IS FOR THIS SHITTY EXCUSE FOR A SHAFT SHOW.

EVEN SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN GRAPHIC DESIGN OR DIGITAL ARTS OR ANIMATION CAN TELL THE EXCESSIVE DIP IN QUALITY IN THIS SHOW, COMPARED TO A LOT OF SHOWS THAT SHAFT DID IN THE PAST.  IT’S AS IF SHAFT ABANDONED THEIR TRADITIONAL ANIMATION TECHNIQUES AND ADOPTED THE USE OF MICROSOFT POWERPOINT TO ANIMATE ITS SCENES.

Exhibit A and B.

Never before have I been so disappointed by an anime ever in my life.  I even hyped up about it so much in my FIrst Impressions article about it, because its premise seemed worthy of note at the time.

WELL, GUESS I WAS WRONG, EH SHAFT?

 

*sighs*

 

 

I’m sorry, I just had to vent.  You guys don’t know how good it feels to finally get this frustration off my chest, this frustration that I have been holding on to since April.  And now, I feel relieved.

 

Well, enough about the negatives, as there are some shows that, if I may say so, were able to save the season from falling into a deep dark abyssal cavern of hellish nightmares and suffering.

One of them, of course, is the second season of Love Live!  School Idol Project 2nd Season.

……….

……..

………

……….I can feel the weird looks from all of you guys now all the way here.

Although I didn’t necessarily watch the season when it aired, it gave a solid conclusion to the series as a whole, not to mention it was choke-full of a dozen or so human emotions that made my brain hurt.  You can really see the growth of the series from its humble beginnings in the first season, both within the setting and of the show in general, and I find that I love series that make me feel a sense of catharsis after its done.  Just makes things a lot more better.

Spot the best girl.

No Game No Life also existed during the Spring season, and, love it or hate it, there is no denying the fanbase that this show has produced at its release.  And, for the most part, I can see why.  With bright visuals, an interesting take on the whole “stuck-inside-a-video-game” plot, and an interesting set of characters (for the most part), this show can be highly enjoyable for most people, and heart-stoppingly stupid for some, especially since, you know, UNNEEDED FANSERVICE WAS INCLUDED.  As for what I thought….weeeell………..*whispers*…….I know people who would snipe me through my bedroom window from 10 miles away if I said the wrong thing with concerns to what I thought of this show, so excuse me as I remain in silence on the topic.

Also, Mushishi Zoku Shou came out, the highly anticipated, uhh, “sequel”, if you will, of the original Mushishi anime series.  Same format, same badass main protagonist, same overall fun and enjoyment, if not better.  Mushishi has always been known to be more calm and relaxed in terms of its storytelling, and that aspect does not diminish in the second season, which is a fortunate thing.

Ping Pong the Animation will obviously put off a whole truckload of otakus from watching it, for obvious reasons.  But let me tell you that this show is actually pretty good story-wise, and if you can get past the….uhhhh…….”unique” animation, then you might just find a nice little nugget of fun in this show.

YES, this is the animation for the show.

Isshukan Friends proved to be an entertaining and emotional show, not just because it has a nice premise on the levels of Angel Beats and Anohana, but also because the characters compliment it sooooooo well.  An obvious must-watch of the season if you’re in for the feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeells.

Hmmm…….

……….

…….am I missing anything?

Let’s see here…….Baby Steps (meh)………Date a Live 2 (ew)……….Soul Eater Not (no)……..Akuma no Riddle (psssh)……..Black Bullet (hellz no)……..

I can feel the hate from the people who actually liked the shows I just skipped.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

Haikyuu!

I have a Haikyuu review that you guys can read if you want my thoughts on this show, but I’ll just say this:  Haikyuu made this season for me and was one of my absolute favorites from the entire year.  It’s boatloads of fun, has some amazing characters, a simple plot that’s easy to follow, great opening and ending themes, solid animation, and a second season coming up next year.  GO WATCH IT.

“…he said go watch Haikyuu!”

And that’s it for the anime that mattered to me in 2014.  Obviously, I haven’t covered everything, but these are just the anime that mattered to me during this year.  You guys are more than welcome to leave a comment down below on what anime made up 2014 for you-

 

-wait a sec…………

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…….oh………

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………I’m not done yet…..

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……whoops.

 

I’ll SEE YOU GUYS IN THE FUTURE WITH THE SECOND PART OF THIS SPECIAL, BUT NOT TOO LONG BEFORE 2014 ENDS.  UNTIL THEN, ENJOY THIS NYAN CATXADVENTURE TIME GIF:

 

 

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