My Top Anime for 2014: The Year of Sports Anime

OK so I managed to finish the first season of AldnoahZero a few days ago, so that’s why this list is here!  Yey!

Let me say that ranking this list has been hard for me.  I have labored over this post for several days and it feels like I rewrote parts of this post a lot.  I also started out doing prioritization matrix, but for some shows I decided to demote them based on ‘feeling’.  There is an ‘over-all’ feeling that this anime is better than the other, which cannot be quantified.  Thus this list is a mix of matrix + ‘feelings’ for each show.  This is also a unique list in that there’s a lot of sports anime plus some we can consider competitive, like No Game No Life or Saki.  I’ve never seen such a number of excellent sports anime in one year and it was like they just burst out of nowhere.  Naturally I was happy to see such shows.

Anyway, let’s move on as there’s a lot of shows to cover!

#23 Love Stage!!
– I guess that my boredom and stress just loosened my standards meter and I got to watch this show.  I stopped about 2 episodes in as I was not really into it.  This was no Antique Bakery, but still as I was in need of mindless entertainment I managed to finish it.  I was also wondering whether I should put it this list to maintain quality but well, for completeness of year 2014 I guess I can say I watched this.

#22 Hanayamata
– It was only interesting in the first half, and I struggled to complete this show.  Probably won’t be watching the sequel, if there’s any.

#21 Sakura Trick
– I don’t remember much about this show.  But I can say it was slightly more bearable than Hanayamata.

#20 Noragami
– I also don’t remember much of what I watched but I guess it was an interesting show on its own.  My guess is that if there will be a second season it might get more interesting.

#19 Kuroko no Basket
– This is the 1st anime that made 2014 the year of sports anime for me. The characters aren’t really that memorable like in Slam Dunk, but it is quite entertaining.  Unfortunately I got turned off by the current season and I really don’t care anymore (as I also spoiled myself about what happens later).

#18 Golden Time
– This is one love story with amnesia done right for me.  I usually run away from such types of stories but I quite liked the main female character, and the other girl was not annoying.  It’s one golden find for year 2014.  From here on all shows are recommended as good to watch.

#17 Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii
– It was funny, and I really liked the music when our heroine summoned the rain.  The final episodes were touching and it had a feel-good ending.

#16 Sword Art Online
– I was so excited for the second season because of Gun Gale Online arc. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way I had imagined it while reading the online translations of the light novel.  But I guess the show recovered in the 2nd half so it’s up here.

#15 Tokyo Ravens
– This series had nice fight scenes.  It also had characters I really cared for.

#14 Baby Steps
– The 2nd anime series that made my 2014 the year of sports anime!  Aside from basketball, I also liked watching tennis.  Liked?  Well obviously I cannot spend a lot of time anymore watching it as one match can last hours.  Before I fell into the black hole of anime I used to watch a lot of tennis on TV.  Anyway I liked it as it looked more realistic than that other tennis show with ‘prince’ on its title.  (I couldn’t stand that show.)  It’s not really slick as the main character has this weird hairstyle, but I like the main couple and the tennis is also engrossing.

#13 Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha
– This is another one of the shows that I watched because the I liked the singer who sang the OP:  May’n!  (The other one being Zetsuen no Tempest with Kylee singing the OP.)  Not much of a reason to watch but the show was a pleasant surprise.   Characters were likeable even though anime with gods/goddesses are all around.

#12 Free! / Free! Eternal Summer
– This is the 3rd anime that makes 2014 my year of sports anime.  I’m not really into swimming as I don’t know how to swim, but the 1st  season was so enjoyable I had to also watch the 2nd one.  Anyway, it’s got guys topless galore, what else can I say!  😛

#11 Mushishi Zoku Shou
– Why did this place so low?  I actually didn’t like the 2nd season.  I felt that the background animation was not good at times and it really bothered me.  The stories were good but I felt it was more depressing at times.

#10 No Game No Life
– This show was recommended to me.  I remember this while I was reading through season previews and my thought then was it was just another show about otaku.  Indeed, we have our otaku but the games are so fun and addicting!  Looking forward to a second season also!

#09 Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
– The one series that almost escaped my radar.  I guess that after watching Tokyo Ravens I was in the mood for more of the same thing and I stumbled on this.  The main character is probably too powerful but whatever, I like the sister!  The competitions were also great to watch and what’s important is that I was entertained in the end.

Oh dear
Oh dear

#08 Haikyū!!
– This is the 4th anime series for 2014 the year of sports anime!  Banzai!  With basketball and tennis, volleyball completes the trifecta of sports that I like (to watch, as my physical gifts are non-existent).  The other volleyball show I watched an episode on TV was awful, that’s why Haikyuu!! was like a heaven-sent gift from the gods of volleyball.  This anime came at a time when the women’s volleyball team was doing good.  I did watch on TV the Japan leg of the FIVB tour, where Japan women’s team came in second to Brazil–that powerhouse of volleyball!  There should be more shows about volleyball considering Japan is quite competitive in the international stage.

Pic from FIVB with real Japanese volleyball players! I dunno what happened to the men's team though
Pic from FIVB with real Japanese volleyball players! I dunno what happened to the men’s team though

But I digress now. Anyway Haikyuu!! doesn’t disappoint with its volleyball, right down to the accuracy with the current rules and positions.  The characters are also likable which is the most important part.  I will be looking forward to a second season–I really hope it gets one!

#07 Aldnoah.Zero
– I had a hard time finishing this as I didn’t want to see the end! But good thing there’s a second season.  Although it might not be that of much of a masterpiece, I’m happy because I feel like getting Code Geass vibes minus the boobies etc.  Hehehe.

#06 Saki Zenkoku-hen + Saki + Saki Achiga-hen episode of Side A
– Thanks to the time machine, I can remember my first encounter with Saki.  It was only this year that I managed to get past the first episode and continue watching until I finished all 3 Saki shows.  I guess that boredom at the currently airing shows helped.  Although I had played a game of mahjong before, I really wasn’t hooked into it.  But what I like about Saki are the characters and their challenges.  The soundtrack also really adds to the suspense.  I’m not a master in mahjong but I really enjoy this series!  I actually like Achiga-hen the most because there’s not much focus on the boobies.

Where did Nodoka hide Etopen??
Where did Nodoka hide Etopen??

#05 Barakamon
– It’s a funny show, with all those adorable kids!  What’s not to like about that?

#04 Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou
– Another funny show that lightened up my 2014.  A weird set of characters all under one roof just makes every day not seem so dull.

#03 Knights of Sidonia
– What can I say, best mecha series of the year?  The last of humanity (probably) on the run from space-faring monsters is a depressing tale indeed.  During one of my rewatches KOS also reminded me of Battlestar Galactica (minus the sex).  Thankfully I got over the CGI’d characters early on.  The CGI may not be that amazing but the action is, especially in 60fps!  Thank you so much to the one who made that version!  Now how about a 1080p version in 60fps–just thinking about it makes me drool!

I wonder how the 60fps version will look in a real TV--nth rewatch on the way??!!
I wonder how the 60fps version will look in a real TV–nth rewatch on the way??!!

#02 Log Horizon
– I’ve seen a lot comments on the web on how this show is superior to Sword Art Online, and in a way it is.  I may not be that knowledgeable about online games as I don’t play, but I could see how tactics are better explained.  Another plus is that there isn’t that much to annoy me in Log Horizon, unlike in SAO.

#01 Ping Pong The Animation
– And now we go to the 5th sports anime for 2014!  I have played ping pong every now and then, and even though the game doesn’t like me, I don’t hate it.  I’m not that enthusiastic about it either.  But this anime presents ping pong in a very interesting way, starting with the unusual animation.  I have read some people not liking the animation, but ever since I watched Kaiba I have been more tolerant of ‘unusual’ animation styles.  There are times it doesn’t look good, but the characters are also there to breathe life and excitement into the games.  And in this show the characters are the most important thing.  Almost each character becomes more interesting as the show goes on.  Add an awesome OP and it kicks ass right from the start!  This animation novelty plus great characters and story make Ping Pong The Animation the best anime for 2014.   (And maybe best sports anime ever.)

Nani mo shinai mama kiete yuku mon ka~
Nani mo shinai mama kiete yuku mon ka~


  • Akuma no Riddle – Somehow I get tired by just watching.
  • Captain Earth – Somehow I get stressed by just watching.
  • Glasslip – Boring.
  • Hitsugi no Chaika – Avenging Battle – It took me until the 2nd season to realize that my first impression was right–Chaika is boring.  But this kind of slip is just rare though.
  • M3 Sono Kuroki Hagane – Boring, I cared for none of the characters.
  • Selector Infected WIXOSS – Same as above.
  • Shingeki no Bahamut – Starts out OK but things just progress too fast and I feel that things are rushed.

And the advance of the light novels continue

I actually just read about the licensing of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei light novel by Yen Press.  I was mentally exclaiming ‘Good news!’ and ‘Whew!’ at the same time.  Good news in that should I have sufficient extra cash I would be able to buy it.  ‘Whew!’ in the sense that I just had finished marathon-reading all the online translations (including summaries) just a few days ago.  I went crazy and read whatever and whenever I could.  I spent a good part of a day just figuring out how to install the stuff that would automatically generate a PDF (not knowing there were already ready-made files available somewhere else.)  So I got to know what happens after the anime ended.  Reading the light novel also introduced me to details that were not shown in the anime.  That explained a lot of things and was quite helpful.  On an additional note, the manga Mahouka Koukou no Yuutosei also got licensed.  It also has some details especially from Miyuki’s point of view.  However I think the novels are a better buy because the artwork in the manga lacks quality.

On the extreme end, it was too late with me for No Game No Life.  I was late to the anime party and imagine my disappointment when I found out the translations were no more.  Not that I’m against licensing but well, I just wanted to know how the original novel went.

I think that Yen Press needs to be commended on these licenses they’ve acquired.  Looking at the press releases, aside from the 2 shows above they also licensed Log Horizon, Sword Art Online, Accel World.  There are other titles too but these 3 are notable in that I’ve also read some translations and they’re quite decent titles.  Of the 3 quality-wise Log Horizon is on the upper level, but as entertainment both SAO and Accel World are still worth the money.  If money and space were not an issue I’d be looking at buying these 5 titles.

Of course I have my own ‘wants’ that I would really buy and the foremost title in mind is Maria-sama ga Miteru.  The anime already has the English-subbed DVDs but I actually prefer to have the light novels.  Another title on my mind is Seikai no Senki.  It’s also quite old and currently the chances of both titles being licensed are almost nil.  Of course the problem could have been solved long ago if I just continued on with my Japanese studies and became fluent enough to read the novels.  Alas, my skills are only up to reading manga with furigana–I could get the gist but not the details.  So for me reading light novels is still light-years away from being a possibility.  I can only dream until either of these scenarios come true.  🙂

Anime Progress Report – October 2014

The amount of tolerance I can muster for harem/brocon/siscon/moe is directly proportional to the amount of stress suffered at work.  So after some months of stress from work, I am now back in the arms of anime lol.

And lately I have been feeling some urge to post something, so while the iron is hot I’ll strike!  Some shows I’ve seen recently…

Continue reading “Anime Progress Report – October 2014”