2014 can be characterized as a year of light novel adaptations like No Game, No Life, Amagi Brilliant Park, No-Rin, and Rail Wars. It was also a year where visual novels like Kamigami no Asobi, Dramatical Murder and video games like Bakumatsu Rock reign supreme in an otome’s heart. We got ourselves preoccupied with the comeback of Free! , Psycho-Pass , Sword Art Online (SAO) , Love Live, and Fairy Tail.
With the year coming to a close, we take a look back at some of the series that made us laugh, cry, and sometimes, be awestruck . Without further adieu, here’s my top 3 anime pick for 2014:
[Summer Anime] Zankyou no Terror
Tokyo is now under a terrorist attack. A group named Sphinx, consisting of a pair of teenage boys named Nine (voiced by Kaito Ishikawa) and Twelve (voiced by Soma Saito ), proclaims that they are culprits behind these attacks and are taunting the Tokyo Metropolitan Police District with a series of puzzles posted online. These puzzles are not just ordinary puzzles but they are riddles that unlocks the next location of a bomb .
There’s a litany of this type of series out there, but what sets this apart from other series is that this series is raw, unabashed and honest. The series was made in such a way that audiences can find empathy to the characters of Nine and Twelve. They are relatable characters. Nine and Twelve are fairly capable human beings who are too smart for their own good, but they are still human beings, capable of getting hurt, and capable of hurting someone. They have some deep emotional scars and a dark past which continues to haunt them to this very day. At the end of the series, we all know what was coming. As they say no good deed goes unpunished, but even though we knew about it, we were still hopeful about the ending. We were still hopeful that ultimately nine and twelve will get the justice that they seek.
[Summer Anime] Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Date Aired: 7 July to 22 September 2014
Number of episodes : 12
This is your not so average story of a high school girl named Chiyo Sakura (voiced by Ari Ozawa) , who earnestly just wants to confess to her crush. When Sakura had summed up the courage to confess, it went south when the confession did not turn out the way she expected. As it turns out that guy, Umetarou Nozaki ( voiced by Yuichi Nakamura), whom Sakura had set her eyes on, is not your average boy. Nozaki is actually Sakiko Yumeno, a mangaka of a famous shoujo comic, “Koi Shiyo” (Let’s Fall in Love) . he thought of the confession as a sign of admiration. Not to be deterred, Sakura tries to get into the good side of Nozaki when she took up the offer to be his assistant. As with her daily grind in helping Nozaki, she gets to meet people whom served as an inspiration or shared a part in Nozaki’s comic.
A series about high school mangaka and his team of assistants? ( Where have I heard of that before? *cough* Bakuman *cough*). Most of us would have that same reaction when we heard about this series. “This series will not work, just look at that dull looking main character” is what most of us would have exclaimed, but this series proved otherwise.
The series made us laugh our heart out – with those parodies and cliche we are all too familiar about. There was that episode when Nozaki was fishing out ideas for his next manuscript and coincidentally it rained and his assistants got stranded, so Nozaki suggested to have a sleepover. A male slumber party is what you hardly can imagine and what happens next will definitely put a smile on your face.
Even though the anime was based on a 4-koma manga, it was able pull out a full-length 24 minutes series. The scenes from the manga were properly played out, however, they did exclude some characters in the manga, like Nozaki’s kid brother , Mayu Nozaki. (He quietly appeared at the montage of the final episode. Just find that character that looks like Nozaki!).
[Autumn Anime] Amagi Brilliant Park
Date Aired: 7 October 2014 to 26 December 2014
Number of Episodes: 13
Amagi Brilliant Park is an old and decrepit amusement park on the verge of bankruptcy. Now it is in need of a manager to survive or it faces a permanent closure. As luck would have it, help came in the form of Seiya Kanie (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama), a normal high school boy. He is tasked to take all means necessary to increase the patronage of the park a hundredfold (well technically around 50,000) in three months or else the park will cease its operations. Will he able to save the park from foreclosure or will the park be permanently close?
So what if there is a plethora of this type of anime out there? So what if this anime have so much fan service (for the guys)? So what if this anime had a bunch of klutz and airhead girls showing off their racks while entertaining guests (mind you, the guests are kids, so there’s actually no malice to that). The show just clicks with the viewers.
Here we have an “ordinary” boy, Seiya Kanie, trying to save the lives of the people in the park, and in one particular, the owner, the princess of Maple Land, Latifa Fleurlanza (voiced by Yukiyo Fuji). He tries his best and works hard to reform the park. Kanie is an individual that is likable and in some ways, a character that the audience can empathize. We are like Kanie at times.We would put our best shoe forward and try to fix things to our best abilities, it’s just that whether or not it’ll be successful is another question.
The series is still waiting for completion as of this writing. Hopefully, we can see a happy ending to this series.
Here’s to wishing everyone happy holidays and may 2015 be a much brighter and better year for all of us!
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