Probably an above average year overall for anime, with every season having at least two standout shows. For my own sanity, we are counting shows that started in 2014, not those that ended in it.
#10 Akame ga Kill // Action // 24 Episodes
Whilst a fairly standard shounen style dudes killing each other with superpowers thing, the interesting part of Akame Ga Kill for me is that plot armor is pretty nonexistent, main characters both friendly and hostile are introduced and then killed off and the story runs with it without making any attempt at trying to bring them back from the dead, characters truly fight to the death and possibly because of this, the story actually feels like it progresses somewhere rather than in other shows like bleach where people spend 3 episodes fighting, only to show mercy on their opponent and have to fight them again later.
#9 Barakamon // Comedy Slice-of-Life // 12 Episodes
Lovely relaxing Barakamon up at number 9, it’s nice to have a calming show like this every now and then, and the inclusion of adorable little girl is still as effective as it was back in 2011’s Usagi Drop.
#8 Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun // Comedy // 12 Episodes
One of summers little surprises, Nozaki-kun turned out to be a lovely little comedy with quirky characters. Would have liked to see a little more progression in terms of plot, but I suppose it’s to be expected from an anime derived from a 4 panel manga
#7 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders // Action // 48 Episodes (Ongoing)
Somewhat of a love it or hate it affair, Jojo’s Part 3 doesn’t waste much time beating around the bush, after an initial introduction it plays enemy of the week for 20 straight weeks, introducing and then rapidly removing characters – fantastic for those that just want constant action, with the result being almost a boss rush in anime form.
#6 Parasyte – the maxim // Action // 24 Episodes (Ongoing)
Parasyte has almost managed to feel like two separate shows since the incident a few episodes ago, however this works in it’s favour. We’ve had a great chance to see both sides of the coin, with shinichi going from fear of his power to his acceptance of it. It’s been a very solid action show so far, and the plot is progressing nicely so far.
#5 Haikyuu // Sports // 25 Episodes
Sometimes simple is best, Haikyuu throws a sports team together and then has them train and compete in the interhigh competition, it’s a tried and tested formula but Haikyuu does it exceptionally – filled with likable characters and powerful rivals, it’s a great watch from start to finish though the pacing sometimes can be a little dragged out. I also thought the final battle of the show was really interestingly done, though i’ll leave you to find out why.
#4 Space Dandy (1+2) // Sci-fi Action Comedy // 26 Episodes
The show where anything goes, the pure episodic nature of Space Dandy is both it’s strongest weapon and it’s weakness – the show lacks in episode quality consistency due to shifting directors and story writers almost every episode, however this is also means you really have no idea what to expect when you start watching, perhaps you’ll get a romantic comedy episode, a surreal dreamlike episode (Goddamnit plant episode) or maybe you randomly get a goddamn high school musical episode complete with 80’s training montage.
PS, the dub is actually solid for this one, so feel free to go for that if you can’t be bothered with subs.
#3 Ping Pong // Sports // 11 Episodes
Style for days, Ping Pong may look rough around the edges but proves that style and direction is more important than art. Scenes have clearly been well thought out, and there is an additional layer of symbolism hidden behind a fair portion of the shots to give the show that extra depth. Back this with an interesting story and killer soundtrack and ping pong is one of the best shows of this year for sure.
#2 Nisekoi // Love Polygon Comedy // 20 Episodes
I love this show so much, the character interactions and the ridiculous misunderstandings they get themselves into really remind me of the fantastic School Rumble from back in the day – which is high praise imo. While some of the girls are less lovable than others, Nisekoi really succeeds in making sure there is a ‘best girl’ for everyone (#teamonodera). Some typical ‘Shaft’ animation really helps the show do it’s thing, and while the plot is fairly slow moving, you’ll be happy to just see the characters interact.
#1 Shigatsu wa kimi no uso // Drama // 22 Episodes (Ongoing)
Yeah, it may be premature considering the show hasn’t even hit the half way mark at time of writing, but when you take to twitter to proclaim that something is AOTY every episode, it probably is. Shigatsu no Uso really has a full package of beautiful visuals, amazing BGM and a slew of lovable characters with interesting personalities and backstories. Every episode feels 5 minutes long, every week feels like too long until the next episode comes out. As if it needed more accolades to it’s name, even the opening song (Hikaru nara, by goosehouse) is the best this year. It really does feel like a while since a show aired that demanded to be watched as soon as it’s put up on the internet, and I envy those that have the opportunity to marathon it in the future. Best show. AOTY.
Some honorable mentions: Amagi Brilliant Park, Tokyo Ghoul, Seha Girls, Kokkuri san, SAO2, Mikakunin