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Winter 2015 – Week 5 Anime Review

gundam_reconguista_in_g-19-manny-short_hair-spacesuit-helmet-crying-sad-zero_gravity_tearsFor Week 5: analyzing the role of the ‘colorless’ background characters in Durarara!!x2 Shou, a tribute to the border security girls running the checkpoints in The Rolling Girls, issues with how the fights end in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc, and wondering about a future business opportunity for Shinku and the others in Dog Days’’.

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Top 14 Anime and Top 14 Characters of 2014

hanayamata-05-naru-tami-hana-yaya-yosakoi_club-celebration-victory-excited-cheerThe first day of 2015 means it’s the first day we can turn, look back, and reflect upon 2014 as a whole. Today, I aim to present the results of my own introspection and analysis on all the anime I watched in 2014. I will present my final thoughts on the most remarkable, memorable and outstanding anime that aired in 2014 by revealing lists for both my favorite characters of the year and the top anime of 2014. So, how exactly will I remember 2014, and which of the anime that aired is simply the best to me?

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 1 – Imai Kami Visual Collection and BLACK SPOT Doujinshi

imai_kami_visual_collection-black_spot_doujinshi-art_bookArt books are arguably my favorite item of anime merchandise (of which, I own 18). And Imai Kami is undoubtedly my favorite manga artist. So when the Imai Kami Visual Collection, Nirai Kanai, was announced to be sold in June 2014, I was positively ecstatic. For the first time, there would be a printed compilation of his various works from both Needless and Shirasunamura, as well as other works in magazines and online sources. However, there was a major bonus to this art book that made it even more unique and exceptional among its peers. Since its completion as a doujinshi in 1999, Imai Kami’s first printed work, the 330 page BLACK SPOT, was being reprinted and bundled with the art book. After 15 years, the work that originated Imai Kami’s career and was the foundation and basis for my favorite manga, Needless, was finally available to the public. Without a doubt, the Imai Kami Visual Collection is the best thing to happen to me in 2014.

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 2 – Favorite Anime Episode of the Year

yama_no_susume_s2-13-hinata-aoi-art_style-oil_pastels-lost-crying-friendship-together-comfortingEvery year, I make an attempt to determine what single episode of every anime that I watched that was my absolute favorite. For some years, the decision is easy, such as 2011 (Puella Magi Madoka Magica episode 10) and 2012 (Sengoku Collection episode 18). For other years, it’s a real challenge. It’s demanding when you’re trying to decide between a number of exceptional episodes with no clear choice. For me, 2014 is the latter with three candidates vying for the honor of my favorite episode of the year. And since I remain undecided on this evaluation, still mulling my opinions for each, I’ll present the three episodes here to illustrate what I am going through.

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 3 – Catching up on Anime Movies

sakasama_no_patema-patema-age-upside_down-inverted-romance-holding_hands-smile-happyI’ve been terrible with staying current on anime movies. As you can probably guess from how I struggle to stay on time with my TV anime and with my blog posts, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to be up-to-date on all the anime movies that air every season. And with my movie backlog continuing to grow and grow, I made a decision early on in 2014 to make an effort to watch anime movies this year… and not just the ones that air, but to go back and catch up on all the ones I’ve missed.

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 5 – Shingeki no Kyojin Picture Drama

shingeki_no_kyojin_picture_drama-02-bd_special-colossal_titan-armin-jean-eren-keith-sasha-chibi-comedy-panic-sweat_drop-eating-scoldingThe anime specials that are included as bonus materials on BDs and DVDs are frequently overlooked and underappreciated as individual anime. Yes, these specials are certainly subpar compared to their respective parent anime, but considering their limited animation budget and restrained writing, it’s unfair to categorize these shorts in the same venue as we do with TV anime. In fact, quite a few of these BD/DVD specials succeed as genuinely entertaining in spite of these restrictions, supplementing these serious TV anime with lighthearted comedy and mild fanservice. And if you want an example of an effective and rewarding BD/DVD special anime, look no further than the Shingeki no Kyojin Picture Drama, a 9-episode series with the main cast as chibi characters enduring constant hardships during their days in the military training program.

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12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 7 – Witch Craft Works ED

witch_craft_works-ed-tanpopo-kanna-kotetsu-rin-mei-witches-chibi-torture-ishidaki-stones-cuteI never watched an episode of Witch Craft Works when it aired in Winter 2014. However, I have a certain fascination for anime openings and endings where there are adorable chibi characters singing and dancing. For example, my favorite ED in 2012 was Kill Me Baby, with that unforgettable song and dance. The Joshiraku ED and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita OP were also worth mentioning in 2012 for my 12 Days of Anime, too. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that when Witch Craft Works first aired, I was positively curious about the ED song and sequence that managed to charm its criticizing audience and received a disproportionate amount of praise compared to the rest of the episode.

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