Noragami was, very nearly, the best series that aired this winter 2014 season and that includes the carryover series. The only series that were able to beat Noragami were Silver Spoon 2 and Hunter x Hunter.
I was thinking about how good this season turned out when the thought came, unbidden, that in all my years of watching series from Bones that I’d never seen one of theirs that was as strong and perfect as Noragami. I felt the gears in my brain grind to a halt. I thought to myself – That cannot be! Surely there has to be something better. However, I checked their list of works out and couldn’t find that something better. Now, because of my past rocky relationship with Bones there are a number of earlier works I never watched; so I inserted that degree of uncertainty in the title to reflect this. :)
In the last 10 years, which is an eternity in anime fandom, the only major Bones work that I’ve not yet seen and could impact this discussion is Darker than Black. (Which tempts me to change the title to narrow the time frame down and increase the certainty shown.) Based on opinions of people I’ve read and heard, earlier Bones works that I’ve yet to see and could change my assessment of Noragami include: RahXephon, Wolf’s Rain, and Scrapped Princess.
I’m assuming there will be disagreements to this assertion; so, setting those titles I just mentioned aside, lets run through the list to see where I’m coming from.
Or maybe Space Dandy’s lazy storytelling is the more appropriate title. Either way look at the above screenshot, what’s wrong with this picture?
Even with 8 episodes under it’s belt Space Dandy has been rather sparse with the characterization of it’s main character, Dandy. One point that the show did drill into the viewers about Dandy, however, is that he likes visiting the in-universe Hooter’s knockoff restaurant chain for all the reasons you’d expect him too and that he has made it his life mission to visit every one to bask in the local variations of each restaurant.
So what have we seen in the episodes since?
Actually, if it wasn’t for the Olympics pushing a few shows back a week this would be more aptly called the 3/4 season report. :)
Well, the anime apocalypse that this winter season was supposed to bring turned out not nearly as bad as people feared. The sequels are holding their weight and the seasonal surprise hits arrived on time, like they always do, and there’s plenty of assorted goodness spread around the other shows to keep the wolves at bay. Anime is not dying yet. The placards and rhetoric can be put away for a future season.
That said, my attention is starting to drift towards spring. Dangle the promise of a series directed by Masaaki Yuasa (Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy, Kick Heart) and you’d have to be an idiot not to get excited.
But let’s not get sidetracked.
Below the fold are my thoughts about each of the 21 anime series I watched that began airing this season. They are ranked from best to worst and grouped into six broad groups ranging from superior to poor. Before we start I wanted to quickly mention all the carryover series I’m watching and how they’re fairing: Hunter x Hunter > Kill La Kill > Nagi no Asukara > Space Brothers > Golden Time > Magi 2 > Tokyo Ravens > Samurai Flamenco. Oh Samurai Flamenco, how far you’ve fallen.
My brain broke a few days ago and I hope talking about the cause – Hunter x Hunter episode 116 – will start the healing process because I have a slew of mediocre to good anime series I’m watching right now that I’d like to finish and, right now, I have utterly no desire to do so.
It’s time to fess up on something – I hated reading my own blog. This vexing feeling started off as a vague, insidious whisper that I couldn’t shake and it only strengthened over time. Upon examination and reflection, I was able to sum up the problem as The Null Set was “taxing” to read. Puzzled, because I had picked a theme that steered clear of tiny 8 pt. and 10 pt. fonts as well as poor color choices like grey text on a black background, I finally decided it was probably a fault of my writing. Not a particularly uplifting thought and a less stubborn or optimistic me probably would have decided it was time to stop blogging, if only to ease the suffering of those who continue coming back.
Amidst the hustle’n’bustle of getting ready for Christmas and the happiness, joy, and good cheer that infuse the season, I am often reminded of the true, root reason for this season. It’s not good enough to stop at Jesus is the reason or that He was born. Why was He born? Because He was going to sacrifice Himself to save our souls. Why would He do that? Because He loves us. So, the reason for the season is that He loves us to the point that He was willing to die for us so that we could be saved.
In the spirit of this, I wanted to pick a moment from anime for today that echoed this depth of love. Love enough to sacrifice one’s life for another. The problem with picking one is that I’ll pass over many others from this year. Instead, I’m picking three.