The Best Anime of 2014: Part 0 – The Worst Offenders

Thanks to a personal desire to be as accurate about anime as I can be for this anime blog, I watch series that don’t necessarily interest me and series that I know will probably stink. Sometimes I’m surprised and find that diamond in the rough. Sometimes the anime is as bad as I thought it would be. More often, I’m stuck watching anime that isn’t quite bad enough to outright drop but not good enough to enjoy watching. I’d rather spend my time blogging about the good stuff but, once a year, I want to focus on the mediocre, the bad, and the terrible anime that I watched in the past year to cleanse the palette and remind myself that not all anime is good.

This section of awards and the worst of countdown is that focus.

If you haven’t read one of my seasonal or year end reviews before, I try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. Also, as for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this year is under consideration for this year’s awards.

Now onto the awards.

Worst Character Designs

wizard_lawyers19939Winner: Wizard Barristers
Runner-up: Terra Formars

Overall, Terra Formars had sub-par character designs, which wouldn’t be enough to appear here. However, I was truly bugged over how the villains of the series, the giant cockroaches on Mars, were drawn to look like black people who also happened to be giant cockroaches. No matter the intent, benign or otherwise, it’s a horrible choice in designing characters and would have won this dubious award except Wizard Barristers had eye meltingly horrible character designs. They were so disturbing that, even if the rest of the show had been decent and not riddled with problems, I think I would have dropped the series just as quick (after the first episode).

Worst Animation

[Commie] Sailor Moon Crystal - 10 [CBAAB82E].mkv_snapshot_19.47_[2014.11.24_03.08.11]Winner: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal
Runner-up: Soul Eater Not!

I don’t blame Bones for such a poorly animated series in Soul Eater Not! because I’m positive the fault stemmed from the money people not wanting to part with the money; but, it was still a poorly animated series with only a couple sequences that were drawn nicely. On the other hand, I’m positive that everyone involved with making the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal anime were looking to make a quick buck on the cheap because there’s not a single redeeming quality about the animation.

Did Not Live Up To It’s Hype

[UTW]_Fate_stay_night_Unlimited_Blade_Works_-_01_[h264-720p][B0B37F87].mkv_snapshot_39.43_[2015.01.05_22.09.17]Winner: Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works  
Runner-up: Space Dandy

Neither of these series were bad. Space Dandy was always going to be uneven because of the structure of the show; however, the good episodes were good because those episode directors could overcome the problems with the concept – poor quality characters surrounding Dandy for one – whereas the bad episodes were made worse because of these defects. Ufotable did improve the action scenes of Fate this time around by injecting some excitement into them, but, that shone a light on the other problems with the series. The biggest is that the Fate franchise likes to hear itself talk and talk and talk without being interested in being interesting. The realistic animation style further prevents them from going Shaftian to help keep people interested, if they were, in fact, interested in not boring the viewer.

Falling Apart After Starting Strongly

nobunagun29711Winner: Nobunagun 
Runner-up: Nanana’s Buried Treasure

In some ways what’s even more disappointing then a show that fails at the beginning is one that fails after showing promise and the ingredients needed to be a success. Nanana’s Buried Treasure should have a great little series and maybe a few more rounds of revisions to the script would have yielded that series. Some alternative universe got that series, we didn’t. I love the style of Nobunagun and finished watching it on the strength of that style but what should have been a slam dunk somehow ended up anything but.

Most Disappointing

[Commie] Psycho-Pass 2 - 01 [495A3950].mkv_snapshot_15.24_[2015.01.05_21.59.56]Winner: Psycho-Pass 2 
Runner-up: Nobunaga the Fool

A lot of thought and attention to detail went into every facet of Nobunaga the Fool except for the writing and it was the poor writing that sunk the efforts of everyone else. The disappointment over this anime pales in comparison, however, to that wrought by Psycho-Pass 2. How bad the second season of Psycho-Pass turned out might just become legendary enough that we’ll be referencing it for years to come. At least it cleared two things up for me. The first is how good of a writer Gen Urobuchi actually is and the second is why I wasn’t all that thrilled by the new Ghost in the Shell: Arise movies – because they were written by the guy who wrote Psycho-Pass 2.

The Worst Anime of the Year

(That I Finished)

(5) – Glasslip[Otaku] Glasslip - 04 (1280x720 10bit h264 AAC) [208AAF56].mkv_snapshot_05.07_[2014.08.01_00.57.09]

  • A confusing mess of ideas, themes, characters, and feelings that made no more sense upon finishing the series then it did at the start and paced such that it felt overly condensed and glacially slow at the same. Also, there was not enough glass making.

(4) – Soul Eater Not![S-T-D] Soul Eater Not! - 01 (1280x720 10bit AAC) [BCC1F6EE].mkv_snapshot_01.59_[2014.05.18_02.19.35]

  • A spin-off of dubious need and quality from a really solid series was given a super low budget anime and the result was, predictably, something to be avoided especially if one has fond feeling for the original series Soul Eater.

(3) – Mahou Sensoumahousensou21737

  • Of the crop of trashy light novel anime series that came out this year Magical Warfare deserves it’s place here because it wasn’t good nor was it so absurdly bad that it was entertaining to watch (like Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) – it was just plain old fashioned bad. It took the boringly repetitive common tropes of these types of shows: magic, high school, male main character who is destined to save the world and is popular with the ladies, etc.; and somehow found a new level of failure in using them. The best part was the ending song which was pretty decent.

(2) – ImoChoimocho17457

  • After Sora no Otoshimono was able to successfully mix excessive fan service with a touching story, I’ve been looking for another series that could balance these two disparate halves into a similar type of series. Recently, My Sister is Unusual is not that series. It’s not even close. Despite the instinctual desire to gawk at a car accident on the highway – which is what watching this show is like – please resist, this series is a complete waste of time. Though it wasn’t quite as bad as …

(1) – M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane[Chyuu] M3 - Sono Kuroki Hagane - 15 [720p][9A6A7D56].mkv_snapshot_01.31_[2014.07.30_21.24.38]

  • This is it, the absolute worse anime that I watched which finished in 2014. What’s further insane about finishing it was that I watched not just one cour of episodes but two cour’s worth of episodes. After really liking Aquarion Evol, I went into this series optimistic; I figured this was going to be at least a decent anime with a good chance of being “good” since many of the principal creators were the same. I’m stubborn so, even after it was apparent this was not going to be a good anime, I held onto the hope that Mari Okada was going to pull something out at the end and save the series. She didn’t. I actually think she got sick of writing SF/mecha series and just didn’t care enough. Evidence of what makes me think that is Mari Okada – for all her perceived problems – always writes interesting characters, you might not like what she does with those characters, but they are good characters. The characters for M3 flat out stink; they were lifeless, flat, and lacking character. Also, the story was confusing, jumbled, and not particularly interesting when it should have been.

Now a bit of housekeeping. By myself I can’t watch every anime series that gets released – not that I would wish to watch all the terrible ecchi anime that comes out – so this look back the best and worst of anime from 2014 only covers those series I’ve watched. Those series are listed below for reference. If you feel a series that I did not watch should win in a category then please leave a comment saying so. I don’t like the idea of missing good anime and would be interested to hear about series I might have missed.

Series watched

Winter Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (10): Hunter x Hunter, Space Brothers, Kill la Kill, Golden Time, Log Horizon, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (2013), Nagi no Asukara, Phi Brain – Kami no Puzzle S3, Samurai Flamenco, Tokyo Ravens

New shows watched this season (18): Recently, My Sister is Unusual, Nobunagun, Witchcraft Works, Space Dandy, Noragami, Nobunaga the Fool, Tonari no Seki-kun, To Aru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, D-Frag!, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, Silver Spoon S2, Mahou Sensou, Hoozuki no Reitetsu, Nisekoi, World Conquest — The Zvezda Plot, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, Maken-ki! Two

Shows that got dropped (3): pupa, Sakura Trick, Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecile

Spring Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (4): Hunter x Hunter, Nisekoi, Tonari no Seki-kun, Nobunaga the Fool

New shows watched this season (18): Sidonia no Kishi, Selector Infected Wixoss, Mushishi Zoku Shou, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, Captain Earth, Haikyuu!!, Brynhildr in the Darkness, Isshukan Friends, Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara, Black Bullet, Soul Eater Not!, No Game No Life, Hitsugi no Chaika, Ping Pong the Animation, Nanana’s Buried Treasure, Mekaku City Actors, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane

Shows that got dropped (4): Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, Akuma no Riddle, Kenzen Robo Daimidaler, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desuka?,

Summer Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (6): Hunter x Hunter, Captain Earth, Haikyuu!!, Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane

New shows watched this season (15): Free! Eternal Summer, Glasslip, Tokyo Ghoul, Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita, Sword Art Online 2, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Sabagebu!, Space Dandy 2, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Ao Haru Ride, Yama no Susume: Second Season, Zankyou no Terror, Sengoku Basara: Judge End, Hanamonogatari

Shows that got dropped (4): Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, Hanayamata, Majimoji Rurumo, Tokyo ESP

Fall Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (2): Sword Art Online 2, Yama no Susume: Second Season

New shows watched this season (21): Terra Formars, Amagi Brilliant Park, Selector Spread Wixoss, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin, Log Horizon 2, Nanatsu no Taizai: The Seven Deadly Sins, Grisaia no Kajutsu, Sora no Method, Gugure Kokkuri-san, Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis, Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de, Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle, Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu, Shirobako, Psycho-Pass 2, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso,   Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru, Mushishi Zoku Shou Part 2, Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, Tsukimonogatari

Shows that got dropped (1): Sanzoku no Musume Ronja

Total New Series Watched: 84
Total New Series Completed: 66
Total New Series Dropped: 12
Total New Series Continuing into 2015: 06
Total Carryover Series: 10
Total Carryover Series Completed: 10
Total Carryover Series Continuing into 2015: 00

Total Series Watched: 94, Total Series Completed: 76

Hopefully, I haven’t left you in despair.

2mt72MO

Don’t worry next time we will shine the spot light on the best characters and cast.

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7 thoughts on “The Best Anime of 2014: Part 0 – The Worst Offenders”

  1. Psycho-Pass 2 wins my vote for most disappointing anime of the year as well. It was probably the worst title that I watched (from start to finish that is), and given how enjoyable the first season was and how much raw potential the show had overall, I think I really was left in despair afterwards.

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  2. Can’t argue with most of these, because, er, I dropped most of them. I admit I have a soft spot for Nobunagun. Not a great series by any measure, but I always got a kick out of watching Shio when she got her grin on and started blasting at things.

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  3. That’s interesting that F/SN would get your failed hype award. I understand what you’re saying, because I thoroughly enjoyed it (Type-Moonie and massive Rin Tohsaka/Kana Ueda fan that I am), but even I felt like there was a little something missing – I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but it’s like there was just a little bit of spark that’s the difference between a “really good” series and a “great” series that just wasn’t quite there. It didn’t even end up being my favorite show of the Fall – it was for most of the season, but Yuki Yuna caught up and passed it down the stretch.

    That being said, I guess you probably wanted to avoid duplicating winners, but I’m not sure how any other series of 2014 could possibly exceed Sailor Moon Crystal on the “failed hype” scale. There were so many people looking forward to that series, and I’ve seen hundreds of variations on “I’ve waited years for more Sailor Moon, and THIS is what we got?” all over the web. The most telling thing to me is on MAL, where users who write critical reviews of popular shows usually get pilloried – the most-liked review of SMC currently has a 79% positive response (130 likes, 34 dislikes), and it gave the show a 3/10.

    Oh, and the worst anime that I finished last year was Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai (Pupa was by far the worst of all the shows I at least started, but I wasn’t enough of a masochist to make myself finish that garbage). And Daitoshokan wasn’t utterly terrible, just most of the same generic recycled stuff we’ve seen in every other bishoujo ecchi VN adaptation over the years. Although if I was coming up with a “Character who most deserved to appear in a better anime” award for 2014, Nagi Kodachi from that series would probably win. She was so interesting and had so much more depth than your typical ecchi harem girl that she singlehandedly elevated the whole show from “quick drop” to “watchable.”

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  4. @Artemis: I wasn’t quite prepared to put it on my worst anime of the year list, it was close though, because there were moments it still managed to get me to like it. I hope the upcoming movie sees the franchise return to form.

    @Peter S: I can’t dislike Nobunagun even after being disappointed so much by it and I would watch a sequel, if one ever got made, knowing full well it would probably fail as well.

    @Jim D.: That’s a good metaphor – it lacked a little bit of spark. I’m not familiar with the source material of F/SN to say how well they adapted it but I think a better writer for the anime was what was needed.

    As for Sailor Moon Crystal not getting the failed hype award, I had tempered my expectations after learning that Toei was going to animate it – they haven’t actually animated a series I truly thought was great for years, Kyousougiga was a bit too messy – and that Toei wasn’t getting any of the talented people from the original to helm the series nor did they get somebody good to handle it and because it got delayed hugely.

    I almost pulled the trigger on watching Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai since I heard some good things about it. Good thing I didn’t, anime like that depresses me more then a totally bad anime. I probably would have needed to dust off an award that I sometimes gave for “Best Anime with Exactly One Good Thing About it”.

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  5. I completely forgot that I watched M3. I should have added it to my bad list too. It had a lot of potential, but wow was it bad. I still think pupa is the worse thing ever created though. I really should have dropped it after the first episode, but I kept thinking “It will get better.” Only it never did. 😦

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  6. My biggest frustration with Daitoshokan was that it actually had a potentially fabulous plotline all set up at the end of episode 7, that if it had carried through would’ve had two of the main characters caught in a major catch-22 and facing all kinds of tough choices and juicy emotional conflict – but it chose the safe, predictable path instead and let its ripest fruit wither on the vine. It sounds like I should blame the VN writer, though, because I’ve heard the anime was a pretty faithful adaptation of the game’s “true” route.

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  7. @mochirochi: Sorry about making you remember about M3.

    I don’t dislike bad anime per say, I hate when bad anime leaves me thinking that I wasted my time on it. I also hate when bad anime shows that if handled better it could have been a much better anime.

    I jumped ship on pupa after episode 2 just on the strength of realizing that most types of anime do not work at such short episode lengths and pupa was not going to be one of those series.

    @Jim: Sometimes I wish animators just say screw it, let’s fix the glaring problems with the source material and make a good anime.

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