With so many anime to choose from it is hard to distinguish the good from the great without spending the time to go through them all. Well worry not dear citizen for I have graciously spent my time for you and have come to a conclusion as to what I would recommend. Obviously these are all based on my personal tastes so feel free to agree or disagree with me.
Kill la Kill
“Very over-the-top and it’s made brilliant for it”
Kill la Kill begins with the basic story of our protagonist, Ryuko, infiltrating a high school, filled with students harnessing the power of their super uniforms, in order to find her father’s killer. After receiving a super powered uniform of her own she battles the school’s elites to get to the answers she seeks. So basically the same story we have all seen a million times, however, Kill la Kill is very aware of this fact and it delivers it marvelously.
Kill la Kill mocks almost every anime trope you can think of, from magical girls to sports battles or sci-fi to high-school life, mixed in with a ridiculous amount of fanservice Kill la Kill has it all. Everything in this anime is delivered in a very over-the-top manner and it is made brilliant for it. All of the plot-twists are quite predictable but the way they are delivered makes that fact very forgivable. All in all, Kill la Kill is extremely fun to watch as long as you aren’t overly offended by all the rampant nudity, nudity is integral the anime’s plot line….well some of it anyway. Also +4 points because Mako, just watch it and you will understand.
Kill la Kill is available to watch on Crunchyroll here.
The Pilot’s Love Song (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta)
“The art style is truly a sight to be seen”
With it’s story line and the art style of the airships, many have criticized this anime for being a rip off of Miyazaki movies such as Laputa: Castle in the Sky. However, it is those very things that make this short story anime an enjoyable and satisfying experience. It does take a few episodes for the action to start but till then you will be treated to a school-life styled story and romance mixed with airplane training similar to that of Girls und Panzer.
The main plot line uses mostly flashbacks to weave in a story of love, hate, revenge and forgiveness. It is when the action comes into play that the beauty of the pre-World War II styled aircrafts truly shine. Along with a magnificent flying island the art style of this anime is truly a sight to be seen. A fun cast, great aerial battles and compelling love story make this anime a worthwhile experience. While this show is set in the same universe as the movie “The Princess and The Pilot” its is unnecessary to watch it to be able to understand The Pilot’s Love Song’s story, it does however add a sense of recognition to the series if you choose to watch the movie before hand.
The Pilot’s Love Song (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta) is available to watch on Crunchyroll here
Nobunaga The Fool
“Duke it out in giant anime mechs”
In a universe where the “Western World” and the “Eastern World” are exactly just that, separate worlds or as the anime puts it “Stars”, architecture seems to be very low on both planet’s priority lists. Nobunaga is set in Feudal Japan/Medieval Europe but with a very slight twist, they have giant mechs and spacecrafts at their disposal. As our own history would have it that particular time period was constantly cover in wars, now imagine it with giant mechs, epic right? Not so much for foot soldiers so it would seem, turns out foot soldiers are quite powerless against giant cannon-rilfe welding mechs and that is where our protagonist comes in.
Nobunaga, a real person in our history, is the heir to the Oda clan who ends up finding himself seeing first hand exactly how much death and destruction giant mechs can deal to those powerless to face them. So along with his friends Mistuhide and Hideyoshi, both also real people in our history, they vow to change the world and, as luck would have it, they soon thereafter find a giant mech falling from the sky. So its your typical boy is in war, boy is powerless in war, boy meets special mech, boy goes on to kick lesser mecha ass but what sets this apart from all the others like it are the characters that they choose to employ. Nobunaga The Fool brings in a vast array of characters from our own history and legend, the characters in Eastern Star are mostly centered around the events of the real world Nobunaga but its the Western Star where the character choices really shine. The Western Star houses such people as Julius Ceasar, Jeanne d’Arc, Leonardo Da Vinci and King Arthur among others. So if you ever wanted to see what it would be like if Jeanne d’Arc and Julius Ceasar were to duke it out in giant anime mechs this is the show for you.
Nobunaga The Fool is available to watch on Crunchyroll here
Blade and Soul
“The backgrounds of each scene looks as if they are all hand painted works of art”
This anime has been given a lot of flack due to its ungodly amount of giant boobage (shhh its a word now) but if you can get past that you will discover a great story and even better action sequences underneath all of that cleavage and let’s be honest, it’s not even as bad as people make it out to be. Based on the MMORPG of the same name, Blade and Soul engages it’s fighting sequences in a dynamic and fluid manner with each action delivering a high amount of impact much like that of the game. The story’s pacing can be quite slow at times but it makes up for it by being conducted in a way unlike your usual anime, as each episode delves into a moral grey area giving us all a morally-ambiguous message. The characters themselves don’t all fit into the typical anime character tropes, such as Tsunderes and Moes, but are shown to be imperfect and rash much like that of real humans. The character designs holds true to their source material with the chinese mythology inspiration being very evident but it is in the environmental artwork that the design in this series truly shines. The backgrounds of each scene looks as if they are all hand painted works of art and frankly I oft-times find myself paying more attention to the gorgeous backgrounds than I do the characters. With its deep story of the moral grey area of life Blade and Soul proves to be more than just a boob filled battle anime, it’s a boob filled battle anime filled with revenge, characters with depth and beautiful backgrounds.
Blade and Soul is available to watch on Crunchyroll here
Witch craft Works
“Teeming with vibrant personalities who bring quite a bit of the fun and comedy”
This might start off seeming like it is just another harem anime but you will soon learn it barely even counts as a harem. While there is a large female cast all centered around the male protagonist, only two of the female cast are interested in the him. One of those two women is Kagari, the female lead, who is the overly popular “Princess” of the school who reveals herself as a witch to our protagonist, Takamiya, when she saves his life from a falling building. The story as a whole is some what serious and still the same basic “guy needs to train to be stronger” story but it is in the way it is presented that makes this show golden. The show is always finding new ways to make the story fun and comedic, they do things like having the bad guys doing karaoke in their down time or breaking tense and emotional moments in unexpected ways ie. you think they are about to share a kiss but instead you are treated to an ear cleaning scene. As great as the male and female lead are, it is the supporting cast that make the heart of this show, they are all unique and bring a much needed contrast to Kagari’s stoic demeanor. The KMM Gang in particular is just teeming with vibrant personalities who bring quite a bit of the fun and comedy into the show. All in all if you are looking for something fun and fresh to watch I cannot recommend this enough. Oh and be sure to watch the ED at least once, it is horrible and adorably cute all at the same time.
Witch Craft Works is available to watch on Crunchyroll here
Well there you have it my recommendations for the first half of 2014, I am almost 100% certain that a bunch of you disagree with quite a few of these choices so feel free to discuss which ones you disagree with and why. While you are at it, what are your own personal recommendations?