Shiki + Specials (2010) | Rating: 4.5/5
I feel like this is a series that people should be talking about. I don't know if they did when it came out, but I will definitely mention my thoughts about it here. Vampire concepts have been done, of course, so the challenge is to make the concept interesting and this anime does that. What they do differently is play on the secondary concept of good and evil, making the viewer decide whether to side with the humans or the "vampires". The choice seems obvious in the beginning, but when you learn more about certain characters, your conscience tends to sway and you want to sympathize with them. The story is very interesting and the pacing is great. If you watch the special episodes, which aren't necessary for viewing, it offers supplementary story outside of the main cast which is just as entertaining to see. Lastly, I want to praise the unique, somewhat dark artwork that complimented the tone of the show.
Tokyo Ghoul (2014) | Rating: 2.5/5
I saw some hype for this show via Tumblr; not as much as Attack on Titan or Free! Eternal Summer, but enough that it has gained attention from avid anime viewers. I was intrigued by the artwork, concept, and the character appearances to check out this show (more specifically Uta). The concept kinda meshed around my brain since I was finishing up Shiki at the same time. So, I guess human eating is a thing. heh The constant complaint I hear from fans is that the anime misses crucial storyline and development that the manga offered. Whether I knew this or not, the story did feel like there were parts missing, which is quite unfortunate because I truly wanted to get into this show. At the moment, it doesn't seem like any American distributor has picked up the manga series for English translator, but I hope the popularity of the anime changes that as I would like to get into it more and perhaps join the Uta love bandwagon.
Free! (2013) & Free!: Eternal Summer (2014) | Rating: 3.5/5
This will be my first entry into the realm of sports anime. Never had a real interest in it, but I was never opposed to it either. The genre just never came to mind really. I heard about this series quite a lot last year and of course everyone and their feels were everyone on social media about the latest season. So, I figured I'd give it a shot and it was actually pretty entertaining. The show is more than just fanservice for lonely otaku girls. It presents a story about friendship and, obviously, the trials and tribulations of competitive swimming. The characters are interesting, fun, and unique and make the story entertaining. So, guys, if you want to watch the swim anime and you're afraid you'll run into some boy love territory, don't worry. Man up and check it out!
Kuroshitsuji II + Specials (2010) | Rating: 3/5
I enjoyed the first season, despite the gripes some fans had about the series compared to the manga. I will admit as I delved further into the manga, I started enjoying it more than the first season as well, but I didn't dislike the first season. Since Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus came out this year, I figured I'd catch up on the rest of the anime. It took me a while to get into the second season, mostly because I disliked Alois Trancy's personality a lot. Claude Faustus was an interesting butler for him and Hannah and the triplets added something a little different, but they just can't compare to the undeniable chemistry that Ciel and Sebastian have. It wasn't until the end half of the series that I got a little more involved with the series. Compared to the first season, it seemed a bit unnecessary. As for the specials, those were quite entertaining, non-cannon stories.
Zankyou no Terror (2014) | Rating: 4.5/5
Similar to last year, I didn't watch everything or even close to every new series this year, but I would declare this series the best of 2014. Like Danganronpa, I don't think this series was talked about that much, which is a shame. Before going into it, I didn't know much about the story, but the behind the scenes element was leading toward a winning series. You have the director of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo Shinichiro Watanabe and acclaimed composer Yoko Kanno doing the soundtrack. That's a win-win already! The story and art is fantastic and presents a more serious tone that is not seen in Watanabe's well known series I mentioned earlier. Those series have serious moments with a dash of comedy relief, but there is no laughing matters in this daring anime. I highly recommend this series for those who are fans of Watanabe or anime fans who want something more mature and serious.
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