FEATURE: Crunchyroll 2014 Favorites, Part One - Anime and Manga!

Crunchyroll staff and contributors pick their favorite anime and manga from 2014!

With 2014 already out the door and 2015 revving and up starting at full speed, a selection of Crunchyroll's mostly-okay and somewhat dim best and brightest want to share what they loved about the past year!

 

The rules were pretty simple: only titles that began or ended in 2014--or had a major milestone--were allowed. There's a lot of different tastes from a lot of different people, so let's get started and check out Crunchyroll's Favorite Anime and Manga for 2014!

 

NATE MING (Man of Many Hats--Support, Features and Reviews, Newsletter)


nate1


JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - It took almost 25 years, but JoJo's Bizarre Adventure finally has a faithful, complete anime adaptation that captures Hirohiko Araki's exceptional, individual sense of style and character. Stardust Crusaders, the series' most popular arc, is drawing in a whole new crowd of JoJo fanatics, and I can't wait to see the epic showdown between Jotaro and Dio... again.

 

natehxh

 

Hunter x Hunter - I could very easily make a hiatus joke here, but Hunter x Hunter's excellent 2011 anime picked a great place to stop... for now. An absolute rarity for Jump adaptations, Hunter x Hunter maintained tension the entire way through, keeping the action fresh and exciting and varied, with excellent pacing and high production values from beginning to end. What an awesome, complete show.

 

nateaz

 

Aldnoah.Zero - With strong, clear echoes to the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Aldnoah.Zero reminded me of the titles that got me into anime in the first place, with a focus on storytelling, character development, and the biggest plot twist of all: a bare minimum of stupid otaku-bait fanservice. Aldnoah.Zero tells a story, gives it a heart, and takes the whole thing seriously without coming off as pretentioius--that's incredibly rare these days.

 

natehaikyu

 

Haikyu!! - I really appreciate that more titles are taking long breaks between seasons--it keeps production values up, especially in the case of something as gorgeous as Haikyu!!. Surprisingly low-key for a shounen sports title, Haikyu!! gives the feel of Slam Dunk with mostly-realistic sports action and focus on making its characters feel like real people, enhancing the volleyball play instead of turning it into a superhuman fight to the finish.

 

nateklk

 

Kill la Kill - On that subject, superhuman fights to the finish should be left to the experts, like Hiroyuki Imaishi and his team of madmen at Studio Trigger, who brought one of the most purely fun anime I've seen in years to an appropriately ludicrous end. Treating its gratuitious nudity and compromising camera angles almost as an afterthought--"here guys, here's your boobies, now let's get back on-topic"--Kill la Kill is able to not only deliver an exciting, inspiring story, but somehow found a way to sneak in some sly feminist/egalitarian commentary into a silly, sexy, stupid romp.

 

natebsr

 

Blue Spring Ride - Amidst all the vicious action, sports drama, and heady political themes, sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy a story about people dealing with their day-to-day lives. I have a notorious dislike of slice-of-life anime, but shoujo titles tend to do it right, and Blue Spring Ride humanizes its characters, adding to that with gorgeous watercolor visuals and a great soundtrack.

 

nateseki

 

Tonari no Seki-kun - On the other end of the spectrum, goofy and episodic comedies make for an excellent follow-up to just about any show. Last year, it was Ishida & Asakura, now dearly departed from the Crunchyroll library, but in 2014 I enjoyed the hell out of Tonari no Seki-kun, a show that I really, really want to make a comeback. It makes you look at the random crap on your desk in a whole new light.

 

natenaru

 

Naruto Comes to an End - It's been a long and exciting, sometimes difficult road, but Naruto's manga finally came to an end this year with a nice, round 700 chapters. While I'm more than happy to take that epilogue and throw it out for going full Harry Potter-level dumb, I feel the series came to a satisfying conclusion and ended before it really pissed people off--I'm looking at you, Bleach.

 

natebake

 

Favorite Discovery of 2014: Bakemonogatari - So that's what everybody was talking about! While I still have a lot of problems with the way modern anime handles things (especially the insidious way it tries to slip sexual content into totally unrelated scenes and conversations--just be up-front about it), I found Bakemonogatari to be a fast-paced, smart, and funny supernatural series with snappy delivery and animation that borders on theatrical quality.

 

PETER FOBIAN (Man of Few Words, Newsletter and Features)


peterkos


Knights of Sidonia - First, I just need to say FINALLY! It's really great to see one of Tsutomu Nihei's manga getting a complete anime series. His dark, minimalistic storytelling really set him apart from other mangaka stylistically, and this may be the best (but hopefully not last) to become animated. Although considerably lighter than his other works, Knights of Sidonia is a story just as fatal as Attack on Titan. The CG-heavy visuals seem very fitting for the series and Nihei's extremely technical artistic style.

 

petergits

 

Ghost in the Shell: ARISE - It's hard to think of another franchise that repeatedly delivers content of such consistently high quality as Ghost in the Shell. Really, it needs no introduction, and it's an icon of Japanese animation. Always innovative, ARISE serves as a prequel telling the story of Section 9's creation and history. It hasn't missed a beat, and immediately launches into new, mind-bending stories of cyber-espionage with existential themes. A great addition to a legendary franchise.

 

peterklk

 

Kill la Kill - It's almost impossible to accurately describe Kill la Kill as anything but, well... amazing. I don't think I've been as excited about a studio as I am about Trigger. The sheer ambition of the project is amazing, and completely lives up to Hiroyuki Imaishi's last TV hit, Gurren-Lagann. The series has absolutely amazing animation, witty humor, awesome action, and tons of fanservice. Most impressively, Kill la Kill has an effortless, ineffable feel in which none of these many things seem forced, and all of it has a very unique and compelling style. It's the total package.

 

peterakame

 

Akame ga Kill! - With some of our favorite shounen titles coming to a close, we have a desperate need for new titles with a colorful cast of characters with unique and unusual powers participating in epic and strategically-sophisticated combat. Maybe throw in a few victories earned through sheer guts and heroic determination, and Akame ga Kill! seems determined to fit that mold. The cast is zany, and the style of the series is best described as eclectic, but the action is true to form and the atmosphere can bounce from light-hearted to murderous in fractions of a second.

 

petertf

 

TERRAFORMARS - Speaking of hardcore combat and unusual powers, TERRAFORMARS just hit the scene this season and really made some waves. A series so violent that it was censored in the Japanese broadcast, TERRAFORMARS is helping to fill the void for violent action anime alongside Akame ga Kill! while providing some strong Attack on Titan themes, primarily in the form of a huge cast that you've grown to live all dying in horrible and grotesque ways. Although only a scant 13 episodes, it delivers with plenty of action, constant death, and the promise of a terrible conspiracy.

 

SARAH VAUGHN (Happy Helper, Newsletter and Features)

 

sarahbsr

 

Blue Spring Ride - This is, seriously, shoujo anime done right. A year or two ago I read Strobe Edge, an earlier manga by Sakisaka Io, and I didn't really like it, so I was kind of hesitatnt to check out Blue Spring Ride. When the anime was announced, I decided to give the manga a try, and ended up loving it--for once, I think I love the anime just as much. The animation and character designs are absolutely beautiful, and for once they gave a shoujo series some real budget. The characters are identifiable and relatable, the story is nice, and it's just a good, relaxing romance/friendship series. I will say, it's totally not just for girls; I actually got Nate into it, and it's in his top favorites for the year.

 

sarahsmc

 

Sailor Moon Crystal - Yaaaay, Sailor Moon! I'm a big fan of the manga (I've got the old Tokyopop editions and the binding is seriously falling apart), so obviously it was exciting when they announced that the new anime would follow the manga more closely than the original did. I've actually found the release schedule of the series super frustrating, between having to wait two weeks between episodes then the somewhat poopy animation because of low-to-no budget. I seriously spend half of every episode saying "that's going to look so much better in the Blu-rays," and at this point that's kind of half the fun. The slow release of the show makes the pacing seem off, but it's going to be amazing to marathon later. But even with those negatives, I'm still completely loving watching it. There seriously aren't enough straight-up magical girl series without any major twists or deconstruction.

 

sarahcc

 

Case Closed - So, this may be my favorite series of all time. I know it's not new for 2014, but between the fact that it is totally still running (over 700 episodes so far), and the fact that Crunchyroll got freaking simulcast rights for it this year, it totally counts. I still can't figure out why murder mysteries are so relaxing for me, but they are. Case Closed has great characters, great mysteries, an interesting overarching plot that is seldom visited, and never ever gets stale. Also, that new opening is pretty awesome, though I'm not sure why blowing up is a good thing. If you're watching the simulcast because you're worried about being thrown in and not knowing what's going on, read the wiki  or my Newsletter piece and just jump on board.

 

sarahjjba

 

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - I got guilted into watching JoJo, and I'm so glad I did. So over-the-top, so flamboyant--I'm honestly not sure why I like it so much, since it's not my usual kind of show at all. It's adventurey, actiony, hilarious, and you can't stop watching. Joseph is definitely the best character in the show, though I can see why Jotaro is the most popular JoJo. The animation is so good, and the unique art style is really cool to see. That baby, though... that baby creeps me out. I'm so excited to start watching the new season!

 

sarahnozaki

 

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun - Nozak-kun nearly kills me every time I watch it. It cracks me up even more than Gintama, and that's saying a lot. I have a tendency to watch it late at night, so I'm literally smothering myself with my pillow trying not to wake people up with shrieks of laughter. Based on a 4-koma gag manga that runs in an online manga, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has amazing characters rendered in some truly beautiful animation. I think this might be the best-looking series I've watched all year, and definitely the funniest.

 

sarahaz

 

Aldnoah.Zero - Wow, a modern mech series with almost no fanservice--that almost never happens any more! Aldnoah feels more like an early Gundam series than anything else, and for me that's an awesome thing. I actually was asked to watch the first episode, and then ended up powering through the entire first season in one day. It's a show you just can't stop watching... and that cliffhanger at the end of the first season! Fudge, I can't wait to watch the new episode tonight. I really like the princess and most of the other characters, and I appreciate that romance is more of a sidenote than a centerpiece, at least in the first season. Between the varied characters from a variety of ages, heavily political plot, cool robot designs, and serious rivals, Aldnoah.Zero has all the ingredients for a great mech series, and it delivers on all fronts.

 

sarahhnr

 

Hirunaka no Ryuusei - I've never read anything by Yamamori Mika before, but all of a sudden I became completely obsessed with Hirunaka no Ryuusei this past summer. The art is so cool, and the main character is so derp. It's a student/teacher romance, which totally grossed my friend out when I forced her to read it, but he's a young teacher and she's a high school student and it's not real life, so I say it's fine. I'm totally a Shishio fan, though Mamura is a cool guy--it's a love triangle story, of course. I always like those, and in this case I saw a ton of division onine about whether Suzume should get together with Mamura or Shishio. The manga ended recently, and my own reaction to the final chapter was rather violent, but I would give so much for Hirunaka no Ryuusei to get an anime. Unfortunately, it wasn't super popular, so it's pretty unlikely. ;_;

 

sarahtaiyou

 

Taiyou no Ie - There have been some great winners of the Kodansha Manga Award in the shoujo category (I noticed that My Love Story!!, which won last year, is being adapted into an anime this spring), and this year that honor went to Taiyou no Ie. It's not really my usual kind of thing; it's slice-of-life, the main character is totally tsundere, the art isn't something I find terribly attractive, but there's something about the story that gets to me. Mao's mother abandoned her when she was a kid, and her father never seemed to like her, and now that he's remarried and has a stepdaughter he doesn't care about her at all. She goes to live with her childhood friend Hiro, who is currently living alone waiting for his siblings to return. It's a very bittersweet story of two people who feel abandoned coming together and helping heal each other's pain.

 

EVAN MINTO (Front End/Professional Anime Snob Connoisseuir)


evanklk


Kill la Kill - From its first moments, Kill la Kill hits like a jolt of animated electricity, with a bizarre concoction of self-aware anime stereotypes and a scratchy, in-your-face visual style. The nudity may scare you away (and indeed, it's likely motivated by typical otaku fetishism despite its accidental potential for feminist readings), but give it a shot and you'll quickly be swept up in its escalating series of high-flying battles and jaw-dropping plot twists. Kill la Kill is pure, unapologetic entertainment, and it's my favorite anime of 2014.

 

evanopus

 

OPUS - You would think I could say "Satoshi Kon made it, therefore it's my Manga of the Year," but I actually didn't love his manga Tropic of the Sea. OPUS shows us a far more well-developed side of Kon, which is ironic, since it's actually unfinished! Like most Kon works, this one treads the line between fiction and reality, this time through a creator sucked into his own world and forced to face the consequences of his creation. Clever twists and plays on manga as a medium abound, and as usual for Kon, you'll likely leave with a new perspective on your role as a consumer of mass media. Oh well, half a masterpiece is better than most manga out there.

 

evankaguya

 

The Tale of Princess Kaguya - Studio Ghibli movies often leave me with a giant smile on my face, but not since Isao Takahata's tragic WWII masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies have I left a screening of a Ghibli film as overpowered as I did after The Tale of Princess Kaguya. With an ending that hits like an emotional cannonball, Princess Kaguya reaches for a far more stirring, spiritual experience than most anime, making the closed comparison Tezuka's epic manga Buddha. The whole thing is also rendered in a breathtaking, painterly animation style reminiscent of traditional Japanese artwork. I'll give it some time before I make any declarations, but Kaguya may end up being one of my favorite Ghibli films of all time.

 

evanpp

 

Ping Pong: The Animation - Masaaki Yuasa's hybrid of rousing sports anime and experimental art showcase combines scratchy full-body animation and close-ups that frame characters in manga-style picture-in-picture panels. In fact, this is the closest I've seen an anime come to recreating the experience of reading a manga, and it actually works! Most of all, I love Ping Pong for being such an impassioned ode to ping pong as a sport, and simultaneously not really being about ping pong at all. Instead, it's about the influence that talent, hard work, winning, and losing can have on a group of boys, and how they can grow and learn from their experiences to become stronger adults.

 

evanasv

 

A Silent Voice - The subject of A Silent Voice is highly atypical, but its take on bullying, emotional insecurity, and the growing pains of adolescence is spot-on. Over the course of seven volumes, the characters wrestle with loneliness, guilt, and even suicide in their quest to transform a shared tragedy (the bullying of a deaf classmate) into something meaningful. The goings-on occasionally border on the melodramatic, but by the end, A Silent Voice proves to be a surprisingly rich experience filled with young men and women from all walks of life strugging in different ways to find a place for themselves.

 

evanaz

 

Aldnoah.Zero - I've recently taken an interest in director Ei Aoki's work. His series, almost all of which curiously have "zero" in their title (Ga-Rei Zero, Fate Zero, now Aldnoah.Zero) tend to actually pull off a focus on mature themes without coming off as adolescent melodrama, and Aldnoah is no exception. This is essentially a modern-day Mobile Suit Gundam (yes, the 1979 one), complete with giant robots, spacefaring humans assaulting Earth, conscripted high school kids, and a surprisingly delicate commentary on the real consequences of war. What makes the show really come together, however, is its shocking ending, which beautifully collides its two concurrent plot threads. I haven't started watching season two yet (the first episode aired on Friday), but I couldn't be more excited to see where this show goes.

 

evanjjba

 

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - It's common knowledge that Joseph Joestar is the best JoJo (Jonathan/Jotaro-likers, feel free to stop reading), so when I had to say goodbye to the lovably nonsensical story of Part 2: Battle Tendency, I was a bit depressed. Stardust Crusaders is undeniably a different show, with a new superpower system in the form of Stands (goodbye, Hamon!) and a more conventional visual style, but I still had a blast seeing all of the off-the-wall ideas Araki has come up with. If nothing else, JoJo's Part 3 gave me a baby Stand user and an orangutan whose Stand is an actual boat. Just watch JoJo's already.

 

Check out Evan Minto's complete thoughts on his 2014 favorites at Ani-Gamers--here's his favorite manga list, and his favorite anime list!

 

ARIEL CHAN (Shopkeep with a BA in BL)

 

arielyowa

 

Yowapeda - As a UC Davis graduate, biking is in my blood. When the prospect of a biking anime came up on my queue, I was quick to pick it up. Anime fans can really relate to Onoda Sakamichi, as he's a major anime otaku--he bikes 90km (about 56 miles) to and from Akihabara in order to save the train fare for gashapon, while singing the opening song of his favorite anime, Love Hime. This series reminds me of Prince of Tennis, but more realistic and a lot more attention-grabbing. Be sure to stick around for the end scenes after the credits--they're some of the best one-liners of the show!

 

arieluta

 

Uta no Prince-Sama: Maji Love 2000% - Okay, I love boy bands. Arashi, B1A4, and the Backstreet Boys have always been my jam, so when this series came out in 2013 I was so down. All of these pretty guys coming together in an entertainment school to form ST☆RISH with a single girl as the writer of their songs, I had to pick it up. It's no wonder that this was based on a dating sim for girls, as each episode was focused on the girl's relationship with each individual guy. Now, I'm not saying this is "anime of the year" territory for most of you, but for the people who live and breathe Arashi, Johnny's, and boy bands, and appeciate anison, you can't beat this show. It's like Love Live and [email protected] for girls.

 

arielsf

 

Samurai Flamenco - Power Rangers have been fairly popular as of late--with the debut of Shinkengers to American TV, it seems like interest in the genre is being renewed, and it seemed inevitable that tokusatsu would become the theme of an anime. Samurai Flamenco goes into the life of Masayoshi Hazama--model by day, tokusatsu-inspired crimefighter Samurai Flamenco by night. The show was full of laughs and messed-up moments, but honestly, it was the one show that I wished everyone watched. Besides the fact that the character designs were by the same person who did the UtaPri games, it was a fun, unexpected ride for me, and I hope more people check it out!

 

ariells

 

Love Stage!! - 2014 heralded the return of television yaoi! When I initially read Love Stage, I knew it would be perfect for an anime, and it happened! I was really impressed with how they adapted it so that the story held a decent amount of substance besides the lack of sexy time. Taishi Zaou is known for her Princess Princess manga, and you can see the striking resemblance to that anime adaptation, plus the harder lines of Eiki Eiki's draw style. If I had to pick one BL to watch this year, it's definitely Love Stage!!

 

MILES THOMAS (Con Man)

 

milesmushi

 

Mushi-shi: The Next Passage - Realizing the remaining stories from the manga, The Next Passage is a less connected narrative than its predecessor, but possibly even more powerful for it. Since director Hiroshi Nagahama had selected the ideal chapters for animation in his first visit to the world of mushi, I was skeptical that this sequel would hold up to the original. In isolation, though, the vignettes that make up The Next Passage evoke something even more profound--the judgment of the natural world seems more terrifying than ever, disrupting the flow of human progress as humans slowly throw off the steady beat of nature. Ginko's interjections appear more dire without as strong a thematic connection between episodes, exposing the quiet power of mushi in new and exciting ways.

 

evanshiro

 

SHIROBAKO - SHIROBAKO is a surprisingly earnest show that relies on the strength of its writing to tell the story of five girls and their attempt to break into the anime industry. Powerful, relatable characterization far beyond their surface-level affection for beer and donuts makes the series pop to life in each episode. Though the drama gravitates toward the roadblock-of-the-week, SHIROBAKO engages witht his workplace turmoil such that the narrative structure is all but invisible. The expansive secondary cast contributes to a sense of relatability and realism, fueled in part by many of the characters' origins in actual production staff. The transparent homages are executed so as to never feel exploitative, and work on enough levels that you don't need to be an anime scholar to take a lot away from the show. Whether you're after insights into how the sausage is made, or want your slice-of-life anime to be set in a production studio, SHIROBAKO's first cour is one of the best titles of 2014 and has me thrilled for what the second half has to offer.

 

KIM CAMERON (From Another Planet)


kimnagi


Nagi no Asukara - TEH FEELS ;___;

 

Look, if you enjoyed Ano Hana and wanted another moving, amazing cry-fest, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not watching Nagi no Asukara. I remember seeing a few episodes when it started airing and dropped it, as while the environment/setup is gorgeous and really unique, it didn't grab me enough to spend my limited time on. But after seeing everyone's reactions it ended I tried it out again, and boy was I glad. The story subtly starts to change and reveal itself, and needless to say, by the end it's completely worth it (with an ending that doesn't disappoint, as well). If you're in the mood for some feels, this one can't be missed.

 

kimtf

 

TERRAFORMARS (manga) - I'd be lying if I said the anime was worth checking out, in my opinion--it's a pretty horrendous adaptation of what's one of my favorite manga. Luckily, the manga is still ongoing and is highly recommended if you want a much better story and more intense experience. Unlike the anime, the manga covers all of the missions, starting with Bugs I (Bugs II is covered in the OVA, and the TV series starts with the third mission, Annex I). Additionally, we're given backstory that makes you feel bad for the characters, way more details about the bugs themselves, and overall it's 500x superior on all levels.

 

kimgw

 

Green Worldz (manga) - More people need to know about Green Worldz. I see a lot of recommendations come through for Attack on Titan on Anime-Planet--plenty of series that I'd argue really aren't similar at all, but are recommended because no one is aware of a slam-dunk series that really fits. Within three pages you'll immediately know why it's so similar--replace the Titans with plants and you have a very similar tone and feel, similar brutality and terror, and an engaging story that you don't want to put down. As a fangirl of the Titan manga since the first chapter years ago, I can say with a certainty that if you enjoy Attack on Titan, you will love Green Worldz.

 

kimparasyte

 

Parasyte -the maxim- - Unlike TERRAFORMARS, Parasyte is a surprisingly good adaptation of the source material. Admittedly, it's missing the dark humor and edgy qualities of the manga, but it's very well done outside of that. It's still streaming here on Crunchyroll, and definitely worth a watch for horror fans.

 

kimkos

 

Knights of Sidonia - I am a huge fan of Tsutomu Nihei's artwork, so I can't say I'm terribly pleased with the CG animation for this series. However, the story is still very interesting, and is very much Attack on Titan in space, so if you liked AoT, this one is a no-brainer. Also, check out the manga, which is far more indicative of Nihei's style, is strongly biopunk, and the monsters are just as creepy as they're meant to be.

 

kiminari

 

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha - I didn't expect this one to be as funny as it was, involving Shinto, a wolf spirit, and plenty of hilarious situations. It's kind of like Spirited Away on steroids--plenty of slapstick moments, but with whimsical, fantastical scenery and plenty of adorable monsters and spirits. The artwork in the land of gods reminds me a lot of the old and much-adored game Okami, as well. Check it out if you want some laughs!

 

kimall

 

All You Need is Kill (light novel) - Having seen and loved the live-action adaptation Edge of Tomorrow Live Die Repeat, I checked out the source material--a light novel--as well as the 2014 manga adaptation a few months ago. While the manga is a hollow shell of the novel and should be avoided, the light novel took its place in my top books of all time. The writing is superb, the flow is spectacular, and you learn far more about the Mimics than the movie adaptation. A++++, would read again.

 

iblessall (The Man with No Real Name, Features and Newsletter)

 

blessss

 

Silver Spoon - The truth is that Silver Spoon has always been a simple show, and I'm a simple person. There's a sort of fundamental essence that Silver Spoon brings to the screen, a quality that grounds the series in both the mundanity and glory of life--an understanding of what it means to be alive on this Earth and a realization of our role within it. Whether it's in dealing with other human beings or with the creatures that populate this planet, Silver Spoon pleads us to find peace within ourselves that might someday help us find peace with the world around us. Everything season one did well, season two did better, with Hachiken and Mikage's respective journeys intertwining with and enhancing each other, Silver Spoon portrayted some of the best low-key drama of the year and gave us a way to understand everyone in teh show--even Hachiken's grumpy father.

 

blesspp

 

Ping Pong: The Animation - One of my first experiences with true arthouse anime, Ping Pong was one of those lucky pick-ups thanks to positive critical opinion that turned out to be my favorite show of Spring 2014. While the animation itself was barely better than shoddy in places and the art style admittedly ugly, Ping Pong and director Masaaki Yuasa wound up telling a heartfelt, superbly crafted story on the nature of being alive and the ways we live our lives. To be honest, Ping Pong left me feeling totally unqualified to be writing anything about it--such well-made stuff rarely comes around, and for a fledgling anime blogger, it was a lot to take in. I know a good show when I see it, though, and Ping Pong is a great one.

 

blesshxh

 

Hunter x Hunter - I didn't watch Hunter x Hunter weekly for the duration of its run, but I did catch up more than a year before the end of the series and had the simultaneously pleasure and agony of waiting a week between each brilliant episode. While the majority of the Chimera Ant arc aired in 2013, 2014 was the year that brought us the absolute best the series had to offer, including Gon's first confrontation with Pitou, Netero and Meruem's spectacular battle, Gon's horrifying transformation from a child into a darkness-filled warrior, and the Chimera Ant arc's tragically beautiful finale. Capped by a long-awaited reunion, Hunter x Hunter left me desperately wanting more, but extremely grateful for everything it had given me. Until its return, I will wait.

 

blessgbf

 

Gundam Build Fighters - I picked up Gundam Build Fighters in he middle of my fall semester midterms and proceeded to marathon all 25 episodes in four days. Featuring a cast somehow more lovable than Nozaki-kun's and boasting absolute Best Girl Aila Jyrkiainen, Gundam Build Fighters is an incredibly generous show in that its foremost desire is allow the audience to experience the same exhilaration and wanton joy that its characters do. As a watcher who had never seen even a single episode of a Gundam series before, I worried that the show would somehow end up too esoteric or too Gundam to entertain me, but Gundam Build Fighters is an exercise in universality. It's a show for the modern world, where childhood is something that passes us by all too quickly. And I truly love it for that.

 

blessorng

 

Orange - This started running on CR in 2014, so it counts! I'm not sure Orange is the right title for this manga, because it is bittersweet like nothing I've ever read before. Maybe Lemonade would have been a better choice? But in all seriousness, Orange is a beautiful story of a small group of friends working to make sure one boy knows he's loved. It's shoujo, means we get sparkles and a main couple, but this isn't so much a story of two people fallin gin love as it is about one person being shown love. Orange may very well have hurt my heart in some places, but with every wounding came a healing.

_______________

 

Still in the mood to read Favorites lists? Check out last year's triple feature!

 

Crunchyroll News' 2013 Favorites, Part One - Anime!

Crunchyroll News' 2013 Favorites, Part Two - Video Games!

Crunchyroll News' 2013 Favorites, Part Three - Everything Else!

 

And that's everything for Part One! Be sure to drop by same time tomorrow for Part Two - Video Games! What are your favorite anime and manga this year? We're talking your favorites, not your "best of," so there are no wrong answers! Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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