[Welcome to “A Very GLORIO 2014″, our look back at the best of the past year. We’ll be featuring a different post from each of our authors everyday leading up to our top 10 shows of the year. This year, Iro’s raging against the machine and looking at what he thought was extra shitty. Happy Holidays!]
2014 sure was a good year for anime, wasn’t it? And I’m not even being sarcastic this time; it actually was. There were plenty of great shows and exciting moments, but everyone else is going to be covering those, so where’s the fun in that? I figure I’ll follow my anime hipster (not to mention my clinically depressive) roots and go against the grain, highlighting the year’s valleys instead of the peaks. Enjoy!
Least Appropriate OP/ED
“IT’S THE RIGHT TIME” by Daichi Miura (Parasyte: The Maxim)
Parasyte: The Maxim is the latest anime adaptation in the recent Titan-induced rush of DARK and MATURE stories (and I might say it’s handling the tone better than the rest of its ilk), and it doesn’t shy away from the gory or gruesome. Consequently, its soft and soothing ED manages to be incredibly jarring almost every single episode, particularly after a specific event that takes place within the very same hallway featured in the ED’s final shot.
The first season of Magi was full of fun and adventure (also fun adventures!), and once it ended I immediately jumped into the manga to continue the story. I enjoyed the Magnoshutatt Arc immensely, watching our young hero Aladdin refine his magic and learn of the dark political history between magicians and muggles. The arc’s final battle was on a scale magnitudes beyond any that had been shown in the manga so far, and the anime was simply unable to keep up. The story’s pacing was unadjusted for the new medium, and exciting moments became boring and stale. At least the manga’s still good, right?
Worst Sequel Season
See above! I just complained about Magi 2 as a poor adaptation, and considering how much I enjoyed the first season, it’s only natural that Magi 2 be considered a poor sequel for the same reasons. I considered leaving poor Aladdin alone and picking on one of the various other sequels this year, but I was just burned too badly. At least the manga’s still good, right? Wait, I just said that…
Worst Show About Being Trapped in a Video Game
I have made my feelings on Sword Art Online exceptionally clear over the years, and everything I’ve heard about its second season tells me that it’s still up to its old tricks. I fully admit I tailor-made this category for it, seeing as how the only other contender for “Trapped in a Video Game” is the wonderful Log Horizon. SAO‘s continuing presence as poorly-composed, masturbatory teen fiction demanded a place among my worst of the year. Hell, this might have won the Worst Anime award on principle, if it weren’t for some of 2014’s other lows.
Worst Hype Machine
A mecha show conceived by Gen Urobuchi seems like the thing of an otaku’s wet dream, considering the man’s track record of Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica. Thus, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see anime watchers clamoring all over Aldnoah.Zero, praising it as the greatest mecha show they’ve ever seen and a contender for anime of the year only a few episodes into the show. For those of us who were less than impressed, there was little more annoying this year than having the alleged virtues of Aldnoah continually thrown in our faces.
A multitude of other shows could have taken this spot, but I had to go with Cross Ange thanks to the incredible divide between its ostensibly serious plot and its blatant T&A. I only watched the first episode, but it was all I had to watch: a heartfelt conversation between mother and daughter takes place in transparent negligees and lingerie for no reason other than to make some teen’s dick hard, and the premiere closes out with Ange being raped with medieval torture implements by a prison warden. At least I knew how bad ImoCho would be; Cross Ange truly went above and beyond.
I’ve been fairly vocal about my hatred for Prisma Illya since last year, and I needed only to look at the internet’s reaction to its second season to make my decision for this award; I didn’t even watch a single episode. Once I saw .gifs of Kuro forcing the year’s most disgustingly well-animated french kiss on Miyu start spreading amongst otaku like wildfire, Prisma Illya was beyond redemption.
Even though Tada Banri’s a massive spaz and has a tendency towards poor life decisions, we still came to know and love him over Golden Time‘s first few episodes. When the show introduced his spectral alter ego, possessing all of the memories Banri lost after his fateful accident, I immediately disliked him. Amnesia Ghost is petty, whiny, and vindictive, to the point of attempting to murder Banri and friends when his ghostly machinations fail to dampen their spirits. Considering Tada Banri’s old self, losing all of his memories was the best thing that could have happened to him.
Worst Supporting Cast
I had high hopes for Kawaisou after learning it was written by the mastermind behind surprise runaway hit Love Lab. Unfortunately, I was vastly disappointed. While the main couple of the show appeared to be engaged in a low-key, heartwarming romance, the bulk of the show’s first few episodes revolved around stale otaku jokes spouted by a supporting cast of unfunny, one-note, and occasionally plain disturbing stereotypes. I tried to continue, but my patience was unable to survive Kawaisou‘s assault. It seems the adage about lightning not striking twice is true.
The original Persona 4 had a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, from Kanji “Bloodcurdling Beefcake Emperor” Tatsumi to Chie “Spunky Dragon with Deadly Legs” Satonaka, and the debates among my friends over which of the available love interests was most appropriate for Yu “SisCon Kingpin of Steel” Narukami were both numerous and heated. Marie was a new addition to the game’s rerelease as Persona 4 Golden, and while I was initially taken in, I quickly realized that she was a malignant tumor poisoning one of my most beloved games. The recent anime’s stubborn insistence on shoehorning her even further into the plot than the game itself did was truly disgusting.
Inaho is, without a doubt, the dullest protagonist I’ve seen in years. Lacking any character whatsoever, he exists as a plot device to create convoluted plans to defeat the latest Martian threat, which invariably succeed regardless of any sense of rationality both in and out of Aldnoah.Zero‘s context. Despite these obvious and catastrophic shortcomings, Inaho was held aloft as a brilliant character by the show’s cast and fans alike, and now nearly rivals Sword Art Online‘s Kirito for the most self-indulgent teen power fantasy in modern anime.
Aldnoah.Zero is a bad show. Nearly every single member of the cast barely qualifies as a character. The plot makes tenuous sense at best, almost immediately devolving into poorly-realized mecha clichés and baffling, childish attempts at passing off shock value as high drama. Worse, as mentioned above, the hype for Aldnoah was palpable and obnoxious; one of the few things more irritating than bad writing is having people insist said bad writing is actually good. While there may indeed have been more disgusting or technically worse shows, none possessed the same perfect storm of aggravating elements. Aldnoah.Zero truly deserves the dishonor of the Worst Anime of 2014.