In retrospect, 2014 has been one of the most interesting years of my life. I got and left multiple jobs, I graduated from college, I finally got back into anime after taking a siesta from the medium for most of my teenage and adult life, most importantly I started writing on tay. Writing on tay is really the first time I have turned my hobbies into something more meaningful. If I hadn't stared writing for tay, I feel that I wouldn't have met all the cool people in this community and I wouldn't have been as motivated to try out so many different mangas, animes, or games. Today, I would like to share with all of you my favorite explorations of this year.
Note: that this list is about what I found the most interesting through 2014. It's not necessarily a list of the best things I have experienced this year.
Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa
This manga is consistently funny on a regular basis. I just loved all the clever ways it used its characters to create hilarious situations. Though the characters aren't too deep, they have a defined zaniness to them while also having a grounded side to them, which pulled me into the craziness of the series. I had a blast reading Jitsu Wa and I look forward to continue reading this series.
I am a Hero
Reading this manga is like being stuck in a cramped elevator without any lights. It's dark and delves into what a hero is. The theme of what is a hero is explored thoroughly through the actions of the main character Hideo as he stumbles his way through his zombie infested world. Every event in the manga has depth and I simply love it for that. It has a few faults in that the theme discussion and somewhat story progression come to a halt in the later chapters, but overall this manga was a great read.
5) Blood and Steel
Never has exposition been this exciting for me. What I mean is that Blood and Steel takes the time to explain every single aspect of a fight so the reader understands why each swing and stance each character takes is important. Each fight felt incredibly complex, while also being simple because the goal of each fight is simple, to defeat your opponent, but the steps to get there were long and detailed. Also, the art of the series was fantastic because it showed almost every single important action in a fight, which complemented the writing. The only downside to this manga is that its story isn't too good because it's a simple story about revenge. Though the story did take a few interesting turns in the more recent chapters because it expanded upon the world of the story. Overall, the art and writing in this series was just so good because it wanted me to understand what it would be like to be in every fight in this series and it did an amazing job of that.
4) Gate – Thus the JSDF Fought There
Gate is a melting pot of genres that I never knew that I would love. It takes the main character form The Irresponsible Captain Taylor, the storyline of Outbreak Company, the political exploration of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, and the action of a Michael Bay movie and smashes them together to make a fantastic manga. Though there are so many genres in this manga, none of them clash with each other. The light bits are light and the dark bits are dark, but it presents these elements in such a way that feels realistic. The manga does this by taking the time to explore the ins and outs of the societies in the manga. So when there is a huge siege occurs in the manga, we know why this battle is so important and the implications of the out comes of these battles. Gate is such a fun series and I can't wait for more of it to come out and I can't wait for its anime adaptation later in the year.
3) One Punch Man
Imagine if the most powerful person on the planet looked and acted like an average Joe and you get One Punch Man. It's interesting because the titular one punch man, Saitama, must deal with the fact that he has no peers. Seeing him deal with his boredom really speaks volumes about what it's like to live without a goal and that something that I can relate to. The world surrounding Saitama is also very interesting because it feels realistic despite having fantasy elements in it. Every aspect of the world in One Punch Man feels alive because they have a logic that drives them. It was just so easy for me to get immersed in this series. Also, I can't forget to mention the god like art of this series. It's just so damn good that it's like an anime in manga form. One Punch Man is a refreshing manga that has good writing, amazing art, and is overall a solid manga.
2) Mushoku Tensei
Mushoku Tensei is a story of second chances, which has the depth of what such a story would entail. Through out the story, the theme of accomplishment is explored through the events of the series and it's incredible to see this subtext woven into the narrative so well. The characters are also incredibly interesting because they flesh out their character archetype by expressing a wide variety of emotions. Rudi is the best example of this because we get to see every side of him and who he really is. When Rudi is feeling great, we understand why he's so happy, but man when he's feeling down… it just hits you like a ton of bricks. To top this all off, as the series progresses, its subtext comes into full force with the introduction of the main villain, who is so interesting because of how he plays off the main theme of the series and how he interacts with the characters in the series. I'm so glad there were so many recommendations for this series because I probably wouldn't have even touched because I'm not a huge fan of light novels.
1) Magical Exam Student
Magical Exam Student is a small webtoon that I expected nothing of and was blown away by how freaking awesome it was. Just the themes, the characters, and the writing were top notch. At first, I thought the series was good because of its great humor and its entertaining characters, but as more of it started to come out, the series got much heavier, while maintaining the same quality of humor. The most recent parts of this series explores more of the main character's, Yurem, personality by having herself interact with herself in a way that would be spoliers if I said how this worked. The side characters don't get as much development as Yurem, but they're given enough to make the entire conflict of the series much more ambiguous. I can't believe how good this series has gotten from the first time I read it and I can't wait for more of it because it's just so well done.
2014 was a fun and interesting year for me. I did many things and I experienced many more new things. Overall, I hope that 2015 is just as interesting as the last. Cheers to a new year!
These images were taken from brothersoft.com, bato.to, mangahere.com, and baka-tsuki.org. I do not own any of these images
Also, you can find all of my articles on my kinja based blog.