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Old 2014-12-17, 21:20   Link #1
Flower
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Unexpectedly good anime in 2014 in your opinion, and why?

Since we have a thread for anime series that were dissappointments of 2014 I thought a thread for unexpected surprises would be in order as well. In a way this thread is also about expectations as well.

Be sure to include why the series were surprisingly good and such things, if you had expectations ahead of time, etc.
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Old 2014-12-17, 22:13   Link #2
Triple_R
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WIXOSS, Yuuki Yuuna, and Shirabako all largely took me by surprise. Yuuki Yuuna in fact flew completely under the radar screen for me, with 0utf0xZer0 and Kogetsu Shirogane having to bring its very existence to my attention.

WIXOSS and Yuuki Yuuna will both be in my Top 5 anime shows of 2014 unless one or both has a total trainwreck of an ending. Shirabako has a good chance at a Top 10 spot for me. It has been a lot of fun, while also providing a very nice look at the anime industry.


Honorable mentions to SAO II and Knights of Sidonia. I had some expectations for both shows, but both largely surpassed them. Both of them would also be in my Top 10 anime shows of 2014 list.
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Old 2014-12-17, 22:25   Link #3
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Gaworare. Incredibly formulaic premise, yet quite tricky. Clever and dark.

Gugure!. Simply one of the best comedies of the year, and likewise deceptively dark. Was completely off my radar.

Gundam Build Fighters. Quite unlike any other Gundam series. Total lack of self-seriousness, very sharp wit.
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Old 2014-12-17, 22:28   Link #4
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Shirobako, it wasnt even in my list of anime that i should watch of the season, but one day of the past week i was bored and decided to give it a try to chap 1, how i did not see it before?? The characters are really likeable and good, the story, albeit is light hearted, depicts the situation of the animation studios really well, and since that is an industry wich I want to be part of in the future, made this show win a good spot in the ones of this year

Bokura wa minna kawaisou, what can I say, perfect for my likings

Mahouka koukou, well this is kinda weird, it was boring in some parts, but Tatsuya made me want to read the original source, and thanks god that I did it, the novel is awesome, so the anime did a good job to made me want to go to the original source

Gekkan shoujo nozaki kun, wasn't expecting a lot of this, but at the end it was really good, solid characters, good relationships, interesting light hearted plot, and....Mikorin!!

Zankyou no Terror, for me, it was a 9/10, i dont care too much about 5(she took some points of this serie), but apart from that, the main cast, the plot, the riddles, the view between terrorist and police, really really good(it was in my list but i forgot to watch it until past week)
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Old 2014-12-17, 22:54   Link #5
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I guess for me it would include:

Nobunagun, Kanojo ga Flag, Majimoji Rurumo and Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai.

Nobunagun was completely out of left field for me and I tried it on a whim. Still not sure why I like it, but I do.

Kanojo ga Flag was also barely on my radar, but the story proved to be extremely well written and surprising as well. An odd mish-mosh of elements that works together really well.

Majimoji Rurumo was a delight from beginning to end. I wish there were more series like this - it was smart and funny and even...wholesome in a way like when you finish a well done home made meal.

Daitishokan was another surprise, and while it may be jumping the gun before the final ep airs one week from now there was something about this visual novel adaptation that really worked well for me.

Honorary mentions would include Gugure Kokkuri-san (effectively weird and funny), Ao Haru Ride (which I expected to enjoy but which turned out to be stupendous), Mikakunin (another I expected to enjoy but turned out to be in the top three of the year for me - soooo well done) and Yuuki Yuuna. The latter still has the final eps as well but thus far it has been enjoyable and even thought provoking for me...though before the season began I expected it to be a dark horse for me.
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Old 2014-12-17, 23:02   Link #6
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I don't really follow anime news or whatever so I don't tend to have expectations, but that said:

Ping Pong: Ugly art at first glance but I haven't seen something this unique and awesome in quite a while. Much feels to be felt. Too bad it seemed like a low budget production.

Aldnoah.Zero: Animesuki seems to hate it but I loved it tbh. I love smart protagonists, I like phlegmatic protagonists, I like sci-fi and I like giants robots. So the story is kinda wacky at points but I'm still waiting for S2 with baited breath.

Hitsugi no Chaika: It's on my disappointment list as well. It ended up rushed up as hell, I think 10+ volumes in 22 episodes. Despite all that it was still a pretty decent show. I read a few chapters of the manga before and it looked bad so I was surprised how well it held up in anime form.

No Game No Life: I don't like gratuitous fanservice and this show's got plenty of it. It tries to be funny but isn't particularly, plenty of otaku references which aren't my favorite form of comedy usually. It tries to clever but isn't extraordinarily so. Despite all that it does everything with such colors and panache that it's impossible not to like. That it doesn't take itself too seriously helps as well. One of my favorite shows of the year.

Cross Ange: Okay so sue me. This show is bad. It is baaaaaaaad. The Gundam copy pasta, the bad songs and worse lipsyncs, the gratuitous bad ecchi, it's so bad I can't stop laughing when watching. It's my guilty pleasure this year, and even more surprising it's slowly becoming a little, um better might be too much praise but at least a little less worse.
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Old 2014-12-18, 00:12   Link #7
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Unless the last episode of Spread tremendously fucks up, I'm going to second WIXOSS. Heading into this it's easy to expect a Madoka rip-off, but the main difference between them is Madoka has its characters explore the flaws in a system, while WIXOSS uses the system to explore the flaws of its characters. There are some moments that absolutely make me groan, but the better parts of the series have made this darkhorse worth watching.

Though I'd also add Hanayamata by a nautical mile. I knew I was likely to like this, but I didn't expect to absolutely adore it. I can't tell whether it was from how consistently over-the-top it was or whether the characters hit all the right notes as I liked all of them a lot and about equally. Though, this isn't really a show I can recommend to many people because of its theatrics, but that's fine. I always see this as less of a story of our worries and hopes and more a performance of our fears and dreams. And damn it, I wouldn't want it any other way. Did I mention I adore this show?
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Old 2014-12-18, 00:15   Link #8
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Shingeki no Bahamut is my main pick for this. Who would have thought an anime done to promote an online card game would prove to be one of the best series of the year? Very entertaining with memorable characters, awesome fight scenes, and top notch production values.

Runner up would be Sword Art Online II. I knew it had better source material than season one (well, the second half of season one anyway) but I was impressed with the quality of the adaptation.
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Old 2014-12-18, 01:04   Link #9
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For me top 5 for this would be:
Yuuki Yuuna - Really just exceeded my expectation all around definitely in my top 5 shows this year assuming ending goes well, I really enjoy it, I love the art style of transformed of the heroes and the world, and might be my favorite OST of the year, and I really the whole many cast, and I wasn't even watching til 7 episodes out and still took time to catch up, but I was really glad I decided to watch it. Was probably biggest surprise hit for me.

Hanayamata - Rarely do Cute girls doing cute things series feature much character development, this was a rare treat everyone at least got some with decently paced story and drama, with great characters, and colorful art/dancing (& super catchy OP/ED), especially the lovely outfits for their Yosekoi.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun - I didn't even initial plan to watch, but was talked into it by friends, and the humor was amazing while giving some look into how Manga is done, and pretty decent characters, especially Chiyo who was adorable. Was well worth the pick up.

Zankyou no Terror - tbh I didn't have high expectation at all for it, cause I feel people put Watanabe on too high of a pedestal (and I was only really a fan of Samurai Champloo), but this show was highly enjoyable for me, and is my favorite work of his now . I mean I wouldn't call it perfect, but it told it's narrative well with a solid art style and OST and had some good intelligent moments even if the characters were lacking compared to rest of the show.

WIXOSS - After BRS, I wasn't sure if how well another Okada original series would go for this sorta of genre, but I can see when given more control maybe(?) or at least more episodes she was able to create/write(?) a more interesting and coherent series, that's been pretty interesting.
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Old 2014-12-18, 03:26   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flower View Post
I guess for me it would include:

Majimoji Rurumo was a delight from beginning to end. I wish there were more series like this - it was smart and funny and even...wholesome in a way like when you finish a well done home made meal.
Majimoji would have been on my list too, except after seeing how good Yowapeda was I had pretty high expectations to begin with.
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Old 2014-12-18, 03:32   Link #11
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Forgot to add inou battle, well, this one is, didnt expect something that good from that premise, the story knows how to handle the drama and the comedy, the characters are solid in wich are their contribution to the show, and it has one of the best lolis of this year for me.

And Mikakunin, definitely good for my heart and it had the second best loli of the year for me, including likeable characters and an interesting plot
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Old 2014-12-18, 03:42   Link #12
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Majimoji would have been on my list too, except after seeing how good Yowapeda was I had pretty high expectations to begin with.
Yup, yup! ^^

I had similar series that I felt were going to be great before a season began and turned out to be great indeed. I guess that would be a reassuring surprise than an unexpected one, though.

Even so, I'll definitely take reassuring surprises too.
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Old 2014-12-18, 05:28   Link #13
ReinZwei
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Winter

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei - No expectation at all at first since I thought it's another one of those cute slice of life anime, but.... after seeing the first episode, all I did is look at the calendar and look at how many days still left till the next episode was shown.

Nisekoi - ok, I expected a lot of this at first but when I saw that it's shaft-ed I thought it didn't fit this series, but again, expectation is wrong and it delivered what the series is good about, the comedy.

No-Rin - my guilty pleasure last winter, I thought this was another trash ecchi anime but every week it made me laugh so hard.

Noragami - this one blew the winter so hard I want another season of this show.... one of the best this year IMO.


Spring

Mushishi - For a show which is hardly several years since it's first season, I thought this will become out of place for today's settings, but still give the vibrant world of mushi to my imagination. One of the best this year if not the best.

Isshukan Friends - Most anticipated anime last spring, just like Mikakunin, I'm always looking at the calendar every time the episode ends. Really thought the artwork wouldnt fit into my likings but ... :sigh: it fitted the anime perfectly specially Kaori's cuteness

No Game No Life - Lots of ecchi which is a good formula for a show to be dropped (dragonar) but, blew my expectations away and give me a great combination of a colorful world, cool protagonists and lots of great dialogue from the VA's. Opposite of Mahouka which is boring, this one is so lively considering from the same studio and same source medium.


Summer

Aldnoah Zero- lots of hatred just like itsjustme said, but still it won't deny that it entertained me more than I can imagine.

Hanayamata - no expectation, and it didn't exceed what I'm expecting either except that ending.... that ending is the key why it became so good.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki - Thought another Mangaka-san.... kind of anime, but look, no ecchi involved but still delivered lots of funny antics from the gang. One of the funniest show in 2014, and considering the acquired sales of this show, it just showing how good this show is. Funny that it's from Dogakobo again which is the same studio as Mikakunin and Love Lab which I loved.... Now my expectation to that studio became high because of these shows.


Fall

As of now the only notable thing that in my radar is Fate..... I have high expectation from Ufotable considering how good f/z is... but Fate UBW blew all that several light years from now, kinda exaggerated but that's how good Fate UBW is as of now.
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Old 2014-12-18, 08:32   Link #14
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I'd say Noragami (especially so) and Hozuki no Reitetsu. Two of the better shows of the year and both from a bangin' winter.

Nozaki-kun is also surprisingly decent from what I've seen so far. UBW has been more tolerably good than I was expecting (better route), but I basically spend zero time thinking about it.
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Old 2014-12-18, 09:43   Link #15
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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun - At first this started out as only chuckle worthy to me but the more crazy crazy characters they added, the more I started to genuinely love this show and the comedy.

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei - It's one of those things were I go in without any expectations and end up being impressed with it. I did like the comedy and the characters and overall it was a likable show, considering how much of an obvious moe-pandering exercise it was.

Shingeki no Bahamut - Not sure if this one counts considering how wowed I was by the trailer but the first few episodes did just blow me away and provide the sort of genuine adventure story that I haven't seen in a long long time.

Ping Pong - I was reluctant to try this at first thanks to the butt ugly character art but decided to go for it after a recommendation. And I'm glad i did because it ended up being one of the best anime of the year.

Shirobako - Was pretty much just expecting this to be another overly self aware marketing exercise from PA Works like Glasslip but it's pretty damn solid. I wish the main cast of girls weren't so moe-fied but it's a minor gripe. Overall the show's exploration of the anime making process has been a truly fascinating and educational experience, even if it is watered down to non-controversial levels.

Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen - I disliked the show at first but it ended up growing on me so much that I now actually hate myself for being so dismissive of it when it first started. I can only applause the writers for taking the difficult road and relying almost exclusively on slow and gradual episodes to build up the story, because the end product has been well worth the patience required. It's pretty damn impressive just how well this show has managed to illustrate the way in which the entire political system can be so screwed up in such a deep rooted and fundamental level that leaves the good guys in an incredibly sympathetic sense of alienating despair, especially for a show that has never bothered to develop the political context of the war besides on the elite level. I'm actually finding it difficult to think of another anime that's conveyed this political point as well as Shirogane. Unfortunately though, that lack of political context has ended up biting the show's arse as it heads into the finale, but I think regardless of what happens, I will be impressed with what it's achieved.

Hitsugi no Chaika - The second season made it into my "most disappointing" list but that's probably because the first season was definitely one the most unexpectedly good shows. I think what mainly impressed me was the fact that most of the cast display an appropriate degree of real world competency and foresight which adds a lot to the story. It's not even anything difficult and yet simple things like this are often completely elusive to other anime.
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Old 2014-12-18, 10:28   Link #16
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Sakura Trick - This is the closest thing I've seen in a long time where two female characters weren't ridiculed for being in love by those adapting the material. Probably also the funniest thing I've seen this year as well.

One Week Friends - Simple but well-executed for the greater part. Very different character dynamic and style. This was really refreshing.

Ao Haru Ride - A long overdue example of what shoujo can be capable of if it is done well and honors the original material.


Mushishi and FSN don't qualify as surprises.
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Old 2014-12-18, 16:03   Link #17
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Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de- I thought was going to be some sort of cliched harem series, but it turned out the execution was pretty unique.
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Old 2014-12-18, 16:06   Link #18
Jan-Poo
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Well, most of the anime that I enjoyed the most this year simply met my expectations.

There weren't many pleasant surprises, but I really enjoyed Tonari no Seki-kun. I'm not a fan of 5 minutes episodes and the chara design has a very outdated style, but overall it was a pretty funny series.

I also second Sakura Trick for those who like soft Yuri. Not really a notable anime, but it was pretty well done and enjoyable.
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Old 2014-12-18, 16:38   Link #19
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Mikakunin de Shinkoukei: All I knew about it was the trailer. Character designs + catchy tunes left me expecting a charming little romcom. And that's for the most part what I got. What caught me unawares was a certain melancholic mood in the background.

Nobunagun: I was aware of the show, but I thought it'd be awful. Instead I got a stylish adventure show with lots of charm. If you had told me that I'd enjoy this show more than Nobunaga the Fool...

Haikyuu: This is where I tell you that I almost never enjoy the sports genre. Shows that transcend the genre, like Ping Pong this year, have a better chance. But a straightforward sports show. Nah, not my thing. I expected Haikyuu to be just that - a straightforward sports show. And it was. And yet, somehow I found myself looking forward to each episode. Nice character developments and truly suspensful matches made this a joy to watch.
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Old 2014-12-18, 17:34   Link #20
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Argevollen: had it written off as a complete bore after the first episodes, and it did spend a whole cour being boring, but turned out actually quite good. It has reasonable politics, there a certain lack of action, but that's better than the usual weekly mandatory action.

Nobunagun: didn't expect much of it. Even less than of The Fool. But it had good action, and I loved the characters. The fool on the hand...

Nozaki-kun: expected the usual SoL thing that bores me to tears, got the best comedy of the year. Dem boxes.

Majin Bone: I thought it'd be just some kiddie show to pass the time, but it's actually one of the best shonen of late. It turned out to have some development and depth to it's characters and story, and CGI fights look well, even if you can easily tell that their format is meant to save money.
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