Counting down the top 20 anime of 2014, ranked by their MAL scores as of the date of publication. The criteria are the anime must have started airing in 2014 and any DVD special episodes have been discounted.
Top 20 to 11
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures continue in the third arc of the Jojo series, but this time it covers the story of Jotaro Kujo, Joseph Joestar’s grandson.
The continuation of the Monogatari Series Second Season, Tsukimonogatari continues to cover the adventures of Koyomi Araragi (Arararararararagi) and the various cute (yet burdened) girls he meets along the way. This “season” is four episodes long and covers the “Yotsugi Doll” arc.
This classic racing anime finally reaches a conclusion with the four episode finale, appropriately titled Final Stage!
Top anime tend to be action or moe slice of lifes, but this smash-hit adaptation of a shoujo manga defies all odds, showing everyone that shoujo anime aren’t just cheesy romances.
Produced by MAPPA and with music by the legendary Yoko Kanno, this original supernatural thriller about a terrorist attack has all the ingredients for a top anime.
We’re in the middle of a sports anime renaissance, and the second season of this cycling anime continues to prove its mettle.
There are lots of self-referential anime about the anime and manga industry, but Gekkan Shoujo stands out for its hilarious character interactions and great insight into shoujo manga in particular!
Book of Circus continues the Black Butler franchise, where they discover the shady circumstances surrounding, well, a circus.
Refreshingly different from both the creator’s previous works as well as just about every anime out there, Silver Spoon continues to take an intimate look into the life of students in agricultural schools. It’s no surprise anime fans like it－it’s like experiencing nature without having to go outside!
Studio Ghibli never fails to appear on “Top” charts, and for good reason. The coming of age film When Marnie was There is another Ghibli work based on a foreign novel, specifically Joan G. Robinson’s young adult work.
Top 10 to 2
MAL Rated 8.49, Ranked #105 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by P.A. Works
While it was airing, Shirobako sat in the high 7’s for its score and had remarkably few watching numbers. Its explosion in score and popularity since finishing comes thanks to a wave of positive word of mouth from fans. Now where is that sequel?
MAL Rated 8.51, Ranked #98 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by ufotable
While it didn’t match the runaway popularity, success and critical acclaim that Fate/Zero achieved, Unlimited Blade Works was still beloved with anime fans and was, at the very least, a massive improvement on Studio Deen’s 2006 Fate/stay night.
MAL Rated 8.52, Ranked #95 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by A-1 Pictures
Even though it was released originally with a complete lack of legal streaming options, thousands of anime fans gathered to watch this latest shounen smash hit. A sequel is already in the works.
Watch on: Netflix
MAL Rated 8.53, Ranked #90 | Summer Anime 2014 | Produced by Kinema Citrus
This adorable slice of life comedy about a young talented calligrapher and his life after he moves to rural Japan was a wonderful summer sleeper hit. The joy of watching the main kid in the show was almost as much fun as an anime adaptation of the Yotsuba&! manga would be.
MAL Rated 8.55, Ranked #83 | Spring Anime 2014 | Produced by Madhouse
Guess what? Anime fans like stories about guys who kick butt in video games, being dropped into a video game world and then kicking butt there. Bonus points if it has a colourful, unique art style more reminiscent of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure than any other light novel adaptation. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you stand above the crowd.
MAL Rated 8.64, Ranked #55 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by Madhouse
With the parade of samey light novel adaptations coming each season, perhaps more anime producers should look into mining older manga for their new adaptations. The Parasyte manga may be over 20 years old but that didn’t stop it from being one of the biggest hits of the year.
MAL Rated 8.68, Ranked #43 | Spring Anime 2014 | Produced by Production I.G
Remember once upon a time when anime fans used to refuse to watch sports anime? When no matter how many people told you Hajime no Ippo was one of the best anime ever, anime fans still wouldn’t watch it? Between the recent popularity of Kuroko’s Basketball and now Haikyuu, maybe that is finally starting to change.
MAL Rated 8.70, Ranked #40 | Spring Anime 2014 | Produced by Tatsunoko Production
Critic’s favourite Masaaki Yuasa makes his way into MAL’s top 3 anime of 2014 with Ping Pong the Animation, an adaptation of the manga of the equally critically acclaimed author Taiyou Matsumoto. Funnily enough, when you combine two of the most talented people working in anime and manga, the end result is something quite incredible.
MAL Rated 8.92, Ranked #14 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by Artland
In reality the various seasons, spinoffs and single episode specials could have taken up half of this list on their own. But instead, we just compiled them all into this one single entry to celebrate just how wonderful it was to see Mushishi again. And unexpected too, given that it took us 9 years before we finally saw this long awaited sequel. It was worth the wait.
Top Anime of 2014
MAL Rated 8.93, Ranked #13 | Fall Anime 2014 | Produced by A-1 Pictures
Every now and then an anime shows up in the Noitamina timeslot that reminds us why we wait so eagerly for their next announcement. We already have Terror in Resonance, Silver Spoon and Ping Pong the Animation from this season making the top 20. Right at the top is another anime from this time slot – the musical tearjerker, Your Lie in April! The blue-eyed beauty from the series, Kao-chan, not only changed Arima‘s life, but the lives of fans worldwide forever!