Looking back – Winter 2014

As it happens, the Winter 2018 season marks four years since I started watching seasonal anime…  So, just for fun, each season I’m going to look back four years.

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Hit the jump and let’s travel back in time to Winter 2014!

Winter 2014…  My wife and I had loved Sailor Moon when it aired on Toonami back in the 90’s.  We knew the 25th anniversary was coming up…  We’d had Netflix (streaming and disk) for about a year (I think) and had seen various anime on both.  We’d talked with the teenage daughter of a close friend and she’d gone and on about a site called “Crunchyroll”…  and we’d bought ourselves a Roku as a joint Christmas present.

And so began an adventure that continues today…

I don’t even remember how I found most of these anime.  I didn’t really know what seasonal anime was, or how to find out what was airing.

Quick notes:

The shows that I watched are in bold, shows my wife and I watched together are in bold italics.

A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so where needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify.  These rankings reflect what I thought at the time, and may or may not reflect how I’d rank them today.

I did some research, but this is written mostly from memory…  It wasn’t until Winter 2015 that I started regularly writing on a weekly basis, so I have no material to review.  My main interaction with the rest of fandom was the Crunchyroll forums.  I remember trying to use Funi’s forums, but not only was the forum software dysfunctional…  They shoved non-Funi shows off into a hard-to-find corner.  I think this was the first and last time I tried to use them.

Though still sitting in my Crunchy PM inbox from March 2014 is a brief exchange with Bless-senpai (iblessall) regarding his anime review site “Real Life Anime”…  But he wasn’t doing weeklies then.

So these are kind of stream-of-consciousness.  A new style, let’s see where it goes.


A mix of school comedy, romantic comedy, a touch of seriousness…  and bunch of over the top nonsense.  Episode 9 is the “beach” episode – and probably my favorite ep of the series.  I re-watched it now-and-again when it was still streaming.  (Spoiler: They never actually even make it off the school grounds…  due to a typhoon.)

After writing the above…  I decided/remembered to check Funi, and it’s still streaming there.  I let my Funi sub lapse after the Crunchymation merge and I often forget that Funi even exists any more.

I think my favorite part is that it took so much of it’s silliness very seriously.

Final ranking: 3.5

Sakura Trick

Lightweight school romance comedy with a touch of drama.  Lots and lots and lots of yuri…  Each episode had two or three short stories and each short story found a reason for the leads to kiss.  That’s pretty much all I remember.

I tried to re-watch it within the last year, and it was painful to watch.  I only made it two or three episodes in before giving up.  I don’t know if my tastes have matured, or if it’s one of those shows that’s only worth watching once.

The OP is as cute as I remember, but has way more fanservice than I remember the series actually having.  I post the OP because back then I didn’t tend to fast forward through OP’s like I do today, and because I actually liked it.

Final ranking: 3.0  (I think nowadays that it would be more of a 2.5…)

Space Dandy

What I remember most about this series is just how frustrating it was.  Even being new to watching weekly series, I knew something was off…   Though a few episodes were brilliant, overall the quality varied wildly.  Thematically and taken as a series – it was a real mess.  There was an overarching plotline of sorts, but it was mostly dull and generic.  The jumble of themes and styles was painful.

I ended up dropping it at the penultimate episode.  (A record that still stands today.)  I was in no way tempted to pick up the second season.

I wrote a review of the series at Anime-Planet shortly after it finished airing.

Did I have a Funi sub back then?  I must have, as the Space Dandy dub was on Funi and I recall watching this in dub.  IIRC the simultaneous sub/dub international release was a Really Big Deal…  and something they’ve never tried since.  Funi’s current “Simuldubs” actually run a couple of weeks behind the subs.

On reflection, I suspect I might (might) have enjoyed more had I watched it with a couple of years of experience under my belt… and especially if I’d watched it after seeing Cowboy Bebop.  (Which Dandy was strongly influenced by.)  It was popular enough that it got a second season, but the critical community rarely if ever mention it.

Final ranking: 2.0

Wake Up Girls!

I said above that I don’t remember how I found most of these shows, Wake Up Girls is the exception.  I remember clearly, and painfully, how I found it.  It was in one of J-List’s emails, and he mentioned panty shots.  If you don’t know J-List-san, he loves fanservice and ecchi, and back then I tended to prioritize it too.  Though I still enjoy fanservice I’m a little more choosy these days…  the show has to have more than that.  Or go all in and be pure fanservice trash.  None of this wishy-washy stuff for me!  If you’re just using fanservice to try and distract from other flaws, I’m so done.

And that’s what I found – a show that was so much more than a couple of fleeting pantyshots.  Sadly though, I still find people today who recall those shots and dismiss the show because of them.  Seriously?  What kind of person do you have to be to dismiss a show because of ten seconds of panties in the premiere movie and another ten in the first ep?  I can understand missing the point of the “swimsuit” ep (ep 2), but many folks don’t seem to have made it that far.

WUG was my first idol show, and I didn’t really realize just how different it was for a couple of years…  But it’s gritty and realistic take still informs how I view them today.  Basically, WUG and iDOLM@STER serve as my gold standards for what an idol show can be and do.

As anyone who was reading the Lounge last season knows – I’m still a huge fan of WUG-chan.

Tachiagare is still basically my favorite idol song…  Though watching this version, contemporary with the anime, is a bit painful.  They simply weren’t all that good during lives back then.

A bit of trivia – it was WUG that convinced me to subscribe to Crunchy.  I just couldn’t wait a week for the finale!  Plus we delayed leaving for Sakura-Con to watch that finale.  (Plus it was about this time that Crunchy fixed the bug in the Roku app that prevented it from showing ads to non-subscribers.  That played a role too…)

Final ranking: 4.0


I didn’t track drops until I started really tracking seasonal watching in real-time…  (Which would be March 2014 according to Anime-Planet.)  Looking at a Winter 2014 chart, I don’t recognize anything as being started and dropped.

So, click on that season chart, then drop a comment and tell me what shows you watched during the Winter 2014 season – what do you remember?  How have they held up?

20 thoughts on “Looking back – Winter 2014”

  1. This was a nice throwback. Personally I caught most of 2014 Winter outside of some shorts/OVA stuff. I’m sorry you had a bad time with Space Dandy, I actually enjoyed it a decent bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heh, now here’s something down Memory Lande: I didn’t like No-Rin much (though it had its strength, it had bad case of Christmas Cake jokes), Sakura Trick was mildly okay, and I dropped Wake Up Girls after one episode.

    Here’s a list of shows I really liked in Winter 2014 (alphabetic order – bolding the starts):

    Hoozuki no Reitetsu: Still one of my favourite anime comedies, with one of my favourite jokes being Yamato no Orochi being put in charge of Drinking Hell, and Hoozuki solving the resulting indulgence.

    Inari Kon Kon Koi Iroha: A flawed but charming shinto coming-of-age story.

    Mikakunin de Shinkokei: Standard rom-com with lots of charm and pretty solid melancholy base.

    Nobunagun: A highschooler getting possessed by Oda Nobunaga in order to fight aliens. Has the most interesting theory to Jack the Ripper’s identity I’ve ever seen.

    Noragami: Classic shounen with a shinto bent.

    Pupipo: A short about a girl finding a kirby-like creature (apparently a spin-off of Hi Score Girl)

    Robot Girls Z: Utterly nuts moe show with girls representing classical giant robots.

    Sekai Seifuku: Byouraku no Svezda: Boy runs away from home and finds an ersatz family in a secret organisation that seeks World Domination. Utterly insane fun.

    Tonari no Seki kun: Who doesn’t know this one?

    Also fun: D-Frag, Golden Time, Kill la Kill, Log Horizon, Saki 2

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you had a busy season! Were these all on Crunchy?

      @Tonari no Seki kun, know it and love it! I also like the fan theory that Sakamoto (Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto) is Seki-kun in high school.

      I think I marathoned Golden Time not too long after this… One of the first times I encountered Bless, he was flogging his end-of-season appraisal post on the Crunchy forums. Enjoyed the h*ll out of it, other than Ghost Banri.


      1. I don’t know what was on Crunchy. In winter 2014 they still had a rather inconvenient range outside of America (and maybe the UK), so I was still watching mostly pirate sites. But Crunchy was steadily improving, rather rapidly soon after that, I might add. (It’s still worse than the US spread, though.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Also, I just checked and I’m pretty sure I started watching airing shows in Spring 2010, with shows like Hakuoki, Mayoi Neko Overrun and Arakawa – Under the Bridge. The easy highlight was Working!!. Not sur if I watched Maid-sama as it aired – I think I watched that later.

          I might have watched Hanamaru Youchien and Dance in the Vampire Bund in Winter 2010 as they aired, but I’m not positively sure about that. All of the other shows of that season I’ve seen I watched later.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah, I’ve gone there a time or two myself… That’s how I originally watched 2199, since it would have cost something like $400 to buy all the disks in the brief time they were legally available. I guess when it comes to Crunchy, I’m lucky since I live in the US.

          2010? That’s a long time ago! Working!! had been in our queue, but we didn’t watch it until we marathoned the first two seasons right before the third came out in 2015. We’re really bad about going back and watching older stuff.


  3. That was a few seasons before I started streaming in earnest (in Fall 2014). Looking at the Winter list, I have since gone back and watched Silver Spoon and Saki, both of which are now of course personal favorites (and a bit of Pupa just to see how atrocious it was). I also watched the Tsubasa to Hotaru OVA, which I can’t even remember anything about except that it was cute shojo fluff. Engaged to the Unidentified and Witch Craft Works are on the long list of shows I’d eventually like to get to, but probably never will because there are too many others I’d rather watch first.

    I also remember that some of the girls in my anime club really got into Noragami, Nisekoi, and Hozuki for a while, but none of those have ever really climbed onto my radar.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only one I watched while airing was Space Dandy it seems, though I’ve seen several others since.

    A lot of people feel strongly against Space Dandy for whatever reason. It had different directors each episode and the overall plot isn’t obvious to many either. There are weak episodes but overall it was a really cool show with lots of throw back to older things both Western and Japanese.

    For reference shows I’ve seen since would be: Chuni, D-Frag!, and that’s it if you don’t count the continuing stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dandy was pretty widely hyped IIRC, and that tends to create strong feelings… Plus it was a semi-experimental show hyped into the mass market, which (IMO) raised expectations. Not a good combination.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa, that’s wild. Didn’t think you started watching seasonal anime only four years ago!

    I jumped on the WUG-chan train late so I wasn’t aware that people dismissed the IP/movie just because of panty shots. That’s pretty short-sighted.

    As for the shows I followed, hmmm.

    I watched 2 episodes of Buddy Complex. All I can remember is NICE COUPLING.

    D-Frag! is better as a manga, but I guess I still enjoyed the anime. I sound like that light novel fanatic from Animegataris.

    Engaged the Unidentified was funny. I think some people were complaining about how the one male character had little presence, but that’s fine by me.

    Nisekoi – promising manga series that went on for way too long and become the embodiment of all romcom cliches. Still finished it because of the funny reaction faces. Watched maybe 3 episodes.

    Didn’t finish Onee-chan ga Kita, either. Maybe 3 episodes, tops.

    Diligently watched Saki Zenkoku-hen. The worst of the 3 Saki series, but I still liked it.

    Also dropped Witch Craft Works after 2 episodes.

    I was a lot less patient those days, it seems.

    Thanks for the throwback.


    1. It’s been an intense four year, but only four years! :)

      WRT the panty shots, it’s so much then as now. Even as recently as anticipating and then discussing last season’s sequel the topic kept coming up. Of course it could be that being a big fan, I’m more sensitive to slights especially given that I’m embarrassed that they’re how I found the show.

      Saki gets a lot of attention, but I bounced hard of off the early eps of the first series and ended up dropping it.

      Anyhow, glad you enjoyed it. I’m a little surprised at how much attention this got.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No Rin is utterly forgettable. I remember laughing at some jokes, but I fail to remember some moments of the show myself. I believe it’s an idol living in a farm kind of story. lol, I don’t remember.

    Sakura Trick is certainly not for everyone, but it does have some sentimental side to it. I enjoy the second couple more than the main couple.

    I was never a fan of Cowboy Bebop, so I never got hyped for Space Dandy. I like certain episodes, but not the series overall.

    WUG is awesome. Surprised panty shots is an issue, lol. It got heavy after episode 3 or so.

    As for other shows, lol. Aside from second seasons of shows I haven’t seen, I can brag that I saw and review them all. xD


    1. Not every show is one for the ages. That was kinda the point of doing this from memory… There’s a reason why No Rin got only one paragraph! :)

      Yeah, I follow your site, you’ve got an insane number of reviews and they’re all honestly done and have a crap ton of work put into them. I don’t know how you do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Doing it from memory can be a challenge, lol. I’m doing the same for my best moments list of 2014 until I realized I just can’t do it and listed moments down to make sure I don’t forget it. xD

        I don’t know how I do it either. xD my pace is horribly slow though

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh I know how memory can be a challenge… I’ve got another post in progress and when I went to collect screenshots to illustrate part of it, I discovered that I’d mixed up several scenes in my memory.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I started simulcasts in fall 2014 with two shows (Gugure! Kokkuri-san and Orenchi no Furo Jijou) but I did watch these shows after that:

    Hozuki no Reitetsu: One of only two anime that got the “review” category on the Spellbook, meaning I watched it less than half a year ago from the typing of this comment. It happened to get a season 2 right when the Spellbook was taking off, so I decided to attempt a review style…only to not really use said style again. Hilarious, but in a Western-style “violence = comedy” sense.

    Noragami: Watched in preparation for Aragoto (i.e. summer 2015 or thereabouts). A series I love and regard highly, although Aragoto is better than the original series.

    The rest I either haven’t finished or haven’t started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried my hand at series reviews before, and regardless of the style they aren’t easy. That’s one of the reasons I have a crappy track record when it comes to writing season wrap-up posts… Even a couple of summary paragraphs can be hard, especially under a time limit.

      If I may make so bold, both Silver Spoon and Wake Up Girls are worth watching.

      Liked by 1 person

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