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Over the past few years it has been heavily postulated that the rise of streaming and fan subbed anime would be the death of the physical release for international fans – after all, we can now get to see the most of the hot new shows literally hours after they air on TV in Japan. But it seems this was something of an exaggeration as DVD and now Blu-ray sales remain healthy. Okay, the latter format might still be finding its feet (prices can be a bit steep) but on the whole we Brits are still as keen as ever to have a whole series in our hands rather than as a media file on our PCs.

With the waiting time between a title debuting in Japan and landing on our shores been cut drastically, our old friends Manga Entertainment, MVM and newcomers All The Anime  are striking while the iron is hot to bring us the latest hit titles as quickly as possible.

These fine distributors have also been raiding the archives to remedy the omission of titles which were overlooked first time around. This has seen some classic titles make their long awaited debut, along with some less familiar ones, in most cases proving to be a pleasant surprise indeed, although some may have been better off in the vaults if we’re being honest.

With that in mind, here we go with MIB’s Top Ten anime titles to hit the shelves here in the UK in 2014, a veritable smorgasbord of genres, themes, styles made up of a old favourites and the brand spanking new. As usual agree or disagree as is your wont.

 

10. From The New World (MVM)

This dystopian psycho thriller revolves around a group of teens with psychokinetic powers whose discovery of a race of Monster Rats, who consider psychics to be gods, uncover the hidden truths about their world. It’s a chilling metaphor to remind us that we are forever teetering on the edge of a major atrocity at the hands of those who abuse their power, while at the same time showing the dangers of burying our history. Definitely not your average teen anime!

Read the full review HERE

 

9. Robotics;Notes (Manga Entertainment)

robotics

The third of the unofficial Science Adventure trilogy, this show introduces us to plucky schoolgirl Akiho Senomiya and her attempts to fulfil her ambition of building a giant robot. As with its predecessors (Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate) things aren’t so straight forward with government conspiracies and the mystery of a missing anime episode causing trouble for Akiho and her friends. The lightest of the three series but nonetheless eventful and exciting, this is a mecha show with a difference!

Read the full review HERE

 

8. Jormungand/Jormungand – Perfect Order (Manga Entertainment)

jormungandMeet Koko Hekmatyar the most eccentric arms dealer in the world and her loyal crew of soldiers who will give their lives to ensure Koko gets her way. An unabashed exercise in graphic violence and political commentary, Jormungand picks up where Black Lagoon left off, albeit with out the coolness of Revy and co. It certainly has a provocative side however as one of the squad is a young boy, Jonah, is a skilled and merciless killing machine with a chip on his shoulder, having been orphaned by an arms dealer!

Read the full reviews HERE and HERE

 

7. WataMote (MVM)

watamote

A darkly satirical look at social anxieties and the troubles of fitting in as seen through the eyes of insular teen Tomoko Kuroki, WataMote is an often uneasy watch. The full title (which is a real a mouthful) reveals that Tomoko blames everyone else for her lack of popularity, leading to regular failure to get on with others. Yet it hits home with its black humour and lampooning of the conventions of teenage life, with the unusual ability to make Tomoko into a distant yet sympathetic character.

Read the full review HERE

 

6. Psycho-Pass (Manga Entertainment)

Psycho_PassThe seminal Ghost In The Shell has spawned many copycats but no true successor –could Gen Urobuchi’s dystopian sci-fi thriller Psycho-Pass be the one? There are plenty of arguments in favour of it that is for sure. We follow rookie inspector Akane Tsunemori as she questions the efficiency of the Sybil System, which monitors our emotions, where people’s intention to commit a crime is sabotaged to allow evil to run riot. Violent, intelligent and inventive this could be the new Cyberpunk hit we’ve been waiting for.

Read the full review HERE

 

5. The Garden Of Words (All The Anime)

garden

Makoto Shinkai’s latest film may clock in at less than fifty minutes but this is a prefect example of quality over quantity. Returning to his melancholic roots after the Ghibli-esque Journey to Agartha, Shinkai brings us a touching tale of an unlikely romance forming between a fifteen year old boy and an older office worker who skips work to drink her days away. Set before a backdrop of pouring rain, this is a sumptuous looking film which tells a deeply emotional story.

Read the full review HERE

 

4. The Wind Rises (Studio Canal)

wind_rises_BDAfter many threats to do so, it seems the legend that is Hayao Miyazaki has really retired from film making, and thankfully he has bowed out (if he really has) on a high. This fictionalized biography of World War II aviation designer Jiro Horikoshi is every bit as gorgeous and whimsical as Miyazaki’s other works yet feels his more personal. One can sense this is an artist saying goodbye so we should be thankful his swan song is such an inspiring and magical film to behold. 

 Read the full review HERE

 

3. Usagi Drop (MVM)

usagi_drop

Old MIB must be softening in his old age to rate this easy going and charming slice of life show above the others but it is a superb and refreshing treat. Thirty something bachelor Daikichi Kawachi attends his grandfather’s funeral only to discover that the randy old fella had sired an illegitimate child, six year-old Rin, who he ends up taking home to raise himself. This tale of two opposites learning to make a new relationship work by trial and error is a touching and captivating show from the start.

Read the full review HERE

 

2. Time Of Eve – The Movie (Pied Piper)

Time_of_EveThis belatedly released film version of the cult web-only series is a gorgeously realised take on the ever familiar theme of interaction between humans and technology. Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s tale set in a future where robots are servile to humans, revolves around an underground café where both can mix without fear of censure or discrimination. This engaging, multi-layered story explores many aspects of this development with intelligence and a metaphoric social conscience, resulting in a true gem of a film.

Read the full review HERE

 

 

 NO. 1 – ATTACK ON TITAN

(Manga Entertainment)

 Attack_Titan_1

Yes, a predictable and obvious choice but really, an anime like this only comes along once in every blue moon – its power to engage and bring something fresh to the often lazy world of anime in the way it has assured its place in the top spot. Breaking through the ranks like the titular Titans themselves, this show, detailing the fight for survival of the remaining humans on earth against their gargantuan foes is nothing short of a thrill ride par excellence which has caught the imagination of the otaku on global scale like no other in recent years. One of the biggest selling titles of the year in the UK, it is difficult to argue against the success and impact of this show, giving stale old favourites like Naruto and One Piece a genuine run for their money. A future classic without question!

Read the full review HERE

 

And that concludes the countdown of my Top Ten anime titles released in UK for 2014. As always picking the best of the years was no easy task as many shows were in the running but fell short at the final hurdle. They include Ghost In The Shell: ARISE, Toradora!, Dusk Maiden Of Amnesia, Girls & Panzer, Berserk Movie III, Kokoro Connect, The Devil Is A Part Timer and BTOOOM!

I’m sure you all have your own personal favourites which may or may not have appeared here, or you’d have a different ranking, so rant away if you feel so inclined.

Once again I am thankful to Manga, MVM, All The Anime and other distributors for keeping us UK anime fans supplied with so many great titles in 2014 and look forward to what they have in store for us in 2015.

Thanks for reading and until next time, this is the Man in Black saying Sayonara!

 

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4 thoughts on “MIB’s Top Ten Anime of 2014 (UK)

  1. Nice list, but where is Monogatari? 🙂 I’ll have to chime in with my own top 5 at some point. 2015 should be an interesting year for anime in the UK. There have been some changes at Manga so I wonder how that will impact their release strategy.

    Like

    1. Thanks. You’ll have to wait for my “worst of” list to see Monogatari! 😛

      It will be interesting to see how manga perform in 2015. They’ve already cut back on their blu-ray releases and their new acquisitions list is very small right now,while MVM have quite a few titles announced.

      All The Anime could leapfrog them as far as the big licenses go but they are still under the radar for many anime fans and their multi-volume release policy for series and high prices could work against them.

      Like

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