The end of the Fall 2014 season, and the year, is upon us. And since many of my simulcasts have wrapped up, it’s time to once again share some of this season’s great moments. The following 12 moments are comprised of roughly 20 anime series I have watched, which don’t even make up half of what aired!
This season, I am doing things a little differently by including a theme for the season. Fall 2014’s theme is Stars and Flowers, courtesy of this season’s Yuki Yuna is a Hero. The moments shown here, in my opinion, reflect this theme.
These are the great moments (but not necessarily the greatest moments) of Fall 2014 anime. You can find all of these titles on Crunchyroll.
Click to read the Funny Moments of 2014 Anime.
As always, there will be SPOILERS. Enjoy!
12. “I Can Finally Give Up” (Denkigai no Honya-san, ep. 10)
Tsumorin used to be Kantoku’s favorite girl before she left Uma no Hone. So when she finds that Hio-tan is in love with him, Tsumorin wants to do everything in her power to help her out. Over time, however, Tsumorin realizes that there was nothing she could do to change their relationship. Hio-tan and Kantoku are doing fine without her.
This is one of the most unsettling moments of this series, because it was the closing of an episode. And for a comedy series like Denkigai no Honya-san, audiences felt more for a supporting character than anyone else from the ensemble cast, albeit Tsumorin became a regular after she was introduced. But aside from that, Tsumorin can finally give up on Kantoku. A bittersweet ending to this spinster’s love life. Maybe someday, she will find someone for her; but for now, one can only wish.
11. Real Boyfriend (Wolf Girl and Black Prince, ep. 8)
Kyoya is officially going out with Erika, but the playboy Nozomi Kamiya doesn’t seem to understand why he is. Kamiya is convinced that Kyoya is more like him, so Kamiya tries to coerce him into revealing what makes Erika so special. Kyoya doesn’t say much, as he is clearly annoyed by this guy, but Kamiya is persistent. When Kamiya whispers in Kyoya’s ear “She’s great in bed, huh?” Kyoya raises him from his collar and stares at him threateningly, forcefully telling him that’s enough!
You may think all of your girls are just more people to have fun with, Kamiya, but Kyoya’s relationship with Erika is real. And while Kyoya has a funny way of showing that he does care about her, he certainly does after all. A real boyfriend would never let a guy, even a friend, tell him otherwise.
10. Guiding Bells (Yona of the Dawn, ep. 12)
Shin-ah was ostracized for his Blue Dragon eyes, with only his mentor, the former Blue Dragon Ao to look after him. Many times over, Ao tells Shin-ah that the world will never accept him because of those cursed eyes. But when Ao finally reaches a peak in his life and goes blind, he is madly joyous that he is finally human.
Unsure how to help his mentor in this state, Shin-ah picks up bells and wears them on his mask. Ao doesn’t seem to know how Shin-ah got a hold of these bells, but is happy to know that with these guiding bells, he will always be able to find the boy. At this point, it was up to the pupil to take care of the master; and Shin-ah faithfully did so for Ao until Ao’s death soon after.
Despite the curse placed upon him, Shin-ah is still kind at heart. Perhaps he will find others that will treat him with that same kindness.
9. Akira (Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road, ep. 3)
Kyoto Fushimi’s Midousuji is often considered the villain of this series. He manipulates his team, he deceives his rivals, and rides in the most impractical ways just to get ahead. So when there is an episode revolving around his back story, it may surprise a person that one may actually feel for him!
The boy known simply as Akira loved his mother, but that mother was bed-ridden for most of his childhood life. To cope with this, Akira spent his days riding his bicycle, dreaming of being an athlete, despite his classmates always picking on him for being less fit. As the boy continued to grow, he won many bike races, pleasing his mother, until the day she died. Whenever Akira Midousuji told Shunsuke Imaizumi that he was weak to let his mother’s death get to him, Akira was really talking about himself.
Midousuji continues to be the primary antagonist of Yowamushi Pedal; but for a brief moment, we were able to get inside his head, to see what motivates him to continue to ride. If you can drastically change my opinion about this guy, even for a second, that’s got to be something. And instead of cheering for Juichi or Shingo when the second race was over, I was crying for Akira.
8. Rise Once More (Log Horizon 2, ep. 10)
When it comes to works written by Mamare Touno, one should expect an inspiring speech somewhere in the narrative. And when Shiroe’s raid team fails yet again, the words delivered by Silver Sword’s guild master, William Massachusetts, is no exception.
Before Elder Tale’s apocalypse became a reality, William had been a lost cause. There wasn’t anything he was worthy of doing, other than to play video games. His only friends were those he found in online games like Elder Tale. For him, the game was more than just an escape from reality, but a place where he can be the one everyone can count on. The game’s community made him feel worthwhile, like he could accomplish anything; and nothing could ever stop him. So even if a game such as Elder Tale were to become infinitely harder to beat, he would never give up on winning. After all, this was the only thing he had left.
A lot of what William Massachusetts laid out resonates with how I felt back when I used to play lots of video games. If the world is going to be bleak and cast aside the incompetent, there is a place that so many gamers have found to seek refuge. The words that William says are hardly positive, but inspiring, if only because he has shown in such prose just what it means to be human, despite feeling so removed from humanity as a whole. And with inspiring words that ring true for so many who have been locked away inside Elder Tale’s apocalypse, it was time to try again, and rise once more.
7. The Weight of Tokyo Prefecture (Ace of the Diamond, ep. 63)
After a long, hard battle in the Tokyo Prefecture finals, Seido had lost after an RBI by Inashiro’s ace, Mei Narumiya. The episode, needless to say, was quite emotional. But what got me was the moment when the junior managers of Seido came to see the champions.
These four girls made a thousand-crane ornament for when their boys would bring home victory, hoping to send them off to the Nationals with their deepest wishes and love. But since that was no longer the case, they decided to hand it off to Inashiro’s team instead.
It takes a lot of willpower to accept defeat, especially after a team like Seido’s worked so hard. But for me, it takes even more to look your opponents in the eyes and congratulate them for their victory. And as the juniors hand over the ornament made with love, Inashiro Vocational had carried the weight of over 120 schools that competed in the Tokyo Prefecture qualifiers, as they make their way into the Nationals.
6. An Irreplaceable Treasure (Mysterious Joker, ep. 9)
Queen wants to take revenge on the phantom thieves, so she actively goes against them by destroying their treasures before they can get a chance of stealing them! The reason she’s so bent on doing this is because she was led to believe that her grandfather and phantom thief mentor, Silver Heart, had killed her parents. When Joker tells her the truth about that night, however, Queen realizes that Silver Heart had taken her because he had witnessed her parents’ tragic deaths, and could not possibly leave the baby he had found behind.
What Silver Heart had stolen that night was more valuable than any treasure he could possibly find. A precious little girl with eyes like diamonds is priceless by comparison. When Silver Heart sees Queen upon rescuing her and Joker from falling, Silver Heart admits that he had deceived her; and that her real name is Queen Emerald. The girl shakes her head at her grandfather and proclaims: “No. I am Diamond Queen.”
Life is an irreplaceable treasure. Family is an eternal treasure. And real treasure is that which you take with your own hands.
5. The Right Person for the Job (Shirobako, ep. 12)
The deadline for the final episode of Exodus is fast approaching, but there is at least one problem: how was Musashino Animation going to make the cuts with the horses? Aoi Miyamori searches high and low for an animator who can do this job, but ultimately finds out that the one she was looking for was at Musani all along: the key animation old-timer, Shigeru Sugie! Not only does she find out about his “legendary three days” where he miraculously drew an entire scene in such a short amount of time, but Aoi also finds out that Sugie was the lead animator for her favorite anime of all time: Andes Chucky! When Sugie is asked to work as the lead animator for the final episode, he gladly obliges, and inspires all the younger animators along the way.
Shigeru Sugie was considered deadweight at Musashino Animation because his art style is hardly “with the times.” However, when it comes to making animals (especially running horses), he is one of the few who remembers how to draw them. When you’re looking for the right person for the job, you may often want to start with the very best; but most of the time, the right person for the task at hand is one you can get along with most. Sugie may not be an important animator within Musani, but in the most crucial of moments in production, he was their savior.
4. Life Without Regret (Yuki Yuna is a Hero, ep. 9)
When Hero Club President Fuu discovers the truth about the Taisha, she goes on a rampage to stop the gods. Despite having protected them from the Vertex threat, the Taisha never told them that using Mankai (full bloom) would have drastic side effects from Sange (wilting flower); and their lives as heroes would remain eternal, despite their fate that they would eventually lose everything about their very being. This becomes a personal matter for Fuu especially, because her sister Itsuki wanted to start a career in singing, only to have lost her voice.
A lot of the most heart-wrenching moments from this series came from this episode alone, from Fuu’s raging battle with Karin, to Mimori’s attempt at seppuku. But there were also moments like when Yuna proclaimed that she would choose to be a hero, regardless of whether or not she knew about the side effects. But for me, the moment with the most impact was Itsuki’s own resolve about joining the Hero Club.
Itsuki is glad that her sister created the Hero Club and allowed her to join. They always had fun, and she got a chance to do things she never thought she could. Without the Hero Club, Itsuki would never have discovered that she would love singing so much. She would never want to trade her experience with the Hero Club for anything else! Even if it was uncertain of whether or not they would get better, Itsuki reminds us that we must live our lives without regret. Even if something like losing her voice could forever change her future, Itsuki would never take back those moments that make her who she is today.
3. The One Who Matters Most (Your Lie in April, ep. 10)
After Kousei blows his chance of moving on to the next round in the piano recital competition, he decides to at least play the piece one more time. In his mind, he forgets about trying to play the piece perfectly, with deepest gratitude for Kaori: the girl who inspired him to be himself and play his own way. When he finishes the piece, he is given a delayed applause from the audience, for he was disqualified. But for Kousei, only one person matters most to him when he played. Will it reach her?
Throughout this scene, we believe that the person he’s talking about is Kaori, the girl that inspired him to play again. But it wasn’t until he looks out into the dark, greyed-out crowd where we catch a glimpse of the one he’s really talking about: his mother. And when he gazes upon the spirit of his mother who has always been extremely harsh on him to play things the right way, the ghost returns a warm smile to her son.
This is the moment Kousei has been waiting for his whole life. And even though his mother is long gone, a proverbial acceptance from her ghost is enough for him to stand tall, walk with his head up, and bring color to his world.
2. Make Unforgettable Memories (Encouragement of Climb 2, ep. 23)
Aoi and her friends make their way up to Mt. Tanigawa’s peak, the mountain of Aoi’s and Hinata’s memories. But as their goal comes closer in their grasp, they wonder to themselves what’s to become of them afterward? But despite the rain they had the night before, Aoi and Hinata could experience the sunrise over the first peak, just as they did years ago. And now, as they continued on to Mt. Tanigawa’s higher peak, Aoi and Hinata are joined by their newest friends: Kokona, Honoka, and Kaede.
Sometimes we get too caught up in trying to figure out what’s next. But so long as we, like Aoi and Hinata, can move forward, things will turn out fine. And so long as Aoi is with her friends, she can make all sorts of unforgettable memories.
1. Plenty More Memories to Come (Celestial Method, ep. 13)
Having lost Noel with only fragments of her memory left behind, Nonoka and her friends Shione, Souta, Yuzuki, and Koharu want to find a way to bring Noel back. Having wished upon the Saucer once again, just as they did seven years ago, each of them are led to the sunflower field below the observatory with only a voice and a memory to go by. When Nonoka finds her way through the field, she meets with all of her friends once more. And with a hat in hand, the sunflowers dancing, and blue hair swept in the wind, the five of them have completed their memories in gazing upon the one they were looking for.
Celestial Method is my choice for 2014’s Anime of the Year; and while the ending is left in the open, I couldn’t help but smile. Noel has returned; it matters not whether she stays or goes back. It was better to have had those memories that are shared with Noel, whether they were good or bad, than to have not had those memories at all. Each of these friends had plenty to grieve about while Noel was around, but that would never be any worse than having never met her in the first place.
With the blessings from the stars and flowers, the memories of Noel became complete; and there are still plenty more memories to come.
So thank you for all the memories for this season. And have a happy new year in the days ahead!