Top ten animation, 2014

Dan and the crew talking about anime on the podcasts this year and making my top ten 2014 list inspired me to try and compile a list of my favorite cartoons of 2014. Rather than focus on anime, this list will cover any animation I've seen this year, regardless of country of origin.

1. Mushishi season 2

A collection of short stories revolving around Mushi, which are a bit hard to describe. They are a part of nature, but don't follow the rules of nature. Not sprits or ghosts or gods, but share many of their qualities. Often they resemble little more than invisible bacteria that only certain people can see. Ginko, a man who specializes in Mushi (a Mushishi), is the general protagonist. The stories take place in a fictional feudal japan (exclusively in the countryside) and have an unusual quality of being quiet, often quite grim, and conveying a sense of the beauty and cruelty of nature.

2. Adventure time season 5 and 6

The popular American cartoon Adventure Time continues to get better with age, the plots only getting weirder and more esoteric as time goes on. Some of my favorites this year include "Everything's Jake" where Jake travels into himself, sees his insides are populated by a world made of his own flesh, and worries about if leaving will cause them all to stop existing, "Is that you" where their friend Prismo saves himself from death by creating time travel caused multi-dimensional duplicates of Finn and Jake, and "Jake the Brick" where Jake turns himself into a brick for some introspection and unwittingly hosts a popular nature documentary.

As more and more of the characters back story is explained I worry the show has to end soon, but I guess all things have to end and its been a hell of a run.

3. Rick And Morty

Incredible show on Adult Swim about a couple in a Doc Brown-Marty McFly relationship except about a billion times more dark, funny, and weird.

4. Space Dandy Season 2

Space Dandy, he's a Dandy Guy, in Space. A celebration of everything strange and wonderful about science fiction and anime. Each episode is stand alone (though there is an plot arc of sorts), and animated in different styles, depending on the director. So its also a showcase for some amazing animators.

5. Brojack Horseman

Animated comedy that takes place in a strange universe populated by anthropomorphic animals and humans. It's a dark comedy about a Horse-man who had a successful comedy in the 1990's (Horsin' Around) attempting to write his autobiography with the help of a ghost writer.

6. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji) Season 2

Anime based on a manga by the same artist/author as "Full Metal Alchemist" about a city boy who burns out on the hyper competitive Japanese school system and applies to an agricultural school. A light hearted slice of life story that avoids most of the cliches anime unfortunately tends to fall into.

7. Ping Pong the animation

Surreal drama about the hyper competitive world of high school Ping Pong, animated in a intense impressionistic style thats almost orgasmic to watch. Fans of the anime Tekkon Kinkreet and Kemonozume might recognize this same style of animation, which emphasizes form and movement more than the exacting realism found in most anime.

8. Kill la Kill

Crazy, over the top anime with an amazing flamboyant style. Probably some of the best animation I saw this year. The plot revolves around heroine Ryuko Matoi and her enormous sword that looks like half a scissor. A lot of physical comedy mixed with action, action, ACTION.

9. Legend of Korra season 4

The ambitious sequel to the popular Avatar series comes to a dignified end, despite problems behind the scenes that led to the series last season only being available online.

10. Steven Universe

Lighthearted adventures of Steven and the Crystal Gems, superheroes of sorts who live in beach city, a quiet seaside town. The episode "Tiger Millionare" where Steven forms wrestling tag team with Garnet completely won me over to the series.

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