This might be the best year in anime ever, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have been better. SAO II could have been better by announcing a season 3, Alicization, at the end of this season. That it didn't go ahead and assure fans that season 3 would be coming in due time is disturbing. Are we going to have to wait another two years? Or like Haruhi are we just going to be left out in the cold forever despite the great sales figures for the BD's that make it a slam-dunk profit to continue animating this show? I don't think SAO can maintain its position as the #3 anime of all time when there's no promise that the show will even continue anymore. Much longer lasting shows, like Fairy Tail and Pretty Cure, have too high an inherent advantage in a case like this. I at least know they're going to continue delivering as far as the eye can see.
To Love ru Darkness is getting a second season of anime. This is great news for a well deserving show. The problem is the manga still hasn't resolved any of the love triangles which is the crux of what makes the story so interesting. Who will Rito choose, if anyone? How many will he choose, if more than one? Who really loves him most, and will be most hurt if he doesn't turn her way? Whose feelings can be gently let down with no harm done and thus their wishes ignored because they never cared that much in the first place?
To Love ru has a great artist and a great writer when it comes to contriving up ecchi scenarios. Maybe the best ever. I realize that this story sells based on its premier ecchi talent. But the story is what keeps us coming back and keeps us caring about the characters, and the story just isn't making any progress anymore. I'd like to see the manga combine that great ecchi talent with plot driven progression that seriously gets us marching towards the ending of all these unresolved romances. For God's sake at least let Rito confess to Haruna so the ball can start rolling. For now I'll bump the series up to 105 as a congratulations for its new season. If it wants to join the ranks of the truly elite shows, though, it's going to have to reach a constructive ending, not just string us along forever like an ecchi version of Nisekoi.
Amagi Brilliant Park is somewhat filler-y from the very beginning. But that really took the cake when Latifah magically shrugged off her curse and just healed herself, no problem, it just went away on its own and now all my woes are cured ending. In reality, she does lose her memories, and this is just the start of Kanie's struggles to save his damnsel in distress princess. The anime had no right to intervene and create its own ending. If you don't want to animate the whole light novel series, then just leave the ending hanging and don't touch it anymore. This is atrocious.
Fansubbers are falling short as well. We've got an entire season's worth of good anime just plain not translated, and more is incoming. Little Busters EX episodes 7 and 8, Prince of Tennis vs. Genius 10 eps 1 and 2, Yama no Susume S2 ova 1, Yuru Yuri Nachuyachumi, Ao Haru Ride ova, Strike Witches operation victory arrow, a Tari Tari special, three episodes of Dragon Ball Kai, three episodes of Miyuki, Hayate no Gotoku ova-c, and more Prince of Tennis come Christmas Day. Eighteen episodes of untranslated anime in all. This should all count towards how great the 2014 year in anime was, but we won't get to see any of it in 2014 so what's the use? These are not obscure series either. These are the most famous and popular shows around. Strike Witches, Dragon Ball, Little Busters, Prince of Tennis, Hayate no Gotoku? Come on! There are rave followings for all these shows! I cannot fathom why so many good series are being neglected simultaneously. The only ova that's been translated recently has been Ika Musume's. . .what kind of prioritization is that?
Two series that fell short in my estimates are Gakuen Alice and Akira. If I can't even read the manga because I find it too distasteful/boring, there's no reason for the shows to be in my best anime rankings. Even taking into account the gorgeous looks of Akira and the great voice acting of Gakuen Alice, in the end everything hinges on the quality of the storytelling. Without a good story it is impossible for an anime to be good. That's the #1 requirement of all good art, whether in light novel, manga, visual novel or anime form. As a result, I've contented myself with dropping back down to a top 170 anime rankings for now. When I feel like growing towards that vaunted 180 mark, I can always do so later, but right now I'm just introducing too many series for watching that I can't genuinely give full endorsements and support to, which goes against the whole point of having a list of 'must-see anime' for others to take advantage of.