Like with the end of every year, many people on AniTAY have decided, and will decide, to go ahead and make a "Top Ten/Five Anime" list. On many of these list there are clear front runners that overlap between lists. An example of a few of these shows are Kill La Kill, No Game No Life, and Space Dandy, you've probably heard of them all and you're going to hear more about them in the future. On the contrary, the following top ten list breaks away from those popular shows and presents the gems hidden beneath them.

To explain this setup a bit further, the following top ten list is comprised of thirteen shows that: A. Have at most 20% of the viewership of Kill la Kill (statistics are from MAL).
B. Were deemed as "a good show" by the AniTAY conglomerate.
C. Aired at some point in 2014.

Here we go.


10: Yuki Yuna wa Yuusha de Aru
(Yuki Yuna is a Hero)

Written by DeadlyFatalis

Who Watched it: This show only has 7% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Slice of Life.

What is it?: Yuki Yuna wa Yuusha de Aru was the very last show to air in the Fall 2014. Subsequently, a lot of people didn't pick up this anime, as they likely had already settled in on the shows they wanted to watch. For the most part at first glance, Yuki Yuna doesn't seem to do anything special. But for the genre savvy, despite it looking like a very typical magical girl show, it gives off the feeling that there's something more at play. The show constantly teases at this, but never acts upon it as if it's consciously aware of what it's doing. It continually brings up this sense of tension where you think "This time, it's gonna happen!" and then it doesn't, until it does. It's hard to describe without going into spoilers, but Yuki Yuna is an interesting take on the magical girl genre that I think almost anyone could enjoy.

Available in NA Here.


9: Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii
(The World is Still Beautiful)

Written by Dakimstar

Who Watched it: This show only has 20% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo.

What is it?: The World is Still Beautiful presents a story of a princess that does not follow the typical Damsel in Distress cliché. Nike is a hot-blooded princess that provides a gleaming light to an otherwise gloomy universe surrounding her husband-to-be, Livius. The anime traverses through the trials that Nike overcomes, whether it be the love of Livius, the people in the background that oppose the marriage, or the dark past that Livius has experienced. The animation is consistent and while light-hearted comedies are executed here and there, the anime's shining point is the optimism Nike holds and the change of Character Livius displays after meeting her.

Available in NA Here.


8: Baby Steps

Written by Raitzeno

Who Watched it: This show only has 10% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Romance, Shounen, Sports.

What is it?: Maruo Eiichiro, known as "All-A" for his grades and honors-student personality, has a habit of making meticulous notes on everything in class. But when Takasaki Natsu, an energetic beauty from another class, asks to borrow his notes, she ends up dragging him into the world of tennis! Baby Steps does a really good job of making tennis exciting even for people that don't care about sports. It's a character-driven, slightly romantic, and well-written spin on the "talentless person enters the fray" sort of story. It also goes in-depth on the realities of tennis, such as tournament structure, Japanese pro rankings, and the numerous support staff an athlete needs, all without being boring or pedantic. It's really exciting, and the main character's growth is steady and strong throughout, making it a good watch either weekly or binged.

Available in NA Here.


7: Sabagebu

Written by Dakimstar

Who Watched it: This show only has 14% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Action, Comedy, Shoujo, Military.

What is it?: Sabagebu is a comedy anime about girls in the Survival Club. That really doesn't tell the whole story, as the survival activities in the Club are treated more as an afterthought. Instead, the focus of each members antics, especially Momoka, our narcisstic heroine, are the core of this show's hilarity. If you enjoy off the rails, antagonistic protagonists and exciting Slice of Life, not unlike South Park, then this show might endear to you.

Available in NA Here.


6: Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta
(The Pilot's Love Song)

Written by SeanStan

Who Watched it: This show only has 15% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Romance.

What is it?: At first, The Pilot's love song appears to be your average love story in a specific setting, but the viewer is graced with much more than that. As the show evolves, the story grows in complexity and is delivered with a hard hitting force. Discovering hidden pasts, misleading adventure, dissipating happiness, and maybe even death, anything could happen for the sake of a strong story in this emotional epic.

Available in NA Here.


5: Selector Infected WIXOSS
& Selector Spread WIXOSS

Written by SeanStan

Who Watched it: This series only has 18% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Game, Psychological.

What is it?: WIXOSS is series that has fallen victim to "judging a book by its cover". The apparent focus of the show is girls playing a card game, which is not a very enticing idea to the average anime fan. However, the show's actual focus couldn't be further from this. The true purpose of this anime is to tell a story of despair as the girls are thrown onto a roller coaster of sadness and emotional suffocation. The card game is no more than a medium for the show to express its dark and mind-twisting plot points. As a side note, the psychological pitfall ramps up and takes form in the middle of the first season, so do not drop the series before then.

Available in NA Here.


4: HaNaYaMaTa

Written by SeanStan

Who Watched it: This show only has 14% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Seinen (yes really, it's directed towards males older than 17), Slice of Life.

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What is it?: "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things" is a standard generalization for many moé/cutesy shows with all female casts. Although Hanayamata falls into this category, the show is on a whole new level compared to most. Two girls, one as normal as can be and the other full of enthusiasm, create a yosakoi team and plan to compete on stage. Before that, they need to recruit a few more members. It may seem like a standard synopsis at first but as the story progresses, the viewer is pounded by never ending passion, top-of-the-line character development, and a desire to cheer for these girls. Even if this doesn't sound like your kind of anime, I'll have you know that this "cute story for teenaged girls" is a seinen show and has been know to make grown males who like action shows lose their man card.

Available in NA Here.


3: GARO The Animation

Written by Thatsmapizza

Who Watched it: This show only has 10% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Action, Demons, Adventure.

What is it?: Garo is a action fantasy show that focuses on the conflict between the remnants of the makai knights and a former makai alchemist who is hell bent on destroying the entire makai organization no matter the cost. The world of Garo is infested with lovecraftian demons called horrors, which can posses and actively feed on humans. It's the makai organization's duty to combat these horrors so that humans can lead safe lives, but this comes to an end when Mendoza, a former makai alchemist, uses the power of Valiante Kingdom to annihilate the makai organization and let horror run wild through the land. Now it's up to Leon, a boy who has inherited the armor of the strongest makai knight, German, Leon's father, and Alfonso, the prince of Valiante who has been driven out of his home by Mendoza, to defeat Mendoza and bring peace back to the land in beautifully animated action and well constructed character arcs.

Available in NA Here.


2: Tonari no Seki-kun

Written by SeanStan

Who Watched it: This show only has 19% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Comedy, School, Seinen.

What is it?: Flying erasers! Action figures! Board games! There is nothing that Seki-kun doesn't fool around with during class time. Yokoi Rumi, our second protagonist is a good student at heart, but when Seki starts his antics, she can't help but to be distracted. She always tries to calm him down, but in the end she makes up commentary in her head describing the story behind whatever Seki is doing. The show in total is a short form anime that recollects all the instances in which these two characters interact with each other.

Available in NA Here.


1: Ping Pong The Animation

Written by SeanStan

Who Watched it: This show only has 14% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Sports, Seinen, Psychological.

What is it?: When you think of your average sports anime, you think of hot-blooded shounen protagonists and their apparent super powers. Ping Pong is nothing like that. The show delves into the psychological aspects of playing sports. Question such as, "Why should I compete? I'm good, but I'd just be humouring the people that expect results from me, I don't care for anything else," "If I'm meant to be a prodigy, why are there other people that are better than me," "If I'm in place to with this game, why does my opponent still try their hardest to win," "Do I even like playing this sport anymore," are all asked and answered. The story centralizes around four competitors with four distinct backgrounds competing to become the best Ping Pong athlete. Although they compete for the same title, they have four different theories behind the game and why it is played. Also, don't be a bumbaclot and dismiss this show because of its art style. The art style and the way the visuals are sequenced only add to the tension and amplify the storytelling.

Available in NA Here.


Extra: Nobunagun

Written by Raitzeno

Who Watched it: This show only has 13% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Action, Shounen, Supernatural.

What is it?: Nobunagun is an action show heavy on comedy, focusing on a group of young men and women who have inherited the legacies of historical figures in the form of powered armor in order to fight aliens. The main character, Ogura Shio, manifests Oda Nobunaga as a sniper rifle, for example, while also receiving his eye for tactics. She happens to be a military otaku too, so there's a lot of comedic effect when she gets recruited by an actual military organization. Romcom elements also pop up, however unwillingly, between quite a few members of the unit. It's a surprisingly solid action show, despite mangling historical accuracy in the name of Rule Of Cool, and it's sidesplittingly funny in the downtime between fights.

Available in NA on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


Extra: Inari Kon Kon

Written by Rockmandash12

Who Watched it: This show only has 17% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Supernatural, Seinen.

What is it?: Inari Konkon follows Inari Fushimi, a clutzy, shy girl who just happens to have a crush on Kouji Tanababashi. She manages to embarrass herself in front of her crush and flees from the scene to a local shrine where she saves a fox pup named Kon from falling into the river. Due to this, the guardian deity of the shrine, Uka reveals herself to Inari and grants her a wish. Inari, being the clumsy middle school girl she is, wishes to be the girl that her crush likes… but soon realizes that this isn't what she wants and asks to turn back to her original self. Things don't go exactly as planned, and Uka has to give some of her powers to turn Inari back to her original form. What follows is a story of change and growing up, a story of facing the consequences for your actions.

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Inari Konkon is a great show because it's engaging, the pacing is perfect, and the character's change is wonderful. The interactions they have with each other, the relationships that change and growth of each character as they react to the situation is done very well, and because of it, there is no part of the story that us dull. It's also hilarious and adorable to boot.

Available in NA Here.


Extra: Gundam Build Fighters
& Gundam Build Fighters Try

Written by Dakimstar

Who Watched it: This show only has 7% of the viewership of Kill la Kill.

Genres: Mecha, Action.

What is it?: Gundam Build Fighters is a love letter to all the Gundam fans through its inception. Old die-hard fans will recognize shout-outs to their favourite series, ranging from a Mobile Suit cameo from the AU to a famous quote recited by the main protagonists. For the newcomers, it is a great action series that the audience can enjoy, providing aspects from a lighthearted shounen storyline with respectable character development to a soundtrack that compliments the animated scenes exceptionally.

Available on Youtube by the producers.


Contributors in Alphabetical Order:

This article was a collaboration by several people of the Ani-TAY community on Talk Amongst Yourselves. You can join the fun on our Sunday Cafes or by posting your own articles on Kinja with the Ani-TAY tag.