Just a college student with too much time on his hands. I have a deep love of anime, film, and loud abrasive music; namely punk rock and metal.

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    A bit taken aback that Birdman is not on your list. Personally, it was my favorite movie of the year. Cinematically it was an impressive feat, it is pretty damn hard to tell where the cuts are made in the movie’s near constant continuous tracking shot. Just as importantly, the acting in the movie is spot on near perfect; everyone in the movie is in top form and turning in some of the best performances in their careers. It’s funny, compelling, and one of the most daring movies I’ve seen in years.

    Nice list overall. Gone Girl, The Raid 2, Joe, and Edge of Tomorrow were all standouts this year. I have yet to see We Are The Best, Ida, and Palo Alto, I’ll definitely have to seek those ones out.

    The 10 Best Movies of 2014

    Interesting article. I can’t claim to have put much thought into these aspects of the world of Shingeki no Kyoujin as I was watching it, but they definitely provide some nice food for thought. One thing I have to say is that the religious aspect really wasn’t all that present in the anime; I haven’t read the manga so I don’t know if it is any more prevalent there. As soon as the Wall Cult was brought up, however, I found myself wanting to know more about it. Religion is touched on too lightly in the anime to actually consider it a substantial critique, though.

    Attack on Titan: Fan Reception of Religion and Race

    Interesting article. Personally, I think style and story are of almost equal importance, as the story is being told through the medium of film. That said, it is important that the film’s style reflects the story it is telling, as well. The Coen brothers are among my favorite directors because their style always seems to add extra meaning to the story; bringing for themes and ideas that aren’t explicitly in the text itself.

    Story or Style: Which Should Directors Concentrate On?

    Honestly, I highly enjoyed this series and it is probably one of my favorite anime of 2014. It kept me invested from beginning to end with its interesting riddles and mysterious characters. Lisa is probably my favorite character in the show, her lack of understanding the situation and her rather misfortunate personal life make her the heart of the show in my eyes; much the same way Saki is the heart of Eden of the East. She gives us someone to relate to as the story’s mysteries unfold. I also like how Watanabe makes the audience infer the backstories and motivations of the characters rather than having them explicitly stated in a monologue (for the most part at least). Overall, I think it is a pretty damn good show, albeit certainly not a flawless one.

    Terror in Resonance (2014) Review: A Melody that Ends with a Poignant Crescendo

    Interesting using OreImo as an example of romance done properly. I enjoyed the first season, but I have not finished the second season yet. Honestly, the show I have plenty of bones to pick with the show, its humor sometimes falls out of parody and feels like it is embracing the tropes it is poking fun at. I’m also not fond of the idea of having a harem in which the protagonists picks his sister, it feels too fetishistic for me. That said, it handles better than most shows of its kind.

    My favorite romantic comedy anime is Toradora, for many of the reasons you mentioned in describing OreImo. Taiga starts of as an archetypical tsundere, but develops into something more as the show progresses. Her bad attitude becomes more understandable through her bad family situation, and her hopeless crush makes her makes her a kindred spirit with leading man Ryuuji. What makes the show great is how the romance between the Taiga and Ryuuji blooms from a mutual agreement to help each other get with their respective best friends; all the while slowly developing feelings for each other without even realizing it at first. On top of that, it does its love triangles correctly. Taiga and her best friend Minori are vaguely aware that the other has feelings for Ryuuji, and so are hesitant to act on their feelings. Ami has feelings for Ryuuji, but is painfully aware of the romantic situation in the group, and regrettably ruined her chances with Ryuuji early on. Still she tries to help everyone else sort out their feelings in her own way. The show is a great example of using romantic feelings in order to have the characters mature.

    Anime: The World of Fake Romance

    Well, as Dupont said, it’s a matter of personal taste. Though I do like most of the shows you mentioned.

    Haibane Renmei, which has some of the same team behind Serial Experiments Lain, is one of my all-time favorites along with Lain. Between the two, it is the more easily accessible and understandable, but Lain was never trying to be wholly coherent and made an art form of confusing its audience. An interesting review I read said that Haibane Renmei speaks to the spirit, while Serial Experiments speaks to the mind.

    Serial Experiments Lain in the Modern Age of Social Media and the Internet

    The show is an entertaining train wreck. It doesn’t slow down ever, which makes it both fun and frustrating to watch as the show takes some ridiculous turns in its attempt to keep the viewership engaged. Tonally, it never really hits the right balance of gratuitous violence and hijinks comedy, so it can be incredibly jarring sometimes. The characters are entertainingly over-the-top insane, but it really stretches their believability as people so I could never get emotionally invested in them. Also, while her psychotic shtick was entertaining at first, Yuno is one of my least favorite characters in any anime. She’s a completely deplorable human being, and the fact that the show ultimately tries to paint her as a sympathetic heroine simply disgusts me. She’s the amalgamation of archetypical extremes, pushing the yandere archetype to the point that she is no longer relatable or endearing.

    Mirai Nikki (2011) Review: A Twisted Bloodbath of a Love Story

    Yeah, the show really needs a second season to work, otherwise it just feels like the story dropped off the face of the Earth. If I’m correct, this is Shuhei Morita’s first time being the main director of a TV series, and it is probably my least favorite of his works. It’s not bad and it definitely has some really good moments, but it is underwhelming as a whole.

    I actually do like the final episode, though specifically for Morita’s visual direction. The mental conversation between Kaneki and Rize was captivating, particularly with the visual of white flowers being stained by blood and transforming.

    In the end, it is by no means a bad show, but it is hardly a great one either.

    Tokyo Ghoul (2014) Review: In Desperate Need of a Sequel