We have revealed our Games of the Year, but the celebrations continue! This week, we bring you some of our non-gaming favourites of 2014. To close things off, our social coordinator and handler of the hashtags Jamie Galea brings you his favourite things of the past year.
While 2014 wasn’t the greatest year for video games, it was a much stronger year elsewhere. I made a personal commitment to read more, watch more, listen to more, and I feel it paid off pretty well. I got to check out some comics, anime and manga that I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and I tried out some interesting new TV shows. Heck, I even attempted to watch 50 movies I hadn’t seen before, though managed to only get through 31.
Out of all the media I consumed in 2014, the following three were my favourites. They’re in no particular order, because they’re all pretty damned great.
I made a concentrated effort to watch more anime in 2014. While I attempted numerous series, I only finished five, including the second season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, which focused on the first half of the third part of the story: Stardust Crusaders. Without a doubt, it was the best anime I’d seen all year.
What made it work for me is how…refreshing it felt. It didn’t try to be overly dramatic, nor did it blatantly pitch merch to otaku (which is this weird, underlying feeling I have every time I watch any recent anime). It was purely eccentric dudes with spiritual powers fighting other eccentric dudes with spiritual powers, and felt like a fantastic throwback to the 80’s/90’s era of anime. The western music and horror references made it even better!
This was the moment when Jojo’s became my favourite anime of 2014. To give some context, the person who’s getting the tar beaten out of him was being a colossal dick to the Crusaders, and to the main character in particular. At the conclusion of the two-parter, those 30 seconds of that character getting the crap beaten out of him was unbelievably satisfying.
Oh, and those four other shows? Kill la Kill, Attack on Titan, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop.
One of the podcasts I recommend to people is This American Life; despite the massive geographical difference, it tells some of the best stories you’ll ever hear. When some of its staff spun-off and created Serial, they made one of the most harrowing podcasts ever.
In case you missed it, Serial focused around a single story: The murder of teenager Hae Min Lee, which took place in Baltimore in 1999. On the face of it it’s straightforward, but it really wasn’t, and this made it one of the most compelling stories you’ll listen to all year.
And really, isn’t that what good radio is? Serial told a rich story that you wouldn’t expect. It was like a good book that you can’t put down.
Remember when we thought Disney would completely ruin Marvel? We were all proven wrong. 2014 was easily one of the strongest years Marvel has had in years.
From its film output, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy were not only two of the best Marvel movies in way too long, but two of the better movies I saw in 2014. They both worked because they were incredibly strong genre films that didn’t fall into the standard superhero movie mold. The Winter Soldier was a riveting spy movie with some amazing action set pieces and good character moments. Guardians of the Galaxy, meanwhile, was one of the most joyful sci-fi movies I’d seen in ages; it didn’t ask any deep questions or ponder anything about our existence, it was just a fun ride in space.
Aside from its films, Marvel’s comics were also on point. While I’m still making my way through the first trade of Warren Ellis’ Moon Knight, the current run of Ms Marvel has to be commended for being one of the most fun comics I’ve read in years. Who’d have thought turning that character into a fourteen year old Pakistani American, who has to deal with her Muslim upbringing, would make for compelling reading?
2014 was also the year that Marvel’s TV work kicked up a notch. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., one of the most disappointing shows of 2013, became significantly better in 2014. It was also the year Marvel announced a slew of TV projects that’ll pay off in 2015, with the eight-part ‘event’ series Agent Carter (which kicks off this week!), and four Netflix original shows focusing on some of the more under-represented Marvel characters, kicking off with a Daredevil series.
With a strong 2014 behind them, 2015 is going to be a hell of a year for Marvel. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned Avengers: Age of Ultron…
We hope you enjoyed our Game of the Year and GOTY Bonus Round coverage! Thanks to all our contributors for posting their highlights of 2014. Here’s to a 2015 filled with favourites!