In looking at a list of anime series from 2014, I did come to the thought there weren’t as many “personal standouts” for me then as in the years just prior. (It was the year I’d bought a budget video streamer to attach to my TV and blur the distinction between “trying out things” and “buying them for real,” too, although I’ve hardly got past “buying affordable releases on assorted thin whims for the sake of free shipping” and then not getting around to them.) However, I did see a title on the list that marked a clear favourite for the year and stands out in the decade itself (although I’m leery of pushing one single thing up to the top of that whole expanse of time).

As for the honourable mentions, Parasyte: The Maxim was interesting for taking a manga I had once thought “showed how manga could go places anime couldn’t” and adapting it without too much watering down, adding a bit of artwork brushup too. Yuki Yuna is a Hero followed in Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s footsteps with “magical girls who only realise the game’s rigged once they’ve signed up,” but managed a somewhat more traditional take on the genre’s camaraderie and was just perhaps a bit better served by its own follow-ups.

At the top of the year, “an anime series about making anime” might seem self-referential enough to feel obvious, or at least betray the twisting inward that can infect “fan-targeted entertainment” around the world. So far as one-off episodes on the subject go, the first Sailor Moon anime had one years ago and Paranoia Agent did throw one in that might well appeal to those with dark takes on the industry. The fundamental cheerfulness and triumphs over adversity of Shirobako, though, soon won me over and kept up my interest even if I counted to some extent on the explanations and clarifications of many references from other enthusiastic members of the audience. I found the time to watch the series over again, and just managing that might help prove how much it impressed me. That a continuation at last, even as a theatrical film, is approaching has got my attention even if I’m wondering when I’ll have my own chance to see it, if perhaps more that for the moment than what sort of reactions towards it I’ll be stuck with.