Seen all Rating Comment
3x3 Eyes (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) Full of graphic uber-violence, 3 X 3 Eyes varies from typical gorefest occult anime by having characters that are likable and you can actually care about. Probably not for the more squeamish out there (one of the episodes features a girl getting torn apart from the inside by a demon who then proceeds to use her still living body as a hostage/some sort of sick clothing.) 3 X 3 Eyes is interesting and original, and features an occult mythology unlike anything else I've seen (a immortal girl who is the last of a race of cyclops who steal peoples souls to create invincible undead servants). Definately something to look into instead of the typical Vampire or Werewolf crap.
3x3 Eyes Seima Densetsu (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) Despite the arbitrary personality switch that main character Pai goes through in the aftermath of the first series, the second OAV incarnation of 3 X 3 Eyes is every bit as good as the first.
801 T.T.S. Airbats (OAV) Excellent tragically short, Aozora Shojotai (I refuse to acknowledge the boring title that ADV gave it), is not an action show and people looking for fantastic dogfighting action should best go elsewhere. What it is is a fun quirky shonen love comedy with a likeable cast and a main character who should be every male anime fan's hero for having the guts to tell the girls after him that he wants them both and the awesome luck to get away with it. Rock on Takuya Isurugi, your my hero! Expect fan service, but also fun, quirky humor that is a bit out of step with the standard faire.
A-Channel (TV) Very good A cutesy slice of life show, with slightly heavier yuri undertones and extremely high production values, including marvelous lighting, fluid motion, and an insert song in every episode. A Channel fails to break any new ground, but is an excellent example of a moe 4-koma style anime done right.
Accel World (TV) Excellent
(The) Adventures of Kotetsu (OAV) Decent What was it about the 90's that animation companies kept pumping out two-to-eight episode OAVs based on Manga serials that went on for several volumes. Perhaps I'm better off complaining about American companies that picked up the license for a pitance without bothering to bring over the manga to explain everything. Kotetsu has some interesting concepts in it but without vitally missing character & plot explanations that the animators assume the audience knows already, It only amounts to an enjoyable, but short, distraction.
(The) Adventures of Mini-Goddess (TV) Very good (dub), Excellent (sub) Cute, sweet, and short, these little vignettes contain all the charm of the Goddesses from Aa Megami-sama! without the drama. Easily digestible fluff.
Ah! My Goddess: The Movie Excellent (dub & sub) For a Goddess, Belldandy sure ends up getting saved by ordinary boy, Keiichi Morisato alot. That being said, the visual effects of this movie alone are worth the price of admission. Expect the same quality storytelling and characters you will find in any Ah Megami-sama story, but this is one that works the drama angle and leaves little time for comedy.
Ai Yori Aoshi (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) It is official. There is a new perfect anime girl, and it's not Belldandy. Aoi Sakuraba from Ai Yori Aoshi is the supreme yamato nadeshiko of animedom, and we must all fall on our hands and knees in praise of her. Taking the standard shonen love comedy formula and turning it into something altogether more romantic and sweet without giving up the sexually tense situational humor that is the trademark of this genre. The art and music is probably the highest quality of any anime of this type, and all the characters have genuinely realistic and comprehensible personalities. Kaoru Hanabishi, the male lead is neither a pathetic wimp, nor a ravenous pervert, but a genuinely caring individual with far more character development than "I'm just your typical nice guy, who's shy with girls", which has been a cliché in this genre since the genré began. Instead he actually has a dark and twisted background which makes many events painful for him. Acting as yin to his yang is Aoi Sakuraba, sweet, innocent, reserved, attendant, and nurturing, but intelligent and not without the willpower to stand up for what she wants and believes. This is one anime everyone should own, male or female.
Ai Yori Aoshi ~Enishi~ (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Less of a sequel than tying up the loose ends of all the rest of the original cast, Enishi lavishes character development onto these characters in a way that makes us love them and feel for them too. A nice addendum to the original, Ai Yori Aoshi, and made with the same loving attention to a beautiful audio-visual experience.
Akira (movie) Very good (dub & sub) Probably the most famous anime in America not being marketed to children, there is not much that I can say about this anime that hasn't been said already. A bizarrely mutated reinactment of Hiroshima and man's flawed character. Mutated flesh is nasty.
Allison & Lillia (TV) Very good An intriguing industrial period-style fantasy, Allison & Lillia bears many similarities not to other anime but early 20th century adventure novels. Allison is a particularly charming character, with a seemingly boundless amount of energy, confidence, and talent.
Amagami SS (TV) Very good A beautifully animated series of romances, the touching and well crafted stories of the first half easily would have earned a Masterpiece rating. Unfortunately, the final three arcs collapse into a morass of bizarre, disjointed writing and increasingly wierd fetishes.
Amagami SS+ (TV) Very good
Amazing Nuts! (OAV) Good
Animation Runner Kuromi (OAV) Very good A fun lighthearted show about making anime. Probably ridiculously self-referential for Yumeta Co. Lisa Ortiz makes a great Kuromi.
(The) Animatrix (OAV) Bad This piece had the unfortuneate task of attempting to flesh out the universe created in the first Matrix movie. Unfortuneately, in doing so, it revealed the vaguely hidden discrepancies in the setting and actually acted to debunk the mystique of the film. My experience viewing this and the Matrix films has both been worsened by this realisation. That being said, this is by no means any fault of the animators, who put out a sterling effort.
Aria - The Natural (TV) Very good The sequel to Aria the Animation, the second season of pushing boats around a Martian Venice retains all the charm of the first, albeit a little more trippy on the second trip around thanks to a whole lot of Cait Sith.
Aria the Animation (TV) Very good A softly soothing anime which doesn't go anywhere, it's carefully cultivated atmosphere of calming imagery and languid pace intended to provide a purely relaxing experience. Truly a beautiful and gentle work.
Aria the Scarlet Ammo (TV) Excellent Filled to the brim with blazing action, adorable moe girls, and wild over-the-top character antics, Hidan no Aria is tongue-in-cheek clever and pulse-poundingly energizing. Wild gun-fu combat and bullet-proof everything a la Riding Bean are rendered with astounding flair and detail, proving that J.C. Staff is a top-tier animation studio capable of far more than the moe-blobs they're known for. Unfortunately, the Aria TV series likewise suffers from what has become the hallmark shortcoming of the J.C. Staff light novel adaptation - with only thirteen episodes to work with, large portions of the plot are glazed over in the blink of an eye, so animators can concentrate only on drawing "the fun parts", or action and moe sequences. This base assumption that everyone who's interested in the anime has already read the light novel, so there's no point in actually telling the story prevents Hidan no Aria from attaining true greatness as a standalone work. Perhaps J.C. Staff should take the time to lay the groundwork for a proper story so that enough interest could be maintained for a full twenty-six episodes.
Azumanga Daioh (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Well, ADV films, in their incessant efforts to dumb down anime into some animated oriental expression of American entertainment has billed this as "The anime about nothing" to draw obvious parralels with Seinfeld. This series has nothing to do with Seinfeld. What it is is the animation of a four panel manga strip about the silly interactions between high-school girls. With constant cutaways and leaping from scene to scene, always with some humor involved, the anime does a fantastic job of capturing the real-life mimicing feel and timing of the manga, which gives the impression that any one of these things could have happened in your school class, if they weren't all happening to the same class.
Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts (TV) Very good A hilarious screwball comedy, which is pleasantly short on fan service and big on character driven humor. A short series which definitely could have been longer, as it is an easily enjoyable program that isn't overly complicated, and has fun being just plain silly.
Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts 2 (TV) Very good
Banner of the Stars (TV) Decent (dub), Excellent (sub) Bandai's english voice cast may just be attempting to portray the highly logical and emotionally cold Abh race of aliens, but the whole work comes of as stiff and read from a card. This is an unfortuneate state of affairs for an excellent character driven series. A continuation of the original Crest of the Stars, there is little other than the title to distinguish it from that anime.
Banner of the Stars II (TV) Decent (dub), Excellent (sub) Bandai's english voice cast may just be attempting to portray the highly logical and emotionally cold Abh race of aliens, but the whole work comes of as stiff and read from a card. This is an unfortuneate state of affairs for an excellent character driven series. A continuation of the original Crest of the Stars, there is little other than the title to distinguish it from that anime.
Bastard!! (OAV) Worst ever This has to be the biggest waste of celluoid I have ever seen. There isn't a single original scene, character, idea, pen or brushstroke in Bastard, and almost every setting, and individual is decidedly one-dimensional. The fighting scenes are drawns in a way so that very little activity actually takes place, and you constantly get the impression that you are watching a hentai film where all the sex scenes have been cut out. Let this be a lesson to all of us: Shoddily copying other people's work and giving things names that are references to 80's Metal Bands will not produce a work of entertainment. It may, however, make you some money with the 8-16 year old skater crowd.
Battle Angel (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) A dystopian future full of brutal fighting between cyborgs etching survival off of the refuse of the utopian society hovering over it, Gunnm is really all about philosophy, only unlike Ghost in the Shell, Battle Angel doesn't go on about the nature of man's future or the essence of the universe but instead the nature of man, his mind, and the lies he tells himself to get through the day, and does he truly need them? Not so much dark as just shocking, like looking yourself in the mirror one day to find your darkest secrets staring back at you. If you don't mind a little gore, a good work of fiction. Pick up the Manga, it expands quite a bit.
Battle Athletes (OAV) Good AIC decides to attempt to make up for all the shonen love comedies they make with this female empowerment anime. Apparently to the Japanese, female empowerment means wanting to be beautiful and worrying about how your body looks. Not a bad anime, it actually is quite original in it's chemistry, which combines the sense of humor and timing typical of shonen anime with an all female cast and not too much fan service (Come on, it's an OAV from AIC, there had to be fan service!) Plot is predictable, but hey, if you're up for something a little different, give it a whirl.
Best Student Council (TV) Excellent While loaded with Yuri overtones, the real show stealer in Best Student Council is Puu-chan, the wisecracking puppet with a mind of his own. While the rest of the cast is sweet, sugary, and enjoyable, Puu-chan whittles away at everyone and everything with his razor-wit and sharp-tongue. Over the top and easily digestible, Best Student Council is warm, loveable fluff.
Betterman (TV) Good (dub & sub) Who okayed the ugly, crotch cockpited hula-hoop Mecha designs for this show? Simply overflowing with strangeness, this anime is about the hidden battles between some sort of biomutating virus and a secret company who is occassionaly aided by a guy with crazy highlights in his hair. The characters are interesting enough, and the art style is intriguing, but the real problem with this show is slow pacing that leaves you wondering when anything is going to happen and how long it is til the next plot point. Either have a whole lot of time on your hands or fast-forward to the good bits for this one.
Birdy the Mighty (OAV) Good (dub & sub) A parody that mixes elements of Ultraman, Ranma 1/2, and Dirty Pair, Tetsuwan Birdy, it's title itself a parody of Osamu Tezuka's classic Tetsuwan Atom, is essentially a tribute to all the anime and genres that the author liked. While in some moments it can be almost dramatic, at other times, villains are defeated sentai style by using common household products like laundry detergent. Unfortuneately, Tsutomu's english voice actor is utterly obnoxious to have to listen to, watch the subtitled track to spare your ears. If you like Sentai, Guyver, or other anime of the genre and are up for a laugh or to, check this out.
Black Cat (TV) Very good Though it is a fun series full of a cavalcade of colorful and entertaining characters, being yet another series about a gun-armed hero who refuses to kill, Black Cat is a little grating in the way its main character defies reason in both his wild and inexplicable change of heart at the series opening and how one can go around firing a pistol like a maniac and somehow never kill anyone. It's rare that one gets the pleasure of watching a shonen anime series which isn't thoroughly derailed by filler episodes and ongoing tournaments that you can actually enjoy the characters and the plot, and in that regard, Black Cat is a excellent anime with almost perfect pacing, good story, and likeable, unique characters. Unfortunately, the main character's personality shift from heartless assassin to idealist manchild is hard to swallow, especially when we are expected to believe that all it takes to make the change is for him to have met a pretty girl who told him to.
Bladedance of Elementalers (TV) Very good
Blue Seed (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Best describable as the Shinto Evangelion, Blue Seed is twice the show Evangelion is, but carries a meaning which is very Japanese at heart, and might be misinterpreted as some sort of Greenpeace message by American audiences. Unlike typical anime, the cast of Blue Seed is made up of believable and pretty typical people, and while they all have fun personalities nothing seems too over the top (except for Kome's everpresent firearms arsenal). The fact that the main character is basically a hostage/human sacrifice/ultimate weapon makes things tense and original from the very onset, and other cast members are equally memorable and play important roles in the advancement of a very rich story. The music is catchy, the story is fun as well as interesting and the villains don't suffer from the boring geometric shape format that the Angel's do in Eva, but instead are creepy, biological monstrosities. To top it all off, the Omake that accompanies it is probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
Bottle Fairy (TV) Good A cutesy little series that makes you smile inside. Not a whole lot of substance, but it's a fun distraction.
Broken Blade (movie series) Masterpiece Break Blade is an absolute masterpiece of "real robot" animation, assuredly soon to join such greats as Gundam, Macross, VOTOMs, and Five Star Stories as amongst the pillars of the genre. The exceptional quality animation is incredibly immersive. Each soft breeze and heavy footfall of the goliath golems projects the sensation of actual experience, and the story is classic in both it's simple elegant design and empathetic portrayal. An absolute must for the discerning mecha fan.
Bubblegum Crash (OAV) Very good Despite all the nasty things that have been said about this OVA, Bubblegum Crash is up to the same standard of quality as the first few episodes of the original Bubblegum Crisis. While it falls short of the spectacular work done on the later episodes of the previous series, it is nonetheless an enjoyable anime to watch and a great conclusion to a stellar series. Definitely head and shoulders over some other anime I could name.
Bubblegum Crisis (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Quite possibly the best OAV series ever, BubbleGum Crisis is an anime strangled off far before its time, with the Post-Evangelion and nihilistic 2040 failing to be a fitting heir to the original. The chemistry between it's characters, tough but feminine female cast, incredible mecha designs, thrilling music, and interesting story set the standard that anime to this very day attempts to live up to. My only (futile) hope is that AIC will decide to pull a Tenchi Muyo:Ryo Ohki on us and continue the BubbleGum Crisis OAVs, because I can't say enough good things about this series. Amazingly enough, even the dubbed music in the American release is fantastic, doubtlessly because AnimeEigo shares my respect of this incredible work of Cyberpunk Art.
Burn Up W (OAV) Good (dub & sub) Anime Math 101. AIC + OAV = Fan Service. Ever since the original Bubblegum Crisis AIC's direct to video releases have shown off some female skin, and each additional release continues to attempt to one up the last. Burn Up W is exactly that, a sequal to an OAV that was nothing but fan service, for the express purpose of serving as a vehicle for gag humor and....you guessed it, even ludicrously higher levels of fan service. Home of the patented totally nude bungie jump and probably holding the record for giant, jiggly female mammaries prior to the release of Jungle de Ikou, Burn Up W clings desperately to the pretension that it is doing more than just titilating the audience by means of an admittedly funny sense of humor and a shallow plot about virtual drugs.
Burn Up! (OAV) Decent How this pile of low-quality 80's OAV trash managed to get three seperate sequal series is beyond comprehension. Not without it's funny moments, Burn Up! has a plot that has all the hallmarks of a Cream Lemon episode without the sex. The poor character stereotypes of the three girls (Bimbo Slut, Computer expert Lolita, and Chick sexually aroused by Guns) are carried over into the sequal Burn Up W, but with some name changes.
Burst Angel (TV) Excellent The spiritual successor to Bubblegum Crisis in a lot of ways, this show is unfortuneately a real slow starter. Character designs by Keiji Goto are up to his usual gorgeous standard, and while there is little to snag viewers with initially, those who stick it out with this series will find that it grows on you in a very charming way, and that the interactions of the characters and the blazing action is definitly worth the time invested.
Burst Angel: Infinity (OAV) Excellent A prequel to the original series, Infinity tells the story of the pivotal meeting of Meg & Jo. Production values remain in keeping with the rest of the series.
Candy Boy (ONA) Very good It's a real shame that Candy Boy is only available as this short internet anime: It is quite possibly the greatest Yuri series to date. Unlike the typical fanciful fair, Candy Boy is actually a quite believable lesbian love story. Unlike Marimite, things aren't overly beautiful and stylized. Unlike Strawberry Panic, there isn't rampant wish fulfilment. Candy Boy is two girls struggling with the love they share for each other and a society which doesn't accept it. It's adorable and touching and funny and a little bit tragic all at the same time, and in the end it's like Chocolate for your heart: delicious and soothing to the very end.
Cardcaptor Sakura (TV) Weak (edit.dub), Excellent (sub) One of the most charming and sweet anime ever created. As is typical for CLAMP, the characters are all both three dimensional and very likeable, as well as attractive. The dub attempts to somehow ramrod this into being standard boys saturday morning fare, a task it fails at miserably by axing whole episodes and giving sweet and innocent Sakura and Tomoyo attitudes and turning Kero-chan into a ninja turtle.
Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie Excellent What can be said about an excellent theatrical quality Card Captor Sakura story that teases at the plot of the television series and meets or exceeds the quality of the television program at every level. A real winner.
Carnival Phantasm (OAV) Excellent A series of hilarious joint-parodies of Type/Moon's Fate & Tsukihime franchises, unfortunately much of the humor will probably be lost on those who don't come into this anime familiar with the characters and themes. For those well-versed in both stories, however, this OVA series makes for excellent comedy.
Cat Planet Cuties (TV) Very good The "alien girlfriend" gimmick has been around in Shonen Love Comedy for decades, probably originating with Urusei Yatsura. Almost all of those series, however, either handwave away or outright ignore that the rest of the world probably couldn't miss the obvious alien in their midst. Even Urusei Yatsura, following it's almost earth-shattering opening, generally just shrugs off the near constant, obvious alien interference in the daily life of Earthlings. The governments, individuals, journalists, & crazy cultists in the background of Asobi ni Ikuyo refuse to stay in the background, however. In a clever parody of all that has come before, Asobi ni Ikuyo! manages to turn a tired premise on its head by confronting the reality that the world's governmental, financial, and spiritual institutions wouldn't just let a guy live in peace with his alien cat girl girlfriend. On the contrary, between the government kidnappings, assassination attempts, attacks by rival alien groups, and haranguing by cultists, Kakazu will be lucky to have any time with his alien lover at all!
A Certain Magical Index (TV) Masterpiece To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index) is definitely one of the most creative anime of 2008, combining a host of different elements into a compelling, mysterious and hectic whole. Similar to Shakugan no Shana, To Aru Majutsu no Index is a significantly more compelling series than that earlier series, with less linear storytelling, and a much faster pacing.
A Certain Magical Index II (TV) Masterpiece The second season of Index manages to do the unthinkable by topping the previous season in almost every way. With the bulk of the boring explanatory exposition out of the way, Index II throws main character Toma into epic battle after epic battle, with all the usual chaos, intrigue, and comedy. Show stealing attack lesbian Kuroko Shirai is prevented from stealing the show after getting a handful of impressive episodes thanks to a vicious battle, although one's opinion on whether or not that is a good thing is probably largely a function of whether or not one likes or dislikes Kuroko.
A Certain Scientific Railgun (TV) Excellent Jokingly referred to as "Toaru Kuroko love Railgun", this spin-off of the earlier Toaru Majutsu no Index is much lighter on both plot and action than it's parent series, instead focusing on slice of life comedy & the one-sided love affair/friendship between Kuroko Shirai & Mikoto Misaka, the titular "Railgun". Funny, cute, and silly, the series suffers somewhat from Kuroko upstaging practically everyone, including the main character, with her hilarious antics. While in true Index fashion, a convoluted plotline lurks just below the surface, in all Railgun is a much more lighthearted & simplistic series than Index.
A Certain Scientific Railgun S (TV) Very good
Chaika - The Coffin Princess (TV) Very good
Chobits (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) It is my theory that CLAMP is secretly a lesbian conspiracy. If your a hot-blooded male anime fan, take a look at this anime or crack open the manga and try to tell me the people who drew this didn't have more than an artistic interest in the female characters. I've seen my fair share of attractive women, both real and drawn, but some of the scenes in here just blew me away. Officially bridging the gap over into Shonen land, shoujo Manga-ka team CLAMP hits you with both barrels with a romantic heart-rending story true to form to their shoujo works while turning up the hot, steamy shonen oriented fan service, plus a huge helping of good old fashioned CLAMP cute humor. If your a fan of CLAMP already, expect the same quality your used to and then some. If your new to CLAMP, prepare to be blown away.
Chocotto Sister (TV)
Chrono Crusade (TV) Very good If Lina Inverse was a nun and carried .45 caliber pistols, you'd have a good idea of what Sister Rosette, the series main character is like, although she has a cheerier disposition. That comparision holds pretty well to the whole series as well, which has a similar feel and mood as the later Slayers TV seasons.
Clamp School (TV) Excellent Bandai is back in my good graces! After years of allowing this magnificent series to languish on the back of the shelf for not being your typical anime, CLAMP School Detectives is back on DVD! CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan is a typical CLAMP character driven series full of fun character interactions and stories that are sugar sweet and a pleasure to watch. Main characters Nokoru Imonoyama (Master Pimp Kaicho), Akira Iijyuin (The Mysterious 20 Masks), and Suoh Takamura (Ninja) all make regular appearances in other CLAMP stories, including X/1999. Snubbed by many because it is neither action packed, ingrossing, nor loaded with slapstick comedy, CLAMP Gakuen Tanteidan makes you feel good inside, and that's the most important thing of all.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV) Masterpiece Code Geass is an incredible masterstroke, showing that Sunrise is still capable of putting together visually stunning, powerful, critical works of moving art. The character designs by shoujo manga powerhouse CLAMP provide the appropriate air for this dark, moody, yet idealistic and inspiring story of two best friends and how war can take their very different views on morality and put them on a deadly collision course. Whilst very Gundam-esque, sometimes to the point of blatantly copying that earlier work (You could almost here the crowd chanting "Sieg Zeon!" at Clovis' funeral), Unlike Gundam, Code Geass is not a story of the horrors of war but instead a morality play and the story of two men's struggle to right the wrongs of a bloody conquest. Definitely the best anime series of 2006, and a must see for any true anime fan.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (TV) Masterpiece While the first season had the feel of a slow, building crescendo, growing and growing until at the end it boiled over, Season (R) 2 hit the ground running and keeps throwing punches til your dizzied from the constant barrage of twists & turns in the plot. Initially, things do seem a bit rushed and it comes off as if each episode is simply trying to one-up the last in terms of suprise plot rending endings, but eventually, it all starts coming together and all is revealed in a giant, mind throttling climax. Code Geass R2 delivers on all the promises of the initial premise and more. It is a masterstroke of Sunrise's writers, directors and animators which shall never be forgotten, and is easily in the same league as such incredible creations as Evangelion, Gundam, Macross, & Ghost in the Shell. There is no reason why every anime fan of any stripe shouldn't watch Code Geass, simply to be able to experience such an powerful and incredible work of animated fiction.
Comic Party (TV) Very good In a similar vein as other otaku self-referential anime, like Otaku no Video or Animation Runner Kuromi, but this one is about a Doujinshi circle. Likeable, pleasant, and very entertaining to the Otaku who will catch all the references...
Comic Party: Revolution (TV) Good A continuation of the first series in a similar vein. Unfortunately, towards the end Revolution decides to try to take a turn towards the metaphysical, with rather hokey results. Still, cute and easily digestible all the way through.
Cowboy Bebop (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Is there an anime fan in America who hasn't seen at least some of this series? Funky, fresh, and slick, Cowboy Bebop shook things up by taking anime in new directions. Upbeat even in a dismal setting, Cowboy Bebop immediately attaches you to it's characters. While not an incredible work of storytelling the execution of the audiovisual feast for the senses that is Cowboy Bebop makes this a series that's going to rate well with all the Space Cowboys out there.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Excellent (dub & sub) Cowboy Bebop. Theatrical Quality Animation. Excellent story. Do I need to say anything else?
Coyote Ragtime Show (TV) Very good If you took Cowboy Bebop and looked at it through a flashy glitzy kaledioscope, you'd be looking at Coyote Ragtime Show, a show which takes the concept of Cowboy Bebop and plays it up over the top with the outlandish, ridiculous, and wild. The characters are exaggerated and the plot is like some sort of over the top Great Escape or The Sting, except as much as the mastermind of it all seems to have it all planned out, in the end, he's just improvising it all and sliding on through on pure dumb luck. It sort of ruins something to find out that the man you thought was a criminal genious is actually some slick bum who pulls off everything by the seat of his pants, but hey, it's got psychotic goth-loli maid assassins, so I guess it's not a total waste!
Crest of the Stars (TV) Decent (dub), Excellent (sub) A politically oriented Space Opera with no mecha, Crest of the Stars is all about story and exploring the concept of an alien culture with a human face. Epic in proportion, Crest of the Stars should be on the top of the list of anime to see for folks who are into Star Trek and historical stories of political and military manuverings in the colonial and industrial periods. Female lead Lafiel is attractive and immediately mesmerizing, but in no way a typical anime girl. Bandai's english voice cast may just be attempting to portray the highly logical and emotionally cold Abh race of aliens, but the whole work comes of as stiff and read from a card. This is an unfortuneate state of affairs for an excellent character driven series
D.C. ~Da Capo~ (TV) Excellent Yet another anime based on a dating sim, Da Capo is actually refreshing in that unlike many overly saccharine anime of this type, Da Capo plays up it's situational comedy angle and manages to develop am interesting storyline not apparent at the beginning of the series. There is no shortage of cute, fun, female characters in this series, yet it contains a level of substance absent in many series of this genre. I'd like to see Da Capo get licensed, but I'm probably just wasting my breathe. Then again, I used to say that about Kodomo no Omocha.
D.C.III ~Da Capo III~ (TV)
D.C.S.S. ~Da Capo Second Season~ (TV) Excellent Like a cold knife stabbing through your heart into the depths of your soul, the understatedly named Da Capo Second Season sends tears welling up in the eyes. While the first season was sugary and soft, the Second focuses on the deep pain people can cause in the ones they love unintentionally. I personally avoided finishing this series for some time, as the way Nemu and Jun'ichi were fighting at the beginning of this series broke my heart! Bittersweet but deeply memorable, Da Capo Second Season was definitely worth finishing and is an incredible work of dramatic art.
Daphne in the Brilliant Blue (TV)
Date A Live (TV) Good
Date A Live II (TV) Very good
DearS (TV) Very good Don't be scared off by DearS bondage theme, as this submissive facade is only skin deep. In fact, the plot of DearS indicates that what is desirable is exactly the opposite, as main protagonist Takeya Ikuhara strives to convince the beautiful Rin (an alien from a slave race known as DearS) that it is important for her to have desires and dreams of her own. The end of the series seems rushed, as if more was originally planned, but nevertheless the series gets its point across in a fun and affable fashion.
Demon King Daimao (TV) Very good Ichiban Ushiro Daimao's great initial premise and energetic presentation set the tone for what could have been a truly fantastic series. Unfortunately, another potentially great anime is confined to mediocrity by its ham-fisted, poorly presented finale that we are rushed through after only 12 episodes. While still enjoyable, true greatness eludes Daimao, leaving it yet another series' thats potential will lay unfulfilled thanks to the weak economy & the continued trend towards shorter and shorter series.
Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (TV) Excellent This is a powerful emotionally driven yet sexually charged series, with a "throw you straight into the action" intro and and overwhelming waves of feeling emanating from the characters. Beautiful character designs and animation sparkle throughout, and just enough of your stereotypical anime Mecha is thrown in to prevent things from getting slow. While the series appeared rather straightforward from the first few episodes, the series takes a wild, unexpected twist towards the end that blew me away. An Excellent program.
Devil Hunter Yohko (OAV) Good Some sort of occult-slut Sailor Moon, Mamano Hunter Yoko is not a bad series of OAVs, but is endemic of the visually stimulating and intellectually vapid works created for direct to video release in the mid-90's. While the first volume is chock full of fan service, for some reason this angle is dropped in later installments. ADV likewise "sexed-up" the dub with random curses and attitude.
(The) Devil is a Part-Timer! (TV) Very good
Di Gi Charat (TV) Very good When the Gamers chain of anime stores in Akihabara created the mascot character Dejiko, they had no idea that she would become so popular that customers would beg and plead to get things with the cute little cat girl on it that were originally just made for marketing the store chain. Catching on to the trend, Broccolli/Gamers has since began dealing Di Gi Charat gear like a crack dealer, with everything from Di Gi Charat the Game of Life to Di Gi Charat tissue paper to whole bedroom sets with Di Gi Charat on it available at their stores. Unsuprisingly, the anime incarnation of Di Gi Charat is like an extra-long commercial with a plot (if you can call it that), for, you guessed it, Gamers stores where Dejiko and her friends work. Happily, these shorts are raucously funny, and Broccolli has proven once again that a smart businessman can get a person to not only sing along to the corporate anthem, but pay for the privelege to do so.
Di Gi Charat - A Trip to the Planet (movie) Very good Like most Di Gi Charat stories, this one is short, spastic, and off the wall zany with plenty of cute.
Di Gi Charat Christmas Special Very good Like most Di Gi Charat stories, this one is short, spastic, and off the wall zany with plenty of cute.
Di Gi Charat Natsuyasumi Special Very good Like most Di Gi Charat stories, this one is short, spastic, and off the wall zany with plenty of cute.
Di Gi Charat Summer Special Very good Like most Di Gi Charat stories, this one is short, spastic, and off the wall zany with plenty of cute.
Dirty Pair Flash (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) Updating the Dirty Pair for the nineties, and reviled by fans of the original Dirty Pair, this rendition of Kei & Yuri are sexy, quirky, and fun. Keeping the straight out of nowhere random humor of the original but presented in a far more tongue in cheek fashion, Dirty Pair Flash also gives the girls a chemistry & personality that makes this series irresistable.
Disgaea (TV) Very good A silly, largely forgettable adaptation of the strategy RPG into animated form. Not half bad as video game adaptations go, but comparing well to other adaptations of a genre which traditionally is extremely poor outside of the visual novel arena is rather weak praise.
Dog Days (TV) Good Almost juvenile in simplicity at first, twists in the plot midway reveal not all is as perfect as it seems in this fairy-tale setting. Perhaps fairy-tales are exactly what best to compare Dog Days to. Not the sanitized Disney adaptations, but the original, whimsical, at times grotesque stories of ages past that amused and horrified children and captivated adults. There is nothing extraordinary in Dog Days story, or character composition, but the complete work is more than the some of its parts, an interesting distraction from the day to day reality.
Dog Days' (TV) Good
Dojin Work (TV) Very good A cute little series celebrating the doujin culture. Despite the subject matter, Doujin Works doesn't stoop to a lot of fan service, and it's cheerful cast of original characters make sure that you stay laughing most of the time you spend watching.
Doki Doki School Hours (TV) Very good Sensei ni Ojikan can best be summed up as Pani Poni Dash with a much more relaxed, simple pace. That is not to say that Sensei ni Ojikan isn't a funny series. Playing on typical stereotypes of the Japanese classroom, this series is a humorous skewering of school drama, but without the sheer virtually unintelligible insanity that goes on moment by moment in Pani Poni Dash. A charming, relaxing and enjoyable series.
Dominion Tank Police (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) The Judge Dredd of the anime universe, Leona Ozaki, her partner Al, and their diminutive tank Bonaparte apprehend criminals with extreme force. Bizarre and almost ethereal, this mildly alien setting is an early look into the mind of Masamune Shiro, the man who would later go on to create Ghost in the Shell. It also shows a lot more of his humorous side which is still present in his manga works but tends to get removed from his anime. Really fun and different.
Don't Leave Me Alone, Daisy (TV) Very good Like a certain song by Sting & the Police, Misutenaide Daisy seems to offend the sensibilities of some, who seem to think that it glorifies stalkers. The truth is that main character Reijiro Techno doesn't know how to act and has all the social maturity of a small child. He does his best to make the girl he's dubbed Daisy like him, but for all his nerdy knowledge he has no idea what to do. Techno's possessive and invasive behavior is similar to that of a child who doesn't know any better, and part of the series is his learning that his behavior is wrong, and Hitomi, the object of his affection, figuring out that Reijiro is a well-meaning guy who has literally been living in a bomb shelter. Not a bad series all in all, but many are put off by Reijiro Techno's actions, which is odd considering how nobody complains when characters like Ranma 1/2's Happosai does something perverted for a laugh. On a side note, with the addition of Mimi the Nuclear warhead armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, everything has officially been an anime mascot character.
Dragon Ball Z (TV) Very good (dub & sub & raw) The Ultimate expression of masculinity in anime, Dragonball Z amounts to taunting, training, and pummeling opponents, then repeat. Like Professional Wrestling with more plot and the most over the top martial arts action ever. Edited Dub famous for trees that magically spring from the ground to hide nudity and stupid dialogue like "Have you seen my arm, you can't miss it, it's green." and "You smell like toenails!!" Appeals to the testosterone in every man's blood in a primordial way you cannot refuse. Later episodes begin to be too drawn out and it becomes easier to lose interest. Maybe it's because there is more standing around and less actual fighting.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 1: Dead Zone Good With a plot that advances at a snails pace from episode to episode, it is amazing what can happen when you condense it down into a single feature film. Expect the same that you find in the TV series, only with a much faster paced plot
Dragon Ball Z Movie 2: The World's Strongest Very good Probably the best of the Dragonball Z movies, the plot involves a slightly different enemy from the standard fare (A giant mecha with a giant brain), great animation quality and a good amount of personality and character coming from the cast, more so that you typically find in the television series. A must see for DBZ fans.
Dragon Ball Z Movie 3: The Tree of Might Good Continuing the unending succession of DBZ movies to accompany the TV series, this film introduces a previously unknown Saiyan warrior. Eerily similar to the early story arc of the Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon R series (Someone at Toei must really hate trees) this film is basically more of the same for the Dragon Ball Z series
Dragon Half (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) With about 50% of the scenes being Super-Deformed, and the entire program being cute and silly, Dragon Half is the original wacky, off the wall anime OAV. An instant classic for generations of anime fans, Dragon Half deliberately trivializes and satirizes anime, popular culture, and the fantasy genre. Is there an anime convention anywhere in America where fans haven't burst a song about eggs to the tune of a Beethoven Symphony thanks to this anime?
Dream Eater Merry (TV) Good
El Hazard - The Magnificent World (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Original, sexy, fun, and immediately mesmerizing, El-Hazard (pronounced with Japanese vowel sounds, not like a warning label) is probably one of the greatest anime of all time. Why this AIC classic has perpetually had to play second fiddle to its obvious inferior from the same company, Tenchi Muyo, is a mystery. With a setting totally unlike any other, and characters that are likewise different, El Hazard is the unexpected: an extremely original shonen romantic comedy with moments of drama. All the characters are easy to identify with, and affable, and every setting is gorgeous and inspired. While the main characters are transported to an alternate universe and do recieve special abilities through that transfer, few of them can really be considered "super powers". To top it all off, Pioneer apparently saw the value of this series and outdid themselves producing a fantastic dub. Absolutely a must see for any anime fan anywhere.
El Hazard 2 - The Magnificent World (OAV) Very good Unfortuneately, it seems that AIC was totally unsure where to go next after the beautiful finale of the original El Hazard. While not a horrible anime, El-Hazard2 is a poor sibling of the original, with predictable paint by numbers plot devices and that lazy, late 90's AIC art style where the shapes of things look more like blobs of color than actual objects (a la Shin Tenchi Muyo) The characters are still very well characterized and the program is enjoyable, but is a bit of a let down after the previous work. Luckily, it leads straight into the far better El-Hazard Alternative World TV Series.
El Hazard: The Alternative World (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Confusingly, the 2nd TV series of El-Hazard is a sequal not to the original TV series but to the two OVA releases. Unlike the second OVA, which seemed to be highly pressured for time and seemed to follow the "OVA=Fan Service" formula that AIC consistantly uses, the Alternative World introduces our familiar characters into an entirely new dimension, one far different from the one found in the original series. An excellent program with all of the originality and charm of the original El-Hazard, the one weakness of this show is its lack of a truly good villain, with the wierd spiritual creature who proclaims itself "RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!!" being more laughable than a serious threat.
El-Hazard: The Wanderers (TV) Very good AIC's house rule about producing watered-down versions of successful OAV releases that will never live up to the original is in full effect here. First time viewers of El-Hazard should steer clear of this and head for the OAV series, since this is the El-Hazard equivalent of Tenchi Muyo TV. Expect basically the same plot from the 7 episode OAV series to be stretched out to cover 26 episodes, with predictable filler episodes. It still benefits from the great El-Hazard setting and characters, but now with a much more lackluster plot. Hardcore El-Hazard fans will enjoy the fact that there is much more time for character development, and it is used to good effect. Katsuhiko Jinnai & Makoto Mizuhara swordfighting on top of the Bugrom citadel is a classic scene that no El-Hazard fan should miss.
Elemental Gelade (TV) Very good While at first glance, this series seemed rather blazè, I decided to take a second look, and I am infinitely pleased that I did. While it's bright but uninspired art looks staid compared to many of the flashy anime being produced recently, the characterizations are fun, cheerful, and original, and the story, while providing plenty of opportunity for action, isn't just a device for delivering tournament combat like many shounen series. In fact, the series that Elemental Gelade reminds me the most of is Slayers, which in and of itself should be a form of flattery.
Elf Princess Rane (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) It's a shame that this series didn't go any further. It's zany. It's wacky. It makes Dragon Half look tame. It makes fun of every anime convention it can get at. And it has a bishounen with bangs so big that his obligatory hair flip requires the use of his entire forearm. There aren't words to describe this insanity. Just watch it.
Engaged to the Unidentified (TV) Excellent
Escaflowne: The Movie Masterpiece Escaflowne through Evangelion lenses with a Japanese feudal setting instead of a western medieval setting.
Excel Saga (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) As the Japanese title explains "Quack Experimental Anime" this is essentially a parody series that has no shame, overabundant energy and takes thing to a new hieght of off the wall humor. The first episode has the characters assassinate the original Manga-ka. It gets wierder from their, trust me.
(The) Familiar of Zero (TV) Masterpiece Zero no Tsukaima is without a doubt one of the greatest anime series in a long, long time. Creative, entertaining, and full of energy, Zero no Tsukaima keeps you wanting more. Chock full of slapstick comedy & fanservice, original author Noboru Yamaguchi understands well that what separates an anime classic from a run-of-the-mill throwaway fan service extravaganza is character development, and Zero no Tsukaima has plenty. Typical Rie Kugimiya Tsundere Louise and hot-blooded male lead Saito Hiiraga have a Rumiko Takahashi style Love-Hate relationship, but unlike Takahashi-sensei's romances, Louise & Saito don't deny their feelings forever, and in fits and starts they slowly grow closer as the series continues. Combine this strong romantic dynamic with off the wall hijinks and swords, rocket launchers & sorcery with a toned-down Slayers vibe, and what you have on your hand is an incredible anime series.
(The) Familiar of Zero F (TV) Masterpiece The Final (F!) culmination of the Zero no Tsukaima franchise goes out with a suitable bang, concentrating on Louise and Saito's relationship, while maintaining a breakneck storytelling pace. Action and comedy abound as the leading couple's relationship reaches its romantic crescendo, with Louise finally evolving into full-on -dere. If there was any flaw in Zero no Tsukaima F, it was the way the series was forced to rush through the entirety of the remaining ten+ light novels in a scant twelve episodes. J.C. Staff made the best of each episode they had, but probably could have done even better if given another twelve episodes for more proper pacing.
Fantasista Doll (TV) Very good
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya (TV) Excellent
Fate/stay night (TV) Masterpiece Hauntingly beautiful, Fate/Stay Night grabs ahold of something deep in your soul and won't let go. Weeks after watching this series I am still wrapped up in it's amazing atmosphere. Similar in feel to the Persona RPGs, where Fate/Stay Night differs is the strong sense of justice of main lead Shiro Emiya. Whilst bloody chaos reigns about him as Magus fight each other for control of the Holy Grail, with the help of his summoned servant Saber, Shiro struggles to maintain his principles in the face of enemies who act without a sense of conscious. With an epic feel and awe inspiring execution, Fate/Stay Night is a definite must see. If Fate/Stay Night has a flaw, it is only that there is so much story left to tell. Based on an Ero-Game for PC, the story of Fate/Stay Night was continued in two additional games from the same company, True Moon. Sadly, neither of those games will likely see an Anime adaptation, nor see release in the U.S.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (movie) Masterpiece The gorgeously animated telling of Fate's second story route, Unlimited Blade Works presents the story of Fate/Stay Night had Shiro chosen to partner not with Saber but with Rin Tosaka. Having viewed the original series or played the visual novel is highly recommended, as the film has little time to explain all the details to a viewer unaccustomed to the Fate universe, but for those who already find themselves in the thrall of this series intoxicating atmosphere, then Unlimited Blade Works is an absolute must see.
(The) Five Star Stories (movie) Masterpiece Beautiful and carrying itself with the aloof sense of majesty of Arthurian legend, Five Star Stories is one of the finest works of classic storytelling in manga, not to mention the home of some of the greatest Mecha designs this side of Kunio Okawara. This OAV is unfortuneately just an animated retelling of the first two volumes of the manga, but still carries with it the same sense of style and regality.
FLCL (OAV) Excellent Apparently, when Gainex got done creating Evangelion their brains were so thrashed they needed retreading. FLCL (Prounounced "Furi Kuri") is that process. Like a work of post-modern art, FLCL is ethereal and alien but somehow comunicated on a primordeal level, but what is unique is that message makes you shoot milk out your nose.
Fruits Basket (TV) Very good An excellent shoujo series, Fruits Basket is a great example of everything that is great about Shoujo manga & anime: great characters and stunning drama. Unfortunately, the anime ends only about half-way through the Manga, so make sure to check it out. Shigure is my hero!
Full Metal Panic! (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) With a meticulous attention to detail for all things military and realistic mecha that could concievably exist in the real world, Full Metal Panic combines frenetic shoot-outs with typical shonen comedy to create an instant classic. The animation quality is very high quality overall and despite drawing inspiration from several sources it is actually a quite original anime.
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (TV) Excellent Picking back up where the original series left off, FMP:TSR moves back to the gritty, more violent, plot-driven storylines of the original series, as the character development of lead characters Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori continues. Whilst the animation quality was up to the same incredible standards, attention to military realism is slipping. Would Sousuke really do such a poor job clearing a building? Let's hope that this sort of thing doesn't continue.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV) Excellent Taking the original Full Metal Panic and turning it on it's head, Fumoffu! shows the other side of things, how a gun-toting ex-mercenary in a Japanese High School tends to overreact to any percieved threat and deals with things with "unconventional" means. Absolutely hilarious.
Galaxy Angel (TV) Excellent An Anime based on a Video Game hasn't been this good since Sakura Taisen TV, although obviously Galaxy Angel is nothing like that series. Interestingly enough, Galaxy Angel totally ignores the plot of the video game, and instead is made up of dozens of silly cute side stories which are enjoyably sweet to watch. Full of characteristic Broccoli humor, expect something a lot like Di Gi Charat only less spastic, more situational humor, (slightly) more plot, and sexier ladies.
Galaxy Angel A (TV) Excellent Simply a third season of the ongoing Galaxy Angel series, Galaxy Angel A & AA do not disappoint and continue to deliever the same laughs as when the series first started.
Galaxy Angel X (TV) Very good Even more Galaxy Angel hijinks. Bandai crapping out on dubbing the series after episode 4 is a little irritating.
Galaxy Angel Z (TV) Excellent Really nothing more than a continuation of the first Galaxy Angel series, Galaxy Angel Z is pretty much more of the same across the board.
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) Mika Akitaka is my hero for pitching this video game series, and I'm sorry that it hasn't continued past the obviously named Ginga Ojosama Densetsu Yuna Final Edition for PSX. With a cast of incredibly cute battle-armored girls each with a distinct personality (eventually numbering over forty cast members) battle against evil and do cute, silly things. Yuna is innocent and caring, and always attempts to win over her enemies as friends, and the OAV does a good job of continuing the characterizations of the video games. The fact that American viewers are incapable of truly being introduced to the background of the characters harms the plot, making it seem rather shallow. In truth, it is a typical "anime based on a game" OAV, with little true depth, but the Characters actually have quite a bit of background that doesn't get shown during the OAV, which is too bad.
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) Continuing the story of Ginga Ojosama Densetsu Yuna from the 1st OAV series, Shin'en no Fairy goes on to show the depth of the dramatic side of these characters that is also common in the video games but would have been missed by casual viewers of the first OAV. Alternatingly bubbly & sweet and brutal, this second OAV series is a marvelous work of anime by any standards, if a tad short.
Galilei Donna (TV) Excellent
Gatchaman Crowds (TV) Excellent
Gate Keepers (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) With a Retro 1960s setting, Gate Keepers, in the vein of Martian Successor Nadesico, has 1960's & 70's anime attitude at its core. It challenges us to see what was special about those over the top programs, why they are so beloved and why they become a part of our psyche. Under the thin veneer of episodic villain dispatching, the characters explore why we live for ideals, especially futile, or superfluous ones, and why they actually are the ones most important to us as human beings. Another thing that Gate Keepers shares with Nadesico is a likeable cast with character designs by artistic mastermind Keiji Goto. It also doesn't hurt that unlike the current crop of whiny, wimpy post-Evangelion male leads, Shun Ukiya is an old-school fiery scrapper, full of guts and energy, and it makes me sad that there aren't more anime characters like him. Don't look for plot here, because it's deliberately weak, instead, expect tons and tons of personality and character, because if that's what you're looking for, you shan't be disappointed.
Gate Keepers 21 (OAV) Excellent Gate Keepers 21 is the aughts-set sequel to the original Gate Keepers, and it addresses the jaded, cynical modern world and challenges it in the same way as the original Gate Keepers, but from a different perspective. In the end, it embraces the same values as the original, and shows how we can carry these virtues forward in our everyday life, even in the face of everything we see wrong right in front of us day after day.
Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun (TV) Excellent
Genshiken (TV) Very good Yet another anime about a circle of otaku, Genshiken takes a page from Otaku no Video in that unlike other recent self-referential anime works such as Comic Party, Genshiken combines both superior animation quality with a willingness to portray the subject matter in a more realistic, objective fashion. Celebrating Otaku culture while not shying away from it's ugly blemishes, Genshiken is both enjoyable, slice of life programming and an introspective look at the ways of anime fandom.
Geobreeders (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) This is probably one of the greatest manga to seemingly be totally overlooked by the American fan community at large, I really mean it. I don't know if this is the fault of the confusing title, the fact that the anime, which is usually the source of exposure for most American fans, is a confusing and short OVA, or what, but Akihiro Ito is an awesome artist and writer, who weaves a very complex and intriguing story, fills his universe with fun, cute, and perky girls, has a lead who is sympathetic but not spineless *cough*Tenchi*cough*Shinji*cough* is a laugh riot and packs more gun-blazing action & property destruction into one tankoban than most anime or action-films due in the entire course of the film! (that is, at least if they don't have giant robots in them) While living up to the manga on every account, people who haven't read the manga are going to be totally lost with the plot of this OVA. My best advice is to go get the manga, buy the DVD, and enjoy them both! My only complaint is that CPM failed to get their English voice actors to maintain a uniform pronounciation of character names, so that in one seen, not only does Himehagi mispronounce her own name, but three seconds later another character says it correctly. er.
Geobreeders: Breakthrough (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) The best OAV I have seen since the mid 90's, Geobreeders 2 is all that and a bag of chips, packing in everything the first OAV had plus even more of the plot that was present in the manga but only hinted at in the original OAV. I'm going to put this as plainly as I can. BUY THIS ANIME.
Ghost in the Shell (movie) So-so The rating for this film is so low for one reason: It gutted an incredible and thought provoking plot from the manga to bring you a barrage of casually related action scenes.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV) Masterpiece What the Ghost in the Shell motion picture would have been if they cared about keeping the plot and personality of the original manga intact. A tribute to Masamune Shiro and an incredible work of near-future science fiction, everyone who is a fan of the genre should own this series.
Girls Bravo (TV) Excellent Unashamed and unafraid to push the limits of sexual humor, Girls Bravo is overflowing with fan service like the bras of it's female cast. Perhaps most suprisingly, this isn't pursued to the exclusion of character personality or chemistry, nor does it pursue sex gags as the only way to get a laugh. Funny, sassy and wrong, Girls Bravo knows what guys want, and it gives it.
Girls und Panzer (TV) Excellent
GJ Club@ (special) Very good
Glass Fleet (TV) Excellent A lot of people are probably going to have a hard time getting around the trippy, surreal, somewhat silly setting of Glass Fleet. People walk around on little islands which float around in space seemingly without an atmosphere and no one asphixiates or floats off into the void, and despite the presence of huge fleets of space ships there are apparently no handguns, not even a musket. If you understand the setting as art, however, you can enjoy the human drama that unfolds and appreciate an impressive story of the actions of desperate, tortured souls united by a common thread of fate. Like everything created by Studio Gonzo, Glass Fleet is a golden work of art. Unfortunately, it's likely too avant garde to not go over the heads of many.
GLASSLIP (TV) Decent
Godannar (TV) Very good Wow. Years ago, I decided that AIC had degenerated into mining anime stereotypes to produce utterly forgettable series. Boy was I wrong. Apparently, when AIC produced Godanner, they struck upon the realisation that if you run every anime stereotype together, create a Super-Robot show, and keep the production value high enough, you can produce something not only enjoyable and humorous, but worth the price of admission. I'll be blunt about this: There is nothing original about Godannar. There isn't even anything particularly incredible about Godannar. But it's hard not to enjoy a series which is on a mission to run every silly, impossible convention ever found in an anime into it's plot. Fan Service and just plain wacky situational comedy abound.
Gunslinger Girl (TV) Masterpiece Attention grabbing from the start with a twisted and morality-tweaking premise, Gunslinger Girl is full of sympathetic, beautiful characters acting out a pantomine of tragedy and death, only to go home like none of it ever happened. A fantastic exposé of personality types and interpersonal relations, Gunslinger Girl garners this anime fans acclaim for both its bloody action and engaging people and settings.
Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino (TV) Masterpiece While the cuter, softer, and dare I say it, more moe character designs might fool you into thinking Il Teatrino is somehow a kinder, happier Gunslinger Girl series, do not be fooled: This is still the same fantastically tragic & beautifully tortured story that burned a hole into our heart with a 9mm round. A fitting sequel to the original.
Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino (OAV) Excellent While the cuter, softer, and dare I say it, more moe character designs might fool you into thinking Il Teatrino is somehow a kinder, happier Gunslinger Girl series, do not be fooled: This is still the same fantastically tragic & beautifully tortured story that burned a hole into our heart with a 9mm round. A fitting sequel to the original.
Gunsmith Cats (OAV) Excellent Kenichi Sonoda is a masterful manga-ka and character designer, and his work on Gunsmith Cats stands as testament to his skill. Capturing the very essence of Chicago, in a way that most anime fails to understand an American city, was most impressive, especially when even Hollywood often fails to portray her somber but upbeat moody and sassy streets. A short OVA best watched in conjunction with reading the manga, Rally and Minnie-May are original, feisty and fun girls who in conjunction with Sonoda's obsession with real life weapons & vehicles in all their detail puts other "Girls with Guns" anime to shame. Sonoda-sensei, I salute you!
GUNxSWORD (TV) Excellent Most easily described as Trigun with super robots, such a simplified explanation of the nature of Gun X Sword would fail to do fair tribute to an anime which equals if not exceeds the aforementioned title. For while Vash the Stampede is a creature who lives for his ideals, Van of the Dawn is a man, that creature of raw emotions and muddled motivations with which we are all intimately familiar and yet all struggle to truly explain and understand. The struggles of Van against the Claw and the Original Seven depict a much more personable conflict - not a simple struggle of good against evil, but the constant battle for meaning that clashes within us all. Gun X Sword contains a marvelous blend of Eastern and Western story-telling formulas often interposed in entertaining fashion with the end result being an amazing anime epic.
Gurren Lagann (TV) Excellent A super robot show in tribute to all super robot shows, Gurren Lagann is a refinement of several decades worth of fermented mecha glory. An homage to everything that is Super Robot, Gurren Lagann in many ways is a parallel to the earlier Marian Successor Nadesico - introspectively examining what it is within ourselves which so enamors us with giant robots that yell out their silly attack names before smashing headlong into personifications of evil with giant drills, only to draw out from the experience some deeper, primeval aspect of the human psyche and run away with it in tribute, all while itself becoming exactly what it plays homage to! Gurren Lagann is significantly less intellectual than Nadesico, however, and I don't think Gainax would have had it any other way. Gurren Lagann isn't the type of show to get overly philosophical. Like the main character of any super robot show, it speaks with its fists. While its simplistic pastiche of one giant face-smashing drill after another is hard to truly call creative or brilliant, it's message screams through with such brilliance that one cannot help but acknowledge it as a true anime legend.
Haganai (TV) Very good An at time hilarious comedy, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai does a marvelous job of both accurately portraying and mercilessly skewering the human foibles of the common modern nerdy-recluse. While the humor in the series is laugh out loud funny, the most impressive aspect of the show are its characters' believable anti-social ticks and awkward behavior. Characters talk around each other, but almost never too each other, fail to understand the most basic communication, and regularly effect wild, erratic behavior in a way quite reflective of a lot of real-world socially challenged individuals. Were it not for their gorgeous character designs, the cast of Boku wa Tomodachi would be indistinguishable from any given gathering of real life geeks. Had it possessed more direction, perhaps Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai would deserve even higher praise, but alas, it suffers from the same aimless lack of direction in its plot as its characters do in their lives, drifting without goal or destination.
Haganai NEXT (TV)
Hanaukyo Maid Team: La Verite (TV) Good Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite is almost one of [i]those[/i] Shonen Love-Comi, the kind that is almost universally reviled for it's spineless, worthless main characters, cookie-cutter girls, and endless, pointless fan service. Almost. Hanaukyo Maid Tai manages a few different things. Main male lead Taro Hanaukyo manages to stand up and express himself in some unique and humrous ways. His small tatami mat living space inside of a giant mansion staffed by an army of maids is kind of admirable in a stoic sort of way, and the girls actually manage to have some complicated backstories which make them more than the window dressing found in some shows of this type. Ultimately, Hanaukyo Maid Tai is still a paint-by-numbers Shonen Love-Comi, but it has a few moments that spark some interest, so if you enjoy this sort of show, it can be worth your time.
Hanayamata (TV) Excellent
Haunted Junction (TV) Decent A mess of interwoven stereotypes and clichés, Haunted Junction still manages to entertain in moments, but is mostly a staid and dry expression of typical Japanese typecasting. The three main characters who make up the student council are each representative of a different religion, The Buddhist Monk, the Shinto Miko, and the Christian Priest, and most of the humor is based off of their quirks and representatives of all the typical Japanese High School Ghost Stories (The statue that comes to life, the Girl who died in the Bath Room, etc), which would be fine, if they weren't all played out by around the fourth episode. By this time, the Buddhist Monk being possessed by whatever spirit is floating by is no longer funny, and the Christian Priest having no rapport with the occult and shouting "OH MY GOD!" Every five seconds has gotten really old. The Shinto Priestess, who has a slightly disturbing Shouta Complex (Think reverse gender Lolicon) is probably the only person who remains entertaining, and despite the fact that they are supposed to keep the ghosts at school under control, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for this and they seem totally incapable of accomplishing it. The major flaw in this anime seems to be the complete lack of character development and story, combined with the fact that all of the jokes seem to be common jokes found everywhere being recycled for the 15th time. Not a horrible anime, but your time is probably better spent elsewhere.
Hayate the Combat Butler (TV) Masterpiece Like Love Hina did years before, Hayate no Gotoku is reinventing the Shonen Love-Comi genre. Unlike main characters from Love-Comi past, it's really hard to say that Hayate has it good, in fact, it's much easier to feel sorry for the guy. Like if Char*** Br**n looked like a blue-haired Ju***chi and was as strong as a Super-Sai**jin, Hayate suffers through every minute, but he isn't one to feel down. No, Hayate feels lucky just to have gotten out of being sold to the mob by his parents. Did I mention this is a Love-Comi? Hayate no Gotoku blends cynical and silly comedy together into a rich, creamy blend, which is quickly addictive. Soft, cute, pastel characters battle their way through zany plots and more anime and manga references than all of Comic Party, all the while winning your heart with their uncomplicated yet charming and real personalities. Watch it, or Nagi will use her 52 submissions and 48 finishing moves to crush your life.
Hayate the Combat Butler! Cuties (TV) Good
Hayate the Combat Butler! Heaven Is a Place on Earth (movie) Very good Heaven is a Place on Earth is comparable to many other original films made for long-running shonen series, but due to a number of minor shortcomings, winds up falling a bit short of the mark established by it's parent title. The film feels like an extremely well-written and polished piece of fan fiction, but nonetheless lacking in professionalism. Immediately the most jarring issue is the balloon-like, washed-out character designs which lack charm or expression. After a full season of J.C. Staff's usual spectacular, sparkly designs, those used in this film are just difficult to look at. Add to that dialog which at times feels artificial and forced, and perhaps most devastating a serious shortage of trademark Combat Butler witty humor and the entire film winds up feeling slightly disappointing as the credits roll.
Hayate the Combat Butler!! (TV) Masterpiece For some strange reason the second season of Hayate no Gotoku was animated by J.C. Staff instead of SynergySP. Personally, I consider the SynergySP's character designs by Osamu Horiuchi to be much more in keeping with Kenjiro Hata's original calm, almost shoujo pastels than Masahiro Fuji's typical shiny J.C. Staff designs, and I consider SynergySP's slower pacing to be more in keeping with the manga as well. This, combined with the fact that in the first couple of episodes J.C. Staff boinked the timeline set by Synergy led me to have reservations about this season, but in the end, J.C. Staff won me over. By concentrating on manga story arcs and doing a fantastic job of adapting them, while simultaneously bringing their trademark high-quality animation to the table, I find Hayate no Gotoku!! turned out to be every bit as good as it's predecessor, for different reasons.
Hayate the Combat Butler: Can't Take My Eyes Off You (TV) Excellent
He Is My Master (TV) Good Whoa. Sometimes really wrong things are funny. Sexual Assault Alligator wrong & funny. That's where Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama comes in. I would be hard pressed to call anyone in this series likable, but it is easy to say everyone involved gets just what they deserve, and it is done in a wild, zany, and ultimately entertaining way.
(The ")Hentai" Prince and the Stony Cat. (TV) Masterpiece
Here Is Greenwood (OAV) Decent (dub), Masterpiece (sub) A Shojo story unlike any other, Koko wa Greenwood takes place in a boys dorm, have few to no female characters, only pokes fun at yaoi, and only has two real bishonen. Instead, it has a wacky, but slow-paced sense of humor that makes you feel right at home. Situtational humor carries the day, with slapstick almost never used, but traditional shoujo depth of character and storyline makes this a classic. Original Software Sculptors dub was also a Masterpiece. I don't know why Media Blasters choose to redub this series, but the actors they picked have no personality and deliver a flat performance
Hetalia - Axis Powers (TV) Very good Hetalia cleverly uses bishonen to teach history & international relations through humor and fan service. While hardly a Masters' level course on the subjects, Hetalia is accurate and engaging enough to teach even the most reticent student of history a thing or two, and always does so with a wink and a smile. Unfortunately, recycled animation, confusing presentation, and filler all combine to drag the series down. The repeated reuse of a full minute of banked animation and extended previews for an upcoming episode a month away would be unacceptable for a series with 30 minute episodes. That Hetalia does so with episodes that are only five minutes in length cheapens the entire series, leaving a show which might contain only just over an hour of actual content. Blah.
Hidamari Sketch (TV) Very good An excellent, soothing little slice of life program directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, in all his quirky glory. The main characters attend an art school, which is fitting, because the visual presentation in this series is a work of art. Easily one of the better shows in the genre on style alone.
Hidamari Sketch (special) Very good More of the fun slice-of-life stories of Hidamari Apartments
Hidamari Sketch × 365 (TV) Very good More of the fun slice-of-life stories of Hidamari Apartments
Hidamari Sketch × 365 (special) Very good More of the fun slice-of-life stories of Hidamari Apartments
Hidamari Sketch × Honeycomb (TV)
Hidamari Sketch × Hoshimittsu (TV) Very good More of the fun slice-of-life stories of Hidamari Apartments, now with two new underclassmen!
Hidamari Sketch × SP (special) Very good More of the fun slice-of-life stories of Hidamari Apartments
His and Her Circumstances (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) A fantastic story about two kids whose fragile artificially created worlds collide with hijinks and love in equal measure. Definately worth the price of admission, this is one work that came out of left field following directly after Gainex's Shin Seki Evangelion. Personally, my theory is that this series is the actual result of the human instrumentality project.
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (TV) Excellent They said it couldn't be done: Minoru Kawakami's shelf straining "light" novel series simply couldn't be adapted into an animation. It was too obtuse. Too complicated. Too steeped in universe building and references to vague historical events. For Sunrise, it was a challenge they simply had to take on. The result is a lovely animated, high-tempo, mind-boggling stream of far future fantasy that enthralls the viewer in action, sound, color and laughs even as the mind desperately struggles to absorb the torrent of the wild metaphysical concepts being rapid-fired into it at every turn. For some, this overload of philosophical reality-bending becomes too much and they reject the series, but if you can take it in, the rush is quite heady indeed.
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II (TV) Excellent
Hunter × Hunter (TV 2011) Excellent
Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge (movie) Very good
Iczelion (OAV) Decent An attempted revival of the old Iczer franchise with the addition of power armor, Iczelion's beautiful OAV animation fails to make up for the flagging momentum of this franchise. Decent but not incredible, This short introduction OAV seemed intended to act as the introduction to a new Iczer series, and followed the typical sentai "reluctant hero meets galactic messenger who grants them powers to fight legendary evil because they have guts and heart" plot in an excercise in predictable paint by numbers. Not awful, but nothing fantastic, ADV's addition of a lengthened rendition of the techno dance track to the preview they put out did a long way to make this series look better than it actually is.
(The) IDOLM@STER (TV) Excellent A-1 Pictures' anime series adaptation of The IdolM@ster pop idol management simulation game is a paragon example of how to adapt an existing video game franchise to film, maintaining, and in some instances improving upon, it's already existing qualities. The IdolM@ster TV series backs the game's already all-star cast with extremely high-quality animation throughout, drawing upon in-game scenarios and extrapolating them into storylines that work for TV, without compromising their content. Viewers never are left feeling like they are watching a twelve hour commercial for the game, and The IdolM@ster is incredibly entertaining even if you never have or never will find yourself playing the video game! The overwhelming amount of heart portrayed by each and every character is what has won so many players in Japan over to the video game, and that same trait shines straight through in every episode of the anime. A marvelous bit of entertainment!
THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE: Kagayaki no Mukōgawa e! Excellent
IDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA (TV) Very good
Infinite Stratos (TV) Very good A fun, simple romp with mecha musume, combining great music with exhilarating aerial combat scenes. Nothing too deep, but nothing so stupid as to ruin your good time. Ichika's clueless reaction to the girl's throwing themselves at him comes close, however, as it borders on denial.
Infinite Stratos 2 (TV) Decent
Infinite Stratos Encore: Koi ni Kogareru Rokujūsō (OAV) Very good
Inu X Boku Secret Service (TV) Masterpiece
Invaders of the Rokujyōma!? (TV) Very good
(The) irregular at magic high school (TV) Excellent
(The) Irresponsible Captain Tylor (TV) Excellent Justi Ueki ("Just Awake") Tylor is anything but the typical Japanese protagonist. He's lazy. He's homeless. He's dirty. He isn't passionate about anything. These very qualities are what make this character a walking, talking example of Taoist principles and make this anime an unconventional but irrepressible classic. Walking into a recruiting station, Tylor announces to the on duty recruiter that he wishes to join the United Planet's Space Forces, because he want's an "easy life". Flabergasted, the recruiter nevertheless, submits his application, only for a war to break out and Tylor is instantly inducted. Coincidence? These coincidences follow Tylor everywhere he goes, somehow managing to make him, to the chagrin and disgust of upstanding officers around him, the hero of the UFP Fleet! Tylor, for his part, doesn't seem to understand what is happening any more than anyone else, but his operating principles seem to somehow place him at the right place at the right time every time, despite the fact that all he wants is to "Live a happy life". Just goes to show you that life isn't worth stressing about because good things come to those who don't worry about it.
Is the order a rabbit? (TV) Excellent
Jinki:Extend (TV) Very good A twisted super-robot story of ill-fated struggle. At times, difficult to follow due to the lack of chronological storytelling, it's unique story makes it worth the effort.
K.O. Beast (OAV) Good Some of the funniest theme music in anime history couldn't save this OAV from mediocrity and obscurity. Taking place with a host of characters who are mutants (read: people with animal traits and morph into half-animal forms) who are fighting for survival against the last of the humans on a planet implausibly ripped in two. While enjoying a good amount of promise, most characters never advance in development beyond their stereotypical animal nature, and while the plot seemed like it really wanted to take off in some direction, the fact that this short OAV was canned before it could get anywhere pretty much axed any hope of that. K.O. Senki Beast Sanjushi did have a few things going for it in the comedy department. Bud Mint, one of the three main characters, comes from a tribe of Eagle people who have a chief that dresses like Uncle Sam and litters his dialogue with horrendous English, and one of the main villains uses only attacks that have large Japanese tongue-twisters as names. Full of potential, K.O. Senki Beast will unfortunately never live up to what it could have been.
Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (TV) Very good A cute, simple little love comedy. While the plot & supporting cast aren't particularly amazing, the titular lead Nagi absolutely carries the show, and is a fairly unique character. Not falling into any particular anime cliché, Nagi behaves in a spastic, almost split-personality fashion, a spunky little girl with a sense of humor which is equal parts old man & manzai idiot, who delivers the most ridiculous and outlandish statements with the most serious and dour of expressions.
Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara (TV) Good
Kanon (TV 2/2006) Masterpiece A simply exquisite, sweet, and heart-rending story of love and interpersonal struggle. The charm of Kanon's characters and their multi-faceted, three-dimensional nature cast against the backdrop of a beautiful, pure white Hokkaido winter city creates a serene, calmly paced work of art every bit worthy of it's name. Kanon inspires introspection without being preachy, and inspires empathy without being overly-dramatic. An absolutely amazing anime, in subtle ways.
Karin (TV) Good A decent if oddly disjointed Shonen Lovecomi about a reverse vampire and the boy she loves. Unusual in it's female lead character, Karin unfortunately suffers from a number of shortcomings in it's pacing & storytelling which lead it to fall slightly short of it's potential. In addition, the anime adaptation for some reason saddles audiences with an insufferable original character, Winner, who sucks up screen time as if he were the Director's Mary-Sue.
Kasimasi - Girl Meets Girl (TV) Excellent A sweet, soft, romance. A love triangle. These are the things that KashiMashi is about. In spite of it's throw away framing story this is really just a gentle Yuri story that caresses the heart. Main character Hazumu was effeminite from the start, and the only difference her gender change made was what bathroom she was expected to use. While I wonder whether or not the creators of this series used the gender-switch as a means to make a Yuri romance more legitimate, or to emphasise that matters of the heart transcend gender entirely, there is no doubt in my mind that KashiMashi is an excellent romance story that, if not in the same league as something like Kimagure Orange Road, is at least aspiring to be with no lack of skill or heart.
Kiddy Grade (TV) Very good Seemingly at first following a Dirty Pair formula with Keiji Goto character designs, Kiddy Grade evolves in an entirely different and unexpected direction, with a rich conspiracy theory woven throughout. Reserve judgement on this one until you've seen at least 8-12 episodes!
Kill la Kill (TV) Very good
Kimagure Orange Road: Summer's Beginning (movie) Masterpiece Sedated and reflective, the motion picture for Kimagure Orange Road reflects back on the life and decisions of series main character Kyosuke Kasuga, and how he becomes inexorably drawn back into his past to revisit the people and places in it. Invoking a feeling of nostalgia in the viewer, this film might not excite, but it should strike a cord somewhere deep inside.
Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de (TV) Very good Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de, also known as "They Are My Noble Masters", is the type of show you should really be ashamed of youself for loving, but it's just to damn much fun! Wild and reckless parody, fan service, and general zaniness make Kimiaru a laugh riot. Not moe, not sappy, Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de is high energy comedy coming at you like balls from an automatic pitching machine, ceaselessly pounding your funny bone. Is it fan servicey? Incredibly, but even that is played for laughs (That blinding glare following Miyu around the room to cover her assets gave me quite the chuckle fit). It knows what it is, takes every cheap laugh it can get, and doesn't care, and more power to it, the world needs more of this brand of take-no-prisoners humor.
Kimikiss pure rouge (TV) Very good KimiKiss is a rather unique adaptation of an otherwise rather typical romance visual novel. Instead of selecting a single girl's "route" or having the main character run a zig-zag path from girl to girl like a randy pimp to please fans of each girl, KimiKiss splits the role of main character into two different individuals, effectively forming two Kimagure Orange Road style love-triangles. The result is actually an excellent little romantic drama piece. Thumbs up for the creative solution, J.C. Staff!
Kinmoza! Kiniro + Mosaic (TV) Excellent
Kiss×sis (OAV) Good Absolutely shameless, but not in a gross way, Kiss x Sis is a show for one type of people: People who have a Little Sister-moe. If you've got one, then this show is an absolute blast. If you don't, keep walking!
Knights of Ramune (OAV) Weak Central Park Media probably holds the award for most effective advertising because of the preview they put out for this series, which managed to convince almost everyone I know to rush out and buy a copy. Sadly, this is three hours of nothing but straight fan service hurled at your screen without even the weakest attempt at generating a plot. Any and all plot that does exist is ripped from the previous series, 40 Fire, which sadly will probably never see an American release thanks to this trash. The only thing saving this series from the dumpster is three things: A - The animators outdid theirselves creating a giant space battle with giant mecha that belongs in a series far better than this B - The Music is exceedingly catchy C - It's so bad it's funny, and is great to watch for the sheer titillation/stupid factor
Kobato. (TV) Very good
Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imōto ga Iru! (OAV) Excellent
Kyousogiga (ONA) Excellent
Kyousogiga (TV) Masterpiece
Kyousogiga Dainidan (ONA) Excellent
Ladies versus Butlers! (TV) Very good A cute and silly, ecchi comedy which is significantly less fanservicey than it first appears to be, and manages to dance along that fine line between hilarious and slightly titillating and distasteful without ever straying over. Despite it's more outrageous content, the series is ultimately character driven. Unfortuantely, the ending is somewhat unfulfilling, reminiscent of many 90's OVA's and their "buy the manga' finales.
Lagrange - The Flower of Rin-ne (TV) Excellent With it's slick J-Trance beats, flashy, smooth lines, and sexy mecha and character designs, Rinne no LaGrange appears to be the epitome of cutting edge anime, but at its heart beats the soul of a 1970's Super Robot show. All the angst, earth-threatening crisis, and extremely powerful bad guys are overcome with a can-do positive attitude and GUTS. With a nod to more recently popular magical girl and slice of life anime with female heavy casts, Rinne no LaGrange is an excellent update to an old formula.
Lagrange - The Flower of Rin-ne (TV 2) Excellent
Last Exile (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Apparently, Studio Gonzo felt they hadn't done enough to blow us completely away yet. They have now. Blending 1930's aircraft stylings with an eighteenth century steampunk city replete with battling airships with ramparts manned by musketeers, and character designs by the masterful Range Murata, Last Exile weaves a story that conjoins classic science-fiction plots such as the responsibility of those with knowledge to the people and the need to unite or perish into an overarcing fantasy tapestry that is given a personal face. It's story a tableau of man's struggle to come to grasp with his own mind and capabilities, the animation and music all paint a tableau worthy to match the powerful plot presented. An incredible anime masterpiece, Lost Exile is a must see for any serious fan.
Leviathan: The Last Defense (TV) Very good
Library War (TV) Good If you have a very strong suspension of disbelief, Library Wars can make for good human drama in a similar vein to Patlabor. It is a very obvious shot across the bow by the author at all those who would seek to expand censorship, and it does a good job of expounding the virtue of freedom of speech and press. Unfortunately, if you can't overlook the sheer ridiculous nature of the basic premise, this show will be extremely hard to watch. Local city governments engaging in active LEGAL gunbattles with the national government on strict timetables so that they end before the library opens is a pretty large pill to swallow.
Little Busters! (TV) Masterpiece
Little Busters! Refrain (TV) Masterpiece
Lost Universe (TV) Good Taking place in one of the Slayers' universes other four planes of existance, Lost Universe is very similar to Slayers, but takes place in a science fiction setting. Despite fun characters and a plot that is at least the equal of any of the Slayer's TV series, the universe falls slightly flat. When Slayers depicted it's quirky medeival style world with modern sensibilities it was fun and entertaining, but when the same brush is used to paint a sci-fi setting it somehow comes off wrong. Likewise, while the cast is entertaining, they fail to develop the same chemistry of the Slayers cast. Truthfully, however, comparisons to Slayers are unfair, and if taken on it's own, Lost Universe is a great series. AD Vision's dub, unfortuneately, decided to bend the translation to create a more marketable product by ommitting some of the more harsh dialogue. Shame on you ADV! Shame!
Love Hina (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Thank you Ken Akamatsu! Thank you for personally reinventing the Shonen Love Comedy genre, and showing everyone that there is potential here for more than Tenchi clones! The formula used here isn't anything new: Loser Guy has problem. Loser Guy gets surrounded by lots of hot, sexy ladies, loser guy gets pummeled by girls who secretly like him. What makes Love Hina a fantastic series is two things, Akamatsu-sensei's violently funny sense of humor and his knack for creating three-dimensional characters you just want to take home. Every character in Love Hina is either someone you can identify with on a personal level, or reminds you of someone you know. The girls aren't the typical "alien girlfriend goddess ideal" type, but are rough around the edges, have flaws, have dreams outside of marrying the main character, and have loads of personality. Keitaro, for his part, isn't a total spineless loser either, nor is he a sappy nice guy overflowing with good intentions. All the characters are tangible and real, or at least as real as an anime character ever could be, and that makes them special. On the other hand, the humor of Love Hina is spontaneous, and full of parody and violent slapstick. Not always frantic, Love Hina has an excellent sense of timing about it's gags that keeps the audience glued to their seats waiting for more. Unfortunately, Love Hina recieved a substandard dub from Bandai, which seems to omit important dialogue and rewrite things at whim in a way that doesn't seem necessary, especially considering the very obvious racey sight gags. Thanks for blowing it for us Bandai.
Love Hina Again (OAV) Masterpiece The Love Hina TV series did not complete the story, and so a series of TV specials and OVAs were written to complete the series. Racier and wilder than the TV series, these episodes also conclude the plot by bringing closure to the relationships of the characters, who slowly admit their feelings and come to terms with them, finally acting upon them and bringing the show to it's eventual conclusion.
Love Hina Spring Special - I Wish Your Dream Masterpiece The Love Hina TV series did not complete the story, and so a series of TV specials and OVAs were written to complete the series. Racier and wilder than the TV series, these episodes also conclude the plot by bringing closure to the relationships of the characters, who slowly admit their feelings and come to terms with them, finally acting upon them and bringing the show to it's eventual conclusion.
Love Hina X'mas Special - Silent Eve Masterpiece The Love Hina TV series did not complete the story, and so a series of TV specials and OVAs were written to complete the series. Racier and wilder than the TV series, these episodes also conclude the plot by bringing closure to the relationships of the characters, who slowly admit their feelings and come to terms with them, finally acting upon them and bringing the show to it's eventual conclusion.
Love Lab (TV) Excellent
Love Live! School idol project (TV) Excellent
Love Live! School idol project (TV 2/2014) Excellent
Love, Election and Chocolate (TV) Very good
Lucky Star (TV) Very good Watching Lucky Star is a very interesting experience, to say the least. It isn't really about anything. The plot doesn't exactly go anywhere. The pacing is slow, and the humor, whilst funny, is very similar to sitting around at a restaurant with friends goofing around. Mysteriously, however, once you begin watching Lucky Star, it is virtually impossible to stop. Whether it is a result of the particular charms of the characters, the silly atmosphere, or the way it makes you feel like you are an actual part of this group of friends, Lucky Star makes you want to stay right their with it til the very end, which is fine, since all in all, it's a lot of fun.
Lucky Star OVA Good If FLCL is the crap that oozed out of the ears of Gainax animators after completing Neon Genesis Evangelion, than the Lucky Star OVA is the crap that oozed out of the ears of Lucky Stars animators after that series wrapped up. While it has some absolutely hilarious bits (Kagami's dream sequence is an absolute must-see), overall I found this show lacked a lot of the charm of the TV series, and a few of the segments fell rather flat. Watch it only if you really love Lucky Star, and don't have too high of expectations.
Lupin III: Dead or Alive (movie) Very good With a bizarre ending that's a little more trippy that the typically expected Lupin fare, this one was nonetheless an enjoyable film that took me by suprise
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie) Very good (sub & raw) The essential & classic Lupin, does more need be said?
Maburaho (TV) Good While it's attractive character designs and good chemistry between characters sets this show up for success, Maburaho ultimately falls down because it's main character Kazuki has such a Martyr's complex that he has killed himself before the series is half over by exhausting his life force to perform such acts as saving a bento from being spilled. While the female characters are all likable and enjoyable, Kazuki attempts to sacrifice himself at any opportunity make the character infinitely less likeable, and harder to care about (If he doesn't value his own life, why should we the viewers?) The series picks up again later because despite his apparent demise, Kazuki remains behind as a ghost, which the girls are all still keen on. While not a horrible series, Maburaho seems to fail to live up to its original potential of being a meaningful, touching love comedy to a typical jigglefest with yet another stupid main character. At least he's a martyr instead of a spineless worm for a change.
Macross Zero (OAV) Excellent Truly worthy of the name Macross, Macross Zero has all the proper elements: A beautiful girl, incredible mecha-dogfights, & the mystical power of song. Definitely worth the time to watch.
Magi - The Kingdom of Magic (TV) Excellent
Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic (TV) Very good
Magic Knight Rayearth (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Fun, fiesty, and energetic, but with a degree of emotional depth which was unexpected, Magic Knight Rayearth is proof affirmative that CLAMP is one of the leading names in manga, and through it, anime. In what could be described a unique take on the Maho Shoujo genre by turning it into a Swords & Sorcery tale, Rayearth borrows the best from both worlds. Whether your need is for lighthearted fun or incredible drama, Magic Knight Rayearth delivers!
Magic Knight Rayearth 2 (TV 2) Excellent (dub & sub) Apparently, combining Maho Shoujo & High Fantasy wasn't enough for CLAMP, they had to go and add Mecha combat to the list of things appearing in Magic Knight Rayearth. With a host of new and returning characters, Rayearth2 lives up to, and in some aspects exceeds the standards of the original series.
Magic User's Club (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) Uniquely fun, Maho Tsukai Tai (officially translated as the dreary "Magic User's Club" but equally accurately translated as "I want to be a Sorcerer!") isn't your average anime by a long shot. It's characters are original, it's plotline mostly aimless, and it's premise amuzing. If you like comedy anime but are in the mood for something different, that alone begs that you give Maho Tsukai Tai a try! (God, that's a horrible rhyme!)
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (TV) Good Well animated, well written, and well executed, Lyrical Nanoha doesn't have the charm necessary to draw viewers in, which is probably the most vital element to a good magical girls show. It comes off like a sloppy carbon copy of Card Captor Sakura, which, if that was their goal, they should have paid closer attention: almost every cast member in Card Captor Sakura is so fun and likeable that you'd watch the show for an hour without anything even needing to happen. Nanoha is a rather boring, shy, droopy girl who lacks the kind of genki energy needed to keep people interested. In later episodes, a rival appears for Nanoha, leading to some excellently animated fight sequences, but even it's moments of blazing action can't save Nanoha from it's ho-hum characters and ordinary storyline.
Magical Girl Pretty Sammy (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) Spun off from the popular Tenchi Muyo Franchise, this first incarnation of Mahou Shoujo Pretty Sammy made for an excellent tongue-in-cheek parody of the genre. While later elaborated into what became a typical paint-by-numbers Mahou Shoujo work, this early rendition of Pretty Sammy is mostly played for laughs.
Magical Meow Meow Taruto (TV) Very good This whole series is written around a very interesting artistic device: All of the characters are cats, which look, speak and act exactly like humans except for their ears and tails, but the humans in the show treat them like they are ordinary cats. Probably the best anthropomorphic characterization I have ever seen, it is both intriguing in premise and full of charming characters. If you like your cute with the extra spoonful of sugar, and your cat girls for more than just jiggle, then this is your show.
Mahō Sensei Negima!: Mō Hitotsu no Sekai (OAV) Excellent An OVA series packaged with select releases of the Negima manga, Negima: Another World isn't much of a stand-alone storytelling device. As a slickly animated highlights real for the manga, however, it performs it's job admirably. Watching this OAV without knowledge of the manga simply cannot be recommended, however.
Mahō Sensei Negima!: Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba (OAV) Excellent Negima: the White Wing is simply a continuation of the Another World OVA, with a name change to reflect the new story arc.
Mahoromatic - Automatic Maiden (TV) Very good A Gainex work in a similar vein as Aa Megami-sama, the role of Belldandy is reprised not by a Goddess, but instead by a retired combat android, who has decided to spend her last days as a maid to the son of her creator. A soft romantic comedy, Mahoromatic has a bittersweet tinge, as the end of every episode heralds Mahoro's (the main female lead) impending demise from eventually succumbing to her own wear and tear.
Mahoromatic: Summer Special Very good An integral part of Mahoromatic, the Summer Special shouldn't really be seen as something separate from the series as a whole. Think the Love Hina Spring & Winter Specials.
Mahou Sensei Negima! OVA Haru Excellent A cute little well-animated bit that paraphrases an important part of the manga.
Mahou Sensei Negima! OVA Natsu Excellent A purely fluffy fan-service romp, the Summer OVA packs in more than enough humor to make it enjoyable for more than just titillation.
Majestic Prince (TV) Excellent
Mao-chan (TV) Excellent Oh, Japan, even your Self-Defense Forces are zutto kawaii!!!! When cute lil' aliens invade the Earth, the JSDF doesn't want to risk turning public opinion against them by using brutal (read: real) weapons, so the heads of each of the services design uniforms for their granddaughters and send them out to deal with the (adorable) alien menace. Cute and Silly, this soft comedy is clever and original, just what would be expected of Ken Akamatsu (Lova Hina Mangaka).
MAPS (OAV 1994) Good Easily lost in the sea of similar Sci-fi adventure anime of the era, MAPS had a somewhat original premise, and managed to hold one's attention, if only through it's unique designs for mecha and settings and moderately interesting storylines. While not an incredible series, it is at least worth giving a watch.
Maria Holic (TV) Very good Maria Holic is fun in a horribly twisted sort of way. It's a bittersweet chocolate. A rollercoaster ride of ups and downs and delicious, delicious parody of all things yuri all the way. The stylistic mimickry of such things as Maria-sama ga Miteru & Utena are hilarious enough without the humorous antics of horny closet-lesbian Kanako-chan and her cruel transgender room-mate Mariya. An absolute must see for fans of yuri & parody.
Martian Successor Nadesico (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Martian Successor Nadesico, while virtually unintelligable to the unexposed American, is the ultimate Otaku anime. Not only is it's quality of parody unparalleled, it's cast attractive, and it's action breathtakingly animated, but hidden just below the surface is a exposition exploring what it is which makes us otaku, and why, deep inside, not only do we all wish real-life was like anime, but that it should be. While the uninitiated might mock you for your love of anime, and admonish you for not leaving childish things behind, the reason why you hold onto them and they shun them is the same: anime is everyone's fantasy, their dream world, their ideal. While reality may be harsh and cruel sometimes, everyone longs for that caring, colorful world that anime effortlessly is, and even if we can't make real-life like that, wishing and hoping and working towards it might just make life just a little bit better.
Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture - Prince of Darkness Masterpiece In it's theatrical appearance, Martian Successor Nadesico makes a turn for the dramatic. That's not to say that there isn't still plenty of comedy in the Prince of Darkness, but the overall story is much deeper and darker than in the TV series. Akito Tenkawa, refusing to let go of his ideals in the face of a dark reality, becomes a Char Aznable-like character fighting corruption and oppression throughout the Sol System. While a complete work in and of itself, it's ending leaves a number of issues unresolved, and it would be incredible if some day we could get a follow up anime, although I'm not holding my breath.
Mashiroiro Symphony - The color of lovers (TV) Very good A highly polished visual novel adaptation, Mashiro-Iro Symphony makes up for it's less than original story with flawless execution and picture perfect atmosphere. Unfortunately, what appeared to be the initial buildup to a stunning finale sort of petered out into a mediocre and generic "got the girl" ending.
Mayoi Neko Overrun! (TV) Very good A cute, simple series full of parody & traditional shonen love comedy tropes, Mayoi Neko Overrun is unique in the way it made use of a different director for each episode, resulting in a number of stellar artistic endeavors on the part of those involved. The characters are charming if somewhat ordinary, but animation quality and directing are absolutely top-notch. Unfortunately, with so many hands in the cookie jar and so few episodes, no real plot truly develops, but as parody & spectacle, Mayoi Neko Overrun! succeeds in entertaining the audience.
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV) Very good I'm not sure that there is much I can say about Haruhi Suzumiya that hasn't already been said. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu is a quirky, bent dissertation of Descartes. While it oozes plenty of charm, it pummels you with it's alien assertions. Ultimately, it tells you that God is just as confused as you are, but there isn't too much cause for alarm, she's really a sweet girl when you get to know her.
Mermaid's Scar (OAV) Very good Mermaid's Scar might not be what fan's of some of her other works would expect from Rumiko Takahashi. Violent and full of oppressive, smothering atmosphere, Mermaid's Scar details the lives of individuals rendered immortal through the horrific act of eating the flesh of a Mermaid, and the terrible lives led by the undying. Rumiko Takahashi's latest work, Inu Yasha, seems to be partially inspired in some ways by her work on this series.
Metropolis (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Decades after he wrote Metropolis, and indeed many of his other series, Osamu Tezuka's questions about the nature of Artificial Intelligence and life continue to fascinate and intrigue. Animated long after the death of the man known as the God of Manga. Metropolis' has been given a dazzling visual makeover which carries with it a majesty befitting of the work. Despite this, however, it is the original story and the philosophical nature of Metropolis which is it's true star. Inspiring manga and anime writers for years to come, Metropolis is a monument to a man to which anime owes an unpayable debt.
Midori Days (TV) Very good In perhaps one of the weirdest premises in anime, the main character of Midori Days awakes one morning to find his right hand as been replaced by a girl with a crush on him, like a living, Siamese hand-puppet. While there's nothing to this series that would blow your mind, it's definitely original, and it has it's cute moments.
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland (OAV) Very good The Lesbian Conspiracy strikes again! A meaningless, fluffy fan-service OVA from the irrepressable CLAMP, Miyuki-chan in Wonderland is a yuri Alice in Wonderland, with every doorknob and playing card a beautiful girl, and every conversation a sexual proposition, and all of it excellently animated in the hallmark CLAMP style. Yet more proof that the girls at CLAMP aren't just checking out the guys when they go out.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam (TV) Very good (edit.dub), Excellent (sub & raw) The first in a series of spin-off Gundam series, many were terrified to discover that G Gundam was not only the type of over-the-top Super-Hero Robot Show that Gundam was originally written to serve as the counterpoint to, but was a Martial Arts tournament anime from the creator of Getter Robo! In all actuality, however, G Gundam is an excellent series in it's own right as long as you do not attempt to compare it to it's primogenitor, which is like comparing apples and oranges. Humorous, over the top, and fun, some Americans might find some of the ethnic stereotypes used throughout the series to be racist or derogatory, although undoubtedly the creators were just trying to do something fun and probably weren't too wordly. Besides, the Football-playin', surfin', boxin' Cowboy Gundam deployed by Neo-America is just plain hilarious.
Mobile Suit Gundam (TV) Masterpiece Unstoppable. That's the word which best describes the Gundam franchise, a neverending collection of novels, toys, games, movies, tv shows, and other merchandise spawned from this single television series, easily one of the greatest works of science fiction of all time, and the first Mecha anime in a new genre: Realistic Mecha, where instead of being brightly colored rides of super-heroes, giant robots were simply walking tanks in a war like any other, bound by the laws of physics like any other humble object. Whole books could be written just about this one single series, and a few simple words on this sight written by me would never do it justice. It's setting and backstory is intricately fleshed-out. It's physics well thoughtout and explained, it's technology never hokey, despite some outlandish appearances (it was the 1970's after all). Unlike previous programs, characters on both sides were portrayed as human, flawed, yet often noble individuals. No side had the monopoly on malice, idiocy, or selfishness, and removed of all it's sci-fi trappings this could easily be a drama about a bunch of Russian conscripts during WWII. It's technology, settings, characters, and concepts would go on to inspire anime through the present day and new fiction works are still written taking place in this original setting.
Mobile Suit Gundam - The Movie Trilogy Masterpiece (dub & sub) A well-edited down series of three feature film versions of the original Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, little is lost in this retelling of the original, incredible story.
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (OAV) Masterpiece The first Gundam story to take place in the Universal Century timeline as an offshoot from the main plot, 0080 shows the War from the perspective of children in a neutral space colony who become caught in the middle of the War between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon. well animated and directed, War in the Pocket carrys on the tradition of tragic Gundam finales. Remember Bernie!
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory (OAV) Masterpiece Another excellent Gundam side story, 0083 details the Delaz Fleet Incident, an attack by Zeon remnants on the Earth Federation which leads to the formation of the jackbooted thugs known as the Titans who serve as the villains of Zeta Gundam. Fully up to the quality which is to be expected of a Gundam series, Stardust Memory is a strong addition to any Gundam collection.
Mobile Suit Gundam Seed (TV) Good (dub & sub) Having finally seen all of Gundam SEED, I have been forced to rethink my opinion of this series. while at first it seemed a deserving heir of the original FIRST Gundam, when the writers decided around midway through that they wanted to take the series in a new direction to keep things interesting things went right off the rails. The character and mecha designs are beautiful, as is the animation, if you can tolerate the reuse of stock scenes which begins to become more common later on in the show. The first half of the show is almost a complete parroting of the original 1970's Mobile Suit Gundam series, with the names changed and a few subtle differences here and there. It is only once mid-series is reached that the series drastically changes into one part Zeta Gundam (Titans), one part Macross (J-Pop will save the world! Believe in peace!) & one-half cup Evangelion (mankind is destined to destroy itself!). The result is that the series starts out with all the delicious morally gray ambiguity of original Gundam, but suddenly abandons it when it decides that a couple of kids can steal a ship and form their own side, which will be morally superior to the other sides in the war and that without them the war cannot end. Gundam SEED isn't a terrible series. There's still a lot of good character and storytelling elements to it, but it's hard not to be grossly dissappointed by the way the series concluded itself, when it started with such promise.
Mobile Suit Gundam UC (OAV) Masterpiece
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (TV) Not really good While many may disagree, Gundam Wing is a disgrace to it's heritage as a Gundam anime. It's primadonna, juvenile main characters are illogical, it's premise unrealistic, it's Gundam's overly powerful, and it's plot frustratingly impossible. Character's self-destruct their Mobile Suit's at the first sign of encirclement by the enemy, only for the enemy to (somehow) capture and rebuild that same mobile suit to use against them (which seems to imply that the self-destruct mechanism isn't doing it's job right). Pilots and Politicians alike change sides, dissolve and create new factions at the drop of the hat, yet the populace of Earth seems completely unbothered by this and content to follow whatever flag is convenient that day. The main characters are angst ridden but provide little in the way of actual drama, and every problem, despite what the characters preach, can be settled with the barrel of a beam cannon. Seemingly designed only to please the yaoi fanfic writing set, only this series well animated combat sequences and catchy soundtrack allow it to attract a wider audience. While First Gundam is a involved, realistic war drama, Gundam Wing is a farce of that same work, pretending that twelve year old kids with walking nuclear bombs for weapons can somehow teach the world to sing kumbaya. While not the worst anime series ever, and probably unfairly compared to the original Gundam works, Gundam Wing still fails to be much of an anime.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (movie) Masterpiece Despite the fact that a few other works exist in the Universal Century Timeline after Char's Counterattack, it can be considered the true finale to the original Gundam storyline, as it culminates in the final battle between Earth Federation Ace Pilot Amuro Rei & Neo-Zeon visionary leader and Ace Char Aznable, the two main characters of the original Gundam TV series who had been feuding ever since. Little more than a framework for this final battle to take place, Char's Counterattack nevertheless is an essential part of the Gundam saga and a very fitting final chapter.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team (OAV) Excellent (dub & raw) Taking on an even more gritty and realistic appearance and setting than the typical Gundam series, the 08th MS Team is the story of the grunts in the trenches on the front line, who have to fight tooth and nail while the aces of the main storyline win the glory. While inexperienced unit commander and main character Ensign Shiro Amada makes some stupid decisions, he is a man with a good heart, strong character, and incredible luck, and in a change of pace from the typical Gundam series, not a Newtype. Beautifully animated and with a decent, if short and overly simplistic storyline, the 08th MS Team is definitely a must watch for any mecha anime fan.
My Dear Marie (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) A cute, short, 90's OVA about a nerdy guy who creates a robotic double of the girl he has a crush on because he can't bring himself to confess. A little bit creepy, but with a lot of heart, Boku no Marie is one of those fun little OVA series the likes of which you don't see today.
My Santa (OAV) Decent Itsudatte My Santa reaks of Akamatsu-sensei's particular brand of slapstick silly comedy. It seems Ken took off from clever writing for Christmas, however. My Santa is about as deep as a Peanut's gang greeting card, sometimes almost embarrassing in it's sheer simplicity. I guess you can't expect much from something intended to be watched once a year, but don't come expecting more than slapstick and fan service in a santa costume with reindeer, because I guarantee that's all you'll get.
My-HiME (TV) Excellent I am disappointed to say that I underestimated My-Hime. Expecting it to be a run-of the mill, "super-powered girls fight monsters and save the day" anime, I was caught completely off-guard when half-way through it began to exhibit all the hallmarks of a great Japanese nihilistic drama. From typical heroic monster of the week battles to a heart-crushing blood duel between friends and back in time to crush the demon at the heart of it all, My-Hime is every bit an excellent anime series that scores highly in all categories from comedy to animation quality, soundtrack to drama.
My-Otome (TV) Very good An alternate retelling/sequel to My-Hime, My-Otome captures most everything great about that series, but makes it cuter, and throws in a tale of grasping political aspiration in the background. If My-Otome is missing anything, it's the original's sense of desperate loss. My-Otome lacks the heart-wrenching drama of the original My-Hime, and tends to remain more upbeat throughout, not that it is completely without depth of emotion.
My-Otome Zwei (OAV) Very good Following up on the My-Otome series, Zwei takes the show's characters into DBZ territory, with Arika & Co. smashing asteroids and putting on even bigger displays of explosive power. Content quality is consistent with the TV episodes.
Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Perhaps most remarkable in how unremarkable it truly is, Nadia was a very innovative anime for its time, one of the first "Steampunk" anime, borrowing very heavily from Jules Verne and other writers of the era, and probably the first to have a black lead character. While it lacks the fast and frantic pace of many anime of recent years, it's slow pace and classic storytelling is exactly what makes Nadia a work of art and approachable for such a wide audience. It is also not written in the typical Nihon-centric style of many anime, and so is easily understandable and enjoyable to foreigners. The ending does suffer somewhat from some hard to fathom moments, but overall, the series shines with pure innovation.
Nagasarete Airantou (TV) Very good A series with a hyper-simplistic, paint-by-numbers premise which might lead you to immediately write it off as derivative dribble, Nagasarete Airanto is surprisingly low on fan service and big on heart. Unsophsticated, Nagasarete Airanto nevertheless draws you in with it's soothing atmosphere and smiling faces until you can't help but be smiling as well.
NAKAIMO - My Little Sister Is Among Them! (TV) Excellent
Nanana's Buried Treasure (TV) Excellent
Needless (TV) Excellent Somewhere, deep in the bowels of Madhouse Studio, a portal was opened to 1989. Using the mystic powers of their powerful guitar riffs, Granrodeo draws forth from that gateway the pure essence of 80's OVA-goodness. This power is then channeled directly into Masayuki Sakoi's powerful fists, and with his bare hands, he rips the hearts out of prepared human sacrifices, their blood gushing forth to be his ink, the naked bodies of beautiful young girls his canvas. Feverishly he unleashes his over-the-top comedic talents upon the world! BAM! It's too late. Needless has already been inflicted upon the world. Bask in it's bloody, hilarous, fan-servicey glory!
Negima! (TV) Excellent A surprisingly interesting & well rendered anime considering the premise of 31 shoutacons and their young boy wizard-teacher. The first half of the series is funny & entertaining but generally rather light and lacking in major substance, but once the series gets past the halfway point and the characters are introduced enough to begin developing them, the cast begins to show their three-dimensional, human qualities and grow to be more than mere genre character archetypes. The second half yields additional surprises as well, as the story takes on something of a battle adventure plot, refusing to be tied down to shonen love-comedy tropes. Ken Akamatsu proves he's still got a lot of great storytelling in him.
Negima!? (TV) Excellent The transition from Xebec to Shaft for the not quite sequel, not quite retelling of Negima has both its pros and cons. In Shaft's favor, animation quality is leaps and bounds above the C average work Xebec put out, timing of the humor is better, and the change in directors saw some great characters that were sidelined by Nobuyoshi Habara finally get a good amount of screentime. On the downside, Negima!? is now saddled with Akiyuki Shinbo's ADHD sensibilities and sense of humor which he projects into the series with little regard for the established tone of the work or personalities of the characters, and the new OP fails to live up to the hyper, energetic "Happy Material" that the original series made iconic. By mid-way through the series we've been transported completely away from the plot of the manga and we're off in pure Shinbo-land, fighting to make sense of things. In the end, Negima!? is every bit as enjoyable as the first series, but is frustrating for it's failure to adhere to something with even a passing resemblence to the manga storyline.
Neo Ranga (TV) Excellent Is it a monster? Is it a God? Does it have a will of it's own, or does it simply obey the Shimabara sisters? Neo Ranga is one part Evangelion psychological drama, one part Kaiju monster film, one part comedy, & one part personality play. Well animated and executed, Neo Ranga's unique concept makes for a spectacular work of anime, as we are treated to the dilemmas both moral and personal of three orphaned sisters deified by the presence of the titular ancient God.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) What more can be said about Evangelion that hasn't been said already? Evangelion revolutionized anime in the late nineties. It helped establish anime as a serious medium for adults, and to bring pyschological drama in anime to the fore like never before. It has spawned a merchandising mania of a scale which has not been seen since Mobile Suit Gundam. Somewhat less commonly mentioned, but not unspoken of are it's shoddy animation quality and obvious cost-cutting measures in it's later episodes hastily disguised as "artistic expression", a cast of characters which belong in an asylum, and one of anime's least likable main characters. Perhaps what is least realized by most viewers is that the true plot of Evangelion has nothing to do with Angels, or God, or combat in a future cityscape, but in the struggle within the self to find where the individual ends and the group begins. Anyone who tells you that End of Evangelion is a better ending than the Human Instrumentality Project ending of the TV Series obviously doesn't understand Evangelion at all.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (movie) Very good A shameless rehash of already existing footage with a small amount of new animation so that Gainax could cash in while delaying the release of the true Evangelion movie (End of Evangelion). Any value this short work has is drawn entirely from the series that precedes it and the movie that follows it.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Excellent Produced for viewers disappointed they didn't get to see the apocalypse that was promised in the Evangelion TV series, End of Evangelion delivers: Lots of dead people, lots of Shinji being a spineless, worthless lump of flesh, and a giant bloody Rei Ayanami head. I hope you people are happy.
New Dominion Tank Police (OAV) Very good A slightly grittier re-envisioning of Shiro Masamune's Dominion, "New" Dominion enjoys the high quality animation & self-contained short stories which were the hallmark of early 90's OVAs. Simple enough to be easy to follow, but complex enough to be engaging, and definitely worth the time to watch.
Nichijou - My Ordinary Life (TV)
Ninja Cadets (OAV) Good (dub & sub) A fun but forgettable OAV from an era of similar creations. energetic and with a number of funny moments, there isn't a hole lot that stands out about Ninja mono, and since AIC couldn't be bothered to complete this series, there's not much to recommend Ninja mono beyond it being able to fill a couple of hours of downtime.
Nisekoi - False Love (TV) Excellent
Nobunaga The Fool (TV) Very good
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (TV) Good Haruka Nogizaka's Secret is a cute little series which makes for decent light entertainment for the Otaku-set. While elements of the series come off as very cliché, others are a fun new twist on old gags (the school idol is a female otaku). As an aside, the Comiket & Akihabara episodes portray those locations particularly accurately, even for shows that make numerous reference to them.
Nurse Witch Komugi (OAV) Excellent A hilarious parody romp. In-jokes and otaku-culture references abound in this utterly plotless but amusing OVA.
Nyan Koi! (TV) Good Starting with a cute little comedy premise, Nyan Koi ultimately fails to fully live up to its potential thanks to a mostly directionless second half. The series "non-ending" is thoroughly unsatisfying, and the while the show attempts to build a more unique caste of characters than the typical shonen love comedy, the likeability of said characters is hit and miss.
Oh My Goddess! (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) An absolute classic, the enduring nature of Aa Megami-sama!, decades after it's initial publication, is a tribute to the genius of series creator Kosuke Fujishima. While the manga has come to suffer from a certain monotony in plot, with only five episodes, This mid-90's OVA hit's all the high points without wasting any time, even finishing with a satisfying conclusion.
Ōkami-san & Her Seven Companions (TV) Very good
OniAi (TV) Excellent
Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!! (TV) Good After dozens of "little sister" anime, Ochiinko, as it is often known, is here to parody them. Ochiinko takes all those gross little otaku fetishes and propensities, magnifies them to 11, and then turns them on their ear in such a humorous way even the most potentially offensive material can't help but make you laugh. Combined with the "Doug" like character designs, what could be considered titillating in other shows is played for almost pure comedy here.
Oreimo (TV) Masterpiece There's a hidden genius to Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! Despite being a series that deals with such taboo otaku fetishes as incest, little sisters, homosexuality, and lolicon, Ore no Imoto manages to humanize and satirize it's subject matter in a way which does the almost unthinkable - makes them temporarily acceptable to a normal person. Indeed, each character in the story, each aspect of the plot seems to serve a carefully planned purpose of either explaining otaku and some of their more objectionable habits to a normal viewer in a way which teaches acceptance, or which guides otaku how better to deal with those around them and find a means to interact on a normal, interpersonal level without giving up who they are. That all the while Ore no Imoto never becomes preachy, and never ceases to remain at it's core exactly the kind of imotocon incest love comedy that its defending in its own dialog is nothing short of an awe-inspiring act of bridging the great normal-otaku divide. Fuishimi-sensei, my hat is off to you!
Oreimo 2 (TV) Masterpiece
Otaku no Video (OAV) Masterpiece Part pseudo-biography of Otaking Toshio Okada, part documentary on Otaku culture, the plainly titled "Otaku no Video" was a first in the anime industry, a manifesto in favor of the otaku subculture, and an unbiased look at what it means to be otaku, warts and all.
Ouran High School Host Club (TV) Very good A cute, silly comedy series that's pretty damn funny. Not as yaoi as I expected. Tamaki at first seems to be the classic bishounen character template, but as the series progresses he just seems to be more and more of a dork. Animation quality is good, as is the dub quality, except for the STUPID dub of the OP & ED. When will you learn Funi?! When will you learn!!
Outbreak Company (TV) Excellent
Pani Poni Dash! (TV) Very good Pani Poni Dash is probably the most zany, nonsensical anime creation in a long. long time. Crazy, off the wall, there simply aren't enough synonyms for insane to describe this silly little series, but it's absolutely enjoyable nonetheless. The one impediment to true enjoyment of this program is the realization that it, like a number of anime, rely heavily on Japanese puns for humor, which pretty much guarantees that something is lost in translation, and that it is impossible to truly enjoy the series the way it was intended without a working knowledge of the Japanese language.
Patlabor WXIII (movie 3) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Spooky, intelligent, and unique, the third Patlabor film is an almost indescribable detective story of incredible quality. It certainly isn't your typical, run of the mill Patlabor story. Just about anyone probably could and should enjoy this skillfully executed film.
Patlabor: The Movie Masterpiece
Penguin Girl (ONA) Very good The bar for zany anime has now been raised! Penguin Musume is nonstop ridiculous humor and anime parody. It's fun, energetic, messed-up, and dazzling in a way which leaves you laughing and demanding more.
Perfect Blue (movie) Not really good Perfect Blue is a tale which asserts that the life of a J-pop Idol is that of being the victim of a series of reality altering social experiences which ultimately lead to suffering, murder, and madness. While critically acclaimed, there is little unique or special about Perfect Blue outside of it being animated and the main character being an idol. All of it's segments are stock psychological thriller trope. You might find something in it to enjoy of you are really into that sort of thing.
Phantom Quest Corp. (OAV) Good A rather forgettable 80's OVA about a tough young lady-exorcist and her live-in shouta accountant. Decently entertaining if you are looking to kill time.
Plastic Little (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) Plastic Little is what they call "cheesecake". With a little action. But mostly cheesecake. If Satoshi Urushihara wasn't an ungodly good artist, this OVA would never have sold a single copy. Luckily, he is, and it can be worth the time to watch it, if only because it's pretty.
Pokemon 2000 - The Movie Very good While not as fantastic as the 3rd film, Pokemon 2000 nonetheless managed to mesh all the necessary parts together into an entertaining film.
Pokemon 3 - The Movie Very good A surprisingly well scripted Pocket Monsters movie, the third Pokemon film is probably the best of the three I've watched so far. My expectations were rather low, so they were absolutely shattered when I was confronted by a film with excellent characters and a compelling story. Definitely not what I expected.
Pokemon: The First Movie Good Kind of a typical "guy and his friends team up with the power of friendship to take down the really crazy, confused bad guy" anime film plot. Still, it wasn't badly executed.
Precure All Stars DX: Minna Tomodachi—Kiseki no Zenin Daishūgō (movie) Excellent Heart pounding theatrical quality battle action animation! No, this isn't the shonen martial arts flick, it's PRETTY CURE! Yes, this is one hell of a colorful magical girl brawl, folks! Pretty Cure has long been known amongst magical girl fans for having great action sequences, but this cross-over film starring characters from all the prior series brings the excitement level up to 11.
Princess Lover! (TV) Good Surprisingly deeper than it first appears, but only just barely, Princess Lover is surprisingly light on fan service but strong in concept. Unfortunately, while the initial storyline's focus on class-conflict and the unwritten rules of social interaction between those of high social standing is well thought out and intriguing, latter episodes introduce a few hokey elements to the ever-growing conspiracy at the center of the anime rendering it all a bit of a wash. One must suppose not much can be expected from a 12 episode series based upon an Eroge.
Princess Mononoke (movie) Masterpiece An eerie yet forceful tale of caution about the balance between man and nature. One of the greatest works of Hayao Miyazaki.
Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they? (TV) Very good
Project A-Ko (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Originally intended to be an episode of the Cream Lemon hentai series, it was decided that something this wacky had mass market appeal, and the adult scenes were cut. Ultimately, this seems to have been an excellent idea, since the result was this beautiful, wacky, cheesy film which has become a cult favorite. Mechanical design quality & animation is far above what would be expected for a comedy film, and the A-ko-B-ko-C-ko character dynamic is classic.
Project A-Ko 2: Plot of the Daitokuji Financial Group (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Cheesy fun in the extreme, Project A-ko 2 has less of the serious parody feel of the original film and even more of the just plain zany slapstick, which is fine, because this film is every bit as funny as the first.
Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody (OAV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) For the third Project A-ko film, the directors returned to the hard-boiled delivery for the introduction of male love interest Kei. An enormously destructive cat fight ensues.
Project A-Ko 4: Final (OAV) Very good (dub & sub) You can tell that the series is winding down in Project A-ko 4. Unlike the earlier films, a large number of the gags seem pretty unimaginative and uninspired. Still, the clever bits here and their and the couple of curve balls thrown throughout the film are enough to still allow Project A-ko as a series to go out on a high note with the roll of the credits.
Project Blue Earth SOS (TV) Very good A well-polished tribute to American 40's & 50's Sci-Fi serials, with only a hint of a Japanese twist. Not your typical anime by a longshot, Project Blue Chikyuu SOS is an example of how well a story & style not traditionally associated with anime can be adapted to the medium.
Psychic Squad (TV) Masterpiece
PUCHIM@S (ONA)
Pumpkin Scissors (TV) Excellent There are a lot of War anime, but there aren't a lot of POST-war anime. Pumpkin Scissors is a series about one noble girl's attempt to clean up the corrupt bureaucratic world of post-war government with the help of her army intelligence unit. Along the way, a lot of secret government weapons are revealed, and despite seeming like most of the action should be over, there is a suprising amount of shoot-outs and combat sequences in Pumpkin Scissors as Section III confronts criminals, corrupt politicians, and even unethical members of their own military.
Puni Puni Poemy (OAV) Masterpiece Puni Puni Poemy is the combined result of all the accumulated gags too raunchy, tasteless, stupid, or absolutely out there to appear in Excel Saga. Needless to say, this anime is absolutely fantastic!
R.O.D -The TV- Excellent Read or Die TV follows the plotline of the Read or Dream manga arc, and can be a little confusing to viewers who have only previously seen the Read or Die OVA, since main character Yomiko Readman doesn't actually appear until halfway through the series. Much more slice of life and calmly paced than the original OVA, R.O.D. TV is still just as intelligent as it's predecessor, and deserves equal praise.
Ranma ½ OAV Excellent (dub & sub) A series of short stories starring the Ranma cast, only with significantly better animation quality.
Ranma ½ (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) The classic & essential Rumiko Takahashi work, Ranma 1/2 is the essential shonen comedy, in which anything and everything becomes a martial arts showdown from tennis to tea ceremony, and in typical Takahashi fashion the cast is an evergrowing web of antagonistic & unrequited love interests. Animation quality and storytelling quality drop significantly by the later seasons, but overall Ranma 1/2 ranks amongst the pantheon of anime classics.
Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron, China (movie) Excellent (dub & sub) Traditional Hong Kong Martial Arts film Ranma 1/2 style! Watch as Ranma challenges the hidden masters of a secret chinese martial arts school one by one!
Ranma ½: Nihao My Concubine (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Glitzy and Fan Service-y in the extreme, this film by all rights should probably be the worst of the Ranma 1/2 films, yet somehow, Director Akira Suzuki triumphs against the odds and Kessen Tougenkyou is one of the best anime TV series tie-in films of all time! The rich characters created by Rumiko Takahashi manage to all be played to their strengths, and a shallow plot-line is patched over by such great character interactions it's vertually unnoticeable. As the icing on the cake, the animation quality is absolutely stellar. Congratulations, Mr. Suzuki! You're one hell of a director!
Ranma ½: One Flew Over the Kuno's Nest (movie) Masterpiece (dub & sub) In one of the most ridiculous & entertaining moments in Ranma 1/2 (which is saying alot, considering), Tatewaki Kuno becomes cursed by an oversized bird affixed to his head, and chaos & martial arts mayhem ensue. If only all of the TV series could have been this well directed & animated, the result would have been dazzling.
Read or Die (OAV) Masterpiece Lovingly animated and inspiringly original, this series of theatrical quality OVAs are a stunning bit of creative storytelling for the intellectual who still enjoys action movies. Read or Die is so good that it makes you pine for the days when OVAs were far more common than they are today.
Redline (movie) Very good
Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) Avant-garde and filled with multi-layered symbolism, Shoujo Kakumei Utena is definitely not the typical coming of age story. Draped in powerful theatrics and beautiful visual devices, at it's core, Utena is still the story of a young girl struggling to find herself in her adolescence. This is adolescence as viewed through the dual lenses of Greek tragedy & shoujo romance, however, creating an ethereal universe of floating castles, dueling princes, and shimmering roses, all of which symbolize some part of the struggle inside the soul of a young girl. An absolute masterpiece which should not be missed by anyone.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie Masterpiece (dub & sub) While at first appearance a retelling of the original Shoujo Kakumei Utena, in reality, Adolescence Mokushiroku is the finale of the series, the climax in which the young girl escapes from the pressures which bind her and becomes her own self. An absolute masterpiece.
Riding Bean (OAV) Good A short, fun OVA based upon the manga of the same name. The artistic, if not the literal predecessor of the later work of Kenichi Sonoda, Gunsmith Cats, Riding Bean comes off as a less refined rendition of that other work, and includes a cast of characters which would appear later slightly reworked in the Gunsmith Cats manga.
Ruin Explorers - Fam & Ihrie (OAV) Excellent One of the buried gems of early 90's OVAs, Fam & Iirii is a an excellent little self-contained OVA, managing to tell a complete story in the matter of two hours, generate an interest in the characters, and maintain a high production quality throughout without becoming boring or playing out fan service. Superior in a number of ways to it's contemporaries, and definitely worth the time to watch.
Rune Soldier (TV) Very good Anyone who has ever played D & D is bound to love Maho Senshi Louie, the Fighter who has decided to be a mage. Have you ever had a party where a medium to high level fighter started multi-classing as a wizard? Did he spend most of his time punching the lights out of Orcs instead of casting spells? Were his partymates frustrated because he wouldn't fulfil his role in the party? Louie's fellow party members feel the same way, with predictable comedic results. Maho Senshi Louie possesses good quality animation and three-dimensional characters that are at least the equal in quality of the Slayers cast, but the true value of this show is a humor that only a role-playing gamer will truly understand.
Rurouni Kenshin: The Motion Picture Very good Well animated and with a fast-paced, mentally engaging story, the Rurouni Kenshin movie is a surprising change from the slow-paced, plodding television series.
Sacred Seven (TV) Excellent Rarely does an anime shorter than twenty-four episodes come forth from that monolith of all things commercial anime, Sunrise. Rarer still is the result such a slick, fist pumping, easily enjoyable and yet amazingly memorable product as the boringly named Sacred Seven. Two parts Guyver, one part Mega Man, one part Pretty Cure, Sacred Seven manages to hit all the otaku pandering check points in such a way as to not distract from the overall quality of the storytelling and action in any way. The story is well thought out, engaging, and best of all, succinct. A paragon example of what the art-form should be in every way.
Sailor Moon (TV) Not really good (edit.dub), Masterpiece (sub & raw) Quite possibly one of the best anime ever made, Naoko Takeuchi's works are sorely missed in the manga & anime world. Based around the concept of taking a traditional Maho Shojo series and making a Sentai style team of Magical Girls, the true value of this series is in the pure-hearted and compassionate writing of Naoko Takeuchi, who is highly inciteful of people's emotions and feelings. Combining convincing slice of life comedy with a plot that emphasizes the feelings of the heart over a backdrop of typical Maho Shojo monster of the week combat, something so much more than the average Magical Girl program is created. Characters act real, feel real, and respond to things in human ways that are missing from many of even the most critically acclaimed anime, not to mention live-action films. Pure hearted without being unrealistically sweet, Sailor Moon reminds us all of the heartfelt good intentions at the core of all of us. While other Maho Shoujo programd may babble on about love, it is obvious that Naoko and her fellow creators of this series put serious thought into the dialogue. DiCs horrific bastardization of this series, which turns every other line of dialogue to reminding viewers of a manufactured moral lesson (Sailor Moon says brush your teeth kids!) and glazes over anything the slightest bit objectionable isn't even enough to blot out the passion inherent in ths program. Anyone who hasn't seen this subtitled needs to watch it again before passing judgement, because it is an entirely different anime.
Sailor Moon R (TV) Not really good (edit.dub), Excellent (sub) The second season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R deals extensively with the setting of the Sailor Moon universe, the Silver Millennium, and the future Crystal Tokyo. It compares well to the first season, and is essential to understanding much of what takes place later in the series.
Sailor Moon R Movie: Promise of the Rose Excellent An exceptionally well animated vignette featuring an alien boy with a love for Usagi's destined love, Mamoru. Perhaps not up to the same storytelling caliber of the actual works of Naoko Takeuchi, it is none the less an entertaining film
Sailor Moon S (TV) Decent (edit.dub), Masterpiece (sub & raw) Perhaps the best story arc in the Sailor Moon TV series, Sailor Moon S introduces a number of important characters, and is full of the same maho shoujo action as previous series, but truly shines because of Kunihiko Ikuhara's excellent, stylish directing and it's refined character interactions. Definitely must-see anime!
Sailor Moon S Movie: Hearts in Ice Masterpiece The only one of the three Sailor Moon movies written by Naoko Takeuchi, The Sailor Moon S movie is a perfectly encapsulated representation of what Sailor Moon is all about: the love shared between people and a philosophy of life which takes every day as it comes, with an open and compassionate heart. An absolutely incredible film.
Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (TV) Excellent With Kodansha & Toei's railroading of the content of Sailor Moon in full force, Naoko Takeuchi, frustrated and overworked, still managed to give us a masterpiece of a finale. The early short-story arc where the Senshi battle Nehelenia is amongst the best Sailor Moon animated stories. The rest of the season suffers somewhat do to the interjection of the unnecessary fan service for the ladies by way of the Star Lights (originally intended by Takeuchi to be female all the time), but in the end the finale is pure, unadulterated Takeuchi magic.
Sailor Moon SuperS (TV) Very good Sailor Moon SuperS is a bittersweet experience for true Sailor Moon fans, as it represents the point at which corporate executives began to hijack Takeuchi-sensei's vision for Sailor Moon to serve their own interests. The story arc which in the manga belongs to fleshing out the character, background, and heroism of Usagi Tsukino's lover, Mamoru Chiba is altered to write him almost completely out of the story so that they can instead focus on Chibi-usa, probably because they figured young girls aren't actually interested in how a man thinks and feels anyway, and would rather see the torch passed to a younger heroine. Usagi is made out to be a bigger idiot in this series than she is in any of the others. While still ultimately a decent anime, almost all of that is a result of what was left of the original Manga storyline which made it through the editing process to produce this series.
Sailor Moon SuperS (special) Excellent A number of character developing short stories. Amongst some of the harder Sailor Moon episodes to find, but well worth the effort.
Sailor Moon SuperS Movie: Black Dream Hole Excellent Just as the season of the same name does, the SuperS movie focuses entirely upon Chibi-Usa as the lead character, regulating the title character to the role of supporting parental figure. Unlike the TV season, however, Black Dream Hole was written from the ground up as a Chibi-Usa story, and is the better for it.
Sailor Moon SuperS Plus - Ami's First Love (special) Excellent A cute, silly, an humorous short featuring everyone's favorite prodigy, Ami-chan. Rival = Enemy, huh? Maybe people might want to rethink that crushing on Ami-chan thing.....
Sakura Trick (TV) Good
Sakura Wars (OAV) Very good Sakura Taisen the OVA serves as a decent introduction to the long running franchise, particularly for those of us on this side of the Pacific who have never had access to the fantastic video game series that started it all. The OVA introduces the members of the Imperial Capital Defense Flower Division, and explains how they first met. Unfortunately for the OVA, the release of the full Sakura Taisen TV series has pretty much rendered the OVA redundant. With a similar, but faster introduction, but actually going on to tell a complete story, there is very little reason at this point to watch the OVA with the TV series readily available.
Sakura Wars (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) When Datings Sims are combined with Turn-based Strategy Games, it's an awesome combination. Suddenly, the incredible character interaction from the Rennai game is added to the powerful plot and purpose of the Tactical setting to create the perfect mesh of both. Add into that a fantastic Post-Meiji restoration Steam Punk Mecha storyline, and a throroughly contrived but pleasant sidestory about performing musicals, and you have a well-rounded, sweet treat that has substance to go along with the flavor.
Samurai Girl Real Bout High School (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Breaking out from the shonen martial arts pack of dime a dozen beat 'em ups, Real Bout High School features distinct, fun, comical, cast personalities with attractive character designs by Keiji Goto. Not content to simply devolve into a series of martial arts tournaments and parodying the genre as much as it is a part of it, Real Bout High School manages to hold itself head and shoulders above similar series.
Sands of Destruction (TV) Good
Sasameki Koto (TV) Excellent Yuri as a genre has been growing more refined & well-rounded over the past decade since it's explosion into a full-blown category of anime in the early aughts. While Sasameki Koto no doubt owes a debt to those series which came before, no yuri series prior has possessed it's superior blend of moe & comedic elements with gentle pacing & painful longing. Similar in many respects to Aoi Hana, Sasameki Koto manages to capture that series more realistic portrayal of same-sex relationships but forgoes the deep sorrow found in Aoi Hana in favor of more lighthearted moe antics, resulting in an ultimately more enjoyable yet still poignant series.
Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (TV) Masterpiece
School Rumble (TV) Very good A simple, pleasant, and comfortable story of boy who loves girl who loves another boy who we're not entirely sure is actually human or entirely sane. While I can't say that School Rumble is breaking any new ground, it is well animated, well delivered, and full of energy, and any time spent watching it is time well spent.
School Rumble: 2nd Semester (TV) Very good More of what is already seen in School Rumble, first season.
School Rumble: Extra Class (OAV) Very good Even more School Rumble hijinks with even less plot development than usual, but who watches this stuff for the story, anyway?
Scrapped Princess (TV) Good What if the world people experienced was simply a Matrix-like illusion devised by aliens to protect humans from themselves? What if it was also programmed to resemble a D&D Campaign Setting instead of our modern world? That is the basic premise of Scrapped Princess, in which a single girl holds the key to humanities freedom. While not outrageously original, Scrapped Princess does have the novelty of overlapping a technologically created universe with a fantasy motif, such that energy-pulses that resemble a circuit board appear whenever a spell is cast, giving the show a very unique appearance. It also plays up the mystery aspect of it's story, refusing to reveal what is truly going on or who is truly in charge until the last few episodes.
Shakugan no Shana (TV) Very good With it's dark atmosphere mixed with fiery action and good character designs, Shakugan no Shana is a rather unique story with a lot to bring to the table. If you can get past how depressing the first five or six episodes are, you are rewarded with a colorful, intriguing mythos layered over expertly animated combat sequences interspliced with some quality slice of life comedy. The villains in the series are pretty easy to hate, since they are all absolute disgusting pervs, and both the male & female leads are really interesting characters in their own right, although their chemistry together can become grating at times.
Shattered Angels (TV) Excellent Kaishaku, the manga-ka behind such wildly different series as Steel Angel Kurumi, Magical Mew Mew Taruto, UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, and Kannazuki no Miko, obviously thought that CLAMP's Resevoir Chronicle Tsubasa was a really awesome concept, because they decided to create their own inter-work crossover series in Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, a.k.a. Shattered Angels. Stylish, hyper-dramatic, and full of gorgeous male and female characters doing ridiculous things and battling it out for dominance, Shattered Angels is incredibly, mystifyingly fun, inspite of how hokey the whole thing is. The plot is so ludicrous and the characters so colorful and quirky it's hard not to just get wrapped up in the atmosphere. Every second is like a colorful explosion of anime goodness across your television screen. Kudos to Kaishaku. I've found there series to be rather hit or miss in the past, but Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora is definitely worth the price of admission!
Shinesman (OAV) Very good (sub), Masterpiece (dub) Infinitely quotable and absolutely hilarious, Shinesman is a short, quick, fantastic parody of the Sentai genre. What's even more suprising, the dub is a huge improvement on the Japanese cast: while the Japanese performance is almost deadpan serious, the dub cast know they are participating in a campy parody and play it up in every aspect.
Shuffle! (TV) Very good What begins as pretty standard shonen-love comi format takes a turn for the psychologically twisted as the heartfelt feelings of the hordes of girls attracted to Rin Tsuchimi are more closely inspected to reveal a more sinister side. Like Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni light, Shuffle is definitely a surprising series, although the ending leaves some question as to why heaven and
Simoun (TV) Excellent
Sister Princess (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Being an anime based on a dating sim, this anime is predictably lacking in plot but truly shines in character portrayal. Despite constant implied incestuous relationships, there actually isn't anything of a sexual nature going on here. The dub suffers from typical ADV variable voice actor quality, with Hillary Haag, Cynthia Martinez, Nancy Novotny, Jessica Boone & Luci Christensen putting out stellar performances, but Christine Augen, Mami's english voice, is almost untolerably grating, and Mariella Ortiz's rendition of Aria comes off like she's taken too many sleeping pills.
Sister Princess: Re Pure (TV) Excellent Sister Princess: Re Pure is a slightly disjointed retelling of the story of Sister Princess which, according to my understanding, more closely follows the video game. Each episode is divided into two episodes: the first is the typical story portion, and the second is a vignette focusing on a specific sister and her relationship with her brother. Better animated than the first series and full of well thought out and beautiful moments, it's a bit harder to follow than the first series.
(The) Slayers (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) An absolute anime classic that no anime fan should be without, Slayers is a fantastic, zany, fantasy-action-comedy, with a well designed and established universe and a great story. This, the initial series, suffers from being rather slow on the uptake, since being the first series, it needs to spend a large amount of time explaining the setting to the viewer, but once the story hits about episode nine or so, things begin to pick up and move and a fun little clip. The characters are fiery and engaging, and there is little not to like about Slayers, save perhaps it's only mediocre animation quality.
Slayers - The Motion Picture Excellent (dub & sub) While Lina Inverse's travelling companions for the TV series are the Gourry Gabriev, Zelgadis Greywords, & Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun, the motion pictures feature Lina beside an idiotic bimbo sidekick known as Naga the White Serpent. Naga is an amuzing gag: for about a half-hour, after which she becomes exceptionally grating, which really dials back any enjoyment which can be had in stories in which she appears. Still, the Slayers Motion Picture is incredibly well animated, and the story manages to be fun and full of action throughout. Probably the best story with Naga in it.
(The) Slayers Evolution-R (TV) Masterpiece Less of an additional series than the second-half of Slayers Revolution, Evolution-R keeps up the pace and the quality of it's direct predecessor, but finally gives us the epic battle against a mazoku that we expect from Slayers TV series! Absolutely spectacular!
Slayers Excellent (OAV) Good More stories of Lina & Naga. Decently enjoyable.
Slayers Gorgeous (movie) Very good More stories of Lina & Naga. Decently enjoyable.
Slayers Great (movie) Excellent One of the better Lina & Naga stories, if only for the RIDICULOUS Golem fight.
(The) Slayers Next (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) The second season of the Slayers TV series, NEXT is everything you loved about the first season, only faster, better animated, and with the long, wordy explanations replaced with some absolutely hilarious filler episodes. Yes, I said hilarious filler episodes. Slayers is probably the only series which knows how to make a filler episode entertaining, and how to never drag filler on so long that you stop being interested.
Slayers Premium (movie) Excellent A movie with Amelia, Gourry, & Zelgadis in it? Sounds fantastic! In all reality, Slayers Premium is every bit as shallow as the typical Slayers movie, but the presence of the classic cast of characters makes it more than enjoyable enough.
Slayers Return (movie) Good More stories of Lina & Naga. Decently enjoyable.
(The) Slayers Revolution (TV) Excellent While initially leading off in a fashion which seems a little more wacky & hyper than the original Slayers, invoking more the feel of the Slayers OVAs, Slayers Revolution rebounds to dish out the traditional strong storytelling and excellent character driven humor that viewers have come to expect and have missed during the almost decade-long lull in the franchise between Premium and Revolution. Every bit a Slayers series, and every bit as exciting as you'd expect.
(The) Slayers Try (TV) Masterpiece (dub & sub) The third season of Slayers, continuing the fantastic story.
Solty Rei (TV) Excellent An under-appreciated mix of film noire and cyber-punk, Solty Rei gathers together some of the greatest talents in anime, including Studio GONZO, Range Murata, Kenichi Sonoda, & Shujiro Hamakawa. The end result is a beautiful, Bubblegum Crisis like story and setting populated by memorable characters and punctuated by powerful moments of drama, with a soft overcoat of melancholy. In tone, pacing and theme, Solty Rei is very reminiscent of sci-fi anime from the 80's and early 90's. Those who find themselves nostalgic for that era will find much to like about Solty Rei.
Sorcerer Hunters (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) First of all, don't let Chocolate & Tiramisu's dominatrix outfits scare you: This series has fanservice, but compared to a lot of anime series, it's pretty tame. In fact, what you get with Sorcerer Hunters is a great fantasy comedy series with a unique cast of characters. Slightly episodic, every episode depicts the Sorcerer Hunters proceding from Sorcerer dominated village to Sorcerer dominated village, confronting those who would use magic for their own evil ends, leading up to a final confrontation with a villain who has sworn to use magic to recreate the world in his own image.
Sorcerer Hunters (OAV) Excellent (dub & sub) First of all, if Chocolate & Tiramisu's even skimpier dominatrix outfits scare you, then walk away. The Sorcerer Hunters OVA is one of a typical brand of mid-to-late 90's OVA based on a popular series which is all about fan service, character vignettes, fan service, slapstick, and more fan service than you could shake a giant set of fake boobs at.
Steam Detectives (TV) Excellent (dub & sub & raw) This simple, snappy, Steam-Punk anime is Kia Asamiya's answer to Batman. Not really Batman the comic book character, or Batman, the movies, but Batman, the cartoon & 70's television serial. Those who are looking for an intricate plot will be dissapointed, for everything in Steam Detectives is readily transparent. What you will find is classic comic book style plots and action with a murky turn of the century style setting where apparently despite the ability to construct sophisticated steam-powered technology buttons cannot be manufactured smaller than dinner plates. Fun and uncluttered, Steam Detectives is easily enjoyable without the expenditure of any energy on the part of the audience.
Steamboy (movie) Excellent A masterpiece of Steam Punk story telling, accurate to the period not just in visuals but character personality and attitude, Steam Boy is gorgeous and a wonderful work of storytelling. While it does not contain any groundbreaking meaning, it is never the less a story of man's love-hate relationship with science and progress. I love the dismissive quips of the British Admiral, an accurate reflextion of the arrogant beliefs that stymie military initiative the world over.
Steel Angel Kurumi (TV) Good A decent anime story full of cute girl androids who fight. The main male lead is a complete limp-wristed loser who deserves to get pummeled a lot more than he does. Luckily the other characters are pretty likeable and the fights pump a little excitement into the series.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2 (TV) Good Almost a century after the finale of the original Steel Angel Kurumi series, Kurumi is awakened by a young girl in the modern era. The result is a humorous parroting of Project A-ko using the characters of Steel Angel Kurumi, in which Kurumi assumes the role of A-ko, Nako plays a more attractive C-ko (which isn't very hard), and slighted friend Uruka plays the role of B-ko, complete with marauding robot minions. Some might consider Steel Angel Kurumi 2 to be a derivative cash-in, and they'd be right, but with annoying, spineless, boy wonder Nakahito out of the picture, this sequel is actually much more enjoyable than the original serise that spawned it.
Steel Angel Kurumi Encore (OAV) Good One-shot character vignettes from the first series, of identical quality and character.
Stellvia (TV) Good Stellvia is apparently Xebec's very best impression of AIC from 6 years ago. Kudos to them, because they're impression is better than the original. Borrowing the Modus Operandi as well as the art style from the later company, Stellvia presents us with a science fiction setting but no real science fiction story. Instead, it gives us a story about kids going to school, who just happen to take classes about flying starfighters and doing astrophysics simulations. While not incredible, the cast of Stellvia provide for an enjoyable slice of life comedy, that just so happens to take place on an artificial satellite.
Strawberry Panic! (TV) Excellent I doubt there is anywhere in Japan where three Catholic Girls Schools exist on the same hill in the same town, but if there is, Strawberry Panic would like you to know that it would be Yuri Paradise. Created by Madhouse with Broccolli footing the bill, Strawberry Panic takes the angst previously typical of the Yuri genre and turns it Moe. Cute, sweet, and cuddly, yet also at times highly erotic and emotionally forceful, Strawberry Panic is great entertainment and great art without attempting to be overly sophisticated. A sure-fire fan pleaser, unlike Miteru-sama ga Miteru, which strives for a degree of realism in it's characterizations, Strawberrry Panic revels in the fantastic with it's characters, unabashedly living in a world of dreams, and reveling in every minute of it.
Street Fighter Alpha (OAV) Very good Like most one-shot licensed anime, a shallow, but energetic & well animated film of all your favorite characters from Street Fighter Alpha beating the crap out of each other.
Street Fighter II V (TV) Good Taking some rather large liberties with the Street Fighter mythos, Street Fighter II V is a fairly well executed, if average martial arts story evocative of many Hong Kong action films, in which a pair of buddies (in this case, Ryu & Ken) go to Hong Kong to practice martial arts and get wrapped up in a number of underground criminal activities which all culminate in a large number of martial arts showdowns.
Street Fighter II: The Movie Very good (dub & sub) It's ridiculous. It's over the top. It's fantastic. It's one of the great "so-bad, it's good" dubs. Street Fighter II, the movie is like a adrenaline pill that you can dissolve in your mouth and leaves you wired and ready to rock. The musical score is excellent, and the animation is of that frenetic, slightly cheesy quality found in a lot of anime of the early nineties, which always managed to be exhilarating in spite of itself.
Strike Witches (OAV) Very good Not quite a pilot, almost an in-house proof of concept, the Strike Witches OVA is full of cute, action, and very little else. Plot or even a halfway decent explanation of whats going on is non-appearing. Don't watch this unless you've already seen the Strike Witches TV series, loved it, and absolutely have to see everything Strike Witches related
Strike Witches (TV) Very good First, the warning: This series involves a lot of lolicon pantyshots, and I mean A LOT. Often in the form of really gratuitous flyovers in the midst of air-combat which is really unnecessary. Now, the praise: The animation quality of Strike Witches is electrifying, with the sole exception of a handful of CGI's segments which were still of adequate quality. The aerial dogfight segments are all excellent, and if you can get past the cheesecake elements of the show, there's a lot of fun characterization and personal drama to be found.
Strike Witches 2 (TV) Very good The change of animation studios between seasons seems smooth, but AIC's overreliance on CGI and the new animation's staff's tendancy towards "GAR" antics in place of the somewhat more gritty (a relative concept) world of the first season makes this not quite as enjoyable as the first. Still, most of the qualities of the original are there, and when AIC can actually be bothered to draw a scene rather than use CGI, it usually looks nothing short of spectacular.
Student Council's Discretion (TV) Very good Seitokai no Ichizon doesn't mistake itself for great anime. In the first five minutes it tells you flat out "A radio drama's probably all we really deserved". Every episode consists of little more than five stereotypical anime characters chatting & joking around in a small room. There's no character development or plot to speak of. The character designs are attractive, but not particularly distinctive. All in all, Seitokai no Ichizon is a poor man's Lucky Star. Just the about the only thing Seitokai no Ichizon has going for it is it's humor, which luckily, can be surprisingly funny. It's no great work of art, but if you've got nothing else going on, Seitokai no Ichizon can give you a few quick laughs and put a smile on your face, and that's probably just the way the author would have wanted it.
Student Council's Discretion Level 2 (TV 2)
Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy (TV) Very good A program without substance, Sugar manages to prove that somehow, the Japanese can string together an entire TV series of cute characters, cute scenes, and cute situations, and somehow, you won't even miss things like plot, character development, comedy, or action. Completely lacking in anything accept for continuous streams of cute and cuddly Kodak moments, somehow Sugar is still enjoyable. Maybe its just because the world is such a bitter and sarcastic place, but something so utterly innocent as Sugar makes me feel warm inside.
(The) Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (movie) Masterpiece While full of eighties over-shading problems, it is the story of this film that makes it a classic. A reinterpreted retelling of the Macross TV series.
Super GALS (TV) Very good Way more fun than would be initially expected. While GALS is superficially about three KoGals shopping and checking out guys, it's excellent sense of upbeat comedy, the warm personalities of it's characters, and the strong sense of moral grounding make for a show which is a blast to watch and is significantly stronger than the premise would indicate without giving it a chance. Definitely a show to watch a few episodes of before making a judgement about it.
Survival Game Club! (TV) Excellent
Sword of the Stranger (movie) Very good A unique and interesting samurai story, not the least of which thanks to it's two gaijin main characters. Sword of the Stranger delivers high quality animation and excellent fight choreography, all wrapped up in a short, easily comprehensible, but engaging plot.
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes (TV) Very good Japan continues to refine the genre of magical girl shows made for adult men. Milky Holmes is about as light, fluffy, and moe as they come, and were it not for a handful of very adult jokes tossed in here and there one could be forgiven for mistaking it for ACTUAL shojo anime. What passes for plot is utterly circular, but it's music and humor is catchy, making it a fun distraction.
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Alternative ONE -Kobayashi Opera to 5-mai no Kaiga- (special)
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Alternative TWO -Kobayashi Opera to Kokū no Ōgarasu- (special)
Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Dai-Ni-Maku (TV) Very good The follow on to the original Milky Holmes, the second season brings us a significant increase in the amount of adult humor over the first. While still absolutely hilarious, this slide away from the original's innocent facade is a little disappointing.
Tari Tari (TV) Excellent
Tayutama - Kiss on My Deity (TV) Very good While hardly a stand-out show, Tayutama is a cute shonen love comedy worth watching. It's got a fun little premise with battling nature spirits and some sweet music and visuals, and while hardly earth-shattering, the comedy bits will elicit a giggle and the dramatic portions of the story are natural and heartfelt.
Tenchi Muyo Movie 1: Tenchi in Love Excellent (dub & sub) Probably the best of the Tenchi films, while operating under the TV series continuity, the general flow of storytelling and pacing more closely resembles that of the OVA series. A movie with a little bit of everything.
Tenchi Muyo Movie 2: Daughter of Darkness Excellent (dub & sub) Tenchi movies seem to always needs some sort of incestuous overtones. If Tenchi Muyo in Love has some creepy Oedipus moments, then Daughter of Darkness pushes the father-daughter angle. While it tugs a few (rather short) heart strings, Daughter of Darkness is really much more of a well animated fan service romp.
Tenchi Muyo! (OAV 1/1992) Excellent Tenchi Muyo was an absolute smash hit in the 90's, and is continuing to spawn new spin-off series, even today. Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki is the original OVA which spawned it all, and while watching this work doesn't quite explain why the series has become as prolific as it has, the depth of atmosphere and the quality of animation created by AIC does make it easy to see the appeal of continuing the story. Unlike later, derivative Tenchi works which suffered from a rapid decline into unimaginative, repetitive situational comedy and spastic, low-quality animation, the OVA has a much slower, more serene pacing, more three-dimensional character personalities, and a very thick but difficult to comprehend background for the setting. It is a shame that it is the TV Series, not the OVA, which is the basis for the canon of the majority of later Tenchi works, sense the OVA is about twenty times better than the spin-off.
Tenchi Muyo! Mihoshi Special Very good A short, silly story as related by Mihoshi. Also stars the first appearance of Magical Girl Pretty Sammy!
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo Ohki (OAV 3/2003) Very good The long awaited conclusion to the original Tenchi Muyo OVA series, these well animated OVA episodes give off a jarringly different vibe than the original, despite the best efforts of AIC to make it all mesh. There is also a slight sense that the previously slow-paced and plodding series is now rushing to a finale, pushing to pack in the answers to every conceivable question about the Tenchi mythos before the six episodes are over, which is understandable, since both the creators and the audience are both well aware that this is THE END, as far as the OVA is concerned. Despite a few stumbles, the OVA still manages to carry on to an excellent and fulfilling conclusion, if only because we've been longing for one for so long.
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (OAV 2/1994) Excellent (dub & sub) Essentially the simple continuation of the first OVA, the differences are almost indistinguishable.
Those Who Hunt Elves (TV) Very good It is one of anime's most ridiculous premises: A band of three individuals: a Judo Fighter, an Actress, and a School Girl who inexplicably is a weapons expert and operates a Type 74 Main Battle Tank, travel an alternative world strip searching elven maidens to find the magical tatoos necessary to return them home. Elf o Karu Monotachi is reasonably well animated, the characters aren't the typical stereotypes you find in every anime series and the series starts out wacky and just gets wilder from there.
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun (OAV) Very good A spin-off of A Certain Magical Index, this side series focuses closely on Mikoto Misaka, the titular "Railgun", and her amazing kohai Kuroko. The excellent quality of animation and storytelling found in Index is carried over to this series, although Railgun doesn't possess quite the level of wheels within wheels mystery that's present in it's parent story. If there's any problem with Railgun, if it can be called a problem, it's that the title character is perpetually upstaged at every point and in almost every episode by super teleporting yuri rapist Kuroko Shirai, who's lewd antics, eccentric personality, and dare I say it, absolute GAR mind-blowing combat skills so eclipse everyone and everything else going on that the show should most properly be renamed for her. I suppose "A Certain Kuroko Loves Railgun" just wasn't a viable title.
Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki (movie) Excellent
Toradora! (TV) Very good Full of great inter-relational tension interspersed with comedy, Toradora stars a cast of characters who are far from perfect, struggling to deal with each other and their society. Taiga is a typical Rie Kugimiya character at their absolute worst, and plays like oil with water with male lead Ryuuji. I do wish they would have played up Ryuuji's gangster looks a bit more, however, which seem like an initial hook which they have more or less abandoned by the second half of the series.
Trigun (TV) Excellent (dub & sub) Full of spastic, crazy, slapstick comedy and with a main character who's personality totally makes the show, Trigun is a hard program not to love. Supporting cast members are also likeable and easy to identify with, and plot of the series, revealed little by little, first draws you in and then suprises you at every turn. While not the funniest anime, nor the most artistic, nor the most meaningful, Trigun is an excellent work destined to find its home in most collections.
Ultra Maniac (TV) Very good A cute shojo story which in an interesting twist stars the BEST FRIEND of an incompetent magical girl. A light, feel-good shojo romantic comedy, Ultra Maniac delivers more than a few good laughs, through it's blend of situational comedy & parody.
Unbreakable Machine-Doll (TV) Excellent
Upotte!! (ONA) Very good A thoroughly trashy parody which nevertheless has some fantastic combat scenes peppered with gun humor and trivia. If you can get through its skeeviest moments, Upotte! can manage to entertain just about anyone with a passing interest in firearms and pretty girls, which happens to apply to a good amount of anime fans.
Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (movie) Masterpiece A great example of the psychological exposition which was common in anime of the late 80's, Beautiful Dreamer is probably the best animated, written, and contained stories in the Urusei Yatsura franchise.
Utawarerumono (TV) Very good An interesting piece of science fiction as period drama, Utawarerumono is a fun, character driven series that's part shonen love comedy, part samurai soap opera. Despite it's origins as an eroge, Utawarerumono spends most of its time delving into the political struggles of the different kingdoms. Unfortunately, the series suffers from egregious use of stock animation and poor CGI for it's numerous battle scenes, an unsightly blot on an otherwise great work of animation.
Uta∽Kata (TV) Excellent Keiji Gotoh's talents shine in this unconventional magical girl show. Unlike most Maho Shoujo series, which pit a cute, bubbly girl against numerous monsters of the week in a build-up towards a face-off against some evil mastermind, Uta Kata is completely devoid of combat, protagonist Ichika using her magical powers to tackle real-life crisis which confront her during a brief but formative period of her life. Waist deep in drama and always dazzlingly beautiful, Uta Kata is proof of why Keiji Gotoh is one of the best in the Industry. The yuri undertones don't hurt either.
Valvrave the Liberator (TV) Excellent
Valvrave the Liberator (TV 2) Excellent
Vandread (TV) Very good Oh, war between the sexes, thy concept is thin and overplayed, yet somehow, Vandread manages to be entertaining and palatable. High drama Vandread is not, and it's early use of computer graphics is horribly blended with it's traditional animation, but overall, it can make for a fun, quirky comedy.
Vandread: The Second Stage (TV) Very good Virtually indistinguishable from it's predecessor, "The Second Stage" wraps up the story of Man vs. Woman vs. Evil Robots.
Venus Versus Virus (TV) Very good If Venus Versus Virus got only one thing right, that was style. This series simply oozes foreboding, ornate gothic loli style from every single pixel of your television screen, providing an electrifying mix of cuteness and violence which is tantalizing and delicious. Sophisticated but not complicated, Venus Versus Virus delivers a mesmerizing visual performance of swirling, murderous color. Definitely well worth the time to watch.
Video Girl Ai (OAV) Excellent Video Girl Ai is a pretty typical shonen love comi, but it stands out for a few specific factors: 1 - Masakazu Katsura's peculiar, perverted sense of humor (Not the "Oops, I seem to have fallen on your boobs sort of humor, but a "what you did just made your girlfriend magically grow a penis" sort of wierd humor.) 2 - The Shoujo-esque painful romance of the series 3 - The Shoujo-esque qualities of the character designs A Classic in many people's minds, Video Girl Ai may not quite be that, but it is certainly a work worthy of a good degree of praise, simply for the strengths of it's storytelling and unique-brand of strange humor.
Virgin Fleet (OAV) So-so Yet another product of the post-Tenchi malaise at AIC, Virgin Fleet is another shallow, poorly animated attempt to cash in. The Characters are flat, unappealing, and one-dimensional, the humor is tired fan service tripe, and the plot is a straight line from point A to point B with no surprises or deviations. As horrible as this sounds, if you want to see an alternate history anime with girls with magical powers serving on a warship, you're better off watching Lime-iro Senkitan than this pile of garbage.
(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV) Weak (edit.dub), Masterpiece (sub) Poorly received on both sides of the Pacific except amongst the most discerning of fans, Vision of Escaflowne should be consider anime's forgotten masterpiece. Sidelined in Japan because it did not fit either a purely male or purely female demographic in the pre-Evangelion era where an anime had to conform to one or the other, while destroyed in America by Fox's failure to be able to turn it into a shonen mecha action show, no matter how much they cut and slashed it, Vision of Escaflowne is a work of fiction of incredible depth and strength, on par with the world's greatest works of fiction. Gaea is a world every bit as developed and tangible as Tolkien's Middle-Earth, and the mysterious story of a girl transplanted through time and space and gifted with incredible powers of foresight to save this world and ours is the stuff of legendary storytelling. An epic tale which any true anime fan should be sure not to miss.
Vividred Operation (TV) Excellent
Wake Up, Girls! Shichi-nin no Idol (movie) Very good
Wandaba Style (TV) Excellent We've tried every other stunt imaginable with Japanese Pop Idols, let's shoot some of them to the moon! Yes, this rapaciously funny anime about a manager's attempt to get his J-Pop group publicity leads him to team up with a Mad Scientist's attempt to land people on the moon (he refuses to acknowledge the Apollo Mission as real) leads to one of the most off the wall series since Dragon Half as Mix Juice (The band) Are slingshoted by a giant rubberband, launched under a huge container of soda & lamune, & lifted in a balloon all in attempt to reach the moon without using "Fossil fuels that damage our precious mother earth!" Kiku 8, the robotic assistant of Dr. Tsukumo, can't decide what expression matches what emotion, and her out of place antics are always good for a laugh. Anyone who likes anime like Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemi should definately give this series a look!
We Without Wings - Under the Innocent Sky (TV) Good
Welcome to the NHK (TV) Excellent What is a hikikkomori, why does one become one, and how does one get over such an affliction? NHK ni Yokoso sets out to tackle this most perculiar and unpleasant creation of Japanese culture, approaching it with both humor and an unbias eye.
Wild Cardz (OAV) Decent A rather simple throwaway OVA from the early nineties, The Jaja-uma Quartet is very indicative of it's breed - rather pretty to look at, not substance to speak-of, but not overly horrible.
Witch Craft Works (TV) Very good
World Conquest Zvezda Plot (TV) Excellent
(The) World God Only Knows (TV) Good Conceptually high parody, Kami Nomi zo Shuri Sekai unfortunately fails to execute this concept with any proficiency. The clever and humorous premise and decent plot outline is lost as the flat, dull, simplistic visual designs and shallow two-dimensional characters fail to resonate with the viewer. The series picks up somewhat in the second half, but ultimately lacks any true emotional draw or impact.
(The) World of Narue (TV) Excellent Woefully under-marketed when released in the United States, Narue no Sekai is probably one of the best alien girlfriend stories in a veritable sea of alien girlfriend stories. Narue & Kazuto's relationship doesn't seem arbitrary or forced, they just seem like a pair of wierd but sweet kids who share a loving relationship. One just happens to be an alien. Cute and palatable, entertaining & classy, Narue no Sekai is really an underrated anime which should be in more people's collections.
X (movie) Good Because it was released in the United States in theatres in a time when the X manga wasn't something most anime fans were even aware of, X the Movie tended to get a bad rap as a plotless, confusing, festival of pretty-boy nihilism. The animation quality in this film is excellent, but without reading the manga, this movie is basically incomprehensible. In light of the fact that the manga is an absolute masterpiece of shoujo adventure-drama, however, go read the manga so you can watch this movie!
Yamibo - Darkness, the Hat, and the Travelers of the Books (TV) Excellent Stylistic, passionate yuri at it's best, Yami to Boshi to Hon no Tabibito is a confusing assault on your emotions and senses, at once both soothing & electrifying. While it can be humorous and has more than a little fanservice, there is definitely a lot more at work in Yamibosu than just the visage it portrays. Strong dramatic threads and philosophical concepts tie together the episodic adventures of Hatsuki, Lilith and Joe Harry, anime's most fantastic hat.
You're Under Arrest (OAV) Very good Taiho Shichauzo must be a dream for Kosuku Fujishima to work on - it combines all of his favorite things: Japanese Cars & Motorcycles, Pretty Girls, Baseball.... Unfortunately, it comes off as simply a platform to show of what he's thinking about for the week, rather than as an actually engaging story, probably because it was written open-endedly. As a result, the OVA based on the manga also seems to drag without any overarcing plot to drive the storytelling on. The characters are likeable enough, which is a Kosuke Fujishima hallmark, but it's hard to stay interested in the series for the characters alone.
Yumeria (TV) Very good A Cute blend of shonen love comedy and superhero sci-fi. Flashy action sequences with magical girl style attacks are blended into a very typical toksatsu/sentai style plot with a backdrop of beautiful girls.
Yuruyuri - Happy Go Lily (TV) Excellent A logical development in the string of slice of life moe anime that runs from Azumanga Daioh through Lucky Star to Hidamari Sketch to A Channel, Yuruyuri refines "girls doing cute, funny things" through "cute girls doing cute, funny things" into "cute girls doing cute, funny, sexy things to each other." Button cute, gut-bustingly funny, slightly risqué and unapologetically yuri, Yuruyuri manages to hit all the high marks across the board for its genre.
Yuruyuri - Happy Go Lily (TV2) Excellent
Yuyushiki (TV) Very good
Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi (TV) Excellent While the first season of Zero no Tsukaima was absolutely incredible, Futatsuki no Kishi in part fails to live up to it's predecessor. While the antics are still entertaining and the Louise-Saito dynamic remains entertaining, most of the plot & development was sidelined until the last five episodes in favor of seven episodes of almost nothing but non-stop fanservice. Zero no Tsukaima is an excellent series, and things pick back up in the third season in a way which partially requires watching the end of the second to understand what's going on, but it would be hard to blame viewers for skipping straight through to the second half of the second season.
Zero no Tsukaima: Princess no Rondo (TV) Masterpiece If the first season of Zero no Tsukaima was the "plot" season & the second season was the "fan service" season, then season three of Zero no Tsukaima is the long awaited "character development" season, and boy does it deliver. While a large portion of Princess no Rondo is dedicated to character interactions and introspection, the way the characters grow and move forward is fascinating to behold, and the ending leaves you only wanting more: Come on J.C. Staff! Give us a 4th Season!
Zettai Karen Children (OAV) Excellent