undeadben's Animetake a look at undeadben's Manga
Comments for my top 25 are exactly the same as in my seen all list. This list was updated on April 10, 2011. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya pushed it's way into number 23 bumping former number 25 Cardcaptor Sakura off the list.
|Ben's Top 25▲▼||Rating▲▼||Comment▲▼|
|Air (TV)||Masterpiece||#14. What a beautiful yet terrible story. I laughed and cried and sometimes I even cried when I should have been laughing. This is one of the few series out there that you can actually see and understand all the deeper meanings behind everything without needing long explanations that ruin those beautiful moments. This may sound cheesy but this title is truly a wonderful story of friendship, family, and the ties that bind. I fell in love with all the characters and had my emotions torn to shreds at certain points by their circumstances. The stories are incredibly original and brilliant but I am not sure if I could have watched much more. It is definitely one of the best series I have ever seen but like with anything that is cruelly beautiful, as much as you love it, it is hard to watch more than once.|
|Azumanga Daioh (TV)||Masterpiece||#11. What can I say about this series that would really do it justice? It would belittle it to call it a comedy or slice of life or school life anything else really, all those categories just sound too bland for this show. It is incredibly cute, almost so cute that it can make you sick, however if you pay close attention you can also be drawn into these wonderful characters; all these unique girls who each have their own dreams, ideas, and insecurities, and yet they never once stop moving forward. All the random stories are wonderfully written along with the incredibly cute jokes that would usually be annoying and yet in this context always actually left me bemused and smiling. This is one of the series that I re-watch very often and still cannot get enough. Whenever I want to feel good I think of these stories, and even if I'm not near my dvd player, just thinking about it can bring a smile to my face.|
|Cardcaptor Sakura (TV)||Excellent||#26. **Including the movies.** There isn't a heck of a whole lot to this show but I think that is what makes it excellent. The characters are not very multifaceted, but they are well introduced and developed, and for the simplicity of this story, they are perfect. Saying this story is simple is by no means a knock, the simplicity just adds to the overall charm, and oh boy is it charming! There are just so many different elements in this department that you can’t just discount the overall product for the sugar and spice cutesiness because there is so much more. These simple and predictable stories have a level of craftiness that makes them completely un-ignorable. You can see how everything will turn out but watching it unfold is so much fun that you just keep watching. And even this is at a different level because how things unfold is where the fun really lies and it even adds a good deal of suspense. This series is definitely cute and cuddly with beautiful moments of romance, but there are also occasional messages that are just beautiful real world wisdoms. Overall it is wonderfully put together and I’m glad I finally got to see this entire series with subtitles, this is definitely my favorite shoujo magical girl story and I don’t see any other taking its place.|
*See my comments for the movies on my seen all list.
|Cross Game (TV)||Masterpiece||#1. Before having watched a single episode I underestimated this show. All I knew of the show was that it was rated highly, there was a baseball theme, and it looked like it may have some cute character designs. Heck I didn’t even bother to read the encyclopedia entry for it here. With just that I watched the first episode. |
Anyone who has seen this episode will probably know how I felt at the end of it not knowing anything at all beforehand of what was going to happen, and because of that I feel that I am fortunate. I got a chance to experience this story as it came without having any clue of what was coming or any outside influence one way or other about it.
Saying this show is about baseball is like saying Hajime no Ippo is a show about boxing, or that Honey and Clover is a show about art school, or that Haibane Renmei is a show about a girl with wings. Those who are fortunate enough to have seen these shows may understand how badly I underestimated this show. The story and storytelling beginning to end is absolutely amazing. Scenes flow masterfully from one to another giving a true image of the characters lives. By that I mean the everyday aspects that really show who they are and not what they are. And for the most part the relationships between all of these characters are important to the overall, which is something else that was done well.
However, what makes this story truly special is that amazing storytelling. This is the type of anime that proves you don’t need high cost CG action scenes, magic, giant robots, and ridiculous moves to completely capture a viewer’s attention. After watching it once I was left so impressed by this aspect that I re-watched it almost entirely 3 times within just a couple of weeks, read the manga, and also read a few other Mitsuru Adachi manga in order to have a better understanding of the brilliant work I saw. The main story is simple enough that young children could watch this without complaint but for anyone older it offers that and a heck of a lot more. The complexity of how the plot comes about is crafted beautifully behind well placed symbolism, hidden meanings, clever clues, and an abundance of hints found in various scenes.
Near the end I was on edge to know not just what the final scores would be but, maybe more importantly, in what direction these characters futures would begin. That really is the heart of the matter. Any great show usually leaves you wanting more when it is done and this one has me imagining a lot more. However, I saw the protagonist achieve his true goal and where the new beginning is, how he can finally move forward, and that was a wonderful ending to this wonderful show. I did not feel cheated in any sense by how the show ended, which I have heard, is where many people think this show failed. I assure you, it does not and I will definitely watch this one again.
On a final note, I don’t often recommend anime for people to watch anymore, but for anyone who has not seen this I have a simple message, and maybe a plea, “It doesn’t matter what kind of anime you like or what genre of story you prefer, watch Cross Game.” My second recommendation is, “after you’ve seen it, watch it again.” I never though I would watch a show that would oust Ranma ½ as my # 1 favorite, but this show has. Especially after seeing how no matter how many times I watch it I am no less impressed and, more often than not, even more impressed in subsequent viewings.
|(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie)||Masterpiece||#23. It’s been a while since a movie has made me sit at the edge of my seat and literally cheer at certain points and just amazed at others. I am a Haruhi fan; this movie puts an exclamation point at the end of this statement in bold 72 point lettering. The plot is crafted beautifully, with the usual Suzumiya Haruhi points, and is probably the accumulation of the author’s experience to now. The previous storylines were good and getting better and then this one comes a long and reaches a much higher ceiling. I followed Kyon through the story with the same level of shock and confusion he must have been feeling and was carried along the same as he was throughout. Kyon has pretty much always been the character and narrator that has guided us through Haruhi’s world and has been someone we can relate to. In this movie he takes this role and I could at times feel I was actually him. Also, seeing him come to certain conclusions, especially the most important while in a bout of self discovery, I couldn’t help but step back then and simply be awed by him. Not his situation, or an outer occurrence, but Kyon’s character, in a few moments, becomes an awesome character. And that is also part of what makes this movie terrific. If you are a fan of Haruhi, this is a must watch. If you are not a fan of Haruhi, then become one, so that this movie will amaze you too.|
|Elfen Lied (TV)||Masterpiece||#10. Phenomenal. Beautiful, dreadful, painful, wonderful, horrible, emotional. How can one 13 episode series have so many adjectives to describe it? Well this one does. I asked myself while watching this, "How can I watch this?" and could only reply, "How can I turn away?" All the characters were so real yet likable, I guess that is weird to say in this type of series, but I am talking about the way they behave and react to their surroundings. The story is just amazing to follow and even with the gore and violence this show quickly became one of my favorites. There are just a couple inconsistencies but they are easy to overlook with everything else going on. This is one of those stories that is so versatile that it can make me laugh out loud one moment, make my stomach turn the next and quickly bring me to tears. And the animation really completes the story; it’s a vast gallery of both beautiful and horrible imagery with an overall impressive craftiness to it all which makes it pretty incredible overall.|
|Fighting Spirit (TV)||Masterpiece||#19. This show is really awesome. I had said once I didn’t want to watch it but I was told that for a fan of shounen this series could not be missed. Trusting the source of those words I took a chance on the show and I am glad I did. This show goes beyond the scope of a typical shounen/tournament series. The storytelling alone qualifies it for a much higher place. It builds up points of interest and intensity to a point that when the stage is set and the action begins I found my own heart pounding in anticipation of what was to come. Climaxes in particular are never a let down, no matter what the outcome. The drama is also wonderful and the humor, although a bit silly at times, helps balance things out without taking anything away from the show. The series also does an amazing job with character work. A lot of shounen shows fall into a trap of finding ways for the characters to get stronger but forget about developing their personalities and maturity levels. Hajime no Ippo doesn't have that problem as it is clear to see episode by episode how much Ippo grows as a person in his quest for self identity. And it doesn’t stop at Ippo. All the supporting characters have a value beyond their archetypes and in essence have their own roads to follow. I also enjoy how almost each new contestant, even if they only appear in a single episode, gets their own background story told before the fights. This is something that the person who recommended me also told me about but I didn't know how it would be used. In essence it is just simple character work that adds more intrigue to each upcoming fight and a lot of personality to the story overall. I also love how they refer to actual boxers and signature moves in the show. I have been a boxing fan in the past, so a lot of the things or boxers they refer to I actually know about already. However that just makes watching it even more interesting. I suppose I could go on and on about the show but suffice it to say that I thoroughly loved it and even though it is so long I know I’ll be watching a lot of it again.|
|FLCL (OAV)||Masterpiece||#8. Insane! This is close to the most fun I have ever had watching anime. It's hard to describe so if you haven't seen it, give it a try it is only 6 episodes long. From the various tributes and parodies from any number of shows from Cutie Honey to South Park and pop culture blurbs of almost anything including music legends from different eras alone this show would be an interesting watch, but this is just the edge of the surface. I watch this over and over and cannot get enough. The characters and situations are just on a different track than what I expect and even when I think I finally have a hold on it, I discover that it is actually on a track that I didn't even see before. There is just incredibly deep and masterful storytelling here. Despite all the madness and fun there are several unevenly stacked layers beneath the surface and wonderful characters to boot. In fact depending on your mood while watching and whether you watch the English dub or Japanese with subtitles you can pick different vibes from the series ranging from zany and wacky to deep and intense; in fact I’m surprised how it can also be really dark, especially if watched in Japanese with subs. It is just brilliant overall and worthy of many re-viewings. Oh, and to top it all off this has my favorite soundtrack in any anime series, OVA, or movie; The Pillows are an awesome group and the music used here fits this series perfectly.|
|Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV)||Masterpiece||#12. I was a bit reluctant to give this show a Masterpiece rating but I figure I love it so much that to me it is. It is hilarious and totally entertaining and yet the characters are not completely off the wall zany. You can still see them as real and multi-dimensional characters, being able to see their sensitive and human side along with that side that makes you say "huh?" and start cracking up. You can see the romantic feelings between Kaname and Sousuke continue to grow and you can also see where there is still oh so much room to grow, but if things were perfect it wouldn't be interesting. I have honestly not liked a series this much since my favorite of all, Ranma, and very surprising since the four discs were sitting on my shelf for 4 months unopened along with the first season of Full Metal Panic, just because I didn't want to watch a mecha show. I am so glad I opened this, if they do make a fourth season, I hope it is "Full Metal Panic?" and not "Full Metal Panic!"|
|Great Teacher Onizuka (TV)||Masterpiece||#18. What a wonderful story this turned out to be. I was starting to get disappointed after 8 or 9 episodes, but I am glad I had the patience to keep going. This is the type of series that slowly grows on you and before you know it you are emotionally invested. I would guess that if I went back and watched those first episodes now, I would enjoy them a lot more than when I first had that disappointed feeling, I guess the difference would be, that once I was vested in Onizuka as a character I learned to appreciate what he does and why. The story has a delicate balance to it and that is where patience was necessary to allow it to come into bloom. Onizuka is revealed slowly as the series continues and it makes it sort of special when I am rooting for him now to know there was a time when I was a bit indifferent to him, kind of like meeting an acquaintance and becoming friends. However once I got to know them the characters seemed special to me and even the occasional silly story was nice to see along with all the wonderful stories filled with life’s lessons. The story even had plenty of the cheesy moments that are necessary for a story about a teacher and his students and it played them well. The ending left some to be desired but the journey was terrific.|
|Gunslinger Girl (TV)||Masterpiece||#4. This series has definitely earned a masterpiece rating from me probably more than any series I have seen. I think there is a misconception about this show, it is not a series about young assassins, this is a series about young girls, the fact that they happen to be assassins is secondary. Many probably watch this series expecting nothing but action, gore, killing, and young girls who show no mercy, but this is wrong. Sure it has a few instances of this, the girls are assassins, it has to happen at least occasionally; but if anything it just adds more levels of depth. However if I had to compare it to another show it would not be another assassin or hitman story, it’d be story like Haibane Renmei or Air; a well written story of young girls charting unknown waters and living life as best as they know how with what they have. The stories are fantastic and emotional, although mostly tragic; all the characters are deep and truly wonderful from the sensitive girls to the dreadfully inept father figures. There is just a level of depth and meaning to everything that is hard for other shows to reach. Even the music is special; the opening theme is probably one of the best I have ever heard in anime. And to ice the cake, the artwork which I usually overlook, is brilliant. The only thing I am disappointed in is myself for holding out so long in seeing this show.|
|Haibane Renmei (TV)||Masterpiece||#7. A truly wonderful series with many different aspects to it. I love the whole concept of children being born or maybe even reborn into a whole new world with an unknown purpose. Some parts troubled me very deeply at first until the series allows us to know more about the characters and why they do what they do, for instance working to earn their own way in this world. Just what does lie beyond the walls is the greatest mystery and I actually like the fact that it allows us to imagine it for ourselves. It was just a well designed and written story with adorable characters that are impossible not to like and very original and artistic without being flashy or annoying. I know I’ll be watching this again and again and I’ll probably see something new each time.|
|Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora (TV)||Excellent||#21. It's hard for me to comment on a story like this because it's hard to justify how I feel about it. This is probably one of the best dramatic pieces I have ever seen. It honestly touched me and it didn't have to pretend to be more than it was to do it. The story is honest, not once did it feel pretentious, and I think that is very important in this genre. The events never took a grand scale, but they feel like they were, and they always retained that honesty. "Would I do anything different in such a situation?" continuously resounded in my mind, even when the events showed the ugliness of human nature, I couldn't honestly answer to myself. The characters were wonderfully developed and incredibly human, so much so that I immediately wondered what they might be doing now as soon as it ended. The only problem that I had were the few instances where the humor turned too silly and outrageous which did not fit the mood of the story; it could have been a bit more toned down and real, and with that the story would have been amazing beyond almost anything I can imagine. But this is a small flaw and even though the story is not as amazing, it is still very much amazing, incredible even.|
|Honey and Clover (TV)||Masterpiece||#6. The passage of time is unavoidable; if you are not frugal with it you may end up with regrets. I love how this series handles time; it flies by in large chunks so that as viewers we are aware of it and throws in constant reminders of it, so that we truly understand how the characters underestimate it. All the beautiful symbolism is apparent of this. Actually this is just an amazing series overall. Everything about it impresses me with every single episode. For starters, I have seen some great comedies that have some incredibly good dramatic moments, and I have seen some amazing dramas that have some impressive comedic scenes, but I have never seen one before that is amazing at both equally, not just a few moments. The story is so well crafted that it often carries a comedic moment flawlessly into a dramatic one without there being a contradiction between the two and melding into something that is so simple and real and yet more than that. It’s almost like life this way. I also enjoy how it can use what appears to be a simple progressive gag and turn it into a beautiful moment. This show is also often frustrating, but in a way that makes you want to root for these beautiful characters, never in an annoying way. The characters are all impressive; not developed from scratch but introduced to us in a way where we eventually discover them for ourselves. And the music; anything from a light piano to a more jazzy number to a light rock tune always accompanies the story beautifully. This was just a beautiful incredibly well-rounded story and I know I'll be watching this many more times.|
|Hunter X Hunter (TV)||Masterpiece||#22. Wonderful. That was the word that left my mouth when I finished watching the last episode. I can’t even think of anything to write about this series. It was just so wonderful to watch; it’s fun, exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling. I loved all the main characters and even some of the villains. Actually the only character that I truly detested was one that never appears, but I don’t want to spoil anything. This series is an example of terrific storytelling from start to finish. Everything led from one thing to the next and drew me in perfectly. I was glued to the screen even when it left the main characters out for large chunks near the end. It was fun at times and then followed by some terrific action and followed up with some wonderful suspense; the creators really knew what they were doing here. Even the music was fun and the seiyuu were all superb. My only real complaint with this series is that it was never licensed in the US; I’d really love to own this series on DVD.|
|Kodocha (TV)||Excellent||#20. I’m just gonna start by saying, “fabulous!” This series is just so much fun that it was hard to break a grip from it. It’s interesting that when I started the first two episodes I was really not at all impressed with what I saw. I was looking for something in particular in the episodes otherwise I may have waited before seeing more but then during the third episode there was this pretty silly moment where Sana runs face first into a wall or something and it made me chuckle. I don’t really know if that was some type of key but I enjoyed the rest of the episode and then watched more and before I realized it I had gone through more than a dozen episodes in one day. I just love the zaniness and the refreshing high energy feel the whole show has. And what’s more surprising than anything is that it is not just random nonsense; the entire series has spectacular moments full of great drama, suspense, romance and any number of other elements that are just done so incredibly well and somehow fit the show perfectly in spite of the randomness. And the characters are just so incredibly likable and surprisingly deep at times. Again, it is just amazing when you can see some incredible character development behind the façade of all the silly humor. Except maybe Naozuni who just comes out looking like a whiny little bitch, all the characters are pretty fantastic and are developed fairly well. Sana in particular has this incredibly wonderful character growth throughout that is very noticeable from when she first appears until the final moments. I just really fell in love with this show completely and would give it a Masterpiece rating if it didn’t have a few really cheesy moments that aren’t really unbearable, but they are noticeable, but then again it is a shoujo series, it’s bound to happen. In any case though the show is just terrific overall and I would not hesitate to recommend it to almost anyone.|
|Macross Frontier (TV)||Excellent||#23. Action, suspense, excitement, thrills, drama, and a little bit of the human touch; this series has got it all. I’m not a huge fan of mecha series and even though I’ve not watched a lot of the original Macross I did grow up a Robotech fan, and though not really the same, I can feel a lot of same feelings I felt first watching it as a kid only magnified. Wonder and awe. Also add to that a healthy dose of respect for making an idea that has been done and sometimes over done over the past couple of decades and making it seem fresh. Some of that has to do with the fantastic CG and animation but I also think a heavy dose of credit has to go to the creators and writing staff. I think my favorite thing about this series is that things happen. What I mean is that I’m so used to waiting and being patient with anime just waiting for something to happen, but with Macross Frontier, things happen. Whether it is the part of the show where the girl is aiming for her dream of stardom, or the part where the young pilot is being a hothead, or when that pilot is out on the town with the celeb, things happens. And it is always interesting and one part of the story never really distracts from another, rather they combine well together to make a better whole. |
All that good stuff and when I got to episode 7 I knew this show really was special. Something big happens here. There is this huge space battle that would make most big moments in even large budget Hollywood sci-fi films look like a game of paddy cake. It was tense and exciting and was a great preview of things to come. The rest of the season just follows suit. Going from the political scheming, to the more underhanded schemes of a certain individual, to the continuing romantic side (actually the show seems to have difficulty with the romance side, so maybe here is where it loses points), to more of those spectacular battles and action sequences, it really is a treat to watch.
The finale is a pretty interesting mix of a lot of things, action, music, visuals; which are all good but a lot of it also helps sidestep a couple of issues that are left pending at the end and other smaller parts that seemed to have been forgotten all together. But yeah, the action the music, the visuals (almost like a long music video), villains and friends revealed, as well as other unexpected revelations, and finally rounding out most of the major plot points; it was well enough where the ending doesn't really drag down what was a great series. I'd like to say I'm looking forward to the movie but this show didn't have a storyline simplistic enough where I can see it condensed without a ridiculous amount of butchering to re-tell in movie form; maybe a trilogy, but not a single movie. How about a sequel? I'd be all for that. Whatever does come, this show remains just great to watch from any standpoint.
|Millennium Actress (movie)||Masterpiece||#13. Brilliant! Automatically my favorite animated movie upon watching it. The story is told superbly well and it almost has an aura of being at a completely different level, like something supernatural. It was just so very cleverly and uniquely well told that it it's hard to find faults; even the humor blends in perfectly and appropriately to the story, which is where a lot of dramatic anime fail. The characters are much like the story, incredibly real but also more than that. I don’t know how to describe it; with Chiyoko especially, you don’t just see her motivation, you actually feel her emotions along with her, as if you are also along for the ride. If this movie had been made in live action it could not have been better. This will sound repetitive but be it so, the animation has a great level of realism and yet not so, but then that is always the charm of animation. However, like with most of my favorites this movie does a great job of completing the story with the animation not just allowing the story to happen in it. Everything I mention and then some was pieced together incredibly well all the way through the beautiful ending.|
|NANA (TV)||Masterpiece||#5. I love this show! There is just a certain simplicity to the storytelling that makes it overwhelming. It is incredibly addictive from episode to episode. I especially love how just when it looks like its going to do something expected it goes in a different direction. That makes the show really special. Or rather the way it does it, because whether you are expecting the moment or rolling your eyes at what’s about to happen, it doesn’t get there but instead just follows through the moment in a slightly different, and yet more realistic, way. Sort of like life in that things don’t always go as you expect and though more often than not it is heart wrenching, it’s not always bad, and sometimes just different. Everything is built up beautifully from scene to scene with some wonderful character interaction. And those interactions are built from some endearing characters that almost want to stretch themselves to something larger than life and yet when looked at more closely it is just that they’re human. I really don't know what else to say except that I cried and cried throughout this series. Near the end I was left in tears at the close of every single episode, even the ones that weren't sad, and regularly wanting to shout, "That just can't be right!" I was a basket case especially during the final episodes which open up even more questions than answers. A few loose ends are tied up but I'm definitely going to have to start reading the manga and praying for another 50 episodes when the manga ends. This world of NANA; sometimes it made me smile sometimes it made me laugh, it often pissed me off, and as I mentioned brought more tears than I could have imagined. It'd be a huge understatement to say that this show left an impression on me. It was just beautiful... and terrible.|
|Paranoia Agent (TV)||Masterpiece||#17. Amazing? Yes this series definitely qualifies. It starts with an intricate plot. Everything is pieced together so as to draw you in and at the same time continue to create doubts about what it shows with each passing scene. Just when the story hands you a giant clue it promptly reminds you that you aren’t even close. Very reminiscent of Perfect Blue in that sense, that it can move the story along masterfully and still keep you guessing at every turn. And, like with the other Kon works I have seen so far, the use of symbolism is amazing. Even characters are used to represent different aspects or themes even though still remaining players in the story being told. And what a unique cast, large yet very well developed and represented, you see vulnerabilities and strengths and you see darkness and hope. And the animation is wonderful, I love the use of colors, again in a symbolic sense and also to help carry the mood of each passing scene, whether rich and vibrant, flats or pastels, bright and cheery, or dark and eerie, almost the entire spectrum is used to help mold plot devices and settings that tell almost as much as the dialogue about the situations occurring. And the music is another terrific addition to help complete the creation of mood. More than merely background and not loud enough to be noise or distraction, the soundtrack uses almost perfect beats and sounds to help put the view in pace with the story even when it changes from one extreme to another. All the elements combine brilliantly to create an intriguing product. Sometimes absurd, often dark and creepy, and occasionally amusing but always phenomenal, Paranoia Agent is a series I will be watching again.|
|Ranma ½ (TV)||Masterpiece||#2. **Including the OVAs.** This is my second favorite series no doubt about it. It has everything one could hope for; comedy, martial arts, drama, romance and a huge cast of vastly different and often zany characters. The stories may not be other-worldly and the characters do not have higher purposes, but I cannot remember too many episodes where I was not entertained. The large diverse cast and outlandish martial arts combined with the Ranma/Akane moments all keep me watching even years after completing the series. Ranma and Akane will be married someday, and they will be happier than anyone on earth, though they will not admit it, even to themselves.|
*See my comments for the OVAs on my seen all list.
|Rurouni Kenshin (TV)||Masterpiece||#3. **Including the OVAs.** This is my one of my favorite series mainly because Kenshin is, well, Kenshin. One of the wisest figures I have ever seen in anime and how incredible is that, considering he seems so young. A master with his reverse blade sword, but more honest and human than anyone can really be, even in real life. I love his adventures and although I'm sad there were no more, I'm always happy to revisit with Kenshin when I have time. Overall, the stories mostly well written, the characters are all well developed, even the villains, and the action is terrific. The last saga 'Tales From the Meiji' is not really great, but the first two, especially the 'Legend of Kyoto,' are enough to earn this spot. That second arc is where this show really shines. The unfolding plot as Kenshin moves closer and closer to his goal. The intensity of each passing sequence as it gets closer to the climax. The action that I can not take my eyes away from no matter how many times I watch it. The drama that stands above everything. The ‘Legend of Kyoto’ really lifts Rurouni Kenshin to near legendary status and it is also the main reason I really can’t watch this show enough. |
*See my comments for the OVAs on my seen all list.
|Samurai Champloo (TV)||Masterpiece||#16. This is another wonderful saga set in early Japan with a twist; beatboxing and breakdancing Samurai and food eating contests, it’s insane but fabulous. I don't think I have ever smiled so much while watching such a violent series, but that is just how versatile this one is. The journey is an amazing trip through Japanese history with momentary stop offs at the bizarre and absurd. This was just an incredibly well written, or a better word would be ‘crafted,’ series that just tells a story and it does it in unique and brilliant ways. The characters, especially the leads, are also incredibly well developed, outstanding, and fun to watch. The character designs as well as the portrayals are truly amazing in this series. I think this show is just incredible every which way.|
|Soul Eater (TV)||Masterpiece||#9. Ridiculous but somehow charming. If I had to describe this show in just a few words that’s what I’d say. The show is mad as a hatter but it has quite a few other surprises as well. Just as Shinigami mentions in the next episode preview at the end of episode 1, "action, gags, surprises," also some fanservice, and a lot of other things he doesn't mention. Things like a plot that could be explained in like a minute or two and yet is still interesting, outrageous characters that sort of fall on one end of the curve or the other, interesting artwork some of which looks like it was designed by a genius and some by an imbecile, all wrapped up in a really clumpy and ill formed package. The introductory episodes had me believing all sorts of insane things were to come, and they have. However something really surprised me is how good the individual episodes are put together. There is a plot hidden behind the veil of madness and is very often a good one. It’s not always about how to fit in the next gag, it could occasionally turn somewhere else; dark, exciting, silly, dramatic, emotional, and many other avenues. Above all, and probably my favorite thing about this show, is that even when the story suddenly gets cheesy or lame it doesn’t even bother me because I am so into it that I even enjoy those moments, heck I even liked the outright stupidity of the Excalibur episodes. When I can find good in the worst moments of a show I know I’ve seen something special and I know I’ll watch this show again sometime.|
|Spirited Away (movie)||Masterpiece||#22. This is another brilliant piece of animated movie making. First of all, I rarely harp on animation as it is not something I really care about but when I see something amazing it really gets my attention. Other than Kiki's Delivery Service I actually I had not watched any Hayao Miyazaki films until very recently but I have to say that they are all incredible in the animation work. So why do I mention that here? Because this one, I think, is by far the most eye-catching visually. There is just this feel of magic everywhere you look and you honestly never know what will pop up next. Actually, in my opinion, from the animated movies I have seen, Japanese or otherwise, only Millennium Actress is better, and I think that is saying a lot. But this movie doesn’t live on the animation and artwork alone, the story itself is magical and compelling, and is incredibly well crafted and written, and it makes watching it tremendously fun and exciting. And of course the animation and story make up a great setting for these wonderful and sometimes outlandish characters to live in. On top of everything this movie is incredibly enjoyable, and I can only complain about myself for not watching it much sooner.|
|Tokyo Godfathers (movie)||Masterpiece||#15. This is simply wonderful. Everything from beginning to end is fun, entertaining, and just fabulous. If you can call a movie about hobos fabulous that is. But this movie has it all; it starts with the story, finding the abandoned baby and the search to bring it home. And I mean it’s simple enough but when you add that a long the way it masterfully uses some incredible symbolism and unique plot devices to carefully develop this into a story to truly care about is amazing. And character development is incredible as well; slowly allowing you to see these characters, looking at their vulnerabilities and just completely revealing them in doses as they make their way through their plight. It’s simply marvelous, and not just because of that but because they are such fun and unique characters that I couldn’t help but be vested in their story and see where they went next. This is just a wonderful movie all around and another that I will recommend wholeheartedly to anyone, anime lover or not.|