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Location: Atlanta-ish, Jawjuh
|I guess it's about time I did one of these, huh? Unfortunately, I couldn't just narrow it down to ten favorites and five least favorites, so instead I divvied it up into top ten TV series, movies, and OVAs separately, and then a bottom ten across all formats. I also added in a category of top ten disappointments, which will be explained below.
So, I suppose without further ado...oh, and these are in no particular order.
Top 10 TV Series
1. Haibane Renmei
THE top favorite for me, regardless of format, Haibane Renmei is the ideal combination of heartwarming, ominous, and exceptionally intelligent. Every single facet of this show strikes some sort of strong emotional chord with me, from the insatiably adorable 'D'AWWW' moments like Rakka's halo causing static cling to the utter tragedy of Reki's story, and the mystery of what the haibane actually are is certainly an engaging plot point all on its own.
2. Boogiepop Phantom
Normally I can't stand stories where vital parts are told across multiple media and missing out on one bit means you miss out on much of the rest of the story (lookin' at you, .hack!), but given that Boogiepop is already a fragmented stream-of-conscious horror mystery series, it's practically a perfect fit here. Phantom may require multiple viewings to fully grasp (especially without reading at least the first novel and 'At Dawn'), but slowly unraveling the mystery through each viewing, and still finding more cool stuff once you've gotten it, makes for an incredibly rewarding experience. The animation's a bit lacking, but the story, characters, and presentation make up for it in spades.
3. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (w/ 2nd GIG)
One thing that always bugged me about the Ghost in the Shell movie was that I always felt it was just too little. I always thought that there was so much more that could be done with Section 9 and the Major and the general premise, and now here it is. Two full seasons of a taut technological crime thriller that do wonders to flesh out a cast the movie so cruelly rushed through and downplayed, and not one bit of it disappoints.
4. Sakigake!! Cromartie High School
Cromartie High was ahead of its time. It came out when the moé thing was in its infancy and seemed to just be a passing fad, but now that more than half of any given anime season is nothing but slice-of-life moé girls being moé, this parody series using fugly violent thugs in place of cute little girls seems more relevant than ever. And to modify a quote from TV Tropes pertaining to crack fanfiction, “[random comedy] is one of the easiest things to write, and one of the hardest to write well.” Lucky thing Cromartie gets it just right, flaring nostrils and all.
5. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
A uniquely stylish spin on one of the greatest novels ever written, what's not to like? Yes, it takes some liberties with the original story of the Count, but the changes don't really detract too much, and the overall depiction of Edmund Dantes himself is simply brilliant.
6. Maria-sama ga Miteru (all four seasons)
Closet lesbians (well, some not-so-closeted) sip tea and talk about their daily lives in the quietest high school ever. It seems like the perfect recipe for a complete snoozer, but the surprisingly vibrant personalities of the cast and their exceedingly entertaining interactions with one another help make this highly understated show much more than the sum of its parts. It's calm, it's tranquil, it's serene...and impossibly engaging for being so laid back.
7. The Twelve Kingdoms
If you were to take Fushigi Yuugi (another phenomenal series), remove most of its bishounen harem, and add in a healthy dash of Tolkien a la Peter Jackson, Twelve Kingdoms would be the result. A sweeping, powerful epic that never fails to impress with its equal richness of character and setting. I would dare say Yoko is one of the most convincing examples of the “teenager thrown into an awful situation and emerges awesome” that anime has to offer.
8. Cowboy Bebop
This series would be one of those I'd expect to see on damn near every major anime fan's top favorites list just by default. What more needs to be said, really? Slick, stylish, a perfect soundtrack, a perfect blend of comedy, drama, & action, and a leading quartet that are just a lot of fun to watch. It's one of those series I can just watch again and again and seldom grow tired of, because it's just so well put-together.
9. Black Lagoon (w/ Second Barrage)
I like smart entertainment. I like shows and movies that make me think about what I'm seeing. I even like it in my action titles, and Black Lagoon delivers. Not only does it provide completely over-the-top, balls to the wall action from equally overdone characters, but it adds to that a surprising sense of wit and intense character study, not to mention a keen eye for historical detail and the occasional brilliant pop-culture reference. It's smart, dumb blow-'em-up, plain and simple.
10. Full Metal Panic! (w/ Fumoffu, The Second Raid)
Full Metal Panic! is one of those cases where a strong cast carries everything. If the characters weren't as well-written and likable as they are, the plot and setting and much of the attempt at comedy and drama in each of its television incarnations wouldn't have succeeded nearly as well as it does. But the chemistry between Sousuke, Chidori, and the rest of the supporting cast really makes it shine, whether it's going for straight-up goofball (Fumoffu), or a more serious turn (The Second Raid), or both at once (the original series).
Picking favorite TV series was the hardest part of this list by far. There were numerous titles I really, really wanted to include, but of course I could only pick ten. So here's a quick rundown of some others that very, very nearly found themselves in the top spots.
Genshiken, Crest of the Stars (w/ Banner I, II, & III), The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Eureka Seven, The Big O, Ayashi no Ceres, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Mai-HiME, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Paranoia Agent, Aria, Code Geass
Top 10 Movies
1. Miyazaki Favorites – Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä, of the Valley of the Wind
I'd imagine it'd be hard for just about anyone to make a list of favorite anime movies and not have Miyazaki mentioned somewhere. Especially in my case, since doing so would make me a liar. Mononoke and Nausicaä, to me, represent the pinnacle of Miyazaki's craft, providing epic fantasy stories, likable characters among both protagonists and antagonists alike, and best expressing one of Miyazaki's favorite themes, i.e. man against nature and the question of whether they should really be fighting at all.
2. The Adolescence of Utena
Yo dawg, I heard you like symbolism! So! We put some symbolism in your symbolism, so you can wonder what the hell's going on, while you wonder what the hell's going on! Okay, bad internet memes aside, I love this movie because it's like a puzzle box. It's so dense with symbolism and metaphor that it will undoubtedly take several viewings (or at least a couple passes with the director's commentary) to really grasp what lies beneath. Once you get there, you find a pretty darn good story about growing up and the uncomfortable hurdles of adolescence, so the journey to figure this tangled mess out is a rewarding one, to boot.
3. Galaxy Express 999 (w/ Adieu)
The two Galaxy Express 999 films were what got me into anime in the first place. I remember catching them on the Sci-Fi Channel at three in the morning well over a decade ago and just being awestruck by the imaginativeness and sheer scope of it all, and being swept away by the story and characters, the likes of which I'd never seen before in animation, much less film in general. Even now, I still retain a strong, nostalgic fondness for these films, and still regard them as favorites among all that I've seen since.
4. Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners
Brutal, mysterious, fascinating, and rewarding. That's pretty much how Zac's review of Kara no Kyoukai summed it up, and I honestly couldn't think of a better way to put it. Watching the various parts of this movie serial isn't so much sitting back, turning your brain off, and going for a ride as it is studying the screen. You get your head into the story and let it lead you through a dark, ominous alley with no promise of what you'll find at the end, save that it's going to be well worth the trip. After so many disappointments in bringing Type-Moon's works to the anime format, Kara no Kyoukai delivers, and it delivers big.
5. Kon Favorites – Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress
I often place Satoshi Kon and Hayao Miyazaki as two sides of the same coin. One directs for a family-friendly audience, one skewed more towards adults, but both have (or, sadly, 'had' in Kon's case) the same incredible gift for creating flawlessly beautiful work, both from a literary and a visual perspective. Whether it's a mind-bending, breath-paralyzing thriller like Perfect Blue or a tear-jerking memoir like Millennium Actress, Kon always found the perfect way to tell whatever story he wanted, and the fact that he could approach the same theme of questioning reality from so many different angles is nothing short of a testament to his talent.
6. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
Even though I do admit to liking the way the Evangelion TV series concluded, the utterly apocalyptic vision of End of Evangelion still makes for a more fitting and certainly more exciting way to bring the festivities to an end. The fact that Anno not only provides the violent, gory final fight that everyone wanted, but manages to squeeze in even more of the final two episodes' controversial waxing philosophical just sweetens the deal.
7. Mobile Suit Gundam Trilogy
While the Mobile Suit Gundam TV series is easily one of the cornerstones of anime as a whole, it does suffer from many of the negative conventions of long-running anime adventure series, with occasional lulls in pacing and weirdo filler episodes about beaches and salt supplies. Enter the Gundam movie trilogy, which presents the same classic story in a slimmed down, streamlined, and overall much more enjoyable package. With most of the negative aspects of the original Gundam removed, the positives that made it a legend of the industry shine that much brighter, and this trilogy remains one of the exceedingly few Gundam digest movie series that actually succeeded in being something more than a disjointed, incoherent mess (which, sadly, cannot be said for the likes of the SEED & SEED Destiny Special Edition, Zeta: A New Translation, and other such productions...Miller's Report was pretty good, though).
8. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
An extra-long Cowboy Bebop episode? Containing everything that made the TV series great, plus some slightly cleaner animation? Taking place on Halloween? Yes, please! Really not much to say here that I didn't already say about the parent show above; it's more Bebop staying true to all of Bebop's positives.
9. Tenchi Muyo! In Love
This one's probably the oddball addition to my list, largely because my fondness for Tenchi Muyo! in general has waned over the years, and the movie's a part of what's widely considered to be one of the franchise's “lesser” canons (the first Tenchi Muyo! TV series). Still, it's another one of those fond nostalgic things for me. It's one of the better pieces of Tenchi anime out there just on its own merits, and that combined with Tenchi being one of the earliest anime series I remember really getting into helps it to remain afloat atop any favorite movies list I could throw out. The fact that one of my favorite Tenchi characters, Kiyone, gets a bit more screentime than usual is a big plus, too.
AKIRA is the odd film that actually gets better with repeat viewings, as opposed to more tiresome. It's not symbolic or deliberately disjointed like an Utena or Boogiepop, it's just the compression of several absurdly thick volumes of manga into one two-hour movie. Practically every single thing the camera shows, foreground and background, is an important plot point, and the fact that the producers of the film were able to layer it so well to fit everything in is almost as impressive as its jaw-dropping animation.
Top 10 OVAs
Madcap random humor can be good on its own sometimes, but when used to frame a really well-executed and poignant story, it just gets even better. While most people just think FLCL's this “crazy show where nothing makes sense,” it's actually got a really effective coming-of-age story brewing underneath all the antics, and the mixing of comedy into the story of essentially dealing with puberty (which in itself is a madcap, random time in anybody's life) makes it much more palatable than other more serious and stoic takes on the subject matter.
2. Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuioku-Hen
Covering Kenshin's origin story in such as way as to distance itself from some of the cheesier elements of the original manga (like one of the henchies from this arc looking like Spider-Man's Venom) really turns this OVA into one hell of a dark and captivating period piece. On its own, it's a great historical drama that makes numerous references to a very intriguing period in Japanese history, but the fact that it shows where the kindly white knight of the Rurouni Kenshin manga and anime series got his start only accentuates the brutality of what's being shown.
3. Read or Die
Somehow this little three part OVA manages to turn the mastery of paper into one of the most awesome super powers ever. Of course, the fact that Yomiko makes for an absolutely adorable unlikely heroine helps. This big, absurd action piece is simply a lot of fun, with great action sequences and some really quirky usage of historical figures.
4. Golden Boy
Shameless, filthy, and I love it for that! It takes all those tired, cliché, awkward moments from the average harem anime where the milquetoast lead is caught in some compromising position and casts aside any sort of broadcast-friendly self-censorship, allowing those situations to play out to much dirtier, and often much funnier conclusions. It's sometimes sexy, nearly always good for a laugh, and the dub is just plain hysterical.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam Side Stories (08th MS, 0080, 0083, MS IGLOO)
Where the original Mobile Suit Gundam first presented the idea of giant robots in anime as simple war machines and started the whole “real robot” trend, the various side story OVAs actually follow through and make the concept of war with mobile suits as gritty and plausible as they can possibly get. Psychics and monster-of-the-week mobile armors and outlandish philosophizing on humanity's place among the stars is all set aside for much smaller theaters of combat fought by decidedly more grounded and less idealistic characters, and each one of these four OVA series provides a unique perspective on Gundam's vicious One Year War and its aftermath, all pretty much culminating in a grim “war is hell” message.
6. You're Under Arrest!
While I enjoy the You're Under Arrest! series in just about all of its various incarnations, the original OVA is still head and shoulders above the rest, in my opinion. Many of the later YUA! anime eventually came to rely on increasingly outlandish and overdone situations to keep things interesting, but the four OVA episodes keep it simple and quaint, allowing more of the characters' personality to shine, and managing to find more humor in everyday situations as opposed to invoking sitcom tropes to force it out. The only real shame to be found here is that Aoi Futaba wasn't introduced until literally the very next episode to be produced (that being the first TV episode), and thus doesn't appear here.
7. Vampire Princess Miyu
Though the characters are likable and the stories are interesting, what really sells the four-episode Miyu OVAs is the atmosphere. Sparse, chilly, haunting, and just slightly claustrophobic, the general aura that surrounds the pursuit of this aloof vampire girl really makes the series stand out much more than a conventional approach would've ever allowed it to. All the opportunists looking to cash in on the recent vampire trend would do well to take notes from this ethereal piece.
8. Hellsing Ultimate
Hellsing Ultimate sits in my top favorites for almost the very same reasons that Black Lagoon does. It cranks the action up to eleven, it sports a cast of characters so colorful they're almost ultraviolet, and it sports the sort of wit that almost makes it too smart to be the dumb, hulking action brute it aims for. And with Ultimate, there's none of the stumbling, miserable dreck that plagued the TV series. It's the manga storyline with a dash of color, motion, & audio, and honestly that's all it really needs to be to be utterly superb.
9. Space Pirate Captain Harlock: The Endless Odyssey
I love Leiji Matsumoto. I mean why wouldn't I? His stories got me into anime, and among his considerable pantheon of characters, Captain Harlock is easily my favorite of the lot. So for a stylish, modern semi-remake of the original Harlock TV series that's handled even half-decently to appear on any list of my favorites ought to be a given. It's vintage Harlock—strong leadership, eloquent speeches about manliness, utter devotion to freedom, everything—rounding up the whole Arcadia crew to do what they do best, all with modern animation techniques and budget.
10. Gunsmith Cats
Gunsmith Cats was one of the earliest anime I ever saw, and it's held up surprisingly well over the years. It's hardly substantial or deep or engaging, but it's a lot of fun. To see an anime perform a surprisingly solid tribute to American action films, with fast car chases, exploding buildings, and tense shootouts all around, is the sort of novelty I wish we had more of nowadays.
Bottom 10 Disappointments
The following anime were titles I was certain I'd like, but for some reason or another proved to be incredibly disappointing. Some of these (some, but hardly all of them) I might still like to some degree, but not nearly as much as I should, because damn were they huge letdowns.
1. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
I seem to have issues with Yoshiyuki Tomino that most hardcore Gundam fans don't. He's great for concepts, and can occasionally direct a solid gem, but by and large when it comes to the details, his efforts just come off choppy, emotionally disengaging, and the dialogue is just...tragically hilarious at times. Zeta Gundam is an unfortunately prime example, made worse by tons upon tons of excessive hype heaped upon it by Tomino fans, giving it some drastically unrealistic expectations to live up to. It's not until Haman Khan shows up—two-thirds of the way in—that the show starts to kind of prove itself worthy of all the praise. And even then it's intercut with the especially painful antics surrounding Rosamia Badam and the gradual character assassination of Reccoa Londe (from something of a feminist figurehead within the Gundam mythos to a backstabbing man-chaser...yeah, no).
2. Now and Then, Here and There
Now and Then is, like Zeta Gundam, a victim of hype. A lot of hype. I had a lot of people recommend it to me, suggesting that it was the sort of intense psychological journey that I tend to be a sucker for. But when I finally saw it, I couldn't help but think that it was little more than glorified torture porn. I just couldn't find anything really engaging about it, and frankly got annoyed with it when the plot seemed to stall out, frequently, just so the writers could wring their hands and ponder how they could make life gratuitously s#!& on the poor protagonists next.
3. Fate/stay night
Despite the bad rap that the Tsukihime anime tends to get, I wasn't that familiar with Type-Moon when I saw it, and as such it didn't seem quite so bad. On the other hand, by the time the anime adaptation of Fate/stay night hit the airwaves, I had become well-indoctrinated into the Nasuverse, and boy did that hurt any chance of really liking this series. Only covering one of the game's scenarios (and in my opinion, the weakest) in twice the number of episodes needed made it seem unnecessarily slow and plodding, nevermind the toll that decision took on the supporting cast, who were relegated to glorified monsters-of-the-week because all of their proper character development came in the scenarios that were skipped. Shame, too, because ultimately the likes of Archer, Rin, and Rider are a whole lot more interesting than Shirou and Saber, in my opinion.
4. Harlock Saga
Despite my love for Matsumoto's works, sometimes things just fall flat. Harlock Saga never really felt like it started going anywhere; it was literally just a couple episodes of Harlock, Emeraldas, & Co. meandering about like they never got a copy of the script and were just told to wing it (Harlock's barely even in the damn thing for a good bit of it), bizarre interpretations of Norse gods whining and fretting incessantly, and...not much else. Maybe a battle or two, I stopped caring eventually. Oh, and the choice of redesigning Mime from a fey, elegant alien into a generic blonde chick? Yeah, kind of odd and unwelcome.
5. Rurouni Kenshin: Seishou-Hen
Tsuioku-Hen made for such an effective OVA because making Kenshin's past as dark as possible only helped to further punctuate the theme of redemption that runs rampant throughout the Rurouni Kenshin story as a whole. Unfortunately, making Kenshin's future as dark as possible in Seishou-Hen does exactly the opposite, and serves as a complete, unwelcome contradiction. I was originally excited for this OVA because it was touted as being the long-awaited anime rendition of the manga's popular Jinchuu Arc. Problem is, the actual events of Jinchuu only make up about twenty minutes of flashback, while the rest of Seishou-Hen is Kenshin and Kaoru whining, crying, spoiler[and dying] as sick, miserable people while their son acts like a total prick. For not delivering what it promised, going way out of character in the depiction of its leads, and completely going against the principal themes that every other piece of Kenshin manga and anime stand for, Seishou-Hen was just an epic letdown.
Making an anime adaptation of Hellsing before the manga was even half finished was a bad idea. While the TV series was strong up through the Valentine Brothers' invasion of the Integra's compound, it completely fell apart when the time came to make stuff up. The remaining majority of the series was a bland, disjointed mess, made worse by the fact that the ultimate Big Bad was a naked, pink guy that was trying to summon Egyptian gods and vomited into his gun for ammunition. Thankfully, Hellsing Ultimate came along to correct this glaring mistake.
I'm a sucker for a good mob yarn, so the fact that Gungrave's first half was all about a bunch of street urchins working their way up the ranks of organized crime to the top spots actually made it really good fun to watch. I knew the weirdo supernatural revenge twist was coming, but I figured as long as it was still a mob story at heart, it couldn't fail. Then it became a lame attempt at a zombie story. Then they cannibalized the interesting supporting cast to turn them into one-dimensional monsters-of-the-week. Then the ending proved a complete copout. But hey, as long as I just watch the first half, it ain't so bad! Kind of.
8. Death Note
Death Note suffered from the twin vices of getting way too tedious with its criminal cat-and-mouse game and taking itself way too seriously. It was fun at first, seeing how L and Right-O (nope, not getting into the Raito vs. Light thing, he's named Right-O and he's a rude British lad, so there) would constantly one-up one another, but as the series neared its midpoint, the increasingly convoluted and paranoid lengths they'd go to against one another just got silly at best, and aggravating at worst. But even then, it was still kind of fun. Then they spoiler[offed L and replaced him with a cheap B-grade knockoff] and gave Right-O some equally cheap, B-grade henchmen and the show stopped being fun altogether. Yeah, sorry, pass.
9. Over-Long Series – Naruto, Inu-Yasha, Bleach
I lumped these three popular, long-running anime series together because they're all disappointing for the same reason, and I couldn't single out one without dragging the rest into it in some form or fashion. Naruto, Inu-Yasha, and Bleach all suffer for one big reason: they start out with a great premise, a likable & entertaining cast, and a whole lot of steam, and by the end of their second major story arc they're a stagnated mess full of meandering (and often unnecesssary) subplots and vastly excessive levels of angst for their intended genre and tone. At some point they just lose that energy that they had early on, and can either devolve to just blandly going through the motions (post-Chuunin Exam Naruto, or post-Soul Society Bleach), or completely grind to a halt and literally recycle the same character and story arcs ad infinitum for lack of anything better to do (Inu-Yasha from about episode twenty-five onward).
10. Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
When I first started watching Abenobashi I was excited, because it was Gainax. A comedy by Gainax. And after FLCL I figured they could do no wrong in that regard. Unfortunately, the end result of Abenobashi was just...bland. Its parody episodes covered material Excel Saga had already done, and done better (which given how hit-or-miss Excel Saga was, isn't saying much), some of its humor was just kind of creepy (because we needed a child's soiled underwear to be a recurring gag, uh-huh, totally...), and the actual plot was only really touched upon once or twice during the whole run of the series and was otherwise treated as a mere afterthought.
The Very Bottom 10 Overall
1. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
Despite the furor the first SEED received from the Gundam fanbase, I really enjoyed it. In fact, it remains one of my overall favorite Gundam titles. Unfortunately, where SEED Destiny started strong, it soon devolved into a contender for "Bottom 10 Disappointments," and then ultimately wound up here by the end. The loose and disorganized way Destiny was handled behind the scenes reflected woefully in how it played out on air, ultimately culminating in a complete mid-series 180 with the burying of intended protagonist Shinn Asuka because “he wasn't popular enough” and the re-introduction and elevation of previous SEED lead Kira Yamato to laughably godlike status as a result. The whole thing was just a sloppy mess, utterly incoherent.
2. Love Hina
Love Hina is the typical harem comedy stripped down to its most base elements. Even the comedy is removed! Attempts at humor fall flat through excessively poor execution and constant repetition of the same gags over and over again (often within the same episode), the characters are all obnoxious cardboard cutouts, and the whole plot, as thin as it is, is completely paint-by-numbers. The Christmas special is passable, I'll give it that, but the rest of this trainwreck took incredible willpower to slog through (the only reason I didn't just drop it was the insistence of fanboys that I “hadn't reached the good part yet,” all the way to the end).
3. Baki the Grappler
Baki's an odd duck, really. My impression when I saw it was of a series that just can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a grounded, realistic fighting anime or one that relies on nigh magical powers, and ultimately cherry picks from both extremes in the worst ways. I mean come on, gaining sage martial arts wisdom from a gorilla? Treating endorphins like nothing short of Goku's Kaiou-Ken technique from DBZ? Nevermind the fact that the show goes to great lengths to make damn near every member of the cast seem so seedy as to be utterly detestable.
What happens when you take Detective Conan, remove its quaint charm, and add in hours of unnecessary, grating angst and a plotline about genetically weirdo teenagers that literally goes nowhere and is left completely unresolved? Well, you get crap. Crap called Spiral. When the most likable character in the show is the annoying, spazzy sidekick-girlfriend, you know a show's in trouble.
5. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
A supposed “sequel” to Final Fantasy VII that resolves nothing, opens more stray plot points than it ties up, is vapid beyond belief, and masks stiff animation with the sort of shaky camerawork that'd make even Michael Bay sit back and clap a hand over his mouth and proclaim “I feel seasick.” Shameless pandering at its lowest, made worse by the fact that it actually worked to make this junker a roaring success. But hey, at least the character modeling is nice?
I don't normally make it a habit of picking on children's anime, because obviously I'm not the right target audience, and most of what I see is going to come across as base and unrefined no matter what. But Beyblade honestly is just that bad. I mean, okay, children using tamed animal companions or pint-sized sentient robots to spar with each other? That's cool, I suppose. Using spellcards capable of summoning all manner of ancient magic? All right, not too bad. Tops? Toy spinning tops? That project holograms? Wh-what? And beyond that, even for a kids' show, the writing is just atrocious without even having Duel Masters's excuse of being a kinda-sorta parody.
7. Trinity Blood
When I first saw Trinity Blood, I hated it in that fun way. The first episode just struck me as so hysterically, unintentionally side-splittingly, hilariously awful that I was all willing to buy the series on DVD just to get drunk with friends and MST3K it to pieces. I mean, really, “vampires” that are about as adherent to proper vampire lore as any given work of Stephanie Meyer, a Super Saiyan vampire that eats lesser vampires and wields the most terribad piece of CGI I've ever seen in anime as a “scythe,” poor-man's steampunk mixed with generic post-apocalyptic themes and an absurdly liberal abuse of nuclear warheads, all spiced up with the sort of “nice guy secret monster” shtick Trigun already hammered into the ground all on its own. Comedy. Gold. Then I saw the rest of the series. And it wasn't so-bad-it-was-funny. It was just boring. Bland. Drab. Dull as dishwater. It was NyQuil in faux-gothic animated form.
8. Mobile Suit Victory Gundam
Rumors abound that Tomino supposedly made Victory Gundam awful on purpose due to disagreements between himself and Sunrise. For his sake, I sincerely hope that's true. Victory is like a horrible parody of Gundam, with Z-grade stand-ins for the typical Gundam character archetypes flagrantly reveling in their incompetence, blindingly hideous mobile suit designs, and a plot made laughable for running entirely on said character incompetence to progress. And I mean really, Shakti gets caught in a forest-leveling nuclear explosion and survives without a scratch? At one point, Katejina's secret weapon against Usso is a team of bikini bazooka babes sent to “confuse his adolescent mind with bewbs” to make his Gundam easy to destroy? What the f$#&?
9. Galerians: Rion
It's been a while since I last saw this lovely little trainwreck, but what I remember is certainly seared into my mind as a very bad thing. A story that sounds like some twelve-year old's “badass me versus the world” fantasy, animation so bad a second-year art student with a 1.5 GPA could do better, and (for the English version, at least) a soundtrack featuring some of the worst of early 2000s metal all just comes together in a perfect storm of woefully immature crap.
10. Candidate for Goddess
Boring. Boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, boring, and stupid! Catgirls for no reason, the absolute worst CG that's ever plagued an anime production (yes, I apparently lied about Abel Nightroad's pathetic scythe because I'd forgotten about Candidate's mecha until just now and honestly wish they'd stayed forgotten), and an especially lame, miserable spin on the whole “kids in space school” story that everything from Ender's Game to Uchuu no Stellvia have all told much, much, much more successfully.
Last edited by Nagisa on Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:27 am; edited 1 time in total
Thanks for mentioning this. I totally agree, and those are the exact points when I stopped watching each of those series. I'd also like to add One Piece to this, as I stopped after the first Arc.
There's a huge difference if you're comparing One Piece to what Nagisa said. It doesn't start great and degrades shortly, it starts fairly okay and then sticks to a firm quality. If you liked the beginning there's no reason why you wouldn't like it 100 episodes later.
Would you care to explain why you think these shows are good or bad? For example, for "Ghost in the Shell", you write "Just. Plain. Awesome." What is it about this show that makes it awesome?
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!
Location: Toronto, Canada
|@ Nagisa - great list - THAT'S the way people should do these things; lots of supporting detail to explain why you have made your selections. I so agree with you on NT,HT which is one of those fan faves I consider over-rated. Disagree with you on Death Note - I found it vastly entertaining from start to finish, although like a lot of people, I found everything after eppie 27 less satisfying that what preceded it.|
|You're both wrong. Now and Then, Here and There is fully deserving of all of its praise, and then some.
As is Death Note, for that matter. But to a lesser extent.
Edit: Hey, look. Page 100.
Last edited by Sanosuke_Inara on Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:26 am; edited 2 times in total
|updated my post with longer descriptions:
Location: WA, United States
|5. Cardcaptor Sakura:
I friggin love this show, its funny, its amusing, and its fun to watch.
I learned about this show form a previous topic i made on Edoropolis Emporium, the user that suggested it was blind2d, heres the topic:
The post is on page two.
4. Gundam 00: Awesome, actioney, cool.
I get a kick out of it whenever i watch it.
I rembered why i tried it, because i wanted something new to watch
3. Digimon Season 4: Its very original, it took everything that made the other 3 good, and made them 10x better.
2. ETO Rangers: A.W.E.S.O.M.E, i mean WOW, if the story doesn't get you, then something has to get you, it is great!
1. Samurai Pizza Cats: This sersis is awesome!
The comdey is great, i mean WOW, everything is done perfectly!
Watch it NOW!
| My Top 10 favourite Anime -Notice i said favourtie and not best there is a difference.
1. Neon Genisis Evangelion - The first show that really got me into anime. An amazing plot that requires a decent amount of thought to comprehend and follow. Amazing characters that are memorable and unique and the ones that aren' are the pinacle of there archetype (asuka). Plus a truly memorable and original ending makes this my favourite series of all time.
2. Cowboy Bebop - Some people really dislike episodic shows but that was one of the shows greatest strengths in my opinion. True many episodic series lack strong plot and characters, but this shows had more plot and character development in them then the entirety of other series. Plus a reasonably strong over-arcing plot with memorable characters makes this my second favourite.
3. Trigun - Okay YES this shows isn't that amazing in many areas. But it has to be said that out of all the shows I've ever seen Vash is by far my all time favourite character. His Pacifistic views on the world underpinned by his touching back story are truly something to marvel at in comparison to most other shows out there. Even better the way the show constantly forced Vash to second guess his pacifistic views, accumulating when he's forced to spoiler[kill legato] makes this an amazing series in my opinion
4. Berserk - Okay so maybe I like the manga a lot more then I like the anime. But I would never have gotten into the manga if it wasn’t for the anime in the first place and that reason alone is enough to make it my fourth favourite. Also it should be noted it has the greatest cliff-hanger ending of all time.
5. Guuren lagann - Fight the Powah! The most manly testosterone infused show of all time bar none. Every single thing about this show screams spirit and the will to never give up. If you’re not on the edge of your seat with your adrenalin pumping during (IMO) the best final battle in any show then clearly you need Kamina to come down and punch some spirit into you. Who the hell do you think we are!?
6. Excel Saga - ranks right up there with SZS (Favourite comedy manga) it turns of comedic strength. The wacky, zany, sporadic nature of the show is something you wont get anywhere else.
7. Samurai Champloo - like cowboy bebop before it this show proves that episodic series can have amazing plot and characters that will stick with you for a long time. Also the combination of hip-hop and feudal Japan is just genius.
8. Baccano! - Very intelligent plot, interesting characters, good comedy , action and drama what more is there to say?
9. FLCL - Very interesting story and characters you wont find anywhere else, possibly a little to crazy in places? But definitely the greatest OST you’ll find to date in an anime.
10. Redline - Amazing movie with IMO the greatest visual style you'll find in an anime. This movie isn't trying to be the next Evangelion, it tries to be a fun Action, comedy, racing movie (think anime wacky racers) and it delivers perfectly on all counts. for what it lacks in depth it more then makes up for in having a good fun time. It's a shame it hasn't had a proper release yet I reckon every fan of anime should watch this movie. [/i][/b]
Last edited by damien007 on Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
Thanks for listing it. I've never heard of it but am totally going to watch it now.
|Having had 12 weeks to rethink the whole thing, I bring to you my much improved list. Will I make it to 10 favourites? Will there be any more surprises? Will I cut Cowboy Bebop a break? What is so good about Two-Bite Brownies? Find out in my latest opus, hereby dubbed "List v2.0".
Top 9 Favourite
Okay, I'm sorry, I couldn't make it to 10. 9 is an improvement though, right? Not only that, but I've arranged them in the relative order that I like them, from most to least. That has to at least count for something? Anyhow…
There are so many things I could say I like about Baccano!, and all of them help qualify it as my all-time favourite show. I love the huge cast of characters and the incredible web of relationships they form with each other. They manage to display such a huge range of emotions and interactions, and yet somehow they don’t trod or overpower each other, though Isaac and Miria would probably steal any scene that they weren’t already the focal point of. The fact that most (if not all) the characters inhabit the bottom-right portion of the alignment axis makes this even more fun – all the characters are criminals or crazies of some kind, so you can really cheer for every one of them. The atypical story telling method is great as well. Confusing for sure, and that first episode isn’t really going to turn any heads on its own, but multiple viewings really do help it out. Then, there’s the style it goes about. The opening number is fantastic, and the smartly drawn characters and slam-bang period-specific dialogue make the experience that much more authentic. And finally, I have to mention the dub. Now, I’m normally not a big fan of dubs, but having watched Baccano! with both the sub and the dub, I can say truthfully that the dub actually makes the show better. The already vibrant characters and snappy dialogue become a truly amazing feat of fiction when you turn on the dub. Hearing the characters spout out 1930s slang in a Brooklyn accent makes this show that much more vivid. If I could bring one fault against Baccano!, it’s that it’s too short, but maybe that’s a good thing, as it this way it doesn’t have enough time to soil itself.
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 1
For all its flaws, Haruhi remains to this day one of my all-time favourite shows. This is the show that cheers me up when I’ve had a bad day – I need only hum the theme song (or the ending theme…), and my spirits will be lifted. This show just has that effect on me. When I watch a show, the thing I look for most is strong characters that I can get behind, that will make me want to watch the next episode to see what happens to them. Haruhi has this in spades – I love the entire main cast, and all the ways they make something as mundane as high school into something so entertaining. Those strong, endearing characters make up the second reason I love Haruhi so much. The third reason is just how well the show blends all its supernatural phenomena into the ‘real world’, yet doesn’t ever lose sight of what it is. For all the aliens and espers and time travelers, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya remains a show about a group of otherwise ordinary high schoolers. It’s these three things: the cheer, the characters, and the craziness that just make this show more fun than it has any right to be.
3. Black Lagoon
The premise is simple: it’s an 80s-style action flick as drawn in Japan. The execution? Awesome. I’ve seen some pretty good action movies in my time, but Black Lagoon somehow manages to come out on top of 95% of them. What makes Black Lagoon so great is how it manages to actually make you care about the characters. The entire Lagoon company is interesting, and watching them develop together is a treat to behold. Rock is one of the most well built characters I have ever seen – the writers make use of every facet of his persona and backstory when they insert him in the plot, and it’s amazing to see just how his actions can affect a world where hot lead is the rule. Speaking of which, Revy is a wonder to behold on her own, blowing away any notions you would expect from a female action lead. While most characters in her position have some sort of sensitive side, Revy really does not. Time and time again, you expect that this is the point where Revy will soften up, but time and time again the writers show restraint by refusing to crowbar something like that into her character, and ultimately she is all the better for it. Even if you don’t like the uncompromising grittiness, which goes beyond the point of parody and circles around back to being serious again, just remember this: a show that features a boat ramping full-speed off the wreckage of another boat in order to shoot down a helicopter with a torpedo simply cannot be criticized.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Trying to identify what it is I like about this show has been a bit of a challenge. I’m not particularly attached to any of the characters (though some of the relationships are very intriguing), it’s nothing spectacular on the technical side, and the story lost me at one point. Ultimately, though, I feel this show is much better than the sum of its parts, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. All the individual pieces of this show are the recipe for something mediocre, especially considering it’s a partial remake of one of the most popular series ever made. But somehow, it manages to pull it all together into something that’s not only watchable, but highly enjoyable as well. After all is said and done, I beyond a doubt do feel like this is a show I can call ‘epic’ in the truest sense of the word: huge cast of colourful characters, numerous exotic locals, a deep-running plot, and just a grand sense of scope and vision. This show also holds a special place in my heart as the only show I have actively followed as it is released. I would run home every Sunday after my D&D session to watch the latest episode, and it always seemed to make a good night great. I can’t ask for much more than that.
5. Crest/Banner of the Stars
Now this is how a space opera (or even just grand stories in general) should be plotted: have a few key characters with complex relationships and personal issues to sort out, and have a huge over-arching plot that is way bigger than the main characters and continues on even without their input. This is what these series manage to pull off, with full marks on both counts. First, you have Jinto and Lafiel, whose relationship is so complex and human (strange, considering Lafiel) that it would do the writers and great injustice to just label it as a ‘romance’ – it is so much more than that, and proves once again that the best parts of a romantic relationship are quite often the non-romantic parts. What’s more, their relationship is built up in a flawless three acts: Crest kicks it off in their juvenile stage with some instant chemistry, Banner 1 shows the relationship maturing as the two stars do, and Banner 2 is the culmination of all the tension that had been built up to that point. And then, you have the much larger war of galactic conquest, in which Jinto and Lafiel must play their small parts. They are tied together magnificently by a unique cast of supporting characters, some of whom would have stolen the scenes right out from under J&L if they had appeared onscreen together. I’ll say it again: this should be the standard to achieve for any show that wants to write a story of this nature.
6. Spice and Wolf
I’m sure everyone out there has watched some show (or movie, or read some book, or played some game) that they just want to tell everyone about, but can’t due to the almost obtuse subject matter. I mean, how do you explain to the average person why a show about medieval economics, featuring an average merchant and something that could have originated at DeviantArt, is worth watching, let alone really, really good? Well, I don’t have an answer to that, but I will say this: Spice and Wolf is a great achievement in the world of anime, taking something so mundane, mixing it with someone so generic and someone else so bizarre, and bringing out one of the most delightful anime series I have ever watched. Yes, the subject matter of the plot can be dry at times, not to mention probably quite confusing to someone who lacks an understanding of basic economic theory. But everyone can appreciate the adventures of two kindred souls, especially when the dialogue between the two is as witty as this. While their supporting cast isn’t quite as strong as Jinto and Lafiel’s, Lawrence and Holo might just straight up be the better pair, and that is quite an accomplishment, in my book. Ultimately, though, this is the sort of show that everyone needs to try out, at least for a little bit, because any attempt to describe it just cannot do it justice.
7. Welcome to the NHK
It’s really hard to talk about this show now, as it’s been a long time since I’ve watched it, and its style and structure are, like Spice and Wolf, uniquely indescribable unto itself. But I do remember that this show struck a chord particularly close to my heart when I watched it. Around the time I picked this one up, I was starting to become increasingly reclusive, rejecting opportunities to leave my room in favour of watching anime/movies and playing video games. This show was a simultaneous blow to the gut and refreshing comedic break, neatly packaging both the seriousness and the absurdity of the hikikomori lifestyle. But the real treat of this show is, once again in this list, the cast. It’s truly amazing to see the relationships rise and fall in this show as events unfold. This is a show truly riding on the backs of its characters – after all, it’s hard to make a show based on lampooning a lifestyle that literally involves doing as little as humanely possible. Like the venerable Neon Genesis Evangelion, each of the characters brings to the table their own troubles, and each has to work through them with the help of others. It’s not the sort of show you watch if you want an upbeat story with whiz-bang action and simple comedy, but it’s a true treat for people who want something that is both introspective and endearing at the same time.
t-9. Neon Genesis Evangelion
So much has been said about Evangelion, and it has to be at the same time the most popular and the most polarizing anime series ever made. But what is also true is that what someone else thinks about Evangelion doesn’t matter, because it’s what it means to you that counts. So what does Eva mean to me? Well, let’s just say that I came to grips with the fact that it wasn’t actually a show about giant robots fairly early on, and was able to enjoy it for what I found it to be: a multilayered character study of some incredibly psychologically and emotionally unstable people being put under a monumental amount of physical and mental stress. The result? A philosophical rollercoaster ride, with enough psychedelic eye candy to appeal to the more carnal desires. I was even able to accept the bizarre dreamscape final two episodes (though I did desire to see how the actual plot wrapped up), which I know some people had major issues with. Ultimately, though, it’s just the sheer gravity of NGE, both its actual plot and structure and its legacy, which draw me in. Regardless of what your thoughts are on the series itself, it just compels you (and me) to watch.
It’s been called both ‘Evangelion Light’ and ‘Evangelion Done Right’. My question is this: why does it have to be ‘Evangelion’ at all? Sure, it carries many similarities, but in my mind, RahXephon is its own unique show, and what a show it is (of course, I still couldn’t extricate it completely from Eva, but I really couldn’t decide which one I liked better). Unlike Eva, where the plot (Angels and Human Instrumentation) is just a vehicle for the story (Shinji and co.’s extended psychiatric circus), RahXephon’s plot is integral to the characters and their development. It’s because of this that the plot actually comes together in the end, and if you dig deep enough, there aren’t really any unanswered questions, something Evangelion exactly can’t claim. The characters themselves were great, bringing out a huge range of human emotions, which really helped to drive home one of the key plot points. While definitely a mite confusing at the beginning, and more than a bit lacking in the robot carnage department, it was just too endearing to let pass. And of course, there’s the massive plot twist that the show saves until the very last frames to reveal. I don’t know about everyone else, but I was blown away by that particular revelation, and it made the entire experience that much more fulfilling. I can’t really ask for much more in a show, now can I?
Top 6 Most Disappointing
Generally, my circumstances limit the amount of ‘bad’ anime I watch. I don’t spend a whole lot of time watching it regardless, and when I do I make choice selections from a highly recommended list (aka I study topics like this). While this generally keeps a pretty good control on the amount of drivel I watch, it doesn’t account for me being personally displeased with a show, especially one that showed promise or had vaunted credentials. As such, I bring to you all the 6 series (or movies, or segments of shows) that just didn’t live up to my standards, from least disappointing to most.
6. Last ~3 Episodes of Claymore
Not to say that Claymore was very good to begin with (which is what saves it from being any ‘higher’ on this list), it was nonetheless quite fun at times, the theme music was awesome, and did have moments of brilliance. Sure, it was a bit too indulgent in its over-the-top fight scenes, and the amount of exposition accompanying those fight scenes would make the average shounen show blush, but when it managed to balance the action with a bit of character driven development (see: Black Lagoon), it really worked – Clare’s origin story was a piece that I thought was particularly well done. But, it decided to soil itself in the end. The final fight was unnecessarily long, and the conclusion was… well… let’s leave it at ‘less than conclusive’, shall we? What made this even more disappointing is the fact that the story carries on in the books, as if the entire show was one extended ad to sell more copies of its source material – a crime that should land those responsible in jail, if you ask me.
5. Death Note Post-You-Know-What
I’m pretty sure lots of people would agree with me here. Death Note itself was a very well put together piece. It was clearly defined and neatly trimmed, it had style and elegance, it moved at a comfortable pace, it was a good deal more complex than the average eye candy while remaining completely accessible, and was absolutely riveting at times. While it wasn’t quite as smart as I was expecting, and as a traditional mystery was face down in a muddy puddle, it was still very good – to the point where I was frightened. I mean, who puts together something as close to technically flawless as this, and how long will it be before it derails itself? (if you’re wondering why the first part of this show didn’t make my Top 9 it’s because for all its technical achievements, it failed to endear itself to me like any of those shows did). Alas, my fears were well founded, and the wheels fell off wholesale after rolling a 1 on a critical save (spoiler[probably Fortitude, based on L’s physique]). After that, the enjoyment was gone, and it was just one long winding road to the inevitable end. Ah well, at least it was good for a while, right?
4. School Rumble OAV
When you build a character web as complex as School Rumble’s, you’re bound to create fans of your entire cast. I’ll be honest: the ‘main’ relationship triangle (Harima/Tenma/Karasuma) in School Rumble was probably my least favourite in the entire series, and I cared little about the outcome of it. Conversely, I really enjoyed watching some other relationships develop (Harima/Yakumo/Eri, Imadori/Ichijou), and wanted to see more of certain other characters (Akira, Nishimoto/Mai). So, after little was resolved at the end of the second season, I quickly jumped over to the OAV in hopes of a nice big wrap-up for the whole cast, where everything we’ve watched so far will culminate in a satisfying finale – after all, we followed this kids through most of their high school life, and isn’t that how these shows are supposed to end (see: Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star)? But then I got done the OAV and… well… I just felt empty. Practically the entire supporting cast was dumped in favour of milking a few more tortured minutes of the main triangle, and even that wasn’t properly resolved. Once again, this was a result of what happened in the source material (which I have checked in on, and it helped a lot), and once again, doing this sort of thing should result in harsh punishment for the writers.
3. The third act of End of Evangelion
Well, if you read my Top 9 (which I’m assuming you did, considering that you’re reading this), you might have seen this one coming. Now, I’ve already said my piece of NGE, so I’ll keep this short. Suffice it to say that while I as quite pleased with the first two acts of EoE, the last felt like a slap in the face. Why did we revert to mindscrew dream sequences again? We’ve already had two episodes of that. I thought EoE was supposed to fill in the plot holes from NGE’s ending, not retread the same material as the series covered. And what in the name of all things good an holy was with that stupid final scene? All that philosophizing and introspection followed by those all those revelations about life, reality, and love, and for what? A complete reversal of everything that you’ve accomplished through the course of 26 episodes and a feature length film? Good grief, man.
2. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2
You probably saw this one coming too. Once again, I’ve already talked at length about Haruhi, so I won’t go there. What I will say is this: of the 14 episodes in that second season, I enjoyed only one of them as much as I did the first season. The Endless Eight is obvious, and I need to say anything about it (though props to the studio for having the guts to pull something like that on its fans). As for those other episodes, well, let me say this: Haruhi worked best as a series of loosely connected stories about everyday school events made crazy by Haruhi’s antics, with each story building on, but not necessarily depending on, the one before it. Unfortunately, this is what those remainders were: a built up string of episodes about the creation of a certain movie. Ultimately, the second season of Haruhi really had little to offer, which made me sad, especially considering the magic the first season had.
1. Cowboy Bebop
And here we go. Without a doubt, Cowboy Bebop is the most disappointing thing I have ever seen in any visual medium, ever – and that is hard to do, considering I hated Bladerunner after that particular movie was hyped to the moon and back for me. That which was promised to me as the greatest anime ever made, and highly touted by both casual and hardcore fans of the medium turned out to be a stylish, technically sound, but ultimately incredibly boring and empty waste of 600 minutes. While not a bad show (no, I would never go and say that; I value my life), it definitely did not impress me in the way that it should have. After reading this far, you can probably surmise that I’m big into characters and their relationships and interactions with each other. Bebop was kneecapped right from the getgo by not presenting me with a character to latch on to. So many people love the characters in this show, but I just did not care for any of them. Part of this problem may have been the extremely episodic nature of the show – without a common string of events to tie the characters together and build them up from, they just became static cutouts. I had no reason to care about the outcome of a single episode, because I knew that the crew would just be back to square one again come time for the next title sequence, which is not a winning formula for a show that seemed to revolve around people struggling to survive. With no emotional attachment to any of the characters, I was actually looking for reasons to not watch the next episode – not a good sign. The last straw came in the last two episodes, though. Unlike in other shows in this list where the whole thing was ruined by an awful ending, Bebop’s final two episodes were really, really good. All the promised character development and complex relationships suddenly came rushing out. As a whole, the characters seemed to stop treating each other like people who just rode the same bus to work and actually acknowledged that, “hey, we’ve been through a lot together and now you’re leaving – I’m sad!” And then, Faye’s trip back to her old home held all the emotion that the show seemed to have been missing up to that point. Too bad the show then decided to end in an abrupt, whiplash-inducing bang, leaving nothing but a bad taste in my mouth. All that potential squandered. All those vaunted credentials meaningless. All that time spent watching meandering (albeit stylish) pap for naught. What. A. Letdown.
Top 2 Worst
Of course, just because I’m selective about what I watch, that doesn’t mean that a few duds won’t slip through. Luckily, this has only happened to me twice. Now, which one was actually worse is a matter of great internal debate for me. On the one hand, we have the show that started out as possibly the worst anime experience I have ever had, but cleaned itself up and became somewhat palatable for the second half. On the other hand, we have the show that was consistently bad through its entire runtime, but never quite sunk to the same low points the first show reached. As I was unable to reach a conclusion, I have labeled them ‘1’ and ‘A’, and have listed them in the order I watched them.
1. Dragonaut: The Resonance
This one is the above-mentioned show with the atrocious first half followed by a passable second half. Speaking of which, here are a few words that can be used to describe the show this aggressively bad, and specifically those first ~13 episodes: pandering, confusing, directionless, pandering, perverted, awkward, pandering, annoying, nauseating, moronic, and pandering. It really feels like this one was written by several different people working out of offices in different timezones with only snail-mail for communication. Nothing really adds up, and there are just fragments of story lying about. And then, of course, there is the pandering. The absolutely shameless use of the female figure in this one is appalling. Attractive women are nice, yes, but pushing the PG13 rating to its very limits is not sexy – it’s silly. And it would be irresponsible of me to talk about the show and not mention the absurdity of the character relationships in this show. Mr. Jin, Ms. Toa, I don’t care what you guys feel, it does NOT work like that in real life.
So then, what happens in that second half? For one thing, it pares down on the stupid, annoying characters and trims off most of the errant plot threads. For another thing, it puts up a better backdrop for what’s happening, and all those ridiculously contrived character triangles actually feel like they mean something. Sure, it’s no less juvenile than before, but it actually manages to achieve some of those ‘wooby moments’ it had been lacking up to this point – another fault this show had in the early running, especially for a show where the main facet of the story is supposed to essentially be one big ‘wooby moment’ (ala Eureka 7). While the show was still bad, it was bearable, though not enough to escape my wrath, and that final non-canon episode was enough to basically erase any goodwill I could have felt for the show.
A. Kaze no Stigma
Ah yes, here we go. As I said above, no part of Kaze no Stigma is anywhere near as bad as Dragonaut’s slummy first half. However, no part of it was as ‘good’ as Dragonaut’s second half either. Kaze was pretty much consistently bad the entire way through, though that was probably the only consistent part about it. Trying to nail down what exactly Kaze no Stigma is about is quite a difficult task. Is it a dark, grisly thriller? Is it an emotional heartbreaker? Is it an over-the-top shounen blast-fest? Is it a wacky rom-com? The answer? It attempted to be all these things, but failed at all of them. Unlike other shows that manage to combine these elements (Full Metal Panic! springs to mind), Kaze just feels ham-handed in its delivery. While its timezone-separated writers may have had a phoneline this time, they still couldn’t seem to connect on where they wanted to take the story. While never truly aggressively bad, it’s still just plain bad, and is just not worth watching. To rub salt in the wounds, this one was actually recommended to me by someone, as opposed to Dragonaut, which I just watched on a whim. That one thing, however childish it would seem of me to hold against the show, definitely pushed it down to the same level as Dragonaut.
What is so good about Two-Bite Brownies?
Last edited by simmeh on Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:29 pm; edited 2 times in total
If it's located anywhere online im not aware of it, im not even sure if it has had a full relase in japan yet. I was lucky enough to catch it at a film festival along with King of thorn, summer wars and Eva 2.22. It was easilly the best movie of the bunch (and that is coming from a total Eva freak)
|Hi there! I've been using this thread as a sort of recommendation thread to find new anime to watch, so I thought I'd contribute something myself. Unfortunately I can't think of 10 animes I like enough to say they are my favorites, so I'll have to limit myself to 5 for now. Maybe once I've seen a lot more animes I can revist this list.
1. Elfen Lied - First off, this series has extremely graphic depictions of people being dismembered on-screen. It also has nudity, though not as much of that as of people being ripped apart. If you can get past that, though, then this series has a real emotional punch to it. At its heart it is a story about acceptance and alienation, which strikes a chord with me. It's also a somewhat of a love story. None of the protagonists are really heroes or heroines; rather, they are just humans put through a particularly cruel set of circumstances. The animation is great and so is the theme song "Lilium."
2. xxxHolic - I really liked the mysterious way the magic works in this series, which draws on a lot of Japanese mythology I think, though I'm not too familiar with that. I also liked how the relationships between the main characters build over time; even with its somewhat episodic nature, it stays a coherent whole by the way the characters interact and the lessons Watanuki (the main character) learns. The animation could have been a lot better, but it improves over the course of the two series. I also loved the music.
3. Code Geass - This series really grabbed me with its high tension/suspense and plot twists. It also handles its wide array of characters well, making them into believable people who have motivations for the things they do. It's a mech anime but the mechs aren't the focus, which I liked. Instead, the focus is on the characters' interactions and the plot. It brings together a lot of elements from various genres: mechs/warfare, some romance, a lot of psychological battles a la Death Note, school life, even some fantasy-ish mysterious powers.
4. Eureka 7 - It's shounen, it's mechs, it's warfare, it's... romance? What it is is a coming of age story for its two main characters, and I liked the fact that even though they are teenagers, it still takes its relationships seriously. The mechs aren't the focus of this series either; the characters and their interactions, as well as the ways the main characters grow and learn, take the stage. It does start off slow so you have to be patient for the plot-line to build up, but once it does its worth the wait.
5. Neon Genesis Evangelion, + End of Evangelion (Movie) - I'm honestly not sure if I want to put this here. I have some mixed feelings about this series. It left an impact on me, though, so I have to include it. The main reason I originally watched it was for the mystery of what the Angels were and why they were attacking, as well as what was behind the Nerv organization. The fact that the ending revealed none of that, but rather left more confusing questions than it answered, annoyed me. Even so, I felt the original ending had a different sort of impact in the message it sent. The movie ending answered a lot of those questions, but the ending of the movie ending pissed me off. spoiler[I don't understand why Shinji choked Asuka as she's lying there almost dead. Not only that, but Shinji never grew up. At the end of the movie he's still the same whiny kid he was at the beginning. Pissed me off.] But apart from my grievances with the series I thought it was superb. The battles are intense and there's lots of drama and mystery.
3. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Destiny - I liked SEED, but Destiny was horrible. It tried to turn the protagonists of the previous series into its antagonists, as well as introducing a new protagonist whom I intensely disliked. Shin Asuka was freaking retarded. If they had made him into an antagonist with some likable traits, instead of a protagonist with lots of horrible traits, the series would have been as good as SEED in my opinion.
2. Impossibly long shounen (Dragonball, Inuyasha, Naruto, Bleach, etc...) - I used to like this genre, but I grew out of it. The characters are all one dimensional pictures designed only to look cool. The plots are excuses to have more battles. Character interaction is shallow. Ugh.
1. Eureka 7: Pocket Full of Rainbows - I am in the process of trying to forget everything about this movie. It took everything that was good about the series and trashed it. For one thing, it pulled a similar stunt as Gundam SEED Destiny by turning some former protagonists into antagonists. For another, the relationship between the two characters was rushed, without the same developmental time required of the series. And to top all that, the plot was so convoluted the characters had to frequently stop and explain it to each other. And to top THAT off, said plot had no rhyme or reason to it. It made no sense. And finally, to top everything bad I've said about it, it has spoiler[references to Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. What. The. Heck?] If you liked Eureka 7, I urge you, Do Not watch the movie. If you didn't, go right ahead, you might have a laugh.
Ho! Don't we all feel this from time to time, most of us (meaning everyone who has seen Avatar: The Last Airbender) is trying to forget about M. Night's blatant assassination attempt on it, *sigh* sometimes they just can't leave well enough alone, right?
Glad you're finding recs on here, it can be quite good for that! Hope you enjoy ANN and find more fun stuff to watch! This is a good thread for it even if that's not its main intent. Since NGE is in your top, might I suggest RahXephon? And When They Cry: Higurashi since you like Elfen Lied?
Heh, I didn't see that movie. I had a feeling it would be bad. Now I'm glad. (har har) But thanks for the recommendations, I'll be sure to check those out sometime.
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