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Want to see
(The) Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (movie)
Eden of the East: Paradise Lost (movie)
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (movie)
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time (movie)
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (TV)
Occult Academy (TV)
Redline (movie)
(The) Secret World of Arrietty (movie)
Shiki (TV)
Time of Eve (movie)
Yume-Miru Kikai (movie by Satoshi Kon)

Seen all Rating
5 Centimeters Per Second (movie) Decent
Ah! My Goddess: The Movie Good
Air (TV) Not really good
Air (movie) Not really good
Air In Summer (special) Weak
Akira (movie) Very good
Angel's Egg (movie) Good
Appleseed (movie) Not really good
Aquatic Language (special) Very good
Arcadia of My Youth (movie) Not really good
Sorry, but Leiji Matsumoto melodrama, chivalry and wonky plotting just does not do it for me. The aged animation and art don't help matters much, either.
Armitage III (OAV) Decent
Ayakashi - Samurai Horror Tales (TV) Good
Forget the first two standalone arcs: Goblin Cat (Japanese: Bakeneko) is one of the best anime you can ever watch. It takes traditional Japanese folklore and marries it with modern, experimental sensibilities. From the tripped-out, impossibly gorgeous art direction (Gankutsuou has absolutely NOTHING on this), to the kabuki-like characters and story, all the way to its grand, shockingly emotional finale, Goblin Cat is one of the most gripping, ambitious and unique titles in all of Japanese animation. Be sure to check it out along with its equally amazing spin-off, Mononoke.
Azumanga Daioh (TV) Good
Azumanga Daioh - The Very Short Movie Decent
Azumanga Web Daioh (ONA) Decent
Baccano! (TV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Bakemonogatari (TV) Decent
Barefoot Gen (movie) Good
Barefoot Gen 2 (movie) Good
Bastard!! (OAV) Weak
Berserk (TV 1997) Very good
(The) Big O (TV) Very good
Big Windup! (TV) Very good
Black Jack (OAV) Good
Black Jack 21 (TV) Very good
Black Jack The Movie Decent
Black Lagoon (TV) So-so
Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage (TV) So-so
Blood: The Last Vampire (movie) Weak
Blue Gender (TV) So-so
Blue Gender: The Warrior (movie) Awful
Blue Seed (TV) Bad
It's so weird to think that Production I.G actually produced and animated this.
Blue Submarine No.6 (OAV) Decent
Boogiepop Phantom (TV) So-so
Bubblegum Crisis (OAV) Decent
Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 (TV) Decent
Cannon Fodder (movie) Very good
Castle in the Sky (movie) Very good
(The) Cat Returns (movie) Good
Cat Soup (OAV) Good
Catnapped! The Movie Good
Cencoroll (movie) Very good
(Le) Chevalier D'Eon (TV) Good
Comedy (OAV) Very good
Cowboy Bebop (TV) Very good
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Good
Crest of the Stars (TV) Good
Cromartie High School (TV) Very good
Daicon films (special) Very good
Darker than Black (TV) Decent
Dead Leaves (OAV) Decent
Death Note (TV) Decent
Den-noh Coil (TV) Very good
Devil Lady (TV) Decent
(The) Diary of Tortov Roddle (ONA) Good
Digimon Adventure: Bokura no War Game (movie) Excellent
Digimon Adventure: Born of Koromon (movie) Excellent
Drop (movie) Decent
Durarara!! (TV) Very good

May the Omori-Takagi duo never run out of work.

Eden of the East (TV) Good
Eden of the East: The King of Eden (movie) Good
Egao (special) Decent
El-Hazard: The Magnificent World (OAV) Decent
Elfen Lied (TV) Bad

"Tragedy porn" is, I believe, an apt phrase for describing works such as this. "Emotional voyeurism" is also another term I've seen used. The means are an end itself -- the writing and direction brew up scenarios that are meant to make the audience cry, and that's that. It's like showing a puppy getting beaten to death and calling it an "emotional masterpiece." Suffice to say, it's easy as hell to make people cry; it requires absolutely minimal ability and knowledge of the medium, so by premise alone people already know that they're in for a good cry, rather than letting the competency and talent of the director and screenwriter actually create a more nuanced and realistic emotional experience.

Elfen Lied is an otaku title. So is Gunslinger Girl, Air, Kanon, Rumbling Hearts, et cetera. They all have their respective ways of conveying fan service, some sexual, others emotional. It's the capitalist notion of moe, where those with the creative swing (i.e. money) know that they can create these stories and leech off the emotional and/or sexual void that otaku wish to fill. Or, as the esteemed translator Stephen Paul put it, "The cruel ironic joke that is moe, eliciting the desire to protect and provide from the people least capable of even taking care of themselves, a poisoned fang that keeps them from forming real personal relationships and distances themselves from reality, sucked further into the cynical economic machine that preys on unpopular men."

It's a different kind of manipulation than a story where we follow realistic, human situations where tragedy may strike; people wax poetic about Mayu's Tragic Past, but then they haven't read A Tale of One Bad Rat, a story that creates real human beings of actual childhood abuse. It's the abstract that appeals to them -- sexual childhood abuse makes me sad, and so when it's shown in fiction, I'm sad, therefore the story is Excellent. Of course.

I suppose we could pull the "subjectivity card": that art only exists upon interpretation, and that creative intentions mean fuck-all when it comes to assessing any given film, novel, comic, album, et cetera. But I can't see that as anything but bullshit, though. Nothing exists in a vacuum; by the same logic, we could present arguments about Dragon Ball Z being of the same depth and craft as Citizen Kane, and no one is going to suggest that. Even if they can be bent due to personal experience, there is a common desire for defining innate values and elements of any given object. Are we to then say that shots of Yoko's breasts in Gainax are not fan service, but "artistic sexuality"? That all opinions are equally aware, informed and argued?

The source material has a girl who wears diapers and wets her pants, and the anime adaption is handled by a anime production company that primarily does hentai. There's cat ears, convenient amnesia, moe catchphrases ("Nyu! Nyu!"), love interests that span from a childhood friend to a cousin, generic character designs, long and leering camera angles on the nude figures of the female characters, the Diclonious almost completely being female (and nude to boot! After all, we can't have male diclonious, and nude at that!)... Hell, we even have limbs beings torn apart with gallons of blood. Andrew Cunningham proposed that, with these elements and more, that the manga and anime are more of mean-spirited parodies of romantic comedies, with more than unhealthy doses of moe and ultra-violence thrown in -- subscribing to this viewpoint depends on whether you're the type to take it seriously or not.

I mean, if you are able to take the nakedly manipulative premise of Gunslinger Girl seriously, then you'll probably have no qualms with this. If you can't take either seriously, well, there's that. I suppose there is an argument to be made that the anime crew take this Quite Seriously, given, say, the Very Important Episode Titles, or the Gustav Klimt homage in the opening theme, but then it becomes pathetic in its overreach about Violence! Abuse! Evolution! Monsters! Redemption! Allusion becomes the illusion for depth, which is one of the quickest routes to pretentiousness. It has nothing to say other than proclaiming these themes over and over again, and ends with mere manipulation for the sake of it.

Elfen Lied (OAV) Awful
End of the World (OAV) Not really good
Ergo Proxy (TV) So-so
Escaflowne: The Movie Not really good
Eternal Family (TV) Very good
Eureka Seven (TV) Very good
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (movie) Good
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (movie) Excellent
Excel Saga (TV) So-so
Fantastic Children (TV) Good
Figure 17 (TV) Good
FLCL (OAV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Full Metal Panic! (TV) So-so
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (TV) Very good
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid (OAV) Good
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu (TV) Excellent

How to go from mediocrity to excellence:

Step #1: Transfer the animation production from one of anime's most criticized studio to the one loved by practically all otaku. (In fact, one might argue that this is where Kyoto Animation's reputation begins.)

Step #2: Bring in a competent director with a keen sense of comedic timing for slapstick.

Step #3: Strip away the boring pieces of action and plots from the first series, reducing the bipolar tone to one focused solely on humor.

Step #4: Make use of one of anime's most undervalued strengths by emphasizing vignette-storytelling.

Step #5: Transform the once-annoying female lead to a likable, even somewhat sympathetic character.

And you have a winner.

Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) Very good
Fullmetal Alchemist: Chibi Party (OAV) Decent
Fullmetal Alchemist: Kids (OAV) So-so
Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium Collection (OAV) So-so
Fullmetal Alchemist: Seven Homunculi VS State Alchemists (OAV) Not really good
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa So-so
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) Very good

Gonzo's last hurrah? Considering their output since then, it may very well be.

Sadly, it is not as flawless as some critics say it is. The sci-fi backdrop hinders more than it helps; any semblance of world-building is thrown out the window, and so quickly becomes generic and throwaway. I can only guess that the staff exchanged the 19th century European setting for futuristic locations to appeal to the sensibilities of modern viewers, or to not inconvenience themselves by bothering to research the historical setting of the novel -- perhaps both.

The characters can also be problematic. This does perhaps come with shifting the narrative from a revenge-plot to one about innocence. Because of this transition, the Count comes across as less compelling than he should be, and instead we're given a dry character in the form of Albert. Reflecting this with other characters, the cast feels less like aristocracy and more akin to what one would experience in an old shoujo series. (Hell, Albert fits the submissive role to the Count's dominant one rather neatly.)

Consequently, the ending, like much of anime, suffers from a hastily-put together climax which only delivers on the promise of innocence (or, rather, love) overcoming the vengeful spirit.

Still, all of my complaints aside, this DOES deserve to be watched. It's a remarkably compelling story, as all well-told melodrama should be. In spite of the aforementioned thematic shift, Dumas' tale is not left in shambles, and so many of the strengths of the original remains.

What really makes this anime great in many eyes, I suspect, is the visuals. This can be a divise element, perhaps the most contentious one in the show. Nonetheless, for those that do not feel it's a detriment, the animation and art feature Gonzo at the highest of artistic sensibilities. Director Mahiro Maeda truly succeeds here, obviously investing budget and talent to make the clothing, hair, et cetera as vibrant and attention-grabbing as possible, almost to the point of pretentiousness.

Gankutsuou may not live up to the acclaim it has gathered, but it's still a competent product of serial animation.

Gasaraki (TV) So-so
Gauche the Cellist (movie) Excellent
Ghost Hound (TV) Excellent
Ghost in the Shell (movie) Very good
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (movie) Not really good
Philosophy 101 does not an interesting an interesting anime make. The movie is brilliant whenever the characters shut up, though. Love the eye-candy and the music. Batou's basset hound also makes for an ironically compelling character.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV) Excellent
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG (TV) Excellent

Fuck. This and Texhnolyze have the two greatest opening themes for any anime series. Ever. You just cannot compete with the visuals and editing.

(Review pending.)

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society (movie) Very good
Giant Robo (OAV) Excellent
Alberto is basically the greatest character of all-time.
Gilgamesh (TV) So-so
Gin Rei (OAV) So-so

The first episode is harmless fluff, the second hilarious and the third boring. Given that it's included in the ridiculously cheap box set that Media Blasters has released, fans -- both the casual and hardcore -- should give this a viewing at least once, if only for the parody.

Ginga no Uo URSA minor BLUE (OAV) So-so
(The) Girl Who Leapt Through Time (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Golden Boy (OAV) Very good
Grave of the Fireflies (movie) Excellent

The only reason for why this isn't given a Masterpiece rating is that it's too hard to watch. I've seen it with people who were bawling; while I'm not prone to do so by any stretch, there are sequences -- particularly towards the end -- where the eyes well up and a lump falls right down the throat. Even with the spectral glimpses of their afterlives, there's no catharsis here.

People who also criticize either Seita or the aunt are betraying their own biases (not criticizing Seita's pride and laziness vs. those that don't realize the horrifying situation a child has been placed in; not recognizing the utter callousness of the aunt in regards to her denying protection for Setsuko vs. those that don't understand how harsh things are for her family when taking care of two orphans). The film isn't about any sort of strict, moralized judgment concerning the characters, but a snapshot of those suffering under a neglectful, arrogant nation facing the dying days of a self-destructive regime.

Gunbuster (OAV) Very good
Gunbuster 2: Diebuster (OAV) Very good
Gungrave (TV) Decent
Gurren Lagann (TV) Very good
Haibane Renmei (TV) Masterpiece
See my comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Hajime no Ippo (TV) Very good
Hajime no Ippo - Champion Road (special) Very good
Hajime no Ippo - Mashiba vs. Kimura (OAV) Very good
Heat Guy J (TV) So-so
Hellsing (TV) So-so
Higan (OAV) So-so
Hijikata Toshizo: Shiro no Kiseki (OAV) Not really good
Honey and Clover (TV) Excellent
Honey and Clover II (TV) Excellent
House of Five Leaves (TV) Good
Howl's Moving Castle (movie) So-so
Infinite Ryvius (TV) Decent
INTERSTELLA 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (movie) Decent
Jin-Roh - The Wolf Brigade (movie) Very good
Junkers Come Here (movie) Very good
Kaiba (TV) Good

Well, this is a disappointment.

First things first, though: I cannot take away how visually and aurally brilliant this series is. The animation is consistently some of the best in Japanese television animation, period. The art direction is varied and set to match the environment, whatever it may be for a given episode. The music is perhaps the real hero here, though; each track feels as though it's perfectly molded to each scene, never overplaying emotions and always striking a subtle enough chord to support, but never to detract.

The episodic storytelling for the first seven episodes also deliver the most exciting and honest portions of the series. Warp visits planet after planet, jumping into body after body with a greedy policeman on his tail (and, much like the bodies, has a different motivation for each venture). The locales and settings are all inventive, driven by such conceptual brilliance you can imagine that Yuasa could continue this gig forever and never run out of ideas. Even when the script fumbles, such as in episode five, the themes, art, animation and music still keeps the viewer glued to their seat.

Unfortunately, Yuasa also runs into the same problems that he met with Kemonozume: establishing a cohesive narrative. I'm hardly one for demanding directors and writers to spoon-feed viewers -- indeed, I applaud when they go for subtlety -- but here Yuasa extends his reach far, far, far beyond his grasp. The second half of the story, driven more by the conspiratorial plot, collapses under its ambitions.

A large part of this problem is that Yuasa's world-building is more restrained, more personal than any grand, epic adventure one might expect with this type of tale. Throughout the first seven episodes he works around a smaller scope, concerned with characters and downplaying the mystery behind them. This is almost completely reversed from episode eight to the end, where exposition is intermingled with plot developments that are not previously established, and throwing in whatever idea possible. (Singularity? Revival? God complex? A universal threat? Uh-huh. It's as though Yuasa took the most base elements of The End of Evangelion and ignored everything that made it cohesive.)

I almost feel bad for criticizing Kaiba, because I still feel as though the first half is a imaginative, if slightly uneven triumph. And the technical brilliance I spoke of earlier still remains for the last few episodes. It's just that Yuasa seems incapable of handling grandiose plots.

Kakurenbo - Hide & Seek (movie) Decent
Kamichu! (TV) Good
Kanon (TV 2/2006) Not really good
Kemonozume (TV) Good
Key the Metal Idol (OAV) Decent
Kiki's Delivery Service (movie) Very good
Kimagure Robot (TV) Decent
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (movie) Excellent
Kino's Journey (TV) Excellent
Kino's Travels: Life Goes On (movie) Very good
Koi Kaze (TV) Very good
Kujira no Chōyaku - Glassy Ocean (movie) So-so
Kurau: Phantom Memory (TV) Good
Kurenai (TV) Decent
Labyrinth (movie) Decent
Last Exile (TV) Very good
Living for the Day After Tomorrow (TV) Good
Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie) Very good
Macross Plus (OAV) Very good
Macross Zero (OAV) Decent
Magic User's Club! (TV) Good
Magic User's Club! (OAV) Good
Magnetic Rose (movie) Excellent
Male (movie) Good
Master of Mosquiton (OAV) Decent
(The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV) Excellent

Does merely pointing out stereotypes mean that the work is a deconstruction and satire? No. Does having a rearranged episode order mean that it's absolutely essential and adds to the narrative, making it a genius move akin to Memento? No. Do these two false claims by anime fans mean that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya isn't one of the best anime ever made? Hell no!

The series has a sense of fun and wit about it nearly unmatched in Japanese animation. Four-fifths of the main cast are an absolute blast to watch, and have some surprising subtleties unearthed as the show develops. It manages to be very genre-inclusive without ruining itself like nearly every other anime that tries the same. Throw on superb production values and a great soundtrack, and it's clear why this series will be held up as a classic for years to come.

Memories (movie) Very good
Memory (movie) Good
Mermaid (movie) Good
Metropolis (movie) Good
Millennium Actress (movie) Very good
Mind Game (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (OAV) Very good
Mononoke (TV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit (TV) Excellent
Mōryō no Hako (TV) Excellent
This show is so much smarter than just about any other anime out there, and it knows it.
Moyashimon (TV) Very good
Mushi-Shi (TV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
My Neighbor Totoro (movie) Very good
My Neighbors the Yamadas (movie) Good
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (movie) Very good
Nekojiru Gekijō (TV) Not really good
Neo-Tokyo (movie) Decent
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Excellent
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (movie) So-so
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Excellent
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
NieA_7 (TV) Excellent
Night on the Galactic Railroad (movie) Excellent
Ninja Scroll (movie) So-so
Nodame Cantabile (TV) Very good
Noein - to your other self (TV) Decent
Noiseman Sound Insect (movie) Very good
Now and Then, Here and There (TV) Good
Oh My Goddess! (OAV) Decent
Oldboy (Korean movie) Excellent
One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (movie 6) Excellent
Only Yesterday (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
(The) Order to Stop Construction (movie) Very good
Otaku no Video (OAV) Decent
Other Worlds (movie) Good
Outlaw Star (TV) Good
Pale Cocoon (OAV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Paprika (movie) Excellent
Paranoia Agent (TV) Very good
Parasite Dolls (OAV) Decent
Patlabor 2: The Movie (movie 2) Excellent
Patlabor The Mobile Police (OAV 1/1988) Very good
Patlabor: The Movie (movie 1) Very good
Perfect Blue (movie) Very good
Ping Pong (live-action movie) Good
(The) Place Promised in Our Early Days (movie) Very good
Pom Poko (movie) Decent
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (movie) Excellent
Porco Rosso (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
(Le) Portrait de Petite Cossette (OAV) Not really good
Princess Arete (movie) Very good
Princess Mononoke (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Princess Tutu (TV) Very good
Professor Dan Petory's Blues (OAV) Decent
Pumpkin Scissors (TV) So-so
R.O.D -The TV- Good
R20 - Ginga Kūkō (movie) Not really good
RahXephon (TV) Excellent
RahXephon (OAV) Not really good
RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio (movie) Decent
Re: Cutie Honey (OAV) Good
Read or Die (OAV) Very good
Requiem from the Darkness (TV) Good
Revolutionary Girl Utena (TV) Excellent
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie Very good
I've never done acid, but this movie is probably a comparable experience.
Robot Carnival (OAV) Good
Roujin Z (movie) Very good
Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Rumbling Hearts (TV) Awful
I will accept the possibility that this is a possible emotional masterpiece when daytime soap operas can be considered to be of Shakespearean caliber.
Running Man (movie) Not really good
Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection (OAV) Decent
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (OAV) Excellent
S-CRY-ed (TV) Decent
SaiKano: Another Love Song (OAV) So-so
Samurai Champloo (TV) Good
Scrapped Princess (TV) Good
Serial Experiments Lain (TV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Shadow Star Narutaru (TV) Decent
She and Her Cat (OAV) Good
She, The Ultimate Weapon (TV) Good
Shigurui: Death Frenzy (TV) Excellent
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
(The) Skull Man (TV) Good
(The) Sky Crawlers (movie) Good
Space Pirate Captain Herlock The Endless Odyssey (OAV) Not really good
Spice and Wolf (TV) Good
Spirited Away (movie) Excellent
Spring and Chaos (movie) Good
Steamboy (movie) Decent
Step Up Love Story (OAV) So-so
Stink Bomb (movie) Very good
Summer Wars (movie) Excellent
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
(The) Super Dimension Fortress Macross (TV) Decent
(The) Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (movie) Good
Superflat Monogram (movie) Very good
Tachikomatic Days (OAV) Good
Tales of the Street Corner (movie) Very good
(The) Tatami Galaxy (TV) Good
Tekkonkinkreet (movie) Good
Texhnolyze (TV) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Time of Eve (ONA) Excellent

Japanese animation is all too often an emotionally and intellectually shallow subset of a medium. If an anime series features young girls in contrived, tragic situations, why it must be very deep -- ask any otaku who seeks out tragedy porn that isn't far removed from daytime soap operas, save for the characters' ages. And for depth? Who needs actual examination of socially and philosophically relevent themes (any of the four yoshitoshi ABe anime or Satoshi Kon's works) when all you apparently need is a love of pastiche and superficial real-world references (Ergo Proxy, Boogiepop Phantom, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence).

In this industry of melodrama and allusions, it makes it all the more satisfying when works like Yasuhiro Yoshiura's Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve) are created.

To give a brief background: Yoshiura's first foreray into anime is Mizu no Kotoba (Aquatic Language). It's a quirky nine-minute short, charming in its rough artistry and decidedly different sense of humor. This was followed by an extremely ambitious work, Pale Cocoon, which remains as the best short film that I've ever seen. Aside from an interestingly subverted cyberpunk setting and gorgeous visuals, it features satisfyingly sharp commentary on heritage and knowledge. The film is is suitably moody; while not dark as is common with these type of stories, it definitely leaves a fair bit of time for introspection, in spite of the quick editing.

It only makes sense, then, that Yoshiura follows such a weighty piece with a story that is the tonal opposite, though not lacking any of the intelligence.

The premise and concepts are hardly originally, as has been pointed out with snide remarks by science fiction readers. Yet Eve no Jikan still succeeds because of the frank, playful nature of Yoshiura's storytelling. From wink-turned-stars to thought bubbles to fast-paced sequences of overlapping dialogue to the most convincing "camera illusion" in anime, it's hard not to view the series as straightforward fun. This lightning-fast direction and wit is complimented by a simple structure of introducing and fleshing out new characters -- be they human or not -- and ideas, all in the span of 15 minutes.

If there is any sort of justice in this world, then the North American anime fandom will at last catch on to Yoshiura's underappreciated genius. Eve no Jikan is accessible and entertaining enough to do just that.

Tobira o Akete (OAV 1995) Decent
Tokyo Godfathers (movie) Very good
Trava (OAV) Very good
A Tree of Palme (movie) Not really good
Trigun (TV) Good
(The) Twelve Kingdoms (TV) Very good
Twilight Q (OAV) Decent
Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (movie 2) Very good
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (movie) Good
Vampire Princess Miyu (OAV) So-so
(The) Vision of Escaflowne (TV) Good
Voices of a Distant Star (OAV) Good
Welcome to Irabu's Office (TV) Very good

Slight compared to Mononoke, but also quite fun. A sophisticated sitcom with amazing art direction.

When They Cry - Higurashi (TV) Decent
Whisper of the Heart (movie) Masterpiece
See comments in the Top Ten Films section.
Windy Tales (TV) Good
Witch Hunter Robin (TV) So-so
Wolf's Rain (TV) Excellent
See comments in the Top Ten Series section.
Wolf's Rain (OAV) Excellent
X (movie) So-so
X (TV) Decent
X OAV Weak
Xam'd: Lost Memories (ONA) Decent

Completely engaging opening episodes, but then starts to slow itself down. No problem, honestly, until it hits the halfway mark, where its shortcomings start to become more apparent. The lack of grand focus and lapse into deus ex machina really hinder this series. It also falls into forced character development and placement as a result. Also all too typical of recent Bones' productions there are fascinating concept that are only superficially explored -- a mish-mash of ideas for a setting never realized -- and more anime-conventional characterization and plotting.

Amusingly enough, it would benefit from a 39 episode run like Eureka Seven would, though for different reasons.

Zipang (TV) Good
Supposedly nationalistic overtones, revisionist history, lack of realism that would give hardened military buffs headaches and ignoring your own country's inhumane actions makes a story impartial and fair. Still, Furuhashi's direction elevates this to a level of sophistication that would otherwise be lacking in a story like this. The music is also quite nicely placed to drum up drama effect, and the non-ending is more satisfying than one might think. (Even moreso considering the direction the manga apparently takes after this point.)

Will not finish Rating
Afro Samurai (TV) Bad
Allison & Lillia (TV) So-so
Arjuna (TV) Decent
Birdy the Mighty: Decode (TV) Decent
Black Cat (TV) Bad
Blade of the Immortal (TV) Not really good
Bokurano (TV) Decent
Claymore (TV) So-so
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV) So-so
Corpse Princess: Aka (TV) So-so
D.Gray-man (TV) Not really good
Flag (ONA) Not really good
Freedom (OAV) So-so
Gantz (TV) So-so
Hakaba Kitarō (TV) Decent
Hell Girl (TV) Decent
Hellsing Ultimate (OAV) Good
Heroic Age (TV) Not really good
Inuyasha (TV) Weak
K-ON! (TV) Weak

so moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe i'm an ironic masochist moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe moe

Fuck that.

I question the self-awareness of people who unabashedly enjoy this show.

Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens (TV) So-so
Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula (TV) So-so
Lucky Star (TV) Weak

Otaku who clamor for the ill-defined concept of moe are doing pretty well these days -- not that they've shed their social stigma, or anything like that. No, part of that fandom is kept alive largely because of two reasons: 1) Their unshakable will to focus their income on doujinshi, anime DVDs, games and related paraphernalia instead of cars, booze and women. 2) The fact that, like all successful business, The Powers That Be are acutely aware of their audience's spending habits and will milk them until their utters fall off. Lucky Star is arguably the pinnacle of such ventures in the modern age of Japanese animation, so unabashedly moé that the hardened cynics among us might imagine the creators walking about their studio with a subtle, placate smile on their lips as DVD sales for their latest release are announced.

However, this is not to say that those who do not fall within the spectrum of otaku cannot and should not enjoy such a series; indeed, entertainment is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, while there have been astonishing bursts of creativity in Japanese animation over the past decade, it's somewhat distressing to know that such a murky, socially-inept phenomenon has taken such a stranglehold that it can be condensed to its most rudimentary form and eaten up faster than a fat boy alone in the kitchen with a cake.

Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact! (TV) Good

Like Giant Robo, except padded out and less insane. I appreciate Imagawa's efforts to avoid the conventional filler by packing in all of the essential characters and the story's mythos in the first battle, but this also creates a lack of dynamics by drawing out the situation as much as possible. Also doesn't help that it doesn't have the budget to support Imagawa's vision as Giant Robo did.

Michiko & Hatchin (TV) Decent

Sometimes it evokes the better episodes of Samurai Champloo where things just go completely bonkers, and episode seven has one of the most satisfyingly mature depicts of romance that one can come across in anime. Yet it falls victim to one of its strengths that the aforementioned show does not have: juggling a more visibly on-going narrative. The writing becomes hit-or-miss because of this, occasionally becoming downright trite and dull, such as in episode nine. Set against a satisfyingly researched setting, the stories don't offer much that has been done before, or even try to distinguish themselves with respect to the old clichès like Cowboy Bebop does.

Shame, because Sayo Yamamoto is a talented director; she just needs a more creative and consistent script backing her.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (TV) So-so
Mokke (TV) Not really good
Moonlight Mile (TV) So-so
Natsume's Book of Friends (TV) Good
Night Raid 1931 (TV) Not really good

This is just like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex if you think that series is has a cast of anime clichés with no sense of human nuances, along with stilted animation and bad accents. Oh, yeah, and superpowers with "drawbacks" that are only red herrings for overly contrived suspense.

Oh! Edo Rocket (TV) Good
Rainbow - Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin (TV) Bad

I'm fine with melodrama done right, but this is beyond cartoonish. Everyone's one-dimensional, defined as recipients of pain or supporters of it. The Evil Ones are all unattractive in some form. JOYOUS MUSIC plays when the characters attempt to look out for each other. EMOTIONAL MOMENTS are made sure to be captured in freeze frames. The score translates between okay and maudlin as all fuck.

Tragedy porn, in other words.

Real Drive (TV) So-so
Red Garden (TV) Decent
Rideback (TV) So-so
Romeo × Juliet (TV) Not really good
Willie needs his own spin-off series. I am completely serious.
Samurai 7 (TV) So-so
Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei (TV) Decent
Shangri-La (TV) Weak

Well, Shangri-La has some nice backgrounds, at least.

But, damn, you can really tell this is the director's debut. Lot of very awkward editing and compositionally dull scenes. Even the action scenes are hit-or-miss.

Doesn't help when the story isn't any better. Two lolis with pandering, loud voices (no, Hojo is not 18, and no amount of "b-but the youth of Asian women" is going to say otherwise)? Check. Stereotyped transvestite? Check. Outrageous hair style and colors (seriously, what the hell is with that commander?)? Check. The Evil Character introduced by Evil Music as she does Evil Things with Evil Make-Up on a generic Evil Expression that the director cuts to because we must know that she's an Evil Leader? Check. Exposition about a ludicrous concept poorly shoe-horned in? Check. Another one of countless, failed attempts for an anime to attempt to balance playfulness and a Serious Plot with Serious Themes? Check.

And then we get the soldiers running away from the stereotyped transvestite instead of shooting him, because, well, you cannot have competent soldiers actually killing a main character. And I'm not even starting on the fucking boomerang.

Not that Gonzo has made anything that I've given a damn about in over a half-decade, but I sort of deluded myself that they would succeed here with Shangri-La. I just give up.

Shigofumi - Letters from the Departed (TV) So-so
Space Runaway Ideon (TV) Not really good
Toradora! (TV) Good

While still falling into tired genre conventions too much for my taste, it's far, far more entertaining than a cynic might think.

Trinity Blood (TV) Bad
Tweeny Witches (TV) Decent
When They Cry - Kai (TV) So-so