Comics artist and former Gainax employee Lea Hernandez joins us to talk about her turbulent time back in the late 80s with the company that gave birth to Evangelion.
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10: Afro Samurai
One of the main reasons I chose this anime as my number 10 is for its unique style that separates it from most of the series you will see. The best way I can think of to describe it is the result of merging the show "Boondocks" with a adventure style show. It is short and entertaining with a notably good plot to match it.
Finding another series that matches this one in character development would not be a simple task. Not only that, but it contains a mystery that you can't stop thinking about until you uncover the truth. The only complaint about this anime that I can think of is spoiler[ it's, in my opinion, poorly made ending of 'lets leave it up to the viewers imagination'] But even with that, it was more that a series worth seeing.
8: Angel Beats!
A love story that will leave a lasting impression on you with a twist in it as well. This story about an afterlife struggle leaves some of its viewers in tears with its unforgettable ending.
Deffinately one of the more complex animes I have ever watched. It also has a very unique soundtrack that is somehow addictive, yet still really creepy. Character development is notable and its plot is legendary.
6: Ef: A Tale of Melodies
Without a doubt, on my list of must sees. I love story bringing its viewer to find themselves falling in love with the characters. Fantastic character development, riveting mysteries and twists and a powerful plot. It may even leave some of its viewers questioning their own beliefs.
A fascinating story about the super-natural, this series won't let you stop watching it once you start. It will trap you with its creative and unique plot that truly sets it apart for any other series.
4: Rurouni Kenshin:
The lengendary wondering swordsman. I great series with amazing plot, character development and themes. A side note, the dubbed version is certainly more enjoyable than the subbed.
3: Cowboy Bebop:
This series maintains its popularity for a reason. Everything positive I have said so far about any other series applies to this anime. It is a 100% must see.
2: Gurren Laggan:
This one gets my number 2 slot because of its long lasting affect on me, months after I finished it. A coming of age story that will leave you wanting more, even when its over. It seems to fire me up, more that any other series has come close to.
1: Clannad: After Story
If you have not seen this series, stop reading right now and go watch it. I don't care that you don't finish my post, seeing this series is a must do. I would argue it should be a bucket list item. Until I watched this, nothing I had ever watched before had every brought me to tears. No movie, series, anime or non-anime. But during this, I cried not once, but three times, all lasting over 20 minutes. When I said you would find it difficult to find a series that matches Baccano!s character development, this is the one exception. I am confident that this series will forever remain in my #1 slot because of its unmatched character development, unrivaled plot and humor that will literally make you LOL. I highly suggest you watch Clannad before you watch the after story though, it is kind of needed.
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10. Futakoi Alternative
And last but not least in my book. The original Futakoi was nothing to speak of really, just another run-of-the-mill harem anime but Futakoi Alternative was great. The action was so over-the-top that it was hilarious. The characters were interesting and the format of the series really kept you guessing. Although the plot became logical at the end, it really kept you wondering where they were going to go with it. spoiler[And who'd believe that the captains of industry were actually bio-engineered squids?!?]
9. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
It was really hard to put FMA this far down on the list to be honest. And it seems predictable that it would be on the list. The fan service was so-so (except for the auto-mail, that made me drool). The plot was excellent. spoiler[The whole time we were expecting Fuhrur-King Bradley to be the main villain but he wasn't.] An excellent series to watch if you've got an extra 30 hours.
8. Darker than Black
Not a lot to say about this one if you haven't seen it. They actually did a good job with the English dub (almost better than the raw version) and it had an excellent ending to. Never would've seen that coming!
7. Elfen Lied
Best horror-anime ever! The plot followed a logical progression although I really didn't see some of the twists before the occurred. It also followed its manga really well, and had a really nice ending. The fan service was excellent as well
6. Guilty Crown
As far as post-apocalyptic anime go, this one had to be one of the best. They combined a lot of genres into this one and produced an excellent plot with believable characters while at the same time throwing away traditional structures. I did not expect the MC to become the villain for 5 or 6 episodes! It had a good, if sad ending too.
5. Ai Yori Aoshi
Ai Yori Aoshi was just plain beautiful. Who wouldn't want to find someone like Aoi-chan turning up on their doorway? I was taken aback when I watched it for the first time. And the second and third times as well. The plot really isn't that great, but there's excellent comedy in there and some really touching moments as well.
4. Cowboy Bebop
I've seen a lot of people posting about this one but it's just that great. The plot seems episodic at first but it really is well thought out and the backstory was fascinating. Of course, the ending left us all on a cliff-hanger with evidence to support either of two theories and the overall plot seemed dark. But it was also funny, a hard balance to achieve.
3. Spice and Wolf
It's hard to really say why I liked this anime so much without giving away the plot but - and this is the only word I could use to describe it - it was charming. The main heroine (a foxgirl, always a good idea but hard to pull of, plot-wise) was very well built. The characters were developed well and although some of the jargon was hard to follow the plot made up for it by being both well-thought-out and entertaining.
2. Code Geass
I've always been a big fan of mech-anime but as an engineer one of the big problems I've always had with them was that half of them were 100ft-tall monstrosities that looked like it would take millions of joules just for them to life a foot. But, the mechs in Code Geass were believable while their weapons were over-the-top in a way that seemed physically possible enough that I could believe it. The plot was excellent, if a little dark for my tastes and I have to admit that there were several moments I didn't see coming.
1. Clannad (and I mean the whole series, not just the original) -
First of all, the plot was excellent. It was brilliantly-convoluted, but not overly complex - something that you could follow but kept you entertained. Interspersed were gut-wrenching moments of comedy, moments of tragedy, and some of best romance I've ever seen in an anime. A lot of Key's works are like this but this one in particular blew them all away. It was, by far, my favorite anime.
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10. Cowboy Bebop
A wonderful classic sci-fi anime thrill-ride with an amazing ensemble of characters, each with their own unique story and are multi-dimensional in nature, from humorous to sensitive to the core. The series is a wonderful journey of the human experience as the lead characters develop a bond with one another. The music itself is also a key player as it conveys the rich emotions of the series.
9. Kimagure Orange Road + The Movies
Even after seeing other 80's rom-com's like Touch and Maison Ikkoku, KOR still upholds as my #1 favorite of them all, especially with the fantastic chemistry of the main couple, Kyosuke and Madoka, to the interesting twist to the love triangle of the character Hikaru being the best friend of Madoka, and overall being a fun series to watch, especially with the antics of Kyosuke's cute sisters. The songs are excellent and one of my favorites is the song, "Orange Mystery" by Hideyuki Nagashima, a song that is pure 80's. The movies provide the closure the series needs as it develops the characters from teens to young adults.
8. Fate/Zero-Of the anime I've seen of this current decade that is by far my favorite, it is Fate/Zero, a series that blows its' predecessor Fate/stay night out of the water with its' engaging story, fantastic cast of new characters not seen in the previous series, the brilliant action and intrigue, and a brilliant score by Yuki Kajiura. I also loved the moments of the series of F/SN's heroine, Rin Tohsaka as a young girl and the relationship she shared with her father, one of the few touching moments of the series. I also enjoyed that the character, Kirei Kotomine had more of a role in this series as it went deep into his character.
7. Bubblegum Crisis OVA
One series I can think of what defined the 80's is definitely this one, from its' awesome song soundtrack to the brilliant stories of the principal characters living in a dystopian society where each of them take on the might of the mega-corporation GENOM and their prime weaponry, human-sized cyborgs known as Boomers. I also loved all their takes and references of Western media such as the movies, Streets of Fire, The Terminator, and Blade Runner. Its' an engaging, fast-paced series that I will always cherish as one of my favorite 80's anime.
6. Record of Lodoss War OVA
With most of the medeival-fantasy anime I've seen, they've been rather 'meh', that is until I watched Record of Lodoss War, the brilliant 90's OVA that has rich artwork designed by Nobuteru Yuuki, beautiful songs by Sherry, a terrific line-up of noteworthy seiyuu, and an engaging epic story told in 13 episodes. I truly loved this anime as the characters were engaging and each moment was breathtaking, especially the battles between knights. The romance between Parn and Deedlit was beautifully sweet and the two make for a strong couple to the intriguing relationship of their rivals, Ashram and Pirotess, and their bond was just equally as strong, of devotion and loyalty.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing + Endless Waltz
With being my first Gundam series and one of my first anime shows I've seen, Wing has nostalgic value for me as a series I still am very fond of, even after seeing more of the Gundam series that are out there. Gundam Wing is a series I loved because of being more than just a mecha series with a war-time backdrop, but also being a series that goes deep into the heads of our characters and their motivations, to the deep political intrigue that is at play, and the bonds the characters share with one another. With excellent animation for a 90's anime, the great cast of VA's (both sub & dub) to the fantastic songs by TWO-MIX and BSM by Kou Ohtani made Wing even more enjoyable.
4. Blue Seed
Being one of the most underrated series out there, I treasure this gem of an anime. From the blend of many elements, each of them worked out very well and made for a very enjoyable series. The supporting characters all each had an important role and neither were overshadowed by the leads, which is what I particularly liked. The heroine, Momiji Fujimiya is an admirable one as she remains true to herself, has ups and downs, kind and strong, and all in all had wonderful qualities. The art is pretty good for a 90's series and the soundtrack is excellent with the music by Kenji Kawai, with songs by Takada Band and Megumi Hayashibara. Overall, this series is what made me love manga-ka Yuzo Takada and inspired me to see his other works such as my second favorite series done by him, 3x3 Eyes.
3. Rurouni Kenshin Tsuiokuhen
Words cannot express how beautiful this anime is, well deserving of being called a "masterpiece", everything about it was enchanting, from the heartwrenching tragic love story of Kenshin Himura and his first love, Tomoe Yukishiro, the excellent samurai action, the political intrigue of the Bakumatsu era, all of which weave a fantastic story that defines the series as a whole. I loved the artwork as it felt so realistic and the BGM was just gorgeous. Seeing the Director's Cut version made like a feature film gave me the feeling that I was watching an animated live-action samurai movie, as it certainly gave me that feeling.
2. Kanon 2006
Kanon 2006 still holds for me the best of Key's works, especially with the enchanting tale of Yuuichi Aizawa's story when he returns to the town he once lived in as a boy and the series weaves a brilliantly told story of romance, joy, laughter, sadness, tears, and the bonds of family and friends. Each of the characters are endearing, with a unique personality all their own, and for the five main girls and their stories, I couldn't help but express my emotions of what they went through. No other Key series has touched me as much as Kanon did, as I saw much of myself in the characters and made a deep connection. Everything about this series was brilliant and KyoAni did a fantastic job in adapting Key's first masterpiece.
1. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
As far as space opera anime goes, this one is the best of them all. Everything about this series was a brilliantly told story of rival military powers fighting a long, epic war over their ideals, and of two men who rise to become the most respected leader of each of their own respective sides, the Galactic Empire's young and ambitious Reinhard von Lohengramm to the Free Planet Alliance's laidback genius Yang Wenli. Each of the characters are intelligent and even though you may disagree with some, it gets you thinking about their POV and helps provide a better understanding, such as the character Paul von Oberstein. I also love that the series used music works from classical musicians such as Beethoven and Wagner to accompany the series and how I enjoyed while watching a fantastic battle between enemy flagships. The cast of seiyuu is by far the best ones ever with so many great veterans voicing the vast number of characters. To me, LOGH will always be the most memorable and epic anime I've seen and among the greatest.
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I will borrow flushingmemos' approach in placing things under their overall genre/approach and pick the best fitting under my understanding (some selections may clash with a pre-existing commonly understood label but they work the most for me in that genre enough for me to place it therein).
This Top 10 is an older list I made 'bout 6 months ago and is a very loose rendition. Anime series only, as I feel movies have better chances to realize their ambition vs. series doing their best in the face of various forms of adversity.
#1. Favorite Psychological/Black Comedy: Welcome to the NHK
This is anime has some of the best used nuances I've ever seen in anime, period. It's so layered with underlying emotions and cluttered feelings that I wonder if Gonzo even knew the power of what they were adapting (probably not as the occasional animation lapses reflect incompetence). If I could compare this with a film - also putting aside genres and intents - it'd be Lumet's Network. Both works, ultimately, spoiler[have characters trying to filter BS elements of life that clutter the realness of life that they truly want but have no idea how to identify them or even cherish them]. Granted, NHK can be quite unfocused with its intent by mixing in some hearty social commentary on top of well-established character arcs, but there's NEVER a false moment with the characters, creating one of the most logically/emotionally sound casts ever in anime I've ever seen!
Its ending bothered me as its overtly reliant on spoiler[character-specific allegories] which is a test for both, audiences really knowing the characters, and understanding how they changed... and remained themselves.
Still, with a moody, subtle, but very iconic soundtrack, one of the best dubs, ever-consistent humor quality, all add up to remarkable replay value.
Hell, it's even got dragons in it, so - in the end - it's the #1 anime for me! lol
#2. Favorite Mindf***/Surrealist Anime: The Tatami Galaxy
Probably the most challenging anime I've ever watched (but not for the inherently obvious reasons... although those subtitles don't help), T. Galaxy is pure invention and professional handling. I wish ANN.com finished reviewing the show because it is a show that makes use of every single sentiment conveyed for a very wonderful realization that is as complex as it is simple; it just needs as much publicity as possible. It's quite easy to complain about the subtitle speed but nearly every person that I know who watched it paused it so they'd get every single detail because there is so much going on to pay attention to! Why bother, you ask? Well, because the premise is quite timeless and timely. A movie that I would compare the stylish and thematic approach would be Groundhog Day. Only that Tatami has the backdrop of a simple college student trying to make the most out of every... single... decision... is always felt in his narrative and his desire to attain a very irrational goal in life.
Essentially, Tatami can take place anywhere, anytime = Personal proof that it's timeless art.
The show's storytelling narrative (spoiler[time resetting]) has been so badly used in Haruhi's spoiler[2nd season] and spoiler[After Story] that any fan might lose patience with it regardless of what uniqueness lies bare.
But this is Yuasa's most accomplishing effort, making use of every single emotion for a greater sum of its parts.
The show itself covers many genres but I coine the overall effort to be what I've said.
While it's puzzling experience can mirror Groundhog Day, the replay value gets better and better with all the knowledge one can reapply with each passing, just like G. Day.
Welcome to the NHK beats it narrowly for having a more concentrated cast infecting every single pore of quality, but Tatami is the closest 2nd I've ever encountered.
#3. Favorite Slice-of-Life: NANA
While ostensibly known as a romance driven anime (and it is), the effects of real-life consequences are constantly acknowledged and felt with every passing frame of every single episode. This is what made me realize that Madhouse is the greatest anime studio as their productions are the most consistent in nearly every ANN standard of reviewing, have impeccable editing/storyboard planning, and fascinating tone handling. If there was one anime that could reflect a complex handling of simpleness - therefore enhancing it to be complicatedly rich, it'd be this one. And that's why I call it my favorite slice-of-life anime.
M. Asaka is possibly the greatest character-driven director ever if not for adapting this with fluidly fun and involving pacing, then for creating an ending that caps off the sentiment of NANA eloquently.
It's a slice-of-life at the end of the day which limits its achievements in-comparison to NHK and T. Galaxy, but it's so well-made in of itself that it gets #3.
#4. Favorite Romance: Koi Kaze
I know, I know. We're on number 4 and still nothing epic or exciting; we're almost there... I just have to gush a little more on the genius of this one first.
Ironically, my reasons for loving this one changed built upon themselves as the show went on - a commonality that I lean back on to identify Master-class efforts like the above mentioned titles. I'll explain:
1st Reason - spoiler[Simple curiosity as to why Patrick Seitz would do this anime (a bigger dub fan then compared to now; ironically, I didn't watch the show dubbed first anyway!) and how it would go based on its fascinatingly subtle 1st episode.]
2nd Reason - spoiler[Expertly handled nuance defined characters very easily (I've never up til then seen body language so extensively used to characterize) and helped establish...]
3rd Reason - spoiler[A sense of mystery in how core characters would feel lost to themselves - and to watchers - as they progressed throughout the show. Gone was the simple anticipation of waiting for them to admit their feelings and move on, replaced by a new excitement in wondering how these in]tricately rendered characters immerse themselves in this story.
4th Reason - spoiler[Because of everything mentioned the ending is flawlessly realized and felt.]
It's an experience that can watched again and again for sheer, BS-free, drama that never stoops to cheap shots and pretentiousness. (spoiler[I'm not a big fan of "I love you..."-type confessions, but this is the ONLY exception where it suited the character who said it.]) Omori then became one of my top favorite directors for that unmatched effort.
#5. Favorite Fantasy: Fullmetal Alchemist (1st series)
Because of its departures and humane reflection of the filler episodes, I liken the experience to be a fantasy experience than a shonen one. It takes its themes quite seriously - in fact, most everyone fights for ideology and served as my first Gateway anime into how anime can be more than just superpowered fighting and monster collecting.
That being said, its replay value is stunted by iffy pacing that interrupts minutely from spoiler[Hughes' death] to much more severe by spoiler[Greed's story being altered w/Dante's inclusion].
But replay value is chump change compared to the more refined villains here than in Brotherhood. Overall, atmosphere, reflecting moments, lived-and-died-for philosophy make this ver. of FMA a brave anime for all intents and purposes.
#6. Favorite Video Game Adaption (was replaced by Favorite Sports, but I've seen more vid game adaptions than sports): Persona 4 (4 eps away from completion but enough of an impression was made)
The greatest thing about this show is the character cast size and interdependent humor they all share with each other. Not only that, they actually feel like they do in the game - friendship, casual teasing, competition, even occasional tussles and mix-ups. While its comedy first, and social commentary second, the easy-going nature fits 90+% with the game = spoiler[battles] are for flavor,spoiler[ maintaining social links] are for flavor, but, spiritually, you get one of the easiest, well paced comedy/shonen adventure that accomplishes so much with so little that it made every flaw that much more endearingly fun to look past at.
#7. Favorite Mecha: The Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
This spot used to be taken by Eureka 7, until I realized that Macross does much more with similar ingredients (love under war/naive based sentiments are held onto in the face of life's unfairness, interesting/unique mecha designs and fights [not-so-ironically because of Kawamori], fun but not great soundtrack supplementing, and similar cast size/involvement. Heck, they both even have erratic pacing!).
But Macross beats every mecha I've seen for having heart, style, moodiness all emanating classic 80's cool. The epic breadth and calm, mature adult character cast is felt naturally throughout to negate any qualms or corniness that might persist. Thus making the most successful mecha show overall for me.
#8. Favorite Sci-Fi: Now and Then, Here and There
Even though there's more material here that gets properly covered justly, the sheer dreadfulness, complementing tones, and fierce sense of right and wrong change this from being a Grave of the Fireflies drama to a sort of dark fairy tale of "life's potential wonders vs. life's ceaseless pain/suffering". It's ultimately fair with the hows and whys of it all, which makes it a great series to revisit despite the convenient nature everything seems to occur (plausible or not, there's not enough coverage of the setting to make it as logically sound as possible = few steps shy of being shock entertainment).
Lastly, what makes this approach better than similarly orchestrated stories like Elfen Lied and Madoka, is the calm, subtle, and openness of the experience (E. Lied/Madoka felt overly complicated for the themes presented, far too harsh given how little/rushed was detailed for each tragedy, and distanced me from anticipating anything hopeful because the bombarding circumstances kept my guard up constantly).
For using the subtext of fantastical background - be it fantasy or sci-fi, I felt Now and Then used its setting indirectly the most effectively.
#9. Favorite Comedy/Parody: Martian Successor Nadesico
Oh, there's funnier, sillier comedies around right now, but Nadesico did the most with its premise, covered a lot of convention with enough personal energy for it never to seem too similar to likeminded mechas, and comes off as a campy ride thanks to its tonal conflicts. Always providing needless background deets in the most humorously inconvenient way, there's always a reliable method in how mad it wants to be.
It's satirical approach to the story however omits an interesting choice of realism behind how everything fits.
I don't like the movie sequel so much because of how foreign it feels (why they never adapted the Sega Saturn game into an OVA for easier understanding is beyond me), and is... just too different.
High respect for its plot direction despite it potentially settling for mediocre meandering (which is also does with style and intelligence), Nadesico is largely outdated but full of lovable sincerity that endures endlessly to me.
#10. Favorite Shonen: Yu Yu Hakusho
Yes, it's uncomplicating. Yes, it's not that original. Yes, it constrains itself for maximum epic coolness. But it's VERY dedicated for the humane soul that it started out with which makes it one of the most rewarding character driven shonen experiences I've had. Present-day shonens have a concept bigger than their demograph can remotely handle. (FMA: BH is notable for starting small and then carefully expanding, which is...) ...exactly what Yu Yu does but in a more focused clear-cut manner. And it has no mass filler!
Pacing is cool, fights aren't power spamming contests, villains play great parts in developing the heroes (too bad they aren't very complex on a whole), the atmosphere is properly handled for subtlety and vast fighting professionally.
I haven't seen Hunter x Hunter, but so far, this is how I like my shonen; simple, straightforward, fine characters (and Funi's dub is a nice touch), and no BS.
Top 5 Worst Anime (in no order) I don't really hate any anime (usually, I just hate some show's hype which has nothing to do with the show at the end of the day), so these are very annoying experiences for me:
Tytania: The biggest waste of potential I've seen. Can't believe such caliber that made Legend of the Galactic Heroes made this lamebrain turd.
It actually showed promise at the end of its first half but wastes SOOO much overall time in dragged out, piddly adventures that it all amounts to.... literally nothing (not even the arc ends on some kind of note and there's no intent for either the author or director to continue so I feel like I can assume that this was a pointless waste of time, money, and talent)
To-Love-Ru: I just don't find this funny or arousing. In comedy, I have to like someone and everyone comes off as too stereotypical to the point it makes me constantly think: "This is EXACTLY like *insert harem/ecchi/comedy here*".
There's no real story, no real characterization besides the superficial. It's just painfully average.
Senkou Night Raid: Okay... this series doesn't make a like of practical sense. There's no moral weight behind the war drama (not to mention that it was so boring during the droning). The characters are so subdued, the superpowers never really explained, it just took the lukewarm elements of Darker Than BLACK/Le Chevalier D'eon, dragging itself down even more! There's no replay value, sense of closure, or any reason to care about anything.
Madlax: Another example of watering down a similarly watered down effort (Noir wasn't very... accomplishing asides from soundtrack atmosphere), this constantly pulls my mind away from what's going on to something else that worked better. And the characters are SOOOO relentlessly one-note shadows. And the ending? Can we say, BS?
Even if I wanted to accept the logic behind it, I'd have to care first. Ugh.....
Clannad After Story: What can I say? I'm not a big fan of spoiler[reset endings] making right of everything. Force feeding me convenience simply because it's just nicer that way isn't how I roll on dramas that attempt to take life seriously.
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Enjoying the time of EVE
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Back in January 2011, after reaching 150 anime and 300 posts, I provided my top 10. I've now completed 300 anime and and made 1600 posts so it's about time I hopped back on the soapbox to update my list. Because the number of titles has precisely doubled and to reduce the likelihood of nostalgia interfering with my judgement the bottom five titles from that list (six actually, because I had two titles in tenth place) have been given the flick: Time of Eve; Mushi-shi; Gunslinger Girl; Clannad After Story episodes 17-19; and Spirited Away / Porco Rosso. There will be no mercy.
My ten best
This is the anime where a gigantic plot hole devours Tokyo; where two barmen (voiced by the director, Satoshi Kon, and the original novelist, Tsutsui Yasutaka) survey the pandemonium and declare it's time for them to clean up the mess; where the titular heroine can jump in and out of advertising hoardings; jump into a television screen and come out of a reporter's camera; and wander through people's dreams. By the end, all of Tokyo's dreams are merging into one and no-one can tell what's real or fantasy. Paprika is a post-modern tour-de-force that, thanks to its visual delights and the appeal of its eponymous heroine, is never less than supremely entertaining.
2. Millenium Actress
The other Satoshi Kon masterpiece. I was tempted to move it into top position because I find that anime neophytes tend to respond to it better than they do Paprika. However, this is my list, not theirs. The film is a biography of a fictional movie actress - Chiyoko Fujiwara. Her life is examined from several very subjective viewpoints - her own, documentary film-maker Genya Tachibana's, cameraman Kyoji Ida's, the story lines of her own movies, and, somehow, Japanese history since the Warring States period. Like a Picasso cubist painting we get a rich understanding of Chiyoko from childhood to death. It lacks the extreme strangeness of some of Kon's other works but it has a greater emotional depth.
3. Spice and Wolf seasons 1 & 2
Either season could have made it onto my list on its own. Holo and Lawrence are anime's most memorable duo. Like each of the other titles in my top four, I have found myself frequently re-watching Spice and Wolf in its entirety, or single episodes or favourite scenes. The latter in particular are what make this so special. The setting and the story arcs are good but its the repartee between the travelling merchant (Lawrence) and the harvest deity (Holo) that make this so special. There is no doubt that each treasures the other dearly but they constantly probe what they mean to each other and what the form their unlikely relationship can take. Their conversations are equal part hilarious and insightful.
Mireille Bouquet remains my favourite anime character (with strong competition from Balsa, Holo and Rin Tohsaka), particularly as played by seiyuu Kotono Mitsuishi. Trying to solve the mysteries of her catastrophic past she teams up with the deadly Yumura Kirika only to learn that her very existence is a sin that needs redemption. As she sinks further and further into an emotional abyss her growing love for Kirika may be the way out but Mireille also learns that the two of them are connected in the worst of possible ways. How Mireille redeems both herself and Kirika is completely satisfying. It doesn't hurt that Mireille is both cold killer and, eventually, kindly mother figure. How she gets from one to the other adds to the anime's charm. And you can add to all that an amazing soundtrack from Yuki Kajiura.
5. Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit
Even though this series has arguably the best artwork and animation of any anime TV series I've seen it's Balsa the spearwoman who makes this such a fantastic series. She is the epitome of the cool, intelligent, capable and, let's face it, sexy female lead character. From the same director, production house and character designers of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Balsa is almost like a Major Motoko Kusanagi Mk 2, but with more presence and all the irritations removed. The fantasy setting is beautifully and richly detailed, giving the unfolding story a depth not often realised in anime.
6. Koi Kaze
Anime's best love story, partly because it is so beautifully written but also because of its sharp edge (the lovers are brother and sister) that, along with the writing, prevents it from becoming formulaic or sentimental. Incest is treated with a maturity not normally seen in anime. Much of its power comes from the viewer's complicity in Nanoka's and Koshiro's transgression courtesy of the two being such sympathetic characters. The anime makes no judgement on their ultimate decision, but neither does it exploit their love for the sake of fanservice. The open ending may disappoint some but I think it is entirely apt.
7. Bunny Drop
Just about the oddest odd couple you will ever meet. 30 year old bachelor and businessman Daikichi Kawachi becomes the surrogate parent to his six year old aunt Rin Kaga who, due to circumstances, is homeless. Yes, aunt. The two take an immediate shine to each other and Daikichi must learn what life is like for a single parent, sacrificing career, romance and personal interests for a child. Rin, for her part, is a marvellous creation: strong willed, smart and irresistably appealing without falling into the moe stereoptype seen so often seen elsewhere. You could say that, despite the age difference, the two are soul mates, just meant for each other.
8. Princess Tutu
This has a richness and a beauty and a depth, especially in the second half of the series, you may not expect from a magical girl anime. The machinations of dead storyteller Drosselmeyer has set up his characters - principally Tutu, Krahe, Fakir and Mytho - to live out a story that will end tragically for them. The characters begin to get an inkling of their predestined roles and search for ways to re-write the text. It may seem dry when explained that way but the use of ballet and classical music, the exquisite development of the characters, the adult sensibility and the dark twists make this much, much more than if first appears.
9. Aria the Origination
Unlike Spice and Wolf I'm only counting the last season of the Aria franchise. While the first two seasons are lovely, gentle and beguiling the last season adds new ingredients that elevate it above the others. It adopts a 16:9 format and improves the quality of the artwork, which was always good, enormously. The style is more painterly and gone are some of the prosaic looking perspective shots. The slice of life structure of the first two seasons is left behind as the undines - Akari, Akai and Alice - work towards their graduation. Tensions are introduced that were never a part of the franchise, even if they are mild compared with most other anime. It reaches a glorious climax in the penultimate episode then blows everything away with an unexpected yet appropriate last episode coda. This is a franchise that just got better and better as it progressed and it ends on a perfect note.
It's only ten minutes long but the tale of a small Irish girl who recruits a magical swordsman to defeat an army of English invaders is close to story telling perfection. The exquisite music (Schubert's Ave Marie and The Elf King), the dramatic structure, the artwork, the atmosphere, the wit and, above all, the personalities of the two lead charcters make this ten minutes of wonder. And being so short it can be enjoyed over and over. (From 2000, this is the oldest title on my list.)
The following anime that I've rated as masterpieces in "my anime" failed to make the list: Time of Eve; Gunslinger Girl; and Mushi-shi
My Five Least Deserving Anime Rated Ahead of Paprika in ANN's Bayesian Rankings
It's pleasing to note that two of the titles that made it onto this list last time (Redline and Higurashi - When They Cry) have rightfully slipped below Paprika in the rankings.
Please note that all five anime listed herewith I've rated as so-so or decent, so they aren't irredeemable. It's just that I believe they are the least worthy to be ahead of Paprika. Also, my comments are deliberately exaggerated so please don't be too offended if I bag your favourite anime.
So, from most underserving to somewhat less undeserving:
1. Great Teacher Onizuka My ranking: so-so; Bayesian score: excellent-
43 episodes of puerile tedium. Onizuka is a galah.
2. Hellsing Ultimate My ranking: so-so; Bayesian score: very good+
Excess for excess's sake just doesn't cut it with me. It's just silliness tarted up with gore.
3. Death Note My ranking: decent; Bayesian score: excellent-
I'll quote myself from the Best First Episode Tournament: "It’s a bit like seeing someone vomit. When it happens you can’t help watching it in all its sordid glory. Afterwards it’s best left to someone else to clean up. It’s smelly and liable to make you want to throw up as well. I do not enjoy re-watching Death Note."
4. Nodame Cantabile: Finale My ranking: decent; Bayesian score: very good+
After two magical seasons it just sort of peters out. To paraphrase TS Elliott: "This is the way Nodame Cantabile will end. Not with a bang but with a whimper."
5. Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone My ranking: decent; Bayesian score: very good+
Revisiting Evangelion had me upgrading this from not very good to decent but it remains teenage robot opera with high technical merits.
The following are anime ahead of Paprika on the Bayesian rankings that I've also rated as decent only: Beast Player Erin; Clannad; Clannad After Story; Honey and Clover; Howl's Moving Castle; and Samurai Champloo. I think they are somewhat better than the five I've highlighted. And yes, I admire episodes 17-19 of Clannad After Story but the rest of the season lets it down badly.
My Five Worst
1. Limit Cycle (from the Genius Party anthology)
Mind-achingly tedious. It is a complete load of tripe.
2. Urotsukidoji II: Legend of the Demon Womb
It has this Nazi death-rape thingy. Oh, god, I don't want to even think about it any more.
3. Welcome to Lodoss Island
Somehow the creators managed to get a dull series with some good features - Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight - and turned it into chibi hell.
4. Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend
There's an argument that Urotsukidoji should be watched for it cultural significance. Academics sometimes like to pontificate about it. Thankfully, anime has moved on. Guys, the genre just isn't like that any more.
5. When they Cry - Higurashi
The creators combined moe and sadism to create something abhorrent yet inconsequential. The premise, story, artwork, animation and characters are all sludge. The first half of the OP is, paradoxically, beautiful, however.
The following anime that I've also rated as bad in "my anime" avoided making the list: Deathtic (from the Genius Party anthology); Doorbell (from the Genius Party anthology); Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventures special; Gigantor; and Innocent Venus
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Here's my top 10 (relatively in order)
1. Eureka Seven - I watched it entirely on recommendation from a friend and was one of the anime that completely hooked me on the medium. However in the beginning I didn't really like it, I wanted to stick with it though so I managed and I'm so glad I did! Around episode 18 it got amazing! I normally don't care for mecha but there was just something about it that I loved. I literally fell in love with every character and became very immersed into the world of the series. It has become one of my obsessions, and its the only anime I've watched twice and I'm working on my third viewing now. Still brings up feelings every time I watch it. I know its not for everyone but I highly recommend it.
2. Death Note - I watched this one after reading the manga. Its another series that helped me get hooked on anime. The plot is absolutely stunning, and I believe it probably has the best plot of anything I've ever experienced. The battle of wits that takes place is entirely engrossing. I also highly recommend it and I believe that anyone can enjoy it.
3. Gosick - The first episode intrigued me but I wasn't sure if it would be great. Then after the first arc, I was in love! Watched it every week with anticipation. Some may complain that the mysteries are weak, some of them certainly are, but I care more about the character interactions. Plus the ending is great. Now if someone would just release it here..
4. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - I had watched part of the original FMA but I stopped for some reason. So I heard that they had another series out that followed the manga closer, so I began watching it. It really pulls you in, and the plot is great and the characters and their development is nice as well. The only reason it isn't higher is because there were some episodes in the middle of the series that dragged a little bit. But the rest of the series made up for it. It also has one of the best endings in anime.
5. Soul Eater - Watched it on Netflix and at first I wasn't too fond of it. Then the plot began starting in earnest and I was drawn in. The plot and the characters were all great and there were some particularly funny moments that made me laugh. I just wish that they had been able to do the whole manga, I understand it would be impossible, but I still enjoyed it. I hope a "remix" series is created a la FMA Brotherhood to give it the proper wrap up it needs.
6. Scrapped Princess - I didn't really know what to expect with Scrapped Princess. But the more I watched it the more it grew on me. The mixture of Fantasy and Science fiction was particularly interesting. Plus, it's such a happy little series, while still addressing some deep questions.
7. Chobits - The first episode's fanservice was a little over the top but it settled down and it became a good little romantic- comedy. The second half of the series in particular became almost a full on drama and every character got fleshed out in surprising ways. (I'm looking at you Ueda) All in all a great series!
8. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - This is THE first anime I watched, knowing it was anime. I could really relate to Haruhi and Kyon and in a way Haruhi's outlook on life altered mine, and I still follow my altered set of beliefs. The first 6 episodes are by far the best of the series but the others are nice and quite comical. (I haven't seen the second season, but I plan on watching the movie soon. I have read the first 4 novels and the first 3 manga, and they're both good as well)
9. Ouran High School Host Club - At first I wasn't impressed. My friends (who were all female) told me it was great. I wanted to be able to discuss it with them so I watched it, and I'm so glad I did. Its comical genius, and plus there is quite a bit of character development in later episodes. The characters were all entertaining in their own ways and they always made me laugh. I hope they make a second season in the future as well.
10. Darker than Black: Gemini of the Meteor - Everyone will think I'm crazy for this, but I really enjoyed the second season of DtB. The second season added Suou who I found to be a much more relatable protagonist than Hei, and I was surprised that she didn't whine all that much nor was she annoying. The plot just flowed a lot better than the first season. I really enjoyed the first season too but the arcs of the series broke up the flow too much. The first season is better for action, while the second season is better for plot. So pick what you think is important.
Darker than Black, Jyu-oh-Sei, Durarara, The World God Only Knows I +II, Hetalia
Least Favorite- I don't really dislike many anime but here are some that I like the least,
1. FLCL - I don't understand how so many people could like it. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense and there really isn't any character development. The animation isn't all that great. I really do like the music though. But the more I watch it, the more it grows on me. So maybe after a view more viewings it will become my favorite? Its not awful, its just overrated in my mind.
2. Ballad of a Shinigami- Also not a bad series, its just not my style. I enjoyed it while watching it, but its also pretty sad...
3. The Skullman - I'm a huge BONES fan if you haven't noticed but this is their worst work in my mind. Its just hard to figure out whats going on. The ending was confusing too, but the more I think about the ending the more it grows on me. However, the rest of the show is just a confusing mess.
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Anime isn't real? Nooo...
Location: Now in Great Lakes region
Please click here for a comprehensive analysis of FLCL.
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10: Ranma 1/2: The first anime I ever watched. It's a near-perfect blend of martial arts, gender-based slapstick, and romantic anarchy. Rumiko Takahashi is the master of writing wonderful characters, and this series is no exception. For a series that started in the late 80's, Ranma 1/2 aged extremely well, and holds up even today, almost 20 years after the TV show was canceled, and 16 years since the last OVA. There is almost no type of anime fan that this show will not appeal to. The only thing keeping it from being higher on my list is the mass amount of filler in later seasons, and the lack of a real, fulfilling ending. I would still highly recommend this series to just about anyone. The characters are what make this show great.
9: Puella Magi Madoka:What can you say about this show, except that it's horrifying and heart-warming at the same time. I'm the last person on earth you'd expect to get into a magical girl anime, but I respect greatness in any form, and this show is great. It will suck you in with fantastic artwork, sandbag you with gut-wrenching plot twists and leave you wanting more. This show broke the mold and won't be soon forgotten.
8: Nazo No Kanojo X (Mysterious Girlfriend X): Again, not my preferred genre, but definitely had an affect on me. There is nothing typical about this romantic comedy. The animation is gorgeous at times, the soundtrack is excellent, and the relationship dynamic between Urabe and those close to her (most notably Tsubaki) is fascinating. This show is the shortest on my list at only 13 episodes, but it accomplishes more in those 13 than most anime do in 130.
7:History's Strongest Fighter Kenichi: As popular fight-oriented shonen manga anime adaptations go, this one is the best. Maybe that's because it ended long before it's time, instead of getting watered down with filler and drawn-out story arcs like most of its peers, but whatever the reason, I could re-watch this show from beginning to end anytime. From start to end, Kenichi is a very easy protagonist to root for, and the story flows without getting boring. The fight scenes are steady and well-animated, and the soundtrack is extremely well-placed. Even though the story arc the anime covers is only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg, the anime is good enough to stand on its own. You's like to see more, but you don't need it to feel like you've watched a great story. That's the mark of a great anime.
6: Full Metal Panic:Everything this show touches turns to gold. It works as a dead-serious war/mech drama in the TV series, and as a side-splitting romantic comedy in the OVAs (FUMOFFU). No other anime ever made could pull that off, and Full Metal Panic makes it look easy. The animation is of the highest quality, the storylines are all superb, and the characters themselves are memorable. I have yet to meet anyone that didn't enjoy this series.
5: Black Lagoon: Cowboy Bebop held this spot for a long time, and Black Lagoon came along and shoved it aside. I can't fathom how this show was not more popular than it was. It's a total departure from standards anime. It takes everything Bebop did well, and does them better. There is so much moral grey area in this show you could cut it with a knife. You're never quite sure what to make of most of the main characters until the very end, as they are more anti-heroes than heroes. Revy and Rock compliment each other very well as partners, and there are so many interesting characters/factions surrounding them that you'll need a scorecard to keep track of them all. The five OVAs (Roberta's Blood Trail) at the tail end of the TV show would make a compelling and satisfying anime all by themselves. Throw in the odes to classic early 90's action franchises such as Terminator and Die Hard, and you've got something truly special. This show is addicting from the first gunshot.
4: Genshiken:The only pure comedy on this list, and it deserves to be there. Every fan of anime culture should watch this. It manages to poke fun at otaku and humanize them at the same time, which no show before or since has done. The characters are all well rounded and memorable, and the series manages to age and change with the characters themselves, and yet still retain what made it special to begin with. Speaking as a fan of anime, this show is about us. Maybe there isn't a character exactly like you, but there will be some aspect of the show that reflects your devotion to anime as a fan. It's very easy to get drawn into the series, and its unique brand of humor will leave a lasting impression.
3: FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: This show's got guts. It took its very successful predecessor (Fullmetal Alchemist), and not only re-booted the series; it perfected it. A completely faithful adaptation of the manga, FMA: Brotherhood blends the recurring themes of alchemy and family together so well that is seems natural. Ed and Al's quest to reclaim their broken bodies (as well as mend their own souls) becomes more and more epic as more and more characters get tied into their lives. This culminates in one of the best final story arcs I've ever seen. This show manages to avoid pretty much all the common anime flaws, while staying strong over 64 memorable episodes.
2: Maison Ikkoku: Rumiko Takahashi's most complete masterpiece, and the definitive anime for any college student. Any person in college struggling to balance his/her social life, job and academics should watch this series. It's a quarter-century old, and it still holds up even today. No TV book or TV show of any kind has ever struck a chord with me as a college student like Maison Ikkoku did. Yusaku is who most of us were/are in college: trying to figure everything out at once, and along the way realizing how much we still have left to learn. It manages to pay equal attention to the budding romance between Yusaku and Kyoko, and the hilarity that ensues between them and the rest of the gang at Maison Ikkoku apartment building. By the time it's over (4 seasons/96 episodes), it tells a complete and fulfilling story. This anime does not need anything supernatural or magical to grip you; the story itself is just that damn good.
1:Code Geass: Is this the greatest anime of all time? Maybe not, but it's #1 on my list. Damn this show was good. There are so many great elements to this story. Family, loyalty, friendship, revenge, war, love, betrayal....This show never does what you expect it to do, and that's why I loved it so much. It's an anime about mechs where the mechs are almost an afterthought in the grand scheme of things. Lelouch is perhaps the best anti-hero I've ever seen in an anime. He plays the role of both hero and villain, often at the same time. His cold, tactical approach to battle lends itself well to the show's dramatic pull. His counterpart, Suzaku, is equally compelling: A guy who you would figure would be more likely to be Lelouch's equal, yet his strong moral compass forces him to be a bitter rival. The ending to the series is phenomenal. The best ending to an anime series I've ever seen. I've never been so emotionally conflicted after watching an anime. This show is an epic in every sense of the word.
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I have to disagree on that last one. FLCL's animation is.....pretty fantastic, especially by anime standards. Watch the action/fast-paced scenes. The energy is quite incredible.
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I've been following the series since I actually became a fan, so this is a must for me.
Whats not to like about it? A romance with a spin of Comedy?
Its just amazing, the plot with the characters reactions to plot changes, not to mention it is very well thought out.
Great martial arts anime, its what taught me to take martial arts.
5. Black Butler
I fell in love with Sebastian the story is amazing as well.
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Anime isn't real? Nooo...
Location: Now in Great Lakes region
Welcome to the A.N.N. fora! I, for one, hope that you enjoy your time here!
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Well I'm new here but here is my list for what it's worth.
Top 5 aren't in any order really, I couldn't pick.
1) FMA Brotherhood: According to the information gathered about this anime it was a far closer adaptation to the original and was a pretty dark story, making you far more invested in the characters as a whole.
2) Perfect Blue: Okay I don't know how people get confused about this. The story is about the descent into madness at innocence lost. No psychic powers.. Just insanity.
3) New / Dominion Tank Police: It's quite funny really, there isn't much to say about it other than go into it waiting for the laughs.
4) Hellsing: Okay it's obvious that they don't know a great deal about the UK but if you put that aside then it's quite enjoyable.
5) Bamboo Blade: It's a typical "slice of life" drama/comedy about a school Kendo team. Worth checking out if you're a Kendoka (like myself).
Okay now we get into the worst:
1) Naruto: That little orange idiot is not a ninja and I have no idea where this "Ninja's can be anything people want them to be" thing came about.
2) One Piece: Okay I heard that the original Japanese one was a bit more well done but I still hated it. I really, really hate annoying main characters that bumble their way into heroism and spend the rest of their time eating
3) Anything final fantasy: Square has a lot to answer for when it comes to bad writing.
4) Gyo: Turned an interesting manga into something I couldn't stop laughing about.
5) Any western cartoon passing itself off as anime: Okay this is a bit of a cheat but anything like Ben 10 or anything heavily adapted for the Western audience is just painful to sit through. It's just like CGI, it's lazy and get your own style..
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Anime isn't real? Nooo...
Location: Now in Great Lakes region
|Hmmm, just curious: Does Nickelodian's "Avatar: The Last Airbender" fall into your last category (#5)? I am just wondering.|
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I would say yes.. kinda.. Okay I don't have as much hatred for it as I would Naruto, I can totally see why people get into it. It's just not my thing.
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Location: Clarksville, TN
Hello. I'm new here, like five minutes ago. lol! I'm just putting down my favorites and my least favorites. Give me your input. I would love to hear what you have to say.
10. Dance in Vampire Bund
9. Air Gear
8. Gankutsuou: Count of Monte Cristo
7. Le Chevalier D'Eon
6. Slayers (all 5 seasons)
5. Elfen Lied
3. Burst Angel
2. Cowboy Bebop
1. Rurouni Kenshin
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