The Top Five Rumiko Takahashi Anime
by Jacki Jing & Zac Bertschy,
Rumiko Takahashi is a living legend. One of the most popular and successful mangaka of all time, she's created characters and stories – from fantasy to romance to adventure, sometimes combining all three - that have influenced and inspired millions of people. There are very few manga creators who have had the impact this unstoppable woman has had – so we thought it was time to celebrate the five best anime adaptations of her celebrated work. Let's get started!
A genuine cultural phenomenon in the early 2000s, Takahashi's Inuyasha stars the spunky, self-assured Kagome, the reincarnation of a legendary priestess. Kagome – get this – falls into a well and is transported – get this – to a fantasy version of Sengoku Japan - (this is isekai folks). There, she meets a rowdy, intemperate half-dog, half-demon named Inuyasha – who helps her, over the course of 167 episodes and a sequel series, bringing the show's total to nearly 200 episodes in its entirety – recollect the shards of an ancient and powerful jewel, along with a memorable cast of lovable friends. Inuyasha and his dreamy half-brother Sesshomaru launched a thousand ships among fans back in the day – it's no wonder this show caught on and ran basically forever.
Takahashi's most famous work generally centers around her romantic comedies – but she's done a lot of pretty spectacular horror stories over the years. One of her best – and most beloved among fans of anime from the early 90s – is the OVA Mermaid's Scar, which is an adaptation of a story from Mermaid Saga, a three-part series where Takahashi brilliantly twists what you'd normally expect from a story about mermaids. With animation by Studio Madhouse, this is one you'd definitely want to try and hunt down for the spooky season, along with the rest of Takahashi's remarkable catalog of horror stories.
3. Ranma ½
One of the most famous anime comedies ever created, Ranma ½ follows the adventures – and misadventures – of Ranma Saotome, who falls into a cursed spring that means he (er, she – he – whatever, gender is a social construct) changes into a woman every time he comes in contact with cold water, along with a crazy cast of sitcom characters that kept the gags running for years. This manga sold over 49 million volumes in Japan – and the show made an impact on Western fandom that can still be felt today, originally released in the early days of US anime fandom on VHS. Hugely influential and still beloved by millions, Ranma ½ will forever remain a legend among anime fans.
An alien named Lum – wearing a globally-recognized leopard-print bikini, along with her enormous father and a whole force of beings called the Oni – invades earth! Instead of just conquering us weak humans, though, they decide to give us a shot at salvation – so they challenge us to a game of tag, and the person who winds up with the responsibility of saving us all happens to meet the horniest boy who ever lived, Ataru. Anime fandom was never the same afterward. Spanning 195 episodes and a ton of OVAs and theatrical films, Lum's iconic design – and hilarious stories featuring a huge cast of lovable weirdos – dominated the 80s in Japan, and still stand out today as some of the most beloved characters of all time. Someone please release this show again – it's been unavailable for years now, and we'd like to have it back, please.
Takahashi's finest work – in our opinion anyway – is this long-running romantic comedy about a ronin named Godai who's down on his luck and winds up living in a boarding house among another cast of wacky sitcom characters (you may be able to sense a pattern here) along with a beautiful but very emotionally damaged widow named Kyoko. It takes a while – and there are plenty of comedy hijinks in between all the romance – but slowly these two come together, and Godai learns the value of what it means to become the loving, accepting partner of someone who needs a lot of emotional space, without forcing it, without disrespecting Kyoko's needs. There are romantic rivals and an adorable dog, and it all comes together beautifully in the end. It's a wonderful, touching story of what real partnership should probably look like – and how difficult it can be to get there - and Viz Media is rereleasing the manga soon, so you'll have a chance to read the story for yourself.
That wraps it up for our favorite Rumiko Takahashi series, but what are yours? Let us know in the comments!
Last week we asked you what your What are your top 5 Fall 2019 premieres. Here they are:
1 - My Hero Academia (season 4)
2 - Stars Align
3 - BEASTARS
4 - Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
5 - Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld
No question this week, but check back next week for a new one.
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