Posted on 9 January 2014 with categories: Top 10 Anime

Over the years, even when I just started blogging, I’ve seen enough people get tired of anime, claiming that anime in the past used to be so much better. I remember that I kindof saw their point, however there were plenty of awesome series to keep me watching. However, after the current state of the season so far, I really do long for the anime of the past, and they seemed so much more diverse.

However, the big trap with these statements is to over-glorify the past. “Yeah, the past used to be so much better, in my days blah blah”, so you need to be careful with these kinds of statements: you forget the boring parts and only remember the things that stood out. So because of that I decided to take a good look back at the past winter seasons. I’ll rank all of them, but I’ll talk about them in chronological order. For each picture, I’ll use a picture of the series that turned out to be the best, by the standards I hold today.

Once this season has ended, if I feel motivated enough, I’ll also include it in this list.

Winter 2013


This was a really bad season. The only remotely good non-sequel show to come out of it was Kotoura-san. It had a very strong first episode for a school series, and managed to keep it up for 1 cour. Beyond that, the obvious stand-out was a sequel: Chihayafuru, which admittedly was just fantastic. AKB0048 unfortunately was not as interesting as I hoped it to be, and Amnesia and Tamako Market had promising first episodes, only to crash down horribly. Apart from that, the school setting was again very prevalent (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Mangirl, Sasami@Ganbaranai). Lots of series looked the same, but there also was some historical fantasy here and there (Maoyuu, The Hakkenden, Senran Kagura). Out of around 31 series, I only found three of them actually worth watching.
Rank: #11

Winter 2012


This was a season in which suddenly there were three ambitious science fiction series airing at the same time: Rinne no Lagrange, Mouretsu Pirates and Aquarion Evol. Out of those, only Rinne ended up not fulfilling its promise, but still it wasn’t bad. On top of that there was a solid horror-series with Another, and three really solid comedies in the form of Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou and the incredibly random second season of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Natsume Yuujinchou came with its amazing fourth season that gave a ton of depth into the people around him. So yes, I would say that this was a very good season, with a pretty decent variety as well. Aside from mecha and comedy, there also was slice of life, sports, fantasy and romance. I would call this a very well rounded season.
Rank: #7

Winter 2011


This season stood out due to three absolutely amazing series: Level E, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica and Hourou Musuko. All three together covered the entire spectrum: one was a brilliant comedy, another brilliantly deconstructed the mahou shoujo genre, and another was a brilliant look into what it is to be a transgender. These three alone made this season worth watching, and on top of that we also get a pretty decent closure to Kimi ni Todoke, a “so bad it’s good”-comedy Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu, and Gosick, an adventure series which started out questionably, but ended beautifully. The downside to this season was that there were a lot of stinkers. Fractale is the most notable for having a wonderful premise, only to completely ignore it, but Yumekui Merry had the same fate: great premise and execution, but just cut off in the middle leaving nothing resolved. Dragon Crisis just went worse as it went along, and Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka also failed to stay funny. Not to mention the epically bad Rio Rainbow Gate, Infinite Stratos and another Oniichan series. A season of huge ups and huge downs.
Rank: #6

Winter 2010


Oh boy, I remember how this was a stinker when it came along. However, looking back on it, it’s not the worst, it’s better than the Winter of 2013, however that season was backed up by a very strong Autumn season, while this one… wasn’t. So we were stuck with Durarara, a series which thankfully had a fantastic first half, only to have a much less interesting second half later on. The one series that stood out was Heartcatch Precure, the series that showed how much you can do with the mahou shoujo formula. Katanagatari also was interesting and fresh with its wordplay, but the problem with these series was that they paid out very slowly: Heartcatch Precure only started in February and had 50 episodes, and Katanagatari only aired once a month. Apart from that there were series that had interesting premises and were nice to watch, but never really were meant for greatness, like Cobra The Animation, a revival of the classic TV-series, and Sora no Oto, which at the very least had a very intriguing setting (really rushed ending though!). However, this also was the season in which the barriers of good taste got lowered significantly: Seikon no Qwaser was pretty much borderline porn. With a measly 17 series total that aired, things did not look good for anime at the time. However, things recovered afterwards.
Rank: #10

Winter 2009


Winter 2009 was weird. It was stunning, completely stunning. Birdy the Mighty Decode still stands in my top 10 because of it. White Album was incredibly annoying, but ultimately worth it and a unique romance. Ride Back started out rather weird, but it turned out to be a pretty unique mecha series about an adult female who drove this cross between a motorcycle and a robot. Maria-sama ga Miteru surpassed itself, Shikabane Hime was weird, but ultimately awesome to watch, and Hajime no Ippo also completely surpassed itself. It was glorious, and yet there were so many annoyances at the same time with how the Tower of Druaga failed to live up to its hype, Natsume Yuujinchou’s second season was not as strong as the first, Koukaku no Regios didn’t go anywhere, Kurokami failed to deliver, and Munto turned out to be nothing more than a blatant recap. I also remember complaining about how there were way too many sequels this season. And true, the amount of sequels at the very least has never been as overwhelming as in this season. 2009 was definitely the year with the most conflicting feelings.
Rank: #3

Winter 2008


This season was one of the best winter seasons ever. The reason was the sheer quantity of amazing series that aired. Porphy no Nagai Tabi is a series that today can not be made: 52 episodes dedicated to a children’s novel, coupled with stunning background art. Gunslinger Girl’s sequel was very controversial due to the style change, but I loved it. Shigofumi had an awesome concept of a girl who brought back letters from the dead, and True Tears is one of those unique romances in which you never really know what the characters were thinking. Hakaba Kitarou seamlessly combined horror with comedy, Aria the Origination was an amazing conclusion to the Aria franchise and Spice and Wolf was a really intelligent look at medieval economics with excellent characters. THIS. This is what a winter season should be. There was something for everyone, many risks were taken and many series delivered in well thought-out ways. There were a few disappointments, but none of them were really big disappointments. Just a few series that burned out in their second halves (Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei and Sisters of Wellber 2), and the obviously bad series like Rosario to Vampire were in a minority and could be easily avoided.
Rank: #1

Winter 2007


The 2007 season had much less quantity. However, what it lacked there, it made up for in quality as it premiered two series that would grow out to be absolute classics: Les Miserables and Nodame Cantabile. This definitely was a season for the people into classic literature or music. No other season has ever been able to deliver two of these masterpieces at the same time. If you look at the rest of the season, the you’ll see lots of action: generic action series or series about people with powers fighting each other, that never really stood out. Rocket Girls was nice, and Master of Epic also was this unique little comedy series. There also was slice of life, sports. That’s the big difference between this season’s lackluster series: in 2014, everything looks like each other. In 2007, things were uninteresting, but at least they were different.
Rank: #5

Winter 2006


This was the first winter season I actively followed. And what a season it turned out to be: Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror, Ergo Proxy and Rescue Wings together. All incredible series, aimed at adults, yet all completely different. Beyond that there was a really solid romance series situated in a hospital with HanTsuki, Magikano was hilarious back when Seiji Kishi was still good. Plus, Nerima Daikon Brothers: an actual animated musical that never got fully subbed, yet was really fun to watch. There may not be as many series here, but here is the thing with this season: all these six series were incredibly well thought out. They had some really interesting ideas and they took their risks, instead of rehashing the most popular thing around. All of these series set out to challenge the status quo and do something never done before. Even Magikano, as its brand of humour was still fresh back then.
Rank: #4

Winter 2005


Here we get to the point where I haven’t seen every series that came out, so my view of this season has also a few impressions here and there. This was an average season, that delivered two really strong short series: Air and Starship Operators. Romance and space opera. Beyond that there was the short comedy Gag Manga Biyori. Beyond that, there’s lots of romance, mecha and kiddie shows. I mean things like Mahou Sensei Negima, Peach Girl, Jinki Extend: I saw small fragments of them but none of them really looked like they had potential. This actually reminds me a lot of the season we’re currently in.
Rank: #8

Winter 2004


This is a weird season since there were two utter classics that aired with strange schedules: Ghost in the Shell’s second season aired two episodes at the start of each month, and Paranoia Agent started in february. Especially Paranoia Agent was absolutely fantastic in every single way. But yeah, this season absolutely rocked. One of the best action series out there in the form of Jubei-chan 2 also was shown here. That’s three completely amazing shows in one winter-season, and the rest of the season, even the not interesting ones, are incredibly varied. There are fanservice series, but plenty of historical ones, there is a comedy, there are series aimed at a young audience, and old audience, plenty of series that took risks and series that just stayed with the status quo. The balance is perfect here.
Rank: #2

Winter 2003


The top three series this season were all really inspired: The Big O’s second season really knew how to play with the mecha genre, Ashita no Nadja was a really creative shoujo adventure that we nowadays never get to see anymore, and Wolf’s Rain, although the execution left a bit to be desired here and there, really stood out with how its main cast consisted out of wolves, and I absolutely cannot fault its setting, which was incredibly imaginative. Beyond that though, this was a small season. Most of the other shows were just harmless fluff or just plain bad series. Oh, and Licensed by Royal, which I haven’t seen but admittedly does look interesting.
Rank: #9

Winter 2002


One thing to note is that ten years ago, the seasons were much smaller. This season, ignoring the kiddie shows, had about 16 anime. The best of which was RahXephon, which was an intelligent mecha series, definitely. Also good were the adventure series Patapata Hikousen no Bouken for the younger audience, and Fullmetal Panic, for the older audience. Nothing standout like in previous years though. Kanon also premiered, starting the trend of key adaptations, and Onegai Teacher aired as well. Nothing much stands out, but there are lots of cute girls, along with generic action series in which the enemies are strange supernatural beings.
Rank: #12

Winter 2001


Here we get to the part where the winter season was pretty much insignificant. The only series that are noteworthy are Arjuna (a nature series, admittedly very creative) and Tales of Eternia. Ojamajo Doremi also had one of its seasons here, but apart from that… there was hardly anything. That I’ve seen, at least. The thing is that there are surprisingly many series that feature adults as their protagonists. There are 14 series in total, and while most of them indeed do look uninteresting to me, they don’t suffer from the problem of not trying out different things.
Rank: #14

Winter 2000


Only 9 series aired in total. 9. That’s nothing. One series stood out from the bunch: Boogiepop Phantom. Fantastic show if you want to work hard in order to understand a series. Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran was also a very solid period piece. Beyond that though were mostly kiddie shows (we saw Mushrambo and Mon Colle Knights on Dutch TV, actually), but yeah, it’s apparent that producers at this age didn’t see much into winter seasons, and any series airing there is a mere coincidence. I’ll stop my overview here then.
Rank: #13

Conclusion

So, what did I conclude from this? Well, globally, these years can be divided into three periods. In the first period, until about 2005: relatively few series were released, and among them were two or three series that really stood out as amazing series, only 2004 had more and falls more in the period that came afterwards. The rest of the series were meh, however they were varied and were different from each other.

The second period is what I’d like to call the golden age of anime. It lasted from 2006 to 2009, including 2004 (and 2011 and 2012, I guess). The season size got much larger, and with that the amount of amazing series also increased. Every season had so many series that worthwhile. There was something for everyone and so many series came up with interesting ideas, rock solid executions. There were meh series, and series that didn’t deliver, but even amongst them was enough good stuff and things were varied.

And the third period started in 2010. Globally, things returned to having two or three really standout, really good series, with the rest not really being remarkable. But here’s the kicker: as opposed to the first period, the amount of series per season still is huge. There are as many series as in period two, and most likely even more! The result is that while a decade ago, you had the same amount of standout series, this time they’re surrounded by heaps and heaps of generic series that on top of that all look the same and don’t try to be anything new, different or fresh. You get piles of series that are all trying to fit into the same niche and therefore all just end up watering each other down due to the huge amount of competition.

Because of this, the stakes to stand out get higher, so more money is poured into the animation budget. The financial risk is higher, so in terms of storytelling you can’t take many risks either, so people opt for safe scriptwriters and series with interesting ideas are really hard to greenlight. Because of how everything is overcrowded, series that have certain elements in them tend to sell more, so every series needs to have those elements in them in order to also compete for sales. Even the good ones, leading to the excessive amounts of fanservice you see in nearly every show today. I mean, it cannot be a coincidence that Kill la Kill and Space Dandy, the TWO series that set out to try something new and different, both being ended up so crass at the same time.

So yes. I’m not saying anime is dying. I’m saying anime is in dire need of a new business model. The current one is fifteen years old now, and the lack of innovation is starting to hurt. The industry thankfully isn’t as far south as the gaming industry is, however something needs to happen. Be bold! Be creative! Screw conventions!

Posted on 16 May 2012 with categories: Random Posts, Top 10 Anime

I didn’t think that I’d ever make it this far, but whoa: this really is the 5000th post I have made on this blog. It took me six and a half years to get there, but it was worth it. It takes up a lot of my free time, but I still really enjoy keeping up with writing and keeping up with all ongoing series. In any case, I really wanted to do something special for this occasion, and what I came up with is a list of my favorite comedies. I already did one before, but I’m not too happy with how that one turned out. It was too rushed and short, and a lot happened to change my opinion ever since I wrote it.

Of course, comedy is incredibly subjective. This is indeed meant as the list of comedies that I personally find to be the funniest. Your mileage may vary for everyone, but I do hope that this manages to include some inspiration if you’re looking for something to laugh at. Also note that this is really about the funniest series I have seen: the top comedies, not the top series that have comedy in them.

#26: PaniPoni Dash!

I was debating whether or not to put Pani Poni Dash on this list. In the end though, I did love this series when it first came out. It just hasn’t aged well, due to Shaft repeating themselves over and over. Nevertheless, when it first came out Pani Poni Dash was fresh in its artistic direction and creative situations and running jokes. I would say that these still are some of the most fun characters of a Shaft comedy. Other characters, like the “Normal” girl were unfortunately milked out way too much in its sequel Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei (seriously, it’s the exact same character!).

#25: Detroit Metal City

Detroit Metal City made this list because of its ridiculous premise and ideas: a guy who likes innocent Swedish pop transforming into the heavy metal Krauser when he puts on a mask. There are times when the jokes could have been a bit less padded, but some of the ideas in this series are a hilarious and clever stab at the metal genre.

#24: Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z

I really did not expect anything from this series when it first was announced: turning the Power Puff Girls… into mahou shoujo. Who the hell found that a good idea? And granted, this series really does take a while to get going. After that though, I was really surprised at how funny this show turned out to be as it grew into a parody that made both fun of the mahou shoujo genre, as the power puff girls themselves. I myself watched way too much of the original cartoon when I was a teenager, to the point where I got sick of it, so seeing all of these jabs felt like a godsend to me, especially with the Octi-episode. Power Puff Z is one of those rare comedies that lasts long (52 episodes), and gradually gets better and better, quitting where it’s at its height. Do note that it’s a very childish series.

#23: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

At first sight this seems like a generic moe show with the same recycled jokes over and over, however this series stood out with its huge amount of energy it puts in its delivery. This is a perfect example of a show made on crack. The first season has the jokes flowing very naturally and unexpected, while the second season is just balls to the wall insanity, using the most bizarre ideas to garner laughs. The animation for this series was really good and creative, and really helped the jokes along.

#22: Mahoujin Guru Guru

Mahoujin Guruguru is an interesting one. It’s a series that is unfortunately troubled by being too long. It’s got 50 episodes, and unfortunately not enough jokes to fill up all of that time. However, the jokes that it does have, are really, really good. It’s an RPG parody that pokes fun on all sorts of fantasy cliches and tropes. And the jokes can be quite clever and witty when they want to. If this series had only been 26 episodes long, it would have been a classic.

#21: Master of Epic The Animation Age

In the past, I played my fair share of MMORPGs, which is probably why this series hit so much home to me. Master of Epic is an MMORPG adaptation, but instead of trying to force in some bad storyline, the creators decided to parody the heck out of it, making it look as ridiculous as possible. The hilarity of this series lies in its setting, and how the anime creators actually created an entire world around just this concept. The show is nothing more than a collection of random sketches without even any sort of recurring characters (heck, it’s impossible to know which characters are recurring and not because of how everyone looks like each other, an awesome jab at the character creation process of these games). There is a lot of bad acting here, but the total picture that this series manages to paint is a wonderful parody.

#20: Ben-To

Ben-Tou is an action-comedy. It is incredibly fun to watch, and about quite an unusual premise to boot: fighting over half-priced lunches. The jokes in this series are classic slapstick. They fall flat once in a while, but the ones that work are quite creative and really hilarious.

#19: Hyakko

If there is one genre that’s over-saturated in terms of comedies, then it’s the school life comedy: the type of series that follows a bunch of kids at school… and that’s it. Out of those Hyakko is one of the best. It’s weird; it’s not the best animated series or anything and it does have a few one-dimensional characters, but the characters themselves made this one very funny to watch. They all have this natural charm, and in particular the lead character is fun to watch. This series also knows exactly when to quit, and even though there are stereotypes, they feel real. Things are added to them to prevent them from becoming too bland. This is a great example of a character-based comedy done right.

#18: Marie & Gali

This is the series that’s aimed at the youngest audience of this list. It’s meant as a series to show how fun science can be to kids, and they succeeded so well that they even caught me up in it. The characters in this series have a huge passion for what they do, and it really shows in all of the hilarious ways in which they end up toying with the basics of all sorts of science. The subs are also finally moving along a bit, so if you’ve got children and they know English, go ahead and give them a look at this.

#17: Cromartie High School

Cromartie has an amazing concept. When you first see this series, you might think that this series is about a bunch of delinquents doing delinquenty.. stuff. Yet, that’s not true at all: instead, this series is about a bunch of morons who look like delinquents. This series often has the characters talking about the most bizarre things, and some very weird characters pass the screen. This series has a lot of dry humour. If you’re a fan of that, then by all means give this show a chance because I can’t think of any other series that has more of it than this series.

#16: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

This is very important: with this, I only recommend the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. If you like it: don’t give into the temptation to check out the sequels, because they are notably less good and they repeat themselves way too much. Unlike Pani Poni Dash, I still contest that Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei is a unique comedy. Its big selling-point is its randomness, and the first season is just the right length for this to remain fresh. This series toys with depression in a delightful way, before it became a cheap gimmick in the subsequent seasons.

#15: Gag Manga Biyori

Out of all of the comedies I have seen, Gag Manga Biyori is without a doubt the one with the most energy. It is by far the most hyperactive. Yes, more than Gintama, the Excel Saga or any kind of Shaft work. It’s on a complete league of its own; it never takes a break. It’s 50 5-minute episodes of non-stop people talking incredibly fast, yelling hyperactively and trying to stuff as much dialogue as is humanly possible into as little time as possible; this show is on speed from start to finish. And on top of that it’s also hilarious. It uses its energy brilliantly in its delivery of some of the most bizarre jokes and set-ups, and it thrives on absurd humour.

#14: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

This is the ultimate parody of the shoujo genre. With 26 episodes, this series succeeded in making bishies look as ridiculous as possible, often dressing them up like catalog models and poking fun at a lot of genre conventions by pushing these to the extreme. Most of the bishie series nowadays are badly acted, but what also made this series hilarious is how well acted and over the top some of the characters are. Especially Sunako shines in her rants and how she’s the complete opposite of your average shoujo lead.

#13: Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu

Hale Nochi Guu was for me one of the best examples of a comedy that thrives on sadism. The show pretty much consists out of the main character, Hale, being tormented over and over. Very often this gets old fast, but this series makes Hale a much more redeemable character, not to mention that the people around him are just hilarious and always manage to tick him off in new ways. The titular Guu in particular is a unique character, and I think I lost count of all the times in which she gave him a nervous breakdown, but the interplay between the two of them really was one of a kind that many comedies afterwards never really got close to.

#12: Dororon Enma-kun: Meeramera

The fanservice comedy is a genre that I am really not often into. I find that way too often, they’re just stuck in bad boob jokes, or try to out-pervert each other, or just turn into fanservice for the sake of fanservice. And then Dororon Enma-kun arrived. Its opening two episodes suggested that it was again one of those juvenile and dull fanservice flicks. And yet, the subsequent episodes elevated it to the absolute best in its genre. The amount of crack that the creators put in it is very impressive, The fanservice gets completely bizarre at times and it also has a lot to offer beyond just nudity, with some completely ridiculous premises for its episodes. The height of the show is its absolutely fantastic ending though.

#11: Sugoiyo!! Masaru-san

Overall, in terms of comedy directors, there is one guy who I really consider to be the best: Daichi Akitarou. He has quite a few other works on this list, but what really sets him apart is how many different series he has made, and how all of them are just hilarious. Sexy Commando Gaiden is the series where his style of comedy is the most apparent: very consistent, very hyperactive, but always sharp and unexpected. This show is a parody of the school life fighting genre, the episodes are only eight minutes long, but the crazy characters who just keep making new jokes over and over, never leaving in a dull moment are hilarious to watch. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this series ended up as the inspiration for series as Gintama that followed afterwards.

#10: Skip Beat!

Skip Beat probably was the last of the really good shoujo comedies to appear. Afterwards the genre has been in a bit of a slump and none has really been able to reach Skip Beat’s level of creativity in its jokes. It thrived on strange set-ups and taking these to the extreme resulting in very wacky situations. The comedy in this series is particularly good at combining the characters’ wide variety of emotions in the jokes. As it goes on the show does lose its spark a bit, but the parts that are funny really are hilarious.

#9: Ooedo Rocket

Don’t let the looks of this series fool you: Ooedo Rocket may be a fun and energetic series, but it’s also a very clever comedy that on top of telling its own story, has great fun at poking holes in the historical genre.

#8: Kodomo no Omocha

Kodomo no Omocha made this list because of its amazing consistency: 100 episodes of hilarity, and it never dulls in. Unlike Gintama, which diminishes at a certain point, it delivered an amazingly consistent series, and then quit when it was still fresh, leaving the best possible aftertaste for such an incredibly long series. The humour in this series is very character-oriented, and with such a small cast for so many episodes, I really have to praise the creators for developing them so well that they lasted so long.

#7: Cross Game

Cross Game has a unique sense of humour; that’s why it’s so high on this list. It’s always subtle, and tries to make things look bigger than what they actually are in some very smart ways. It depends a lot on the interplay between the different characters and because this works so well, it can be very laid back. I admit that my favorite type of comedy is the hyperactive kind, but this show won me over immediately with its incredibly subtle jokes, that it can actually keep up for nearly 50 episodes.

#6: Gosenzosama Banbanzai!

This is one of the oldest series on this list, but still: this show is still more than able to measure itself amongst the most stand-out comedies. Its sense of humour is also unique. Gosenzosama Banbanzai is a very intelligent little series about characters talking over and over, trying to rationalize some of the most surreal things. It’s hard to explain what makes this show so hilarious, but just take note that Mamoru Oshii was behind it. His unique sense of dialogue that just goes on and on is used for comedic purposes here with some hilarious results.

#5: Mobile Police Patlabor

This includes the TV-Series and the two OVAs that were released. And really: most of the episodes of Patlabor aren’t exactly a comedy. I just had to include this series in this list for the episodes that were intended to raise laughs, though, because of how incredibly well written they were. The build-up for most of the jokes was exquisite, and sometimes this series dedicated an entire episode, just to build up to one single joke. This series is more than 20 years old at this point, but the amount of series with as much wit as these episodes…. there are very few of them. On top of that, this series just has a hilarious cast of characters.

#4: Level E

Level E is a collection of short stories about aliens. Now, I said before that this list is about the best “comedies” and now the best “series that have comedy in them”, but what makes Level E such a fantastic comedy is how well it puts that into its different stories. Every single one of its stories is a legitimate, imaginative and interesting story with proper and unique characters, but all of them would completely fall apart if it weren’t for the comedy: it’s so well engrained into this series. The laughs in this series also very much rely on the cast of unique characters, and these people are hilarious to watch. Especially the prince (whose name is a wonderful easter-egg by the way – only look this up once you’ve already finished a number of episodes) always cracked me up.

#3: Gintama

Gintama hardly needs an introduction at this point. It’s a series that can make you laugh uncontrollably one minute, but cry manly tears the other. And it does so for nearly 100 episodes. Its dialogue in particular is side-splitting hilarious when it hits its stride, almost in a monty python-esque way. The reason why it’s placed relatively low on the list is due to only one thing: this series didn’t know when to quit. It’s shounen jump. It kept going on, even though it already made its best jokes. Because of that, it doesn’t really leave the best final impressions. It really hit its height at episode 100. After that it declines, and yet it goes on for 150 more episodes that you have to sit through if you want to finish it. The bad taste afterwards is a shame, but really: the first 100 episodes accomplished so much and generated so many laughs, that id’ be a shame to ignore this one just because of that.

#2: Excel Saga

The Excel Saga has a special place in my memory. Together with .Hack//Sign, it was the series that really turned me into an anime fan. This really is the parody of parodies: everything about it pokes fun at something. Every single episode is dedicated to a different genre, making every episode a completely different experience, and on top of that the entire premise, especially for its time and my personal experience, was comedic gold. The characters were all wonderful in their delivery of the jokes, from the self-insert Nabeshin to the rambling Excel whose monologues were delivered with an insane pace, to some of the best running jokes out there: Pedro and Menchie.

#1: The Law of Ueki

I watched this series six years ago, but in the end, there hasn’t been any comedy that managed to top this one for me. It’s not like this series is perfect from start to finish: there are a number of duller arcs. But the good arcs are absolutely hilarious. The concept of having a bunch of middle schoolers with some of the most ridiculous powers battle each other has been incredibly well developed in this series, and especially the creativity that it uses with nearly every single one of these powers has made this my favorite comedy for years now. I have no idea where they got them from, but the ideas in this series are just side-splittingly hilarious.

Posted on 7 December 2010 with categories: Top 10 Anime, Yearly Summaries

For my 2010 Summary, I’ve been planning four posts: three small ones and one big one. Here’s the fist small one, the rest will come at the end of this month.

2010 saw an intereting trend for OPs and EDs: there were a lot of well produced ones with very detailed animation and that went beyond simply showing a bunch of characters in cheesy poses. For me, a good OP is original, has a great song, and has something with which it captures my attention. Likewise, I consider an ED a great one when it can retain my attention even when the episode it closes off is already finished.

(more…)

Posted on 15 June 2010 with categories: Top 10 Anime

Compiling this list was… annoying. At least with OPs, series take a lot more liberties to try something interesting. Most of the EDs however, just look and sound way too much like each other. There were a ton of the same ballads with dull images in front of them, but by far the worst were those moe show endings with those horrible J-pop songs. Standalone they may not be so bad, but when I compiled this list I had to listen to hundreds of these things. I was seriously glad when the pain stopped.

In any case though, there are also a number of series that showcase excellent EDs, and that’s what this list is about. Note that my taste in music is a bit weird for your average anime fan (I really don’t like most J-Pop and J-rock).

A great ED for me has first and foremost got to contain a good song. It may have great visuals, but those are no use if I’m poking my ears out. On top of that, I also like EDs that treat themselves as more than just an obligatory thing to show credits at: the ones that come with interesting ideas for a music video, or so to say.
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Posted on 8 May 2010 with categories: Top 10 Anime

Well, so this was requested a few months ago, and I finally got around to finishing it. I had a lot of fun scavenging youtube and compiling this list, so here are my 25 favourite anime OPs. Before reading, you should note that my taste here is rather weird. I don’t like generic J-pop and J-rock, bar a few exceptions.

What I look for in an OP is song or musical piece that I like, along with creative visuals, but perhaps the most important thing is its context with the series it’s based on. Is there symbolism? Does it capture the atmosphere of the series it’s based on? That kind of stuff. I’m also a big fan of shows that do something interesting with their visuals.
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Posted on 21 December 2009 with categories: Top 10 Anime, Yearly Summaries

I really have too many summary-posts planned for the end of the year. So, here’s a little taste in advanced: my favourite OPs and EDs of the year. Any series or OVA is eligible, as long as they had an episode that first aired in 2009. My list might differ a bit from most people’s lists, but that’s just because I don’t like J-Pop (but of course, there are exceptions in everything. ;))

#10: Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z-Hen OP 1

Really: isn’t this the best way to enter a hot-blooded and GAR Mecha-show as Mazinger? This opening always got me pumped with adrenaline for this show, it just screams epic all over. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but hey: what else did you expect? :P

#9: Bounen no Xamdou OP 1
It’s of course very hard to write a toplist of this year’s OPs and EDs of this year, and don’t have the OP for Bonen no Xamdou included. What I especially love about this OP is how well the music and animation are tuned to each other: they complement each other in nearly every scene. The song is also very nicely composed with fitting vocals.

#8: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2 OP

I usually hate J-Pop, but it’s for songs as this that I’m willing to make an exception. This song really has a wonderful arrangement and a rocking refrain. The visuals also give a small taste of the amazing animation in the rest of the series, and overall it was a great way to enter this series each week.

#7: Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei OP 2

You can say a lot against Shinbo, but the guy at least knows how to create good OPs. While I really didn’t like the series, at least I could enjoy a minute and a half every week of this excellent rock piece with an excellent direction throughout.

#6: Bakemonogatari OP 1

Oh, what an incredible TEASE this one turned out to be. I really was pumped when I started up the first episode of Bakemonogatari, and it came with this visual masterpiece. Even though what the series eventually turned into became a huge disappointment, I still have to admit: this is one heck of an OP that really gets you interested in the rest of the series.

#5: Kuchuu Buranko OP

Denki Groove already composed an OP once before: the very funky one for Hakaba Kitarou. Kuchuu Buranko once again brings nothing but funkiness with its OP, combined with the trademark weird visuals of this show. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an amimated version of this online since Youtube keeps deleting them.

#4: Phantom OP 1

Overall, this is just a very varied song with great dreamy vocals. Phantom was an anime with a huge focus on music, and this piece did a great job of introducing us to the whole series. I really think that it’s among Bee-Train’s best opening songs due to its grace which looks exotic and down to earth at the same time.

#3: Eden of the East OP

For this opening, the creators managed to get Oasis to perform, and it really shows. Noitamina has always been a timeslot of great OPs and EDs, and Eden of the East shows this yet again with not just a well composed song, but it also makes very good use of its sound, and combined with the well detailed and very imaginative animation, I was completely sold when I watched this for the first time.

#2: Shikabane Hime Kuro OP

Definitely and without a doubt Angela’s best work. This song really allows her to get the best out of her voice, and it shows that she has a really wide range and is able to control this really well. Combine this with Gainax-esque smooth animation and a great choice of instruments, and this really is my favourite OP of the year; I can really listen to this over and over without getting bored of it.

#1: Guin Saga ED

Okay, so while the rest of this top 10 has probably shown that I like more upbeat songs, my favourite in the end does remain a ballad. Why? That voice! It’s apparently sung by Kanon, who really has an amazing set of vocals. The full version allows her voice to come out even better, and it really screams epic in a subtle way. It always was a great way to end this series with.

Posted on 30 October 2009 with categories: Top 10 Anime

A few weeks ago, there were a lot of requests for a this, so here you go: in preparation of Halloween, here is the list of my 10 favourite horror series. It was an interesting list to compile, because even though I’m a big fan of horror, I never really thought about my favourite series of the genre.

Of course, there are many different kinds of horror. Anime is hardly ever truly scary, but it does have a wide variety of horror series with a genuinely creepy atmosphere, and that’s what I was looking for when compiling this list. This can be done with gore, scary images, monsters, but also psychological horror, and the classic Japanese style of horror that tries to creep the viewer out with a tight storytelling. I tried to include a bit of everything in this list, because I don’t believe that there’s one sub-genre that’s inherently better than the others.

Again, like with my other lists I’d love to see some other people’s top 10 (or whatever suits you best) horror-series. I’m also interested about other sorts of Top 10 lists you want to see on this blog. I might as well try to create a different Top 10 list every month.

Some series who didn’t make the list but deserve a honorable mention: Hakaba Kitarou (for those who are interested in the combination between horror and comedy), Betterman (a bit long-winded, but pretty nice survival horror) and Mouryou no Hako (has some horror elements, but not enough to really make it to this list).

#10: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Higurashi’s biggest focus isn’t horror, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a number of genuinely creepy episodes in its first season. Especially because at that point, you’ll have no idea what the heck is going on, which only contributes to the atmosphere. It has gore, characters going insane and a setting in which you can trust nobody, all packaged under such a seemingly cute exterior.

#9: Boogiepop Phantom

Boogiepop Phantom is really more of subtle psychological kind of horror, but like Higurashi it also really likes to confuse the heck out of its viewer, and takes this sense of mystery further than any series I’ve seen. This, combined with a number of disturbing cases of messed-up personalities earned this series a place in this top 10.

#8: Kurozuka

So yeah, we all know what a mess Kurozuka ended up to be in the character-department, but as an action-horror series it truly shines. It had a really powerful set of visuals and a constantly tight atmosphere and some incredibly tense and well-written action scenes. Madhouse really knew how to make a huge visual spectacle out of it, and the genuinely creepy atmosphere made this into a unique series.

#7: Perfect Blue

This is the only movie I have on this list, but it really deserves to be here. This is everything that psychological horror should be, and Satoshi Kon succeeded in creating a schizophrenic and paranoid 90 minutes. It’s an excellent character-study of the darker sides about being an idol, dealing with obsessive fans and the like. While it’s not the best thing that Satoshi Kon has written, it still knows how to capture its audience and stands out as the best animated horror movie for me.

#6: Ayakashi ~ Japanese Classic Horror

Of course, this is one series that can’t be missing in a top-list of horror anime. This actually was the series that introduced me to this great genre, and it really shows what you can do with it. It consists out of three stories, and while the second one isn’t exactly impressive, the first and third really manage to deliver in disturbing antics and very tense storytelling. They’re both well built up, and especially the third story Bake Neko (which would later spawn its own series called Mononoke) is storytelling at its finest.

#5:Paranoia Agent

More Satoshi Kon, as he takes another shot at psychological horror. This series was supposed to be a collection of stories that didn’t fit into his movies, and the result is a number of excellent character-studies about a collection of people who breaking down mentally. This is of course great horror-material, and he really manages to combine this with this creepy atmosphere in which you never know what’s real and what’s just an illusion. It’s a show that loves to play with irony, and another great horror recommendation.

#4: Gilgamesh

I’m still not sure why this series is so often hated, but I digress. At its core, Gilgamesh is a dark series with a constantly tight and cold atmosphere. Unlike the most of the above-mentioned series, the type of horror is nether gore, scary images or psychological, but instead it really tries to captivate its audience with its storytelling. It’s a series with a creative storyline that fits this type of series perfectly, resulting into an excellently creepy series.
(On a side-note: try finding a good image for this series. Thank you very much, Fate/Stay Night.)

#3: Jigoku Shoujo

Every episode of Jigoku Shoujo has pretty much the same concept: someone has a grudge on someone, someone accesses the Jigoku Shoujo Website, and someone gets sent to hell. But this series really makes use of this ritualistic set-up in its storytelling, again creating a very creepy atmosphere that never dies, even after 78 episodes. It’s a series that really knows how to build up its stories, and while they indeed may be hit or miss, this series however really hits hard and often enough.

#2: Shigurui

I think it was pretty obvious that Madhouse would end up dominating this top 10: five of these ten come from them, and Shigurui stands head and shoulders as their best work in terms of horror. It’s the only series that actually managed to freak me out while I was watching it, that’s how powerful the storytelling is. This series is absolutely brutal, and spares nobody: every single character is a huge bastard, and nobody gets spared when it comes to the incredibly well-drawn gore. Nothing is too much for this series and it shows this again and again and again. If you want to freak someone out, then this is my top recommendation for it.

#1: Ghost Hound

But in the end, nothing can beat Ghost Hound for me as my favourite horror-series. With its huge attention to detail in terms of psychology, it knows exactly what to do in order to create an incredibly creepy atmosphere, and on top of being an excellent psychology lesson, this series also really manages to create a unique atmosphere that attempts to do much more than being simply creepy. If you want to get in the mood for Halloween, then this is my top recommendation: Ghost Hound knows how to capture its audience, and it does so with a frightening consistency.

Posted on 28 September 2009 with categories: Top 10 Anime

My previous top 10 was rather badly written and mostly just a fanboy-fest, so I decided to rewrite it from scratch. Because everyone seemed to find it a better idea to just go with a top 20, here is my reworked top list of the 20 anime that I consider to be the best of the best.

Some notable series that didn’t make the list are Toward the Terra (great science fiction plot), Hi no Tori (excellently told remake of Osamu Tezuka’s classic), Mysterious Cities of Gold (old yet awesome children’s adventure) and le Chevalier d’Eon (excellent storytelling in 17th Century France).


#20: Now and Then, Here and There
I’d like to start of this top 20 with what is probably one of the darkest series about a bunch of kids in existence. Now and Then, Here and There isn’t afraid to touch upon what most series consider taboo to show the harsh realities of child abuse and extortion, and it does so magnificently. Its second half may be a bit less impressive than the first, but that first half is an amazingly written story about an at first sight very annoying young kid.


#19: Mushishi
Ever since I finished this series, I’ve kept looking for another series that would match the terrific execution of Mushishi, but it really does seem that it is one of a kind. Every episode shows a different yet deep story about the clash between humans and strange creatures called `Mushi`. There are many different episodic series out there in which the lead character travels around and meets different people with their own problems, but out of all of them I consider Mushishi to be the best. The storytelling is always poignant and yet natural, and it always has a serene atmosphere. There are a bunch of stories near the end that miss the mark a bit, and the quiet pacing is definitely not for those who want action, but this is still a series that very rightfully established itself as a classic.


#18: Figure 17 – Tsubasa & Hikaru
Figure 17 is another very slowly paced series: it really takes its time to slowly let its story evolve, but that really allowed an incredibly in-depth look at the two lead characters. The long and slow slice of life scenes also formed a stark contrast with the action scenes, which were dark and brutal, and put the protagonists against what probably are some of the smartest monsters out there. with a fantastic OP and soundtrack, Figure 17 took various risks and it will be boring to a lot of people, but for me it really worked.


#17: Kaze no Shoujo Emily
Lucy Maud Montgomary has been the most famous for her Anne of Green Gables, which is a very fine story as well, but in my opinion Emily of the New Moon (or Kaze no Shoujo Emily, as it’s called in Japanese) is even better. It may not be as realistic as Anne of Green Gables (but then again, Anne of Green Gables is one of the most realistic anime ever), but it creates a very engaging and heart-warming drama around its four lead characters, who all have their own talents and are struggling to develop them. It’s got these wonderful themes of working towards your dreams, but the best part of this series is its finale, in which the characters all grow up and you get to see exactly what remains of these dreams. It’s a deep and insightful shoujo-series, with a strong yet flawed female lead character Emily.


#16: Mouryou no Hako
Mouryou no Hako is quite possibly one of the smartest anime out there. As a mystery-horror series, it packs an amazingly creative back-story, but it’s really the execution that sets this series apart. With a huge focus on complex dialogues and monologues to flesh out the setting, story and everything around it, the creators were able to build up this series really well until the eventual climax, which ranks among my favourite endings. Obviously this isn’t a series for those who don’t like series with lots of talking. In fact, there are two particular episodes that consist out of nothing but a bunch of people sitting in a room and talking, which can really get on your nerves if you don’t have the patience for it.


#15: Strange Dawn
Fantasy is a popular genre in anime, but Strange Dawn sets itself apart from the others by subverting a ton of clichés and stereotypes that are associated with the genre. It’s got a very strong cast, and it puts a huge amount of detail in just about everything. The chibified characters may lead you to believe that this is going to be a light-hearted adventure, but make no mistake: this series is dark and mature. It’s perhaps a bit too dramatic at times, but it remains a riveting series that continuously plays with your emotions. The characters are incredibly well portrayed and acted, and especially the two lead characters are a joy to watch throughout the entire series.


#14: Les Miserables: Shoujo Cosette
Those who know this blog probably know that I’m a huge fan of the World Masterpiece Theatre. The way these series manage to flesh out and develop their characters is nearly unrivalled. the series that got me into this franchise was Les miserables, and IMO it’s also the best one I’ve seen so far. It starts out like a regular shoujo series about a cute girl that lost her parents, but slowly it turns to a small revolution in the 19th century France. With a huge cast of characters that complement each other extremely well, this ended up as an epic series. Fans of the book do need to get warned though. A lot made it past the censors, but there’s one particular twist that unfortunately didn’t make it. I think you can imagine which one it is, and I agree that it could have made this amazing series even better if it was included.


#13: Fantastic Children
Few people will have any clue about what the hell is going on during the first part of Fantastic Children, but its storyline soon grows into one of epic proportions. It provides a very imaginative setting and does a fantastic job in portraying its characters, who are all in the middle of it. With some of the most amazing plot twists out there, Fantastic Children always kept you guessing at what was going to happen next.


#12: Kaiba
Kaiba really was a show that was its time far ahead. Masaaki Yuasa in front of the direction gave this series an absolutely unique look, and the setting it played with was full of the most creative ideas. In fact, I can hardly remember any idea that wasn’t creative. The way you have no idea what’s going on, and how the story slowly unravels as you go along only makes it better. Kaiba is really an outstanding series in every way, aside from its ending perhaps, which does end up a bit rushed for such an otherwise excellent series.


#11: Bokura no
Bokura no is one of those series that took a huge gamble and went with a different story than the manga it was based on, which turned off a lot of manga-readers. However, from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the manga, there really is a lot to like about this series. The premise of the whole series is dark and haunting, and the creators make optimal use of this when fleshing out the characters. The graphics are simple, but they fit the series extremely well, resulting in what is in my opinion Gonzo’s prettiest series. The way the plot develops is one that always keeps you guessing, and the series completely switches mood and themes every few episodes or so, while still remaining consistent as a whole. It’s a very varied and engaging series, that even though it apparently lost a bit of depth from the manga, still stands among my favourites.


#10: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2
I’m a HUGE fan of Kazuki Akane, the director. Time and time again, his distinct and powerful style of storytelling gets the utter best out of any premise, and he is my favourite director by far. At first, Birdy the Mighty Decode, a remake of an OVA from the nineties, didn’t seem up the same standard. The first season has a lot of flaws, and is even flat-out horrible for those who hate teenagers in anime. Still, the second season improves on it in every single way. It has a dark and mature storyline that is a joy to watch, from beginning to end. It has some of the best animated action-scenes I’ve seen, and at the same time it manages to flesh out the characters in subtle and believable ways, while also paying attention to bring the city it’s set in come to life, rather than making the characters act among a bunch of cardboard boxes.


#9: Shoujo Kakumei Utena
Well, what is there to say about Utena that hasn’t been said yet? It’s an absolute classic, that takes the concept of weirdness to a whole new level, and somehow makes it awesome. Just about everything in this series is symbolic, even the seemingly endlessly repeated frames that give a strange ritualistic feel to the series. With a rock-solid direction and incredibly deep characters that get explored almost non-stop, this is one of the most unique shoujo series out there and still stands strong as such more than ten years after it originally aired. Heck, I’m not sure whether to call it shoujo at times. It’s got so many different genres put in one, I’m hardly sure what exactly to classify it as.


#8: The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo
You might wonder why I still put The Third at such a high place in this list. While seemingly random at first, I still consider The Third to be the single best series at fleshing out a single character. Honoka still stands as one of my favourite characters ever, simply because she’s so down to earth, and yet incredibly versatile. This isn’t the series which made my favourites because of an incredibly complex story, or some incredibly emotional or exciting parts. Instead, it is an all around enjoyable series that really manages to bring its cast alive, portraying them as ordinary people rather than a bunch of stereotypes. This series knows when to be subtle, and when to pack a punch and I still gladly remember it, even though it’s been three years since I watched it.


#7: Haibane Renmei
It’s interesting: the more I think back to this series, the better it becomes. Haibane Renmei started off a bit slow, but it closed off with one of the strongest finales I have ever seen. It has both a very imaginative setting, and truly excels at its character-development. This incredibly in-depth look at its main characters is what sold this series for me, and in the end this turned out to be one of the most emotionally intensive series I have ever watched, despite its short length.


#6: Shion no Ou
Shion no Ou: THE series that showed that board games aren’t boring. This series has one of the most addictive pacings I have seen, which especially in its second half gets the best out of the characters. This is a series with a really creative animation director, who makes sure that just about every shot is unique and kicks ass. The Shougi matches in this series are also of the kind that just keep your attention, whether the outcome is predictable or not. At times, the series has a bit of trouble mixing its murder mystery correctly with the Shougi matches, but the end results definitely pay off, with the characters going through memorable changes, and the murder mystery getting enough time to finish with a great conclusion.


#5: .Hack//Sign
The past entries have probably made you suspect that I like a lot of series that take their time in telling their story. The epitome of this effect is of course .Hack//Sign. The pacing is incredibly slow, but it offers an deep and imaginative story in return. I especially like how they took the concept of MMORPGs, and focused on its essence: socializing, while leaving the endless grinding and random battles mostly for what they are. .Hack//Sign was the first anime I watched from fansubs, back when I discovered the wonders of the Internet, and in retrospect I couldn’t have chosen a better series to start with. Deep, philosophical, smart and unfortunately very slow for anyone without patience, I still consider this among my favourites.


#4: Simoun
Simoun: the single best character-study I have ever seen. There are these kinds of series that just can’t be classified in a genre, and Simoun is definitely one of them. It takes a lot of different directions as it explores the lives of the various characters in this series; every single one of them deep, imaginative and impactful. Just about every character in this series left a deep impression on me, and not just the main ones. The plot progression of this series is so incredibly fresh that I have seen nothing like it, even in the years after it there hasn’t been any series that tried to even come close to its brilliance.


#3: Vision of Escaflowne
While a lot of my favourites are slow-paced, my Top 3 consists out of fast-paced and action-packed series that combine fantasy with science-fiction in one way or the other, all linked to a main character that grew up in our “normal” world. It’s perhaps a bit of a formulaic concept because there are lot of series that simply abuse this premise in an uninspired fantasy-series, but these series show the amazing things that you can achieve when this concept is pulled off right. The Visions of Escaflowne is set in a rich and imaginative setting and it has a strong story that only gets better as it goes on. It’s a multi-layered epic with a great action and direction (courtesy of Kazuki Akane) and even though I watched this more than four years ago it still stands among my favourites.


#2: Noein – To Your Other Self
Noein is another series by Kazuki Akane, and out of all of his series this is the one that shows him at his best as a director. It’s got an absolutely unique art style that’s messy, yet very appealing to the eyes and with a selection of some of the most amazing action scenes. It explores issues as time travel, alternative dimensions and more personal ones as distance from the ones you care about. It’s got a cast of very appealing characters, who at the same time remain natural and feel like a couple of real teenagers. Although it does have its share of teenaged angst that might turn off a few people at times, and it also could have used a bit more consistency in its pacing, but with a great characterization and a fascinating plot, this series still stands among my favourites.


#1: Mahou Shoujotai
I guess a lot of people found it strange that this was my number one, especially after that awful fanboyish “review” I wrote about it in one of the early days of this site, but for me Mahou Shoujotai is the series that has made the most impact on me out of all of the series I’ve watched. It’s about a bunch of kids, and tends to be immature, but what I found so amazing about it is its direction and the experimental nature of the series. At the time, it was for as far as I know the first anime that recorded the voices before the animation process, and the neat thing is that you can actually see the creators improve and get better. In the same way, there are tons of ideas stuffed into this series in just about every aspect. The direction made sure to get the best out of the short 8-minute episodes and there were always very creative and immersing camera-angles present. The story explores traditions and customs, and the endless optimism of Alice really stroke a chord with me. But yeah, this endless optimism can get on people’s nerves. The characters in this series are diverse and endearing, but they can easily get on people’s nerves due to their strong beliefs and childish outlooks. Nevertheless, I consider it to be the best anime ever, and I really doubt that any series is going to come and take that place away. Although it would be awesome if I were wrong in this.

So that’s it.These are the 20 anime I consider best at this point. As it’s been a while since I posted my last top 10: what is your current top 10 (or 20, or whatever) Anime?

Posted on 18 April 2007 with categories: Top 10 Anime

Requested by tman, and not a bad idea if I say so myself as well. One of the joys of watching anime is that at times, you run into series that really blow you away. Inspired by Wakaranai, these are the ten anime that I consider best.

Some series who barely didn’t make this list: Paranoia Agent, Hi no Tori, Haibane Renmei, Les Miserables, Toward the Terra and Mushishi.

10: Fantastic Children
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Fantastic children probably has one of the best plot twists ever, but that’s not the only great part of this anime. Its narrative style, great characters and deep plot made this an anime I won’t forget anytime soon.

9: Shion no Ou

At first, I didn’t have that much hope for a series that was about a game I knew nothing of (Shougi), but Shion no Ou came and totally proved me wrong. With an amazing cast of characters and a terrific plot to back them up, Shion no Ou quickly dominated all the other shows in the season it aired in for me with its quality

8: Revolutionary Girl Utena
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Ah, Utena. You’re probably one of the strangest, most eccentric anime out there, but also one of the best. Its first half never failed to entertain me, while especially the final episodes starting from episode 30 were insanely good. For the first and probably only time, recycled scenes actually helped to improve an anime, giving it a ritualistic feeling, which turned out perfectly.

7: The Third: Aoi Hitomi no Shoujo
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I consider The Third as one of the best action-series, due to its incredibly versatile character of Honoka. She really is one of my favourite characters so far, and this show never failed to entertain me. It’s also one of the few shows with an actually great ending, which is a very rare thing in anime.

6: Bokura no

It may have turned down a lot of fans from the manga, but nonetheless I personally adored Bokura no. When it started, it got to work with one of the most promising premises I’ve seen, and it has definitely lived up to these expectations. The huge cast of characters has proven to be amazing as they move through the tragedy-filled story, without ever degrading into a pointless emo-fest.

5: .Hack//Sign
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.Hack//Sign has a considerable sentimental value for me, as it was the first anime I managed to see from fansubs, and I still consider it as one of the best anime ever. Okay, it’s slow, but because it was so slow, it made sure to take its time to develop its characters, only to feature a brilliant second half, full of thought-provoking character-development. It really utilized some of the best aspects of MMORPGs.

4: Simoun
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Ah, Simoun. This series has been an awesome character-study, featuring some of the saddest but also grandest scenes I’ve seen. Everything seemed to fit. It’s a true gem that doesn’t deserve its negligence.

3: Visions of Escaflowne
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Up till episode twelve, I just thought this as a normal series. But then with the arrival of episode thirteen, Visions of Escaflowne stole my heart, with one of the most intense scenes I had ever seen. To make things even better, starting from that point, the quality of this anime never even once declined, making Escaflowne a truly memorable story.

2: Noein
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At the end of the first episode, I knew that this series was going to be something special, but I never knew that it would turn out this awesome. Noein has been an amazing ride, featuring some of the best character-developments ever.

1: Mahou Shoujotai

I don’t think it comes as a surprise to see this one at the #1. Everyone has probably one series which stands miles above the others. If you haven’t yet seen such a series: keep searching, as it’s out there somewhere. For me, Mahou Shoujotai captivated me like no other, heck, it’s one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. It’s got one of the best stories and settings I’ve ever seen, the themes are awesome, and it seems like every single episode featured a new plot twist. Add some thought-provoking themes, excellent storytelling, and I’m hooked.

I’ll continue updating this list as I finish anime who are good enough to take up a spot. Obviously, anime which I haven’t seen completely are left out of it, as you’ll never know when they might turn bad or disappointing.

Now that that’s said, I’d love to everyone else’s favourite series. Don’t be afraid to drop a comment. :)

(Last Updated on 3-5-2008)

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 12:22 AM)
    I don’t know if I’ll see guardians of the galaxy or not, superhero movies are a big mixed bag and I know very little about the characters in this movie, but yes, the racoon may be worth the whole thing.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 12:20 AM)
    @Friend To be fair, arguably the greatest superhero of all time is Squirrel Girl, and she’s named after an even more ignominious small woodlands mammal. If they ever make a Squirrel Girl movie I’ll be in theatres on opening day.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Emma Well, not reading then. Superheros aren’t really my thing besides some Marvel characters. On a side note, Marvel is making a film about a damn raccoon, while DC can’t even do Wonder Woman. >:(
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 12:09 AM)
    Ah, Tokyo esp, I only read the first three volumes of the manga, if you like super hero stuff and alot of shounen action that’d be worth a look. But the manga isn’t really my thing.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Jul 25. 2014 12:06 AM)
    Anyone watching Tokyo ESP? I’ve yet to watch it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 11:54 PM)
    I..I stop on episode 3 of glasslip because I just wasn’t feeling it and felt that it was dull and unambitious. Although I could see someone finding it rather sweet, a comfort watch.
  • Friend
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 11:51 PM)
    By the way, I’ll be relying on the rest of you to watch Glasslip. I’ll be dropping it until I hear it gets better.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 11:33 PM)
    If I didn’t free the verses they might stay locked up =< And that'd be cruelty against words =<
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 11:32 PM)
    The jargon word makes me think of parodying it as jargo instead of Fargo.
  • Friend
    (Thursday, Jul 24. 2014 11:28 PM)
    @Emma Hm, A personal feature isn’t a good enough reward for you :/ Maybe Deviant of the Month? Those deviants get awarded for just posting for six years. You’ve been there longer XD

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Featured Posts

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Mushishi – 07

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did […]

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 06 & 07

This is where this arc gets weird. We’re still in adventure modus, however in these two episodes Jotaro not only meets some of the most bizarre Stand users, it’s also done in the most camp way possible. You can see a clear difference with the first two seasons of Jojo: there it was all about […]

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Ping Pong – 05 & 06

Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches. I’m currently […]

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Mushishi – 03 – 06

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling. I now […]

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 03 – 05

Jojo really is not kind to its females. Every time a hint is even dropped to a girl kicking ass here, it comes with this weird plot-twist that undermines any fighting potential of them. In this arc, it’s the rule that says that your stand will kill you if youaren’t strong enough. And so, Joseph’s […]

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Ping Pong – 03 & 04

The opening of Ping Pong wasn’t done in time, so the first two episodes showed a sortof montage as a placeholder. Now we know why, with episode 03 and 04. The creators actually got the single best animator currently in the business to oversee it: Shinya Ohira. This guy understands animation like no other. The […]

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Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

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Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Latest Reviews

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Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

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Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

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Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

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Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

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Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

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Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

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Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

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Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]