You know how my ratings are, pix...Beck
I view it as the Almost Famous
of the anime world. It follows a teenage boy named Yukio who decides to become a musician. It's a basic coming-of-age story but it creates so many likable life-like characters that it's next to impossible not to find yourself cheering for them. Plus it has so many weird ass references to American bands and American music that if you're a fan, you'll be smiling without knowing it.
I'm not usually into fantasy stuff so it's a wonder that two of my favorite shows just happen to be fantasy. This is one of them. It's here on the virtue of its fantastic story AND the epic amount of bloodshed that it unleashes. It manages to sustain a narrative momentum that almost nothing else comes close to and then at very end, it's as punishing as anything gets. Fantastic.
There's not a lot to say here. It features hands down the coolest character ever. It surrounds him with an awesome setting that recalls a space opera mixed with a western. Then it gives us one of the greatest soundtracks EVER. And then it kicks your ass with a fantastic ending. Pretty much flawless. Yes, I even like Radical Ed!
★★★★★Cromartie High School
It's basically Japan's response to the Adult Swim shows. Except this is probably better because of the inclusion of a shirtless Freddie Mercury riding a horse who just happens to be best friends with an orangutan. I rest my case.
★★★★1/2Gankutsuou: The Mount of Monte Cristo
I haven't read the book. Maybe if you have, you would be offended by this adaptation. Well, might as well come out and say it, it sets the story in a futuristic time and it adds robots. However! The story is still mighty compelling and it has an extremely compelling visual style that I couldn't get tired of.
Possibly one of the funniest and most perverted anime I've ever seen. I would compare it somewhat to 80s comedies like Porky's, etc if I had actually seen those. It follows Oe Kintaro, a genius, who travels from town to town on his bicycle seeking to learn about life. In each episode he meets a single girl whom he desperately tries to get with and then he tries to accomplish a task to prove that he's worthy of her. It's a simple formula but it works so well and it delivers so many laughs that to ask for anything more would be wrong. Too bad that there aren't more episodes though.
★★★★1/2Great Teacher Onizuka
Another comedy. The premise is simple: a former gang member becomes a teacher so he can hook up with his students. From here on in, Onizuka becomes one of the most hilarious comedies I've ever seen as it deftly explores the Japanese school system and its students through the lens of Onizuka. Lest I make this actually sound serious, it has enough plain badass moments and hilarious sight gags (Onizuka's face reactions are priceless) that each episode goes by in a flash.
Pretty sublime. This anime has a king of "calming" effect on me. I watch it and I'm instantly under its spell. It captures something so strange and mysterious that outside interference would ruin its spell (I watched this and ignored everything else while it played). It's basically a slice-of-life anime if life were more dreamy and if I lived in heaven. Ergh, I think worm@work can back me up on this one...
★★★★1/2Honey and Clover + Honey and Clover 2
(26 episodes, 13 episodes)
This is one of those shows that knows its characters so well that it can have them go through everything from huge drama to incredibly silly slapstick comedy and still come out feeling totally genuine. Yeah, it's a pretty overly dramatic romance show but as soon as one of those damn pretty songs starts playing over the background, it becomes sublime.
Kino rides Hermes, a talking motorcycle, from town to town and learns stuff. That's what happens, yeah, but each town brings an issue and tells a particular story so compelling that it could fit many more episodes. What's important and, I feel, remarkable about the story is the way that Kino quietly regards human nature. After all, Kino is an outsider, as are we, to this world and never interferes. There's a remarkable amount of beauty in its simplicity. I love it.
It's easily one of the most densely-plotted anythings I've ever seen. It also features such a bleak outlook of humanity that it could almost be seen as over the top. I don't know. This immense thriller has so many twists and turns, features so many tragedies and small glories, and manages to contain such a huge emotional impact as well, that I can't think of something easier to get you into anime. I hear they're remaking this to an American film. I really can't see how it can be done without cutting out everything that makes it great.
★★★★1/2Neon Genesis Evangelion
Philosophy, psychoanalysis, religious imagery and lots and lots of messed up characters. Oh, yeah, and robots. That's what Evangelion is. It's supposed to the best anime series ever. Is it? I have no idea. However, it's such a singular experience that I feel like you HAVE to see it. Also, it's pretty damn fun and enjoyable even when it goes CINECAST!ing crazy.
Yes, it's an anime adaptation of Seven Samurai
. That's honestly the only reason why I'm including it. Oh, yeah, it has robots. It's more of a curiosity that just happens to pretty enjoyable more than anything. Worth checking out an episode or two though.
Again, badass characters, kickass soundtrack and plenty of awesome action. Another anime from Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe that just oozes cool. Let's not get it twisted though, it's not as fantastic as Bebop but it does have enough charms (and a different vibe to it) that would make it an incredibly fun watch.
★★★★Serial Experiments Lain
eh, I don't particularly like this but maybe you will? Almost annoyingly confusing cyberpunk. It has a pretty awesome opening song though.
★★1/2The Twelve Kingdoms
Another fantasy favorite. It creates such an unique world and you get to know it so well by series' end that you end up wishing that it existed. It also features such believable characters and such fantastic plotting that I honestly don't think much of anything can beat it. Hugely entertaining.
At its center is Vash the Stampede, one the most iconic of all anime characters. And around him are some of the most memorable set of anime characters you'll probably ever come across. I'm not sure why but this is forever tied to Cowboy Bebop in my mind.
It's as perfect a mix or action, romance and fantasy as I think I'll ever see. It is as thrilling as any action film I've seen. It is as moving as any drama. It might the best of them all.
It's an anime about bread. Or, to be precise, it's anime about bakers. It also happens to be probably the funniest single anime I've ever seen. On one level, it's a perfectly hilarious satire of "I must get stronger!" anime and yet, on another, it works perfectly as a member of that genre. There are so many bizarre references, puns and complete non-sequiturs that it's impossible to keep a straight face.