December 31, 2008

I watched the whole thing

Sorted alphabetically and not a definitive list. I'm referring only to series and movies that fit into the arc of the series.

  • Ah! My Goddess (first season)
  • Oh! My Goddess (the Ah! My Goddess remake more closely follows the manga, which means it runs into the problems I describe here; Oh! My Goddess neatly sews everything up in a half-a-dozen episodes)
  • Alien Nine (elementary school kids saving the Earth from an alien invasion; warning: the anime ends right smack dab in the middle of the story)
  • Angelic Layer (basically "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em" robots with really cute marionettes; one of those rinse & repeat sports/mecha series, but it works)
  • Clannad (another fine addition to Kyoto Animation's line of game-based Y/A psychological melodrama; should be watched along with Clannad: After Story)
  • Ceres, Celestial Legend (mediocre animation, great story)
  • Elfen Lied (the opening ten minutes may be some of the blood-spatteringest ever, but I still recommend it)
  • Eureka Seven (a sort of mecha version of Last Exile)
  • FLCL (proving just how far outside the box an animator's mind can operate)
  • Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU (proving just how fun dumb can be) and Second Raid.
  • Gankutsuou (The Count of Monte Cristo, 2-D CG at its inventive best)
  • Geneshaft
  • Genshiken (an actual "adult" comedy--that is, a comedy about geeky college students who mostly act their age; compares well to CBS's Big Bang Theory)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (both seasons and the SAC movie; best cyberpunk series ever, worth watching for the Tachikoma segments alone)
  • Gokusen (these "reformed gangbanger" series are very popular, but create the impression that Japanese society is about 1000 times more violent than it really is)
  • Haibane Renmei
  • Hellsing (original series; imagine that "evil Angel" worked for the good guys)
  • His and Her Circumstances (one of the best high school romances ever, until it self-destructed over what I've read were creative differences between the writer and director)
  • Ikki Tousen
  • Initial D (first season; repeats itself thereafter)
  • Kamichu!
  • Kanon (an ingenious reinvention of the harem genre as psychological drama)
  • Kodocha (season one)
  • Last Exile (any kid who loved the dogfighting sequences in Star Wars will love this; similar "look and feel" to Castle in the Sky)
  • Mahoromatic (I actually didn't mind the ending, though it's clear nobody knew how to end it)
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (I hope they include the whole dance routine as a future DVD extra; update: they do)
  • Midori Days
  • (Seirei no) Moribito (an alternate Heian Era universe with an honest-to-goodness adult female protagonist)
  • My Hime (stay tuned for the hilariously ribald fan service extras at the end of each episode)
  • My Otome Hime
  • Noein (a serious treatment of time-travel causality and the quantum many-world hypothesis, though it tries a bit too hard to qualify as "hard" SF)
  • Patlabor (old and new and the movies)
  • Ranma 1/2 (first season)
  • Samurai 7 (yes, based on the Kurosawa classic)
  • Scrapped Princess
  • Sherlock Hound
  • Shingu, Secret of the Stellar Wars
  • Simoun (does a good job of creating a convincing single-gender universe, with some time-travel causality thrown in)
  • Someday's Dreamers (I love the idea of treating witches as ordinary social workers on the government payroll)
  • Strawberry Marshmallow (don't let the cute title and cute characters dissuade you; it's plotless and character-driven, but great fun, often poignant, and insightful)
  • Tank Police (original series)
  • The Twelve Kingdoms
  • This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (more fan service from the people who brought you Mahoromatic, but a smart plot makes it work)
  • Tweeny Witches
  • Video Girl Ai (in which the hero literally craws across cut glass for love)
  • Witch Hunter Robin (more witches as government employees, though with a darker X-Files vibe)
  • Witchblade (the Japanese version gives us an over-the-top sexy supermom with a kid and pulls it off; the relationship between Masane and Rihoko is the best part of the series)

Why some series didn't make the cut.

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# posted by Blogger Neil Aitken
10/02/2007 10:49 PM   
The live action Gokusen as well as the live version of GTO are both surprisingly good (I've seen the fansubs)

Also recommended by me -- these recently finished airing in Japan and most have already been picked up for American distribution:

- Lucky Star

- Tengen Toppa Gurren-Langan

- Kurau Phantom Memory

- Serei no Moribitu