Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Television Media

Essential Anime 821

Lately I've become addicted to Anime. Now that I'm seeking something new to watch, I figured I'd throw this out to you guys and see if any of you experts have good suggestions of what I should check out (preferably on DVD). I've also attached quick summaries of a few cool ones to get things started.

What follows is a kinda-in-order summary of the best Anime I've seen lately. Its not complete (I didn't even manage to assemble a complete Top 10) but its a good sampling of my tastes (yours will vary I'm sure ;)

Lain Perhaps the best Anime I've seen thus far. The story of a young girl, a drug culture, the future of the net, etc etc. It'll leave your jaw on the floor. It makes the internet look unreal but somehow believable at the same time.

Perfect Blue A psychological thriller worthy of hitchcock. It starts off slow, but the last half hour is a directorial maspterience. Losely follows a 'Pop Idol's transition from singer to actress, while surrounded by a stalker, celebrity, management, directors, writers, and eventually descends into insanity. Not for kids.

Cowboy Bebop The most badass sci-fi western I've seen. Visually and Aureally astounding. Bounty Hunters, Drugs, Gambling, Girls.

Trigun Another western, but this one is actually sorta in the west. Goofy cowboy guy is actually an invincible mega hero.

Ninja Scroll Another one not for kids... its your basic Ninjas save the world story. A male and female ninja and a crackpot old man do battle with evil clans and demons.

Dragonball Z Sometimes it moves slow, but this is the WWF of Anime. Big creatures fight and get super powers and yell at each other. The charachters are fun, and while the animation isn't up to snuff with most of the other titles I've mentioned here, its just fun, and its on Cartoon Network so its accessible: Just don't take it seriously.

Battle Athletes Another silly adventure. Cheerful girls undergo intense training to become 'Cosmo Beauty' which is sorta like Miss America++. Takes a long time for the plot to become clear, but there are some great charachters here and a lot of hilarious sequences I mean, it starts out wiht little girls racing accross antarctica, towing steam rollers through a mine field. Another fun one, but don't expect the meaning of life or anything.

Battle Angel Cyborgs and their doctors in the future. A cool world where spines are valuable, and a technological 'Heaven' floats above the hell in which the story takes place, dumping its trash atop them. Visually interesting, but the world the charachters inhabit is really the coolest part for me.

Allright, thats what I've seen in the last few months. What do you guys think? What else is out there thats worth seeing? What's your favorite?

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Essential Anime

Comments Filter:
  • About 6 years ago now, I went through a "moderate" Anime phase. I quickly learned to stay away from The Guyver series. Poorly drawn, badly dubbed, and, for some reason, I ended up renting about a half dozen of the damned things.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Rob: Steal cowboyneal's La Blue Girl DVDs. I know he's hiding them somewhere.
  • Slayers is good too, but the AOVs should probably be avoided.
    The OVAs (known in the USA as Slayers: Dragon Slave and Slayers: Explosion Array) are truly horrendous, and constitute the only anime I have ever bought which I could not stand to watch all the way through. Slayers: The Movie, though, is good stuff.

    If you like Slayers, you might like Ruin Explorers (aka Fam & Ihrie), which is another D&D-esque, humorous fantasy.

    Cowboy Bebop is definitely the most amazing thing to come down the pike recently. The music is by Yoko Kanno, who also did the music for Macross Plus and Escaflowne. Yoko Kanno's music kicks, if you will pardon the expression, approximately six metric tons of ass.

    Serial Experiments Lain ... well, I like it, but a lot of people can't deal with the surrealism and allegory. It wouldn't be too far off to say that in terms of weirditude, Lain picks up where the Evangelion series left off. Lain is heavily allegorical and makes many references to Gnostic religious ideas, and may make a good deal more sense -- especially around the ending -- if you are passingly familiar with Gnosticism.

    (Can anyone explain the popularity of anime series based on Christian heresies? Christianity is not exactly common in Japan -- IIRC, about 2% of Japanese people in Japan consider themselves Christian -- and yet they make shows like Eva and Lain.)

    Neon Genesis Evangelion is, naturally, mandatory. If you like Eva already, read Neon Exodus Evangelion [] and Evangelion: R [] -- two rather well-done fanfic series for Eva. (Warning: Some people do not like NXE because they are of the opinion that the character D. J. Croft is a "self-insert" character. He isn't. The authors have been very clear on this. NXE is not Undocumented Features.)

    Continuing on with the recommendations ... The Ghost in the Shell anime is relatively pointless; read the manga instead. Shirow appears to be doomed to bad anime interpretations of his manga. FWIW, Shirow removed two pages from the American edition of the manga, so that it would not have to be labeled adults-only; they are available here []. Warning: graphic sexual content.

    In other areas ... if you're just amused by the whole Pokemon thing, check out Punkemon [].

  • I like Rumiko Takahasi too.

    Maison Ikkoku and Inu Yasha are very good series. Ranma 1/2 was very good in the beginning but gets very silly later. Lum (Urusei Yatsura) however was silly (but nice) from the beginning. The mermaid series is very dark.

    While I like the stories and characters very much, the art is light years away from the great art of Masamune Shirow or Akira's Katsuhiro Otomo or Johji Manabe (Outlanders - aah those space crafts..)

    Same holds for Dragon Ball. Beautiful comedy and interesting fights and I really like it. But it is not in the same artistic league. Not to mention some of the European masters like Andre Franquin, Moebius, Christin/Mezieres, Vance/Van Hamme, Lawrence/Lodewijk, Kuipers and so on.

    Interesting side note. Someone told me that Rumiko Takahashi managed to get Japan's richest woman with her art. Anyone knows if this is true?

  • First off, although I did end up seeing a lot of recommendations for them, I did not see enough stress on the incredible coolness of Akira and Ghost in the Shell...

    Akira lists more studios in its credits than most films list individual artists. The art is superb. I am lucky to have the British collectors video, with one tap subtitled film and one tape with the making of documentary. Guess that beats the DVD available in Germany.

    I had the luck to see the movie two times in cinema. That is a huge difference to the video. Very good is the scene where one of the characters falls from a twin skyskraper. All the little windows drawn - faboulous. Another thing is that this movie does a black/yellow/orange color scheme to portray night scences apart from the Terminator black/blue color scheme. I also liked the scene where Tetsu is put into that scanning aparatus with the two detector rings.

    Ghost in the Shell is less advanced graphically. You see several cheap computer animations. Im am not sure if Akira contains computer graphics at all (heck, I have to rewatch the making of :). The best scene of Ghost in the shell is the making of Major Kusanagi as an android. Plus I love the views of the city in the rain, with the many Kanji characters and rain plus the very stylish music.

    Like I wrote above, the story lines are far away from the complex sometimes philosophical story lines of the orininal manga comic book series.

    So don*t forget to read the mangas!

    Akira: I found this to be the best anime movie I have ever watched... be warned, however, that you can not watch it on a small screen in ugly quality... I unfortunately first watched it on my comp in 320x240 mpeg format, not good enough, I've beat myself ever since... the cinematic value is incredible, thus I wish I had watched it on a 15x40 foot screen ina theatre or something...

    Why do you watch mpegs? Is that pirated stuff?

  • They stream Star Blazers on some internet site. Read this article [] about it.
  • I didn't understand it

    The psychic power of Akira seems to be that he can ignite a Big Bang. The explosion bubble that comes up is rather a new universe thus.
    Unfortunately that gives quite a huge mess if one tries that amidst the city of Tokyo.

    The main story line is of course the friendship between Kaneda and Tetsuo. Plus we have the rebels misused by some political game of power (that weazel like guy). Plus lot of other stuff, including motor bike gangs. Folks that don't comply to the strict social rules of Japanese society. Drugs use. Orphans. Sex. Violance. Mutants. Oribital laser stations. The usual. :)

    Or what part else was unclear?

  • I've seen so many...Akira's usually the big one people name, but I can't say I loved it.

    From a technical point, Akira is brilliant. But the storyline pales compared to 20 or more volumes (guess about 1500 pages) of the comic book. And that one is available in a colored version (YUCK!) and the original black and white art, which is superb in style and atmosphere.

    So don't forget to read the mangas!

    Another example is Appleseed by Masamune Shirow. Best Manga I ever read. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. But the anime is a joke.

    Ghost in the Shell by Shirow is another one, where you must read da book. However that had a quite nice anime (again the story sucks, but the atmosphere/music is very good).

    Also read Orion by Shirow, which is really interesting mix between Buddism and Fantasy/SF.

    My personal anime favourite is Bubblegum Crisis, which not only has great story but also a very fitting soundtrack.

    From the newer stuff, Neon Genesis Evangelion is on the top.

    I also saw Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime) in Paris some months ago. Definitely worth seeing, but this is more a mystery/ecological adventure.

    From the same folks you get Wings of Honneamise, kind of "The Right Stuff" in anime. Grab it.

    From Leiji Matsumoto (Star Blazers) is my second favourite that was broadcasted years ago on German TV as Queen of the thousand years. Too bad I can't get it on a dozen tapes.

    That one brings me on a topic I really hate. There are some tapes available, like Odin, Lensmen or Venus Wars where some morons cut down 30 or 50 half hour episodes into a two hour tape. That stuff is hardly bearable.

    Last tip: In a sense you can count in the Final Fantasy computer games as a kind of interactive anime. FF7 is very good. Possibly Play station folks will have a lot more of that stuff.

  • And I thought Christin and Mezieres were involved.
    These guys author/draw one of the very best science fiction comic series ever: Valerian et Laureline []

    My proof for this was the bluish femal singer, she looks like right out of Valerian et Laureline.

    By the way, the french fashion maker Jean-Paul Gauthier was involved in the costume designs, that makes too for the extraordinaire looks.

  • It would make you a good anime Otaku. If you haven't seen it, go watch Otaku no Video, by Gainax. (same people that did Wings of Honneamise, Nadia, Evangelion)

    The anime part is loosely based on Gainax (transparently so from time to time) the live action parts are hilarious and the English translation of a Japanese translation of spoken English is not even vaguely accurate. ;)

    If you truly love anime, you must watch this video! Tatakae! Otaking!

  • MUCH anime is TV episodes or multipart direct-to-video releases. Watching them in order is absolutely essential.

    This is all good stuff, most of which is on DVD, so it's accessible. There are a lot of good series that aren't commercially available in the US though which can be obtained as fansubs (fan subtitled copies) or raw (sometimes with translated scripts that you can refer to ;)

    • Vision of Escaflowne
      1 part fantasy, 1 part mecha, 1 part brilliant music by Yoko Kanno (Japan's answer to John Williams), 1 part fun with physics and a dash of Bob Hope's nose. Excellent. On DVD in October.
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion
      Giant mecha and girls, but so much more. It gets heady with lots of religion and philosophy. Expect to watch it twice. It owes a lot to the old British Thunderbirds show, particularly in the realm of music. (sounds 50's and 60's) Excellent work by Gainax, as usual. Coming out on DVD now.
    • Castle of Cagliostro
      The best of the Lupin III films, largely because it's by Miyazaki (Nausicaa, Totoro, etc.) On DVD now, very good.
    • Serial Experiments Lain
      Weird and creepy. Good animation, gets hard to figure out what's happening towards the end. Which really just means that you should watch it again ;) On DVD.
    • Macross Plus
      Top Gun, with mecha and computer generated idol singers. Good animation, great music (Yoko Kanno again) especially fun for fans of Macross or Robotech. On DVD now.
    • Bubblegum Crisis
      Animation quality is fairly poor until halfway through, but it's actually a good series. It was done in the late 80's, it's cyberpunk and it owes more than a little to Blade Runner. Worth seeing, if only because most big anime otaku have seen it and it's still popular. Not to be confused with Bubblegum Crash (the awful sequel) or Bubblegum Crisis: 2040 (the 90's remake). On DVD now.
    • Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Porco Rosso, Laputa Castle in the Sky, My Friend Totoro, everything else by Miyazaki
      Miyazaki is good. Disney got a lot of rights, but there are no DVDs yet of his Studio Ghibli stuff. Some of it is on tape. If you like Spielberg movies (good, sense of adventure, happy ending) you're going to like his films.
    • Cowboy Bebop
      Bounty hunters in a well-developed solar system. Can range from hilarious to gritty. Excellent characters, animation, Yoko Kanno music. A solid winner. Coming out on DVD now. A must-see.
    • Wings of Honneamise
      Rumored for DVD for some time now. Early space exploration in an alternate world where no one treats the space forces seriously. The first big thing from Gainax. Very good. You can see it on tape, at least.
    • Grave of the Fireflies
      Tragic story of a brother and sister at the end of WW2. Good but really sad.
    • Ghost in the Shell
      Really, the manga (comic) version is better. It's pretty deep for a cyberpunk special ops movie, but Shirow, the guy that does the manga (and another one, Appleseed) is like that. Sweet animation though. On DVD now.
    • Patlabor 2
      The 2nd Patlabor movie. Since the backstory for the world relies on knowing more about Patlabor, it's a near future where labors (mecha) are used in construction of a global-warming-rising-seas-proof dam around Tokyo Bay. Naturally criminals start using the labors and so the police get a few PATrol LABORs of their own. Darker than the series, with conspiracies and terrorists. Same animation as Ghost in the Shell. Excellent movie. On DVD soon.
    • Record of Lodoss War
      A 13 part series based, it's said, on the D&D campaign of the creators. Really quite good if you're into fantasy. Even has elf babes. ;) On DVD now. A sequel has come out recently on VHS, and will probably be on DVD soon.

    And of course there are a zillion anime series of every genre and sub genre. There are just not so many DVDs and not enough commercial releases on disc or tape. For those of you wanting to find more, check out:

    • Anipike [] the yahoo of anime
    • Anime on DVD []
    • EX [] a good web magazine.

    Between all of these, you're sure to find some good stuff, and more information.

  • Even better is that Cartoon Network has the rights to air it here in the US -- hopefully this fall if we're lucky.
  • Beautiful movie. Can say no more than that. Should be shown in every middle/high school history class!

    Totoro overwhelms with it quiet mystery, pervasive and relentless charm and moments of pure zen. See it with the original Japanese dialog first. I don't know if there's a sub-titled version out, but you HAVE to hear the original sound, exactly as Miyazaki intended. I have a copy that is Japanese, no subtitles. I can't understand most of the dialog, but the visual story-telling is crystal clear. I've since seen the American release to fill in the gaps. The American version is good, but misses the mark repeatedly in terms of subtlety and the Japanese mind-set. Not to mention the horrible packaging of the American version, with that hideous 3d airbrush shadow effect you see on all the cereal-box characters these days!

    Laputa has much of the same with a greater emphasis on movement and change. When they first land on the island, the sense of age and quiet decrepitude is jaw-dropping. The moss-covered guardian handing them a flower...(sigh). I wish they could stretch that part out longer, and explore the island further before moving on with the story.

    Miyazaki is a true Master in every sense of the word!

    Gambatte Miyazaki san!

  • Perfect Blue I've heard good things about, and Ninja Scroll is a classic. Good Taco! *pats rob on the head*.

    Akira is a classic. Just classic. A must see. Pushed around teenage kid gets mixed up with escaped children from some military project, gets incredible powers and he struggles to control his power and emotions. If you don't seen Akira I'll have no choice but to demote you to LtTaco!

    Ghost in the Shell. For its time it was arguably some of the best animation to date. Female cyborg with an identity crisis attempts to take down what she thinks is one of the most notorious criminal masterminds.

    Only two I'd recommend without fear of reprimand or backlash from the rest of the Slashdot community. =D

  • The good Cpt. Kangarooski dun said:

    Yes but OTOH Pretty Sammy also has her fighting computer mogul and would-be world conquerer Billy Standards. Perhaps the best informed magical girl anime ever ;)

    That's Biff Standard...but yes, "Revenge of the Electronic Brain" has to be the funniest pisstake I've ever seen of Micros~1, hands down. From the whole "world standardisation" bit to Tenchi furtively hunting down an illegal copy of a rather MacOS-like program to Biff Standard's real plan being's just friggin' hilarious. Though I have my doubts we are EVER going to get the good Judge Jackson to dress up a la Sailor Moon shouting "Pretty Mutation"... :)

    If you think Pretty Sammy is scary by itself, though...think of this...the lady who's the seiyuu for Sasami is apparently a big-league singer in Japan. And apparently Pretty Sammy is popular enough in Japan they've not only spun off a TV series, but spun off a series of Pretty Sammy radio plays on NHK Radio. (I've heard of radio plays of, say, Star Wars, but Pretty Sammy?!?)

    Speaking of Mac-like I the only one who thinks Washu-chan has grounds to sue the everloving hell out of Steve Jobs? ;) Seriously...look at her notebook in "Revenge of the Electronic Brain", plus the artwork that came in the compare it to a certain little product called the iBook...they look VERY similar, no? If I remember right, even the NAMES are similar...Washu-chan's box is called the i-Heart or something like that. I swear to Goddess (Tsunami?) that it's an iBook, though. ;)

    Methinks that either Steve Jobs is a bit of a fan of Pretty Sammy (possible--that whole episode was a sort of salute to Apple anyways ;) or a certain exec is about to be turned into a kappa. ;) (Washu-chan wouldn't sue. She has more style than that. All hail Washu-chan, for she is Goddess (well, a goddess at least, at least in one continuity of Tenchi Muyo), and she haveth the iBook of Power, and she writeth her own OS blindfolded, and she knoweth verily when someone has been naughty on the Internet, for she is Washu-Chan, Goddess of Science And True Inventor Of The Internet, And Thou Shalt Not Fuck With Her Nor Call Her Anything Besides Washu-Chan Lest One Be Turned Into A Kappa. ;) (OK, so I like Washu-chan. ;) []

  • Robotech Master dun said:

    Ironic that you should mention Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro in the same post; they were originally shown together in Japan as a double-feature.

    O_o *double-takes the above*

    That...gods...that is just asking for a wee bit of a nervous breakdown, no? (Mind, both are great movies. "Grave of the Fireflies" is possibly one of the most depressing movies (forget just anime) ever made, hands down, though...made even worse by the fact you know it's historically accurate. Trust me when I say that you want a good amount of your antidepressant of choice, and you want no sharp or even dull objects capable of causing puncture wounds nearby--by the first 45 minutes you'll be wanting to off yourself to end the emotional pain of it all.)

    I just hope that they showed "My Neighbor Totoro" after "Grave of the Fireflies". I don't want to think how much the suicide rate in Japan must have gone up if they showed "Totoro" first...light-n-airy, then, *boom* Pain Au Grautin...gah. :P

    (Did I mention that "Grave of the Fireflies" is quite possibly the most depressing film ever made, more so even than Bill Gates' testimony in the Monopoly Trial Of The Century, and you really shouldn't watch it "on a whim" or because you're bored or unless you're read for a good stiff dose of condensed misery? Not that it's a bad film for it--it's actually a damned good would also cause suicidal depression in someone in the manic phase of being bipolar while he was hopped up on pot and amphetamines. :P Just so you know what depth of pain you're getting into. :)

  • Before anyone gets any ideas...

    Trolls be warned: The first of y'all that posts "Zelgadis Greywards Naked and Petrified" is going to get a Dragon Slave Enema. ;)

    Especially since I claim dibs on Zelgadis. ;)

    (Seriously, though...yes, the whole casting sequence is just...pretty. :) Though the take on it in (I think episode 2? of) Slayers: Next was quite funny...Gourry, Zel, and Amelia cranking air-raid sirens shouting "THIS IS A DRAGON SLAVE ALERT! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!" *chuckle*)

    (And yes, you'd have to have seen Slayers to get both the joke re Zelgadis and why one would need to issue a duck-and-cover warning for a Dragon Slave. See this as your order to go rent or buy or borrow the series Right Now, before we send Naga the Serpent after you. ;)

  • Some anonymous coward named Alan :) dun said:

    CN has announced air date as June 5 (that's right, this Monday). However, I've also heard that Tenchi has been delayed to July 3...from Hollywood Reporter, search for Tenchi. (You'll only get an abstract from the article; the full thing would require a paying subscription). I'm inclined to believe the bit about the delay until July, because CN is pretty good about advertising what they have and I haven't seen any Tenchi ads yet. Only bad part is that Tenchi is not one, but at least 3 series (plus spin-offs, plus...). Of the three, CN is going to air them in the following order, IIRC: 1.Tenchi Universe (aka Tenchi TV1) 2.Shin Tenchi (aka Tenchi TV2; the least-liked of the three) 3.Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki (aka Tenchi OAV; the series that started it all and that many fans seem to think is the best...except that it isn't finished, yet).

    Alas, I can't exactly say I'm looking forward to this:

    a) Shin Tenchi Blows Goats (sorry, but that is my opinion and I stick to it, even though I do like the ending...and no, I'm not going to spoil it). Damn near anyone who likes Tenchi Muyo and has seen the other two series or even so much as the second Tenchi movie will tell you Shin Tenchi Blows Goats. About the only thing I can think of worse to show is the dubbed Sailor Moon. Or maybe the gawdawful Bubblegum Crisis dub with the songs dubbed (please, anyone, hunt down and kill the parties who made the decision to translate the songs to's bad enough they did that, but the person they have singing carries a tune about as well as the Japanese actress for Ayeka--that is, she can't sing at all).

    b) I'd have put the OAV's first then the TV series; there is a fairly major spoiler in Shin Tenchi unless one remembers these are essentially three different universes.

    c) You know for a freakin' fact that the series will likely be butchered to Hell and back to satisfy the Censorship Boreds here in the States...just like Sailor Moon got totally ruined...just like Dragonball Z got ki--ki--ki--sent to another dimension :). Gods forbid we show our little friend Washu-chan in her full horror, much less Ryoko's tits, much less the entire scene in the hot-springs resort in the me, it's going to be positively BUTCHERED if they show it on Cartoon Network. I don't CARE that John Kricfalusi did a Yogi Bear cartoon--they showed it exactly TWICE, at 10 pm and 1 am at night, and unfortunately what with this being America (land of prudes who still, in the age of Mononoke Hime and even intelligent US animation like Titan A.E. and Iron Giant, are NOT going to be able to handle double entendres much less Nurse Washu) they have to deal with Censorship Boreds. :P

    Now, what I REALLY wish is that the US had some equivalent to Anime X (an all-anime digital satellite channel run by TV Tokyo, the network that airs the vast majority of anime on Japanese TV)...a dedicated all-anime channel. Barring that, I'd be happy if the eastern US could start getting anime shown on public TV (where it is far less likely to be butchered to acceptability for folks Sasami's approximate physical age)--if one lives in the Western US, it's fairly common to see anime on public TV on weekends (much like it's common to see Britcoms like Red Dwarf in the eastern US). Perhaps we should start pestering public TV that we'll donate on the condition they start showing Rurouni Kenshin. ;)

    Anyhoos...if you're going to watch Tenchi Muyo, start with the OVA's. Seriously. IMHO (and in the HO's of many others) that series was the best of all, though the first TV series isn't TOO bad. Avoid the movie "Tenchi Forever" like the Black Plague.

    If you like Tenchi, you'll probably like El Hazard--done by the same folks. Coming from watching Tenchi, I'd recommend the TV series; if not, watch the OVA first then the TV series (sold as El Hazard: The Alternative World).

    If one likes Tenchi + massive pisstaking of Sailor Moon (among other things), Pretty Sammy (also in two series--the Pretty Sammy OVAs and the Magical Project S TV series) is good if kawaii to the point it induces tooth decay. :) Anti-Microsoft types will especially enjoy Episode 2 of the OVAs ("Revenge of the Electric Brain")--quite possibly the most savage pisstake I have EVER seen of Microsoft. EVER. :)

    If one is REALLY into Tenchi and/or Pretty Sammy, and can understand Japanese, there are supposedly radio airplays that have been done (this should give you an idea of the popularity). I do not speak Japanese well enough to understand them, alas. :)

    Some fanfic is available at Gensao's Tenchi Muyo Fan-Fiction Archive [], including some MSTings of fanfics. The archive does include some hentai (adult) material, but in a different section; the writing goes from very good ("Aikan Muyo" is actually a fairly good bit of fanfic) to the bad (avoid anything on the archive listed as being from "Tank Cop") to the...downright strange and probably more appropriate for alt.tasteless ("Tenchi on a Plate of Sashimi"--that's all I'll say on'd be a good work on alt.tasteless, but tends to make most people physically ill at best...yes, it really IS that bad; do not read un-MSTed and with food in stomach).

    Other picks of mine:

    Must see Evangelion. Be forewarned: the "alternate" Episodes 25 and 26 (sold as "End of Evangelion"--the reason I heard was different--the original 25 and 26 were the real eps, folks weren't satisfied, so he created "End of Eva") are rather a mindfuck. For that matter, so is the entire series. :) But not bad at all, and one actually starts to enjoy it. (BTW, Asuka is annoying in English OR Japanese. Asuka Needs To Die. [Then again, I always rooted for Rei, so there. :)])

    Must see Vision of Escaflowne. Fortunately, the series IS out officially Stateside (I've seen the fansub, haven't had the chance to see the official version yet). VERY pretty, a bit of a mindfuck in places but not to an of the few crossovers between "shonen" anime (boy anime, like Rurouni Kenshin) and "shoujo" or girly anime (like Sailor Moon or Tenchi Muyo). Did I mention I probably like it more than Evangelion? ;)

    You've seen Trigun and Cowboy Bebop; otherwise, I'd mention those. I'd recommend Slayers (again, avoid the movies like the plague, but up to Slayers Try is screamingly funny--imagine a Dungeons and Dragons game, gone horribly wrong. :) and Ranma 1/2 (werepigs, transsexuality, fighting, pandas and painty-raiding hentai old men...what else could you ask for? ;)

    Roujin Z, if you can find it. All I will say on this is but one word: GEEZERTRON. ;) (Yes, you will have to find the joke behind this by yourself. :)

    Bakuretsu Hunters, if you can find it. Another screamingly funny one (have you noticed I tend to stick towards comedies and shonen anime? ;).

    Lost Universe is another must-see. Done by the same folks who did Slayers, so if you like Slayers you'll probably like this one. :)

    Must see Nadeisco, if you've ever seen anything like Macross (yes, this includes the take-three-series-and-frappe mess known as Robotech in the US). Injokes all around, including a number of anime injokes (one character is a seiyuu or voice-actress; another is an otaku (fanboy) over a series known as Gekki Ganger ;).

    Revolutionary Girl Utena is pretty darn good, at least what I've seen of it...even if it DOES go weird in parts. :) Not at all bad for borderline shoujo anime.

    Card Captor Sakura, if you can find it (you will probably have to go with fansubs--it's not supposed to be out officially till later this year, possibly as Captor Sakura). VERY cute, VERY shoujo, but has enough dark bits I can watch without insulin shots. :) I'm REALLY surprised that Cartoon Network isn't talking of picking this up--there wouldn't even need to be much bobbitting (not like Tenchi Muyo, anyways ;). One of the few anime series NOT done by TV Tokyo (this is done by NHK, the main TV and radio network in Japan).

    Rurouni Kenshin, if you can find it. I've not seen too many of the OVAs, mostly the TV series. Supposedly is shown out west as "Samurai X" and supposedly Sony is releasing it on video soon; you are probably going to have a hell of a time finding it from fansub groups as a result (as it's not officially out yet)--best bet is from someone who already has a fansub or lives out west and can tape the show off public TV for you. Should you find a fansub, try to avoid the HECTO fansub if possible (you almost need to be able to read Cantonese to understand it--it's that bad). Shinsen Gumi fansub is better (at least in semi-understandable English ;); supposedly a third fansub exists that is far better than the two groups mentioned. (Also, Sony execs, if you are reading this--Please hurry the hell up and bring the damn series over. :) My fourth-generation tapes are starting to wear thin, and I'd actually like to be able to watch without having a large red blob on the screen with Sanosuke-sama in the middle. Me like Sanosuke-sama. ;9)

    Lupin isn't too bad...only seen a bit of it, but not bad at all...funny in the sort of Trigun/Cowboy Bebop vein.

    Azakuzin Cha-Cha, if you can find it. Supposedly shown on Cartoon Network Asia (which does exactly Jack for us Stateside except give hope it may show up on Cartoon Network US)...another hyper-kawaii show in the vein of Card Captor Sakura but has its own twists. Not at all bad if you like the cute stuff.

    Any Miazaki. Trust me when I say you cannot go wrong with Miazaki. You have to admire the guy for being the one artist whom Michael Eisner has NOT butchered his work in a distribution deal (most Miazaki work is distributed by Dizzney now; the first two being "Kiki's Delivery Service" and Mononoke Hime). You should be at least able to find Kiki's, and Mononoke Hime should be out on video in a few months. Only bad thing is that pretty much it's dub-only (though not bad dubs at all--I'm a purist and like the OPTION of getting a subtitled version, though)...if you want a subtitled version so badly, you might check out the fansub circuits (there was a fansub of Mononoke Hime floating about some months ago). Don't be offended if nobody wants you to tape them, though (most fansubbers put that condition on the fansubs when the Dizzney version was released--would YOU want to be sued for "piracy" by a company that has such a pack of lawyers and lobbyists that we will probably be listening to Radio Free Mars before Mickey Mouse ever goes into the public domain? Neither do they. :). There are also some Miazaki films that have NOT gone into Dizzney hell, most notably "Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind", which is a damned good anime.

    Gatchaman (aka G-Force) is still a sentimental favourite of mine. Get the Japanese-language versions if possible--gives whole new life into the series. :) And besides, it's done by Amano-sama. Thou Shalt Not Say Ill About Amano-sama Or Else A Pack Of Sex-Crazed Kitsune Shall Infest Thy Underwear. ;)

    Nazca, if you can find it. Very interesting anime about warriors reincarinated from Inca times...forget Incas didn't have katanas, and it's quite enjoyable. :) (Then again, if "Mysterious Cities of Gold" could get away with Mayans having freaking solar-powered AIRPLANES, they can get away with Incas using katanas. :)

    Fushigi Yuugi (English dub sold as "Mysterious Play"--very nice they did that, no confusion there :) is pretty good, at least from what I've seen. I have also heard that, up until the very very end, it descends into being possibly the most depressing anime written since "Grave of the Fireflies" (more on that in a minute). Two tips from friends of mine who have seen this: 1) Do not get overly attached to ANY character. 2) Watch PAST the credits of the last episode, and keep any sharp objects away from you until you do so. :)

    Record of Lodoss War is also fairly good, at least what I've seen. Interesting history behind it--reportedly, it's based off a Japanese RPG which in itself was loosely based off AD&D (so the real argument can be made that it's an animated D&D series, only done properly ;). At least one spinoff series, which I've not seen yet, exists.

    Dragon Half, if you can find it. You will probably have to resort to fansubs. Damned hilarious series...laughed till I cried :)

    Akira isn't that bad. Probably would be more understandable if they'd made it from the entire manga instead of the two graphic novels in the middle of the series, but not bad. Warning: UNLESS you have read the entire manga series, do NOT attempt to explain the plot of the movie--my husband made that mistake on a local anime BBS, and for the next fifteen months got spontaneous migraines whenever someone so much as MENTIONED the word "Akira". :)

    Bubblegum Crisis/Crash isn't bad--try to view the original series first, and AVOID THE GODDAMN DUBS LIKE THE PLAGUE. They BUTCHER "Konya Wa Hurricane" which is one of the better J-rock songs in anime by having SOMEONE WHO CAN'T FRIGGING SING SING IT IN ENGLISH! Pure blasphemy.

    I have heard good and bad about the "alternate universe" BCG series, "Bubblegum Crisis 2040". Uses a bit too much CGI eye-candy, but the four eps I saw weren't too bad as long as you remember that it is an alternate universe (just like the three Tenchi series ;). I miss the lesbian references, though...we all know Sylia Stingray and especially Nene are flaming. Out of the closet, girls ;)

    And now for the hentai section (yes, I am hentai. I am not ashamed to state that I am mildly hentai. ;) But this is funny hentai, so I may be excused. :)...both of these probably count as "adult comedy"...

    F-Cubed, especially "Night of the F-Cubed". Adult, yet screamingly funny...probably only funny if you think risque situations are funny, but I thought it was hilarious. :)

    Ogenki Clinic--Imagine a sex counselor clinic run by Tenchi Muyo's own Noboyuki. (Read: Dirty Middle-Aged Man. :) The whole damn series is a riot...quite adult, but screamingly funny. :)

    This should be enough to get you shopping for now. ;)

  • A kinda sweet romance (and about the only anime I've seen) is Ah! My Goddess [] - the younger of the 3 goddess' is the Yggdrasil system's debugger. However I'm sure going to take suggestions from this article to the video rental store! Nice subject....

  • Rob,

    If you're looking for great anime to see, here are the really good ones I think you'll enjoy:

    1. Cowboy Bebop. I'm glad you have seen it, because not only does it have a GREAT storyline, but excellent quality animation and better yet, GREAT background music thanks to Yoko Kanno, perhaps the best composer of music for anime in Japan right now.

    2. The Vision of Escaflowne. Excellent storyline, excellent interaction between characters, and OAV (read: high quality) animation all the way through the series from start to end. I consider it the second best anime series of the 1990's after Cowboy Bebop.

    3. Saber Marionette J. A very pleasant surprise (especially after seeing the subtitled edition), because you really empathize with Lime, Cherry and Bloodberry as they "grow up" from the beginning to end.

    4. Slayers, Slayers Next and Slayers Try. These three are the best "fun" series of the 1990's, with lots of great humor, character interaction and surprisingly serious storylines at the end of each series. The nice thing about the three Slayers series is the fact it really does parody all those bad sessions of role-playing games done on pencil and paper--think of it as "Knights of the Dinner Table" come alive. (^_^)

    4. Revolutionary Girl Utena. I'm hoping that Central Park Media will have the guts to release all 39 episodes, because by the time you reach the end you'll be reaching for a bottle of painkillers trying to keep up with all the little details and plot twists that are important for this series. Utterly weird, and utterly brilliant.

    5. New War Report Gundam W(ing). I'm hoping you can start collecting the series on DVD (Bandai is starting to do that now here in the USA), because it truely is one of the best of the Gundam series (and you on DVD you will hear the very catchy opening and closing themes done by the Japanese pop group Two-Mix).

    IMHO, you can't got wrong with the series I've recommended. They are all top-notch and all are highly recommended by serious anime fans.
  • If you want silly, don't forget:

    Riding Bean

    Silly and realistic at the same time; can't beat that. :-)
  • Fist of the North Star is one of those flicks that's so bad it flips the counter over and actually becomes good. It's best viewed together with friends, preferably of the MST3K persuasion. It's got a ridiculous storyline, huge over-muscled guys, over the top dialogue, and fountains of blood spraying everywhere. Who could ask for anything more? YATATATATATA! You... Are Already Dead!
  • Wings of Honnemaise is a film that requires both patience and attention to detail to be appreciated. I've seen both the dub and sub (repeatedly), and I'd have to say both are excellent.

    The dub is by no means an exact translation -- there are dialogue changes that sometimes alter the meaning of a scene deliberately (Although I've heard Gainax was quite pleased with the dub). Nonetheless, I recommend either version of the film.
  • "Lain Perhaps the best Anime I've seen thus far. The story of a young girl, a drug culture, the future of the net, etc etc. It'll leave your jaw on the floor. It makes the internet look unreal but somehow believable at the same time."

    Somewhat OT plug from an Otakon staffer:
    Otakon 2000 [] will be hosting a number of guests associated with Serial Experiments Lain:

    "...We would also like to take this opportunity to announce our first two guests of honor, Mr. Yoshitoshi ABe and Mr. Yasuyuki Ueda. Mr. ABe would best be known to us in the US as the character designer for serial experiments lain. Joining him will be Mr. Yasuyuki Ueda of production 2nd, the creator of lain. The pair are currently working on a new series together, and hope to have a preview ready by O2K..."

    In addition, the band bôa, writers and performers of the Lain opening song Duvet will also be appearing at Otakon. Of course, as the largest anime convention on the east coast, Otakon will host numerous other guests, premiers, and a huge dealers room. The convention will take place August 4-6, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland, USA. For more information, see our website, or call (814) 867-3478.

    "Close the world. Otakunize the nExt..."
  • I've heard via Anime on DVD [] that "Urban Vision is DVD-bound with Vampire Hunter D sometime later this summer, and if sales go well on this big cult title it may give them the push to do more discs."

    I don't know if that will include Streamline's dub or not, but it probably will include subtitles and the Japanese audio track, unless for some reason they couldn't get the rights.

  • Yes, I did watch it recently; I even wrote a lengthy review of it which can be found in the Internet Movie Database's listing for the film.

    Lupin is called "Wolf" in the Streamline dub of the film because Monkey Punch never bothered to get permission from the Leblanc estate before creating his Lupin III character. He was called all sorts of odd things in the American translations of the '90s. But he was never called Agent Wolf...and he's back to Lupin (pronounced Loo-PAHN in the dub) in the Manga version.

  • The books would have been better than the TV series, but for their many glaring inaccuracies. See the McKinney FAQ [], compiled by subscribers to the Robotech mailing lists, for more information.
  • Well, there's the niggling little fact that it's not on DVD yet, and his question seemed slanted toward those... :)

    And I'd suggest anything by Miyazaki, too, but about the only work of his that's on DVD yet is Castle of Cagliostro []. (Which is easily one of the best anime movies of all time, by the way, and hit []'s top-ten list the first week it was out, selling out over 2500 copies in just a couple weeks.)

    The original Bubblegum Crisis [] is another good one, though you might be advised to wait for the re-pressing/additional disc set that's due out one of these days; the first set, being a relatively early DVD issuance, had some problems.

    And hey, if someone can suggest The Matrix [] as anime, then I feel more than entitled to suggest Tampopo []. It's Japanese live-action comedy (like anime except not animated!), and deals with another geek staple--ramen noodles. (It's a "noodle western," a parody of/homage to all the samurai movies/westerns of bygone days.) It's probably the best movie ever made that you've likely never heard of.

    There are so many good anime, and I'm at least fond of most of them. A good place to check for tips is AnimeOnDVD []; it has an "Essential Anime" section that hits a lot of the classics.

  • "Agent Wolf"??? What anime have you been watching?

    Castle of Cagliostro deals with the adventures of Arsène Lupin III, the grandson of the original Arsène Lupin (hero of the novels by Maurice Leblanc). There's a whole lot of other Lupin III anime, and most of it's pretty good, but only some is by Miyazaki.

  • Ironic that you should mention Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro in the same post; they were originally shown together in Japan as a double-feature.
  • Is there a subtitled version of this available yet? AFAIK the only US version is a dub by Streamline video which has really bad voice acting (at least for D himself).

    I would also recommend "Demon City Shinjuku", "Wicked City", "Twilight of the Dark Master" (this is short). I recently finished the Lain series and it is seriously cool, only about 1 stinker episode (where they try, unsuccessfully, to explain everything) and have just stated working on Blue Seed as well as Neon Genesis Evangelon.

    Anime is great, have fun and I hope you have a really good video store nearby (props to Four Star video in Madison WI).

  • Not many oldies were mentioned, so I'll focus mainly on those:

    First off, everything that has "Hayao Miyazaki", "Isao Takahata" or "Studio Ghibli" written on it. That stuff is poetry in images. Go see "Mononoke Hime", possibly in a good theater. Go twice (the message gets more powerful as you see it again, as it happens for many Studio Ghibli movies). Watch Nausicaa, Tonari no Totoro, Porco Rosso.
    I'll pitch in another movie by Takahata: Grave of the Fireflies. It's a very very sad story, but it has a very powerful message indeed. After a while you'll forget you're even watching anime (I know: it happened to me), and the message will get straight to your heart (ok, so maybe you traded yours for a T1, but that's not the point :-P).

    Lupin III (especially the first series) is relly funny, kind of slapstick sometimes, poetic sometimes. Cagliostro no Shiro is by Miyazaki, maybe the single best episode/movie/special in the whole series.

    Stuff from Go Nagai. Some is good, some is not-as-good. But Devilman is always an all-time-big. Shin Getter Robot should be good too. And his CB-chara (super deformed) is fun, if properly adapted. (notice: I mostly watch the italian editions, so I have no clue about the level of the US version).

    Gundam ('nuff said): RX-78 (TOS), Z, maybe ZZ, Shia's counterattack, 0083, 8th MS platoon. Avoid everything else (hope I have not missed anything in the include-list).

    Lodoss is a good fantasy OVA series. Good detail, average animations, good D&D-type story.

    A good no-strings-attached fun-story: Nadia, from Gainax (their first TV hit). Space-opera-giant-robots type comedy: GunBuster (also from Gainax).

    On more recent stuff: Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion, Escaflowne, maybe Neoranga (in this order). I don't like Otomo's style, but Spriggan is visually impressive (if a bit confusing).
  • In no particular order:
    Miyazaki anything: Totoro, Kiki, Crimson Pig, Nausicaa, Mononoke, Laputa
    Tenchi Muyo
    Combustable Campuss Guardress (but good luck finding anything other than Japanese language-only VCDs or fan subs. I WANT THIS!)
    Anything by Masamune Shirow: Ghost In The Shell, Appleseed, Dominion
    Patlabor 1
    The Project A-Ko series
    Akira (though I find it doesn't hold up over the years)
    Rumiko Takahashi stuff: Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yastura
    Gunsmith Cats!
    Battle Angel Alita

    I haven't seen a lot of the newer stuff, but there's a start.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • Without a doubt, absolutely the best anime I have ever seen (and I've seen a lot...) is Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it's simply the best thing I've ever seen on a television, period. It's coming out on DVD and VHS here in the US soon, too, if it's not out already. Be forewarned, though, it's not action-heavy... it's a pure love story, if done a little spastically. Everyone in the world should watch it. Right now.

    Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

  • I am becomming a fan of Anime, also. I had never seen any until I got my DVD player. Some of my favorites are Ninja Scroll, Ghost in the Shell, Venus Wars, Tenchi Muyo, and I have 3x3 Eyes on laserdisc, which is also very cool.

    But nothing beats Ranma 1/2. I started watching the thing and thought, "what the hell is this crap?" at the outset. Five minutes later I was on the floor laughing - especially when I started to understand everything that was going on and where all these weird animals were coming from. And the little guy who steals women's underwear (can't remember his name) is a total hoot!

  • Also by the same guy who did Grave of the Fireflies is Princess Mononoke, an incredible late-midieval fantasy about a kid going off to find the source of the magical disease which has infected him. Was out in the theatres last year (dubbed), with the translation done by Neil Gaiman, and one of the voices by Gillian Anderson.
  • I found the Akira film first. It was good! I stopped dodging Japanese animation.

    Then I found the Akira graphic novel, which floored my jaw (and which incidentally, nobody can buy anywhere any more, they obviously don't want money)

    Then I found the Battle Angel Alita books, and I was utterly... and completely... blown away.

    The author wrote and drew the whole series. Anyone reading this MUST check them out.
    Samples of artwork can be found here []

    The first two episode were made into a video, which was complete garbage in comparison with the books. :-(

    After you've bought, read, savoured, and reread the Alita series you may want to check out the vidoes of 'Macros Plus' (very very good), 'Tenchi Muyo' (absolutely hilarious), 'Armitage III' and any of the cinema released Anime films, which all seem to be pretty damned good.

    I'm off to locate this Neon Genesis that I can't help hearing rave reviews about.

  • Ok So these are the ones I recommend:

    Neon Genesis Evangelion: Excellent series, dealing with large bio-genetic robots built to protect the world from invading "Angels" Biblical overtones in this one. 13 tapes in all.

    Bubble Gum Crisis Another good one this one dealing with a society that has built "boomer" robots to help them out in their everyday tasks. Some of the robots go "Rogue" and are battled by a vigilante group call the Knight Sabers

    Record Of Loduss War Excellent D&D style anime, you've got your dwarves, elves, sorcerers, etc. Fairly long series, excellent animation.

    Akira A classic.

    These are just a few off the top of my head. I'll try and think of some more for you guys, I recently inherited about 100 tapes of Anime. I haven't got a chance to view them all

  • I love Bastard! There are three tapes available and you should be able to find a couple of them at your local Blockbuster.


  • As a pretty hard core fan, some of my current picks may not even be available yet this side of the Pacific.

    Anime fans remind me of ska fans back in the mid 90s. If it was a band you heard of, they suck. If it's some nobody, they're cool. If the nobody became popular, they become instantly (and retroactivly) sucky.

    Stuff To Avoid:


    DragonBall Z

    Mr. Piccalo will kick your ass for that. It's just fun.

    Sailor Moon

    You're just jellous of Tuxedo Mask.
    (no in all honesty it's not very good. About on level of Ronin Warriors *groan*.

    Any "Alternate Universe" Gundam (ie Gundam Wing)

    Now I haven't seen the other Gundams, but Gundam Wing cool. The animation is good. It's pretty. Sure, theres episodes that stop right when the action starts, but some how it all flows. Alot like B5 (which I was ever that big a fan of).

    Plus, Noin is damn hot. :)
  • Very good move, very sad though. It's right up there with Wings (non-anime (Clara Bow, c. 1928)) for the saddest movie i've ever seen.
  • (that's the lead in for the Lain theme) Lain is designed to get you confused. If you really want to get confused, watch Lain. `8r) oh, and avoid watching all the episodes in a row, you could go insane!

    Present day! Present Time! HAHAHAHAHAH

    But still, an excellent anime. Here are further suggestions, all on DVD. I suggest you check out NetFlix as well, as they have Anime for rental over the net.

    Ghost in the Shell: Popularized anime, big guns, naked girls, mecha, complex plot, this has everything that *is* anime. I think it's the perfect representation of the genre. And my favorite.

    Bubble Gum Crisis: Another representation of the genre, it covers more of the mecha aspects, and was well done for the time. Good looking girls in powered armor, etc.

    Legend of the Overfiend: a series, they recently released a box set of the first 5 disks, and the only ones worth getting. This is a 'tenticle porn' anime, and is another 'representative of the genre' things. If you ever wanted something that made your friends go 'holy crap!' check this out. NOT FOR KIDS!

    Tenchi Muyo: An excellent series, following the exploits of tenchi. it's a television series, but they also have some movies on it.

    Queen Emeraldas: A surprisingly good anime following the exploits of a female pirate and this little kid trying to make it in the world. It's got some pretty funny scenes and they have some really cool weapons.

    Macros Plus: Unlike the first one, Macros Plus is good! (well, if you don't dig on the Minmae defense!) They have some excellent graphics, and a well thought out plot line. a classic mecha.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion: giant mecca, younger actors, and very well drawn. This is an excellent anime to investigate.

    Record of the Lotus Wars: Just like AD&D brought to anime. very well done.

    Princess Mononoke: Soon coming to DVD! well, at least they keep on saying that. someday we'll get this great movie. a fantasy series, very very well done. Was VERY good because I saw it in the theatres.

    Ranma 1/2: If you like cutsey slightly funny young girlish comedies, you might dig on this. It's not my thing, but it's still somewhat funny.

    Castle of Caligistro: The spy adventures of Agent Wolf, an excellent early anime. It just came out on DVD. Another genre definer.

    Project A-ko: AAHHHNOOOOOOO!!!! My personal nemesis. I hate this anime, but only because i hate C-ko. if you dig on mostly girls whining with the occational super human battle... but i HIGHLY recommend against it!

    MD Geist: Another classic, very violent. Post apoclyptic genre.

    Golden Boy: a voyaging student wandering the country side, VERY funny. `8r) This is a good example of humor done well... everywhere the boy goes, he finds love in a new form. most likely not for kids though. Not on DVD that I know of.

    Iszer: The worst anime i've ever seen. avoid it.

    All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku: Just look at the title! `8r) It's a decent anime, a happy present day, young girl type of anime. Nuku Nuku is superhuman, and it's also pretty funny. Not on DVD I don't think, can't remember

    Anyway, that's all I can think of right now. There are others that are also very good classics that are not on DVD, such as Riding Bean, Akira, Appleseed, Dirty Pair, Vampire Hunter D, AD Tank Police, 3x3 eyes, Sakura Wars, and a buttload of different TV series. I highly suggest you check out an anime con sometime, I recently went to one in Chicago, and it was excellent. even got to see Cowboy Bebop for free. Which I then turned around and bought.

    Gonzo Granzeau

  • Sorry, I'm at work, I don't have a copy of it onhand to get the spelling. `8r)

    But I was just disappointed with the later versions. Hence, why I said what I did.

    Gonzo Granzeau

  • He's called 'The Wolf' in the film, maybe if only as a nickname. Maybe if you had watched it recently, you might have known that. and yes, why there are more, this one just recently came out on DVD [].

    Gonzo Granzeau
  • It really has to do with what you're exposed to, and to be honest, many geeks are attracted to anime for the sexual content. Perennial favorites like Ninja Scroll (which I personally can't stand because of the rape scenes) attest to this. It sound from your description, you've been exposed to the genre of anime known as hentai, which is Japanese porn. However, to dismiss the entirety of anime based on this is like dismissing all of American television based on tuning into the Playboy channel once or twice.

    There are a wide variety of more gentle shows in anime. Anime is just another film media for Japan. Tragic real-life dramas like "Grave of the Fireflies," gentle kids movies like "My Neighbor Totoro," and charged psycho-dramas like the recent "Perfect Blue" all are animated. There is an entire genre called shoujo, which is young girls anime that tends to focus on romance, relationships between friends, and situational comedy. They also can be cute to the point of delivering insulin shock.

    To be honest, I like a lot of the girls shows because they're so damn funny at times. Comedy is my biggest interest in anime. The above mentioned show "Trigun" is one of the better ones, and does not have any negative sexual portrayals of women. You should give anime a second chance. This time, do an informed search on the web and stay away from anything which has too sexed-up of a cover. (This may unfortunately make you miss a few good things to because of companies like A.D.V. Film's constant attempts at making their stuff look like it has more sex in it than it actually does.) Oh, and get some informed friends to show you some anime rather than whatever perv shoved the stuff you watched in your face. The Anime Turnpike [] is a good resource for finding fan sites that will give you a good idea of what kind of people are watching what.

    I will recommend the following:

    Trigun -- A funny slapstick comedy centered around a character who hides his competence, and a cool sci-fi tinted western.

    Giant Robo -- Epic drama, badass fights between espers, and retro 70s animation. One of the best of all time.

    Evangelion -- A psychological study in depression, with cool living robots, though there's a little fan-service they bring up constantly as a joke.

    Visions of Escaflowne -- Beautiful visuals, cool fantasy, a tale of altered fate and romance.

    Cowboy Bebop -- An ultra-cool vision of the future that's neither dystopian nor utopian. Lots of great action and intriguing characters.

    Serial Experiments Lain -- Wow. What more can I say? This is the penultimate work of cyberspace mergine with the real world. See it, but be prepared to be confused as most of what happens in the plot is a mystery and much of it is allegorical or left unexplained.

    Slayers -- The series from Software Sculptors, not the OAVs or the movies as they feature Naga, which fits the stereotype, though you never see her once do anything sexual. The series is a hillarious swords and sorcery romp that refuses to get serious for more than a few minutes at a time (much to the dismay of Zelgadis, one of the characters).

    P.S. I'm not just the president of my college anime club, I'm also a client.

  • Just to help your Napster searching, it's Megumi Hayashibara.

    For those who don't know Megumi is the seiyuu (voice actor/actress) for a number of characters. Some of her most famous roles include:

    Lina Inverse of the "Slayers" series.

    Lime of "Saber Marionette J" and its sequels.

    Ayanami Rei of "Evangelion"

    Faye Valentine of "Cowboy Bebop"

    Female Ranma of "Ranma 1/2"

    Kitty of "Sanrio" (aka "Hello Kitty")

    A more complete list can be found here []. (In case you can't guess, she's one of my favorite voice actresses.)

  • Isn't that the one where the kid sticks his finger in the guy's eye? ...or is that Mermaid's Scar, which is also in the same series?
  • In general, I don't like anime. It's mostly adolescent fantasy and/or angst, with few examples of literary merit. I do admit to being curious about Ghost in the Shell and Princess Mononoke, but most of the anime I've actually sat through -- Fists of the North Star, Nausicaa, Lensman, Gundam, Robotech, Vampire Hunter D, etc -- left me bored and puzzled about why the hell my friends liked this stuff.

    Therefore I postulate that the only anime worth watching is anime that makes fun of anime. And as a result, I have become hooked on the Powerpuff Girls. They poke fun at every superhero genre but make extra effort to ridicule anime, and the end result leaves me howling with laughter. The powerpuff Mecha episode alone -- where it takes almost a full minute to reveal the missles popping out of every possible surface on the mechanoid -- is a stinging slap across the face to the japanese animation industry. :) I heartily recommend it.
  • Wow, what an awesome movie. It's also referred to as "Royal Space Force." It just blew my mind.

    Along with the Patlabor movies. (I wasn't privileged enough to see the series, just what Teletoon in Canada would show)

    Those movies just made too much sense. The attention to detail was also awesome. I highly recommend those above anything else I've seen, anime or not.
  • A great list, and I second whole-heartedly.

    One addition, another 80's classic which everyone should check out is Vampire Hunter D []. For early-eighties anime, it's extremely well done.

    Question: How do I leverage the power of the internet?
  • GREAT series, but don't take my word for it: Digital Otaku-May 31,2000 []
  • 4. Revolutionary Girl Utena. I'm hoping that Central Park Media will have the guts to release all 39 episodes

    I believe they will. I emailed Software Sculptors about a month ago, asking about their DVD plans for the rest of the series, and I was told that, at the moment, they only have the rights to the first 13 episodes. They're currently in negotiations for more, but until then, they can't even begin production, so expect to wait a long time for DVD.

  • It's a relatively new anime (ca. 1997, IIRC), and has some of the most beautiful animation I've ever seen. It's got great drama, humor, and Twin Peaks-worthy strangeness... except in this show, nearly all the mysterious parts make sense at the end. ^_~

    Here's a link to some more Utena info: []

  • It makes sense in the end? That's great, because it sure as heck didn't in the middle!!!!

    Hmm, this can be partly attributed to the fact that I pretend the Black Rose saga doesn't exist, for fear my head explodes. ^_~

    Thanks for the link! Hilarious!

  • Princess Mononoke is great, with wonderful animation and quite a bit to think about. And after all the discussion it's received on /., I'm really surprised it hasn't been mentioned in the comments so far.
  • Never heard of it so I found a website with some info:
    Lain Serial []
  • It's a little more oriented towards children, but it's still IMHO the best epic SciFi story there is!

  • I had this argument with my SO for weeks after seeing Mononoke. We struggled with the need for balance between a subtle, yet effective storyline and the need to actually penetrate American's thick skulls.

    I'm not very anime-oriented, so I really only know anything about the Americanized version. To me, a heavy handed plot is justified if it manages to attack with any success the common American culture or convince a few Americans to reconsider their lifestyle (specifically when the attack is one I consider worthwhile. This is my criteria, after all).

    While a more moderate plot might have been mentally stimulating for me and people who already understand the importance of protecting the planet, I fear that an uninitiated American would miss the point entirely and any social gain that might have resulted from the film is wasted preaching to the choir.

    So I would argue that there were plenty of elements in the movie to keep the choir entertained and sacrificing the subtlety is not a crime. If, on the other hand, I found the movie heavy handed AND unentertaining in most other respects, I wouldn't give it quite the leeway.

    Consider Battlefield Earth: for some people it might be a thrill-a-minute action flick, but to me it's a heavy-handed scientology flick with no redeeming values, so it doesn't get the same sort of leeway as Mononoke does.

    Of course this is all premised on my lowly opinion of Americans (myself being one). I understand that places like cluetrain have a different perspective. It will take a lot to restore my faith in the Average American, but I'm certainly open to suggestions to the contrary.
  • I just read Breakfast of Champions last night. I took something different from the book than you did, but I guess that's the benefit of a subtle, inspired novel. I've never heard of the movie.

    And I suppose that I wouldn't call my perception of Mononoke an "honest" critique, nor am I a platonic "critic." Like all critics, I base my final judgement by taking everything possible into account, including myself; unlike a platonic critic, I don't know everything.

    The reason I mentioned the fact that I don't know jack about anime is because I wonder if what seems like heavyhanded ecology and nature-religion diatribe to an American doesn't fade into the background of a Japanese created movie in Japanese culture. Was Mononoke created for Japanese culture, and by porting it to Americanese, was it done a disservice because of Americans' different understandings of religion and nature?

    eg. I made a movie as a graduation gift for my friends which to outside viewers may come across as heavyhanded, boring sentimentality, but in the intended audience it has different, diverse effects. If you are only going to make a critique of the movie based on your being an outsider, you might not be giving the movie the credit it deserves, or will be judging the movie on merits that may not have struck the creator as significant, etc.

    And, again, my criticisms rely on the audience of a piece, both intended and accidental. Maybe the movie was only intended for "average Americans" because Anime fanatics would find it pedantic. While both audiences should be taken into account, perhaps the needs of the intended audience reflect more honestly on the movie.

    You make a good point about logical arguments, but I must say that, in my opinion, "average Americans" have no respect for them. Children, on the other hand, are a little more open minded, on the whole.
  • I recently did a research paper on cyberpunk(ish) anime and watched the following films:

    Ghost in the Shell (by far my most favourite anime ever: gorgeous animation, cool story)

    Akira (I was a bit disappointed in Akira, after all the stuff I'd heard about it... it was visually beautiful, but the story was very crammed, since it was originally an 1800pg manga)

    Bubblegum Crash (this is the sequel to the Bubblegum Crisis series, ok, but not great)

    Armitage III: Polymatrix (one of those anime where the heroine inexplicably looks like a dominatrix..., characters were interesting, some visuals were very reminiscent of Blade Runner)

    Black Magic M-66 (ok, not great, about a mindless cyborg assasin who escapes)

    Appleseed (pretty cool characters and ideas, perfect for my paper, but not that great to watch)

    Armageddon (awful!!)

    Some other stuff I've seen:

    Record of Lodoss War (very D&D-ish, but an interesting group of adventurers)

    Slayers (very silly and fun)

    Oh My Goddess! (lighthearted and funny)

    Space Warriors (really cheesy!)

    Castle Cagliostro (one of many with the same main character, pretty goofy...)

    Perfect Blue (as described by Taco, a very cool anime)

    Almost all of these were subtitled, since I prefer to watch subtitled anime. I have heard that some of them, notably Akira, are worse in the dubbed version. They often get cut more, and the story is adjusted more for western audiences. IMHO, while subtitled versions still have these changes, I think they are generally better.

  • If you're looking for a good laugh...
    Watch one of the City Hunter series, which is very goofy, but fun... then, rent the JACKIE CHAN live action version of City Hunter. It's hilarious. It's totally not your usual Jackie Chan, but it's got cool action and it's very funny. There's a great 'Streetfighter' sequence... I won't explain it, cuz I don't want to ruin the surprise, but trust me, it's great! Only be sure to watch the anime first, so you have some clue as to what's going on! :)
  • I grew up on the original Robotech series, and it still rules. The books based on the series (by Jack McKinney, if anyone's interested), are ten times better than the cartoon was (and a hundred times more in-depth), but 'Tech was still a gazillion times better than Voltron and whatever other American cartoons were on at the time.

    I'm surprised no one else has mentioned it...
  • Yeah, I've heard every argument about the books and read that damn FAQ. I agree with Luceno's Right of Rebuttal at the bottom: The books themselves are the counterpoint to the arguments. They happen to be excellent, excellent books even if you've never seen the TV series (which I hadn't when I started reading them).

    If you want to nitpick them, go right ahead, but frankly I've never really thought that any of the nits that usually get brought up are big enough in the first place to take away from Daley and Luceno's *almost* flawless depcition of the Robotech universe and the storyline.
  • One of my all time favorites is KOR. Besides, Bubblegum Crisis, KOR cemented my addiction to anime (and made me go out and by an LD player). It had it all - cute girls, a love triangle, and esp powers. What more could you ask for in anime? Back in the day, I must admit to having a slight crush on Ayukawa Madoka (what normal nerd wouldn't?). The KOR movie that resolved the series had an ending that was more realistic than most tv series (or movies) that I've seen. It was emotionally draining to say the least.

    The complete tv series, OAV, and movie are available from those great guys at Animeigo.

    Some other favs:

    Record of Lodoss Wars - this is what the old d&d tv cartoon series should have been.

    Tenchi Muyo - Very funny. Sasami-chan is the only cute character though.

    Ranma 1/2 - slap stick at it's best.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion - Story is really engaging.

    Vampire Princess Muyo - Spooky. The soundtrack is really cool.

  • You should perhaps be warned that "Grave of the Fireflies" is extremely depressing. But it's also really good.

    For another break from the robots, try "My Neighbor Totoro" ("tonari no totoro", I think). Don't be put off by the fact that it's a kid's movie (and that it's very cute, and that it's spawned a major stuffed-animal industry)--it's much more subtle and interesting than anything put out by Disney. Also, if you're interested in Japan, there's lots of wonderful cultural details--the shots of the countryside, the food the characters eat and the houses they live in, etc.

    I don't know anyone (of any age) who's seen Totoro and not liked it.

    In general, anything by the same director (Hayao Miyazaki) is worth watching--see "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" if you're looking for science-fiction, or "Kiki's delivery service", if you can stand more cute kids.

    --Bruce Fields

  • Miramax/Disney have been releasing some of Hayao Miyazaki's work here in the U.S, most notably Princess Mononoke last fall. This is one of the BEST animated movies I've ever seen. I've read that it is the second highest grossing film of all time in Japan (next to Titanic.The musical score is excellent, and, for once, the American voiceovers were done fairly well. The DVD is expected to be released sometime this summer. I highly recommend it.

    Other than that, one of my favorite classics is Bubblegum Crisis, a kind of Bladrunner-esque sci-fi thriller with women in hard suits fighting an evil corporation that creates terminator style cyborgs. All 8 episodes are available on DVD.

    As mentioned above, Serial Experiments Lain is a GREAT, must see anime and is available on 4 DVDs. It actually makes you think, unlike a lot of anime. :) Your jaw will be open most of the time and you will have no idea what's going on for the first few episodes.

    Visions of Escaflowne is a series that is just started to be released commercially in the U.S. It is set in an interesting fantasy style world yet they have mech and flying technologies. There's quite a lot of adventure with a fairly serious, epic fantasy plotline woven throughout. The first few episodes should be coming out in the summer on DVD. All in all, it's 26 episodes.
  • One of the best in Dark Anime...

    If you watch enough anime you'll se a common theme in a lot of the series that reminds me of the daily plot from Power Rangers.

  • currently showing on Cartoon network at 4pm and 12am eastern time...

    The DVD's are supposed to start coming out this month, but at 5 episodes per DVD (out of, like, 50) at $25 a pop it gets a little pricey...

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
  • Gundam Wing is appearing right now on Cartoon Network, as are both Sailor Moon (US clipped version) and Dragonball Z, and you can still catch the odd Robotech episode in the wee hours..

    Check your local cable providers listings for time and date.... ;)
  • I second your opinion on the Vision of Escaflowne, I was looking to see if anyone else recommended it before I put my two cents in. I myself was disappointed with the ending, felt it was rushed. The producers knew they had the leeway of making a movie to tie up loose ends (in production now).

    My understanding is that VoE has been picked up by Fox Kids! for the 2000-2001 season, so there's a good chance you can see it for free. I'm just afraid, no I'm certain, that they'll dub it, and we'll lose Maaya Sakamoto's great performance as Hitomi. She even sings the theme song in character, don't see that enough.

    For more information, everybody, on anime and manga, the best English language online resource I've seen is [], which might be the best online magazine I've seen, period.

  • I'm glad someone here brought this up. ^_^

    If you are looking for some Anime resources on line, here is a short list off the top of my head:

    - EX []
    This is a review site that reviews a ton of Anime, Anime Music, Manga(comics where a lot of Anime comes from), and other stuff(games, books, etc that are Anime related). One of the oldest and longest running online Anime e-zines.

    - Hitoshi Doi's Seiyuu Database []
    Hitoshi's exploits as a Seiyuu(a voice actor/actress) are legendary and his database shows it. If there was a piece of animation made in Japan and there was a speaking role in it, it has been cataloged here. Great for crossref-ing your favorite actress!

    Conventions(there are a list them all would kill me ^_^)
    - Anime Expo []
    Southern California con. Quite possibly, the "high profile Anime con" where a lot of the domestics and some of the Japanese companies make announcements.

    - Anime Central []
    Chicago area con. Great con for those of us who live in the center of the country. ^_^;

    - A.D. Films []
    Domestic distributor of stuff shows like Evangelion.
    - Anime Village []
    Domestic distributor of stuff shows like Cowboy Bebop.
    - Pioneer Anime []
    Domestic distributor of shows like Tenchi.

    - Anipike []
    An ambitious attempt to catalog all of the Anime content out there on the web. Has an interesting "Last Exit" column that showcases the best(and the worse) of Anime Online. This site is great to find anything and everything Anime.

  • Errr...when I said "Hitoshi's exploits as a Seiyuu(a voice actor/actress) are legendary and his database shows it." I meant to say..

    Hitoshi's exploits as a Seiyuu(a voice actor/actress) FAN are legendary and his database shows it.

    Hitoshi, as far as I know, doesn't work anywhere in the Japanese Anime industry(I think he works for DEC ^_^) and is just a fan like anyone else. If nothing else, it shows how one guy with a little hardware and programming knowledge can produce something truly useful and powerful.
  • If I recall the Pirates of DarkWater or some such was an awesome cartoon...and the death toll was quite high each show, which was very surprising. I don't off-hand recall any of the main characters dying, but I didn't see too many of the shows.
  • Good list, just want to point out you want to get the subtitled version of Akira, NOT the dubbed version if possible. The original voice actors were carefully picked for their intonation/acting, the dubbed voices include one of the people who voiced the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 'nuff said.
  • I'm fond of Akira myself, but it's not a series. Ghost in the Shell is another that you might want to snarf. Again, not a series. Ranma 1/2 is a kind of cool series. Animation's so-so but it's generally amusing.

    No matter what Anime you get, be sure to get the english subtitled versions whenever possible. Dubbed, sucks. Better still, get non-dubbed non-subtitled anime and start learning Japanese.

  • Great posting

    I was gonna write one, but I'll just be lazy and add to yours. ^_^

    Anything by Miyazaki: thought provoking, stunning visuals, excellent story telling. Examples: Mononoke Hime, Kiki's Delivery Service, Naussica.

    Amen! Add My Neighbor Totoro to this list. Also, "coming soon," Castle in the Sky (otherwise known as Laputa)

    Another one by the same studio: Grave of the Fireflies. Guaranteed to make you and everyone around you cry. Stock up on the Kleenex.

    Bubblegum Crisis (original and 2040): one of the most popular 80's series, a cyberpunk thriller. 2040 came out a couple of years ago and is a remodified verion.

    If you see the original version, be sure and get the subtitled version. The original music rocked. The replacement band they used for the dub was lame.

    AD Police is the prequel to this series, and is also good. My additions to this fine list:

    Vampire Princess Miyu: Not your usual vampire thriller.

    Kimagure Orange Road (aka: Whimsical Orange Road, KOR): High school kids, love triangles, a small amount of the supernatural. Sitcom-style comedy. Good scripts with well-formed characters.

    Sol Bianca: Sci-fi. The best spaceship cloaking animation ever. Good story, also.

    The link I haven't seen yet: Anime Turnpike []

  • I can't add anything about the complexity, emotional richness, or trippy fascination of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but I can tell you where ot get it. It's available on VHS for ~$260... or you can get it for ~$75 on VCD. VCD is viewable on any MPEG-capable computer. The resolution is only a bit worse than VHS, and you get the slow-motion, freeze-frame, and precise backup you'll need if you want to do in-depth analysis of this... phenomenon. There is some censoring (the discs are from Taiwan), but a friend who's doing part of her thesis on Evangelion and has watched both formats over and over and over assures me it is inconsequential.

    Now -- where to get the discs? I've seen a few stores that offer them, but they're a bit hard to find and of unknown reliability. However, there are always a number being aucti oned on ebay []. That's where my friend got hers...

    note - After the bizarre and traumatic end of the series, two movies (usually called Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion were released, comprising an alternate retelling and end of the story. These are offered on a separate VCD package, and while highly worthwhile to those who have seen the rest, you should make sure you get the 13-disc, 26-episode series first.

    - Michael Cohn
  • Akira and Ghost in the Shell are exactly what I was going to mention. I haven't even seen a lot of Anime yet, but these two are just mind-bogglingly good (and even I know that they're classics). Akira pretty much melted my brain, in a really really good way.

    As for the Matrix ... if you haven't seen the DVD version and all it's extras, do so. There's a lot of stuff featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes stuff with the writer/directors of the movie. These guys basically took some anime movies (didn't say which ones) to the producers, and said "We want to do this with live action." I thought that was just freakin' amazing. Plus, they actually look like real guys, the kind of fun-luvin' geeks who would go crazy over anime and scifi and the Matrix in general. :)

    You know what to do with the HELLO.

  • It makes sense in the end? That's great, because it sure as heck didn't in the middle!!!!

    For a laugh, check out The Revolutionary Girl Utena Pants Page []. Pure silliness.

  • I just love the look of this. Miyazaki really captures the look of rural Japan, and his attention to detail and ability to portray everyday things very accurately, accentuates the magic and wonder and cuteness of Totoro and friends. Very simple, but this is its strength.


  • I agree. It depends strongly on what kind of anime you like. I am a bit of an anime buff having seen something like 40-50 different series and titles for at least an episode or two. There are titles that some people love and others hate for no particular reason other than what the people like.

    That said, MasteroftheVoxel has pointed out some pretty good titles. Neon Genesis Evangelion and Vision of Escaflowne were probably to of the best tv series titles to come out in the 90's for Japan. Evangelion, as others have mentioned is a rollercoster ride of an action-comedy that effectively portrays the mentality of the main character Shini in a really bizarre and fairly depressing jaunt through adolesence during the Armageddon. Escaflowne is a nice mix of Shoujo (to give the plot some depth and feeling) and action. It has some excellent sword and mecha fighting combined with very good character development.

    Of the little Miyazaki I have seen, I would strongly recommend Mononoke Hime, or Princess Mononoke as Mirimax is calling it. This is the most adult themed and serious of Miyazaki's works that I have seen.

    In the comedy department, I can strongly recommend :
    Ranma 1/2 (Again, but I'd say watch at least the first 2.5 seasons and the OVAs if possible.)
    El Hazard (More cross-dressing fun in the OVAs and one of the best of the one guy being pursued by many girls genre.)
    Irresponsible Captain Tyler (This is a great space comedy where you and all the other characters spend the entire series trying to figure out if Tylor is a genius or a rampaging moron.)
    Lupin: Castle of Caglistro (Anything involving Lupin is going to be pretty darn funny as the super-thief and bunch of wierdos wander off to do strange things.)
    Slayers (Take the whole D&D idea and remove rationality from the characters and respectable limits to power. Can be quite funny.)
    Tenchi Muyo (Like El Hazard, but louder with a much less sane cast of characters. Avoid the second TV series as if your life depends on it, but the OVAs and first movie are good.)

    If you like Trigun, I can recommend these (tough guy who acts like an idiot) titles :
    City Hunter (The City Hunter is a famous bodyguard/private eye who is a complete worthless pervert until the situation gets serious.)
    Sorcerer Hunters (A bunch of oddballs are sent out to take care of very unruly wizards who are enslaving the populous. Borders on bad taste at a few points but funny.)

    In the sci-fi action genre, there are quite a few:
    Macross Plus (The OVAs are simply some of the best animation I have ever seen. The plot is good and provides a worthy sucessor to Macross/Robotech.)
    Orguss 2 (I didn't enjoy much of Orguss that I saw, but the sequel is excellent and little known. A good way to think of it is World War II with both sides unearthing mecha from some apparently previous civilization.)
    Iria: Zeiram the Animation (This is a good bounty hunter series involving interesting technology clearly based on non-tradition physics.)
    Ghost In the Shell (Others have covered this.)
    Patlabor (The two movies are very good. This is the most realistic rendition of mecha that I have seen in an anime.)
    Bubblegum Crisis (Think Bladerunner with really nasty androids and four women in battle armor fighting them for fun and profit.)
    Gundam Wing (I haven't had the history and physics lessons necessary to tackle the main Gundam universe in depth, so I'll suggest an excellent spinoff.)
    Dirty Pair (Comedic pair of Trouble Consultants (like police but not) who cause so much collateral damage that it is sometimes counted in planets.)

    In the miscellaneous category come these gems:
    Record of Lodoss War (The OVAs are what D&D was meant to be, and the TV series is good apart from the annoying ending segments.)
    Key the Metal Idol (This is in my top five or ten favorites of all time. Mix Isaac Asimov, Japanese culture, massive psychic power, and stir. The story is of Key and her quest to become human by making 30,000 friends.)
    Heroic Legend of Arslan (Cross the Lord of the Rings characters with Akira Kurasawa and get a good medieval yarn.)
    Fushugi Yuugi (Or The Mysterious Play as I think the dubbed version is called. This is as close to the Sailor Moon style as I can get and still like it. Involves a girl transported to another dimension to fufill a prophesy a la Neverending Story.)
    Oh My Goddess (Mostly Shoujo story of a boy in love with a Goddess. Her sisters don't exactly like the union though...)
    Kishin Corp (This is steampunk mecha combat set in World War II. Wierd but good.)

    I'd write up more, but these are the best ones I can think of offhand and I've been thinking about this for over half an hour. Time to post and be done with it.

    B. Elgin

  • Hello?! This movie is a must see in Japan. I mean that. Growing up, children in Japanese schools watch this horribly graphic account of one little boys experience during the bombing of Hiroshima. The creator of this movie actually did live through the bombing and this is how he decided to tell his story. A must see! I have a Japanese student who is trying to learn English. This was one fo the few things that we connected on!

  • If you grew up in the 80's Orange Road is a must see. Bad J-pop 80's music, Classic Love Triangle, , 80's clothing, and at times rather compelling story lines.

    The best part of 80's Anime is watching the characters drink, smoke, etc. But at the same time pay homage to Japanesse Taboo's. It's like watching a Brat Pack movie with special effects.

    I enjoyed picking up the box set from AnimeIgo on this series. For one thing they have a cultural guide included that explains all the little details. Like why some dude's nose is bleeding, what's the deal with the "famous cutlet sandwich". etc. etc.

    Others worth a mention:

    Armatage III (Both movie and OVA)

    Tenchi: (OVA Great +++, TV Series, first movie, don't bother Tenchi in Tokyo)

  • If you want something like Golgo 13 or James Bond, except really, really cheesy and really, really 70s, watch some episodes of Lupin the 3rd. Fun stuff.

    Blue Submarine #6 is also good, but in an actually good way, rather than cheese-good: part hand-drawn anime, part CG, and the 5.1 sound on the DVD (I know, I know) is AMAZING...

    If you liked watching "People Under The Stairs" (not animie, terrible terrible 'horror' movie) just to make fun of it, then you should definitely watch the dubbed version of the Fist Of The North Star movie :)

    For further bad taste, Ping Pong Club can't be beat.

  • by vlax ( 1809 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:33AM (#1033257)
    Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku - it's all really good stuff.

    Ozamu Tezuka was the best at manga/anime. He's dead now, but he was responsible for a wide variety of classics.

    I also like Key, the Metal Idol. In fact, I'd recommend that as my single favourite anime programme.
  • by Ty ( 15982 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:16AM (#1033258)

    Ghost in the shell is by far my favorite Anime. I have the DVD version which provides English/Japanese Language and English/Japanese subtitles. The animation in this thing is beautiful--as high quality as you will find for a movie produced in 1996.

    This futuristic sci-fi flick is just as much of a thinker movie as it is action. I had to watch it a couple times to "get it" so to say. The underlying question in the movie is concerned with what human existance actually is.

    The film won the 1997 World Animation Celebration Awards for "Best Theatrical Feature Film" and "Best Director of a Theatrical Feature Film". Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up too.

  • by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @10:09AM (#1033259)
    As much as it is against my policy to respond to flames, your comments reflect badly on anime.

    Animation is nice. GiTS is the basis for the matrix (which has been publicly awknowledged by the creators) and Armitage III is .... cute... in a rather distrubing way. (You know... there are anime characters that are older then that.... Armitage just bugs me... )But the entire thing that seperates Anime from Disney is plot plot plot plot and more plot. Disney, sad to say, still does better body dynamics and better fluid animation then anything I have ever seen in Anime (btw, which is over 500 titles or thereabout).

    The later two titles that you mention really have no creativity or plot in them. Armitage III is a bad rip of Gibson, GiTS is a complete bastardization of the manga. (Matsumoto Shirow's Manga is excellent tho, and GiTS 2 is in the works).

    (In other words, stick to the above is you just want action action action).

    If you want plot, stick with EVA, Excel, Sol Bianca (the new OVA series is _awesome_ graphics wise, but the characters don't click yet), Slayers, Kenshin etc.

    Macross Plus is also in that area, but much more for Yokko Kano's _awesome_ sound track then any other reason.

    Finaly, a friend has pointed out to me that I completly neglected any mention of Shoujo anime. (They run in a magizine targeted at women, rather then men). Series I strongly suggest here (which are much harder to get your hands on)

    X - Shoujo is _owned_ by a female group named CLAMP. That is all there is too it. X was a incredible manga, that was very poorly translated into a anime (something like 10 volumes of manga into 1 2hr movie). However, the animation is gorgeous, and the plot is interesting. Not for kids.

    KareKano (sorry can't remember full title).
    Anno's (the guy who did Eva) latest project, this one delves into masks that people wear, experencies, first loves, etc. It really is quite good, and very different from the standard Anime direction.

    Kodomo no Omocha (Child's Toy).
    Child's toy is about as insane as Anime ever gets. This series is like riding a roller coaster of humour, and then randomly crashing into brick walls of angst.

    Fushigi Yuugi:
    This is really a shonen (guys) series in disguise, but has some awesome angsty moements.

    Here are some more recomendations:

    Sol Bianca -> Computer Generated Anime. It is quite pretty, but the characterization and the story are not solid yet (first two episodes). The original series is excellent as well.

    BGC 2040 ->
    BGC is Anime's first Cyber Punk series. The new series is good, but nowhere near as cutting edge as the first series.

    Excel Saga->
    See my other post.

    Eden's Bowey->
    This series is decent, as is popular in Japan.

    Nadesico ->
    Excellent. Usual Big-Mecha fair, but solid character dynamics, and excellent plot line. Be sure to watch the movie as well.

    This will be released in theaters next year. Awesome animation, plot needs significant help.

    Nadia of Blue Waters->
    Classic. Jules Verne approach to Anime.

    And there is always the classics as well:

    Robotech -> Bastardization of three different anime series.

    Nausciaa -> Pretty good. Nausciaa, Mononoke Hime, and Laputa are very very similar, both in animation and story. Of the three of them, I love Laputa. Done by Studio Ghibili.

    I can hear the sea -> Very underated, excellent Ghibli anime, very different from Nausciaa, Mononoke Hime, Laptuta etc.

    On your mark -> A music video done by Ghibili. Hard to get your hands on, but well worth it.

    Blue Sub 9 -> Computer generated, good story, good character dynamics. All in all a very solid anime. Don't ever watch this unsubbed.

    Gundam 0080/0083 -> Very good Gundam series that are released over here. Wing has been airing on TV and has done very well.

    In the near future, Tenchi Muyo, Slayers, Blue Sub 9, Card Capture Sakura (which will be reneamed) and many other anime's will be on TV. Gundam wing is the most popular series ever on Cartoon Network, and Sci-Fi and CN are looking to cash in.
  • by Chewie ( 24912 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @09:34AM (#1033260)
    Well, the movie is definitely good, and for those on a budget (read: not Rob), it is a good choice. However, if you can get the series, it's a little more immersive, and gives you more of the good stuff.
  • by Janthkin ( 32289 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:17AM (#1033261)
    For the more fantasy-inclined viewer (no, not THAT kind of fantasy, you twisted and sick person, you!), try the Slayers and Record of Lodoss War. Slayers is a bit lighthearted, but fun. It has 3 seasons out so far (best viewed in order), as well as the movie (on DVD and VHS; seasons are only on VHS, sadly). For a more serious fantasy, try Record of Lodoss War (VHS and DVD). It's fairly long (6 tapes, or two discs) and is a compilation of a season. VERY good, though.
  • by Chemical ( 49694 ) <nkessler2000&hotmail,com> on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:20AM (#1033262) Homepage
    My favorite anime. It is kinda old, but it is hysterically funny. It is a mix of martial arts and comedy with the most uniquely wacky cast of characters ever. Curses from a cursed spring cause some of the characters to undergo changes when splashed with cold water, causing some interesting situations:

    • Ranma: He changes into a girl when he gets wet. His dad has set him up for about 4 arranged marrages.
    • Akane: Engaged to Ranma in a arranged marrage. She is very violent and quick tempered. Pretends not to like Ranma, but secretly does.
    • Ryoga: Changes into a pig when he gets wet. He is in love with Akane but is too shy to say so. Plus the pig (P-Chan) is Akanes pet and sleeps in her bed. If she ever found out that Ryoga was the pig, he would be a dead man
    • Shampoo: Changes into a cat with water. In love with Ranma, but Ranma doesn't really like her. Constantly using tricks to win Ranma/off Ranmas other fiancees
    • Moouse: In love with Shampoo, but Shampoo hates him. He is kind of an idiot
    • Ukyou: Also in love with Ranma but is somewhat shy about it. She is the tomboy type.
    • Kuno: Arrogant student at Ranma's HS. He hates Ranma but is in love with the "Pig-tailed girl" (which is just Ranma's girl-type)
    • Genma: Ranma's idiot father. Is very greedy and always making Ranma's life worse somehow.
    • Soun: Akane's father. Genma's best friend. They arranged for Ranma and Akane to be married years ago and are always trying to get them together.
    • And my favorite, Happosai: Soun and Genma's martial arts master. Very mischevious, very perveted. His hobby is stealing womens underwear. Always wants to get girl Ranma to try on bras.

    The show is very silly but it always cracks me up. It also has very deep character development. Be sure to check it out. (Make sure you start with season one so you can truely see the character development)

  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:35AM (#1033263) Journal
    I've been watching anime for some time now. As far as stuff made this decade, I have a few recommendations.

    As a pretty hard core fan, some of my current picks may not even be available yet this side of the Pacific.

    Serial Experiments Lain: A must for any Slashdotter. If you liked The Matrix, you'll love Lain. Watch this all at once.

    Martian Successor Nadesico: The uber-parody of all Sci-Fi anime. Any Linux user will immediately enjoy the antics of Ruri-Ruri.

    Excel Saga: Something to watch if you want to laugh your ass off for 30 minutes. Lots of parody, lots of pranks, and an ending theme sung by a dog.

    Slayers: If you're into role playing games, Slayers is the ultimate parody of an RPG. Cities are blown up by an irresponsible sorceress, Lina, as she robs the rich and gives to herself.

    Cowboy Bebop: Yes yes yes. This show rules! A very cool show indeed, with kick ass music.

    Juubei-Chan: This one is just very silly with good animation.

    Geobreeders: An interesting 3 Part OAV series featuring computer/monster cats!

    Macross Plus: A classic. Pure and simple.

    Ah! Megami-sama (aka Oh My Goddess!): Another classic. Keiichi is one lucky fellow. Also check out the Mini-Goddess TV shows for laughs.

    TaihoShichauZo (aka You're Under Arrest!): It is a fun thing to watch.

    Cardcaptor Sakura: The only Shoujo title I can really stomach. This one is coming to US TV pretty soon, but I recommend the original Japanese language.

    Stuff To Avoid:
    DragonBall Z
    Sailor Moon
    Any "Alternate Universe" Gundam (ie Gundam Wing)

  • by 23_Elders ( 147014 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:43AM (#1033264)
    Actually this is not true. Grave of the Fireflies was directed by Isao Takahata. Princess Mononoke was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. These two have very distinct styles of direction in my opinion and should not be glommed together because they both work out of Studio Ghibli.

    Which reminds me, one of the best anime movies ever was Takahata's Only Yesterday. This is possibly one of the most touching movies I have ever seen. A Japanese office woman travels to the countryside on vacation to revisit nature, and she is visited by many random memories from her youth. This movie is the pinnacle of Takahata's and Studio Ghibli's many depictions of childhood.

    Because the memories of her childhood are not anchored to a continuos past storyline, they play directly on her modern life in unexpected ways. The also seem to abstract the nature of chldhood far more succinctly than even a movie such as Totoro. The use of memory in the place of fantasy, and then anchoring those to a life which is possibly not the one the woman would have chose, brings out those universal emotions of childhood in all of us.

    Plus it has a happy ending, unlike Grave. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. Unfortunately, it is not released in the US of A and you will have to keep an eye out for Studio Ghibli animation film festivals to be able to see it (of course, a movie like this should be seen on the big screen anyway. Miyazaki has been said that watching his movies on TV the same as listening to the soundtrack. I wholeheartedly agree.)

  • by MasteroftheVoxel ( 162902 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:09AM (#1033265)
    For classic comedy check out:
    Ranma 1/2, the first season (18 episodes) because after that it begins to really suck.

    Good shojo SF:
    Please Save My Earth (one of my favorites).

    Don't forget Miyazaki!
    especially, Nausicaa and Laputa

    and of course,
    Evangelion! (one of the best few years)

    don't ignore these classics!

    If your look for good anime music check out:
    Macross Plus
    Any of the Miyazaki's films
    Other good ones:
    Jojo's bizarre adventure (short and weird, but good)
    Dragon Half (really funny!)

  • by root ( 1428 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:53AM (#1033266) Homepage
    Here's some suggestions (all safe stuff. No porn. Note: IMO, some nudity != porn)

    Light hearted cute girl anime:

    Devil Hunter Yohko.

    Dirty Pair Flash.

    Battle Athletes

    Battle Athletes Victory (longer better series)

    You're Under Arrest.

    Romance anime:

    Oh My Goddess!

    My Dear Marie.

    Episodes 5 and 6 of Here is Greenwood.

    Sailor Moon (very long, awful in dub version)

    Pure cheesecake :)

    Cutey Honey


    Megami Paradise

    Not so light cute girl anime:

    Sol Bianca

    Dirty Pair (not flash)

    Anime with female heroines over age 30 (rare in anime):

    Phantom Quest Corp (very ghostbusters like)

    City Hunter.

    Princess Mononoke

    Sci-Fi without so many battling robots.

    Ghost in the Shell.

    Armitage III (avoid the one with Kiefer Sutherland/Elizabeth Berkeley)

    Macross Plus (ok, I know, but the robots are immaterial to the real story).

    Slash and Gore anime:

    Mermaid Forest.

    Vampire Hunter D.

    Really silly anime:

    Episodes 1 through 4 of Here is Greenwood


    Roujin Z (why too much spending on healthcare is bad).


    Record of Lodoss War

    RG Veda


    Serial Experiments Lain.

    Perfect Blue.

    Revolutionary Girl Utena

    Vampire Miyu

    Well, that should occupy you for some time. :)

  • by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:05AM (#1033267)
    I have been meaning to write lain up for a long long time. After all, any anime that revolves around IPv7 needs to be mentioned.

    Here is a quick list of my favorite commedy:

    Excel Saga - This is about as wacky as things get. ADV has this series, so it will be a while before anyone can get it. It makes fun of Aliens, Titanic, Anime in General, Star wars etc. If you can't take large doses of suger. Don't watch this.

    Slayers - Final Fantasy with a sense of humour. Very slapstick, but the second season (or series since seasons usually are not consecutive in Japan) has the best ending of any Anime I have seen.

    And of course, the Usual batch: Ranma 1/2, Tenchi Muyo, Urusai Yatsura etc.

    Serious Trippy Anime:
    Lain - Again. Need to write up a review for Slashdot.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion - Rumour constantly states that MTV and Sci-Fi are trying to air this, but ADV won't let them because of the cuts they would have to make. Mix giant robots, the angst of adolecence, and a good amount of religon and philosophy. This series can be amazingly depressing, and the last two episodes need serious help, but this is literature in action.

    For the more slice and dice fans, Ruroni Kenshin (also known as Samurai-X) recently was picked up. I strongly suggest the OVA series from ADV (which will be available on DVD as Samurai-X). Warning. This series is massivly gorey, and angsty, but it is the best anime I have ever seen, bar none.

    Battle Athlese Victory, Tenchi Muyo, Photon, El-Hazard and Dual are the AIC "guy surrounded by many girls" anime which are very excellent as well.
    Some good resources for anime:
    Anime Web Turnpike [] This is the best Anime link site in general. Slayers Universe [] is a amazing Slayers Page. is a awesome store [], which also covers anime news.
  • by Chewie ( 24912 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:07AM (#1033268)
    Check the whole series, not just the all-in-one volume. Also, someone else mentioned "The Professional." Definitely find and watch it, and any others with Golgo 13. Good, good stuff.
  • by edko ( 42913 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:19AM (#1033269)
    Let me just say one thing for those who haven't researched anime very much. There's a lot of anime in different categories. Yes there's some pretty
    perverted stuff but there's plenty of sci-fi, action, romance, and dramatic anime too.

    Many people have already listed several series/shows but here's my "favorites" list:

    Anything by Miyazaki: thought provoking, stunning
    visuals, excellent story telling. Examples: Mononoke Hime, Kiki's Delivery Service, Naussica.

    Recca no Honou (Flame of Recca): the anime isn't as good as the manga (the comic books) but it's a pretty straight forward ninja/fantasy based action series.

    Taiho Shichauzo (You're Under Arrest): light comedy based on the (mis)adventures of a local police precinct.

    Bubblegum Crisis (original and 2040): one of the most popular 80's series, a cyberpunk thriller. 2040 came out a couple of years ago and is a remodified verion.

    Silent Moebius: a gothic sci-fi thriller.

    Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou (His and Her Circumstances): high school based comedy that has its introspective moments.

    Ranma 1/2: a wacky comedy, great laughs.

    Urusei Yatsura: a wacky comedy, great laughs but a lot of cultural based humor

    Fushigi Yuugi: a pretty good adventure series, a popular show aimed at a young girl audience (ducks for cover from the flamewars associated with the main heroine ;-) (some consider the heroine very annoying)

    Shin Seiki Evangelion: thought provoking, introspective, good sci-fi.

    Gundam: action based sci-fi that spawned several series

    Macross: action based sci-fi that spawned several series

    Gunbuster: action based sci-fi

    Slayers: action based dungeons and dragons style comedy that spawned several series
  • by wedg ( 145806 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @12:45PM (#1033270) Homepage Journal

    Before I get into the recommendations, there are a few things I'd like to say. I was actually a bit reluctant to post this at first. For one, judging by the 650+ posts already up, I didn't think that my suggestions would be original or insightful, and I also didn't want to overly influence anyone with my pre-determined convictions about things such as dubbing or certain series. I generally think that any good reviews anime in general gets is beneficial, because for too long it has been stigmatized as pornographic or violent cartoons, without any thought to the incredibly complex and intricate plots, beautiful artwork, and simply moving characterization some series express. I hesitate before calling it cartoons because it groups what is a work of art with production crap such as Scooby Doo. Of course, not all anime is top notch, but some, in my experience, is even better than the $140 million Hollywood movies (in fact, a lot of it is.)

    It really disheartens me when people cite Dragon Ball Z (FUNimation []/Cartoon Network Style) as an anime they've seen. The FUNimation english adaptation is perhaps the worst I've ever seen. I strongly suggest, if you have even the slightest liking of the English version, that you search around and find Fansubs of DBZ. (For those of you who are ill-informed, fansubs are anime, and sometimes other imports, that are subtitled by fans of the show, shows, or just anime in general. The advantage of fansubs being that they are cheaper, usually $25 for 4 tapes or so, completely uncut, and still contain the original japanese voice actors.) I also might note that fansubs of anime that has already been released in the U.S. is not wholly legal, but I don't think charging $29.95 before shipping and handling is all that legal either, or shouldn't be.

    If you are interested, I'm fairly sure Planet Namek ( []) still distributes fansubs, and if not, they do have links to other DBZ fansubbers. And not just DBZ can be gotten demi-legally through fansubs. Almost any anime you want can be found. Think of fansubbers as the open sourcers of the anime community and FUNimation as the Microsoft. Although, not all distributers are that evil, ADV, Pioneer, and others all do good jobs, but they still cost more than they should (Can anyone explain to my why Subtitles cost more than Dubbed?!? Talk about logical fallacies...)

    Besides the FUNi DBZ, all the other animes written about by CmdrTaco get at least a B+ in my book. If you get the chance to watch the Cowboy Bebop intro scene -- it's just plain funny.

    On to my recommendations:

    • First comes Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin Seiki Evangelion), a very intricate and complex story by Hideaki Anno about a young man named Shinji who forced to pilot an enormous biological robot under the command of his draconian father. This is possibly the best serialized anime I have ever seen (bet you haven't heard that before =P). Its plot follows 26 episodes and 2 movies, starting at what seems like a simply boy-piloting-giant-robot fighting series into a teen angst filled story about love, triumph, the meaning of life, and the existance of humanity. One of the greatest things about this series is that you can watch it a million times and pick up new foreshadowing, clues, and religious overtones every time (this series uses a lot of religious allusions, which is one of of its best features if you like that sort of thing.) NGE also features and excellent soundtrack, with some of the more catchy tunes I've heard. Beware watching large segments of this series at once: the Cicada sound gets _very_ irritating, and it will probably leave your mind lightly crispy. After you're done watching it (AND NOT BEFORE!) I strongly recommend you go read the fanfiction by those guys over at Eyrie productions ( []) called Neon Exodus Evangelion, which provides a very captivating spin on the series.
    • Next on the list comes anything by the incredible manga artist Rumiko Takihashi. Her works include Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkukou, and Urusei Yatsura, all of which are quite good. Most of her stories focus on comedy between somehow afflicted lovers, friends, or those stuck in awkward situations. Her works can be quite touching at times and can make even the stiffest upper lip crack a smile.
    • Of course, the obligatory Ghost in the Shell comes in here. Interesting story about an android and the computer virus she loves, or something like that. Read other people's reviews for more in-depth.
    • One of the less heralded, but no less great works is Peacock King, an interesting story about demons and all sorts of cool stuff there. One of the characters in this story led me and my friends to come up with a skill called "The Ability to Look Like a Bad-Ass", rated on a scale of 1 to 50, its how bad ass you look, reguardless of your actual skill or anything like that. See the anime, and you will understand.
    • One comedy series that definitely needs menion is Tenchi-Muyo, a Rumiko Takahashi-esque story about a young man named Tenchi, beautiful alien space pirates, and all sorts of damn funny hijinks.
    • While we're on the subject of comedy, perhaps the funniest anime series I've seen is Slayers. It's about a young sorceress who goes around and adventures. Think: DnD. It has a giant fish with legs, 'nuff said.
    • If you like guns and shooting and Matrix-style fighting, check out Gunsmith Cats. Chicks with Guns. Funny and fun.
    • I almost left out one of the first anime I ever saw, Guyver which was also made into a few American movies. It's a bit old school 80s in its animation, and the plot isn't super-intense, I still like it, and think it's worth watching. Some nice DBZ-style action and evil-megacorporation type menace with the thrown in alien over power for flavor.
    • While I'm remembering good anime, BubbleGun Crisis is one of the neatest 80s mechanized fighting evil corporation type anime out there. This is actually just an 8 OAV (Original Animation Video, i.e. released straight to video) set, but still quite good. It also features poofy hair and 80s J-pop music if that floats your boat. On the other side it has very neato technology that'll keep you hooked afterwards. There's also an RPG based on it.
    • An excellent movie to watch is Macross 7. It has a decent Mindfuck factor (a scale of 1 to 11 of how confusing it is; Evangelion being 11, Scooby Doo being 0) and some of the _most_beautiful_animation_ I've seen, ever. A definite watch if you can find it. Good music too.
    Christ there's so many out there that's good, it's almost impossible to list them all. These few are just some that I can list off the top of my head. If you really want more information and many, many, many more reviews of hundreds, even thousands of anime, check out AniPike ( []).


    - the Pfish

  • by glassware ( 195317 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:13AM (#1033271) Homepage Journal
    It is absolutely imperative that you find and watch The Vision of Escaflowne, which is scheduled to be released on DVD shortly. This anime was created by Shoji Kawamori (whose most famous credits were for Macross, the TV series that became Robotech in the US), and Yoko Kanno, possibly the world's greatest living composer. I should preface this by saying that Escaflowne is not a typical anime by any means. This is an almost operatic story that constantly builds on the power of fate in an alternate universe. The characterizations are incredibly strong; the animation is fluid and beautiful; and when the music starts playing you'll forget you're even watching the television. There are 26 half-hour episodes that run a total of about 11 hours. Be warned: once you start watching, it's nearly impossible to avoid watching the entire 11 hours in one sitting. Oh yeah - Shoji Kawamori and Yoko Kanno also made Macross Plus, which is very good.
  • by at-b ( 31918 ) on Thursday June 01, 2000 @08:28AM (#1033272) Homepage


    Obviously, we are starting with the two undisputed classics of the genre. The one that brought Japanese animation to the west in a big way more than a decade ago was

    AKIRA, which still remains pretty much undisputed in terms of dramaturgical development and on-screen dynamics. Although an Anime masterpiece, it falls short of the outstanding graphic novels, which are quite possibly the best example of how to develop a story-arc in a graphic novel. (probably sharing that honour with Watchmen)

    Then, seven or so years after Akira, Ghost in the Shell updated Anime in a way that struck a chord with western audiences in the outgoing 90s. At heart little more than a glorified action story, it didn't quite match Akira's superior characters and settings, but still belongs to the best action films of the 90s, bar none. And the animation is pretty much as good as it gets.

    Anime feature films culminated with last year's Mononoke Hime, aka 'Princess Mononoke' in the US. Being an intricate, multi-layered story about man's interaction with nature and the world around us, it succeeded in ways that the gun-slinging examples mentioned above could not. There are no glorified mecha-style shootouts in Mononoke Hime, and it's not as action-packed as most others, but its story development succeeds where others would normally fail. Interestingly, unlike many other Anime products, Mononoke Hime also forsakes the display of super-villains bent on taking over the world in favour of more ambiguous shades of grey. Nobody should win, and everybody is right, in a certain way. Simplistic 'real' views of the world, maybe, but very successful. Er, and the US version is dubbed by Claire Danes, amongst others, if that's your thing.

    With feature films out of the way, the best example of serialized Anime is undoubtedly Neon Genesis Evangelion (beating out the much more cartoony Appleseed, for instance), which strived to provide a cinematic experience in Anime format. Yeah, Eva does feature large Robots shooting the hell out of each other, but that's - blessedly - kept down to a minimum. The story arcs succeed reasonably well, and provide an experience of a scope and depth that most other Anime simply cannot match. One of the most popular Anime series in the west, deservedly so, and comparatively easy to get on tape. (not sure about DVD, but I'm certain it's on its way)

    So much for that round-up. There's a lot of other good stuff as well, for instance the animated 'Street Fighter' full-length Anime film, which is superior to the Van Damme live-actioner in so many ways it's not funny. The ones above should serve as a good introduction to Anime - Akira and Ghost in the Shell are certainly the best ways to start, and probably not too difficult to get from your local video store.

    Alex T-B

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger