Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Top 10 Anime of All Time! (Right Now) Part One

Remember the Japanime features I've have written up before, one on Bleach, and the other for Lelouch of The Rebellion? Well, since I'm very limited as far as Internet access right now, I can't give detailed writeups of awesome anime like I would want to. However, it doesn't stop me from giving you some small blurbs.

If you don't know by now, I'm a huge anime nut, bitten by the bug in 2001 by exposure to Cartoon Network's Toonami Block. Thanks to the awesome anime store in town, I was able to move beyond Sailormoon and Dragonball Z, into Those Who Hunt Elves, Rurouni Kenshin, Sorcerer Hunters, Project A-ko, and Ranma 1/2. Nowdays, I'm in danger of burning myself out with this obessession!

So, I decided, hey, lets put down my top 10 anime of all time, graded basically on concept, character development(in some cases), and story/plot(as it can be debatable with some people). Really, anime fans, check these babies out if you haven't already. Some anime, such as Inu-Yasha, Naruto, One-Piece, and Bleach are not included, because they are extremely long(I think Inu-Yasha is about what, 400 episodes?) and they are the constants in many an anime fan's library of choices.

Instead, the selections on this list are usually short...probably about 20-50 episodes at the most. These selections are not in any order, they are all equally awesome. So, without further adieu, my top 5 of awesome anime of all time:

  • Gungrave: Can you believe this anime is based on a video game? Of course, the game in question was created by Yasuhiro Nightow...yes, that Yasuhiro Nightow. The game itself is pretty cool...short, but cool. The anime is...is an awesome exercise of character development, as two best friends, originally homeless young men fighting for scraps in the street, rise through the ranks of the powerful criminal organization Millennium...only to have one friend betray the other. If you've played the game, the various boss characters and the main villian are developed beyond the max in the anime...you get to see how and why these characters chose their paths in life...and how the main hero got to where he is at the start of the story, a gunslinger from beyond the grave!! Now I warn you...this anime takes you to a very dark place...its a tearjerker and violent in some parts. But these characters are developed in such a way that you forget that they represent the villains of society!
  • Black Lagoon: John Woo meets girls with guns meets...hell, Gungrave. The girl on the cover with the short shorts? That's Revy. You do not want to f*** with her. Messing with her is like drenching yourself in flammable liquid and walking to hell to stand in the hottest furnace. Like Gungrave, the protagonists of this anime are essentially the bad guys of society...Lagoon Company is a crew of pirates and mercenaries who smuggle goods in Roanapur, a Thailand criminal haven that could be described as hell on Earth. Revy is the psychotic gunslinging muscle of the quartet of main characters, with Rock, the Japanese salaryman abandoned by his company(which led to him "joining" Lagoon Company) as the audience surrogate. If you like those classic John Woo films, or you like a good combination of criminal protagonists and gunbattles, look no further. Seriously, you got nuns with guns, maids with guns, and even a hot Chinese chick with...knives as elements here. But the best element of this anime? Characterization. Reasoning behind these criminals' viewpoints and actions. Wonderful stuff!
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: There is a new Fullmetal Alchemist anime out, one that is closer in manga translation than the first series, which I am referencing here. Any American who wants to complain about how ANY animation is for kids...I dare them to find anything on television that is as powerful emotionally as this. You have two children who, while trying to bring back their mother, nearly lose their lives in the attempt. Basically, these two brothers go through a journey of maturity and life, learning from their experiences as they try to find a way to return to normal. Seriously, awesome stuff.
  • Tengho Tenge: I'm telling you, that theme song will get to ya! Think of YuYu Hakusho, but instead of taking the supernatural route, it was simply a straight-forward fight anime. That's what you have here, although there is more to simply fighting than that. I'm reluctant to suggest this anime, as it doesn't really finish with its 26 episode...but then again, Black Lagoon did not finish either(although it did have a definite ending of sorts...as in "until next time"-type ending). Basically, the main character and the black character are delinquents who usually beat up students in various schools. However, when they get to the school in the anime, they find out that the students attending here are all badasses. Remember that scene in Kung Fu Hustle when Steven Chow's character found out how bad everyone was in Pig Sty Alley? Like that. And yes, the kid turning into a hot chick? That's Maya Natsume...and that SHAZAM thing is one of her martial arts techniques.
  • Ikki Tousen: Fanservice. Few will admit that they actually like it. I f**** love it. I don't care. But the beauty of Ikki Tousen is that the fanservice is simply an element of an awesome story about accepting destiny/avoiding destiny, reincarnation/history repeating itself, and brutal martial arts battles, all centering on the Romance of the Third Kingdoms era of Chinese history. Basically, its Dynasty Warriors meet school fighting anime. Seriously. Famous characters/historical people from that novel and/or period in history are reborn as various schoolgirls and schoolboys, and schools fight each other across Japan to rule them all. Once you get past the panty and breast shots, a wonderful story unfolds about a clueless female warrior who struggles against her destiny, a repeat of her previous Romance of the Third Kingdom's incarnation's death.

I will return with more later!

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