The best 25(-ish) anime of all time
July 22, 2015 2:54 PM   Subscribe

 
I'd definitely replace the original FMA series with Brotherhood, for one. Also, this list is heavily dominated by very stylized series, which I'm not sure is the best approach.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


No Planetes? Boo!
posted by lmfsilva at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


Cool! I'll be digging in, since I know woefully little about this stuff.

I'll say, though, I watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica recently, and I think it may just be the best anime I've ever seen. Mindblowingly good.
posted by naju at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


Take out Soul Eater, FMA, Trigun, all of the Hosoda, Kara no Kyoukai, Higurashi, Geass, and AnoHana and you've the start of a list.

Add Ikuhara (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum, and Yurikuma Arashi), FLCL, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Crest of the Stars, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, and The Twelve Kingdoms and you're cooking with gas.
posted by fifthrider at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


Definite yes for 2003 FMA. Much better than Brotherhood. Brotherhood assumes that you are familiar with the manga and rushes through the early events which dilutes the emotional impact.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Paranoia Agent? Serial Experiment Lain?
posted by johnnydummkopf at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Anything by Ghibli" seems a little too bought-into-the-hype for me. It was weird for me when I watched Laputa for the first time a year or two ago and it turned out that Miyazaki could tell a coherent story with a beginning, middle, and end at one point, instead of just making movies that are lavish and gorgeous to look at.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's also missing Gundam Wing and Macross Plus.
posted by KGMoney at 3:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a Masaaki Yuasa sized hole in this list and it's shamefull.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2015


/人◕‿‿◕人\

Ctrl-F "Puella Magi Madoka Magica"
"Not Found"

/人/‿‿\人\
posted by Going To Maine at 3:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


Paranoia Agent?

This is covered by the general Satoshi Kon recommendation. His passing was a real loss.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Madoka Magica is outstanding, but requires at least a passing familiarity with the genre it's a deconstruction of for full enjoyment.

Evangelion has a similar situation going on, to a lesser extent, but at the same time it now falls into TV Tropes' Seinfeld Isn't Funny (inasmuch as everything groundbreaking about it has been copied so many times by now that it no longer feels fresh unless you know going in that it was a big deal at the time, akin to the original Gundam).
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


A list of the best anime ever that does not include Giant Robo is woefully inadequate.
posted by Aznable at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nothing bad on that list, although I don't think some are up to the same quality as others (Spice and Wolf is OK, but not great, for example).

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is definitely a big oversight.

I'm quite fond of Angel Beats, although I don't know if I would put it in the top 25.

In the "recent anime" category I'd probably include Attack on Titan (pretty good, and certainly worth including if you want a sense of the current state of things).
posted by thefoxgod at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so confused by the presence of Trigun on lists like these. I mean, I liked it a good deal (unlike Cowboy Bebop, where I can accept that whatever speaks to other people about the show just doesn't connect with me) but it's not great. It's an interesting story that's mostly well told and often falls victim to the rushed storytelling you get from adaptations of long-running manga.

Add Ikuhara (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum, and Yurikuma Arashi),

Also that.

Shoujo Kakumei Utena

ESPECIALLY that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


And they left out G Gundam, though that might be more a contender for MOST AWESOME rather than merely "best."
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seconding KGMoney on Macross Plus. Or rather the collection of anime which became Robotech over here.
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2015


I'm not sure whether I'd put G Gundam or Gurren-Lagann in the super-robot-shaped hole in the list. Or whether it would have to go to Go Nagai.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan is highly debatable. It starts out super strong and works well as a flagship contemporary Despair Anime but after about ten episodes it starts to feel like maybe they could have learned a thing or two about pacing from Dragon Ball Z.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


And they left out G Gundam, though that might be more a contender for MOST AWESOME rather than merely "best."

That's actually how I describe the aforementioned Giant Robo to people. It may not be the best anime (but it probably is), but it definitely is the MOST anime. Same director as G Gundam? Coincidence? I think not.
posted by Aznable at 3:14 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Planetes is essential, FLCL yes that too (although FLCL is opaque as HELL to the uninitiated), also maybe the Rose of Versailles (which I think is finally getting a US release?).

I think you could add Flowers of Evil, too.

Feels pretty good that I have worked or am going to work on the English-language adaptations of the source material for three of the titles on that list, though. (Haruhi, Spice and Wolf, and Baccano).
posted by Sokka shot first at 3:14 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, yeah, it's bonkers that Utena's not on this list.
posted by Sokka shot first at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


And no JoJo's Bizarre Adventure! It's the key to really bonding with your fortysomething male Japanese coworkers who have been reading it straight through since the '80s! Although I guess it would also actually go on the MOST AWESOME list, come to think of it.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


More importantly, there are entire categories of anime that are left out of the list, which is my problem. For example, Super Robot is represented by a series that is a deconstruction of the genre, which is problematic, and there is no sign of magical girl in that list at all.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'll just out and say it: Attack on Titan is unmitigated trash shonen. Don't even go down that road; that way lies disappointment.
posted by fifthrider at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Anyway, it's much more fun to make a list of good stuff that hardly anyone outside of the fandom has heard of - Mouryou no Hako, House of Five Leaves, Shirobako, Gunsmith Cats, Bubblegum Crisis, etc. (In no particular order.)
posted by fifthrider at 3:20 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also get irrationally angry at the Blind Idiot translation "Attack on Titan," which makes it sound like it takes place on one of Saturn's moons. The title would be "The Advance of the Titans" if it hadn't been translated by the original artist, who doesn't speak English.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:21 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


there is no sign of magical girl in that list at all.

Princess Tutu?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


the Blind Idiot translation "Attack on Titan,"

"Blind idiot" describes that guy's writing and illustration well enough, though, that I'll let it slide.
posted by fifthrider at 3:24 PM on July 22, 2015


It's a set phrase anyway. Y'know, the apocryphal story of the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" being translated to "blind idiot"
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:30 PM on July 22, 2015


Add Ikuhara (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum, and Yurikuma Arashi),

FLCL

I think this list is made for the uninitiated. A lot of safe choices, stuff that wouldn't be hard to parse for beginners. I couldn't see giving an anime neophyte "Lesbian Bear Storm" as an initiation.

Although why there are so many deconstructions on the list I don't know. And I haven't watched the entire video, but having Haruhi on the list needs a big fat warning on the second season.
posted by zabuni at 3:31 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


No "Blue Seed"? Whatever.
posted by dotgirl at 3:34 PM on July 22, 2015


I think this list is made for the uninitiated.

Which is somewhat odd, really, since it's being billed as a Top 25 of All Time. Gateway anime and classics really need their own brackets.
posted by fifthrider at 3:34 PM on July 22, 2015


Deconstructions are popular enough among fans that it's easy to forget that they are, by definition, not meant as introductions to the genre.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:35 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think this list is made for the uninitiated.

Not really. Several of the items really require knowing the genre they come from to really get them (yes, Eva, I'm looking at you.) Others are really stylized, which makes them not as good a choice for neophytes.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2015


I am fine with this list. It's missing a couple favorites (One Piece, Hunter X Hunter) that are easy to overlook because they appear on the surface to be typical kids' stuff, but are in fact much, much better and more thoughtfully-written than that, and a few favorites (Akagi, Yakitate Japan!!, Azumanga Daioh, Phi-Brain) that are delightful but about specific topics not to everyone's taste. And Humanity Has Declined, which is just weird. So it's certainly not my top 25, but it seems like a list of anime that are easy to recommend to people who don't watch much anime.

I'm pleased to see Steins;Gate on it, since I've just bought the blu-rays and haven't got around to watching them yet.
posted by rifflesby at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


And of course, we all know how worthwhile an endeavor it is to make any "best n" list of a medium in general
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2015


Kill la Kill really needs to be on this list.


It's my favorite! It's got crack pipes, and sewing...it's like Pretty in Pink, but if the dress looked good!


Also, I have a real soft spot for Girls und Panzer. WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:42 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Girls und Panzer is pretty great and I need to finish watching those.
posted by rifflesby at 3:43 PM on July 22, 2015


Lists are for complaining about! That said, aside from the fig leaf classics (Akira, Miyazaki), this is just really a list of popular anime during the period when this person was getting into anime. It's like Burning Man: it was never as good as the first year you went, and it never will be again.

Oh, wait, I'm listplaining wrong. Let's start over: no Dennou Coil? No Galaxy Express 999? No Maison Ikkoku? No Rumiko Takahashi at all? This is blasphemy! ah, that feels better
posted by phooky at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2015 [20 favorites]


Lupin III, both green and red jacket series. Cagliostro is worth watching but it's off in tone. The later films and TV specials are poor substitutes. If you like Cowboy Bebop, you will immediately recognize and understand Lupin.

Mobile Suit Gundam, but nothing outside of the UC continuity: the movie versions of original Gundam, all of Zeta Gundam, 08th MS Squadron, Gundam 0080 and 0083 and Char's Counterattack.

Two absolute classic series that you will never watch unless you get fansubs: Rose of Versailles (a deeply influential shoujo story) and Legend of Galactic Heroes (110 episode OVA about an incredibly intricate space war, way too ambitious to localize).

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross and Macross Plus. Perfect with those two, nothing else needed.

El-Hazard: the Magnificent World. Another case where the follow-ups are unnecessary.

Bubblegum Crisis, because Konya wa Hurricane. There's other great cyberpunk anime, like Battle Angel or Ghost in the Shell, but it doesn't have Priss.

Also, because you should watch different types of shoujo: Utena*, Fushigi Yuugi, and Marmalade Boy.

From the list, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Lain, Ghost in the Shell, and Perfect Blue are all essential.

* If Evangelion is on the list, Utena is fair game.
posted by graymouser at 3:50 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, this is a dumb list! The best anime of all time are the dozen or so my local video store had in stock in 1995.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Looks like a heavily shonen/seinen list? My anime preferences run much closer to this list created by Josei Next Door, which is a most excellent tumblr to follow.
posted by peripathetic at 3:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's other great cyberpunk anime, like Battle Angel or Ghost in the Shell, but it doesn't have Priss.

There is a special place in my heart for Battle Angel but the OVA is really just a shadow of the manga.
posted by rifflesby at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bubblegum Crisis, because Konya wa Hurricane.


Wow, I just suddenly realized that Bubblegum Crisis was basically Jem and the Holograms with guns and power armor.


Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Graymouser, I'm quite happy to be the first to tell you that LOGH is happening.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:58 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Graymouser, I'm quite happy to be the first to tell you that LOGH is happening.

Holy shazbot. I don't really follow anime news that closely, but that is many different kinds of awesome.
posted by graymouser at 3:59 PM on July 22, 2015


Kill la Kill really needs to be on this list.

I don't get the appeal of that show at all. Tried watching it before Anime Expo last year (where it was heavily promoted) and... meh.

Also, I have a real soft spot for Girls und Panzer

You have redeemed yourself.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:02 PM on July 22, 2015


Some of my favorites on there, so I'll have to check out a few of the others on that list.

You'd think someone who is that into anime would have a better handle on how to pronounce Japanese names and titles, though.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2015


I don't care if it's Best Ever or not, but Turn A Gundam is an underrated masterpiece. Probably the only giant robot series that combines a pre-industrial revolution setting with a pacifist protagonist and a conflict where both sides have perfectly valid points but also have factions that want war instead of negotiations.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2015


Graymouser, I'm quite happy to be the first to tell you that LOGH is happening.

The Legend Ends, and History Begins
posted by edeezy at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2015


Well, at least they got Cowboy Bebop right. You can't really dispute that one, although some may quibble over ranking (not me, though).
posted by Edgewise at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2015


You can't really dispute that one

I wouldn't dispute it being included in a best of, at least because of influence and general popularity. Personally I dislike it (and I certainly know other fans who dislike it), but I doubt there is any show that 100% of people like.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2015


I couldn't see giving an anime neophyte "Lesbian Bear Storm" as an initiation.

I assumed this was a witty parody of anime titles, and then I looked it up and was absolutely delighted to find that yes, there is a real anime called Lesbian Bear Storm
posted by clockzero at 4:55 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Glad to see Mushishi on this list. :)
posted by LN at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2015


I don't watch as much anime as I used to (time constraints + HBO Ate My Life), but Yona of the Dawn has thus far (~ halfway through) been quite good indeed, and I feel like it is good in a way that newcomers to the genre would enjoy.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like a lot of the ones listed here. But some others I liked include Psycho-Pass and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. Also props to Shin Sekai Yori for one of the most interesting settings that addressed the issues with the society, and was surprisingly relatively good about avoiding typical Japanese biases about genders, sexual orientation, and representation, which unfortunately is why I can't really suggest Log Horizon.
posted by halifix at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2015


I feel like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun are only on there because they existed during a time period when few people realized anime could be thoughtful and mature, so the fact they even hinted at complexity made people go apeshit over them. NGE was intellectual masturbatory misogynist bullshit back then, and it's even worse revisiting it now.
posted by schroedinger at 5:19 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anything by Ghibli

Anytime I see someone say that I want to suggest Grave of the Fireflies just to scar them forever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Well, at least they got Cowboy Bebop right. You can't really dispute that one, although some may quibble over ranking (not me, though).

Maybe it's just me, but I always preferred Samurai Champloo.
posted by nushustu at 5:25 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


No Urotsukidoji, no peace.
posted by delfin at 5:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of these days I will get around to watching Legend of Galactic Heroes. Meanwhile, I am slowly making my way through Gintama.

Definitely liked Kill La Kill, Shin Sekai Yori, Mawari Penguindrum, Shirobako, of the ones already mentioned. Of very recent or current series I liked Kekkai Sensen, and Gatchaman Crowds.

I would like to see Death Parade make some future Top 25 anime list. Also recommend Katanagatari for the distinctive art style.

As for giant robot series, a recent favorite is Break Blade, the 6-episode OVA version (opening, just because I like it, but also because it gives a flavor of the series' melancholy mood).
posted by needled at 5:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


what no sailor moon crystal? ༼ ༎ຶ ෴ ༎ຶ༽

Buuuuuut seriously. "FLCL", "Excel Saga", and I almost want to throw "Fushigi Yuugi" (the original series) on the list because dear god I loved that one as a younger woman and I know its old and Naruko is kind of a problem but it's a great intro to shoujo fluff.

"Samurai Champloo" is also pretty good in its own way. Art, music, and the story holds, though it takes a while. It could supplant "Trigun", which IMO loses its way about halfway through and never recovers.

"Black Butler" also kind of blew my socks off for half a season. "Book of Circus" is crazy dark, but better than the original series, which I believe caught up with the manga and then went off the rails. We won't talk about "Black Butler II". It didn't happen.

I think "Brotherhood" was way stronger than the original FMA, simply because FUCK YEAH OLIVIER ARMSTRONG. She's like anime!Kahvi and I will fight you if you don't love her.
posted by offalark at 5:41 PM on July 22, 2015


Rei-mer, best woman ever.
posted by Mblue at 6:04 PM on July 22, 2015


Oh, one more I really liked is Gekkan Nozaki kun. Nothing very poignant, but incredibly funny at moments. I have a habit of choosing many anime based on their music, with varying successes.
posted by halifix at 6:11 PM on July 22, 2015


Seeing a lot of praise for Kill la Kill in this thread. I had written it off because it looked like one big excuse for gratuitous fan service, but I might be wrong? Should I check it out?
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:18 PM on July 22, 2015


I like the stylism and energy of Kill la Kill, but I found the fan-service gross, even though it was parodic. To me it's one of those things that tries to deconstruct something and ends up delivering a massive dose of it.
posted by Drexen at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


heh, remember back when people had hopes that Sailor Moon Crystal might not wind up being an unmitigated disaster
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:21 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Should I check it out?

It's Hiroyuki Imaishi channeling Sukeban Deka. Imaishi, like his spiritual predecessor Go Nagai, is an odd kind of auteur - you can't really tell half the time whether he's a hardcore third-wave feminist or a dirty old man. Probably a bit of both.

Basically, treat it as a genderswapped take on the LOTS OF SKIN AND ANGRY YELLING that goes on in the rest of the shonen genre. It's fun.
posted by fifthrider at 6:22 PM on July 22, 2015


I like the stylism and energy of Kill la Kill, but I found the fan-service gross, even though it was parodic. To me it's one of those things that tries to deconstruct something and ends up delivering a massive dose of it.
posted by Drexen at 10:21 on July 23 [+] [!]


Any sufficiently committed satire ultimately winds up appearing to fully endorse that which it is intended to deride.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Legend of Galactic Heroes (110 episode OVA about an incredibly intricate space war, way too ambitious to localize)

I don't really consider myself an anime fan, but once upon a time I watched all of LOGH. IIRC the only complete English translation available at the time was terrible subtitles from some Chinese bootleg DVDs (in one episode the subtitles turned into totally incomprehensible word salad for about 10 minutes), and even with that caveat it was awesome. I doubt there's ever been a more epic space opera committed to film/video.
posted by neckro23 at 6:24 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trigun was better than you remember. For nostalgia maybe Slayers (yay Lina Inverse). Swap out some to make room for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (the second was probably the best, the third was junk) and R.O.D.: Read or Die.

Maybe Eureka 7 over any of the FMA, I don't really like the more than 2 season stories much unless it's like Gintama or Keroro Gunso. But I'd totally watch another Spice and Wolf or Soul Eater or more Mushishi, nice to see they made the list.

Guess I'll be checking Crunchyroll to see if they have any of the few I haven't seen on the list or in the comments (like I don't already have a giant list of things to watch already).
posted by zengargoyle at 6:28 PM on July 22, 2015


Any sufficiently committed satire ultimately winds up appearing to fully endorse that which it is intended to deride.

Pretty much. Similarly, take Evangelion, which up-thread gets accused of being "intellectual masturbatory misogynist bullshit", when it was intended as a vicious assault on objectification and self-absorption in the post-Bubble anime fandom. Anno set out to tear into the sorts of people who turned Nadia into an iconic sex object, and it blew up in his face when they liked it anyway.

Result: he pretty much quit the anime industry after the tortured production of KareKano, then spent some time doing equally searing live-action work. (Notably Love and Pop.)
posted by fifthrider at 6:29 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


What's funny, looking back on it, is that, much like Dance Dance Revolution, it feels like a pretty safe claim to make that Akira was a much bigger deal in America than in Japan. The movie was certainly pretty, but it has some pretty serious narrative issues (like the fact that the entire second half of the story is only found in the comics it's based on).
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:30 PM on July 22, 2015


Evangelion was what showed me that anime might not be my thing.

Cowboy Bebop was the one that showed me that maybe it was my thing, after all.

I still bounce back and forth between those reactions to this day. Attack On Titan? Not my thing. One Piece? My thing.
posted by JHarris at 6:31 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


The thing about "anime" is that it is a medium, rather than a genre. It's like making a list of the 25 best nonfiction books, or a list of 25 best live-action TV shows.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


I thought Space Dandy was pretty great... Of course I'm not an anime auteur or anything like that, just really liked Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop. I thought that anything that Shinichiro Watanable worked on had to be pretty sweet.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I assumed this was a witty parody of anime titles, and then I looked it up and was absolutely delighted to find that yes, there is a real anime called Lesbian Bear Storm

And yes of course it's written and directed by Ikuhara, who else would dare.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


For anybody who doesn't get "Lesbian Bear Storm," Ikuhara is riffing off of this. Yurikuma Arashi is in some ways a companion piece to Mawaru Penguindrum, which openly riffs off of the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin attacks.
posted by fifthrider at 6:44 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Am I the only person pleased to see NieA_7 on the list? That's my anime comfort food.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 6:48 PM on July 22, 2015


"Mystery box of 25 anime dvds for 15 bucks" stalwart Texhnolyze, but not Welcome to the N.H.K. for Abe? Pfffffft

And yeah it's bananas that Utena isn't on here.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:53 PM on July 22, 2015


Also where the hell is the soon to be back in print NIGHT ON THE GALACTIC RAILROAD?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:55 PM on July 22, 2015


OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy, who loves: ATLA, LOK, MLP:FIM, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time & Steven Universe?
posted by signal at 7:00 PM on July 22, 2015


I would have put The Tatami Galaxy on a top-25 anime list. Also Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but that's been previously mentioned.

(I have yet to watch some other shows by the director of The Tatami Galaxy, Yuasa Masaaki, including Kaiba, Kemonozume, and Ping Pong the Animation. Shinbo Akiyuki, the director of Madoka Magica, also did Bakemonogatari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Hidamari Sketch, which I have seen and would recommend to anyone who likes his style.)
posted by Rangi at 7:02 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy, who loves: ATLA, LOK, MLP:FIM, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time & Steven Universe?
posted by signal at 11:00 on July 23


Like, other than that treasure trove of the modern golden age that he already has access to?
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:02 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we already watch those, and we're caught up on all of them!
posted by signal at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2015


Honestly, most Japanese animation for kids is kind of trashy marketing-driven stuff that just happens to involve lots of commercials for merchandise for the show when it airs. One Piece is apparently much better than it deserves to be, though, and it's really big with kids.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Azumanga Daioh maybe? It's wonderful and silly and has nearly zero fan service. The only sour note is that gym teacher. (shudder)

I've been through about 25 episodes of One Piece lately and although it somewhat falls prey to Dragon Ball Z syndrome (fights taking multiple episodes to resolve, overwrought emoting), I can't ever look at Luffy's face without grinning, he's so cheerfully insane. Maybe that?
posted by JHarris at 7:07 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy

Not much ITT, I'm afraid. But if you want a really, really good kids' anime that will hold your attention too, go for Mujin Wakusei Survive. (Dependent on his ability to handle subs and a certain amount of suspense.)
posted by fifthrider at 7:08 PM on July 22, 2015


(One Piece, I should mention, is LONG and still going at over 600 episodes, and I can't speak for it far beyond episode 25, so if there's problematic content later on I don't know.)
posted by JHarris at 7:10 PM on July 22, 2015


so if there's problematic content later on I don't know.

Problematic content is the least of your worries; the American release was infamously Bowdlerized, to the point of covering over all the cigarettes with lollipops and, in once case, replacing a handgun with a showerhead on a spring.
posted by fifthrider at 7:13 PM on July 22, 2015


I was pretentious enough at 18 to take – and obsess over – Evangelion, totally at face value. But before long I found Gundam, and Lupin III, and that took out a lot of that pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

(Also, Serial Experiments Lain, which was the inspiration for a number of projects in college, and had some actual intellectual heft behind it instead of just symbolism for symbolism's sake.)
posted by graymouser at 7:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Problematic content is the least of your worries; the American release was infamously Bowdlerized, to the point of covering over all the cigarettes with lollipops and, in once case, replacing a handgun with a showerhead on a spring.

Aah, we've been watching fansubs so I didn't notice that, good to know.
posted by JHarris at 7:17 PM on July 22, 2015


Mushi-Shi was inexplicably enjoyable. It just had a dreamlike quality to it.
Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy lists and respect their choices but leaving out One Piece, Death Note or Bleach seems a little odd to me.
posted by Muncle at 7:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Glass Reflection, Imma let you finish, but Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is the one of the best shows of all time. 🐰🌙
posted by crone islander at 7:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


signal: “OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy, who loves: ATLA, LOK, MLP:FIM, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time & Steven Universe?”
He may be a little young for it, but Big Windup is almost exclusively just about 10th grade boys playing baseball. It's on Hulu. It's detailed enough that someone could actually learn something about the strategy and how to play the game. There's a modicum of high-school emotions, but not much romance. The woman coach's uniform is a little tight, but the focus is on the game so it doesn't come up all that often.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:45 PM on July 22, 2015


I feel like if I don't speak up in defense of Higurashi that it will pulled off the list somehow. Never has a piece of media made me fear the next installment so much yet still continue watching because it was so engrossing. I had to stop partway through because I was terrified of what fresh horror was coming next. And that's just the horror aspect of the first season which is probably the least of its positive qualities. The iterative way of revealing a mystery, the emotional investment in the main character (who isn't who you think.)

It's also problematic as hell in terms of sexualization of minors and the ending of the second season is diluted due to the "nice boat" incident. But it's merits exceed its flaws enough for it to be on a too 25.
posted by charred husk at 7:51 PM on July 22, 2015


Problematic content is the least of your worries; the American release was infamously Bowdlerized

Funimation has taken over the license from 4Kids and rectified this, including re-releases of the episodes that were formerly bowdlerized. I'm not sure they're still doing a dub though, which would exclude the vast majority of kids from taking it on.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:55 PM on July 22, 2015


Got some quibbles with the list, but I want to give props to MartinWisse for copying out the ranking and putting it in the post. Thanks!
posted by grobstein at 8:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks to all for sharing their opinions. I'm diving into Netflix to see how many of these I can find. My anime experience is limited to, aside from Miyazaki and Akira, Cowboy Bebop and FLCL, both of which I loved, so this'll be a good chance to sample and explore.
posted by the sobsister at 8:10 PM on July 22, 2015


Personally, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of following Nick Creamer's top 30 list (and the addendum of shows that didn't quite make the cut). It has a lot of overlap with this list, but it's more biased towards recent stuff like Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Baccano!, and the surprisingly excellent Shirobako.

I also have to put in a plug for one of my recent favorites, Gatchaman Crowds. Nominally, it's just a remake of a fairly campy 70's superhero show... but within the first couple of episodes, it jumps the rails and turns into a really fascinating contemplation of Internet culture and its role in society. Basically, imagine what you would get if you asked Vernor Vinge to write a season of Power Rangers, and you won't be too far off.
posted by teraflop at 8:11 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


That Nick Creamer list looks really fantastic. I'll be following that one.
posted by naju at 8:18 PM on July 22, 2015


Oh, and if we're talking about recent stuff now, Un-Go is massively overlooked and underrated.
posted by fifthrider at 8:27 PM on July 22, 2015


Deconstructions are popular enough among fans that it's easy to forget that they are, by definition, not meant as introductions to the genre.
I remember liking Evangelion from the very start, despite the fact that hazy memories of watching Voltron as a kid were my only previous experience with the "kids piloting giant mecha" genre.

On the other hand, I didn't like Evangelion until the very end - perhaps this is because watching 2001 to the end was my only previous experience with the "what the hell is happening?" genre.
posted by roystgnr at 8:40 PM on July 22, 2015


Fact #1: This list is flat-out bullshit.
Fact #2: As are they all, all honourable lists.
Fact #3: Satoshi Kon's work deserves to be listed as separate entires.
Fact #4: Also, higher. Much higher.
Fact #5: Steins; Gate is excellent, enjoyable, awesome and thoroughly recommended. It still has no place on a Top 25 Evar Anime list.
Fact #6: I got sidetracked on my first viewing, but will give Cowboy Bebop another go because by all accounts I would be a fool not to.

N.B. I merrily concede that some-to-all "facts" above may actually be terrible, terrible opinions.
posted by comealongpole at 8:53 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Evangelion was what showed me that anime might not be my thing.

It was the opposite for me. NGE was one of the first series that convinced me that anime might be my thing. Which turned out to be mostly wrong, in the end. I spent years afterwards immersed in otaku culture, all the time searching for a comparable series. While I did find a couple of good ones, I never found anything that hit me on the same number of levels as NGE. Nothing even close. There is, unfortunately, no escaping Sturgeon's Law.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:56 PM on July 22, 2015


OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy, who loves: ATLA, LOK, MLP:FIM, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time & Steven Universe?
posted by signal at 11:00 on July 23


Hmm, I'd say the currently airing Arslan Senki, perhaps Yona of the Dawn, whichever version of Full Metal Alchemist. Seirei no Moribito, although I don't know if a non-fansub version is available. I want to say Gugure Kokkurisan, but wonder if enjoyment of that series requires knowing some Japanese folklore.
posted by needled at 9:27 PM on July 22, 2015


FYI the guy in the video says it's just a list not a ranking.
posted by laptolain at 9:33 PM on July 22, 2015


No Yamato/Star Blazers

I am disappoint
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:34 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, so what of all this should I watch with my 7 year old boy

If you can find new non-4kids dubs, or if he can read well enough to handle subs I definitely recommend One Piece. Not only is it very funny and clever, but the writers can jump from comedy to drama without dropping a stitch, and you suddenly realize you're getting weepy listening to a heartfelt monologue from, say, this insane thing.

It is smart and heartfelt and hilarious and delightful, and I recommend it to anyone of any age who can stomach the thought of watching a single series for 700+ episodes.
posted by rifflesby at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2015


Arslan might be a bit heavy for a seven-year-old, what with dudes getting decapitated and shot full of arrows and the like. Akatsuki no Yona is nice, but the pacing goes to hell later on. In currently airing shows, Akagami no Shirayukihime is probably the closest to being good for that age-group, although it's still probably a bit more shoujo than would suit.
posted by fifthrider at 9:45 PM on July 22, 2015


This reminds me a bit of the top RPGs thread. As someone said above, "anime" is a medium, not a genre -- not to say there aren't genres of anime, conventions of the medium, styles belonging to particular times, and so on. But the size and diversity of the subject matter means that different anime can appeal to different people for very different reasons. Compare the RPGs.

So a "top list" could have a few shows that are "the best" for someone who likes long-running boys' adventures, others that are the best for someone who likes action, others for someone who likes high school social machinations, etc., etc. Some titles will unite audiences. Take Cowboy Bebop, for example -- it just has so many things going for it. On the other hand, something like Texhnolyze (also a favorite of mine) is probably only on this list because of Lain and Haibane Renmei. Texhnolyze doesn't have a natural constituency. Its storytelling is difficult and it avoids many of the genre shortcuts that help audiences connect with the material. The first episode goes about 75% through before any dialogue is spoken. It's also extremely bleak.

I find myself in the situation where just about all the shows I've loved are on the list (IIRC; the major exception is FLCL, also my favorite; on reflection, the list of shows that I've really loved is much shorter than I'd realized). But there's also several things on here that I saw and thought were only okay-to-good, and a bunch of stuff I haven't seen but suspect is not very good.

It doesn't seem to make sense to be an anime fan, really. It's like being a TV fan! There was definitely a time when I was one, though, despite the lack of sense, and it was not without its rewards.

(Trigun I think I loved, long ago, but looking back I'm not sure I can still endorse that feeling. I would probably put Escaflowne in a similar category, although its flaws are more in execution than conception -- that final arc where they ran out of money, ugh! Relatedly, something that unites many of my favorite anime is that they have soundtracks by Yoko Kanno. On this list, that's Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell (TV). Macross Plus is another wonderful YK soundtrack. For a while, I watched every production I could find with a YK soundtrack. In fact, there might have been a very brief period during which I had actually seen every anime she composed a soundtrack for. But she has been quite prolific. Not everything she's been on is great, but a lot of it is -- no small part because of her music, of course.)
posted by grobstein at 10:03 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Several people have pointed out that there is no Gundam on here, but I think the bigger omission may be Macross. If I made a list like this, I might put the 1982 series on it. It's not much like the other stuff I like, but it's very charming and also very serious. Kyun, kyun.

(It's been a long time since I saw Macross Plus. I'm not sure what I think of it anymore. Except the soundtrack, which I love.)
posted by grobstein at 10:13 PM on July 22, 2015


Similarly, take Evangelion, which up-thread gets accused of being "intellectual masturbatory misogynist bullshit", when it was intended as a vicious assault on objectification and self-absorption in the post-Bubble anime fandom. Anno set out to tear into the sorts of people who turned Nadia into an iconic sex object, and it blew up in his face when they liked it anyway.

Yes, I know of this, also of how Anno's own experience with mental illness inspired the series. But it was poorly constructed and executed and the end was a giant malformed mess. Even the movie which was supposed to clear up the abortive 24th and 25th episodes didn't do much to do so. It's the sort of anime that self-proclaimed otaku love to wax on endlessly about how deep and meaningful it is, while drawing pictures of Rei and Asuka doin' it.
posted by schroedinger at 10:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, I have a real soft spot for Girls und Panzer. WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME?

Somebody who thinks Girls und Panzer is awesome. For those who don't know, GuP takes place in a world where, like needlepoint and flower arrangement, tank combat is one of those life skills a well educated young woman will have learned in high school. If your high school is set on an ocean going converted aircraft carrier that looks a lot like a WWII era Japanese carrier but somewhat larger.

The protagonist is a big hearted, kind girl with a mysterious trauma in her past, cast out of her tankery loving family for losing them the championship, who has come to her current school especially because they don't do panzerfahren, only for the insanely powerful and slightly scary school council to say that guess what? we're doing tankery again and you're volunteered to lead us.

From there on out it plays out as a classic sports underdog/redemption story, with the odds stacked against our heroes and increasing each episode as they move up in skill and equipment.

So far, so typical but what sets it apart is 1) the tanks, which are played as straight and honest as possible. They start with crap tanks and have to work around their limitations to win, they do have to learn how to handle them as well as how to use them properly and the battles, especially the later ones are quite tense.

But there is also the fact that this is an anime all about high school girls working together as a team, without drama or contrieved rivalries or any of that other nonsense you see in other animes, that even their rivals aren't villains but potential friends.

And there are awesome grognardy moments like this, allegedly put in because the voice actress singing it is apparantly a big old Russian history nerd. Watch the subbed version though, cause otherwise you only get Tetris music...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:05 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


May I be the first to point out the impracticality of a short skirt in regards to the proper operation of a tank.
posted by boilermonster at 11:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't really watched anime since I was in high school (fumbling my way through high school Japanese class with the rest of the anime kids). Then I became really salty and irritated by the medium as a whole - even if it's not a genre, there are still certain stylistic elements that pop up quite a lot. Someone was recently convincing me to give it another go, and I guess I'm open, although I'm not sure where to begin.

Is this list missing stuff by Rumiko Takahashi? I remember liking InuYasha.
posted by teponaztli at 11:29 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your favorite anime sucks.

(For real tho I'll come back to this thread later. And yes, FMA: Brotherhood is a million times better than the 2003 series, I am glad that was the first comment in the thread.)
posted by maryr at 12:03 AM on July 23, 2015


No mention of Noragami ?
posted by Pendragon at 12:24 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I definitely believe this should be put into categories. I know most people my age and a little older (24-30) got into anime thanks to stuff that was on Toonami and Adult Swim. I'd say things like Dragonball (which is far better than DBZ), Gundam Wing, YuYu Hakusho, and Tenchi Muyo, all completely different genres, launched a ton of people outward onto the Internet to discover more, better stuff. Cowboy Bebop I can see being number one, I really believe it is flawless. It's one of the most emotional animated series I've ever seen. I personally love NGE, as I watched it in 6th grade and was fucked up from it, even if I hate the pedophilic sexualisation of 14-year-olds.

Berserk? Rurouni Kenshin? Gundam 008th MS Team? FLCL? Azumanga Daioh? InuYasha? Death Note? Ranma 1/2? I know that's a lot of shonen but damn, those were all HUGE when I was a kid.

Also, GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES?! It's considered one of the best war movies ever made! Jin-Roh??? Gasarki? Patlabor or Macross Plus? I know not every list is perfect and I definitely haven't watched anime seriously in the past few years, but damn!
posted by gucci mane at 12:40 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Note btw that the original list isn't meant as a best off list (that's just clickbaitey bullcrap the poster here came up with) and is put together by someone who refers to Trigun from 1998 as old.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:16 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


this is just really a list of popular anime during the period when this person was getting into anime
Bingo.
posted by thetortoise at 1:33 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


someone who refers to Trigun from 1998 as old.

so hey uh here is the thing

Trigun is now from nearly as long ago as The Empire Strikes Back was when Trigun came out. 17 years is a pretty long time.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:59 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love the idea of this video. That being said, I want to punch the guy in the face so hard that his eyeballs pop clean out of his head and roll around on the floor.
posted by damnitkage at 2:37 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why so violent?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:42 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My fondest memory of Evangelion is this: When I was in the hospital, my mom brought me some of my VHS tapes so I would have something familiar to watch, and I watched them in the lounge where everyone else was like, WTF. This was before anime was all that well-known - Sailor Moon had been showing for a while in the after-school block on USA, but that was it.

I loved Evangelion. I had a wall scroll of angel-Rei reverting all humans to primordial soup on my wall for a while.

And while I knew even at the time that it was super-pretentious, I still thought it was super well done. It was both pretentious and ridiculous and mean and powerful. I just started to rewatch it recently, and it holds up well. It definitely has its weaknessness, but it deserves its place on this list.

Also, I love lists like this not because they're ever, ever right - but because when people start arguing about them I get more suggestions of anime to watch!
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:50 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can't get on board any Evangelion hate-train. I watched the full series quite a while after its heyday, as I was heading into my 30s, and it was an intense, destabilizing but cathartic experience. The show runs you through so many extreme psychological states; maybe it's that I recognized myself in a lot of them? The spherical angel, a metaphor for the isolation of depression; Asuka's childhood backstory and her overachiever personality that comes about in response to her mother's narcissistic fragility (many of our parents carry around little dolls in place of us, right?); Rei's role in Instrumentality and her inability to negotiate between absolute boundaries and no boundaries at all; Gendo's project built really to escape the lonesomeness of always being just one person. Misato, Kaji, and Ritsuko's stories mean a lot more to an adult viewer, too (Misato's weariness in particular reminds me of a lot of what people were talking about in the emotional labor thread recently). Shinji's internal monologue in the final episodes was the same one I had running through my head in the years I was incapacitated by depression. Not everyone connects with the show, but don't mistake the window dressing for the substance. (Now, getting out of this thread before I start talking about Utena.)
posted by thetortoise at 3:21 AM on July 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


Also, I forgot to mention Excel Saga along Planetes, although it requires quite some knowledge of Japanese Culture, Manga and Anime history and tropes and a taste for the bizarre to truly appreciate all the things it is spoofing. I mean, absolutely loved it the first time around it was broadcasted here, but on rewatch a few years later it was sublime, and I'm dead sure there's still a lot more I've missed.

Would also add Lupin III and Urusei Yatsura to the bunch, although I'm not sure how both of them would test with kids used to modern anime.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:03 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The end of the Evangelion series was effectively just a coda to the 'End of Evangelion' movie, which while it certainly isn't going to be for everybody, still hits me like a ton of bricks. It's an explosion of semi-psychotic, semi-spiritual mania clad in shrapnel-like fragments of Abrahamic imagery. It's incoherent if you try to interpret it directly through those Abrahamic traditions, but that's not the point. It's a ragged, concentrated dose of a certain type of (unhealthy, beautiful) energy that some people are familiar with.
posted by Drexen at 4:05 AM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


... and the series leading up to it, taken as a whole, is like the chrysalis that's just waiting to crack open and reveal that beautiful, disturbing butterfly. It shoulders its way through various dull tropes from its genre (and sometimes exemplifies them in the process, which I wouldn't particularly defend it for; and sometimes drags its feet or stumbles, which I can forgive it for) but it all orbits around Hideaki's vision for it and it's all ultimately coherent and ennervating and subtle/blatant and cynical and heartfelt and unique and I love it.

All that's gonna sound hella pretentious to some, but I don't care. :P
posted by Drexen at 4:10 AM on July 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Some other mentions from me just for the hell of it:

Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil) is an exploration of coming out/coming of age as an isolated, queer/kinky young weirdo yearning for connection and realisation that kicked me in the gut in the same way that some people say Catcher in the Rye did, while also masterfully skewering its protagonist for being so sophomorically captivated by his equivalent of Catcher in the Rye. Its controversial but (to me) exquisitely ugly/beautiful rotoscoped visual style is a perfect match for it.

Masaaki Yuasa was mentioned above, I especially loved the film Mind Game which pretty much defies explanation but I'd consider it a must-watch. It's insane with joy and inventiveness and perceptiveness and (I think) almost perfectly nails its massive ambitions.

Redline always leaves me grinning and heart-beating, it's like Wacky Races by way of 2000AD and Moebius. It's also gorgeously and energetically and colourfully hand-animated. Nuff said!
posted by Drexen at 4:28 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Is this list missing stuff by Rumiko Takahashi?

She's weirdly out of favor these days. Like still popular, but not likely to be mentioned in the same breath as Miyazaki, which seemed to be the case in the 90s and early 00s.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:32 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Huh, just to assuage my rudeness senses, I don't mean to bash on people who connected with or enjoy Catcher in the Rye -- I've certainly had my equivalent things...)
posted by Drexen at 4:41 AM on July 23, 2015


It's the sort of anime that self-proclaimed otaku love to wax on endlessly about how deep and meaningful it is, while drawing pictures of Rei and Asuka doin' it.

I drew one where they started doin' it but had to stop because Asuka's German accent is so bad that Rei gets dizzy and nauseous
posted by clockzero at 5:38 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yakitate is my favorite (admittedly, I haven't watched many). It's about a boy with magic "solar hands" who goes to baking school, and I love it because they depict baking bread like surreal, super-melodramatic fight scenes.
posted by mean cheez at 5:50 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


130+ comments and not one mention of Wings of Honneamise? It came out one year before Akira and is just as lavish. The fake world and its cosutumes, architecture, technologies, and social systems is really very well developed and believable. And it's all offered without any special background, as if they were just showing you "reality". Story, art, and animation are all first-rate as well.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:03 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anime fans should check out The Japan Animator Expo projects.
Original projects, spin-off projects, promotional films, Music PV, and VJ Films etc...
Various omnibus animations produced with love and energy, regardless of any genres.
The digital distribution anime series bring opportunities for project development, R&D, human resources development, and free production under limited period and budget, to explore the possibilities of future film production.
I only recently found out about this from the NHK-World program Imagine-Nation (Anime, Games, Manga, etc.). It's sort of like "give random anime creators some money and no restrictions and see what comes out".

Some quite interesting things came out including some full on 3D-CGI motion capture Evangelion EVA awesomeness.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:17 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Imagine-Nation bit on the Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition is the last entry on this archive page if you want a better explanation.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:32 AM on July 23, 2015


Nekojiru-sou aka Cat Soup is top 10 material for those that like the surreal side of anime best.
posted by Hubajube at 8:22 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And sorry for triple posting, but after seeing "surreal" I instantly remembered Cromartie High. Bonus points for being worth seeing in both original and dubbed version, if only for Mechazawa's english dub voice.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:52 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Redline is a rush, if you can find it. It's kind of like a mix between Gurren Lagaan and Speed Racer, in that it's a completely-over-the-top racing movie that just keeps escalating. The art style is very distinctive, too.
posted by chaosys at 9:14 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a hard time with this list, because in the top five I see the Two Truths And A Lie that made me give up on trying to find good anime.

I saw Akira in cinemas, and was blown away. I had the soundtrack on CD, started buying the translations of the manga, etc.

When Cowboy Bebop came out in the US, I was entranced. Everything about it was stylish and perfect, and the oddities and cockups just washed out as you watched.

But then my brother all but insisted that I get Neon Genesis Evangelion. I bought the boxed set, excited. And, well...it's just a giant pile of anime tropes strung together in the most crass and commercial way possible. I had to ask what the "fan service" was they kept promising in the closings, and was a little sick. I was already fully apostate at that point, but the way it used Christian imagery kind of mirrored ugly "Kung Fu Dude Buddhism" in tacky Orientalist media: I wasn't offended or anything, but disappointed.

It lacked everything the other two had: no great music, no gripping characters or interplays between characters, no evocative setting artwork, and worst of all no sense that any of this would go anywhere past an endless grind of robots fighting demons again and again and again. The characters never even developed at all! Even the teenage characters didn't seem to age: they were masks fixed in time.

So I gave up on anime for at least a decade. I don't have time to wade through the genre if its most lauded products are like this.

But! When Space Battleship Yamato came up on the blue, I grabbed the whole thing and enjoyed it thoroughly. It, too, had its unfortunate Benny Hill Upskirt Slapstick and its distasteful 1970s social mores. But these were wrinkles in an otherwise pretty imaginative and effective show. And it had a goal that we all knew they'd reach, somehow, even if the cost would make us misty-eyed. I feel like making a "good parts" edit of that show would be a few surgical cuts.

NGE would need a total reboot.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


NGE would need a total reboot.

This is in fact sort of happening, but not in a way that addresses most of your issues with the original really, and veeeeerrrrrryyy sllllllooooooowwwwwwlllllyyyy.

i love eva i have purple eva shoes
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:04 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


i love eva i have purple eva shoes

omg want but

posted by grobstein at 5:44 PM on July 23, 2015


Nthing Samurai Champloo and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Really glad to see princess Tutu on this. There is a distinct lack of Ruroni Kenshin, though, which I can't abide. I'd be tempted to add Vampire Hunter D - but really the books are SO MUCH BETTER. Full Metal Panic is an oversight, though, and I'm surprised to not see any Gundam at all. (Angel Beats is good, but not top ten material I don't think). Paranoia Agent might be just too brain breaking... and much as I love Sword Art Online, the sidelining of the female co-protagonist in the second half dropped it massively in my estimation. It's weird Haibane Renmai was left off given the way it completely swept the US a decade or so back. I'm also baffled by the lack of CLAMP - but maybe it was a guy making this? I mean, X/1999 and Tokyo Babylon, and CLAMP School Detectives and that lot was a mainstay of my teens and twenties. And dear gods, dramadies like Fruits Basket and Ouran High School Host Club and His and Her Circumstances!! I adore that whole genre.

Don't watch Grave of Fireflies unless you want to welcome an inescapable melancholy into your life which will haunt you in those moments when light shifts to dark and you.... remember...

On the chipper side, the lack of Ranma 1/2 and Slayers... I mean, really!

Evangeleon... I have mixed feelings about. It reminds me of some other manga I know, where the tragedy is the point and the fact everyone fails each other and themselves is the point and I can respect the thought put into it, but most of the time I want good to overcome evil in some sort of manner. I need it. It doesn't happen in reality very much. I need it in my fiction to keep hope. That's probably why I love Magical Girls as a genre so much - it's full of hope.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:45 PM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


OMG CARD CAPTOR SAKURA! I have the deck. Dudes, get on your Magical Girl Love as a precursor to Madoka Magica!
posted by Deoridhe at 5:46 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Full Metal Panic is an oversight, though, and I'm surprised to not see any Gundam at all. (Angel Beats is good, but not top ten material I don't think). Paranoia Agent might be just too brain breaking... and much as I love Sword Art Online, the sidelining of the female co-protagonist in the second half dropped it massively in my estimation. It's weird Haibane Renmai was left off given the way it completely swept the US a decade or so back.

Full Metal Panic is on there, although I have it mentally filed as "guilty pleasure" rather than actually good.

Haibane Renmei is there, too, in the ABe omnibus entry along with Lain, Texhnolyze and Niea_7.

The list does feel light on "girls'" titles. Several people have pointed out Utena as a good inclusion, although I've never seen past the beginning. I also liked His and Her Circumstances ("Kare Kano"), which came from the directors of EVA and FLCL at Gainax. It seemed super-inventive and delightful at first, although it kinda fizzled for me (and apparently had lots of production problems).

I think I must have gone on summer vacation or something in the middle of the Princess Tutu TV run, because I was watching the subs as they came out but I never saw the end.
posted by grobstein at 6:27 PM on July 23, 2015


Is this where we get to ramble about our favorite anime?? Yesss.

I'm a huge fan of ghost-themed anime, Japanese mythology and ghosts are very unique and strange. Mushi-shi is awesome! I also quite enjoyed Mononoke, which has a gorgeous wall scroll aesthetic. I'm also a big fan of its "prequel", Ayakashi.

I recently watched Natsume Yuujinchou because of Mushi-shi withdrawls and expected to dislike it based on the schoolboy aspect, but found it heartwarming and funny.

Hotarubi no Mori e made me cry.

Definitely going to check out some of the others on this list! If anyone has recs for more ghost anime I'm all ears!
posted by Feyala at 7:37 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anime that I enjoyed but do not figure on that list:
- Juuni Kokki (Twelve Kingdoms), a really good adventure/epic with good characters and a solid story ;
- Haibane Renmei, attaching characters, great atmosphere and well told story ;
- Sakamichi no Apollon, which is bathed in some kind of nostalgic and sweet feeling ;
- Ghost hound also has solid atmosphere ;
- Sword art online is one of the better anime related to video games ;

Recent-ish anime that were pretty good:
- Barakamon
- Hitsugi no Chaika
- Sidonia no Kishi

About the list:
Gankutsuou is likely to be overlooked among that list of giants, it's a quirky adaptation of the Cout of Monte Cristo with a very interesting take on the original story and a remarkable aesthetic. I really loved it. Baccano is a ton of silly fun and very well constructed. I would replace Code Geass by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, they belong to the same genre but Gurren Lagann does not take itself seriously, has better pacing and is really fun.
posted by dragondollar at 9:44 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always feel the need to say how awesome My Neighbor Yamada-kun and Pompoko are. Ghibli, but not directed by Miyazaki. Pompoko is heart rending, and Yamada is a pretty great illustration of family life in Japan. Both worth checking out.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2015


Speaking of non-Miyazaki Ghibli films, as a Japanese student I very much enjoyed Mimi wo Sumaseba. (Hm, on double-check, turns out Miyazaki has the screenplay credit. But he didn't direct, and the source material is a manga by someone else.) It may not be on a level with the others you name, but it's visually gorgeous and a nice story with pretty music. Those sequences of the protagonist traipsing around the Tokyo suburbs are quite beautiful, and I still catch myself singing "Concrete Road" or one of the other variations.
posted by grobstein at 11:32 AM on July 24, 2015


Coming to the Rodeo well after the fact, but I do suggest some deletions/substitutions/Additions

Choose 1 from Baccano (Prohibition Gangsters/Magic)/Gankutsuou (Sci-Fi futuristic "Count of Monte Cristo")/Last Exile (Steampunk airships). These all come from the "Studio Gonzo" tradition of very stylized and decently written stories that have a planned and executed story arc.

Choose 1 from Galaxy Angel (Sci-Fi Female Sentai squad)/ The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (on list)/Excel Saga (Absurditst anime that satorizes a differnt anime/manga type every episode)/Great Teacher Onizuka (Biker punk becomes purposeful teacher) to fill the comedy/humor quotient

Choose 1 from Naruto/Bleach to represent a touchstone that goes on far longer than it truly needed to tell the story (and the danger of adapting a currently popular manga series and running out of story from the manga).
posted by Hasteur at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2015


Choose 1 from Naruto/Bleach Dragonball Z to represent a touchstone that goes on far longer than it truly needed to tell the story (and the danger of adapting a currently popular manga series and running out of story from the manga).
posted by Going To Maine at 2:10 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hitsugi no Chaika

Chaika?
posted by MartinWisse at 3:03 PM on July 24, 2015


Choose 1 from Naruto/Bleach Dragonball Z to represent a touchstone that goes on far longer than it truly needed to tell the story (and the danger of adapting a currently popular manga series and running out of story from the manga).

I haven't watched Dragonball* to know if it would fall into this category.
posted by Hasteur at 6:34 PM on July 24, 2015


Man, no Ninja Scroll? I loved Ninja Scroll.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:11 PM on July 28, 2015


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