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Below is my top favorites in anime titles and characters. My top favorites in regards to my favorite anime based on enjoyability and for characters and seiyuu are those that I have a fondness for. I enjoy mainly the classic anime of the 80's and 90's because of the variety of anime that came out during that time, accompanied by the talented seiyuu, artists, and writers that brought these titles to life. When it comes to the modern anime shows, there's a handful of them I do like. However, when it comes to some anime series that are highly regarded by others, there will be some where I won't share the same opinion.
When it comes to the anime I watch/would like to watch, the criteria I look for is a good story/plot, likeable characters, and a talented cast of seiyuu. I also look for well-established character development when watching the anime. How I rate anime is by looking at the whole picture and not give something a good score just because it has a handful of good episodes. Enjoyment is key when I rate anime, most of those I rate 8-10 are those I like to re-watch. At times I'll watch a light-hearted/guilty pleasure anime that seems like it will be a fun watch and with those, I rate it differently than I would a serious anime.
I dislike loli/shota anime, shows with "imouto" and "onii-chan" in the title, harem ecchi series with stupid and perverted male leads, and those long running shounen anime that goes on for 200+ episodes, they become a chore to watch and often run into predictable territory.
I feel in today's anime, it is lacking in having certain great female seiyuu that made their mark in the 80's and early 90's (like Megumi Hayashibara) in voicing main characters and are cast aside to supporting roles, which is sad. I'm mainly a fan of the female seiyuu that were active in the 80's and the 90's because I love their voices and those that I favor are excellent in terms of their acting and singing talent. I feel they deserve more respect, love, and fans than the currently popular ones. So I ask and encourage everyone to support veteran female seiyuu for their amazing talent in both voice acting and for some, their singing talent.
As a fan of older anime, I disagree with those who base their superficial arguments on disliking/not watching older anime because of the animation. When it comes to anime; the story-plot, characters, and how both progress is what counts, not what the series looks like or how pretty it is. I encourage everyone to watch older anime from the 80's and the 90's, there's plenty of awesome titles to choose from and you'd be surprised on how entertaining the classic anime titles are.
MY CHARACTER OF THE MONTH-NORIKO TAKAYA
For July’s Character of the Month feature, my page will focus on the series’ reluctant heroine who ascends to the level of a hot-blooded badass, Noriko Takaya. In the second half of the OVA, Noriko takes a complete 180 degree turn on herself to come out of her shell and fight valiantly in humanity’s ultimate weapon; the Gunbuster and she is rewarded greatly in her bond with Kazumi Amano and the positive reception she receives soon after. I always find character development such as Noriko’s is quite an enjoyable experience to see as she rises up to the top through her trials she undergoes in the first half of the OVA and continuing to grow as a character and a heroine in the second half as she inspires those around her, including her own partner Kazumi when she is faced with a conflict of her own. Another thing that I feel makes Noriko a well-rounded heroine is that she has flaws and imperfections in her and that she has to take on her weaknesses head on to grow stronger and when she becomes confident in herself and shines luminously on the battlefield. Noriko Takaya, to me at least, is a fine example of who I see as a role model. She’s not perfect and stumbles into roadblocks along the way, but hey doesn’t everyone at some point in their lives do? When Noriko finds herself in place she has no desire to be in, she motivates herself to never surrender to anything or anyone. From that point forward in Noriko’s development; she becomes someone who never gives in and gives up, fights on with her head held high, becomes an inspiration to others, and takes her destiny into her own hands.
Noriko in the beginning of the OVA was a young schoolgirl in a space training academy in Okinawa whom was looked down upon by her peers because they saw her as someone with no talent and not worthy of praise as she was a below average student in terms of her abilities as a pilot. She is the only daughter of a famous admiral in the space navy whom was killed in battle when she was a little girl. Her only friend is a girl named Kimiko Higuchi, who often looks out for her and gives Noriko support. Noriko has an encounter with the beautiful Kazumi Amano, a girl respected by many in the academy as she was everything Noriko isn’t. Noriko from then on calls Kazumi “Onee-sama” out of respect for her. The academy soon has a new drill instructor in the sole survivor of the Luxion, Kouichiro Ohta who is charged with selecting two candidates from the academy to pilot the titular weapon for humanity’s hard battle, the Gunbuster. Kazumi is ultimately chosen for this mission as she possesses the necessary skills and talents required. However, the second candidate chosen is none other than Noriko, whom the majority of the student body ultimately opposed against. Kazumi’s fellow senior classmate, Reiko Kashiwara is one of those students and is angered by Coach Ohta’s decision; even Kazumi herself feels Kashiwara is a better choice to accompany her. Coach Ohta is insistent on his decision on choosing Noriko and his reasons become apparent in future episodes. Regardless, things for Noriko get worse with the relentless bullying by Kashiwara and other girls who despise her. Through Coach Ohta’s tutelage and training regiment, Noriko is able to best Kashiwara in the older girl’s challenge against her. When she and Kazumi go into space, they meet Soviet pilot Jung Freud; a fiery and voluptuous red-head who shares a rivalry with Kazumi as both are top ace pilots. Also, Noriko breaks down during a mission that she and Kazumi go on out in deep space where the wreckage of the Luxion is and sees for herself the cruel fate of what happened to her father when he stayed behind with his vessel. On the return back to the base, the new interstellar vessel, Excelion has been completed and a launching ceremony is taking place along with the warm reception by everyone. Noriko’s heartbreaking mission leaves her unable to celebrate the occasion. On her time in the Excelion during a warp, she meets a young man named Smith Toren who is shown to be a warm, humorous, and friendly person towards Noriko that she becomes smitten by. It is also during this episode that she finds out about her onee-sama’s doubts and desire to dissolve their partnership, which affects Noriko greatly in her confidence levels. Smith is without a partner of his own and asks Noriko to partner up with him. In an intense battle against their alien foes and Noriko sits in her machine unable to fire a single shot to back Smith up in combat; frozen in anxiety, lack of confidence in her abilities, and fear…and the battle ends with a severe consequence in Noriko’s inaction and it only serves to confirm Kazumi’s doubts.
The 4th episode shows Noriko at her lowest she has ever been in the series so far as she puts herself in a shell and a state of self-pity. Things look grim for Noriko and I’m certain to a viewer, she is beginning to look like a useless character and why did Coach Ohta select this unworthy girl for this crucial mission in the first place who does nothing but feel sorry for herself, qualities that don’t make for a “leading heroine”. Noriko has dug herself into a hole and the only one who can get her out is Noriko herself. She has had enough of herself as she is and essentially renounces that part of her. She casts aside her old self like an exorcism of removing the demons that have been plaguing her for so long. With a look of determined confidence, akin to being re-born anew as a person different than who she was, Noriko makes a shocking entrance on the battlefield on the titular Gunbuster, to everyone’s complete surprise. Noriko gives it her all in this crucial battle and even though it looked like she was over her head in this fierce battle; Noriko defeats the enemy which causes those on board the damaged Excelion to rejoice and Kazumi to feel overwhelming joy, the latter of which gives Noriko great pride. In the return to Earth and due to the time dilation during their duration in space, both Noriko and Kazumi’s classmates like Kimiko and Kashiwara are adults, the former now a married woman with a young daughter named Takami and the latter is an instructor at the academy. Times had changed and the people have changed, namely Noriko’s onee-sama who is in love with Coach Ohta and he himself is dying of space radiation sickness. Kazumi’s anxiety over the situation going on with the man she loved is made worse when both she and Noriko are chosen to for a new mission when news that a new fleet of space monsters are heading towards Earth. It will be the first time that they will fight in Gunbuster together for this mission accompanying the old Excelion as an unmanned black hole bomb. With the mission in space lasting a little more than an hour, six months will pass by on Earth, and Kazumi breaks down in despair of not being by her beloved’s side, and Noriko convinces her to see through this mission to completion. It is a scene that sees the pair’s development as characters from the way they were in the beginning of the OVA.
Upon their return, Kazumi is joyous to see that Ohta is still alive. She runs into his arms and soon after they marry, even though the time they will have together as husband and wife will be short. In the special black-and-white episode finale, 15 years have passed and Kazumi, a widow for much of those fifteen years, has remained on Earth and returns to space when the alien threat resurfaces where she reunites with her old partner, Noriko and former rival Jung. The new space battleship that they now are stationed on is the Eltrion. Noriko’s reaction to how much time has passed on Earth is quite overwhelming since the gap between her and Kazumi’s ages has grown more and Noriko herself is only a few years older than her friend Kimiko’s daughter, Takami whereas Kimiko and Kashiwara have grown into middle-aged women. This is all due to the time dilation that has occurred. Both Noriko and Kazumi fight together again in the Gunbuster alongside their comrades and defend the new weapon that has the capability to deal a catastrophic blow to their enemies once and for all. Yet, in this final battle the enemy damages 2% of the slave generators needed to activate the bomb for the implosion, so Noriko and Kazumi must go into the core of the Buster Machine III to activate the bomb with by using of one of the degeneracy reactors from Gunbuster, though the consequence of this action is that their retreat will be affected with the risk of severe time diliation. Noriko herself does quite the badass action in this final battle. They succeed in their mission when the bomb detonates, but Noriko and Kazumi’s return to Earth spans millennia by 12,000 years in which they see “Welcome Home” written in their language using katakana characters indicating that human civilization has survived and they descend back to Earth.
Final Thoughts on the Ending
I admit I got emotional during the ending and enjoyed how it turned out, in the grand scheme of things, the series turned out to be an incredible journey for me as a viewer, to see Noriko’s growth as an individual and that throughout the hardships she had to endure, she took it upon herself to get out of the proverbial hole she was in when she was at her lowest and become a shining star of hope for humanity. Also, the development of her relationship with Kazumi is another fine point in the series for me as the two found their footing as partners, trust one another, and fight together within Gunbuster. Although the ending is a bittersweet one as those they knew have long since gone upon their return to Earth, I can’t help but feel happy for Noriko and Kazumi in the end.
Noriko Takaya is voiced by the well-known, versatile, and fairly prolific Noriko Hidaka, whom made her debut in Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross as Musica and made her mark in the 80’s as the leading female roles in the rom-com’s Touch as the girl-next-door, Minami Asakura and the fiery Akane Tendo in Ranma ½. Hidaka also lent her voice to the tragic shrine maiden Kikyo in Inuyasha, a role that showed her range very well, the role was her second Rumiko Takahashi series she worked on after Ranma ½. She also took on the roles of boy characters as well in her career that include Jean Roque Raltique in GAINAX’s first TV anime, Nadia, Soujiro Seta in Rurouni Kenshin, and Near in Death Note. Other prominent roles include; Kotori Minami’s mother in Love Live! School Idol Project, Erica Fontaine of the Sakura Wars OVA’s/game series, and Junko Tange of this year’s Wake Up, Girls! TV anime and prequel movie with plenty more in various other anime. I admire Noriko Hidaka for her tremendous talent she has and how she is able to portray any kind of role. She’s been in quite a few projects alongside her fellow Ranma ½ alumni, before and afterwards including Rei Sakuma (Kazumi Amano) who portrayed her romantic rival Shampoo. Noriko Takaya stands among my top favorite roles for Hidaka that also include Akane Tendo, Soujiro Seta, Erica Fontaine, and Kikyo.
Below is the Noriko & Kazumi duet song, “FLY HIGH” sung by their seiyuu, Noriko Hidaka & Rei Sakuma, it shows fine action scenes between the two of them (mostly Noriko though).
Twenty years ago, the emotional finale of the phenomenal Top Wo Nerae! Gunbuster OVA series drew to a close. It was produced by the fledgling company GAINAX whom earlier made their debut with the visual tour de-force film Royal Space Force-The Wings of Honneamise, but came together with their production of the two Daicon shorts made earlier. GAINAX would later produce the critically acclaimed Neon Genesis Evangelion in association with Tatsunoko. To me, Gunbuster is a phenomenal anime for me as I see it as one of the best titles ever made; from the powerful and engaging story it has with fantastically written characters, the performances done by the voice cast who I feel are the finest in the industry as a whole, Kouhei Tanaka’s brilliant music score, the gorgeous design work by the many artists who brought the vivid world of this series to life and by today’s standards, I feel Gunbuster has aged well, and the powerful and positive message it brings in believing in yourself, that through will-power and effort, you can accomplish anything if you set your mind and heart to it and that giving up is never an option. The character of Coach Ohta represents those qualities and imparts them to both Noriko and Kazumi in his relationship to them as their mentor, despite his coarse methods. Gunbuster also is the directorial debut of Hideaki Anno and he used certain concepts from Gunbuster would be used in NGE years later. The series also throws in quite a few shout-outs from other anime and movies, such as a poster of Space Battleship Yamato in Noriko’s room for example. As the creative team were otaku themselves and knew the concepts fans loved in the type of series Gunbuster was, it became a fan favorite, especially in the old-school anime otaku community. Gunbuster has shorts in which chibi versions of Noriko, Kazumi, and Coach Ohta explain the science behind the series and other tidbits of information to help the viewer better understand what goes on. The series is also noted for revolutionizing fanservice at the time with incorporating jiggling breasts that would become a staple trait in fanservice-oriented anime shows in the years ahead. The fanservice content is done tastefully in Gunbuster, as it doesn’t detract from the main story and the female characters themselves have proportions that compliment them. At any rate, this is one series I highly recommend to everyone to see, especially when it comes to exploring the vast world of old-school anime titles or as an introductory piece if one is new to the anime world. Gunbuster is one of those series that will be one that I will always remember and be fond of in the years to come as it’s fun, exciting, and enjoyable.
Below is the OP Theme for the Gunbuster OVA, “Active Heart” by Noriko Sakai.
My Rating System
10.Masterpiece-Ultimate perfection, re-watch is a must because it was so terrific a series to watch that I can enjoy endlessly without it ever being a dull moment.
9.Great-Truly awesome and a definite re-watch, but just barely makes it to the level of masterpiece.
8.Very Good-A pleasant watching experience, some re-watch worthy, but has at least one or two flaws that prevented it from getting a higher score.
7.Good-A decent series, just a few flaws, yet was entertaining to see.
6.Fine-Could've been done much better, but wasn't too bad.
5.Average-Just meh, not bad but not great either.
4.Bad-Nothing really good to speak of because the flaws outweigh anything good about it.
3.Very Bad-Flawed and possesses no redeeming qualities.
2.Horrible-Too flawed and too horribly made, a complete waste of time.
1.Unwatchable-Things like a modern ecchi and lolicon anime is what I would consider unwatchable. Fanservice done to the extreme like that is disgusting. Also anime that makes me facepalm myself and say WTFPWP!
Favorite Live-Action Movies-2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Batman Begins, Blade Runner, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), The Breakfast Club, The Dark Knight, Die Hard, The Godfather Trilogy, Planet of the Apes (1968), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rashomon, The Right Stuff, Robocop (1987), The Seven Samurai, Silence of the Lambs, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Streets of Fire, and Terminator (1984)
Top 25 Anime Shows I Dislike-Those With An Average Rating of 6 or Higher
Bouken! Iczer 3-Terrible sequel to the much better Iczer-1 OVA.
Chobits-The main characters weren't that great, especially Chii who had zero personality. Their romance wasn't that great either. Side characters like Shinbo and Takako were better characters and I feel they should've been the mains.
Code Geass-This series is too much like Gundam SEED to me, which is another series I don't like. I am not a fan of this series and its' characters, plain and simple.
Devilman OVA's-These 3 aren't that good, they lack any real structure and underdeveloped the story. I found the Devilman Lady anime much better.
Dirty Pair OVA's-Just followed the same format as the TV series and really never developed Kei and Yuri's characters to a new level. Nolandia was the worst of them with a bad story and character animation. I was really never fond of the character animation of the OVA's and preferred the TV series character animation.
Evangelion Rebuild Movies-These are sad excuses for a reboot, they have nothing on the original series in terms of story and character development, also they take a number of the characters and twist them in an unflattering way that ruins them, such as Misato for example. After seeing 3 of the 4 films, all they did was disappoint me greatly. The only true Evangelion for me, is the original series and The End of Evangelion film finale...not this horrible reboot.
Girls und Panzer-Aside from a supporting character I did like not having enough screen-time and development, and this is one reason why I hate anime shows like these that don't develop its' adult characters. About half of the characters in this series were annoying and lame as shit that I could care less about as well. This series was a waste of my time and at times I wish Sentai didn't license series, there is better stuff than this.
Inuyasha-The worst of Rumiko Takahashi's works; Kagome was a terrible heroine, Shippo was a lame-ass sidekick, and Naraku was a shit antagonist. I also dislike how anime vilifies Kikyo, she's such a beautiful character who doesn't deserve the hate she gets. It could've been better if it were a shorter series, Sango as the main heroine, and keeping true to Kikyo's portrayal in the manga.
Macross 7-This was overall a pretty weak series for me; I didn't like Nekki Basara and hearing him sing the same old songs got real old fast. The villains were also lame as shit. This series didn't need to be 49 episodes long, the standard 26 should've sufficed.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica-Quite a pretentious series that didn't do anything for me through most of the praise it gets, the title heroine Madoka was more of a crybaby than NGE's Shinji. She seemed like she was on the sideline through most of the series and was useless. I didn't find her an admirable heroine at all and I also found Homura rather bland. Characters like Sayaka and Kyoko were better characters than the both of them and more interesting.
Magic Knight Rayearth OVA-Just one big facepalm, the TV anime was much better than this shit.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack-Quess and Gyunei killed the movie for me, Char and Amuro bringing up the past over Lalah didn't help either as that aspect of their rivalry felt rather wishy-washy. The Char x Quess shit was stupid too even if he just saw her as a pawn. Overall, I felt this movie jumped the shark. Nanai Miguel and Chan Agi were the only good characters in this movie as they didn't put up with Quess' shit.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED/Destiny-The worst of the Gundam series IMHO that I've seen, all it had going for it was the gorgeous male/female characters and that's all that its' popularity can show for it. Flay was the worst thing going for the first series most of all. I also find the series guilty of the over-use of plot armor plus a lot of the characters and how they develop are poorly written; especially in Destiny, such as Kira and Athrun, they start to show too many bad flaws and the main female characters are bland and uninteresting. This is also too much of a teen soap melodrama than a war story.
Najica Blitz Tatics-Overall a weak story and the worst episodic format I've ever seen. Najica didn't impress me that much as a protagonist and Lila was another AI character with zero personality.
Ozma-Too predictable a storyline that seems rather outdated.
Rurouni Kenshin Seisouhen & Shin Kyoto Hen-The worst of the worst of DEEN's adaptations, sheesh can't they get it through their thick skulls that RK fans want a true anime adaptation of the Jinchuu arc, and not shit like these?!
Sailor Moon R & SuperS-Other than Chibi-Usa being a horrible character, the plotlines of each of these two seasons were not my cup of tea, especially that horrible SuperS season. The filler arc in R was also lame.
Sengoku Basara-What a horrible representation of great historical figures with no regard to accuracy and the over-the-top shounen antics. It's not good enough as a guilty pleasure.
Shingeki no Kyojin-Another popular series I dislike that I find overrated; what I didn't like about it was all the bland, stock, and stereotypical characters it has that don't do anything for me to make me care. I wasn't too fond of the storyline either and its' development. The second OP & ED are terrible as well.
Tamako Market-Lamest KyoAni anime ever, why did Sentai have to license this shit? At times I feel they make horrible choices when it comes to what they license. It would've been an alright anime if it didn't have that lame talking bird that was one major component of this series I didn't like. Also the series itself felt random and had no form of plot. I've seen better slice-of-life shows that had a plot.
Urusei Yatsura TV-That douche-bag Ataru Moroboshi killed any enjoyment I had, most of the time I wondered why Lum is in love with that loser. Also, I didn't have much fun in watching in what I seen...I found Ranma more engaging.
X/1999 (Movie)-Total snores-ville and very dull, there was nothing about this movie that was interesting. I'm glad that it was re-made into a TV series years later, which is the better adaptation.
Top 25 Anime Characters I Dislike
Gavlet Gablae & Quwasan Olibee-Heavy Metal L-Gaim
Kozue Izumi and Michelle Cay-Infinite Ryvius
Kagome Higurashi, Shippo & Naraku-Inuyasha
Nekki Basara-Macross 7
Suzu Sakuma & Jinny Golding-Marmalade Boy
Nina Purpleton-Mobile Suit Gundam 0083
Quess Paraya & Gyunei Guss-Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack
Flay Allster, Shinn Asuka, Kira Yamato-Mobile Suit Gundam SEED/Destiny
Jerid Mesa & Rosamia Badam-Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Glemy Toto-Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam
Kodachi Kuno & Shampoo-Ranma 1/2
Chibi Usa-Sailor Moon R/S/SuperS
Ataru Moroboshi-Urusei Yatsura
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