First off, I simply feel like doing this as a sort of record to show what I’ve watched, and what I thought of each anime I’ve seen. It gives me something to do, and if at the same time, I can guide people searching for something to watch either towards or away from certain anime, then so be it. I’m here to simply write down my honest and humble opinion on these things while they sit in my mind. Also of note is that I only started watching anime and getting into it around 2010, and though that isn’t long, I feel as though I’ve thoroughly marathoned enough anime to probably equate to someone who's been into it a lot longer. That being said, I also tend to have watched more recent titles, and may not be as familiar with some older series and references.
About the ranks and reviews:
I simply intend to arrange shows in a general order of my likeness, but rely on the grading of each aspect in a review to show you what it was I liked, and guide you towards if you will like it as much. Usually I'll leave quick impressions in the tags on my list if you want a vague understanding of what I thought about a series. (Or you could always ask :P)
Overall I’m not easily hyped or super harsh, so the list should generally be a vague rank of overall quality. (YMMV) A decent average show is about a 6, anything below is average, a time waster for when you have nothing better to watch, or worse. 7s and 8s are good shows that have faults or just don't last in your mind too long, and 9's and 10's are shows that are well done, enjoyable, and leave a lasting impression.
(Lazy Man's Scale) 10- Top of the favorites, did everything well 9- Really good series, among my favorites 8- Good shows that just didn't have everything 7- Good shows with some faults, or are somewhat forgettable. 6- A decent show to watch, above average 5- Average show, probably something to hold interest and waste time between series 4- A time waster for when there's nothing better to watch. 3- Probably not worth it or not my cup of tea. 2- Probably dropped 1- Dropped
Why do I watch anime? Well, the reason I’ve come to enjoy anime is due to a few key aspects.
I enjoy the art and skill that goes into it.
This tends to play a big role in at least getting me into an anime. If the character designs or general art are so poor, flat, or lacking that they distract me from the story, I tend to waive it off and move on. Sure, it’s somewhat like flashing a shiny gem in front of a kid with ADD to catch his attention on something, but if you’re going to spend a few hours sitting wherever you sit watching an anime, it better at least look somewhat good, or have a story so captivating that I can try my best to ignore it. Hence, the art factor tends to play a major role in what anime I want to watch and enjoy watching. That being said, I do tend to stay on anime produced 2005 and later simply because of the better graphics.
A story. (And length of story)
Yes, everything has a story, but here’s what I like about how anime generally regards story. For one, stories aren’t rushed to fit into a thirty minute show or an hour long movie. At best with 12-13 half hour episodes, you’re looking at roughly 4-6 hours of actual story (when op and eds are all taken out of it). This means we have time to connect to characters, let the story roll out at its own pace, and throw in a few plot twists. Really, it’s like watching a book, and not like the abridged Hollywood version. Now, if you couldn’t tell by this reason alone, I’ll be the first to say that I don’t really care too much for episodic series because, well, they are the exact opposite of this. Episodic series tend to be on crack, have no character development because there’s no time to do so, and since they all have to fit into roughly 30 min, you can almost predict and see the plot ahead of time simply by knowing how long you’ve been watching it. Nothing has meaning, and it winds up being "here’s the villain of the week! You’re bad, we’re good, you die, we win, move on to next villain." It reminds me too much of grinding through an rpg, which is also what sitting through 500 episode filler series is like as well. Lastly, a big thing that I respect anime for doing with its stories is that most of them end. Yes, end. They have a beginning, middle and end to them. It’s not like Hollywood where everything has to have a few small threads left open so in case the consumers like it they can make a sequel; or where they simply keep making episodes to the point they’ve clearly run out of ideas and a once good story starts to suck and fail. Trust me, some do, (and some don’t really have a true definitive ending either, Cowboy Bebop especially) but for the most part, animes know when it’s time to quit and move on to the next thing.
It’s handcrafted and drawn.
What does this mean? Anything can happen. From crazy viewpoints normal cameras can’t do, to allowing a plethora of things to happen that even special effects can’t always do. Anything the creator can imagine can happen, and isn’t bound by anything at all.
I enjoy the music of anime. Being a 90s child, I can’t help but dislike the direction mainstream music has gone since the early 2000s. Then again I grew up on oldies to begin with, and just miss the creativity and uniqueness music used to have. Japanese music seems to still have that creative originality and panache. It also tends to use lots of jazz influences, and since I love jazz, it’s a great fit. When you sit and listen to something for 3-5 min, at least it generally isn’t the same chorus repeated 10 times; it’s a story. Then again, who’s to know I just don’t notice it since its in a language I can’t understand (yet). Either way, the music of a series can only add to the atmosphere, and when it’s really good, make it that much more enjoyable and memorable.
The crazy factor.
The Japanese are known to have a lot of weirdness about them. I personally don’t know… Yes, there are few weird things, but I find them interesting in the very least. It always tends to keep you on your toes, and only goes to serve up the fact that you just never quite know what may happen next. The nice thing is they aren’t afraid to put everything out on the table. Whereas in the west, some companies write within ratings brackets, and anything taboo is too much to risk ratings and therefore sales/viewers on.
Suddenly, a side note appears!
Subs vs Dubs debate.
Oh. This. Yeah… About this… Do I prefer subs or dubs? Well, yes, I do tend to prefer subs. Now, before the sub haters begin their trolling and/or flame wars, I’d also like to point out that I also watch a few series dubbed, and most of them tend to be towards the top of my list. Why? Is it because I could enjoy the series without having to read and sometimes pause every few seconds to follow the story? No. Here’s why I like subs. I like the original material. The way it was meant to be produced and watched. You hear the actors act like the producer originally wanted them to sound, and in general, I find much more portrayed through the inflection and tone of a person’s voice than what they are actually saying. I find that Japanese tends to apply this more in regular speech than English since it is a phonetic language. The voices are also more likely to suit the characters and how you’d expect them to sound. That being said, I don’t care much for dubbed versions unless they are really good. Dubbing has gotten better over the years, but if the voice actors, especially the main characters, just aren’t into it, it ruins it for me. Also, the writers tend to change things around a bit; some more than others for whatever reason. What’s especially hard is when trying to explain things like a Japanese play on words and such. Most dubs will try to dance around these somehow and usually fail whereas most subs will point out how it’s relevant, giving a little extra culture lesson on top of something you can actually follow. So, all in all, for a good dub the actors and writers have to be top notch, which typically also means the anime must have been top notch in the first place for them to spend the time and money on it, making the dubbed versions I like rank fairly high. My general practice is if there’s a readily available dubbed version, I’ll watch the first one or two episodes in both to gauge which I like better, and continue from there. Now, hate me if you must.
So here we are. You should have a general idea of where I’m coming from while I do this, and hopefully you can make something out of it. Maybe you’ll just come to bitch about my critiques and how horrible they are, who knows. What I do know is that this is a place to record all that I’ve seen, and possibly help someone in the process.
As always, I’m on the lookout for new stuff to watch, (and eventually add here) so recommendations are always welcome; though a suggestion with a reason why I’d like it will definitely get more attention than just your list of the 500 anime series you’ve seen and therefore I MUST love.