My top 5 list 1)Welcome to the NHK:A pretty interesting character study of a hikkikomori, a good example of a narrative that prompts you to empathize with a character while also finding him despicable. Definitely a very personal pick because unlike Eva, if you can't relate to the MC there is nothing here for you 2)NGE(Evangelion):I should not have to expand upon this pick too much. It's the most influential and generation crossing anime since Akira, and I watched it when I was a really impressionable 15/16 yr old(can't quite remember) 3)Death Note:Speaking of angsty teenagers, Death Note is probably one of the only pieces of anime that crosses over to pop-culture that I believes deserves it. It's playful,fun,angsty, and an emotionally gripping narrative that asks basic questions of morality(if you squint at it hard enough). Albeit it does lose steam during the second half 4)The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya:Haruhi, despite being completely unrelated, comes closest to capturing the spirit of 80's-90's Gainax. Anime for anime's sake; It understands the fandom,tropes, and culture and demonstrates that knowledge in a self referential, reflective way that few other anime really do. For everything this show attempts, it executes it very well. 5)Perfect Blue:Everyone owes it to themselves to watch a Satoshi Kon film and this is the best place to start. Not just because it is his directorial debut, but because it is quick, punchy, and effective.
completed - (1) Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu - The best anime spinoff I have seen. An actual improvement upon the original series that I watched a few months back.
The show doubled down by focusing on what captivated the audience about the original series. That being the more slice of life aspects contrasted with the weird military plotlines. This spinoff rightly gave the audience what it really wanted from the original by making this a less serious, kind of goofy and dumb-at-times anime romcom. I could do a full review because I think there is some stuff dig into here in terms of the side characters and direction.
Something that I did want to touch on briefly which I think is something so brilliant about this spinoff in general is how it really clarifies my understanding of the first series. I thought Sousuke was the main character as opposed to Kaname was simply because he is a male and he is the one driving forward the plot. There is another explanation though. From a narrative sense, like all sitcom characters. Sousuke is a dysfunctional character that we want to see happy. This series. Spending summertime in Japan with the ability to just live a normal life, is his slice of happiness. It is also what makes this spinoff so rewarding because we get to see this series from Sousuke's perspective and understand why this usually mundane, slice of life episodes/subplots work in execution and have a fresher perspective.
This is a strong 8/10. It really reminded me of the better episodes of the forgotten but still great Kimagure Orange Road. It's a rom-com at its core but it has the ability to be slow and introspective, it has the ability to be comedic and the ability to also be fast paced when it wants to. The only reason I am not giving it a 9 is simply due to the fact that there are a handful of throwaway episodes here. Most of which come towards the end of the series unfortunately.
Full Metal Panic! - This is one of the first shows that I have binged in it's entirety in a long time so it is fair to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. Albeit not perfect
I really, really, loved when this show would set up the dichotomy of the grimdark war story with the peaceful mundaneness of civilian life. I believe this was the first full length anime directed by Kyoto Animation and it shows in a good way. Their visual flair, and the care that they took with trying to get the direction right really shows. The story can be hokey and somewhat bland in areas. Which was one of the reasons I put this on hold initially.
To be fair most of the problems in this were from a storytelling point of view not in the production. It went the Ruroni Kenshin, Inuyasha route where it had an ongoing villain who just mysteriously would not die and kept popping back up to create conflict/tension in the plot. The character development was virtually non-existent for some characters and the narrative was not that complex or multilayered.
For the story it was trying to execute (a simple anime rom-com with mechs) it is very good and I want to make that clear. Overall, in comparison to other anime before and since it is something that should be saved until you have nothing else to watch.
watching - (2) Dennou Coil - I watched like 6 episodes(?) of this almost a year ago and thought I should give my updated thoughts.
Um, I didn't like it. I didn't find it unwatchable, but it generally has such a lackadaisical pace without giving the audience any reason to continue watching this. I wasn't sure where it was going, what were the stakes, the mystery was extremely understated. I might come back to it, but without the story developing in any compelling direction i don't know why i would continue to watch this.
Jujutsu Kaisen - I just have to come to the conclusion that I really am not a huge fan of shounen. At this point in my life I need a story with clear parameters for a beginning and ending and not something that can just drag on forever.
I can see why this caught on. The artwork and aesthetic really pops and standouts which is half the battle for a shounen jump action show because people already kind of know what to expect going in.
on hold - (1) GTO - I enjoyed it for what it was worth, but after about 20 or so episodes it feels very repetitive. Everyone is out to get Onizuka and through sheer willpower, and a little bit of help he pulls it out.
I can definitely see why this was such a big hit. Onizuka as a character is very relatable. He is not "elite" in anyway possible, but he has a big heart and a sense of pride that is very relatable. I wish the series fully fleshed out it's secondary characters so they feel as believable as Onizuka, instead of being just antagonistic caricatures.
dropped - (1) Attack on Titan - Attack on Titan - This show is fine and serviceable. Like it is exciting and not completely unwatchable by any sense of the imagination, however, it is just dumb. Like the show has no focus and is just all over the place. Also, it is super clear to me that the mangaka doesn't at all think about how to resolve or conclude these plot points and the only thing he is able to do effectively is character deaths and plot twists. The worldbuilding is also good, and the general plot and setup is extremely creative. Unfortunately you just need more than that to make a good show. Like the underlying pathos and message of attack on titan is lost on me and it just really is a trifle. I can see why people enjoy it but it really isn't for me at all.
10)Transcendent media. Art that manages to be more than the sum of its parts
Ex: Bebop, Eva
A crowning achievement in animation, that holds significant artistic merit in terms of storytelling, characterization, and thematic purpose. I don't hold the notion that 9/10 should rarely be given as a rule-of-thumb, if a show deserves it I have no qualms awarding this score.
Ex: GiTS, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Higurashi(When They Cry), Perfect Blue, Flowers of Evil
An anime that is carefully crafted and reaches significant emotional heights. With noteworthy characterization, atmosphere, genre subversion, comedy, etc. However, it falls short of what it was intending to accomplish or has noticeable flaws.
Ex: Ocean Waves a.k.a: I Can Hear The Sea, Death Note, 5 cm/sec, Darker Than Black Season 1, Welcome to the NHK,, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
A show that manages to retain your interest and leaves an impression, but critically has a host of flaws that detract from your enjoyment significantly
Ex: Another, InuYasha, Angel Beats, Clannad, Kimagure Orange Road, Now and Then Here and There
6) Meh. Middle of the road, boring/uninteresting or down-right frustrating
Ex: Voices of a distant star, Erased
5) Did not pass the three episode test
4 )Did not even bother watching the second episode
3)Turned that craap off in the first thirty minutes
2)Turned that craaaap off in the first twenty minutes
1)So bad it manages to be the running joke of all other animes.