My favorite animes

Princess Tutu … one of the best animes ever made.  And that is despite its silly title.  Or the fact that a brief description would be:  a duck turns into a girl turns into a magic girl ballet princess.  This is simply one of the most beautiful and beautifully crafted works of art in anime. (It also has funny bits.)  The most wonderful thing is that the first half has a storybook ending, but the second half has an ending that is much more satisfying, even if there’s a bit of pain (but “without a hurt, the heart is hollow,” right?).  There’s also a mindflip for watchers.  What is really going on?

My favorite animes are generally ones centered around people changing each other for the better, often healing each other, but sometimes just spurring each other on to greater heights.  That’s a theme in Japanese anime that I really like– we can help each other be who we want to be.  [We will ignore my guilty pleasure of harem animes for the nonce– the following do not fit into that category… for the most part.]

Kenshin :  A story of redemption… a killer samurai in the Meiji era decides never to kill again.  So he becomes a wanderer.  But there’s a problem when you’re really good at killing– people want you to do it more… and sometimes bad guys want to do bad things and you have to prevent them without becoming bad yourself.

Fruits Basket :  A story based on the zodiac… a family with a secret.  An orphan girl who finds them.  Healing.

HimeChan’s Ribbon :  A great children’s anime.  Hime-chan becomes a magic girl with the help of accessories from her doppelganger from the magic kingdom.  She’s so genki!

Ouran High School Host Club :  A smart but poor student gets a full scholarship to a rich kid’s academy.  Breaks a vase.  Has to pay it off by working at an after school club called the Host Club.  And people grow up and change and find their families.

Natsume Yujincho :  A boy is able to see spirits trapped against their wills and sets about freeing them.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge :  a somewhat creepy goth chick ends up sharing a house with attractive young gentlemen.  Her aunt is giving them free rent if they turn her into a lady.  She resists, and changes them instead.

Kodocha :  A super feisty girl actress… her life, her mom, her school, her drama… Frenetic anime.

Slayers  How could you not love Lina Inverse?  She’s small and eats a lot and kicks ass.  Skip the dub on this one– one of the characters’ English dub drives me batty.

Noir :  This one is a drama and not really about redemption… but wow, beautiful music, mind-flipping story, and man, can these female assassins make killing look beautiful.  The popcorn episode…

Currently watching:  Sgt. Frog (via Netflix– so there are a lot more episodes!).  The US dub on this one is hiLARious.  I’m sure they’ve taken a lot of liberties and they have fun with that.  I’m curious what the original Japanese is like.

[Note it says “My” instead of “Our” because um, #2 feels the same way about anime that she does about mushrooms, only maybe even more contemptuous.]

Anyone else an anime fan?  (*crickets chirping*)  What do you like to watch?  Also:  sub or dub?  (I promise I won’t judge if you say dub… dubs are getting better…)

41 Responses to “My favorite animes”

  1. Tree of Knowledge Says:

    Thank you for the list! Husband and I have been looking for good anime on Netflix and sometimes it’s so hard to tell from the descriptions. But since we really liked Fruits Basket, I trust your list. You’d probably like Mushi-Shi too.

    Too often I find I’m just trying to find another Ranma.

  2. Foscavista Says:

    My college roommate was into Anime. Perhaps through Stockholm Syndrome, I enjoyed “Sailor Moon.”

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Hee, not one I’ve ever been able to get into. But I haven’t tried that hard either.

      I hooked my college roommate on Kenshin. :) Actually, I hooked a *lot* of people on Kenshin. It’s such a compelling story with such likeable and complex characters. At the time most people had only ever seen Akira and maybe Ranma if they were lucky, so something as well developed both dramatically and from a character perspective (including a sense of humor) was a huge change in their perception of the genre.

      (Many thanks to my college friend who hooked me!)

  3. becca Says:

    I love Kodocha! Though it has a very strong memory link with my ex, so uhm… odd.
    Partner recently found Rosario on netflix. I loved it. And others I shan’t mention on a family blog.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sana-Chan transcends exes. Will check out Rosario.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I see it is a school girl vampire anime…

        There was a really sweet vampire anime that I liked, about a girl who is a reverse vampire and gives people blood (and courage)…but I can’t remember what it’s called. I didn’t like the ending in I think the manga but did like the ending in the anime, I think. (Or maybe it was vice versa).

  4. Rumpus Says:

    I think I’ve seen at least a couple episodes of most of the ones you mention. Yamata Nade… is the one where the girl is a chibi goth chick almost all the time, right? I thought she was just a little girl until all of a sudden she sprung up like a mushroom, and then next scene she was chibi again.

    Is Kodocha the one with the girl that just won’t stop? It’s like watching a house with triplets, but it’s just one girl.

    Noir is great, although I only caught little bits of it. Like the part where she chased the guy down with the axle off a toy car.

    I really like the bread anime. They do the cool finger wiggle thing. Is that the one with the disco theme song? That’s my favorite theme song for any show ever. Aw yeah. I would totally make that my theme song.

    Kenshin’s good in multiple aspects. The people are fleshed out, though I seem to recall not really liking one of them so much…the fighter in white? Or was it the kid? Kenshin has a very interesting character and shtick. The fights are interesting, and it’s all pretty. Kenshin and Princess Tutu are probably the two animes I would show someone if I were trying to convince them that anime can be literary or art.

    Oh, and there’s that boxing one. the one with the Dempsey roll…Hajime no Ippo, Note that you can train based on this anime

    Hm…there’s also that one about cooking. The one where the guy stood on his thumbs to make gnocci, and they had to find the magical cooking implements or something. I like food-based animes.

    Oh, oh, and Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. That was entertaining, not the least due to the crazy masters the poor guy had, but then at the end when he chameleon’s them it took it up to another level.

    I know there are more, but I’ve mostly forgotten them. Various space-themed animes, for instance.

    • Rumpus Says:

      Wait! Wait! Forget the above youtube for the disco theme. It’s totally lacking without the right video.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        This is a great morning music video to start one’s day with. D R E A M… Get your move on, get your groove on…

        Better believe in yourself!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’ve seen about half of Yakitate Japan! And yes, I love the disco song. Hajime no Ippo is good too… oh, and that one about Go… what’s it called… something go…Hikaru no go? All those sports training animes are nice. I like the focus on practice practice practice. And guts too, I guess. I can’t remember what that cooking one is called, but it’s good.

      Yes, the goth chick looks chibi most of the time. Sana Chan has a tonne of energy.

      Space themed: I think Vandread was pretty good, Cowboy Bebop, um…Banner of the stars… Full metal panic (or was that just mecha? I loved Fumoffu!)

      I also liked Azumanga Diaoh which is kind of like Seinfeld but with Japanese school girls. And a small tiger.

    • Rumpus Says:

      There’s also the creepy doll anime. I think Jonathan Coulton could’ve provided the music for that anime

      What I don’t understand is why the various protagonists (in any anime) have to get naked during their cutscene before they can turn into a superhero(ine).

      I like ones with battles, one on one in a ring, using a proxy…like pikachu, but not that one. I think my absolute favorite is one in which they were using spirits with freaky powers, and the really powerful spirit was just eating all the other ones. I wish I could remember the name of that one.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s like, *which* of the fight animes where they have spirits with freaky powers… there were a lot of them. Like the one where the dude is a demon king. All I remember about it other than that is that there were only 3 episodes on a disc and i had to up my netflix subscription to keep up in grad school.

        Oh! And there’s Angelic Layer! With a little girl and her fighting doll… that one is good too.

        Speaking of demon kings, there’s another one with a demon king I really liked where the main character gets flushed down the toilet and becomes a demon king… Kyo Karah Maoh or something?

      • Rumpus Says:

        Oh right, the one where he had a team of people in the ring with him? Uh, and I think there was a whip…maybe someone that was superfast? But that’s different because there aren’t any proxies, they were in the ring themselves.

        I’m thinking of one with a bell. Anyway, it was cool.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m still thinking that could describe like 20 different animes. The first one must have been popular.

    • Rumpus Says:

      Can’t forget Those Who Hunt Elves. Wikipedia states it best “The reaction of various elves as the team attempts to strip them naked is a primary basis for much of the show’s humour, and are more ridiculous than risqué.”

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Snicker. Yes, those who hunt elves is quality… not the same kind of quality as the previously listed animes, but definitely some kind of quality…

      • Rumpus Says:

        Is it really that much worse than Lina Inverse and her, er, not-well-development?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I always thought it was so anime typical how Lina Inverse has a typical anime-sized chest (note: the majority of the animes listed in the post are beyond that… higher quality, less stereotypical), but she’s always being teased for how small it is… and it is smaller than the other female characters who must have serious back problems.

      • Rumpus Says:

        That’s an important point. Much like reading comics, much of anime is stereotypical and doesn’t rise above mindless pleasure. The animes you listed (that I know of) are mostly of the higher quality…set above most. Unfortunately, I think most animes that gets wide play in the US are not so high of quality. Naruto isn’t bad, but that Ghost in the Machine movie was poor, and Avatar is just blah and with odd (American?) overtones. Or they start out really good and then falter, like Trigun.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I haven’t seen Ghost in the Machine. I think Avatar isn’t technically anime– I think it’s 100% American.

        Yeah, what was up with Trigun? I think I gave it a 3 in Netflix because the first part is awesome and then it sucked.

        And, of course, there are great Miyazaki movies. American audiences should be familiar with many of them, even if my mom refuses to watch them. (But Moooommmm they’ve been dubbed by Disney!) Even the Diana Wynne Jones one about Howl’s Moving Castle!

        And another silly pleasure: Lupin the third! I love the theme. doot dooot doooo doot doot doooo… though some of the movies suck. Not the one by Miyazaki though; it is great.

      • Rumpus Says:

        But now I feel compelled to mention the existence of certain…less than stellar episodes of Kenshin. I believe there were pirates…

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My spiritual Kenshin guide hid the existence of those episodes from me. I had no idea that most of that entire season existed until I bought the anime (and at $20 for every 3 episodes, boy was I annoyed). Apparently that’s what happens when the anime catches up with the manga. Luckily they were able to fit in the Shishio arc before the series was cancelled. The Manga’s last arc is even more compelling, but the OVAs for the last arc suck. The OVAs for the pre-story are beautiful and amazing (and really really sad… but it’s nice knowing he will meet Kaoru later) and one of my students gave me the sound track when I was in grad school and I love it.

    • Rumpus Says:

      What about that one with the guy that turns into a wolf and the priest with the black hole in his hand? That one has character growth/exploration.

      • Rumpus Says:

        I wish I had a black hole in my hand. It would make cleaning the house so much easier.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Inu Yasha? I never did finish that one. That’s by the same person who did Ranma. It was good but I thought it kind of dragged once it caught up to the Manga. Same thing with Naruto.

        I even saw Maison Ikokku (by the Ranma person)… and it really did become worth watching near the end, even though I couldn’t stand any of the characters at the beginning, their development was amazing. Not something I have time for these days.

      • Rumpus Says:

        Yeah, Ranma and Inu Yasha never end.
        Maison Ikokku did have great character development.

  5. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I love anime. My first was Ranma as well. I got into Sailor Moon but the Japanese ones. My absolute favorite was Escaflowne. I also loved Fushigi-Yugi. Is Kenshin the one I’m thinking of? They later did Samurai X? I think we’re talking about the same one. It was called something besides Kenshin wasn’t it? Something with an R….
    I like Clamp a lot so I liked the movie X. I also loved Vampire Princess Miyu. How do I watch all of these awesome suggestions of yours?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ruroni Kenshin… where Ruroni is supposed to mean wanderer but it doesn’t really. And yes, Samurai X is the very beautiful but heartbreakingly sad back-story.

      The ones with links you can watch for free on animenewsnetwork. The ones without links some are available on netflix. Hime Chan’s ribbon is partially available on youtube, but I’m not sure there’s a good legal way to get it.

      You like things a bit edgier (and weirder!) than most of the stuff I’ve listed. :) I’m trying to come up with other good suggestions in that vein, but only mentally coming up with CLAMP stuff I’m sure you already know about.

  6. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Ruroni! YES! I loved that one. It was funny!

    Wow I had no idea about AnimeNewsNetwork having free anime to watch. SO EXCITING. Hello, weekend!

    The reason I like a lot of the weird, edgy stuff is because I was a teenage girl surrounded by teenage guys into anime. So we never watched cute stuff. We would watch the Ghost in the Shell tv shows for instance. Fushigi doesn’t START edgy but it ends up that way. I thought I would hate it in the beginning but then it got awesome.

    There was another CLAMP that I started watching but then couldn’t get a hold of the rest of it. It was a girl with a card? SUPER kawaii. I should just google CLAMP.

    Like I’ve told you, I’ve gotten the kids addicted to Miyazaki. Haven’t shown then Mononoke yet but I will. That was one of the first really well done dubs I can remember.

    *sigh* Memories

    • MutantSupermodel Says:

      Oh there was also Vampire Hunter D. And recently Blood: The Last Vampire.
      Funny enough, the only way I can watch gore and violence is in anime.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      ack, just deleted my comment.. I’ve been doing that a lot today

      Anime has also changed a lot since we were in high school– there’s a lot more in-depth story lines and characters that aren’t just the stereotypical boy/girl anime of years past. It’s become more broadly appealing.

      Miyazaki rocks!

      • MutantSupermodel Says:

        For some reason, I never got the notifications on the rest of your comments! Stupid moody WordPress. I’m going to try and do some anime-watching this weekend after the kids go to bed since my plans LAST weekend got yanked. Noir sounds really familiar. I think I heard of it but never saw it. I’m honestly just glad to be able to get back into it. it used to be SO hard to get a hold of anime and expensive too.

  7. Virginia Says:

    I’d like to check a few of these out. I watch One Piece but this anime has been going on for more than 10 years so it would take you forever to get through it. I think it is the most popular anime series ever.

    I also really enjoy Fairy Tail. That one has been going on for awhile too.

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