Anime Favorites Project

Well, here will be the place with my list of 10 Personal Favorite Anime Shows. I know that I did post one way back in the Fall of 2011, but since that time I have given it some more thought and decided to put together a more cohesive list with explanations as to why these are on my list.
This will be a countdown from 10 all the way down to 1, starting in October....

10-Neon Genesis Evangelion
Well, for me, Evangelion is the anime that I can say was my gateway into anime back in my high school days. I remember back when I first saw this anime as two VHS tapes (Episodes 1-4) at the local Blockbuster, renting them several times over. I was amazed at the giant robots and the spectacle. I got the DVDs, first the original release then later the Platinum edition of the series. I quite like the series, even if it has flaws the depth of canals. The animation has not aged well, the story runs out of steam by end and much of the main cast are unlikeable in one respect or another.
That being said, the fact that this show is still looked at and analyzed to this day, when most of its contemporaries aren't, says something about this. The fact that it very much changed the anime landscape up to the present day cannot be ignored. The last two episodes of the series are perhaps the best experimental animation I have seen that does make sense. End of Eva is both the most confusing and yet inherently sensible anime movie I have seen in my life (The Utena movie comes close). Watching End of Eva is an experience that I believe every fan of anime should see at least once.

However, this is at the bottom of the list simply because I have watched far better stuff then Evangelion since. It's a good show, don't get me wrong, but the rest of the list contains series that are just better in my opinion.
Link: Evangelion Rebuild 1-2 Review (May 2013)

9-Bodacious Space Pirates
This show is a whole lot of fun and very entertaining. I mean, the freaking title should tell you that much right off the bat. Of course, I went into this anime with next to zero expectations because it seemed to me to be another fanservice-heavy show with little substance. It turns out that, after watching the first episode, this easily got my attention. I love science fiction because it is so open to various takes and perspectives of the human condition and how it changes through time. With Bodacious Space Pirates, it explores a rather optimistic take on the future where piracy is legally sanctioned and outer space is treated as a nautical adventure then anything else. It essentially tells the coming of age for Marika, who goes down as one of many favorite female lead characters in anime, at least in my book. Her journey from a normal school girl to pirate captain is a very good , with plenty of twists and turns in the process.
But more than that, this show is just lots of fun. The moment that made me realize that was the duel scene in episode 6 between Kane and Marika. The energy and drive present is amazing, the dialogue sparkling with wit and charm. Not to say it's the only highlight of the series for me: the Lynn/Jenny subplot, the dinghy race with Ai-chan, etc. Yet on the same note, it doesn't let the drama down at the expense to the comedy/entertainment.
Granted this show is low on this list as this series has been a fairly recent anime that I have watched. But I still enjoy it immensely.
Link: BSP 3 Reasons Article on AR (August 2013)

8-El Hazard the Magnificent World
Wow, what a fantastic show! El Hazard has it all when it comes to 90s fantasy anime: great premise, wide cast of likeable and engaging characters, the vast epic of the story and setting made clear in 7 episodes, wonderful animation even for its time, etc. This, along with Tenchi is what made AIC a powerhouse studio of 90s anime with series like Burn Up, Battle Athletes, etc.
Unfortunately, this entry does require an asterisk, as the first OVA of this series is the only one that is any kind of good. This is due to the premise of the time loop, which can lend itself to so many opportunities. Unfortunately, they squandered it badly. The Second OVA tries but fails to match up to the first OVA, Wanderers is a bloated retelling of the first OVA, and the Alternative World ends on the worst onsen episode ever, forever unfinished. That is a dang shame, in my book.

Still, the OP rocks my green socks off anyway.
Link: El Hazard the Magnificent World review (September 2012)

If there has to be a pinnacle of not only Gainax anime, but of the entire giant robot genre, then Diebuster certainly belongs up there. I have yet to see the original Gunbuster, but as a standalone work Diebuster works just as well. The story is fantastic, the characters likeable and memorable (Nono and Lal'C in particular), and the central message really speaks to me in a huge way. Everything about this show is excellent: the animation, music, voice acting, etc. Seriously, just read my review on it anyway!
Link: Diebuster review (April 2013)

If Diebuster is the pinnacle for Gainax when it comes to giant robot genre, this is their pinnacle of anime comedy. This series is crazy and insane, over the top animation and I love it for that quality. Sure the animation derps and dips from time to time, but the cheapness is charming. Yeah, I have seen it countless times (and even own it on DVD now), but it is a show that I like to rewatch again and again.
Once again, its ending song 'Ride on Shooting Star' rocks my socks off.
Link: FLCL review (January 2014)

At first, I wasn't too thrilled at first with this series. I felt it was an over-hyped series that only hipsters like. However, when I got it for Christmas last year, it grew on me. This show seems to revel in its own special brand of insanity and it is glorious. Granted, I might have to rewatch this one as some of the plot elements weren't exactly clear, but I quite like this show. Once again, trying to keep this short as I plan on reviewing this later at some point.
Baccano review (March 2014)

4-Sakura Wars
AH yes, this utterly fantastic show. The first of the shows on this list done in part by mangaka Kosuke Fujishima, well in cojunction with Hiroi Ouji and Satoru Akahori anyway. This is probably the best anime based slightly on Super Sentai I have seen. There is just so much I like about this show: be it the mecha, the great character team dynamic, the fabulous Kohei Tanaka music or the rather good animation that the show has (this was done by Madhouse by the way). Once again, the opening song is one of my all time favorite anime songs.

3-Ah My Goddess
Ah yeah, the best story Fujishima has ever penned, and a series that continues to the present day more or less. It is also the most looked on this blog, by far. The story of Belldandy and Keiichi Morisato is really a quintessential romance in anime, probably one of the best in the genre. It is also one of the best franchise AIC did (other than Tenchi Muyo). I mean seriously, read my reviews for this great show already!
Link: OMG OVA Part 1OMG OVA Part 2OMG Movie  (February 2012)
AMG Season 1 OVA (November 2013)

Note: Entries #2 and #1 are practically inter-changeable, depending on my mood or whim

2-Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Well, well: the series that in many ways a magnum opus, not just of the magical girl genre, but of anime as a whole. It was one of those shows that very much changed my life when it comes to anime. Everything works here nearly perfectly: the animation, characters, writing, music, etc. The only minor things go against that are just quibbles that don't really diminish from the series overall. Once again, just check out my review for it!
Link: Madoka (September 2013)

1-Read or Die (OVA and TV Series)

So, I end my list of Anime Favorites with the one that got me hooked into anime in the first place. And yes I include both the OVA and TV Series as they are both fantastic, though in different ways. The OVA is a great sci-fi action movie, at least when I saw first back in the day. The TV Series, in addition to being really great sci-fi action stuff, has some really good character drama and comedy (at times) interlaced within. It doesn't hurt that this is my all-time favorite due to my immense love of books and reading combined with my enthusiasm for spy action movies.  Plus, I find that the TV series is criminally under-rated but then again it had a limited airing here in the States so no need to fuss more on it. This list ends with Evangelion, the series that gave me that initial hook, while Read or Die which ends it, is the series that cement my own interest in anime on the whole.
Link: ROD OVA (January 2012),  ROD the TV (July 2013)

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