Genre: Space Opera
No. of Episodes: 26
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: In the distant future, the human race has been scattered across galaxies into various “tribes”: The ancestral Golden Tribe, the Silver Tribe, and the Bronze Tribe, who caused so much chaos that they were transformed into powerful beings called Nodos and subservient to the other Tribes. Humanity is called the Iron Tribe and seen as a threat to the Silver Tribe.
One day, the starship Argonaut and the clairvoyant princess Dhianeila find a child-like human named Age who can transform into a Nodos named Bellecross (despite being raised by the Golden Tribe). Could Age be the key to save and unite the Tribes?
Studio/Creator: Studio 4°C/Asmik Ace/Beyond C/Rentrack Japan Go/Gainax/Production IG/Robin Nishi
Distributor: No American company has released this on DVD, however Netflix carries it.
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 5/10
Summary: Nishi is a 20-year-old aspiring manga-ka who meets his childhood crush, Myon, on the subway. He declares his love for her, but she is actually engaged to someone else. They go to her father’s restaurant, where we meet Ryo, her fiancée, her elder sister, and her father. Suddenly, two yakuza gangsters enter and threaten to kill and rape Myon. Her boyfriend is knocked out, unable to help. Nishi tries to stop them, but is literally shot in the butt, where he dies and meets God. Unable to accept his death, Nishi runs right past God back to the world of the living, where he gets a second chance. He kills the yakuza and then escapes with both Myon and her sister, eventually ending up in the belly of a whale.
(Note: this review covers the first series and its sequel, Kaleido-star: New Wings
Creator/Studio: Junichi Sato/Gonzo
No. of Episodes: 52
Age Rating: 13+ (just barely)
Summary: Sora Naegino is an orphaned Japanese girl who is adopted by her father’s cousin and his wife. Before her parents’ death, they took her to America to see the Kaleidostage, an acrobatic circus similar to Cirque De Soleil. This memory inspires her to travel to America in the hopes to star in it herself. There she meets a fairy called the Fool or the Spirit of the Stage. He can only be seen by those who are destined to excel in the theatre. Can Sora achieve her dreams?
Creator/Studio: Tetsurō Kasahara/Madhouse
No. of Episodes: 12
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 5/10
Summary: It is the year 2025, and an organization called GGP has taken over the world. The anime centers on Rin Ogata, a ballet dancer who is injured and learns of robotic motorcycles called Ridebacks that can help her get around. However, she learns that she is now targeted by the government.
Creator/Studio: Kazuya Minekura/Studio Peirott/Dentsu
Distributor: AEsir Holdings (division of ADV)
No. of Episodes: 50
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 8/10
Summary: Four adventurers bound by fate–Sanzo Genjo, Sho Hakkai, Son Goku, and Sha Gojyo–take their dragon that turn into a jeep on a journey to retrieve the Matten Scriptures, hoping to resolve tension between humans and demons. Impeding their progress is a rival party hoping to intercept them and use the powers in the scriptures for their own nefarious schemes. The story is loosely inspired by the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.
The idea that you are going to like every anime title you watch is foolhardy. I’ve found several titles I didn’t like at all throughout my anime viewing. So I’ve decided to close out my celebration of reaching over 150 posts by posting my top 10 worst anime titles. I hope I don’t offend too many people with this list.
10. Deadman Wonderland–I have an aversion to overtly gory or sexual series. This one seems to glorify its violence and I just felt uncomfortable the whole time I watched it.
9. Tenchi in Tokyo–How do you make a bad Tenchi Muyo? How about make all the heroines annoying and weak in order to make the new villain stronger? How about changing the origin for the third time in a row? How about wasting the opportunity to move the story forward?
8. Pom Poko–This anime disproves the idea that Studio Ghibli can do no wrong. It’s way too preachy and did we really need those jokes about the male tanookis you-know-whats? I tried so hard to like this one, but in the end, I couldn’t like it.
7. Speedgrapher–This series had a lot of potential. It had mystery and intrigue and had a great dark future. But it really revved up the disturbing nature as much as it could and made me feel more and more uncomfortable, to the point that I stopped watching it after 10 episodes.
6. Tales From Earthsea–This was the most disappointing anime from Studio Ghibli I ever watched. What made it so disappointing was that I loved the Earthsea books from Ursula K. LeGuin, so I had high hopes that this would be faithful. But in the end, it was as if the movie crammed the whole series into one two-hour movie. That’s at least 4 books. You can’t do that in two hours.
Last week, I gave you my top 20 anime series. This time, I’m continuing my celebration with my top 20 anime movies.
20. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro— Before Hayao Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli, he made this movie featuring one of his heroes, Lupin III. We get to see early examples of his style of animation that he would later use in his own studio.
19. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade–A great alternate history story from the creator of Ghost in the Shell that even uses “Red Riding Hood” motifs in a subtle way, without beating you over the head with its symbolism.
18. Secret World of Arriety While it’s not made by Miyazaki, it shows that Studio Ghibli can still make beautiful movies. I love the way it shows the perspective of its heroine and how big everything looks.
17. Read Or Die (OVA) Meet Yomiko Readman, a secret agent who can bring paper objects to life. Think actual working giant paper airplanes! It’s a truly imaginative work.
16. Memories Three separate stories from the creator of Akira. In my opinion, this is a better showcase of Otomo’s talent than Akira, because you actually get a full story.
15. Steamboy–Katsuhiro Otomo ditches his post-apocalyptic motifs for a steampunk story about a boy inventor. And did I mention Patrick Stewart’s in the dub?
14. Perfect Blue: Satoshi Kon’s first movie shows all the brilliance of this animator who was gone far too soon. It’s a story of paranoia worthy of Hitchcock.
13. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (aka Knocking on Heaven’s Door)– The bounty hunters of the Bebop are back with all the fun of the series, just on a bigger budget.
12. Project A-ko: I admit this is a guilty pleasure, but it’s fun to watch A-ko kick robot butt.
11. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind–This was Studio Ghibli’s first major movie and a grand epic. It was also the first anime that the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion worked on.