Posts Tagged ‘Gurren Lagann’

Top 11 Favorite Anime Series

April 24, 2017

Top 11

I have read a few top lists for anime series (and movies) and there are some of the usual suspects and some that I have not seen yet. My top list may not be the most thoughtfully crafted, profound creations but I enjoyed them. A lot of these were also my gateway into the genre of anime and will be fondly remembered forever for that reason.


11 Record of Lodoss War

I did not see this one on any of the lists. I add this here because it combined anime with high fantasy. It is something that is Dungeons and Dragons-inspired. It is based on a bunch of Japanese fantasy novels but the look of it was definitely Western fantasy. It follows the hero Parn, the son of a dishonored knight who is trying to bring honor back to his family’s name. He is accompanied by his love, the high elf Deedlit, his mentor Slayn, Ghim, Etoh, and Woodchuck. The series eventually shifts to cover characters related to the first cast. It is basically a D&D party adventuring. The characters were always interesting and the adventure was fun to follow.


10 Lupin the 3rd

I love heist movies or heist shows (see Italian Job, Oceans 11, Leverage, The Sting, etc.). The twists and turns of the plans of legitimately skilled criminals are fun to watch. That is what Lupin the 3rd is about. Lupin is an infamous master thief who is descended from a family of master thieves. He pursues thievery with great joy and a flair for the dramatic. Of course, nothing goes right a hundred percent of the time so he is backed up by his crew of Goemon, Jigen, and Zenigata. All of them provide specialized skills to win the day. The art style was also really smooth and just had this international style. The show is mostly madcap capers with plenty of action and comedy.


9 Trigun

Cowboys. Who doesn’t love cowboys? Trigun was a great series about Vash the Stampede, also known as the Humanoid Typhoon. Wanted posters across the land bear the face of this more human than human gunfighter but he is actually a really nice guy. He constantly tries to protect people without blowing his cover. He is pursued by two agents named Millie and Meryl who are partners tasked with documenting the damage Vash inadvertently causes by combatting the bad guys. They and others get sucked into the combat, helping Vash save the day. The show has great artwork and stylistic, well-animated gun fights and combat in general. There is a lot of classic Wild West imagery thrown in with great science fiction technology. This show can get very dramatic but it has a lot of comic moments to lighten the mood.


8 Gurren Lagann

This was a later find for me thanks to a tip from Ross O’Donovan. I like this show because of the unbridled sense of optimism you get from it. No matter what the obstacles are, the characters find some crazy way to overcome it. It is famous for the line “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me! Believe in the Kamina that believes in you!” A line used to instill confidence in a character who constantly suffers from anxiety and low self-esteem. The show is full of all sorts of craziness with action, drama, and plenty of wacky comedy. It is about two young guys who emerge from an underground city in a post-apocalyptic land and recover two battle mechs. They team up with a rebellious faction to fight off the monsters and villains that plague the dangerous terrain around them. While things often look hopeless, they are a shining light in the darkness. It is pretty inspiring and sometimes very funny.


7 Naruto

This is kind of the anime I hear people refer to the most. Naruto follows a ninja student who is trying his hardest to be the best person he can be. Naruto was cursed to contain a demon beast inside of himself and he battles that with the help of his friends. The show also follows Naruto’s graduating class at the academy who are all interesting characters. The supporting cast is huge and there are so many characters I identify with and cheer on. Each ninja has their own signature set of powers and abilities that they use to fight with like manipulating the elements, cloning themselves, mind merging with a dog and changing shape among many, many powers. The show constantly surprises me with how dramatic it can be considering half of the characters are happy go lucky goofballs. The thing is, most of the characters are young and they act like you would expect young people to act. The animation is generally super bright and fluid which makes for excellent action scenes.


6 Mobile Fighter G Gundam

When I grew up playing a lot of video games, one of the biggest things in the arcades was fighting games. One of the most iconic fighting games of all time would have to be Street Fighter II where all the fighters represented their countries of origin. That is the feeling I got from watching G Gundam. The show is about a world where futuristic societies in orbit around Earth hold giant robot battles to settle political differences instead of fighting wars. The main protagonist is the representative from Neo-Japan but there are other main protagonists from Neo-America, Neo-France, Neo-China and Neo-Russia. Most episodes are about matches between the giant Gundam mechs who each have their own style of fighting and weaponry which often represent their country somehow. While I like earlier and later Gundam series, this one was so optimistic and energetic and was such a breath of fresh air.


5 One Piece

This one has the potential to be controversial not because this series is not popular but because I first fell in love with it during the 4Kids dub days. Luckily, they kept the same voice cast when the even better Funimation dub started up. Anyway, this is is a story about a young man with magical stretchy Mr. Fantastic powers who has a dream to be King of the Pirates. His goal is to recover a treasure in the most dangerous part of the ocean that will allow him to inherit the power and wealth of the famous Jolly Roger. Along the way, he forms a crew of misfits and underdogs who become a formidable team together. The action scenes are so fun as there are super-powered fistfights, sword fights, gun fights and so much more. The show is also pretty surreal with all kinds of animal people, altered humans and so many other creatures and all of it adds to the action and comedy of the show.


4 Fullmetal Alchemist

This show came when I was just about ready to get back into anime during college. It really resonated with me because it is about two brothers hanging together no matter what and that is how I feel about my brothers. The show is about a world where humans have discovered real workable alchemy and use it as a system of magic in combat. The animation is fluid and beautiful, especially during action sequences where the characters are using alchemy to battle one another. The show is about the conflict between the military, the people and the monsters somewhere in between the two. The Elric brothers stick together through thick and thin as dogs of the military, investigating threats to the nation and eventually uncovering something much bigger. The show is probably the darkest one on this list as the brothers deal with death, resurrection, atrocities, genocide and other grotesque things done by heroes and villains alike.


3 Cowboy Bebop

From the first notes of the show’s theme song, the show has a great jazz feel to it. The animation has mostly muted, softer colors and deep beautiful shadows. The show takes place in a science fiction world but it definitely has both a film noir and a wild west feel to it. The show is about three bounty hunters who do not always get along or work together and yet they share a ship together. Spike is a well-dressed, slick adventurer. Jet is a muscle-bound, older tracker. Faye is a charmer and a con artist. Along the way, they are joined by a girl genius named Ed and her hyper-intelligent dog Ein. The show is inspired by Lupin the 3rd but they took it even farther in feel and execution. There is a great central plot thread but they approached each episode as if it was a movie and it shows. Each episode is pretty much a self-contained story about these characters with a clear story arc. The show has a lot of light, funny moments but it also has a lot of poetic, darker moments.


Sailor Moon

I talked about this show yesterday but it bears repeating that this was such a great show. After I wrote yesterday’s post (which is actually more about me than the show), I watched the show again. Serena is told by a talking cat that she is the legendary Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice. She is joined by a whole team of Sailor Scouts mostly made up of her school friends. Together, they battle against the evil denizens of the Negaverse who want to hurt the citizens of Earth. The characters are so memorable to me and remind me of a lot of people I have known over the years. I have worked in a lot of female-dominated work environments in the past. It was also the first television show I watched that had gay characters in it which is amazing. Also, there is a male character who aids the female protagonist not by fighting her battles for her but by helping her remember who she is and how powerful she can be.


Seven Deadly Sins

This is a show I discovered last year and I am desperately waiting for Season 3. Season 2 was only four episodes long and the cliffhanger was awesome. Anyway, this show is about a group of seven legendary knights who were the best squad in the military service of a country called Leonis. They are the titular Seven Deadly Sins and they have been framed for crimes of treason and are actively being hunted. At the same time, they catch wind of a great danger to the nation and ride off to the rescue. There is so much to explore with this show and the best part is that I get to explore it with characters I would love to hang out with. The action scenes are some of the best I have seen, animated or not. The show just sparks my imagination in ways that few shows do. The show is not for children as there is plenty of gore and risque behavior but nothing feels gratuitous and, so far, there is always a happy ending right around the corner. The finale of the first season was also the first time I teared up in a while and also the first time I cheered at the screen at moments. It probably makes number one on this list because it is still ongoing and I desperately want more so badly.

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Media Update 6/16/2016

June 16, 2016


Seven Deadly Sins

I saw this pop on my Netflix feed and I thought that it sounded kind of interesting. “A princess finds a former knight at a pub and joins a quest to reunite his group of cavaliers in order to overthrow tyrants and restore the kingdom.” I immediately imagined a sort of animated fantasy Magnificent Seven and that sounded awesome. So I loaded it up and I was pleasantly surprised because it was immediately so much more than that. I love the colorful art style that sometimes clashes with the dark parts of the show. The show alternates between the wackiness of a One Piece and the drama of a Full Metal Alchemist and it does it really smoothly. The fight scenes have all been awesome and I have really fallen in love with just about every character. There are a lot of mysteries that are slowly unfolding and providing interesting twists and turns but in a very casual, natural way. The show manages to be legitimately funny which is quite a feat as most animes have a culture gap that makes them less funny to me. This might be my new favorite anime and Diane might be my new favorite anime character.


Yo-kai Watch

When I was in high school, Level 5 released a little thing called Pokemon and my video game life was changed forever. Those little pocket monsters were fun to catch and battle and the franchise continues to be pretty awesome. The video game and card game exploded in popularity in Japan and then the rest of the world. The anime premiered in the United States and I was hooked on that too. It gave me the perfect visual reference points to think about while I played the game since the game did not have the best graphics. Now, Level 5 has apparently hit gold again and released the Yo-Kai Watch series of games in Japan and those games and the new anime are just now hitting our shores. This show is different from Pokemon in a lot of ways but also strangely familiar. First, the “monsters” in the show are Yokai which are actual creatures from Japanese folklore. These creatures do not do battle with each other. At least they don’t usually do battle with each other. In the five episodes I have seen so far, there is only one yokai that likes to do battle and it sucks at it. Instead, the yokai often have psychological effects on people or other yokai. Yokai are friends, not slaves and help the protagonist out willingly and continuing their daily routine while not by his side. It makes for a little more common sense problem solving than actual combat and is kind of refreshing. The show is wonderfully weird and if you are a Pokemon fan, it’s definitely worth a shot.


Gurren Lagann

I wanted to check out Gurren Lagann because a couple of the Game Grumps announced that it was their favorite anime. I had no earthly idea what it was about but it was on Netflix and the character models looked pretty fun. They have kind of a fluid style that is very cartoony but still oddly real. I would say that Gurren Lagann is one part One Piece and one part G Gundam and maybe add a pinch of Dragonball. Go figure, all three of those shows are among my favorite anime series. The show follows two guys from an underground city who find things even crazier when they reach the surface. All of the characters are really interesting even though half of them are really wacky. Kamina is especially loveably wacky with his iconic line “Believe in the Kamina who believes in you!”. The show so far is ultimately about the power of positive thinking and how even the craziest plans can work if you just work together. I have not seen yet why somebody would call it their favorite but I can see why people would like it. I definitely recommend checking it out as it has awesome, epic moments.

Music of the Week:

Beartooth – Aggressive
Underworld – If Rah
The Kills – Doing It To Death
East Coast Avengers – Avengers Assemble
Voodoo Glow Skulls- Insubordination

Weekly Updates:
– I am almost done with season 2 of Person of Interest and it so much better than the pilot
– I started to watch Turn season 2 and there is Ksenia Solo in it!!
– Yet more of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries watched and it’s great
– I watched Ant-Man again and it was just as good the second time
– Finding Dory comes out and I’m interested
– I watched TNA again. What a dumpster fire.
– This week’s theme is “Anime”


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