Outstanding Anime

Aug 03 2006

A friend of mine was recently complaining that there’s no good anime coming out these days. I disagreed, strongly, but could only come up with a few examples off the top of my head. Here’s a more complete list, of shows that have come out in the past year:

  • Eureka 7 — A fusion of giant mecha and Cowboy Bebop. As of disc one, at least; who knows where this will go? But beautiful animation combines with a goofy and fun-loving take on standard anime tropes.
  • Mushishi — Every couple of years, anime has a dark, thought-provoking series; Key, lain, Boogiepop Phantom, and Kino’s Journey. This is the most recent one, in which a man wanders the Japanese countryside, resolving problems that come about from use and misuse of strange tiny creatures called mushi.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig — After a hit-and-miss first episode, this “second season” of Stand Alone Complex is at least as good as the first. Which is saying a lot; the first season was fantastic.
  • Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid — Never thought I’d put this on the list, but the third FMP! series delivers on all the promise of the first series: Great action, a lot of character conflict, and real diving into some of the characters’…well, character.
  • Coyote Ragtime Show just started airing a month ago, and while it has so many cliches…well, it uses them all with such enjoyable abandon that I couldn’t help enjoying every minute of it. When the opening sequence visually references both Ghost in the Shell and Gundam Seed, I grin. And it has some great action sequences.
  • I thought Ouran High School Host Club was another silly high school romantic comedy until I read a review that explained that it’s a parody of Revolutionary Girl Utena (in fact, about half of Ouran‘s staff worked on Utena). And then I got it: It’s taking a much lighter, comedic view of the adolescent struggles highlighted in Utena, telling a solid story while poking fun at cliches that Utena helped create.
  • Bokura ga Ita — Akitaroh Daichi’s latest show (he of the greatness that was Kodocha; Now and Then, Here and There; and Fruits Basket). He’s in his prime here, having great fun with a high school romance.
  • I can’t forget The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the big fan favorite of the past six months. It’s primarily a comedy, but it does so much more than that. When it ventures into mystery or action or drama, it does it perfectly.

Anyway. In other news, I’m off to Otakon this weekend, so I doubt I’ll be updating for a while. I’m nervous about it, as I always am. Anime conventions are always overwhelming, since there’s so much to see and do and take care of—parking, food, getting your badge, etc. I prefer things that are simple and easy and known, and cons are very much unknowns.

Comments:

Stephen Don’t forget Tsubasa Chronicles. I’ve never seen it but a friend of mine is quite hooked on it.

Also Prince of Tennis just finished its anime run last year, and it’s so utterly awesome.

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