Jamie's Top 5 Anime
When I first sat down to write this list, I thought it would be easy. But it turned out to be a lot more difficult than I'd first anticipated.
Not only did I need to come up with my top 5 anime, but I'd also have to rank them. I thought that picking them out would be hard enough, but figuring out which ones I liked more than the others proved to be even harder.
I've struggled through and come up with my ordered list and here it is, dear readers.
Come with me on a journey as I recount my top five, in reverse order:
5. Shin Chan
One thing you'll learn about me (and very quickly) is that I really dig the absurd, and it doesn't get much more absurd than Crayon Shin Chan.
It started life as a manga (as most great anime often do) in 1990, with the anime appearing 2 years later. Unlike the manga (which ended in 2010), the anime is still going to this day.
It follows the adventures of Shin-chan, the 5 year old titular character, and his family. He is widely inappropriate and down-right silly.
Shin Chan is the only show in this list that I haven't watched in the original Japanese. This is because I don't think I'll ever be fast enough to keep up with his constant 言葉遊び ("Kotoba asobi") or word play if I were to watch in the original Japanese.
If you like your shows to be down-right silly, I would definitely recommend Shin Chan.
Mitsudomoe (literally, "three way struggle") is another absolutely absurd anime, this time it's about 6th graders.
It follows the lives of three sisters: Futaba, Hitoha, and Mitsuba (left to right in the above image) as the make their way through the 6th grade. As with Shin Chan, Mitsudomoe was originally a manga; but unlike Shin Chan, Mitsudomoe was a short form manga with a joke every few panels - similar to Garfield or Peanuts.
The Japanese absolutely love word play, and this is apparent in the names of the three sisters. When you arrange them in age order (oldest to youngest), they are みつば (Mitsuba), ふたば (Futaba), and ひとは (Hitoha); these names can be translated as "Three leaf", "Two leaf", and "One leaf".
This series can sometimes be crude, as it is generally targeted at a mature audience. For example, Hitoha names their class hamster チクビ (nipples) because (in the words of Futaba):
This show is most definitely NOT for children. It's, essentially, about two college kids who are trying their damnedest to get their rocks off and see some women's underwear.
Colorful is a guilty pleasure of mine. Another absurd show, and it was originally a late night show, Colorful won't be to everyone's tastes. In fact, the Anime News Network said this about it:
A lot of the jokes in this show rely on you seeing the behaviour of the characters as absurd and childish, or divorcing yourself completely from the reality in which the characters live.
It does a fantastic job of building the show up to it's climactic episode, culminating in the single greatest fart joke ever.
Even the English DVD marketing was in on the joke. The back of the DVD cover read, simply:
2. Cowboy Bebop
The show which needs no introduction. It just oozes cool, from the character design to the music. This show is amazing.
It's widely held as a masterpiece, and so it should be. It has a bit of a rocky start in it's first two episodes (as do most TV shows, Japanese or otherwise). But once it settles down, it really finds itself.
It covers topics as deep as philosophy and ennui, also facing up to one's past. Plus it has a super smart Welsh Corgi. What's not to love about it.
Don't just take my word for it, though. We're covering this show in our first season. So Make sure you check out the podcast episodes to hear what we think of this show.
1. Martian Successor Nadesico
As good as the other shows are (and they are all amazing), Nadesico will always hold a place in my heart. It was the first show that I watched, from start to end, in order. I bought the DVDs as they came out
there were around 3 months between each release, and each dvd had four episodes on it
and practically wore out them out.
I became attached to the characters, I was drawn into the story. I laughed when they laughed, I cried when they cried. When they fought, I fought with them.
This show has it all:
- Political intrigue
- Giant Robots
- Strong female characters
- Child geniuses
- Space battles
- A show within a show
- A killer soundtrack
the soundtrack isn't as good as Cowboy Bebop's is. Then again, no soundtrack will ever be as good as the Cowboy Bebop one.
The tl;dr for this show is that the Earth is under attack by lizards from Jupiter, so the Earth Defence Force outsources to defence contractors in order to amass a fleet of advanced space ships which will protect the Earth.
Disgraced pilot Tenkawa Akira (born on Mars, but somehow transported to Earth - it's revealed later in the series) accidentally boards the Nadesico, the pride of the fleet, and assumes the role of cook.
When it is shown that the Nadesico has the power to wipe out the Jovian lizards once and for all, the Earth Defence Force demand that it's creators, Nergal Heavy Industries, hand over the keys. The crew stage a coup and flee the Earth, heading for Mars and the truth.
and that's just the first three episodes
I had no idea at the time, but this show is basically a parody of the standard militarised, mech, space battle shows of the time. It flips from being super serious
just thinking about the opening scene in episode 4 makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end
to the incredibly stupid
the show-within-a-show is a perfect parody of every 1970s mecha show
on a dime - kind of like how M*A*S*H used to.
This show went on to have:
- A manga
which came after the show and had a slightly diverging story to the show
- A Movie
- An OVA for its show-within-a-show
- Four video games
- A number of radio dramas
- A five CD soundtrack
Not bad for a parody, eh?
If you had to build up a list of your top 5 anime, which titles would be on it? And which order would they be in? Would it be as difficult for you to decide as it was for me?
Have you ever seen these shows before? If you have, what did you think of them?
Let us know in the comments, I'd love to keep this conversation going (and learn of a few new shows that I have to watch).
Until next time,
See you space cowboy.