Top Ten Favorites
Every list should start out with the author’s personal favorites. Mine span a particularly long range of anime, while still managing to fold a couple new shows in to keep it fresh. Ordered highest to lowest:
Name: Martian Successor Nadesico (Kidou Senkan Nadesico)
Original Air Date: Oct 1, 1996 to Mar 25, 1997
Company: XEBEC, Starchild
Genre: Mecha, Comedy, Drama
Story TL;DR: Years after an unknown enemy invade Mars and push most of its residents and the Earth military back to Earth, forcing them to enter a war with whom they call the “Jovian Lizards”. NERGAL, a private company, builds a starship known as the “Nadesico” and hires a rag-tag crew of idiots and hackers to voyage to Mars. Tenkawa Akito, a former Mars resident and cook, involuntarily joins the ship’s crew as an Aestivalis pilot while looking for the ship’s captain and childhood friend, Misumaru Yurika.
Reaction TL;DR If you are any kind of space of mecha fan, this is a show you should be watching. Besides parodying classic robot anime like Gundam, Mazinger, and Space Battleship Yamato, it’s cast of characters is insanely funny and even as the plot thickens you enjoy the ride the entire way through. My only warning is, the movie, The Prince of Darkness, is very confusing to watch because it skips content only seen in the Sega Saturn game published between the show and movie, and never released stateside, so you’ll wanna look that up before taking the movie on. This is a franchise I always hoped XEBEC would bring back someday.
Name: Angelic Layer (Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer)
Original Air Date: Apr 1, 2001 to Sep 23, 2001
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sports/Action
Story TL;DR: Suzuhara Misaki travels to Tokyo to live with her aunt after her mother, suffering from a debilitating disease, left her with her parents in the countryside many years ago. While standing in the station entrance, she witnesses a battle between two dolls on a screen, in a game known as “Angelic Layer” that pits two players custom-made dolls against each other in combat. With the help of a mad scientist and her new school friends, Misaki enters the rough-and-tumble sport of Angelic Layer.
Reaction TL;DR I literally spent weeks mooching my high school’s T1 bandwidth and IRC DCC bots to get all of this show on fansub back then, by Anime-Empire nonetheless, and it was worth every hour spent, it’s such a fantastic show and fuck you I cried a little at the end, it’s a show that I wish didn’t get diluted by the mess of other CLAMP creations of the time, because it was one of CLAMP’s best works adapted by Bones. Ever.
Name: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
Original Air Date: Oct 3, 2004 to Dec 26, 2004
Company: Seven Arcs
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Magic
Story TL;DR: Takamachi Nanoha, an average nine-year old girl, encounters an injured ferret in a forest one day that speaks to her, asking for her help in eliminating a magical beast trying to attack him. Wielding the power of a magical device known as “Raising Heart” she transforms into a de-facto magical girl and saves the day, and from that day forth, joins Yuuno Scrya on his mission to recover the “Jewel Seeds” from Earth to return to a safe place.
Reaction TL;DR You think this show will be like Cardcaptors or another magical girl show, and if you think that, you are dead fucking wrong. This show takes magical girl and puts it through a triathlon of obstacles, though it doesn’t become apparent until you get to A’s and StrikerS. If you’re a fan of Dog Days, also done by Seven Arcs, then you will probably love this show, and right as well you should, because nowhere else will you find DAT ASS on anyone but Fate.
Name: Senki Zesshou Symphogear
Original Air Date: Jan 7, 2012 to ?
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Story TL;DR: Tachibana Hibiki becomes embroiled in a planet-wide conflict against a mysterious alien race after being involved in an accident years prior where she was seriously injured and near-death. After, she is able to manifest the powers of an armed gear through song and determination. Together with other Gear users, they fight to save humanity from this alien threat.
Reaction TL;DR It’s a show by popular voice actresses and singers made to move music sales, first and foremost, but its high-octane action, flashy visuals, and hot-blood scenes made it something beyond selling music, into the realm of truly awe-inspiring kickass action not seen since the old Nanoha days. It’s enough to earn /m/’s seal of approval, and that is a rare feat.
Name: Rozen Maiden
Original Air Date: Oct 8, 2004 to Dec 24, 2004
Company: Nomad, Pony Canyon
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Supernatural
Story TL;DR: Sakurada Jun is a hikkimori who spends all day buying things from the internet and then sending them back before their trial period expires, refusing to go to school over some recent trauma. After one of his recent transactions, a package appears containing a very well-made wind-up antique doll. After he winds it up he find the doll comes to life and starts ordering him around like a servant. Soon after, more dolls appear around him and start to twist his closed world wide open.
Reaction TL;DR If you’ve ever heard DESU before, especially on 4chan, and wonder why it’s spammed a lot, this is the show you want, as it comes from Suiseiseki, one of the show’s dolls. Rozen Maiden straddles comedy and drama equally as you essentially dive into a story that revolves around a kid who shut himself away from the world, and is forced to open up in order to deal with these dolls. Folks who saw last year’s GOSICK might want to check this out, it’s very similar in many ways.
Name: Strike Witches
Original Air Date: Jul 3, 2008 to Sep 18, 2008
Genre: Comedy, Magic, Military History, Sci-Fi
Story TL;DR: In an alternate 1944, an unknown alien called the Neuroi attack and decimate large amounts of the world. When conventional weapons fail to win, scientists develop a special engine that when used by special girls with magical abilities, allows them to fly and handle heavy weaponry. Miyafuji Yoshika is a 15-year-old Fujo citizen who helps her family run a healing center when she is recruited to the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, known as the Strike Witches. Together with the other members of the team, from different countries, they protect humanity from the Neuoi menance.
Reaction TL;DR A year prior to Strike Witches, J.C STAFF did a show called Sky Girls that more or less established what Strike Witches was, minus much of the magic and furries, but Strike Witches expanded upon it and made it much better, even with the magic and furries. All of the characters are named after famous pilots from World War II, so history buffs might catch on that and on some of the weaponry and designs. It’s a show of action, but some srsbins moments sneak in, though really it’s all about Shirley’s tits.
Original Air Date: Sep 25, 1992 to Mar 25, 1993
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Story TL;DR: Masaki Tenchi was a normal 17-year-old guy living in the middle-of-nowhere until he accidentally released a demon from a cave, which turns out to be a beautiful female space pirate wanted across the galaxy. This action draws the attention of more women from outer space to descend on his home and turn his life upside-down.
Reaction TL;DR You can never forget the classics that got you into this mess in the first place, and yeah, I got to this one through Toonami, but fuck you it’s great, and it only got better with the series, movies, and OVAs. Except “Tenchi in Tokyo” that was absolute trash.
Name: Shakugan no Shana
Original Air Date: Oct 6, 2005 to Mar 23, 2006
Company: J.C STAFF
Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Action, Comedy, Drama
Story TL;DR: Sakai Yuji thought he was a normal high school buy leading a normal high school life, until he discovers an alternate dimension connected to his world that “feeds” off of people’s existence, until a red-eyed, red-haired girl wielding a long sword and black cloak appears and saves him, but not before informing him that he doesn’t exist anymore, that he is a “torch”, a remnant of himself. Sakai Yuji’s peaceful days are about to get crazy.
Reaction TL;DR This wasn’t Kugimiya Rie’s first rodeo, but it helped propel her into one of anime’s top VAs today, and Shakugan no Shana is an absolute blast to watch. The story was adapted from its light novels, which are also excellent and a good read for those interested, but it has an amazing story and characters worth watching. The final season does get a little muddy, but it’s a hell of a ride from start-to-finish, and in my opinion, a must-see for anyone into anime.
Name: Saber Marionette J
Original Air Date: Oct 1, 1996 to Mar 25, 1997
Company: Bandai Visual
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Drama
Story TL;DR: Due to overpopulation, exploration into space begins for humanity, but an accident strands six men on a barren planet. They form six countries and populate the planet with clones of themselves and men genetically engineered from themselves. Hundreds of years later the countries flourish, but there are no women due to the genetic manipulation, so they create “marionettes” that resemble women to handle household chores. Mamiya Otaru stumbles upon three marionettes, who unlike others, have real emotions and battle capabilities. He must figure out how to raise them as war looms between several nations.
Reaction TL;DR I love old Hayashibara Megumi shows, any of them, Slayers, Lost Universe, you name it. She was the then what Kugimiya Rie is now. Besides that though, it’s a show that reminds me too much of Xenogears’ plot in a way, only much more interesting at times. It also has a catchy as hell OP, and that is also the product of Megumi. Also, Dat Lime~
Name: Initial D
Original Air Date: Apr 19, 1998 to ?
Company: Studio Gallop, OB Planning, AVEX Entertainment, Funimation
Genre: Racing, Drama
Story TL;DR: Fujiwara Takumi is just a normal student helping his father’s tofu business by driving deliveries up to a hotel on Akina mountain in a Trueno AE86, until he is thrust into the world of street racing by his co-workers at his gas station job who are part of a team called the Akina Speed Stars. From there, he continues to participate in street races against greater and more challenging foes, awhile continuing to live his normal life along the way.
Reaction TL;DR Home to serious anime racing, and its distinctive Eurobeat soundtrack, Initial D is the definitive show for racing fans and gearhead/petrolheads alike. Even if you’ve never seen the show, chances are you’ve seen references to it in other media, as well as references to the iconic AE86, known as the Toyota Sprinter in the US. But the music is really the highlight, and the reason I drive way faster than I should.