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22 August 2010 @ 03:06 am
Anime Recs, Part 1  

Welcome to my huge list of anime reviews! Please let me know if you have any recommendations.

A general note: if you're new to anime, trust me, if possible go with the original Japanese voice actors and English subtitles. The Japanese voice actors (seiyu) are half the fun of anime, giving real life and emotion to characters that the American dubbing just falls flat on. Also, just because I don't rate something a favorite doesn't mean it's not a great anime (i.e. Death Note); it just means I personally don't want to watch it repeatedly.

My ratings, from best to worst:
—One of my favorites!
—Very good, almost a favorite.
—Very good.
—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
—You might like it, but it’s not for me.

This is Part 1. (Click here for Part 2)

Akatsuki no Yona / Yona of the Dawn—Very good.
“This group just keeps getting weirder.” This is the story of how the band gets together. In this historical fantasy anime, Princess Yona leads a happily sheltered life in the capital city with her father (the king) and two male childhood friends, never knowing the world outside her safe existence. But one terrible evening, everything comes crashing down and she is forced to flee everything she has ever known. Despite some occasional plot holes and coincidences, what first appears like only a shallow reverse harem becomes something very special indeed, gaining darkness, depth, and complexity with each of Yona’s new discoveries outside the capital. All of the characters are appealingly drawn, each with an interesting back story (Yona’s bodyguard, Hak, is a special favorite of mine, but each of the dragons are unique). Yona’s journey, both physical and mental, is increasingly complex as she takes more agency over her life, and I loved seeing her grow from a spoiled princess to a self-sufficient and worthy ruler.

Antique Bakery—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
Four hot guys, some of whom are questioning their sexuality, decide to band together and run a bakery in this low-budget anime. While this one is pretty lighthearted, some of the characters' backstories are quite creepy; these guys have been through a lot. I didn't really like Ono, the kind of stereotypically gay pastry chef, but I loved Kanda, the boxer, and Tachibana, the owner. And Tachibana's psuedo-bodyguard, Chikage, has a backstory that is really sweet. This anime won't change your life or anything, but it's short and sweet with some unexpectedly meaningful parts.
EDIT: They made a live-action movie of this series, and it is phenomenal. Much better than the anime. It's in Korean and just called "Antique," but Korean and Japanese are both beautiful languages, so if you enjoy one, you'll probably enjoy another. While I didn't like Ono in the anime, I adored his character in the live-action version (Son Woo, played by a gorgeous newcomer), as well as the Tachibana and Chikage characters (though ironically I didn't like the Kanda character as much! Weird!). The script is fast-paced and very fun, with a murder mystery subplot there as well that was really well done. And the acting! Wonderful. Really, I'm a big fan of the live-action version.

Axis Powers Hetalia—Very good.
Imagine a comedic anime in which every character represented an entire country while WWII is breaking out. Now imagine that they’re all extremely stereotypical and also hilarious, and almost every country has a complicated and rather silly relationship with the other countries—all portrayed in bite-sized five-minute episodes—and you have Axis Powers Hetalia. The leading three characters are of course Italy, Germany, and Japan (the Axis Powers), with the Allies holding pointless meetings and working out (generally incompetently) what to do, while other countries work their angles. Some of the lines and ideas in this anime are superb: “I’ve loved you since the 900s,” Holy Roman Empire says to Italy; “I wonder when it will be my turn to talk,” Canada whispers hopefully; “I can never tell what Japan is thinking,” Germany grumbles; the Trembling Trio of Baltic States under Russia, etc. In addition, it’s great for learning history, if you don’t mind the fact that nothing is taken seriously or off limits to criticism. (Plus, Romi Paku is Switzerland!)
EDIT: Apparently there’s quite a bit of controversy about this anime. I suggest you avoid APH if you can’t take your country being portrayed poorly, disrespectfully, or not at all.

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! / Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
In this amusing parody anime, five high school boys in a club unwittingly find themselves meeting an alien wombat, who transforms them into magical boys, male Sailor Moon-esque members: they’re trapped in the outfits of an Earth Defense group and forced to say ridiculous lines against their will. Amusingly, they decide to make the best of their new situation, attacking evil with the power of love. Of course this includes much suggestiveness and fan service, like bathing together, cuddling, and tickle fights. Oh, and the code phrase to launch their powers is “Love Making.” While the anime is simplistic and often shallow, it is nonetheless ultimately quite sweet and helped lighten my mood whenever I watched it. Recommended for fans of light shounen-ai (like Gakuen Heaven).

Black Blood Brothers—Very good.
Vampires live openly amongst humans except for in a “special zone,” but some of the most dangerous ones called Kowloon Children are seeking to infiltrate the area. Enter Mochizuki Jirou, a badass vampire with a great backstory. Right off the bat, I'm going to say that Jirou is by far the coolest anime character I've ever seen. Think about that for a second; there are a lot of pretty awesome characters out there, and this guy is the most awesome (in my opinion). He's also stuck carting around his little brother Kotaro, and their relationship is really cute. The city-building and vampire-rules building in BBB are superb, almost on a Trueblood level. Only pureblood vampires burn in the sun (including our Jirou, and it's very amusing when he does), so they have to take interesting precautions. Try this one, as it's a short but effective vampire tale.

Bleach—You might like it, but it's not for me.
I like the characters, I like the premise, I like the overall plotline. But MY GOD, this is so slow. So much repetition. So many super talents coming from the woodwork. I swear only one thing happens per episode. Still, though Ichigo isn't the best hero, Rukia is a great heroine, even though I'm not too fond of the Rukia's-in-prison-and-needs-to-be-saved arc. There are literally so many characters that you'll have to love somebody. My particular favorites are the Death God captains Hitsugaya, who is both kick-ass and adorable, and Byakuya, who isn't adorable but is really cool.

Code Geass—Very good.
Hey, Mobile Gundam Suit 00—this is what you could have been with much better plotting, more interesting characters, and fewer repetitive fight scenes. But I would compare Code Geass more to Death Note than anything else, because both are really intelligent and tightly scripted with similar protagonists. Lelouch isn't completely Light, though, and he's saved from being a sociopath by his love for his handicapped sister and his friendships. After an encounter with the otherworldly green-haired (and pizza-obsessed) C.C., Lelouch gains the geass, a power that allows him to give commands that can't be retracted or disobeyed. He tries to use this to get revenge and save Japan from Brittanian rule. I'm fascinated by Lelouch, who gets into these insane situations and then chess-masters his way out of them. His complicated friendship with Suzaku in particular is really great to watch.

Deadman Wonderland—Very good, almost a favorite.
Deadman Wonderland takes place in an absolutely fascinating setting of a prison turned reality TV theme park where spectators watch the prisoners kill themselves and each other. And there may be more going on at the prison than it seems. Sure, the premise has been done before (i.e. The Hunger Games and TRON, just to name a few recent examples), but as a sucker for the trope of whole-cast-in-one-enclosed-space, this anime worked really well for me. Our hero, Ganta (voiced by Romi Paku, who was Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist!), is framed for the murder of his entire class and then sent to the Deadman Wonderland prison, where he meets an otherworldly little albino girl, a conflicted kleptomaniac, and a whole cast of nasty and cool characters. In his spare time (between bouts of fighting for his life using his own blood as a weapon), Ganta tries to catch the villain who really killed his friends. I quite liked Ganta and Shiro, but my favorite character was Yoh, even though he wasn't in the last few episodes much (which is the main reason it's only almost a favorite; I'm picky like that).

D-Gray Man—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
Steampunk fantasy psuedo-demon hunters with a really sweet protagonist. A group of exorcists gets together to destroy akuma, or nasty machines that will take over the world. I love Allen and Kanda, and I very much like Lenalee, so seeing them all work together is nice. It's a bit slow overall, but the dark world these guys inhabit is creepy and thrilling enough to stay awhile.

Death Note—Very good.
Watching Death Note is like witnessing two chess masters play an epic, years-long game, and being unsure of who's won until long after the game is finished. This is undoubtedly the most intelligent anime out there, and also one of the darkest. Death gods have books where they record who will die, how, and when. One god loses his book, and unfortunately for him, Light Yagami picks it up. “L” is the genius who tries to figure out how people keep dropping dead. This is an odd anime because none of the characters are relatable: both L and Light are sociopathic and probably insane, and they're the only ones who can understand each other. Unfortunately, they're also mortal enemies. Light's relationships with other people are deliberately creepy and disturbing (“I love you, Misa,” Light says very unconvincingly to his girlfriend). L is one of the most unforgettable characters in anime. Look out for that symbolic foot-washing scene especially.

DRAMAtical Murder—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
In a dystopian cyberpunk society, the streets are controlled by gangs with special tattoos who play Rhyme, a street cyber game. Aoba is not a member of any team, but instead has amnesia and intermittent migraines after a mysterious accident. Aoba is surrounded by his grandmother and a team of hotties who seem to know more about him than he does, and everyone in Aoba’s life is protective of him, from the street gang leaders, his boss, and his grandmother, to Ren, his cute “AllMate” companion puppy. Ultimately, the worldbuilding and the homoerotic tension carry more weight than the plot, which feels aimless and confusing (like, 90% of the dialogue is characters saying each other’s names). But I enjoyed it anyway because the anime has such heart and is very sweet. The anime is based on a BL (boys’ love) game/visual novel, but the anime is not explicitly gay, unfortunately.

Fairy Tail—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
Guilds full of crazy characters take on each other in a bright and colorful fantasy world in Fairy Tail. The atmosphere is fun and positive (seriously: one of the characters is named Happy), and the plot is totally character-driven. My favorite character was Natsu the fire-breather—almost entirely to watch him whenever his extreme transportation sickness kicks in. However, this is a great anime for female role models, namely Erza, a really kick-ass guild leader. And of course I liked Lucy a great deal, too. It’s still airing, so I haven’t seen all the episodes, but I’ve seen enough to definitely recommend Fairy Tail if you want a pleasant, cheerful anime.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club—One of my favorites!
Four young friends (Makoto, Nagisa, Rin, and Haruka) win a trophy for swimming a relay together, but everything seems to fall apart when Rin leaves for Australia to join a prestigious swim club there. When he returns in high school, the boys work to put together a new school swimming team with the help of Rin’s sister, Gou (or is it Kou?), and Rei, a new calculations-obsessed member, but find Rin to be a very different person. It’s really the humor and the relationships that steal the show here, that and the level of fanservice: the use of subversive female-gaze camera shots to display gorgeous half-naked male bodies with water sparkling or dripping off of them. And the fact that the guys all bond by being boys with girly names. The delicious rivalry between Haruka and Rin, the mystery of what happened between them to change their personalities, the way they all take care of each other, the reason Haruka only swims freestyle, and generally the strong (and supremely slashy!) friendships make this a delightful anime even if you have no interest in swimming.

Fullmetal Alchemist—One of my favorites!
Ah, my first anime and one true love. There are few things more awesome than Ed, our short blonde protagonist, here—but don't dare call him short to his face. In a steampunk alternate universe, two unprepared brothers try to bring their mother back from the dead using alchemy, with disastrous consequences: Ed sacrifices his arm and leg, while his brother Al loses his entire body. They spend the rest of their time trying to get their bodies back. This anime is about the relationship between brothers and how easily families are torn apart, and it can be really sweet. But it's also about military corruption, wars, genocide, and really deranged psycho killers, and it gets really quite dark. The characters of Ed, Al, and of course Roy, the military captain who has to keep his young charges in line, make this one of the best anime. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is better than just plain FMA, though, with more backstory, more explanations, and more plot. If you have to choose between them, go with Brotherhood. But you can enjoy both!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood—One of my favorites!
A re-styling of Fullmetal Alchemist with crisper animation, more plot, more logical storylines, and better backstory, Brotherhood follows the plot of the manga more closely, giving Ed and Al's father more of a role. And I think most of the voice actors returned, which is great, because Ed and Al are perfect. If you're going to watch just one, watch this one.

Gakuen Heaven—Very good.
A student of no particular talent named Ito Keita is admitted to Bell Liberty Academy, a very prestigious and selective school, and spends the rest of this anime getting to know its ridiculously good-looking students and figuring out why he was accepted. I started out thinking this anime was kind of meh, then quickly began liking it, and by the end ended up loving it. It's a 13-episode series that really knows its audience and isn't afraid to target them with fan-service (straight guys, that's your cue to move on; this isn't for you). It's a very light boys' love story with a ton of hot guys and literally no females (though they claim there are female students). At the beginning, it's a little hard to understand why people like Keita, our protagonist, so much; his only talents seem to be luck and being really sweet. But by the end, you love him, too, so you can't really blame them. There are other plot devices that make no sense but I ended up liking anyway, like the chairman situation, that random bear, what exactly Shunsuke does, why the biology professor can't get a better password. And there are some things that are absolutely hilarious, like the student council vs. the treasury rivalry (side note: I adore Karou and Omi, who run the treasury, and the computer hacking battle between Omi and Nakajima is genius), the twins, and how utterly devilish this anime is with innuendo. The plot also massively improves towards the middle-to-end of the series, and you see how they've been setting it up from the beginning. I guess this anime is like a better version of Princess Princess (even sharing some seiyu!) without most of the awkwardness and with a more interesting plot. It really worked for me!

Get Backers—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
In this generally fast-paced anime, Ban and Ginji run a recovery service where they use their supernatural powers of inducing nightmares and creating lightning (respectively) to get back items stolen by some very nasty characters. In the meantime they angst about their past traumas, meet up with old friends, and take on anthropomorphized skyscrapers. One of the things I really like about this anime’s writers is that they seem to truly appreciate the arts, music and painting in particular, making it clear that there is a reason some of these items are so valuable to their owners. On another note, the anime is quite educational in this respect! My favorite characters were Kazuki, the feminine-looking threadmaster who happens to be super badass, and Doctor Jackal, the creepily soft-spoken assassin with his trenchcoat and wide-brimmed hat. But Ban and Ginji are cool together. Also, it’s always a treat to see what Ban will come up with for his nightmares.

Haikyuu!!—One of my favorites!
Volleyball anime! In junior high, prodigy volleyball spiker Hinata and “king of the court” master setter Kageyama are rivals on the court, only to find that in high school, they’re on the same team (Karasuno) and have to work together now. I love the relationship between Hinata and Kageyama, with Kageyama’s mysterious past, and how everyone always underestimates Hinata, who’s short but can jump very high (“Hey, I’m here, too!”). They’re such a good duo, each filling a void for the other. The dynamics between them and the other team members are great, as well: intense at times but very funny. This was the loveable sports anime with a strong relationship at its center that I was missing after the fantastic Ookiku Furikabatte (baseball) and Free (swimming). Also recommended: Yowamushi Pedal (biking) and Diamond no Ace (baseball).

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun / Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East—Very good, almost a favorite.
In this reflective, often sweet, occasionally unsettling anime, friends Shino, Sousuke, and Hamaji are the sole survivors of a fire that destroyed their entire village—except that Shino and Sousuke had to meld their souls with animals in order to survive. Shino now has a god in the form of a demon crow (that can turn into a sword) living inside him, which prevents him from aging, and Sousuke can turn into a dog. Now working for the Church, the three of them travel to the capital to investigate demon-related crimes, and they keep having chance encounters with other people with similarly tragic backstories who also have spirits living inside them. Clearly, the story here is a little hard to explain: the story takes a while to get going and is confusing once it does. To quote a character in the actual anime, “Jeez, I was already taken aback by that strange eyeball, and now there’s this Sacred Dog. The world is full of surprises.” Regardless, I enjoyed this anime more and more as it went on (and especially into season 2) because the characters are the real draw here, particularly the two leads. Shino and Sousuke’s relationship is a mix between a married couple, brothers, parent-child, and best friends (who cuddle a lot). Another character remarks that Shino draws people “like a magnet,” and that certainly was the case for me. The characters are all beautiful, and I found they became more interesting the longer I knew them. I also enjoyed all the shounen-ai hints and jokes.

Hataraku Maou-sama! / The Devil is a Part-Timer!—Very good.
After a war in an alternate universe named Ente Isla, the evil demon overlord (Maou) and his righthand man, Alciel, pass through a gate to earth...and then Maou gets a part-time job flipping burgers (at “MgRonald’s”). An amusing cast of other characters from both sides of the war also pass through and take crazy mundane positions in life, like Maou’s mortal enemy, Emilia the half-angel, who gets a job as a telemarketer. Most of the humor stems from Maou’s obsession with his human work and everyone’s humorous misadventures with fitting into life in modern Tokyo. But as more residents from Ente Isla keep passing through, the plot gets more complex as alliances shift in unexpected ways. I also enjoyed the fantasy gibberish language that the residents use in Ente Isla. On the downside, the two aspects of the plot don’t necessarily mesh as well as they could, and I just kind of wanted them to leave the seriousness of Ente Isla behind completely because the wacky plot of MgRonald’s vs. “Sentucky Fried Chicken” was so funny.

Hunter x Hunter (2011)—Very good, almost a favorite.
In a world with magic, steampunk, and select modern technology, twelve-year-old Gon and his friends are determined to achieve various goals by becoming Hunters, for which they need to pass the fiendishly difficult and incredibly dangerous Hunter Exam. This series is compulsively watchable and addicting, even at its length of 148 episodes, and it’s all in the characters: the idealistic but practical Gon, the wryly playful Killua, the scholarly and thoughtful Kurapika, and the impetuous Leorio. Side characters are given similar consideration and depth, like Hisoka the creepy “Joker” character and a ton of other “enemy” characters (like the Phantom Troupe, other Hunters, and even the Chimera Ants). Just finding out about characters’ specialized fighting abilities (through a power called “Nen”) is totally fascinating. At first, you think this is a really happy series, full of fun and silly things where fights are easily won without any sacrifice on the protagonist’s part. And then little by little, some really seriously dark material starts to creep in, and you see how messed up this anime can get, with torture, murder, hypnotism, child abuse, insanity, imprisonment, genocide, and gladiatorial fights to the death. The art lulls you into a false sense of security that hides the dark themes to come. However, I would have liked if the anime had treated the often devastating collateral damage to civilians or bystanders with as much gravitas and angst as it treats damage to the heroes and their loved ones. Even with the darkness, though, this anime has lots of heart, with its main theme being the power of friendship and determination. Beware: the first few episodes are not great, so definitely give this one time to get going. Because it will. By the end of the last arc, I was stunned at the incredible journey I had just taken with these characters.

Junjou Romantica—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
The longest romantic yaoi series, this one has been really popular. It's basically the story of three gay couples and all of their ridiculous problems with communicationnot so much how they get together as how they stay together. Unfortunately, two of the three couples follow those annoying anime-yaoi rules, i.e. rich and tall seme, childish uke, psuedo-rape is okay, even the gay characters acknowledge that being gay is not normal, etc. The lead couple, Misaki and Usami, and the third couple, Miyagi and Shinobu, are at times cute and at times creepy because of this. So don't watch it for them! Watch it for the hilarious relationship between older, grumpy professor Kamijou and idealist medical student Nowaki. They defy most of the stereotypes and are very enjoyable to watch. It's pretty interesting how the characters' paths cross randomly, and some of the little details are really cute and self-deprecating (like how Usami is trying to relive his childhood by strewing teddy bears across the apartment, Usami's shadow profession as a BL writer, the recurring wooden bear carvings).

Karneval—Very good, almost a favorite.
In a fantastical futuristic society, a mysterious young boy named Nai is rescued from the clutches of a horrifying monster by Gareki, a thief from the gutter, and the two of them form a special bond. They get mixed up with a governmental organization called Circus, which is made up of people with supernatural powers who work to destroy monsters (called Varuga) like the one that imprisoned Nai—oh, and they also do circus performances in their spare time. Nai is such a sweetie that you can’t help but be charmed, but Gareki is the main character who stole my heart. I also loved the relationship between Gareki and Yogi, the Circus member who is assigned with protecting Gareki and Nai (he’s voiced by my favorite seiyuu, Mamoru Miyano); together the three of them form a little traveling family unit. There’s also randomly a ton of adorable little creatures (the high performance rabbits, snowman, etc.). This anime is short and has to cram a lot into thirteen episodes, so some questions are left unanswered, but it’s worth it for the little family of Yogi, Gareki, and Nai, and I felt satisfied at the end. It also is one of those anime that reminded me of lots of others. The Varuga reminded me of the Homunculus-type creatures from Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as the strong bond between the two main characters, and in its tendency to go from bright and cheerful to very dark. And also of D-Gray Man with its innocent white-haired main character and his dark-haired protector. Then the cheery circus motif that hides darker elements reminded me of Deadman Wonderland (that one had the innocent white-haired, red-eyed child character as well).

Kuragehime / Princess Jellyfish—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
Tsukimi lives with four hardcore female nerds in a Tokyo apartment building that has decided no men will be allowed to live there. While out rescuing a jellyfish (her passion), Tsukimi meets up with a gorgeous guy, Kuranosuke, who likes to cross-dress (except she doesn’t know at first he’s a guy). She comes to the realization that “there are princesses in Tokyo: incredibly beautiful male princesses.” :) This show delights in subverting the expected: instead, we get a politician who dotes on his cross-dressing nephew, a woman using date-rape drugs on men, a straight guy giving a group of women makeovers and fashion advice, and women who are obsessed with food (particularly meat). I loved Kuranosuke, who jump-starts Tsukimi’s life and starts to pull her out of her shell, and he looked hot wearing both traditionally male and female clothing. However, maybe because this anime is so short, the ending is massively rushed and feels incomplete with several plot threads left open-ended, which is disappointing as there is no season 2 planned. :( Though apparently there is a live-action movie due out in December 2014?

Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler—One of my favorites!
Gothic steampunk Victorian detective mystery with demons and soul-eating? Hell, yes! This anime is one of the most beautiful and precisely created I've seen. In order to get revenge for the death of his family, Ciel Phantomhive contracts with Sebastian Michaelis, a demon who also happens to be one hell of a butler/bodyguard. After they find the ones responsible for ruining the Phantomhive family, Ciel will give Sebastian his soul. This anime is charming, humorous, and also really, really creepy. The characters have this way of growing on you, especially Ciel, who goes from being this weird kid with an eyepatch to someone I really cared about. I'm eagerly waiting for all of Season 2 to be released and subbed.
EDIT: Kuroshitsuji II is out and has officially ended at 12 episodes. The ending is...damn. It will make you shiver. 

Kyou Kara Maou! / God Save the King!—Very good, almost a favorite.
Literally, I think the title means “God Save the Demon King.” KKM is a pretty epic action/adventure comedy with plenty of humor and swordfights. Yuuri, a regular high school student, is pulled through a toilet into an alternate dimension, where he discovers that he is the long-awaited king. The plotlines here are good, but it's really the inner court, consisting of Conrad, Wolfram, Gwendal, Gunter, Murata, and Annissina, and their antics that make this anime wonderful. All the guys here are really good-looking and adorable in some way, especially Wolfram, the prince who accidentally becomes engaged to Yuuri. Lots of lighthearted fun, and quite long, too! Why is it not a favorite, then? Sometimes the action drags a little, and I was a little frustrated by Yuuri's and Wolfram's relationship and how much they respected but seemed to almost resent each other. I have the sinking suspicion that Yuuri would end the engagement in a second without thinking of Wolfram's feelings, and that makes me feel awkward for Wolfram. Also, the fight scenes could have been presented better.

Love Stage!!—Very good.
In this hysterical boys’ love anime, college student Izumi is the youngest member of the Sena show-biz family—the only member who is not interested in being in entertainment: awkward, with paralyzing stage fright. As a child, due to a casting emergency, Izumi ended up in a wedding commercial with his family and a little boy named Ryouma (Izumi played a girl and Ryouma played a boy), and now they’re reuniting for a 10th-year anniversary. Like most anime in the BL genre, there is a disappointing undercurrent of homophobia—but unlike most, this anime has that at the beginning and then Ryouma accepts that he’s in love with a guy and that his feelings transcend gender. Like many BL anime, there is an assault scene—but unlike most, the perpetrator realizes what he’s done is deeply wrong and takes every step he can to sincerely apologize and undo the hurt he’s caused. Both the leads are very appealing, and the supporting characters are all wonderful, as well: Izumi’s doting parents and wonderfully supportive brother, long-suffering manager, school friends, and manga crush (magical princess Lala-Lulu). Parts are exceptionally funny, like Izumi’s hopelessness at drawing manga. And I love the exploration that sex and relationships need work and aren’t always perfect on the first try.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica—Very good, almost a favourite.
Madoka Kaname is a timid middle school girl whose life changes when she encounters the mysterious new transfer student Homura Akemi and the magical animal Kyuubey, who offers Madoka a wish and seemingly limitless power. The hype is well-deserved with this one. Clever and deeply psychological storytelling, haunting music, great voice acting, and an immersive, highly unusual art style combine to make something very dark and special indeed. The title sequence is particularly delicious. This is a magical girl anime. But it is also not a magical girl anime. Truly, the less you know about the show going into it, the better. Just know that nothing is as it seems.

Meganebu!—Very good.
In this anime of humorous absurdity, the megane (glasses-wearing) club, a tight-knit group of five high-school boys, is on a mission of extreme importance: to create x-ray vision glasses…so that they can look at hot women naked without their consent. Once you get past that…rather creepy premise, this anime is incredibly sweet with the mock-serious way the characters treat their lives as glasses-wearers, under the direction of their leader Akira, who is determined to make the world a better place for everyone with glasses. There are almost no female characters, but the relationships between all the boys are adorable (particularly all the brotherly relationships), and the slashiness is off the charts. The animation is brightly colorful and cutely stylized: any non-glasses wearing secondary characters (i.e., the other students) aren’t even animated, they’re just literal stick figures in uniforms, which is very funny. Other than Akira, I liked the mechanical genius Yukiya and the spacey cream-puff loving Takuma; the jealous rivalry between the other two members (Mitsuki and Hayato) was a bit too spiteful for me (though I love the line “I’m not dead, but I’m only a provisional member”). Also, I guarantee that you will have “We are meganebu~” stuck in your head for days.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00—You might like it, but it's not for me.
I should have known better than to watch this one, which is interesting when it's not random shots of suits fighting each other. Unfortunately, most of the series is random shots of suits fighting each other. The four main pilots, especially Setsuna F. Seiei and Allelujah Haptism, are cool, but I didn't buy that we were supposed to empathize with these guys who are essentially terrorists. However, this anime does get major points for showing the emotional effects of a lost limb in one of its most moving story arcs.

(Anime Recs, Part 2) —>
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
shadowfireflameshadowfireflame on August 22nd, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
More anime recommendations given to me:

List, earl and fairy, dantalian no shoka,darker than black,psychic detective yakumo,chaos head, phantom requiem of the phantom,persona trinity soul,pandora hearts, bus gamer, blood +,black cat, bakuman, myself;yourself,monochrome factor,Angelique, shikabane hime,uraboku, shakugan no shana
shadowfireflame: Vampire Knightshadowfireflame on November 10th, 2011 10:57 am (UTC)
And more:
--"Prince of Tennis"
--"Katekyo Hitman Reborn"
--"Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru"
--"Togainu no Chi"
--"Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi"
tenderly_wickedtenderly_wicked on November 25th, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
Black Butler and Fullmetal Alchemist are among my favourites too :) I think I'll try watching Death Note.
shadowfireflame: Kuroshitsujishadowfireflame on November 25th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Ooh, Black Butler and Fullmetal Alchemist are just the best. I hope you enjoy Death Note. I really love the character of L. :)