5 On Friday: Anime Edition!

For today’s installment of “5 on Friday,” I decided to list my five favourite anime series of all time. These are shows which have been long-lived, well-written, have even featured a non-white character, and not been tainted with pornographic images of children. I’m always mystified as to why people feel the need to ruin perfectly harmless forms of entertainment, such as animated television shows / movies or video games, with graphic porn! Sheer, mindless insanity is all it seems to boil down to.

I listed the various series in the order I began watching them in, as that was the easiest route. Most of them began as a manga series, which are usually more detailed and in-depth than the visual version – that seems to be common with any adaptation of a written series. With that disclaimer out of the way, here we go – on with the show!

😎

Robotech: Just like Monty Python, Doctor Who, and Red Dwarf, Robotech was introduced to me by my older brothers and their friends. Other anime shows soon followed – Robotech was my initial foray into that world. From Wikipedia:

Robotech is a science fiction franchise that began with an 85-episode science fiction anime television series cartoon adaptation produced by Harmony Gold USA in association with Tatsunoko Production and first released in the United States in 1985. It was adapted from three original and unrelated – though visually similar – Japanese anime television series (Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada) to make a series suitable for syndication.

In the series, Robotechnology refers to the scientific advances discovered in an alien starship that crashed on a South Pacific island. With this technology, Earth developed robotic technologies, such as transformable mecha, to fight three successive extraterrestrial invasions.

Prior to the release of the TV series, the name Robotech was used by model kit manufacturer Revell on their Robotech Defenders line in the mid-1980s. The line consisted of mecha model kits imported from Japan and featured in anime titles such as The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982), Super Dimension Century Orguss (1983) and Fang of the Sun Dougram (1981). The kits were originally intended to be a marketing tie-in to a similarly named comic book series by DC Comics, which was cancelled after only two issues.

At the same time, Harmony Gold licensed the Macross TV series for direct-to-video distribution in 1984, but their merchandising plans were compromised by Revell’s prior distribution of the Macross kits. In the end, both parties signed a co-licensing agreement and the Robotech name was adopted for the TV syndication of Macross combined with Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (1984) and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (1983).

I liked the animation style of Robotech, and was impressed with the fact that the sole Black character, Chief Communications Officer Claudia Grant, wasn’t drawn with exaggerated features typical of the racist stereotypes portrayed in other anime like One Piece. Robotech is still going strong, after all of these years – it stands the test of time!

Dragon Ball Z: I found Dragon Ball Z purely by accident one day. It was originally on the Nick at Nite lineup, back when Nickelodeon still had shows worth watching with your kids. At any rate, the cable network I subscribed to at the time had a channel called “I,” short for the International Channel. That channel had television shows and movies broadcast from all over the world, so I was able to get my fill of foreign films (with subtitles, of course) – and, of course, a decent helping of untranslated, uncensored anime. Dragon Ball Z was actually watchable even in its unadulterated, unsanitized originality, so I grew attached to it over time. I still get to see it on [adult swim] on Saturday nights, and am glad for it!

Bleach: I think that I was idly flipping channels late one night when I happened upon the series Bleach, and got involved in the storyline pretty quickly! I enjoyed the characters and their unique personalities and backstories, and the side story-arcs are worth enduring for the main storyline. From Wikipedia:

“…in terms of demographics, Bleach appeals to a narrower international audience than Naruto due to the higher complexity of its plot as well as due to the religious aspects of the story.”

The anime has been featured various times in the top ten from the Japanese TV Ranking. DVDs have also had good sales having commonly appeared in the Japanese DVD Ranking. The anime was nominated in the 2007 America Anime Awards in the fields of “best manga”, “best actor”, “best DVD package design”, and “best theme”, but failed to win any awards. In a 2006 Internet poll by TV Asahi, Bleach was ranked as Japan’s seventh-favorite anime program. The previous year, it was ranked as the twenty-seventh favorite program. During February 2009, Bleach ranked as the 9th most viewed animated show from Hulu.

Anime News Network’s Carlo Santos praised the anime adaptation, describing it as “…one incredibly entertaining anime that will grab you and refuse to let go.” Animefringe’s Maria Lin liked the varied and distinct characters, and how well they handle the responsibilities increasing powers give them. She also complimented the series for its attention to details, well paced script, and balance of seriousness and comedy. In summary, she notes “Bleach the anime deserves its popularity. It has something for everyone: the supernatural, comedy, action and a little bit of romance, all tied together with excellent animation and a very enthusiastic sounding bunch of voice actors.” Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict, felt Bleach was a “show that only gets better with age” and was “surprisingly well-rounded and appealing” with well-developed characters and pacing. Active Anime’s Holly Ellingwood praising the anime for perfectly capturing “the excitement, the caustic humour and supernatural intrigue” of the original manga. She felt that the series “does a wonderful job of building on its continuity to provide increasingly tense and layered episodes involving not only Ichigo and Rukia, but the secondary characters as well”. She also praised the series for its striking visual effects, intriguing plot and its “brilliant blend of action, off the wall comedy.” In reviewing the series for DVD Talk, Don Houston felt the characters surpassed the usual shōnen anime stereotypes and liked “the mixture of darker material with the comedic”. Another Fellow reviewer John Sinnott felt series starts out as a boring “monster-of-the-week program” that becomes more epic as the stories build and the characters are fleshed out. Otaku USA’s Joseph Luster wrote that “the storylines are consistently dramatic without hammering it home too heavily, the characters manage comic relief that’s not as eye rolling as one would expect, and the action (in classic fighting series form) has only gotten more ridiculous over the years; in a good way, of course”. Mania.com’s Bryce Coulter praised the series for its plot twists and “the quirky and amusing characters”. In comparing the series with Naruto, Mania.com’s Chris Beveridge felt Bleach was less childish and “simply comes together surprisingly well in its style and execution of what is fairly standard material”.”

I have the first four seasons of Bleach on DVD, and am still in the process of slowly filling out that collection. It is one that I can enjoy, even years from now!

Death Note: This is the shortest-running series of this list, but it made a major impact during the two seasons that it ran. I have the DVD set (of course), and am overdue for dusting it off and watching it anew! There aren’t many shows currently running that have grabbed my attention, so Death Note is always a good one to return to while waiting for something worthy. Here’s a little background, from Wikipedia:

Death Note (デスノート) is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook from a Shinigami named Ryuk that grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face he knows. The series centers around Light’s attempts to create and rule a world “cleansed of evil” as “God” using the notebook, and the efforts of a detective known as L to stop him.

Death Note was first serialized in Shueisha’s manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The 108 chapters were collected and published into 12 tankōbon volumes between May 2004 and October 2006. An anime television adaptation aired in Japan from October 3, 2006 to June 26, 2007. Composed of 37 episodes, the anime was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsuro Araki. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was also released in 2006. Additionally, various video games have been published by Konami for the Nintendo DS. The series was adapted into three live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, November 3, 2006, and February 2, 2008, and a television drama in 2015. A miniseries entitled “Death Note: New Generation” and a fourth film were released in 2016. An upcoming American film is scheduled to be released on Netflix on August 25, 2017.

Death Note media is licensed and released in North America by Viz Media, with the exception of the video games and soundtracks. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable from IGN, before Viz Media licensed it and it aired on YTV’s Bionix anime block in Canada and on Adult Swim in the United States with a DVD release following. The live-action films briefly played in certain North American theaters in 2008, before receiving home video releases. In 2015, the collected volumes of the Death Note manga had over 30 million copies in circulation.

Death Note, for all of its brutality and graphic violence, was also an interesting take on morality and people thinking that they have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner – but not applying those rules and morals upon themselves.

Attack On Titan: Last but certainly not least, Attack on Titan. This show is amazing on all levels: storyline, characters, backstories, moral lessons, and thought-provoking questions about how humanity is and what it could strive for or sink to, depending on the circumstances. From Wikipedia:

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人; Shingeki no Kyojin, lit. “Advancing Giant”) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The series began in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on September 9, 2009, and has been collected into 22 tankōbon volumes as of April 2017. It is set in a world where humanity lives in cities surrounded by enormous walls; a defense against the Titans, gigantic humanoids that eat humans seemingly without reason. The story initially centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and childhood friend Armin Arlert, who join the military to fight the Titans after their home town is invaded and Eren’s mother is eaten. However, as the story progresses and the truths about the Titans are slowly revealed to the reader, the narrative shifts to encompass Historia Reiss, squad leader Levi, Eren’s father Grisha, and other supporting characters.

The spin-off light novel series Before the Fall began in December 2011 and has received a manga adaptation. Two additional light novel series and four additional spin-off manga series have also been created. An anime television adaptation is being produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G, aired in Japan on MBS. The first season aired between April and September 2013, the second season aired between April and June 2017,[4] and a third season is scheduled to be released in April 2018.[5][6] Four video game adaptations developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G were announced to be released as bonus content for the third and sixth volumes of the Blu-ray Disc release of the anime, with another game developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS. A two-part live-action film adaptation, Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan: End of the World, and a live-action web-series were released in 2015. An anime adaptation of the Junior High spin-off manga, produced by Production I.G, began airing in October 2015. Attack on Titan and all five spin-off manga are published in North America by Kodansha Comics USA, while the three novel series are published by Vertical. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for North America, by Manga Entertainment for the UK, and by Madman Entertainment for Australasia.

Attack on Titan has become a commercial success. As of April 2017, the manga has 66 million copies in print.[7] The release of the anime also saw a boost in the series’ popularity, with it having received widespread critical acclaim for its atmosphere and story. Although it also gained fame in neighboring Asian countries, the series’ themes have been a subject of controversy.

This list was one of the most difficult to compile, as there are a number of short-lived shows that I also enjoyed, as well as other animated shows such as Samurai Jack or Avatar: The Last Airbender which don’t quite fall under the genre of anime. Still, putting it together was enjoyable! I hope that you enjoyed reading it.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Herneith
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 07:00:57

    I particularly enjoyed Bleach. I also enjoyed the following:

    Peacemaker Kurogame
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacemaker_Kurogane

    Samurai Seven
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_7

    Plus plenty of others!

    • sepultura13
      Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:31:11

      I never heard of Peacemaker Kurogame, but am very familiar with Samurai 7. I also enjoyed Blood +, Trinity Blood, Casshern Sins, Deadman Wonderland, and Eureka 7, to name just a few!

      😎

  2. sepultura13
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:32:07

  3. sepultura13
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:33:57

  4. sepultura13
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:35:45

  5. sepultura13
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:37:35

  6. sepultura13
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 18:39:23

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