I mentioned on my about page that I watch anime. It’s a style of production that has always interested me, and at times can be quite amazing. Before early this year though, I hadn’t watched anything anime related for around two years. But with the help of people (some of whom I became good friends with because of this), I worked my way back into watching anime. Then I watched some more. Now my collection is around double its previous size (which is actually still quite tiny). So I’m going to talk about a few anime I’ve watched this year so far, and my thoughts on them. So, without further ado….
This was the anime that pulled me back. I heard whispers around the internet that it was amazing. I didn’t believe those whispers. And I was proven wrong.
In its most basic form, Gurren Lagann is a Super Robot anime, where big robots fight bigger robots. There’s also crazy plot stuff, and absolute sheer manliness. It begins with Simon, a boy from an underground village, who digs to help expand the city. He is often ostracised by the other villagers, except for Kamina, who he looks up to as an older brother figure. Kamina tries to tell the villagers that there is a world above the village, but they don’t believe him, and he too is shunned. That is, until one day a giant robot and a girl fall through the ceiling from the surface he had so fervently talked about. Escaping to the surface, Simon and Kamina push forward, not only to help free humanity from the terrors of the Beastmen and their robotic Gunman, but to push themselves beyond their limits, and pierce through the heavens.
Going any further in the description would ruin it for those who haven’t yet seen it. The animations great, the plot is good, and the giant robot fights are fantastic. I would highly recommend it if you want something amazing and upbeat, with a great sense of scope.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
I went into this knowing only knowing it had a reputation of some kind, often a very mixed one. I came out pleasantly surprised.
It centres around the post-apocalyptic (even though it doesn’t often seem like it) world of the near future, after creatures known as ‘Angels’ attack. To counter this, humanity builds the robot Evangelion’s to combat them. Most of the plot revolves around the Shinji Ikari, a 14 year old boy who is tasked with piloting Evangelion Unit One, whilst dealing with his own internal demons. As time goes on, events occur which change the status quo, and plans take shape. Not only is there the worry of an event known as ‘The Third Impact’ to be caused by the angels, but the mysterious ‘Human Instrumentality Project’ headed by the shadowy organisation SEELE. It’s a good series with lots of depth, but it’s not for everyone and can get quite gloomy at times. Whilst there are fights with giant robots, they often take backseat to the story and themes. The style change for the last few episodes can also throw people off, so be warned.
This was one a friend suggested, and I was fairly interested, decideding to watch it. I really enjoyed it. In fact, it was pretty awesome.
It follows the character Train Heartnet, also known as Black Cat, an assassin for the organisation ‘Chronos’. After meeting a Sweeper (aka, bounty hunter) named Saya, his morals and values begin to change from those held by Chronos. When another assassin, Creed Diskenth, realises and resents Trains change, he kills Saya. This leaves Train longing for revenge, whilst also keeping a hold of his newfound friends, Sven and Eve, as well as his newfound life as a Sweeper. It is really a great series, with a good balance of humour and seriousness, which is balanced out by an intriguing plot.
Now this one is going to be difficult to describe. It’s Ginax at their most amazing, and pulling out all stumps of ‘what-the-fuckery’. FLCL (also known as Fooly Cooly), is not your average anime.
Naota is a normal boy. Everything is normal. Nothing ever changes. Well, not until the arrival of Haruko Haruhara that is. She runs him over with her Vespa scooter, before hitting him in the head with her left handed, gas powered, Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar, creating a chain of events that spirals out of control. Then the weird stuff kicks in. To explain it would ruin the charm of the show. It deals in surprises, most of them ludicrous and out there. But behind all the weird, often stereotypical anime shenanigans, there is a real moral and thought provoking centre; It is the story of growing up, of the world changing around you and everything going crazy and out of your control. I would recommend checking it out, seeing as it’s only six half-hour episodes. It really is worth a watch.
I’d heard a lot about this one from around the internet, mainly due to its airing on Adult Swim in America. It sounded interesting, and I decided to check it out.
The story begins with Mikado Ryūgamine, a first year high schooler who moves to the city of Ikebukuro, joining his childhood friend Masaomi Kida in attending Raira Academy. But Ikebukuro is not what it seems. Colour gangs roam the streets, there are whispers of a mysterious group known as The Dollars, and there’s a courier in black who rides the streets at night on a bike which sounds like a horse, who is known throughout the city as ‘The Headless Rider’…
It’s an interesting series, focusing on a large ensemble of characters that have deep personalities and motives behind them. It’s a fairly good series, and worth checking out.
Other Notable Mentions
If I mentioned every anime I’d watched even parts of this year, it’d be a long list, so I’ve stuck with the one’s that I have finished so far. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t some other stand out ones.
Currently I’m watching Cowboy Bebop, which is fantastic. I made a start on Hellsing Ultimate, which is now one of my favourite vampire/nazi tales in any medium. There was also Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt which was…strange. Not my sort of thing, but well produced with some neat moments throughout.
Anyway, that’s about all from the world of anime. If anyone has suggestions for what I should watch next, any at all, then feel free to comment below.