Almost Otaku: The Best Anime I've Seen

Topic started by No_name_here on Aug. 8, 2010. Last post by barashin 3 years, 11 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (854 posts) See mini bio Level 11
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 Big surprise, right?
 Big surprise, right?

Today's question is the flip side of the same coin as the last question - - a reflection in the same dark mirror, so to speak.

CapeBarnes: What is the best anime that you have ever seen, and in what creative way would you pay tribute to everything related to it?

Once again, I want to stress that my exposure probably isn’t wide enough to answer this in the proper context. I’m sure a lot of you Anime Vice maniacs will roll your eyes because I haven’t seen all the better anime that must have come before this, but… regardless, the best anime series I’ve seen so far is NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Big surprise, right?
 
I’ve already gone into exhaustive detail about why I like the series so much in the 27 posts I did reviewing the anime and the movie, as well as the beginner’s guide I put together for the series.  In short, I can think of few other works of entertainment in any medium that have captured my imagination as much as this show did. I was utterly fascinated by its mythology and eager to pick apart all its elaborate mysteries. I hadn't felt like that about a story in years.

 I need to watch this again...
 I need to watch this again...

For features, I’d say PRINCESS MONONOKE. It made enough of an impression on me that I still distinctly remember the experience of watching it in Manlius, New York’s charmingly-dingy art house theater almost ten years ago. Miyazaki gets mentioned enough on “best lists" that it’s almost a cliché but, regardless, watching this movie still stands out as one of the most enchanting I’ve had at the movies, period.

As for paying tribute to all these… well… 
 
I’D RIP 'EM OFF!

Seriously, the most creative tribute I can pay to superlative work like this is to pull these influences into my own writing.  I see both of these as challenges to make something that’s as compelling - - that's as complex and philosophically rich as EVA or as spellbinding and mythical as MONONOKE.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here.

Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

I have the same feeling about how stories like Death Note and Code Geass (in reference to putting influences into writing). They are complex and deal with smart main characters and have a knack for not caring who dies. How something so beautiful can be written is the biggest mystery for me right now and I want to know how to do it so I can create a story.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,725 posts) See mini bio Level 20
Evangelion is definitely the best written anime. I feel that creator Hideaki Anno is truly a genius, not just among mangaka and the like, but among all literary peers. As far as what is the best anime I've ever seen, I'd have to say the Dragonball series because of the overall awesomeness of the fighting and the connection I feel with certain characters. Much of the criticism of DB comes from the fact that Funimation absolutely butchered the English script, making up much of the dialogue instead of translating it (compare this with Evangelion, where the original Japanese creators closely monitored the English script) and also the way Funimation made a mockery of most of the voices. 
 
As far as my top: 
 
1) DB-Because it has the most brilliant fight scenes I have seen in any fiction, and I really like certain characters. 
 
2) Evangelion-Amazingly complex, is well done on so many levels and with amazing characters to boot, truly a masterpiece of anime. This should be studied in University classes. 
 
3) Gundam- The metaseries as a whole provides essential and (sometimes) quite real views on war and pacifism, I particularly like Wing for its intricate political messages, as well as its sheer awesomeness. 
Post by Count_Zero (344 posts) See mini bio Level 20


As for paying tribute to all these… well…  
 
I’D RIP 'EM OFF!

Seriously, the most creative tribute I can pay to superlative work like this is to pull these influences into my own writing.  I see both of these as challenges to make something that’s as compelling - - that's as complex and philosophically rich as EVA or as spellbinding and mythical as MONONOKE.

Just to make an aside here, before I forget - this reminded me of this theory I've got about Evangelion and Gurren Lagann. I previously posted it in brief on Bureau42, but I want to go into more detail here. It also reminded me of a few series I should probably warn you off from, unless you want to seek out some bad anime. 
 
My little theory is this - Eva is to Mecha Anime (and, to a certain degree, Tokusatsu) what Watchmen is to Superhero Comics. Similarly, Gurren Lagann is to Anime what Kingdom come was to Superhero Comics. 
 
I'll explain a bit. Watchmen is universally considered to be a fantastic deconstruction of the superhero comic. It really took apart the concept of the superhero to see what made him or her tick, and how they would effect the world. This isn't the first time this was done (and by the same writer - Alan Moore tackled similar themes in Marvelman), but this was arguable the most successful take on the concept. 
 
Similarly, prior to Evangelion, most super robot series, and to a certain degree, kaiju tokusatsu series (ala Ultraman) were of the hot-blooded hero variety, like Mazinger Z, Zambot 3, and the "Brave" franchise. The series during this era, while it did have some angst and character death, could be pretty easily compared with the Silver and Bronze Ages of Comics. 
 
Evangelion changed that. It did an excellent job of getting across what the world that these Super Robot anime were in would be like. It also got across the toll that piloting a super robot like the Eva units would have, physically and mentally, on their pilots. It also deconstructed the kind of parent who would make or encourage their children to pilot these robots (with most super robot series the pilots were the children of the robots' designer). 
 
(Oh, and as an aside, I'd consider Space Runaway Ideon to be the precursor to Eva in the way that Marvelman was the precursor to Watchmen, in certain respects)
 
Eva was successful, more then Anno I think could have ever possibly imagined. Similarly, in the way that Watchmen and, also, Dark Knight Returns birthed the Iron Age of comics (along with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other comics birthing the Indy Comics scene, but that's another matter), with loads of imitators, Eva got a lot of imitators as well. 
 
With both Comics, and Anime, not all imitators were bad. With Anime, we got  RahXephon, and Strain, among some other series, which continued in similar themes to Eva. In comics, we got Rising Stars, and Top Cow's universe, as well as Warren Ellis's runs on Stormwatch and The Authority. 
 
Some of the imitators of Eva downright stunk. Aquarion tried to do the super-robots in a post-apocalyptic future thing, but tossed some cheesy fanservice in there as well (when the robots combined their pilots orgasm). Earth Maiden Arjuna tried to give the Magical Girl genre the Eva treatment, by combining the conspiracy theory element of Eva (along with angst) with an environmentalist message - however, it too failed in the execution. Similarly, in American Comics, in the Iron Age, the shelves of comic book stores were strewn with stories that tried to match the tone of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, and failed (WildC.A.T.S., everything ever published by Malibu Comics, etc.) 
 
This leads me to Gurren Lagann & Kingdom Come. Kingdom Come, written in 1996, after the Iron Age had been running for some time, feels to me like a response to the trend of the Iron Age, Watchmen & Dark Knight Returns influenced anti-hero characters. In particular, while the series does reflect on the effects super-heroes would have on society, the characters who would have been leads in, for example, Watchmen and DKR, are antagonists here - most notably the character of Magog, who is a classic Iron Age anti-hero if I ever saw one. However, the heroes in the series, ultimately, succeed because they act like Silver Age Super Heroes, from Superman, to Batman, to ultimately, in a great sacrifice, Captain Marvel. Thus, Kingdom Come is something of a reconstruction. It takes what we've learned from Watchmen, in terms of how super-heroes can and would influence the world, but allows for a world where superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern can be superheroes without being crazy. 
 
Without going into spoilers - Gurren Lagann does this as well. Gurren Lagann, through the characters of Kamina and Kittan, as well as stuff yet to come, restores the concept of the hot-blooded super-robot hero as something workable. Hell, the setting requires that the pilot(s - it's a combiner after all) of Gurren Lagann be hot-blooded.  
 
Now, as far as imitators go, for comics, the best example of this reconstructionist Superhero Comics, outside of the DC Universe (which is the clearest example of this, IMHO), is the Ultimate Spider-Man comic from Marvel, and Invincible from Image comics. For the similar trend in the super robot genre, you'll want to look to the most recent installments in the Mazinger franchise, including the latest Mazinger Z re-imagining. 
 
Anyway, I hope that insanely long post made some sense, and that the analogy actually works. 
 
Oh, and if you didn't catch the series I was warning you off from, they are Arjuna and Aquarion. Avoid those if at all possible - unless you want to watch something bad for your next Watch & Learn - in which case the users here could probably come up with a better bad series anyway (like Mahoromatic, or something).
Post by agila61 (87 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I may have been spoiled for watching Evangelion as a reconstruction of giant robot shows, since it was the first giant robot show I saw. 
 
Its difficult to disentangle the question of my favorite anime and the best anime, and even harder if movies and series are thrown together, but I'll focus on anime series and try to disentangle. 
 
F.L.A.G. is the best ~ plotting, character development, realism, even the innovative telling of the story through raw footage being shot by a camerawoman. It could be classed has a Mecha show, but they are SF realistic Mecha rather than the insertion fantasy Mech of Evangelion or Escaflowne. GitS:SAC would be a close second. 
Post by Supermutant2099 (11 posts) See mini bio Level 5
Sailor Moon is my favorite all time show.  It made me laugh, cry, cheer, by happy.  It was a show that had just about everything and was show that really got me into anime.  Went from casual to after SM a full on fan.  Of course it wasn't over night but goes back to SM wanting to know about it and finding more about anime.
Slayers.  Great show, great cast, fun story. 
Tenchi, El Hazard, Dual, Full Metal Panic, Hellsing, Burst Angel, Black Lagoon, Lupin II, Dai-Guard, 
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ranma 1/2,   Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, Oh/Ah My Godess, Trigun all favs all time of mine.  
All above shows that I watch over and over again if I had the time.
Post by rein (5,465 posts) See mini bio Level 15
  1. Elfen lied
  2. hitman reborn
  3. gantz (with the exception of the final arc, they butchered the story with that one.)
Post by Miss_Adel (69 posts) See mini bio Level 8

One of my best was actually my first which is Sailor Moon. I really can't quit that series either.
Post by Shibumi (24 posts) See mini bio Level 7
Monster 
/thread
Post by N15PCA (611 posts) See mini bio Level 13

For my money the anime I love that has allot of layers to it is Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Post by rouju (20 posts) See mini bio Level 5
1. Cowboy Bebop
2. Evangelion
3. Master Keaton / Yugo the Negotiator
 
Special award, Mahojin Guru-Guru (I think it's a "love letter" for RPG genre) he he
Post by barashin (16 posts) See mini bio Level 5
Evangelion? FUCK THAT!!
 
ONE PIECE!!
/Thread
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