AHoodedFigure (Level 6)

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Trying to figure out what these are is like performing an archaeological excavation in a marshland. I've watched Japanese animation since I was too young to know what Japan was, so it's an unnatural act for me to try to compartmentalize my childhood to only reflect animated stuff and manga that came from Japan.  Here's my faltering attempt to catalog the things and people that are truly my favorites.  I'll add manga to the list, I guess, although that's harder for me to get down.
1. Cowboy Bebop

One of my favorite series ever, of any format. Music, style. I get a lot of people hating on this because the characters are aloof. Hell, I hate aloof characters myself, but I think Spike and Faye have these attitudes because of their rough backgrounds, not just because they're jerks.

2. Galaxy Express 999

The movie had more effect on me than I knew, I think. In many, many little ways. Revisiting the original movie recently I was astonished by how many of the themes of the film have been things that fascinate me in science fiction, especially immortality.

3. Akira

Saw it in Japanese, subbed in English, when Tetsuo and Kei were plummeting through the bowels of the military complex (ha) on a stolen hover sled. *LURV* One of my first, I guess... At least as a young adult. The first English dub had some goofy but quotable dialogue, and I haven't heard the second. I've since read the manga, which goes in some interesting, different directions, although I felt that Katsuhiro Otomo's comic had way too many coincidental character meet-ups, as though Neo-Tokyo wasn't bigger than a few city blocks. Still, I wish more anime would follow this one's bleak, tough, and uncompromising style, even if it's a world I'd never want to live in.

4. Space Cruiser Yamato

THIS was one of my firsts ever, though. Sandor's disfigurement and the theme of death and loss deeply affected me. It taught me that cartoons didn't have to be silly, mindless distractions.

5. Transformers

The first-run series and film. Thank you, Takara, for many happy memories. What sticks in my mind about this is all the different personalities of the various transformers. What an ensemble for what's supposed to be just a toy commercial.

6. Lupin III

"Good bye, Lupin!! I'll miss you!!!"

7. FLCL

Fun and weird. Cool music.

8. Gunbuster

Some of it is just giddy thrills for growing libidos, but it dealt with the issue of time dilation better than just about any motion picture, TV show, or OSV, animated or otherwise, has ever done.

9. Gatchaman

Wonder what I would have thought of it had I seen the unedited versions. The closest I ever got to that was back when we went to an international food shop and I saw kids watching this, but the characters on the screen were speaking gibberish instead of English. Was one of my first experiences of a different language.

10. Hayao Miyazaki

Instead of listing all his films, I'll just put him here.

11. Robotech

Yep, warts and all. A show that treated my like more of an adult, who could handle death and loss. Thanks for not talking down to me, the kid in my past appreciated it.

12. Macross Plus: The Movie

After Robotech, I found about all of this stuff-- Frigging AIs, when will they learn?

13. Dominion Tank Police

Had to be some of the funniest stuff I'd seen in a while back when I first saw it. Not so sure about the later parts, but the beginning eps were grand.

14. Robot Carnival

The last part, with the titanic robots bursting from the ground. Awesome.

15. Venus Wars

was my first attempt to go off-brand a bit and try something new. Not a success, but interesting in some weird ways.

16. Ghost in the Shell

I actually didn't like this too much, especially how it ended (felt like it was just the beginning of a series) but its realistic style and this scene when they're rowing through a sunken city area was just gorgeous to me.

17. Record of Lodoss War

I liked the classical group of fantasy cliches hanging out together, even if I only saw a bit of it.

18. Appleseed (OAV)

I think this was the first one, right? Saw a drawing of this in an old comic book store before I ever watched it. Loved the designs.

19. Big O

Very Batman, but in a good way. Central mystery was interesting, but I lost track of it after season one.

20. Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Didn't watch much of this, but thought it had promise before it became too expensive for me to keep up.

21. Osamu Tezuka

I was originally turned off by his visual style, but the fluidity and inventiveness of his work made me realize with this guy is one of the well-known founders of popular manga. His Buddha series is what did it for me, with its fourth-wall breaking humor combined with sad commentary on the cruelty of man.

22.

Some touching stories in this one, even if the two older guys in this are... not the sort of thing I can tolerate for very long.

23. Bubblegum Crisis

Weird, but I liked its slick, urban designs. Dobermans!

24. Yoshihiro Tatsumi

His A Drifting Life is essential for anyone trying to understand the manga industry. Entertaining and insightful; one of the few books I've read where I never wanted it to end.

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