Makoto_Mizuhara_Sakamoto (Level 18)

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The top ten anime that changed how we view it
Strictly speaking, this is all being done on a slightly biased basis, since it's just me talking. But hear me out- somehow, in some way, these anime changed the way we look at anime- or visual media- as a whole. This isn't a countdown- more like a chronological history of things done... and yet to come. Now, before y'all start complaining, I know I have left out some noteables, but bear with me- I already stated that this IS biased, so let's start.
1. Mobile Suit Gundam

Original run: April 7, 1979 – January 26, 1980 Genres: sci-fi, mecha, space opera I decide to start with the first 'Gundam' franchise because of the fact that they had taken elements from an American series that had come out a year before (Battlestar Galactica) and made it JUST a tad bit more dramatic. This was the first series that showed us that- yes- we can be epic in animated form. This, along with the subsequent movies/spin-offs/etc, helped usher in the new age of anime. Merchandising and sub universes aside, this show cemented itself into our hearts and minds before we knew it.


Original run: 3 October 1982 – 26 June 1983 Genres: sci-fi, mecha, space opera, aliens Ah yes, one of my personal first major outings into anime, and one of the most memorable. Released in 1982, quite possibly following in the footsteps of 'Gundam', 'Macross' follows the story of the crew members and civilians on-board the titular ship and their encounters/battles/whathaveyou with the (initial) alien menace known as the Zentradi in the year 2009. What made this stand out over 'Gundam' before it was its use of music as a means of not only boosting morale amongst the denizens of the ship, but also as a means of promoting peace between the humans and the Zentradi. I hadn't seen that before in my (at the time) young lifespan, and this was LONG before I saw the spin-off OAV/film 'Macross Plus'. Saying that all cements this in my mind as an influence to both encourage me and haunt me for the rest of my life.

3. Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind

Theatrical release: March 4, 1984 Genres: Post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, fantasy I'm going to get off the sci-fi binge here, so lay off me! 'Nausicaä' is the story of a young girl, trying to survive in a world still feeling the effects of a war that ended a millennium ago. So why bring this film up? It was Hayao Miyazaki's first film that wasn't a part of an already established franchise that stood well on its own. It also cemented Miyazaki as a viable storyteller and influence to a lad by the name of John Lasseter.

4. Bubblegum Crisis

Original release dates: 25 February 1987 – 30 January 1991 Genres: mecha, cyberpunk I PROMISE you- this'll be the second to last sci-fi related piece on here. This is your basic, seemingly run-of-the-mill sex cyborgs and rock 'n roll OAV series that started in '87 and ended in '91. What set this apart from what came before and after was the influences it took from the 1982 classic 'Blade Runner' (essential viewing for any fan of sci-fi and derivative cyberpunk genres) such as the main police forces looking out for cyborgs committing crimes dressed up as humans, the police forces specifically tasked with doing so, and the fact that one of the main characters is named 'Priss'. Another thing that set this apart- just like with Macross- was its use of music. Not in anyway peaceful, but the rock pieces used helped the action along that much better and led to a new wave of sound that is being slowly degraded today.

5. Grave of the Fireflies

Original theatrical release: April 16, 1988 Genres: historical, drama, slice-of-life Now to break the loop of sci-fi and get onto something else. 'Grave' tells the story of a dying young boy as he remembers back some time before to when his mother had just died in an American firebombing raid and his father left sometime back on the ill-fated battleship Yamato. What had caught me off-guard with this piece, was the fact that this was released around the same time that 'My Neighbor Totoro' was. I could've had 'Akira' or 'Totoro' here in this film's place, but this one screams out at me for one reason- we should never forget our past. Hell, I could've even had 'barefoot Gen' in here (notable for featuring one of the first graphic depictions of an atomic bomb being dropped on a major metropolitan area), but this one earned its place for not only being graphic, but gripping as well- in the sense that few before and after could do. In a tip to history, let's not forget 'Grave of the Fireflies'.

6. Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki

Original release dates: 25 September 1992 – 14 September 2005 Genres: Comedy, sci-fi, aliens, fantasy, harem, romance(?) 'Makoto, this had better be the last one.' 'SCREW YOU, THIS ISN'T ENTIRELY SCI-FI, YOU JACKELOPE!!!' Now that Lord Inglip's been silenced, let me continue. 'Tenchi', in its first run from '92 through late '93, was something of an experiment of sorts. Take one average high school student and place him with a space pirate who's been in captivity for the past 700 years, two princesses in search of their brother for the same amount of time, a ditzy blonde space cop, and a red-headed female mad scientist bent on being the best in the universe and what do you get? Pioneer Animation's first success in the US! What made this one stick out to me (and many others) was the English dub released on Toonami back in the late 90's. Now THAT was when we all had a blast with anime. Now that we're grown up, we've all sort of grown out of it and can't help but notice how childish this series seems both subbed AND dubbed, but it's one of those guilty pleasures that we all have that we can't just give up. The harem anime that's being reckoned with today can't hold up to that which helped start it all.

7. Oh My Goddess!

Original release dates: February 2, 1993 – May 17, 1994 Genres: fantasy, college life, comedy, romance Now HERE is a personal favorite! Now, one could go and try to place this one along into the harem genre, but the main character's only focused on one gal, which is a major plus in my book. This tells the story of one Keiichi Morisato and what happens on and after the day he dials a wrong number. In doing so, he summons a Goddess by the name of Belldandy to his room, saying that he's got one wish that he can use. Well, being a single college student (and seeing how beautiful SHE is!), he makes his wish- for a goddess like her to be his girlfriend. Since there are none LIKE her, SHE becomes his girlfriend! This leads to many adventures and MISadventures as these two- along with her sisters- go through life battling demons, rogue spirits, and the occasional bit of poverty not only in the home, but at the campus as well. In addition to being semi-irregular, this OAV also gave to me my first real 'earworm'- it's a term I apply to any series opening theme that gets stuck in your head. This small OAV helped start me in my quest for finding decent anime music, and probably a few others as well.

8. Ghost in the Shell

Original theatrical release: November 18, 1995 (Japan) Genres: sci-fi, cyberpunk, espionage, politics Everyone probably saw this one coming. DON'T LIE- LORD INGLIP CAN SEE IT IN YOUR EYES THAT YOU HAD THE KNOWLEDGE ALREADY!!! The original movie that set the stage for the search for the Laughing Man and the team members of Section 9 in the not-too-distant future of 2029 is considered my many fans and critics to be a landmark in not only animation and the onset of CG into it, but also a landmark in storytelling. What does it mean to be human in a world full of cybernetics and cyborgs? I still don't know that, but it brings up the theory that we may be too into technology as it is and may want to step back a bit before we go a bit too far. Na... if we did that, then we wouldn't be able to make silly little lists such as this.

9. Cowboy Bebop

Original run: April 3, 1998 – April 23, 1999 Genres: action, sci-fi, western, film noir, drama Am I cheating with this? Maybe, but hear me out. This is the series that really helped anime come into the fold in the United States back in 2001 when it was aired on Adult Swim. Why? Well... there's nothing really like it. Plus, the dub in this series is really rare in the fact that it fits the show better than the original Japanese does because of the fact that the characters suit the language well... plus some over-the-top action sequences and a nice, overarching storyline between the main character Spike and his former companion/main villain Vicious help set the stage for one of the series now known as a 'gateway franchise' for anime.

10. Black Lagoon

Original air dates: April 8, 2006 – June 24, 2006 (first season) Genre: action, adventure, drama The newest of the list is also one of my favorites as well. The reason for this is the way the story's played out- disjointed. Now some may consider this to be a bad thing, but if you look at it the way Quentin Tarantino did for 'Pulp Fiction', you'd see why it works here. In the series, we have the crew of the titular ship, a WW2-era torpedo boat, running errands for the various criminal elements in the fictional city of Roanapur (guessed to be somewhere in Thailand) and their newest member- a Japanese businessman by the name of Rock. Once more, the English language suits this series better in the dub versus the original Japanese due to the fact that the main characters plus many others are from- or have ties to in one way or another- the US. A recent hit, this makes its mark for witty dialog, over-the-top violence (ever see two women play rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to kill some people first?), and fantastic setpieces for the characters.

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