PenguinDust (Level 13)

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Anime I've seen that isn't counted as a "favorite" or classified as a "romantic comedy or harem"

This is going to be a repository for all the other I've watched and enjoyed, but didn't impress me quite enough to make my list of personal favorites. That list will continue to grow, I'm sure but for those "also-rans", there is this collection. Also, this catalog will not contain any romantic comedies or harem shows since those are already being tracked in a separate specific list. I expect the majority of the titles to be action-adventure but there will likely be a few straight comedies and slice-of-life shows in here, too.

For now, I'll be limiting my comments to whether I liked it or not and if it includes other series within the franchise. I'm not going to list every single series and movie within a franchise, but I'll mention the ones I've seen in the comments. Some shows will require individual listings, others can be grouped under a main. It will vary through the list depending on how I feel to categorize them. I will also leave some shows that I really can't recall anything about.

And, let me make it clear , these shows are not ranked in any way. I'm just placing them as I remember them.

1. Dantalian no Shoka

I'm only a few into this but it's shaping up pretty well. It reminds me a bit of Gosick, but it's still it's own thing. It's a mystery of sorts but of a paranormal nature as the two leads look to recover cursed books from their often dead owners and deal with whatever malevolence was let loose beforehand. There is a bit of tsundere in the female lead, but not to an annoying level.

2. Ben-To

I'm halfway through this harem/actioner. I'm mentioning it here rather than my harem list because so far there isn't that much romance in it. One of the girls has a crush on the main protagonist, but she's the only one of the bunch. The show is more of a street brawl show like Air Master only the prize is a cheap meal. It's good so far, but I had to give up on trying to reason how these fights could be allowed so frequently and publicly. EDIT: I finished it and really liked it. It gets a bit slow after episode 6 for a couple of shows, but picks up at the end again.

3. Un-Go

Pretty good mystery series that takes place in a near-future/post-war Japan. It has a supernatural element to it, too but that aspect never supersedes the deductive explanations of the cases. It gets a bit confused in the middle, but winds up decently enough. I enjoyed it more as I watched it.

4. Persona 4: The Animation

I'm still working my way through this one. I watched a bunch all at once, and then shelved it for some reason. I'm currently 6 shy of the end. The story is very familiar to me since I played the PS2 game a few years ago. I liked the small touched from the game that show up in the series such as the paper cranes, models and books the MC reads. The "true" ending is out now, so I'll have to see how that looks soon, too.

5. My Ordinary Life

Not necessarily a slice-of-life show but definitely a comedy. It has the same pacing of a newspaper comic strip turned into an animated series and reminded me of the old Charlie Brown and Snoopy series that ran in the 80's. It involves a trio of high school girls most of the time but often breaks away to cover other people in town. My favorite was the 8-year old genius scientist who still acts like an 8-year old, her put-upon robot housekeeper and a talking cat. Good light comedy that doesn't require too much attention.

6. Smile Pretty Cure!

I just started this one and that unusually since it's still airing but I was in the mood for some new Precure. I've only seen 4 episodes so far, but it's pretty good. I doubt I'll take to it as much as HeartCatch or season 1, but it could rival Suite or Fresh by the time it's over. I like Cure Peace the best so far, but I still haven't seen the arrival of the final member, a blue. I usually like the blue ones best (Cure Marine, Cure White, Cure Beat, Cure Aqua, etc...). I'll update this as I progress.

7. Hunter × Hunter

I am surprised at how much I am enjoying this one. This is the original show and not the currently airing one. It reminds me of old original Dragonball and of Yu Yu Hakusho. It's just less violent than both, so far (56 eps in). There's a lot of adventure in it since it follows a "road movie" archetype. One Piece does that, too so I expect the journey to be the best part of this series.

8. Upotte!!

Another odd one. It reminded me of the harem series about the magic girls who are really soda cans. This is a slice-of-life show rather than a harem, but the unique approach to the main characters is the same. In this one, the school girls are all guns. They look like normal girls (except for the ones that look like catgirls) but they're not. They're rifles and machineguns. Besides the fan service, the best part of the show is the detailed firearm history relayed through the show. It's like the History Channel with moe.

9. AKB0048

I liked this one a lot. It had some very good art and as an AKB fan, I enjoyed the music. Storywise, it's completely unbelievable, but if you can get past that then it's a lot of fun. Teen girls wanting to be popstars, inspire others as they were once inspired and fight the mechanized forces of evil who deem entertainment as an outlawed corruption. The ladies microphones turn into light-sabers.

10. Touch

Just started this one. It's a bit slow like most romance shows from this era, but it has a nice charm. I am interested in seeing where the relationships lead even if I have a good idea where they will finally end. EDIT: I have yet to finish this one but I did make it to episode 96 of 101. It's definitely more romance than sport unlike Cross Game, but it's still well told. There are plenty of times I thought it would go down a cliched path but it stay true to the characters had developed to that point. The final act, last 25 or so shows, has more baseball and a villain I truly disliked. There's a bit of a turn in the last few shows that I'm still contemplating. I hope to finish it soon and check out the two movies which take place after the events of the series.

11. Sket Dance

Great show. Very much like Gintama but with its own spin on things. I was looking for a replacement to Gin until it comes back (eventually) and this one is a perfect fit. I've seen 64 to this point.

12. Fresh Pretty Cure!

Just started it. My first reaction is that it has the most appealing fairy of any of the series. Hammy, from Suite Precure was my previous title-holder. Tart, the fairy is a ferret and he's quite funny. Unlike practically all other fairies he's not childish and he doesn't end each sentence with a cutesy addon (such as "mepo" or "desu"). There's three Precures right now but there will be four, it's telegraphed practically from episode 1 who the fourth will be. Oh, and best end song ["You make me happy!" by Momoko Hayashi] from a Precure series yet, too. EDIT: Finished it and it's probably my 4th favorite of the PreCure franchise.

13. Darker than BLACK

I'm halfway through and I'm enjoying it now. At first I wasn't into it and the first half-dozen episodes didn't appeal to me much. A lot of cryptic histories and bleak story lines. But with episode 7, it turned around for me with the introduction of a private detective and his secretary. That story only partially had anything to do with the main character. Now that I've past that tale, it's gotten a confused again, however the supporting cast has become more entertaining. The main guy is still a tad too vacant, but there's half a series left to flesh him out. EDIT: Watched all of season 1 and enjoyed it. Main character remains too flat but that might be his personality. It continued to be rather bleak but the detective and secretary did return numerous times to lighten things up. The ending was a bit confused, but not so much that it spoiled my feelings for the series.

14. Wagnaria!!

[aka "Working!!"] I watched season 1 and 2 and really enjoyed them. It's a light comedy with a strong emphasis on romantic-comedy. It's primary focus is not the romantic subplots, though but rather the unique personalities of the workers at the Wagnaria Family Restaurant. Each episode contains a story but there is a forward progression branching over the whole series. There's also an element of slice-of-life in some shows especially towards the end of the second season. The characters aren't particularly deep but they aren't so cut-and-dry as their archetypes might suggest. The best thing I can add is that I hope there is a third season someday.

15. Gravion

I've completed the first 13 of this 26 part series. It's a good modern celebration of classic giant robot anime. The "Heavy Metal God Gravion" has 6 parts which combine to one super-robot and even a rocket-punch. The machine is piloted by 4 girls and 2 guys. It's fighting against some nondescript alien enemy so far which, similar to NGE, sends a giant lifeform to attack Earth periodically. Each time, the oddly designed (think NGE's Angels) alien has a different appearance and power. The cast is entertaining, although some are thinly developed so far (again only halfway through). I hope to finish this one up very soon.

16. Knights of Ramune

This link goes to the movie, but I'm working through the 6 OVAs. It's not a bad series by any stretch, but it's also very cliche. The character design, animation, and effects are very much on the same order of any other show made in the 1990's. What distinguishes this show from those others is the healthy amount of sexual content and moderate nudity. If that's a turn off, then I suggest avoiding this short series. If not, and you're okay with very familiar storytelling and characters, then this is won't disappoint. Like most junk food, it's pleasing while you watch it, but immediately forgettable afterwards.

17. Grenadier

I enjoyed it for what it is. I found it to be a bit simple and uninspired, but the main character is cute and I liked watching her struggle to follow the way of her teacher. The male lead is underdeveloped early on, but he gets more screen time in the final few episodes. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Slayers style of action-comedy and are looking for something disposable but mildly entertaining.

18. Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

I thought this was on this list but perhaps I placed it in harem list. It belongs here especially after seeing the second season. This is a very entertaining, well paced action series with some romantic comedy element. In the first season, those aspects are more up-front, but in the second season (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan-Demon Capital) the action is front-and-center. They wisely downplay the romantic lead from the first series (Kana) for the two other girls who are much more interesting (Yuki and Yuna). The end is a bit shonen heavy. Hell, even the music swells in a very cliche manner, but it's still a good ride. Word to the wise though, it sets up for a third season.

19. Blue Exorcist

I really enjoyed this one and it took me back to what I used to seek in anime. I reminded me a bit of Black Cat, Beelzebub and Demon King Daimao. A nice mix of comedy and action in a modern-magic setting. On some levels it also reminds me of A Certain Scientific Index and on others Soul Eater. I really liked the characters and the pacing of the story. There were plenty of questions and a lot of answers evenly revealed as it progressed. It was a bit "shonen" at the end, but I felt very satisfied when it was over. The OVA about the cat was a nice bonus, too.

20. Big Windup!

I watched season 1 and enjoyed it. It's story unfolds slower than I had anticipated but that doesn't mean it's any less thrilling. The characters are entertaining and the way their relationships develop over the course of the games is intriguing. Not a lot of progress is made in 25 episodes (26th is an extra), but it's a good story overall.

21. Minami-ke

I've seen all of the first season and half the second season of this and it's charming. It reminds me a bit of my favorite Mistudomoe but lacks that series lunacy and miscommunication-humor...mostly. There is one secondary character in Minami-ke who would fit perfectly into Mistudomoe's style, and later there are some cross-dressing characters who certainly liven things up. Anyway, three sisters live alone ages 11 to 17 I think. The oldest is maternal, the middle child, impulsive and the youngest is austere. She also serves as the "straight man" to middle child, Kana. Most of the humor feels like a comedy routine with set-up and punchline. It's familiar territory for comedy anime, but I'd have preferred something a little more effortless. Still, it's exceeded my expectations and I count myself a fan. EDIT: I've seen all of season 2 now and am beginning season 3. Hopefully I'll be up to date when season 4 starts to air.

22. Toriko

I just started this one and am only about a dozen into it. It's not what I expected. Since it had a crossover with One Piece, I expected something closer to that level of storytelling and design, but it's more like Zatch Bell or Digimon. That's okay and now that I've readjusted my expectations, I'm enjoying it on that level. I like Zatch Bell for it's 150 episodes so I have hopes for this one, too.

23. Durarara!!

Following a suggestion from a Giant Bomb member, I decided to watch this one. I'm half way through now and have mixed feelings. I had a lot of problems with the show through the first 10 episodes but then it seemed to somewhat redeem itself. I don't feel that attached to any of the characters due to the disjointed narrative style. That's one of the reasons why I'm not a fan so far. The second half might get better though, so I'll see and re-write this when I am done.

24. Beelzebub

I'm though just under half this series and I like it so far. There's a surprising amount of filler early on which is distressing, but once it returns to the main arc, it picks up again. A humorous show but not as appealing to me as One Piece or Fairy Tail (other comedic shonen shows). I am enjoying it and will finish it up this weekend, hopefully around the time the final episode airs.

25. Nurse Angel Lilika SOS

This is a very traditional "magical girl" series very much like Sailor Moon, although I think SM is better. This one is still competent if you're a fan of the genre. It about an elementary school girl who gets magic girl powers and has to fight the "Dark Jokers" who wish to destroy the Earth. The first 26 episodes are the main arc and then the next 8 flounder around until the last two wrap it up. It's good, but it doesn't do anything beyond what's expected. If you've seen Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura or Kaito Saint Tail from that decade and are still looking for a decent show, then this won't disappoint.

26. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

It starts out an odd fast paced comedy similar to Cromartie, but as it progresses, it becomes more of a social satire of Japanese life. The humor varies depending on how embedded the viewer is with not only Japanese culture but mindset. It's a smarter than normal show in this regard, but there are still plenty of absurd jokes tossed in that Westerners can understand. So far I've only seen the first season of this franchise.

27. Gosick

I finished off this mystery series. I really had no idea what to expect other than a what I could take from the character designs. I recently took a look at a few Steam Detective episodes and this is far, far better as a mystery. I'm enjoying the developing relationship between the two leads. but I am also somewhat saddened by their eventual fate. The series is set in 1924, but it accelerates Earth history in the last two or three episodes moving what we know happened ahead 15 years. The very ending is good, though.

28. Zettai Karen Children

I'm less than a dozen into this series but I like it so far. It's has a "Powerpuff Girls" air about it; three super-powered middle school age girls fight odd criminals under the direction of their caring handler. It's too early to see where it's going, but there is a long story arc unfolding, so we'll see.

29. Mospeada

I remember seeing the Robotech adaption of this series, so I thought I'd check out the original. It's good so far although a little slow at the start. There is a chronology to the story arc, but each episode is pretty much a self-contained adventure. It's a "road" TV show where the team is going from one place towards another and each stop is a new story. Things develop over time and the second half is better than the first. The characters are a bit thin early on and we don't quite know all of their back-stories. However, I did enjoy it and felt satisfied by the end.

30. X-Men

I haven't finished this one yet, but it's a bit of a disappointment so far especially following the Wolverine series. The story takes place a year after the Dark Phoenix Saga from the 1980's comics. Scott/Cyclops is all sad and Storm, Wolvie and Beast coax him to rejoin the team and investigate the disappearance of a teenage Japanese mutant. So, there's the reason to go to Japan in this anime adaption. The X-Men moves a bit slow and the personalities of the characters seem off. Ororo has some traditional anime-girly body language which seems out of place. Emma Frost is also re-imagined as the maternal anime archetype. Beast has dog ears on top of his head. That last one really threw me off. I'm only a few episodes in but the series feels lifeless. --- I put this on hold for a while.

31. Wolverine

A great surprise! I really enjoyed this high action Marvel Comics adaption. The character of Wolverine fits better into a Japanese setting due to his comic book history. He has established relationships there and this series explores them. Unlike Iron Man, the story flows logically and has enough characterization to keep the rare slow bits interesting. It gets a bit cliche toward the end, but it's the best of the 3 Marvel series I've seen so far.

32. Iron Man

Finally getting around to finishing this one after 2 previous attempts. After Tiger & Bunny, it lacks a lot of the personality of that series which is sad because Tony Stark is one of the most personable characters in the Marvel library. The series has a very nice polished look to it provided by MadHouse studios. It starts off well, but there are far too many instances of "Oh we just happen to have what you need but we didn't tell be about before" so much of the tension is lost. Still, it's a step above most Western superhero stuff with the exception of the Paul Dini DC shows.

33. Tiger & Bunny

I enjoyed this action series. It's good, but I still think it lacks a bit of charm for the better half of it. The lead character, Kotetsu reminds me of Sven Vollfied of Black Cat. He's not quite as world-weary as Sven though and he falls short of Sven's comedic talents, but he's still likeable enough. His partner, Barnaby was a bit of a stick-in-the-mud through the first dozen shows, but he lightens up over time. The secondaries are also underdeveloped with Blue Rose/Karina being the only one to really have some angsty-charm. It's a good action show, but not every episode needs to be filled with explosions. A slower pace would improve the storytelling. The second half of the series is better than the first and I look forward to the show's continuation this fall 2012.

34. Cromartie High School

Tear-inducing hilarious short tales of a group of high school delinquents. I found it to be funny, but the humor is very dry. It can also be off the wall, too but not nearly to the level of a Pani Poni Dash. The characters are all very much cut from the stereotypical delinquent archetype, and they speak as if every word has some profound meaning. They are almost like Edo samurai in the bodies of high school boys. There is a chronology to the episodes but no encompassing story arc. For a series about hoodlums, there is practically no violence in the show, too.

35. Suite Pretty Cure♪

Finished this one and it's great. Still, not as good as the HeartCatch or the first series, but better than Yes PreCure 5 and Splash Star. The two leads fight a lot in the first dozen or show episodes and that adds a good amount of inner conflict since the boss enemy is rather weakly developed. Like HC, additional PreCures are added in the second half of the series and it works well. I really liked the third PreCure (Beat) a lot since she was deeply confused about a lot of things. There might be one additional ending than there needs to be, but there was a pretty good fight with a dragon, so no complaints overall. Tied for third place alongside PC MaxHeart in my opinion.

36. Shaman King

I finished this one off and it was enjoyable. It was more mature than I originally expected or remembered from my brief US TV introduction. It was still very shonen-ish, not that I think that's a bad thing. As in many shonen series, today's enemy is tomorrow's ally. I like the characters although I didn't strongly bonded with any. Anna, the lead's fiancee was kind of cool and Manta, his normal-human friend had a regular-guy charm that was relatable. --- the show had a beginning, middle and end so the plot wrapped up by the final episode. Generally pleasing, but not to the standards of One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tail or the original Dragon Ball series (not DBZ).

37. Inazuma Eleven

I finished season 1 of this recently. The first 26 episodes of the show are your basic "fight to the tournament" and its all well and good, but after that the very shonen-ness of the series takes over and the group find themselves fighting aliens...with soccer! As ridiculous as it is, it's actually a very fun and more entertaining storyline that the earlier one. Each new character has a lot more colorful personality defects to keep things interesting. Good stuff. After that arc, it returns to a tournament style format as they battle for the "world cup" of junior high soccer. A satisfying end. In season 2, Inazuma Eleven GO, the series takes place 10 years later with a new group of players, but the originals come back as coaches, advisers and counselors. It's fun to see who eventually hooked up with who.

38. Yes! Pretty Cure 5

I enjoyed what I've seen of this one so far (37 eps). It's not up there with HeartCatch or the original, but it's good. This time there are 5 girls instead of 2 or 3 and that takes away from the depth that the other shows had. Much like Sailor Moon, some characters are under developed. My favorite one was Cure Aqua, the rich girl, class rep type. There's some good hand to hand going on especially as the series progresses and like the original and HC, the majority of the baddies are grayish blobs mutated from ordinary objects. I prefer this over the specialty enemies seen in PC-Splash Star.

39. Yawara!

Very friendly sports anime with a strong romance subplot. Even though there is fighting in this series it is definitely a sports anime since (as far as I've seen so far) all combat takes place in sanctioned competitive tournament arenas. The heroine, Yawara Inokuma struggles to live a "normal" girl's life while constantly being pushed into judo competitions by her overbearing and manipulative grandfather. She falls for a playboy golddigger who is the judo coach of her sports/romantic rival, Sayaka Honami, but also develops feelings for a young sports reporter who wants her to see her become a judo champion. What Yawara wants and what everyone else wants for Yawara are at odds throughout. I'm still just a third through the series but I like it.

40. Katekyo Hitman Reborn!

Fairly decent if also typical shonen action series. Suffers from a few problems though namely the main hero is often irritatingly panicky, two child characters (Lambo and I-Ping)exist only to cause trouble even though one is a central member of the fighting team, and the focused love-interest (Kyoko) has absolutely no personality. The second girl, Haru is much more fun. Another problem I had was the first 18 episodes. If you can sit through the tedium of those shows, it finally picks and becomes entertaining after that.

41. Armored Trooper Votoms

Awesome so far. Classic mech anime with engaging space opera plot. About 50% into it so far.

42. Amazing Nurse Nanako

Goof-ball action adventure about a cyborg girl and the doctor who loves her. Nothing here too new. She whines a lot and is abused by his training. Even though she's nearly indestructible, she's not too bright. The rest of the cast includes an oddball group of specialists. Minor ecchi content, too.

43. City Hunter

Funny action series about a gun-for-hire and his partner in Tokyo. Uses satirically serious melodrama mixed with amorous humor effectively. Ryo reminds me of a grown-up version of Urusei Yatsura's Ataru Moroboshi is his pursuit of lovely ladies. Like Lum, his partner Kaori keeps him in check by pounding him with a 100 ton hammer. Most episodes are single story adventures with a few being two-parters.

44. Shugo Chara!

Unexpectedly good "magical girl" series aimed primarily at shoujo audiences. Low on action especially in the first season, but high on introspection and character depth. Amu, the female protagonist, is constantly questioning her beliefs and motivations as she attempt to discover who she is as an individual. Shugo Chara Doki (season two) is more standard with "creature of the week" enemies, but around twenty episodes in, it gets better again. I haven't seen season three yet. Recommended for Pretty Cure/Sailor Moon fans looking for something similar.

45. Agent Aika (OVA)

Hot female trouble-shooter works [panties!] as a salvager in a flooded future Earth, but gets pulled [panties!] into a James Bond-like plot ro stop a pretty boy madman and his[panties!] army of supermodel henchwomen from destroying civilization. It's a one joke series, but it commits [panties!] to it 110 percent and that makes it laughably enjoyable. So ridiculous that it [panties!] becomes entertaining. Oh, and there are a few panty shots in the show as well as some nudity.

46. Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School

High school girl battles poorly defined bad guys with her friends and rivals. Pretty standard stuff with a plot that barely serves to explain why characters are fighting and/or hanging out. The high school she goes to has an odd way of resolving every dispute; combat in a martial arts ring. Very little romance is also a bit disappointing. The action sequences are acceptable.

47. Chäos;HEAd

Action series about magic sword-wielding girls and a paranoid delusional otaku. A bit hard to follow early on as distinguishing the differences between reality and fantasy are blurred. There are a few mysteries early, but they never feel all that important to solve. In the end, it just comes down to breaking stuff. To Aru Majustu no Index covers similar concept ideas, but with better results.

48. Battle Girls - Time Paradox

Better than I had originally anticipated. High school girl finds herself in an alternate dimension where only females exist and experiences feudal Japanese history with girls now cast in the roles. A bit of a road-show for most of it, but enjoyable enough if you're not straining for more than it ever pretends to be. Girls in revealing armor. No nudity, though. Kohime Musou is better franchise.

49. Oku-Sama wa Maho Shojo: Bewitched Agnes

Romance drama about a guy who falls for a "magical girl". I expected "BeWitched" but it wasn't that at all. The series was rather serious most of the time and the characters very indecisive about what they wanted to do. By episode two I knew it would end one of three ways, so I wanted to see which one the producers chose. It turned out to be the safe way, which isn't the one I would have preferred. I'm almost always a proponent of fan-service and ecchi content, but due to the down tone of this series, the comical ecchi felt out of place. There wasn't enough to justify that intrusion. It felt odd.

50. Strain

Surprisingly decent mecha series about a girl who follows her brother into space by choosing to be a giant robot pilot, too. The third act was a bit confusing for me and when the explanations were made on why everything happened, I couldn't completely accept it, but the story as a whole was engaging enough to keep my attention throughout. The show has a high casualty rate on par with some Gundams.

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