snowymountain (Level 16)

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My Anime & Manga Series Reviews

A list of the various anime and manga series that I have read or seen, even just one issue or episode and what I think of it.

  • 5 STARS: The best of the best; you HAVE to go and see/read it!

  • 4 STARS: Really, really good. One of the better ones!

  • 3 STARS: Mediocre to decent.

  • 2 STARS: Fair to Okay; if you got nothing else to do and want to kill some time...

  • 1 STAR: Didn't like it.

  • 0 STAR: Junk. You will regret it and agonize over the fact that you will never get back the time you wasted over this worthless crap...

1. Negima!

This is one of the most interesting manga series that I have read recently. It’s sort of a cross between Harry Potter and Ranma 1/2 where a 10-year old British wizard who has just graduated from his magic school is appointed to become a teacher to a Japanese High School as part of his training to become a Master Mage which is one step in searching for his long lost and thought to be deceased famous father. Of course, Negi has to keep his magical abilities on the down low and a secret from his rowdy students. But as the manga progresses, Negi begins to realize that his particular class consists of some fantastically talented, wildly diverse, and pretty unusual students who make him seem rather ordinary and mundane! And with 31 teenagers, there’s a lot of background characters to explore from the Martian time traveler who has come back to conquer the world, the ancient vampire cursed to be a junior high student, the prototype robot, a ninja, a demon hunter/shrine priestess with a fascination with guns and sniper rifles, a ghost who continues to haunt her classroom, and they are just a fraction of the students out there. Usually such a wide and varied cast would be a detriment to the storyline but Ken Akamatsu manages to make it work somehow. The plotlines vary from the very simple to the overly complex, but all of them are rather high in quality. The later adventures are some of the very best that I have ever read with a fairly detailed plot yet it also shows quite a bit of the backstory that Akamatsu had been building upon from the very beginning of the series. Akamatsu is rather good at comedy while throwing in some drama and romance here and there accompanied by some moments of fan service (for comedic effect). I particularly love the many characters that populate this series; you laugh at their blunders, you worry about the risky situations they find themselves in, and you enjoy their triumphs. That is I think the secret behind Akamatsu’s successful series. He makes you care about these characters. The art is especially good and there is often incredibly complex and highly detailed sets along with the character designs are marvelous to look upon. The characters are wildly expressive and emotive as well in terms of their body language and facial expression. They’re wonderful to look at and frequently, you enjoy reading it over and over to see things in the background that you missed the first time. The action sequences are also especially great in massive and intricate battles. The one weakness to the series is that there is a lot going on and so many characters, not everybody gets the chance to get on the stage so to speak and shine. But it’s still one of the very best manga series that I have ever seen. Highly enjoyable and extremely funny. I have seen some of the other manga and anime series, but I have to say that I'm not quite as big a fan as the plots that they have introduced as being much more childish and simplistic. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

2. Ranma 1/2

One of my favorite series; this one was the one that sparked my interest in Japanese anime and manga. Rumiko Takahashi was one of my favorite authors. RATING: 4 STARS!!!!

3. Afro Samurai

One of the … odder addition to the anime series out there; Afro Samurai is an ancient samurai revenge flick, a blaxploitation movie, and a western that someone stuck into a mixer and hit puree. The result is a bizarre sludge of stuff ranging from black samurais and ninjas, cell phones, gunslinging cowboys, and whatever else that they could mix ‘n match to create this mismatched world. The basic plot is that a young boy (whose black) sees his samurai father (whose also black) killed by a cowboy in a battle to seize ‘The Number One’ headband that declares to the whole world—he’s the biggest bad@$$ of them all. The kid wants revenge and takes up his father’s sword and a mission to retake the ‘Number One’ headband and grows up to be—go on, guess—yeah, you’re right, Afro Samurai. Probably because of the gigantic afro hairdo he sports. Of course, he’s not exactly the sole eccentric character lurking around—but the one who is tough to top is the weirdo dressed up with the giant stuffed head like some sort of demented muppet. Otherwise, the plot is so thin, it’s practically nonexistent. It doesn’t help that Afro is so stoically stone-faced that there is little personality to him as well and he doesn’t emote either. His alter ego is a rather annoying black guy whose constantly yammering on called Ninja Ninja—whose a ninja for some unknown reason who accompanies Afro—for what reason, I don’t think they ever really bothered to explain. Overall, the entire series is one big splatter-fest of gory over-the-top fights where Afro battles it out as he pursues his enemy, the Man With the Number One Headband while a bunch of people either want his Number Two Headband—so that they can challenge Number One themselves. I think. They don’t really bother to explain that part too well either. Basically, the entire short series is graphic mindless violence at it’s finest, it’s like a montage of fight scenes interspaced with some hip hop music, which probably doesn’t help as I’m not much of a hip hop aficionado. Oh and to break up the fights, they did throw in a little sex and nudity too in-between. Don’t get me wrong, I like mindless action shows as much as the next red-blooded male but even I found Afro Samurai to be corny, empty, and pushing it. Kill Bill did it better and it has better dialogue and storyline to boot. About the only thing that this series had going for it was top-notch animation. Studio Gonzo did a bang-up job of stylized violence, fight choreography, and brilliant backgrounds. Basically, if I were judging this purely on the art content then I would grant it 5 STARS without hesitation. Unfortunately, it fails on mostly everything else. As far as the voice actors, only Samuel L. Jackson is the truly outstanding one who played double duty as Afro and Ninja-Ninja. Otherwise, none of the others truly were that exceptional or memorable either. If you’re a die-hard fanatic of the blaxploitation genre, then Afro Samurai is definitely for you. If not, then I don’t recommend it. But even so, I think that those movies and even those revenge style samurai or Old West stories at least tried to have a bit of plot than this which was more or less stylized violence designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. RATING: 2 STARS.

4. A.I. Love You

Mainly I read this 'cause I liked his other series; Love Hina and Negima?! I understand that this was his first major work and I can definitely see the influences of his future work in it. It's OK but lacks the sort of polish that he developed through experience. This series seemed to be heavily based upon Oh My Goddess! by Kosuke Fujishima but not quite as compelling. RATING: 2 STARS.

5. Ai Yori Aoshi

I have to admit that I am not a particular fan of romance anime or manga. I find them a bit overly gooey and emotional with too much females weeping or stoic guys who push away their loved ones because they somehow erroneously believe that they are unworthy of the love of the female lead or some crap. Personally, I think it’s more the fault of the writers than the genre though as I have read and liked several series that make romance a subplot rather than focusing completely on that to the exclusion of all else. Ai Yori Aoshi however falls in the category of a romantic comedy that tries too hard with a fairly unbelievable plotline and a bunch of uninspiring characters in my opinion. It’s transparently one dimensional and personally, I was surprised that it was apparently popular enough to spawn a sequel (which I never bothered watching). I know that Japanese girls are supposed to be meek and retiring, but I found Aoi Sakuraba to be horribly backwards. For a scion of a rich family, you’d think that they would have raised her a bit more modernly instead of someone who seems to be raised in a manner of a pre-Meiji Restoration noblewoman. Plus, her “true love” Kaoru Hanabishi rarely gets any sort of character development as do most of the other characters in the series. Frankly, the plots are amateurish and reek of soap opera-level coincidences and the voice actors were competent but not enthralling. The artwork and animation were probably the one high point of the series; the girls are quite pretty and nice to look at. However don’t expect action sequences or martial arts battles because this series simply doesn’t have that sort of thing. Overall, it’s overly cutesy and unrealistic which caused the entire series to suffer. RATING: 1 STAR.

6. Air Gear

I've read some of the manga and it's alright. There is a lot of crude humor and fan service, I haven't formed an opinion yet as I'm still on the early books and I have to wait to borrow them. The plot line is still developing so I'm withholding my opinion til later.

7. Angelic Layer

I first started to read the manga cause I was bored and lacked anything else. Usually I don't go for this sort of thing but I actually liked it when I read it. The main female lead is cute and I thought the battles were interesting enough to keep my attention. Rating: 3 Stars.

8. Appleseed

Way back when, I read Appleseed cause it was one of the few manga options available and became a fan of Masamune Shirow's art. I got lost and found it overly complex at times with lots of philosophical stuff thrown in but he does make some neat mecha and cute girls which is why I read it. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

9. Avatar: The Last Airbender

I never even bothered to watch this series until a few years ago. I had seen the live-action movie and wasn’t overly awed with it. However out of pure curiosity, I decided to see a few episodes of the original animated version and got hooked rather quickly. It’s rather clear to me that the American creators were inspired by manga and anime because this show embodies a lot of concepts of Eastern philosophy. And the more I watched, the more I was dismayed at how horribly the live action movie screwed it up. I found that the basic plot of a four separate nations that is now divided by the threat of war to be a rather good one and surprisingly mature for a children’s show. Particularly for the fact that they didn’t try to hide the negative aspects of it from children. They showed it all; from genocide, to the persecution and exploitation of the conquered people by the invaders, the death of innocent bystanders, and crimes committed by both sides—both conquerors and conquered. The people were real and realized. They also had a very nice, solid, detailed and compelling storyline that followed Aang and his group as they struggled against the Fire Nation. It had a beginning, a middle, and conclusion and it was able to balance all of the parts equally without losing or detracting from each other. The story might have been made for children, but I have to say that unlike many such animated children series; they didn’t treat children like they were stupid and it was both thoughtful and surprisingly mature and filled with spiritual and philosophical issues as well as the main characters contending with such concepts as greed, love, morals, family, and loss. This show which I originally dismissed as a comedy, becomes darker and more dramatic as it progresses—it never completely submerges into depressing, but clearly the children are forced to grow up and mature into adults over the course of this series. I also loved how detailed the background was in that each Nation clearly has their own separate and distinct culture, clothing, and bending martial art styles. It’s the little things like that that truly put a series into a class all of it’s own. The backgrounds were superb, particularly things like architecture and other sets were amazingly detailed. A number of animals are a bit on the goofy looking side as the creators seem to enjoy taking two disparate species and merging them together, but it quickly becomes part and parcel of the series. The characters were also incredibly engaging and in many cases, extremely sympathetic. The animation was also first rate. The character designs were extremely realistic and their movements were fast, fluid, crisp, and the fact that each of the bending styles were different from each other made their movements, at least for the very best of the benders look like poetry in motion. I also have to say that the voice actors did a superb job, they were able to convey complex emotions and feelings through their tone of voice. Overall, this is one of the best animation series that I can remember seeing. Even though it was basically for children, like I mentioned; it doesn’t try to dumb things down to them and has a great deal of important messages to convey and I think even adults can watch it without being too insulted or feel it too silly. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

10. Azumanga Daioh - Omnibus -

There's no dastardly villains, wacky aliens, demonic beasts, fierce ninjas, stoic samurai, or anything else in this series. There is no magical transforming girls, no martial art battles, nor complex soap opera storylines or anything of that ilk. "Azumanga Daioh" simply works because it’s normal. It’s about the lives of a group of ordinary high school girls with some of their teachers thrown in at times. Basically the series consists of a bunch of short and gentle comedy sketches—usually around 4 panels long which is all collected together, sort of like a collected version of the your favorite comic strips from the newspaper like "Garfield" but that's what makes it work. Basically, the entire series revolves around the high school days of a small clique of five girls who are inseparable friends. Surprisingly, they are all very different but they still like each other and hang out together. There’s little drama and little plot development, although the characters all have their own separate arcs or adventures which the readers get to see. Their supporting cast is a bit limited with some animals, imaginary creatures, and a pair of their favorite teachers often filling in. By the way, one of them; Yukari is easily the most irresponsible and eccentric teachers I have ever seen and all I can say is that high school would have been a lot more … interesting if I had such an oddball teacher on staff. The other one is the more responsible, rational, and normal of the duo who struggles to reign in Yukari’s wilder behavior and stunts and often fails. Apparently, they’ve been friends since high school and unfortunately, Yukari has quite a bit of embarrassing blackmail material on her so she isn’t that much of a check on Yukari’s outrageousness. Unfortunately, I think that the younger audience (say pre-High School age) won’t like this series as they might have a hard time relating to it or would find it a trifle bit boring with it’s lack of high action and melodrama. Also, some jokes may be too Japanese or related to Japanese culture for some Americans to understand or get, so that also sometimes hurts this series. The art is pretty cartoonish and there are odd facial expressions and other sight gags aplenty in this series. But it’s definitely high quality cartoon art and it totally fits into the style of "Azumanga Daioh". The backgrounds and sets vary in quality, sometimes being nonexistent to simplistic to the wonderfully complex. The series is a delight to read, it's easy to pick up from any spot, and overall it's very down to earth and funny. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

11. Bastard!

I've seen a few episodes of the anime but I sort of lost interest in it. It didn't seem that great. Rating: 0 Stars.

12. Batman: Child of Dreams
13. Batman Death Mask

A Batman in Japan story as told by a Japanese writer. It was decent. Rating: 2 Stars.

14. Batman: Gotham Knight

This is a collection of animated stories featuring Batman with a rather strong anime influence, which makes sense considering that each story segment was done by a separate Japanese anime production company. But there is an appalling lack of cohesion and we get so many different and disjointed interpretations of Batman himself. The first (and in my opinion, the best) story segment was “Have I Got a Story For You” was an interesting look at how a group of kids saw Gotham City’s extraordinary and enigmatic protector and each got three very different viewpoints that they interpreted. One saw him as a strange creature of the night; another as a high-tech warrior; and the third as a supernatural shadowy demon. However, I also felt that the animation was one of the poorer and least well done of the sextet of animation shorts as well. This introduction basically felt like a summary of the whole movie; a bunch of writers have come and presented to each of us their own separate views of Batman and they don’t really fit with one another all too well. I think that each story might stand better on its own because none of the stories seem to mesh too well with the others; even the basic visual medium and character designs are different from each story to each story. We are barraged with an anthology of stories that all seem to feature Batman and his adventures but it gets simply a bit too repetitive and confusing about halfway through this movie. Probably because we have a hard time believing that this is one separate character and not six separate ones as they seem so all over the map and so different at times. Even though DC claimed that it was six interlocking stories, I didn’t get that impression. The connection between each story is so vague and so tenuous, that there didn’t seem to be any kind of connecting thread to them at all. Unlike the Green Lantern: Emerald Knights anthology, this movie lacked an interlocking theme and the different animation styles also didn’t help either. Or they should have broken it up with a more humorous or comedic piece in the middle. Like in Emerald Knights, they should have had a few stories that didn’t deliberately focus solely on Batman but rather the world he inhabits or Gotham City itself. One of those short stories, “Cross Fire” did just that by focusing on a pair of Gotham City cops who discuss whether or not Batman really helps or hurts Gotham and he’s not present until the very end. But that’s the only one. I thought that they should have had something maybe one story segment about the Joker since he was going to be in the Dark Knight movie, maybe as simple foreshadowing at the very least. Instead, we get story after story about Batman. We get one where he is field testing a high-tech magnetic shield and yet another which shows us his training to ignore pain; and in between he also fights a fear inducing psychopath and a master assassin. And the last two don’t really have any sort of drama or character development in my opinion and are simply there to make Batman look as sleek and badass as possible and they did have some of the better animation pieces compared to the rest. Gotham Knight is a celebration of Batman but it’s simply too wildly interpretative in my opinion. As I mentioned before some of the stories are very good in quality while others are sadly lacking; some of them are wildly imaginative of Batman; others are exceptionally excellent in terms of animation and special effects. But none of them have all of those qualities all together. To me, I felt that I was left to decide how each segment was going to let me down. One of the few unifying themes was that they actually decided to have the same voice actor, Kevin Conroy as Batman throughout the separate story segments. Thankfully because even they must have thought it would be just too confusing for the viewers; but also Conroy continues to be one of the best voices of Batman that I have heard and his portrayal continues to be excellent. But I simply could not stand the shoddy unevenness of this film. It’s just too all over the map for my tastes, it just felt as though DC wasn’t really trying to make a good Batman feature but felt obligated to try and boost awareness of the forthcoming Dark Knight film. RATING: 1 STAR.

15. Battle Angel Alita

I have little to no idea about this series as it was one of the few ones that I have a hard time finding any copies available so the few manga I picked up was telling a very detailed and complex story that I wasn't sure what was going on. It's like walking in on the last 30 minutes of the movie and frustratingly trying to piece together everything that happened. I can't rate this one honestly.

16. Battle Athletes
17. Battle Athletes Victory
18. Battle Club

Overall, this is another manga series that I actually know very little about, primarily due to the fact that I haven’t been able to read most of it and my information comes from reading one or two of the GNs. However, what little I have seen doesn’t inspire me to search out and read more. This series is very short on plot and characterization, relying on the fact that it contains quite a few gorgeous girls with very little in the way of body modesty who flash their stuff. Basically, there is a lot of nudity and gratuitous panty shots (although I never saw any sex) and basically low brow body comedy. "Battle Club" focuses on a young man who is routinely beaten up and then one day, his tormentors strip him and leave him exposed to be humiliated. Afterwards, he decides to join the school wrestling club in order to become strong. The fact that he gets to grapple with a few sexy and very fit girls is pretty much a bonus and he quickly develops a crush on one of the main girls, a dim witted wrestling savant who has tendency to strip her clothes off in public because they interfere with her full range of motion or something. There’s also bits of lesbianism and the Wrestling Captain is a crossdressing hermaphrodite to boot. Which is where the rest of it breaks down is that I didn’t really find it overly funny. The jokes are a bit crass, tasteless, and tends to revolve around toilet humor and body jokes which gets pretty old, pretty fast—at least for myself. Also, this series involves normal humans using wrestling as the most powerful sport around; there is no real supernatural and superhuman martial arts involved either so don’t expect that either here if you were thinking it would be something in a similar vein of the artist’s other major work; "Battle Vixens". The rest of the art is realistic but not exceptionally well done either. As far as I can tell, "Battle Club" falls somewhere between an actual comedy manga and pornography; sort of a soft eros without going too far into either extreme. I will say this that the artist, Yuji Shiozaki definitely knows how to draw the female body—well, very attractive female bodies in compromising poses. If this is the sort of stuff that titillates you, then Battle Club is the series for you. But if you need your series to contain something a bit more than that in either category, then you’re going to have to look elsewhere. RATING: 1 STAR.

19. Beet the Vandel Buster

A bit on the childish simplistic side, the series is more light hearted than other supernatural series with monsters who have taken over the world. It is a "Dark Age" where monstrous beings known as Vandels reign while the remnants of humanity struggle to survive in fortress cities and towns. Beet is an aspiring Buster who yearns to hunt down and destroy Vandels alongside his childhood heroes, the Zenon Warriors; the strongest and most powerful group of Busters alive. But his childish eagerness to see his heroes in action result in their doom when he is taken hostage by the Vandel Beltorze and Beet and Zenon Warriors are all badly wounded in exchange and are forced to impart their Saiga in Beet to save his life even as they sacrifice themselves to defeat Beltorze. Devastated at the loss of his heroes, Beet swears to end this "Dark Age" by destroying all of the Vandels. To aid him in his quest, he discovers that he possesses all of the powerful Saiga that each of the legendary Zenon Warriors wielded. The characters aren't bad and the interaction between them is fairly good as are the battles aren't bad either. Beet is a bit on the dim side, but over the course of the GNs, he seems to grow as he masters the various Saigas given to him. The art seems a bit crude and basic, but it's clean and able to easily follow the flow of the action. Probably the biggest downside however is that series seems stalled and in limbo just when it was starting to really get exciting due to the illness of one of the collaborators of this series for the past several years. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

20. Big O

Caught a few episodes, but I didn't find it interesting enough to try and keep looking. Rating: 1 Star.

21. Black Butler

At first glance, "Black Butler" revolves around wacky hijinks involving a young prodigy rich heir whose sole competent servant is his butler, Sebastian. The rest of the servants are woefully incompetent and more of a nuisance than help, destroying whatever they touch so that more work goes into fixing whatever it is that they’ve managed to screw up. This sort of klutzy comedy however doesn’t last for long though. "Black Butler" is no comedy but rather secretly a gothic mystery/horror story that tries to masquerade its extreme creepiness behind brief bits of the wacky servants. As the story quickly reveals, the heir is Ciel Phantomhive who lives in late 19th Century England. His parents died in some mysterious fashion and he seeks to avenge their deaths. To accomplish his revenge, he has created a contact with a demon who has taken on the form of his hyper-competent servant, Sebastian who smirkingly refers to himself as “one hell of a butler”. Personally, I find the series to be in poor taste. While people selling their souls is something that has been done before in other series and I’m not that particularly religious, that I demand that fiction be censored because of spiritual beliefs—there is something about the author having a child that has undertaken such a Faustian pact that I find offensive. Otherwise, this series seem to relish the rather gothic aspects to the fullest: overly melodramatic; the overly elaborate styles of dresses involving bows, lace, frilly cuffs, and dark colors; and heavy overtones of death as well. Yeah, I’m also not an overly enthusiastic fan of the goth subculture either. I will admit that the writing is fairly well done. Ciel isn’t just a useless noble fop but actually an enforcer of the Queen who investigates any unusual and grotesque incidents that occur at her command. Ciel’s investigations revels in a lot of red herrings and usually the least likely one is probably the murderer but the macabre aspects that is thrown in is just way too much for me and I think younger children would find it questionable as well. I also find that this is one of those few mangas that is overwhelmingly excellent in art. Not just simply the main characters but the supporting ones as well as background scenery is extraordinarily well detailed and taken care of. Usually, background is sort of secondary or minimal in certain manga series. Not here. Of course, the whole gothic look contributes to the feel of the 19th Century Victorian England environment that they have going for them. "Black Butler" is intended for tweens and young adults over children—and probably more for females who enjoy the apparent adorableness of young Ciel who got a sort of brooding emo shotacon quality to him that is added with the eyepatch and taste in frilly clothing. Add with the presence of Sebastian, I have to say that it looks like some heavy handed homoerotic suggestiveness as well. The few GNs that I’ve read doesn’t quite descend into yaoi itself, but it’s borderline evocative of it with Ciel as the dom most the time to Sebastian although he also seems to be a sub in private to the demonic butler every so often. This sort of thing isn’t my cup of tea and with that infernal bargain between Phantonhive and Sebastian lurking in the background, I just couldn’t get into this series. Which is the sole reason why I gave it such a low score. Basically if you’re into the aforementioned aspects; goth, murder mystery, supernatural period drama, tense plots and stuff then you probably won’t be able to get enough of "Black Butler". I’d expect that someone with those tastes would find it at least 4 STARS, possibly higher. But it’s just not everybody who might like lighter comedy or more action hero centric. RATING: 1 STAR.

22. Black Cat
23. Black Lagoon

I read a few of the GN but I lost interest real quick. “Black Lagoon” is a series that relies on mindless action with little in the way of plots and lots of hot and insane girls wielding guns and other assorted weapons and some fan service as well. If John Woo had been writing and drawing a manga series, it would probably look like “Black Lagoon” or something similar. It’s fast paced, gritty, filled with military hardware, graphic violence, loud explosions and stunts; but little in the way of plot or character development. It might be fun for a single afternoon, but overall it becomes a bit wearying to read over and over again. The artwork is undeniably excellent with highly realistic character designs and items like guns, boats, etc. I do think they skimped a bit on the backgrounds, but otherwise the artist is an expert in action sequences and believability. You can feel the recoil of the chattering machineguns and sense the air rippling with pressure waves as grenades explode off the pages. However, what breaks down the entire series for me is the fact that none of the characters are all that interesting or charismatic. Frankly, they’re all rather dull and have little in the way of personality. The main protagonist, Rock seems to be the only halfway decent guy in an entire island nation of sociopaths, criminals, and deviants but he simply just allows himself to be pushed around by the stronger and more immoral personalities and drifts aimlessly as part of the Black Lagoon company much like his old position in the Japanese corporation, not because he doesn’t have anywhere else to go but simply he can’t seem to muster the will to do so. It’s the lack of any real charismatic personalities or characters that killed the series for me as I can’t really invest myself in any of these characters. Sure, there’s plenty of action and stuff; but I just couldn’t bring myself to really care about them. There’s also plenty of mature stuff from tons of gunslinging and sadomasochism. One of the early chapters involved a pair of children who were sexually tortured by pedophiles and used in snuff and torture films until their minds snapped and they became a pair of murderous psychopaths which was around where I decided that this series wasn’t for me. I also wouldn’t recommend it for young kids but adults with a taste for extreme violence films will undoubtedly appreciate “Black Lagoon” which definitely would appeal to them. RATING: 1 and 1/2 STARS.

24. Blade of the Immortal

Eh. So-so was my opinion. It seems to be a sort of Japanese version of Highlander only with a revenge twist. I lost interest after a couple of issues of the manga. Rating: 1 and 1/2 Star.

25. Bleach

I've read it but still find it a bit confusing. There seems to be quite a few plot holes that don't seem to make much sense to me; the Soul Society doesn't exactly seem to be all that "heavenly", how can a Soul Reaper get a permanent illness, why is a giant dog a Soul Reaper, and the Soul Society has several of these noble families, but exactly how does these noble families manage to propagate; are just some of the ones off the top of my head. But I find a lot of the characters compelling enough to keep an eye on the series. I have given up on the anime version though. Due to the fact that Japanese anime often catches up and surpasses the manga; the studios often come up with these "filler arcs" that are just freaking horrible in my opinion. Bleach is probably the prime example of this, although Naruto comes a close second too. One other thing I've noticed in the anime is that whenever Ichigo is about to perform some sort of heroic move, they have this jazzy song burst out. I grew it find it extremely annoying after a while. It's one of those aggravating tunes that get stuck in your head for days afterwards. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

26. Bubblegum Crisis

I was a big fan of the original BGC anime series so I was thrilled when I heard that they were going to remake it. I found the 2040 series a joke however. It resembled the original but wasn't quite it either. The Grand Mal comic series was one of the best adaptations around; following in the footsteps of the original anime. I consider Adam Warren one of the best writers around! Rating: 4 and 1/2 Stars (for the original BGC!)

27. Bubblegum Crash
28. Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040
29. Burst Angel

I've seen some of the anime and manga and didn't really care too much for either. For some reason though, neither the manga nor the anime resembled each other too much. Rating: 1 Star.

30. Buso Renkin

I tried to read the first GN of the manga but I found it boring and quit almost halfway. Rating: 1 Star.

31. Cannon God Exaxxion

This is one of the most realistic giant robot mangas I have ever read. In all of the other series I've seen, the enormous robot just runs around, ignoring whatever is around him during his battles. This one however doesn't and shows the effects of this robot stumbling around causing landslides and entire roadways to flex and shatter under it's tread. In addition, the alien invaders are pretty sneaky here in that they don't show up and invade with their superior technology but rather insinuate themselves economically into Earth and giving us their "technology" before staging their overthrow and humanity discovers that their technology is booby trapped and under their control. The hero was at first eager to fight with the robot and then appalled when he realized how dangerous his giant robo was. He went through some deep soul searching before reluctantly deciding to use it to fight. I am eagerly awaiting the Conclusion to this series and Dark Horse has to get on the ball and start printing it! Rating: 5 Stars!

32. Cardcaptor Sakura

Another TV series that I originally thought was too cutesy but despite myself, I found that I watched most of it. I prefer the original Japanese version as the English one was too "kid-ified". Rating: 4 Stars.

33. Case Closed

I didn't think too much of the premise after I caught a few episodes. However the manga is much more compelling and it's an interesting modern day detective mystery series. It's definitely worth a look. It gets a bit repetitive and the characters don't seem to deviate too much from their roles; Conan/Jimmy and Rachel will always dance around their relationship which is barely above childish affection, Richard is absolutely clueless yet somehow arrogantly believes himself to be a great detective ... even though he can't recall how he solved the case or why he always passes out during his deductions. The kids that Conan hangs around with will always get into trouble and disobey his orders getting them into worse trouble ... it's a bit predictable at times which is about the only real flaw in the series. I also have to give the author credit in churning out baffling mysteries one after another. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

34. A Certain Scientific Railgun

I read the first manga GN and was hooked. I understand that this series is a spin-off to "A Certain Magical Index" because one of the supporting characters; Mikoto Misaki was so popular (which I can find understandable) that they made her the primary focus of this spin-off series. This is shaping up to be an interesting series and I'm keeping my eye on it and for the original series that this was spun off from. Rating: 4 Stars.

35. Cheeky Angel

This was another manga series that I wasn’t too sure about when I first read the synopsis on the back cover. Yet I decided to give it a try and got surprisingly involved. "Cheeky Angel" is a bit more realistic version of "Ranma 1/2" which involves a gender bender premise. The basic plot involves Megumi Amatsuka who is perhaps the loveliest and most feminine looking angel you would ever meet. A goddess who can drive a priest mad with lust. Until she opens her mouth and spews out her true tsundere, trash talking, martial arts lovin’, tomboyish violent personality. The true reason is that Megumi was born a man and as a child; saved a strange old guy in a cloak from some neighborhood bullies. The stranger presented him with an even stranger book which contained a genie who offered him a wish. The macho boy decided that he wanted to become the greatest man among men only for the genie to make a mistake and twist things around to make Megumi as “the most womanly of women”. As a result, Megumi was transformed into a female and since that time, has sought out a way to correct the wish and restore herself to his true gender. And he—or rather she isn’t about to lower herself into becoming a damn helpless female when her body is just temporary. It’s a nice take on modern day gender roles, particularly in Japan which is even more stricter than the United States in their sexual attitudes in some ways. Yet Megumi cheerfully ignores those stereotypes, forging her own independent path and inadvertently winning the admiration of a number of her peers, particularly a number of boys but a few girls also find her die-hard, uncompromising, unladylike attitude to be worthy of veneration. "Cheeky Angel" does this by asking the questions: What does it mean to be masculine? What does it mean to be feminine? Are these traditional roles that society demands of the sexes even truly relevant anymore? And what about the relationships between men and women? Well, it’s usually not that deeply philosophical but sets up some from rather funny scenes and scenarios as Megumi and her friends struggle to find those answers for themselves. Sometimes even Megumi finds herself challenged to answer those questions. The storylines follows a basic formula where Megumi (or her friends) are put in a variety of situations that result in her saving them—or them saving her in return. The author, Hiroyuki Nishimoto manages however to keep things interesting and mixing things up so it doesn’t feel too repetitive. The characters are surprisingly charismatic in their own ways, although a few of the supporting cast and villains tend to be a trifle one-dimensional. But that rarely matters as the story focuses on the main cast from Megumi and her best friend, Miki as well as her band of suitors/admirers; the tough punk Genzo with a heart of glass, the overly average Ichiro whose only remarkable feature is his determination, the incredibly intelligent and incredibly perverted Yasuda, and Hitomonji who was raised as an old fashioned traditionalist feudal samurai. Personally, the sole weakness of this manga is the artwork as I found the characters to be a bit rough around the edges as is the backgrounds a bit blocky and lacking in detail in some scenes. Otherwise Nishimoto is pretty good at the action scenes and pacing so I don’t really have any complaints there. I’d easily add another 1/2 star if his artwork was better. The story is sweet and the comedic bits are amusing as well so that the romance doesn’t feel too sappy either leaving a well balance series that doesn’t teeter too much into favoring one element over another. Overall, "Cheeky Angel" is one of those treasured gems that few people seem to have heard of and have missed and that’s a darn shame. RATING: 4 STARS!!!!

36. Chobits

Read a few manga here and there. It's cute but not spectacular. Rating: 2 Stars.

37. City Hunter

Mainly I've watched the anime series. It gets a bit repetitive at times; Ryo Saeba getting involved with his beautiful clients and his assistant Kaori beating the crap outta him for his perverted behavior. But he still manages to pull off the cool and suave hero most of the time and I like him surprisingly and he makes me chuckle at his antics. He has an interesting supporting cast with a rival/enemy Umibozu and a sneaky female police detective who uses her feminine charms to trick Saeba into helping on her more difficult cases. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

38. Clamp School Detectives

An odd series involving a trio of kids who are part of an insanely wealthy school and have taken it upon themselves to aid and assist any females in distress. Strangely enough, it's funny enough to captivate my interest and was short enough that it doesn't grow repetitive. It also has a few spin-offs such as Duklyon: CLAMP School Defenders and Man of Many Faces. Rating: 2 and a 1/2 Stars.

39. Claymore

I've only started reading this series and it already has got me rather hooked. There is a definite darkish vibe to it, but not so much that it totally grosses you out. Taking place in an alternate world where female warriors who wield gigantic blades known as "Claymores" and hunt down fearsome beasts known as "yoma" who view humans as merely another food source. The tragedy behind these Claymores however is that a normal human is hopelessly physically outmatched by these yoma and in a desperate attempt to equalize themselves with these predators, the Claymores undergo horrific surgery to implant yoma organs within their bodies to grant them a measure of strength, speed, and other strange abilities. But it comes with a fearsome price as the more and more they use their powers to destroy these monsters, the stronger their own monstrous nature grows and one day, it will take them over. Each Claymore lives with the knowledge that one day, their bodies will betray them and then, they too will have to be hunted down and destroyed for the good of humanity. Despite the tragic nature of these heroines, they continue to fight for the sake of the human race, struggling to maintain their humanity against the monsters within themselves. It's a fascinating idea and a solid concept, even more so as several Claymores are beginning to question the very nature of the "Organization" that hunts down these yomas and directs them and they begin to realize a very dark and sinister plot lurking in the background. The art is excellent and while the storyline seems to falter here and there, it continues to fascinate the reader with new twists and turns. It is definitely worth a read. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

40. Cowboy Bebop

Saw a few anime episodes. I didn't much care for it. Rating: 1 Star.

41. Crying Freeman

I've read most of the first GN and stopped as I found it a bit too bloody and graphic for my tastes. The idea of an innocent man being brainwashed into a ruthless and inhuman assassin for a criminal organization was a bit too much to take. Rating: 1/2 Star.

42. Dai-Guard: Terrestrial Defense Corp.

There have been any number of anime series that focuses on giant robots. "Mazinger Z", "Voltron", and "Evangelion" are a few that spring to mind. But never has there been an anime series that focuses on a bunch of office workers who save the world from evil monsters using a giant “great useless” robot. That is the premise and probably the secret behind "Dai-Guard". Over a decade ago, a strange unstoppable gigantic creature known as a Heterodyne appeared that forced Japan to use highly destructive apocalyptic weaponry to wipe it out. Afterwards, they decided to create a special response unit, a giant robot known as Dai-Guard was designed to confront and defeat these Heterodynes if they should ever reappear. They never did and ultimately, their creation was shelved and is now used as a giant mascot by 21st Century Defense Corp; the armament company that was given the contract by the Army to build “that great useless thing” as it came to be derisively called. But when the Heterodynes reappear, the military is helpless before them and only Dai-Guard can save the day! Interestingly enough, the Army has no choice but to allow these amateurs do their job because at first, the machine was so specialized that they had no one who could operate it to start with and 21st Century Corp owns Dai-Guard now because the Army sold it off to them! There is a genuine plot to these episodes where it’s not so much as the Heterodynes that are the threat but humanity itself. The Army is more obsessed with their rules and regulations as they embark on several attempts to seize control of Dai-Guard or replace the original team with more suitable replacements. The 21st Century Corp Board of Directors become greedy and are more interested in grifting and their profit margins over human lives. There are lots of other things from inane bureaucracy, lawsuits, the economical problems, public relations, and the human factor that the trio of robot pilots find themselves facing as they struggle against the monstrous Heterodynes. And you come to realize that the Heterodynes aren’t really evil but more of a natural disaster like an earthquake or tornado that humanity has to work together to overcome. With the exception of Shunsuke Akagi who is practically the prototypical brash, headstrong, naïvely idealistic, and hotblooded robot hero pilot; the rest of the cast are surprisingly well rounded and realistically human with their own faults, fears, and strengths as well. And the Japanese voice actors are extremely good at conveying their emotions and infusing genuine personalities into their characters. They and their characters quickly grow on you and you laugh and cry at their triumphs and tragedies. What I think that I liked the most about "Dai-Guard" was the realism that they used. Super Robots are great and all, but are they feasible in the real world? It sure doesn’t look like it to the anime where the giant robot is a persnickety piece of junk. It can’t run too fast or it’s own weight will cause it to collapse, it’s hideously complicated process to assemble, and it’s clumsy as hell. Considering how smoothly, gracefully, and otherwise invincible those other giant robots are, Dai-Guard is wonderfully realistic. The animation is extremely well done, which is to be expected by the folks at Xebec. The character designs are superb, the backgrounds are highly detailed, the effects such as fire, smoke, and lightning are all wonderfully convincing, and most especially the Dai-Guard mecha itself looks amazingly functional like it could actually be built in the real world. The one weakness of this series is that it only lasted a single season. Considering a bunch of other anime series from "Dragonball Z", "Naruto", or "Bleach" which seem to take sadistic enjoyment in stretching out things to last an entire season, "Dai-Guard" was a mere 26 episodes long and even then, it ends rather abruptly and we never get to find out what happened to the characters. There were hints of a romantic crush between several characters that are never really resolved which leaves the viewers feeling slightly unfulfilled. What happened? Did they ever get together? Married? Divorced? Broke up? Overall, the series is one of the most realistic robot anime produced, surpassing even "Patlabor" in realism but not quite surpassing the classic giant robot labor series in comedy. But "Dai-Guard" is definitely one of the better anime series around and definitely could do with a sequel. RATING: 4 STARS!!!!

43. Darkstalkers

Mainly I played the video game a bunch of times. I have seen a cartoon based on it but after watching most of one episode, I found it too 'kid-ified' for my tastes. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars for the Video Game and 1 Star for the TV series.

44. Death Note

A friend of mine tried to interest me in this but I didn't find it very compelling, it was a bit too dark and depressing for me. Rating: 1 Star.

45. Devil Hunter Yohko

Not that great an anime. It seemed a thinly veiled attempt to squeak by the censors by not being hentai or erotic enough to be labelled as adult, yet containing enough sexual themes to not be your regular cartoon either. It tries to titillate, but it doesn't manage to succeed. The designs of the girls are fairly cute, but it fails to contain a very compelling storyline or explicit sexual scenes either. If they tried to focus on one or the other, it might come off better but instead it comes off as confused and lacking. It feels like Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a slice of Sailor Moon or another magical girl on the side. Rating: 1 Star.

46. Digimon Adventure

I caught most of the 01, 02 and 03 series respectively. I had to wake up to take my father to work and I usually dropped him off and then came back home before I went to school. As it so happened, Digimon was on between that brief break in my schedule and I started watching it despite myself. The first series wasn't bad and focuses on a group of young kids who are lost in another dimension where they befriend a bunch of "Digimon" who are their partners. It's a bit like that Pokemon series, but the kids seem to have a much stronger bond between their monstrous friends as they help them "evolve" into stronger forms during battles like a power booster--or so I assumed unlike the kids in the Pokemon cartoon which just seem to act as cheerleaders or providing strategic guidance. Digimon actually took itself much more seriously than Pokemon, the characters felt a lot more real with real personalities as they grew and faced ever increasing powerful opponents. The 02 series was a pale version of the first series, focusing on a new grouping of kids with the originals thrown in here and there to add in some tie-in to the originals. The 03 series however was a dramatic different universe entirely. After that, Digimon started repeating and then changed it's time slot and so I lost interest in it entirely. Rating: 3 Stars for the 01 and 03 series; 1 Star for the 02.

47. Digimon Adventure 02
48. Digimon Tamers
49. Dirty Pair

I have seen a couple of the animated videos but they weren't that spectacular in my opinion. Rating: 1 Star. However, a friend showed me a couple of comic books based on them by the American comic writer/artist Adam Warren that totally blew me away! He has since become one of my favorite writers and I try and pick up whatever I can find that he scribes (even if I'm not a fan of the series). I recommend "A Plague of Angels" which remains one of my favorite stories along with "Sim Hell", "Fatal But Not Serious", "Start the Violence", and "Run From the Future" which I unabashedly credit him with 4 and 1/2 Stars!

50. Dominion: Conflict 1 [No More Noise]

I've seen the first Dominion series and the anime, neither of which I particularly liked but this one actually grabbed my attention. It's got some real amusing characters such as the Puma Sisters and Leona Ozaki herself. I'm hoping that the title of Conflict 1 means that there will be a Conflict 2 in the works! Rating: 5 Stars!

doublezeroduckon Jan. 31, 2012 at 8:04 p.m.

Great list. good to read about each one. We have exact opposite tastes i think but i'm looking forward to the rest, whenever you get it done.

SMXLR8on April 9, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.

I am sorry but by the looks of the page 1 this list is terrible since you think your opinions are fact. I also did not like that you think being "mature has anything to do with cartoons , If you bring that topic up I say you should stop watching them sine you are too old to watch it .

takashichea moderator on April 14, 2014 at 9:44 p.m.

@SMXLR8 said:

I am sorry but by the looks of the page 1 this list is terrible since you think your opinions are fact. I also did not like that you think being "mature has anything to do with cartoons , If you bring that topic up I say you should stop watching them sine you are too old to watch it .

What does that mean? Snowymountain is one of top reviewers in Anime Vice, Anime Vice 2013's Top Reviewers. This is what I'm talking about, your attitude issues. You should never tell someone that they're too old to watch anime. That's a lot of disrespect.

SMXLR8on April 14, 2014 at 10:22 p.m.

@takashichea: come on taka , that is not what I meant . It was more to get my point across also me and snowy are cool now

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