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. Dragon Ball

I got briefly addicted to the Dragonball series. The anime seemed to draw things out far too much for my tastes and I tended to just fast forward through repetitive scenes to get to the action sequences. The original Dragonball series was so-so and lame in the early parts. The exception was the Piccolo Saga which I thought was of the best ones. I did think the DBZ series was pretty good right up until the Freeza Saga. I think they could have ended right there, in fact I wish they did because after that with the Cell Saga and the Buu storylines, it just seemed extremely repetitive and boring. It seemed that they were just retelling the same story with different characters and I couldn't muster enough interest to care about watching the Dragonball GT sequel. Rating: 3 Stars.

2. Duklyon: Clamp School Defenders

It wasn't that great. It seemed awfully derivative of the Power Rangers. About the one amusing thing is the Defenders' "mysterious" leader who appears every now and then is actually the head kid detective from the CLAMP School Detectives series, just wearing a pair of mirror sunglasses as a disguise. And you have to read the original series to get the joke. Rating: 1 Star.

3. Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President

A few years ago, I distinctly remember seeing a TV episode of "House M.D." where the belligerent doctor informed a black politician aspiring to the Presidency that; "it's not just called the White House because of the paint job". And while it was offensive, he was right. Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President was a very pragmatic, compelling, and enthralling saga of Kenneth Yamaoka who ran and won the 2000 Presidential election (years before Barack Obama broke the race barrier) as a third-generation Japanese immigrant who served and nearly died in Vietnam before becoming a lawyer and then a United States Senator. It’s also a bit disturbing to me to see the tangled mess of political intrigue and scandal and rumor mongering that takes place; where oftentimes, it’s not the issues which define the success of a politician, but his public image. But that’s what makes this manga series so brilliantly insightful, because there is a ring of authenticity to it. Much of the manga is told through the eyes of a young idealistic Japanese journalist Takashi Jo who brings to mind James Stewart as "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Just after the tragic accidental death that claimed the life of his single-parent mother who raised him, he learns that Yamaoka has handpicked him to write an in-depth article about his groundbreaking campaign. Jo is given a close, behind-the-scenes view of the Yamaoka campaign—and comes to admire Yamaoka as a politician, even if he does not respect him as a man (particularly after he discovers that Yamaoka is secretly his biological father who had a brief affair with his mother). Jo finds himself wondering why his father has chosen to bring him into his life at this particular time; while part of him longs to believe that his father wants to help advance his fledging journalism career—he cannot help but suspect that his manipulative father has another role, to neutralize a potential scandalous skeleton in his closet. Even more chillingly, Jo wonders if his father may or may not have had his mother killed and arranged her murder to appear as an accident to prevent a potential political scandal. There are a myriad twists and turns throughout the series, it's a surprisingly interesting ride; even if you aren't one for political thrillers. The art is excellent and very realistic, the characters are incredibly genuine and there are more than a few thinly-veiled real life political figures populating the pages, and the storyline is superb with its character-driven and complex plot. Even if you’re not for political dramas, I think many would find this series highly enjoyable. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

4. Eat-Man

I read the manga which was alright. The main character has an interesting gimmick for a power that kept my interest. If it had gone on for too long, then I might have gotten bored or found it too repetitive. Rating: 2 Stars.

5. El-Hazard

Made by the same company that does the Tenchi Muyo series, El-Hazard was an interesting shift from aliens and super-science to the more magical as well as time travel paradoxes. Personally, I think the original OAV series stand best on it's own. The other remakes don't quite match the original. A group of high school students and one of their teachers are transported, quite against their will to another dimension where they all become involved in a war between two races. One of the best things I think they had was that one of the students, Jinnai become involved with the evil "bugs". Generally a failure in high school, Jinnai finds himself elevated as the Bugs' General and quite enjoys his new position while the others are struggling to return to their own world. It just goes to show that some characters can succeed in the right setting or era. All of the characters get a chance to shine and evolve during the course of the OAVs and the conclusion was heartbreaking and resolved the various plot threads. Rating: 4 and 1/2 Stars. The other series, the Wanderers and the Alternate World I will not rate the other series as I didn't like them and stopped a few episodes in.

6. Eyeshield 21

Usually I don't go for sports manga but this one got my attention and I actually liked it a lot. However, I believe it is the cast of characters who make this series one of my favorites as they’re eccentric, unique, and interesting enough to keep me laughing at their comedic antics. I think it just goes to prove that it’s not so much the subject matter that creates truly inspiring and great stories but the characters themselves. And the writer Riichiro Inagaki and artist Yusuke Murata have an eclectic cast of them in this series. The main character Sena Kobayakawa is not the typical hot blooded sports hero type with a diehard spirit. Rather, he’s a weak-willed target for bullies who was made into an errand boy ever since elementary school. In high school however, he falls under the attention of an even bigger predator, Yoichi Hiruma who is the Captain and Co-Founder of the Devil Bats Football Team. The outrageous Hiruma (who bears a startling resemblance to a devil) immediately realizes that Sena is a world class sprinter and recruits him by force as his team's star running back. In order to protect Sena's identity (and prevent the other school clubs from trying to co-opt his star player), Hiruma dubs him "Eyeshield 21". The rest of the series is mainly about the Devil Bats trying to recruit sufficient members to play and a stable of strange characters who often make up the football teams leading up to their climatic showdown against various rival football teams to be crowned as the champions. Whereas Sena is the likeable, appealing, all-around nice guy, Hiruma is violent and manipulative to the extreme who is absolutely ruthless in his desire to win at football. He’ll playing mind games, bluff his opponents, and resort to all sorts of dirty trick plays on the field … yet he refuses to cheat. While at first, he resorts to all sorts of outrageous behavior to blackmail and force his reluctant minions to play football, over the course of the series; it becomes apparent that he is driven to such tactics because he has a great love of the game and of his friends as well. The absolute outrageousness of his character always amuses me and it’s hard not to laugh at his outrageous behavior. The devilish and manipulative Hiruma aside, Sena quickly falls in love with playing football and begins to grow into his role at first hiding behind his identity of Eyeshield, he finally unmasks himself to step onto the field as a hero in his own right. I am sure that some people have found football games a bit boring with the two teams lining up on the field and then throwing the ball back and forth and then lining up and doing it over and over again, but it certainly doesn’t read that way in the book. The football games are exciting and brilliantly crafted, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat as the Devil Bats struggle against opponent after opponent for come from behind victories using unexpected and unanticipated plays. Such tactics probably wouldn’t work in real life, but it would make the game a whole lot cooler and much more interesting to watch if it did. The art is excellent and first class with a number of excellent character designs, exaggerated perspectives, dramatic freeze framing, and the like to emphasis plays and movement in the panels. I also like how the artist often throws in some nice icons in the backgrounds that represents the different teams or “techniques” that the different players employ. You’d think it would be overly cutesy or childish, but it surprisingly works. The artist is a great master of background scenery and there are often lots of comedic antics in the background if you’re sharp eyed enough to study them. If you're not a football fan when you first start reading this series ... I guarantee that you will be one after you're finished. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS!!!!

7. Excel Saga

A friend of a friend claimed that this series was hysterical but I didn't see it. I saw the first anime episode and found it so horrible that I couldn't bring myself to finish watching it. Rating: 0 Stars.

8. Fairy Tail
9. Fatal Fury The Motion Picture

I will admit that Mai Shiranui is one of my favorite video game characters for her daring outfits which was why I watched the OAVs and the Movie. She doesn't get quite as much screen time as I hoped and in a surprisingly disappointing way, she often turns into the cute and helpless damsel in distress that needs rescuing. The first OAV "Legend of the Hungry Wolf" was almost distressingly predictable. It's a classic father gets killed by jealous rival in a dishonorable fashion and his son(s) swears revenge. The main character Terry Bogard is a bit of a cookie cutter hero; noble, stoic, handsome, and a bit shy around the ladies and his villain, Geese Howard was a carbon copy of a classic villain. In addition, the first movie lacks Mai! The second OAV "The New Battle" was in my opinion; a lot better. The main villain in this one, Wolfgang Krauser has charisma and gravitas that was noticeably lacking in Geese. Yeah, he was a bad guy, but there was a sense of nobility in him. Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture builds on the first two OAVs, it's a bit repetitive here and there but it has some good parts but I found it slightly inferior to "New Battle". Rating: 2 Stars (for Legend of the Hungry Wolf), 4 Stars (for New Battle) and 3 and 1/2 Stars (for the Motion Picture).

10. Firefighter! Daigo of Company M

I stumbled across this series several years ago but it’s been a difficult task getting ahold of all of the volumes. It’s rather surprising to me that it doesn’t appear to be all that popular as it is as other titles such as Bleach, One Piece, or Naruto. This series tells the story of a rather ordinary young man known as Daigo Asahina who is a rookie firefighter. Even though he lacks superpowers, Daigo’s adventures would otherwise qualify him as one in my opinion even though he’s probably one the most down-to-earth and realistic that I have ever read before. The plot is on the simple side, but thoroughly understandable. Daigo has a mission; to protect and save lives. Everything else; the rules, the regulations, protocol, and even common sense means absolutely nothing to him. He will do whatever it takes to save a life. And while it may seem that he’s reckless and absolutely fearless, Daigo is all too often plagued by doubts and fears. Afterwards, he questions himself and even his sanity as to why he does such outrageous and hairbrained stunts. He knows he shouldn’t, he tells himself to stay in control, but in the heat of battle, when lives are on the line—he will rush in, headstrong and headlong into danger. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other manga or anime character constantly self-examines himself like that and does so in such a manner that makes him appear as a complex and very real individual and not at all comedic. Daigo’s adventures are thrilling pieces of superb action and high drama. In retrospect, it’s sometimes hard to believe that such situations might occur, but Soda is such a great storyteller and a master of suspense that a little hint of doubt creeps into your mind and says, “Maybe, just maybe…” You find yourself believing it and you’re flipping the pages frantically, devouring each climatic scene and seeing Daigo save the day and afterwards, you think it’s not impossible just highly improbable. This is what great storytelling is about; suspending the audience’s disbelief. I also found that the character development to be extremely well handled. The main characters get the chance to evolve and little bits of their history are unfolded and revealed to give greater insight to their personalities and what drives them and what haunts them as well. The art is without a doubt, first rate. The characters are wonderfully and realistically drawn, the backgrounds are intricate and meticulous, and even minor items are surprisingly and sophisticatedly detailed. And it is like that in practically every single page and scene; the artist doesn’t skimp, doesn’t get lazy by giving it some sort of wacky or crude or simple lines. Soda is telling a story and it’s like he’s telling it by showing every single scene in glorious shots like from a camera or a video tape. There is no goofy hair-dos or clothing for the characters, Soda relies instead on making each person a unique individual with their own distinct face and you can tell who each one of these individuals are at a glance. One of the only weaknesses to this series was the limited adaptation of the series. While the speech was translated into English, just about all of the sound effects were left in Japanese with pages of footnotes in the back of the book that you had to flip back and forth to understand sometimes what all of these characters were reacting to and the reference notes are minimalistic, using scene numbers instead of page numbers which increases the difficulty in keeping track. Another tragedy to this series was the fact that was over so relatively quickly when I thought that there a lot more stories to be told in Daigo’s evolution as a firefighter. It feels a bit unfinished in my opinion. Overall however, I found this to be one of the very best series in terms of and drama and is not to be missed. RATING: 4 and 1/2 STARS !!!!

11. Flame of Recca

I've read quite a few of the manga and also seen the anime. The anime was surprisingly better in my opinion. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

12. Fruits Basket

Alright but not spectacular. It's a bit supernatural and romantic comedy that involves the Sohma Clan, a family cursed to take on the bodies of animals from the Chinese Zodiac. Then one day, they meet a charmingly sweet girl Tohru Honda who has been living in a small tent as she couldn't stand living with her distant and difficult relatives after her mother's death. Taking pity of her, a group of the Sohmas make her their live-in housekeeper as she refuses to take charity. Accepting of their strange curse, several of the Sohmas befriend her and two of them; Yuki (the Rat) and Kyo (the Cat) who are long-time rivals become even more bitterly opposed when they realize that they have both fallen in love with her. In the end, she helps break the Sohma Family Curse at last. Rating: 2 Stars.

13. Full Metal Panic!

I found myself liking the interaction between Sagara and Kaname quite a bit but I found the plot a bit forced at times as it tries to switch back and forth between ordinary high school life and military operations. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

14. Fullmetal Alchemist

Didn't like it too much at first but it's slowly growing on me. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

15. Geobreeders

I'm not a fan of the title or the storyline which is a bit confusing at times but that's alright. Mainly I read it for the awesome action sequences. If John Woo wrote comics; it would read like Geobreeders. Insane stunts, over the top action sequences, and exploding cars, boats, tanks, helicopters, and even a ferris wheel. The anime tries to follow the manga but seems to fall short. Rating: 3 Stars.

16. GetBackers

Read a few of the manga. Not one of the better series though. Rating: 1/2 Stars.

17. Ghost in the Shell

I read it 'cause of Masamune Shirow. It's very complex and sometimes confusing with some philosophical questions about the nature of life and existence. I got lost in some of these debates but it was still enjoyable. Rating: 2 Stars.

18. GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka

Also known as Great Teacher Onizuka. One of the more interesting series I have read. The main character is a motorcycle thug and gangster who "reforms" to become a teacher. The Principal of the only school willing to hire him decides to use his talents as the teacher of a class of juvenile delinquents who have a rep for driving their homeroom teachers into early retirement. This brat pack meet their match in Onizuka and he grows on many of them to the point where they help save his job on several occasions. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

19. Gunsmith Cats

This is done by the same guy who did the Bubblegum Crisis design work and he also writes/draws Cannon God Exaxxion. This is why I have given up for the most part American comics because they don't show stuff like people getting their heads blown off, losing limbs due to shotgun blasts, or in Rally Vincent's case shooting off her opponent's thumbs to prevent them from cocking their guns. You just don't see that shit in American comics. Sure, it's violent and sometimes graphic, but it feels like "this could happen". Rating: 3 Stars.

20. Gurren Lagann

It's a bit corny here and there but it somehow transcends that. The main message is to believe in yourself and to never give up and the characters hold onto that despite everything. The funny moments are hysterical which is balanced out with tragic moments that make you want to cry. Oh, and Yoko in a bikini is not to be missed. Rating: 4 Stars.

21. The Guyver

I've seen an old anime series that was incomplete for some reason and caught the live action movie with Mark Hamil (Luke Skywalker). It was incredibly bloody and violent yet for some reason reminded me of the campy Godzilla with weird and grotesque monsters. Rating: 2 Stars.

22. The Guyver

Before there was the Power Rangers … there was The Guyver. Made before CGI was viable, this live action adaptation of the Japanese manga was actually a fairly accurate on the basic story where an ordinary young man is thrust into the extraordinary when he runs across a strange alien artifact that transforms him into the ultimate fighting machine known as the Guyver. He further discovers that those who wish to acquire the Guyver aren’t quite human but a race of murderous creatures known as Zoanoids who are probably the inspiration for monsters throughout human history. There will be those who will probably argue that this film was not faithful to the original, but I thought it wasn’t that bad as it was an adaptation for American audiences. The plot was fairly simple and easy to understand and there wasn’t any glaring holes that I noticed. However, this movie never bothered to take itself too seriously, unlike the original. The Guyver is more comedy than horror, often breaking up the action sequences with goofy gags that were actually rather funny and on occasion had me groaning such as the rapping Zoanoid which I couldn’t believe that they stuck in there. As far as the actors go, I did find the bait and switch of Mark Hamil being given the starring role in the credits but actually being only a supporting character to be rather annoying. It gave you the impression that HAMIL was going to be the Guyver. To his credit, Hamil was probably the best actor in the movie. I didn’t think too much of leading man Jack Armstrong (Sean Barker/Guyver) as being a bit mediocre with the others giving decent to fair performances with Vivian Wu (Mizky Segawa) simply screamed a lot and David Gale (Fulton Bacus) was a stereotypical mad villain. It was probably the fighting sequences that made such an impression on me. They were fairly good and brought to mind those old fashioned kung fu movies that I used to watch as a kid only jazzed up because it was monsters who were doing the fighting. I have to say that the costumes were fairly good and rather articulated. They were definitely a cut above in functionality and grotesqueness with a bit of weirdness thrown in. I did think that some of the special effects could have been improved upon; the electricity raging around the Guyver when it first bonded to Sean looked a trifle bit fake as did the Guyver melting. Overall, this movie played more like a live-action cartoon than a science fiction/horror movie and it seems like it was mainly intended for young children. Sadly, I think they cut out most of the best gory scenes in order to make it suitable for younger audiences, while the older sect miss out on. Still, I liked it as a kid and it’s still tolerably amusing now that I’m older. RATING: 3 STARS.

23. Guvyer: Dark Hero

Sequels usually fail or falter. It is the rare movie series that manages to make a decent follow-up movie but astonishingly, Guyver 2: Dark Hero succeeds that accomplishment. And then some. Particularly after the first live action movie, it’s even more startling in my opinion. Of course, it’s probably due to several facts that they chose not to repeat the weaknesses of the original by not making this movie into a comedy and instead making it much more darker and violent. They also managed to maintain a high level of competence and detail in the special effects and best of all, they replaced Jack Armstrong with David Hayter as the primary actor. Hayter wasn’t spectacular in his role as Sean Barker, the reluctant Guyver but he was a far superior replacement to Jack Armstrong. The other actors weren’t the greatest either, but overall they were able to perform adequately enough. Bruno Giannotta (Crane) manages to play a rather soft-spoken but rather capable bad guy but in the end; he just wasn’t able to project a powerful enough presence as the main villain of the story—at best, he’s the chief henchman. I also have to admit that the plot was much more intense and more tightly written than the previous movie in which they barely scratched the surface of the history of the Guyver Unit and the Zoanoids. Usually sequels try to over-complicate things, but they kept things simple and straightforward and surprisingly, they didn’t totally try to rewrite the previous version but incorporate it into this movie. Also, they don’t have Sean Barker (David Hayter) mooning over his romantic lead but rather agonizing over his transformations into the Guyver. It relies more on pure action rather than the comedy of the original movie although there do have some dark humor and witty one-liners here and there. And the special effects seemed to have been significantly improved. The Guyver looked much more powerful and menacing as they made his lenses illuminated and they added his forehead laser beam to the mix; something they didn’t use in the first movie. The fighting choreography were as good or even better than they were before as the movie makers also added gushing blood and arterial sprays that the previous movie lacked, probably to retain it’s PG-13 rating. You will see they really went to town with their violence and gore here. Throats are slit, eyeballs are blasted out their sockets, body parts brutally torn off—all good stuff. Some of the monster Zoanoid costumes looked a trifle bit fake and goofy, but overall they still retained their menace and functionality. The prehistoric flashbacks looked like set miniatures however, showing that they were cutting corners here but they weren’t too hokey. Guyver 2: Dark Hero totally lives up to it’s name. Darker than it’s first outing, but much MUCH better. It’s proof that you don’t need big budgets to make good movies. It’s not perfect, but it’s intensely entertaining and worth watching. RATING: 4 STARS!!!!

24. Happy Lesson

A rather unusual situational comedy about a troubled young orphan Chitose who is failing in high school. As a result; five of his sympathetic female teachers decide that he needs a mother figure to help him and decide simultaneously to appoint themselves to that role. Of course, almost none of these women would qualify for such a role. Yayoi is the school nurse and a practicing shrine maiden who believes that Chitose needs spiritual exorcisms; the art teacher Uzuki who is more immature and child-like than her students and tries to get Chitose to cosplay with her; the athletic coach Satsuki who believes that good health is all what one needs and initiates violent wrestling matches for exercise; the science teacher Kisaragi who is constantly conducting experiments and is obsessed with monitoring Chitose like an overprotective parent or as guinea pig; and finally the most normal of them all: the classical teacher Mutsuki who can get carried away by forcing Chitose to study because academics is the most important thing in her opinion. And they frequently get jealous that one of the others is paying so much attention to Chitose. Chitose desperately struggles to keep his weird home life a secret as living with his teacher (albeit five of them) would destroy their careers as professional academicians. But despite his protests and complaints over his adoptive busybody mothers, Chitose has never been happier having them all dote on him and worry about him like a real family. It gets a bit overly sweet at times and there are moments that defy reality for comedic effect, but overall it's a pretty entertaining story. Rating: 4 Stars.

25. Hayate the Combat Butler
26. Hayate X Blade

This is a bit odd manga series that seems to be a weird fusion between "Fight Club" and "Kill Bill" only with a PG Rating that features an all-girl’s academy which is run by an incredibly rich and awfully unorthodox high school girl who gives the whole ‘when you got money, you’re not crazy just eccentric’ truism a real run for its money. She’s been sponsoring a “sword club” for several years now where the twist is that you cannot fight solo but only as two-women groups known as “sword pairs”. They duel for honor, for glory, for money, and sometimes for the thrill of battle. Into this strange tournament is thrown a young girl, Hayate Kurogane whose twin sister Nagi has eagerly been training for this “sword club” for years only to suffer an injury that leaves her incapacitated until her rehabilitation therapy is complete which will take several months. In danger of losing her slot at the academy, Nagi begs Hayate to attend in her place. Hayate agrees to serve as a placeholder and has no intention of participating in this strange sword club as she hasn’t wielded a practice sword in years. Or she didn’t until she discovers that her beloved old orphanage is in danger of being foreclosed by a shady loan company. To save it, she needs money. Lots of money. And she immediately seizes upon the idea of using the “sword club” to raise the cash. The problem is with Hayate’s delay in signing up has resulted in all of really good partners have already been snapped up. And to win (and for the cash), Hayate needs to have a really strong partner and she chooses a cynical loner named Ayana Mudo who has a lot of emotional baggage she’s dealing with but can’t bring herself to say no to Hayate’s plight. First as a word of warning, this manga has more than a few implied yuri (lesbian) scenes and couples although nothing graphic. Hayate for example, has a huge crush on Ayana which further complicates their relationship as she wants to evolve their partnership to a more romantic level and Ayana would prefer Hayate practice with her sword more and act less like a twit. Despite a rather intricate setup, the plots really isn’t that complex and usually revolve about Hayate and Ayana’s sword battles, Hayate’s friends and associates, and sometimes about Ayana’s troubled past and former partner who is now a rival to them. For the most part, there isn’t that much depth to the characters as this is primarily a comedy series. There is a sort of zany viciousness to Ayana when she goes berserk and inflicts pain on Hayate or her somewhat perverted roommate Jun who likes fondling her too, but there isn’t much graphic blood and violence otherwise nor are there awe-inspiring sword battles so it’s not big on the action either "Hayate X Blade" instead relies on the wackiness of the various personalities of the characters interacting with each other and there are quite a few odd and eccentric individuals populating this series. The artwork is drawn well enough but it is somewhat on the cartoonish side. Realism isn’t exactly a major factor in this series with Hayate being the most extreme example of it, often having the most awe-dropping expressions and visual reactions. Most of the other characters aren’t quite as extreme as her though and are a lot more realistic in appearance. The background sets are fairly well done otherwise. It's a bit of an odd series but there is a quirky appeal to it along with moments of genuine humor and heart but it’s overly contrived and overly focused on female characters and girl-girl romance. There’s little in the way of action or slapstick comedy, basically it’s moderately amusing for the most part but the humor isn’t quite enough to elevate this series to being one of the truly great comedies of manga and merely settles for mediocrity. RATING: 3 STARS.

27. Hellsing

Ehh. I don't care too much for vampires, plus Alucard (which is one of the lamest attempt to keep the main character's identity a secret) seems to have a gun fetish which he uses to blow away monsters and demons and other assorted creatures of the night and he has to use huge, OVERSIZED guns to do it with too. It just seemed like a combination of the worst of horror and action movies combined. Rating: 1/2 Star.

28. Hikaru no Go

I read the first GN and I think I might have flipped through a few more but it's all blurring together. While I have to applaud the fact that manga taps a lot of unusual genres, I think they were pushing it for this series and it shows. It's a story about a Japanese board game known as Go. If you're a Go enthusiast, you might find it cool, but if you're someone like me who has no idea how to play it; it's difficult to work up the desire to read or care about a guy playing it, even if you do throw in a ghost who has unfinished business as a go player as a supporting character. Rating: 0 Stars.

29. Hyper Police

Didn't really care too much for it. I also could not find a lot of the volumes so I had no idea what was going on. But from what little I did see didn't really inspire me to bother. Rating: 1/2 Star.

30. InuYasha

Mainly I read this 'cause Rumiko Takahashi wrote Ranma 1/2; one of my favorite series. However I found that it was a bit more horror-laden for my tastes. I had a hard time believing that such a comedic writer could also do some damn creepy scenes too, but she's surprisingly a versatile scribe. This story however is a mix between horror and comedy; and while some might find it good, I simply couldn't reconcile with the switching back and forth between comedy and horror bits and I gave it up. Rating: 2 Stars.

31. Iron Man

Iron Man is going to be Marvel’s second biggest character in my opinion, right after Spider-Man and I think the biggest credit to this is owed directly to Robert Downey Jr. who brought the character to life in a big budget blockbuster action movie a few years ago. However, this anime series adaptation is NOT going to help. Stylistically and visually, this series excels. Done by the acclaimed Japanese anime studio Madhouse, there is little to complain about the effects and animation is top notch. The character designs have a definite Japanese anime influence but otherwise, it appears realistic. Madhouse is an excellent pioneer in melding CGI and animation and they brilliantly execute both visuals. I think this series fails because it’s trying to make Iron Man, an American superhero into a Japanese one. They apparently tried to simply adapt the character and make him Japanese by moving him to Japan. And it doesn’t work too well. The plots to be rather simple and predictable in that Tony would find himself facing an enemy of the Zodiac, which was always an armored figure based on the astrological symbols and defeat them. I also found that their use of Professor Yinsen to be rather feeble in how he survived and is now an evil enemy agent. I also found it weak how they pretty much ignored a lot of the background of Tony Stark from the characters of James Rhodes and Pepper Potts and instead tried to substitute their own Japanese characters instead. And frankly, the reporter chick Nanami is a rather poor version of Lois Lane, whom I’m assuming that they based her upon and is more of a comedic afterthought. As I only saw the subtitled version, I can’t give an adequate opinion on the English voice actors but the Japanese ones were excellent in their roles. I found that they were quite capable of providing emotional impact in their performances. One of the more confusing bits was the creation of a 2 minute trailer that used absolutely nothing in the anime series and I think was more created to showcase Madhouse’s ability to create cool action sequences. It’s sort of typical of the entire series; confusing story but cool visual effects. RATING: 2 and 1/2 STARS.

32. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore

I am continually disappointed with the Japanese’s attempt to anime-mate Iron Man and this animated feature follows in the pathetic footsteps of Madhouse’s previous 2011 "Iron Man" series. As far as the animation goes, America could definitely learn a few things about CGI from Madhouse as visually, this is one of the most impressive animated films that I have seen. The backgrounds are exquisite works of art, the character designs are incredibly believably and fantastically detailed, and the technology looks solid and real. Overall, there is little to complain about. The special effects are fairly solid as well, I did find some of them to be somewhat repetitive, particularly the technovore’s attacks. The voice actors were a rather broad mixture with some of them being excellent while others could definitely have used some emotive in their performances. Matthew Mercer was a perfectly adequate Tony Stark but he’s not Robert Downey Jr. either. It sounds like he’s trying to ape Downey’s flair and arrogant lilt a bit too much and he can’t quite pull it off. James C. Mathis III (Rhodey) was sharp, easily the best voice actor in the entire film. Unfortunately Mathis had very little scenes and the rest of the actors pretty much drag down the rest of the movie with rather bland, wooden, and uninspiring—particularly Eric Bauza (Ezekiel Stane) who is the main villain with his insipid pseudo-intellectual philosophical monologuing. He didn’t come off as insane, just extremely boring. A lot of the dialogue and witty battle banter could have been improved as well. Finally, where "Iron Man: Rise of Technovore" completely falls apart for me was the storyline. I found it tiresome, overly convoluted, and a lot of parts just didn’t really track for me. The story feels very drawn out where it could have been compacted into maybe 30 minutes or so. The inclusion of the Punisher felt a bit forced and instead of a plot, we’re treated to a barrage of awesomely explosive fighting sequences where Iron Man is showing us his mettle. But basically, they’ve forgotten to tell a story in-between those bits. Basically, there is a lot of Ezekiel Stane just sitting there, staring into space while someone rambles on in the background from a book. I think it’s an attempt to feel like philosophically artistic and thought provoking, it felt more pretentious rambling to me and utter pointlessness. I mean Ezekiel keeps talking about the future, how he’s the next stage in evolution, how backwards and utterly obsolete Stark is—yet his scenes uses old fashioned record players and leatherbound books as it’s metaphors. Does that make sense? All and all, this is animated feature is utterly senseless and perfectly replicates Madhouse’s previous Iron Man work; confusing story but cool visual effects. If nothing else, those action sequences are neat to watch but you’ll suffer through the rest. RATING: 2 STARS.

33. Kamen Rider

I've only seen Kamen Rider Kuuga and some episodes from some of the later ones as well. This sentai series is a classic in Japan and they reinvent it every couple of years to keep it fresh. It seems to follow a pretty formulaic story where Kamen Rider faces a monster of the week. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

34. Kekkaishi

It's so-so. After reading the first GN, I got the feeling that I had read it before. It seems pretty formulaic; the main character is hopelessly in love with his female rival and although he isn't interested in his family's sacred mission: he will prove to be the deciding factor and the most powerful user of their family's sacred bloodline. You know that he's succeed overcoming incredible odds and his female rival will swoon over him. It's been done before ... and done better too. Rating: 2 Stars.

35. Kurohime

Decent. Rating: 2 Stars.

36. Lone Wolf and Cub

Freaking epic. This was one series that never got old. I'm pretty sure that this one inspired Afro Samurai and Kill Bill; which were pale imitations of the real deal of a revenge seeking warrior. Rating: 5 Stars!

37. The Last Airbender

I have absolutely no idea what the Hell M. Night Shyamalan was thinking when he put this movie together. How to best butcher and ruin a genuinely spectacular series? Because that’s what it felt like. Before anyone claims that I am biased by the original series though, I have to say that I was vaguely aware of the Avatar: The Last Airbender series but I had never seen it so I honestly went into this movie with no preconceptions. Even so, I felt disappointed at what I was forced to endure. The movie is in fact, a string of clips that feature the best scenes of the first season of the Avatar cartoon series that is strung together in a vague attempt to tell a hugely complex plot and story in a disjointed and compressed format. It is essentially 100 minutes of crap in my opinion. I simply could not follow what was going on, it was so rushed, characters are rapidly introduced and then were practically shoved off the screen so that they could introduce more characters and more and more. And it was like that for the entire movie. There is no time for emotional development and no time for us to understand what is going on as we fast-forward from scene to scene at a hectic pace. In all honesty, I sincerely feel that there is simply no way that Shyamalan or anyone for that matter could have told an entire season in a movie format. It was an ambitious and lofty idea, but not at all realistic. He should have considered making a live action television series if he really wanted to adapt it in this manner. Other than that, the rest of the film was tremendously disappointing as well. I found the actors to lack any great charisma and depth. I simply could not establish an emotional connection to them and they seemed to simply expound themes and concepts in a bland tone of voice. I simply felt no drama and the climax felt forced. The special effects varied in quality. On the one hand, a great many of the marital arts sequences looked stiff and faked and the CGI elements of the various animals simply didn’t look very real at all and the vast majority of the sets were poorly constructed in my opinion. The one bright spot was Noah Ringer (Aang) whose martial arts performances were very nicely done and looked very well executed instead of the flailing arms that so many of the other benders did. I also did think that the elemental manipulations weren’t bad either, particularly the air and water sequences. I do think that the earth ones could have been a bit more impressive and the fire effects could have been improved as well in certain sequences. Ringer and those water and air special effects are primarily the sole reasons why I gave it such an impressive score. But they simply can’t carry the rest of the movie alone. If you really want to see a series that exemplifies spiritual and philosophical issues and grapples with issues of power, greed, love and loss, and is funny to watch; then I suggest that you consider watching the animated cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender over this. It may be a lot longer than this movie, but you won’t be disappointed. There’s a good reason why they tried to make a live action big budget movie to try and cash in on this series. RATING: 1 and 1/2 STARS.

38. Love Hina

One of the early works of the guy who does Negima?! and pretty much cemented his rep as a manga artist and writer. It's pretty good and edging towards greatness here and there. A lot of his future characters were definitely drawn from this story and it's a lot more polished than his first work A.I. Love You. Love Hina is pretty funny and borders on hilarious at times; although it sometimes feels a bit contrived, which is why I think it's good but not great. I also watched the first anime episode and it was one of those series that was based on the manga and quite frankly, it seemed that the manga was a lot better. Rating: 4 Stars.

39. Lupin III

I understand that Lupin himself was based on a European creation of a gentleman thief but I've only seen the Japanese version. Lupin III is the grandson of the original Lupin (that European gentleman thief) and he follows in his legendary grandfather's footsteps as the greatest thief in the world. I've seen mainly the movies and as a result, it's difficult to give it an accurate rating as some movies were excellent while some were truly terrible. Still; Lupin, Fujiko, and Inspector Zenigata are so much fun that I've added them to another list of mine of "Interesting Anime & Manga Characters", the most of ANY series that I've seen which should say something about them. I recommend that you at least watch "The Castle of Cagliostro" and "The Fuma Conspiracy". I consider both of them as 5 Stars.

40. Magic Knight Rayearth

Seen the anime, it was amusing but not fantastic. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

41. Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden
42. Mai The Psychic Girl: Perfect Collection

Not sure what this series was entirely about; I only got to see parts of the comic and all I understood was this psychic girl was being pursued by some huge criminal organization with their own psychics. I can't honestly give a rating on this one, sorry.

43. Maison Ikkoku

A rather amusing romantic comedy done by Rumiko Takahashi. Shockingly enough; there are no aliens, magical beings, curses, or other strange and wacky things lurking around. Instead, it is about a cast of characters living in a run-down boarding house called 'Maison Ikkoku' and the trials of a beautiful young widow who is struggling to move on past the death of her husband and a rather directionless young tenant who falls hopelessly in love with her. It's a manga soap opera but manages to keep you involved in these characters because you actually care about what happens to them. About the one thing that some might find annoying is the slow pacing but it's quite good. Rating: 4 Stars.

44. Man of Many Faces

A spin-off of the CLAMP School Detectives. We find out that one of the trio of kid detectives moonlights as a "gentleman thief" known as 20 Masks. He is compelled by his mothers (yeah, his father married twins and neither of whom quite remembers which one of them gave birth anymore so they decided logically that he belongs to both of them!) to steal objects and items that catch their fancy. Apparently, they did the same thing to his father too! If you think about, they're terrible mothers, but they're more adorably dim and they love our hapless thief to death. As 20 Masks, he is pursued by his justice loving teenage neighbor who is unaware that the kid next door is actually the mysterious thief and somehow has the authority to order actual police officers around. Of course, considering his personality, he just may intimidate them into going along with him. The concept is incredulous at times and the characters cheerfully ignore common sense, but the frantic pace doesn't leave you time to consider the improbabilities. There is a nice little suplot involving his budding relationship with a young girl and they actually have a epilogue where the two getting married as adults. Although they do leave it open as to whether or not he's still 20 Masks in the future. Rating: 3 Stars.

45. MÄR

Decent but not great. Rating: 2 and 1/2 Stars.

46. Martian Successor Nadesico
47. Megatokyo

Goofy. Beginning life as an online strip, it suffers from the unprofessionalism of its creators and artists. I particularly hate it when they have those badly drawn crude sketches or stick figures, but I have to admit that Largo is easily the most outrageous and insane characters that I have seen in quite a while. I also credit him with introducing me to L33t speak. Rating: 3 and 1/2 Stars.

48. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Life sucks. It's boring and predictable and ordinary according to Haruhi Suzumiya. She desperately seeks the extraordinary and to accomplish her mission; she creates her own little club to seek out time travelers, aliens, and psychics to liven things up. Of course, what she doesn't know is that her little club actually is composed of time travelers, aliens, and psychics who have taken it upon themselves to keep an eye on her. Because Haruhi seems to possess the power to reshape and remake the universe to her own liking. So they have to keep her entertained ... or else. I've read the manga and even the a few of the light novels that it was based upon and some of the anime. I thought the manga adaptation was the best of the lot; the light novels weren't bad, but they sometimes went in a lot more detail than I wanted; and the anime was OK for the most part. However, I did find the narration to be overly wordy in some episodes, you're left listening to Kyon talking on and on and since he tends to complain, it gets a bit tiring. Rating: 3 Stars (Manga & Anime).

49. Mermaid Saga

Macabre to the extreme. For some INSANE reason, a preview to the anime movie based on this series came at the beginning of the early "Ranma 1/2" video tapes. It was an incredibly gory and shocking scene where this kid uses his finger and thrusts it into the eye of a man right before a humorous comedy. Why? I can only assume it was because Rumiko Takahashi; the creator and writer of "Ranma 1/2", was the writer/artist behind this horror series as well. But anyways, the manga series has similar overtones of horror and gore and blood as well. "The Mermaid Saga" refers to the basic concept that eating the flesh of a mermaid bestows upon you immortality. A young fisherman named Yuta and his fellows find part of a strange fish washed ashore and they eat it. His friends all die and one is changed into some bizarre monster that they are forced to put down. Only Yuta remains unchanged. That was five hundred years ago and Yuta has not aged a day since. Yuta discovers that the fish was a mermaid and that by devouring the flesh of a mermaid can confer upon you immortality, or death, or a hideous transformation into a irrational monster. Like so many fictional immortals; he finds it more of a curse than anything else and wanders, searching for a way to remove his immortality. It's often a sad story and he occasionally encounters others like him who have eaten the mermaid's flesh and gained immortality including that kid from the bloody preview who it turns out is 800 years old and is a manipulative Machiavellian and thoroughly insane to boot. It's like a sort of Japanese version of "Highlander". At the very beginning of the story, Yuta encounters a new immortal Mana who has been raised in isolation for most of her life by a village of elderly mermaids who intend to feast on her flesh as in a bizarre reversal—if they eat the flesh of an immortal human, they regain their youth and helps her escape even though it ruins his chances of finding out a means to restore his mortality. And so he continues his quest, accompanied by the rather naïve Mana who he struggles to teach the ways of the world while looking for other immortals who might had clues to removing his immortality. Each stories aren’t very long but are fairly well written with more than a touch of gore, violence, and disturbing horror—with usually a touch of sadness and tragedy as well. Usually Yuta is the recipient of a lot of bloody injuries which he simply recover from but it does allow for Takahashi to put him through a meat grinder at times. There is a bit of humor thrown in, usually via Mana who doesn’t understand things. I personally would have thought that Mana would have a larger role but Yuta is more or less the driving force and main protagonist of the stories. Along the way the duo encounter a number of individuals, a good many of them tied to Yuta’s long history and occasionally other immortals as well. The art is extremely good with clean lines, the movement of the characters are believable and the backgrounds and settings are realistic as well. The scenes are suspenseful even if the characters aren’t that developed. I think this series is above decent supernatural suspense and drama without being too over-the-top horror with blood and gore. For someone who just read the "Ranma 1/2" series, "Mermaid Saga" is a shocking eye opener and just show the sheer versatility of Rumiko Takahashi as a writer. I expect a horror fan will like this series a touch more than myself otherwise. RATING: 3 AND 1/2 STARS.

50. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz

I was briefly addicted to Gundam Wing when it was out on Cartoon Network. You had to watch it religiously or else you would quickly get confused as characters would switch sides or loyalties at the drop of a hat. Rating: 4 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 is online 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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