A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Quarter One)

Okay, so that’s my somewhat opaque way of saying that I want to start posting an ‘ever-changing’ top ten list this year and maybe beyond?

There’s no special reason to do this really – I think it’ll serve two purposes for me; Self-Reflection and Fun. I do think that as bloggers and audiences we tend to crave the act of listing, of categorising and ranking, so I’m giving in to that need today!

Obviously, there’s no weight at all behind these choices (other than that which I give to them for myself) but I’ll also note a couple of other things quickly:

  • I’m focusing on TV shows here
  • This list should change as I see more texts over the years
  • Equally, it should also change whenever I re-watch and re-evaluate something
  • By definition of the list being ‘mine’ it clearly reveals my biases and interests
  • Expect to see the 1990s heavily represented, lol
  • Subsequent posts will generally be shorter than this one

With all that out of the way, let’s go!

Starting from the bottom for maximum ‘suspense’ let’s kick off with one that might be familiar to recent visitors here:

10. Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)

One of my favourite ‘adventure’ anime but one which suffers from a few serious flaws – some that are, for many folks, unforgivable. I love the blend of Miyzaki and pre-Evangelion darkness that this series features. For me, its strengths manage to outweigh the problems.

9. Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (1998)

There’s something exceptionally fun about an RPG coming to the screen as animation and this is jam-packed full of fantasy tropes and expected big stakes. I also love the direction here, with the use of super-dramatic split screen, almost comic-book panels.

8. Neon Genesis (1995)

Ah, the famous deconstruction of the mecha genre. An undeniable classic that perhaps gets as much attention for its polarising ending as it does for the other aspects. I can see this jumping up and down the list but perhaps not leaving anytime soon.

7. Steins;Gate (2011)

Science-fiction, time-travel, angst, detailed settings and even a bit of romance – lots of ticks here. This one had me glued to the storyline indeed, despite nearly dropping it due to Rintaro’s theatrics.

6. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2006)

I tend to really enjoy historical fiction when it comes to film – and Moribito brings together aspects of action, costume drama, fantasy and a focus on character that I found exceptionally enjoyable. Still holding out a bit of a forlorn hope that there will be another season one day.

5. Trigun (1998)

That loveable goofball, Vash. It’s a common idea that from restraint can come creativity and Trigun fits that bill for me with the pacifist gunslinger approach. Gunsmoke is also an interesting world in its own right – I can imagine this rising up through the ranks when I watch it again.

4. The Big O (1999)

Slowly unfolding mystery in an unsettling but also familiar city, androids, revolving villains, a dramatic multi-genre OST, Batman and James Bond nods and finally a retro-looking mecha placed within a very 20th Century aesthetic – the mash-up is so good.

3. Mushi-Shi (2006)

I didn’t watch this during its original run but I’m glad I finally saw this one, and to quote from my review: Mushi-Shi is full of fable-like episodes that seem to draw on equal parts Japanese folklore and creator Yuki Urushibara’s fantastic imagination, exploring the lives of regular and remarkable people in an almost-Edo-period-setting that includes lots of supernatural elements mixed in with the natural world.

2. Ergo Proxy (2006)

This series does such a great job of revealing true cruelty from humanity – though not via an obvious ‘gore-based’ way common the crime genre perhaps. I won’t spoil how I think the series achieves this but I thought about Ergo Proxy often after finishing it, it has a memorable cast and captivating world-building, and is a grimy but not hopeless science fiction series that seems equally enamoured of philosophy.

1. Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cue complete lack of shock from my number one choice, right? I haven’t reviewed this series here yet but I did do a post on how I feel that this one is far more than a ‘gateway series’ and will save more gushing for the future. Basically, I don’t know if I’ve seen a show I enjoy more just yet.

The Current List

Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Ergo Proxy (2006)
Mushi-Shi (2006)
The Big O (1999)
Trigun (1998)
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2006)
Steins;Gate (2011)
Neon Genesis (1995)
Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (1998)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)

Now, below this list are some shows that are currently knocking on the door, perhaps able to take the place of probably half of the current top ten, depending on my mood, I guess.

Next quarter, one of these might have snuck up the ladder a few rungs but there’s also a chance that something I’m currently watching right now might do so too. For instance, depending on how Golden Kamuy turns out, it just might get in there.

I’d also better note that two of the entries below (Haikyuu!! and Pyscho-Pass) are perhaps subject to ‘decay’ for a lack of a better word, in that, if they continue on for twelve seasons beyond the bounds of the original/main story then maybe I won’t place them so highly in this obviously personal top ten list of mine 😀

Samurai Champloo (2004)
Full Metal Alchemist (2003)
Gunbuster (1988)
FLCL (2003)
Haikyuu!! (2014)
Ushio & Tora (2015)
Pyscho-Pass (2012)

At this stage, I’ll update this somewhat fluid list in May and see if anything has actually changed.

Let me know if you think I’ve missed something stellar (spoiler: I have) and maybe I’ll be able to include it in my upcoming watching if it’s within my reach, both figuratively and literally.

Thanks for reading!

11 thoughts on “A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Quarter One)

      1. That’s okay. It’s a liquid list, so you can change it to whatever.

        Mushi-shi is such a good show. Wow, that’s something I should rewatch and review. One show that I like from the same studio is Yugo the Negotiator.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I am a bit ashamed that I am not familiar with most of the titles on your list. I bet they are good and important to watch. I rarely watch TV shows for the last few years, but from time to time I do.

    On the other hand, Ergo Proxy is one of my favourite shows of all time. Although I do not like dubs, generally, this series is dubbed great in English. I see Ergo Proxy once a year, mostly in winter time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it amazing! There’s so much to “Ergo Proxy” – I have to watch it again soon. And winter seems like the perfect time to watch 🙂 I still have to try the dub one day, did you notice much in the way of script changes between the two?

      Well, most of the titles there I think are at least ‘good’ but I guess so much is subjective too! I think you’d enjoy “The Big O” if that’s one of the ones you haven’t come across before?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, it is simply amazing, rich with ideas and visually more than impressive (loved the grayish never-ending melancholic landscapes). The story behind the making of the show is interesting, the company which produced the show had a spot available and they let the authors of the show do anything they want.

    It is a unique position for an artist to be in, to get a “chèque en blanc” and be able do to anything. Of course, as the authors of the show admitted, it can be hard to restrain oneself in this kind of creative environment. As a result, the ending of the show is a bit too packed with ideas and events. One has to watch it several times to comprehend it.

    It’s strange that I haven’t seen the Japanese version of the show, but only the dubbed one several times. I believe that dub is great, and little is lost in the translation. Many people recommended it. Usually, I can’t stand dubs, but this one was great!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, I didn’t know they were given so much freedom, that’s fantastic! I was sad to see Manglobe dissolve a few years back, especially since they were behind a fair few great shows.

      I might try the dub on my re-watch – hoping to do that this year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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