A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Quarter Four)

December is here (somehow)! Hope you’re all safe – I’m back with an update to my Top Ten… which is to say, I’m updating some things that are lurking just beyond and I also have one ‘shuffle’ change 😀

As usual with these posts you can click here for a preamble along with the parameters (no films etc etc) and also some reasoning re: why I included the ten titles I chose back in quarter one.


The List – Quarter One

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)


The List – Quarter Two

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)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


The List – Quarter Three

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)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


The List – Quarter Four

Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Ergo Proxy (2006)
Mushi-Shi (2006)
Trigun (1998)
The Big O (1999)

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2006)
Steins;Gate (2011)
Neon Genesis (1995)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


Just some shuffling up there, reflecting no doubt, my semi-recent re-watch of Trigun.

But in the beyond, where other shows are jostling for position in my mind, there’s also something I missed in the past, which is Land of the Lustrous which is not just visually amazing but features a really fun mythology and plenty of memorable characters too.


(Still!) Outside the List (for now)

This (unranked) list includes shows that I reckon are pretty close/could well sneak into the top ten one day. Again, the longer I do this, the more I’m finding a lot of this process relates to mood as much as anything else. I still suspect that this is where most of the changes will occur over the years.

Land of the Lustrous (2017)
Samurai Champloo (2004)
Full Metal Alchemist (2003)
Gunbuster (1988)
FLCL (2003)
Haikyuu!! (2014)
Ushio & Tora (2015)
Pyscho-Pass (2012)
RahXephon (2002)
Witch Hunter Robin (2002)
Ghost Hunt (2006)
The Great Passage (2016)
Dororo (2019)
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)
Vision of Escaflowne (1996)


As before, I’m always looking for classics to add to the list if anything you think I’d like is missing, just lemme know 😀

Thanks for reading!

50 Favourites (& just a line or two for each)

I guess this post really steps on the toes of my other ‘top/fav’ posts, but I tend to like lists a lot, despite their extremely low functional value!

Of course, as with all posts like this that I make, you’ll notice gaps in my viewing. You’ll also probably pick up on my obvious love of certain genres like sci-fi, fantasy and action, but I do occasionally watch stuff that doesn’t fit those labels 😀

(Only the top ten are actually ranked, the rest I just listed randomly because I gave up on ranking very quickly. TV/OVA releases only.)

50 Favourites

Cowboy Bebop (1998)

No surprises from me here, right? This series has had an amazing life so far – I’m hoping the Netflix adaptation won’t end up as an awful footnote.

Ergo Proxy (2006)

One of my all-time fav science-fiction titles in any medium. Featuring Amy Lee of Evanesence too… well, not really.

Mushi-Shi (2006)

Episodic storytelling done so well – beautiful series too, sombre as it can be.

The Big O (1999)

Batman meets Bond but with retro mecha and a gripping mystery. Even though the second season isn’t quite as good as the first, there’s a lot to enjoy for me.

Trigun (1998)

One day I reckon Trigun will creep up higher on this list – and it’s hard not to enjoy such a good-natured hero too. I tend to like post-apocalyptic fiction and westerns, so this was always going to be featured 😀

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (2006)

Is this actually an underappreciated series? I’m not sure… mostly when I see it mentioned, it’s because folks like it a lot. Memorable characters and action-sequences with some ‘slow-burn’ aspects here.

Steins;Gate (2011)

One of the more recent shows on my list – and it’s pretty much ten years old already. Great time-travel science-fiction with a side-order of ‘tear-jerker’.

Neon Genesis (1995)

Perhaps because of the bitterly divisive ending, I think I actually like Evangelion even more now than back when I was a teenager.

Kids on the Slope (2012)

Jazz, coming of age themes, historical fiction and stories about being in a band – yes to all!

Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)

Flawed in a different way to Neon Genesis, this is one of my favourite adventure series out there. I’ve written a few posts on it too 😀

Gunbuster (1988)

I remember how hard the ending hit that first time – I have to watch this again and review soon.

Samurai Champloo (2004)

It’s interesting to see just how different Watanabe’s Champloo is to Cowboy Bebop – while being very similar in terms of genre mash-up/heavy incorporation of US culture and music. Another great cast of characters too, I’ve nearly had this in my top ten a few times.

Full Metal Alchemist (2003)

That’s right folks – not Brotherhood. This is what I saw first and I haven’t finished Brotherhood yet, so I can’t compare properly. But I will add, this version has more Maes Hughes.

Haikyuu!! (2014)

I don’t know a lot of sports anime but I play volleyball and love underdog stories, and so I loved the mix of realistic stuff and drama here 🙂

Ushio and Tora (2015)

Classic supernatural shonen – I really enjoyed the buddy-cop aspects too, and wish more folks had seen this.

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

Sword and sorcery is one of my all-time fav genres and the Lodoss series hits a lot of marks – aside from the RPG stuff, it has a lot of cool 1990s-era visuals that I dig, like the designs and split screens.

FLCL (2003)

One of my former students recommended this to me one year and boy does it stand out among anime – does some fascinating things with medium and style. Great OST too.

Pyscho-Pass (2012)

Disturbing vision of the future – a new classic, or at least, Season 1 is in my opinion, but I haven’t seen the others yet.

RahXephon (2002)

I nearly missed this amazing mecha show, one of my favs of the genre. It’s probably more mystical, more of a drama than being an anime of constant battles but I liked that.

Witch Hunter Robin (2002)

Another supernatural anime, this one suffering a bit from that early CGI-look but compelling leads in my opinion and so I don’t notice too much in the end.

Casshern Sins (2008)

This is a pretty bleak series really, but it’s a memorable reboot, a lot of contrast between grace and decay throughout.

Battle Angel (1993)

I still wish this had been a full series instead of a short OVA but it’s a great adaptation of a seminal cyberpunk work nevertheless.

Claymore (2006)

Here’s another ‘unfinished’ show, and one that I wish had been given a fuller ending. Still, if you’re in the mood for bloody action and revenge, then Claymore should deliver.

Pumpkin Scissors (2006)

In my review I mentioned a slight FMA resemblance here but it’s no copycat and I really liked the idea of a small team trying to do post-war recovery.

The Dragon Dentist (2017)

Something released within the last five years! I remember being enthralled by the opening sea battle but everything else was great too.

Outlaw Star (1998)

Space opera is one of my other fav genres and Outlaw Star checks a lot of boxes, from the mis-matched crew to mystery, action and humour, and of course, space!

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (2016)

Horror with a dash of steampunk – grim but not without a few uplifting moments, the ‘trapped on a moving thing’ was a nice way to offer extra tension.

Kurogane Communication (1998)

Few seem to have heard of this but it’s such a great positive dystopian show – fascinating that each ep is only around 12 mins too.

Bubblegum Crisis (1998)

That’s right. The ‘90s version – that’s the one I’m going with, folks. And basically, it’s in part because I saw it first and have a fondness for this version.

Blood Blockade Battlefront (2015)

As a fan of Yasuhiro Nightow I was excited to try this out one day and it’s wonderfully over the top – still hoping for a third season.

Violet Evergarden (2018)

Once more into the tearjerker sub-genre! Beautiful stuff from top to bottom, it’s also a nice to see letter-writing in the foreground.

Golden Kamuy (2018)

The wartime period, the winter setting, the unlikely duo and the treasure-hunt makes this so good, but there’s also a chance for me to learn about another culture with the Ainu so that’s another draw for me when it came to Golden Kamuy.

Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

Maybe a bit like Princess Knight but with more fairy tale surrealism even, this is a classic but not one beloved by all, I think. The aesthetic has that elvish, angular look that was big in the past too, and which I usually enjoy.

The Vision of Escaflowne (1996)

Another classic shojo, this with more action and a whole lot of mecha as well. It’s a great mix and characters definitely stand out here, along with the range of romantic sub-plots.

Read or Die (OVA) (2001)

If you want to see Mata Hari, Genjo Sanzo and Ludwig van Beethoven (among others), battling it out with secret agent heroes with inventive powers, in an easy to digest 3-part OVA, then this is worth finding!

Le Chevalier D’Eon (2006)

Featuring one of my all-time fav opening episodes, this is a heavy mix of politics, swordplay and magic as a team of musketeers traverse Europe, hunting evil ‘Poets’. (More when I write a full review one day!)

Black Lagoon (2006)

Crime, action and fan-service in this ‘girls-with-guns’ classic, set in a fictional SE Asia during the 1990s but with a more modern aesthetic.

Gundam Wing (1995)

Compared to at home, this was another anime that seemed to do better years later in the US, and was my proper introduction to the world of Gundam.

Lupin the Third (1971)

Another classic. It’s fascinating to see the tonal shift here, from the early Ōsumi episodes to the majority Miyazaki/Takahata ones, but once you see those first seven or so, it becomes clear how much they had an impact on Watanabe and Cowboy Bebop.

Astro Boy (1980)

Ah, before I knew what anime was, there was Astro Boy and Osamu Tezuka’s unwillingness to shy away from tough themes in a kids show. Burnt into my memory 🙂

Ride Back (2009)

I really enjoyed this and was thinking I’d have loved it just as much if it remained focused on racing alone – but there are definitely a few layers, here.

Arte (2020)

Historical setting in Italy, a series about art and artists and an underdog heroine with a positive outlook – all pluses! This was a fun series that I’ve like to see more of but I dunno if it was popular enough.

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)

Nostalgia trip! Having played in rock and metal bands as a teen and into my 20s, this was a great music/teen drama.

Gurren Lagann (2007)

A fair while ago on the blog, I tried to figure out what I thought was a ‘classic’ and ended up deciding that certainly, the age of a show wasn’t the only thing worth considering. This is classic mecha with enough humour to fit in parody elements too.

Berserk (1997)

More sword and sorcery anime, something I haven’t really seen for a long time, it seems (outside of the portal fantasy genre at least). Well, maybe ‘dark fantasy’ is a better genre, though the series is less so than the manga.

Demon Slayer (2019)

Ah, another recent anime in my list, this is typical shonen from top to bottom but visually striking – with a couple of flaws; the failures to really use Nezuko in the narrative and… well, Zenitsu.

Made in Abyss (2017)

Adventure, mystery and suffering! I’m quite keen to see the film one day, to see how those kids survive against serious odds.

Hozukis Coolheadedness (2014)

I’m not familiar with a lot of comedy anime, but the premise forced me to take a look – hell as a bureaucracy, with the demon Hozuki tasked with running the show while his superiors slack off.

Granblue Fantasy (2017)

Anime based on games are hit and miss for me but this has a fairly light feel to the fantasy adventure and I liked it. Fond memories of binging this with the flu one year!

Ghost in the Shell SAC (2002)

Obviously fairly different from the seminal film but still pretty awesome – and I finally get to include some more cyberpunk on this list!


Done!

That took longer than I thought, but there we go at last.

50 Favs (for now) and there’s certainly a few more I could have included – I have twelve or so left over, all vying for a place in the list 😀

A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Quarter Three)

As I mentioned before, I’m a bit behind in terms of posting a list in each quarter, so I’ll probably push the final entry back to December, perhaps.

And also just like before, you can click here to check a preamble and reasoning re: why I included the ten titles I chose for quarter one, and there’s also a note about the single change from quarter two here.

So, again – let’s see if anything has changed! (If so, it’s generally because I’ve changed my mind about something older or finally watched something I hadn’t seen before).

I will probably re-post this bit each time though:

  • 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

The List – Quarter One

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)


The List – Quarter Two

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)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


The List – Quarter Three

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)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


No change!

Where I have made changes is in this larger ‘just outside’ section – a few additions, one of which I want to highlight being ‘The Great Passage’ which I loved, and surely, it has to be one of the few shows out there about making a dictionary?


Outside the List (for now)

This (unranked) list includes shows that I reckon are pretty close/could well sneak into the top ten one day. Again, the longer I do this, the more I’m finding a lot of this process relates to mood as much as anything else. I still suspect that this is where most of the changes will occur over the years.

Samurai Champloo (2004)
Full Metal Alchemist (2003)
Gunbuster (1988)
FLCL (2003)
Haikyuu!! (2014)
Ushio & Tora (2015)
Pyscho-Pass (2012)
RahXephon (2002)
Witch Hunter Robin (2002)
Ghost Hunt (2006)
The Great Passage (2016)
Dororo (2019)
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (2004)
Vision of Escaflowne (1996)


I fear that I must now resort to creating a Top 50 far sooner than I’d hoped – I also fear the mere thought of a Top 50 😀

Again, I’ve love to know if you think I’ve missed a great show! (Doubtless I have) and so maybe I’ll be able to include it in my list for future viewing… especially if it’s within my reach, both figuratively and literally. (I’m curious to see whether some of my A-Z Challenge titles might eventually get into this list too).

Thanks for reading!

A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Quarter Two)

So, I’m a little late on the ‘second’ quarter here, but it’s still the second entry in this little ‘series’ of posts, at least 🙂

If you click here you can see a preamble and some reasoning re: why I included the ten titles I chose for quarter one… but let’s see if anything has changed! (If it has changed, it’s generally because I’ve changed my mind about something older or finally watched something I hadn’t seen before).

I will re-post this bit though:

  • 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

The List – Quarter One

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)


The List – Quarter Two

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)
Kids on the Slope (2012)
Nadia: Secret of Blue Water (1990)


So, there was a change 🙂

I’ve replaced just one title, but there are a few extras further below as well. But first:

9. Kids on the Slope (2012)

Kids on the Slope is a superb drama with an excellent romantic subplot and a soundtrack that should satisfy most jazz fans, especially if you like the Cool and Bob sub-genres. I loved it and look forward to watching the show again – especially for all the little references here and there, from character design to album covers etc

It’s also basically historical fiction I guess, or at least a period piece (in that it focuses on the 1960s in Japan) so that’s always a plus for me. Like most folks who’ve seen anime, I also really enjoyed the fluidity to the musical performances, achieved via rotoscoping.


Outside the List (for now)

This (unranked) list includes shows that are pretty close/could well sneak in. As I go through the months, I’m finding a lot of this process is based on mood as much as anything else, AND, wondering if this is where most of the action will be over the years? (I’ve certainly added more here than into the Quarter Two Top Ten.)

Samurai Champloo (2004)
Full Metal Alchemist (2003)
Gunbuster (1988)
FLCL (2003)
Haikyuu!! (2014)
Ushio & Tora (2015)
Pyscho-Pass (2012)
RahXephon (2002)
Witch Hunter Robin (2002)
Ghost Hunt (2006)


Based on my missed ‘deadline’ of May for this post, I’ll try to get the third quarter post done sooner, and once more see if anything has changed but if I don’t get a chance to see a lot of new things by September, it might not look very different.

As before, let me know if you think I’ve missed a great show! (Doubtless I have) and so maybe I’ll be able to include it in my upcoming watching if it’s within my reach, both figuratively and literally. (I’m curious to see whether some of my A-Z Challenge titles might eventually get into this list too).

Thanks for reading!

A Liquid Top Ten (2020, Film Edition)

Much like my previous, similar post to this one, I want this list to change whenever I come back to it 🙂

Also like my last post, there’s no special reason to do this really – but it serves 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 once again today!

And yes! The copying from my other post continues below, but with minor tweaks:

  • I’m focusing on films today
  • This list should change as I see more texts over the years and it will definitely reveal gaps in my knowledge
  • Equally, it should also change whenever I re-watch and re-evaluate
  • By definition of the list being ‘mine’ it clearly reveals my biases and interests
  • Expect to still see the 1990/2000s heavily represented, lol
  • Subsequent posts will maybe be shorter than this one

Onward to the list!

Let’s climb from the bottom up:

10. Redline (2009)

For my number ten I’ve gone with a film where almost the whole reason it’s here is due to the visuals. The storyline or character aspects are not bad – at all – but I think this is one film that you can appreciate on the art and animation alone. Boy, it is fantastic and still stands out style-wise, in the anime industry, with its heavy use of Dick Tracy kinda shadow.

9. Sword of the Stranger (2007)

This is a film that I hadn’t seen until quite recently and it shot into this list in part because I do really enjoy historical and also samurai anime, and upon reflection I think this one holds up better in some aspects compared to a classic I nearly included – Ninja Scroll. Sword of the Stranger has some superb fight sequences and great scene-setting too. Very much worth it if you’ve never seen this and you like the genre.

8. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

Perhaps the first Vampire Hunter D is maybe more ‘important’ to anime in general (or at least certain genres) and in some ways I prefer the 1985 film to Bloodlust but maybe this one sneaks into the top ten due to the higher production budget. The story’s great too; it’s creepy without being crass and the visuals really are memorable. This is one that I’ve already reviewed (like at least half this list I think).

7. Paprika (2006)

As you’ll soon see, I’ve got a couple of repeat directors in this list, which shows that I’ve struggled to choose between two or more of their works… or that I need to see more films. But I couldn’t leave Paprika off this list – it’s influential and mesmerizing. Aside from the thriller storyline and great animation, there’s a lot of fun references throughout that rewarded me on nearly each re-watch.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)

I could have put a few of the big Ghibli films here – obviously Spirited Away is a landmark and I also love Whisper of the Heart, but I think Howl’s is a fantastic adaptation of an already fantastic book. It’s got all the classic Ghibli features to be expected from a Miyazaki film too and my favourite Joe Hisaishi score.   

5. Summer Wars (2010)

I’ve mentioned before how much I like the pairing of Hosoda and Okudera and I feel like this is their best work together. It’s fantastic that such a large cast works, with time enough to get a feel for even most of the minor characters here. To me, this has that adventure feel – even though the setting is (at least in one sense) limited to one homestead.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

This is my favourite Ghibli film and it’s technically not a Ghibli film, I guess! I believe it’s easy to make a convincing argument that Princess Mononoke is a better execution of the same themes that appear in Nausicaa but I have a soft spot for this one. Since I’ve reviewed it here, I won’t ramble on too much more 🙂

3. Perfect Blue (1997)

I found myself having trouble placing some films above or below others, due to the implications of ‘quality’ that any hierarchy creates, but again, this is a personal fav list and as much as I love Nausicaa, I think Perfect Blue is too hard to place lower for me. This film is a harrowing psychological thriller executed so, so well. I seem to remember over the years, occasional calls along the lines of ‘why wasn’t this a live-action film’ and sure, it’d work… but I don’t like the implication behind the question: that animation was the lesser form for this story.

2. Akira (1988)

I know Akira tops a lot of lists and it should be abundantly clear why. It’s probably here at number two in my list because cyberpunk is one of my fav genres. Akira is a monster of a film, from its huge budget (esp for the time) and the staggering number of cells 160,000+ to the length and scope of the story. For me and many folks the world-building is another key draw; the setting is so immersive.

1. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

So, no surprises for the top of the list! Ghost in the Shell feels like it’ll be a film that remains enshrined for many more decades still, possibly in part because it’s a great mix of ‘high concept’ and grittier genre elements? I love that the structure is basically 3 or 4 action sequences with the rest being divided between dialogue and atmosphere. I probably watch this once a year and it’s always enthralling to me.


The Current List

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Akira (1988)
Perfect Blue (1997)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Summer Wars (2010)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2005)
Paprika (2006)
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)
Sword of the Stranger (2007)
Redline (2009)


Down a little further are a few films that could have made it into my list but got close enough.

Next quarter, maybe I’ll have seen a few more films and also, been able to decide whether I should have a Shinkai film in there!

Venus Wars (1989)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Girl who Leapt Through Time (2006)
Endless Waltz (1997)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Ninja Scroll (1993)
A Tree of Palme (2002)


Again, like last time, 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!

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!

Twitter Meme “Anime I…”

So, this was just a fleeting but fun meme doing the rounds on Twitter the other day but I didn’t end up posting there because I was too slow but also because the platform is rather ‘cramped’ when it comes to sharing reasons behind your choices 😀

And so, here’s that meme – the bare list first and then a few thoughts to go with it:

Anime I hate: I have no pithy answer here – so I’ll start with a nice ‘N/A

Anime I think is overrated: Anything that has 200+ episodes

Anime I think is underrated: Mushi-Shi

Anime I love: Nadia Secret of Blue Water

Anime I secretly love: Steins;Gate

Favourite anime of all time: Cowboy Bebop

Firstly, I don’t have much to report on the ‘anime I hate’ section because anything I haven’t enjoyed enough to continue watching… I didn’t continue watching, and so don’t have that much to say. I did do a short ‘Abandoned’ post a while back but I didn’t care enough to hate any of those shows, that’s for sure.

For the second item on the list I imagine you can guess the kinds of shows that I don’t have time for (literally and figuratively). If I’m feeling a bit grumpy I might even adjust that number to 100+ and yeah, I’m sure if I looked I’d find some exceptions quite easily… but for me, the risk to reward ratio is way off. More, the way a story ends is so, so important and obviously I hope, a show that eventually becomes more of a cash-cow* than an endeavour to tell a story, tends to dip sharply in quality all too soon and worse, fails to actually have an ending at all.

Now, in some ways calling Mushi-Shi ‘underrated’ might be a bit inaccurate as it’s highly regarded really, but certainly it tops few All-Time lists out there. I love Ginko, Yuto Nakano’s performance too and all the folktales woven throughout the episodic narrative. There’s a sombreness to the show too, which can even bring me down a little at times. Still, it’s my clear pick for the third item on the list.

For the ‘anime I love’ slot there are dozens of shows I could have included but today I went with Gainax’s lesser-known precursor to Neon Genesis – namely: Nadia and the Secret of Blue Water. No doubt I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a sucker for both the Adventure genre and Coming of Age stories too. I’m also sure at least a few anime fans are aware that Nadia has more than a few very obvious and painful filler episodes – but I’m able to both overlook and skip them. Eventually, I’ll do an episode/arc-based review on the series but for now, I’ll say that the slow reveal of the true darkness of some characters and the drip-feed of truth when it comes to their world really balances nicely against the optimism and determination of the young heroes.

‘Secretly’ isn’t quite right here but I chose Steins;Gate simply because I haven’t reviewed it yet (though I will sooner or later) so that’s as close as I could manage to a ‘secret’ show I love, I guess – though if I can come up with something that fits the implied criteria of embarrassing I’ll update this list 😀 In any event, Steins;Gate can really put you through the wringer – it’s got time-travel, drama, comedy and romance, all pluses!

And finally! I have to go with what some may well consider a boring choice here and go with Cowboy Bebop… mostly due to all the reasons in this post (and more reasons I haven’t got around to sharing yet!).

Update: Forgot to do this yesterday:

*Cash-cows serve that secondary purpose (financial security being the main) even if they become dull shows, because the money they earn a studio can then be used to produce works that are still great but might not appeal as widely, and also might not have ever been made without that income.