Posted by : AMCC Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Anthony's Top 5 Anime of all Time
5. Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
No. of episodes: 26 (1st season), 24 (Kai)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mindscrew
year of release: 2006
Shortened as Higurashi and literally translated as "When the Cicadas cry", Higurashi no naku koro ni is one of the most successful anime of the 21st century, and has a really huge, I mean REALLY REALLY HUGE, cult following the series.
Based on the PC doujin game by "Ryukishi07" and his team the "07th Expansion", Higurashi is a part of the "When they cry" franchise with its sister show Umineko, forming a duo of the most enjoyable mindscrew series in the anime business.
Higurashi made its way as one of the most iconic anime in popular culture and spawned hundreds of internet memes by itself, like the eponymous "Tomitake Flash" below:
A short warning before I begin:
Higurashi rivals Evangelion in terms of insanity and mindscrew (in a good way), and like its sister show Umineko, openly displays blood and gore in its episodes. One episode even held me back from going to the bathroom at 3AM. It is definitely NOT a show for the weak-hearted, not to mention the manga is just full of scary shit that perfectly captures the creepiness of a given situation, but I still recommend it anyway.
First things first, don't be deceived by those lovely and moe pretty girls in the picture above that makes you want to protect and spoil them. Here's something to freshen your mind:
See that? Good. Now you can look at the show objectively.
Unlike a normal storytelling that moves in one direction (back or forward) and keeps on developing further, Higurashi tells the exact same story with different scenarios and viewpoints called Arcs.
It is divided into 8 arcs in total. The first Higurashi consists of 4 "Question" arcs, in which the viewers are presented with a crapsack full of weird shit that is the Hinamizawa village.
The 2nd anime season, titled "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni KAI" or KAI for short, consists of 4 "Answer" arcs, that explains the mystery behind those weird shit.
There's a 3rd season called REI that took place post-KAI, but it is just a collection of side stories like a love curse or a war in the public pool and whatnots.
(4th season called KIRA will air on July 22nd 2011)
(You cannot jump directly to the 2nd season since you won't understand a thing. Also, do NOT try to watch the episodes out of order, since you will get confused like hell)
So the story is set in 1983. Maebara Keiichi and his family moved to a little rural village of Hinamizawa. Everything is nice and peaceful, and being the outgoing person he is, Keiichi quickly made four girls of the school's game club his best friends.
However, all of that peaceful days ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro. Keiichi learns that for the past four years in every Watanagashi, one person has been murdered and another has gone missing. He soon finds himself drawn into the strange events surrounding the village.
That is the premise given in each and every arc, in which the scenarios will develop differently based on quantum postselection. Another thing that the question arcs have in common is the protagonist's paranoia regarding the crimes surrounding him/her. Also, "Oyashiro-sama no tatari" (curse of Oyashiro-sama) plays a very important role in every single arc, in which I can't explain further since it would spoil the story. Most arcs will start in a similar manner, but they will have different endings.
For example, the first arc ended with the ever famous Keiichi's mystery letter that became the tagline of the show for a few episodes:
"..........by the time you are reading this, I would most likely be dead
Whoever finds this note, please uncover the truth of Hinamizawa. That's all I ask"
--- Maebara Keiichi
And poof! Things start out fresh in the next episode. No blood, no dead bodies, and everyone is smiling! It means that you are starting a new arc, complete with a different scenario.
With all of the craziness that surrounds you, can you bring yourself to "Trust" your friends? Can you believe in what "The Adults" have to say? And most importantly, ARE YOU REALLY YOU? Your choice plays a vital role on how your life will turn out in this world where everyone seems to be out for your life.
The mystery, thrills, and murders that got all snowballed will be unwrapped one at a time, until things ends up epically in the final arc of KAI.
You might want to pass on this show after seeing the first few episodes with a staggering amount of blood and gore, but you can have my word: the story is absolutely, undoubtedly, fantastic! Especially the answer arcs that tied up all loose questions.
It is totally worth the ride to see how all of the puzzle pieces are linked together. How all the mysteries and the thrills from the first 26 episodes beautifully solved in the 2nd season, and how the entire cast earned their happy ending.
If you are not into mainstream no-brainer anime shows, and would like to enjoy a quality story that can really excite your brain (as in, really heavy and epic plot), Higurashi is one of the most obvious choices. There's a reason why Higurashi and Umineko's fanbase mostly consists of young adults in their 20s.
You can try to read the manga if you are brave enough, or if you plan on not sleeping tonight.
If you have a lot of free time (read: no life), you might want to check Higurashi's sister show Umineko and its even crazier plot and mindscrews. It requires a good observation skill, a good grasp of Knox's "Ten Commandments of Mystery Novels", a good understanding of postselection quantum, and most importantly, mastery of mathematical logic and how the premises work, for the viewers to actually know what the hell is going on. Umineko's title as the most complex and mindscrewing show in the history of anime-manga is not all talk I assure you.
4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
No. of episodes: 27
Genre: Testosterone poison
year of release: 2007
Oh My Fantastic God, where should I start...... Let's start from how this show was created.
In 1995, anime studio Gainax and director Anno Hideaki shocked the anime business by delivering the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion, the most deconstructive Super Robot show in history.
After EVA mindfucked the entire world with its ungodly epileptic plot and a cast full of manic-deppressive children, the super robot genre entered a period of skepticism. Fans could not bring themselves to see the super robot shows as before. They doubted that there will be a show that is able to top the great mindfuck that is EVA.
Sunrise (the studio that created Gundam and many other mecha series), however, created Yuusha Oh Gaogaigar (King of Braves Gaogaigar) as a reconstruction, to put the super robot genre back to where it belongs.
Gaogaigar basically kicked EVA and its creator Anno right in the face. The show runs on over the top "Rule of Cool" based on courage and bravery, pleasing the inner boy in every single adult male. With seiyuu Hiyama Nobuyuki and his hot-blooded voice as the main character Shishioh Gai, the show became one of the most hot-blooded shows ever.
After doing the impossible episode after episode, and having pseudo-gods as their final bosses in the OVA, the GGG crew left a giant mark in the super robot history with their heroic sacrifice that can only be described as ejaculation:
And that was it, the fans were wrong. Gaogaigar put the S back in SupaRobo, and revived the genre with all its glory.
Gainax is of course pissed by how Gaogaigar thrashed the deconstruction that they have made with EVA, so after the Gaogaigar Final OVA ended in 2003, they embarked on a journey to create something that can top the King of Braves.
And that something is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Heaven Breakthrough Gurren Lagann).
Inspired by Go Nagai's Getter Robo series and Gaogaigar itself, TTGL runs the show like Gaogaigar, on the basis of doing badass stuffs on sheer willpower and determination.
They also added the basic 80's element of Getter Robo's "So you are God? I don't give a fuck, I shall kick your ass" kind of craziness, which culminates into doing things beyond the impossible, AND OUTDOING THEMSELVES WITH EACH NEW EPISODE.
So there's this little man-sized mech that combines with a bigger mech, JUST BECAUSE THEY COMMANDED THEM TO COMBINE, becoming Gurren Lagann.
And this mech combined with THE MOON becoming a MOON SIZED MECH, since apparently, the moon is a station used by aliens to spy on our daily lives.
After a journey long enough, they combined with a sunk galactic spaceship to create a GALAXY SIZED MECH THAT IS ABLE TO RIP THE SPACE-TIME AND TRAVEL BETWEEN DIMENSIONS.
Finally, after traveling to the big bad's dimension, all of the major characters combined in the final battle, giving birth to the titular mech Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, WHICH THEN PROCEED TO USE FUCKING GALAXIES AS FUCKING THROWING STARS.
Nonono. Common sense and the laws of physics can go fuck themselves. The TTGL world is based on the rule of cool, the whole world kick reason to the curb with sheer willpower and badassery.
As evident in the epically unholy final battle scene:
in which they out-epic themselves in the second movie:
in case you're wondering, this is a youtube video that shows how large TTGL actually is:
The characters might be larger than life, but viewers can definitely relate to them, especially the main character, Simon the digger.
From being a helpless child that can only dig holes in his underground village, to being a sidekick for his larger than life heroic big brother Kamina, entered an Ikari Shinji-like BSOD and got all depressed, and triumphed over his own weaknesses to emerge as Simon the hero.
He is not a typical shonen hero, the chosen one with special powers, Simon is just a normal child that grew up in an underground village digging holes as his job. He is not particularly handsome to attract them fangirls, Simon is small in stature and has a very homely look.
However, he is really good at what he does, that is, digging holes without ever giving up. Contrary to what people believes that Simon strives to be like the heroic and larger than life Kamina, Kamina himself said that he strives to be like Simon, a figure that digs holes without ever looking back, never giving up hope.
TTGL electrified not only the super robot genre, but the entire anime business as a whole.
With its colorful and comical FLCL-like artwork, lighthearted and easy to listen music, two phase plot that is played perfectly, and relatable characters, it attracted a wide range of demographic. From the hardcore super robot fans, to casual viewers, and even females.
The show gives goosebumps with its memorable catchphrases such as "Who the hell do you think I am?!", "Believe in me who believes in you!", and "Your drill is the drill that will pierce the heaven!"
Especially their monumental tagline that was derived from the rap themesong. "Do the Impossible, see the invisible, touch the untouchable, break the unbreakable"
And last but not least, the entire Dai-Gurren-dan speech in the final battle:
"Even if we were to be enslaved by the galaxy's circle of rebirth, our feelings will open the door!
Even if the infinite universe were to go against us, our burning blod will cut through fate!
We'll break through the heaven and dimensions! We'll show you our path through force!
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann!! Who the hell do you think we are?!"
Who the fuck can forget such electrifying lines?!
TTGL is the anime of the decade 2001-2010, or you can even say that it's THE anime of the century. If you have not watched it, you're missing out on life. Watch it NOW.
No. of episodes: 26
Genre: Testosterone poison
year of release: 2001
s.Cry.ed, or scryed for easy spelling, was a very popular anime on its time that managed to outperform Inu Yasha and Shaman King as best anime for the year 2001.
Sadly, after enjoying a boom of popularity for a year, the show faded to obscurity after Sunrise focused all of their resources for Gundam SEED, that one project that got the attention of all Japanese viewers years before its official release.
Kanagawa prefecture was utterly destroyed after a great earthquake and it became an autonomous region sealed off of Japan called "The Lost Ground". Only there you can find some mutated people that can summon a special power called Alter.
Since there are prejudice against the mutants, the mutants themselves decided to create an organization to regulate their fellow mutants and show the world that mutants are still civilized human beings. This organization called HOLY will recruit native mutants into their ranks and arrest those who are not willing to cooperate since they are considered "savages".
That basically is the background of the series.
So you have Kazuma, this "stupid big brother that is kind at heart" main character who avoids his work to ditch off with a friend, when he actually hides the fact that he is a native alter that likes to fight and does odd jobs with said friend.
And you have Ryuho, this "angsty bishounen prince" who is the strongest member of HOLY and deeply believes that unlawful native alters are dangerous and needs to be arrested.
Both of them met each other after a certain incident, and BAM! They fell in love......... NOT.
Nonono, this is a show that is brimming with testosterone, they don't have time to play with you estrogen brigade and your wistful fantasies.
They soon realized that they are total opposites to each other, one promotes freedom and the other promotes order. It's like they were born to hate each other. After Kazuma was captured by HOLY, Ryuho mentioned that he can't see any good in Kazuma, that he just hate him with all of his heart.
Kazuma on the other hand, despises Ryuho for his oppression against the native alters. And even though Ryuho went amnesiac with a side dish of a heel-face turn and took care of Kazuma's "sister", Kanami, while Kazuma went all BSOD after his friends' death, he still deeply hates the angsty bishounen.
Even in the end when they need to join forces to stop a greater evil, they still keep their rivalry and can't seem to bring themselves to like each other.
Fuck, after the big bad himself is defeated and the world is slowly getting its well deserved peace, they proceed to beat the shit out of each other's ass, with broken limbs and gaping jaws missing a teeth or two, just because they feel like it. I told you this is not for you girls and your fantasies:
The show has a very nice plot, intense drama moments accompanied with the trademark Puerto-Rican Samba beat of Nakagawa Kotaro's music, and dozens of major characters with excellent (really fantastic I must say) character developments, but it mostly revolves around the rivalry of Kazuma and Ryuho, and their interaction with their friends.
This irresistible rivalry is the first and the most important ingredient that makes scryed awesome, with the second being Kazuma going all badass with his pride and ego.
The fantastic character developments and drama came third. With lots of interesting characters that seems insignificant, they got surprisingly well developed in the end and contributed to the story in a way or another, a feat that is rare for shonen action anime nowadays.
As for the plot, suffice to say that as a shonen action anime, scryed perfectly pulled this off. Starting off with a seemingly shallow plot, things got deeper as the character gets their development along the story. After things got totally complex with drama moments here and there, they still stick on to the fundamental plot of eternal rivalry between Kazuma and Ryuho.
and hey, Wakamoto Norio is the previewman! How fucking cool is that?!
If you enjoy shonen or seinen series with a really good story and character development and badass characters to boot, try scryed, you won't regret it.
No. of episodes: 76
Genre: Pure unadulterated comedy on crack
year of release: 2003
Ah, Bobobo-bo.Bo-bobo, one of the most popular gag mangas in Japan, and one of the most successful to grace the modern world.
Outside of Japan, Bo-bobo is well known as a "love it or hate it" kind of show. Some love it to death and some simply found it to be too bizarre. I am, of course, a part of the former.
You see, for my rank 2 of all time, I couldn't even think of the right words to start off since the show itself is just too..... genius.
I mean, fuck, Sawai Yoshio must have been smoking tons of crack to create such a brilliant world with all its hallucinogen consuming denizens.
The original manga is even more insane than the anime itself and is arguably the best gag manga ever created (your mileage may vary), with perfectly placed frames, insane expressions, instant scene warps, and narrative boxes full of puns.
Let's start things off with this. There are bajillions of anime viewers that hyperactively said that, "I love being random! Oh Excel Saga! FLCL! I love those shows!", and then, they hated Bo-bobo because, "That show is stupid and horrible".
That's a fucking logic paradox right there. I mean, Bo-bobo is the pinnacle of comedic randomness, you can't get anything more random than this show. They do not exist! Excel Saga and FLCL are like potato chips compared to the randomness that is Bo-bobo.
It certainly tells you something when random people themselves cannot comprehend the randomness of Bo-bobo.
The main character is the titular Bobobo-bo.Bo-bobo (onomatopoeia of a bushy hair), a burly yet weird 29 year old guy with a yellow afro.
His seiyuu is none other than the genius Koyasu Takehito, the voice of Soma Shigure, Zechs Merquise, Fujimiya Aya, Nagi Springfield, and many more resident fangirl-bait cool and handsome guy. Only this time, he voices the crazy Bo-bobo, and god, it really showed how genius this guy is.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world of the year "300X", Bo-bobo fights the Maruhage (Baldy) Empire and their leader, Emperor Tsuru Tsururina (Squicky Slippery Bald) IV, who has sent his "Kegari-tai" (Hair Hunters) to shave the hair off everyone in the world.
Bo-bobo does this through the art of Hanage Shinken ("Fist of the Nose Hair"), a form of martial arts that allows him to manipulate his body hair to defeat his enemies.
More often, though, he defeats his enemies by confusing the hell out of them with his oddball behavior and an assortment of sight gags (like little people living inside his afro).
This is eventually revealed to be an actual fighting style in the world of Bobobo, known as "Hajike" (from the word "hajikeru", which means "to go crazy"), where the objective is to use these strange happenings to distract and confuse your enemy into submission
In his journey, Bo-bobo is accompanied by his friends, such as:
• The only sane person in the whole series who serves as the damsel in distress and the tsukkomi, Beauty.
• Don Patch, the king of "Hajikelist" who is hinted to have an infinite power and is probably the craziest person in the show. This orangy spiky thing always tries to replace Bo-bobo as the main character, and even tries to be the heroine by killing off Beauty.
• Tokoro Tennosuke, a living blue jelly that is derived from Tokoroten (seaweed jelly). This former hair hunter always promotes Tokoroten as a staple food, and went as far to get people to eat him.
• Heppokomaru, another sane person who sometimes acts crazy. This white haired boy fights with "Onara Shinken", a martial arts that uses his fart.
• Softon, the cool former hair hunter whose hobby is to spout badass sounding nonsense. He has a head that resembles a strawberry soft cream, and is often mistaken as a poop.
and many other side characters.
With a strong friendship, the crew defeated enemy after enemy with their awesome team work. Just look at how they handle the adversaries in their way:
As for the continuation of the plot, uh... Actually, nobody gives a damn about the plot, since the whole show is just THAT crazy.
So have a look at some videos to understand how the show runs:
Unfortunately, the original Japanese with English sub is really rare in the web, what you will find mostly is the English dub of the series since it was broadcasted in Cartoon Network and therefore has the copyright shit and shit. There are chinese subs and the RAW videos though.
The English dub has so many flaws that were lost in translation, since most of the jokes are Japanese puns in nature.
See the videos. If you love them, google the show or try to find the manga, if you don't, stop.
Sue me, I've been watching it since I was 3 years old -19 years ago-. When I have a surplus of pocket money, I collect Doraemon related stuffs: t-shirts, toys, games, plushies, gachas, etc.
He was my childhood hero, he still is now, and he will always be. Did I mention that I have the complete set of tankoubon from every spin-offs? (Original manga, Doraemon's adventures, Doraemon's maths, magical tools, Dorabase, et fucking cetera.)
Is he even more GAR than TTGL? Fuck yes. Do you know what happens if he uses the BIG-LIGHT to enlarge his SMALL-LIGHT, which in turn, will be used to shrink the insanely humongous TTGL? Do you know that Doraemon has the IMMORTALITY LOTION that grants him immortality after use?
Is he even more powerful than Songoku? Fuck yes. Do you know that he used the COPYING MIRROR to copy himself to thousands, in order to withstand Goku's Kamehameha? Do you know what happens if he shrinks himself, and proceed to use the WARP PEN to warp inside Goku's blood vessels?
(fact, was discussed in the anime grandprix videos, Doraemon emerged as the winner after crushing Goku's insides)
You don't need gigantic mechas and "Believe in you who believes in yourself" shit to prove how GAR you are, Doraemon makes the impossible possible by just reaching out to his pocket.
You don't need a world threatening villain or a call to save the people to be a hero, Doraemon grants wishes for those in need, a figure for those wishing for miracles.
Doraemon actually suppressed his insane powers so he would be a family friendly character. FACT.
Another interesting fact: Doraemon is one of the two (the other being Sazae-san) only anime in history that can make a 70 year old grandma and a 16 year old rebel sit together in front of the TV.
That's how fucking awesome Doraemon is.
Doraemon: the best there is, the best there was, the best there will ever be