They’re the best Anime that 1996 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Gokinjo Monogatari, Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS, Fushigi Yuugi, and more!
10: Gokinjo Monogatari
English: Neighborhood Stories
MAL Score: 7.54
The protagonist, Kouda Mikako, is a student of “Yaza Gaku”. Specialising in fashion design, Mikako dreams of becoming a fashion designer with her own brand. Living next to her is her childhood friend, Yamaguchi Tsutomu. Even though they have been close since they were young, they share a platonic friendship. However, Tsutomu has been gaining popularity, especially with the girls, because he seems to resemble a popular vocalist from a band and somehow, Mikako begins to see him in a different light. This is a story about how youths cope with dreams, love and friendship.
Well, as much as I am loathed to put labels on what are clearly three-dimensional characters, here we have a show where Ai Yazawa pretty much presented us with what could be a psychological profile of a tsundere before such a term even came to existence. She’s brassy, full of herself and can sometimes be unfairly cruel, but that is just a front she she feels she has to put up in order to shield her vulnerable side.
Yes, it would be convenient to say Mikako is the way she is because of the childhood trauma of a divorce (and what her Mom did afterwards). But alas, the reason behind her disagreeable personality is artistically anticlimatic. That is simply the way she is, as is evident from the flashbacks from her childhood and later when she becomes “honest with herself.” This is the place where I feel the anime succeeds because we become too used to seeing the lead female character who is cutesy, klutsy, timid, moe or whatever stereotype that is supposed to appeal to the regular anime audience. She is truly one of the more variated full-rounded characters you’d find in any narrative.
The main drawback from this show, like a lot of the shoujo anime that aired around that time (Marmalade Boy, Kodocha) is the number of episodes. I really believe they could have more effectively told the story that they presented if they instead aired around half the episodes. Of course I am talking about filler episodes that sometimes introduced inconsistencies (***spoiler****e.g. why would Mikako be unable to sell her wrong-sized clothes at the second flea market if she was able to sell out all those exact same clothes at the first flea market?***spoiler***), but that is a minor quibble compared to the parade of episodes that occupied the middle featuring a love triangle between three supporting characters. They could have easily settled that matter in a handful of episodes, but they stretched it out over at least ten episodes, padding those with situations based on uselessly masochistic self-abnegations so contrived that my suspension of disbelief almost never recovered.
But thankfully, it didn’t overtake the main story of the show, which was the real draw in the first place. It’s clear the creator had a lot of fun with her inaugural anime adaptation and it shows through her somewhat unconventional artwork and character designs. The whole thing sort of reminds me of “Doug”. The animation certainly shows its age, although it’s pretty solid for what was shown at the time. For those who are expecting the quality put into Yazawa’s other two animes by Madhouse Studio, be warned that you’ve been spoiled.
The music, mostly provided by Mikako’s seiyuu Rumi Shishido might be an acquired taste for some (for those who don’t like unsteady singing voices), but it grows on you, at least it did for me. The story, as long as it focuses on the two main characters, is pretty solid-grade work as it navigates you through the ups and downs of a teenage girl trying to cope with her contrary personality. As for enjoyment – well I wouldn’t have spent at least 62 total hours going over the series if I didn’t enjoy it. So in the end it would have received a higher grade for the story and characterization if it weren’t for the mostly repetitive fillers.
What initially drew me to watch this show was the very unique art style. Everything is done completely with flat colors which made me think of ’70s cartoons. It’s definitely a peculiar look, but fits the show to a tea. There’s a perfect balance between being tastefully retro and progressively modern. Thankfully nothing is really lost with having such beautiful artwork either. It’s similar to Sailor Moon in the sense that the art style at its core is so strong and appealing that the limited animation isn’t as much noticeable, though, that’s not to say that it doesn’t also look great in motion, because it does.
But art only nets you so many points in your favor. I could also mention the music which is absolutely phenomenal and so good that it can almost be a little distracting at times. Take that as you will, I see it as a positive. But the characters is where Ai Yazawa shines and Gokinjo Monogatari certainly doesn’t skimp out on that. Despite being one of her earlier manga, it works because it all feels very personal.
Every character in Gokinjo Monogatari is lovable and easy to empathize with. Even if there were a character you didn’t particularly like or connect with at first, I guarantee you’ll grow to love them during one of their episodes. Yes, while there definitely is an on-going narrative, for the most part it’s pretty casual. There definitely is plenty of drama and romance, but it weaves in and out of relevance rather than being the main focus. And in between that you have a string of really wholesome episodes that’ll tug at your heartstrings. These were some of my favorite episodes and really showcases the show’s wide emotional palette.
With that being said, comedy is one thing Gokinjo Monogatari does not prioritize. Most of it comes from cheeky banter between the characters. It’s more charming than anything, but you won’t exactly be laughing out loud. Honestly I kind of like that though. Makes everything feel a lot more genuine. Every scenario feels like it could’ve been directly inspired from the creators’ lives. It creates this very intimate bond between the show and the viewer. Gokinjo Monogatari is something you watch to invest yourself into these characters’ lives. To see this group of friends figuring themselves out through the hard times, but ultimately sticking together out of mutual love for each other. While some moments hit very close to home and and made me feel the same guilt and anxiety as the characters, at the end of the day it encourages self-improvement and shows you that there are people out there for you. Is it anything life-changing? Maybe, maybe not. It’s honestly more reaffirming than anything. Makes me feel more confident in myself. And I think that’s something everybody could appreciate. Regardless of what you get out of this show, it absolutely will stick with you one way or another.
Now I wasn’t too thrilled with seeing the opening of this anime because it looks so old, the characters are drawn in a funny way, none of the female characters have boobs and the music was kind of blah. But, somehow, you get hooked on the show and start to enjoy it without realizing.
Story is great. I love that everyone is in a Art school. Each character has goals and aspirations that are different from typical anime out here so I enjoyed that. Also because I can relate to most of the characters as well. Mikako wants to have her own brand and sell her handmade clothes. Her friends study, work hard and make everything that they by hand to sell at the flee market. It just goes to show that hard work really pays off! There’s a lot of love triangles that takes place in this anime. It might become too much at times but just follow along. Great story. You see the characters unfold when the time is right and you get to learn a lot from this anime too.
Of course the art isn’t all that great but it doesn’t matter because the story and plot is what keeps you watching. Also, I realized that even though the females are drawn a certain way and don’t seem to have womanly features such as breasts, hips and thighs, they are still beautiful in their own way. Especially with the several fashion ideas and clothes they wear. I kind of liked that because you don’t have to draw a busty woman just to make her look sexy. It’s all about the personality of the person, or in this case, the characters.
Many of you aren’t going to like the music. it took me awhile to get used to it but I grew to like it.
I love the characters mainly because it’s a creation of Yazawa Ai. But also since I am a big NANA lover, i like to think that Mikako is Hachi and Risa is Nana, Risa’s boyfriend is Ren and Yuusuke is Takumi.. But that’s just me and my fantasies lol I grew to love all the characters even though some of them annoyed me. Mikako annoyed me through half of the show because she is actually a tsundere character to the fullest. But I learned to appreciate and love her and her personality because most girls go through the same feelings and thoughts. Everyone has thought of something that isn’t true or loved a person so much but couldn’t tell him so you be mean to them for no reason. Or when you see your lover talking to someone else you get jealous. Mikako goes through so many emotions that you learn to love because she is like most people, even yourself. There’s a lot of ups and downs in this anime and in the end, it will be all worth it.
I enjoyed this very much. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I like how creative everything is and the journey of a young girl trying to sell her fashion brand clothes, with the conflicts of relationships and family. Yet she still tries her best to become successful. Her and everyone else in her group. It’s a bitter sweet kind of anime. The one thing I hate about this anime is the filler episodes and the constant flashbacks. Sometimes it would be so long and so repetitive that it can take up half of an episode! So, its ok when you know when to skip a few minutes but all in all its a pretty good watch.
I was going to rate it a 7 at first but after finishing the show and looking back on it, the story was really great. Especially for an anime back in the 90s with a story like this. I really enjoyed it and to everyone that has seen Paradise Kiss, please watch this anime and watch Paradise Kiss again. You will enjoy it 10xs more because now you fully understand each character and the message being sent about women, aspirations and goals, and conflict with love and family. Thank You.
9: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
English: Sailor Moon SuperS
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン Super S
MAL Score: 7.60
SuperS centers heavily on Chibi-usa and the Sailor Team. A new enemy, the Dead Moon Circus, has now appeared. Their motive is to find the Golden Dream Mirror that would be used to rule the world. To do this, the enemy attacks innocent victims for their Dream Mirrors and test their energy. Chibi-usa also has a new ally on her side, Pegasus. This season also sees the Sailor Senshi obtaining new powers.
Story: The story is, I’ll grant not as involved as the other arcs. And the fact that we know Chibi Usa has Pegasus right off the bat kills some of the suspense. SuperS is often criticized for being too light and cutesy. But even though most of the episodes are filler, as with the rest of Sailor Moon, they are rarely boring. It is lighter, but we just had S, arguably the darkest season in the series, and we’re about to get into Stars, which is also very heavy on the angst. SuperS is a welcome intermission. Some of the episodes are very funny, such as when Usagi stalks Rei and Mamoru as the red ninja of love, or when Minako dates two of the villains simultaneously. I also like that it focuses on Chibi Usa, she really comes into her own. She also gets her own romance with Helios, which I think is the sweetest relationship in all of Sailor Moon.
Art: I’m not a big art person. The art is I think better than the earlier seasons, but it’s Sailor Moon. You don’t watch it for it’s animation merit.
Sound: The Japanese voices are wonderful as always. The English is…yeah. Though I will say Helios’ dub voice is really sexy. The score is top-notch, I think SuperS has the best music. Lots of new pieces.
Character: The Inners all develop a bit, Usagi really doesn’t but oh well. Chibi Usa is the one who goes through the most change, SuperS for her is like what Classic was for Usagi. And um, there’s Helios, who is awesome!
Enjoyment: It’s fun to watch, really. I swear.
Overall: I wish this season wasn’t written off so much. It has some wonderful qualities. I never tire of it. I highly recommend you at least give it a try!
While the manga of the SuperS arc gave Chiba Mamoru his due spotlight, the anime version utterly refuses him of this. Chiba Mamoru is once again left to linger in the background of every story (virtually absent in the Star season to come) while Chibi-Usa is given yet again way too much screen time.
The SuperS anime focuses on Chibi-Usa, as if an entire S season of her friendship with Tomoe Hotaru wasn’t enough. Unless you love Chibi-Usa (to DEATH) this may not bother you. Just warning, almost every episode has Chibi-Usa piping in it.
The art value changes randomly throughout this series. Some episodes are of excellent quality but many of them revert back to the cheap animation of Sailormoon R (part I, Doom Tree).
As for sound, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is consistant in its good soundtrack, but this season offers almost nothing new.
When it comes to Character Development, an Inner Senshi may have one episode them seems to be about them (namely, when Tiger-eye, Hawk-eye or Fish-eye persues them) but otherwise such expectations go unfulfilled.
The Enjoyment level is Poor due to all the reasons listed above. I for one hate Chibi-Usa and find the entire series grating, frustrating and poor quality. Overall, however, there is some goodness to be gleaned, like the progression of Sailormoon’s powers as well as the Inner Senshi and the knowledge that we won’t have to put up with Chibi-usa anymore in Stars.
Story: One thing that annoyed me about this season, is also an annoying point that the anime did to the first, and Stars seasons. They left out a lot of important manga plot elements. It would have been a much more worthy season if had shown those details instead of leaving them out. It was a cute season, regardless.
Art: I absolutely love how they made Pegasus look artistically. Every one of his appearances had a magical essence to it, so art-wise this season was pretty good.
Sound: No big deal in sound either in this season. No groundbreaking music, a lot of soft melodies were played throughout most of it, so it had a serene feel to it. Not horrible, but not amazing either. The voices though of Pegasus and Nehenlenia were top-notch.
Character: Although I’m not much of a Mini Moon fan, the new character of Pegasus/Helios was a great addition, and actually made me like Mini Moon’s character more. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask were hilarious acting as parents, but other than that, the main leads weren’t exactly main in this season. It’s all about Mini Moon this time.
Enjoyment: I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I would have loved if this season were more like the manga’s story-line instead of just Mini Moon being the main focus. Tuxedo Mask’s origin story was prominent in the manga, instead it was only referenced in this the anime season. The same applies to the quartet villains, who also didn’t get their origin or outcome in the anime explained.
Overall: This season wasn’t the absolute best season, but still it’s worth watching for it’s cute scenes, and romance.
8: Fushigi Yuugi
English: Mysterious Play
MAL Score: 7.63
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, “The Universe of The Four Gods.” Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes…
Each character for the most part has their own unique use and contribution to the story and they are presented in ways you get to know them. The characters or heck, maybe even one character will grow on you as you watch from start to finish. I would explain this, but it would be a significant spoiler, and if you’ve seen this anime, you know what I’m talking about. Whether that character is good or bad, you’ll love them. Hell, my favorite character Nakago is the primary antagonist and even Yuu Watase, the original manga-ka has admitted that Nakago is her favorite character.
The anime will hopefully satisfy men and women. The story overall is very diverse with its appeal, but it went a little longer than it should have, but it ends in a way where everything is resolved and the characters wonderfully develop. It has romance, adventure, excitement, comedy and action, which I will further get into. However, what will annoy male and female alike is the interaction between Tamahome and Miaka when they really get romantic with each other. It kind of drags and we don’t need that much hugging even if we can appreciate how much they love each other.
Well, the character design today doesn’t really stand out in comparison to most shoujo out there for the most part. The costume designs are a little flamboyant for the setting, but even so, they still compliment the character designs very well where it helps make them stand out a bit more. The action is well coordinated, technical and raw which will appeal to male viewers. The city settings captures the heart of ancient China very captivatingly and truly represents their culture at that time period where they gathered to worship the emperor. However, with the modern day settings, you get a different approach to the school uniform with the blazer and ribbon design you see in lets say Evangelion, than the more mainstream sailor uniform which I thought was unique to anime in the mid-1990s with Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon being the rage back then with those designs, so its nice to see something different. It is also unique to point out in the real world in Fushigi Yuugi, nobody has crazy color hair, but in the book, you got the typical crazy color anime hair which was somewhat of the intention of Watase and the staff at Studio Pierrot. So overall, the art may be descent, but the character design 100% stand out, but the action, costumes, and scenery makes up for it.
The dub of Fushigi Yuugi does have some credible names, but I don’t think the dub was good. First off, Tamahome is played by David Hayter who you may know as the voice of Solid Snake from MGS. When you hear that voice in relation to Tamahome’s image, it just doesn’t match. He makes Tamahome sound gruffy, though it’s not the voice he uses for Solid Snake, but when he does scream, he does scream like Snake. This kind of casting is to me, for the sake of casting a big name and you’re giving him a character he’s not appropriate for. However, this was a role I thought perfectly suited his Japanese counterpart, Midorikawa Hikaru, the voice of Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing, and Rukawa from Slam Dunk. Granted Midorikawa has played character opposite from Tamahome, he had a different kind of cool that Snake has, but he still has that passion and soft side that really captures him. As a matter of fact, Watase actually wanted him to play Tamahome because he had him in mind when he created the character.
I also enjoyed Kae Araki the voice of Sailor Chibi Moon as Miaka. She does sound annoying with her high-pitched voice, but it was at a certain tone where it really captured the character with all of these emotions whether sad, happy, concerned, or excited. And Seki Tomokazu, my 2nd favorite seiyuu who has played Miyata in Hajime no Ippo, Domon in G Gundam, Kamui in X The Movie, and many others was great as Chichiri, my 2nd favorite character. He is so multi-talented and he demonstrates it very well when you get to know his character more. Overall, the cast is just top notch and they all have great chemistry. Even though the romantic tension between Tamahome and Miaka gets annoying, their seiyuus truly make it believable.
The opening theme song Itoshii Hito no Tame Ni does open with this more traditional approach and then at the right moment, transitions to a more energetic J-Pop song. It’s very unique to me because it captures the cultural and romantic atmosphere of the series. And the ending theme Tokimeki Doukasen has a different kind of energy that is generic but still catchy and semi sexually suggestive in a more innocent sense. The background music is well orchestrated in every sense. Such as traditional Chinese music, more traditional cinematic.
Anyway, I think this is an anime I believe you should try to give a chance even if it may not be your taste. There are all kinds of good qualities this anime has that does make up for its bad ones. Even so, the bad qualities are still there but if you concentrate and stick to what you like, you’ll forget about them. I remember during the days of VHS fansubs, I used to talk to people who cried watching this series. It has all of these great themes such as love, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal and they are presented in a very realistically approachable manner. And believe me, there are moments where you might and I’m not ashamed to admit I have watching this series. The only anime that has achieved me to react like this since is the Kimura vs Mashiba oav of Hajime no Ippo.
Although it is one of my favorite series, there are some parts that to me are considered unsatisfactory. I feel a bit sorry for Chiriko because he was one of the lesser important seishis (the other would be Mitsukake). I am not a fan of Chiriko or Mitsukake, but I do think that they could’ve used more screen time.
I also noticed some discrepancies. It could be due to translation errors, but I’ll say it anyway. There was an episode where Keisuke and Tetsuya go to the Genbu shrine. They went there to see the Byakko miko. One question: why is the Byakko miko in the Genbu and not the Byakko shrine?
I have to mention that I watched the english dubbed version, because I found certain voice dubbers annoying. I hate Tomo’s voice – it is the most annoying voice I have ever heard in my life. Whoever thought of making Tomo’s voice sound that way was nuts and should be locked up in an asylum. Miaka was also a bit annoying. I cringe whenever she would cry out Tamahome’s name.
And now for the positives. I love the story – I think it is well thought of. It was able to mix in elements such as love, friendship, deceit, war, etc. into something really decent and worth watching. I first watched the show 6 years ago, and when I watched it again last month I find myself obsessed once more.
The visuals weren’t bad either – although I can’t say if I prefer seeing genitals on Yui and Miaka. Seeing naked people is bad enough. However, the show is filled with bishonens throughout the show. My personal favorite is Nuriko of course. He is my god. The wonderful art shown at the end of the show via the ending theme was beautifully made and I never grew tired of it.
The music wasn’t bad – most of it were mid 90s music, so I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it. I do like the ending song, "Tokimeki no Doukasen". It’s another one of those nostalgic song for me – everytime I hear it I can’t help but feel reminiscent of the year when I first watched Fushigi Yuugi. Some of the insert songs weren’t bad either. Again they were mid 90s styled, but they’re not so bad. I did get tired of the opening song after a while. Hearing "Maiagare Suzaku" for more than 10 times tends to get on my nerves.
I think one reason why the show was suspended on Filipino free TV was because of mild sex and vulgar language. This is definitely not for kids, but I would say it is a must – see for the 16+ crowd (mostly because I saw the show when I was 16).
Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play, is about a 15 year old girl Miaka Yuuki, and her best friend Yui Hongo. Miaka and Yui are in the library when Miaka sees a mysterious bird lead her to the restricted room of the library. There, Miaka finds a mysterious book, and her and Yui are pulled into the world. Miaka and Yui meet a mysterious man who saves them from slave traders, but Yui is thrown back out of the book, and the man has left, leaving Miaka all alone in this Ancient Chinese world. Miaka meets with the man again, and they end up at the palace, and through circumstances, Miaka is charged with the duty to gather together the seven senshi of Suzaku, and save Konan from destruction!
I know that makes no sense, but in a nutshell, Miaka fell into Konan, an Ancient Chinese world, where the whole world lives on the idea of the Four Gods in Chinese Mythology. Miaka is in the south, where Suzaku, the Red Bird (Pheonix in some translations) protects the country. Each God has 7 constellations (or in this case, the 7 senshi). So the constellations have taken the form of 7 warriors, and Miaka needs to gather them to summon Suzaku, who will grant her 3 wishes.
The animation itself is smooth, and well done, until about the second season (ep 27+) where the animation seems to take a bit of a plunge at times. The colouring is also very vibrant at times, but others, it’s very muddy looking, and monotone, because everything seems to be in the brown colour tone, except the hair of Miaka’s senshi. The most remarkable thing in the animation, however, is the eyes. When the animators but their mind to it, they draw some beautiful, bright, colourful eyes.
The music in this falls into an olden style theme, mostly Chinese sounding. However, they have their theme, and ending theme that do not fit that theme. And one thing you need to know about Fushigi Yuugi, is if you want to hear more of it’s music, be prepared for trumpets. Lots of trumpets.
Anyways, the theme song is fairly slow at first, but then seems to almost have dance feel to it. It’s nothing remarkable. The ending theme, however, is a dance song, but also has a fairly sad tone to it, fitting the series well, I feel.
The voices, English and Japanese, I have to mention, are wonderful. I love it in both languages. The voices fit the parts perfectly.
There is a whirlwind of characters. Be prepared to remember some names. The main characters are essentially Miaka, Yui, Tamahome, and Nakago, but you have the supporting cast (that consists of atleast 12 senshi, only including the Suzaku and Seiryuu), and about 13 more characters I can name off the top of my head.
While most characters have well-done development, because of the mass amount of characters, some of these character appear almost personality-less, most notably two of Miaka’s senshi, Chiriko and Mitsukake, and two of the Seriyuu senshi, Tomo and Miboshi (I’m not counting Ashitare because he practically never talks, and well… if you want to sure, he has no personality I suppose). Watase herself never really developed these characters, so they continue to suffer, even onto OAV’s, and even in their songs. But for the characters she does focus on, they are all very different, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite.
For all the bad things I have said, this series has an amazing fanbase, and I personally think it has high replay value. Everytime you watch the series, you find something you missed, but I remember the first time I saw this, and I was an addict, most literally. I couldn’t wait for them to release the next VHS (and boy did they have alot… 14). I know of people that do dislike this series, but for the most part, everyone has something about this they liked, and it usually lies in the characters themselves, particularily the senshi.
C’mon, for a series that spawned so much merchandise, character songs, OAV’s, etc, how can it not be enjoyable?
Well yeah, the OAV’s aren’t enjoyable, but the series itself is fun to watch over and over again.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
The story is a bit different from the manga, and justifies this beginning a bit more. Miaka and Yui are pulled in to the book world, but they both return (in the anime, it’s only Yui). Miaka gets in an agruement with her mother, and runs back to the library, getting pulled into the book again to set her free of the pressures of her real life. The manga honestly has a stronger beginning, and gives you more sympathy for Miaka as the protagonist.
Even though my above comments aren’t the best, this is me looking at it critically. If you don’t, and just watch it for enjoyment, I can guarentee anyone who loves the romance genre of anime will like this.
Yes, Miaka and Tamahome can be terribly annoying. They are my least favourite characters after all… But the first time I watched the series, I LOVED those two, it’s just been 9 years since my first watching, and I’ve developed a series dislike for their constant crying for each other.
I know I sound negative, but I do recommend this series to anyone. Anyone. It’s a classic, and for it’s time, it was an incredibly original plot. (Yes, we know in Inu Yasha that Kagome travels between worlds, however, Fushigi Yuugi predates Inu Yasha quite a few years. Fy being originally published in the ’92 region and manga, while Rumiko was making Ranma 1/2 still at that time (she published the first Ranma in ’93) so it’s not possible that InuYasha could be more original than FY, because it wasn’t made at the same time. It’s possible Rumiko could have gotten ideas at that point (I can’t find the year for InuYasha)).
ANYWAYS, just watch Fushigi Yuugi. I’m going so off track here, because I like talking about how original the series is, and how much I love the characters. (Me? I’m a Tasuki fangirl)
7: Hana yori Dango
English: Hana Yori Dango
MAL Score: 7.67
Makino Tsukushi, a girl who comes from a poor family, just wants to get through her two last years at Eitoku Gakuen quietly. But once she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the four most popular, powerful, and rich boys at the school, she gets the red card: F4’s way of a “Declaration of War.” But when she doesn’t let herself be beaten by them and is starting to fall for one of the F4, Hanazawa Rui, she starts to see that there is more than meets the eye…
The premise starts out in a way that you wouldn’t expect much romance to develop from. Tsukushi Makino is a middle to lower middle class student at an exclusive high school attended by mainly wealthy students. Tsukushi is not particularly happy with her high school life nor does she really even want to be at this school. But she attends because of her parent’s insistence and because they have sacrificed a lot to send her there. The school is controlled by the F4, a gang of 4 guys from extremely rich and powerful families. Basically the entire school lives in fear of getting on their bad side and getting the “red card”, which basically means your school life becomes hell on earth until you transfer out. Tsukushi goes about her day just trying to be unnoticed until she graduates, leading a fairly miserable existence. This all changes when the only real friend has accidently incurs the wraith of the F4, she jumps to her defense and finds herself given the red card. But she’s not the kind of girl who’s going to back down and she declares war back on the F4 herself. As Tsukushi fights back and starts to gain the respect of many classmates and even begins to befriend the F4 and we learn that they are not quite as bad as initially thought.
I found the story to be quite moving and powerful and found myself experiencing the full range of emotions. The portrayal of the bullying, which becomes quite intense at times was often very difficult to watch. There will be times you will cringe and times when you will jump out of your chair and cheer. Eiktoku High School may just be one of the 4 or 5 worst places on earth. It truly was a hell on earth and it doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of high society and the people who populate it. I’m not sure I would have had to strength of character Tsukushi had to stick things out and not let them win. It’s difficult to talk about the romance aspects of this anime without giving away spoilers. Though it will become pretty obvious fairly early where they are going and who she’s going to end up with. The journey to this revelation though is quite the ride. The ending differs completely from the manga version, since this anime was completed several years before its run had finished. Despite the original ending it is still very satisfying and believable.
Tsukushi Makino emerges as perhaps the best shoujo heroine of all time. I really cannot give her enough praise for how I felt about her as a character and how much I would love to have a friend like her. She is tough, practical and no-nonsense type of girl in a world full of shallow materialistic bitches. Viewers will be drawn to her both her likeable nature and the sheer torture she has to endure over the course of the series. The things that are done to her and the torment she is put through are both frightening and inspiring. Seeing the events of the story told through her inner monologue made me feel even more connected to the plot and her emotions felt even more intense because of it. Though perhaps she is in the end a bit more forgiving than I personally would be if I was in her place, she is overall a very inspirational character.
Tsukasa Domyoji is the leader of the F4 and one of Tsukushi’s love interests. He has all the classic elements of a shoujo love interest. He’s fabulously wealthy, handsome, and an asshole. I have mixed feelings on him. Initially he is an extremely frightening character. His menacing demeanor and the adjunct terror that Tsukushi often feels in his presence makes him initially almost impossible to like at all. However as the series progresses he becomes less and less the horrible boogeyman he begins as and actually turns into a decent and even sympathetic human being. While I tried my best to keep hating him, he wore me down not unlike Tsukushi into believing someone could actually fall in love with him. As a character, Tsukasa makes a huge amount of growth. He changes from selfish and egotistical brat into a much more humble and likeable guy while still maintaining the essence of who he is.
Rui is another member of F4 and another main love interest. He is almost the complete opposite of the hotheaded Tsukasa. While still from an enormously wealthy family and suitably good looking, Rui is far more introverted and shy. I liked him far more at first than any of the other men in the cast but he really isn’t any nicer that Tsukasa is. While not physically violent his cold nature and inconsistency in when he does or doesn’t jump to Tsukushi’s defense doesn’t exactly win him any feminist awards. My feelings for him are pretty much the reverse of what I felt for Tsukasa. By the end of the series I grew tired of his personality and while he does manage to change a little, his nature just gets more and more annoying. He was also just a bit too bishie for me.
Most of the remaining supporting cast is pretty detestable. The two remaining members of F4, Akira and Sojiro are not very well developed as characters being their basic personality archetypes and never emerge as serious love interests. Tsukushi’s childhood friend Kazuya is likeable and provides comic relief, often at times when the story can really use some. While he is in love with Tsukushi he is more of a friend to her and he provides her with a much needed friend at times when she really needs one. Shizuka also is one of the rare decent characters who also provides Tsukushi with plenty of support and encouragement in times of need. There are plenty of absolutely spoiled rotten waste of skin bitches and assholes to get mad about. But despite the anger you’re likely to feel every time one of them appears on screen or plots against the heroine they do serve a useful purpose in the growth of the main characters and in the development of the romances.
Given the age of this series the animation and visuals are understandably dated. Unfortunately they are bad enough that it’s possible that it will discourage some people all together from even giving this series a chance. That is a real shame. While I can’t say that I loved the artwork, I did eventually develop some appreciation for it as the series progressed. The color palette used is very drab and the hairstyles and fashions are also extremely dated. The character designs are true to the manga and are realistic body types which adds to the overall sense of realism. The settings and backgrounds though are strength are all look pretty good.
The audio is also a bit of a mixed bag. While the voice acting performances are all top notch, I didn’t much care for the music at all, especially the lame and uninteresting OP animation sequence. The incidental and background music is also very dated.
Ultimately Hana Yori Dango is a series that should not be missed by serious romance and anime fans alike. It’s a very intense series likely to stir up just about every emotion there is for the viewer. Though as much as I loved Tsukushi and the story, I just can’t give this series the perfect score I wanted to because of the uninspired art and music. I highly recommend it.
The characters are fully developed and you really start to put yourself in their shoes once you get to know them better. While some of the storylines can be a bit farfetched, there’s just enough balance of drama, romance, and comedy to draw you in. The storylines have so many twists that you’ll never be bored while watching this series.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for an anime packed with drama, romance, comedy, and interesting plots and characters, this is the anime for you. If you are more concerned with pretty animation and good OSTs, you should look elsewhere.
This anime, while old with older art, was amazing for me. I had been feeling like I hadn’t seen a good romance in a while and what brought my attention to it was a review that had said it “restored their faith in the romance genre”
The main characters while childish and obnoxious at the start slowly seem to develop into mature-ish young adults. Starting with Makino, throughout the anime she is rather stubborn, naive and headstrong. She is a strong female character that faces many emotional trials, while struggling with her life she manages to overcome everything relatively well. Her character has been constructed in a way that places you in her position, withering away in fear when she does or feeling happy when she does.
The F4 boys that she stands up against also go through changes as well, making you cringe and want to pull your hair out. There are many things that could be said about the things they do wrong and right, however, overall they are young boys going through school with emotions and things that a normal person could not understand.
The story was captivating and by the first episode I wanted to know more and see more. It was an anime with life and has many lessons in it. It addresses bullying and other themes that high school comes with, and was easy to relate to.
I enjoyed Hana Yori Dango a lot more than I thought I would and I managed to watch it in two days, days off work spent well in my opinion. I felt extremely satisfied with it and the way it ended. There were times were I couldn’t help but laugh along with the characters. The anime came alive to me, it became a real thing and I wanted to give Makino a good slap every now and then. There was not one moment I wanted to give up on it and not one moment I wasn’t entertained.
I give it an overall score of 9/10
6: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
English: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
MAL Score: 7.71
The United Earth Sphere Alliance is a powerful military organization that has ruled over Earth and space colonies with an iron fist for several decades. When the colonies proclaimed their opposition to this, their leader was assassinated. Now, in the year After Colony 195, bitter colonial rebels have launched “Operation Meteor,” sending five powerful mobile suits to Earth for vengeance. Built out of virtually indestructible material called Gundanium Alloy, these “Gundams” begin an assault against the Alliance and its sub organization OZ.
One Gundam, whose pilot has taken the name of the slain colony leader Heero Yuy, is forced to make a crash landing into the ocean after an atmospheric battle against OZ’s ace pilot Zechs Marquise. Upon coming ashore, he is found by Relena Peacecraft, daughter of a peace-seeking politician, who witnesses Heero’s descent to Earth. Although neither of them realize it yet, this encounter will have a profound impact on both their lives, as well as those on Earth and in space colonies.
The story, like all Gundam plots revolve around war, two opposing factions of space and the earth, a boy and his chance encounter with a Gundam. At first, GW bombards you with the names of many factions and organizations that play a key role in making the world of GW what it is. When you truly begin to grasp what a certain organization is and what it stands for, it has just been defeated and wiped from the show. Although, quite annoying, GW exemplifies the concept that, those who don\’t evolve, won\’t survive. Throughout the first half of the series (before the emergence of Mobile Dolls), GW centralizes around world events caused in response to the happenings of the main characters and their actions. As the plot moves along, we take a more personal look at the main (~8) characters – why they fight, what their objectives are and who their allies/enemies are. In the final curtain, both these plots come together for the inevitable \"Gundam Final Showdown.\" Action is spread out enough to keep the viewer entertained but remember; GW is not a shounen anime. The plot encompasses the soldiers of war and their actions for their respective sides.
Animation and Sound
This is no KyoAni work, but it\’s also nothing close to the bottom of the barrel. GW\’s animation is mid to high quality (even for 2007) thanks to Sunrise. Most scenes take place in the dark of a room or space so remember to turn up the brightness. Animation quality drops at points (a given) but even then, it\’s appealing enough to keep the screen on. GW isn\’t as clean as SEED nor do the mobile suits have the same shiny effect as G.U.N.D.A.M\’s but given the time difference, it\’s understandable. Most of the OST in GW consists of great battle music to fit the occasion. Battle armament sounds are top notch, especially Heavyarm\’s guns and Wing Zero\’s shoulder vulcans. The largest ball drop is the lack of music during most anti-climactic scenes – making them quite dull. As well as random sound effects when character comes to realization about something.
Ah, therein lies the success to any Gundam. As said before, those that don\’t evolve, won\’t survive. As such, each and every main character (8 by my count) goes through a change or situation where they must make a choice. This pseudo character development grants us a clearer view on each character\’s motives and reasoning behind their actions. GW sports a large cast where each main character is paired with another of the opposite sex for contrast/similarities. Not including the immense support cast, GW already has lots of names to remember. But don\’t be intimidated! Most non-essential characters die within a few episodes anyways. Jokes aside, it\’s very easy to remember all the important characters and the support character or the day.
Although I wasn\’t pumped for this review, GW is still a great watch. It\’s one of those anime\’s that suffers a lot of disdain for the popularity it gets. It\’s in the eye of the beholder whether you\’ll like it or not. The first 20 or so episodes is great – political manipulation and backstabbing at its finniest. Then the centrality shifts and once more towards the end – essentially, you may not like what you see at first but remember, there\’s about 3 \"arcs\" in which the genre wavers to appeal to more audiences.
With the previous Gundam series, G Gundam being more hand to hand oriented, this series goes back to the traditional space battlefield with guns, lasers, and missiles, and are taken to a whole new extreme. The fights are fast paced and diverse with the many mobile suits that are present ,and the environments they all take place in such as land, sea, air, and space, are always exciting and you’re getting something different. With the use of coloring and resolution, it is easy to follow the fast paced action this series has to offer.
Like the characters, the mobile suits themselves that contain singular but yet distinguishing traits all have their uses and are given equal time to stand out. Like the Wing Gundam is the all rounder, the deathsytche being close range, and Heavyarms being long range, etc. And also, the skills of the pilot will also effect the outcome of how the mobile suit can be used. Such as when Heero had to pilot Heavyarms for example. And you also have the Mercurus and the Vayeate which represented offense and defense and I feel that the staff read the art of war first to apply some of the principles you see in this series.
The character design also brought in a traditional “bishounen” design to the franchise. Nothing wrong with that. They are also very diverse and distinctive in which once again their features are distinguished. I love how the expressions come across and the use of costumes. I also found it unique that this series plays homage to Char Aznable through Zechs Merquise with his get up so you’re basically getting Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and Char’s Counterattack all rolled into one with this series.
I’ll have to say that both the English and Japanese voice cast is probably the best I’ve heard in any anime in both name recognition and performance. On the Japanese side, you have big names like the multi-talented Midorikawa Hikaru playing Heero Yuy, and there’s also Mark Hildreth, the voice of Terry from Fatal Fury playing him in English. They both do a convincing job of making Heero coming across as something of an emotionless being who exclusively cares about what he’s doing. And the charismatic Koyasu Takehito is very menacing as Zechs, but I really like how Brian Drummond, the English actor does a much better job of bringing out his compassionate side. I also really enjoyed Brad Swale’s portrayal of Quatre, I thought it was far superior to Orikasa Ai’s performance. Granted Quatre is the most human, I just thought that even though he is played by a woman in the Japanese version, he sounded too feminine, but the English version was just perfect.
The music itself is classic and one of the most addicting soundtracks you’ll ever hear that also defines Jpop in the mid 90s. When it was on Toonami, I thought it was cool that whenever they played the opening themes, Just Communication and Rhythm Emotion as a background song, I thought it was awesome they retained it in American TV. If it were 4Kids, they change it to some lame rap. But I thought the music also defined the intense and adrenaline rush nature of the show.
Granted I do believe this series is a great gateway to the Gundam universe, I personally don’t believe it should be used as a barometer to what defines a great Gundam series. Each Gundam is different. You can’t compare this series to 08th MS Team, or Zeta Gundam. But this series does have its significant flaws like all other series have, and which is why I have never given any anime so far an overall perfect 10/10. But if anything annoyed me about this series, it is most certainly Relena. I remember after Gundam Wing aired, there were websites in dedication to her death. I’ll admit I was and still am one of those fan boys who wish Relena died. She’s like the Hillary Clinton of the anime universe. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. I find her to be annoying, and a hypocrite. If you have seen the series, you know what I’m talking about, and if you want to know, check this series out.
Among the series that helped cultivated this young fanbase, Gundam Wing was one of the biggest to make its debut, becoming a tent-pole entry that not only served as a gateway title to the Gundam franchise but perhaps, more importantly, a show that became many viewers first exposure with anime altogether. Because of its status as many people’s initial experience with the medium, or at the very least, their first conscious discernment between Japanese and Western animated works, a great deal of nostalgic value has been associated with it. A predicament that would inadvertently lead to a lot of blind appraisal under false pretenses, whether the parties in question were aware of it or not.
Its influence in the western climate is undeniable but that doesn’t negate it from the same baseline criticisms applicable to any other show. And in that regard, Gundam Wing is far from a timestamp of fidelity and quality-control. While its production values have certainly stood the test of time — with sharp edits, gorgeous matte paintings, ear-worm industrial synthpop mixings and fluid animation that could go toe to toe with many titles being produced today — the screenplay, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky, falling victim to the common narrative conceits of its time period.
Overwrought with needless plotting manipulation, contrived idealistic monologues delivered by cardboard cutout personalities, and a narrative that quickly spirals into a chop suey of hackneyed writing; Wing was Gundam’s messy attempt at a rule-of-cool political shounen. An attempt that got all the attributes correct on the surface, but when brought under an analytical microscope, barely kept its head above water. Where past installments found an equilibrium between teen angst and the war drama that facilitated it, Wing ended up fumbling this formula with wrongheaded attempts intended to capture a younger demographic, while seemingly forgetting the fact that it already had that demographic in their back pocket, to begin with. It’s the kind of creative misfiring only possible by the hogwash of self-obsessed auteurs being allowed to run amok. It certainly succeeded in creating easily digestible entertainment but sadly at cost of proper storytelling. Today, we’ll shelf whatever nostalgic value the show has with the community, as we attempt to examine it for what it is and not what landmark value it may have held.
The story starts out like any other in the franchise, with a conflict brewing between two separate factions: one found on earth (United Earth Sphere Alliance) and the space colonies that occupy the heavens. And in the wonderful Gundam tradition of dressing up opposing factions in broad strokes of fascism, The Alliance in this iteration represents our big baddies, extending their oppressive control over the space colonies with such aggression that even Benito Mussolini would blush. It’s the kind of setup that alludes to a grandiose battle to determine supremacy, and we do certainly get to see something like that play out, but the plotting used to get to that power struggle, was, for the lack of a better word, laughable.
The Gundam franchise has always used teen pilots in their series as conduits to channel their themes of warfare and human ethics. And while what I’m about to say may seem like a trivial detail, it’s the core difference that separates successful installments in the franchise that still manage to feel plausible, from those of the likes of Wing which could only muster up all of its creative juices to obtain juvenile status at best.
This core difference I speak of is the allocation of character relevance.
In 79 and Zeta Gundam respectfully, Amuro and Kamille were both talented pilots due to their upbringing and new-type abilities, but there was never a point in time where their involvement led to the tipping point that determined the outcome of any given large-scale battle. They were more adept than the average soldier but was ultimately just another person operating under the guidance of a small rag-tagged group, which was itself just a small cog in the machine, manipulated by the governing parties as they saw fit. Regardless of their individual talents as pilots, they didn’t win wars single-handedly; there was always a group effort, involving the sacrifices of many people on both sides. Even Char Aznable, considered the best pilot in both series, had to rely on the strength of others around him to achieve victory in any given battle.
The point I’m trying to make here is that no one was ever an end-all-be-all trump card for winning the war. The teen pilots may have been incredibly strong relative to those around them but that’s all they were: strong. Nothing more, nothing less. But this is where Wing differs significantly, and not for the better.
Unlike before, the teens weren’t just strong this time around, now, they’ve practically been turned into God-sent messiahs… EDGY God-sent messiahs at that (sigh).
What once took the collective effort of battalions fighting against each other to cause a dent in the war, was now reduced to the actions of a handful of angsty teens with a mech suit, pent-up rage, and an endless line of fodder to mow down — cool poses and manchild yelling notwithstanding. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking “But ZephSilver-sama, what’s the problem with that?” Well, my young Padawan, have patience, I’ll explain further once we address another pressing issue with Wing. That being its treatment of war factions and politics.
A Coup d’etat; common occurrences during wartime, and one that the Gundam franchise readily utilizes to spice up its content, and understandably so. Whenever any governing party finds itself at odds with the militaristic stronghold that keeps it in power, it’s basically a powder keg waiting to blow. For Gundam, that translates into a cool ass firework display of mecha action, pink explosions, and blood confetti just waiting to happen. And Like any good thing, moderation is key. And as you’ve probably guessed by now, this is an understanding that escapes Wing. Coup d’etats are expected events but the amount of times that it ended up occurring in Wing is just unrealistic, to the point of approaching parody.
The mere act of existing as a governing entity in Wing basically assures you a one-way ticket to shitsville. There is zero stability in this universe. A constant potpourri of back-stabbing and upheaval. This fickle game of musical chairs between alliances became so bad at times that any given character could find themselves supporting no less than 4 separate groups in the course of the show’s 49-episode run. Wing, despite its simplistic narrative, was constantly asking its audience to keep tabs on several moving parts simultaneously. A type of sensory overdrive where tertiary factions were constantly sticking their necks out to remind the viewer that “they still exist!”
The constant betrayals meant that there was no true side for the audience to follow or individual motivation worth investing into, turning the human race into a marginalized group of trigger-happy neanderthals. With no solid conviction for the numerous groups that sprung up and a mess of Heel-Face Turn characters that easily switched sides at the whim of whatever the screenplay belched out at any given episode, what was left in the end were our teen pilots (a.k.a Emo Power Rangers), as they rode in on their high horses providing the answer to everything. And by “provide answers” I mean they blew shit up while reciting their edge-lord diatribes.
Using youths as the poster children for justice is one thing, but making them the sole proprietor to end the human race’s problems is a complete other… and no, I’m not being hyperbolic either. Our five teen edge-lords: Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Chang Wufei, were tasked with taking on The Alliance’s military stronghold, without the help of any backing nation or military group. Yes, you read that correctly. 5 teenage emo rangers are quite literally tasked with defeating a united earth front all by themselves… but perhaps even worse than that is that the show writes it to where such a ludicrous task is actually made feasible by turning the mobile suits into indestructible doomsday machines.
Because the characters were all one-note, personality-wise, they were often re-written to service whatever role the plot demanded at the time. This turned megalomaniacs into spokespeople for peace and vice versa. Something that was made all the more bothersome with constant bombardments of contrived, idealistic monologues. A notable example being Zechs Marquise, the show’s watered down version of Char Aznable, where he made a 180 in mindset while still delivering his idealistic speeches that conflicted with his actions. There were times where he was quite literally trying to murder someone in cold blood while delivering messages akin to “peace and unity bro!” But it wasn’t limited to him alone, as most of the characters cashed in on these long-winded, ass-backward speeches that were contradictory to their immediate actions on-screen. This failed attempt at adding depth to the cast did nothing but further expose their lack of dimension and characterization. And depending on your investment, this could make the experience enjoyable in an unintentional “haha, they can’t be serious right now?” parody way, or just plain stupid in a “what were the scriptwriters smoking?” way. Thankfully, my approach was the former.
When taken by themselves, any one of these specific issues mentioned doesn’t become a huge detriment to the story, but when they’re compounded into a snowball effect of bad ideas meet even worse screenwriting decisions, that’s where the true issue arises. What could have been a simple rule-of-cool political shounen, was now transformed into a molotov cocktail of messy outcomes, the likes of which was too far gone to be salvaged by a script revision.
Where all of this extra time went unaccounted for when addressing Wing’s writing seemed to have turned up in the show’s visual and auditory output. And boy did it pay off! Despite all the verbal carpet bombing I’ve directed towards Wing so far, even I can’t find anything worth scrutinizing in these departments. Wing’s production values are better than a vast majority of anime entries released in the 90s — hell, I’ll even take it a step further and state that in its restoration form, it could outpace many entries in the early 2010s as well. Needless to say, this was also some of the highest production values seen from the Gundam franchise as well; not since Zeta in 85 has their been such a noticeable increase in audiovisual output.
With a staggering amount of saturated color gradients, physical encounters that had a tangible weight behind it, and an undeniable fervor for blood-boiling theatrics, Wing definitely delivered on visual spectacle. When you put aside the nonsensical propulsion that led to any given action scene and just soaked it in for what was shown on-screen, this was quite the crowd pleaser. Also, before we continue on, the J-Pop opening “Just Communication” by TWO-MIX is a national treasure that should be protected at all cost! And no mention of Wing’s audiovisual output would be complete without making special mention of the aesthetically appealing design work.
When it comes to creating vogue-looking, rugged character models, very few can topple Shukou Murase. Though, at the time, that was yet to be seen. Being an up-and-coming creative, Murase secured his position as character designer based on his work on 89’s Ronin Warriors Gaiden. A decision that he would prove wasn’t a fluke with an extensive catalog catapulted by his newfound recognition on Wing, where he would go on to further lend his talents to titles such as Argento Soma and Gasaraki.
And last, but certainly not least, the mechanical designers themselves. While there were several names attached to the project, all of which deserving of a comb-over, I’ll only focus on one; mah boi Hajime Katoki. When it comes to beefing up mecha designs to look like “Do you even LIFT bro?” steroid-memes (in a good way, of course), Katoki is your go-to guy. He has the magical ability to do with mecha what Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure does to the masculine form, all the while making the final product appear plausible for the universe it’s a part of. Which brings me to perhaps one of, if not, my favorite mecha design in the entire Gundam canon, Zechs Marquise’s Tallgeese. This glorious, Roman gladiator inspired hunk of metal was just a demanding screen presence. It’s a fan favorite for good reason and I’m inclined to support the appraisal that it has racked up throughout the years.
And yes, there were noticeable shortcuts taken at times, with a few still-image panning shots here and speed-lines there, but those sporadic moments of cost-saving techniques never detracted from the overall care given to bringing the entire vision to life. As a whole, the audiovisual output is where Wing truly shines.
After taking everything into consideration, both the good and the incredibad, I can’t say I wasted my time with Wing. Sure, like everything else, it had its problems, but what in the Gundam franchise doesn’t? Yeah, there were times where the issues mentioned impeded on my enjoyment and certainly other occasions where my invested interest was tested. But upon passing the finish line, looking back from where I started to where I eventually stood, at the very least, the journey through Wing offered up aspects worth cherishing. Even if they were aspects knee-deep in issues I’d rather forget.
Although Gundam Wing’s historical relevance may have engulfed its actual inherent value, it’s still a title I would recommend to others. It’s not really one of those shows where you could divorce its issues through selective viewing, as is the benefit for something Like Zeta or 79 Gundam; where under the context of warfare and the understanding that the new-types are essentially hypersensitive, autistic x-men in space, excusing their irrational blurps of emotional responses to others become acceptable. With Wing, the issues found are far too deep-rooted, corrupting the very foundation of its script that everything grows out from. You can cut the proverbial limb off of Zeta or 79 Gundam and still be left with something functional, but attempting such an act on Wing is no different than taking to its head with a swift guillotine strike.
With all that being said, approach Wing with reasonable expectations. If you walk in understanding that it’s Emo Power Rangers vs The World, with the added benefit of having high production values, then you can walk out unscathed, taking with you a fun viewing experience and another legacy title under your belt.
5: Akachan to Boku
English: Baby and Me
MAL Score: 7.84
Takuya Enoki is living a difficult life for a fifth grader. His mother passed away in a tragic car accident a few months ago, forcing him to pick up the slack and take care of his baby brother, Minoru, as his father works the endless hours typical of a Japanese salaryman.
He will have to sacrifice his childhood in order to meet the needs of his little brother. Cooking, cleaning, worrying, and trying to discipline Minoru are some of the tasks Takuya will have on his plate, all while their neighbors blame him for Minoru’s constant crying. Meanwhile, he will watch as his friends live their carefree lives, enjoying their free time. It will not be easy and there will be plenty of stumbling blocks, but along the way, he may actually learn the true meaning of family.
I first watched it in hindi dubbed on spacetoon. And I really feels it’s story is too emotional and it sometimes make me cry. I also luv it’s opening song especially in hindi. I really feels it is a masterpiece and I’d be happy to see it’s movie…
ever since this incident happened Takuya’s life has changed, he now has to take care of a baby as well as doing his school works….
of course it’s hard for a boy who instead of playing takes care of his younger brother
this series shows the love between family members, the responsibilities that each has for the other, the co-operation between them and most important the understandings between eachother, it might sounds boring but it’s really close to real life, there’s no fantasy and impossible things, it’s really sensitive and touching story that makes you think of what you did and what you must do…
the art might not be that awesome, it’s the normal art of any shoujo series, those big eyes and the big heads of the babies, it’s just an ok art but if you think of the story and the characters you’ll forget about the art…
the sound is amazing, that soft background makes you feel the story and enjoy the scenes and the characters are awesome, when they cry you cry and when they laugh you laugh, they just let you close to them and feel what they feel especially Takuya who doesn’t have anyone to listen to his complaints except us, the viewers! but some of the characters are hilarious so yeah akachan to boku isn’t a sad or a typical shoujo anime(which has only romance and nothing) it’s kinda a mix of everything, a really lovely series which will touch anyone’s heart
story : pretty normal stor of a family after the mother died , with a lot of emotion and support the family continued their life and the brother had to grow up and take care of his younger brother the anime revoloves around the different difficulties the family faces and how they solve it together
characters : amazing and i loveee all of them
voices : personally i think takuya`s voice could have been gentler and also seeichi voice could have been younger after all he is only in his 20th but other than that the rest of the voices are so cute specially takuya`s father enouki
art : it`s old but i still like it considering when it was made it was pretty good
the anime expresses the emotions between sublings and the real love between them it also shows how a family can continue together no matter what hardships faced them
4: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
English: Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
Japanese: 美少女戦士セーラームーン セーラースターズ
MAL Score: 7.92
Like the R Season, Sailor Stars is divided into two arcs:
The first arc (also filler) solves some conflicts from the SuperS season, and also sees the return of the Outer Senshi, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru (now reborn as a child).
The second arc is the actual plot from the manga. Usagi bids farewell to Mamoru, who is going to America to study abroad. In his place comes the Three Lights, an idol trio consisting of three boys, Seiya, Taiki, and Yaten. The new enemy is Galaxia, a woman who desires to rule the entire galaxy by collecting the Star Seeds of humans. Three new Senshi appear, the Sailor Starlights, who also intend to stop Galaxia without Sailor Moon’s help.
First of all, let me tell you, I can agree on why Sailor Moon Sailor Stars wasn’t licensed for the american dub version. If you watch this series, you will find out why. But enough with that matter, let me tell you what I thought of this amazing season of Sailor Moon.
I personally thought the story deserved higher that a 6, at that matter. The story was actually well thought out and planned detail to detail. Naoko Takeuchi had really improved since SuperS. I mean, how the new characters incorperated right into the story perfectly. The Starlights added a new sense of different careers in the story and how Seiya tried his/her best to be like a ‘new’ Mamoru for Usagi.
The art had pretty much improved since SuperS, in my opinion. The detail and different colors use to express the characters was amazing. I really thought that the design of the new senshi outfits was absolutly genius! Also, I must say, Sailor Moon’s Moon Tier was really detailed and perfetly executed the attacks every episode.
The sound in the series really got me into the season more and more. The new opening theme really changed the sense of the series after the same theme song season after season. Change was definetly in order. But I must admit, some of the songs the 3 Lights sang weren’t very good in my opinion. I understand they were looking for their princess for a very long period of time but I never got use to the songs they sang.
The Starlights intro into the series really up-ed my opinion on the rating of Character. Yet, in the anime, how they were changed into Male to Female really didn’t make me happy. I’m sure Naoko diefinetly felt the same way. Anyways, away from that matter, I believe that most of the characters didn’t change that much, yet I enjoyed how they comforted Usagi in her hard times.
The enjoyment of the series difinetly deserved a 10/10 in my opinion. The story brought along many happy, sad, romantic, ect., to the series. I think that Naoko did an exceptional job on this season and the manga at that.
Overall, this series deserves a 10/10! The series was outstanding to me and was one of the first anime I watched when I was young. The series always kept me at the edge of my seat and I really enjoyed some humor here and there. If you are in the mood for an amazing series, I highly reccomend this series to any mahou shoujo anime fan out there. The series was excellent to me and I bet any Sailor Moon fan would agree.
There’s plenty of new scouts from other galaxies and other leaded by another princess. It also features a cool idol group as some of the season’s new characters.
This season was the last season of Sailor Moon and it was never dubbed in English during it’s original release. This season may be still new news to some fans who just watched and were familiar with the original English dub.
Break from Mini Moon-
And of course we get a break from Mini Moon. Even though she is still an important character in it’s first episodes, she does get a break and doesn’t appear through the second arc of this season. This could be a relief to some fans after SuperS.
Yes, this season has plenty of hardships, downfalls, and Sailor Moon will be find herself very heartbroken at times.
Villains are scouts-
Yes! I mentioned there was drama. Not only are there new scouts called the Starlights, the villains themselves are also scouts, which makes it hard to know who to trust.
This is all around a super season and is a must watch for fans. Despite the flaws that Tuxedo Mask is absent from the second arc (but it’s for a reason), and the outers appear very little times. It’s still it’s a great season and you won’t be disappointed.
And this last season was the best one (I missed Mamoru-chan but.. ^^).. We saw friendship, love, longing, and also determination and faith.. of course with the sufficient amount of humour ^^ It has everything in it, and it is an anime that I’d show my children..
Everybody should watch this classic, imo. The storyline, the characters, fight scenes.. all of them were 10/10 for me ^^
(Should I begin watching it again?? ^^)
3: Ie Naki Ko Remy
English: Sans Famille
MAL Score: 7.92
Remy, a cheerful and tender-hearted girl, lives with her mother in a French country town. One day her father returns to the town after a long period working away from home in a city. Her father tells Remy that she isn’t their real daughter, and Remy is almost sold to an evil slave trader. It is Vitalis, a strolling entertainer, who helps Remy. Vitalis discovers her talent for singing and decides to take her in with his troupe.
Okay, yes, the 1977 version made by Dezaki is universally considered by fans to be better than this version, the 1997 version. However! That certainly doesn’t mean that the 1997 version doesn’t have anything that’s good about it or that it isn’t a good show in its own right. In fact, I happen to like them both on the same level, but for very different reasons. I really love Homeless Girl Remy for what it is as its own entity, and I think other people should too, if they just look past the source material and the back story behind this production. Everybody knows the story by now, so I’ll talk about the other stuff. For one thing, the animation for this version may be considered low budget compared to the 1977 version, and yeah, low budget is right as some of the later episodes start to look just a BIT funny-looking. But the rest of the show, while it does have the whole nineties look about it, still looks great. The characters look a bit plain and simple, but everything else is great. The backgrounds are rich and detailed, little things are animated nicely, there are some still frames present but they don’t hurt the final product, and the characters’ movements are down to earth and fluid. Plus, because the colors are a bit muted and soft, it’s very easy on the eyes. I seem to like old school cel drawn animation better than digital animation, as it’s easier on my eyes, though a lot of my favorite shows are colored digitally, so I could probably be biased here. I’m not a discriminatory animation lover, though! Check my top 3 to see how varied my animation preferences are! Taking all of this into account, when compared to other shows of its time, the animation is still relatively nice and well done, so I wouldn’t consider it bad or entirely low budget. The creators needed to make do with what they got, and they definitely did, in my opinion.
Now, time to talk about what I feel is the BEST part of the show: the soundtrack. Now, if you’ve read my review of the 1977 version, you’ll have read that I considered that version’s music to be very passe and outdated. Yes, I still hold this opinion to be true, especially now that I’ve finally gotten to finish this version. And wow, the soundtrack for this version is about a thousand times better than the first one! For one thing, the opening and ending themes are absolutely wonderful! They’re both very soft, melodic tunes sung by soft voiced singers, with great lyrics pertaining to love and being yourself and enduring hardship, and they both fit the show to a T. While I did like the opening of the 1977 version, I felt the song was a bit too upbeat, and the ending was even more so, but to a worse and extremely jarring degree. Homeless Girl Remy’s themes are great, soft, warm, fitting, and they match the tone of the show while striking a good balance between dark and upbeat. I love soft songs with singers that have soft voices, so I could be biased here. The background music is another thing that needs to be praised, because unlike other shows where they tend to put the wrong kinds of music in the wrong places, killing tension or ruining poignant scenes (Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, anyone?), Remy’s soundtrack also fits the entire show to a T. I remember the soundtrack for the 1977 version being VERY seventies and I don’t remember liking some of the music that much. However, the 1997 version is full of nice, classical pieces that know when to be subtle and when to be full of suspense and tension, really bringing out the atmosphere and emotions of their assigned scenes. It’s meant to tug at your heart strings, and it definitely tugged at mine when those moments came, making what I feel are great moments in not just this show, but in anime in general. If a soundtrack isn’t used to its full potential and in context, then it could very well feel cheesy and out of place, ruining the show. Thankfully, Remy’s soundtrack didn’t fall into this pitfall.
The characters are the subject to quite a bit of debate in the WMT fandom, as they were subjected to the most drastic changes. Whether it’s for better or worse varies with each character and with someone’s opinion, and WMT anime are known for having very strong, nuanced, three-dimensional, and well developed characters in every single one of their anime, even during times when kids anime were expected to have simple characters who only have one trait and don’t do much other than to entertain kids and preach a bunch of morals, especially in America, which is happily changing in this day and age (especially moreso with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), albeit slowly. However, while I do adore the characters in this version, I do feel that compared to all the other WMT adaptations, these characters are a little bit weak and underdeveloped. One of the worst offenders is Gaspard, the villain in the second half of the show. He’s really not much more than a walking villain cliche. He’s gruff, he’s mean, he’s pathetic, he’s cruel to everyone he meets, especially the kids he enslaves, all he wants is money money money, and he’ll go to whatever means necessary to get it and use it for his own purposes. If kids don’t do anything for him or do anything he hates, which is basically everything, he whips them and takes great pleasure in doing so. Heck, a lot of the villains in this show are card board cut outs meant to make the good characters look good. I can understand why this is so, however, and while I don’t fault the creators for the circumstances that led to the WMT’s downfall, that’s still no excuse to make a bunch of walking cliche villains who are basically just like every one villainous anime character out there, just not with superpowers or intent to destroy the world, even with a very rushed plot that they had to deal with. The good characters are also subjected to lack of development (Vitalis is the biggest victim of this), but it’s not bad in any way. Remy may have been changed into a girl, but she’s still a very strong and good character who can carry the weight of the show very well, though she isn’t the only one, even though her being compassionate from the beginning has very limited her development, and instead, other characters develop because of her, which in itself isn’t a bad thing, but if it gets used a bit much, then characters won’t be able to feel like individuals who can stand on their two feet. Though, with this in mind, try being those slaves under Gaspard’s grubby hand. At least this is justified.
While I do praise the creators for at least trying to make do with what they were given considering the inevitable circumstances, there are still some jarring flaws. One of them appears at the end of the show, but it’s not too spoiler filled so I’ll go with it: one minute Gaspard loses sight of Remy, then when it looks like she escaped and outran him, he somehow manages to catch up to her with absolutely no explanation whatsoever! How was that even possible?! Plus, it does seem to want drama a little TOO badly, because you’ll know right away when something bad happens to Remy in any form, and you’ll be able to predict more from a mile away, and even with 26 episodes, there’s still a tiny bit of filler, and considering the circumstances, the show came out very rushed as a result, leaving a bit of a cheesy and rushed ending, but I liked it for what it was, and I’ve seen worse endings so I’ll let it slide. Plus, there’s a good lesson in that no matter how hard things are, you have to keep moving forward and everything you’ve gone through will bring about a positive outcome in the end, and that’s an anvil that really really REALLY and SERIOUSLY needs to be dropped more often in this day and age where kids are being bullied to the point of drugs, alcohol, murder, and even suicide because they feel there’s no way out and no hope for them. Not only that, it also provides some very heartwarming and refreshing romance in a sea of cliche shoujo anime/manga. What I especially liked about this was that in terms of some things happening, characters actually talk about their feelings and problems instead of bottling them in, which is an oh so common pitfall for most anime and manga nowadays. Wanna know the best thing? NO NARRATOR! I don’t remember being annoyed by the narrator in the 1977 version, but he talks and reveals important secrets in EVERY SINGLE episode, so I can see that being very annoying for many people, as some of what he says is really unnecessary. The 1997 version doesn’t have a narrator, thank God. Plus, even with the show’s warm and idealistic nature, the dark, cold fist of reality crashes down on the characters, and nobody is spared. I think children’s shows need more dark and scary moments instead of trying to hide them out of fear of parents complaining. I don’t see the point of hiding the fact that bad things can and will happen to anyone. This is why I like Japan’s shows, because they don’t conform to political correctness like we oh so sadly have and they take their animation very seriously, their kids shows included (most of the time). I think scary and sad moments in children’s shows/movies are good once in a while because those will actually teach them to be good and kind, and…really, bad things can, will, and do happen to people in real life anyway, so why not show them in advance so they’ll learn how to deal with it that doesn’t involve drugs, alcohol, or anything of the sort?
People, don’t revile this show simply because it’s not the source material or because it’s not perfect. That’s not a good attitude to have. I love the 1977 version, but I love the 1997 version just as much for what it is as its own entity. If one can just look past all the flaws and acknowledge what it DOES do well and right, then you’ll be treated to a great, heart-tugging, heartwarming, nice little shoujo anime. Sure, it’s not the best anime in the world, and not the most polished adaptation, but so what? It did its best and knew what it wanted to be. I know this show will have a place in my heart, and if it ever gets dubbed in English (which is likely never unless some brave and bold person steps up to the challenge), I’d absolutely LOVE to show this to my family, friends, and even my future kids one day! So cut the crap and watch this, and acknowledge it for what it is, not for what it should have been!
Ie Naki Ko Remy is a classic Nippon Animation anime, another one of the “Word Masterpiece Theater, and highly praised by many.
Well, the first half of this anime is fantastic. But the problem comes after Vitalis dies.
Why is the anime not good after Vitallis dies? Well, that’s simple: It’s ILLGICAL AND NO NOTION.
After Vitalis dies, Remi goes home to Gaspard, who forces homeless children to work and bring him money. This is literally the biggest problem of this anime.
Remi is not a dumb girl, but she “becomes dumb” after going to Gaspard’s house. Remi has to run away with everyone, so as not to be mistreated by Gaspard, but the script does not let her.
The children get enough money to survive, but these children prefer to stay in the house of a man who mistreats them, and if they all stayed together, they would have a much better life on the street.
Mattia is a smart boy, and he could manage all the children. Even Remi could run away with all the children to Mrs. Milligan’s house, who is her real mother, but she doesn’t know it.
Anyway, this anime was a wasted potential, because the second half is really bad and clueless
Most of the characters are good, they fulfill their function.
I don’t even remember the OST, just the OP and ED which I like a lot.
The animation is ok.
I was disappointed with this anime because it clearly would be one of my favorites if it followed a good plot like the first half. Unfortunately the second half is just a lot of nonsense, as I explained, for the sake of the script trying to force a drama.
This review I decided to talk more about what made me dislike this anime. Because, as I said before, the first half is really good. It’s really a shame that it didn’t stay at the same level until the end.
2: Kodomo no Omocha (TV)
MAL Score: 8.05
Sixth grader Sana Kurata has a perfect life. Her mother is a (fairly) successful author, she has a young man employed to keep her happy and safe, and best of all, she is the star of the children’s television show Kodomo no Omocha. There’s just one thing bothering her, and that’s Akito Hayama.
Akito is a classmate of Sana’s, and ever since he’s started acting out in class, the rest of the boys have followed his example. Every day, the girls and the teacher wage a battle to keep the class under control and to get some actual learning done. That rotten Akito… Sana won’t stand for this!
The hyperactive Sana decides to dig deeper and find out what makes Akito tick, so class can go back to normal and the teacher can stop spending every day crying instead of teaching. But the more she learns about him, the more she realizes that there might be more to Akito than meets the eye.
Kodocha was the very first anime series I watched from start to finish. Yes, this show was definitely worth finishing. Overall, this anime is a 10, even though outward appearances don’t suggest so. Never judge a show solely on its art.
My friend referred me to Kodocha, saying I’ll definitely like it, but at the time I wasn’t interested in anime, so I wasn’t sure.
I was curious enough to watch it. Admittedly, I was really not impressed with the beginning of the show (Beginning as in, the first five minutes. I guess I saw the pastel colors, so I was a little put off). Quite frankly, I don’t know why I didn’t drop the show within those five minutes, but I’m glad I didn’t.
After the first episode, I was hooked. I don’t know about other watchers, but I was up until the darkest hours of the night watching one episode after another. Each episode ends with a little cliffhanger (sometimes you’re blindsided by a shocking event at the end of an episode), and it’s enough to make you want more.
The story was interesting enough to create an addict out of me. There are a lot of interesting plot points. I suppose there is no singular plot, but there are little “plotlets” that somehow connect in a weird way. In other words, when one problem is resolved, another one forms. It may seem like another cutesy shojo anime, but there are a lot of serious moments as well.
The Art…fair, at best. My standards are high when it comes to artwork (think Satoshi Kon or Makoto Shinkai). The pastel was off-putting for me because the characters and backgrounds seemed washed out. Yes, I am well-aware that this anime was made in 1996, so the art is definitely impressive for its time.
I liked the sound. I really did. Especially the english dub, because Sana’s voice was spot-on. Many people say that Akito’s voice sounded too old in the dub, but I thought it suited the character just fine. His was my favorite voice in the dub. I also enjoyed the zany music (especially the “Kodocha Mambo” and all of Sana’s raps) and the appropriate (not cheesy) music was played during the sad and/or touching moments.
The characters are cute and lovable or wacky, yet endearing. Each character is very different, and I think you can find something to love or hate (good character development means that nobody’s perfect) about each of them. Sana is amazing. She runs by the high of life (and the occasional energy drink) and she has the bubbly personality that everyone likes. But Akito is by far my favorite character. He’s he strong, silent type that seems rough on the outside, but you can tell he has a good heart. If he were real, I would definitely pursue him.
I enjoyed the entire show from start to finish. The funny moments made me laugh out loud, some of the sad moments made me cry (and I don’t cry easily), and the overall crack-craziness of the show was enough to make my entire week.
This was the show that led me into the world of otaku. Good or bad, I’m not sure. I’ve watched a lot more anime since then, but no other series or movie can quite compare with Kodocha. Some have come very close, but they barely missed the mark that Kodocha set. This show will always be number one in my book.
Im serious i was sooo lost at the end of the anime it didn’t make any sense. Although the manga is wayyyy more serious than the anime it makes a lot more sense at the end than the anime and it has a better anime.
P.S. this series may be hard to find i dont know why but every single time the series gets deleted then re-added on youtube. You might wanna try www.veoh.com it has better results for anime than youtube n_n
I am sure that the sellers didn’t know how rare and valuable the series was but I took the advantage anyway and decide to buy the Kodocha DVDs for the total of £26.00 making the second cheapest out of print anime I have ever brought only losing to Bezz My-Hime Anime Legends complete collection set which I brought for £15 on my local CEX store. A week later I got myself the set and I immediately binge-watch it and after watching both season 1 (Episode 1-51) DVD and season 2 (Episode 52-102) online am going to be truly honest with you. This show is not only the best romance anime I have ever seen but it’s also one of the best animes I have ever seen period.
Like with Eureka Seven, My Hero Academia, Full Moon Wo Sagashite and Gundam Build Fighters I never really expected this show to be good but man did this show proves me wrong in every way possible. This was the anime that made not judge an anime based on its cover because while this show has a funky childish cover but man this show completely fooled me because outside the goofy cover this show is pretty dark.
So what made this show so great you may ask? You will soon find out.
The story of Kodocha follows Sana Kurata who is a star of a popular TV show called child’s toy while being in 5th grade. One originally day at school as she goes into class the boys in her class are raising hell. The ringleader of the group Akito has counted the teacher into silence in some sort of blackmail. So, the boys are free too, reach havoc as they please. Very determined too, lead a normal school life Sana targets the ringleader Akito with all of her energy and the relationship and daily lives of Sana and Akito begin.
Now, what do I think of the story of Kodocha? The story of Kodocha is executed perfectly. The story starts off a very simple as boy’s vs girl’s rivalry but as the series progresses it story become surprisingly complex and it becomes a great coming of age story.
The one that I really liked about Kodocha is how it was able to synergize its comedy and romance elements meaning it’s was able to have a nice blend of comedy and romance.
The one problem that I have with a lot of romcom anime in recent memory is how they don’t have a balance of romance and comedy elements meaning they have one genre element taking over the other which is not a good thing for a romcom anime
Kodocha doesn’t suffer from any of those problems because the show knows how to an element in an appropriate manner. The comedy in Kodocha is just amazing because not only they are funny and original but the execution and the timing for the jokes are flawless.
The pacing in Kodocha is great. It knows hows to pace itself for certain arcs and scenes and too, be honest you will never get bored when watching this show.
Surprisingly the show really explores really hard-hitting themes and social topics such as child abuse, divorced parents, teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and adoption and these themes are explored in a very mature way too, the point where the viewer can sympathize with the characters.
Also, when those themes are explored the show goes into a different tone that is suitable for those themes and this show knows how to to use its tone correctly as well blend them.
The one thing I loved about Kodocha is the use of foreshadowing. As early as episode 8 the show does a brilliant job at foreshadowing later events that will happen.
On top, of the shows great directing and clever dialogue Kodocha is very unpredictable with its writing which the writing itself it was great, to begin with.
Kodocha is an anime that will make you laugh, cry, happy and it will keep your edge too, your seats from to finish with great plot twists great and interesting arcs and good pacing.
Overall the story of Kodocha was amazing from start to finish and it’s easily favourite coming of age story in all anime.
When it comes to the characters in Kodocha I thought they were all pretty awesome.
Sana Kurata is an 11-year-old cute redheaded TV film star girl with an uncontrollably hyper and active personality.
Sana is just an amazing character. She starts off a simply uncontrollably hyper character with a lot of passion but as the series progresses she becomes an amazing multi-dimensional character with lots of emotion and depth. Sana is a perfect example of flawed charterer in anime. She is a chararter who barely reacts to emotions and love and every time when facing the reality of life, she will just sing a song so she can keep her positive outlook on life. This obviously, later on, backfires on her because as series progresses others chararters like Akito, Fuka, Tsuyoushi, and Misako start to make Sana face reality where they are grown out of Sana antics completely where they tell her to take life more seriously. Her chararter development in the series is fantastic as this hyperactive girl slowly transforming into a mature young girl who is able to understand love and people feelings.
Overall Sana Kurata is an amazing character and she became one of my favourite female characters of all time.
Next up we have Akito. I personally really like this character Like Sana he is a multi-dimensional character who is realistically flawed in his own right. Not to mention I really adored his character development from start to finish.
Also despite being a troublesome stoic individual he actually cares for Sana deeply. Not to mention he’s chararter reactions towards the other chararters including Sana was great.
His character chemistry with Sana was just awesome as they start off as enemies but as the series goes on they eventually stop being enemies and they start helping with other peoples problems and eventually in the second half of the show they start having feelings for each other.
Overall Akito is an awesome character and he’s easily one of the best Shoujo main leads I have seen in anime.
Misako is easily one of the best moms in anime. She is a great mother figure to Sana she is very likeable and very entertaining to watch and she has a great and well-told backstory. This is how you do a mom-type character.
Rei is another great character that I really liked and he is a great surrogate father figure for Sana. Like with Misako Rei has a really tragic and well-told backstory that the audience can relate.
Tsuyoushi is Akito best friend and the main voice of reason for Akito. Like with the other characters I just mention he is also another fascinating and well-written character that I really enjoyed from start to finish.
Naozumi is another fascinating character I really liked.
Like with Sana he is an orphan where he was abandoned as a baby and both Sana and Naozumi used to spend time a lot with each.
He also has a great story/character arc that was well executed. He’s an also a great love interest for Sana and I really liked the love rivalry with Akito as they fight who is worthy of being Sana’s girlfriend
Fuka gets a special mention to me because she gets a lot of hate from fans of the show for being a backstabber and overall annoying but I actually don’t Fuka as a character, in fact, I liked her quite a bit. Sure I will admit she can be a bit of a pain of the ass to deal with in the beginning but the end of the series she does redeem herself as a charter.
The rest of the characters are all pretty great that have a lot of charm into them.
Overall the characters in Kodocha are perfect. This is easily one of my favourite charter cast in anime.
Visually Kodocha has surprisingly has aged well for the most part least. Studio Gallop really did a great job on the charterers designs, character moment, and the backgrounds scenery while dated was still pretty solid for what it is. It totally has aged well and for a 102 episode series that’s really impressive. If I had any nitpicks with the shows visuals than it would be some use of recycled animation in some of the episodes.
Other than that the visuals were pretty good for the most part.
The soundtrack is honestly great and well executed.
There wasn’t a dull track whatsoever and all of the tracks fit the tone of the series perfectly. My favourite track from Kodocha is hands down Always Be With You. This song is amazingly well made as it perfectly captures the tone with the more emotional moments of the series. Other favourite tracks include Sana Tomorrow, Don’t Cry For Me, Vitamin Love, Goodbye Love, Harmony of Sana and Hayama, Sepia Wind and Kennema De Fuka.
Both openings of Kodocha were really good, catchy and they really fit the mood and the tone of the show. I personally prefer opening 2 over opening 1.
As for the ending themes they were all great.
The first ending theme Panic by Still Small Voice is a great catchy ending theme that I adore. Easily one of my favourite anime ending themes.
While I wasn’t a fan of the second ending theme DAIJO-BU by Tomoko Hikita at first however as time went by the second ending theme grew on me to a point where I liked it as much as the first ending theme.
The Third Ending theme Pinch (Love Me Deeper)” by Rina Chinen is one of my favourite anime ending themes period as it was very catchy and it song itself fits well with the second season of Kodocha as a whole.
Now for sub vs dub.
Both are honestly fantastic for what they All of the actors in both dub and sub really did a great performance in the roles.
Funimation did an amazing job with the dub overall and it added more life to this wonderful series.
Laura Bailey did a fantastic job at voicing the hyperactive Sana Kurata. She is filled with range and her portrayal of Sana was amazing. Easily the best performance in the dub.
The rest of the voice actors did a great job in the roles.
If I had to pick which one is I prefer I would pick the dub even though the dub cuts off after episode 51. Sad times.
Overall the soundtrack is great, the openings were amazing the ending themes were good and both sub and dub are really good.
I absolutely adored Kodocha.
It has everything that I love about romcom. The story is amazing, has great pacing, wonderful theme exploration and its handled in a very mature way. Great and well-developed characters that are relatable to, the viewer. Visuals that have aged well for the most part and the soundtrack is amazing.
Kodocha is a romcom anime done right and it’s not the best romcom anime I was seen but it’s now one of the best animes I have ever seen.
If you’re looking for a great romcom series that deals with heavy themes as well as having great and interesting characters then I strongly recommend Kodocha.
Sadly, Kodocha hasn’t been licensed in the UK by any UK DVD studio but it was once available by Funimation in the USA before going out of print.
I hope Kodocha gets re-licensed someday as well getting a Blu Ray with a new English Dub that has episodes 52-102 dubbed.
Final Score 10/10
1: Neon Genesis Evangelion
English: Neon Genesis Evangelion
MAL Score: 8.33
Fifteen years after a cataclysmic event known as the Second Impact, the world faces a new threat: monstrous celestial beings called “Angels” invade Tokyo one by one. Mankind is unable to defend themselves against the Angels despite utilizing their most advanced munitions and military tactics. The only hope for human salvation rests in the hands of NERV, a mysterious organization led by the cold Gendou Ikari. NERV operates giant humanoid robots dubbed “Evangelions” to combat the Angels with state-of-the-art advanced weaponry and protective barriers known as Absolute Terror Fields.
Years after being abandoned by his father, Shinji Ikari, Gendou’s 14-year-old son, returns to Tokyo. Shinji undergoes a perpetual internal battle against the deeply buried trauma caused by the loss of his mother and the emotional neglect he suffered at the hands of his father. Terrified to open himself up to another, Shinji’s life is forever changed upon meeting 29-year-old Misato Katsuragi, a high-ranking NERV officer who shows him a free-spirited maternal kindness he has never experienced.
A devastating Angel attack forces Shinji into action as Gendou reveals his true motive for inviting his son back to Tokyo: Shinji is the only child capable of efficiently piloting Evangelion Unit-01, a new robot that synchronizes with his biometrics. Despite the brutal psychological trauma brought about by piloting an Evangelion, Shinji defends Tokyo against the angelic threat, oblivious to his father’s dark machinations.
It’s also a reminder to me of something important.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most debated animes in history. Some would argue that there are numerous hidden messages in the show, while others argue that it simply plays up to a certain puerile idealogy of the world. Whatever the case may be, NGE established itself as the hot topic in anime for well over a decade.
NGE first saw the light of day as a manga by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and was published in Shonen Ace magazine from February 1994. It’s purpose was to raise awareness and public interest in the anime version that was to be released in October of the following year.
The anime was directed by the famous Hideaki Anno, and is hailed by many fans as his masterpiece (although there are numerous people who disagree with this point of view).
The animation in NGE is actually very well done considering the time it was made (and the fact that Gainax was running out of cash). The colour palette used for the show was decidely bright in many ways, and at the time it contrasted well with the serious tone of the story.
The characters were well designed for the most part, but the real breakthrough in terms of design were the EVA units and the Angels. NGE pushed the boundaries of mecha design in anime to a new level, something which no other show of the time could achieve. It also wasn’t afraid to show an enemy who had no visible relation to humans – something that was a rarity in those days (although Anno had used a similar technique in Top wo Nerae).
The animation in the show is generally very fluid, and although there are some notable flaws, they don’t actually impede on the enjoyment of the show.
The sound in NGE is very good in general. The VAs in the japanese version are very good, and are able to deliver a greater depth of emotion than their american counterparts. The effects used are also quite good but never really stood out as much, partly because of the overwhelming visuals, and partly because they were generally stock effects. The music is generally good throughout the show, with a mixture of classical and other styles scattered here and there.
One of the most memorable things about the music in NGE is the theme tune. Anno had originally wanted to use Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances as the theme music for each episode, but was overruled by TV Tokyo, who felt that this would confuse and alienate the audience. Instead he settled on what has become one of the most played anime theme tunes in history – A Cruel Angel’s Thesis, which was performed by Takahashi Yoko.
This is the area where NGE failed as an anime. Prior to making NGE, Hideaki Anno had suffered from depression for a while, and the characters in NGE were created in such a manner as to reflect his struggle against mental illness. Each of the characters is flawed in different ways, something that was unusual in anime at the time. Given Anno’s talent as a director, this should have led to some interesting, and highly original, character development. Unfortunately the show failed in this area because of one key factor – Ikari Shinji.
For many people like myself, the main issue we have with the show isn’t the story, or the animation, or the sound. It’s the characters, and in particular, Ikari Shinji. In creating him, Anno and the rest of the production team lost focus on the other characters. Shinji is not your typical hero in that he isn’t, courageous, or handsome, or intelligent. In fact, Shinji consider’s himself to be worthless. The issue I have is that the show focuses far too much on Shinji, almost to the extent where the other characters were simply plot devices for his devlopment, and not enough on the characters around him.
That’s not to say Shinji is a bad character. He’s not. The problem is that one can only stomach so much unjustified self pity (which unfortunately most of it was in his case), before wanting to slap some sense into the person in question. It’s been pointed out to me that Shinji wanted to kill himself because he thought he was worthless, and that he should be pitied because of the bad hand he was dealt. I’m sorry but that argument doesn’t wash with me. If someone truly wants to kill themselves then they will, so Shinji didn’t really want to die. In addition to that, I know quite a few people who have been dealt the worst hands possible, yet they do not whine and complain about it (and many of these people did consider themselves to be useless/worthless at one time or another – yet they suffered in silence for the most part). What Shinji wanted was for people to pity him and tell him he wasn’t worthless, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it was over-used in NGE (to the point where I wanted to put him out of his misery – and not because I pitied him). The fact that Shinji’s character has a tendency to ram his sense of worthlessness into the faces of the other characters is what put me off, as that type of behaviour is usually for attention rather than a cry for help, and because of the show’s focus on Shinji, you can imagine how much I wanted to hit him afterwards. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand, it was just that they failed to depict him as an object of pity, and instead he came across as a whining, self pitying, attention seeking, and generally loathesome person.
As for the other characters, in particular Rei and Asuka, they did get a certain amount of development throughout the series. Unfortunately though, their characters, as well as the rest of the cast, were overshadowed by the mammoth amount of development given to Shinji.
I actually quite enjoyed the concept behind NGE, as it made a nice change of pace. I did, however, have some issues with the convenient deus ex machina of Unit 01, as well as a number of other “coincidences” that were scattered throughout the series.
The story itself isn’t all that original, and it has clearly borrowed elements from other sci-fi stories. What made the story seem to be original was the inclusion of psuedo-religious and psuedo-philosophical concepts, as well as the inclusion of “Fruedian” psychology. These formed core elements of the story, so what would have been a standard “save the earth” scenario became a dive into the psyche of the characters. The basic plot is borrowed directly from Space Battleship Yamamoto, and the idea of “young” people protecting the earth was used by Anno himself in Top wo Nerae.
Unfortunately the story breaks down in several places. Anno tried to make a show that merged all perspectives into one single view, and while he managed to achieve this in some measure, he failed because he focused too much on Shinji, to the extent that no other options were ever considered.
Here’s what I mean. NERV is a quasi militaristic outfit, and as such, would generally have backup options available to them. The convenient deus ex machina I mentioned earlier effectively removes all chance for anyone else to come to the fore – except for Shinji that is. If the viewer is to believe that an organisation such as NERV was supposed to protect the earth, then they would at the very least, look for other options, especially considering Shinji’s character flaws. This would effectively mean that they would have at least some combat veterans or trained soldiers who could handle the EVA units. The use of teenagers as the leads in the show was simply so that it would appeal to the teenage audience.
Another area where the story breaks down is in it’s use of religious symbology. Many fans believe that what is shown in NGE is taken directly from religious beliefs, in particular Kabbalism, Judaism and Christianity. While the names used in the show may be true to those religions though, in many cases the manner in which the reference is used is actually based on Anno’s own definition, rather than the religious viewpoint (something for which Anno has been heavily criticised).
In truth, The religious symbology used in the show was only really used to give the series an edge over other “giant robot” anime (i.e. Macross, Gundam, etc), and all of the various interpretations since have been ascribed to it by the viewers rather than the creators (something which is very well documented).
One big plot hole that I noticed, and one that should have been obvious to most people as well, was Shinji’s isolationist attitude, and Gendou’s reaction to it. It’s obvious to any who’ve watched the series that Gendou feels little sympathy towards Shinji, however due to that convenient plot device using Unit 01 I mentioned earlier, Gendou needs Shinji to pilot the EVA unit. So, what you effectively have is the leader of a militaristic organisation who feels little for others, and a teenager with supposed mental instabilities. This being the case, why wasn’t Gendou forcibly dosing Shinji with meds to make him more compliant? If your purpose is to protect the earth and it’s people from attack by extremely powerful beings, and you’re basically a selfish person with your own agenda, then conscience or paternal instincts don’t come into it, you simply do what’s necessary, no matter what anyone else says.
It’s interesting that the whole “psychology” angle is only really supposed to apply to Shinji, isn’t it? Characters like Gendou have been “toned down” because their actions would have drawn too much attention to themselves, another convenient plot device.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a tough show to rate. According to Anno, if you’re a normal, well rounded person then you won’t learn anything from the show. While this may be true in some cases, the things that one can learn from the show are juvenile at best. Many of the older fans of NGE have a tendency to view the show through the rose tinted lenses of nostalgia, and while this is not a bad thing, it inhibits the ability to view the show objectively. Many of the younger fans, on the other hand, are fiercely loyal to the show, and have a tendency to react harshly to any criticism of the show. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the show has gained a certain notoriety that it could have done without, and many people who watch the show for the first time, do so with certain preconceived notions already embedded in their heads.
NGE is one of those shows that could have been great. Unfortunately the glaring flaws in the plot, coupled with the lack of develpment amongst the other characters in comparison to Shinji meant that I, at least, only found the show to be mediocre. NGE was a let down for me as I am a big fan of Top wo Nerae, the show that is effectively the older sibling to NGE (and is considered by quite a few people to be the superior show).
I’m not going to suggest anyone watches the show, as that is a decision you should make for yourself. Likewise the choice of whether you love it or hate it is something that only you can decide. The only thing I can say about the show is that, when watching it, be as objective as you can.
NGE is no Top wo Nerae by any measure, but it is a classic. Unfortunately, it really isn’t Anno’s best work, and the rebuild is making the same errors all over again.
And here’s the review that originally graced this page. It’s a bit bilious and lowbrow, but it served it’s purpose – which contrary to what you may think wasn’t to simply to upset the “hardcore” fans.
Okay, I’m REALLY going to upset a lot of you out there with this review.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most mediocre animes I have EVER seen.
I watched this when it first came out, and I wasn’t overly impressed with it to say the least.
The story is okay. The idea of earth being assaulted by unknown, quasi-supernatural/technological beings is one that has been handed down through the years, the most famous example being The War of the Worlds (which wins hands down by the way).
The animation was actually one of the few plus points for this anime. The art style and use of colour made this attractive to many when it was first released. The sound was also of a high standard, and the catchy J-pop intro jingle was forcibly lodged into many peoples craniums.
Now we get to the good part – the characters.
Ayanami Rei was okay as a character, but what on earth possesses everyone to raise Ikari Shinji to almost godlike status? The guy is biggest loser in anime (with the exception of Makoto for School Days – Nice Boat), and one of the biggest losers I have even seen in ANY story since Thomas Covenant. I honestly found myself wishing he was a real person so I could smack some sense into him. I’ve heard it mentioned that he is the most realistic character in the anime, and I have to wonder what planet the people who say such things were born on. I mean honestly.
Okay, rant over, here’s why this character is THE MAIN REASON why this anime was mediocre. NERV is a military organisation whose SOLE objective is the protection of the planet, by whatever means. This being the case, WHY THE HELL is Ikari Shinji the main focus of the story? He doesn’t want to pilot an EVA, and doesn’t want to fight. Any self respecting organisation WOULD HAVE FOUND SOMEONE MORE WILLING AND MORE ABLE to do the job. There’s such a fuss over how special Shinji is, but surely with 6 billion people on the planet there would be someone better equipped for the job.
But I understand the anime only had so much budget so they couldn’t really conduct a global search.
The most believable character is Asuka Langley Soryu, as her reaction to Shinji’s ineptitude and cowardice is similar to that of any reasonable person.
I’m not going to mention enjoyment as I’ve already made it clear that this was mediocre at best.
This wasn’t Hideaki Anno’s best work by far. Top wo Nerae (Gunbuster), was a far superior sci-fi anime, and the characters were MUCH more believable. The story for Top wo Nerae beats Neon Genesis Evangelion hands down.
As for his other works, watch Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (KareKano or His & Her Circumstances). Hideaki Anno proved his talent with this anime, and Top wo Nerae, so I can only assume he was suffering from dementia when Evangelion was written.
A suggestion if I may, to end this rant. If you want emotion, trauma, passion, a great story, and all the rest, then watch some of the following animes:
Flanders no Inu (movie)
Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid
NHK ni Youkoso!
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
Top wo Nerae
Grave of the Fireflies
There’s a lot more that fit the bill. Watch them, then re-watch evangelion and see if it has the same feeling it did before (I would advise removal of the fluffy pink clouds of nostalgia in your head before rewatching).
Some of you are probably wondering why I wrote this review if I dislike the show so much. The reason is simple. I’m sick to death of seeing the show aired on the various channels that show anime, and I’m even more fed up with the fact that newcomers to anime are indoctrinated by magazines and other people into liking this piece of tripe, especially when there are far superior animes out there that rarely get mentioned anywhere.
I’m going to end this review here. I’m not going to tell you all not to watch this. I just hope that this review makes you consider what actually IS good in anime.
I hope I haven’t upset you all too much.
Hugely experimental and wonderfully unique, Evangelion is a roaring success.
The basic, initial, plot goes thus: a 14-year-old boy named Shinji is called to NERV (an organization charged with defending mankind from extinction, no less) by his estranged, seemingly cold and calculating father. There, his fathers’ first words are an order to pilot an immense robotic machine, the titular Evangelion, and fight against the monster that’s attacking Tokyo-3, the city under which NERV has it’s headquarters. These illusory ‘monsters’ are called Angels and are seemingly invincible – traditional weaponry, even in the year 2015, has minimal effect upon them. Only the Eva ‘biomechs’, which can be piloted solely by certain selected 14-year-olds can stop them. This [i]is[/i] merely the basic, initial premise of the series. As it goes on, everything gets a lot more complicated; There’s a metric ton of mystery, suspense, twists and turns in Evangelion’s plot, all routinely thought-provoking and intensely interesting.
The characters are excellent. This is an important point as the series is more about them than about the Angels or NERV. Shinji Ikari is one the most believable and genuinely sympathetic character ever conceived in anime. Though some would complain that Shinji is overtly emotional and annoyingly so. But, really, no one wants Shinji to become the ‘Hollywood hero’ and save the day with a smile on his face – no such human could ever really exist, and studio Gainax understand this and apply it perfectly to the series. Shinji’s mental struggle is dealt with effectively by Hideki Anno, through the use of complex monologues and largely successful experimental cinematic techniques. Asuka and Rei, the other chosen children, are both polar opposites and ingenious characters. Both develop a great deal in a very interesting way throughout the series, and this character exploration and growth is at the heart of Evangelion.
The design aspects are wonderfully unique – the Evas themselves are strikingly colourful and the Angels are attention grabbing and memorable with many towering over Tokyo-3’s skyscraper. The Angels appear in many different forms (one Angel takes the form of a gargantuan, blue diamond while another is too small to be seen with the naked eye and acts as an organic virus, crippling NERV’s computer system) which helps Eva avoid the repetitve “Monster of the Week” format and keeps the action aspect of the series consistently fresh and enjoyable. Judeo-Christian references are famous (or rather, infamous) in Evangelion and despite widespread condemnation, I am of the firm belief that the symbolism is never obnoxious, and always evocative and visually shocking. It must be noted these references are usually fairly shallow, but they make you sit up and take notice of the deeper meaning in the series as a whole. Animation is crisp and clear for the platinum re-mastering that I watched, and I hasten to add that this re-mastering is only version of Eva worth buying. Visuals are regularly stunning and scenes from this series will surely stay with you forever. The regular provocative imagery is often times shocking and sometimes awe-inspiring. The image of a crippled Rei, bleeding and covered in bandages in the first episode provides the first real shock of the series. Such imagery contrasts with the visual gags present throughout – a toothpick container obscuring Shinji’s nether regions in episode 2 being one of the most memorable.
The music is, much like the rest of Eva, superbly memorable. It excels at setting the right mood and tone, using inspirational trumpets to highlight Asuka and Shinji’s success in battle, and nuanced reflective tunes to convey the character of Rei. The OP is among my favourites of all time and you’ll not tire of hearing it throughout the 26 episodes of the series.
The final two episodes are controversial (more controversial than the rest of the series at least!) because they are both the peak of experimental Eva. While I certainly wouldn’t call them “bad”, they are frustratingly unsatisfying as an ending. Thankfully, the subsequent movie release titled ‘End of Evangelion’ rectifies this with bombastic aplomb. EoE – which essentially tells the story of what happens in eps. 25 and 26, but this time outside of Shinji’s mind – is truly magnificent, and definitely lives up to the sky high standards set in the series, and perhaps even exceeds them. As well as being one of the greatest anime movies ever made, EoE gives the series an extraordinary conclusion.
I haven’t even mentioned the dub, the pacing or the sound effects, but rest assured that they are all of a fantastic standard. Overall, I think this series deserves it’s iconic status – it’s easily one of the absolute best TV series (anime or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen. Every single episode is nothing less than a masterpiece and an utter joy to watch. I whole heartedly recommend Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is imperative that you watch this anime!
Story: One of the most well known aspects of Evangelion is it’s story; it is simply unorthodox, as it does the process of not feeding all of the story the viewer; it drip-feeds it, giving the viewer only half the story, or sometimes giving scenes without any context. For some anime, this would be a disaster waiting to happen, but in the case of Evangelion, this is done almost consistently masterfully, holding back information on such subjects such as SELEE or The Angels. Many have critisized the holding of frames later in the series, but taken into the context of the fact they were running out of money to make the show, is is understandable.
For many fans, their major criticism of the anime is the handling of the ending, which many consider far too ‘out there’ and simply crap. I too, am not a huge fan of the ending, but taking the ending to the TV series, inside the context of the ‘true’ ending movie, The End of Evangelion, the ending can make a lot more sense, and thus I enjoy it far, far more. To stop me from ranting on for ages, Evangelion’s story is a master stroke in writing, one which has been a hard feat to replicate.
Art and Sound: I was introduced to Evangelion through the in-progress tetraology of films, The Rebuild of Evangelion; due to this, I became used to the cutting edge graphics employed for the higher-budget films. And to be honest, yes, the TV series art is beginning to show it’s age 20 years on; however, this does not detract from the series in any major capcity, as the art compliments the anime extremely well.
The sound is also fantastic, and a very high-point for the show. Excellent music is employed to showcase the fights against the Angels, and for darker moments such as the internal struggles of the main cast of the show. Some of Beethoven’s music is featured later in the series, which coupled with the emotional impact of the scene, produces one of the most excellent scenes in anime history.
Characters: By a massive leap, the highlight of the series. Evangelion features in it’s story the struggles of the main characters, to devastatingly wonderful effect. Weak, timid, daddy-issues Shinji, to powerful, arrogant, egotistical Asuka, to the quiet, mysterious Rei, and the dark, apparently agnostical Gendo, Evangelion develes into the mind and motivations of these characters, showcasing exactly what makes them tick, and this is what gives us some animes most regonisable and wonderful characters.
I am certain entire essays have been written on why certain charcters tick, and that’s another reason so many of these characters are so wonderful. Fans are so devoted to their favorite characters (personally I am partial to Rei and Gendo), and this creates a wonderful feeling when learning about these characters and then discussing this with other fans. Generally, Evangelion employs some of the most human characters in anime, showing us that the heroes of anime aren’t always strong, both mentally and physically, or not even in control of their lives.
In closing, Evangelion is one of the strongest anime ever produced. It employs powerful characters, a deep, deep story, and art that has only just began to show it’s age. What makes the show’s longevity even more powerful is that even now on sites such as EvaGeeks people are still analysing this series, trying to know everything about it. I hope Evangelion will live on in the hearts of it’s fans, who’ll continue to appreciate it’s deep, metaphorical story. I hope that Evangelion will always remain an anime that will be treasured, for all the ages.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
2. Kodomo no Omocha (TV)
3. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars
4. Ie Naki Ko Remy
5. Akachan to Boku
6. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
7. Hana yori Dango
8. Fushigi Yuugi
9. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS
10. Gokinjo Monogatari