They’re the best Anime that 1991 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Ningyohime Marina no Bouken, Idol Tenshi Youkoso Youko, Karasu Tengu Kabuto, and more!
5: Ningyohime Marina no Bouken
English: Saban’s Adventures of the Little Mermaid
Japanese: 人魚姫 マリーナの冒険
MAL Score: 6.24
Marina is a mermaid who is in love with Prince Justin, a human prince from a kingdom on the shore. Marina saves Justin when he almost drowns after a chase from a giant Cyclops and a shipwreck attack from a three-headed sea serpent. She then makes a deal with Hedwig the sea witch to become human temporarily to try to win Justin’s love. Justin and Marina become close but Justin thinks that Princess Cecily, a human princess, was the one who saved him from drowning and therefore he gets engaged to her. Justin eventually remembers that Marina was the one who saved his life but by then Marina becomes a mermaid again. The two continue to secretly meet and try to find a way to be together while dealing with Hedwig’s plans to take over the kingdom, and Cecily’s attempts to get Justin to marry her. Marina and Justin are aided by their underwater friends, Winnie the seahorse, Bobo the tropical fish, and Ridley the sea otter. They are also aided by the wizard Anselm and by Chauncey, Justin’s page.
I espesially loved the two first episodes who reflects the tragic lovestory between the land and the sea.
Moest exiting outside the story itself is to discover the backgrounds of the Seawitch and the wizard Ansem.
On the downside I think there is too long until they find any selution to the main conflict.
4: Idol Tenshi Youkoso Youko
English: Idol Angel Welcome Yoko
MAL Score: 6.33
A young girl and her flying squirrel goes to Tokyo in hopes of becoming an idol singer. On the way, she meets another girl who wants to become an actress, and together they work to achieve their dreams. (Source: ANN)
3: Karasu Tengu Kabuto
MAL Score: 6.45
500 years ago in the Tensho Era of Japan, a man was born who defied the will of a demon; a man who had gods of good on his side; a man destined to battle evil….his name was Kabuto. Somehow, Kuroyasya Douki, the vile Black Night Demon, escaped his prison in hell and returned to the earthly plane to wreak vengeance on the family-line of Kabuto. None can escape his deadly magic and masterful skills with the blade; however, the gods of the North, West, East, and South band together to help Kabuto stand for Justice. With the questionable help of a diabolical talking sword that his own father forged, Kabuto may live another day to see his own sons born….
2: Trapp Ikka Monogatari
English: The Trapp Family Story
Japanese: トラップ 一家 物語
MAL Score: 7.63
Based on the same story that produced the classic musical ‘The Sound of Music’, this is the story of Maria, who leaves her life in a convent to take up the responsibility of taking care of Captain Trapp’s children.
The story itself is really simple and holds no real twists for the most part; Maria Kutschera, a nun in training, is sent to be the teacher of one of the girls who is too weakened to attend school. One thing leads to another and slowly, but unofficially, she takes care of everyone and helps them grow as a person. That is the main gist of it and while there is progress, the series stays the same pattern-wise and although that would normally mean it would get repetitive and possibly boring, it manages to keep a warm feeling throughout with almost every “adventure” of theirs, such as preparing a gift for the housekeeper or fight against a possible new stepmother. The pacing is quite good for a show like this and thankfully, the series does not spend too much time on one thing and thus, keeps the interest high enough and only towards the end it seemed to be a bit more abrupt.
The characters have variety as there are 7 children and the story gives enough time for any of them to show their personality and gain some development (some more than others, since a couple of them are really too young to be able to portray complicated thoughts), through their own personal problems. The father is not as strict as he is awkward; an awkward father who has to work a lot out of his house, but the family values he has shine through. Each family member complements each other and one can really see how much they mean to each other and this makes the series a great family story. Maria is the one true change they all needed to move on and is probably the only person with the least development. She stays true to the main girl cliché that wants her positive and bright and helping anyone, but there is no change in herself. We do get to know more about her past and her personality is very likable, either way, but all in all, she will always be that happy girl only.
Art/Music-wise, the show offers nothing much, especially since it is an older show. For anyone familiar with the movie “The Sound of Music”, this series is not a musical. There are songs throughout, though mostly they are only a couple of songs put on repeat, however the characters do not break in song at random times. The songs seem to be children’s songs, but they are nice and some are very easy to sing along too. The art is simple, not detailed and the animation is saving frames whenever possible, but it has bright colors and it is very easy on the eye. The characters are distinct and despite the fact that the characters wear the same outfits almost in every episode, they are easy on the eye too.
As a family story, it did a good job generally. There were times it felt a bit more dragged on or not as interesting, but it is a very easy watch when in mood for some slice of life with no deep drama in every other episode, but enough to spice things up.
1: Oniisama e…
English: Brother, Dear Brother
MAL Score: 7.81
When 16-year-old Nanako Misonoo enters the prestigious all-girls Seiran Academy, she believes a bright future awaits her. Instead, the unlucky girl finds herself dragged into a web of deceit, misery, and jealousy. On top of that, she is chosen as the newest inductee of the Sorority, an elite group whose members are the envy of the entire school. Having none of the grace, wealth, or talent of the other members, Nanako quickly draws the ire of her jealous classmates—especially the fierce Aya Misaki.
To cope with her increasingly difficult school life, Nanako recalls her days through letters to her former teacher, Takehiko Henmi, whom she affectionately calls “onii-sama” (big brother). She also finds comfort with her four closest friends: her childhood friend Tomoko Arikura, the sociable but erratic Mariko Shinobu, the troubled musician Rei Asaka, and the athletic tomboy Kaoru Orihara.
An impassioned drama about the hardships of bullying, Oniisama e… chronicles a young girl’s harsh life at her new school, as she endures cruel rumours, heartless classmates, and countless social trials.
While this series can be dark and depressing at times, it is not without its comedic moments. I felt the ending was uplifting and very satisfying, and I warmly recommend this series.
As you might expect with such a storytelling tool, this particular anime is mostly centered on Nanako and her emotions. Thankfully, she is a very appealing character from the start and does evolve throughout the series, which is acknowledged and focused on. Personally, I love seeing characters not only react to events going on around them but also learn from their experience and change through it, and this is one of the show’s greatest strengths. Even people you would think are completely stereotypical in the end come out as real people. Misguided, troubled, horrible but still people with believable motivations. All of them are young, most of them are school students, though not all of them are your typical teenage girls exploring life, as you would expect, some are surprisingly and convincingly mature. This allows for a great many of conversations and different relationships, many of which are used to the show’s advantage.
There is not much, if any, story here, which I honestly don’t mind as long as character development provided feels genuine, which is exactly the case. To be fair, though, things do seem to move forward, which mostly means learning more about character motivations, some of them being built up from the begging till the very end. There are not that many meaningful, by which I mean at the very least named, people here but all of them are given their own arcs and backstories, and at some point I found myself feeling some kind of emotion for each one of them. At no point did I feel ignorant about any of them, even those who are meant to be villains, and pretty generic at that, are able to invoke hatred or at least irritation, they are never boring.
This is mainly thanks to smart writing, which does a great job touching matters which most people can relate to and doing so in quite an intelligent manner, rarely taking the easy way out of the situations presented. Some topics are as typical and timeless as you can get: divorces and other family issues, bullying, suicide, others were surprising to see, like say, rebellion and its effect on both parties. All the dialogues are interesting to listen to, partly because of the superb voice acting, partly because of it using metaphors and allegories in a way that I noticed myself thinking “Yes, that was a good line!” quite a lot of times.
Being a visual media, anime also relays on its art to convey emotions and story elements. “Onii-sama e…” uses a peculiar style I am yet to see in another title. Admittedly, this may be due to me mostly having seen newer ones but still this is pretty far from what people generally t consider anime to be like. It also uses a lot of still-shots but manages to do that just enough for it to pass as an artistic decision rather than an annoyance, mostly used to put additional weight into certain moments. Sometimes the art did feel strange, for example, in the beginning I was unable to tell whether one of the characters was supposed to be male or female; then again, it might be intentional, since she is later often compared to a man.
Music is actually very important for any kind of visual media, since it can dramatically change emotions felt by the audience. I felt it to be more than effective in this show, sometimes being enough to express what the characters feel. Not once did it feel out of place or badly composed, in fact, all of it was recorded using classical musical instruments, none of it electronic, which seems appropriate for the show mostly dealing with timeless experiences of youth.
Overall, I enjoyed every second of it. It was dramatic and intense but also felt quiet when it needed to be. The characters, particularly Nanako, were interesting, fun to watch and felt real. Can’t think of anything I thought was bad here.
This anime is an old anime; there is no CG what so ever, and nothing to be impressed by. However; the animation is detailed and colored beautifully. It had a realistic feeling to it, and the backgrounds were done beautifully that you won’t even notice how old it is.
The OP and the ED are beautiful, simple yet heartwarming songs. The inserted music was also nice, the right musical piece in the right situation. We even get to hear some of the characters playing on musical instruments, like a piano and a violin. Great voice actors that portrayed their characters in spectacular ways, the background sounds were captivating as well, from the birds’ kippering to the train tracks to the cars’ horns.
Perhaps, the characters are the strongest point of this anime. There is a big cast of characters, but they were all introduced in a way that makes them all unforgettable. Each and every character has some problems going on in her life, be it a life threatening disease, a parents divorce, or being rejected by one’s own family.
This nime has drama, romance, slice of life, and school life. It is an angst anime, there is crying, and there is laughing. There is love and hate. There is family, how one deal with their family situations, be it a divorced parents, a loving parents. There are relationships in this anime, there are close friends, there are lovers, and there are haters.
Oniisama e is a great anime that is suitable for everyone. Not only does it provide a great entertainment, but it also teaches about life, how it is full of hardships and that we have to try to go on, no matter how hard it seems.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Oniisama e…
2. Trapp Ikka Monogatari
3. Karasu Tengu Kabuto
4. Idol Tenshi Youkoso Youko
5. Ningyohime Marina no Bouken