While I’d been an anime fan for roughly five years by the time 1999 rolled around, I saw none of the following series during the year of their release. Most of these series are ones I bought on DVD when they were released a year or two later in the States. I was probably buying episodes of Cowboy Bebop on VHS while these series were airing in Japan, so if I wanted to make a 1999 list from my own perspective it’d probably be Bebop and Those Who Hunt Elves or something like that.
That’s not how these lists work, so here’s the shit from that year that I didn’t even see that year but makes up my list of best series from that year. Yeah.
10. Ojamajo DoReMi
I haven’t seen a whole lot of this series. Just a few episodes here and there, and mostly unsubbed. It’s typical magical girl fare aimed at actual little girls, but it had a good amount of charm to it. It was more about the girls getting powers and doing stupid stuff rather than fighting monsters and saving the world, at least the few episodes I saw, and that’s pretty cool. It also has a kick-ass disco theme song, and that’s the main reason why it’s on this list. Seriously, it’s probably one of my top ten favorite anime theme songs.
9. Excel Saga
Excel Saga doesn’t always work. Hell, it kinda flounders most of the time, repeating jokes that weren’t all that funny initially. But every now and then it manages to turn out some brilliant shit. The episode where Menchi goes off on her own is bizarre, what with the character designs becoming more and more anthropomorphized as the episode progresses. And I gotta give it props for keeping things relatively fresh, since the topic of ridicule changes with every episode. The series also advocates eating your pets in times of duress. That’s an important strategy to know in these trying times. Excel Saga was quite the forward thinker.
8. Reign: The Conqueror
Can I defend my love for this series? Nope, don’t think so. It all stems from my irrational love for Aeon Flux. Reign has character designs by the guy who created Aeon Flux. That creates an association in my mind that keeps me from being able to see this series in any other light. I know people say it’s horrible. I don’t give a damn. I like its weird take on the Alexander the Great story. I love the creepy, absurdly thin character designs. But fuck it. I’m gonna be all defensive about this. I like Reign: The Conqueror.
7. Ruroni Kenshin: Tsuiokuhen
This is the only part of the Kenshin storyline that I can tolerate. This shows us the part of his story that’s actually interesting. We see his past life as the cold-blooded murderer he so despises in the “present.” We see the mistakes he made that turned him into the whiny, obnoxious pacifist he is in the TV series. This is all of the cool stuff that Kenshin so despises and that the TV series does its best to avoid. This is what I wanted to see while toughing it out through the painful TV series. It’s some good samurai drama stuff. Maybe a bit too melodramatic in the wrong ways, but I can forgive it for everything else it does right.
6. Great Teacher Onizuka
Being a teacher doesn’t work this way. No. You can’t buck the system. The system bucks you back twofold. This is porn for those of us who are or have been in the education system. This is the way we wished we could deal with kids. This is the way we wished we could deal with administrators. You wanna give the system the proverbial and literal middle finger and do thinks the Great Teacher way. But you can’t. Your force of personality can’t trump bureaucratic red tape, petty teacher politics, and vengeful parents. Just like how you’ll never be able to sleep with that plastic surgery laden super model chick in that porn you watch, you’ll never be able to pull off the sort of artificial antics of Onizuka. That’s why Onizuka is awesome.