This thing here is a list of my favorite anime and a whole bunch of rambling as to why said anime are my favorites. I’m not trying to be all objective up in this place or anything. Objectivity when it comes to the art of listage is a pretty absurd concept. This is all about the shit I like and why I like it. Feel free to rant and rave in the comments section about why your favorite series didn’t make the cut. You won’t be the first. I hope you won’t be the last. And if you just happened to dig this thing, feel free to that as well. And if you’re really compulsive about this sort of thing, you can check out my list for 51-100. There aren’t any explanations just yet, but the list is there for added ammo.
50. California Crisis
California Crisis is on this list to represent my love of “terrible” 80′s OVAs– those 30-50 minute direct-to-VHS shows that cram a hell of a lot of plot into a minute amount of time. It almost always results in a story wrought with plotholes and inconsistencies, and I love that shit. This is the sort of stuff that made my love anime in the first place– where you have to make up half the story in your head in order for it to make the least bit of sense. I miss that sort of stuff, and I get annoyed by how many current series err in the exact opposite direction by over-explaining everything. Crisis also has an awesomely anti-climactic ending that does a hell of a job of symbolizing everything I love about these OVAs. It’s a shame that current trends don’t allow for more stuff like this to be made.
49. Cromartie High School
While there’s plenty of comedy series on my list, there’s three that make something of a holy trinity when it comes to a certain brand of humor: Making the surreal seem mundane. Cromartie is the “lesser” of the three, but it’s still a brilliant comedy in its own right. It takes the “delinquent” formula often seen in Japanese pop culture– where we see the inner workings of trouble-making youth in a school where such students are dominant– and then injects all manners of oddities into the mix. A robot as a classmate? Yeah, doesn’t every school have one? Freddie Mercury is alive and lurking about in the hallways riding a horse? Perfectly normal. Aliens invading and then integrating into the school? What’s new? It’s all played off in a matter of fact way, and it’s hilarious.
48. Samurai Pizza Cats
Yeah. A blasphemous Americanized production is on this list. I’ve never really seen the original series that Pizza Cats is based upon (Unlike, say, Voltron or DBZ.), so I can’t really make any serious comparisons. What I can say is that Pizza Cats holds a special place in my black heart for “being there” when I was going through a rough patch during my freshman year of college. I’d wake up, loathe my situation, have no desire to do anything (Let alone school work)– and then Samurai Pizza Cats would come on the TV. I still went on to fuck up my first year of college and fail a few classes, but at least there was something there to keep me from going completely bonkers. Watching Samurai Pizza Cats while eating day old pizza for breakfast was a thing of beauty at the time.
47. Perfect Blue
I’m not the biggest Satoshi Kon fan. And by that I mean that most of his movies were ones that I liked but didn’t love. But Perfect Blue is the exception as far as his movies go. All those reviews you read comparing it to Hitchcock and the like are dead on– this is a brilliant psychological thriller. It isn’t so much the mystery of it all that’s great so much as it is the execution of the whole thing. By toying around with our perspective of things and not showing the whole truth (Even when the big reveal goes down.), we get to share in the main character’s psychosis to some extent. And all of that makes the movie’s ambiguous ending all the more fulfilling. Who in the hell knows what’s really true? That’s one of Kon’s major themes, and Perfect Blue nails it better than his other movies.
46. Paranoia Agent
With all of the above said, Paranoia Agent is Kon’s masterpiece. It plays around with modern pop culture– screwing around with the affects of video games, animation, mascot characters, and the like– and turning it all into a psychedelic freakshow. It’s all about how much of an effect we have on the way we perceive reality and the ways we can affect others’ perspectives, and it ain’t a pretty picture. But that’s part of what makes Paranoia Agent awesome. It’s one of those series that isn’t afraid to show all the potential ugliness that comes with the “human condition.” Whatever epiphanies and whatnot that it gets, they’re earned.