Kogepan’s a children’s anime. It’s one of those 2-3 minute shorts that they air before kids run off to school. It’s also one of the most philosphically awesome series ever made. It’s about a piece of bread who was burned by the baker. He wants to be bought. He knows that he’ll be eaten, but “being bought” is what bread want. So he has this crisis– he knows his fate, he knows he’s been spared this fate, and yet he’s still confused and angry over the fact that his fate has been denied. He questions his existence. He scares the “children” bread by telling them “the truth.” He drinks his problems away with milk (which gets bread drunk). It handles the sorts of questions that many fans fawn over in “smart” anime, yet it does it in the format of something like Chii’s Sweet Home. Fucking brilliant stuff here.
24. Black Lagoon
As far as straight-up, straight-faced action anime goes, Black Lagoon is tops. Black Lagoon knows its shit when it comes to the action genre. It plays like a doctoral thesis on 80s action clichés, and anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing is likely a communist nazi terrorist mole man from mars sent to destroy everything that’s good about human civilization. Also, Revy and Rock make for one of the greatest anime couples of all time. Their love is like twin Desert Eagles being two-fisted by a blood opera gunman. It’s natural and beautiful.
23. Darker than Black
Cold War James Bond through the lens of X-Men. This is a series that gets better and better the more I think about its ambiguous plot threads. If they make more of this series down the road, don’t be surprised if this jumps into my top 10. The OAV that helped explain some of the shit that went down in the second season didn’t quite push it over the edge, unfortunately. Maybe a third season that goes off in a new direction will do that.
22. Ninja Scroll
Beautifully nasty. Ninja Scroll is filled with brutal violence, horribly amoral characters, and everything that’s downright wrong with the world. Even the hero, Jubei, is something of a selfish prick. The only reason why we root for him is because he’s the lesser evil, and I really dig the movie for playing up that angle. And I love how it plays up all sorts of samurai and martial arts movies all while adding in that old school anime exploitation angle that we rarely see nowadays. In a lot of ways its Kill Bill without the pop culture references– it’s a genre-savy martial arts flick that builds on everything we know about that style and turns it into something wholly unique. The TV series that was spawned from the movie isn’t nearly as great as the movie, but it’s worth watching as well, but it’s the movie itself that earns this spot on my list.
21. Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san
I guess you could say I have another trifecta in this top list. List Azazel along side DMC and Cat Soup for a Unholy Trinity of nasty comedies. While DMC is a button pusher, and Cat Soup is downright mean for meanness’ sake, Azazel is subversive. It takes the “magical pet” tradition of magical girl shows and Pokemon and exposes it for what it really is: playing with the dark forces of Hell. What are Pokemon and magical pets? The only logical conclusion is that they’re fucking demons. So yeah, think twice the next time you boot up Diamond and Pearl.