When I originally compiled this list, I left out Detroit Metal City because I made some silly “no OVA” rule.
Then Krauser had his way with me and all of that changed.
But DMC didn’t quite make it to the top despite all of that. Yeah.
12. Michiko e Hatchin
I wrote about Michiko e Hatchin in this post, and the gist of the series’ problems is that it just doesn’t quite come together. There’s a lot going for it, with its music and action and interesting Latin America/exploitation movie fusion, but all of these elements don’t blend into something cohesive. But those individual elements are strong enough on their own to make the series a pretty cool thing. It has a lot of the cool one-off characters like its spiritual predecessors Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo that make each individual episode enjoyable on its own strengths. The main characters have lots of potential, what with them being two strong-headed women (well, woman and young girl) who defy your usual anime stereotypes for the most part. Unfortunately, they don’t get to do much beyond run and bicker. That might be the series’ biggest flaw: there’s a lot of cool things going on around the lead characters, but half the time they’re barely involved. They just sort of stumble across things Forrest Gump style, and things get resolved through coincidence and happenstance. But yeah, cool style, cool details, the big picture just isn’t quite there.
It’s CGI. It’s made by Disney. It’s episodes are, like, three minutes long. Despite what some of you may be thinking, yes, Fireball is anime. It’s a cartoon. It’s made for a Japanese audience. That fits the traditional English definition for “anime.” And it’s easily the best of the “lasts as long as most anime openings” series out there. It’s pretty simplistic, since it comes down to two robots bickering with each other, but it has more wit and charm about it than most series ten times its length, episode-wise. And despite it being a comedy filled with puns and sight gags and shit like that, there’s also some really cool undertones. The robots acknowledge that they live in a distant future where humans have died off. They may even be the last two sentient beings on Earth, since no other robots demonstrate any real sentience and nothing outside of their “palace” is ever seen. We may be witnessing the last vestiges of “life” on Earth in the form of a buddy comedy. The sun may be ready to die out any minute in the background, and all of that’s just background fluff. That’s awesome stuff. Also, Drossel is the best Disney Princess. No contest.
I don’t pay a lot of attention to anime directors, mainly because most series come of so “samey” when it comes to style and whatnot, but Masaaki Yuasa is one of the few I do care about because his stuff is so distinctive. That said, Kaiba is the weakest of his major projects, but even with that it’s a pretty great series. It plays off of a lot of cool transhuman concepts and other sci-fi elements and it hits on a bunch of philosophical shit about identity and whatnot. And the art style is brilliant, what with its old school cartoon vibe. That style matches the themes of the series perfectly, since the “toon” look makes everything that much more alien and foreign. It’s a shame the ending pretty much sucks and brings the series down from genuine brilliance to being merely “really cool.” Still worth watching, even if it isn’t as great as Mind Game or Kemonozume.
9. Ryoko’s Case Files
Ryoko’s Case Files reminds me of The X-Files. You have two law enforcement officers investigating oddball cases. You have the sexual tension between said characters. You have some of the same humor running through both series. The main difference is that Ryoko is something of a “perfect” character, being your “smart and sexy and an asskicker and…” type. But she manages to be more like someone like Cobra than some bland, generic, annoying type since she’s brash and hotheaded at the same time. She can do all of this shit, but most people find her a bit irritating and unbearable. And she’s pretty cool for that. And there’s plenty of weird stuff going on in the series as well, making the whole thing a hell of a lot of fun. It’s one of those “forgotten” series that doesn’t deserve being stuffed under the rug.
8. Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei
Is it the same old Zetsubou shit? Yep, pretty much. Is the same old Zetsubou shit superior to most anime comedies? Yep, pretty much.
7. Urusei Yatsura: The Obstacle Course Swim Meet
6. Ranma 1/2 Akumu! Shunmin Kou
Took these one-off, throwback OVAs to get subbed, but when they did I was finally able to bask in their awesomeness. They’re both more of the same when it comes to their respective series, but since Ranma and Lum are two of my all-time favorite comedies, that’s more than welcome. That’s about all there is to say about these things. If you’re one of those heathens that’s never gotten into Lum or Ranma, you’ll be at a loss. If you dig this shit, they’re a welcome return. I’d totally be down with a revival of either series. Especially Ranma.
Repulsive, grotesque exploitation. Awesome, repulsive, grotesque exploitation. It’s more than a little hateful. It’s more than a little trashy. It’s about immortals screwing around with each other over petty conspiracies and grudges and some fucked up spiritual shit. I love this stuff. It’s unforgivably violent and nihilistic. People, especially women, are treated horribly. There’s absolutely nothing nice about it. The story’s secondary to the sensationalism. It’s everything you, dear reader, dread about anime. It’s the shit that gave anime a bad reputation back in the 90s. It’s kissing cousins with Urotsukidouji. And I fucking dig it. Yeah.
4. Ga-Rei Zero
I’ve said it before in other posts: Go watch the first episode. That one episode is one of the greatest things ever put in animated form. Seriously. Just go watch it already. The rest of the series is decent, but it’s just there to take up time since they can’t just air one episode and call it a series.
3. Detroit Metal City
Let me say this about DMC: I hate heavy metal. Totally. It’s obnoxious. The tough guy posturing and faux-Satanism and “GRRR! RAARRARAR!”ness of it all sucks. Even when I was an obnoxious teenager filled with baseless angst, I hated the shit. And yet I fucking love Detroit Metal City. It’s fucking funny. Funny as raping Tokyo Tower funny. So funny that it makes me forget about my loathing of the musical genre in question. So funny that it lets me forgive the series for making fun of a genre of music much closer to my own personal tastes. Yeah, I’d rather listen to his “Swedish pop.” Go To DMC!
2. Astro Fighter Sunred
I really love the dynamic between Sunred and Kayoko. It’s probably one of the most realistic relationships ever depicted in anime. Sunred’s an inconsiderate bum, but he genuinely loves Kayoko. Kayoko’s suffers through Sunred’s idiocy and supports him financially because she also genuinely loves him. It isn’t some fairy tale relationship, where everyone’s all doki doki and shit, and it isn’t some ridiculous “tsundere” relationship where one character is so insufferable and annoying that it’s impossible to believe anyone would put up with their shit. With Sunred we get two flawed people who deal with each other shit because there’s some connection there that we outsiders can barely glimpse. Oh yeah, and Sunred’s damn funny too. Blahblahblah sentai hero gags and cool monsters that I’ve already talked about elsewhere.
1. Cobra the Animation: The Psychogun
It might be the weakest Cobra story I’ve seen, but Psychogun is still the best thing I’ve seen from 2008. It deals with the Pirate Guild wanting to get a hold of a three billion year old snail whose shell contains the history of the universe, and said history tells the location of a device that contains what amounts to a portable Big Bang. There’s three duck people who look a lot like Huey, Dewey, and Louie who craft dimensional space drives. There’s worm creatures that eat people and turn their “people juices” into nerve toxins used to turn women into sex slaves. People ride flying vehicles that turn you into a skeleton frozen in Carbonite while piloting it. SAND WHALES. It has all of the awesome details that makes the Cobra series my all-time favorite shit. And it has the return of Crystal Boy. Awesomeness.