40. Ghost in the Shell
I love the entire GitS franchise. Everything from the two TV series to the maligned second movie. It has all the makings of a great political thriller. It has all of the fetishism of modern warfare stories but without a lot of the nu-rock/pro wrestling-styled machismo. It hits up existential shit like identity and the nature of consciousness, since what the fuck is life when a computer AI can exhibit all of the trappings of a human consciousness, and what exactly am I if the only part of me that’s human is my brain, and that’s something that can be created artificially? It asks this shit and tackles all manners of political and sociological topics, and it does it while also delivering on the explosion content required by the Surgeon General. The only thing I can say against it (And hence why it’s a little lower on this list than it should be) is that it takes itself a little too seriously at times. Dang, Makoto, lighten up a bit. You should take after Batou.
39. Record of Lodoss War
Lodoss War speaks to my inner D&D geek. I was an RPG geek long before I was an anime geek, and Lodoss War was one of the series that got me into anime. It merged my love of rolling d20’s with my love of animation. It’s a pretty straightforward fantasy story that’s blatantly lifted from the Dragonlance setting (The Lodoss novels were based on some dudes Dragonlance D&D campaign, I believe.), but it’s that simplicity that makes it work. No fat. No needless side plots or drama. It just sticks with the basics and rocks with them. It also has the only dwarf character I’ve ever liked. And I fucking hate dwarves.
38: Azumanga Daioh
Daioh’s number two in my holy trinity of matter-of-fact humor. Like Tenchi Muyo, it has the dubious position of being the prototype of a terrible trend– in Daioh’s case the “girls doing cute shit” genre– but like Tenchi it was created before many of the stereotypes had been established. It just happens to be one of the models that said stereotypes used as a foundation, so it’s only crime is that it was so fucking good that people of lesser talents took it upon themselves to copy it. But yeah, cute girls doing genuinely funny cute shit is what it’s all about. What’s always appealed to me about Daioh is that despite its cheerful, sunny disposition, there’s a certain nasty streak hidden underneath. These girls aren’t, as some people like to put it, “insufferably nice” to one another. They rag on each other. They’re mean to each other sometimes. They act like real friends in that respect, but there’s also a decidedly sadistic approach to some of the humor. Pushing over penguin-suited pigtailed girls is thoroughly nasty, and thoroughly enjoyable. Cheerfully malicious.
37. Detroit Metal City
Krauser said he’d rape my blog if I didn’t put DMC on my list. He’ll probably rape it anyway. And that’s what’s awesome about DMC. It’s a nasty, filthy, horrid comedy series. It doesn’t give a fuck if its offending you with its rape jokes, dick jokes, and other manners of “inappropriate” behavior. Just like Krauser, if you were to talk down on the series and tell it to “behave,” it’d bend you over and proceed to mock-rape you until you finally gave in and worshiped at the altar of Krauser. Beautifully nasty.
36. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Chiri would bury me if Zetsubou wasn’t in my top anime list. She’ll probably do it anyway since I didn’t do it properly. If Legend of Koizumi is the best political satire out there, then Zetsubou-sensei is the best social satire around. Sometimes the topics can be a little esoteric or abstract, but each vignette plays out like some sort of demented afterschool special– a topic is chosen, we’re shown all of the pitfalls of said problem, and then in a twist of fate we’re shown how said deviant behavior is actually a good thing. The whole show personifies the Chaotic Neutral alignment– playing both sides when said side works to its advantage, and doing it properly each way.