What's Your Favourite Anime?

Lately, Tegan and I have been playing the odd anime episode just as a thing to fall asleep to. It's fun to fall back into old habits, like ignoring the five minutes of recaps that old Naruto episodes loved showing.

But it's also reminded me of many classics I loved growing up. So, let's talk anime.

The first anime I remember catching a glimpse of was back when Ghost in the Shell aired on SBS. It'd be nice to find out how all of those great shows got aired back in the day.

It's because one of those shows that my favourite anime is Neon Genesis, even though I wouldn't rate it as the most enjoyable from everything I've watched. The original series ran out of steam — and budget — towards the end, and the pacing is all over the place.

But it was wildly different than any of the other shows on TV at that time. I also had a family friend who managed to record the entirety of every Neon Genesis episode on VHS tapes, and they gracefully lent it to me to rewatch over and over. I probably watched the full TV series about six or seven times as a kid. I couldn't get enough of it.

Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a better series, but sometimes it's your first taste of a genre that stays with you.

Similarly, Naruto is probably the first "major" series that I binged and kept watching and reading until the end. I was following Bleach for ages, but I eventually cracked the shits at the stupid filler arcs faster — and consequently gave up on the manga sooner. (I've since finished both, and did a quick re-read of the last 100 Bleach chapters the other week.)

But rewatching it has been fun, and seeing Tegan get hooked on Naruto of all things is pretty funny.

So, what's your favourite anime — and why? And if you had to recommend a few anime for someone to get started on, what would your picks be?

For me: Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop and Trigun are good picks. They're also not your shonen regulars. It's a lot easier to get into something when you're not trying to catch up with 10+ seasons.


Comments

    Tekkaman Blade / Teknoman easily.

    Followed by DBZ, Berserk, Evangelion, and Helsing.

    Haven't seen any love for Patlabor yet. Those two movies were fantastic.

    Slayers
    Inuyasha
    Citrus
    Neon Genesis Evangelion
    Food Wars
    Love Hina
    ...etc.

    Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: not a perfect adaptation of the very dense source material but my goodness does it absolutely nail the action set pieces in beautifully animated and meticulously faithful sequences. Love the OST too.

    Crest/Banner of the stars: Just a great space opera/love story about a space elf imperial princess and the son of a man who betrayed his planet for a noble title. Lot of sci-fi world building and space battles too.

    Fullmetal Alchemist: As a complete package it's for me the closest anime that comes to flawless and it's probably the easiest to recommend to people. Great characters, great world, great story, great voice acting and great visuals. the only flaw really is brotherhood (rightly) skims the parts of the story the original anime covered and the movies are either OK or awful.

    Spice and wolf: I love this one for how well it depicts an actual relationship develop and grow between the two main characters. Anime so often either doesn't try or just gives up when it's time to show a relationship more complex than a crush between the lead characters. This show really made you believe these characters fell for each other.

    SDF Macross: A true classic of a space opera. It says a great deal that it set out to parody mecha anime and ended up being one of the genre's most influential entries.

      Good to see some Spice and Wolf love, I really enjoyed that. Also I'm with you on Fullmetal Alchemist, a lot of people dismiss the first series because it deviated from the manga, but it did the character study of Ed and Al much better than Brotherhood did. You really felt the relationship between them grow a lot better in the original.

        I consider the first series as basically compulsory to really enjoying brotherhood. There are just too many things Like Hughes that just don't hit as hard because Brotherhood was in a rush to get to the new content while the original show wanted to make the most of everything it had at the time. Plus, its alternate storyline was actually good, possibly because it was made in cooperation with the Manga's author. Unless it had been given something like an 80 episode length, I don't think there was any way for a single FMA series to do as well as the original and brotherhood do together.

    Re: How stuff started getting aired in the 'olden days', it's probably a very localized and fascinating story. I'm going to hazard a guess it's probably down to some individuals in the ABC and SBS programming departments.

    Madman was a '96 creation, competing with the earlier (but still newly)-established Manga Entertainment channels. Gaming magazines in the early-90s were dedicating sections to the first Australian distributors of anime. Between the two of them, they were probably responsible for all the earliest anime that most kids of the 90s were first exposed to.

    Earlier, though.... through the 80s, I'm guessing the ABC had contact with distributors of foreign studios because they were cheap. Stuff they could get a discount from sister BBC, a few of the more prolific French studios, and whatever was cheapest in the US, or getting dubbed for the US as the most popular stuff out of Japan. Astro-Boy, RoboTech and the like. I'm guessing somewhere around that point, some geeks in programming got exposure to some of the more 'adult' animation coming out of Japan and used their position to spread their fascination.

    Media was a small world in those days. I wouldn't be surprised if everything snowballed from the actions of a relatively small number of enthusiast clubs, and one or two individuals in the ABC/SBS who lobbied successfully to put what was probably pitched as, 'cheap, weird adult cartoon shit' on TV.

      As far as the 80s goes, I think a lot of the time, anime that had been localized for syndication was often very cheap to license. I grew up in New Zealand rather than Australia, and I remember that when they launched TV3 in NZ they snatched up the rights to a bunch of cheap anime to run in the after-school timeslot. Voltron (GoLion and Dairugger XV), Saber Rider (Bismarck) and Mysterious Cities of Gold, among others. I think part of what was going on there was that TV3's initial investors included ABC (the US one) and NBC, so that probably provided cheap access to a lot of their catalogue.

      Also when Sky TV launched, they picked up a bunch of cheap animated films to show as children's programming during the day on the movie channel. Our family was a very early adopter of Sky and probably my first conscious exposure to really anime animation was Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko. That film actually still holds up, interestingly enough. I'd seen other Japanese animated stuff before that but it was the first thing which I actually could tell was different to the stuff I was used to, since it had a "modern" mid-80s anime aesthetic rather than the more 'western' 70s styling of a lot of the stuff you tended to get like Voltron and whatnot.

      Anyway, I bet it was the same deal in Australia. Shit was cheap. The real coup I think was when someone managed to fast-talk SBS into running Evangelion. I'm still surprised that ended up on free to air TV, though tbh if it was going to run anywhere, it would be the Soccer Boobs and Subtitles channel...

        I don't think SBS regretted that either, they re-ran the entire series again almost immediately after. I think it was actually pretty good for them in ratings.

          They ran it three times all up I think. The big reason for running it again was because a lot of people picked it up mid-series. I know personally I jumped in at episode 18 and 19 (they ran two a week) not knowing at all what to expect. Immediately hooked but I had to go find the tapes on VHS.

          For a lot of people, that broadcast was what got them into the entire medium, myself included. Shame there wasn't really anything SBS could run at the time to follow it up since not much was licensed.

    Samurai Pizza Cats!
    Astro Boy
    Robotech
    Voltron
    The Street Fighter Anime Movie

    Big feels for Madoka Magica and I'll always have a soft spot for Serial Experiments Lain. That said, I also enjoy comedies like Saiki K.

    Bebop (of course)
    Ergo Proxy
    Steins Gate
    FLCL
    Melencholy of Haruhi

      Ergo Proxy was pretty good, I should watch that again. I saw that around the same time I watched Paranoia Agent.

    I'll try not to mention any other people have mentioned, but that leaves me with very few (kudos to Kotaku community's taste in anime):

    -Assassination Classroom: Despite what its name may suggest, one of the most powerful emotionally moving series in the recent years.

    -Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi) a thrilling murder mystery with a time travel component.

    -Death Parade: A series in which recently deceased people are made to reflect on their lives by being forced to compete in an array of different games.

    -Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu: A bizarre comedy series that in my opinion doesn't get a fraction of the love it deserves.

      > Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu

      Now that's a title I haven't heard anyone mention in a long time. At least a decade since I watched it - I wonder if it still holds up? That style of surrealist comedy is something anime does really well.

        It's hard enough to find people who ever heard of it, let alone watched it! It's too bad that it kind of meandered until finally puffing out by the third season. Or was it fourth? It's a fate common to the best comedy series, like School Rumble, I'm afraid.

          It definitely ran far too long. Still had some moments as it went but it tried to grow an actual plot and it really lost it with that. Pretty much the point where they left the jungle and went to the city.

          Not really surprising that the more surrealist stuff tends to go this way though. It's hard to string together jokes and non-sequiturs without some kind of framing story, but adding a story to it ends up undermining it.

            Yeah, that's exactly what happened to both HareGuu and School Rumble. Without a change of setting or circumstances, there's only a limited number of jokes you can make, but the more the plot advances, the more you have to spend in resolution and the less on jokes. Worst, plot advancement usually entails some character growth, but the more a character grows, the less it is that bundle of flaws, stupidity, and knee-jerk personality that made them a funny archetype, to begin with.

            That said, I think HareGuu could have gone for longer if it stuck to the initial premise instead of going for the wild tangent of the city trip. The whole mystery of why Guu (whatever she truly was) was clearly trying to coach/condition Hale towards doing or becoming something in the future was really compelling to me and I wish they had explored more in that direction.

          Poor School Rumble :( I really enjoyed that show, the half-arsed ending it got was so disappointing.

            Which of them, haha? The manga had like a 100 different faux endings. What really bothered me is that the author was not able to commit in the end to the happy ending that the characters clearly deserved and had been growing towards (Harima x Eri and Tenma x Karasuma). I guess the reason is that every time he hoped that he could resume the series in the future and resolving the romantic relationships would put an end to that.

            Apparently, the last time he spoke about School Rumble he expressed hopes of one day continuing the story with the adult characters in a seinen manga.

              I was thinking of the anime specifically. It got this weird super short 'season 3' that might as well have been 'Poochie had to go back to his home planet'.

                Ah right. The anime's ending was manga's faux ending number 2 or 3. The manga kept going for a while after that point but you didn't miss much. Really, the high point of the series was around the time when Harima decided to become a hermit and suddenly sprouted a beard and animal companions that became a running gag.

              I guess the reason is that every time he hoped that he could resume the series in the future and resolving the romantic relationships would put an end to that.

              This is basically the core problem with this type of show. Resolving the only real tension in it means sticking a fork in it. It's done and you basically can never go back to it. Given that for some of these authors, stringing it out means keeping food on the table, there's not really an incentive to do that until either the author is just done, or the audience gets sick of it.

      Oh man, Erased was close to Another for me

        Another was lots of dumb fun. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it as a "favourite" because it was, really, too dumb at some points, but the mystery bit and the resolution that proved how all the clues were expertly hidden through the series was fantastic.

          That's why I prefer Another over Erased. When you get it, you're just like "How did I not see this before?"
          I liked Erased, but the anime ending was a bit silly =P

    It's probably Evangelion. I can go back to that any time and get sucked right back into it.

    But it's also very hard to pick just one. Among others I'd put Aria, Mushishi, Haibane Renmei, and Banner of the Stars up there. Have a very soft spot for Macross as well (especially Plus and 7)

      Aria as in ARIA The Animation? If so, I thought I was the only person to have actually watched (and loved) that show, nobody else I mention it to has heard of it.

        Yes, that Aria. It's one of the most chill, relaxed things ever made. Everything about it is basically perfect. It's the anime equivalent of a cool breeze on a lazy summer afternoon.

          It's a really nice way to destress after a rough day. The music and scenery are just gorgeous and the characters are wonderfully genuine and likeable.

            Everyone is positive and happy and basically nothing bad ever happens and the whole setting is basically a perfect utopia filled with the nicest people ever and the whole thing is about the main character's childlike wonder as she discovers all the amazing things around her.

            You just really don't get stuff like that nowadays. Everything's so cynical.

              Nah, we still get wholesomely nice stuff and the cynical stuff was also always there. It's just that the super nice ones are usually less popular.

    Okay, first let's go with what I've watched.

    Sailor moon on Agro's morning show.
    Then pokemon/Digimon/dragon ball Z on Cheez TV. There were many discussions about which was better.
    I fell hard for Cardcaptors. It was a favourite of mine for a while. Yu-gi-oh and beyblades started showing which I also enjoyed.
    It was around this time I found out about Subs from friends. A friend gave me a copy of Gundam as i couldn't watch it without foxtel.
    I got introduced to bleach in Uni and enjoyed it until episode 119-120 (the one where the two large breasted women share a western style bath). I got fed up, and looked for other stuff.
    I caught up on a lot of the older animes about that time and watch the mainstream stuff like Lucky Star.

    However, my favourites would probably be Another, Natsume Yuujinchou and Nanatsu no Taizai.
    Another is amazing to watch. Then it's amazing to watch other people react to watching it.
    Natsume Yuujinchou is just a very heartfelt anime. I love learnign about the different Yokai and I like watching other Yokai based anime (Most recently Kakuriyo no yadomeshi).
    Nanatsu no Taizai is just dumb fun. If you don't like fan service, avoid it and watch Boku no Hero Academia instead. (My Hero Academia on Crunchy roll)

    Recently, I watched cells at work, bed and breakfast for spirits, Holmes of Kyoto, We rent Tsukumogami, My Hero Academia and Gegege no Kitaro.
    (I am such a weeb D= )

      Geez, scree, way to take me on a trip down memory lane. I haven't heard Aggro's Cartoon Connection and Cheez TV in ages.

      Natsume Yuujinchou is great. Seven Deadly Sins and My Hero Academia are still on my todo list but it sounds like you recommend them so I'll bump them up.

        I love Natsume so much! I haven't been able to find the new movie and it's a bit upsetting.

        Seven Deadly sins, I must warn you, the main character likes to manhandle one of the female characters, but please try to look past that. The story and the character themselves, as well as the world they are in are all really good. Even secondary characters get their arc and their own spot light.

        My Hero Academia is similar to 7 deadly sins, but is also very different. Great characters again, real consequences for dumb actions, the kind of stuff that is often missing from Shonen anime. You see the characters fail, try to learn from their mistakes so next time they can succeed.

        I highly recommend both.

        (Sorry about the nostalgia)

    BattleAngel Alita.
    Honourable Mentions
    Ninja Scroll, Fist of the North Star, Akira, Cowboy Bebop and Legend of the Overfiend/Demon Womb. M.D. Geist, Vampire Hunter D, Wicked City, Castle of Cagliostro chase scene

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