Tag Archives: Anime

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Kuroko’s Basketball

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 54/100Title: Kuroko’s Basketball
Episodes Aired: 75
Year(s): 2012-2015

Like I said when I wrote up Slam Dunk, I wanted to see how basketball anime had evolved in the 20-odd years since it was first aired. Kuroko’s Basketball is the logical place to go for that, given how it is the only other basketball anime to feature on the list. Unlike Slam Dunk, this is split into three seasons – thus giving me a proper place to have an out should I not want to watch all 75 episodes.

I took the out. After the end of the first season, I didn’t really want to continue on – which leaves Haikyuu as the only sports anime that I made the choice to stick with. Whilst Kuroko’s Basketball did improve on a lot of the things that made me want to give up on Slam Dunk – it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged.

There are more interesting characters in here, like the titular Kuroko and the team’s coach, but in the end the show failed me on two places. Firstly, thanks to the initial premise of there being a Miracle Generation of players, there are basketball players who are effectively supernatural. Whilst it is good to have big obstacles in a sports anime for the main team to triumph over or lose against – it’s not exactly a fair fight to lose against someone with godlike abilities.

Then there is the fact that multiple episodes cover the same match. Now I know they did this with Haikyuu, but I think that it worked for me there because you actually get to care about each individual member of the volleyball team – with Kuroko’s Basketball, the focus is mostly on two key players with some attention to the rest. When, like me, you aren’t as invested in one of the key players then you aren’t as invested in the game.

It is clearly just me on this as Kuroko’s Basketball is one of the holy grail’s of sports anime. I think that I have two issues at play. Firstly, I am not a big fan of watching sports in real life so I am not going to be as keen to watch it in anime form. Secondly, of the sports I kinda enjoy watching – basketball is not one of them. Now if there was a decent ice hockey anime out there, then someone please point it my way. Else, this is just another miss for me.

With this, I have nearly crossed out all of the sports anime from the list. Thankfully. I know that Ping Pong is still left, but I am actually looking forward to that one because of the very different animation style. Before that though, I think it’s time to get away from sports anime and maybe got for something from the list that’s completely different. Whatever that ends up being.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Slam Dunk

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 53/100Title: Slam Dunk
Episodes Aired: 101
Year(s): 1993-1996

Figured it was time to get back into the world of list anime, so why not dust off one of the longest ones that I have left. 101 episodes of a basketball anime where they have a whole episode about the final two minutes of a game. Yea, I clearly didn’t watch all the episodes of this – and I don’t think I’m going to continue on after writing this.

This is the first sports anime that I have watched since I swapped anime lists over a year ago. I have purposely avoided this one because of the number of episodes that I would have potentially had to watch and because I remember how burned out I got watching too many episodes of Hajime no Ippo thanks to how MyAnimeList does their rankings.

At 101 episodes long, there really needed to be more happening more episode to keep me watching. I get that this is the series that helped to make basketball popular in Japan, and that’s why there are sections of explaining the game, but this could have been done in a more entertaining way like in HaikyuuAlso, by the time you are 20 episodes, the explanations are still about very basic aspects of the game – to the point that I (who have never watched a game of basketball) still knew exactly what they were talking about.

I also had an issue with the protagonist. This is a very generic kind of semi-delinquent character, that was heightened in GTOthat I always find an issue with liking. In the case of Slam Dunk, he is just so full of himself and in his own abilities that I could not warm to him. Especially when everyone is commenting on his natural talent, which makes this more an anime about polishing a diamond rather than someone truly training to be better.

There is still another basketball anime for me to watch, so I am interested to see how things have moved on in the 20 years since. Maybe I’ll like it? Who knows, but at least it’s divided into seasons with sane episode counts – so you know there’s got to be proper contained arcs going on.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Hellsing

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 52/100Title: Hellsing
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2001-2002

So, according to the list, I could have chosen to watch either Hellsing or the later 50-minute per episode Hellsing Ultimate. After reading a number of articles online, which gave the conclusion that it was worth seeing both, I went for the earlier incarnation. Just figured that if I liked this well enough, I could always watch Ultimate at some point in the future to get the remaining story.

I probably should have gone with my gut and jumped straight to Ultimate. In the end, this is what I did with Full Metal Alchemist and Hunter x Hunter as the later anime were not only more acclaimed but also had more source material to use without resorting to some anime-only arcs.

The idea of a dark series featuring a super-strong vampire hunting other vampires under the watch of a shadowy vampire-killing organisation is what drew me to watching this and why I’ve been looking forward to seeing Hellsing for ages. However, after promising opening episodes it just seemed to veer off the rails and then it ends on a frustrating note.

So frustrating in fact that I considered going straight to Ultimate in order to get the proper experience. However, I am not finding time for anime at the moment, let alone 50 minute episodes, so am going to be switching to a non-list anime from my childhood in order to bring some brightness into my life: Flint the Time Detective. Sure, it’s not one of the best ever released but this is a time where something light and fun is very much appreciated.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – K-On!

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 51/100Title: K-On!
Episodes Aired: 39
Year(s): 2009-2010

After a heavier and mech anime like Macross I think I needed to go in the complete opposite direction for my next one – which is how I ended up with K-On!. There are many anime out there which broadly fall into the category of cute girls doing stuff and K-On! is one of the really important series that helped shape a bunch that followed. Despite my earlier written love of Azumanga Daioh, this isn’t necessarily my favourite genre, but this list managed to steer me in the right direction yet again.

Over the course of two seasons (where the name changes by the addition of another exclamation point) we get to know the members of a high school light music club – essentially a club where they play popular music. To begin with it’s a core group of four, then not too far in we get an additional member from the lower years. Being the type series that it is, the music isn’t the top priority, instead it’s the lives of these five band members.

Not to say that the music isn’t an integral part of their lives, we watch them as they perform, practice and do all they can to avoid practicing. Given all that’s happening right now around coronavirus, a series with low stakes and such a positive feeling is exactly what I needed. Plus some of the songs are legitimately good to the point that I have actually been playing a small selection on Spotify.

Given the current coronavirus stuff happening, and my not getting any substantial solo anime time for a while, it’s likely that this will be my last anime series being crossed off for a while unless it’s something the husband would also like to see. So, I’ll end this post on my favourite song from the series – which I have been playing a lot recently:

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Macross

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 50/100Title: Super Dimension Fortress Macross
Episodes Aired: 36
Year(s): 1982-1983

I haven’t always been too impressed by the anime series that I have seen from the earlier section of the list. Some of them because of the extremely dated humour that made me squirm and others because the storylines were being stretched beyond all reasonable proportions. Super Dimension Fortress Macross managed to avoid all these traps and instead is the best of the older animes that I have seen so far.

The series itself can be split into two distinct sections. The first, longer section being about a conflict between humans and an alien race and the second section being the uneasy truce that exists afterwards. This could so easily have just been a mecha anime full of battle sequences and not much else. But, instead, this very much takes on board the idea of being a space opera where interpersonal relationships inspire many of the conflicts.

It’s weird watching Super Dimension Fortress Macross now as the events that were so futuristic are now set in the past. Then again, when I was growing up the idea of 2020 felt like it would be super futuristic and filled with flying cars. Probably for the best that we don’t have an Earth exclave on a refurbished alien ship as we deal in a life or death battle against an alien race of giants.

One thing that makes Super Dimension Fortress Macross an interesting part of anime history is the character of Lynn Minmay. In the show, she is a girl swept up int he conflict and, far from home, becomes a singer whose voice inspires the soldiers and wins over many of the enemies. This makes her the more iconic character from the series compared to the central fighter who somehow is attractive enough to inspire a love triangle. Lynn Minmay was one of the first characters to properly spin off their voice actress into becoming an actual music star and is a huge inspiration for a lot of cute girl anime types to follow.

So, I am halfway through the anime list and I have somehow managed to more or less evenly distribute my watches throughout the years. I’m still so excited to see what different genres of anime I have yet to discover on this 100-series snapshot.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Angel Beats!

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 49/100Title: Angel Beats!
Episodes Aired: 13
Year(s): 2010

It is so satisfying when you finally get around to watching, and then finish, something that has been on your to watch list for a decade. Ever since I first started using online tools like MyTVShows to keep track of my viewing habits, Angel Beats! has been there sat near the top of the list just asking to be watched. Well now I have crossed it off in less than a week and I feel a bit bereft.

Whilst Angel Beats! is one of those series that, almost immediately, inspired a big fan reaction there are a lot of people who think the same as me – this was just too short. At 13 episodes, plus the OVA that can also be found on Netflix, it feels like you only really scratch the surface of the world and the large ensemble cast and that’s such a shame. I guess that the problem with getting an episode for an original property.

Still though, in 13 episodes, Angel Beats! managed to build an interesting mythology around the idea of a limbo for teenagers in the form of a high school and what it means to find peace when life has been unnecessarily cruel to you. It is also a series where they clearly spent time in getting the music right, as everything from the opener to the incidental music was perfectly on point. It’s one of the rare series where I have ended up on YouTube trying to find particular tracks.

As much as I enjoyed this and will probably watch this again, I am just haunted by the what ifs here. I really wish there was a longer manga out there that fully expanded on the back stories of more of the characters and spent more time with the final big bad. For the limited time I had though, I was thoroughly entertained and will keenly wait until the game adaptation gets an English language release.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Dragon Ball

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 48/100Title: Dragon Ball
Episodes Aired: 153
Year(s): 1986-1989

If this was on the 1001 TV Shows list I would have written this up months ago. I know that this is going to be a series that I want to finish and then move onto the sequel series, but as I’m now getting deep into a filler arc (seeing how this anime caught up to the manga pretty damned quickly) I wanted to do this write up now before it annoys me too much. On the one hand I get why filler arcs happen, but no one really likes them so it perplexes me that they still happen in this day and age. At least Dragon Ball has the excuse of being at least 30 years old.

Now, I don’t think I am alone here when I say that I think I prefer the manga over the anime. This isn’t just because of the filler arcs, but there are other touches and scenes added just for the television adaptation (the weird ball maze episode being the first that pops into mind) which kinda detract from the story. Also, since I read all of the manga, I ended up with my own idea of how things looked and sounded – and a lot of these characters ended up being different than my brain had made them.

Since I’ve already made a post in the manga, and this really faithfully follows it aside from some additions and filler arcs, I’m going to make this a short post. All I know is that, whilst some parts annoy me, this is still a very enjoyable anime series and I look forward to watching it to completion.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Detective Conan

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 47/100Title: Detective Conan
Episodes Aired: 950+
Year(s): 1996 onwards

Covering a show like Detective Conan was always going to be hard. This is an anime that has run for half of my life and, as such, finding representative episodes was always going to be a bit of a headache. So, I just opted to watch episodes from the collections that I found on Netflix and Crunchyroll. I guess that’s just my way of saying that this was a swing and a miss for me.

In the end, this list of anime isn’t meant to be the best but a way to watch a selection of classic and influential shows – so Detective Conan very much deserves it’s place. I mean, you don’t run for over 950 episodes without being popular. The core idea is interesting as well, a genius detective trapped in the body of a child who solves mysteries. However, with him being a child, that means the rest of the show becomes similarly child-friendly and I was hoping for something with a bit more bite.

If these were in English, this would be one of those shows that would make for perfect show to have on in the background when updating Play That Game or whilst I am cooking. However, if I am going to be giving my undivided to a show there needs to be more going on than there was in Detective Conan. Still though, I’m glad to have given it a shot.

Well, we’re off on holiday again in two weeks, so I probably won’t be starting new anime until I am back since I have a lot of back episodes of my currently watching shows to catch up on. Technically I am still watching the Dragon Ball anime, but I’m waiting until a good point before I do a write up for that.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Ouran High School Host Club

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 46/100Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Episodes Aired: 26
Year(s): 2006

So, I was going to be starting one of the really old animes – but a week and a half ago I had such a stressful day at work that I opted to start something that would be more of a fluffy throwaway. Little did I know that I would end up falling for this silly little reverse harem series.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Ouran High School Host Club is a show set in a high school for the children of the rich and powerful where some of the male students have set up a ‘host club’ – i.e. a place where girls pay to come and have some personal attention (like tea or a conversation) with a gorgeous boy. It’s not something I have ever heard of outside of Japanese media, so I think it’s a pretty localised phenomenon.

On the surface, this feels like a bit of a stupid and shallow show. The thing that it does brilliantly, however, is act as a clever satire of the entire genre. They openly play with the tropes of shows that are typically aimed at teen and young adult women whilst also playing with otaku culture and reversing a number of things you would typically see in regular harem shows.

It gives these, admittedly rich and pampered, students a whole lot of depth outside of the initial stereotypes that they fulfil. The young ‘lolita’ type boy who has rebelled against a family who demand machismo, the twins who are incest-bait where we find out slowly that one of them is trying to push the other towards independence and then the head of the harem who is probably the saddest of them all.

With these strong male harem members, you need a similarly strong female centre character to play off of them all – and with Haruhi (a girl who ultimately has no issues with playing with androgyny) they have one. As the poorer kid there on a scholarship, she’s a really great viewer surrogate who has plenty depth of her own and is far from being a Mary Sue.

I really want to track down the manga for this as I know there’s a few years of story that never got told in the anime. They left the show on a bit of a cliff-hanger with her having the possibility of being paired up with two members of the host club – and it never got resolved. For my own sense of closure, I’m going to have to track these down.

As for where this leaves me for my next anime I have no idea. I am still plowing through Dragonball with the husband, but we still have over 100 episodes to go before finishing that. I guess it might be time to start on Detective Conan so I am able to finish it off on my plane ride home from Korea. After all, we leave in 2-3 weeks and that show is massive.

(✿◠‿◠) Anime!!! – Urusei Yatsura

List Item:  Watch the 100 Anime to See Before You Die
Progress: 45/100Title: Urusei Yatsura
Episodes Aired: 194
Year(s): 1981-1986

Well, that’s two for two for anime series that overstayed their welcome in my household. At least with Lodoss War there were 13 episodes and I could just power through, but with Urusei Yatsura I’ve had to call it a day before losing my sanity. It’s making me question whether I am going to find a pre-1990 anime on this list that I want to complete it.

I’m not sure I want to spend a super long time talking about Urusei Yatsura because it’s shows like this that are making me question the wisdom of following this particular anime list. Sure, it’s actually quite interesting to see the historically significant shows – but this is actually made me sleep in on the weekend rather than strategically wake up before the husband so I could fit in a few episodes before he woke up. Sure, I’m better rested but at what cost I ask you.

Urusei Yatsura is an important part of the anime canon because of the same reasons that Maison Ikkoku is on the same list. They are both comedy animes with a similar premise of a guy being a guy who likes to look at women, the women they piss off by doing so and the weird cast of characters around them. The designs of the female characters in Urusei Yatsura (especially the alien Lum) had a clear influence on anime that was to follow.

My issue though was just how repetitive this was. I don’t have to have an anime with a strong storyline, neither do I dislike specifically comedy anime (see my love of Gintama and The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.as examples). However, the repetitive nature of Urusei Yatsura was just such a turn-off. It’s not a show you can binge, which is fair, but neither is it  a show that I ever wanted to return to. Honestly, I’m just glad to see the back of it.

I think that, after Urusei Yatsura, I need to watch something from the personal pile before I make a start on the largest show on the list: Detective Conan. It’s one of the few on Netflix UK, which means that I can download and watch episodes of it whilst on the plane to Korea. Hopefully that’ll keep me occupied for the long flight times… or send me to sleep. Either way, it’ll be a win-win.