15 Anime OPs/EDs that make me cry

Note: This post is actually meant to be of therapeutic effect for me, because I am currently rewatching Diamond no Ace and suffering through angst, frustration, sadness and accentuated anxiety problems that have been seething underneath in the first place. But in any case, this idea came from my bouts of screaming, crying and cursing in watching said anime above. Since I have also never written about anime music, I figured there isn’t a better way to do it than this.

Continue reading

Advertisements

My List of Top Anime of All Time: #15 – #11

Its time for #11-#15 of my Top Anime! Time flies by so fast that what I initially thought would take at least a few months to complete is now two more posts to completion. (For those who have yet to jump in on this series, see the previous posts of #25 – #21 and #20 – #16) Having said that, I think I could have easily catered for a Top 35-40 Anime List or even 50, now that I have narrowed down the number of Honourable Mentions on a list which never seems to end. I am currently thinking about how I would want to go about writing the Honourable Mentions post, it would probably be an even tougher feat than this Top 25.

But anyway, here goes nothing!

#15 Durarara!! (both seasons)

Type: TV Series

Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural

Episodic Count: 24 + 12

Year: 2010, 2015

More information at: http://myanimelist.net/anime/6746/Durarara!!

DRRR!! is a refreshing urban tale whose ability to stand out amongst its peers lies in its uniquely disjoint narrative structure. Featuring a large yet distinct and highly individualistic cast of characters which only keep growing, the story arcs of DRRR!! are tightly woven around the activities, personalities and behaviour of this diverse range of personalities. The story is told in multiple perspectives at once, and it engages its audience by throwing hints, red herrings all around and getting its audience to locate and piece the plot puzzle together for themselves.

Set in the busy, vibrant district of Ikebukuro, where everything is connected and everybody is connected in a way to one another, the viewing experience associated with this series is nothing short of stepping your way through an entangled mess of an slightly tangled web of interpersonal relationships, seemingly disorganised but in actuality rather well-planned. I personally enjoyed the hunt of subtle hints that may be situated in the background in terms of buildings, or the significance of a seemingly mundane series of actions. Long-time die-hard otakus will also no doubt enjoy picking out anime references, lushly abundant in the form of signboards, big screens in the city backgrounds, and even as conversational topics between Erika and Walker, two extremely cool otakus whom we all surely identify with.

With topics spanning street gangs, the Japanese mafia, the Russian mafia, to the use of social media as a tool for amassing information and manipulation of large crowds, DRRR!! is the embodiment of the inter-connectivity of the modern world. As such, it presents a deeply realistic snapshot of a society situated in the bustling hubbub of a city, a factor that is close to my heart given that I live in one. The presentation also shines with characters talking over each other yet not unclear for the audience to figure out the various conversations. Interesting backstories in every arc and plot twists also give the series an addictive quality that one is hard pressed to find in too many other anime.

Of course, what anime is good enough without its characters? If there was any anime I actually want to live in, it would be in Ikebukuro with this crazy bunch of people because their lives are dangerously interesting and exciting. Most characters are not quite what they seem despite the facade of normality that they are thrown into at the start, especially with the high school main characters Mikado, Kida and Anri. We have characters whom have no doubt since become classic, like Shizuo and Izaya, the infamous duo perpetually at loggerheads and whose feuds rile up the entire city. There’s also Celty, the supernatural element thrown into the mix, and many others whom without their presence will take away an essential element of the melting pot of characters that this series is also known strongly for.

With such a potent combination, I strongly believe that DRRR!! deserves to be considered but any Top Anime list (or if you beg to differ, its historical counterpart Baccano!). If you haven’t seen this, you probably haven’t seen the extent of cray and creativity to which Japanese animation creators (and light novelists, since this was a LN adaptation) can go to in depicting highly urbanised societies, and with style, too.

(Also, can’t wait for the next season!)

#14 Monster

Type: TV Series

Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Police, Psychological, Thriller, Seinen

Episodic Count: 74

Year: 2004-05

More information at: http://myanimelist.net/anime/19/Monster

Monster is a masterful tale of mystery, suspense and thriller about a Japanese doctor who made a single mistake in his career, getting framed for a murder and then spending years trying to find the mastermind serial killer, supported by no one except his staunch personal belief in the eventual triumph of justice. A particularly haunting story which reveals the ugliest sides of human nature and the deepest, darkest recesses of the human mind, we see one man’s struggle with all the odds stacked up against him to reveal the truth of the matter, even while under the hot pursuit of the authorities, in a factual setting vaguely reminiscent of Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Miserables.

However, the similarity to Les Miserables actually pretty much ends there. Doctor Tenma’s quest is a long, drawn out one over 74 episodes, a daunting number which made me hesitate before starting this series. However, those who are patient enough to see the hidden potential of this series are definitely well rewarded. Though starting slow, the series picks up its pace at around episode 25 or thereabouts, and you would find that you simply cannot stop. I daresay one won’t rush through the entire series at a breckneck speed, but you would want to see what happens in the end. The slow revelation of one piece of information a time with the most impeccable timing also helps to curb boredom at any one point.

Monster also features one of the most brilliantly and beautifully crafted villains of all time whose ability to manipulate people and turn the situation to his favour is so otherworldly that I had to repeatedly check the genres stated for this series for the ‘supernatural’ tag because I was so sure he wasn’t human.

For lovers of mysteries and psychological thrillers, this series is a must watch, for it is heralded as one of the greatest masterpieces of anime of the thriller and mystery genre and I do not think this label is in the slightest bit exaggerated at all.

#13 Mobile Suit Gundam Seed and Destiny (both seasons)

Type: TV Series

Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Romance, Sci-fi, Space, Military

Episodic Count: 50 + 50

Year: 2002-03, 2004-05

More information at: http://myanimelist.net/anime/93/Mobile_Suit_Gundam_Seed

Gundam Seed and Destiny are by far the only Gundam series that I am extremely enamoured with. Though my love for this series may have been due to the fact that I watched it quite early in my anime watching series, I have no doubt that it was a combination of mecha, war, military, and characters which behave with more caution and who are more emotionally attached to the significance of fighting in a war that has made the show a dealbreaker for me.

It is probably no coincidence that Kira Yamato, the protagonist of Seed, is also hailed as Kira “Jesus” Yamato in the online anime community (though it is questionable whether this was meant as a compliment or not), due to his overwhelming capacity for love of humanity and the people he cares for. This is unlike the other more brainless, hot-headed protagonists or those overwhelmed with blind hatred that have plagued most shounen shows and other spin-offs in the Gundam series. Kira is a manifestation of a more humane, realistic reaction to war. The fact that he has to fight against his best friend, Athrun, who is on the other side, causes him immense pain. Seed and Destiny are also known for their romantic pairings, and Cagalli and Lacus Clyne and strong female characters that hold their own and serve as great partners to the respective male protagonists.

Gundam Seed and Destiny represents my favourite genre combination of sci-fi, military, romance and drama and is a very good introduction into the non-purely-romance focused world of anime. I scarcely think I would have been able to move on from Code Geass and/or Death Note without the help of Gundam Seed. (However, I would have to say that Gundam Seed surpasses Destiny by miles. Shinn was a highly irritating protagonist and he was only more tolerable because everything else that made Seed awesome was still excellently retained in Destiny.)

#12 Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (Sunday Without God)

Type: TV series

Genres: Mystery, Fantasy

Episodic Count: 12

Year: 2013

More information at: http://myanimelist.net/anime/16009/Kamisama_no_Inai_Nichiyoubi

A hidden gem lost and forgotten within the chaos of Summer 2013 anime, Sunday Without God’s lush and gorgeous setting in a world full of autumn and evening colours is highly deceiving. The warm tones and beautiful scenery conceal a harsh truth – that humanity was gradually descending into a state of non-humanity (or the Undead) instead of being able to truly die or reproduce. The only way that the dead’s souls can truly be put to rest is if a gravekeeper digs them a grave.

Ai, a twelve year old girl, is one of the gravekeepers tasked with the job of preparing graves of the people in the village she lives in. With such a solemn and ultimately depressing vocation, Ai’s optimistic spirit, even if said to be naive, presents a fresh perspective to the extremely dire world situation. Though Ai comes across as stubborn at times, she soon learns as she travels through the world, how people really are different and have different wants and needs. She quickly adapts, never failing to serve as a warm beacon of guiding light for those who souls are on the fringe of tumbling into darkness. I personally admire her ability, at such a tender age, to hold onto her inner strength despite encountering adversity and life-changing situations (which I shall not reveal for fear of spoilers), in being able to strike a balance between being able to make a positive difference to others’ lives and yet hold back from unnecessary struggle when there is no more to be done.

The story is  broken into arcs, with the first dealing with Ai’s past and identity, which also helped to entirely shift her future perspective and her mission in life. Later on the arcs are mostly told of new characters she meets while travelling the world and how the difference is made. Personally, I felt that this was no ordinary journey, because the little adventures she has are certainly unique plot-wise.

Sunday Without God encapsulates a closed in world where one can find breathtaking beauty in the midst of overwhelming darkness. It is hard to describe what a profound impact this series continues to hold on me despite leaving some questions of the world unanswered, being atypical of a long light novel crammed into a one- cour anime. However, tears are largely guaranteed, and up till now I don’t think I have quite fully recovered. (My avatar is actually Ai by the way, for those who have no idea where it originates from)

#11 M3: Sono Kuroki Kagane

Type: TV series

Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Sci-fi, Psychological

Episodic Count: 24

Year: 2014

More information at: http://myanimelist.net/anime/23133/M3:_Sono_Kuroki_Hagane

M3: The Black Metal looks like any typical dark mecha anime at first glance, with yet another hopelessly depressing context where humanity is doomed to extinction. This here comes in the form of a Lightless Realm, a reality where the darkness literally swallows everything and aberrations prowl. As it slowly encroaches upon the space that the last of humanity can breathe in, it devours all things full of light and hope, leaving despair and darkness in its wake. Technology has scarcely developed at a pace sufficient enough to outrun the growth of the Realm, and it is only due to the special abilities or biological make-up of our protagonist, a rather sullen, angsty at first glance teenage boy where things start to at least look slightly better.

The premise outlined above probably will not be anything new to sci-fi, dystopian or even certain mecha fans. The entire series adopts a very dark, greyish colour palette which reflects this depressing reality in full, and it also takes no time in outlining right at the start how bleak the future of humanity is. We have the ‘group of friends fighting together’ premise here, except that they don’t actually start out as friends. As we all know, throwing eight frightened emotionally scarred teens, who were abandoned by one way or another by society together, give them giant metal robots and everything implodes, though not in the physically explosive sense. Yet, what separates this series from other mecha series is its heavy reliance on exploring and expounding the effects of childhood memories and scars on teenagehood.  In this series, the tag ‘action’ barely manages to hide the essence of what this series represents – whatever physical action that ensues is but a culmination and representation of a clash between warring emotions.

Putting the action aside, there are numerous plot twists which may seem outrageous to some assuming that this series follows any sort of a formulaic approach, but they served as fuel and ignition to my largely jaded mind. Each of the characters are a lot more twisted when they actually seem in the first place in various unexpected ways, further enabling it to be singled out amongst the commonality of the other more mediocre anime. I personally liked the romantic couplings here though I have found that few on the interwebs agree with me.

M3: The Black Metal appears to be appealing to few. In fact, I consider it highly underrated given its low rating of 6.78 on MAL for reasons that I cannot fathom. My guess is that M3 has presented a novel angle to the psychological-mecha anime mix that falls out of the both ends of the tolerance spectrum – with longstanding fans of fanservice-mecha-action anime versus the Neon Genesis Evangelion series on the other. However, given that I belong on neither end, its possibly why I am so comfortable with the way M3 dives into such themes without entirely removing the entertainment factor or being too cryptic for mere mortals like me to understand.

M3 will always also mean a lot more to me than to any other anime fan for a reason: for such a dark series, it ironically served as the flash of hope which I still cling to now at a time when I was completely convinced that (a) anime no longer presented any surprises to me, and (b) any series that falls below a 7/10 rating on MAL will surely not be a series I will be emotionally attached to. M3 has served to remind me that it is still possible to me to be excited enough to fully marathon a series from episode one (it has however, been the last series ever since) and that I should never judge a series by its rating, a trap I often fall into to maximise the utility of my anime time.

So that’s it for #11-#15! It seems that this post is full of the dark and dreary, but it represents an important cornerstone of what type of anime appeals to me the most, and it also shapes what I continue to choose to watch in the near future. I am pretty sure that the next five will probably contain titles that appeal to both female and male audiences alike, so look forward to the next Top Anime post, and hope you enjoyed reading this. Feel free to leave a like or comment on anything I have mentioned, and thank you for reading!

Jan 15 and Feb 15 Updates!

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am going to list out what anime I have been watching so far and have yet to have completed; and also a mid-way opinion on it and whether I recommend that particular series or not 😀 Gonna split this up into two sections here 🙂

*what I mean by episode count is the current episode I am on, not the number that has been released so far!

Currently Airing (Winter 15)

Aldnoah Zero 2nd Season

Genres: AAldnoah.Zero 2nd Seasonction, Mecha

Episode count: 3/12

Plot summary: Seeking for revenge, Count Saazbaum, a Martian, attacked the Earth. Later on, the war between the Terrans and Martians ended with Earth’s Terrans gaining the victory. However, nineteen months later, the battle between them continues. Martians still continues to invade the Earth and the Terrans to protect it.

How’s it so far: Not bad for a second season. Slaine is shaping up to be a more interesting character than the first season. And who doesn’t like watching Inaho being so calmly badass and smoothly dissecting his enemy’s weaknesses and winning? Its pure entertainment for sure. Watching the harems develop is really hilarious as well.

Recommended if: You have watched the first season. And you like mecha fights. And badassery,

Not recommended if: You don’t like slightly one-dimensional characters or bland dialogue.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu TV

Genres: Action, Comedy, School, Supernatural

Episode Count: 6/22Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (TV)

Plot Summary: A humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher—an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth—unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he’s the best teacher they’ve ever had!

How’s it so far: Interesting premise, hilarious comedy. Some interesting themes about teaching and education. But I personally don’t see what is the rage about this.

Recommended if: you have read the manga, and you would like to see it animated.

Not recommended if: you have too little time to try something new, and teacher-student dynamics are not your thing.

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! (i.e. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!)

Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!Genres: Comedy, Magic, Slice of Life

Episode Count: 6/12

Plot Summary: This is the tale of five unlikely heroes who unite under the name of the “Earth Defense Club” alongside a pink wombat-like alien to defend their world and restore love to all; however, does a sinister organization lurk behind the scenes of Binan High school?

How’s it so far: FINALLY A MAHOU SHOUNEN SERIES. The transformation scenes are totally hilarious; and its a very good parody of the usual mahou shoujo type of anime.

Recommended if: You want to see something that defies typical mahou shoujo gender stereotypes. (Yes, calling all Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki Kun fans here). Or if you would want a good laugh at the end of a long, stress-filled day. Or if … you just like watching bishies prancing around in ridiculous costumes. Oh, and also if you don’t mind the rather strong bromance vibes (Calling FREE! fans)

Not Recommended if: You prefer your mahou shoujo as they are, untouched.

Death Parade

Death ParadeGenres: Game, Psychological

Episode count: 7/12

Plot Summary: After death, humans go to either heaven or hell. But for some, at the instant of their death, they arrive at Quindecim, a bar attended by the mysterious white-haired Decim. He challenges them to the Death Game, wherein they wager their lives and reveal their true natures. Decim himself is the ultimate arbitrator of who wins and who loses, who will go to heaven, and who will go to hell.

How’s it so far: Absolutely brilliant. There hasn’t been a single anime I have encountered that broke me down into a puddle of tears one episode and had me laughing so hard the next. The dark side of human nature is forced to light here so it sometimes comes as a shock that some of those negative sentiments resound within me. For an episodic series, side characters’ backstories are explained so well that enable one to empathise with them and their actions. I personally like the themes explored here, and I have fun thinking about whether Decim’s judgment is morally wrong or correct.

Recommended if: You like your entertainment to be thought-provoking, and you are looking for some depth. You like delving into moral gray areas. I personally recommend this anime to all 🙂

Not recommended if: You are just looking for light, fun anime.

Durarara!!x2 Shou

Genres: Action, Mystery, Supernatural, Urban

Durarara!!x2 ShouEpisode Count: 5/12

Plot Summary: Half a year after the turmoil that rocked the entire city of Ikebukuro – Peace has once again returned to the city and people are living each day normally. The high school students enjoy their days of youth as the strongest and most dangerous man of Ikebukuro works diligently. The informant plots (or plans) a new scheme and the headless rider is pursued by the cops as she rides through the night… But soon this normal will be cut short by the abnormal. Slowly but surely, the unknown will seize the city and face an all new storm.

How’s it so far: Absolutely captivating. This is one series set out to entertain. There may be some confusion sometimes due to its disjunct narrative structure, but it all pays off when the pieces all fall together, like a finished jigsaw puzzle. This series really pulls off quirky, entertaining characters that are unique in themselves. If there’s any cast of characters that I would like to be friends with, its this set.

Recommended if: You have watched the first season. Even if you haven’t, please do give it a try, its awesome 😀 If you are looking for a very unique way of telling a story and you are in love with the idea of one person’s actions affecting another, and then setting off a chain of unexpected events, with an unexpected conclusion.

Not recommended if: You really don’t have brain juice to spare, and you just want a linear plot of sorts. But really, this is NEVER not recommended. 😀

Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor – Exodus

Genres: Drama, Mecha, Sci-fi

Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor - ExodusEpisode Count: 7/26

Plot Summary: MAL doesn’t provide one, lol.

How’s it so far: About as confusing the first season. There is vast improvement in the action scenes though. Some of them look like they belong to Shingeki no Kyojin except that they are fighting in giant robots. Great exploration of the theme of making children fight to protect humanity.

Recommended if: You have watched the first season, and you like the overall feel of the show. Also, awesome action mecha scenes.

Not recommended if: You hate being confused. I personally still have troubles understanding this show, and there isn’t much help online either ><

Tokyo Ghoul √A

Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen

Tokyo Ghoul √AEpisode count: 7/12

Plot Summary: In modern day Tokyo, society lives in fear of Ghouls: mysterious creatures who look exactly like humans — yet hunger insatiably for their flesh. None of this matters to Ken Kaneki, a bookish and ordinary young man, until a dark and violent encounter turns him into the first ever Ghoul-human half breed. Trapped between two worlds, Ken must survive the violent conflicts of warring Ghoul factions, while attempting to learn more about Ghoul society, his newfound powers, and the fine line between man and monster.

How’s it so far: More interesting than I would have thought. Though Kaneki doesn’t feature much at the start, we see his involvement behind the scenes. Kaneki gets more development and so do the other characters.

Recommended if: You watched the first season, and you personally like how Kaneki develops and deals with all that crap thrown his way. Or you like tortured, brooding protagonists with a kind heart.

Not recommended if: You are looking for a faithful manga adaptation. Or you just don’t like horror and gore in genre. Other than that, it is a pretty good show ^^

Non-airing anime but planning to finish 

Ashita no Nadja (not sure whether I want to continue this, though.)

Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Mushishi

Samurai Flamenco (just started this)

White Album 2 (just started this)

Yep that’s all from me! 🙂 Feel free to comment about anything or agree/disagree with me on what I have said so far 😀 I may not be doing reviews for all of these anime even if I have completed them though, it’ll have to depend on whether I have anything much to write about the anime 🙂

*All images and plot summaries were obtained from http://www.myanimelist.net and do not belong to me.*