My reviews began as a sloppy attempt to add content to my website. I didn't consider maintenance, which made it harder and harder to update over time, so I let the section lapse. I considered dumping it after stagnating for years, but I realized anime fans changed a lot while I stayed mostly the same. Where do people like me go for anime reviews? I decided this would be the purpose of my review section.
I'm an old school anime fan, so fantasy/sci-fi titles in the 80s and 90 were right up my alley. Older anime fans loved the technical aspects that gave anime a majesty mostly absent in modern titles. Currently anime is defined by things like moe and high school romantic comedies. That's not a bad thing, but it certainly is a shift from when I started watching this stuff. Being counter to popular anime culture, these reviews are not intended for most anime fans, and that probably includes you. But maybe it doesn't...
I have no corporate sponsors, advertisements, fans, and probably no enemies either. I belong to no community I worry about offending, nor do I have a circle of blogger friends I feel obligated to support. My reviews are between you and me. If you trust me, and get what I'm saying, I hope you'll find the lack of outside influence refreshing. Sometimes I consider the fan consensus for a title, but this site stands on its own. Mind you, a big reason I do reviews is because I rarely agree with others. This probably includes you. But maybe it doesn't...
I am not a connoisseur of anime. I don't discuss animation studios or directors. Connoisseurs care about these things. I only watch anime because I like it, and if I'm not in the mood, I don't (I hate listening to people who are clearly burned out on anime, put down shows instead of giving anime a rest.) I only watch anime I think I might enjoy. My tastes in anime are very diverse, but some stuff just isn't for me (otome anime for instance). I don't watch titles just to hate on them, and my ego isn't so big that I watch titles JUST so everyone knows my take on them. This isn't my job.
Reviews are cut down to the basics, and not tailored specifically to anime fans. This means they're often redundant, and could easily make very clear points by use of references or anime lingo. I've never liked the high bar to entry into the anime world, and I try to keep reviews at a level a relative newcomer could understand and find useful.
You're probably here for one of two reasons: You want to read opinions on a show you've seen, or you don't want to waste time watching crap. I focusing on older titles because they're often overlooked. After you've watched the latest catalog of anime titles, you either wait for the next season, or watch a title from the past. There's plenty of great titles you've never seen, and more than a few to avoid. Hopefully you'll find these reviews informative enough to make informed decisions on what to watch, or find an interesting take on a title you've already seen.
No one cares what I think and I'm well aware of that. But I think nearly everyone gets asked for recommendations sooner or later. If you're starting from scratch (and for some reason on my site) I'd guess you need a starting point, so my page would be incomplete without one of these lists. So here you go.
|Record of Lodoss War - OVA / TV
This is pretty much the defacto fantasy anime. It looks like a simplistic RPG based story when it starts, but it develops into a very good story where most things are a shade of gray. The soundtrack is a particular feature which helps the epic feel.
|Kodocha ( A Child's Toy )
An anime about the exploits of an eleven old girl certainly doesn't sound like any sort of ground breaking material, but I guess it simply has to be seen to be believed. Beware since this anime is not for people who are new to anime. If you're a veteran anime fan, then I highly recommend it. Easily the funniest anime I've watched, and funnier than most non anime I've watched as well.
|Mahou Tsukai Tai! - OVA (Magic Users Club)
So many series try to do what this title does and fail at it. It's main feature is being absolutely charming. It's a great production with high quality animation, designs and with a good story. It's also got some of the best (and often risqué) comedy around.
The best anime romance title ever created didn't need giant robots, magic or any other cliché anime formula. Instead it's a (relatively) simple story about a guy who falls in love with the manager of the boarding house he lives in, and the odd cast of characters that are his neighbors. A long watch at 96 episodes, but absolutely worth it for the very sweet story.
There isn't any one stand out attribute that I would say: "watch it for this reason". Code Geass is a very popular. It has a lot of things like flashy designs, good animation, interesting backdrop and gripping story. The main reason I recommend Code Geass is because it's entertaining as hell. That's like saying watch it because it's good but... uh, yeah. It is.
|Area 88 - OVA
This anime is what I would consider the best war drama in anime, but also one of the best character driven dramas period. While it's a dated title, the animation is very good for its time, along with a great soundtrack and surprisingly realistic detail in its rendition of fighter jets.
|Martian Successor Nadesico
This title always struck me as special, due to self parody. As a giant robot comedy, it works very well. That's what most remember it for. At the same time it fully points out not only how silly giant robots are, but also many of the cliche aspects of anime as well... then proceeds to do all that in full force. For this reason I've come to think of Nadesico as an anime fan's anime; which never got the recognition I think it deserved. Not revolutionary, but a fun title with a good story.
|Vampire Princess Miyu - OVA
Whenever I hear of the classics of anime, this is a title that springs to mind. With a well produced mysterious surreal dark environment, Vampire Miyu is not only beautiful with visual aesthetics, but is well produced musically as well. The music in particular gives everything an often chilling feel I've always thought of as unique and I've come to adore over the years. The dub is rather bad, so if you don't like subtitles you'd probably want to skip this one. You'll be missing out though.
|Hourglass of Summer - Interactive DVD
By some standards this is a date sim game since the protagonist focus is on a particular girl presented in the story, but having seen it I find it hard to think of it that way. The story is very good, and the characters interesting and likable. I also love how introspective Kotaro is. The best feature of this title is how Kotaro ends up time traveling through a summer, but with no control and each day out of order. This causes him to face different consequences he unintentionally caused and presents new challenges as he tries to prevent the death of his friend before the summer ends. This was also made into an anime that's not very good.
|Combustible Campus Guardress
It's frustrating how much crap made it to America when this title never did. CCG is your typical save the world by preventing a demon gate from opening story. The animation is seriously top notch. It seems to follow a very serious vein, but is at all times a (risque) comedy. Certainly worth finding a fan sub of this anime.
|Vampire Hunter D||Influential||One of the first titles to hit American shores. Old school, but cool.|
|Neon Genesis Evangelion||Classic||Must see for anime fans. You may like it, or you may not|
|Battle Angel||Classic||Sad but soo good!|
|Mermaid Saga||Classic||Mermaid Scar + Mermaid Forest = twisted classic anime|
|Fairy Princess Ren||Most Insane Anime||Wow man... wow.|
One concept that isn't very big in traditional live action shows are well done opening sequences. I guess it's no surprise that many shows skip them altogether these days. In anime however an opening is considered a feature of a title. An opening is an odd mix of animation, music, and presentation while capturing the idea behind the show.
|Darker Than Black||view|
|Kimagure Orange Road||view|
|Tenchi Muyo TV||view|
|Future GPX Cyber Formula Saga||view|
|Record of Lodoss War TV||view|
|New Cutey Honey (op 2)||view|
|Rosario + Vampire (op 2)||view|
|Initial D: Stage 4||view|
|Wedding Peach DX||view|
In keeping with my mantra of supporting businesses that aren't giant evil corporations, I recommend Robert's Anime Cornerstore. I'm not a shill, nor do I get kickbacks from them. Fast and friendly service, from a store that's run by an actual anime fan. Been ordering from here for years.