Shinto-Cetra wrote:"Anime series" as in excluding movies? And what about OVAs?
Yes, excluding movies. I'm specifically talking about TV/Web streaming anime series. As far as OVA's go, aren't they usually extra content for existing shows? Excuse my ignorance in having to ask that question. Lol.
OVA=straight to DVD/Blu-Ray (or VHS/LD/VCD/etc for some real old stuff.)
Anyway, I've decided to include only what followed the 25~ episode minute format, TV-aired or not. Movie wise it's mostly Ghbili films for me...Anyway!
1 Revolutionary Girl Utena. Feminism: The Anime. Amazing soundtrack, insane but well done plot, likable characters, romance and angst, deconstruction of gender roles, surrealism to the max. Long before the Legend of Korra, Utena and Anthy (maybe Wakaba can come too
) had a same-sex relationship, and it was much more believable and realistically paced too. I liked all the characters, even ones who are deplorable at first like Saionji get more interesting and sympathetic as the show progresses. The duels and dueling themes are so epic! I liked the fairy tale deconstruction of Utena becoming a Prince to save princesses, usually not the other way around. And the surrealism isn't just plot related, there are also the gag episodes that never felt like filler. Nanami's egg (which is silly AND symbolic), the one where Utena and Anthy switch bodies cause of a spicy curry explosion...Kunihiko Ikuhara is a maestro.
2 Record of Lodoss War (13 ep OVA, NOT Chronicles of the Heroic Knight TV series.) Despite comparisons with Lord of the Rings, excluding books it actually predates LOTR. And aside from the comparisons with their abandoned dwarven mine episodes, they are really only superficially similar. Ryo Mizuno may have created Lodoss franchise, but from what I've read and heard of the recently translated Lodoss novel, I think many changes were for the better. Deedlit is one of my Waifus
. I like the environmentalism she preaches, plus she and Parn do make a cute couple. Also the world building and lore of it are top notch. Many still scenes from Lodoss could be landscapes on their own...aside from Miyazaki movies, there aren't many anime I can say that about.
3 Mahwaru Penguindrum. I said Kunihiko Ikuhara was a maestro, didn't I? Penguindrum is to family and destiny what Utena was to Gender roles. I rank it lower than Utena simply because the score (especially the Duel themes of Utena) are better than the idol music of Penguindrum, though the fact that I enjoyed an idol soundtrack at all is remarkable. I really like the family dynamic of Himari, Kanba and Shoma. Like Utena it is very surreal both in seriousness and comedy. Props to Ikuhara to including a fictionalized version of the Aum Shinriyiko sarin gas attacks, and doing it tastefully.
4 Cowboy Bebop. This anime needs no introduction, but if you really don't know, it's a space trucker series/bounty hunter series that gets existential. Spike and Jet start off just trying to make a living, but as the show progresses, one learns more and more about everyone's past. Spike in particular has quite the tragic backstory. But then there are the silly episodes, the mushroom one being my personal favorite. Yoko Kanno's music, Watanabe's direction, the world building of how things got this way in space, and Steve Blum as Spike are just a few standouts.
5 Ruruoni Kenshin (seasons 1-2 only.) This was my first anime ever, and still is one of my favorite period pieces. The sword techniques are rooted in physics but seem kinda ridiculous but still are insanely cool. Also the fact that it's a shonen anime that's not afraid to discuss political themes was really well-done. Thank you Nobuhiro Watsuki, for NOT making Yahiko the stereotypical bratty angry protagonist. Kenshin as a protagonist is seemingly young but is actually in his early 20's and silly and aloof. Also the debates that precede the fights are amazing and make it more than just and action show. Kenshin vs Saito and Kenshin vs Shishio stand out in particular. I like the semi-traditional Meiji-era Japanese aesthetic. Season 3 doesn't count because it's all filler, and bad filler at that.