Patrick Lum bids farewell with a list of must see anime
All things must come to an end, and my stewardship of Cel Shaded is no exception. It’s been fun talking mess about new anime with ya’ll every month, and I leave you all now in the capable hands of Dave Kozicki, since I’m jetting off to Japan for a while. One last parting gift - the shows (not movies) that I consider essential viewing. So – until we meet again… stay gold.
10. DUSK MAIDEN OF AMNESIA
Romance with creepy bits. The art style’s nothing to write home about but the way scenes are shot and composed and the occasional plunge into absolutely bizarre visual messaging, allied to a story that balances romantic fluff with sinister terror, means that Dusk Maiden is definitely worth your time.
9. TONARI NO KAIBUTSU-KUN
A shoujo that’s unafraid to move quickly and compellingly, with an interestingly broken set of main characters that nonetheless remain largely relatable. Unfortunately ends halfway through the manga story, and is thus incomplete – a pity.
8. SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO 2199
Remake of the classic 70s anime, preserving the unabashed optimism of the era but tempered with more modern production values and writing. Fantastic all around.
7. DAILY LIVES OF HIGH SCHOOL BOYS
Skit show that encompasses exactly what it says on the cover, but gutbustingly hilarious, with megaton jokes that hit every minute. A similar attitude to Gintama (which is also good), but you don’t have to watch two hundred episodes.
A beautifully constructed shoujo that deconstructs the tsundere archetype with skill and care. Despite some minor faults near the ending, a thrilling, enthralling journey that may thaw your icy heart. Compulsive viewing, once it really gets going.
5. Ghost in the shell: stand alone Complex
Cybernetic police procedural set in the near-future. Expands on the world of the movies, giving some themes more time to breath while letting the engaging and interesting cast of Section 9 shine. Standalone episodes can oftentimes be just as enthralling as the complex ones, too.
4. BlaCk laGoon
If Quentin Tarantino directed an anime, it’d turn out something like this. Piracy in the South China Seas has never been so bloody, so dramatic or so damn cool. Unapologetically raw and violent, but in a dirty, destructive kind of way; like a shot of pure adrenaline right in your arm.
3. tenGan-toppa Gurren laGann
Giant robots and fiery determination; a hot-blooded, insanely charismatic anime that isn’t afraid to go absolutely bonkers nuts to entertain with a simple but powerful message at its core. Row, row, fight the power!
A realistic take on living in space; starts episodically slice-of-life, but becomes an amazingly powerful drama by its end. It’s the characters you’ll find yourself rooting for, but the well-researched and thought-out treatment of living in space is at least just as cool. Not well known, but should be.
1. Cowboy Bebop
Stylish, action-packed and all-around cool, Bebop is a recognized classic for a reason. From its funky jazz music to the emotionallycharged performance of its cast, the show bounces from action to comedy to serious crime noir to deep space thriller and never falters while doing so. If you can only watch one anime in your entire life, I’d make it this one. Simply the best.