Anime: My Top 10 Choices (part 1)

Enter the Not-Completely-Otaku

So, I’ve been a fan of Japanese animation, or “anime,” for over a decade. I decided to take a quick break from my fishie hubs to write something relevant to my other long-time hobby. And yes, I am “one of those people,” who attend anime conventions and “cosplays” (creates and wears a costume of an anime character) and I write “fanfiction” and draw pokemon.

Now that I’ve outted myself as a total nerd, onto my favorite animes I’ve collected over the years! All of these anime should be available in English dub (voices) and some of them have adult themes. I like a wide variety of shows and am willing to watch something that’s not popular, so this is quite a mix.

If you think you might enjoy one or more of these series, check out Funimation's website in the links section. You can stream (LEGALLY) a few episodes to see if you'd enjoy the series.

Trailers and clips are provided in this hub and are screened for appropriateness. However, due to the content of some of the anime, use discretion viewing videos. Thank you.

Baccano! Opening

Baccano!

Funimation’s summary: “Don't let nobody tell you there's no future in a life of crime, because some rackets can last forever. But we'll get around to all that immortality jazz later. A mafia turf war is raging on the mean streets of the Big Apple, a place where regular joes bounce between backdoor booze joints and the breadline. But this caper ain't about a simple gangland brawl. It's about hoods who can't seem to die proper after catching a bullet or five between the eyes. Sadistic hit-men and the dames they love, mad bombers going boom, monsters going bump and soul sucking alchemists bootlegging an elixir of eternal life.

Just remember, Baccano! ain't about beginnings and ends. It's about the twists and turns, bub. Paths don't cross in this story - They collide. Every Dick and Jane plays the lead and it's gonna be a bumpy ride.”

Baccano! Is a fast pace series with multiple plot lines and sub plots set in America in the 1930’s (think gangsters and the Prohibition!). The title means "ruckus" or "din" in Italian and it's definitely a very good title for this series! As the summary suggests, there are many, many “main” characters (19 to be exact; so many you begin to wonder if it was written by a Russian novelist), but all of the characters are extremely endearing and quirky. The nice thing about this series is that it’s not particularly long (16 episodes, although the last 3 are OAVs and not related directly to the first 13), but it packs enough punch to be twice as long, yet manages not to feel too rushed. When you get to the last few episodes and everything clicks into place, you just sit their marveling and going wow, what did I miss? Definitely a show you could watch twice (or more) trying to gather up all the little details and laugh at the characters antics.

The Good: the best thing about Baccano! For me is that intricate plot, which is both humorous and serious. I like to think and observe. The second best thing about Baccano! Is the characters. There are no “flat” characters in the show because even the minor characters have distinct personalities. I enjoy the art and animation and character designs quite a bit as well. The English voice acting is fantastic to the point where my Dad asked, “What are you watching with a Brooklyn accent?”

The Bad: Because it has so many plots, you have to pay exclusive attention to the show. This is not something you can put on as background noise or you’ll miss a lot. Also, there is humorous violence/gore and a lot of it. Most of the main characters are criminals or organize crime members, so there’s plenty of guns and blood and knives.

Black Lagoon

Black Lagoon

Funimation’s summary: “Rokuro Okajima is meek, mundane and metropolitan. His business trip to South East Asia turns from pleasure cruise to festival of pain when modern day pirates board the ship and take him hostage. Revy, Dutch and Benny are merciless, maniacal and mean. Together, they make up the crew of the PT Boat, the Black Lagoon. They are the exact opposite of Rokuro in every way but one... ”

Black Lagoon is another organized crime show, although it’s set in Roanapur, a chain of islands that house all sorts of mercenaries, mafias, and all sorts of riff-raff. Rokuro, or “Rock” as he is nicknamed, is dragged into this underworld and makes friends with some unlikely mercenaries. The show follows the twists and turns of their mission, where Rock learns about survival at the basest form. Currently there are two seasons and a third one pending. I am not usually a fan of second season, but the Second Barrage blew the first season out of the water. So I can say, yes, it gets better. And it seems like it's more than 24 episodes, yet leaves you waiting for more. The setting of the show is fairly dark and surprisingly philosophical underlined with black humor and subtle power battles in the underworld.

The Good: The characters make the show. You may not like them all, but you will certainly remember them. Each character presented is complex with different motivations, pasts, relationships, and dreams. The plot is surprisingly thoughtful and flows very well, balancing the action and the still moments in the series. The animation is very well done and the voice acting, again, is excellent.

The Bad: Need I say it? Blood, gore, and violence. And not in a funny way. Drugs, kidnapping, illegal activities. Lots of cussing! Definitely not showing the good side of humanity.

Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu (silly sequel)

Full Metal Panic!

Funimation’s summary: “It's tough to keep your grades up without having to take off at a moment's notice to save the world. But for Sousuke Sagara, undercover high school student and member of the mercenary group Mithril, life in Tokyo seemed the same as always. But underneath the promising exterior spin the wheels of a conspiracy that threaten to destroy the peace. A new threat has arisen: Amalgam. An unknown element with advanced mech technology, this mysterious organization has been running things from behind the scenes.

As dissension spreads throughout the ranks of Mithril, Sousuke faces his own internal struggle. Spread thin between schoolwork and war, the powers that be have decided to lighten his load... beginning with Kaname! Life and death hang in the balance as the clash between good and evil scale new heights. When the smoke clears, Sousuke's path will be the one that he forges for himself.”

This is a show I could watch over and over again, and it never ceases to be amusing. Although the premise itself is fairly serious (terrorists anyone?), Sousuke trying to be a “normal” teenager is infinitely funny, mostly because he points out how silly teenagers are and partly because, well, who uses a condom as a water canteen? Kaname, who actually is a normal teenager, finds his aggravating, further muddling Sousuke's attempts to fit in. Fullmetal Panic! Takes everyday situations and makes them utterly absurd, while following a pretty solid plot filled with action and heroic, combining high school and military in an unholy fashion.

The Good: Despite the plot, most of this series (and the spin-offs) is pretty light-hearted and amusing. The characters grow on you (somewhat like fungi in the case of Kurtz) and the animation is bright and clear (and somewhat blinding with the bright blue hair).

The Bad: A bit of cartoony violence but nothing too graphic.

Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

Funimation’s summary: “Mugen is a fierce animal-like warrior with a unique Bboying (break-dance) inspired fighting style. Jin has a more traditional style but don’t think of this as a weakness because his skills are amazing. The two contrasting samurai warriors are far from friends, yet their separate paths seem to cross anyways. Mugen is wandering aimlessly through the city when he stumbles upon a teahouse where he meets Jin and Fuu (A ditzy waitress, but don’t think she doesn’t have anything hidden up her sleeves). Fuu convinces them both to come with her in search of a mysterious samurai that smells like sunflowers and their journey begins. This modernized hip-hop tale breaks the barriers of the common, historical, samurai anime.”

Samurai Champloo has the distinct honor of being very… weird. But in a good way. The story follows Jin, Mugen, and Fuu as they wander around the country side searching for “the samurai who smells like sunflowers.” This show parodies samurais, having the “weed” episode and an episode about baseball, which were not exactly historically correct, but very humorous. The plot weaves a bit, with a few surprises, but mostly it is straightforward.

The Good: it’s a parody, which is automatically good in my book. The three main characters have strong personalities and bicker, resulting in some witty dialogue. I think that the stylization of the show makes it however. The art, the animation, and the fight scenes are supremely done and the voice acting is also good. The soundtrack is amazing.

The Bad: I felt the ending did not do the rest of the series justice. It was okay but could’ve been better. A bit of violence, mostly stylized and intense, but not excessively gory or bloody.

Speed Grapher

Speed Grapher

Funimation’s summary: “It's been over a decade since the Bubble War, when the global economy burst. The rich got richer, and the poor were out of luck. Welcome to Tokyo, the city where all the winners came to jerk each other off. If you've got money, you can buy anything your sick mind can dream up. If you don't, you just try not to get crushed beneath the wheels. Only the wicked rule here.

Enter the Club, a secret society pandering to the ultra-rich and fulfilling their deepest desires legal or otherwise. Sent to infiltrate the underground elite, Saiga, once a renowned war photographer now reduced to tabloid journalism, stumbles upon a depraved ceremony and discovers the ultimate beauty in Tokyo's darkest catacombs. With a tragic young girl named Kagura in tow, Saiga flees from his enemies and his own inner demons. A single kiss has ignited a chain of events that could force the entire ruling class to their knees"

Speed Grapher is probably the most graphic (sexually and violently) on this list.Definitely rated R. I almost didn't list it, but it is a good series and one of my favorites. It's a high-speed thriller with the main bad guy chasing Saiga, the protagonist, in order to retrieve Kagura, who grants people their true wishes. This alternate world explores what might happen when you combine the rich, injustice, and super powers.

The Good: The plot is very tight and once it gets going it keeps on going. There's no fillers or fluff, just action. It also explores some unflattering psyche of the characters with fetishes and violence. You really get into the characters and the action.

The Bad: violence and sex and sex fetishes. It's graphic. Lots of gore, guns, and photography. I found the art a little too stylized, but didn't find it too distracting.

End of Part 1

That's the end of part 1. Part 2 will be up shortly with the other half of the list because if it wasn't split, this would be a massive hub.

Enjoy :)

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RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 5 years ago from Illinois

Cool! I haven't seen Speed Grapher but I agree with all the rest of these! It's refreshing because so often people's top anime lists just have the same childish, lowest common denominator trash instead of the good stuff. You should write more about anime!

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