ANIMATION – Top 10 Anime TV Series
Bart: “I’m still checking Japanese TV. Isn’t it that cartoon that causes seizures?” (Bart watches and has a seizure)
Marge: “Bart, what are you doing?” (Marge is having a seizure)
Lisa: “Hey, what the…” (Lisa is having a seizure)
Homer: (comes in, checks around) “Alright.” (falls on the ground and fakes his seizure)
I like watching all kinds of animated cartoons, and because I grew up watching anime, I have no problem with it, so today, I’m going to be giving you my top ten Japanese animated series.
You can either watch the video or read the transcription below. There are videos to promo spots and opening credits below if you want to get a taste of what the shows are like:
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I’m El Salvadorean. I grew up in El Savador. They showed Japanese cartoons on TV all the time.
I was exposed to Miyazaki very early on, when I was three because I watched the show called Heidi that he happened to do layouts on, and his good friend Takahata was the one that directed, but I also liked Battle of the Planets, and I also liked watching Mazinger Z, and those were my cartoons growing up.
Then, I watched all American cartoons once we moved here when I was six, but I was always very partial to Japanese cartoons.
I mean, I liked them. They were very influential in my life. I have no prejudice against them. There are a lot of people that have prejudice against them because there is some really, really raunchy, bad stuff in them a lot of the time, and I totally understand because – yeah, but for me, there’s some incredible animated shows that are just absolutely worth watching, so here’s my list.
Robotech, Okay, this was my cartoon growing up. My parents didn’t allow me to watch more than an hour of television every day, thirty minutes of which were dedicated to watching Robotech.
Robotech was my soap opera. This cartoon was not the watered-down cartoons of the ’80s like He-Man and Thundercats and G.I. Joe and Transformers.
In this cartoon, people died. This was serious. This was serious drama. Bad stuff happened, there was a war going on, people actually died. It was crazy.
My mom – it’s funny, my mom didn’t let me watch G.I. Joe. Why? Because it was too violent. Really? The hadn’t been watching this sucker, because people actually died in this, while in G.I. Joe, the bullets never hit anybody, right?
The only reason it’s my Number Ten is because it hasn’t aged well, it hasn’t aged well at all. It’s not a very good-looking cartoon once you get halfway through the season.
I mean, it’s just – they really started cranking these suckers out, and you can see the quality just gets worse and worse and worse, but it is absolutely worth watching all the way through in spite of the fact that the artwork starts suffering pretty badly by the end.
9. Future Boy Conan
My Number Nine is something that I didn’t become aware of until about a couple of years into Simpsons, and that is Future Boy Conan.
This is a TV show written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a TV show, so it’s a series, I don’t know, twenty episodes long?
Future Boy Conan is very reminiscent of Island in the Sky. It’s almost got the same characters. Conan is very much like Pazu, and Lana is very much like Sheeta in Island in the Sky, but Conan, he’s like – he’s a really tough, very strong kid, and he’s got the most amazing set of toes.
His toes are his superpower, but he’s like a superkid.
It’s insane, and it’s basically about this boy who just lived on this island with his grandfather, and then, this nation was chasing this little girl, and he has to go save her.
It’s incredible. If you can find a copy of Future Boy Conan, I highly recommend it. I have a Chinese copy of the TV show, subtitled in English.
It’s hard to find. I’m sorry that this is my Number Nine.
The story is incredible. Miyazaki, of course, Miyazaki’s storytelling is dead-on incredible. This is a great, great series. Future Boy Conan.
My Number Eight is silly, wackiness, crazy, super low-budget Slayers, the TV show.
Slayers is about Lina Inverse, who’s a sorceress. She tends to destroy everything that she touches, and she saves people, but only by basically destroying their town.
It is silly, crazy madness. It is really low-budget. The characters hardly move, things slide in and out, and that’s why it’s funny. Part of the charm of this cartoon is that it’s so poorly animated, and yet the stories and the characters are so funny, they crack me up.
It’s a fantasy world, and it’s kind of like Lord of the Rings, but complete silly, wacky, making fun of fantasy tropes. It’s great.
Slayers, the television show. The television show, not the movies. The movies aren’t as fun, and they’re really, like, more high-quality than the TV show, so I highly recommend the TV show, not necessarily the movies.
I don’t own Bakuman. The only way I’ve seen Bakuman is online, on these, you know, fansub versions of TV shows.
I actually reviewed the Bakuman manga a few blog articles ago, but Bakuman is basically about two boys who want to become manga artists, and it’s their adventures, and you get to learn all about the manga-creating industry, and it’s awesome.
I highly recommend it, and, if you want to know more about that, then you can go to my article that I wrote.
6. Fairy Tail.
Fairy Tail is relatively new. It’s on Netflix streaming, so you can watch it there, but it’s very, very, very much like the Slayers, only better animation – for Japanese television, anyway.
It’s very, very silly, and, again, it’s fantasy universe. The characters are completely whacked-out, deranged weirdos, which is exactly why it’s fun.
You know, the characters blow up every town they try to save, and that sort of thing, so it’s very formulaic as far as Japanese standard comedy goes, but I liked it because it’s right up my alley in that kind of crazy, weird humor thing.
I like the Japanese animation humor. This reminded me of Slayers, and it does other things that Slayers doesn’t do. It’s really a lot of fun, so I highly recommend my Number Six, Fairy Tail.
5. Fullmetal Alchemist
My Number Five – my Number Five, I also don’t own, it’s also on Netflix streaming, is Fullmetal Alchemist.
Fullmetal Alchemist – high-octane adventure about a boy who screwed up his alchemical thing trying to bring his mom back to life, ended up ruining his brother’s life by trapping him in a suit of armor because his body got destroyed.
He also lost his arm, so he has this metal arm – and their quest for this Philosopher’s Stone so that the boy can give his younger brother’s body back.
It’s exciting. It’s very cool. It’s a fantasy world, and it’s very dramatic, and it’s a lot of fun. I highly recommend watching this show. It is Fullmetal Alchemist.
Yes, it’s Naruto. Why? Because it’s got great fighting.
It’s the same kind of show as things like Dragon Ball Z. It follows the same kind of tradition as that and One Piece and that sort of thing, only the reason why Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and all this other stuff is not even in my list is because I just don’t like them.
I understand them but they didn’t do anything for me. Naruto, for some reason, did, and it’s very formulaic, it’s a very Shounen Jump formula.
You’ve got the spunky protagonist who’s the, “I’m going to do it! I’m going to be the best!: archetype.
Then you’ve got all the rivals who also want to be the best, and then everybody ends up fighting, but then they become friends because they fought, and the whole – it’s that same sort of Shounen Jump formula of battle manga genre, but I liked Naruto a lot.
You know what it is? It’s because everybody’s got some kind of, like, variable powers, like they all get their little specialty, and it’s always fun when each one of those guys has a specialty like that, and there’s something about that that is kind of reminiscent of a superhero for me, so maybe it’s just like that whole Justice League superhero, everybody’s-got-a-super-power kind of thing that I kind of liked about it.
And the characters are a lot of fun, too, and the fighting, and the drama.
It’s great, so my Number Four is Naruto.
3. Mobile Suit Gundam.
Okay, so, this, I’m going to make a disclaimer, there’s a ton, a ton of Gundam, all right? I’m talking about the original 1979 Gundam. I’m not talking about Gundam Wing, I’m not talking about Gundam 00, you know, I’m not talking about Gundam Stardust Memories, or whatever. And, by the way, I’ve seen all of that stuff. No, I’m talking about Gundam, the original 1979 – so, this show was exactly the same type of show that Robotech wanted to be. It was highly influential.
You can totally tell where Robotech was just lifting stuff in here verbatim.
Unlike Robotech, the quality of the work stays consistent throughout the entire series. On top of that, the stories get better. So, at first, the stories are, like, kind of kiddy-ish, it seems, and then, little by little, the series gets deeper and more complicated.
Unfortunately, it does have Amuro, who’s a very, very whiny protagonist, but I guess, I mean, for a teenager in the middle of a war, you can kind of excuse the fact that he’s kind of stuck in this position of being this warrior when he was never supposed to be.
It’s got, by far, one of the most awesome endings to a series ever. I mean, it is super great, the way the series ends. Mobile Suit Gundam is my Number Three.
2. Macross Frontier.
Macross Frontier is a sequel to Robotech.
Okay, so here’s the problem. What we know as Robotech in the United States, in Japan, was called Macross, and Robotech was basically – they took, three different Japanese cartoons, and then they made it into Robotech as if they all were part of one giant cartoon, but that’s not really what it was.
Macross spun off into its own series, and they did a lot of different things. They had Macross Plus, and then they had Macross 7, and they had Macross II, and there was a lot of different Macross. I think I’ve seen pretty much all of them.
Not all of them were all that very good. Some of them were beautiful, but the stories kind of stunk. Stuff like that.
Macross Frontier is incredible. It takes what was great about Macross and updates it.
It takes – well, basically, it takes the formula of the first show and kind of redoes it with different characters, but, because it takes the formula, it veers from the formula, too, so it veers from it at just the right times, so that, if you are a fan of the original series, it throws you off because you expect things to go one way, and they go the other direction, and it really does throw you off, and the story is great, and the mecha is great.
Unfortunately, there was one thing that I didn’t like about Macross Frontier is that it’s not hand-drawn mecha. The Veritech fighters, or the Valkyries, they’re not hand-drawn. They’re CG.
You get more dynamism out of them, but there’s something about hand-drawn giant robots that is awesome by the very fact that they’re hand-drawn, and they still look good.
There’s something about that art form that the Japanese animation studios have really nailed that I love, and I’m a little upset that Macross Frontier isn’t hand-drawn mecha, but that doesn’t destroy the show.
The story in it is fantastic, very dramatic, highly recommended. Macross Frontier, my Number Two.
1. Vision of Escaflowne.
This is, believe it or not, a Mecha show. Even though it looks like a girl romance cartoon, it is not a girl romance cartoon. It’s got this gigantic monstrous Mecha in it. It’s about a girl who is a runner, and then, for some bizarre reason, she gets thrown into this magical fantasy world where she has to help two guys – both the guys, they have this armor, and then the armor is actually these gigantic robots.
It’s dramatic, it’s great, I love the world, I love the Mecha, the bad guy in it is, like, ridiculously awesome because you love to hate him.
The artwork – I love Escaflowne, the main robot in it. Imagine Norse mythology and that sort of thing, but kind of married to this fantasy Mecha-driving world, and you kind of get Vision of Escaflowne.
It’s got fantastic music. I believe I even bought the soundtrack because I like it so much.
My all-time favorite animated Japanese series is Escaflowne, and I haven’t seen it anywhere. Run by Bandai – I guess it was to sell toys, and they must not have sold a whole lot of toys.
They did a movie, a Vision of Escaflowne movie, which was nowhere near as good as the series. I love the series. I highly recommend it. If you really, really like Mecha, like I do, give Vision of Escaflowne a try.
What’s You’re Favorite Series?
So that’s my top ten. There’s a lot. There’s a lot of anime. I’ve been watching anime forever. I mean, I had ten years of binging on anime. I’ve seen a lot, so I would like to say that I know what I’m talking about. I haven’t seen every single thing. It’s impossible.
So, if I missed something that you think was great, let me know. Based on my obvious tastes, if you’ve seen what I’ve recommended, let me know what you guys think. If you’ve seen Vision of Escaflowne, let me know, because it’s a little bit obscure, I think.
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