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Alex's Anime Recommendations

Scarecrow anime expert Alex promised during Episode 26 of the Scarecrow Video Podcast that she'd post a list of recommended anime films for those of us who are unfamiliar and perhaps even a bit intimidated by the genre. Here are her suggested films and series for your introductory viewing needs.---madamecrow

 

Sci-Fi/Adventure

Cowboy Bebop - The first series those who finished watching Miyazaki movies watch. the best taste of the best anime medicine. one of the few series that can be watched dubbed and still be legit. more popular in the US than in Japan. best of the best of all: story, animation, characters, episodes. will not let you down.

 

Gurren Laagan - A Mecha anime by Gainax. very unique, really cool. colorful, fun, in your face and reaches unfathomable levels of intense/large mecha battles (not exaggerating when I say it ends with robots bigger than galaxies!!!!!!!)

 

Cyber City Odeo 808 - One of my all time favorite OVAs. Three episodes, trhree punk criminals in future space jail get opportunities to reduce their life sentences by fighting some bizarre crime in Tokyo. They have to wear the Battle Royale-type exploding collars. They are so cool, and the animation style is so awesome. MAD HOUSE!

 

Metropolis - Osamu Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy)'s vision/version of the 1920s film Metropolis. Mixed animation with CGI, an interesting and stylish feature.

 

Redline - AMAZING animation. very unique style. Another Mad House studio creation. Not heavy on plot, but a fun ride about racing on distant planets in dangerous territory. more cohesive than the live action Speed Racer.

 

Yu Yu Hakusho - A punk kid dies and gets the chance to become a spirit world "detective". He does a lot of fighting and just keeps getting stronger and stronger. Like Dragon Ball Z, but not repetitive and just came out on blu-ray! A classic.

 

One Piece - The best series of all time (in my opinion). If this (incredibly long) series about awesome pirates with crazy strength, powers, ambition and dreams to be KING OF THE PIRATES doesn't pump you up and change your life, you might want to see if you aren't a human being (robots be sneaking in undetected all the time).

 

Lupin III - The original series from the 70s. So much fun, so over the top, so enjoyable. Addictive.

 

Space Adventure Cobra - If Belmondo were 007 in space, wearing a jumpsuit and had a laser arm. AMAZING. A french director wants to make a live action of this old 80s series/movie.

 

Area 88 (OVA) - From 1985 but looks like the 70s. an guy tricked into a war conspiracy plot nightmare to fly top secret fighter jets to kill/get money/ earn his freedom and get his girl back.

 

Freedom - From Otomo, the guy who wrote Akira, this conspiracy space/moon/earth short series (seven episodes) has a unique cell-shade look and an awesome plot that won't let you down.

 

Fairy Tail - Magic/Adventure gag series that starts typical of these types of shows but fully becomes its own funny action show after the first few "explain how this world works" episodes. If you like Dragon Ball or One Piece, check this new series out.

 

Battle Angel - A two-episode OVA about a sketchy post apocolypse scrap yard and a cute but dangerously advanced cyborg brought back to life. James Cameron wants to make a live action movie of this.

 

Funny/Fun

GTO - An ex-Yakuza becomes a high school teacher. He's not very good, but he teaches lots of life lessons in ways only a yakuza knows how. Cool dude, pretty funny.

 

Ouran High School Host Club - One of my favorites of all time. A weird concept to those who don't know what Host Clubs are, but still entertaining and well made. One of the best! I got people who have never seen anime to watch and enjoy this one!

 

Tokyo Pig - A young boy and his magic pig in Tokyo! Fast-paced, really funny and charming. Over the top, a little magical, mostly gags.

 

Ranma 1/2 - A wonderful and hilarious classic about a boy and his grandpa who go training in China but fall into cursed Springs which cause Ranma to change into a girl when he is splashed with water (and his grandpa into a panda). The shenanigans NEVER get old. I promise you. It's hilarious.

 

Project A-ko - A sort of strange OVA about A-ko who wants to be best friends with C-ko but B-ko keeps building robots to destroy A-ko. A-ko is very strong, and C-ko is a crybaby. I think B-ko is just lonely.

 

K-on! - An incredibly detailed and lovably animated series about four girls in high school who start a rock band club. For everyone! I highly recommend it. Cute, funny, and beautiful. not too much drama, just pleasant. You can't not love it.

 

Mature/Violent anime

Fist of the Northstar - My favorite part of this post-apoc adventure is when the hero comes back to save the day and a SKYSCRAPER falls on him, and he walks through it like it was leaves on a tree. Unstoppable. The levels of power and fighting and violence in this one cannot be surpassed. Japan really knows how to go over the top.

 

Akira - THE classic of all classic anime. Post-Apocalypse, intense, insane. See this or else.

 

Ninja Scroll -Another classic in its own right. Ninjas, a dude with a beehive in his back, gross tongues and hardcore violence. A Mad House Production.

 

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust - The sequel to Vampire Hunter D, this one kicks it up 1000 notches!!! MAD HOUSE ANIMATED! I watch this feature with my jaw dropped half the time. Characters are cool, story is badass, animation is AAWEESOMEE, and everything rules. One of my all time favorites. Futuristic and turn-of-the-century at the same time, although more than steam punk-esq. A world all its own.

 

Ghost in the Shell - Incredible. Deep. Robots. Cool. Don't skip this one.

 

Death Note - A series so full of plot twists, you'll throw up from greatness/dizziness. A high school guy finds a notebook that when you write someone's name in it--THEY DIE! Challenges your morals! So cool!

 

Girly/Love Stories

Boys over Flowers - THE BEST! This series has been made into several live-action dramas in nearly every Asian continent. Very popular Korean Drama based off this story of a strong willed girl who stands up to the four popular rich guys at school. of course, the main asshole falls for her, but she won't have it. AMAZING. This story never gets old, though it has been retold a million times.

 

Maid Sama! - A Tsundere (love/hate) type love story about a strong girl who is class president but also works part time in secret at a Maid Cafe. The cool guy is actually an otaku who falls for her but she thinks he is making fun of her and they fight all the time (they are totally in love though). The side characters really add to this series. Fun!

 

Video Girl AI - A goofy OVA about a girl who comes out of the TV and teaches a boy about love. Love the animation style.

 

Honey & Clover - An absolutely wonderful slice-of-life series about friends at an art school, love triangles and finding yourself. Lovely, wonderfully paced, sincere.

 

Marmalade Boy - Parents decide to switch partners but still live together. A high school girl's crush ends up living with her and becomes her step brother! Drama ensues to the max.

 

Fushigi Yugi - A well loved classic from the 90s. A girl falls into a book of Chinese lore. A reverse-harem, mostly a love story. Addicting and heart string pulling. Also surprisingly relavent to high school girls of all generations.

 

Unique

FLCL - By GAINAX (who did Evangelion)! A bizarre six episode CLASSIC that can't be missed. Soundtrack by THE PILLOWS!

 

Angel's Egg - A slow, experimental dark anime with character designs by Amano Yoshitaka (the Final Fantasy video game character artist)

 

Girl Who Leapt Through Time - An incredible beautifully painted feature about a girl who accidentally goes through time a little bit. there is a slight love story at the very end that gets you RIGHT THERE.

 

Durarara! - An interesting horror/suspense series with quite the cast of characters. Unlike anything you've seen in awhile, I'm sure.

 

Wind Named Amnesia - A post apocolyptic world where everyone but a few gets their minds wiped by a virus, and the main character travels across the US (chased by a robot) and finds interesting people who cope with the disaster/life in general. a study of society and humans of sorts.

 

Here is Greenwood - A short series about a boy who lives in some outcast dorms with lovable but strange peers.

 

Grave of the Fireflies - "That movie is so sad! But it's really good"--What everyone says about this movie.

 

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - A high school girl who is obsessed with the paranormal in a bossy way but has no idea that all the people she befriends are aliens, espers and time travelers.Told from the perspective of another guy who learns all of this without her knowing.

 

Whisper of the Heart - From Studio Ghibli but not directed by Miyazaki. A cute and charming story about a young girl who figures out who she is after meeting an interesting cat and an inspiring boy focused on making violins.

 

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