Welcome everyone! So in my last update, I had finished my last marathon of ten anime and picked a new ten to delve into. I watch them in laps, as in watching all ten first episodes, then moving on to the second episode of each one. As of now I just finished lap 7, or the seventh episode of each anime. This time however, one of these anime actually broke the mold. I loved it so much that I actually caught up on it entirely before going back to the remaining 9. Let's not waste anytime because I want to talk about these RIGHT NOW!
1. Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail was the one I expected to like the most, simply because it's in a setting I absolutely adore. However, it's not my favorite of the ten I started. So far, I have really enjoyed Natsu as a character. The way he's revealed in the first episode is still one of the coolest introductions of a character I've seen. There hasn't been much revealed of the world..and that's what I really want to see. I want to learn about this amazing fantasy setting they live in and see how deep the magic can get!
The powers have all been pretty cool, but I know that this early on, they have to be saving the more unique and special powers for later reveals. The action has been pleasant, but I am waiting for it to ramp up in complexity. After going through anime like Fate/Zero, it's sometimes hard to go back to basic blasts of energy back and forth, but this one has already showed some promise. It's funny, adventurous and full of energy and life, and best of all...I still have over 100 episodes to go. I'm very excited for this one.
What a unique anime, this one is. It's one that I can't even explain. Is it an anime simply about...characters? Is there an antagonist? As of yet...not really. I don't really see this anime turning into one with an over-arching plot that bands all these characters together. What this anime does is simply create this interesting city with all sorts of crazy or complex characters, and then shows their history and day to day lives and how they intersect and interact with the other characters of the anime. Some stories are supernatural....some are psychological, and others are simply well written drama or comedy.
The characters are what make the show, and not the story of the anime as a whole. Each episode has felt quite different from the last, but they all have that intellectually stimulating feeling of actively learning about the city and people one by one. The writing is very smart and sharp in this anime. Every character speaks of something relevant and progressive, and no character seems like a waste of space or an anime archetype just shoved in to say "This anime has moe!" I have really enjoyed the relaxed vibe of this anime, yet the stories are all pretty serious, or dark so it's like your brain is sympathizing while your heart is relaxing. It's an interesting feeling and I look forward to continuing this anime!
Gen Orobuchi is my favorite anime writer. He is a master of morally twisted characters and events and nihilistic themes that make you think this world is a cruel mistress. I was very interested to start Psycho-Pass knowing that he was the writer for this anime. Lo and behold, one episode in, and I was already raving about it. The setting, particularly the systems that society uses in this fictional world, dubbed the Psycho-Pass, was incredibly interesting from the second it was revealed. It's clear after seven episodes that this anime is diving deep into the psychology of criminal behavior of what truly is right or wrong in the world of breaking the law.
I don't mean for it to sound like CSI, because it's not. The only similarity is that the primary plot progression is jumping from one criminal case to another. The difference is that the there is an actual central plot as well as the fact that the crimes commited are much more imaginative. This is a sci-fi setting heralding Psycho-Pass as a new type of technology that has a huge effect on the justice system. Something that challenges everything human empathy stands for. It's thought-provoking, chilling, and very dark. I'm very excited to see more on these characters. None of them quite stand out to me yet..but I have some I can tell I'm going to love. I think the main girl character is pretty unique, despite not showing much of her true emotions yet. She just doesn't feel like a typical anime character.
4. Cowboy Bebop
I can hear your gasp of disbelief already. This is my FIRST time watching this anime. Is it spoiled by it's old art style? Does it still thrill new viewers or is it's legacy only held up through it's nostalgia amongst the larger percentage of anime fans out there? I'll quickly say now that this anime is as good as I hear it is...in general. For me specifically, the anime sets it's own tone from the get go and knows how to be classy and gritty at the same time. However, I don't foresee it as being one of my favorites yet because I haven't hit a strong connection with any of the characters so far. They are fun characters, sure. And Spike definitely is a bad ass in the truest sense, but none of them have felt vulnerable yet or have qualities that I personally cherish.
I cannot deny that this anime has a style all it's own. The soundtrack is superb with it's jazzy and bombastic score. The episode in the chapel was a hauntingly beautiful episode and I really hope to see more as impactful as that one. Right now I want to know more about some of these main characters and learn more about this future setting they are in.
5. Hajime No Ippo Season 2
I think it's safe to say that this anime has more energy and excitement per episode than the other nine combined. To me, Hajime no Ippo has been raw adrenaline with a nice dosage of somberness and humor. I'm actualy on season 2 this go around and the updated art style did wonders. The fight scenes look amazing and are drawn so aggressively that you just feel the fight simply by looking at the art.
So far the anime has been pretty stable and just moved from one big fight to the next. I wouldn't mind the anime if it kept doing that to the end of the season, but I hope to see a little bit of character development with the main character soon! Until then, the action has been such a spectacle and there is a considerable amount of thought going behind each fight that I enjoy more than anything. I love smart fights and this anime has been really delivering on that.
6. A Certain Scientific Railgun
This anime was an amazing recovery to the one I dropped in the last set of ten, which was A Certain Magical Index. I didn't enjoy it. I found the main character weak and the writing rather elementary. I didn't think much could change in Railgun by simply focusing on another character, but it almost feels like an entirely new studio is behind it. I think Railgun is much better than it's predecessor. It's not a sequel, but a retelling of the same timeline from a different character's perspective: Mikoto.
The best change is that the writing has been upped. Most episodes have told a nice morallly driven story as opposed to Index's weak plot progression and constant cliffhangers, at least in my humble opinion. Having the original main character presented as a mysterious side character works SO much better. He's better as an enigma than a main character. I do get a bit wearisome of the lesbian=crush that Mikoto's room mate has simply because it happens every episode, at least so far. I really like MIkoto, and find her adorable and fun to watch. I don't know if the plot is ever going to get more...dire, but I hope things pick up here soon!
7. Ano Hana
This is totally an all "feels" anime. A tale of a boy trying to grant this wish of a ghost who happens to be his childhood friend. I didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you what I've felt so far is a great range of emotions. Sadness, death, and friendship all sing stronger than any other theme in this anime. I've enjoyed the characters a lot, but over everything, I have enjoyed the fact that this anime is all about bringing old friends together after something breaks them apart, and seeing it happen in front of me just makes me think of my friends and cherish them with all my heart.
The art style is the other high point for this anime. The characters are all cute in their own way and their town is such a quaint and peaceful place. The "ghost" character is very adorable and serves as a perfect disposition to the dreariness of the actual story and events. She will keep you smiling when everything else falls apart. This anime isn't overly derpressing or dark..but I cannot deny the emotional weight of it's story. This anime will be the only one that concludes by my next check point so stay tuned or my final impression and then a full review after that!
Bakuman is easily the biggest surprise for me on my list. I only watched this anime because of the ratings and I didn't even know what it was about. I assumed it was just a simple comedy based on the one or two screenshots I've seen. What I didn't expect was an anime so full of passion and inspiration that it literally made me want to get off my ass and write more in my blog, just to say I did. Bakuman is a story about two students who simply want to become mangaka, or manga authors. What's inspiring is that these kids literally devote themselves to their goal. The anime does an amazing job of showing the passion and motivation you can have for the things you truly care about.
That's not even the biggest reason I like it. It's no secret...I'm a huge sucker for romance...IF IT'S DONE RIGHT. Not a typical high school crush story with comic relief every other scene and character development equal to a squash spoiling. Bakuman introduces an incredibly outlandish, yet completely admirable romantic "promise" that the love interests make. This promise becomes the driving force for the entire story. His love propels him to wondrous heights and it's so damn moving to watch that you just can't help but smile and dream of doing something you love as a career and having someone you love beside you as you pursue it. Bakuman is truly special. I'm so glad I didn't overlook it, because this was the last anime to be added to this set of ten.
9. Kuroko's Basketball
It's such an understatement to say that this is simply a basketball anime. That's like saying Madoka Magica is simply a magical girl anime. It transcends the sports genre and evolves into something that pretty much anyone can enjoy. It becomes more of a story of the spirit of competition and the paths that friends can take with or without you, and is merely conveyed through a medium like the sport of basketball.
It also helps that the "powers" in this anime, or the Generation of Miracles team's abilities are also extremely well thought out and awesome to see in action. Kuroko is a character that really stands out, which is incredibly ironic because his power is that he doesn't stand out. I don't quite...connect with him yet but his comic relief has been extremely hilarious. I'm very lucky that basketball is pretty much the only sport I ever dreamt of playing because that makes this anime even more relatable and I enjoy it ten times more because of that. But even if you hate basketball, if you truly like anime, Kuroko's Basketball is still satisfying.
10. Hunter X Hunter
Now this is the anime that stood out to me so much that I put all the others on hold and dedicated all of my anime time to catching up with this series as soon as possible. This anime hit the exact feeling I was looking for when I decided to try out One Piece and Fairy Tail: The amazing exhiliration of adventure. Just the main character alone could carry so much of the show on his back. Gon is such a naive angel. A genuine boy who's strength only comes from the compassion he has for others. He's truly a wonder to watch develop.
What really gets focused on soon after starting is this amazing friendship beween Gon and Killua. I consider it the best friendship in an anime I've ever seen. It's wonderful watching their bond develop. The fact that this anime also relies on very intelligent scenarios within the fights or challenges only goes to gaining my utmost respect. Where else could I find more elaborate games of Rock Paper Scissors or dodgeball?!
I've watched over 100 episodes now to catch up and Hunter X Hunter never misses a beat. Each arc has been fantastic, full of triumphant moments where you want to jump in the air to celebrate, as well as touching, emotional moments that make you want to reach in and hug the characters to comfort them. It's writing is very thoughtful, and every fight has felt more like a battle of tactics rather than power. Hunter X Hunter is truly something special and has earned a spot in my overal top ten anime.
Thank you very much for reading through this! This has been an amazing marathon of anime. This is the first time I've liked every single anime in my set and it feels so amazing constantly bouncing between them. If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations, feel free to post in the comments. If you are a huge fan of any of these anime and simply want someone to talk to about it, feel free to start a conversation with me! I can talk about anime all day! I will be back when I reach the 13th or 14th lap!
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