Been watching anime for a few years, although still exploring which animes I like. So thankful to the friend who introduced me to this as it has just boggled my mind the things I've watched- have yet to see live-action series touch on the many different and difficult topics seen in anime.
Can't abide pure fluff. Romance is nice as a sub-plot, but as a main plot, it doesn't have enough depth or interest to stand on its own. Seems that I like tragedies, action/adventure, psychological thrillers, war-situated stories, supernatural...
Favorites (In no particular order at all)
1. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion S1-S2
Season 1 was good; season 2 is the other half of the series but warning: the fanservice...is almost enough to cancel out any good points of the story...almost. I love Lelouch, he may be morally ambiguous, but his mind amazes me- doing so much, getting his hands stained so black for things he might lose. Plus, he's more likeable than the similiarly-minded Light from "Death Note." I don't know why, but I still have hope that Lelouch will grow as a character and a person, whereas Light was just doomed as he was. The series ends as expected. Excellent viewing.
2. The Twelve Kingdoms
I'll be the first to admit, this one is a bit hard to get into: whiny lead who keeps on crying and worse, stuttering; crazy amount of terminology that isn't really explained until much, much later, and the general cookie-cutter feel of a normal girl being sucked into a different and magical world.
But, this obscure little anime, that isn't as well known as it should be, cut short from the 60+ episodes it was supposed to be, still shines very brightly among the animes I've watched. The intracacies and the atmosphere are amazing, along with the life forms that populate this world. Yes, life forms as in humans aren't the only ones roaming around. And shock, an actual plausible reason why said heroine has been pulled into this world. Plus, having the setting being in somewhere other than ancient Japan, modern Japan or some weird dystopia is very nice. Oh and the music's lovely. That opening...*sigh* quite beautiful.
Directors and Writers: Please make more episodes!!!
3. Cowboy Bebop
The music is what probably drew me here first, as the same composer also did "Wolf's Rain." Unlike Wolf's Rain, this one's story is much stronger and the animation is pretty good too, although not on the same level IMO. Memorable music, amazing characters and yet another tragic ending...
4. Aria (All)
It's a quiet little anime where little happens. There is little-to-no romance, no danger, and a lot of silliness (not the slapstick or hentai kind.) It's basically a slice-of-life drama, that has none of the crazy drama and that's a good thing. May be considered too boring for some as there's not much plot arcs, but more of an enjoyment of life and the little things. Does indulge in cute things, as all of the female characters, so far, have names that start with "A-" and the presidents are the cutest ever.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
Oh, the angst and the death and the machines. Definitely not an anime to watch when depressed, but I love the conflict between the two main characters and their alligence to their friends, their families and their "countries." Also the debate on how peace is best achieved during such stressful and tense times = good stuff.
Vampires, Chevaliers, blood. What more could one want? Plus one of the characters has a penchant for getting impaled. It is a little addition/revision into the vampire lore, which is quite interesting. Blood+ is long, but hang in the few episodes and it gets much, much better.
Yes, there's gore, but it's not gratuitous and warning, it's the spraying kind. Features an almost all-female cast of half-human, half-youmas as the ultimate fighting weapon against a world overrun by youmas. Has GREAT character development and pretty cool fight scenes, although does suffer a little of the DBZ syndrome- people keep on getting stronger...but a little better conveyed than DBZ. Cons: Bit of fanservice that's animated and the ending, which deviated from the manga and ended up killing a lot of the amazing buildup from the earlier episodes. My advice: watch until episode 23/24, then skip over to the manga and see how that siege is supposed to end.
8. Fullmetal Alchemist
This one's no suprise, but then again, just because something's supposed to be good, doesn't mean it always meets expectation. FMA meets expectations, but slowly though- isn't awesome right ouf to the gate, but builts up to it. Blown away by some of the music and espeically how the story line combine in episode 45, The Rotted Heart. It is, so far, my favorite.
And if the image eventually works, credits to meromex666 for the Okami background