Some animes are a flash in the pan. They're amazing, make a lot of noise, but ultimately fizzle out and are but a footnote in history. Others, like a tasting fine wine, only get better as years pass them by. This article, if I successfully make it, will be a tribute to these great animes and their outstanding accomplishments.
Selected Anime Requirements:
So, here are my 2010 inductees (however meaningful that is) into the "Wine" club:
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (1982, Series) - A series that constantly shifts between well deserved downtime and high speed action, Macross is probably best known to be "that shown that's like Gundam". However, it's still an excellent show in its own right and still bring the same punch today.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (1985, Series) - Zeta Gundam is the successor to the original series, and brings together outstanding mecha action and a space opera. Many old Gundam fans will look towards Zeta Gundam as the best of the series. Considering what animes have existed in the series, it is quite a compliment.
Maison Ikkoku (1986, Series) - Still known to be one of the best romance animes ever, Maison Ikkoku delivers a great storyline and has even created the (fairly well worn) phrase that newer romance animes were "better when it was named Maison Ikkoku".
Grave of the Fireflies (1988, Movie) - One of Studio Ghibli's amazing works, Grave of the Fireflies is a timeless classic about human life and how very fragile it is. The emotional torque of the show is amazing.
Rurouni Kenshin (1996, Series) - Probably one of the most famous fantasy shows, Rurouni Kenshin takes unique characters and elegantly puts them in a historical environment (Japanese Revolution). The ability to even leave satisfied with filler is quite an accomplishment and a testement to how well the series was pulled off.
Slayers NEXT (1996, Series) - A sword and spell fantasy world with quirky characters, comedy, and the ability to switch to serious storylines on a whim. That's Slayers NEXT in a nutshell. If you aren't caught up laughing at the latest antics of the main characters, you're caught up in a deep, well written story.
Martian Successor Nadesico (1996, Series) - Also known as "The most popular series in Japan" at one point. The show easily glides between deconstructing your favourite mecha cliches, having fun, and actually having a serious storyline. I've always called it M*A*S*H in space. The simple ability to make you laugh, then cry 5 minutes later makes this show amazing.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997, Series) - Probably the best shojo anime ever made, Revolutionary Girl Utena is a psychological thriller and action series rolled into one. In an era of repeated music and sounds, it gets new songs, something almost unheard of. The brilliantly laid out story is what makes this series so unique and still ever popular.
Princess Mononoke (1997, Movie) - Another Studio Ghibli production, Princess Mononoke brings an amazing story of nature and tells a simple message. The elegance of dressing such a message is what really sets this movie apart.
Cowboy Bebop (1998, Series) - One of the best (and still deep) character ensembles, a great music score, and crisp animations combine for a great experience. That's what you'll get from Bebop. Despite an episodic nature, it doesn't feel like one and gives a great story despite, on paper, looking really short.
Fist of the North Star (1984, Series) - Great show and is probably the best fighting series I've seen. However, time hasn't been too good to this series and now looks far too idealistic and cliche, despite having made said cliches.
Record of Lodoss War OVA (1990, OVA) - I really pulled for Lodoss War. I really did. This sword and spell fantasy show is great, sleek, and has amazing art for its era. The only issue is that it's good, but not that great to make this list.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995, Series) - Baffling at the best of times, Neon Genesis Evangelion seems like a logical "write in" series for this list. I love it too. It's just that aging has really done a number on that famous ending and how utterly confusing it STILL is today. I guess you could say it's one step away from being in.