Hello readers and welcome to a change to our regularly scheduled programming. Today marks a big day for Shoot the Rookie as it is the day when we publish our first ever article not about video games. As the title suggests, this post is instead about anime. Now, you’ve had fair warning so anyone that doesn’t want to read about anime can back out now…
Still here? Good! Then I shall begin.
I’ve been thinking about adding an anime section to the blog for some time. The main reason I’ve not done it before is because I didn’t really know how to approach writing about anime. However it struck me that there is a lot of overlap between video game and anime fandoms and that despite being no expert on either, I enjoy both very much and to some extent in similar ways.
It is tricky to add a whole new theme to the blog – I mean this is essentially changing the very nature of Shoot the Rookie, so I thought today I’d take some baby steps and do a nice neat list. This serves to introduce anime to the blog and also to introduce you, my lovely readers, to the kind of anime I’m into. When I say I’m no expert on anime I really do mean it. I don’t know what all the terminology means, I haven’t read the manga, I just watch it and enjoy it and that is how I plan to write about it.
Therefore without further ado let me get this shiny new thing started by telling you my Top 10 Anime Series*
*that I’ve watched all the way through – apologies to My Hero Academia & Ace Attorney – since I’m not done with you yet I can’t include you *sad face*.
So in REVERSE ORDER, my Top 10 Anime Series are as follows:
This is a great anime that I would recommend to practically anyone, and it is in the show’s wide appeal that its beauty is to be found. It is a short, stand-alone story about unravelling a mystery in order to change a tragic course of events. It has a mild sci-fi element involving time travel, but it is really more of a crime/mystery/drama type story and tackles some pretty difficult topics. It is engaging right from the off, it has likeable characters who you get a unique insight into thanks to the time travel thing and the story keeps you gripped right until the very end. It also has a really cracking theme tune which is now stuck in my head forever.
9. Inu X Boku SS
Unlike Erased, I can’t recommend this one to everyone. It is one of the oddest animes I’ve watched. Anime is often quite odd so you may wonder what I mean by that, but if I tell you that one of the characters can turn into a carpet maybe that’s enough to get you interested. It is very unusual for me to stick with an anime that has lots of, erm, boob related fan service, but there is just something compelling about Inu X Boku that meant I didn’t run a million miles the first time weird sexual innuendo crept into the script. I suppose I would describe this anime as fantasy/mystery/comedy and it is probably the comedy element (which often involves the main character being poked in the face with a stick of pocky), which kept me coming back. The anime is a small part of a longer manga series so unfortunately you don’t get the whole story, however it manages to wrap things up quite nicely at the end and was a really enjoyable and weird experience.
This is quite an unusual anime in many ways but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It might not be the kind of thing that jumps out at everyone because of the art style they use – it looks very different from most modern anime. However as it unfolds it turns out that the style perfectly complements the story. This is an incredibly dark and quite disturbing show which is on the surface entirely about the game of Mahjong. Many of the episodes focus solely on the playing of Mahjong and it can in that respect be a little difficult to follow if you don’t know the rules, however it is also a wonderful deep dive into the culture around Mahjong and the Yakuza in 1950s Japan. It is tense, compelling and at times so horrifying that it is difficult to watch, but more than that, Akagi feels unique and that makes it an unforgettable experience.
7. The Royal Tutor
Yes, I did put The Royal Tutor on this list. When I first spoke to my significant other about adding an anime section to the blog, one of his first responses was “are you going to do a Top 5 blonde anime boys list?”. I was shocked, no, STUNNED that this is what he thinks of me, but my love of The Royal Tutor doesn’t do much to dispel this. The premise is simple – there are 4 (beautiful) princes who are unruly and don’t like teachers. Concerned for their futures, the King appoints a mysterious tutor to come in and teach them and the story is basically the tutor’s struggle to get the boys to appreciate education. The reason I love this show is that it is charming, funny and just lovely. Sure the princes can be a bit obnoxious and the royal tutor a bit aloof, but it has many genuinely touching moments and a whole heap of scenes that will have you rolling around with laughter. It also has a BIG FLUFFY DOG. Funi funi x
Ok! This list is going in all kinds of weird directions. From the extraordinarily cute to the absolutely terrifying, disturbing and violent. Shiki most certainly has an 18+ age rating guys so please do approach it with caution. One of the best things about Shiki is the way it creates atmosphere. The first half of the series is filled with unease and mystery and the way it presents the story to you is enough to have you gripped from the start. What happens later perhaps strays too far in terms of violence for some, but the overall premise and message of the show, not to mention the way it engages the viewer, makes this a top class horror anime with a host of unforgettable scenes and interesting (if not necessarily likeable) characters.
Bit of a curve ball here, but Digimon must feature in this list as it was the first anime I ever watched and was a pretty major obsession during my teenage years. I must have been about 12 or 13 when I started watching Digimon and I knew straight away that it was special. You immediately feel so involved, almost like the digi-destined are your friends and that these are your adventures. A close friend of mine (hello if you are reading this lovely) introduced me to it and we spent months, if not years obsessing over Tai and the gang. We both had a favourite character (mine is Matt…future top place in my blonde anime boys list) and would talk endlessly about potential plot twists. We even came to refer to all the characters by their Japanese names. Yes there was fanfic, yes there was mildly inappropriate fan art, but am I ashamed? Never! The only reason this show is so far down this list is because of the amount of time that has passed since I watched it. For much of my anime watching life it would have been right at the top.
4. Yona of the Dawn
This is a show which confounded my expectations. On paper, a show about a Princess who is forced to run away with her body-guard to escape execution after a coup doesn’t necessarily sound that thrilling or original. The fact that it is also about dragons doesn’t help either. However, this show has some of the best characters and stories from any anime I’ve seen and it is both outrageously funny and devastatingly sad. How it achieves these levels of greatness I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that despite its basic premise, this show isn’t just about a Princess on the run. It is about the plight of an entire nation. It is about love and betrayal and violence versus pacifism. Also, it is sometimes about a squirrel. It paints the world in a way which makes it seem real and for this it is right up there as one of my favourite shows, even if it does end without giving you any kind of resolution whatsoever.
3. Bodacious Space Pirates
More pink haired teenagers! Woohoo! That’s what I want! Hang on, this time they are in space? That’s even better. Whilst I like a lot of anime which has serious story lines, I also love Bodacious Space Pirates. Imagine the scene: A group of high school girls are in an after-school club (confusingly called Yacht Club) which allows them to try out running a space ship. They discover that one of them is a descendent of the captain of a space-pirate ship and that she will have the opportunity to put her after-school skills to the test when she becomes the next captain of said pirate ship. That is basically it, but what more could you possibly want? Oh..well…since you’re asking…how about a maid cafe? Some mild to moderate danger? Epic space battles? Pirating costumes? Maybe a lady who can conduct electronic warfare with one hand whilst continuously eating pocky with the other? An extremely enthusiastic protagonist with a moody and suspicious best friend? Yes it’s silly, yes it’s over the top but it’s also one of the most entertaining and memorable shows I’ve ever seen. Plus it has the best theme music!
Being serious all the time is boring – stop it right now and go check this out!
2. Cowboy Bebop
From one show about crime in space to another, although that is where the similarity ends.
Cowboy Bebop follows a group of bounty hunters as they travel around space apprehending criminals and earning cash for doing it. Or at least that’s the idea. They don’t actually seem to end up earning much cash and spend most of the show flat broke and starving. Instead, we spend a lot of time exploring the lives – past, present and future – of our unlikely gang. Like several other shows in this list, Cowboy Bebop is most definitely an adult anime with dark themes and violent content, but that perhaps doesn’t do it justice as it is also full of charm and atmosphere. From the crazy jazz soundtrack to the character design and their backstories, Cowboy Bebop oozes style AND substance and I would say it is a must watch for any budding anime fan.
Now for my favourite anime show – Trigun! Another classic of the science fiction anime world, Trigun focusses on its red-coated protagonist Vash the Stampede who is trying to evade innumerable bounty hunters whilst protecting everyone in his path (including the bounty hunters). His creed – to never use lethal force – is a simple premise which leads us to an absolute minefield of history, morals and possibilities that can at times be a little hard to follow, but the characters, the dialogue and the world are so awesome that somehow even the confusing story doesn’t matter. The first half of the series really perfects the art of combining humour with drama and action, and the second half changes everything so much that it leaves you gazing, open-mouthed at your screen. With some of the most memorable characters in the history of anything, not to mention my favourite made-up insurance company and an ingenious use of lightbulbs, this is a show that gets you gripped straight away and never lets you go.
So! What do you think? Do you think these titles are worthy of being in the Top 10? Maybe there are one or two you’ve not seen and fancy giving a go. If this has inspired any anime related thoughts why not drop me a comment and let’s get the anime chat started!
Thanks for reading,
Pix1001, the world’s newest aniblogger.