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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Top 100 Anime: Voices version 2.0

I didn't cast a wide enough net last time, which left out some well qualified voice actors. Specifically, I want to include Ami Koshimizu and Eri Kitamura, the voices (in their most famous roles) of Kallen from Code Geass and Yui from Angel Beats. These stellar voice actors have accompanied tons of other great series, from Pretty Cure to Spice and Wolf to Idolm@ster. There's no reason to leave out such evocative and beautiful voices from the lineup. You can recognize their unique signature from the moment they start talking, which is when you know you've hit the big league.

I also want to upgrade the rank of Pretty Cure, which I've finally completed watching. #6 isn't good enough. #2, its new ranking, is barely good enough. Pretty Cure is nigh perfect. It's what every anime should aspire to be. It's everything you'll ever encounter in life and more. Motherhood? That's in Fresh Pretty Cure. Romance? Yes Pretty Cure 5. Friendship? Consult Heartcatch Pretty Cure. Or Fresh, or Suite, or. . . Finding something useful to do in life? Yes Pretty Cure, or Fresh, or Suite, or. . . Overcoming adversity? Futari wa Pretty Cure, or Max Heart, or Splash Star. Overcoming your own weakness? Heartcatch Pretty Cure, or Yes Pretty Cure. Do you want a lesson in economics? Yes Pretty Cure 5 has that. Perhaps you want a lesson in how siblings should get along? Splash Star has that, but so does Yes Pretty Cure, as does Heartcatch. If you want a lesson in repentance and salvation, there's Splash Star, Fresh, and Suite Pretty Cure to choose from. Maybe you just want to see exciting action sequences? They all have that, but especially Splash Star. Or maybe you just want to look at beautiful girls? In that case there's Yes Pretty Cure, Heartcatch, Suite, Fresh, Futari OR Splash Star. There's a beautiful, mesmerizingly good girl in every single season you'll love from the first second you see her to the last second she leaves the screen.

Do you want to see planets explode? Pretty Cure's got that. Giant robos? Pretty Cure's got that too. Caped Superheroes flying around dispensing justice with their fists? Done. A revolution against an evil totalitarian dystopia? Done.

Or maybe you just want good music and dance sequences? Pretty Cure has the best.

Do you want lessons on how to cook? Done. Or maybe you want a reminder of the horrors of war. Got that. Or maybe you want to watch a sports drama? They've got that too. At this point, it's hard to imagine what Pretty Cure doesn't have, rather than what it does. The series is one of the longest in the industry, and it has NO filler. Every single episode and every single movie is 'canon.' It's written by the real makers of Pretty Cure and intended to really be watched as part of the real plot. Compared to its nearest equivalents, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, this is a miraculous bonus, a breath of fresh air in a stiflingly boring and slow pond. How many episodes did it take for One Piece to kill Ace? It must have been 50. Well, in 50 episodes, an entire season of Pretty Cure goes by and a LOT MORE HAPPENS. An entire Story happens, from beginning to end. There are meetings and partings, plot twists and mysteries, triumphs and defeats, journeys of self discovery, wonderful speeches covering every conceivable topic, power ups, transformations, evil twins and fusions. There's even a Pretty Cure of infinite love with eyes so big stars swim in them.

In particular, Pretty Cure has Cure Egret, Cure Dream, Cure Lemonade, Cure Pine, Cure Peach, Cure Marine, and Cure Rhythm. Even though the series has featured 25 heroes up to date, they've all been different and unique. That's phenomenal. It's almost unbelievable how creative their character designs have been. They have never once let me down in surprising me with something new they've never done before -- whether it's a Cure's looks, personality, moveset or background, it's always exciting and new.

No series has made me laugh or cry more than Pretty Cure. No series has made me smile more than Pretty Cure. Clannad is too short to compete in that field. And Pretty Cure isn't even over yet. It could keep getting better. There's at least the rest of Suite Pretty Cure to look forward to, which is one of the best seasons of the series. Ultimately, its the sheer volume of Pretty Cure that puts it above its neighbors, Code Geass, Nanoha, Higurashi and Seikai. No matter how good a series you are, if you stop at 50 episodes while Pretty Cure goes on to 400. . . Obviously the series that keeps going is going to win. Pretty Cure doesn't just repeat itself endlessly or loop around the same idea every season. It's 'fresh' every time, like Fresh Pretty Cure's name implies. :). It really is 400 separate stories, like a string of paintings in an art museum, each to be enjoyed separately, each worthy in their own right. Nor does it crawl along narrating a never-ending story like Naruto or One Piece, never getting to any point because it likely has no point to begin with. It delivers sharp insights, wraps a story up, and then begins a wholly new one with wholly new characters, starting over from the beginning with a brilliant new, fast-paced, fast-developing world the moment the old one is satisfactorily concluded.

The only reason it falls short of Clannad is it lacks that transcendental uplifting feeling of touching the sacred, like you've left the field of art and entered upon revelation. Only Key creates stories like that, and only when they're at their very best. Even Pretty Cure will have a hard time catching up to the makers of Planetarian.

1. Clannad (2007-2009) Satsuki Yukino: Misae Sagara. Yukari Tamara: Mae Sunohara. Mai Nakahara: Nagisa Furukawa. Yuuichi Nakamura: Tomoya Okazaki.

2. Pretty Cure (2004-2011+) Mariya Ise: Urara Kasugano/Cure Lemonade. Nana Mizuki: Tsubomi Hanasaki/Cure Blossom. Ami Koshimizu: Hibiki Hojo/Cure Melody. Eri Kitamura: Miki Aono/Cure Berry.

3. One Piece (1999-2011+) Mayumi Tanaka: Luffy D. Monkey.

4. Code Geass (2006-2009+) Norio Wakamoto: Charles vi Brittannia. Jun Fukuyama: Lelouche Lamperouge. Ami Koshimizu: Kallen Stadtfeld.

5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004-2010) Nana Mizuki: Fate Testorossa. Yukari Tamara: Nanoha Takamachi. Mai Nakahara: Teana Lanster.

6. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)

7. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2009+) Satsuki Yukino: Shion/Mion Sonozaki. Yukari Tamara: Rika Furude. Mai Nakahara: Rena Ryugu.

8. K-On! (2009-2011+) Aki Toyosaki: Yui Hirasawa. Ayana Taketatsu: Azusa Nakano.

9. Naruto (2002-2011+) Nana Mizuki: Hinata Hyuuga. Yukari Tamara: Tenten. Showtaro Morikubi: Shikimaru. Noriaki Sugiyama: Sasuke Uchiha.

10. Dragonball (1986-2011) Norio Wakamoto: Cell. Mayumi Tanaka: Kuririn.

11. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010) Aya Hirano: Haruhi Suzumiya.

12. Kanon (2002-2007) Yukari Tamara: Mai Kawasumi.

13. Fairy Tail (2009-2011+) Aya Hirano: Lucy Heartfilia. Mariya Ise: Levi McGarden. Rie Kugimiya: Happy. Mai Nakahara: Juvia Luxor. Yuuichi Nakamura: Gray Fullbuster. Tetsuya Kakihara: Natsu Dragneel.

14. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009) Tetsuya Kakihara: Simon.

15. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011) Norio Wakamoto: Biagio Busoni. Rie Kugimiya: Agnes Sanctis. Aki Toyosaki: Kazari Uiharu.

16. Katanagatari (2010) Yukari Tamara: Togame. Mai Nakahara: Nanami Yasuri.

17. Angel Beats (2010) Kana Hanazawa: Kanade Tachibana. Eri Kitamura: Yui.

18. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

19. Da Capo (2003-2011) Yukari Tamara: Sakura Yoshino.

20. Kobato (2009-2010) Kana Hanazawa: Kobato Hanato.

21. Vandread (2000-2001)

22. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2005) Satsuki Yukino: Kaname Chidori.

23. Working! (2010+) Jun Fukuyama: Sota Takanashi. Eri Kitamura: Yachiyo Todoroki.

24. Toradora! (2008-2009) Rie Kugimiya: Taiga. Eri Kitamura: Ami Kawashima.

25. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998) Norio Wakamoto: Woodchuck.

26. The World God Only Knows (2010-2011+) Kana Hanazawa: Shiori Shiomiya. Aki Toyosaki: Jun Nagase. Ayane Taketatsu: Ayumi Takahara. Ami Koshimizu: Kusonoki Kasuga.

27. Bakuman (2010-2011+)

28. Sora no Woto (2010) Eri Kitamura: Kureha Suminoya.

29. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001)

30. Ef (2007-2008)

31. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2009+) Norio Wakamoto: Narrator. Rie Kugimiya: Nagi Sanzenin.

32. Evangelion (1995-2009)

33. Basilisk (2005) Nana Mizuki: Iga Oboro

34. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006) Yukari Tamara: Ranpha Franbois.

35. Saki (2009+) Rie Kugimiya: Yuki Kataoka. Ami Koshimizu: Nodoka Haramura.

36. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

37. Ranma 1/2 (1989-1996)

38. Major (2004-2010) Rie Kugimiya: Komori. Showtaro Morikubi: Goro.

39. Air (2005) Yukari Tamara: Michiru.

40. Sailor Moon (1992-1997)

41. Angelic Layer (2001)

42. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2001+)

43. Prince of Tennis (2001-2011+)

44. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)

45. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+) Aki Toyosaki: Nako Oshimizu.

46. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011) Kana Hanazawa: Ruri
Gokou. Yuuichi Nakamura: Kyosuke Kosaka. Ayana Taketatsu: Kirino Kosaka.

47. Usagi Drop (2011+)

48. Inuyasha (2000-2010) Satsuki Yukino: Kagome Higurashi.

49. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)

50. Utawarerumono (2006-2009) Rie Kugimiya: Kamyu. Mai Nakahara: Yuzuha.

51. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011) Aya Hirano: Ume Kurumizawa. Yuuichi Nakamura: Ryu Sanada.

52. Summer Wars (2009)

53. Mononoke Hime (1997)

54. Idolm@ster (2011+) Yukari Tamara: Iori Minase. Mai Nakahara: Ritsuko Akizuki. Ami Koshimizu: Yayoi Takatsuki. Eri Kitamura: Makoto Kikuchi

55. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2011+) Ayana Taketatsu: Miharu Shimizu.

56. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)

57. Amagami SS (2010-2011+)

58. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)

59. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011)

60. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2008) Rie Kugimiya: Louise.

61. Berserk (1997-1998+)

62. Claymore (2007)

63. Valkyria Chronicles (2009-2011)

64. Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009) Rie Kugimiya: Yuuhi Katagiri. Aya Hirano: Minato Nagase.

65. Negima! Magister Magi Negi (2004-2010+)

66. Macross Plus (1994-1995)

67. Read or Die (2001-2004)

68. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)

69. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2011) Aki Toyosaki: Chaos.

70. Bleach (2004-2011+) Rie Kugimiya: Karin Kurosaki. Noriaki Sugiyama: Ishida Uryuu.

71. Card Captor Sakura (1998-2000)

72. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998)

73. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

74. Break Blade (2010-2011) Kana Hanazawa: Cleo Subarafu.

75. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009) Jun Fukuyama: Kraft Lawrence. Aki Toyosaki: Merta. Ami Koshimizu: Holo.

76. Bastard! (1992)

77. Alien Nine (2001-2002)

78. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)

79. Bakemonogatari (2009-2010+) Kana Hanazawa: Nadeko Sendoku. Eri Kitamura: Karen Araragi.

80. Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994)

81. Guyver (1986-2006) Nana Mizuki: Mizuki Segawa.

82. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2010+) Rie Kugimiya: Shagukan no Shana.

83. Nichijou (2011+)

84. Macross Frontier (2008-2011) Yuuichi Nakamura: Alto Saotome.

85. Scrapped Princess (2003)

86. Lucky Star (2007-2008) Aya Hirano: Konata Izumi.

87. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2004+)

88. Azumanga Daioh (2002) Norio Wakamoto: Chiyochichi.

89. To Heart (1999-2010)

90. Spirited Away (2001)

91. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

92. Sora no Manimani (2009) Aki Toyosaki: Aiko Kawashita. Ami Koshimizu: Fumie Kotozuka.

93. Gosick (2011)

94. Gunbuster (1988-2006)

95. RG Veda (1991-1992)

96. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)

97. Akira (1988)

98. Moshidora (2011) Tetsuya Kakihara: Keiichiro Asano. Kana Hanazawa: Yuki Miyata.

99. Soul Eater (2008-2009)

100. Saber Marionette (1995-1999)

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