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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Top 100 Anime: Now Featuring 101-110!

In the brief time since the last post, let's see what else we've learned about the fall anime lineup:

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukinai might actually be good. :). My first impression was based off of Episode 0. Now that I've seen episode 1, I'm more hopeful. You feel bad for the characters, who all lack friends due to factors outside of their own control, and the situation is inherently hilarious, which is always a plus. But it's still too soon to tell if this series is actually watchable.

Shakugan no Shana has returned, with a crazy plot twist from where we last saw the series in season 2. The plot twist is too rapid and unexplained to really make sense of what is going on, but it's at least exciting and certainly novel of the series to put Yuuji and Shana on opposing sides fighting each other. I expected this season of Shana to be good and I have no complaints so far.

Maken-ki is a shameless, terrible series beyond redemption.

One plus from this fall anime season, however, is that it's finally gotten my 'anime watched' list up to 330. I decided to make my cut-off point before a series is worthy of mention to be in the 'top third' of what I've watched. A series counts as watched if I saw at least three episodes of it (or all of it, if that happens to be shorter.) This means that if I see a series I instantly hate and abandon it immediately, it never even gets on to my list. Staying in the top third therefore means that you're in the top third of at least watchable anime. Another way of looking at it is saying this anime, by earning a ranking, is definitely worth watching, as opposed to 'watchable' like the competitors it beat.

The point, however, is that being in the top third of 330 shows means my rankings can now finally expand to the top 110, as opposed to just the top 100. Any excuse to tinker with the rankings is always welcome, so first I'll post the new, distinguished Top 100 List, taking into account the new fall season:

1. Clannad (2007-2009)
2. Pretty Cure (2004-2011+)
3. One Piece (1999-2011+)
4. Code Geass (2006-2009+)
5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004-2010+)
6. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)
7. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2011+)
8. K-On! (2009-2011+)
9. Naruto (2002-2011+)
10. Dragonball (1986-2011)
11. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010)
12. Kanon (2002-2007)
13. Fairy Tail (2009-2011+)
14. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009)
15. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011)
16. Angel Beats (2010)
17. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)
18. Da Capo (2003-2011)
19. Katanagatari (2010)
20. The Idolm@ster (2011+)
21. Vandread (2000-2001)
22. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2005)
23. Kobato (2009-2010)
24. Working! (2010-2011+)
25. Toradora! (2008-2009+)
26. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998)
27. The World God Only Knows (2010-2011)
28. Bakuman (2010-2011+)
29. Sora no Woto (2010)
30. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2011+)
31. Evangelion (1995-2009+)
32. Basilisk (2005)
33. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006)
34. Saki (2009+)
35. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
36. Major (2004-2010)
37. Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
38. Air (2005)
39. Prince of Tennis (2001-2011+)
40. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+)
41. Usagi Drop (2011+)
42. Inuyasha (2000-2010)
43. Ranma 1/2 (1989-1996)
44. Angelic Layer (2001)
45. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011)
46. Ef (2007-2008)
47. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2001+)
48. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)
49. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)
50. Utawarerumono (2006-2009)
51. Summer Wars (2009)
52. Mononoke Hime (1997)
53. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2011+)
54. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001)
55. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)
56. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
57. Amagami SS (2010-2011+)
58. Macross (1982-2011)
59. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011)
60. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2008+)
61. Berserk (1997-1998+)
62. Claymore (2007)
63. Valkyria Chronicles (2009-2011)
64. Negima! Magister Magi Negi (2004-2011)
65. Read or Die (2001-2004)
66. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2011)
67. Bleach (2004-2011+)
68. Card Captor Sakura (1998-2000)
69. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2011+)
70. Nichijou (2011+)
71. Strike Witches (2007-2010+)
72. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2011+)
73. Gundam (1979-2011+)
74. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998)
75. Break Blade (2010-2011)
76. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
77. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011)
78. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009)
79. Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009)
80. Bastard! (1992)
81. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)
82. Alien Nine (2001-2002)
83. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)
84. Bakemonogatari (2009-2010+)
85. Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994)
86. Guyver (1986-2006)
87. Lucky Star (2007-2008)
88. Azumanga Daioh (2002)
89. To Heart (1999-2010+)
90. Spirited Away (2001)
91. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
92. Tamayura (2010-2011+)
93. Scrapped Princess (2003)
94. Steins;Gate (2011+)
95. Gunbuster (1988-2006)
96. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)
97. Akira (1988)
98. Moshidora (2011)
99. Soul Eater (2008-2009)
100. Fate/Stay/Zero (2006-2011+)

Next comes the newcomers, the 101-110 rankings. For people who aren't interested in anything past the top 100 anime, just avert your eyes. For people who are still interested in good stories all the way to the top 150, or 200, etc, these additional series rankings will still come in handy:

101. Ninja Scroll (1993-2003+)
102. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
103. High School of the Dead (2010-2011)
104. Sora no Manimani (2009)
105. Kanokon (2008-2009)
106. Hikaru no Go (2001-2004)
107. Gosick (2011)
108. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
109. Ghost in the Shell (1995-2006)
110. Flame of Recca (1997-1998)

A lot of series just missed the cut, which is sad for them. Better luck next time, once I've watched 360 separate anime franchises. But lets look at the ones that did make the cut a little more closely.

In my top 100 rankings, I moved The Idolm@ster dramatically up to #20. I'm sure the upcoming episodes will justify my faith in the series' quality. Likewise, the Hunter x Hunter remake propelled Hunter x Hunter to a new high of #72. If it continues to impress me, maybe it'll keep going up? For now I think that's about right. I decided it was methodologically sounder to combine all the series in the Macross and Gundam franchises into one series, just like I've done with Pretty Cure, which contains many series that, though they don't have anything directly to do with each other, are all under the umbrella of a single franchise. Using this new franchise grouping, Macross, which includes tons of ovas, movies, and series, moved up to 58. Likewise, the many separate series of Gundam, none of which were good enough to qualify individually, together as a franchise can reach the top 100 as #73. Not only do I think this is fairer to Macross and Gundam, I think it would be strange for one of the most popular and highest selling anime brands of all time, Gundam, to not even appear anywhere in my rankings. This is a good solution to that 'face value unbelievability' issue.

For anyone who doesn't know, both Macross and Gundam are giant mecha space war franchises. Any further description is supercilious.

The recently ended Steins;Gate tv series gets its first appearance in the Top 100 rankings because of its interesting plot, unique characters and appealingly loving relationships. A sci fi thriller about time travel always has problems concerning the meaninglessness of everything you see happen because it can just be undone later, and the overwhelming power of the time traveler which makes all obstacles look like jokes. Despite these problems, Steins;Gate still managed to deliver a good story by concentrating less on the action and more on the people involved.

Tamayura and Fate/Stay are in the top 100 because I promised they would be now that they've been expanded upon in this new 2011 fall season. :). I'm looking forward to them fulfilling their potential in the months to come and proving my rankings right.

Ninja Scroll, Kanokon, High School of the Dead, Hikaru no Go, Sora no Manimani and Gosick are all series I've had in my rankings before, but were pushed out by all the new good series that kept jumping ahead of them. It's no wonder that they're now hanging out in the 101-110 category. The interesting new inclusions are:

The Miyazaki movie Howl's Moving Castle, which finally gets to join Kiki's Delviery Service, Mononoke Hime, Nausicaa and Spirited Away in the rankings, doing the general thing all Miyazaki movies do: A feel good adventure about using strong moral character to overcome supernatural events.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, another story about time travel, where a girl has a scary power where every bad karmic event she avoids via time travel ends up harming someone else instead. With enough time traveling she finally secures a route that saves 'everyone,' but even then it requires sacrifices. Though initially appealing, the characters aren't likable enough to have enduring value like Summer Wars or Miyazaki films have.

Ghost in the Shell is another movie, this time about a dystopic sci-fi future where people use high tech gadgets not to improve the world and their quality of life, but apparently to do crime and, alternatively, catch criminals. I dislike pessimistic shows like this, and the tv anime sequels did nothing to change my view of the matter. However, I will admit that Ghost in the Shell is famous for a reason -- a lot of innovative new ideas that befits a sci fi series, great art and great music. I guess my complaint with this series is the same as Cowboy Bebop -- if even our futures, even after we invent artificial intelligence and space travel, are unhappy, then what's the point of continuing to live as a species? We should just all kill ourselves now and be done with it. Therefore I don't like stories that spread messages like these. . . >.< But I'll still rank them both as deserving anime franchises because I can't deny quality even when I don't like the theme.

Last and Least is Flame of Recca. Flame of Recca is an interesting inclusion that's neither famous, nor new, nor anything else. Here's what makes it 110 on the dot, though: Extremely interesting fights, with clever weapons and tactics throughout the series. Great music. A tournament system which meant it was possible to win some/lose some, which always makes a story more interesting overall because the heroes aren't just totally overwhelmingly powerful. And a cool plot that, sadly, the anime mangled by trying to just 'finish things up' instead of following the manga to its proper conclusion. Like Claymore, this series could use a remake where the true story was told in full, but even in its mangled form it's worth at least a little. The hero and the anti-hero are brothers and share many similarities despite fighting on opposing sides, which makes them both badasses. I like situations like that, they remind me of the heroes of Troy vs. Greece in the Iliad, where you end up cheering for both sides equally.

By expanding my rankings to 110 and combining the Macross and Gundam franchises I've managed to gather a lot of fish into my net. Famous movies and series like Ghost in the Shell, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Gundam and Howl's Moving Castle are now all properly represented. This will embellish my rankings by letting people know I haven't forgotten about these famous anime franchises entirely, but am properly keeping track of everything good that's ever been released. As for why Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist still don't make the cut? Honestly, I doubt they ever will. They both have such annoying, fundamental flaws, that I simply don't agree with their popularity whatsoever. I'd much rather trumpet some other series that's been neglected and abused, but is actually much better than either of those well-known show-offs, like Kanokon or Flame of Recca.

I also thought it would be neat to give a sort of Oscars like reward to the series listed. I wanted to give a 'best of genre' award and 'best oav' award for shorter shows and 'best movie' for movies. This gives people an alternate way of ranking series that may not be the best, but are at least the best at what they are doing:

Best Movie: Kiki's Delivery Service.

Best OAV: Battle Athletes.

Best Shonen Action Series: One Piece.

Best Magical Girl Series: Pretty Cure.

Best Visual Novel-type (Dramatic Romance?) Genre: Clannad.

Best Sports Genre: Saki.

Best Comedy Genre: Working!

Best Slice-of-Life Genre: K-On.

Best Mecha Action Genre: Code Geass.

Best Real Life-ish Genre: Bakuman.

Best Sci Fi Genre: Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou

Best Romance Genre: Toradora!

Best Fantasy Genre: Record of Lodoss War

Best Mystery Genre: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni

That concludes the anime Oscars. Next up? We'll find out if 2011 is the best year in anime ever.

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