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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Top 120 Anime:

As the fall season continues, my rankings have to continually reshape themselves as well.  Here is the newest look at the best anime of all time:

1. Clannad (2007-2009)
2. Pretty Cure (2004-2012+)
3. One Piece (1999-2012+)
4. Code Geass (2006-20012+)
5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha/Triangle Hearts (2000-2012)
6. Fairy Tail (2009-2012+)
7. Naruto (2002-2012+)
8. K-On! (2009-2011)
9. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)
10. Dragonball (1986-2011+)
11. Higurashi/Umineko no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2012)
12. Kanon (2002-2007)
13. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010)
14. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011+)
15. Angel Beats (2010)
16. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011-2012+)
17. Da Capo (2003-2011+)
18. Katanagatari (2010)
19. The Idolm@ster (2007-2012+)
20. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2006)
21. Bakuman (2010-2012+)
22. Kobato (2009-2012)
23. Working! (2010-2012)
24. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998)
25. The World God Only Knows (2010-2012+)
26. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2012+)
27. Sora no Woto (2010)
28. Toradora! (2008-2011)
29. Basilisk (2005)
30. Saki (2009-2012+)
31. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006)
32. Major (2004-2012)
33. Inuyasha (2000-2010)
34. Ranma 1/2 (1989-2008)
35. Sailor Moon (1992-1997+)
36. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009)
37. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2012)
38. Air (2005)
39. Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai (2012)
40. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+)
41. Shin Sekai Yori (2012+)
42. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2012+)
43. Evangelion (1995-2012+)
44. Prince of Tennis (2001-2012)
45. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
46. Vandread (2000-2001)
47. Ef (2007-2008)
48. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011+)
49. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)
50. Utawarerumono (2006-2010)
51. Summer Wars (2009)
52. Little Busters (2012+)
53. Angelic Layer (2001)
54. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001)
55. Bleach (2004-2012)
56. Bake-(etc)-monogatari (2009-2012+)
57. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)
58. Strike Witches (2007-2012)
59. AKB0048 (2012+)
60. Nichijou (2011-2012)
61. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2012+)
62. Sword Art Online (2012+)
63. Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai (2011-2012+) 
64. Fate/Stay/Etc (2006-2012+)
65. Claymore (2007)
66. Macross (1982-2012)
67. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2012+)
68. Card Captor Sakura/Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (1998-2009)
69. Mononoke Hime (1997)
70. Berserk (1997-2012+)
71. Usagi Drop (2011-2012)
72. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2012)
73. Amagami SS (2010-2012)
74. Valkyria Chronicles (2009-2011)
75. Girls und Panzer (2012+)
76. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
77. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)
78. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011+)
79. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998)
80. Natsuiro Kiseki (2012)
81. Hyouka (2012+)
82. Break Blade (2010-2011)
83. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011)
84. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009)
85. To Heart (1999-2012)
86. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)
87. Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009)  
88. Azumanga Daioh (2002)
89. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
90. Scrapped Princess (2003)
91. Steins;Gate (2011-2012+)
92. Ghost in the Shell (1995-2011)
93. Shinryaku! Ika Musume (2010-2012)
94. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2012)
95. Tamayura (2010-2012+)
96. Baccano (2007-2008)
97. High School of the Dead (2010-2011)
98. Hikaru no Go (2001-2004)
99. Tari Tari (2012)
100. Yuru Yuri (2011-2012)
101. Spirited Away (2001)
102. Lucky Star (2007-2008)
103. Seitokai no Ichizon (2009-2012+)
104. Flame of Recca (1997-1998)
105. Bastard! (1992)
106. Gunbuster (1988-2012)
107. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)
108. Soul Eater (2008-2009)
109. Moshidora (2011)
110. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
111. Gosick (2011)
112. Akira (1988)
113. Guyver (1986-2006)
114. Ginga E Kickoff (2012+)
115. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)
116. School Days (2007-2008)
117. Death Note (2006-2008)
118. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009)
119. Alien Nine (2001-2002)
120. Saint Tail (1995-1996)

As you can see, Iria was dropped in favor of my eternal place holder, Saint Tail.  Other changes include a massive upranking of Shin Sekai Yori and Little Busters.  For Little Busters, I really liked the episode where they saved the Cafeteria.  Rin's voice shouting "jelly, jelly!" was one of the most beautiful sounds in the cosmos.  Shin Sekai Yori improved for a different reason though.  It's one of the most original stories I've ever seen.  The artistry of every last motion in the anime, every facial expression, every darkly shaded tint of every frame, is just beautiful.  It's like watching poetry.  Everything is so weird and so different from normal, that it truly is 'A New World.'  Not just in look, it doesn't have giant mushrooms or sky islands or whatever.  In feel.  In mind.  It's hard to even describe what makes Shin Sekai Yori so great, people just have to watch it for themselves.  Sadly, the series is not selling well, and I can guess why.  It's so weird, so cool, makes so many creative original leaps, that only extremely bright, extremely open minded people can keep up with it and appreciate what the story is doing.  This anime is aimed at a very elite crowd, it's almost the exact opposite of Sword Art Online, which tries to be solidly appealing in the most generic of storytelling ways, which is also excellent but has the added benefit of generating massive sales.

I hate anime series that try to be artsy, avante garde, and so on.  They tend to just look bad, have obnoxious characters, and make no sense.  But when they're done right I don't mind.  I don't mind Madoka Magica, or Ef -- or Shin Sekai Yori.  And this series is only half done.  Who knows, it could get even better from here.

Little Busters still has a long ways to go and will continue to get better every week.  It will no doubt end up much higher than its current place.  The only question is how high.

Girls und Panzer, however, is almost over, and has basically played out all of its cards.  I love its constant World War II references, I love the idea of tank fighting as a sport, and I love how well drawn the tanks and girls are.  But ultimately it isn't a serious anime, it's a gag anime, and it's just trying to have some fun by showing off a rather absurd, off-kilter world.  This gets you a long ways -- I put the series all the way up to 75, but that's as far as it can go.

But the biggest news isn't how the rankings have shifted, it's those '+' signs at the end of each series.  Impossibly, against my wildest imagination, Japan has granted my wish I just made a week ago that The World God Only Knows be given a third tv anime season.  Let's hope this time it isn't just twelve episodes, but goes a healthy long ways into the manga?  I can always dream.  This is fantastic news.  If The World God Only Knows actually went so far as to cover the goddess arc it would shoot up in my rankings from its current spot of 25.  But TWGOK isn't the only series to look forward to.  Pretty Cure is getting a 10th season, DokiDoki Precure, with an all new cast of apparently four girls.  I will miss Smile Precure, but I guess its time has come.  Unlike TWGOK, where we'll only get some 12 eps for this next season, Precure gives us healthily large servings of 48 episodes a season.  So a new season of Precure is a LOT of new Pretty Cure, which means a lot more of already the second best anime series ever.

Just to refresh people on what's coming up in 2013 or maybe 2014, and why we are so blessed to be living in this age instead of any other, Ore no Immouto is getting a second season, Bakemonogatari is getting Nekomonogatari (This very December!), in January we get more Haganai, Da Capo and AKB0048, Sora no Otoshimono is getting a 3rd season, Tamayura is getting a 2nd, Sailor Moon is getting a remake, and did I mention -- Railgun season two???  Or how about this -- SAKI season 2.  That's right, unless they wait for a season three later, we're looking at the climactic conclusion to the mahjong tournament that we've all been waiting for.  Kiyosumi vs. Achiga vs. Shiritodai vs. ???.  The very idea of this dream matchup just sends thrills through me.  This is the greatest sports anime ever.  Watching Saki is like watching a Super Bowl marathon.  That's how exciting every twist in the points is, every single round, every single hand of Mahjong.  And not only do we get to watch more Saki Achiga-hen, but more just straight Saki as well.

Of my top 120 ranking anime series, the vast majority of those '+' signs, those to be continued signs, are top loaded.  In the top 1/3, there are 16 + signs.  In the middle 1/3, there are 15 + signs.  And in the bottom third, there are 5.  The reasons for this are pretty clear -- good anime series are popular and sell, so Japan keeps supporting them.  But also, the best anime series tend to be longer, and thus need more time to be fully released, because they simply have more to say.  A long series implies an author with a lot of ideas in his head, with a lot to say, which is always better than someone with just one bright idea that flames out after a few minutes.  It's better to have a dozen interesting characters in the story all interacting in complex and deep manners than just one character who can only keep your attention for a few moments.  And as such, the longer stories always trend towards being the 'better' series too.  Series with more characters, more plot developments, a more epic setting, and more attention to detail will always win out over hastily put together slapdash entertainment.  Girls und Panzer and Natsuiro Kiseki were good ideas, but they were inherently limited ideas that burn out over a short span of time.  Pretty Cure, One Piece, Fairy Tail and Nanoha have no limits.  Their ideas are so great that you could continue talking about them forever.  And that's what separates the top ten from everyone else.

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