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Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Eye of Prophecy and the Empire of Length:

After careful consideration, I've changed up the rankings of my top anime quite a bit.  No series were added or deleted of course, but their place relative to each other was shifted dramatically.

1. Pretty Cure (2004-2013+)
2. Clannad (2007-2009)
3. One Piece (1999-2013+)
4. Code Geass (2006-2013+)
5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004-2012+)
6. Fairy Tail (2009-2013+)
7. Naruto (2002-2013+)
8. K-On! (2009-2011)
9. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)
10. Dragon Ball (1986-2013)
11. Higurashi/Umineko no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2013+)
12. Kanon (2002-2007)
13. Da Capo (2003-2013)
14. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2013+)
15. Sword Art Online (2012)
16. Bake-(etc)-monogatari (2009-2013+)
17. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2013)
18. Saki (2009-2013+)
19. Ef (2007-2008)
20. Bakuman (2010-2013)
21. The World God Only Knows (2010-2013+)
22. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2006)
23. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010)
24. Working! (2010-2012)
25. Shinsekai Yori (2012-2013)
26. Kobato (2009-2012)
27. Toradora! (2008-2011)
28. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2013+)
29. Little Busters (2012-2013+)
30. Katanagatari (2010)
31. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006)
32. Major (2004-2012)
33. Basilisk (2005)
34. Inuyasha (2000-2010)
35. Ranma 1/2 (1989-2008)
36. Sailor Moon (1992-2013+)
37. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009)
38. Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai (2011-2013)
39. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011-2013+)
40. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998)
41. Hanasaku Iroha (2011-2013)
42. Angel Beats (2010)
43. Sora no Woto (2010)
44. Air (2005)
45. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2012)
46. Fate/Stay/Etc (2006-2013+)
47. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2013+)
48. Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai (2012-2013)
49. AKB0048 (2012-2013)
50. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
51. Love Live (2010-2013+)
52. The Idolm@ster (2007-2013+)
53. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2012)
54. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)
55. Utawarerumono (2006-2010)
56. Angelic Layer (2001-2002)
57. Bleach (2004-2012)
58. Strike Witches (2007-2012)
59. Vandread (2000-2001)
60. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)
61. Summer Wars (2009)
62. Nichijou (2011-2012)
63. Girls und Panzer (2012-2013+)
64. Claymore (2007)
65. Macross (1982-2012)
66. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2012+)
67. Card Captor Sakura/Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (1998-2009)
68. Mononoke Hime (1997)
69. Berserk (1997-2013)
70. Yuru Yuri (2011-2012)
71. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001) 
72. Prince of Tennis (2001-2012)
73. Usagi Drop (2011-2012)
74. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2012)
75. Amagami SS (2010-2012)
76. Valkyria Chronicles (2009-2011)
77. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
78. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)
79. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011-2013+)
80. Natsuiro Kiseki (2012)
81. Hyouka (2012-2013)
82. To Heart (1999-2012)
83. Evangelion (1995-2013+)
84. Break Blade (2010-2011)
85. Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009) 
86. Azumanga Daioh (2002)
87. Scrapped Princess (2003)
88. Steins;Gate (2011-2013)
89. Hikaru no Go (2001-2004)
90. Chihayafuru (2011-2013+)
91. Tamayura (2010-2013+)
92. Baccano (2007)
93. High School of the Dead (2010-2011)
94. Guyver (1986-2006)
95. Death Note (2006-2008)
96. Lucky Star/Miyakawa-ke (2007-2013+)
97. Shinryaku! Ika Musume (2010-2013)
98. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011)
99. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009)
100. Seitokai no Ichizon (2009-2013)
101. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
102. Spirited Away (2001)
103. Ginga E Kickoff (2012-2013)
104. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998) 
105. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2012)
106. Tari Tari (2012)
107. Flame of Recca (1997-1998)
108. Bastard! (1992)
109. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)
110. School Days (2007-2008)
111. Hataraku Maou-sama! (2013)
112. Zettai Bouei Leviathan (2013)
113. History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi (2006-2012)
114. Ghost in the Shell (1995-2013+)
115. Gosick (2011)
116. Cross Game (2009-2010)
117. Ro-Kyu-Bu! (2011-2013+)
118. To Love ru (2008-2013+)
119. Vividred Operation (2013)
120. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru!  (2013)
121. Happiness! (2006-2007)
122. Valvrave the Liberator (2013+)
123. Kiniro Mosaic (2013+)
124. Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku (2013+)
125. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (1993-2013+)
126. Shingeki no Kyojin (2013+)
127. Alien Nine (2001-2002)
128. Akira (1988)
129. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)
130. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)
131. RG Veda (1991-1992)
132. Tears to Tiara (2009)
133. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
134. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009)
135. Soul Eater (2008-2009)
136. Moshidora (2011)
137. Yu Yu Hakusho (1992-1996)
138. Trigun (1998-2010)
139. Gunbuster (1988-2012)
140. Gundam (1979-2013+)

Two factors came into my wish to change my rankings -- the eye of prophecy and the empire of length.  The two actually go hand in hand.  The only way for a series to still be continuing is for it to be long.  Short stories never have any sequels so there's never anything to look forward to regarding them.  The point being, essentially only long stories can ever truly be good.  Short stories can't stand on the same battlefield as long stories, it's hopeless from the beginning and in principle.  There's not enough time to satisfactorily develop the setting, plot, or characters or to get to know the world well enough to become invested in it.  A 12 episode series simply flies by like the wind, and leaves like the wind, leaving no mark of its passing behind.  A long story is like a river that steadily carves its way into your soul, day by day grinding a canyon to your heart.  You'll remember it forever because it's been with you forever.  That's why I kicked down any series that was beneath 24 episodes behind all the longer series I could find, so it was undisputed that short stories cannot compete.

Madoka Magica, with its incoming movie, takes the highest spot at 39th, but for all I know it will eventually become much longer (is there any evidence the franchise will end with the third movie?), in which case I can put it up higher again later.

In 40th place is Record of Lodoss War, which actually is quite long, but everything outside the OAV series sucked so I can't say that helps much.

Angel Beats, the first 'truly' short story, comes in at 42, and Sora no Woto right after at 43, and Air right after at 44.  These three are the best short stories available, but I refuse to believe they're twice as good as other stories, or ten times as good, or whatever, such that they can compete with stories that are much longer than they are written by equally dedicated and brilliant minds.  Sometimes I'm talking about the very same person -- I refuse to believe Air or Angel Beats can compete with Little Busters, Clannad and Kanon, all of which are much longer series and written by the very same person.  If Jun Maeda can make Air great with 14 episodes, he can make Clannad much greater with 48.  It shouldn't even be a contest.

Longer stories will always be better than shorter stories if the writers are anywhere near each other in level.  Charles Dickens wrote long books.  Robert Jordan wrote long books.  All the best authors wrote long books, or long series.  It's impossible to write anything useful in a short amount of time.  The same for anime.  In a level playing field, taking two of the top talents in the field, there's no way the shorter story can prevail.

With that in mind, I've moved up Bake-(etc)-monogatari to 16th place.  The latest tale, Nekomonogatari Shiro, was fantastic.  The words seemed written in fire and the dialogue to shoot off sparks, everything was said so brilliantly.  When I look ahead with my eye of prophecy and realize we're about to hear seven more stories of equivalent worth, there's no way I can keep this show ranked so low anymore.  This is developing into the epic of our time.  It's like this decade's answer to One Piece or something.

With the announcement of Fate/Heaven's Feel I've moved the Fate/etc franchise up to 46th.  I suspect even after Heaven's Feel more sequels will be announced, however, and I'll have to keep moving it on up accordingly.

Little Busters Refrain is coming this fall, so I went ahead and upgraded Little Busters to 29th in anticipation of this event.  Key has never let me down in the past.  If everyone says this is going to be epic, I'll take them on faith and act accordingly.

Oreimo has its epic conclusion later this August, but I went ahead and upgraded it now to 28th.  I trust that whatever the conclusion will be it will be good.  As such, the series has everything I want in a show -- a conclusive ending, massive length (32 episodes), memorable characters -->  Ayase, Kuroneko, Kirino, Manami, Kyosuke, popularity, art, music, voice acting, laughter and tears.  The effort I put into explaining Oreimo to the world wasn't wasted on a third-rate series, I blogged the series as it came out because it was just that good a series that it deserved that much attention.

Ef jumped up to 19th place because it's a heartbreaking tale of unique grandeur and it has a conclusive ending, which is so rare and precious in good anime.  Shows like Full Metal Panic are longer than Ef, but without an ending they feel spiritually shorter, because they're still truncated and misshapen compared to Ef's completed project.  This is the biggest flaw in Hunter x Hunter.  No matter how long it gets, it will never resolve the issue with the spiders, because the author just randomly quit making the manga without tying things up.  As such, the story will always suck because it will never be complete.  The same can be said of Bleach.

On the tail end of my rankings, I switched things around so that new, fresh blood that's on the rise, like Kitakubu and Kin-iro Mosaic, were given more optimistic rankings, and old, dead series on the wane, forgotten by time, like Yu Yu Hakusho, would be at the bottom.  These rankings aren't meant to give series worth by seniority, only merit should matter and series with potential to grow are automatically better than those without any potential remaining.  For the same reason, I punished Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion and Nadesico.  They may have been good in their era, but they're nothing special anymore, so people should stop mollycoddling them already.  In fact, I feel like I'm still rating them too highly, but their ranks will do for now I suppose.

Now I'm looking forward to the fall season.  If I could find some new blood, I could replace some silly ranked series like Trigun, Yu Yu Hakusho and Gunbuster, which were only good from the reference point of the 1990's.  These bitter clingers could be washed away if only the fall season would present something worthwhile to replace them with.  But I guess October is still a long ways away, more's the pity.

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