I like Aku no Hana. I think it’s good*.
That asterisk is what you’ve come here to read about, isn’t it?
“I don’t want to change. I want to change. We all hold in our hearts conflicting feelings, each back to back.”
-Dera Mochimazzi, Tamako Market, Episode 11
“Maybe it’s arrogant to talk of supporting Acchan, but I succeeded 0048′s captain, Takahashi Minami. So I decided that I had to change. I had to be strong enough to support Acchan. That’s what I thought.”
-Minami “Takamina” Takahashi the 5th, AKB0048 Episode 20
Alternate title: In which AJtheFourth attempts to force you to watch Ringing Bell.
Fifty years ago, a little anime titled Tetsuwan Atomu, or Astro Boy, directed by creator Osamu Tezuka, aired on January 1st, 1963. Its popularity marks the beginning of what we now know as the anime industry. To celebrate this Ani-Versary (yes, mind the pun) Geoff Tebbetts of AniMaybe organized an amazing tribute to the past fifty years of anime with various anime writers, researchers, and bloggers picking specific years to cover. I’m honored to be a part of this project, and recently wrote an article on the year 1978 which covers, among many things, Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut in Future Boy Conan, and the most depressing children’s movie ever imagined: Sanrio’s Ringing Bell. Please head over to The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime to read all of the articles. Then watch Ringing Bell and let me know what you think.
“Say it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.”
-It’s Only a Paper Moon, Harold Arlen
Radar: I can’t because I’m ignoring her all the time.
Radar: Because she’s ignoring me.
Hawkeye: Ah! But you ignored her first!
Radar: Yeah, that’s because I’m trying to beat her to the ignore.
-a conversation between Radar O’Reilly and Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H Season 3, Episode 6
So, it’s finally my turn. Let me tell you a story about how I like my pictures.
Generally, I try to come from a straightforward place when I talk about “favorite”. Years ago (like 10 or 15), I came to this decision when people asked me about my favorite movie. It remains The Princess Bride for the simple reason that it’s the one movie that I’ve seem more times than any and can always be convinced to watch. When I went to assemble my list of top anime, this didn’t work as easily. If we list the the works I’ve seen the most, it goes something like this:
This is not my Top 5 list. When it came time to make a Top 5 for Anime-Planet’s list features, I made a different call. But why? I’m not entirely sure. When I look at the list above, I am struck by how many of those things are solid, easy-to-watch OVAs that can sort of be chewed up in the space of a day, which explains why I watch them so much.
When you think about someone’s favorite anime, one of the first factors you consider might be bias. Someone’s favorite anime might be Toradora!, and yet you, the reader, run away from romantic comedies like the Apocalypse is actually real and “romcoms” are Satan, or his minions, trying to make your brain melt out of pure, horrifying boredom.
Since our interests might be conflicting, let me attempt to explain the circle of hell that I presently guard. Or, as you’d call it, my taste.
A little secret: I hate writing reviews. I also despise putting together “Top Lists” due to an inability to rate one thing over another. Say I was called upon to list my favorite series of this past year, 2012. Immediately springing to mind is Tsuritama, for I honestly cannot think of an anime more jubilant than that one. It was tightly-plotted, colorful, and emotionally satisfying. Then again, how could I possibly compare the burst of emotion and energy I received from Tsuritama with something that make me laugh warmly week after week like Polar Bear Café? This idea continues to fall to pieces when fondly remembering the other series I so loved this past year: Hyouka for it’s exploration of detective fiction, Tari Tari for its warm heart in spite of a rather cynical backdrop, Aquarion EVOL for its over-the-top ridiculousness, Smile Precure for its Cinderella episode alone, and Acchi Kocchi for washing away the troubles of the day with fuzzy romantic sweetness.
The fact is, that when called on to compare them, I simply cannot. They’re all too different. I loved watching each and every one of them, and this is well before any mention of the perpetual war between emotional resonance and objective quality in reviews; a war in which I refuse to speak for one side – although one may hazard a guess to where my opinion would fall. Now having established my hatred for these sort of things, what should follow this introduction when asked to list my top five anime of all time? Well, I refuse to rank them, although feel free to argue amongst yourselves in the comments section about quality versus emotion and how to place things on your MAL user list with an insignificant number. I am simply here for the sole purpose of speaking to five spectacular series, in no particular order. All are highly recommended.