Geek Out: Korei’s Quintessential Anime List
Last week I discussed anime for the first time on my column and I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it again this week. So this week will be my quintessential anime list. My favorite anime and why everyone should watch them if they can.
1) Cowboy Bebop. Many people consider Cowboy Bebop to be the best anime of all time and I would agree with that sentiment. The anime focuses on its central cast of characters that is comprised of bounty hunters Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, and Faye Valentine, their hacker friend Ed and their pet dog Ein who all live aboard a spaceship called Bebop. Cowboy Bebop isn’t just about the adventure they go on or the backstories of each character, it’s also about the evolution of each character and how they come to depend upon and care for one another. The show’s base genre is science fiction, which also includes horror, action adventure and even fantasy depending on how you view certain episodes. The animation is strong and even though the show is more than 10 years old it still holds up today. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the shows amazing soundtrack that was composed by Yoko Kanno. It’s an amazing show that helped people realize the potential that anime has.
2) Baccano. This is the newest entry on my anime list. This is also a character driven anime. While Bebop only has a cast of five core characters, Baccano’s cast easily exceeds 10. Baccano can be a confusing anime because the plot takes place in three different time periods (1711, 1930 and 2002), it’s not told in sequence and most importantly the story told through the perspective of each character. Without spoiling too much, the shows plot ends up focusing on different gangs in New York City, a ruthless cult on a train, and an elixir for immortality. Yeah I said a lot, but trust me that’s just scratching the surface of the shows plot. A good way to explain Baccano is to compare it to Pulp Fiction. Both Pulp Fiction and Baccano tell its stories through unconventional methods and both are extremely violent and like Pulp Fiction the violence in Baccano doesn’t take away from the show. If you don’t mind taking a trip through time, then Baccano may just be the anime for you.
3) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a downright hilarious anime that kind of took the anime scene by storm back in 2006 and 2009. The anime follows the adventures of Haruhi Suzumiya a high school student who believes in odd things such as aliens, robots, psychics and everything supernatural. Suffice to say her beliefs makes her a bit of an outcast to her classmates. The problem with that is that she’s right, they do exist and they are watching her. Unbeknownst to Haruhi, she has the power to control reality which makes her the most powerful being in the universe. The show is narrated by Kyon, a classmate of Haruhi. Kyon is eventually dragged into Haruhi’s world and is given the task of watching over her along with three other classmates: a time traveler named Mikuru, an Esper named Koizumi and female artificial intelligence robot named Nagato. These four characters end up becoming members of Haruhi’s SOS Brigade, a school club that is dedicated to finding all supernatural phenomena. It’s a ridiculously funny anime that has a lot of depth to it.
4) Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad. Beck is a coming of age anime and the most realistic one to appear on my list. It centers on Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, a middle school boy who is just looking to fit in. Koyuki’s life sucks. He’s been “friend zoned” by his high school crush, he gets beat up by bullies and life in general is boring. Things change when he meets Ryusuke, a young man Koyuki idolizes. Ryusuke encourages Koyuki to play the guitar and he later joins Ryusuke’s band and ends up finding his place in life. The soundtrack is really good.
5) Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. If I didn’t put this anime on my list then my friend Nick would have lost his mind. Lucky for him, I too like the show so it gets the last spot. Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (FMA) is a science fiction and fantasy anime which is a sequel/reboot to the original Full Metal Alchemist anime. This one tells the true story and doesn’t deviate from the manga like the original did. FMA is the story of two brothers, Ed and Al Elric, and their quest to get Al’s body and Ed’s limbs back. Certain characters preform alchemy which can be seen as a science based form of magic. When they were young Ed and Al’s mother died and they decided to try to bring her back to life with alchemy. In the show’s universe that’s considered to be taboo. In the process Ed lost an arm and leg and Al lost his body. His brother was able to seal Al’s soul into a suit of armor. Ed seeking to make up for their mistake ends up becoming a member of the military so that they can get their hands on a philosopher stone. The stone has the ability to break the rules of alchemy and help the brothers get the whole bodies back.
That is just five of the anime that I like and I may do a part two later in the semester but for now this is it. Now get on Hulu or Netflix and experience these anime.