Anime Primer, Anime Suggestion Trail

Anime Suggestion Trail: February

For February’s Anime Primer, stories of relationships and fantasy collide.

  • Romeo x Juliet
    • Perfect for binge-watching over February.
    • Science Fantasy update of the Shakespearian classic.
    • A treat for English majors and Theatre lovers who are just discovering anime
  • Kamisama Kiss
    • A young schoolgirl finds a world of responsibility suddenly on her shoulders when she is given godhood by a runaway Kami.  Hijinks ensue.
    • Suitable for compare/contrast with InuYasha
    • Additional genre: Shojou anime
  • Tenchi Muyo
    • Tenchi, a young man tending to his family’s shrine, finds his life turned upside down by the appearance of alien space travelers.
    • Start with the movies, in order.
    • Additional genres: “Harem” anime, Science Fiction
      • Think “The Bachelor” without anyone ever getting kicked out, with younger characters
      • Additional challenge: Find a drinking game for harem anime.
  • Fruits Basket
    • Follows the adventures of a high schooler who takes up residence with a family of young men who all symbolize characters of the Chinese Zodiac when they are hugged by a woman.
    • Rare “Reverse Harem” anime – One girl, lots of guys!

Done with fantasy and just want a pure feelgood, heart-thumping, saccharine romance?

  • The romance:
    • Whisper of the Heart
      • A good, old-fashioned, “This is how we met” love story
      • Violins and libraries.  Watch with “Nice to Sweet You” chocolates.
  • The fantasy:
    • The Cat Returns
      • The sudden return of The Baron from “Whisper of the Heart”. (In case you are charmed by his presence in the above movie.)
      • Compare/contrast with The Velveteen Rabbit.

(Most of the above are fairly Hetero-Normative romances, but I’ll try to cover Yaoi and Yuri romances in a later update.  If you’re highly interested in those genres, I would recommend Revolutionary Girl Utena, after checking out Sailor Moon.)

Happy Valentine’s Day for those who celebrate, and Happy Nirvana day for those who don’t!

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Anime Primer, Anime Suggestion Trail

Anime suggestion trail: January

For January, the Beginner’s guide to anime.  Like Casablanca, they are the classics of the genre; the titles that everybody recommends, or future series borrow from.

  • Astro Boy
    • B&W
    • As classic as it gets. If you are looking for tropes of the kindly man/the bad guy, look for the shape of their noses.
    • 1960’s Science Fiction, Like Buck Rogers and Asimov in its Retro-futurism.
  • Speed Racer
    • One of the first series imported to American audiences with a Japanese translator.
    • The main cast of characters per episode is fairly small, focusing on Speed Racer/Go Mifune and his close family.  Shenanigans ensue.
    • Hero Genre. Shonen Genre. Tournament Genre.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • Codified the consistent tropes of magical girl costumes with the help of the source material by CLAMP
    • The series was edited for “American Audiences” by Nelvana, but there is a full subtitled version with full episodes in their original format out there.
    • Magical Girl Genre. Shoujou Genre in its original format.
  • Sailor Moon
    • A normal high school girl is bestowed powers and fights for justice.  She is… Sailor Moon!
    • If there is a magical costume change transformation sequence, you can thank Sailor Moon.
    • Recently re-done as Sailor Moon Crystal, which changes some of the story lines and has a mild animation upgrade. (Mixed reviews, as with any re-done series).
    • Magical Girl Genre. Shoujou Genre.
  • Cowboy Bebop
    • If you’re a fan of bounty hunters, you might like this series.
    • If you’re a fan of amazing music, you might like this series.
    • If you’re a fan of episodic storylines, you might like this series.
    • Action genre – Noir / Western. Space genre.
  • Trigun
    • Less episodic/planet-hopping than Cowboy Bebop.
    • The psychological developing of the main character is echoed in multiple characters in other, later series.
    • Action genre – Western. Wasteland genre. Space Genre
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
    • In a world that is a treat to the eyes, Nausicaa walks with mountainesque critters with a desire to save the wilderness around her.
    • If the tree spirits neither move you with your cuteness or frighten you with their adorableness, then you are not suspending your disbelief enough.
    • A feature film by Studio Ghibli.  Listen for Patrick Stewart’s cameo if watching the English Dub.
    • Space Genre.  Fantasy genre.

Extra Credit:

  • Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z (Series: Long, but classic)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (Movie: Ghibli)
  • AMV: Tainted Doughnuts
    • Spiritual Predecessor of the “Rise of the Brave Tangled Frozen Dragons” AMVs
    • A crossover of Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. (It CAN be successfully watched without spoiling your enjoyment of both, if you don’t mind saying “Hey, I’ve seen that clip before”.)
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