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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Top Ten All Time Anime

With being a mom and a substitute teacher, I haven’t had a chance to sit down too much with new anime this year.  There has been a few shows I’ve caught here and there, but I found myself rewatching a few series that I just really liked, especially when it was something I caught last year and now has a dub.
So, instead of doing a countdown to my top anime for this year, I’m going to do a top ten anime for me for all time.  Feel free to argue for your choices in the comments, but here is my list of my all time favorite anime in no particular order that I think everyone should check out at some point in their fandom, whether it’s old school or more recent.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

“Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” or just simply “Madoka Magica” or “Madoka,” is one of those shows that has had such a strange effect on me.  In its 12 episode run, you manage to start with a story that you think is going to go one way, but gets dark really, really fast.  Early on, it’s a typical magical girl anime – you have cute girls, and they have special abilities that allow them to fight Witches. But then you get to episode 3, and all heck breaks loose – expectations are broken, and you realize that you are watching something that had never been seen before in the genre up to that point.  I’m not one who likes “magical girl” anime, but I really liked this one.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

This is a series that divides anime fans.  Those that like it are awed by the symbolism and the deconstruction aspects of the series.  Those that hate it think every character is annoying, in particular lead character Shinji Ikari. As someone who came late to the game on this series (I watched it for the first time last year), it’s identifiable for me.  Why?  Because I can identify with what Shinji is going through in terms of a deep depression and self-doubt.  So that’s why, to me, his character is not as annoying as others take him for.  Yeah, he’s whiny, but all kids his age usually are at some point.  He’s this teenager who’s being asked to do this adult job, and add to that his relationship with his father and you have the makings of a major psychosis.  Worth at least checking out.

Black Butler

I introduced my stepkids to this show when I started watching anime again, and since then my stepdaughter in particular has been really into it.  It’s a very easy show to fall in love with – set in Victorian England, you have a handsome demon who is contracted to be the butler of a 13 year old boy who wants revenge for his parents’ murders.  The staff seem incompetent in comparison to Sebastian, but they have secrets of their own.  Add to that the excellent writing and situations these characters are put in, and you have the makings of a great anime.

Death Note

I know, this seems like an obvious choice, but this was the show that got me back into anime.  And I started watching it just as a shortcut to the manga to make sure that it was appropriate for my stepson at the time.  What drew me in was the twists and turns of the story, and without a single plothole open to interpretation – you would think writer Toshiki Inoue (adapting Tsugubi Ohba’s manga) would have a few holes that need explanation in the course of the story.  It’s a perfect cat and mouse type story, and although it does have its flaws (parts of it can be seen as a little overdramatic) it’s worth a watch.

Excel Saga

This is an anime that got me into anime in the first place.  For those who don’t like it, it’s usually because the lead character Excel is so over energetic and her voice can get grating (the original English dub actress had to be replaced halfway through because she blew her voice out doing the part).  For those who do like the show, however, it’s for the many anime parodies and references to genres such as space operas, American action films, dating sims, Japanese horror films, and others.  Nothing is off limits, especially in the last episode, which never aired.  It’s just a lot of fun to watch.

Cowboy Bebop

My husband bought this for me one Christmas knowing that I liked anime, and it’s probably one of my favorite Christmas gifts to date.  The show is popular for a reason – the tight writing, the voice acting, the humor, the jazz soundtrack which shouldn’t fit but does.  You can’t help but like these characters.

Eden of the East

I like this series so much that I own the entire series on DVD/Blu-Ray along with the two movies, and all three are signed by voice actor J. Michael Tatum, who plays Kazuomi Hirasawa in the show. The overall theme of what you would do to save your country really resonates, because even though it’s set in Japan it can really apply anywhere.  The animators on this series really did their homework when it came to U.S. geography – since I lived in New York City for a time, I was able to actually establish in a few scenes where they were in the city.

Sgt. Frog

This show didn’t get the love that it should have.  The original Japanese version of the show was more kiddie fare, but when FUNImation got a hold of it adults could watch it, too, with no shame.  The dub of the show is really heavy on incredibly silly jokes, pop culture references, and very out there humor.  And how can you hate that?


This is the other show that got me into anime.  I’ve read the manga so many times now, but when I was pregnant with my son I was finally able to watch the show in its entirety, and was crying by the end.  I like to jokingly describe the plot as “a guy who falls in love with his computer,” but really there’s more to the show in regards to saving yourself for the right person, what it means to be human, and whether machines can also have personalities on their own.

Ouran High School Host Club

I’m not one for shoujo anime. My idea of a good Christmas movie is “Die Hard.”  But when I heard that “Ouran High School Host Club” was a show that made fun of that genre, it piqued my interests a bit.  And when I started watching the show, I really fell in love with it.  Yeah, it made fun of the tropes of most shoujo anime with its “pretty boy” cast, but the show has a lot of heart behind it.  And my favorite character in the show is Honey, mostly because he resembles my son.  But it’s worth checking out.

See what I mean?

So what are your favorites?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

J-Drama: "Ouran High School Host Club"

Okay, I'm not really into J-Dramas, but this one I'm liking.  And I didn't think I would.

I think everyone is familiar with the story of  "Ouran High School Host Club."  It started out as a manga, then became an anime show.  Here in the states, the anime became really popular (in particular among female anime fans), and who wouldn't fall in love with the charms of these boys?

But as a live action show?  I didn't think it would work.

Until I watched the first episode.  Then I could see it.

Some of the trademarks from the anime series were there, such as the text randomly showing up and the more cartoonish moments from the series.  One thing they don't do that the anime did was break the fourth wall.

I'm also disappointed that Honey isn't blonde and shorter.  He's one of my favorite characters just because the anime version looks so much like my son.

Can't you see this adorable face in a couple of years cosplaying as Honey?
But as I watched the first episode, I actually liked it. It was funny, and captured the spirit of the story perfectly.  I especially like how any drawn versions of the characters are taken out of the manga/anime versions.

If you're an "Ouran" fan, check it out online. Anywhere I send you might not be a legal stream, so no links.  But just type it in and you should be able to find it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coming Soon...

More posts!

It's been a crazy year for me as a substitute.  Since I've been subbing in September, I've gotten at least three calls a week from the same school district, at either the middle or high school.  Four different instances I did assignments that lasted more than a week (in one instance, in a subject that I wasn't certified in, which was only until they could find a sub).  The one I'm doing now I've been doing since the week before Spring Break for a teacher who has since resigned.  When I get done with my teaching career I'll probably write a book about this first year.

Monday is my last day of school, and there are two days worth of workshops for me to attend.  I don't have to attend them because I'm a sub, but I'm going to because I get professional development hours out of it.  After that, in between job hunting for next year, expect some more posts.

I don't know what about yet, but expect them soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When Con-going, Be Prepared...

Anime Boston is coming up in a little over a month, and I thought I would do a general post about things you should think of when going to any anime convention.  I've only really been going for a little over a year now, but I've already learned a few things along the way.  For instance:

Know the location -- I don't mean just knowing how to get there, but knowing the intricacies of the particular place where you're going to.  Is there WiFi there if you need it?  Can you get easy cell service in the building?  Where are the restaurants in the area?  Can you bring food inside?  What's the layout of the location? All the little things that you don't think of when you go to a convention for the first time you'll start to think of when you go to subsequent conventions afterwards.

Know what kind of cell service you'll get in the building -- When I went to AAC for the first time in 2010, having a cell phone on me and the kids wasn't that big of a deal.  It's on the first floor, so I could find them easily.  Going to Anime Boston, it's a priority because the event takes up the entire convention center, so knowing where others in your party are is important.  What we didn't know going down there, however, was that the cell phone coverage would be so spotty, and when there was coverage the kids couldn't hear the phone ring because it was so noisy in the convention center with that many people attending.

Food -- Make a plan ahead of time on where and when you are going to eat.  For this year, me and my party are going to be bringing bento boxes with us for lunch, then eating dinner at a restaurant afterwards.  This came from last year's experience of going to the food court in the Prudential Mall during Anime Boston, and finding it was packed with no place to sit.  It seems like such a small thing, but the ability to be able to sit down and eat can be considered a luxury sometimes.

Panels/Workshops -- Don't stress too much on this one.  The schedule can look a bit overwhelming, but just look it over and decide which panels are the most important to you.  I know for me, industry panels are a good safe bet for stories, and anything else is incidental after that.  And the Masquerade is always a must to attend just because it is the big event of the weekend.  At some point, you might change your mind and decide that workshop on how to create your own Pokemon isn't so important.

Can you think of anything else that you think of before going to a convention?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sorry For The Delay in Posts

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  Real life has gotten in the way of me being able to post anything here, so I'm just trying to catch up right now -- I just got done doing a 6 week stint as a Language Arts teacher in fifth grade, and I'm still busy with other random assignments.  So forgive the lack of posting up here.

Here are a few things that I am planning for the future:

Anime Boston -- I have my press pass all set, so I will be doing some posts on Anime Boston here and at about the event.  And I'll be doing two days, but won't be doing an overnight there: on Friday I'm going down with the Franklin (NH) High School Anime Club as a chaperone and reporter, and on Saturday I'm going down with my stepkids.  I like doing the two days because then I don't feel the need to be running around like a madwoman trying to get stories and interviews.  And since I'll be going down with the Anime Club, I can sleep on the bus on the way home on Friday and not be so tired on Saturday.

New Web Show -- Part of the problem I'm having right now is finding companies that are willing to send me copies of DVDs to review for shows, so what I decided to do instead is review shows as they air via (legal) streaming web sites.  I'm doing pre-production work right now on a review show where I review shows that are currently streaming online, so that might not come out until this summer when I have time to record and produce the show (probably sometime in July), so when I have a set air date I will post it here, and also update you on the progress.

Writing More! -- I will try to write more here...I'm a one woman operation, so please be patient.  I plan on getting back to the planned Evangelion postings I was going to do before, but I just have to find time to sit down and do them.

I thank you for your patience.