Day 7-12: Comprehensive List of Top Favorite Anime

Every aniblogger has to have a Top Anime List. That’s the unspoken rule. You are not an aniblogger until you have one such list for people to judge you on your best taste, not even if you already have a thousand blog posts of analysis, reflections, and reviews written. Top Anime List makes it whole.

In this (supposedly) comprehensive list, I will go into details on how I determine the ranking of my favorites and more importantly, why.

1. Nodame Cantabile

I’m heavy on anime rewatch; and I must have rewatch this fantastic show for at least 4 to 5 times.

Nodame Cantabile is one of my very first music anime. It introduced me to the of world music created through anime; and I’m very thankful for that. Because of that I’ve come to a realisation that I really love music, despite not learning any musical instrument at that moment.

Or perhaps it is exactly because I’m not enlightened on the world of music that I find this show an absolute eyes-opener. It let me understand, feel, even, the vast gap between listening to music and actually pouring your everything into making one.

The next reason for this being at the top is Romantic-Comedy. I’m a big sucker for rom-com. The show excels at it and kept its comedic quality across all seasons, while slowly building up the romantic relationships between Nodame and Chiaki.

Along the lengthy show, we see them growing together, both musical skills and character development. One of the most compelling themes is Talent vs Desire. We get to see exactly how their relationship, musical drives and results get influenced and complicated by their conflicting career goals. What you do best isn’t necessarily what you want best.

More importantly, Nodame x Chiaki is the best ship so this show is already automatically number one.

2. Silver Spoon

Here comes the hard part. Number Two spot is actually contested by many other anime, but Silver Spoon claims it simply because it dealt with more life lessons. I love real, hard-hitting life lessons in anime, and this show deliver its punches.

I love that how Hachiken is ‘forgiven’ for running away from his failings, while not brushed over. It is important to let yourself move forward, but also equally important to understand that “you cannot run away at the most important time”.

It taught me that as long as you don’t run away at the crucial moment, you can and should forgive yourself for past mistakes and decisions, and strife to be better.

The show has a lot of green. Fields and mountains populated by people and animals. The show spoils us on the harmony between human, animals and nature, and the symboitic relationships among all of us. Coexistence between people and animals is an important theme!

It is also a rom-com, even though it is never spoken out loud. Their romantic awkwardness is our joy and warmth.

3. Hunter x Hunter 2011

The. Best. Shounen. Action. Anime.

All the other popular ones are so far behind on HxH 2011 that I don’t think I will go back and finish them (mostly because it’ll take too long, but, I don’t think I will miss out much).

There are plenty of analysis, reflections, reviews, and blog posts on HxH 2011, and it deserves all the attention it gets.

The original Hunter x Hunter was one of the earliest contact I have with anime. I first watched it in Cantonese (living in a multi-racial country and all) when I was way younger. It was very engaging and I loved the characters.

When I eventually started watching anime very fervently, I picked up HxH 2011, which is known as a better and more faithful version.

There are a lot to say about HxH 2011, however, I thing I always like to bring up is how HxH 2011 does genre blending. Jumping from genre to genre is done seamlessly, with very natural story progression.

4. Recovery of MMOJunkie (Netojuu no Susume)

The new favorite, a Rom-Com, another anime that delivers real life relevance to an astonishing and at the same time, scary, degree. It ticks many boxes.

It talks about:

  • Social anxiety [x]
  • Real relationships online [x]
  • Self-depreciation, low confidence, running away from problems [x]

and eventually:

Recovery [x]

Which, perhaps, is the main benefit you get from the show as a viewer.

We can recover from our weaknesses and be better.

5. Kekkaishi

Old favorite. I wrote a post on Kekkaishi before. Even though I’m not sure how well I conveyed my thoughts on this anime through my lackluster writing skills, I still really hope more people will read about it and, at the very least, check out this anime that most never even heard of.

I really, really liked it.

6. Blood Battlefront Blockade (Kekkai Sensen)

This show is so colourful. So beautiful. So stylish. So much class.

It is an anime that appeals to me on an artistical level instinctively. When I first saw its visual effects I felt that this is the kind of visual imagery I always wanted. So vibrant and cheerful.

The stylish skill shout-outs is one thing, but the sound effects that accompanied the choreography of skill names is what brings life to the whole motion of skill activations. Block and block of characters combined with thump and thump of sound beats make this one of the best action sequences in anime. The synchronisation of the whole motion enhanced with various cinematic techniques avoids the trap of over-used style effects. It never gets bored.

In fact, the show never gets boring, even on its slower episodes. The soundtrack supported those slower moments with subtle borderline melancholic music. There are some jazz thrown in, too. The OP sets a good mood to the whole show as well, helping you be comfortable with and ready for the mundane daily lives in Hellsalem’s Lot.

The must mention part for me though, is the iconic combination of visual and audio effects that activates when Leo opens his All-Seeing Eyes of Gods. Personally this is the best superpower I have seen, ever. Not in terms of usefulness and practical stuffs like that, but of its sheer unique artistic style that draws my attention like no other.

When the quiet gets angry, it’s wordless rage.

When Leo opens his eyes, it’s divinely mesmerising.

 


 

This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. Things have been hectic and I couldn’t write as much as I wanted to. What originally is supposed to be a post spanning out of several days, are turned into a 6-days-in-one kind of post. I think that instead of rushing and churning out really shallow posts, it’s better to turn this “Top Favorite Anime List” into one Day 12 post. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

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Day 6: GRAND BLUE and the Spirit of Aniblogging

Grand Blue Ch4 1

Everyone wants to share what they enjoy with others. Such is the genuine aniblogging experience for me.

Grand Blue Ch4 2

Just like movies, sports, and diving, I want to share with others the most enjoyable anime experience I have. I want to read what others think about anime. I want to know what they write, what they talk about.

Grand Blue Ch4 3

I wish that through aniblogging, I can have more friends that share the common passion, more people to talk about anime, more interaction surrounding anime.

It is a completely different world when you belong in a community that are passionate about what you like.


 

This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. I want to share why I started aniblogging, and I think Grand Blue put it perfectly. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

Day 5: Let’s Watch An Anime Together.

Watching together with someone breath new life into the anime.

Fresh anime or old re-watch, this is a valuable experience I think and hope everyone get to enjoy.

I have completed many re-watch together with my partner. Each show feels different. Each anime that we watch together generates new experience.

I would find out new details that I missed. I would exchange different perspectives. I would anticipate my partner’s reaction to the twist and turns, and reveal of big events, or small humour.

Best of all, I can tackle new or old shows that I was not that interested in. This let me explore anime more widely. Ore Monogatari is such an example. I wasn’t sure how the story is going to continue after the first few episodes.

I was glad that my partner picked this up and I was surprised at how entertaining and heartwarming the latter episodes are, despite my fear that the show will run dry of things or events or drama seeing how early the main couple got together.

Watching anime with someone feels really nice. I love to do more of these.

I really hope everyone has that someone, or even a group, to watch anime with together. I’m also thinking that an anime group watch will have a vastly different experience as well.


This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. Sharing anime enjoyment is good! It’s in the intrinsic nature of aniblogging. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

Day 4: Why I Stopped Watching Gurren Lagann [Spoiler]

It is exactly because of spoiler.

While in the middle of the season, I caught wind of what happened at the ending of the show. From there, because I just can’t stand not know and being impatient, I read the whole summary of it.

Because of how melancholic and even how sad the ending is, it put me away from finishing the show. I do not have the desire to go through that sadness.

Spoiler is a big hurdle for my anime viewing experience. Eureka Seven is another show that I spoiled myself and still is not finished. Even though, in this case it’s a good ending, I still did not manage to push through and finish it. This might be more to the case that the transition from third quarter to last quarter of the show lost its grip on my attention.

Spice and Wolf, too, is another one. Another melancholic ending.

Sword Art Online 2, Nisekoi, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, etc etc.

Even Monogatari Season 2 to a certain extend (It’s a sin, I know). But that’s probably for another post.

When I accidentally read or hear something about a show that I really like, especially if the spoiler is on something anxious, I just can’t help myself for wanting to immediately find out what happened so that I can put myself at ease.

I hope one day I will go back and complete the those anime that I put off, because they really are high quality contents that worth finishing.

Or I will have my partner to tag along for those shows because I realise that watching an anime alone and watching with someone can have vastly different experience, which leads to my next blog post.


 

This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. I started having trouble coming up with ideas, so I decided to just run with a short and simple one, hopefully giving me ideas for the next post…and it works! Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

Day 3: Lustrous and Jewelry

When Land of the Lustrous came out, I was pretty excited for it. After it aired for a few weeks, I eventually binge-watched it and as I thought, I loved it very much. It was a very unique anime with unique setting and unique characters.

On twitter, I came across these Lustrous brand jewelry that features various characters from the show, each crafted based on the type of gems. I thought to myself how nice it would be to have one of those jewelries, to own a gemstone based on my favorite anime characters. It wasn’t until days later that I realized how my thoughts have betrayed my favorite characters in that moment.

It was my partner that first mentioned the Lustrous brand jewelry again.

“Doesn’t buying those jewelries makes us the Lunarians?”

That was when I realized that, yes, it does makes us the Lunarians, the ones that hunt Phos and his friends and family. What struck me as sickening is my first thought and reaction when I saw the sale of Lustrous brand jewelry – How nice would it be to own one.

See, this is our (at least mine) first instinct that surfaces, the desire to own something, even something that we don’t even need.

Humanity is a race that have over-abundance of desires. We take not only what we need, but also we want. Just like how the Lunarians forcefully take the Gems, we are a race that would destroy others, living or non-living, to fulfill our wants.

Perhaps the whole point of the anime and manga is to criticize that unending, destructive trait of ours. The weakness that propel us as a race towards unending consumption, in the great expense of others, even our own people, for materialistic goals.

Just like how Lunarians in their pursuit of the Gems, use pieces of Gems to fight them, because it is effective, we human also use diamond to saw, cut, and grind diamonds, to turn them into decorations, to appease our desires.

We are not pretty beings, are we?

Land of Lustrous 1

“The Lunarians lust for battle and are never satiable. That senseless impatience of theirs…”

To quote from my number one favorite TV show ever, Battlestar Galactica, and one of my most cherished and respected fictional characters, Admiral Adama:

[…] You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we’ve done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.

Why do we deserve to be saved? Perhaps one day, the Gems will come for us, and it’ll be our turn to live in the nightmares.


 

This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. To me, this is perhaps the most important piece of aniblogging I’ve ever done, and the most meaningful one. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

 

Day 2: Handing Out Hopes

Anime has this subtle way of spreading hope around. Of course, the disclaimer is that not every anime has that effect and the type of genre we select plays a big factor. But you might find that more often than not anime is like that.

Recovery of MMO Junkie (Netojuu no Susume)

In MMO Junkie, Morikawa Moriko represents a hope to ‘adults’ that are not doing so well adult wise. At the age of 30, which is already the age of ‘true adult’ in many culture and society, Moriaka is essentially someone who chose to run away from her societal responsibility to become a NEET. Getting totally absorbed in MMO is her escape from all the social anxiety and stress.

Not a very adult behavior, is it? However, the problems that she face are actually very real and common among us young adults. We see ourselves reflected on her situation and circumstances and wonder what will happen if we do what she did.

The main underlying idea that ran through the whole series is how a 30 years old MMO addict shut-in can break out of her shell and ‘recover’. For a lot of us, this is a form of hope and optimism; that someone like her actually has a chance to get better control of their life and head to a brighter direction. Just as we see our problems and issues on Morioka, we also see the light of hope that surrounds her.

This is not to say that quitting your job and play Final Fantasy 14 obsessively will grant your wishes, and everyone knows this. Instead, it is telling us that there is a sparkle of hope, a possibility, that things will get better and everything will be alright, and we shouldn’t give up trying. I think that is a truly important idea to have in our outlook to life.

Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni)

In Lustrous, we see Phos as someone who doesn’t have the skill, talent, and capability for any kind of work. In comparison to MMOJunkie where Moriaka actually has the skill and capability to do her job really well, Phos has only her desire.

We struggle to find something that we are good at, struggle to find a place for ourselves, and struggle even more to find acceptance, to be useful.

Despite Phos’ sarcastic personality and indifference to everyone’s jabbing, being useful and capable actually matters a lot; so much that when he is given a task that he thought as ‘useless’ he still work his best to complete it.

Phos represents another kind of hope to us: The hope that we can eventually get better at what we want to do or eventually able to find something that we can do best.

Re:Life

This will be a more controversial one because of how “unrealistic” the setting of the show is. However, because of that, the show has more room to play around with its ideas and explore deeper on how would it be like if an young adult is given the chance to restart and relearn a segment of his life.

Being able to start fresh is an attractive options I’m sure many of us have fantasized of. This is what Re:Life is showing us: Being able to restart the parts of our life where we regretted and strife to do it better this time.

The show represents a general positive idea that we can do better and change for the better. We might not be able to relive the segments of our life again but surely we are still able to do better in the present. As a nice touch, the show also tell us how even with a fresh start things might not work out. The more important things are our attitude and perspective, and whether we are willing to change.

Therefore, even if we are not going through such dramatic changes to our current circumstances, I like to think that this show convinces me that “yes, you have it in you all along to change for the better”, and on top of it I have the potential to do even more if I’m given a chance to start fresh. I think that’s really great.

Anime deals with many subject matters but I think ‘hope’ is one persistent value that appears in majority of anime titles, even when it isn’t the primary focus of the shows. I hope this speaks well to how we as people are inherently, or at least want to be, optimistic and hopeful.


This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. I got the idea for this post after I notice that many of my favorite anime are very positive and optimistic. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.

Day 1: The Comfort Zone

I returned to anime this time around because of several really, really good shows airing this season.

 

However, that’s not how I usually get drawn back into the world of anime after “taking a break”.

Usually though, it is those comfortable anime re-watch that pulls me back into the anime phase again. Usually it’ll be one of these few: Nodame Cantabile, Hunter x Hunter 2011, Silver SpoonToradora, KawaisouSword Art Online, Log Horizon, and Nana.

I reflected on why these are my go-to comfort anime and why they leave me craving for more. Then I thought to myself that this can be a nice starting point to write about anime.

So here I go and I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts.

All these shows have one undeniable similarity: they are long; and one very, very long (HxH 2011 with a 148-episode run). Length is important because it gives time to re-develop the strong passion for anime again. The melancholic obsessive mood that follows after an ending of a re-watch becomes the fuel that drives me into watching the next show and the next show and the next.

For me to place an anime on the “comfortable” category, it needs to have strong, unique characters. This is true to many of the examples.

The adorkable Nodame and the straight-man Chiaki. The friendship of Gon and Killua. The dominant Taiga and supportive Ryuji. The tries-his-best Hachiken and the reserved Mikage. The awkward duo Usa and Ritsu. The naive Nana and the powerful Nana. Excellent casts like these are very attractive to me and they make for very absorbed re-watch sessions.

Where does this leave SAO and Log Horizon? Power fantasy.

Power fantasy not as in the self-inserting fulfillment, but rather “You think you can gang up on Kirito? He’ll show you his true powah” kind of power fantasy. It’s particularly satisfying to watch the characters vindicate themselves through sheer, unmatchable power; either with game-breaking skill or genius intellect. It is a sort of guilty pleasure for me.

Swiftly moving on to better taste… I am a sucker for Rom-Com. Romance and humour is possibly the best combination a genre can get. It makes me warm and fuzzy and happy. Kawaisou is probably not an “excellent tier” anime, but it got me real good in the rom-com department. Its self-described “70% comedy 30% romance” works for me very well. Throw in a few curve balls of hard-hitting life lessons and I’m already obsessed with it. Silver Spoon, OBJECTIVELY the better anime in the genre, throws even more hard-hitting balls. Toradora, often hailed as the best rom-com, needs no more description. These slices of life are my frequent go-to when I want to just watch some anime.

Perhaps more than anything, my comfort zone is full of anime re-watch because I already know what will happen; and that gives me a strong sense of stability. I look forward to the big scenes, the big reveals that I know are coming. I get excited to see my favorite anime teens reacting to the silliest things. Even though I know what major event is going to happen I still can’t help myself from anticipating with excitement.

That excitement is stable, always there, and it won’t betray my expectations.

It is when after I’ve been fueled up and enriched that I venture out and watch something new and do something I don’t usually do, like writing an aniblog post.

 

Nodame Cantabile Cover 1


 

This short piece is part of the 12 DAYS OF ANIME 2017 aniblogging series. This being the first day of the challenge. Thank you appropriant for hosting this and the opportunities it brings.