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Anime I'll Be Watching When I'm Old & Decrepit

Anime Collection

Those who know me know that I've been a pretty avid anime fan since my college days. There was a lull during my first few years in the workforce when it fell a bit by the wayside but it began again in full force these last few years thanks to the ease of obtaining torrented fansub content and the explosion of commercial releases available through retailers and Netflix. While I have watched a significant chunk of series in the past almost twenty years, I'm definitely nowhere near the top.

When it comes to my personal collection of commercially available titles though, I have a pretty meager set (see photo above). I collect commercial anime titles the same way I collect regular movie titles. It's gotta be something that I believe I'll actually want to go back and watch numerous times years and years down the line. Or it holds some sort of sentimental value to me. Cause let's face it, there's way too many titles out there (past, present and future), and not enough time to watch most of them more than once. Unless you're independently wealthy and don't have to work for a living. Plus with services like Netflix around, that takes care of the huge chunk of good, but not great titles that I may want to see. Sure, I may not be fully supporting the US anime industry (which has apparently been about to go belly up for the past decade now =p) to my utmost ability but I'll leave that to the current crop of young otaku who don't have a wife and kid to feed. Along with two other, even more expensive hobbies. ;-p

So, what titles have currently made my list to date? Let's take a look (in no particular order):

  • Cowboy Bebop - It's a rare individual who will admit to disliking this series. I've met a few "meh, wasn't all that" folk but no "wow, that sucked" types. =) This series has it all: great characters, stories, music and animation.
  • City Hunter - This series' appeal won't cross the gender line much (due to the ecchi nature of the main character) and frankly, all the stories follow, more or less, the same pattern. But Saeba Ryo is still one of the coolest cats around. This was possibly my first anime/manga exposure ever (outside of Robotech) as I remember watching it on TV during my annual summer trips back to Taiwan during my youth. I would even drag my cousins to the local manga rental stores so they could read them out loud to me since I don't read Chinese. ;-p
  • Maison Ikkoku - Numero uno on my list and a classic rom-com by Rumiko Takahashi. For me, it's a huge sentimental favorite. Just strikes the right chord. People have complained that it's much too long. Those people suck. ;-p It's a very lengthy buildup to a very satisfying ending.
  • Mobile Police Patlabor - This series gets nowhere near the exposure and accolade that should be its due. Sure it's not fancy, flashy and angst-ridden like the Gundams and Macrosses of the anime world but what it does have is a well-meshed cast and a superior story that weaves action, intelligence, comedy, slice of life and just a teeny sliver of romance bubbling under the surface into one awesome package.
  • Rurouni Kenshin - aka Samurai X for the US OAV/movie releases. The classic Meiji-era samurai series. Interesting characters and villains with fancy fighting styles centered around an unassuming, but ass-whuppin' protagonist. Another series that few have not heard of.
  • Studio Ghibli movies - Pretty much classics through and through. My current top 3 would be Porco Rosso, Pom Poko and Kiki's Delivery Service.
  • Shinkai Makoto features - Absolutely gorgeous visuals paired with true to life sound, fitting musical score and melancholic stories make for very heart-stirring series.
  • The Wings of Honneamise - Slacker becomes the first man sent into orbit. Beautifully animated with an interesting score. Has a bit of seemingly out of place religious elements thrown in.
  • Azumanga Daioh - Highly entertaining slice of life look at the high school lives of a group of six girls. The epitome of moe by my definition.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - A wackily amusing series centered around a completely self-absorbed high schooler. You either love it or hate it, with most choosing to love.
  • Mushishi - One of the best supernatural mystery series to come along in quite some time. Starts off a little slow but is well worth the time.
  • Koko wa Greenwood - One of the earliest slightly off-kilter little-bit-of-everything series to be released commercially in the US. Slice of life story following the lives of four high school boys living in the weirdest dorm on campus. Unfortunately only made into a 6 episode OAV.
  • Prefectural Earth Defense Force - A rather little known US release that's hard to find these days. Quite amusing however in an off-the-wall sort of way.
  • Ninja Scroll - Back in the days when this was released in the US, there was nothing else like it. A subsequent TV series followed years later (to the US that is) but the original movie still ruled the roost.
  • Golden Boy - Another old but great series about a somewhat perverted Tokyo U dropout who bikes around Japan learning about life. Way too short at only 6 episodes and the T&A factor is somewhat high but doesn't detract too much from an otherwise enjoyable series.
  • Ruin Explorers - An utterly forgettable short OAV series for the most part, this one most likely doesn't deserve to be on this list. The reason it does however, is completely superficial. For some reason, when I first watched this, I found Fam's voice utterly captivating. I haven't watched it again in quite some time so that may no longer be true. But for now, it remains on my shelf.
  • Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone - This is on my shelf purely on hype alone. I never finished the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series (and after having read some of the online rantings on it I probably won't) but these new movie releases have garnered glowing reviews. It just recently came out as did FF XIII so guess what has been taking up most of my time lately. ;-p But eventually I'll get around to watching it. I'm hoping the hype won't let me down.

There are a couple of other series that I'm currently contemplating or will be coming when released in the future.

  • Gintama - A no brainer. The best shounen 100+ episode series ever. EVER. I will brook no argument here. =p
  • Honey and Clover - A very pretty and entertaining slice of life series concentrating on the lives and loves of a group of college art students. Currently being released as 3 boxed sets, I'm waiting for the prices to drop a bit before I partake.
  • Yawara - Another classic series. Animeigo is currently releasing it at their usual glacial pace. Probably be 3 box sets when all said and done. Not a particular favorite of mine but I feel like I have to support Animeigo who has been around since the very beginning of anime in the US.
  • Kimagure Orange Road - Another classic rom-com, this Animeigo released box set is out of print so acquiring it isn't high on my list unless the price isn't too stratospheric.
  • Samurai Champloo - From the same creative minds that brought us Cowboy Bebop, this probably should have been on my shelf long ago. I've been rather wishy-washy on it lately for no logical reason, especially since it's out on BluRay.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor - This series teeters on that razor edge between a great series and one that's truly collectible. So far it's a war that it's currently losing but it's never far off in my mind.

So there you have it. For those anime fans who may have wandered into this post from the Interweb wilds, what say you? Which series do you think will stand the test of time to be your must have keepers? Commercially available titles only please. ;-)


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Comments (2)

Definitely going to bookmark this, so I can add them to my Netflix when I get home. Great list!!!!

Deepa Donde:

Hey, sorry to post an unrelated comment. Could you scan the list of Brown Summer Academy 1990 people and email it to me? Thanks.

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