Behold! My Favorite Manga Covers

These covers are the runner ups!

I’m so excited to finally finish this list! I’ve been writing it so long. . . I get easily distracted though so it took up a good chunk of my life. I hope you enjoy my favorite manga covers as much as I do! My greatest wish is you are able to find something new to read.

Let’s get started!

52. Sakisaka, Io‘s Strobe Edge, Volume 6

What I like about this particular cover is the lighting. There is a nice balance of pastel colors and movement in the character’s clothing. Miss Sakisaka also has a talent for drawing and coloring eyes.

51.  Murata, Yusuke (Art), ONE (Story)- One Punch-Man, Volume 11

Murata Yusuke is an extraordinary artist. I actually talked about his profound attention to detail in my post Best Artwork From Manga I’ve Read. As fans know, he isn’t the original artist for One Punch Man but he tries his best to really enhance the original author ONE’s artwork.

I love, love, love, the coloring in this cover. Its RED and awesome. I also like Metal Bat from the series. Therefore, its a win win situation for me. What REALLY sold me on this cover though was Saitama in the background with his ugly wig on. 🙂

50. Morishita, Suu‘s Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 1

A Sign of Affection is one of my favorite recent finds. The manga is great, but I’m not going to talk about that right now. I’m a sucker for beautiful covers outlined with flowers and with watercoloring. What I also appreciate about this cover is the hand gesture the girl is making. In Japanese sign language it means “That’s okay”. Very fitting for a title like A Sign of Affection.

49. One Punch Man, Volume 23

Word of warning, because I like the artist Murata for One Punch Man, his covers are going to come up A LOT. This cover encompasses my feelings concerning this series. I just want Saitama to come and punch the villain already. I like the lighting and spotlight effect Murata did over Saitama. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Thank the Lord! Saitama is here to punch them!”

48. Kubo, Tite‘s Bleach, Volume 22

Tite Kubo’s covers for Bleach are going to be all over the place! Though I am not happy with how drawn out the story became, I am definitely a fan of Kubo’s artwork. He’s a great artist! One of the highlights for this series is the large variety of manga covers he finished. He has a way of posing his characters uniquely.

Case point 1 is his first cover featuring Ulquiorra. Its like a still shot someone made right when he moved to stand in the frame. I really like Ulquiorra as a character too, which also adds to my admiration for this cover.

47. Mikanagi, Touya‘s Karneval, Volume 25

I featured this cover in one of my earliest manga posts Beautiful covers for aspiring art collectors. The artist, Mikanagi, makes his covers feel like a circus with their wide variety of colors, shapes and unique lighting. For this particular cover, I love how he incorporated BLUE. It’s been too long since I read this series so I couldn’t say if this has some significance. For me, it just pops aesthetically!

46. Karneval, Volume 4

Another fun fact about all of these manga covers for Karneval is Mikanagi always includes a butterfly somewhere in the background. What I especially like about this cover is the posing. I feel like I mentally need to look up to the character’s eyes.

45. Kouchi, Kaede‘s Love So Life, Volume 17

I love this manga series, especially for its heartwarming variety of manga covers. This particular cover is for the series’ finale, bringing together the four characters I came to love so much. It feels like a family picture and it makes me smile. 🙂

44. Bleach, Volume 60

I said Kubo’s art would persist on this list. I keep my promises. I appreciated Kubo including a homage to Ichigo’s mother, who he lost at a very young age. This cover feels like a precious, captured memory right before she died.

43. CLAMP‘s Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 10

You have no idea how hard it was to narrow down my favorite covers for Tsubasa. I truly admire CLAMP’s artists and how well they stage their inter chapter artwork and manga covers. The theme for this particular cover is GREEN tropics and I eat it up. There are so many details to look over and it evokes a needed sense of mystery and apprehension.

42. Takamatsu, Misaki‘s Skip to Loafer, Volume 1

I found Skip to Loafer while browsing online blogs and was surprised how much I liked it. What especially impressed me was how the artist Takamatsu staged her characters on the cover. It fits the more upbeat flow for the series and alludes to the hope filled future ahead of them.

41. Azuma, Kiyohiko‘s Yotsuba to!, Volume 7

Good gravy (Don’t know where that came from) I love almost all the covers Kiyohiko does for Yotsuba&!. Much like the series, they have such a warm energy to them. What I especially like in this cover is Yotsuba’s enthusiasm as she runs from/with sheep. I’m pretty sure this is the volume where she goes to a farm for the first time. All in all, it just makes me smile.

40. Mochizuki, Jun‘s Pandora Hearts, Volume 3

Seeing this cover for Pandora Hearts makes me want to read it again. Mochizuki balances her covers by having a blank white canvas and crisply inserting well posed characters. By doing this, the facial expressions and color stick out more.

Though I love the first two covers for the series, I’ve always had a soft spot for this third volume. There is something about Break’s pose that draws me in.

39. Yotsuba to!, Volume 9

Volume 7 from Yotsuba&! isn’t so much about posing as it is about creating a beautiful atmosphere. Though the place Yotsuba lives seems ordinary, Kiyohino makes it feel so warm. This cover is very inviting, like its gently pushing a reader to opening its pages.

38. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 19

I’m super surprised I liked this cover so much. I’m not really into science fiction. However, what intrigues me about this volume is the atmosphere. For those who have read the series, its darker coloring and more oppressive atmosphere match the tone present in the story. I appreciate the attention to details CLAMP had in their character presentation and how they set the reader for the crazy plot changes coming up.

37. Strobe Edge, Volume 8

Andou, from Strobe Edge, is not my favorite character. But I like this cover featuring him. I didn’t think that would happen. What I liked most was his hair and eyes. I also like the angle Sakisaka used for the character.

36. Arakawa, Hiromu‘s Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 10/ 3 in 1

Being the nerdy fan I am of Arakawa’s artwork, I’m not surprised this volume popped up. As I’ve said before, I am always on the lookout for great lighting and posing in manga covers. Luckily, this volume has both. I’m also a HUGE fan of Edward’s character design so I’m always for seeing him on covers.

35. Pandora Hearts, Volume 10

Wow. The theme for this volume cover is PURPLE. Since the series is a a much darker place in this volume, this color is very fitting. If I’m not mistaken, it features Jack, who originally they thought was a hero. Anyway, I won’t spoil anything. Needless to say this cover is fantastic!

34. Watsuki, Nobuhiro‘s Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 28

Ah, Rurouni Kenshin. How I love you. Here is the simple reason I love this cover. Kenshin looks at peace. I love his expression and how the cover eludes to his happy future.

33. Hikawa, Kyouko‘s Kanata kara, Volume 13

I. LOVE. THIS. SERIES. I wish I owned all the volumes but I don’t have the money to spend $800 for certain volumes. So, so sad. All the volumes feature the two main characters. Volume 13 is one of my favorites. Hikawa has such good taste in coloring and clothing design.

32. Hoshino, Katsura‘s D.Gray-man, Volume 18

Hoshino is one of the best artists I’ve come across in manga. No joke. She is great at drawing hands and clothing. What I like about his cover in particular is the coloring and posing. It feels ALIVE. It also has a more Halloweeny feel to it, which I am always down for.

31. Bleach, Volume 49

I think this is the best cover featuring Ichigo. It has more defined shading, almost like Film Noir or Romantic paintings.

30. Kanata Kara, Volume 11

Be prepared because this isn’t the last cover from this series. Much like volume 13, I mostly like the colors and clothing design. In particular, I like Noriko’s hair color and dress.

29. Mosco‘s Kuzumi-kun, Kuuki Yometemasu ka?, Volume 8

If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend it simply for its humor. And Kuzumi. His dead pan expressions make me laugh. Anyway, this cover is just super sweet. I’m always a fan of these type of stories where “loser” characters get with those they love. In this case I’d say Erika, the girl, is in the loser category.

28. Bleach, Volume 54

I don’t remember who this character is but I love how Kubo portrays him on this cover! I especially admire the gray shading on the dark uniform as well as the watercolored platform they’re standing on.

27. Love so Life, Volume 14

Compared to volume 17, I think 14 has a little more life breathed into it! I also like how it portrays Shiharu’s relationship with the twins with such positive, bright colors.

26. Yotsuba to!, Volume 15

What I love most about this cover is how it portrays Yotsuba’s relationship with her dad. It’s just sweet to see it shown in such a positive, cute setting like the beach.

25. Touma, Rei‘s Reimei no Arcana, Volume 1

I don’t like the other covers for Dawn of Arcana as much as I do this one. The Turquoise and red silhouetted against each other is simply beautiful. What really catches me is her GREEN eyes.

24. D. Grayman, Volume 4

Levi is one of my favorite characters in D.Gray Man, besides Allen. The black surrounding him in this cover feels like a curtain parting.

23. Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, Volume 24

Dang. I just. . . man I just love Syaoran. This is one of the few covers with just him. He looks cool on this cover. This is one of the few times where I like the brown tones used.

22. Bleach, 18

I forgot this character’s name too (Sorry!) but I have always like this cover’s energy! It feels like a still frame for an animated scene. I say that because of the smear effect Kubo used for her foot. In animation, action scenes often are smeared to give an illusion of fast motion.

21. Fullmetal Alchemist, 25

This cover has depth. I also like where Arakawa put the focal point. Because Alphonse in the suit is so big, your eyes naturally go from him back to his body and the gateway of truth.

20. Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 4

Sigh, this cover is so pretty. It reminds me of Art Nouveu paintings done by Alphonse Mucha, with its brighter colors and floral/ nature themed outlines. I especially like how Morishita used baby blue on her characters.

19. Togashi, Yoshihiro‘s Hunter x Hunter, Volume 3

I feel bad for saying this, but I don’t like Yoshihiro’s artwork. The anime is great, but the manga’s art lacks. . . things. That said, I still love this cover! It’s just fun and encompasses Gon’s lighthearted nature.

18. Love So Life, Volume 15

Love so Life is one of my favorite love stories. Matsunaga handled his relationship with Shiharu very well. I like how happy and content they look together. Matsunaga especially looks at peace with the future they had awaiting them.

17. Sugisaki, Yukiru‘s D.N.Angel, Volume 1

If there is one good thing about D.N.Angel its the manga covers. Even here in volume 1 Sugisaki was able to catch readers’ attention with captivating colors and designs. The reason why I even wanted to read this series was because I was drawn to this cover.

16. Bleach, Volume 3

Orihime is one of my favorite characters, and not because she is pretty. I like her modesty and how her feelings and motivations develop. What I like about this cover is how it plays on her personality. This is also a really clever pose. I’ve never seen anything else like it.

15. Bleach, Volume 13

Details, details, details. I like the coloring, Kenpachi’s facial expression, and how he is angled toward the where the reader will open the volume.

14. One Punch Man, Volume 2

This cover is freaking cool, like Genos, who tries so hard to succeed but hardly ever does. I think this cover portrays the roles Genos and Saitama play in the series. Genos gives readers something cool and pretty to look and Saitama looks like a dork in the background, until he starts fighting. (Note, I love how Murata makes it seem like Genos’ arms are shining.)

13. D.N.Angel, Volume 13

Looking back at this cover, I marvel at this character’s angle. It’s like he’s twisting towards the reader mid flight. All in all, it’s a captivating shot of Dark from D.N.Angel.

12. Midorikawa, Yuki‘s Natsume Yuujinchou, Volume 5

All my friends know I love Natsume’s Book of Friends. I perused all the manga covers and decided volume 5 is my favorite of the bunch. It’s like a wind is passing through the scene, lifting the papers up around the characters. I also like how this volume has a brush of calligraphy to its style.

11. D. Grayman, Volume 7

I’ve said before Hoshino draws spectacular covers. This one feels as though its falling apart or unable to fully come together, which is fitting since the featured character isn’t exactly human. I love how this artwork feels, and the sense of mystery behind it.

10. Shiwasu, Yuki‘s Takane to Hana, Volume 13

Ah, the infamous volume for Takane and Hana where things finally click for both characters. It doesn’t show it right here, but the full artwork has their full figures falling together. It’s quite beautiful. Most of the covers for this series are funny but at the right times they have a more serious undertone.

9. Rurouni Kenshin, 3-in-1 4

Kenshin how I love you! On a whim I decided to go through all the 3-in-1 volume covers for Rurouni Kenshin. In-so-doing, I found this hidden gem. I’ve never seen him in blue before, but its suits him wonderfully. Kenshin is a very lighthearted character so this cover fits him very well. (If you couldn’t tell, I basically love this cover because of how it portrays Kenshin.)

8. Yubisaki to Renren, Volume 2

Such a pretty cover! Morishika has such a talent for blending colors! I especially like how the characters are looking at each other.

7. Fullmetal Alchemist, Volume 27

Yes, yes, yes! This cover encompasses everything I love about this series’ finale. It’s almost like Edward says with his eyes, “I’ve found the right answer. I’m here for my brother now.” Ah! so good.

6. Kanata Kara, Volume 3

This is my favorite cover for From Far Away because of how gentle it feels. It almost feels airbrushed, with soft hues of blue and pink. It’s almost like Hikawa blended two different people through color and imagery.

5. Urushibara, Yuki‘s Mushishi, Volume 7

Yes, I love Mushishi. Sorry there is only one cover! Thinking back on it though, I realized this is the cover I admire the most because of Urushibara’s choice of colors and posing. It reminds me of one of the more haunting stories from the series about a young woman hundreds of years old, connected to an old Cherry Tree. I’m a huge fan of watercolors in general so it’s no wonder I feel so drawn to this cover.

4. One Punch Man, Volume 17

Hot dang! This cover has such presence and energy! Besides Saitama and Genos, Zombie man is probably my favorite. (I wonder why that is? Maybe I like strong silent types) Looking closely at this cover, the focal point is his EYES at the end of his gun. I understand this character without even having to read about him just by looking at this image.

3. Takane to Hana, Volume 7

Such. Beautiful. Colors! I didn’t realize how much I love soft coloring in artwork until I did this post. This volume from Takane and Hana takes place right at a serious moment in the story. Character development comes like a storm! Shiwasu chose just the right colors for Takane and Hana for this volume. I also like how she posed the characters. Like most volume covers, they don’t feel at war with each other. It’s like they are finally connecting.

2. Takaya, Natsuki‘s Fruits Basket, Ultimate Edition 2

I’m surprised myself how far this cover has come! Fruits Basket is my favorite manga of all time. I have quite a bit of emotional attachment to it. When I searched through all the volumes, this 2nd ultimate edition popped out at me! This was at a time where Takaya’s artwork flourished. I love how I feel when I look at it and that is what really matters when picking artworks for ourselves.

1.Yamamori, Mika‘s Hirunaka no Ryuusei, Volume 6

Hmmm hmm hmmm. I’m sorry more volumes for this series didn’t make it. However, in light of all the volumes this has always been the cover I’ve been most drawn to. Its partially because I love Mamura as a character. It’s also how Yamamori chose to use to use pastels on black. I’ve also always been a fan with how the artist draws her characters.

Thank you for brushing through my long list! Maybe you found something new to read. I hope so.

AMV Showdown: Top 23 From Tier 2

Here we are at tier 2! It actually took longer to go through the 55 videos from the last round because we had to carefully examine each one. We graded each AMV on the following criteria from 1-10:

Fluidity, or how smoothly the editors used the animation and music

Characterization, or how well the editors portrayed characters

Overall Performance, or how well the editors utilized music and imagery

Of the 55 videos, 32 had perfect scores and went on to round three. For this list, I’ll simply place them in order of their average scores. For those that had the same score, I put the one with the best overall performance farther up.

Most of my commentary is nit picking. These are all great AMVs that didn’t quite make it to the next round.

Let’s get started!

23. Best AMV you will ever see Part 3 by xxanime_otaku

Based on A Variety of Anime

For the three criteria, this AMV suffered the most. Though it has good timing, it lacks consistent fluid motion, crisp characterization, and struggled in some places to utilize the music and imagery. Part of this is because of the added sound effects from the anime it showcased.

Matching movement to music isn’t enough. It’s also important to find a balance between action and stillness and take the time to pose the characters amidst the action. This will clarify to the audience what has happened better.

My Score: 23

My Brother’s Score: 27

Average Score: 25

22. Mob Psycho 100「AMV」- RISE by justSyker

Based on Mob Psycho 100

“Rise” by State of Mine was a great song choice for this anime. What this particular AMV lacked was a more recognizable connection between the music and the animation. Because of this disconnection, there were certain snippets of animation that didn’t need to be there or didn’t match the context of the video.

My Score: 25.5

My Brother’s Score: 25

Average Score: 25.25

21. Soul Eater amv – Asphyxiated Insanity by winkz4yuu

Based on Soul Eater

Much like the previous AMVs, “Asphyxiated Insanity” lacked cohesive imagery to music. The Editor used cool effects to create the overall tone for the AMV but didn’t follow through with the sequencing of the animation.

My Score: 24.5

My Brother’s Score: 26.5

Average Score: 25.5

20. AMV Adieu Perchance to Dream by VermillionAMV

Based on A Variety of Films

“Cough Syrup” by Young The Giant sets the tone and setting for the AMV splendidly. However, it suffers once you hear the words to the song. It’s a song about potential suicide, yet the video tries to portray scenes of hope and light. Therefore, the images and music clash with each other under further inspection.

My Score: 26

My Brother’s Score: 27

Overall Score: 26.5

19 Edward Elric [AMV] – Elastic Heart by Feeedeay

Based on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Here is our first FMA Brotherhood AMV! (We have eight of them). It’s characterization is SPOT ON. How it portrayed Edward’s journey as a character is riveting! That said, it suffered a little because there was too much much movement. There are also scenes where the editor shakes the video, making the imagery hard to follow.

My Score: 26.5

My Brother’s Score: 27.5

Average Score: 27

18. Best AMV you will ever see Part 4 by xxanime_otaku

Based on a Variety of Anime

Of all the videos part of the “Best AMV you will ever see” series, this is the best in terms of fluidity, characterization, and overall performance. The tumultuous nature of these videos though, kept it from breaking into the next round. It got close though!

My Score: 26.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 27.75

17. AMV So Alive by VermillionAMV

Based on Brave Story

I’m too blame for this AMV’s score. Since I’ve seen it a few more times than my brother, I was very familiar with it’s content. As far as characterization, this AMV treats its main protagonist and his journey as an adventurer superbly. Where it suffers is in its flow and overall performance. Some segments aren’t needed or could be cut down.

My Score: 26.5

My Brother’s Score: 30

Overall Score: 28.25

16. Full Metal Alchemist – Party Rock Anthem by ryniektheditor

Based on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I have so many good memories of this AMV! I actually run to its music when I do sprints. Through further inspection, its so close to a perfect score but doesn’t quite reach the level of many other AMVs. What it lacks is heart. It has crisp timing and amazing tone but it doesn’t capture the essence of its characters. Besides that there are maybe two-ish spots I noticed where it could have used the music and imagery better.

My Score: 27.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 28.25

15. Death Parade AMV – Feeling Good by Skyking AMV

Based on Death Parade

My fault again! So, I really like this song and how well the editor used it to showcase this gorgeous anime. Its flow went slightly down for me when the editor included speaking parts. I also didn’t think it quite used its characters to tell a distinct story.

My Score: 27

My Brother’s Score: 30

Average Score: 28.5

14. AMV Run Mob Run by VermillionAMV

Based on Mob Psycho 100

This AMV is SOOO well done. “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid is a great choice for this anime and the editor showed that through their great characterization and fluid product. The one thing it lacked was complete utilization of the imagery and music. There were parts where the images didn’t match the subject of the song.

My Score: 28.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 28.75

13. A Prelude to Dreams – AMV Best in Show 2011 by Shin AMV

Based on A Variety of Anime

Here is yet another of my favorite AMVs. I thought it would make it to the top but alas, I had to nitpick. It has beautiful imagery and the editor was able to blend a variety of anime almost seamlessly. But there were a few parts where its flow suffered because of slightly misplaced animation. There was also one part where they could have used different imagery to enhance its climatic end.

My Score: 28.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 28.75

12. WE’RE EMPTY;by moved.

Based on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa

Great song choice. The editor used it to their advantage and created an incredible collage, which captured the suffering so many characters from this show went through. One thing threw me off. They included images from the movie. Why? Not quite sure because the movie doesn’t balance well with the newer anime. Plus, they have separate stories and endings.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 28.5

Average Score: 28.75

11. Violet Evergarden「AMV」Battlefield by YenixAMV

Based on Violet Evergarden

This AMV made me watch to watch Violet Evergarden. It had great characterization and overall performance. The only flaw I could see was it used animation shots which still had the credits on them. That may not seem like a big deal, but it was distracting and cut through the AMV’s flow.

My Score: 28.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 28.75

10. We’ll Meet Again – AMV -「Anime MV」by Light Raider

Based on a Variety of Anime

There will be an award post featuring this editor. They have the most AMVs on our list. Though they use a variety of different of anime they don’t detract from one another or distract. That said, the one thing keeping this AMV back is there were small moments it didn’t match the animation and music. It’s such a small thing, but it makes a difference in the overall experience.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 29

Average Score: 29

9. AMV I Will Die For You by VermillionAMV

Based on Mawaru Penguindrum

My brother and I both thought this AMV lacked something, but in different areas. I thought the characterization was unclear. He thought the imagery lacked some cohesion with the music. Overall, I’m just sad it couldn’t go forward. (This is also one of my favorites).

My Score: 28.5

My Brother’s Score: 29.5

Average Score: 29

8. READY TO FIGHT – AMV – 「Anime MV」by Light Raider

Based on a Variety of Anime

Gosh, this AMV has great timing! I thought it only lacked better fluidity. Specifically, in a part near the beginning when multiple characters draw swords. The sound effects of the swords felt off to me and cut into the experience. (Hah, I didn’t realize I used a pun).

My Score: 28.5

My Brother’s Score: 30

Overall Score: 29.25

7. fruits basket | you should see me in a crown [AMV] by someone

Based on Fruits Basket

There is only one thing my brother and I agreed was wrong. The ending is too abrupt. Otherwise, man I love this AMV! I especially admire how well the editor portrayed the characters and their situations.

My Score: 29.5

My Brother’s Score: 29

Overall Score: 29.25

6. Mob Psycho 100 Tribute – 99% AMV by traceyedits

Based on Mob Psycho 100

If you paid attention to my Favorite Openings and Endings post, I really like the one from Mob Psycho 100. The one main critique I had against it, was I didn’t like the song as much. Thankfully, this AMV showcases the English cover for that particular song! Its a great AMV both in its characterization in fluidity. The one thing that kept me from giving it a perfect score was how sometimes the imagery and words to the songs did not match.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 30

Overall Score: 29.5

5. AMV [EyeS] Kaijuu no Kodomo – Children of the Sea by dis5onance

Based on Children of the Sea

This AMV has the same problem as the one from Fruits Basket. It’s ending is way to sudden. Otherwise, its amazing how much this editor accomplished in only 48 seconds! Well done.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 30

Average Score: 29.5

4. Children of the sea [AMV] Young and Beautiful by DangoCat AMV

Based on Children of the Sea

Gosh, this AMV is simply beautiful. I love Children’s of the Sea‘s animation and I marveled at this AMV’s timing and tone , coupled with Lana Del Rey’s haunting voice. The one thing that held me back was there were missed opportunities, where the editor could have utilized the words more relevant imagery.

My Score: 29.5

My Brother’s Score: 29.5

Average Score: 29.5

4. ONE PUNCH-MAN •「EPIC AMV」• STAND ALONE HD by Gakari’s Amv

Based on One Punch Man

Though this AMV is rock solid in its characterization and overall performance, I held back because there were one or two small moments I felt could have been more fluid. Mostly, I expected it to have more energy at certain parts of the song.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 30

Average Score: 29.5

2. AMV – Rіdе οr Dіe 1080p by NeverEnoughEpicAMVs2

Based on Redline

This AMV, its song, and anime choice are so. . . agh! I love it. I love this AMV. Watching it makes me feel cool. I keep killing off my favorite AMVs by nitpicking! I did think near the end it lost its energy because the editor didn’t pick slightly better animation to amp it up towards it climax. That’s about it.

My Score: 29

My Brother’s Score: 30

Average Score: 29.5

1.AMV Renegade VERSUS by VermillionAMV

Based on Lupin III: Green vs. Red

Personally, I think this AMV should have made it to the final round. It encapsulates Lupin III and his crazy life and is fantastic in its timing, tone, and fluidity. My brother though there were small moments where it didn’t utilize the music and visuals to the max. So sad!

My Score: 30

My Brother’s Score: 29.5

Average Score: 29.75

There you have it! Stay tuned for tier 3. (This is when things become especially tricky).

AMV Showdown: The Top 20 From Tier 1

AMV Showdown! Top 23 from Tier 3

Anime April Mayhem! The anime I know I need to watch soon… Be patient with me.

So, I haven’t actively watched anime for a long while. After going through this glorious month of anime lists and research I’ve realized anew I need to jump into the deep end of the anime world once again.

This list is another I’ve designed to be a launching point for future reviews and projects. Anything on it I’ve not finished more than a few episodes.

Let’s get started!

Dororo (2019) by Tezuka ProductionsMAPPA

The greedy samurai lord Daigo Kagemitsu’s land is dying, and he would do anything for power, even renounce Buddha and make a pact with demons. His prayers are answered by 12 demons who grant him the power he desires by aiding his prefecture’s growth, but at a price. When Kagemitsu’s first son is born, the boy has no limbs, no nose, no eyes, no ears, nor even skin—yet still, he lives.

This child is disposed of in a river and forgotten. But as luck would have it, he is saved by a medicine man who provides him with prosthetics and weapons, allowing for him to survive and fend for himself. The boy lives and grows, and although he cannot see, hear, or feel anything, he must defeat the demons that took him as sacrifice. With the death of each one, he regains a part of himself that is rightfully his. For many years he wanders alone, until one day an orphan boy, Dororo, befriends him. The unlikely pair of castaways now fight for their survival and humanity in an unforgiving, demon-infested world.

Myanimelist Overview

I’m an avid fan of Rurouni Kenshin and enjoy a good Japanese Historical Fantasy Drama every once in a while. I found this anime while pursuing A LOT of AMV’s for the last of my anime posts for April. I like the premise and might enjoy it.

The only things I can think of that would deter me from watching it further are gore and excessive violence. We will have to see.

Yuru Camp△ (2018) by C-Station

While the perfect getaway for most girls her age might be a fancy vacation with their loved ones, Rin Shima’s ideal way of spending her days off is camping alone at the base of Mount Fuji. From pitching her tent to gathering firewood, she has always done everything by herself, and has no plans of leaving her little solitary world.

However, what starts off as one of Rin’s usual camping sessions somehow ends up as a surprise get-together for two when the lost Nadeshiko Kagamihara is forced to take refuge at her campsite. Originally intending to see the picturesque view of Mount Fuji for herself, Nadeshiko’s plans are disrupted when she ends up falling asleep partway to her destination. Alone and with no other choice, she seeks help from the only other person nearby. Despite their hasty introductions, the two girls nevertheless enjoy the chilly night together, eating ramen and conversing while the campfire keeps them warm. And even after Nadeshiko’s sister finally picks her up later that night, both girls silently ponder the possibility of another camping trip together.

Myanimelist Overview

I found this quiet looking anime while watching Glass Reflection’s Top anime list from the 2010s. Sometimes I need anime I can fall back into to unwind from the stresses of the day. Watching an anime where the characters immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the beauties of camping seems like a good pick for me.

The only thing I can think of that could make this uninteresting is bad character animation or dull backgrounds.

Death Parade (2015) by Madhouse

After death, there is no heaven or hell, only a bar that stands between reincarnation and oblivion. There the attendant will, one after another, challenge pairs of the recently deceased to a random game in which their fate of either ascending into reincarnation or falling into the void will be wagered. Whether it’s bowling, darts, air hockey, or anything in between, each person’s true nature will be revealed in a ghastly parade of death and memories, dancing to the whims of the bar’s master. Welcome to Quindecim, where Decim, arbiter of the afterlife, awaits!

Death Parade expands upon the original one-shot intended to train young animators. It follows yet more people receiving judgment—until a strange, black-haired guest causes Decim to begin questioning his own rulings.

Myanimelist Overview

I’ve tried watching this before, but its portrayal of judgment and death really bothered me. I stopped after four episodes. Looking back, especially after watching the opening so many times, I thought maybe it’s time to watch it all the way through. Perhaps I’ve matured enough to understand the meaning behind it.

The only thing I can think of that would stop me from finishing is my previous bias. Hopefully, I can stick it out till the end to cast my full judgment.

Show White with Red Hair (2015-?) Bones

Although her name means “snow white,” Shirayuki is a cheerful, red-haired girl living in the country of Tanbarun who works diligently as an apothecary at her herbal shop. Her life changes drastically when she is noticed by the silly prince of Tanbarun, Prince Raji, who then tries to force her to become his concubine. Unwilling to give up her freedom, Shirayuki cuts her long red hair and escapes into the forest, where she is rescued from Raji by Zen Wistalia, the second prince of a neighboring country, and his two aides. Hoping to repay her debt to the trio someday, Shirayuki sets her sights on pursuing a career as the court herbalist in Zen’s country, Clarines.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime depicts Shirayuki’s journey toward a new life at the royal palace of Clarines, as well as Zen’s endeavor to become a prince worthy of his title. As loyal friendships are forged and deadly enemies formed, Shirayuki and Zen slowly learn to support each other as they walk their own paths.

Myanimelist Overview

I liked this story even before it was an anime! In fact, I followed the manga all the way through. I haven’t watched the anime honestly because I was afraid they wouldn’t do the story justice. Through further research, I decided to give it a try. I mean, Bones did the animation! Bones usually does a good job even for its Shoujo Anime.

What would keep me from really getting into this story would have to be animation and pacing. If those don’t fall into place I probably will lose interest fast.

Anohana: The Flower We saw That Day (2011) by A-1 Pictures

Jinta Yadomi is peacefully living as a recluse, spending his days away from school and playing video games at home instead. One hot summer day, his childhood friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma, appears and pesters him to grant a forgotten wish. He pays her no mind, which annoys her, but he doesn’t really care. After all, Menma already died years ago.

At first, Jinta thinks that he is merely hallucinating due to the summer heat, but he is later on convinced that what he sees truly is the ghost of Menma. Jinta and his group of childhood friends grew apart after her untimely death, but they are drawn together once more as they try to lay Menma’s spirit to rest. Re-living their pain and guilt, will they be able to find the strength to help not only Menma move on—but themselves as well?

Myanimelist Overview

Yes. I know I need to watch this. I know. Several of my friends and family members have recommended it to me, saying if I like A Silent Voice (2016) I would definately like Anohana. Because I am so empathetic I have a hard time watching emotionally draining shows. For that reason, I’ve put this show off for the last 9 years.

Looking back on it though, every time I’ve watched these types of shows I learn important things about humanity. So, I will buckle down and see where it takes me. I might not cry. That’s not likely though.

Rising of Shield Hero (2019-?) by Kinema Citrus

The Four Cardinal Heroes are a group of ordinary men from modern-day Japan summoned to the kingdom of Melromarc to become its saviors. Melromarc is a country plagued by the Waves of Catastrophe that have repeatedly ravaged the land and brought disaster to its citizens for centuries. The four heroes are respectively bestowed a sword, spear, bow, and shield to vanquish these Waves. Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku, becomes cursed with the fate of being the “Shield Hero.” Armed with only a measly shield, Naofumi is belittled and ridiculed by his fellow heroes and the kingdom’s people due to his weak offensive capabilities and lackluster personality.

When the heroes are provided with resources and comrades to train with, Naofumi sets out with the only person willing to train alongside him, Malty Melromarc. He is soon betrayed by her, however, and becomes falsely accused of taking advantage of her. Naofumi then becomes heavily discriminated against and hated by the people of Melromarc for something he didn’t do. With a raging storm of hurt and mistrust in his heart, Naofumi begins his journey of strengthening himself and his reputation. Further along however, the difficulty of being on his own sets in, so Naofumi buys a demi-human slave on the verge of death named Raphtalia to accompany him on his travels.

As the Waves approach the kingdom, Naofumi and Raphtalia must fight for the survival of the kingdom and protect the people of Melromarc from their ill-fated future.

Myanimelist Overview

Confession time. I am not all that interested in Isekai anime or manga. They all look the same to me and I get bored fast watching the same type of stories over and over again. I need variety! However, my brother recommended I watch this one for the sake of the story and animation. Looking at the trailer and some of its animation, I decided he was right.

However, if this story is like the other Isekai dramas people have tried to get me into, I will fade away and watch something else. Sorry, variety is the spice of my life.

Violet Evergarden (2018) by Kyoto Animation

The Great War finally came to an end after four long years of conflict; fractured in two, the continent of Telesis slowly began to flourish once again. Caught up in the bloodshed was Violet Evergarden, a young girl raised for the sole purpose of decimating enemy lines. Hospitalized and maimed in a bloody skirmish during the War’s final leg, she was left with only words from the person she held dearest, but with no understanding of their meaning.

Recovering from her wounds, Violet starts a new life working at CH Postal Services after a falling out with her new intended guardian family. There, she witnesses by pure chance the work of an “Auto Memory Doll,” amanuenses that transcribe people’s thoughts and feelings into words on paper. Moved by the notion, Violet begins work as an Auto Memory Doll, a trade that will take her on an adventure, one that will reshape the lives of her clients and hopefully lead to self-discovery.

Myanimelist Overview

Yep. This is another anime which has popped up EVERYWHERE, especially in AMVs and top anime lists. I have no excuse for why I haven’t seen this beyond fearing it might not be good. But I will face my fears and watch it in the near future! The animation looks beautiful and the story on further reflection looks like my cup of tea.

My Hero Academia (2016-) by Bones

The appearance of “quirks,” newly discovered super powers, has been steadily increasing over the years, with 80 percent of humanity possessing various abilities from manipulation of elements to shapeshifting. This leaves the remainder of the world completely powerless, and Izuku Midoriya is one such individual.

Since he was a child, the ambitious middle schooler has wanted nothing more than to be a hero. Izuku’s unfair fate leaves him admiring heroes and taking notes on them whenever he can. But it seems that his persistence has borne some fruit: Izuku meets the number one hero and his personal idol, All Might. All Might’s quirk is a unique ability that can be inherited, and he has chosen Izuku to be his successor!

Enduring many months of grueling training, Izuku enrolls in UA High, a prestigious high school famous for its excellent hero training program, and this year’s freshmen look especially promising. With his bizarre but talented classmates and the looming threat of a villainous organization, Izuku will soon learn what it really means to be a hero.

Myanimelist Overview

I actually started watching this anime on Crunchyroll several years ago. I liked it a lot! But. . . Crunchyroll on my phone was WAY too slow so I stopped watching it until I could get better service. By the time that happened, my attention had shifted and I never finished.

This is one of those on this list I know I will love. I just need to sit down in the next few months and watch it.

Haikyuu!! (2015-?) by Production I.G

Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed “Little Giant” in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the “King of the Court,” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.

Thanks to his short height, Hinata struggles to find his role on the team, even with his superior jumping power. Surprisingly, Kageyama has his own problems that only Hinata can help with, and learning to work together appears to be the only way for the team to be successful. Based on Haruichi Furudate’s popular shounen manga of the same name, Haikyuu!! is an exhilarating and emotional sports comedy following two determined athletes as they attempt to patch a heated rivalry in order to make their high school volleyball team the best in Japan.

Myanimelist Overview

Sport anime are also not my jam. Dramas are hard for me. Sport dramas are EVEN harder because I am competitive and have hard time watching people lose. But I love volleyball and my friend Megan says it is very true to the sport.

The only thing I can think will stop me from watching is if it is too long and drawn out. Usually anime and shows have me for 60 episodes. (Natsume’s Book of Friends is a happy exception.)

Terror in Resonance (2014) by MAPPA

Painted in red, the word “VON” is all that is left behind after a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility in Japan. The government is shattered by their inability to act, and the police are left frantically searching for ways to crack down the perpetrators. The public are clueless—until, six months later, a strange video makes its way onto the internet. In it, two teenage boys who identify themselves only as “Sphinx” directly challenge the police, threatening to cause destruction and mayhem across Tokyo. Unable to stop the mass panic quickly spreading through the city and desperate for any leads in their investigation, the police struggle to act effectively against these terrorists, with Detective Kenjirou Shibazaki caught in the middle of it all.

Zankyou no Terror tells the story of Nine and Twelve, the two boys behind the masked figures of Sphinx. They should not exist, yet they stand strong in a world of deception and secrets while they make the city fall around them, all in the hopes of burying their own tragic truth.

Myanimelist Overview

I have had my eye on Terror in Resonance for a LOOOOOOONG time. Psychological thrillers are really interesting to me so I know this show is up my alley. The one thing that has kept me from watching it is the mature rating. I’ve grown up a bit thought and will probably be able to handle it better.

Fruits Basket (2019-2021) by TMS Entertainment

Tooru Honda has always been fascinated by the story of the Chinese Zodiac that her beloved mother told her as a child. However, a sudden family tragedy changes her life, and subsequent circumstances leave her all alone. Tooru is now forced to live in a tent, but little does she know that her temporary home resides on the private property of the esteemed Souma family. Stumbling upon their home one day, she encounters Shigure, an older Souma cousin, and Yuki, the “prince” of her school. Tooru explains that she lives nearby, but the Soumas eventually discover her well-kept secret of being homeless when they see her walking back to her tent one night.

Things start to look up for Tooru as they kindly offer to take her in after hearing about her situation. But soon after, she is caught up in a fight between Yuki and his hot-tempered cousin, Kyou. While trying to stop them, she learns that the Souma family has a well-kept secret of their own: whenever they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

With this new revelation, Tooru will find that living with the Soumas is an unexpected adventure filled with laughter and romance.

Myanimelist Overview

For those who don’t know, Fruits Basket is my favorite manga of all time. I saw part of the first anime Studio Deen did in 2001 and. . . I was severely disappointed. Now, I’ve seen the first five episodes for this particular show and stopped. Not because it wasn’t great! I decided I would wait until all the episodes were out and done so I could experience it fully.

Your Lie in April (2014-2015) by A-1 Pictures

Music accompanies the path of the human metronome, the prodigious pianist Kousei Arima. But after the passing of his mother, Saki Arima, Kousei falls into a downward spiral, rendering him unable to hear the sound of his own piano

Two years later, Kousei still avoids the piano, leaving behind his admirers and rivals, and lives a colorless life alongside his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari. However, everything changes when he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who stirs up his world and sets him on a journey to face music again.

Based on the manga series of the same name, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso approaches the story of Kousei’s recovery as he discovers that music is more than playing each note perfectly, and a single melody can bring in the fresh spring air of April.

Myanimelist Overview

I’ve also started this anime. I didn’t finish because its message and subject matter hit a little too close to home. I also went through a traumatizing time losing my love for music in college. When I was younger it hurt so bad I couldn’t even listen to classical music or play the piano. So, watching the main character experience that same pain was too much for me.

But I’ve grown since that time and I think I will make it through without breaking down.

Demon Slayer (2019) by ufotable

Ever since the death of his father, the burden of supporting the family has fallen upon Tanjirou Kamado’s shoulders. Though living impoverished on a remote mountain, the Kamado family are able to enjoy a relatively peaceful and happy life. One day, Tanjirou decides to go down to the local village to make a little money selling charcoal. On his way back, night falls, forcing Tanjirou to take shelter in the house of a strange man, who warns him of the existence of flesh-eating demons that lurk in the woods at night.

When he finally arrives back home the next day, he is met with a horrifying sight—his whole family has been slaughtered. Worse still, the sole survivor is his sister Nezuko, who has been turned into a bloodthirsty demon. Consumed by rage and hatred, Tanjirou swears to avenge his family and stay by his only remaining sibling. Alongside the mysterious group calling themselves the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjirou will do whatever it takes to slay the demons and protect the remnants of his beloved sister’s humanity.

Myanimelist Overview

So. I saw the first episode for this show and thought “NOPE. This is WAAAAAAAAY too sad for me.” But I know I’m missing out on its intriguing story and beautiful character animation, so I will square my shoulders and watch it. The only thing I can think will stop me is gore and a hopeless ending.

Made in Abyss (2017) by Kinema Citrus

The Abyss—a gaping chasm stretching down into the depths of the earth, filled with mysterious creatures and relics from a time long past. How did it come to be? What lies at the bottom? Countless brave individuals, known as Divers, have sought to solve these mysteries of the Abyss, fearlessly descending into its darkest realms. The best and bravest of the Divers, the White Whistles, are hailed as legends by those who remain on the surface.

Riko, daughter of the missing White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator, aspires to become like her mother and explore the furthest reaches of the Abyss. However, just a novice Red Whistle herself, she is only permitted to roam its most upper layer. Even so, Riko has a chance encounter with a mysterious robot with the appearance of an ordinary young boy. She comes to name him Reg, and he has no recollection of the events preceding his discovery. Certain that the technology to create Reg must come from deep within the Abyss, the two decide to venture forth into the chasm to recover his memories and see the bottom of the great pit with their own eyes. However, they know not of the harsh reality that is the true existence of the Abyss.

Myanimelist Overview

Sigh. . . I’ve tried several times to find a medium to watch this show! It’s story and characters are so intriguing. I might have to sacrifice money or something to finally see it. From what I’ve seen from the trailers and reviews it is totally worth it.

Hunter x Hunter (2011-2014) by Madhouse

Hunter x Hunter is set in a world where Hunters exist to perform all manner of dangerous tasks like capturing criminals and bravely searching for lost treasures in uncharted territories. Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.

Along the way to becoming an official Hunter, Gon befriends the lively doctor-in-training Leorio, vengeful Kurapika, and rebellious ex-assassin Killua. To attain their own goals and desires, together the four of them take the Hunter Exam, notorious for its low success rate and high probability of death. Throughout their journey, Gon and his friends embark on an adventure that puts them through many hardships and struggles. They will meet a plethora of monsters, creatures, and characters—all while learning what being a Hunter truly means.

Myanimelist Overview

Me not seeing this show all the way through is an utter tragedy. I know it is. Of all the shows on this list I’ve watched this one the farthest. What stopped me was time and the fact not all the episodes were out yet. By the time they did all come out I was in Russia with no anime access to speak of. Now is the time to watch and enjoy this show to the fullest!

Thank you for reading! If you have suggestions for other shows let me know! I’m always up for new things.

Anime April Mayhem! The Magic of Music in Anime, My Favorite Openings/Endings

Anime April Mayhem! AMV Showdown: The Top 20 From Tier 1

Anime April Mayhem! The Magic of Music in Anime, My Favorite Openings/Endings

Screenshot from Million Dollar Detective (2020)

I have a slight twist for this particular list. Rather then it just being my favorites in a neat list, I will rank them based on five criteria on a scale from 1-10:

1.If they inspire me to watch the anime

2. Quality of the Visuals

3. Musicality

4. Hummability (Does it get stuck in my head?)

5. Does it give me chills or make me excited?

I compiled a list of 25 openings and endings from various shows I’ve come across. To make the scores a little less subjective, I asked my brother to make his own scores. I’ll post the scores for both of us under each entry and rank each based on the our average.

I have not seen every anime listed here unfortunately! Perhaps that will play an important role in later posts this month when I talk about shows I really need to go see or finish.

That being said, onward to the glorious music filled list! Scores 40 and above.

25. Ending for Cowboy Bebop (1998)

“The Real Folk Blues” by The Seatbelts feat. Mai Yamane 

My Total Score: 40.5

My brother’s Score: 41.5

Average Score: 41

Funny thing about endings: most watchers don’t actually take the time to see them all the way through before rushing to the next episode. That said, Mai Yamane’s sultry singing of “The Real Folk Blues” has been one of my favorites from Cowboy Bebop‘s soundtrack. As far as musicality goes, this song is definitely a 10.

However, it scored lower based on my emotional connection to it. Plus, the visuals are still frame, so it feels distanced emotionally, especially compared to other sequences from the show.

24. Ending for the 5th Season of Natsume’s Book of Friends (2016)

“Akane Sasu (茜さす)” by Aimer

My Total Score: 44

My Brother’s Total Score: 40

Average Score: 42

I often go through Natsume’s Book of Friends‘ soundtrack whenever I need to wind down. “Akane Sasu” from it’s 5th season is one of two songs which really stand out to me. My scores were only lower for the visuals and how much it makes me want to see the show.

23. Opening for Angel Beats! (2010)

“My Soul, Your Beats!” by Lia

My Total Score: 40

My Brother’s Total Score: 46

Average Score: 43

This opening’s strongest sequence is in the beginning, showing Tachibana playing the piano. I love the how the animators showed her actually playing notes on the piano, rather then hiding her hands or pushing random keys. As far as the rest of it, I like the energy and the snapshots for all the characters. For me, this song is not as catchy compared to others on this list.

22. Opening for the 1st Season of Attack on Titan (2013)

“Guren no Yumiya (紅蓮の弓矢)” by Linked Horizon 

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 45

Average Score: 44

As some readers may recall, I frankly stated I would never watch Attack on Titan. Ever. (See my post Anime April Mayhem! Day 5, Anime/Manga I’ll never do for more info). But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the soundtracks for each season. I use a lot of the songs to workout. Now, for this opening the music gets a solid 10/10. The only thing keeping it from being higher on the list is the visuals. They don’t make me want to watch the show because I think its visually horrifying.

21. Opening for the 1st season of Mob Psycho 100 (2016)

“99” by MOB CHOIR

My Total Score: 40

My Brother’s Total Score: 48.5

Average Score: 44.25

What really stood out for me in this opening isn’t the music. (I gave the music 7/10). It’s the visuals! I thoroughly enjoy watching this opening. The colors, imagery, and foreshadowing scattered throughout are so fun to see. I also enjoy the subtle homage the animators did for the original artist ONE. It is one of the few openings I let play through each time I watch the 1st season.

20. Ending for the 1st Season of Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008)

“Natsu Yuuzora (夏夕空; Summer Evening Sky)” by Kousuke Atari

My Total Score: 46

My Brother’s Total Score: 43

Average Score: 44.5

I love this song. Sometimes when I watch the 1st season of Natsume’s Book of Friends, I let it play through to the next episode. It’s hauntingly beautiful to me. I also like the watercolor and colored pencil look used for the animation. The one thing holding it back is how visually there is not a lot which catches the eye. The highlight for me is the music not necessarily all the visuals.

19. Opening for Death Parade (2015)

“Flyers” by BRADIO

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 46.5

Average Score: 44.75

“Flyers” makes me want to go back and see this show sometime. Not immediately, but sometime in the future. Musically, I think this song is a solid 9/10. However, it doesn’t get stuck in my head really. The best feature is its visuals. It plays like a choreographed Broadway opening number.

18. Opening for Soul Eater (2009)

“Resonance” by T.M.Revolution

My Total Score: 43

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 45

“Resonance” is a solid 9/10 as a song. I’m not as much of a fan of rock songs as other types of music, so it doesn’t really get into my head, partially because I have heard it so many times. I especially admire it’s animation. It has great timing, coloring, and energy. It does a fantastic job introducing characters and foreshadowing events in the show. Kudos to it for having the most impressive first 15 seconds. It has a moving background shot which wraps around its characters! It’s fascinating to study if you’re into animation.

17. Ending for Fruits Basket (2019)

“Lucky Ending” by Vickeblanka

My Total Score: 45.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 45

Average Score: 45.25

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this show yet. I think I need to emotionally prepare myself first, because this story is very special to me. This ending does get me really excited to finally see the show. Visually, it is very beautiful and I don’t mind its stillness. Like most endings, it’s meant to gently let its watchers go. However, it does it in a way the is more visually immersive. Since I haven’t seen the show, I don’t have as much of an emotional connection to this song. That might change in the future.

The first tie! Between “Uso” from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and “Monoglo City” from Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui. To break the score, I further scored them based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

16. Ending for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

“Uso (嘘)” by SID

My Total Score: 44

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 45.5

Tie Breaker Score: 19.25 vs 19.75

Don’t get me wrong! I love the 1st opening for this show. It just so happens I like the ending more. (Shrug.) I like how the animators changed up the style, giving it thick colored penciled, cartoony drawings. My favorite moment is the beginning when Edward’s arm slowly comes together. The one thing holding it back for me is I’m not as emotionally invested in it. I love to listen to the song and casually watch the animation.

15. Opening for Koi to Yobu ni wa Kimochi Warui (2021)

“Monoqlo City (モノクロシティ)” by ACE COLLECTION

My Total Score: 47

My Brother’s Total Score: 44

The music and visuals are delightful for this opening! I gave it solid tens across the board except in the last category. It doesn’t thoroughly get me excited or give me chills. This must be because I know the show’s context. (As a side note, I don’t know why I think this show is interesting. People have made very solid points concerning how strange/twisted the romance is. But this is a subject for another time.)

Average Score: 45.5

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 19.25

14. Opening for Baccano! (2007)

“Gun’s & Roses” by Paradise Lunch

My Total Score: 46

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.5

“Gun’s and Roses” is one of my jams! I love jazz, and every time I see this opening I want to see the show. (Someday I might. I don’t like mature anime usually though, so we shall see.) The only ways I think it lacks is in its duller coloring (which a lot of the shows from the 2000’s suffered from) and how emotionally connected I feel to it. Otherwise, this opening is amazing!

Here we are at the second tie, between “Trigger” from Terror in Resonance and “Daia no Hana” from Black Cat. Like the first tie, the breaker will be based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

13. Opening for Terror in Resonance (2014)

“Trigger” by Yuuki Ozaki (from Galileo Galilei)

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.75

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 20

This opening makes me feel ashamed I haven’t seen the show. Psychological dramas are really fascinating to me. The only thing that keeps me from scoring it higher is the music. Not that I don’t love the song, especially coupled with the compelling visuals. It just isn’t very catchy. For me! It’s more of a sultry song, meant to draw me into the show.

12. Opening for Black Cat (2006)

“Daia no Hana” by Yorico

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47

Average Score: 46.75

Tie Breaker Score: 20 vs 19.75

I’ve listened to “Daia no Hana” many, many times and I still think it’s fantastic! Not only that, but this opening introduces characters and foreshadows highlights from the show so well! It flows seamlessly in its animation. That is why it got a perfect score from me for timing. Kudos to it for introducing audiences to a show so well!

Behold, the third tie between “Kimi ni Todoke” and the 3rd opening from Attack on Titan “Red Swan”. Like before, the tie breaker was between how well they reflected the show and timing.

11. Opening for Kimi ni Todoke (2009)

“Kimi ni Todoke (きみにとどけ)” by Tanizawa Tomofumi

My Total Score:46

My Brother’s Total Score: 48

Average Score: 47

Tie Breaker Score: 19 vs 19.75

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this show. It’s a shame, because it’s very heartwarming, as illustrated from its colorful opening. It has great timing, especially how the animation dances with the music, and a unique style. I don’t have as deep of an emotional connection to this song as others, but I smile every time I come across it.

10. Opening for the 3rd Season of Attack on Titan (2018)

“Red Swan” by YOSHIKI feat. HYDE

My Total Score: 46.5

My Brother’s Total Score: 47.5

Average Score: 47

Tie Breaker Score: 19.75 vs 19

I was genuinely shocked when I realized I like “Red Swan” more than Guren no Yumiya” from the 1st season. It doesn’t have as much of a beat to it or get stuck in my head as deeply. But, I felt myself tear up as I watched it and saw it’s deeper meaning. Visually it’s incredibly striking and almost (ALMOST) makes me want to see the show, just to understand the full context.

9. Opening for the 4th Season of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

“Period” by Chemistry 

My Total Score: 50

My Brother’s Total Score: 46.5

Average Score: 48.25

Like any opening from FMA: Brotherhood, this opening is magnificently animated. It’s choreographed and staged in a way that highlights both the characters, and events in the story. I gave each category 10/10. But, this list is non-subjective, so my brother’s slightly lower score brought it down. So, so sad.

8. Opening for Cells at Work (2018)

“Mission! Ken Kou Dai Ichi (ミッション!健・康・第・イチ)” by English Cast at Funimation

My Total Score: 49

My Brother’s Total Score: 48.5

Average Score: 48.75

“Mission!” is the one and only English dubbed opening on this list! Cells at Work is an anime I never thought I would watch, or like as much as I do. (I learned things!) Man, every time I see this opening I get excited to learn about the human body! (Another thing I never thought would happen). I don’t absolutely, positively love it musically, but everything else for me gets a solid 10/10.

Another tie between “Departure” from Hunter X Hunter and “Morning Grace” from Princess Tutu. The tie breaker was based on how well it reflected the show and timing.

7. Opening for Hunter X Hunter (2011)

“departure!” by Ono Masatoshi

My Total Score: 49

My Brother’s Total Score: 49

Average Score: 49

Tie Breaker Score: 19 vs 20

“Departure” makes me want to both go on an adventure and see this show again. (I still haven’t seen it all the way through. . . I have no one to blame except myself. I have such a hard time with long shows!) The only thing keeping this opening from a perfect score is the visuals. I don’t think all of them are fantastic, but that is nitpicking really. Also, the singer Masatoshi wins the award for best vocals! He hits a high Bb, and holds it multiple times! He has my respect.

6. Opening for Princess Tutu (2003)

“Morning Grace” by Ritsuko Okazaki

My Total Score: 48

My Brother’s Total Score: 50

Average Score: 49

Tie Breaker Score: 20 vs 19

(Sorry about the visuals for this. I couldn’t find a better video). “Morning Grace” always takes me on a beautiful, emotional ride. Much like the show, I don’t think anyone expects very much from this song visually or musically. But, for me, it has such a pure feeling to it, and it sounds like a waltz from a ballet, which I appreciate.

5. Opening for Tsuritama (2012)

“Tsurezure Monochrome (徒然モノクローム)” by Fujifabric

My Total Score: 50

My Brother’s Total Score: 49

This song gets in my head and stays there for days! There is so much to praise in this opening: the addictive dance all the characters perform to the music, the vibrant colors, its energy, and the overall peaceful vibe the song emits. (About fishing of all things. . . ). This is yet another opening which I gave a perfect score, but my brother didn’t like quite as much.

Average Score: 49.5

Alas, there were four openings/endings with a perfect score: “Tank” from Cowboy Bebop, “Balance” from Million Dollar Detective, Hikaru Nara from Your Lie in April, and “Hacking the Gate” from Steins:Gate. First, we judged based on how well they reflected the show and timing.

Even After that, we needed to create another criteria. Cowboy Bebop and Million Dollar Detective tied for third and Steins:Gate and Your Lie in April tied for first. The final criteria was how well they presented a visual narrative. Here are the results!

4. Opening for Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop – Opening Theme – Tank!

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19

Tie Breaker Score 2: 9.25 vs 10

This song. Wow, this song and opening are stellar! I’ve seen the show once, but I distinctly remember seeing this opening for the first time and thinking to myself, “I’ve got to see this show.” When I nitpicked, I thought, “Yeah, the opening doesn’t really capture the cowboy, space adventure story or have a solidly defined visual narrative”, which is why it is in 4th place. (But it still has a perfect score. This was a hard decision).

3. Ending for Million Dollar Detective (2020)

“Welcome My Friend” by OKAMOTO’S

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19

Tie Breaker Score 2: 10 vs 9.25

(There are no videos for this ending on YouTube. I would look up the anime to see it if you have the time!) Though I think this song is 10/10, what really makes this ending pop when compared to others on this list is its visuals! Whoever designed the backgrounds and staged the animation was inspired! Fun fact, my brother had never seen this show before and still gave this ending a perfect score. When I saw this show a couple of months ago, the opening felt off to me. What kept me watching the show was this ending.

2. Opening for Steins;Gate (2011)

“Hacking to the Gate” by Kanako Itou

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score 1: 19.75

Tie Breaker Score: 9

I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW. I mentioned before how much I love psychological dramas. Steins:Gate is one of the reasons why. This song is great. The visuals are mysterious and layered with symbolism and foreshadowing. The only thing which kept it from 1st place was first time viewers wouldn’t understand they were watching a visual narrative. (Honestly though, it is fascinating to re-watch the opening after seeing the whole show. You will see the visual narrative).

1. Opening for Your Lie in April (2014)

“Hikaru nara (光るなら)” by Goose house

Average Score: 50

Tie Breaker Score1 : 19.75

Tie Breaker Score 2: 10 vs 9

. . . No, I haven’t seen this show yet. I have personal reasons for that. However, as a musician and animation enthusiast, I thoroughly admire this opening. It gives me chills every time and gets me emotional even thinking about it. What made it go slightly ahead of “Hacking to the Gate” was its visual narrative. Even without the show, it told a distinct story, showcasing the characters and highlighting their passions for music and living.

There you have it! Thank you for tuning in to this special list. I hope you could take the time to watch each of these openings/endings. Maybe you found something new to explore! ( I hope so. 🙂 )

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.

Anime April Mayhem! Day 11, My Most Disappointing Experiences.

Anime April Mayhem! The anime I know I need to watch soon… Be patient with me.

Anime April Mayhem! Day 2, Anime That Started It All Tag

To further kickoff my anime and manga month, I thought I would look back at the series which got me interested in exploring Japanese media. When I tell people I like reading manga and watching anime they are usually genuinely surprised because of my background in reading and historical writing.

I don’t hang posters, have fanart, or collect Japanese knick knacks. However, I’ve read and watched ALOT of anime and manga. I’m just more subdued about my interests.

I’ve had fun rediscovering the shows and books which first caught my attention. As you read, maybe you’ll discover something new or think about your own experiences.

Let’s get started!

Hayao Miyazaki‘s My Neighbor Totoro, 1988 (Tonari no Totoro)

When I was six or seven, my mother bought the VHS for this movie. I didn’t know who Hayao Miyazaki was, or how many beautiful movies he would proceed to make. I simply loved Totoro and Mei and Satsuki’s fun adventures. Eventually the VHS disappeared (the English copy we had had very obnoxious dubbing). Years later, I finally got another copy.

Dragonball Z Anime, 1989-1996 (Doragon Bōru Zetto) by Toei Animation

My brother spencer used to record DBZ on VHS tapes and send them to us to watch. I’m not sure why I loved this show so much, but every time a new recording or episode would come out, I ran to the TV to watch. I loved this show up through middle school till the middle of the Maten Bu season.

Pokémon Season 1 Anime, 1997 on TV Tokyo

Pokémon dominated 2nd and 3rd grade in Elementary school for me. I collected cards, re-watched the first season probably too many times, and loved each movie that came out. I’ve since moved on from this show, but I still have fond memories of watching it.

Yu☆Gi☆Oh!, 1998 by Toei Animation

Yep. I liked this show. I think it is because of the Egyptian-esque background. I thought the story was fun and didn’t notice the voice acting is questionable. I did own some Yu-gi-oh cards but never played the game. Gaming isn’t my thing usually, so my admiration for this show died after a few years.

Takaya Natsuki‘s Fruits Basket, 1998-2006 (Furuba)

I actually hated the idea of manga until I read this series. I was sixteen when my sister Jessica bought the first and second ultimate editions from Hastings. She and my other sister Melissa read them and loved them to pieces. Eventually, I sucked up my pride and asked if I could borrow them. Ever since then, this has become one of my all-time favorite works of literature.

CLAMP‘s Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE, 2003-2009 (Tsubasa: Rezaboa Kuronikuru)

After reading Fruits Basket, I needed a new series to devour. I found the first two volumes of Tsubasa at Hastings and brought them home to read. I fell in love with the artwork, story, and overhanging mystery of it. The romance between Syaoran and Sakura really touched me as well.

Bleach Movie 1: Memories of Nobody 2006/ Kubo Tite‘s Bleach, 2001-2016

My sister, Melissa, and I watched the first Bleach movie with friends, and I didn’t care it technically isn’t well done. I liked Senna’s autumn leaf reaper power and the main character Ichigo. The manga I read up until volume 27. I need to finish the Aizen conflict, but I don’t want to read further than that. 

Black Cat, 2005 on Tokyo Broadcasting System

My younger siblings and I LOOOOOOOOVED this show. I must have re-watched it at least twenty times in my late teens and early twenties. I accredit this to Train Heartnet, the show’s protagonist.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004 (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro)

Besides My Neighbor Totoro, I had never watched Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. Not even Spirited Away when it premiered on Cartoon Network. When I was sixteen, I found Howl’s Moving Castle online and watched it for the first time. It is one of my most memorable cinematic experiences. The story, animation, and characters were so magical to me.

Hatori Bisco‘s Ouran High School Host Club, 2002-2010 (manga and anime)

Ouran is one of the funniest stories I have ever read. No joke. It is the satire of every Shoujo reverse-harem romance manga. I loved its concept and the characters. When I was a teenager, I loved Tamaki. As an adult, I am more interested like Mori. Maturity changes personal taste, apparently. The anime especially has beautiful coloring and animation, and creative screenplay. 

That’s all for today!

Anime April Mayhem! Day 1, Beautiful covers for aspiring art collectors

Anime April Mayhem! Day 3, “What Bugs You?” Anime Tag

If you like the tag, feel free to tag me and make your own list! See you tomorrow!

“It’s okay to let yourself be sad”: Day 9

(True happiness comes during pumpkin season)

A few posts ago I wrote about steering our minds towards happiness and focusing on the good rather then the bad around us. After I wrote it, I started thinking of experiences in my life when I tried to do this but felt terribly discouraged because I couldn’t. These were special moments in my life when the world came crashing down but also taught me empathy.

What made them special is difficult initially to explain, but I will do my best.

First off, the concept for this post came from one of my favorite series Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. In the first volume there comes a moment Tohru, the story’s heroine, is with Kyo going back to live with him and others at their house.

Frustrated he asks why she didn’t say aything about wanting to stay with them or how sad she was about leaving. He then told her something which has resonated with me especially these last few months.

It would be okay to complain, be selfish, and say what you want every once in awhile. It’s okay to let yourself be sad.

This idea is what helped me overcome a lot of anxiety and hopelessness I carried throughout my childhood. My mother and father can attest how deeply I buried all my feelings of loneliness and sorrow as a child and as an adult. This usually resulted in other feelings bursting out when I couldn’t contain it anymore. Usually it manifested through FEAR and ANGER.

Lately, I understand better the concept pixar writers tried to convey in their film Inside Out (2015). When I saw the film in theaters I didn’t like it. But now, I think differently. Though the characters lacked depth individually, as a whole they portrayed an important lesson on understanding ourselves.

Lately I have thought of how hard Riley tried to bury her sadness. This resulted in her inadvertantly abandoning happiness and being ruled by her other emotions. It also meant healing coming later when she accepted her sadness and voiced what she truly felt.

Like Riley, so much of my life I spent trying to never have problems. I thought by always projecting happiness and hiding my other emotions I could help my family and parents as they faced others trials going on.

Since then, I have had to remember this truth. It is not wrong to voice or acknowledge how we truly feel.

It is also not wrong to feel sad. To cry. To be deeply hurt. To be struggling. It is only damaging to let these feelings rule our lives. If we are not careful they can become our identity.

I think of my Grandma Engler and one account from her life my mother told me. She outlived all her siblings, friends, and guardians. A great portion of them, including her mother, two of her sisters and Godparents died suddenly and prematurely while she was very young. One day many years after they passed, my grandfather found her curled in a ball sobbing. When asked what was wrong she named all those people she had lost. It had been years since their deaths. But the grief still lay raw in her heart.

She had never given herself time because of her children, the ongoing war and surviving family members to grieve. And it all hit her at once. I marvel at my grandma’s ability to carry her suffering and enjoy life. However, I wish I could tell her younger self it is okay to be sad and long for those we have lost.

I remember a time while on my mission where I felt true, overwhelming sadness. I left an area which I truly loved and an elder who I had grown to really care for. How do I even begin to describe the heartache which encased me at that time? From the outside it seemed truly illogical and I hated myself for how weak I felt. I hated the tears, the weight always in my chest and the thoughts which swarmed me.

The heartache was so bad I could barely bring myself around people . But there was a stubborn part of me which refused to stay home in the dark. For a week I sludged through these feelings on my own, fighting to look deep at myself and face what was happening.

But there came one of those special moments. I even remember the dress I wore and room I sat in. As I sat pondering, it was like a voice told me, “Aubrey, its okay to let yourself be sad.” I gave in so to say and I finally understood the third verse from the hymn “How Firm a Foundation.”

Fear not I am with thee, O be not dismayed. For I am thy God and will still give thee aide. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand. Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.

In my sorrow I held in my mind the image of me crushed down to the ground unable to move. But in that moment of sadness I also felt peace and a distinct feeling I was not alone. I then imagined pressing my hand to the ground and lifting myself up. Reaching my hand to Christ kneeling next to me. At first it was just my head, then I came to my knees, further to my feet and finally step after promising step I went forward.

But I did not do it alone. After this episode in my life passed I thought often of these scriptures in Matthew 11.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In my ward Jan Herriford, my bishop’s wife said, “Because of the Savior we can suffer less.” It is through our sorrows we can truly find God.

As I have faced my sorrows and trials the last few years I can honestly say I have found newfound peace in my life. One, because I realized I must allow myself to feel and face my sadness. Two, because I know I can always turn to God and my Savior as I do so.

I love how in Avatar the Last Airbender when Aang faces his grief, his guide tells him two important truths. Here is how I phrased it in my Chakra post several years ago. The truths are these:

1. It is important to remember that love is a form of energy and still binds us to those we have lost. 2. It also means it recreates itself in the form of new love.

In extension, our griefs and sorrows have the power to help us recreate ourselves. But we must experience these feelings to truly benefit from them. Without hardship there is not even the opportunity for spiritually and mentally growth and maturity. This is because we can not grow muscle by pumping pillows. Also, by understanding grief we come to understand love.

Those heartrending moments will inevitably come. But it does no good to bury our hurt and stay locked in a standstill waiting for happiness to come back. It takes great courage to face our sadness and further fortitude to learn from it.

Viktor Frankl once said in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

I hope this post may help someone facing hard times in their own life. Remember it is okay to let yourself be sad. Face yourself and in so doing may you find joy.

Comparison is the thief of joy: Day 3

(Me right after doing yoga!)

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Thinking on this I have concluded several things.

First, there is a specific paragon, or model, of excellence or perfection which we all visualize. I do not know how it is for everyone, but for me it has always been difficult to see myself as something miraculous when my accomplishments always fell short of someone else. I had above average but never superior grades, I displayed sufficient physical ability but was never good enough for varsity, I was incredibly well read but always fell short in reading comprehension tests, etc. . ..

Honestly, I believed I was average and unspectacular because I never measured up to these ideals of excellence. But really, what was I comparing myself to? Others my age who felt just as insecure and unsure about their abilities as I did.

5018693_orig

Second, we treat meeting these standards like a race or competition. It is like the story “You are special” by Max Lucado. In it there are a people called the Wemmicks who daily give each other golden stickers for beauty and ability or gray dots for being uglier or less accomplished. For their society, whether one was completely covered in stars or dots, determined an individuals worth. Consequently, the marks made from these stickers caused many to doubt their worth or be consumed by pleasing others.

I believe it is a natural reaction to try and better ourselves, and even more so do measure by comparing our strengths and weaknesses to others. We compete and compete believing if we are the best at chess, can do a specific move, sing immaculately or dress the best we will be accepted. But thinking on it, is it really worth it? In the end, there will always be someone better than us at something.

Third, too often our worth stems from our strengths and if we have weaknesses we assume we have less worth. Elder Uchdorf said in his talk “Forget me Not”,

…we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

My mother often quoted Albert Einstein who is attributed to saying, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I know for myself I often felt like that fish. As though I would never measure up because I couldn’t fit into my own expectations.

Fourth, most importantly the good we see in others they can also see in us. One day I sat and wondered, “Am I someones ideal? Do other people wish they were me?” In the moment it seemed ridiculous, but now I am not so sure.

Fruits.Basket.full.1184180

One of my favorite stories is Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. Tohru, wondering how to help two boys who seem lost in their hatred and envy for each other, creates an analogy which I have kept with me for a long time.

If you think of someone’s good qualities as the umeboshi in an onigiri, it’s as if their qualities are stuck to their back! People around the world are like onigiri. Everyone has an umeboshi with a different shape and color and flavor. But because it’s stuck on their back, they might not be able to see their umeboshi. (They think) “There’s nothing special about me. I’m just white rice.” (And I think) That’s not true. There is an umeboshi — on your back. Maybe the reason people get jealous of each other, is because they can see so clearly the umeboshi on other people’s backs.

I often thought of this analogy in Russia, where the unspoken pressure to learn Russian and be “the perfect missionary” was an unfortunate driving force among us. Thinking back on my fears, despairs and silly expectations I wish I could tell myself everything would work out, that I would learn Russian and be able to help a lot of people because of who I was, not because of who I wasn’t. I wish I could say, “Aubrey, focus on your strengths and God will make your weaknesses become strong.”

Lastly, everyone is on the same journey and is experiencing the same things as we are. But despite this, everyone is different.Also from Fruits Basket, Takaya’s character Tohru surmised, “Mom taught me that people’s differences are something to celebrate.” Our path will be different than others, because we are different. Our weaknesses do not demean our worth and our strengths don’t determine who we really.

Thank you for reading my random thoughts. These posts and my goals to see myself better have really helped me and I hope I can help others who are struggling with these same insecurities.