AMV Showdown! Special Awards: Part 2

Continuing forward from where we left off, here is the second half of the special awards we chose for the AMVs we’ve looked through these last few months. Hope you enjoy!

Let’s get started.

Since we came across multiple AMVs that amplified the shows they showcased, it seemed appropriate to split the awards into two parts: one acknowledging AMVs that made average shows look great and the other taking obviously great shows and highlight what makes them great.

Let me just say, much of this comes down to personal taste.

Best Amplified Questionable Shows

Honorable Mention: Say My Name by Light Raider

3rd Place: So Alive by VermillionAMV

I had no idea what the anime Brave Story was even about when I watched this AMV. I just thought it would be a great show to watch based on what I saw in this AMV. Knowledge is cruel sometimes because I realized quick this show is not so refined. At best it’s average.

2nd Place: For the Win by DigiCat via TheBestAMVsOfAllTime

I know three groups of people who talked about Sword Art Online. The ones who absolutely love it to death, those who can’t stand the sight of it, and the apathetic watchers who could care less. (That’s me! Sorry to fans.) When I watch this AMV, I don’t think it matters if people think its a good show or not. The editor did a smashing job highlighting what made the show visually interesting for first time viewers.

1st Place: Baba Yetu by Glitzer

Out of the three, I’d say the most people will get the maddest knowing I view Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic as an average show. (I think its okay. . . not ground breaking story wise to say the least.) HOWEVER, this AMV is absolutely beautiful. I didn’t think this song would fit so well to the show’s content but . . . dang. . . was I ever wrong.

Best Amplified Universally Acknowledged Great Shows

I hear the least amount of criticisms for these shows.

Honorable Mention: Emptiness by HeardYouLikeAmvs

3rd Place: Pure White Gold by VermillionAMV

Boku no Hero Academia has so many interesting animated scenes to play with. You’d be surprised though how often fans just can’t capture what makes this show so appealing. Its one thing to use great animated scenes from the show and put them to a catchy song. Its another thing to use the show’s content and cohesively portray the character’s, their struggles, and their purpose. Pure White Gold does this and more!

2nd Place: Danse De Raven by ChiikaboomAMV

Princess Tutu is the anti-magical girl anime. It’s complicated both in its writing and animation. So, how do you make an AMV that doesn’t bog down its message? Put it to a French song and have almost perfect timing.

1st Place: Warriors by yujinedits怠惰な: Dance of the Mushi by Rainhowls2

Kimetsu no Yaiba or Demon Slayer had SOOOOO many AMVS. I think I found at least thirty of them just looking through YouTube. Some of them were good, but lacked any real direction. Warriors I added to my review list on a whim after I watched the first 30 seconds. I didn’t think it would be that amazing. I was so wrong. Warriors is one of the best AMVs I have ever seen! It made me want to watch the show then and there.

Most Unexpected

These are the AMVs I expected to be average or really. . . really bad. But then they came and POW! Took top spots.

Honorable Mention: Renegade VERSUS by VermillionAMV

3rd Place: Pure White Gold by VermillionAMV

I saved this AMV on a whim because I liked the song. 🙂 That’s it. I didn’t give it much thought and just put it up for review because I figured there must have been a reason I saved it.

2nd Place: ??? Mob by King AMV

The song was weird. Plus I only watched the first 15 seconds before deciding I should give it a try. I was a fool!

1st Place: Say My Name by LightRaider

Story time. . . I didn’t know what the heck the show Kuzu no Honkai was about. I figured it was a story about two people crushing on someone else falling for each other accidently. Boy was I wrong. . . it’s a horrible story. (The English translation for the title is Scum’s Wish. . . yeah.) That aside, I figured this AMV would fall into obscurity within the first two rounds. Honestly though, it is so well crafted despite it cruddy source it made it all the way to the end!

Emotionalism

Emotionalism is completely and utterly subjective! Sorry. . . but these awards are for the AMVs that touched me. (And almost made me cry several times.)

Honorable Mention: Singular Strike Gentleman by Glitzer (Note, I cried because it was so funny!)

3rd Place: Kindness by VermillionAMV

Kindness sort of swooped in and captured our hearts. Mob Psycho 100 deals with a lot of emotional growth and the song really highlighted this. I think it means more for those who have actually seen the show because they understand the depth of each character’s emotions and development.

2nd Place: Ghost of You by Vichima

Wow. . . Ride Your Wave is an emotionally stirring movie. I’ve never personally seen it, but seeing this AMV I felt the impact of the character’s relationship and heartbreak.

1st Place: WE’RE EMPTY;by moved., let us be brave; by moved., and The Asking Price by NeverEnoughEpicAMVs3

These are all emotionally impactful AMVs for Fullmetal Alchemist. My brother and I really love this show and couldn’t decide which of these three should make it into the top spot. So we chose all of them!

Best Atmosphere

Basically, this is award is for those AMV which were able to build a world through imagery and music. It’s not just about tone but also creating an mental link between the song and show.

Honorable Mentions: Glitter and Gold by Neo Solarius, VE Fight by Oblivionblade, For the Win by Digi Cat, Hold Me Now by Komichi

3rd Place: Ride or Die by NeverEnoughEpicAMVs2

I don’t think of Fast and Furious listening to this song anymore! All I can picture is Redline with its cool main character strutting his extraordinarily long hairdo.

2nd Place: Dance With the Mushi by Rainhowls2

There isn’t much more to say about Dance With the Mushi. It’s atmosphere is so mentally rich.

1st Place: Warriors by yujinedits怠惰な

I get chills everytime I watch Warriors! It draws me so deep into Demon Slayer‘s world with its timing, pacing, and buildup.

Best First 30 Seconds

This is pretty self explanatory. There was a reason so many AMVs made it through to my watch list. Most of them were able to capture my attention in the first 30 seconds. Some of them did it better than others.

Honorable Mentions: Unity by Lightraider, Best AMV you will ever see Part 4 by xxanime_otaku

3rd Place: Kindness by VermillionAMV

What makes this AMV’s first 30 seconds stand out was the pacing and how well the lyrics matched the images.

2nd Place: Danse De Raven by ChiikaboomAMV

Timing. Timing a visual storytelling are what make these first 30 seconds REALLY stand out.

1st Place: Remember the Name by JazitJ

I wanted this AMV to be great so so bad! The timing in the first 30 seconds is absolutely incredible. Especially, how the editor slowed down and highlighted facial expressions for three characters. I’m a sucker for slowed down animation so it really stood out to me.

Best In Show

The award everyone looks for! These are the AMVs which overall had the greatest showmanship.

Honorable Mention: Swing Box by VermillionAMV

3rd Place: Danse De Raven by ChiikaboomAMV

When choosing between this and Hold Me Now, we decided the defining difference was how crisp the story and imagery flowed through each sequence. The story was so easy to follow even though the song is in French.

2nd Place: Kindness by VermillionAMV

There is not much more I can say about Kindness. It’s an all around emotional rollercoaster of an AMV!

1st Place: Warriors by yujinedits怠惰な

From the beginning of this showdown I knew Warriors was special. I can imagine how much time the editor dedicated to get every visual moment aligned in tone and pacing to the music. It doesn’t give you great action at first. It BUILDS and savors it.

That is everything! Thank you for following this AMV showdown! Hope you found something new to love and enjoy.

AMV Showdown! Special Awards: Part 1

AMV Showdown! Special Awards: Part 1

Snapshot from Mushishi (2005, 2014)

Sometimes with lists I make really great entries get lost in the shuffle called “Personal Preference”. So, to showcase some of the great AMVs I perused with my brother, here is a post dedicated to special awards in various categories.

There will be multiple videos that win several awards. I’ll make sure to include plenty of links to creators and other videos!

Let’s get started!

Best Timing

Timing was one of the major criteria from the first round of this AMV Showdown. In making a music video, it is absolutely crucial to have spot on timing. Or, you lose the audience.

Honorable Mentions: Transmutayshun by Ileia, Glitter and Gold by Neo Solarius, Hold Me Now by Komichi

3. Third Place: Warriors by yujinedits怠惰な, and Best AMV you will ever see Part 4 by xxanime_otaku

Its a glorious tie for third place! It was really difficult choosing between these two, because they both excelled in different ways.

Of all the bogged AMVs with sound, this one delivered the best. Not only did their crisp timing come across extraordinarily smoothly, they were able to balance fast and smooth movements in an spectacular fashion.

On the other hand, Warriors‘s timing shown best in the way it built up to the action through well choreographed editing. Every motion is SPOT ON and doesn’t detract in any way from the visual storytelling.

2nd Place: ??? Mob by King AMV

??? Mob uses Fallout Boy’s song “Young And Menace” to the maximum capacity! The more interesting sequences are actually in the beginning where each footstep and slip of a jacket blends with the music profoundly. The actions feel like they are meant to happen.

1st Place: Danse De Raven by ChiikaboomAMV

Part of the beauty and majesty of dance and ballet is timing. Everything I’ve mentioned for the 2nd and 3rd place entries applies for Danse De Raven, however it feels more refined. I think this is because of Princess Tutu‘s core nature, which is dance and choreography.

Best Tone

Tone is all about atmosphere and world building. For great tone, you need the right song and the appropriate imagery to fit it. You may be surprised which ones we chose.

3rd Place: Vesper by DrPenguin

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Made in Abyss yet. However, Vesper set the tone for my upcoming experience masterfully. Set to Son Lux’s eerie song “Ransom”, it builds the story from a lighthearted sun filled beginning to the mysterious and sometimes terrifying adventures which await the main characters.

2nd Place: For the Win by DigiCat

My brother had to convince me with this one. Here is the truth. I’ve never seen Sword Art Online. There it is. Even though I didn’t know the content connected to For the Win, I could tell the editor had done a phenomenal job creating the world for the show. My brother later explained to me how each shot shows highlights from the show and stats for important characters.

1st Place: Dance With the Mushi by Rainhowls2

If you have never seen Mushishi I envy you. Not because I don’t absolutely love it! Its because you get to experience the wonder of the show through this AMV without previous knowledge of the stories or characters. Take it from a seasoned admirer of this story. Dance With the Mushi captures the ethereal mystery and wonder of this show gorgeously.

Best Music Choice

This category is pretty self explanatory. Pick the right song off the bat, and you have the ground work for a great AMV.

Honorable Mention: This is War by Gohan

3rd Place: Ride or Die by NeverEnoughEpicAMVs2

Yes, I do listen to rap sometimes. Given how epic Ride or Die is, it is no wonder I attached to it and its song We Own It (Fast & Furious). If ever someone made a song about car racing, this would be the perfect one to enhance Redline, the podracing car thriller for adults.

2nd Place: Happiness by VermillionAMV

To understand this AMV and how impactful it can be, you need to watch Mob Psycho 100, a show dedicated to exploring various human reactions and relationships. Through this AMV, I found a new favorite song and decided to rewatch the show.

1st Place: Ghost of You by Vichima

Ghost Of You by 5 seconds of Summer fits this emotionally impactful story Ride Your Wave so well. It enhanced the characters’ heartbreak and told the story in a way you could really feel. The more I watch it, the more convinced I become it could become an official promotional video for the movie.

Best Fluidity

Another word I would use to describe fluidity is overall flow. This pertains to the story and how the editor presents it as well as how clearly the images blend into each other. There is such a thing as having great timing but hardly any sense of how to make your product flow.

Honorable Mentions: Kindness, Warriors, Ghost of You

3rd Place: A Prelude To Dreams by Shin AMV

I still remember seeing A Prelude to Dreams for the first time. For the longest time I didn’t even realize it depicted a wide variety of anime! That is the mark of purposeful flow and great fluidity. What is especially remarkable about A Prelude To Dreams is how these seemingly disconnected stories dance together because of the song Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap.

2nd Place: Swing Box by VermillionAMV

VermillionAMV is a FANTASTIC EDITOR. Out of any creator I’ve come across these last few months, they’ve impressed me the most in how smoothly they use their source material. Swing Box would have to be the culmination of these skills. It flows beautifully and each moment is simply fascinating to watch unfold! This was yet another AMV where I couldn’t readily tell exactly how many anime they used. I thought maybe, 5. In reality they used 10. That’s pretty impressive!

1st Place: Dance With the Mushi by Rainhowls2

Yet, again Dance With the Mushi comes in for the win! If you pay very close attention to how this AMV unfolds, you’ll notice subtle changes in pacing and timing. For me, it feels like a folkdance set to the imagery of life. Good fluidity isn’t about spectacle. It’s about leading an audience through the story through imagery and sound.

Best Characterization

Best characterization is about how well an AMV can set up not only the world but its characters. Once upon a time, I heard a very intriguing statement concerning animation. The characters ARE the animation. How you treat them makes all the difference for the story and your intended audience.

Honorable Mentions: Singular Strike Gentleman by Glitzer, Renegade VERSUS by VermillionAMV

3rd Place: Ghost of You by Vichima

Ghost of You is another AMV which will come up a lot. I have never seen the movie yet through this video I understand SOOOO much about the characters and their story. It is to the point where I get emotionally involved watching it. Like I said before, this would be the perfect promotional video for this movie.

2nd Place: Pure White Gold by VermillionAMV

Here is yet another anime I haven’t seen yet (Sorry! I’ll get to it eventually). However, I think what Pure White Gold truly excels at is showcasing how the various characters fit into their world. Though they couldn’t put the whole show into one AMV, the editor set up their roles in the story splendidly!

1st Place: This is war by Gohan

How do you find a song built for the characters? This is War based on 30 seconds to Mars’s song is how! The editor used this song to its maximum potential, matching the worlds to a variety of characters seen throughout the show. Not only that, but they set up these characters in their world through stunning timing!

Utilizing Music and Imagery

Utilizing music and imagery is the culmination of great fluidity and emotionality. It isn’t just about flowing the images together but creating a masterful story through words and music.

Honorable Mention: ??? Mob by King AMV

3rd Place: Pure White Gold by Vermillion AMV

Honestly, Pure White Gold feels like a a hero montage. It isn’t about just one character but an entire cast of fantastic and interesting people. What this AMV truly excels at is using the imagery and music to express the characters’ true purpose as heroes.

2nd Place: Swing Box by VermillionAMV

Not a second of Swing Box feels wasted. Nothing feels misplaced or simply placed there to take up space. All in all, it is a true spectacle of wonderful imagery!

1st Place: Kindness by Vermillion AMV

(I just realized Vermillion AMV did every single AMV for this slot! That is truly saying something.) Now, when I saw Kindness for the first time, what immediately crossed my mind was how spot on this AMV was! It encapsulated what Mob Psycho 100 is about. How the editor blended the anime and song “I’m Alright” by Mother Mother was nothing short of masterful!

Best Aestheticism

These are the AMVs that are truly a feast for the eyes! Sometimes that means they are beautiful, other times they are truly rich in color and movement.

Honorable Mentions: Warriors by yujinedits怠惰な, Close to the Sun by Light Raider

3rd Place: Cosmic Love by Trisieren

Children of the Sea (2014) is one of the richest films I’ve ever seen. Thankfully, this editor was able to utilize this imagery wonderfully. There are so many details in the colors and images to catch on to. It’s impossible to get bored watching it.

2nd Place: Ghost of You by VichimaVichima

Everything about Ghost of You seems to glow. The imagery is so beautiful it almost swallows you! It helps that the song completely enhances it throughout every moment.

1st Place: Unity by Lightraider

I feel awe inspired every time I take time to watch Unity. It sheds beautiful light on how glorious human relationships are! I always wish it could be just a little longer so I could drink in even more of its wonder!

Stay tuned for Part Two for these Special Awards!

AMV Showdown: The Penultimate Top Ten

AMV Showdown! Special Awards: Part 2

AMV Showdown: The Penultimate Top Ten

We finally made it to what I call the penultimate ten! These are the AMVs with perfect scores that happened to also become some of me and my brother’s favorites. There are no rules for this list. In fact, they are listed based only on a tally we made of which ones we like better than the others. For Best in Show and other awards, I will make a different post.

For now, let’s get started!

10.【Mob】???% AMV by King AMV

Based on Mob Psycho 100

Somehow, a remix of Fall Out Boy’s “Young And Menace” works so well with Mob Psycho 100. Many of the previous AMVs struggled balancing fast paced imagery with slower, or still moments. “???” uses the pacing of the song to illustrate the ebb and flow from the show.

The biggest highlights are the opening, especially when Reigen stealthily slips on his coat, and the first chorus run.

9. AMV – Тhе Αskіng Ρrіcе 720p by NeverEnoughEpicAMVs3

Based on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

“The Asking Price” packs an emotional punch, especially for those familiar with the show. It focuses on various characters from Fullmetal Alchemist and their sacrifices. It matches music and visuals so well! It feels like a beautiful collaboration between different artists.

That said, this is definately one of my favorite AMVs. I tend to lean more toward emotional storytelling than spectacle. At the end of the day, I didn’t watch Fullmetal Alchemist for its action scenes alone. It opened me to so much of the world, the good and ugly. I love to be reminded of that.

8. AMV Swing Box by VermillionAMV

Based on a Variety of Anime

Over the coarse of the last few weeks, I’ve come to really appreciate “Swing Box”. Why? Because so many collaboration AMVs don’t know how to, well, collaborate. Good AMVs don’t just need a large list of anime to fit into the right moments of a song. An AMV will not flow well unless the editor finds ways to blend them together cohesively.

“Swing Box” does just that! It’s timing is crisp, and its imagery is fascinating to witness. It doesn’t even feel like a hodge-podge of different works. They FEEL like they belong in the same space. Behold! The power of great editing.

I love this AMV’s energy, coloring, and the fun song choice!

7. AMV Pure White Gold by VermillionAMV

Based on My Hero Academia

Funny story. I saved this AMV on a whim about two years ago without really watching it. I had a habit of saving AMVs so I wouldn’t forget songs I liked while casually scrolling through YouTube. So, as I perused the various AMVs I’ve saved over the last few years, I saw “Pure White Gold” and thought, “What the heck. It must be here for a reason. Let’s include it in the top 100 list for kicks.”

I’m so glad I did! Looking more closely at this AMV’s content, pacing, and flow, it floored me over and over again. I get chills watching it every time and I haven’t even SEEN this show. The song and anime enhance each other so so beautifully!

I don’t have a favorite moment because I love watching it unfold!

6. Singular Strike Gentleman [OPM AMV – Anime Expo Best Fun] by Glitzer

Based on One Punch Man

Are you a fan of One Punch Man? Think about it, what is the perfect song for this show? Usually, people would say an action song because Saitama is a freak of nature and the animation for the action sequences are fantastic in the first season.

What if I told you “Singular Strike Gentleman” set to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen is the best AMV I have EVVVVVER seen for this show? No joke. I laugh so hard seeing it! As a good friend of mine once said, One Punch Man at its heart is a satiric comedy about Saitama, his egg head and his titular one punch.

The timing is perfect and the lyrics coupled with Saitama’s hilarious face keep me coming back for more.

5. Princess Tutu AMV – Hold Me Now (Warning: Spoilerific) by Komichi

Based on Princess Tutu

“Hold Me Now” is the AMV that tricks viewers into watching and loving Princess Tutu. In fact, if you are watching it now, you might very well be thinking, “Dang, why have I never seen this show?”. Good. You should feel that way because its a fantastic, multi-layered philosophical drama of epic proportions!

That aside, this editor did so well sculpting a visual story, even with a foreign language song. It makes this story altogether epic! In fact, it captures the amazing dance sequences showcased throughout the show and showcases them as a brilliant spectacle. Kind of like a ballet. 😉

4. Dance with the Mushi || Mushishi AMV by Rainhowls2

Based on Mushishi

I saw multiple AMVs for Mushishi and concluded its extraordinarily difficult to find the right song for it. Mushishi is not an action anime. Most of its time is open for gentle observation rather than thorough engagement. It doesn’t rely on action scenes or loud noise. Its a story which invites its viewer to go on a journey, seeing the extraordinary world and witnessing human beings living.

This AMV, like the show, does all these things. There are no lyrics but it draws you in because at its heart it speaks to us on a personal, almost primal way. By its end, the music becomes faster and BAM! you’re hooked.

3. [RS] Danse De Raven by ChiikaboomAMV

Based on Princess Tutu

Yep. There are not one but TWO Princess Tutu AMVs in the top ten. Maybe its a subtle message I think you should watch the show. In all seriousness, “Danse De Raven” captures the darker underbelly of this show. Even more than “Hold Me Now” it has a way of drawing you in.

The editor was able to do this partly because of their amazing timing and wise song choice. Look up the lyrics for the song, “”Le Bien Qui Fait Mal” from Mozart L’Opera Rock and you’ll understand a little more why this is. Though it’s in French, the editor made sure to match the lyrics with the images and stay true to the song’s message and tone.

2. AMV Kindness by VermillionAMV

Based on Mob Psycho 100

(Special shoutout to VermillionAMV for having three AMVs on this list.) “Kindness” is my new personal favorite AMV. If “Cradles” showcased the stirring animated moments from Mob Psycho 100, “Kindness” captured the show’s beautiful emotional moments. Personally, Mob Psycho 100 is one of my favorites not because of its action scenes but because of its touching relationships, character growth, and how it asks hard questions on the nature of power.

I get emotional watching “Kindness” because it reminds me of the many wonderful lessons I learned and continue to learn from ONE’s titular story.

1. warriors – Demon Slayer [AMV] by yujinedits怠惰な

Based on Demon Slayer

Like “Kindness”, “Warriors” made me stop and be there in the moment. I forgot I was being a critic. I didn’t look for things to knitpick. I let its magic WASH OVER ME. I drank it in and savored every moment of runtime. THIS is how you construct a well-balanced action-based AMV. Make it so the viewer doesn’t have to question what they are watching or how long they will be watching.

Make it so they KNOW and BELIEVE its magic. “Warriors” definitely highlighted one of the most beautiful shows I’ve witnessed these last few weeks. I take my hat off to you!

That is the last of the many, many AMVs for this list! Stay tuned for a list of my and my brother’s favorites, as well as a special post for specific shoutouts I wanted to give.

AMV Showdown! Top 23 from Tier 3

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 9, My Top Ten Favorite Anime

The list everyone has been waiting for! So, funny story. I couldn’t come up with 20 favorite anime. I was surprised because I’ve seen A LOT of anime. Perhaps after I peruse a whole bunch of them this next year, I can redo the list.

As for this particular list, they are split mostly into three categories: one’s that make me laugh, one’s that made me cry, and the other’s that make me think.

Let’s get started!

10. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (2016), by J.C.StaffEgg Firm

To the average person, psychic abilities might seem a blessing; for Kusuo Saiki, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Gifted with a wide assortment of supernatural abilities ranging from telepathy to x-ray vision, he finds this so-called blessing to be nothing but a curse. As all the inconveniences his powers cause constantly pile up, all Kusuo aims for is an ordinary, hassle-free life—a life where ignorance is bliss.

Unfortunately, the life of a psychic is far from quiet. Though Kusuo tries to stay out of the spotlight by keeping his powers a secret from his classmates, he ends up inadvertently attracting the attention of many odd characters, such as the empty-headed Riki Nendou and the delusional Shun Kaidou. Forced to deal with the craziness of the people around him, Kusuo comes to learn that the ordinary life he has been striving for is a lot more difficult to achieve than expected.

Myanimelist Overview

Saiki K will make its way onto another list I’m working on for anime I never expected to like.

What do I like? The humor, especially the English cast from Funimation in season 1. The humor in this particular show is multidimensional, not depending on only one medium to deliver jokes or the story. It also makes fun of itself all the time and breaks the fourth wall on multiple occasions.

Do I like every season (if applicable)? Not necessarily. I prefer the first season because I like the English dub but will binge watch the show all the way through if I’m going through a stressful time.

Who is my favorite character? Probably Saiki for his sarcasm and moral code or Kaido for his naivety.

Would I like another season? Yes. I want to know what happens once he got his powers back.

What language do I prefer? English. the jokes land better for me.

9. One Punch Man (2015), by Madhouse

The seemingly ordinary and unimpressive Saitama has a rather unique hobby: being a hero. In order to pursue his childhood dream, he trained relentlessly for three years—and lost all of his hair in the process. Now, Saitama is incredibly powerful, so much so that no enemy is able to defeat him in battle. In fact, all it takes to defeat evildoers with just one punch has led to an unexpected problem—he is no longer able to enjoy the thrill of battling and has become quite bored.

This all changes with the arrival of Genos, a 19-year-old cyborg, who wishes to be Saitama’s disciple after seeing what he is capable of. Genos proposes that the two join the Hero Association in order to become certified heroes that will be recognized for their positive contributions to society, and Saitama, shocked that no one knows who he is, quickly agrees. And thus begins the story of One Punch Man, an action-comedy that follows an eccentric individual who longs to fight strong enemies that can hopefully give him the excitement he once felt, and just maybe, he’ll become popular in the process.

Myanimelist Overview

I keep re-watching this 12-episode show. One Punch Man is also not an anime I normally would look out for. (I don’t look out for Shonen, or super hero shows. They don’t interest me usually.) However, the idea of a super hero subverting the usually tropes in Shonen anime had me reeling on the floor laughing when I first saw it.

What do I like about it? The fact it’s a satire for superhero shows. Every character and situation is subverted, displaying illogical ways of thinking people have created concerning the genre.

The animation is incredible. I enjoy looking for AMVs for One Punch Man because the animation is so clean and multidimensional.

Saitama is one of my favorite characters of all time.

Do I like every season? Noooooo. The second season is one of the biggest let downs I’ve had for a long time. Such a shame.

Who is my favorite character? Saitama for his bland egg head, rare cool scenes, and quest for stimulation. I also like Genos. He gives fans cool-looking scenes to make up for the fact Saitama usually just comes along and punches someone once.

Would I like another season? Yes, but Bones should do the animation. In fact, I want them to redo the second season to match the great pacing and animation from the first.

What Language do I Prefer? Japanese. The voice actor for Saitama specifically is irreplaceable.

8. Princess Tutu (2002), by Hal Film Maker

In a fairy tale come to life, the clumsy, sweet, and gentle Ahiru (Japanese for “duck”) seems like an unlikely protagonist. In reality, Ahiru is just as magical as the talking cats and crocodiles that inhabit her town—for Ahiru really is a duck! Transformed by the mysterious Drosselmeyer into a human girl, Ahiru soon learns the reason for her existence. Using her magical egg-shaped pendant, Ahiru can transform into Princess Tutu—a beautiful and talented ballet dancer whose dances relieve people of the turmoil in their hearts. With her newfound ability, Ahiru accepts the challenge of collecting the lost shards of her prince’s heart, for long ago he had shattered it in order to seal an evil raven away for all eternity.

Princess Tutu is a tale of heroes and their struggle against fate. Their beliefs, their feelings, and ultimately their actions will determine whether this fairy tale can reach its “happily ever after.”

Myanimelist Overview

In my life, I never thought I would ever fall in love with a magical girl anime. (Yes, I’ve seen quite a few.) Thankfully, Princess Tutu features classical music, interwoven philosophical ideas, and beautiful dancing. It caught my eye maybe ten or more years ago while I was flipping through anime review videos.

What do I like about it? I grew up playing and listening to classical music, so its soundtrack felt like coming home. I loved thinking about what it means to be in charge of one’s destiny. For the characters in Princess Tutu, it meant fighting against their fates as characters in a story.

The animation itself is fascinating to me because of the choreography for the dances. In fact, every episode felt like a setting on a stage, rather than real life.

Who is your favorite character? Mr. Cat, the dance instructor. All he wants is to find someone to marry him! He’s so lonely. (In other words, he’s hilarious). He also gives very sound advice at times.

Would I like another season? No, it ended very nicely.

Which Language do I Prefer? English. The Japanese voices are obnoxious.

7. Hyouka (2012), by Kyoto Animation

Energy-conservative high school student Houtarou Oreki ends up with more than he bargained for when he signs up for the Classics Club at his sister’s behest—especially when he realizes how deep-rooted the club’s history really is. Begrudgingly, Oreki is dragged into an investigation concerning the 45-year-old mystery that surrounds the club room.

Accompanied by his fellow club members, the knowledgeable Satoshi Fukube, the stern but benign Mayaka Ibara, and the ever-curious Eru Chitanda, Oreki must combat deadlines and lack of information with resourcefulness and hidden talent, in order to not only find the truth buried beneath the dust of works created years before them, but of other small side cases as well.

Based on the award-winning Koten-bu light novel series, and directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu, Hyouka shows that normal life can be full of small mysteries, be it family history, a student film, or even the withered flowers that make up a ghost story.

Myanimelist Overview

Recently, I went back and re-watched Hyouka with my brother. It exceeded my expectations. I thought I would just have fond memories of watching it in my early twenties. However, it was the exact show I needed for the upcoming changes and challenges I was facing.

What do I like about it? I love detective stories like Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, and Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Hyouka takes different mystery writing formulas and applies them to everyday life. It also plays with the idea of what makes each person special and what it’s like to compete with real, natural talent.

The animation is very balanced. The shots never felt disjointed or overstimulated like in many Shoujo anime I’ve seen. The characters also have crisp, lifelike motions which never look clunky.

Who is your favorite character? Probably Houtaro the main character. I love seeing into the minds of left-brained individuals who are good at doing puzzles.

Would I like another season? Yes and no. If the same studio handled the story I wouldn’t mind. However, I’m kind of afraid someone will butcher it.

What Language Do I Prefer? Both? I do admire the English Dub a little more.

6. Mob Psycho 100 (2016-2019), by Bones

Eighth-grader Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama has tapped into his inner wellspring of psychic prowess at a young age. But the power quickly proves to be a liability when he realizes the potential danger in his skills. Choosing to suppress his power, Mob’s only present use for his ability is to impress his longtime crush, Tsubomi, who soon grows bored of the same tricks.

In order to effectuate control on his skills, Mob enlists himself under the wing of Arataka Reigen, a con artist claiming to be a psychic, who exploits Mob’s powers for pocket change. Now, exorcising evil spirits on command has become a part of Mob’s daily, monotonous life. However, the psychic energy he exerts is barely the tip of the iceberg; if his vast potential and unrestrained emotions run berserk, a cataclysmic event that would render him completely unrecognizable will be triggered. The progression toward Mob’s explosion is rising and attempting to stop it is futile.

Myanimelist Overview

Both seasons of Mob Psycho 100 BLEW ME AWAY when I watched it about two years ago. I didn’t think the creator ONE could write another truly fabulous story but he managed to convince me within the first 10 minutes of the first episode.

What do I like about it? First off, the animation. Bones Animators outdid themselves in animating multiple perspectives through unique camera angles. I also love how often they slip in ONE’s original drawings into the character animation. The action scenes are clean and riddled with layered details.

Second, this show is even funnier than One Punch Man!

Mob’s journey to learning to use and live with his emotions, despite his powers, was one part funny, two parts epic, and altogether beautiful to witness.

Do I like Every Season? Yes! Both seasons are equally excellent!

Who is my Favorite Character? All of them? Just kidding. Mob is my favorite. Reigen is a close second.

Would I like another season? Yes! Bones animators continue doing your magic.

What Language do I Prefer? Japanese. All the voice actors really click for me, especially Reigen.

5. Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (2003), by A.C.G.T.

Kino, a 15-year-old traveler, forms a bond with Hermes, a talking motorcycle. Together, they wander the lands and venture through various countries and places, despite having no clear idea of what to expect. After all, life is a journey filled with the unknown.

Throughout their journeys, they encounter different kinds of customs, from the morally gray to tragic and fascinating. They also meet many people: some who live to work, some who live to make others happy, and some who live to chase their dreams. Thus, in every country they visit, there is always something to learn from the way people carry out their lives.

It is not up to Kino or Hermes to decide whether these asserted values are wrong or right, as they merely assume the roles of observers within this small world. They do not attempt to change or influence the places they visit, despite how absurd these values would appear. That’s because in one way or another, they believe things are fine as they are, and that “the world is not beautiful; therefore, it is.”

Myanimelist Overview

Like Princess Tutu, I found this particular anime while looking through YouTube reviews. What struck me from the get go was how it invited me to think deeper on what could be and what could happen in different societies. It displays varying perspectives on life and let’s the audience experience them through the main character Kino’s unclouded viewpoint as a traveler and unbiased onlooker.

What do I like about it? It challenges what I know and displays clearly the consequences of fallen people, who refuse to deviate from their worldview. Whenever I watch, I feel like it invites me through varying questions to see the world is still beautiful, even if tragic things happen.

Do I like every Season? Well, three years ago Lerche reanimated the shows with more episodes, but it lacked the flow and magic of the original.

What is my favorite story? (Since the only reoccurring characters are Kino and Hermes, her bike.) “A Tale of Feeding Off Others —I Want to Live.—”, I always ask myself when I see this episode “How do I value human life?”

Would I like another season? No. Animators tried to redo it rather than expounding on it and it fell flat.

What language do I prefer? English.

4. Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008-2017), by Brain’s Base

While most fifteen-year-old boys, in one way or another, harbor secrets that are related to girls, Takashi Natsume has a peculiar and terrifying secret involving youkai: for as long as he can remember, he has been constantly chased by these spirits. Natsume soon discovers that his deceased grandmother Reiko had passed on to him the Yuujinchou, or “Book of Friends,” which contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control. Now in Natsume’s possession, the book gives Reiko’s grandson this power as well, which is why these enraged beings now haunt him in hopes of somehow attaining their freedom.

Without parents and a loving home, and constantly being hunted by hostile, merciless youkai, Natsume is looking for solace—a place where he belongs. However, his only companion is a self-proclaimed bodyguard named Madara. Fondly referred to as Nyanko-sensei, Madara is a mysterious, pint-sized feline spirit who has his own reasons for sticking with the boy.

Based on the critically acclaimed manga by Yuki Midorikawa, Natsume Yuujinchou is an unconventional and supernatural slice-of-life series that follows Natsume as he, with his infamous protector Madara, endeavors to free the spirits bound by his grandmother’s contract.

Myanimelist Overview

I have a soft spot in my heart for any stories involving the spirit world. Natsume’s Book of Friends is equally mysterious as it is enlightening. At its heart, its about a young man who learns kindness and develops needed relationships with people and spirits.

What do I like about it? It presents Japanese culture so vividly, emphasizing the growing disconnection between spirits and people. I like how Natsume becomes a bridge between both worlds.

Do I like every season? Yes! I also love watching the OVA’s and movies.

Who is my favorite character? Takashi Natsume is definitely my favorite character. The more I grew to know him, the more I realized how loving he still was despite how deeply abused he’d been throughout his life.

Would I like another season? Always! I’m all for the studio animating every volume.

What language do I prefer? Japanese. In fact, no one has translated it into English.

3. Steins Gate (2011), by White Fox

The self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarou Okabe rents out a room in a rickety old building in Akihabara, where he indulges himself in his hobby of inventing prospective “future gadgets” with fellow lab members: Mayuri Shiina, his air-headed childhood friend, and Hashida Itaru, a perverted hacker nicknamed “Daru.” The three pass the time by tinkering with their most promising contraption yet, a machine dubbed the “Phone Microwave,” which performs the strange function of morphing bananas into piles of green gel.

Though miraculous in itself, the phenomenon doesn’t provide anything concrete in Okabe’s search for a scientific breakthrough; that is, until the lab members are spurred into action by a string of mysterious happenings before stumbling upon an unexpected success—the Phone Microwave can send emails to the past, altering the flow of history.

Adapted from the critically acclaimed visual novel by 5pb. and Nitroplus, Steins;Gate takes Okabe through the depths of scientific theory and practicality. Forced across the diverging threads of past and present, Okabe must shoulder the burdens that come with holding the key to the realm of time.

Myanimelist Overview

If there is any series that challenges my brain, it’s Steins Gate. Its’ so well paced, and the characters’ relationships are multi-dimensional.

What do I like about it? Where do I start? The animation, though faded, comes to life the farther into the story one goes. The characters have layers! They aren’t just caricatures of bygone character tropes. The story is as intriguing as it is mind-boggling! I learned so much about String Theory and the Butterfly Effect. Also, it has one of my favorite love stories.

Who is my favorite character? The main character Okabe, Kurisu, or his childhood friend Mayuri. Honesty though, I like them all. Except Itaru. As I’ve said before, I don’t like pervy characters.

Would I like another season? There is another season, actually. I’ve never seen it. After the way the movie Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu ended so wonderfully, I don’t really want to continue.

What language do I prefer? I’ve seen it all the way through in English and Japanese. I like them both but prefer English.

Mushishi (2005,2014), by Artland

Perceived as strange and feared by man, over time the misshapen ones came to be known as Mushi. Although they harbor no ill intentions towards humans, many suffer from the side effects of their existence and strange nature; exploiting the Mushi without understanding them, even unintentionally, can lead to disaster and strife for any involved. Mushishi Zoku Shou continues the story of Mushishi Ginko on his journey to help the visible world to coexist with the Mushi.

During his travels, Ginko discovers various gifted individuals—those cursed by circumstance and those maintaining a fragile symbiosis with the Mushi—inevitably confronting the question of whether humanity, talented and tortured alike, can manage the responsibility of the unseen. Moreover, as a Mushishi, Ginko must learn more about these strange beings and decide if he has the right to interfere with the complex relationships between Mushi and mankind.

Myanimelsit Overview

Mushishi is episodic, but almost all the stories are connected only by Ginko, who travels through Japan offering remedies and advice concerning Mushi. Somewhat like Kino’s Journey and Natsume’s Book of Friends, it presents multiple viewpoints through human and Mushi interactions.

What do I like about it? Everything. Again. The animation, especially in the backgrounds, is GORGEOUS. The stories are ethereal. I ate every one up, pondering for days the possible meanings and messages there. I also liked how the stories, like real life, varied in feel. Some were tragic, while others full of hope. Most of them in one way or another were bitter sweet.

Do I like all the seasons? Yes. Bones continued, after ten years, the story where it left off. Not deviating from the original manga or their previous season. If anything, the animation was more beautiful than the first season.

What is my favorite story? (I have several). “The Hand That Caresses the Night”, “Soft Horns”, “To Sleep in the Mountains”, “Beneath the Snow”. Thinking about it though, I love them all. I could barely pick.

Would I like another season? No. The anime finished the original manga.

Which language do I prefer? Both. I watch it interchangeably in English and Japanese.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009-2010), by Bones

Alchemy is bound by this Law of Equivalent Exchange—something the young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric only realize after attempting human transmutation: the one forbidden act of alchemy. They pay a terrible price for their transgression—Edward loses his left leg, Alphonse his physical body. It is only by the desperate sacrifice of Edward’s right arm that he is able to affix Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Devastated and alone, it is the hope that they would both eventually return to their original bodies that gives Edward the inspiration to obtain metal limbs called “automail” and become a state alchemist, the Fullmetal Alchemist.

Three years of searching later, the brothers seek the Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical relic that allows an alchemist to overcome the Law of Equivalent Exchange. Even with military allies Colonel Roy Mustang, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, and Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes on their side, the brothers find themselves caught up in a nationwide conspiracy that leads them not only to the true nature of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, but their country’s murky history as well. In between finding a serial killer and racing against time, Edward and Alphonse must ask themselves if what they are doing will make them human again… or take away their humanity.

Myanimelist Overview

I did not watch this anime first. I had a friend who recommended I watch the first series based on Hiromi Arakawa’s manga. I really liked it till the end. I wondered, through my anger and sadness, “Is this really how it ends?” Thankfully, it was not! I read and bought all the manga and watched Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. The quality of the story and animation was astounding!

What do I like about it? Let me count the ways: the thoroughly engaging action scenes with animation that blew me away, the fully rounded characters. (There are no obsolete characters in this story.), the symbolism, how well rooted it is in historic practices and historical events, the idea of alchemy and automail, THE PERFECT ENDING! I could go on forever. I love it that much.

Do I like every season? Yes! No question about it.

Who is my favorite character? I have a list: Edward, for his emotional growth and grit. Alphonse, for his sensitivity and open-mindedness. Honenheim, for sacrificing everything he loved to save the world. Scar, for breaking through his hatred to build a better world. Olivia Armstrong, for being immovable in what she stood for. Ling, for desiring to be a righteous king.

Would I like another season? NO.

What language do I prefer? ENGLISH. Funimation did such a good job dubbing this anime. Since it takes place in an English-type society, it just makes more sense to see it in English.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow!

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