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Kallen Desktop

The series I am really into at the moment are Macross Frontier, Pumpkin Scissors and Speed Grapher. Macross Frontier is the sequel to the original Macross series and it is really good, full of kickass mechs/fighter planes and a decent love triangle in which I don’t know which side to root for. Pumpkin Scissors details the adventures of a war relief battalion helping the Empire back on its feet after a world war, its setting is very Full Metal Alchemist and deals with the themes of war,survival and the class struggle would definitely recommend it. Speed Grapher I was mad about the minute a heard its intro song ‘Girls on Films’ by Duran Duran, it would have to be the most adult anime I have seen in a while, full of sex and violence but it is presented quite stylishly, focusing on the adventures of a photographer who has developed the ability to destroy anything he takes a picture off, as he becomes involved in a plot involving the most powerful people in Japan and the messed up sex club that they belong too, definitely an adult anime but very very good.

Assorted Anime

Eureka 7 is brilliant, I especially liked the music. Last Exile didn’t really grab me, it seemed a bit samey to me despite the cool steam punk theme and the riflemen shooting from the ships. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is brilliant though its a pity an anime magazine I was reading give all the best plot twists away they really should put down a spoiler alert or something. Tengen Toppa would have to be the best mech anime apart from Code Geass in recent times. Recently finished Tales of Agriculture which has to be one of the best comedy animes in ages though it has only 12 episodes but every episode is pure gold. It charts the college hijinks of Tadayasu Sawaki who has the strange ability to see and communicate with bacteria and other micro-organisms, he is joined by a hot goth lab researcher, a professor with a messed up love of fermented food and two layabout science students who out do Del Boy and Rodney Trotter (Only Fools and Horses) when it comes to get rich quick schemes, look out for the twists at the end which the aforementioned Anime magazine also spoiled curse you _____ (would rather not get sued), curse you. Also following the slice of life them I would really recommend Genshiken or The Society for the Study of Contemporary Visual Culture which is chock full of otakus who spend their time watching bad anime, reading erotic manga, cosplaying, playing computer games and building Gundam models, honestly it kinda like a Japanese version of WARPS, it really takes the piss out of otaku culture which is always a good thing, the day I start acting like any of the guys in Genshiken please shoot me, oh crap it has already happened.

I am not a fan of Death Note, it has an interesting enough premise but I could never make myself like the main characters. There is nothing likable about Light, he is just a snotty school kid with a god complex and L couldn’t detect his way out of a paper bag and the main female is just pandering to squeeing cosplayers, only characters I like are the cops because they are conducting a proper investigation.

One can of course argue how can you dislike Death Note and love Code Geass when the main protagonist in Code Geass is also a school kid with delusions of grandeur but Lelouch has got one thing Light doesn’t have and that is class. Lelouch is a discarded prince fighting to bring down the evil Britannian empire not just killing criminals for kicks which is all Light does. Lelouch is portrayed as an all too human protagonist, he isn’t perfect, when it come to physical pursuits he fails miserably and is pathetic when it comes to piloting mechs but he makes up for it with intellect, he may be hell bent on destroying his father and uses people like pawns on a chess board but it is all to protect his sister and avenge his mother’s death.

So to end, I prefer Code Geass because it has a decent story line, brilliant character development, plot twists galore, kickass mechs and even a dash of geopolitics.

Black Lagoon

The Definitive Top 5 Anime Series

Anime (Japanese animation) has become increasingly popular all over the world including Ireland. Nowadays it is quite easy to walk into Easons or Waterstones and pick up a Manga (Japanese Comics) and in games stores like Other Realms in Cork City they stock a wide range of anime dvds. So when presented with a bewildering selection of colourful and strangely titled dvds how do you know which ones are worth spending your hard earned cash on, hopefully that’s were this article will come in handy. Below are what can be considered the top five anime series of all time. Starting from number five and working our way up.

5. The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.

What would happen if God was in fact a Japanese schoolgirl? Well this anime endeavours to find out. It takes the perspective of the cynical and much put upon schoolboy Kyon as he encounters the weird and wonderful Suzumiya Haruhi as she drafts him into her school society the Save our World by Overloading it with fun Suzumiya Haruhi’s Brigade (the SOS brigade for short). From that rather unusual start things rapidly start getting even stranger when new members are drafted into the SOS brigade including an alien robot, a time travelling super agent and a psychic.

The Melancholy of the Suzumiya Haruhi is an exhilarating off the wall romp that wanders from one anime genre to the other. There are elements of romantic comedy, science fiction, psychological drama and even sports drama. But what really sparkles about this anime is the characters and how they interact with each other in particular the friction between the cynical, apathetic Kyon and the overly enthusiastic and slightly domineering Haruhi. The other characters are also well written and play of Kyon and Haruhi quite well. For anyone looking for a upbeat off the wall anime that leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling this is it.

4. Blood +

Now for something completely different. For centuries a war has been fought in the shadows between the vampiric immortals known as Chiropterans and the organisation know as the ‘Red Shield”. Blood + tells the story of girl Otonashi Saya as she is thrust right into the middle of this conflict. But Saya isn’t as innocent as she first appears, Saya is in fact a Chiropteran but she is the only person who can defeat the other chiropterans. From the very beginning this series grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. It is packed full of visceral, heart pounding action and touching emotional depth. You really do get the impression of a centuries long conflict which has left its mark on history will still keeping the focus on the characters personal trials and tribulations. Blood + really is a proper adult anime which tells a powerful story full of love, loss and personal sacrifice.

3. Full Metal Alchemist.

Edward and Alphonse Elric having lost their mother attempt to bring her back using the forbidden science of Alchemy but things go horribly wrong. Edward loses his arm and leg and his brother’s soul becomes trapped in a suit of armour. Sometime later with Edward having replaces his limbs with mechanical ones( known as automail) he and his brother set out to find the fabled Philosopher’s Stone which they hope will return Aphonse’s body and Ed’s missing limbs.

In order to search for the Philosopher’s stone Edward becomes a State Alchemist and becomes know as the Full Metal Alchemist. But they are not the only ones looking for the Philosopher’s Stone and soon they find themselves in the middle of a conflict that threatens to rip their world apart. Full Metal Alchemist is the most popular anime in recent times claiming legions of fans. It did this by balancing constant action and peril with fully developed characters which the audience becomes quite attached too. Also it is a series where nothing is as it seems, characters who you felt you knew reveal their true nature leaving you truly stunned. Full Metal Alchemist is set in a brilliantly realised world every bit as complicated and war-torn as our own. The combination of a stirring storyline and fully developed genuinely human characters marks this as one of the all time great anime series.

2.Cowboy Bebop

If there is one anime that exudes cool it has to be Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop follows the misadventures of a group of space bounty hunters aboard the fishing boat turned space ship Cowboy Bebop. Following a catastrophe which renders the surface of the Earth uninhabitable mankind has taken to the stars, colonising the other planets in solar systems and creating massive space stations. Struggling to survive in this harsh new frontier is the martial arts master Spike who pins after his lost love, the hard bitten ex-cop Jet, the beautiful,but untrustworthy Faye Valentine and the master hacker Edward. In order to feed themselves they must travel from one end of the solar system collecting bounties. But however hard they try their pasts are determined to catch up with them.

The soundtrack alone makes this anime worth looking at. The soundtrack ranges from jazz, to rock, to pop, classical and everything else in between with the majority of the tracks being in English. Cowboy Bebop is also the only anime series where the English dubbed version is better than the Japanese subtitled version. Also the story is top notch. The characters inhabit a world which honestly feels like it could be our future, space has truly has become the new frontier with human beings eking out an existence on hostile worlds and ramshackle space stations. Cowboy Bebop is a homage to 20th century pop culture, there are elements of spaghetti westerns, Hong-Kong action films, Blade runner-esque science fiction and film noir. Cowboy Bebop is a truly unique viewing experience which many other series attempt to emulate but inevitably fall short off.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be one of the truly ground breaking anime series. In the late 1990’s Anime in Japan was at its lowest ebb with people questioning the very future of the Anime itself, but this changed completely when Neon Genesis arrived on the scene. Neon Genesis is set in a world where ten years before there had been a massive explosion in Antarctica which had resulted in a massive rise in sea levels which cut the world’s population in half and those that remained were left fighting over severely limited resources. Ten years on and the world is plagued by alien beings know as Angels. The only way to combat the Angels are using large humanoid robots know as Evangelions or Evas.
The main protagonist of the series is the pilots of one of the Evas, Shinji Ikari. Shinji has been summoned to Tokyo 3 by his estranged father who controls the UN agency Nerv which oversees the Evas. His father at first seems solely concerned with saving the world but everything is not as it seems. But the fight between Evas and the Angels is only secondary, the real emphasis of the show is on Shinji Ikari and his complicated relationships with his father, his fellow Eva pilots and even the Angels themselves. Shinji is less concerned with saving the world than he his with pleasing his cold and distant father. Neon Genesis is the considered to be ground breaking for this very reason, no other anime before this had paid any attention to the emotional toll being inflicted on characters by the constant terror and peril that they face and what were their real motivations.

The last few episodes of Neon Genesis are considered to some of the most powerful examples of anime every created where the whole fate of mankind hinges on the emotional stability of one individual. Neon Genesis is hailed as having saved anime by introducing adult themes and emotional depth and making anime something more than just cartoons.