Anime!

Updated: 2001 June 5

CAVEAT: This page is still under construction. I wanted to get it up, though, so here it is.

Everyone has their vices -- boats, cars, computers, clothes.. Anime is definitely one mine.

Quick definition for those who aren't familiar with the term, anime is also called japanimation, or Japanese animation. It's not the Saturday-morning cartoons still prevalent on American TV, but more like American movies and a few television series. There are comedies, tragedies, action-adventures, fantasy, science fiction, and even semi-histories. A good chunk of what has come to the US is definitely not for children. As the only censorship of what can be shown on broadcast TV is no genitals, there tends to be a bit (a bit? well...) more than cleavage shown. Still, there many anime have complex plot lines and deal with some adult topics in ways that get you thinking. Anything that gets you questioning what you believe has to be good. Questioning is what maintains faith in the validity of your beliefs.

Just a moment and I'll get down from my soapbox.

Since I decided to review some books I figured I'd review some anime. If you want to check out some more, check out my links page.


This gets quite lengthy, so here's a quick jump list:


Akira (image)
A very cyberpunk story, Akira is the story centered about a gang kid who never had anything positive in his life, is kidnapped and given incredible mental powers. With this newfound power he can show everyone who ever wronged him what a mistake they made. But is this power he can control? The key to all of this seems to be Akira, but who... or what... is Akira?
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All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku-Nuku (image)
Everyone has relations who can be termed a "dysfunctional" family. Well, Rynoske has something that can only be called a mis-functional family. His father is a brilliant, yet embarrassing in only the way parent can be. His mother is an overly protective corporate executive with serious resources and two "office lady" assistants with military-grade weaponry. His protector and friend is Nuku-Nuku, the super-powered human-like android teenager with the brain of a... a cat? This comedy revolves around the attempts of this separated family trying to care about and survive each other in their own insane way. I rate this one a must see.
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Amazing Nurse Nanako
Nanako is a cute purebread ditz who works for a rather mad scientist. She has a daily regiment of training that is definitely unique. The tale begins when a sample of alien shows up at the general clinic. This is one to watch with an open mind and pleanty of comments. Besides an interesting subplot, as of the first two episodes the main attraction is a lot of gratuitous breast jiggling.
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Armitage III: Poly-Matrix
Ross is your normal earth-born cop. After being injured in the line of duty he takes a position on Mars with his new partner, Armatige. Armatige isn't your normal cop, but then that's pretty obvious. Her getup definitely isn't regulation and her attitude certainly doesn't promote teamwork. He meets her right after landing on Mars along with a rather puzzling case... robots are being murdered, robots that no one knew were there.
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Bastard (the good guys... and Dark Schneider)
Four warlords are standing at the gates of your city seeking the third of four seals which hold back the god of destruction. What do you do? Why release Dark Schneider, the most evil and chaotic wizard of all time. What?! This 400 year old (doesn't look a day over 30) anti-hero is womanizing, rude, arrogant, bastard who still wants to rule the world.  Yet he seems to keep saving it. And has he fallen in love with the woman who hold the key to his prison? The best way to rile him up seems to be to mess with "his woman" -- a phrase that everyone is always too neck-deep in it to object to. There is a mature audience warning on this one. There is brief nudity and some language, but really the main character isn't one I'd want children role-modeling.
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Battle Angel (Gally)
Battle Angel is two parts of the story in a manga (in the US, manga is to comic books what anime is to cartoons) by the same name. It starts out with Ido, a cyberdoctor, finding the discarded remains of a cyborg who (amazingly) is still alive. With her new body comes a new identity of "Gally", a name she chose for herself as she cannot remember her past. The manga goes through her life of rediscovery of who she is -- or was,... her relationship with Ido, her adopted father; and the mysterious skill of cyborg martial arts that her body remembers. This is highly recommended.
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Dominion Tank Police
The criminals seem to keep getting more powerful weapons. So what do you give the police to counter such an arsenal? Why, tanks of course! This comedy/drama is the story of the tank police crew pursuing an android criminal plus his two cohorts, the Puma girls, as they all manage to destroy the city. This one I highly recommend.
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Battle Athletes/Battle Athletes Victory
In 4998, beauty is defined as athletic capability and the highest honor is to reach University Sattelite and win the Cosmo Beauty title. One of those striving to achive that title is a girl named Akari. Yet Akari is a ditz. Can she survive the training to reach University Sattelite? Can she race across ravines, cliffs and minefields? Can she survive a rollercoaster bicycle race? Will this girl who shows incredible strength in the most important moments become the next Cosmo Beauty?
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Boah
Boah is loose. Sumire is a little girl and Doress, The Black Organization, wants her. She's a psychic and they want to put that to use. But she is minor. Ikaru is a 17 year old boy with amnesia and he is Boah as created by Doress. But what is Boah? Why is Doress going to exceptional lengths to kill both Sumire and Ikaru? What is this thing Ikaru is becoming? This is a suspense/action anime with lots of blood and guts flying about. It is highly recommended as one of my favorites.
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Cowboy Beebop
Just a couple of down on their luck cowboys, roaming space, picking up bounties as they go in a ship called the BeeBop. Along the way they pick up a freeloading gypsy, an intelligent dog, and a hyperactive tripped out kid. Cowboy Beepop has it's serious episodes, but is a lighthearted comedy (the mushroom episode is a riot!). A definite must-see that I won't spoil for you.
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Dragon Half (image)
Dragon Half is a comedy of a typical teenage girl whose father is an infamous dragon hunter named Ruth and mother is... a red dragon?! Her pop-star idol is also a dragon hunter who is out to kill her, though she is oblivious to it. Minerva, the king's daughter is out to kill her over an incident with said pop-star idol. The king wants her to get revenge on her father. A knight with terrible karma keeps showing up to destroy her... She just wants to be a normal girl!
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Dragonball/Dragonball Z
This series is basically one long string of combat sequences. The heroes are continually trying to gather the seven dragonballs with which they can summon the great dragon and make one wish. The heroes are continually trying to get more powerful so they can defeat the big opponent at the end. The characters are amusing and interact well when they aren't trying not to get killed. All of the comedy is situational. I rather like it, but wouldn't be able to take hours of it. The Z series has at least 40 episodes at about 20-30 minutes apiece.
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Eatman
Eatman is a mercenary who consumes metal, then recreates it later. This loner travels much like the ronin, aiding people for money as he goes. Yet Eatman has a soul beneath his icy exterior. Eatman is a character that could have been part of the A-Team (I'm dating myself). So far I've seen one tape (2 episodes), and have given it a 'thumbs up.'
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Key the Metal Idol
Key is a young girl, but she is not human. Traveling to Tokyo, this country robot must find 30,000 friends to survive before critical failure occurs. Unfortunatly, the man who killed her "father" is there with robotic sons of his own. Will Key and her mysterious powers be able to find all of these friends before she expires? I'm up to the third tape and so far this series has kept me in suspense, wondering what Key really is and if she will be able to fulfill her goal. More to come when I finish.
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Lily C.A.T.
This is one I'm glad I caught on the Sci-Fi channel -- I'd have hated to pay money to watch it. It is a horror flick reminiscent of a Friday the 13th-ish where the crew and passengers of a spaceship are killed of with as much gore as possible by some unknown force that is destroyed at the end... well, maybe. If you like horror where the majority of the imagination is in how much blood to use, you'd probably like it.
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Magical Twilight
The tag line on this one is "1 Good Witch, 1 Bad Witch... and 1 Very Naughty Witch!" It's the story of three witches all trying to pass the practical part of their exams. Two are white (good.. err.. good?) witches whose grade depends on their impression on a mortal. One is a black witch who has to kill a mortal. Tsukasa just happens to be the target for all of them! Lots of overdone and implausible sex in the attempt at comedy here. I watched the series (of three) in the hopes that it would get better. Some days I just live to be disappointed.
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Monkey Magic
The translation FOX broadcasts leaves something to be desired. This series starts with Stone Monkey being sent by some unnamed being to set something right -- something not really defined. The evil characters get to him and try to use him. They have warped him to where he resorts to violence, runs into walls without looking, and is quick to get upset (children's show folks!). Stone monkey gains the name Congo and lives on to challenge the arrogance of the Celestial Temple, home of some rather powerful beings. It's on Saturday morning about me. If I'm up that early I watch it, otherwise...
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Neon Genesis Evangelion
It's been years after the second impact, an explosion in the Antarctic that nearly destroyed humanity. Shinji is just a boy, estranged from his father, who is one of the few chosen to pilot the Evengelions against the attack of the Angels. Shrouded about the events is a cloak of total mystery and intrigue. Will anyone uncover the truth about the Evas or why the Angels keep attacking? This is an anime that starts very serious and morbid then takes on a more humorous, though no less serious, attitude before the 10th tape when everything goes downhill. The first tapes are worth the watch, but be forewarned  the ending really is terrible. The good news is there is a remake of the ending, however it has not been subtitled/dubbed as of date (2000 Feb 27).
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Nightwarriors: Darkstalker's Revenge
Unlike most anime based on combat games, Nightwarriors actually has a plot and doesn't assume you know everything because you have the game. Unfortunately, it does make a few assumptions, but there is some actual characterization going on, however not as much as I would like. The characters are a little single-minded and thus flat. On the plus side, the action is excellent and interaction between the characters is interesting. The puns are not entirely what I would call subtle, but are still enjoyable. (When offered the souls from a bunch of religious fanatics one character responds, "No thanks. I'm not into organized religion.") If you liked the game I'd say this one is a definite, and I wouldn't shun it otherwise.
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Ninja Scroll
Three unlikely heroes half-hazardly are out to defend the government from the Shogun of the Dark in a secret war. First there is a female ninja who has no self worth. She is the poison taster of a small clan; the poison has seeped into every fiber of her being and made even her kiss deadly. Next is a masterless ninja whose past causes him to be intolerant of stupidity and rejecting honor while practicing honor himself. Lastly is the monk who is a spy for the government. This spy coerces the masterless ninja by giving him a slow poison and promising the antidote. The female ninja owes the masterless one a debt of honor and must fulfill it. A very unlikely band of heroes indeed. Blood, guts and high sexual content here, folks, but still a good story -- especially if you understand the cultural motives.
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Odin
A completely green crew is placed in the hands of a few experienced officers to pilot a new spaceship that still even has that "factory air." They get lost, get attacked, and try to maintain a thin plot line in this B-flick wannabe. If you want to keep children entertained for an hour-and-a-half, this would do it.
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Pokemon
It's popular! It's on TV! FOX has a iffy dubbed version! Oh, well... Still, here is the story of three Pokemon trainers by the names of Roc, Misty, and Ash. Roc seeks to become the greatest Pokemon breeder ever and will forever fall head-over-heels when he sees a pretty girl (this is a "children's cartoon"!). Misty wants to train water Pokemon and is *still* following Ash about because he wrecked her bicycle. Ash seeks to become the greatest Pokemon Master. He has a lot of natural talent at it, but he has a lot of growing up and learning to do. He's getting there as he travels with his friends and his Pokemon. Most notable is Pikachu, a cute "electric rodent". Each episode has a moral lesson to it and a continuing story line. Ash does grow up during the course of what the FOX station about me broadcasts, but what FOX has of the series is by no means complete.
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The Professional: Golgo 13
Golgo is a hit man. He was contracted to and killed the son of a very powerful man and now everyone seems to be after him. His only chance is to take out the source of the problem before someone gets him. This one is not for children by any stretch of the imagination. There is gratuitous sex and a lot of blood, guts, and gore going on here. A definite X rating. I enjoyed it, but then again I fast forwarded through the sex.
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Ranma 1/2 (Ranma as boy and Akane) (Ranma as girl and Akane)
If you see any anime, check out Ranma 1/2! This comedy features Ranma Salatome who has been cursed due to a martial arts training accident -- he changes gender with water. Hot water and he is a boy. But, if it should rain... Ranma becomes a rather comely girl. This is almost too much for the machismo Ranma to take. Oh, but the fun they have with that is not the start of it! Ranma's father, Ghenma, and Ghenma's best friend promised that a marriage would be arranged between Ranma and one of his friend's daughters. Ranma and Ghenma return, both cursed (Ghenma becomes a giant, sign toting panda with cold water), and reveal the curse to Ghenma's family. Who is chosen for Ranma's fiancé but Akane, the tomboy youngest who "hates boys" and definitely doesn't like Ranma... or does she? Ranma doesn't like his "un-cute" fiancé... or does he? Add in a series of fiancés and fiance-wannabees for both Ranma and Akane, and competitions in martial arts pancake cooking, martial arts swimming, martial arts dancing, martial arts bride selection...
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Record Of Lodoss War
This anime is almost an AD&D role-playing epic adventure. There is a motley cast of heroes ranging from the naive Parn to the gruff dwarven veteran Glem. Chronologically, the series follows Parn as he goes from a wide-eyed village boy to a novice warrior to the savior of the world. There are an odd number of similarities to a little know "space opera" known as Star Wars. This is a lengthy series covering thirteen episodes of about a half-hour each. Note that the second episode occurs before the first. I've seen the English subtitled and dubbed and both are rather close in translation. All in all, I give this three-and-a-half of five stars.
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Roujin Z
A rather interesting social commentary on how we treat the elderly, this is a story of a man whose dead wife takes over machines to take care of her invalid husband. It's amusing at times, but not that good of a story. If you need something to write a paper of for class, this will do.
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Serial Experiment Lain
Lain is a quiet girl, keeps pretty much to herself. She lives more with strangers than mother, father and big sister. She's not exciting, has no real opinions, no hobbies, has little interest in boys for an 8th grader, doesn't go to clubs... Is that really Lain? Who is this other woman? Who is this opinionated, don't take shit from anyone bitch who looks just like Lain? Who are the men in black that wait outside her window? Why is she getting email from her dead classmate? Why are the power lines talking to her? What are the images that invade her reality?
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Tenchi-Muyo
Tenchi's ancestor, Yosho, was a great man who battled the demon that rests in the shrine tenchi's family runs. That is until Tenchi sneaks down there and lets her out. A very cute her. Meet house guest one. Shortly, there are two alien princesses, a member of the galaxy police, a brilliant scientist, and a cat-rabbit spaceship running about the place -- all of them are female and seem to have a "thing" for Tenchi. This is the OAV series. There are several other series, all with the same characters, but slightly different histories, which creates the "Tenchi Universe." An excellent comedy, definitely worth watching.
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Urusei Yatsura (Those Obnoxious Aliens)
Aliens have landed and offered the citizens of Earth one chance to prevent the invasion: someone must defeat the alien champion in a match... of tag. Random selection of all the citizens of Earth picks Ataru, a womanizing letch of a boy who who is so unlucky the monk says last rights at his passage. Who should be Ataru's opponent but Lum, the buxom oni-girl daughter of the invading commander. Shinobu, a girl who actually loves Ataru (bizarre!) promises to marry him should he win. With this incentive, Ataru manages to win the match and in his infinite joy shouts "Now I can get married!" -- a statement Lum takes as a marriage proposal. Urusai Yatsura is a television series and a movie. It's rather humorously cute, but brandishes a humor not everyone will like.
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Ushio & Tora
Ushio is a pretty normal kid. He goes to school and lives with his father at the monastery that has been in the family for 500 years. Except Ushio makes a deal with the devil and that will change his life forever. Yet in a twist of fate, Ushio comes out on top in his deal. Now there are demons popping up left and right and the only one who can stop them is Ushio. What about Tora? Tora is the monster who is just hanging about waiting to eat Ushio -- a monster that is 500 years out of synch with the world. This is a hilarious comic adventure and I haven't really done it justice by any means. The interplay between Ushio and Tora is priceless. I highly recommend the third tape (as far as I've gotten). There is lots of blood and messed up bodies, so this isn't for children.
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Vampire Hunter D
Doris lived on the farm taking care of her brother, the only family she has. It was a difficult life with the werewolves and unnatural creatures, but she survived. Then Count Magnus Lee returned -- a vampire. Now infected and targeted as the Count's new bride, she has turned to a mysterious wandering vampire hunter named "D" to save her. Who is this dark enigmatic figure and how can he hope to defeat one of the most ancient vampires! This is a gothic thriller and definite classic. It comes highly recommended.
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Venus Wars
This was bad. Very bad. The story is weakly put together and the motives are unbelievable. Basic plot, street punks becomes war heroes. Don't bother watching.
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Windaria
Windaria is on the verge of war. On one side there is the Shadowlands -- a dark kingdom of tanks and guns whose asset is their technology. On the other side there is Lunaria, a kingdom resting in the midst of aqueducts whose asset is it controls the water supply. In the middle is a valley where an very ancient tree stands and people farm for a living. Add into this a Romeo and Juliet love affair between the rulers' children and a familiar story is created. Yet these are the secondary characters. The entire story is told at the deathbed of a very ordinary man who was a very young man with a beautiful wife who plays a terribly pivotal role in history and comes to live and regret it.
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X
(Contributed by EvilArt) X is an anime concerning the possible end of the world. Kamui has returned to Tokyo, where his childhood friends Fuma and Kotori live. But he has a great deal of hidden power, and must make a choice: will he protect humanity, or save the Earth? This movie is based upon a long manga series, and events are highly compressed and slightly changed to make it more palatable for TV viewing.
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The Crimson Wolf
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The Laughing Target
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Bubblegum Crisis
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Curse of the Undead: YOMA!
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Wizards
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Battle Arena Toshinden
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Armageddon
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Dragon Pink
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Legend of Lemnear
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Cyber City Oedo 808
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R.G. Veda
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The Slayers
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Vampire Princess Muyo
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Ayane's High Kick
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Babel II
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Demon City Shinjuku
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Ghost in the Shell
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Iria: Zeiram
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Mermaid's Scar
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Mermaid's Forest
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Project A-ko
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Wrath of the Ninja: Yotoden
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Wicked City
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Demon Hunter Yoko
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Sailor Moon
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Ruouni Kenshin
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Samari X
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Escaflowne
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Perfect Blue
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Jubei-chan
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The Sorcerer Hunters
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Darkside Blues
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Photon
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Sakura Wars
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