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Added by DeleriumJ on 27 Aug 2011 04:20
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Countdown: 13 Essential Animes

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One of the few shows based on a video game that's actually pretty good. Dante is a great tough guy character (spoiler: he has a big sword and a big gun), it's really bloody and violent, and the animation is above average. It's a good one to relax and enjoy when you're tired of watching Grave of the Fireflies.
This #13 slot is a tie with Sekirei, but I couldn't find a Sekirei DVD in the search so I just went with this one.
DeleriumJ's rating:
I especially appreciated this show because it's a comedy that manages to teach a serious lesson every once in a while. XXXHolic is about addiction in many unconventional forms, like love, kleptomania, compulsive lying, and self-doubt. Naturally, all of these bad feelings come in the form of evil spirits that Watanuki (our awkward young protagonist) can see and Yuko (his mysterious witchy employer) knows how to expel. Customers tend to get what's coming to them in a satisfying Tales From the Crypt sort of way. At its best, XXXHolic really showcases one of the best aspects of anime: using a fantasy/horror setting to not only make you laugh but occasionally blindside you with a poignant and shockingly human message.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 154 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
This, along with Akira, is the standard for most people who have seen a little bit of anime, notorious for being forced on college girlfriends worldwide (in exchange for watching the Breakup, of course). Pretty much everyone lists this as a classic, and it deserves a spot in history. Let me say this: if Ghost in the Shell is the only anime you've seen and you didn't like it, please do not judge all anime on this one. It's convoluted and overly complicated; that's kinda part of the charm. The animation is still pretty awesome, and it has some interesting ideas on artificial intelligence.
DeleriumJ's rating:
Imagine all of the good American zombie movies rolled into an anime series populated by high school students, and you have High School of the Dead. The animation is awesome, and there's a good dose of fan service to get you through all the carnage. Zombie movie fans may be shocked at the low body count, at least when it comes to the main characters. It's an anime thing.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 495 Average listal rating (232 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
Spirited Away (2003)
Miyazaki is a master storyteller, and all of Studio Ghibli's movies are worth at least one watch. Spirited Away resonated with me strongly, for whatever reason. I loved the bathhouse, especially the River God scene. Sen is one of those rare main characters who starts out the story unlikable, yet actually undergoes a convincing change along the course of her journey, eventually leading her to redemption. The Spirit World is full of insane characters, and although it's a kid's movie and the real message is the value of hard work, there are some genuinely creepy moments. And of course, the animation is ridiculous.
DeleriumJ's rating:
All right, look...on the face of things, this could be considered a pretty perverted show. Dokuro is an angel from the future sent to kill Sakura because he eventually is responsible for genetically engineering all women to look 12 years old. Yeah, you can read that again if you want. Of course, Dokuro-chan falls in love with the guy instead, and hilarious chaos ensues. In my opinion, this show obviously satirizes the XXX onii-chan weirdo anime porns you might accidentally stumble across while searching for torrents, but take my word for it, porn Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-Chan is not. Fanservice, maybe a little, but this show is HILARIOUS. This is the only show in my time that I can watch over and over and still laugh out loud. The only real flaw is that it's only twelve episodes long.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 127 Average listal rating (64 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
There's a reason Akira and "anime" are almost synonymous: even after all these years, it's really, really good. Like Ghost in the Shell, Akira is a classic that can sometimes turn off the casual or introductory viewer. It isn't what people expect out of animation; that is, themes and content appealing to the lowest common denominator; you have to rise to meet this story. That requires a certain amount of effort on the viewer's part, not to mention a certain level of mental maturity. But hey, like I said, there's a reason it's been around this long.
DeleriumJ's rating:
School Rumble is just pure fun. Kristie discovered this show after reading some of the books. Yes, at first she forced this one on me, but I have to admit, it's addictive. It's really the crack of anime, which is already the crack of television, so that's like crack squared. It's a high school comedy, but the diverse characters make it into a little bit of everything. There's an assassin, a guy that can talk to animals, a psychic girl with a ghost friend...literally, a little bit of everything. It might sound chaotic, and it is at times, but they always manage to center it around the characters and their relationships. Harima and Tenma are one of the cutest couples in the history of television, period.
DeleriumJ's rating:
Deathnote is the heart-warming love story of two asexual geniuses and their ridiculously complicated relationship. Oh, and also there are Death Gods who have notebooks, and every once in a while they get so bored that they throw it down to earth, ripe for a pretty high school boy's picking. I can't tear down this show much...it really is one of the best thought out stories, maybe that I've ever seen in any medium. This is some seriously dense material. There is almost no action, and forget about fanservice, unless your idea of fanservice is a bunch of pretty boys. That isn't easy to pull off in an anime.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 282 Average listal rating (133 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
One of the predominant themes in Japanese animation is nature vs. technology, or, more specifically, man's encroachment on nature through industrial progress. Princess Mononoke, my favorite Studio Ghibli film, is the best depiction of that theme I've ever seen. It's a truly remarkable feat, from the animation, to the voice acting, to the story itself.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
Ah, Soul Eater. What can be said about this amazing show? Everything we love about anime collides brilliantly in this action/fantasy/comedy/horror/romance centered around the Death Weapon Meister Academy. The colorful gaggle of heroes infight with chibi-like glee, but when the real bad guys bust in, it's time to get down to business. "Soul Resonance!" You and your friends will be full to the brim with quotables for your next Dragon Con. If you're an anime fan, watch this immediately. If you aren't an anime fan, watch this immediately, and understand that this is anime greatness.
DeleriumJ's rating:
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 9.3 IMDB Rating 0
I know, it's hard to believe I'd put Claymore above Soul Eater after how much I just bragged about that one up there. Claymore was the show that reignited my love of anime, and the first "show" I ever sat down and watched all the way through. I know the animation isn't top billing; it's OK. The story makes up for it. While not possessing the sniggering sense of humor of Soul Eater, Claymore is just INTENSE. It can be a little annoying in the beginning trying to keep all the women separate (I know I had trouble), but it's explained in the story why they all look similar. This is a real, full, rich story, the kind where you feel worn out at the end of it, because Claire has been wrung through the goddamn wringer, and you were right there along with her the whole time.
DeleriumJ's rating:
It's kind of like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Everyone's favorite is among Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or Ninja Scroll. My favorite is Ninja Scroll. It's the Goodfellas to Akira's Godfather. The Indiana Jones to Ghost in the Shell's Star Wars. Ninja Scroll is almost solid action, following the Eastwood-like Jubei Kibagami from one evil demon to the next. They manage to intermix a bit of a twisted love story into the bloodshed, and it's just enough. In many ways, this captures the essence of what anime should be: a blood-soaked fantasy that would be simply impossible to capture in live action.
DeleriumJ's rating:

These are my personal favorites. Some of these (probably most) are no-brainers, others I've stumbled upon and enjoyed.
You'll probably notice that I'm not a big fan of the giant robot animes. Sorry. I watched Robotech as a kid and liked it, but it just isn't my thing. Therefore, if you want recommendations on giant robot animes, I dunno...don't ask me.
Yes...the list was originally 10, and now it's 13. Deal with it :)

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