Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Top 5 Anime That Should Be Longer

Last time we talked about anime that needed to be shorter. But sometimes, you can't have too much of a good thing.

Here's our list of
Top 5 Anime That Should Be Longer

#5 - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
This Production I.G title built its own world based on the original Ghost in the Shell manga and anime movie. In fact, Stand Alone Complex took Shiro Masamune's creation and made it better.

Check out the opening song of the GitS: 2nd Gig season to see quality animation and music:

What we'd add: With two 26-episode series, one could wonder why we'd need more. But we think the whole Stand Alone/Complex arrangement works pretty well. Add another season with episodic "stand alone" stories mixed among a much larger "complex" mystery/conspiracy plot bound up with cybertech coolness. (And more Yoko Kanno music to boot!)

#4 - Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Another fine show produced by Production I.G, this series takes the strong female lead with strong supporting cast and throws it into feudal Japan.

What we'd add: With such an elegant world, more episodes and exploration of fantasy elements would add to the epic feel of Moribito. Plus, the anime is based on only one novel of the TEN volume Guardian series by Nakoko Uehashi. There's gotta be more material to milk!

#3 - Samurai Champloo
Another series set in feudal Japan, with less fantasy and more hip hop. The last trio of episodes features a three-part finale to Mugen, Jin, and Fuu's journey in search of "the samurai who smells of sunflowers." The climatic battles and revelations create a riveting, agonizing, and hilarious mishmash conclusion that encapsulates the show's style.

So why not just end there?

What we'd add: Even with one of the best ending arcs in all anime, Samurai Champloo still has room for more. Several characters and subplots introduced throughout the series are worth revisiting. Even more, start the "second season" by featuring our three hapless heroes in solo adventures, building up anticipation for the trio to finally meet again, diving into another grand odyssey. And more record scratch cut scenes, please!

#2 - Read or Die: OAV
You may be thinking, "Didn't this three episode OAV already have a sequel?"

Well . . . sorta . . . but the less attention we give to the Charlie's Angels-inspired R.O.D: TV series, the better.

R.O.D. the OAV = Literary anime masterpiece. (With babes.)

R.O.D. the TV = Not so much. (Still more babes.)

What we'd add: Ditch the TV chicks and show more literary-based adventures with Agent Paper, the surviving Miss Deep, Drake and the rest of the original crew. We especially would like to explore Joker and Wendy at the British Library as they had been initially portrayed in the OAV. Plus, there's gotta be more I-Jin historical figures resurrected and running around.

#1 - Trinity Blood
Based on light novels by Sunao Yoshida, the Trinity Blood anime suffers from a rushed, blunt ending--partly due to Yoshida's death before completing his story. Trinity Blood's tale of humans (Terrans), vampires (The Methuselah), and vampires that feed on vampires (Crusniks, there will be a test) is prime for a revival in this current craze for vampires.

What we'd add: Go back to the source material and beef up the stories. Add more episodes featuring the diverse cast of heroes of the cloth. With so many divinely cool priests and nuns with assorted abilities and backstories, Trinity Blood is primed for a resurrection.

(As long as they bring plenty of hairspray.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top 5 Anime That Should Be Shorter

One of the biggest anime hits last century is now a big hit THIS century: DragonBall Z, now known as DragonBall Z Kai, currently airing on Nicktoons Network and soon to show on CW's Saturday morning Toonzai block in September 2010. Watch for it!

The big deal about Kai is that it's DBZ footage remastered and re-edited to cut out a lot of scenes and speed up the story. Brilliant! We could do without all the time wasted on recaps, sweaty standoffs, and glacial-pace power-ups.

Besides DBZ, here are
Top 5 Anime That Should Be Shorter

#5 - Bleach

At its beginning, Bleach was a unique story of "soul reapers" that oozed with coolness and diverse character designs. But like other hit shows, Bleach became a victim of it's own success. Fans (and producers) wanted more, so the creators began pumping out more episodes. Bleach's story line began to drag with loose plot threads and unfinished character development.

What we'd cut: A lot of fans point to the non-manga-based "Bounts" arc. We do too, but we also could do without some of the lame high school "comedy" and the melodramatic side battles that result in the same status quo after the smoke clears.

#4 - Fullmetal Alchemist

We won't go near the whole "reimagined" Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood series. Talk about an anime Mulligan. Ugh. So instead, we'll focus on the original anime series.

What we'd cut: The whole backstory of Ed and Al's training with their teacher Izumi Curtis and her crew. It's not particularly interesting and we don't need a detailed origin of the Homunculus Wrath (above). Get back to the Philosopher's Stone and the State Military, which have much more interesting histories.

#3 - Last Exile

We love this Gonzo-produced anime, and at 26 episodes, it's the shortest series on our list. Still, the middle of the story loses steam before the grand finale through the Grand Stream.

What we'd cut: The whole Sophia Forrester ditching her Silvana crewmates to act as reigning Anatoray princess was a waste of time--it's not long before she's back on Silvana's deck in her Vice-Captain uniform.



Plus, ditch the many potential love interests for hero Claus--this is Victorian steam punk, not a harem show! Besides, while we may enjoy the sexual tension with Tatiana, we all know Claus belongs to childhood friend and co-pilot Lavie.

#2 - Gundam Wing

This is most American viewers' introduction to the world of Gundam, and it's still one of the best. Even so, Gundam Wing is not without its faults.

What we'd cut: Pick a side already! Our five malleable mecha pilots switch allegiances faster than Senator Joe Lieberman picks political parties. (Thought we'd throw in a little political humor there.)

#1 - InuYasha

So we're finally getting the "Final Act" of InuYasha anime. Hooray!

The original InuYasha series clocked in at over 160 episodes and eventually had an unresolved ending, as we had to wait for creator Rumiko Takahashi to finish her manga. While we waited, the anime series featured a lot of fun misadventures and one- or two-episode self-contained stories.

What we'd cut: We actually enjoy all the mini-story arcs. But the massive "Band of Seven" story line (much of Seasons 4 & 5, see below) didn't do anything for the overall plot. In fact, it basically was an excuse to plop out (resurrect) seven new villians to pester and eventually succumb to InuYasha and Co. It probably would have been better for everyone if those seven bad guys just stayed dead in the first place.

Quality over quantity--Handy reminder next time you hunger for fast food.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Top 5 Anime Teachers

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Check it out here, schoolies.

We appreciate our teachers, especially with summer vacation on the horizon!

Here are our
Top 5 Anime Teachers:

#5 - Umino Iruka (Naruto)

A lot of attention goes to the much cooler Kakashi, sensei of the Team 7 heroes. But only Umino Iruka has the patience to put up with a whole classload of precocious pre-ninjas. Iruka has a soft spot for bratty hero Naruto, treating him like a person instead of the nine-tailed demon fox Naruto contains. Talk about leaving no child behind . . .

#4 - Kagome's Teachers (InuYasha) -- Not pictured

They don't get much screen time (see above), but these educators do yeoman's work. They keep student Kagome (pictured) on track to pass her tests. That's not easy, since Kagome's always skipping school to tromp around feudal Japan with her band of heroes.

#3 - Eikichi Onizuka (Great Teacher Onizuka)

Ex-gang member (and virgin) Onizuka didn't have the noblest motives for becoming a teacher--hooking up with girls. Nevertheless, our hero soon decides to become the greatest teacher ever and does a pretty fine job--bucking the traditional system and reaching each student one-by-one--professionally speaking, of course.

#2 - Minamo Kurosawa (Azumanga Daioh)

Kurosawa-sensei is a calm and caring P.E. teacher--much more competent than her friend and crazy colleague Yukari. Just keep Kurosawa away from alcohol, and your students are in good hands.

#1 - Piccolo (Dragon Ball Z)

Piccolo's pedagogy is full of tough love. Think of the old movie The Miracle Worker, except instead of teaching a young Helen Keller how to sign "water," former villain Piccolo dumps monkey boy Gohan into the dinosaur-infested wildnerness. That's how you teach a kid to fight world-crushing bad guys.

Stay in school, kiddos!