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Top 20 Manga Part 1

Yeah, what can I say, I've got some time to kill and figured I'd come up with a top manga list. It somehow go to 20, and that's a nice number, so let's go with it. If anyone out there is looking for some manga to read, consider my suggestions here!

#20) Club 9

Sadly, I've only gotten to read 3 out of 5 volumes because Dark Horse never bothered to publish the last two (much to my dismay). The artwork in this series is certainly a little strange, it's just how the guy draws, but it allow for great over exaggerations of expressions that just look great. When you get down to it, the main glue of the story is the incredibly likable main character, Haruo Hattori, a farm girl who's just moved to the big city for college. While this sounds like a rather boring lead, she quickly finds herself getting a job as a club hostess at Club 9, hence the title. It does end up being a "fish out of water" story, but it's a very good one at that because while the main character may seem a tad ditzy, she's oddly relatable to a real life human, and Haruo alone makes the story worth reading. Things had just taken a decidedly interesting turn when Dark Horse pulled the plug, sadly.

#19) Beet the Vandel Buster

Ok, here's my guilty pleasure, Beet the Vandel Buster. It's on semi-permanent hiatus as of volume 12, but first 12 volumes were still great to read. Basically, once every chapter you go "that's exactly how I think a JRPG would be in real life!". If that statement sounded interesting to you, you will find something to enjoy here. For once, the bad guys are really interesting and get quite a lot of page time, fights are alright, but the big appeal here is "it's like how a JRPG would be in real life!", and that was enough to keep me coming back for more.

#18 ) Dr. Slump

Do we have any idea wtf Toriyama was doing when he made each and every chapter of this? No, but it doesn't matter, bottom line: It's epically hilarious. It starts off as a parody of making child super robots *cough*Astro*cough* as an affectionate parody, but Toriyama lets it spiral out of control pretty quickly to "I wonder how far I can go until the readers think this is actually weird". There are tons of pointless characters who are supposed to be parodies of cameos and superheroes, except they are all incredibly lame (thankfully, everyone but the superhero realizes this, it's like someone wore their Halloween costume too long until they started believing they have super powers). Toriyama also inserts himself from time to time as a strange robotic dude and has no problem making fun of himself for his lack of ability to draw women among other things. His layout is simply amazing, he has characters use the panels like they exist in space, they'll do things like walk across the, break them, grab something else from another, etc. It's a comedy series, so it's difficult to describe all of it's humor, but there's a lot of poo, a lot of talking poo, a lot of strange characters being pointless while loving every minute of it, strange and pointless contests between characters, seeing Arale terrorize Penguin Village, watching other strange inventions of Senbei Norimaki do strange and ultimately pointless things, and there's really no plot to speak of, but for off the wall humor, it's the place to go. It also might help explain all of the random animal characters you see in Dragon Ball and DBZ, they're here too and they're a good half of the population around here.

#17) Eternal Sabbath

Eh, who knows, maybe I have a thin for child villains that I find to be awesome, but even without that, it's a good sci-fi with psychics. The author's other series is MARS, a decidedly shojo series, and I think it shows here too as apparently this is seinen, but I mistook it right away as a sci-fi shojo (particularly because every sci-fi shojo I've ever seen or read has psychics in it somewhere). It's been ages since I've read this series, but I'll be accumulating the rest of it for Xmas, I just remember "good plot, good romance" from the brief summaries I hold in my head for all good or bad series.

#16) Parasyte

Del Rey recently re-printed this, glad they did, I would've overlook the ancient, flipped, Tokyopop editions for ages because they're getting hard to find anyway. Here's a series for those of you wanting plenty of gore to go along with your nature preaching. Now, I tend to have a big thing against any anime or manga that preaches something annoying (starting with the very first line in the book no less), but the good ones will quickly abandon it in favor of an actual plot, in Parasyte's case, one that involves a heck of a lot of violence and creepy things that mutilate bodies after consuming them. Hitoshi Iwaaki's art is a love or hate it thing, but either way, he has a way of drawing parasitic humans in such a way that they look just slightly off-putting and you can just tell there's something "off' about them, but you can't quite put your finger on it, it's like a drawn version of the uncanny valley, but they don't look like animated corpses either. Never is it more obvious when he does it to the main for just one panel shot. For the most part after that thing with the opening line of the series, it's a bit more subtle in conveying its message, often through the thoughts and discussions between our two mains, Shinichi and Migi. If you want a thrilling series where you actually think the main is in serious trouble of dying (because some of his enemies are just that awesome) with a good plot and setting, give it a shot. Recommend you like violence too for this one.

Favorite Anime Movies Part 3

#4) Interstella 5555

I'm almost not sure if I should count this as a movie, it's like a big long AMV made specifically for Daft Punk's Discovery album. It's rather difficult to describe since it feels more like an experience than just watching a simple movie, but it's out there on youtube, so go watch it, it's pretty epic in its own strange way.

#3) Catnapped!

Alright, this one is practically a guilty pleasure to be honest, but I can't help but like it being a cat person perhaps. I showed it to a group of college friends last fall and they found it to be hilarious, but I like it both for being inadvertently funny at times and for just being a fun adventure movie to watch.

#2) Tokyo Godfathers

It's almost Christmas time! And you know what that means! It's my yearly rewatch of Tokyo Godfathers, the best Christmas movie ever made anime or not. Do yourself a favor and find out for yourself this winter. This was actually the first Satoshi Kon thing I watched and it's still my favorite of all his things. Here's a trailer for it, the movie itself is sub-only though. It's also his most, er, "normal" movie so to say, the plot might not seem like anything special in particular, and no one is going insane or having their dreams and realities mixed, but with the added characters and rich setting, it really becomes something more special. What can I say, he makes great stuff, his last movie was a bit disappointing to many of us, but we still can't wait for his next movie (due out next year I believe)

#1) Metropolis

The movie is supposed to be based on Osamu Tezuka's manga of the same title (which he based off the old 1927 movie, which he never saw, but only saw a poster for), but they're practically unrecognizable from each other. Tezuka was rather hesitant to let his manga, which he wasn't overly fond, be made into a movie and it wasn't made until 2000, 11 years after his death. While it may hardly be like the manga it's supposed to be based on, it's still a great movie that if anything, pulls many of its ideals from Astro Boy or other Tezuka works. The animation is just stunning, even today, and while it was one of my first anime movies, I liked it just as much a month ago as I did almost 7 years ago when I first saw it. I feel like I see something new every time I watch it somehow and the more Tezuka stuff I read or watch, the more slight in-jokes I get, but even before I got all the in-jokes it was a good movie in its own right. I just keep coming back to this movie somehow as my favorite.

Favorite anime movies part 2

Part 2! Rules same as before.

#8 ) Millennium Actress

Ahhh, a lovely movie in which we look back at the memories of a Japanese actress now in her old age. She was born before the war and it affected her life too and many times her real life crossed paths with the movies she was in. We come along for the ride with an interviewer and his camera man and the ending is so very bittersweet.

#7) Ringing Bell

My second entry from Sanrio, what can I say? They made some great anime movies. Ringing Bell is a rather sad movie because of the "future badass" trope as we see a loss of innocence at the price of something that may not have been entirely worth it for the main character after all is said and done.

#6) Junkers Come Here

Junichi Sato is one of my favorite directors, there's not question about it for me, and here's a movie he did rather early on. He didn't do a whole lot of movies and it's a shame because this one is so good. A lonely girl has a magical talking dog, but don't let the magical talking dog fool you into thinking that her loneliness will be solved with mere magic. It may help her along, but seeing the girl come to certain realizations is wonderful to see.

#5) Perfect Blue

Ahh, here's a delightfully twisted story. I showed this to two friends last semester and for the first 45 minutes or so, they thought it mostly normal, but I could see that they gradually began to notice something was strange with the movie. "It hasn't hit the weird part yet" I had to tell them quite a few times as the movie just got progressively twisted. It is some of the very best in the genre of psychological horror and Satoshi Kon's very first movie. For being such a wonderful psychological drama movie, it was great to see that his second movie (also on my list, Millennium Actress) didn't succumb to the pitfalls of trying to imitate his last great work as they are completely different genres, but both still great. He sure makes a lot of weird stuff, but it's all great :)

Favorite Anime Movies (part 1)

Well, I know I've done in general favorites, but I've decided to do a more concentrated list on what are my top 12 favorite anime movies as of now! Part of the rules are that it cannot be related to a TV or OVA show, it has to be its own thing and it must be at least 30 minutes long. Why top 12? Because they all deserve to be listed.

#12) The Sea Prince and the Fire Child (aka The Legend of Sirius, Sirius no Densetsu)

Here's a bit of an odd movie, it's made by Sanrio of all people. Not the least bit huggy feely like Hello Kitty though, it's another form of Romeo and Juliet and just as tragic. The prince's friend is annoying though.

#11) Memories: Magnetic Rose

This might technically just be an episode in a 3 part OVA, but it's really more not. It's beautiful and haunting and it's easily the best of the three Memories segments. More good sci-fi mystery stuff!

#10) They Were 11

For as much of the plot of this sci-fi shojo is to guess at (like why there are 11 members instead of 10), the "who" is not quite as obvious still leads to a lot of mystery and tension between the characters. The 11 university entrees for the best university in the entire galaxy must survive on a ship for 60 days and maintain it. Even this isn't made as easy as it sounds and it's not just a test in avoiding cabin fever and you get the feeling that if they all met in a bar or at a summer camp, they'd all be great friends, but under suspicious circumstances, relationships will change. It does tend to show its age though, computers beep and boop and they all have super 80s shojo eyes and hair. I think the main character looks particularly stupid.

#9) Piano no Mori

To some degree, it's a Prince and the Pauper story with pianos, but the slice of life just works so well here. We see them both try to achieve their dreams of playing piano well, one who has been practising since he was very young and one who simply has extraordinary natural skill.

One of the most important TV shows ever made

Believe it or not, it's Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a joke talk show in which Space Ghost talked to real people through a TV screen. It first aired in 1994, but the importance doesn't come from just that, it comes from what spun off of SGCtC: Toonami and [adult swim].

Toonami's first host was Moltar, a side character who came from Space Ghost. Toonami started off as a programming block on weekday afternoons of action series but eventually began to air anime and became an important part of introducing many fans today to anime. Eventually, Tom took over Toonami as the host, but it started off with Moltar from Space Ghost hosting in 1997. And they aired Reboot, ooooh did they ever! Their early selection of shows was also top notch most of the time, before they were forced to move to Saturday evenings only and start showing nothing but Naruto and Pokemon. The block was finally cancelled in 2008, I can't say if it's for better or for worse though, but back when I got to watch Toonami from 2001 until they moved to Saturday nights only in 2004 or so, those memories are still sweet. Bittersweet at this point.

[adult swim] is the slightly more obvious spawn of this show too. It started a few years later than Toonami in 2001, which became my main introduction to anime. Back when I first began watching it, it aired on two nights: Saturday for action and Sunday for comedy. It's original comedy line up included Space Ghost, but Space Ghost also served as the blueprint they still use for their 11-minute original comedies to this day. One of their early shows, The Brak Show, was also a direct spin off of Space Ghost. From time to time, Space Ghost will still make cameos in other shows on [adult swim].

So, thank you, Space Ghost Coast to Coast for ushering in my love for anime and the two programming blocks you spawned.

Why I should not listen to classical music and drive

been a while ;)

Conveniently enough, there's an all classical music radio station near where I live and half the time when I drive, I listen to it. But the problem is, a good piece of classical music can give me a strange sense of euphoria, certain songs more than others (I always get it to Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgky, even if it is the Maurice Ravel orchestration of it, which is part of the reason I love Princess Tutu, they play it a lot during the final episodes), but in general, it's rather distracting because I've become so enthralled with the piece and just listening to it, I often find myself going "gah! Red light, idiot!" from time to time. So, I've been watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes lately and all they ever play in the show (not counting the OP and the ED) is classical music and I was watching an episode and went "that's in my iTunes list somewhere! I just know it is!!" and immediately looked through my random folder to find it was Dvorak's Carnival Overture Op.92.

But the point is, it's just such a wonderful buzz I get, it's soexhilarating, I can't help myself! If that station wasn't awesome enough, they also have this lady with a beautiful British accent that you can't help but love.

Reboot!!! IT LIVES!!

YESS!! We got a 15 second tease right here

For those of you who don't know what Reboot is, it was the first ever CGI TV show produced in Canada by Mainframe Ent, which also did Beasties/Tranfromers Beast Wars and Shadow Raiders. They've had their name changed to Rainmaker and have since slipped into doing those stupid Barbie movies. But Reboot has a large cult following and for good reason, it gets really freakin' awesome during the second season. The first season is kinda average, and then about halfway though second season, it just spirals into a show of pure awesome! It takes place inside a computer and everything is awesome. The first season has a bit too many computer in-jokes, some so old they made me feel old (and I'm only 20) and the episodes are all formulaic, but they kinda die down and then an actual plot hits it only to turn it into awesome. It's a must see, it's still one of the best TV shows I think I've ever seen once it got started and it's been floating around for years about the possible revival of it in the form of a movie and of course fans flood fansites of it all the time and it is still too awesome to avoid today. Toonami used to air in America and finished airing it a while after ABC had dropped them. It was pretty highly rated at the time, but has since slipped into obscurity.

anime update blog

Haven't mentioned much about my anime lately! Maybe it's because I've been watching stuff slower than molasses, I dunno. So, this entry is going back, way back, to Otakon and what I've seen since then!

So, one of the first things I watched from Otakon was Gilgamesh, which I have since then sold because I hated it. It basically just disappointed me in any and every way except music, which I will admit was easily the best aspect of it. For the most part, I've seen this series get high approval and praise everywhere I look, but I just don't think the story bothered to support all of the interesting ideas it clearly had in mind and the ending just felt rushed and sloppy, introducing elements out of nowhere. Not saying that all endings should be predictable or anything, but they shouldn't feel this far away from the storyline either. So, I'd call it interesting ideas never fulfilled, 4/10.

Luckily, I had far more success with this series: Brigadoon. Now this series had some inconsistent ups and downs too, it started off as a very cheery upbeat series, then about halfway through, became devastatingly depressing, especially for the main character, Marin. The dub was pretty sub-par, more so when you find out who worked on it, but dub issue aside, music was excellent and the story was great too. The animation was the exact opposite of it's depressing subject matter once the series really go going and at times, the series was certainly a bit too strange for me to buy certain things, but I'd still say this deserves a watch. 7/10

I'm actually still in the process of watching this one, but I've seen the entire first half of Kaleido Star, which I checked out because it was by one of my favorite directors of all time, Junichi Sato. While I don't think it approaches the greatness of Princess Tutu (one of his other works), this is still a great show and I can't help but like it, even when I think it stays on the same subject matter for a bit too long. 8/10 so far.

Come to think of it, Giant Robowas probably the first thing I saw after Otakon from my Otakon haul. Man, so this was what TTGL would've been like before TTGL! They're both all about manliness, action, and awesome fights and robots. This is also, without a doubt, the best looking OVA I've seen, and it was made in the mid 90s. Consider that it still looks good today and then imagine how mind blowing that would've been back in the 90s. The story is good too, even if it does feel a bit rushed at the beginning and end. The set also came with a side-stories OVA containing 3 episodes that had been made during the production of the show (which took over 7 years). The first two were hilarious, the third was a resounding "meh", but the second one was the clearly highlight of the bonus episodes, the whole thing played out like a ridiculous abridged episode, we inexplicably had the good guys and bad guys having drinking contests, we had the good guy grunts consider going to the bad side for the sake of better benefits, etc, it was just one laugh after another. 9/10 for both the series and the extra episodes (although I really mean just extra ep 2 here as it's the one most worth watching, but the first extra ep does feature a giant robot getting a nosebleed).

Then come to think of it again, I finished up Souther Crossjust before Otakon. This is the series that was taken to make the second season of the Robotech saga (which I've seen as well) and if I had to pick only one to keep, the original is far superior in this case. I had heard it was the most changed of the three seasons and while the first half was practically identical barring names, the introduction of Seifreit (called Zor in Robotech version) was a major change, as was his whole backstory and I honestly liked Seifreit a lot more than Zor and simply the whole show overall more than the Robotech version. Robotech version did have better music though. 7/10

I got quite a few movies at the con too, this one, My Beautiful Girl Mari, is actually a Korean production. So, while it was never bad and certain parts of it made it seem like a really good movie, I really can't recommend this, it was kinda all over the place at times and didn't exactly make sense at certain parts. Sure, it was an interesting watch, but can't tell if I'd ever bother to see it again. 5/10

This was a good buy if you ask me, They Were 11is of the extremely rare sci-fi shojo genre, which tend to mix equal parts science fiction with typical shojo romance, but it always seems to lean towards the sci-fi part of the spectrum. It's actually one of my favotite sub-genres and other than the extremely old-school feeling of it, it was a nice watch if you ask me. I was drawn in fairly quickly, but the whole thing was interesting to see play out as the crew tried to determine who the mysterious added 11th member of the crew who were supposed to be 10 was. This lead to internal paranoia among the crew, who both had to work together and make sure the 11th member wasn't going to backstab them, whoever they were. Sure, why there was an 11th member might have been painfully obvious to the viewer, but who they were wasn't, so all is forgiven. 8/10

Tree of Palme, dear lord was this a bizarre movie, which I checked out due to being by the same guy who did Fantastic Children. So, I like the art s t y l e but you can tell by looking at this pic if you do or don't. It was a strange movie, oddly paced, seemed always either rushed or too slow, but never just right, the whole thing left a strange taste in my mouth because it could be so strange it was often difficult to follow. I haven't actually rate it yet, I'd like to see it again before I do so.

I actually saw Otaku no Videoat the con itself, and the best words to describe it are "uncomfortably hilarious". There are two parts to the 2 episode OVA that is apparently a staple at Otakon as the first and last thing shown every year, there's an animated segment of a student who's life is quickly overrun by anime and his journey through life which is intermixed with live action interview segments with grown otaku, most of whom are crazy and hilarious to listen to. The interview questions themselves are hilarious too, like "Have you ever considered dating a real girl?" as asked to the guy marriage obsessed with a fictional anime character. This is an absolute must see for fans who know they watch a bit too much anime, 8/10.

Someone else describe Karasas "expensive junk" and I'd have to agree with them. It's very nice to look at, very nice, and the first half of the series is very good, but then we suddenly get a cop-out ending of "We're doing this because humans are an evil species", which is a shame because it had all been going well up until it's just god-awful ending that I can't describe in any word other than "lazy". Two of my anime pet peeves are pro-nature or anti-human speeches, if it's shown, I'm alright with that, but you should never make your characters speak your personal agenda. If you like pretty things, you can't go wrong and the first half was pretty damn good actually. 6/10

Junkers Come Here!was exactly the hidden gem I was looking for, it's also directed by Junichi Sato, which was of course why I checked it out. Perhaps it was because I found the main character relatable, anyone with home issues can, even if they're not quite the same as Hiromi's. The moral here is a good example of show don't tell and even with a talking dog thrown in the picture, the movie still feels very much so based in reality. A lot of people are probably going to compare this to a Ghibli movie, but I wouldn't because 1) I hate Ghibli because they always break the "show don't tell rule" because Miyazaki is a massive pro-nature anti-humanity jerk and 2) this was delightful for me to watch and at not point made me go "you're coping out again, story!" like I do at some many Miyazaki movies. I highly recommend this one, 8/10

Legend of the Galactic Heroesgets the big image here! Before you ask, no I haven't finished this series yet, it's 110 episode long, but what I did finish was the second season. I must've started watching this show almost a year ago (or in the 9 month range) and don't let my watching of this series in molasses speed make you think it's not good, it very much so is and the second season is just as good as the first if not better at times and I cannot wait to watch the rest, but it can be a bit heavy to watch at the same time, which is the explanation for the molasses speed of watching it. While I will reserve my final judgement of this series in a rating format, I will say that as of now I'd give it a 9/10, it is a must watch, especially for fans of space opera. I wouldn't dare spoil anything for you, this show is in a cla$$ all its own and has tons of plot turns and twists and two very interesting viewpoints with which to experience everything. There's a reason this is one of the most requested shows to get licensed for R1.

In the meantime, The Irresponsible Captain Tyloris a great distraction from the serious mood of LoGH. I'm 9 episodes in, but it's a great comedy/space epic evolving here and it's absolutely addictive to watch. Just this far in, I can tell why it's considered one of the cla$$ic anime from the 90s.

Well, I think that's everything, sorry for the super long post!

*edit-fixed some pics that I apparently "wasn't allowed to use"

Life update I suppose? and a list of pet peeves

Ok, let's categorize this:

Games: Still playing Contact DS like crazy, its soo addictive and good! I love you, Suda51!

Anime: Well, first week or so back, I went by the used DVD/Book/Music store and they had an older set of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor in very good condition (box was a bit beat, all the DVDs looked like new) for $20, so I pounced. Been watching a good bit of that, but also started on Mysterious Cities of Gold, which I found free on hulu. It's pretty awesome, has some 80s cheesiness spread all over it, but I kinda like that every once in a while. I'm also watching Reboot, what an awesomely addictive show!

Juggling club: We got a new guy who knows diabolo and I ordered one for myself! I learned to be more careful with it already, I've already gave myself a slight burn from trying to do something with the string. You can kinda see a pale line on the inside of my thumb from where I tried to slide the rope up it a bit too fast. But diabolo kid wasn't there last week, so I didn't learn anything new. I probably should've measured the diabolo we used in club, I got a 4-inch one but the one at club was at least a 5-inch one. I figured out pretty fast that 4-inch diabolos don't like to do stick tricks very easily.

School: I ended up dropping that history class, thought I'd have to shoot myself in the head if I ever went again. Sadly, I have two test on the same day back to back (at 8am and 9:30 am), something I feared may occur, but sheesh, that sucks that it did. Luckily, it only happens once this semester.

So, here's a list of pet peeves that I've noticed while I've been at school, little things that just tick me off:

-vehicles that sound like buses that are not either buses or trucks.

-the second light in the form room. first off, you can't have just it on and second, it's ungodly bright and irritating as compared to the other light in the room.

-the sound of nail files. it's quite possibly worse than nails on a chalk board to me

I'll think of more later, nap time!

First week of school is over!

Firstly, it started on Tuesday for me. Anyway, Tuesday was fine, went to my 8am, then 9:30am, then my German class in the early afternoon. But that night, started having random anxiety issues, just using medicine to help that for now, so I missed my 9am and German the next day. But, I had to drop my 11:15 am class that is History, I hated how he taught, I gave him another chance Friday and when I got back to my dorm, I promptly dropped the course (I still have 14 credits and am full-time), I mean, sheesh, he said something relevant maybe every 10 minutes or so and the rest of the time he just blurbbed on about random stuff only semi-related to the course while attempting to be funny while in actuality making me cringe and making himself sound sexist and annoying.

But then I was alright today and went to the first meeting of juggling club! We finally got someone in the club who can use diabolos and he taught me some stuff today, I can already do 4 basic tricks (learning diabolos is much easier than learning to juggle) and I just ordered my own diabolo online (got a green one)!

I also learned of a class where we have to watch anime, read manga, and play video games as part of the course! I can't switch into it because it's full, but I'll get into it the next semester it's offered.

I'm home for the weekend though, trying to relax and see if it calms my anxiety.