Collage by moi, using Adobe Photoshop. The character design in each anime is actually much better looking than that, it’s just that I suck at making collages.*
Consider this my official ‘coming out’ post.
*takes a deep breath*
I’m an anime fan.
This statement is usually greeted by a confused expression and a ‘huh?’, not the least because in India, almost no one knows what the heck anime is.
And then when I explain, I usually get a very supercilious ‘Oh, you mean cartoons…’
Which explains why I almost never tell anyone.
So, to clear the air:
Anime is NOT EQUAL to ‘Tom and Jerry’ type stuff.
I remember the first anime I ever saw was ‘Curious Play’ (better known as ‘Fushigi Yuugi’) and it was on the AXN channel.
I was about fourteen at the time, and I was quite shocked to see what exactly they were showing on this ‘cartoon’ on AXN.
There was plot, and death and action and romance and blood–almost none of which I saw in cartoons.
I was instantly hooked onto the genre.
Anime originated in Japan, so most of the series have Japanese characters and are originally made in the same language. The ones we see in English are dubbed, but some of them are better (in my opinion, alteast) in the original, with English subtitles only.
As a genre, it has greater freedom compared to a full length feature film–in the world of anime, you can have time travellers, and robots and demons and dragons–all sorts of things that would be difficult and would cost more money to show on the silver screen.
Anime also usually has a very strong plot running through it–most of them deal with adventure and action, though. There is usually a ‘quest’ that the protagonists have to go on, or some goal to be achieved–like in ‘Rink of Glory’ (or ‘Ginban Kaleidoscope’) the protagonist wants to be chosen as Japan’s ice skating entry to the Olympics.
The characters in anime are also usually very well drawn (and I mean that in terms of motivations and philosophies and backstories, not artwork) and the relationships between them can be complex–usually, there is love involved, and a lot of action and adventure.
The genre is also more realistic; characters die, and some of them kill and rape and plunder. This is because anime is intended for adults and young adults.
Watching an OVA (Orginal Video Adult–which sounds dirty, but actually just means a full length anime feature film) is like watching a movie. I challenge anyone to watch ‘Blood: The Last Vampire’ and tell me it’s not as good as (even better) than a Buffy/Angel episode.
Also, the ‘Matrix’ trilogy was inspired by one of the most groundbreaking animes of its time, ‘Ghost in the Shell’. That’s how wide a reach anime has, and how powerful it is, which should be enough reason to check it out, for all you Sci-fi fans.
Plus, some of the male characters in anime are unbelievably good looking. ;)
So, when Animax launched their channel in India, I was ready for them as an interested and intrigued viewer, if not with open arms.
Over the few years I’ve been watching the channel, however, I’ve become a fan of quite a few shows.
Below are some of the anime series I’d recommend. I’ll add more to the list once I’ve seen them.
The story of a time travelling middle school student, Kagome, and how she goes to the Feudal Era in Japan to collect pieces of the Shikon No Tamah, a holy jewel she accidentally shattered. Her companions include the eponymous Inu Yasha (a half human, half Dog demon) and others.
After having watched all episodes atleast twice already, I am now reduced to occasionally watching them whenever they’re on, just to stare at Sesshomaru.
I mean, seriously. I defy anyone to tell me he’s not good looking.
He’s the one with the white hair and the blue crescent on his forehead in the upper left, btw.
Easily one of my absolute favourite anime series. It deals with an alternate world where Alchemy is the ‘science’ that allows alchemists to change the structure and shape of nearly all matter.
It follows the quest of Edward and Alphonse Elric, who want to get their bodies back. Al lost his whole body while Ed lost his arm and a leg when they tried to bring their dead mother back using a forbidden form of alchemy. The series mainly follows the brothers’ search for the Philosopher’s Stone, which is supposed to be an object of great alchemic power.
The series also deals with the army–enter Roy Mustang–and through him, it tackles war and conscience and various other weighty issues.
The plot of the series is complex, and quite thought provoking at times. I actually got a lump in my throat at some points.
Almost anytime it’s on, I find myself gravitating back to watching it for the umpteenth time. And I’m still not bored. =)
There’s an OVA sequel, called ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballah’, which was also very good. A lot of new characters and places, and it brought the Elrics’s story to a satisfying close.
And the artwork is amazing. No other word for it.
The very first anime I ever saw, so I naturally have a soft spot for it.
It deals with a middle school student called Miaka Yuki, who gets sucked into a book she’s reading, called ‘The Book of the Four Gods’. There, she’s told she’s the Priestess of Suzaku, and charged with protecting a whole country from civil war.
But fear not, because she has seven spiritual warriors to back her up.
I must say that some of the characters in this series are quite irritating (Tai Itsukun and Chiriko spring to mind) and the person who dubbed for Miaka in English has a particularly grating, screechy voice.
But Tamahome is nice, and Nakago is a great character.
Now I’ve started with ‘God(?) Save Our King’, or ‘Kyo Kara Maoh!’ , which I quite like for its wackiness–I laughed to see Gwendal’s facepalm to Yuri’s ‘WTF? Demon sword?’ reaction. =)
People in the know, tell me, is it worth it to continue with this series (I’ve only watched four episodes so far) or should I it give up while I’m still entertained?
* Collage images from ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’, ‘Inu Yasha’, ‘Fushigi Yuugi’, ‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within’ and ‘Escaflowne:The Movie’. Some of them have been photoshopped a little. All of them belong to their creators.
[mood| Sick and coughing]
[music|Inu Yasha OST: ‘Inu Yasha theme’]