Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Top 5 Anime Shows

I watch a lot of anime.  I confess that I like it a lot more than I like what is coming out of western production houses these days.  In fact I watch a lot of Korean shows now, thank goodness for subtitles. Below are my five anime titles that I will watch when I feel my mood needs that “something” to survive.  I’ll try and explain why I’ve chosen them in each list.  For brevity I’ve included rips from IMDb and MyAnimeList rather than strain my brain and reinvent the wheel.  OK that’s slack so I apologise to those who think I should have done better.

My Top 5 Anime Shows

Source: IMDb Photo Gallery
Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) 
(Josei, Slice of Life)
Story line: At the funeral of elderly Souchiro Kawachi, his family is shocked to learn he had a six-year-old daughter named Rin. There is talk amongst the family of putting her up for adoption to avoid scandal and talk; disgusted at this behavior, Souchiro's grandson Daikichi decides to take her in himself and raise her as his own child. Thus he begins an arduous, consuming but ultimately satisfying trip through single parenthood, as he and Rin struggle to become a part of each other's lives and bond together. (Source:IMDb; Rated 8.4/10) 
(Also made into a live action production.) 
Story line: Daikichi Kawachi is a 30-year-old bachelor working a respectable job but otherwise wandering aimlessly through life. When his grandfather suddenly passes away, he returns to the family home to pay his respects. Upon arriving at the house, he meets a mysterious young girl named Rin who, to Daikichi’s astonishment, is his grandfather's illegitimate daughter! 
The shy and unapproachable girl is deemed an embarrassment to the family, and finds herself ostracized by her father's relatives, all of them refusing to take care of her in the wake of his death. Daikichi, angered by their coldness towards Rin, announces that he will take her in—despite the fact that he is a young, single man with no prior childcare experience.
Usagi Drop is the story of Daikichi's journey through fatherhood as he raises Rin with his gentle and affectionate nature, as well as an exploration of the warmth and interdependence that are at the heart of a happy, close-knit family. (Source: MyAnimeList 8.51/10)

This is a delightful eleven episode series that covers a single bachelor accepting the responsibility of raising his aunt.  Sounds strange?  It is a touching story that develops between the pair and Daikichi’s family as they bond with the daughter of the grandfather who has died.  I found the social implication of Daikichi taking a demotion to fit his work around his new responsibility as a father refreshing.  The drama’s unfolding with his other siblings and how he manages them is heartwarming.  I have a daughter, admittedly she is now an adult, but every time I watch this series it always brings tears to my eyes.  I highly recommend it, which is why it is at the top of my picks.

Source: IMDb Photo Gallery
Natsume Yȗjinchȏ (The Book of Friends)
(Slice of Life, Supernatural, Drama, Fantasy, Shoujo)
Story line: When Natsume Takashi inherits a book that belonged to his late grandmother he realizes the book is filled with the names of spirits she defeated and bound to her will. He then decides to return their names so they can be free once again. (Source:IMDb 8.1/10) 
Story line: While most fifteen-year-old boys, in one way or another, harbor secrets that are related to girls, Takashi Natsume has a peculiar and terrifying secret involving youkai: for as long as he can remember, he has been constantly chased by these spirits. Natsume soon discovers that his deceased grandmother Reiko had passed on to him the Yuujinchou, or "Book of Friends," which contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control. Now in Natsume's possession, the book gives Reiko's grandson this power as well, which is why these enraged beings now haunt him in hopes of somehow attaining their freedom.
Without parents and a loving home, and constantly being hunted by hostile, merciless youkai, Natsume is looking for solace—a place where he belongs. However, his only companion is a self-proclaimed bodyguard named Madara. Fondly referred to as Nyanko-sensei, Madara is a mysterious, pint-sized feline spirit who has his own reasons for sticking with the boy.
Based on the critically acclaimed manga by Yuki Midorikawa, Natsume Yuujinchou is an unconventional and supernatural slice-of-life series that follows Natsume as he, with his infamous protector Madara, endeavors to free the spirits bound by his grandmother's contract. (Source: MyAnimeList 8.39/10)

I have only managed to see four seasons of this inspiring anime.  The character of Natsume Takashi resonates with my own life, far to close in fact that I’d care to admit.  The stories are touching and personal, exploring the loneliness that comes from being different.  Natsume is passed around among the family and friends of family until such time as he finally achieves happiness with the Fujiwara’s.  The Book of Friends contains the names of Ayakashi that his grandmother defeated (sometimes by less than honourable means), usually with the promise of being called upon to aid her.  Of course the grandmother Reiko has died and the Ayakashi confuse Natsume’s scent with Reiko’s.  While Natsume says that he hates them, he does help them with their many problems and sides with them against the exorcists in later episodes.  Anyone who has every felt isolation or loneliness, this may not be the best series to watch so a warning if you are of a frail nature.  However for me, it is another tear jerker.  

Source: IMDb Photo Gallery
Ouran High School Host Club
(Comedy, Harem, Romance, School, Shoujo)
Story Line: At the ultra prestigious Ouran High School, Haruhi Fujioka looks for a quiet place to read and walks into an unused music room, and accidentally stumbles across the notorious Ouran High School Host Club, a group of boys who entertain the girls of the school for profit. When Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase belonging to the wacky Host Club, she is made to serve under them until her debt is paid off. Haruhi is soon made a Host, but in order to pay off what she owes, she must continue to allow the Host Club's customers to believe she is a boy. (Source:IMDb 8.3/10) 
Story Line: Haruhi Fujioka is a bright scholarship candidate with no rank or title to speak of—a rare species at Ouran High School, an elite academy for students of high pedigree. When she opens the door to Music Room #3 hoping to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by the princely Tamaki, the club—whose other members include the "Shadow King" Kyouya, the mischievous Hitachiin twins, and the childlike Haninozuka "Honey" and his strong protector Mori—is where handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls in the academy.  
In a frantic attempt to remove herself from the hosts, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen and is forced into becoming the eccentric group's general errand boy to repay her enormous debt. However, thanks to her convincingly masculine appearance, her naturally genial disposition toward girls, and fascinating commoner status, she is soon promoted to full-time male host and plunged headlong into a glitzy whirlwind of elaborate cosplays, rich food, and exciting shenanigans that only the immensely wealthy Ouran Host Club can pull off. (Source: MyAnimeList  8.32/10)

Yes a comedy!  My children loved this one, my wife loves this one and it gets watched at least once a year.  I believe it is called a reverse harem plot, one girl and many boys!  Who cares, the stories are entertaining, the comedy is priceless, and the characters are uniquely wonderful.  From Haruhi’s cross-dressing father, the ladies from St Lobelia’s academy, the proverbial banana skin left about, it all makes for laughter in every episode.  Watching Tamaki disintegrate each time he is bereft of Haruhi is priceless.  A series that I think the whole family can watch, well mine did and I saw no reason it could not.  

Source: IMDb Photo Gallery
(Drama, Game, Josei, School, Slice of Life, Sports)
Story Line: Chihaya meets a boy named Arata, a talented karuta player. He thinks that she has a potential to become a great player. Then, Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan's best karuta player. (Source:IMDb 8.1/10) (Also made into a live action production.) 
Story Line: Chihaya Ayase, a strong-willed and tomboyish girl, grows up under the shadow of her older sister. With no dreams of her own, she is contented with her share in life till she meets Arata Wataya. The quiet transfer student in her elementary class introduces her to competitive karuta, a physically and mentally demanding card game inspired by the classic Japanese anthology of Hundred Poets. Captivated by Arata's passion for the game and inspired by the possibility of becoming the best in Japan, Chihaya quickly falls in love with the world of karuta. Along with the prodigy Arata and her haughty but hard-working friend Taichi Mashima, she joins the local Shiranami Society. The trio spends their idyllic childhood days playing together, until circumstances split them up.
Now in high school, Chihaya has grown into a karuta freak. She aims to establish the Municipal Mizusawa High Competitive Karuta Club, setting her sights on the national championship at Omi Jingu. Reunited with the now indifferent Taichi, Chihaya's dream of establishing a karuta team is only one step away from becoming true: she must bring together members with a passion for the game that matches her own. (Source: MyAnimeList 8.28/10)

This series may not appeal to everyone.  Karuta is a specialist tradition, I’d hate to call it game.  I’m drawn to the personalities of the characters and the relationships that develop throughout the two seasons I have.  I love the crusty old Empress (can’t find her name at present), Harada and all the other supporting characters.  I found Hiro and his lucky card draw hilarious.  Romance is hidden within.  I enjoyed this series and found it charming and captivating.  The opening series soundtrack title I am particularly found of.

Source: IMDb Photo Gallery
Itazura na Kiss (Mischievous Kiss)
(Comedy, Romance, Shoujo)
Story Line: It's about a cute girl (Aihara Kotoko) who loves a smart and handsome guy who's a jerk in high school (Irie Naoki) and when her house is destroyed she moves with her father in to the Irie Family home there he starts to develop some feelings towards her. (Source:IMDb 7.5/10) (Live action) 
Story Line: When her newly-built home is razed to the ground by an earthquake, low-achieving, clumsy, and troublesome third-year high school student Kotoko Aihara is forced to share a roof with the school's—and possibly Japan's—smartest student, Naoki Irie. Kotoko is not actually a complete stranger to Irie-kun; unfortunately, a single love letter that she tried to give him in the past has already sealed her fate as far as he is concerned. Throw in some quirky friends and a meddlesome mother, and Kotoko might not even have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the older Irie boy's heart. Yet Kotoko remains optimistic that, because she now lives in his house, her unattainable crush on the genius since the beginning of high school has never been more within reach. (Source: MyAnimeList 7.68/10) 

A romantic comedy which my wife and I love to watch.  A one sided romance that starts at the beginning and changes over the life of the two characters.  It’s hard to express what it is that makes this series so highly rated in my opinion.  I guess it is Kotoko’s character that endears her to me.  I love Irie’s mother, she is a hoot.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is one that I find endearing.

Others that also are on my constant re-watch list are:
Sukitte Ii na yo (Say “I Love You”), Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo (2012: 13 Episodes)
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster) – Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo (2012:13 Episodes)
Great Teacher Onizuka – Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen, Slice of Life (1999: 43 Episodes)
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) – Horror, Mystery, Romance, School, Shounen, Supernatural (2012: 12 Episodes)
Ghost Hunt – Mystery, Comedy, Horror, Supernatural, Shoujo (2006: 25 Episodes)
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (Crawling with Love) – Sci-Fi, Comedy, Parody (2012: 12 Episodes)
Hayate no Gotoku! (Hayate the combat butler) – Action, Harem, Comedy, Parody, Romance, Shounen (2007: 52 Episodes)
Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi (History’s Strongest Discipled Kenichi) – Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, School, Shounen (2006: 50 Episodes)
Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss) – Comedy, Demons, Supernatural, Romance, Fantasy, Shoujo (2012: 13 Episodes)
Kanon – Slice of Life, Supernatural, Drama, Romance (2006: 24 Episodes)
Kobato – Comedy, Drama, Romance, Fantasy (2009: 24 Episodes)
Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (Maid Sama!) – Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo (2010: 26 Episodes)
Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan) – Action, Demons, Shounen, Supernatural (2010: 24 Episodes)

References and pictures I have used have come from the links indicated below, I acknowledge the source materials. Additional information can be found at these sites:



In Ending:
Thank you for having a look, even if it was just to have a look at what I have listed as my top 5 anime.  I may do a YouTube video which may be easier to waffle on about than writing my thoughts, who knows.  Maybe what I have listed may interest you in having a look, or you've perhaps already seen them.  I'd be interested to know what your 5 favourite anime are?
Till next time.
The Honourable John

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