In 2013 I choose Monkey D. Luffy for my favorite male anime character. At the time he had a bounty of 400 million now it’s 1.5 billion. Since then, a new type of shonen protagonists has emerged. Gon from Hunter X Hunter is considered a “deconstruction” of the typical shonen hero. During the Chimera Ant arc, he almost kills himself due to the typical shonen heroes need to risk everything to save someone they care about. Izuku Midoriya is a highly determined shonen hero that was gifted with motivation and desire to be a hero. Unlike the typical shonen hero he has literally no powers at the start. In addition to that, Deku is analytical. Most shonen heroes are dumb. However, when they do show some kind of intellect it’s only in battle. Deku’s fighting prowess comes from hard work and studying. Finally, despite Deku recieving one of the most powerful Quirks, he’s never been the strongest in My Hero Academia, at least not yet.
Finally, there’s Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer. Like Deku he’s smart but he also has sword fighting skills. Tanjiro has an emotional intellence that the others don’t. He’s more complicated. He’s motivated to stop demons, but once he kills them he has remorse for them. (Demon Slayer makes a deliberate effort to “humanize” the demons by giving them a back story.) This isn’t to say that Luffy doesn’t care about anyone or doesn’t have sympathy for his enemies but that he represents a different era of shonen hero that are less sophisticated. Regardless, I still pick Luffy as my favorite male a character. If I have more time with Deku or Tanjiro that might change but so far they haven’t surpassed the future Pirate King.
Over the years, several new anime have entered my top ten anime. However, none have topped Neon Genesis Evangelion. When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. They credit Evangelion with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and an altered climate. After the nuclear war, half the world’s population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.
Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, and references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series, and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. Evangelion has been described as a ” critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Evangelion is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that make Evangelion one of the most well-regarded series ever.
Way back in 2013, I started the 30 Day Anime Challenge. It was a fun challenge that encouraged me to think more about what I liked about anime. Since then, I’ve completed several more challenges like the 30 Day DC Challenge, the 30 Day Marvel Challenge, the 30 Day Video Game Challenge, and the Salty Anime Challenge. As we start the beginning of this 2021 year, I thought that I would tackle the 100 Day Anime Challenge. Since 2013 I have watched and reviewed so many new anime series that I think my answers from the 30 Day Anime Challenge have changed. So let’s get started:
The Very First Anime You Watched (Sailor Moon)
For anime fans, Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic anime and manga series. Written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. Serialized in 1991, Toei Animation adapted Sailor Moon in 1992. Since then, praised for its art, characters, and humor, Sailor Moon has achieved critical acclaim. As a franchise, Sailor Moon has generated over $13 billion worldwide. My very first memory of watching anime was getting up at 5:oo in the morning, trying to glimpse the series.
Sailor Moon tells the story of middle school student, Usagi Tsukino. Her talking cat Luna gives her a magical brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon. Together they form a team of Sailor Soldiers, Sailor Mercury, the studious Ami Mizuno, Sailor Mars, the shrine maiden Rei Hino, transfer student Makoto Kino becomes Sailor Jupiter, and aspiring idol Minako Aino awakens as Sailor Venus. The group fights against the Dark Kingdom, ruled by Queen Beryl and her Four Kings of Heaven, as they try to find the Silver Crystal and free Queen Metaria.
Toei rebooted Sailor Moon in 2014 as Sailor Moon Crystal and a two-part movie, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie will be released on January 8th 2021. Toei will release the second part on February 11, 2021. Sailor Moon Eternal will cover the Dream arc and act as the fourth season of Sailor Moon Crystal series. Sailor Moon continues to impact the anime world and was my gatekeeper anime. I haven’t looked back.