Anime you wish never ended and continued (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Technically, Evangelion hasn’t ended (the next movie is coming this year). However, I separate the movies from the main series. So for this challenge, I’m focusing on Evangelion-only season.
When I first started watching Evangelion, I was a child (maybe I shouldn’t have been watching the series at that age); I was too young to comprehend the complexity and symbolism within the series. I just thought that it was a cool violent mecha anime. However, once I got older and more mature, I could appreciate the series more. I even wrote a college English paper on the series.
They have credited Evangelion with “revolutionized the giant-robot genre “. The series was so successful that it has earned billions. For those who don’t know, Evangelion focuses on a futuristic Tokyo more than a decade after a “worldwide cataclysm “. The story centers on protagonist Shinji, a teenage boy who is recruited by his father for an organization called NERV to pilot an Evangelion.
Using the Evangelion, Shinji along with fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu, combat enemies known as Angels. The series focuses on deep psychological effects that the pilots experience as they attempt to prevent another catastrophe. It features heavy religious symbolism “from Kabbalah, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto“. Overall, Neon Genesis Evangelion combines themes centered on philosophy, religion, and psychoanalysis with amazing mecha battles. I highly recommend this series and wish it didn’t end.
My favorite supporting female character is Asuka Langley Soryu. She is the “Second Child” and the pilot of Unit 02. She is of German and Japanese descent but from America. Asuka has rather abrasive, self-absorbed, and often mean and abusive, usually toward Shinji. She has great confidence in her ability as an Eva pilot and has synced with Unit 02 better than average. She is severely insecure because of trauma from her childhood and uses her attitude as a mask. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, it changes her name to Asuka Shikinami Langley.
This version of Asuka is like her original. She’s confident, opinionated, and aggressive. However, she doesn’t have the same relationships that the old Asuka had. Another change is with her backstory. In the original, Asuka graduates from University at age 14. In the Rebuild of Evangelion, Asuka joins the European Air Force, becoming a Captain at age 14. Asuka’s genius and cockiness the follows isn’t for show. She’s got the skills.
Asuka’s shining moment for many fans is when she single-handedly battles armed forces and 9 mass-produced EVA’s. Though she succeeded in defeating them at first, Unit 02’s run’s out of power. The Mass-Produced Eva’s have infinite power “which allows them to remain functional despite being severely damaged or mutilated” and finally allows them to “eviscerate and dismember” Unit 02 using their “Lance of Longinus” replicas. I didn’t like Asuka until this moment. I found her offputting, but she proved she was the best Eva pilot.
I once wrote about the “mecha” genre for the Artifice in an article called Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction. Mecha anime is one of the most valued subgenres. The genre is further split into three sub-categories, Super Robot, Real Robot, and Hybrid Robot. There are four “types” of mecha’s: “sentient, remote-controlled, wearable, and piloted.” Neon Genesis Evangelion is a “Hybrid Robot” series that aims to “deconstruct” the mecha genre. Gainax created Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno wrote and directed the series.
Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that focuses on a teenage boy named Shinji Ikari. They give him the opportunity to save the world using a mecha called an “Eva.” He uses this giant robot to defeat enemies called Angels. It’s considered one of the most successful anime of all time, grossing over 150 Billion yen. I think Evangelion is one of the most impressive intellectual and though provoking anime ever created. Evangelion has tremendous action sequences and complicated themes based on religion and philosophy. The series can be violent, so caution should be taken if your easily offended. You can miss the underlining symbolism that Evangelion features so I would recommend watching the series several times.
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.
The Shinigami in Death Note exists to kill humans. It’s required for them to survive. Ryuk deliberately drops his Death Note into the human world out of boredom. He takes joy in Light Yagami’s mass-murdering but largely doesn’t care about their death because it’s all part of nature. Since all humans are going to die anyway, why be concerned with premature deaths.
The Zoldyk family (Hunter X Hunter)
The Zoldyk family is a family of assassins. The family is highly pragmatic that practice tough love. They have a strict approach to their profession and a love of violence. However, they have a strict rule against killing the innocent. Their cold demeanor extends to each other. It works when assassinating people, not so much when relating to the family.
The Pillar Men (JoJo Bizarre Adventure)
The Pillar Men are an ancient humanoid race. They’re almost extinct, but use to live thousand of years ago. Highly intelligent, powerful, and capable of manipulating the bodies to a high degree. Due to being such an elite and old race, they have very little regard for humanity. They view humanity the way humans tend to view insects. They even killed a character without noticing. However, the Pillar Men seem to value non-human life, going out of their ways to avoid destroying things like flowers.
The Angels (Evangelion)
Angels in Evangelion refer to the fifteen children of Adam. Exactly what Angels are can be confusing. Supposedly, Angel’s are a variation of the human race. At first, they appear as humanoid entities, then they “reject” the human form. Angel’s have unique forms. The motives of the Angel’s are left ambiguous. One theory is that they’re trying to “return to Adam,” that’s located deep underground. They may want to “access Lilith and reset all life.” Angel’s don’t seem to communicate and often have no expression. Overall, the Angel’s seem to function on some sort of autopilot. What motivates hem is unknown but it appears that they only fight out of instinct.
The Saiyans (DBZ)
According to Akira Toriyama Saiyans are considered amoral. They are a warrior race that loves battle and strength above all else. Goku often displays the amorality and its possible consequence. He often spares the life of a villain so they could get stronger a fight again. During the Cell Games, he gives Cell a Senzu bean so he could have a “fair fight” against Gohan. He does this although it would have benefited Earth and increase Gohan’s chances. Also, the Saiyans have an odd view of romantic relationships. Saiyan form sexual relationships for procreation and not for love. Most Saiyans don’t have romantic or parental love for spouses or children. It’s the primary reason Goku and Vegeta don’t have the best relationship with their wives and children.
Unit 01 is blindly send to combat Ramiel. Sensing the Eva, Ramiel fire off a powerful beam melting the Eva’s chest almost killing Shinji. Ramiel begins to drill towards Nerv, when they are able to determine that the particle beam is perfect in its accuracy. Ramiel has the most powerful AT field ever recorded. They decided to use a “positron rifle”, when Eva Unit 01 snipes Ramiel. Ramiel uses its particle beam and the same time Eva Unit 01 shoots causing both to miss. Ramiel fires a second shot but it is blocked by Unit 00’s shield. The second shot from Unit 01 is successful in killing it.
49. Jiraiya, Tsunade vs Orochimaru
Jiraiya decided its finally time to kill Orochimaru. Having been previously drugged by Tsunade, Jiraiya had a difficult time molding chakra. Tsunade fought Kabuto as he was the only one able. Kabuto was completely out of his league, he slits his wrists taking advantage of Tsunade’s” hæmophobia” . Naruto was injured attempting to help her. Tsunade heals him vowing to protect him no matter what.
Orochimaru, attempts to kill him but Tsunade protects him with her body. Tsunade got over her blood fear and healed herself enough to summon Katsuya. Jiraiya is able to summon Gamabunta to fight off against Orochimaru’s Manda. Defeating two sannin was too difficult for Orochimaru to accomplish and he and Kabuto fled.
48. Kisuke Urahara vs. Askin Nakk Le Vaar
This battle is the most interesting largely due to the fact that Kisuke finally uses his Bankai. The problem I had with this fight (and maybe this final Bleach arc) is that I CANNOT REALLY UNDERSTAND Askin’s power or Urahara’s Bankai’s powers. After Askin uses his Vollstandig, Hasshein which “will adapt to mutations in any “poison” he is resisting.” His description of his power is long winded. Anyway, Urahara attacks Askin, but he dodges. He uses his Gift Ring on Urahara’s eye, causing it to burst.
Realizing the danger that he’s in, Urahara releases his Bankai, Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame. The first time he’s using his Bankai, there’s not much information on it. Askin’s arm split open and he jumps back, resulting in his arm begin sewed back up. Urahara’s Bankai can ” restructure anything it touches.” Urahara restructures his eyes and then his left hand increasing his power. Askin increases the power of his Gift Ball Deluxe. Surprisingly, the hand of Grimmjow rips the heart out of Askin’s chest.
47. Straw Hat Crew vs Hody Jones pirates
Each member of the Straw Hat Crew, battles against a member of the Hody Jones pirates. Luffy attacks Hody and sends him flying into the ship, Noah. Luffy activates his Gear Third. Hody uses the water in the ship to sending shark shaped water bullets towards Luffy. he dodges them and crushes Hody with “Gum Gum Elephant Gun”. Brook battles against Zeo, Zoro faces Hyouzou. Franky ends his battle with Ikaros Much with his “giant attack” . Usopp calls “Humandrake” to attack Daruma, then he calls “Trampolia”.
Hyouzou tries to attack Zoro from behind. Sanji, Jinbe, fight the massive Wadatsumi, Wadatsumi plans to “flatten” the plaza. Brook moves behind Zeo, and is defeated by Brook’s ice sword. Usopp knocks Daruma with a shock wave. Chopper uses his strength to win his battle, while Franky roasts Ikaros with a laser beam. Jinbe uses his fish man karate against Wadatsumi, his attack travels through Wadatsumi and sends him airborne. Sanji uses fire kicks to set him ablaze. Zoro uses his new “Onigiri” move on Hyouzou defeating him, ending the battle against the Hody pirates.
46. Ichibe Hyosube vs. Yhwach
One of the difficulties witnessing this fight was knowing that Yhwach couldn’t loss to Hyosube. Regardless of what he did he was always going to fail. This is true of most, if not all the battles in anime. What’s different in this fight is you get the impression that Hyosube would have won if it made sense for the story. Hyosube is an interesting character. He manages to maintain his stern manner, while being upbeat personality. During this battle he’s ruthless, but manages to smile regardless.
His personality shines through, along with his power. He’s constantly condescending towards Yhwach, especially as he cuts Yhwach’s power in half. He’s given the title of “Monk Who Calls the Real Name,” he created the names for everything in Soul Society. He can manipulate “true names the metaphysical representations of sentient being – which grants him a certain amount of power over the target.” After Hyosube continues to outclass Yhwach in the battle, the later uses The Almighty. Now Yhwach “can see far into the future with his eyes opened, which allows him to know and understand all abilities.” This is largely an Ass Pull, but up until this moment the battle was exciting.
45. Sakura, Chiyo vs Sasori
Sakura notices the difference between her and Sasori, in both ” his experience and amount of kills”. Chiyo reassures her that she ” is here”, and that she will protect her. She flings several kunai at Sasori, though he block them with her tail. Its revealed that he is hiding within his puppet. Chiyo explains how to defeat Sasori puppet Hiruko, and that Sakura is important in the strategy. First they have to get close to the puppet, but dodge the poisonous traps it possess. Chiyo claims that her battle experience is superior to Sasori, and that she has already made the first move. They succeed in the first part of the plan, as Chiyo takes control over Sakura’s body like a puppet. Sasori is impressed but quickly aims to kill off Sakura and Chiyo. Sasori releases his favorite puppet, the Third Kazekage. Sasori begins his attack with his puppet but he aims to kill Sakura. Trapping her he release poison, however Sakura is determined not to died and uses a explosive tag to disburse the poison.
Chiyo uses the puppets that Sasori made of his mother and father. Sasori and Chiyo clash in a spectacular display of puppetry. Sasori aims to ” get serious” and release his puppet special ability “Iron Sand”. He quickly attacks with ” Iron Sand Drizzle”. With the Iron Sand making the puppets of Chiyo unusable and forcing her to use her own modified body. The situation turns dire as Sasori has placed Chiyo and Sakura in an unenviable position. Chiyo tells Sakura to run, but she refuses. Sakura aims to be a puppet for Chiyo and because she is human and has massive strength at her disposal. Sakura shows her skilled set both in her strength, but also her ability to see through Sasori’s attack patterns. Sasori uses “Iron Sand World Model”, Sakura feints injury and when Sasori comes in for the kill she destroys his puppet. Having developed a antidote for the poison she found in Kankuro. Sasori notes that she had to develops a sophisticate antidote to counter his poison.
Sakura exhausted from the battle aims to end it quickly. Sasori seems to agree and decides another puppet would be useless, he decides to use his body. Sasori’s use of his body fails, and Chiyo decides to use her ” Secret White Technique: Group of Ten of the Chikamatsu”. Her puppets were used to topple an entire castle. Sasori responses with his ” Secret Red Technique: Hundred Manipulation ” , which feature hundreds of puppets that destroyed a country. There seems to be a quality vs quantity principle in regards to the battle. Chiyo has better quality of puppets but Sasori has a larger number of them.
Chiyo gives Sakura a sealing puppet aimed at stopping Sasori. Sasori manages to escape and appears behind Chiyo with a sword and attacks. Sakura steps in between him and Chiyo taking a sword into the stomach. She attempts to heal herself while t pulling out the sword, but the poison prevents her from doing so. Chiyo gives Sakura the last antidote, while Chiyo attacks Sasori with her ” Mom and Dad” puppets. She finally strikes his core, paralyzing him but Sakura is dying of her injury. Chiyo uses her ” Life Transfer ” technique to save her.
44. Mob vs Koyama
When Koyama tries to capture Mob for Claw, he mistakenly kidnaps Ritsu. Mob intervenes to save his brother. Koyama brutalizes Mob with his Telekinetic Helix. Eventually, Mob reaches 100% Animosity, due to the violent abuse that Koyama inflicted on him and his brother. Despite Mob dominating him and beating to a pulp, Koyama does manage to escape with Ritsu. As most Mob Psycho 100 battles this one was highly entertaining and well animated.
43. Escanor vs Estarossa
During the Defensive Battle for Liones arc, Escanor challenges Estarossa, assuming that he’s the strongest of the Ten Commandments. Escanor enters the battle to protect his fellows knights. Estarossa is surprised that he can with stand his power. Estarossa upper cuts, then knocks down Estarossa. When Escanor attacks Estarossa, it appears as if the sun is coming towards him. Even though he blocks the attack, he still falls to the ground. Excited, Estarossa summons his sword. Escanor cuts Estarossa, but he starts gushing blood. Estarossa reveals that his power if Full Counter, that ” allows him to reflect any physical attack with more than double its original strength.”
Escanor decides to take the fight seriously and creates a miniature sun. The heat causes the armor of the other Knights to melt. He uses Cruel Sun, then Pride Flare evaporating an entire lake. Estarossa uses his darkness to heal himself. Escanor uses Cruel Sun, but Estarossa covers it with darkness. Sensing that he’s winning and there’s an opportunity to end the fight, Estarossa uses Full Counter. Escanor attacks with a strike so fast that Estarossa couldn’t see it. Escanor asks “who decided that his attacks could not reach him, and who decided his sun was blocked out.” The sun Escanor created breaks free, he uses his Cruel Sun on last time, sending Estarossa into the ocean.
42. Goku vs Vegeta
Goku and Vegeta battle for the fate of the earth. At first they seem equal but it becomes quickly apparent the Vegeta has the advantage. In order fill the gap Goku uses Kaio Ken times 2 and he does some serious damage. Vegeta powers up finally, dominating Goku afterwards. Goku desperate pushes his body to the max using Kaio Ken time 3 , this seems to do the trick. Vegeta’s angrily decides to destroy the earth along with Goku and uses his “Galic Gun”, Goku counters with his ” Kame Hame Ha” power by Kaio Ken time 4. Vegeta isn’t defeated and returns to earth transforming into his giant monkey form.
Gohan and Krillin return to the battlefield afraid of what has happened. Vegeta is ten times stronger than he was as a human, Goku is floundering. Goku hopes to use the ” Spirit Bomb”, but he needs time to do so. He uses his ” Solar Flare ” to blind Vegeta and gets some distance so he could gather energy needed for his attack. However, just before Goku can use his technique Vegeta recovers and uses his ” Super Galic Buster”. Goku get’s hit and loses all the collected energy.
Incapacitated Goku can dodge Vegeta, who crushes his legs and begins to squeeze him. Gohan and Krillin arrive and with Yajirobe devise a plan to cut off Vegeta tail. Gohan distracts Vegeta while Krillin uses “Distructo Disk”. Vegeta dodges this attack, but to everyone’s surprise Yajirobe cuts off his tail. Vegeta furious begins attacking Gohan and Krillin, Gohan is defeated but encouraged to fight by his father. After, Vegeta attacks Goku again Gohan becomes enraged fighting Vegeta on equal grounds.
As they fight , Goku gives Krillin the rest of the energy from the ” Spirit Bomb”. Krillin forms a sphere from the energy and throws it, but Vegeta dodges it. Goku telepathically tells Gohan to ” bounce the Spirit Bomb back “, he does and Vegeta is hit. Vegeta is severely damaged, but not dead Vegeta. Vegeta can barely stand as he fly’s toward Gohan, he is shock to see that Gohan’s tail has grown back. Goku tell Gohan to look at the artificial moon turning to a Giant Gorilla. Vegeta is successful in cutting Gohan’s tail but fails to move out of the way and with Gohan’s size he crushes Vegeta. Vegeta no longer able to fight attempt to flee, Krillin tries to kill him with Yajirobe’s sword. Goku convinces Krillin to have mercy, and they allow Vegeta to leave.
41. Gaara vs Rock Lee
Rock Lee is pitted against Gaara in the preliminary rounds. Lee is helpless against Gaara’s ” ultimate defense “. Lee removes his heavy leg weights that results in his speed increasing tremendously. Lee makes his first attempts with his “Front Lotus”. Gaara used a sand decoy a evaded any damage. Lee, is injured by his lotus technique. Lee opens the “Second Gate”, a heal the damage he sustained. He opens both the “Third and Fourth Gates”, changing color and increasing his speed beyond natural humans. Lee opens the Fifth Gate, and uses the “Reverse Lotus”. Gaara survived this because he softened his fall with his sand. He then proceeds to crush Lee’s arm and leg. Gaara attempts to kill Lee, but Guy protects him.
As the decade comes to a close, I figure that I would join in on the best decade listing. I was born in the late 80’s so many of the anime I grew on are from that period. I decided to combine the two decades. Looking back at the anime on the lists, I would say all of the anime on this list stand the test of time. That doesn’t necessary mean that they’re superior to anime that has come after, but they still are magnificent. The animation was more grainy and the colors were muted. The plots were more mature that the current top series. Most of these series are considered to be among the “most influential” of all time.
10. Rurouni Kenshin – 1996
Himura Kenshin is a wandering swordsman that was formerly the assassin Hitokiri Battosai. The creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki want to make a different kind of shonen series. One that was more serious, focusing on themes like atonement, peace and romance. The anime series is one of the most popular, with a sophisticated plot and epic action scenes. It took a while for me to warm up to this series, but the series grew on me. The anime only adapts the series up to the Shishio fight, then focuses on material that’s new.
9. Tenchi Muyo (Tenchi Universe) – 1995
Generally I don’t like harem series, but Tenchi Universe was an exception. Based on the six episode OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the series focuses on Tenchi. The grandchild of legendary warrior and prince of the the Juraian Empire, Yosho. Tenchi’s life changes after a series of intergalactic women arrive in his life. There’s the space pirate Ryoko, snobbish princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, Goddess Tsunami, the clumsy Galactic Officer Mihoshi and her partner Kiyone and finally the legendary mad scientist Washu. As the ladies bicker with one another over trivial matters and Ryoko and Ayeka battle for Tenchi’s love, they group become fugitives. Together the evade detection and manage to save the Juraian Empire from the control of Kagato.
8. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – 1995
There are some many different Gundam series it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is credited with “globalizing the franchise.” The first Gundam series to air in American and the sixth anime in the series, Gundam Wing focuses on the war between Earth and it’s orbital colonies. The series introduces us to five pilots, Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Change Wufei. They are tasked with using their Gundams attack the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) and free the colonies from oppression.
7. Yu Yu Hakusho – 1992
Adapted from the manga series of the same name, Yu Yu Hakusho follows 14 year old, Yusuke Urameshi. In an act of heroism he sacrifices his life to same the life of little boy. He learns that the after life is real and is given a chance to redeem himself. He becomes an Underworld Detective, tasked with investigating supernatural activity in the Human World. Yu Yu Hakusho was twice voted “anime of the year” in 1994 and 1995 by Animage Anime Grand Prix. The series has been featured on many lists of the all time greatest anime series ever. Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most influential anime series.
6. Sailor Moon – 1992
Lazy crybaby Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) meets a magical talking cat Luna and is asked to save the universe. Joined by Sailor Soldiers, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and supported by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. They learn that in their past lives that they Usagi was Princess Serenity, the Sailor Soldiers were her friends and bodyguards and she was in love with a prince from Earth. However they were all killed by the Dark Kingdom. Queen Serenity sent the fallen to the future to be reborn.
5. Pokemon – 1997
With over 1,000 episodes to its credit, Pokemon is one of the most watched anime series of all time. Pokemon is credited with mainstreaming anime in the United States. Since then it has been released in over 169 different countries. The series generally focuses on the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu. The first season of Pokemon, follows Ash, as he travels the Indigo League collecting eight badges. He’s joined by Misty and Brock. The series featured the iconic OP, “Pokémon Theme Song,” and the PokeRAP that ended every episode. Watching Ash battle each gym leader and enter the League is some of my fondest memories period.
4. Akira – 1988
Regarded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, Akira is a must see anime for any fan. Considered a “landmark” anime film, responsible for increasing anime’s popularity and it’s manga art (by Katsuhiro Otomo) influencing many authors like Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto. Featuring many sci-fi elements, Akira is held by many as being one of the best sci-fi movies as well. Bloody and violent, Akira is set in a dystopian 2019. It tells the story of Shotaro Kaneda, a biker gang leader. His childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. Tetsuo eventual threatens Neo-Tokyo, rampaging through the city in search for Akira.
3. DBZ – 1989
Dragon Ball Z debuted in 89, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the series really took off. A sequel to Dragon Ball, like Akira before and Pokemon after marked a tipping point in anime relevance and popularity. Following the now adult Goku and his family and friends as they battle search for the Dragon Balls and battles intergalactic aliens, androids and other creatures. The original Dragon Ball focuses on Goku’s his childhood, Dragon Ball Z focuses on Gohan’s (Goku’s son) childhood. DBZ was so popular that it outperformed shows like Friends and X-Files. Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most important anime series of all time.
2. Cowboy Bebop – 1998
The iconic anime neo-noir series, praised for it’s jazz soundtrack, production values and a all star voice cast. Cowboy Bebop has to be among the most popular and significant anime series ever. Highly praised by critics, Cowboy Bebop, follows the bounty hunting trio, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine. They are joined by eccentric hacker, Ed and Welsh Corgi (a dog) that has been genetically engineered to have human-like intellect. Cowboy Bebop follows the aftermath of Spike escape from the criminal enterprise, Red Dragon Syndicate. He also hopes to flee his former friend, now enemy Vicious.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1995
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most controversial and acclaimed anime series. A deconstruction of the mecha genre, Evangelion is stated to have “led to the rebirth of the anime industry.” The series features many complex themes, touching on mental illness, philosophy and religion. Evangelion manages to embed religious symbolism. Like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be a masterpiece. Personalty, I always found the main protagonist, Shinji, to be incredibly annoying. However, he is one of the most nuanced characters in anime history. Evangelion can be seem too complex at first and probably requires several viewings, but once you understand it, you’ll get the praise this series receives.
To celebrate my 900th blog post, I decided to make my top ten anime of all time lists. When coming up with the top ten I focused on series that had the most impact on me. At the same time I also choose anime that can and have stood the test of time (even from an animation stand point), and I would recommend to anyone. I don’t think any of these series are going to be surprise anyone, as most are mainstream to an anime audience.
[Note] One Piece, Naruto and Bleach aren’t on the lists because I prefer(ed) the manga.
10. Dragon Ball Z
If this was a list of the series that I was the most nostalgic about Dragon Ball Z would be number one. Most of my childhood was centered on DBZ . The Cartoon Network would torture me by repeating the same arc’s over and over again. I must have watched the Radditz arc at least 50 times before they moved on to the saiyan arc. The series has come to define anime for many anime fans and non-anime fans. It’s hands down one of, if not the most popular anime series of all-time. Dragon Ball Z has been often mocked for it’s constant screaming and it’s “inaction sequences.” My mother would often comment “did they start fighting yet” as she would walk past the t.v. Despite it’s iconic status, DBZ as a series had a lot of problems. This is mostly due to running up against the manga. DBZ had many bad fillers, dragged out fights and at one point took ten episodes for planet Namek to explode. Even with this, the series had some of the most epic fights and has clearly left a mark on anime in general. Dragon Ball Z still remains an anime series that I consider a must see.
9. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
A mecha anime series by Gainax, Gurren Lagann focuses on mankind’s rise from a subterranean existence to the galactic exploration. Taking place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, a young digger named Simon and his “brother” Kamina dream of reaching the surface. As they and Team Gurren make their way to the skies, they engage in epic, over the top mecha battles. Gurren Lagann features high quality animation, surprising deaths, fanservice, theme music power ups and cool mecha designs. Gurren Lagann resulted in another anime classic for Gainax.
8. Made in Abyss
My favorite anime genre tends to be shonen, but Made in Abyss made me appreciate the seinen genre more. Made in Abyss plays with expectation, if you think the adorable characters are going to have a fun adventure, you are wrong. While only having one season under it’s belt, Made in Abyss had a profound impact on me. Exciting, ruthless, filled with body horror, tear jerking moments and has a intriguing mystery to discover. Made in Abyss is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth the emotional scarring.
7. Hunter X Hunter
For some reason I kept avoiding Hunter X Hunter. After running into a little bit of an anime drought, I decided to give the series a try. I wasn’t disappointed. On the surface Hunter X Hunter feels like a typical shonen series, but it’s more than that. Gon Freecss, the main protagonists, is a prime example of the undermining of shonen tropes this series does. I loved it’s complicated power system (Nen), character development, action and the uses of a narrator. Narration seemed unnecessary at first but I think it is an amazing addition to the series that adds to it.
6. Mob Psycho 100
An anime from web-comic creator ONE, Mob Psycho 100, is about a 14 year old boy named Shigeo Kageyama. He aims to be ordinary despite the fact that he’s extraordinary with telekinesis. He is a complicated young man struggling with his emotions and fear of his power harming others. Mob Psycho 100 main moral lesson is that despite having an extraordinary abilities you still need work to improve yourself as a human. Mob in particular embodies this theme. Despite his psychic powers he doesn’t think he’s better than anyone. That said, Mob Psycho 100 is still a shonen series with fluid animation, bright colors, humor, funny characters and epic battles.
5. One Punch Man
The creator of Mob Psycho 100 is also the creator of One Punch Man. The title is to be taken literally, as the main protagonist, Saitama is capable of defeating most monsters with one punch. One Punch Man is a parody of the shonen superhero series. It makes fun of the over the top and somewhat silly nature of the typical shonen anime, that results in the main character always defeating the bad guy. It’s surprising how satisfying you find Saitama’s one hit victories. The series does have interesting action, usually it’s other less powerful characters are doing the fighting though. Despite this the series does manage to keep us wondering, which monster can make Saitama hit it more than once. The first season is considered perfect, the second one, not so much. Still, One Punch Man remains an important series for anime fans to watch.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse is a sad, tragic tale. Born into a world that practices alchemy, the brothers arrogance leads them to believe that they can break one of the most important rules of alchemy. Trying to resurrect their mother, Ed loses his right arm and left leg and his brother loses his entire body. The brothers go in search of the “philosopher stone,” so they can transmute without consequences. While maintaining a sense of humor, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is full of themes like sacrifice, death, selfishness, what is truth, and the value of life. If you want to watch an anime series that balances dark themes, comedy and great action, FMA is it.
3. Attack on Titan
If you read this far it’s clear that I love anime series that manage to successfully combine dark, mature themes with great action and top animation. Attack on Titan is a series that lives up to those standards. What separates Attack on Titan from typical series is the level of dreariness. While the main characters are largely safe, you’ll never certain. Secondary characters and any other character are fair game. With characters that are constantly underdogs, failure is the most likely outcome. Often in anime you feel that everything will be fine, in Attack on Titan your surprised that half the squad is still alive. Attack on Titan has mystery, what are titans (weird giant humanoids) and why do they eat humans? Conspiracies, what is the government doing? As they fight for human survival, the scouts deal with trauma, lost and death.
2. Cowboy Bebop
For many Cowboy Bebop is the greatest anime ever. Considered to be a masterpiece, Shinichiro Watanabe blends elements of westerns with elements of film noir. The classic anime series Lupin the third was a visual influence and the three main characters of Cowboy Bebop are inspired by Lupin, Jigen and Fujiko from Lupin. The overall story is influence by Japanese cinema. Cowboy Bebop also uses a jazz heavy soundtrack that is iconic on it’s own, marking a major departure from the common use of J Pop. Cowboy Bebop focuses on mature themes like loneliness and difficulties escaping the past, it’s well animated, well (voice) acted and generally entertaining. Cowboy Bebop is considered a “gateway series” for anime, and I couldn’t agree more.
1. 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. Evangelion is credited 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 a altered climate. After nuclear war, half the worlds 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, as well as 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. The series has been described as both a ” both a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Neon Genesis 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 makes Evangelion one of the most well regarded series ever.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most successful and influential anime series ever. The main protagonists in this series is Shinji Ikari. He’s the young son of Gendo Ikari, the commander of NERV. Gendo is a terrible father and is abusive towards well everyone. He abandons Shiji at one point.
This is important only because it explains why Shinji is so messed up. Shinji is described by the director of Evangelion as “as a boy who shrinks from human contact, and has “convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.” Simply put, he’s pathetic and he becomes grating. He has a “libido-destrudo conflict,” and several complexes.
Mainly he’s has a Oedipus complex which refer’s to a “child’s unconscious sexual desire for the opposite-sex parent and hatred for the same-sex parent.” He also suffers from what is called the “Hedgehog’s dilemma,” which is “is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy.”
I understand that Shinji is one of the most complex characters in anime, his father is an amoral human being, but I couldn’t help tire of his personality. I often found his voice to be annoying and wanted him to just shut up. Ultimately, the series was too good to be ruined by him and he does become less annoying as the series goes on.