Seasonal shows may stumble but you can never go wrong with looking back at old series.
The combination of my flu and my apparent mission to read every finished BL manga available right now has rendered my backlogs totally not moving at all. Fortunately, the ones I watched are passable at worst (Tanya the Evil), and the best ones clinched themselves in my Top 40 most favorite shows.
Also color me introspective today as I rewatched Honey and Clover. The salt it rubbed to my poor broken heart was real, I can still feel the effects even on my third time. Well, isn’t that the point of anime classics? I mean, these have a timeless appeal and emotional poignancy that does not need bombastic drama to be felt. Man, enough of that. I thought of including NANA in this post but I still haven’t started yet. I hope that is an awesome show.
Saga of Tanya the Evil
Tanya the Evil lives and dies with its titular character. Nevermind the convoluted premise of a sociopath being reborn on a loli’s body in WW2 or the Empire’s resemblance to Nazi Germany. What is enjoyable here is the camp, and Tanya delivers in this matter. This ridiculous series never sags when it focuses on the action, and watching Tanya devolve in her hate against God is amusing to watch. Studio NUT made a series a visual splendor in terms of animation. The fights are awesome to watch even if I do not care about the characters except her. Perhaps my most favorite moment was when she warned the enemies with her cutesy voice only to brutally kill them later. Savage!
Similar to Natsuki Subaru of Re: Zero (I love the dude,
with no homo), Tanya has her own world that is ahead of her time (admit it, there is a Subaru inside us). I also appreciate that despite her attitude, she really cares about her comrades. I mean, when was the time she used them as pawns instead of colleagues? None!
Then Tanya crumbles when it tried to bring an antagonist or making its side characters important. Seriously, it could have focused on Tanya alone but I still mark this the most fun new show this year.
PS: The OP and ED are insanely catchy. (6/10)
The first series in this post to end in my Top 40 list (will update later) has become my gold standard on how you do anime romance. Composed of colorful characters, Nodame Cantabile succeeds in distributing its charms to every single one of them despite their limited screen time. Chiaki and Nodame’s romance is slow burning but has a very satisfying payoff. There isn’t much kissing here but, who needs it when you get nice character moments?
I would have replaced Honey and Clover with this in my Top 10 Most Favorite Shows then…
… Paris-hen botched the pacing and rendered the second season similar to a long recap about the life of Nodame and Chiaki in Paris. I almost gave up on the series to be honest if not for the tolerable next half of this sequel. Yet this is still a necessary addition to further enrich the relationship between the couple.
The Finale, on the other hand, started off a bit shaky then went on with a bang and ended the Nodame Cantabile trilogy on a very high note. Well, I advise you to read the epilogue to know what happened to the couple or its side story where Chiaki conducted an opera.
(First Season: 9/10, Paris-hen: 6/10, Finale-hen: 9/10)
Princess Tutu is perhaps the anime with the best plotting and pacing, ever. But that can be due to its fairy tale like storytelling that is more akin with Anderson than with Anime series. Each character has a predetermined path to follow that is so precisely timed that it feels calculated. The show has a dozen of plot twists that makes sense and damn, Tutu can pull amazing drama when it needs to.
Looking back, I think I like this show more than Madoka Magica since it gave a nice deconstruction to fairy tales and magical girls without the dark stuff. Mind you, I eat dark shows but violence is not probably the best thing to associate with Princess Tutu. Instead, the fights are replaced with ballet pieces and it made up for some great symbolism.
Maybe the worst thing I can say about Princess Tutu is it lacked about three minutes in the last episode, to at least show the aftermath of the saga of Fakir. On my selfish wish, a deus ex machina could have been done. I want my ship to sail on full swing! God damn it.
(9/10, and a whole lot of Fakir and Tutu shipping!)