The Fangirl's Anime Corner at Black Unicorn Wood
About the time I was in high school, I was introduced to Robotech
on WUTV in my home town of Buffalo, New York. That was it -- I was hooked.
Sure, I'd watched heavily-edited, Americanized anime before, and seen
shows in the original Japanese while visiting my mother's family in Japan,
but this series was something of a gateway for me. It wasn't long before I
was searching out other shows like it. Even though all you could find in the
stores in Buffalo at the time were dubbed versions, they were still a lot
of fun to watch.
At Toronto Trek 9 in 1995, I was introduced to Bishoujo Senshi
SailorMoon when I picked up a tape in untranslated Japanese in the convention
dealer's room. Not too long after that, WUTV started airing dubbed versions
of the show in Buffalo. I started watching the show, and then began corresponding
with other fans over the Internet. That led me into a local anime fan club
called Otaku no Tsuki, where I was able to obtain subtitled episodes of SailorMoon.
After a while, I moved away from SailorMoon, but kept
looking for subtitled anime. Fortunately, by now I was able to get
subtitled anime tapes through various websites. To my amazement, I
was even able to rent subtitled anime at the local Blockbuster Video
-- what bliss!
I also introduced my husband to anime while we were dating.
To my delight, he was just as taken with it as I was, and after we got married,
we amassed a sizeable collection of videotapes. There was only one small problem
-- at times, we like to watch both the subtitled and dubbed versions of our
favorite series, and buying two copies of each tape was prohibitively expensive.
Then, last Christmas, we bought a DVD player -- problem solved!
Some of my current favorite anime series include (in
no particular order):
- Heroic Legend of Arslaan (Japanese title: Arslaan Senki):
A young prince loses his kingdom to war, and must assemble an army to reclaim
it. This series is epic fantasy at its finest -- it includes cinematic battle
scenes, compelling characters, treachery, magic, and more plot twists than
you can shake a sword at (then there are the numerous bishonen in the
cast to feast your eyes on....:-).
- The Hakkenden (a/k/a Legend of the Dog Warriors):
Eight ronin, the legendary "Dog Warriors," discover the mystic
bond between them as they battle evil in feudal Japan. Warning: this series
is definitely NOT appropriate for children or the faint-hearted, as
it includes several scenes involving bloody violence. If you're a fan of period
pieces, though, there's plenty here to sate your appetite.
- Ah! My Goddess! (Japanese title: Ah! Megami-sama!):
A college student tries to order pizza and suddenly finds himself sharing
his life with three beautiful (and sometimes troublesome) Norse goddesses.
Both funny and sweet, and I have a soft spot for Skuld, the youngest goddess
of the bunch.
- Ayashi no Ceres (a/k/a Ceres: Celestial Legend):
My newest addiction. A reworking of the Japanese "celestial maiden"
myth, featuring a young girl who is the host body for a powerful and legendary
tennyo, or celestial being, who is out for revenge on her family. The
story is engrossing, and Watse Yu (creator of Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious
Play)'s gorgeous character designs are icing on the cake. Be warned,
however, that there are as many tragic moments as beautiful ones in this series
-- as my husband put it, "If you don't like having your heart (figuratively)
torn out and then handed back to you, don't watch this."
- Sorcerer Hunters (Japanese title: Bakuretsu Hunter [Hunters?]):
Two sisters (Tira and Chocolate Misu), two brothers (Carrot and Marron Glace),
and their burly teammate (Gateau Mocha) hunt evil sorcerers in a fantasy-ish
world using teamwork, super-powers, and their own wits. A bit lighter than
some other series, but fun all the same, if nothing else for the hilarity
of the oversexed Carrot's antics.
- Bubblegum Crisis (both "classic" and BGC Tokyo
2040): The classic cyberpunk anime series, featuring a team
of female mercenaries in hi-tech battlesuits (the Knight Sabers), who fight
to save twenty-first century Tokyo from greedy corporations and their robotic
soldiers ("Boomers"). The series' rock 'n' roll soundtrack is an
- AD Police Files: The "prequel" to Bubblegum
Crisis, this series details the struggle of Tokyo's Advanced Police
against the Boomers, and raises some questions about what it means to be human
along the way. Dark, gritty, and sometimes disturbing, but though-provoking
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The grand-daddy of all sentai
(super-team) series, this one established many of the conventions that showed
up in later series. A team of super-heroes (the Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman)
fights to keep an organized crime syndicate (Galactor) from taking over the
world. Even though it's more than twenty-five years old, it's still one of
the classics (and then there's Condor Joe Asakura...yum! :-)
- Urusei Yatsura: I thought this was funny even when I couldn't
understand it. Now that I can understand the jokes thanks to AnimeEigo's subtitles,
it's utterly hilarious! If you're unfamiliar with this series, it involves
the misadventures of an unlucky, oversexed Japanese youth named Moroboshi
Ataru, his wannabe-fiancée, the alien princess Lum, and a diverse cast
of friends, relatives and antagonists of both alien and human origins. This
series has also spawned a number of animated movies.
- Bishoujo Senshi SailorMoon S: For those of you unacquainted
with Bishoujo Senshi SailorMoon, it involves a team of young
girls with magical powers who battle evil to save the world on a regular basis.
I've always liked the particular plot arc of this part of the series, which
has the Senshi discovering the Holy Grail, among other things. It also
introduces Sailors Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn, some of my more favorite characters.
If you've seen only the English-dubbed episodes, I think the subtitled version
is much better (and that goes for the other parts of this series, too).
- Steel Angel Kurumi: I originally started watching this series
due to the fact that one of my favorite actresses, Claudia Black (of Farscape
fame) appears in the dubbed version, but have since grown to like it for other
reasons. It involves the adventures of a young Japanese mystic and his protectress,
the "Steel Angel" (a type of sentient android), Kurumi, in Japan
during the 1920s.
- Martian Successor Nadesico: The Nergal corporation assembles
a motley crew including anime fans, a cook-turned-pilot, and an airheaded
admiral's daughter, to use a space battleship (the Nadesico) to save
Earth from the ravages of alien invaders. Along the way, the crew of the Nadesico
finds out that things aren't always what they seem. With nods to Gatchaman,
Space Battleship Yamato, and Gundam, this series
is great fun.
If you're reading this and wondering why your favorite series isn't
on my list, keep a few things in mind:
- I may not have seen your favorite anime yet.
- Our tastes in anime may be different, and there's nothing wrong with
that. The world would be a very boring place if everybody liked the same thing,
Please keep those things in mind before you e-mail and demand how in
the world I could leave out your favorite series. :-)