All 50 Approved – Natural Geniuses – 45-41

April 21, 2010

Anime’s favourite starting point is the genius type character. Not necessarily a pure genius, but there’s always at least one character that has an incredible talent for .. well anything you can think of. An incredible bread maker, mahjong player or ero-game player is never far away. I guess in an industry where heroes are important products, original genius characters are diminishing every year. Any sport, music, art, cooking style, game or martial art has produced their manga and anime champions. Still, I keep watching until I meet my ultimate anime rival: a genius architect, preferable with superpowers. Here is the next batch of my 50 favourite anime series.

45. Hidamari Sketch

SHAFT / Synopsis / Wikipedia

I’m a fan of SHAFT-style: the dotted backgrounds, stylized stills, crazy camera angles and eclectic art. I can appreciate the arty solutions to handle the animation budget. But sometimes it can be hit or miss: they can focus too hard on style and loose focus on the pace or the jokes.
Hidamari Sketch is definitly good Shaft. The style in soft pastel colors contributes to the series, which is about art anyway. It’s a kindhearted slice of life story about college students going to art school. The characters are both interesting and wonderful, cute but still real. I really have to start with the sequels soon.

44. Gankutsuou

Gonzo / Synopsis / Wikipedia

An exception in the Gonzo catalogue. As always a promising premise with the right ingredients, but Gankutsuou didn’t fail somewhere on the way. On the contrary; it is nearly flawless. I personally don’t like the sci-fi elements that are added to the story, but such suspense! “The Count of Monte Cristo” is a classic masterpiece and this adaption proves how contemporary the story is. Featuring one of the best villains ever (with a sublime voice) and an unusual pattern based art style which adds to the mystery, Gankutsuou shows what Gonzo can be at its best.

43. Kaiji

Madhouse Studios / Synopsis / Wikipedia

As stated above, anime characters can be the very best in peculiar fields. The full title of this series is Kaiji, Ultimate Survivor. Kaiji, the ‘hero’, is a straightforward loser on the bottom of society without money, looks or any above average characteristics. However he does have some street smarts and plenty of instinct to stay alive in the game when plenty of others don’t. It’s a tale of ugly men weeping, failing in life, but still overcoming all obstacles.
Kaiji has no moe, sexy, gorgeous action or comedy, all it has is intensity. It’s the most intens anime out there.

42. Macross

Studio Nue / Synopsis / Wikipedia

The mecha classic from 1982 is one of the few older series I have already watched. Generally I both like and dislike these oldies for their slow pace. I like it because they know how to take time to unfold a story and develop a character. But my mind is aimed at fast consumption and instant gratification, so ‘slow’ feels like a waste of time even when its not boring.  I blame society. Macross is actually quite fast for a slow show, with a really human touch. It doesn’t feel so old even when it obviously is. And that is why it’s a classic (and maybe why I’m overestimating it a little). And Lynn Minmay still beats any K-on girl.

41. Death Note

Madhouse Studios / Synopsis / Wikipedia

The ultimate genius battle. An amazing smart cat and mouse game between the two antagonists, who are both equally popular amongst fans. In my opinion one of the main reasons for its great succes. Constant high tension, intelligent plot twists, a dark undertone and thought provoking statements make it into a deserved hit series. Only thing holding it back is the disappointing second half of the story.


One comment

  1. […] 41. Death Note -> link to part 2 […]

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