Because I am completely anal and compulsive about writing things down while I remember them, I do have a blog all prepared which continues of my thoughts about judging books by their covers. But I really need to cheer the hell up so I thought I’d do something totally different and chat about another fave story-telling medium of mine – anime!
Some background to me – I was the young woman you probably saw sitting by herself at the movies when The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast came out. Yes, it was sad, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I love me a good cartoon!
So I thought I’d share a list (in no particular order because that would be too hard for me to deal with @ 6.30am after only 1 cup of coffee) of the anime that I am in serious like with.
1. Basically any movie created by the Japanese production company Studio Ghibli. I think director Hayao Miyazaki is a genius. His films deal with the themes of spirituality, nature, the environment, the purity, clear vision and acceptance of children, and the cusp between childhood and adulthood to name a few. Studio Ghibli was responsible for My Neighbor Totoro (if you watch it, watch it in Japanese – soooo much better), Howl’s Moving Castle and an absolute fave of mine, Spirited Away.
2. I would say that this next one is a guilty pleasure of mine, but there is no guilt involved at all! The Fruits Basket series is what I put on the telly when I am in the mood to watch something totally sweet and romantic (think fluffy clouds and lots of aaaahhhhhs). The story follows orphan Honda Tohru as she finds the place where she belongs with the Sohma family, who have a few secrets of their own! A warning: this series ends abruptly without you really finding out what happens, but have no fear! It is based on the manga by Natsuki Takaya so if you want to find out whether Tohru ends up with Yuki or Kyo you need to read the entire 23 volumes – I did and I’m not telling!
3. Because I’ve never gotten over my want-to-be-in-a-band-but-don’t-have-any-musical-talent-whatsoever teenage fantasies, I’m a big fan of indie movies that deal with garage bands making it big. When I discovered the series Beck (Mongolian Chop Squad) it quickly became a must buy. It has everything from discovering and creating music, rivalry with other bands, sticking it to da man, a festival, and above all else some seriously great music. If you like this kind of thing, I guarantee that this one is for you (even if you might need to be a little patient through some of the slower sections).
I love samurai anything so my next two are…
4. For something a bit more hard core – Samurai 7. This is based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film Seven Samurai and, for those of you who don’t know, this is the same movie upon which The Magnificant Seven was based. Basically, it is about 7 warriors who are recruited to defend a small village under siege from the baddies. The setting of the anime is different to the original premise and is a world that has a steampunk feel to it. I enjoyed the first part of the series better than the second half, but it is still a winner.
5. My second samurai pick is Samurai Champloo. This is about a girl on a quest who manages to convince two warriors to join her on her travels. It takes place in feudal Japan, but the very cool thing about this series is that the director has given it a hip hop edge – it’s lots of fun and Mugen (see left) rocks!
6. Shinichiro Watanbe, the director of Samurai Champloo, was also the creator of Cowboy Beebop. This series about a group of bounty hunters has a huge cult following. For a number of years, rumours have been circulating about it being made into a ‘real’ movie – let’s hope that if they do they don’t fuck it up because it is friggin awesome in my humble opinion. It’s also sci-fi so if you don’t like this genre then CB is not for you.
7. Full Metal Alchemist to me has all the ingredients of a true steampunk story; being set in a world where magic and 19th century machinery are common place. It did take me several episodes to get into the story of Edward and Al, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed this unique world and the brothers’ quest to recover that which they have lost – and, no, I’m not giving any spoilers here – get it out and watch it! It’s mammoth (51 eps), but worth it.
And finally (because I’m still waking up and need more coffee) one for the yaoi fans…
8. What’s not sweet about the love story of a young, upcoming musician and a more experienced, romance author?? Absolutely nothing! I haven’t read the manga upon which Gravitation is based, but, as I get more sucked into reading yaoi, I have no doubt that it is likely to appear at some stage on my TBR list. Dammit.