Day Two: Favorite (3) Anime You Have Watched So Far
Number 3: Saiyuki [Specifically Seasons 1 & 2]
Saiyuki is an anime that was introduced to me in my early anime-watching years. I was in probably fifth or sixth grade and my sister had borrowed it from a friend. We binge-watched all fifty episodes of season one and two in one weekend!
Saiyuki will always hold a dear place in my heart as both a nostalgia factor and as a great comedy. It was an action packed show with witty English (and Japanese) dialogue. Saiyuki has a great cast of characters; Genjyo Sanzo – the immoral priest, Son Goku – the monkey king/Earth Sage, Cho Hakkai – the friendly human-turned-youkai, and Sha Gojyo – the playboy water imp. I love Kazuya Minekura’s take on Xi-You-Ji (Journey to the West) and the anime adaptation of Saiyuki was splendid. Sure, there was some filler, but not nearly as much as Saiyuki Reload (and Gunlock).
I believe that Saiyuki is a must watch for anyone who enjoys action packed shows with adult humor and a unique storyline. Even if Saiyuki is an older show, to me it has withstood the test of time.
Number 2: Terror in Resonance:
Shocking. Intriguing. Painful. Director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy) has done it again! Terror in Resonance had a realistic feel to it which I absolutely adore from anime. Often, I was drawn into TiR by its unique art, darker color schemes, riddles, and themes of terrorism. When I watched TiR, I often felt that I was watching an action movie that had been split up week-by-week. Terror in Resonance often left me on the edge of my seat, heart racing. The plot was intriguing. It started slow but quickly exploded into one of the best anime I have ever seen!
The soundtrack for TiR was stunning, as expected of Yoko Kanno. The animation was flawless, and the story was – just wow. I honestly didn’t expect to become attached to any of the characters in the beginning. I mean, who could come to love terrorists!? However, and I don’t want to give too much away but, the end of the series left a void in my heart and I was sobbing for ten minutes. Few anime can bring me that much pain and suffering but of course, Terror in Resonance isn’t your average anime.
Number 1: NANA
I love the manga; I love the anime; I love the music. I am a sucker for slice of life series that are highly realistic and NANA will always be my favorite in this genre. NANA has a fairly realistic plot about two girls who are the same age, bearing the same name, riding the same train that is bound for Tokyo. One is going to move in with her boyfriend; the other to make her career as a Punk Rock musician.
NANA has a storyline that expresses complex emotions and situations such as: pregnancy, drug use, unrequited love, cheating, and a realistic look at the music industry. Ai Yazawa’s art was brought to life perfectly on screen and the adaptation is nearly word-for-word with the manga. What makes NANA even better is all of the wonderful music that is brought to life by Anna Tsuchiya (vocals for Nana Osaki) and Olivia Lufkin (vocals for Reira). The musical pieces in the show are truly stunning each song bringing about emotion and musical talent.
My only complaints? The NANA anime ends after 40-something episodes right around book 13 in the manga. Of course, even if you haven’t read the manga, you can pick up right where the anime left off. However, the manga was put on indefinite hiatus after 21 ½ volumes due to Ai Yazawa becoming ill. I wish her all the best and could only hope to see a second season from NANA that maybe ends the series – even if she personally can’t write manga again.