Recommended Japanese Anime TV Series
An origin of 'Giant Robot' anime genre. Based on Mitsuteru Yokoyama's manga (graphic novel). The story of a boy detective named Shotaro Kaneda, who operates a giant robot called 'Tetsujin 28' ('Iron Man No. 28') by remote control and fights injustice. 'Tetsujin' was originally a classified weapon that had been developed by the Japanese forces during the World War II. One of the early masterpieces of Japanese TV animations. Aired on the US TV under the title of 'Gigantor' in 1966. A monochrome film. The 1st part consists of 83 episodes. The 2nd part consists of 13 episodes. Produced by TCJ.
A Sci-Fi action anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Sci-Fi novelist Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. The story of a robotic detective called Eighth Man (who is an ex-detective of Tokyo police, and his real name is Hachiro Azuma). One of the early masterpieces of Japanese TV animations. Aired on the US TV under the title of '8th Man' in 1965. A monochrome film. 56 episodes. Produced by TCJ.
Mach Go Go Go(Speed Racer)(1st series)
A car action anime. The hero, Go Mifune is a teenage boy and car racer who drives a special sports car and enters races all over the world. Aired on the US TV under the title of 'Speed Racer' in 1967. The supervising director is Hiroshi Sasagawa. 52 episodes. Produced by Tatsunoko Production.
BEM(Youkai Ningen Bemu/Bug-Eyed Monster)
An exotic gothic horror anime. The story of 3 humanoid monsters, Bem, Bela and Belo, who want to be human beings and fight against evil for human being. The music is jazzy. 26 episodes. Produced by Daiichi Doga. There are also the 2 pilot films of Bem Part Two (1982) that was not aired on TV.
A ninja action story/historical drama set in medieval Japan in the 17th Century ('Ninja' is the intelligence agents or samurai warriors engaged in espionage activities in medieval Japan.) Based on the graphic novel by Sanpei Shirato. In the period of the Tokugawa Shogunate (Japan's feudal government), a boy ninja named Sasuke and his father Daisuke Ozaru, who were anti-Tokugawan ninjas, make a long journey fighting against the pursuers of Tokugawan ninjas. 29 episodes. Produced by TCJ.
GeGeGe no Kitaro (The First TV series)
The first TV anime series based on the manga 'GeGeGe no Kitaro' (serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine in 1967-1969) by Shigeru Mizuki. The original manga is a popular Yokai (creatures or monsters appeared in Japanese folklore) manga featuring a boy named Kitaro, who is the last descendant of the Ghost Tribe. Kitaro fights against evil Yokai monsters harmful for humans. In the first TV series, the original manga's episodes were made into anime faithfully. The regular characters are Kitao, Kitaro's father Medama Oyaji (Eyeball Father) and a yokai-human halfbreed Nezumi Otoko (Rat Man). The semi-regular characters are Sunakake Babaa (Sand-throwing Hag), Konaki Jijii (Child-crying Old Man), Ittan Momen (Roll of Cotton), and Nurikabe (Plastered Wall). Neko Musume (Cat Girl) appeared only once in the 20th episode. Only the first series was created as a black-and-white anime. 65 episodes. The animation production by Toei Animation. The music by Taku Izumi. The sequels/remakes have been produced many times. There are the second TV series (1971-1972, 45 episodes), the third TV series (1985-1988, 115 episodes), the fourth TV series (1996-1998, 114 episodes), and the fifth TV series (2007-). There are also seven original movie versions (released in the 1980s and 1990s).
Kyojin no Hoshi/Star of the Giants
An emotional, feature-length drama depicting a father and son who had devoted their lives to Japanese professional baseball. Based on the manga (graphic novel) by Ikki Kajiwara (story) and Noboru Kawasaki (drawing). A classic masterpiece of so-called 'Sports Konjou' genre ('konjou' means something like guts or spirit) and one of the nationally-popular manga/anime works. The story of a boy named Hyuma Hoshi, who became a powerful baseball pitcher with precision control and blazing fastball, through his hard practice and special training under his father Ittetsu Hoshi, who was once a third baseman of the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, a leading team in Japanese pro baseball league, but he injured his shoulder by the World War Two and retired. Hyuma joined the Giants and fights fiercely against his lifetime rival Mitsuru Hanagata, the batting genius of the Hanshin Tigers, developing his 'pitching magics'. Directed by Tadao Nagahama. Produced by Tokyo Movie. 182 episodes. There are also the sequel TV series, 'Shin Kyojin no Hoshi' (52 episodes, aired in 1977-78) and 'Shin Kyojin no Hoshi II' (23 episodes, aired in 1979). 'Kyojin no Hoshi Special Edition: Fierce Tiger Mitsuru Hanagata' (13 episodes, aired in 2002) is the re-edited version of the first TV series (with some new shots added), featuring Mitsuru Hanagata as the leading character.
A classic masterpiece of so-called 'Sports Konjou' ('konjou' means something like guts or spirit) anime for girls. Based on the manga (graphic novel) by Chikako Urano (serialized in the magazine Weekly 'Margaret' in 1968-1970). The story of a girl named Kozue Ayuhara, who transferred from Tokyo to the junior high school of the Fujimi Academy in Shizuoka Pref, and joined the volleyball club. She became the captain of the team. Training hard with the coach and her teammates, she fights against other powerful teams in junior and senior high interscholastic tournaments, aiming for the No.1 team in volleyball. This series became a big hit with the popularity of volleyball in Japan in the 1960s, and aired in European countries too. There were some professional volleyball players (Italian Francesca Piccinini and others) who started playing volleyball under the influence of this anime. 104 episodes. Directed by Fumio Kurokawa, Eiji Okabe and others. The animation produced by Tokyo Movie. The Italian title: "Quella magnifica dozzina" (the 1st edition in 1981) and "Mimì e la nazionale di pallavolo" (the 2nd edition in 1983), the French title: "Les attaquantes", the German title: "Mila Superstar".
Ninja Kamui(Ninpuu Kamui Gaiden)
Another masterpiece of ninja action story/historical drama based on Sanpei Shirato's graphic novel, following 'Sasuke'. Ths story of a runaway ninja named Kamui, who left ninja organization and fought against the pursuers. 26 episodes. Produced by TCJ.
An unique historical drama based on the manga 'Dororo' by Osamu Tezuka (serialized in 1967-69), which was influenced by Sanpei Shirato's dramatic manga and Shigeru Mizuki's 'Yokai' (Japanese traditional monsters/specters) manga. Set in the Warring States Period of feudal Japan (late 15th century). The leading characters are a boy named Hyakkimaru, who has been deprived of the 48 parts of his body by demons when he was born, and Dororo, an orphan boy (girl in reality) and thief. Wandering about with Dororo, Hyakkimaru gets rid of specters and gets back the lost parts of his body one by one. A monochrome film with massive images. 26 episodes. The first half (episode 1-13) is serious and faithful to the original manga. The latter one (episode 14-26) is more child-oriented and has many original episodes for anime version only. The title has been changed to 'Dororo and Hyakkimaru' since the 14th episode. The supervising director is Gisaburo Sugii. Produced by Mushi Production. There is also the pilot film (in color) produced before the TV series.
One of the masterworks in the sports anime genre, ranking with "Kyojin no Hoshi/Star of the Giants" (baseball anime, 1968-71) and "Ashita no Joe/Tomorrow's Joe" (boxing anime, 1970-71). The story of a young man raised in an orphanage, named Naoto Date, who became 'Tiger Mask', a tiger-masked, villainous wrestler because of his training in "Tiger's Hole", an organization for training villainous wrestlers. But he decided to fight for disadvantaged children and broke off with "Tiger's Hole". After that he plays life-or-death battles against villainous wrestlers from "Tiger's Hole" on the ring. Based on the pro wrestling manga (graphic novel) by Ikki Kajiwara (story) and Naoki Tsuji (drawing). 105 episodes. The animation production by Toei Animation. There is the sequel TV series 'Tiger Mask II' (1981-82, 33 episodes) too.
Lupin III(1st series)
A young-oriented action anime featuring Lupin III (a grandson of Arsène Lupin and elusive master thief) and his gang: Daisuke Jigen (a gunman), Goemon Ishikawa (a swordman) and Fujiko Mine (a mystery woman). Based on Monkey Punch's manga (graphic novel). The first TV series. 23 episodes. The first 6 episodes directed by Masaaki Oosumi were in hard boiled style. The latter half directed by Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki was more comedy-oriented. Produced by Tokyo Movie. In Japan, this first series got popularity on the rerun, and after that the 2 sequel TV series and lots of the movie versions and TV specials were produced, and Lupin III became a nationally-popular anime.
Apache Baseball Team
A daring and unorthodox baseball anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Kobako Hanato (story) and Sachio Umemoto (drawing). A young man named Takeshi Dojima, who had once led Asahi to the high school baseball championship as a left-handed pitcher, went down to the Inosaru Village deep in the mountains in Matsuyama, Shikoku Island of southwestern Japan, and became a baseball coach at the private school. He teaches baseball to poor and rude students, and they try to enter the high school baseball tournament. 26 episodes. Directed by Kazuya Miyazaki and others. Produced by Toei Animation.
Triton of the Sea
An ocean adventure story set in the seas of the world. Based on the manga (graphic novel) by Osamu Tezuka. The leading character, Triton is a boy and descendant of the Triton race who had lived in the Atlantis. He fights against the Poseidon race, the rulers of the seas, together with his fellows (dolphins and a girl mermaid named Pipi). Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. The animation production by Animation Staff Room. 27 episodes.
An unorthodox hero action/horror anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Go Nagai. The story of a high school boy named Akira Fudo, who was united with a Demon and became a Devilman, but decided to fight against the Demons to defend his beloved girl, Miki Makimura. 39 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. There are the OAV series too. The manga version is one of the greatest works of Japanese manga.
Mazinger Z(Tranzor Z)
The first big hit in 'Giant Robot' anime genre. Mazinger Z is a giant robot operated by the pilot. The story of a boy named Koji Kabuto, who operates Mazinger Z and fights against Dr. Hell, a scientist plotting the world domination, and his 'Machine Beasts' corps. Based on Go Nagai's manga (graphic novel). 92 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. Aired in some European countries in the 1970s. Aired on the US TV under the title of 'Tranzor Z'.
Gatchaman(Battle of the Planets/G-Force)
A masterpiece of Sci-Fi action anime. The original Japanese title is 'Science Ninja Team Gatchaman'. A group of five young men (Ken the Eagle/Gatchaman, Joe the Condor, Jun the Swan, Jinpei the Swallow, Ryu the Horned Owl) called 'Science Ninja Team' fights against an evil secret society 'Gallactor' who plots to conquer the Earth. Aired on the US TV under the title of 'Battle of the Planets' in 1978 and made a hit (though almost all the action scenes were cut). There is another English-dubbed version 'G-Force: Guardians of Space' (1986) too. 105 episodes. Produced by Tatsunoko Production.
A Sci-Fi action anime featuring an android hero. A robotics researcher, Dr. Kotaro Azuma designed an andorid BK-1 as a robot for pollution processing, but BK-1 set up the robot army called 'Andro Army' and launched a war against humans, calling himself 'Braiking Boss'. To counter the rebellion of the robots, Dr. Azuma's son, Tetsuya changed into an android 'Casshern', and fights against the Andro Army, with the help of his childhood girlfriend Luna Kozuki and a robotic dog Flender. A tragic drama depicting the lonely battle of an android hero. 35 episodes. The general director is Hiroshi Sasagawa. Produced by Tatsuo Yoshida and Tatsunoko Production.
Babil II(Babel II)
A supernatural Sci-Fi anime based on Mitsuteru Yokoyama's manga (graphic novel). The leading character is a boy named Koichi, who was a distant descendant of a space alien Babil. He inherits supernatural power and super science from Babil and fights with his 3 servants (an amorphous creature Rodem, a monstrous bird Ropros and a giant robot Poseidon) against Yomi, an evil psychic who plots the world domination. 39 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. There is the OAV version too.
Ace wo Nerae!/Aim for the Ace!(1st series)
A sports/youth drama set in the high-school tennis world. Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Sumika Yamamoto. The story of Hiromi Oka, a girl student in Nishi Prefectural High School, a prestigious high school in the tennis world, who had joined the tennis club because of just adoring the ace player Reika Ryuuzaki (nicknamed 'Ocho-Fujin/Madame Butterfly'), but she got intensive training by the male coach Jin Munakata, and became an able player little by little. The 1st TV series. Directed by Osamu Dezaki. Produced by Tokyo Movie. 26 episodes. There are the 2nd TV series, movie version and OAV series too.
A heroine action anime with light sexual attraction. Based on Go Nagai's manga (graphic novel). The leading character, Honey Kisaragi is a high school girl at the St. Chapel Academy, and an android created by her father Dr. Kisaragi, an authority on robotics. She fights against the crime syndicate called 'Panther Claw'. 25 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. There is the OAV version too. The TV series 'Cutey Honey F (Flash)' (1997-98) is a remake of this series in a girls' manga (graphic novel) style.
A daring and amusing baseball anime by the creators of the blockbuster 'Star of the Giants': Ikki Kajiwara (original writer) and Tadao Nagahama (director). Based on the manga (graphic novel) by Ikki Kajiwara (story) and Koo Inoue (drawing). The leading character is an insolent wild boy named Ban Bamba, who was raised on the rough sea in Tosa, southern Japan. He was a baseball pitcher noted for the blazing fastball and the worst control, but he joined the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants in Japanese pro baseball league, and fights hard battles against his rival batters (Hikaru Mayuzuki of the Yakult Atoms, and Mansaku Taiho of the Chunichi Dragons), developing his incredible pitching magics such as 'high-jump pitching'. Directed by Tadao Nagahama. The drawing director is Yasuo Otsuka. 46 episodes. Produced by Tokyo Movie.
Heidi(Heidi, Girl of the Alps)
Well-known in Europe. The story of Heidi, a little girl living at a cabin in the foot of the Alps in Switzerland. Based on the novel by Johanna Spyri, the female novelist from Switzerland. Directed by Isao Takahata. Hayao Miyazaki joined this work as a scene designer and scene organizer. 52 episodes. Produced by Zuiyo Pictures.
Hurricane Polimar(Hurricane Polymar)
A Sci-Fi martial-arts action anime. The story of Takeshi Yoroi, a 16-year-old boy and private detective's assistant, who transforms himself into an invincible hero called Hurricane Polimar and fights against crime syndicates. 26 episodes. The supervising director is Hisayuki Toriumi. Produced by Tatsunoko Production. There is the OAV version too.
The story of a team of 3 boys who operate a giant robot called Getter Robo, formed by transformation and combination of 3 machines in 3 patterns. The original works by Go Nagai, Ken Ishikawa and Dynamic Productions. One of the classics of robot animes. Very influential in the later robot animes. 51 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation.
The sequel to Mazinger Z. The story of a young man named Tetsuya Tsurugi, who operates Great Mazinger (a giant robot built by Dr. Kenzo Kabuto, father of Koji Kabuto) and fights against the aggression by the Mycenae Empire. Much better in visual quality than Mazinger Z. 56 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation.
Space Battleship Yamato(Star Blazers)
A pioneering work of full-scale Sci-Fi anime. In the 2199, the Earth had been bombed by the planet Gamilus and contaminated by radioactivity. The human race was in danger of extinction. The space battleship Yamato and the crew aim for the planet Iskandall, to get the radioactivity removal equipment 'Cosmo Cleaner' there, fighting against the Gamilus. The original works and direction by Leiji Matsumoto, a manga artist. 26 episodes. Produced by Office Academy. 'Star Blazers', aired on the US TV in 1979, was an English dubbed version (a digest) edited from this TV series.
The Adventures of Gamba
An impressive adventure story with anthropomorphized animals as characters. The story of a city mouse named Gamba and his fellow mice, who embark on an adventurous journey over sea in order to save island mice from slaughter by a group of weasels led by a white weasel named Noroi. Based on the juvenile by Atsuo Saito. 26 episodes. The chief director was Osamu Dezaki. Produced by Tokyo Movie.
UFO Robo Grendizer(Goldorak/Goldrake)
The 3rd of the 'Mazinger' series. The story about Duke Fleed, the prince of the planet Fleed, who operates a giant robot called Grendizer and fights to save the earth. The original works by Go Nagai and Dynamic Planning. 74 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. Aired on TV in Europe in the late 1970s and made a big hit. The French title was 'Goldorak'. The Italian title was 'Goldrake'.
Reideen(Reideen The Brave)
One of the classics of robot animes. The leading character Akira Hibiki is a junior high school boy and the captain of the soccer club, who operates a giant robot called Reideen and fights against The Devil Empire. The flowing style of character designs and drawings by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Tadao Nagahama. 50 episodes. Produced by NET and Tohoku Shinsha. The latter half directed by Nagahama was the run-up to his later 'romantic robot anime trilogy' (Combattler V, Voltes V and Daimos).
Marco/From the Apennines to the Andes/Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri
One of the masterpieces of 'World Masterpieces Theater' (children's anime based on literary works) series produced by Nippon Animation. Directed by Isao Takahata. Based on the short story 'From the Apennines to the Andes', which is an episode from 'Cuore' (1886), the masterpiece of Italian juvenile literature written by Edmondo De Amicis. The original Japanese title 'Haha o Tazunete Sanzenri' means '3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother'. The story of Marco, a boy from Genova, Italy, who makes a long journey from Genova to Argentina in search of his mother. 52 episodes.
The story of a team of 5 teenagers who operate a giant robot called Combattler V, formed by transformation and combination of 5 machines, and fight against the invasion by aliens. The supervising director is Tadao Nagahama. 54 episodes. Produced by Toei.
Gaiking(Daiku Maryu Gaiking)
The original robot anime by Toei Animation. The story of an ex-baseball player Sanshiro Tsuwabuki, who became one of the crew of the dinosaur-type space fortress called Daiku Maryu, and started to fight against the Black Horror Corps, invaders from outer space, as the pilot of the giant robot called Gaiking. 44 episodes.
Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, director of the Gundam series. His early work. The character designs are cartoonish, but the story is too serious. The starting point of realistic robot animes. 23 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Future Boy Conan
A Sci-Fi adventure story set in the future world after the final war. A wild boy, Conan goes on an adventurous journey to help a girl named Lana (granddaughter of Dr. Briac Lao, the developer of the solar energy), who was abducted by an autocratic scientific city called Industria. An adaptation from Alexander Key's novel, 'The Incredible Tide'. 26 episodes. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The greatest work of Miyazaki anime. Produced by Nippon Animation.
Space Pirate Captain Herlock
A heroic Sci-Fi drama based on Leiji Matsumoto's manga (serialized in the magazine Weekly 'Play Comic' in 1977-1979). The story of a space pirate Captain Herlock, who takes a space battleship 'Arcadia' (constructed by his best friend Tochiro Oyama) and fights against the invaders from space, called 'Mazone' (a female-type alien race evolved from plants). The storyline is basically based on the original manga version, but it has also original episodes and characters not in the original, such as Mayu Oyama (Tochiro's daughter) and Kiruda (the chief of the Earth Federation Guard). The character designs by Kazuo Komatsubara are very faithful to the original manga version. The chief director is Taro Rin. Produced by Toei Animation. 42 episodes. There are also another films featuring Captain Herlock: the movie 'Arcadia of My Youth' (1982), the TV series 'Arcadia of My Youth: Endless Orbit SSX' (1982-83), the OAV 'Harlock Saga: Der Ring Des Nibelungen -Das Rhein Gold-' (1999), the TV series 'Cosmo Warrior Zero' (2001), the TV series 'Gun Frontier' (2002), and the OAV 'Space Pirate Captain Herlock: Outside Legend -The Endless Odyssey-' (2002-2003).
Shin Ace wo Nerae!/Aim for the Ace!(2nd series)
See the paragraph about the Aim for the Ace! first TV seires. The second TV series produced because the first series got popularity on the rerun. Not the sequel, but a remake. More faithful to the original manga (graphic novel) by Sumika Yamamoto than the first series, and more youth/school drama oriented than the first series that was a variant of the 'sports-spirit' genre. The chief director is Minoru Okazaki. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. 25 episodes.
Galaxy Express 999
A fantastic Sci-Fi anime based on Leiji Matsumoto's manga (graphic novel). The story about space travel in the future world. The hero Tetsuro Hoshino is a boy who travels with a mysterious woman named Maetel to get a mechanical body (eternal life) by 999, a spaceship which looks like a steam locomotive. The chief director is Nobutaka Nishizawa. 113 episodes. Produced by Toei Animation. There are the movie versions too.
Anne of Green Gables
One of the masterpieces of 'World Masterpieces Theater' (children's anime based on literary works) series produced by Nippon Animation. Directed by Isao Takahata. Based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the female novelist from Canada. The story of Anne Shirley, a girl living in the Prince Edward Island of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada. 50 episodes.
Mobile Suit Gundam
The highest peak of robot animes. A watershed between the 1970s heroic 'Super Robot' anime and 'Real Robot' anime since the 1980s. The story of a civil war in the future space-colonization age ('the One Year War' between the Earth Federation and Duchy of Zeon in 0079-80 Universal Century). Gundam is one of the giant humanoid fighting vehicles called 'mobile suits', and the pilot is a 16-year-old boy named Amuro Ray. The 1st TV series directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 43 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There is also the movie version trilogy edited from this TV series. In conjunction with the popularity of the plastic models of mobile suits, many other 'Gundam' series have been produced as TV series, movies and OAVs.
Lady Oscar/The Rose of Versailles
Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Riyoko Ikeda. Historical drama/romance set in France on the Eve of the French Revolution. The story of Oscar Francoise de Jarjayes, a military woman, who had worked as the head of the palace guard for the Queen Marie Antoinette, and afterward went over to revolutionaries. Directed by Tadao Nagahama and Osamu Dezaki. 40 episodes. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha.
The second of the one-shot TV animations produced by Tezuka Production and aired in NTV's special special program "24 Hour Television" (91 minute). A sea-adventure/Sci-Fi/mystery set in an undersea express train and the super ancient Mu Empire. A Japanese private detective Shunsaku Ban took a Trans-Pacific undersea railroad "Marine Express" and investigated a murder case, but the train suddenly went beyond time and space and jumped to the Mu Empire 10,000 years ago. An all-star film featuring Tezuka's characters such as Rock Home, Shunsaku Ban (Higeoyaji), Black Jack, Atom from "Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy", Sapphire from "Ribbon no Kishi/Princess Knight", Leo/Kimba from "Jungle Taitei/Kimba the White Lion", Hosuke Sharaku from "Mitsume ga Tooru/The Three-Eyed One", Don Dracula, Dr. Ochanomizu, Duke Red, Acetylene Lamp, Skunk Kusai, Ham Egg, Marukubi Boon, and Kojiro Sasaki. The original story and organization by Osamu Tezuka. The chief director is Tetsu Dezaki.
Ashita no Joe 2(Tomorrow's Joe 2)
See the paragraph about the movie Ashita no Joe. The 2nd TV series based on the latter part of the story of the original manga version. After the death of rival Toru Rikiishi, Joe Yabuki came back as a boxer, won the Orient-Pacific bantamweight championship, and challenged Jose Mendoza, the world's bantamweight champion from Mexico. Directed by Osamu Dezaki. 47 episodes. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha.
Ideon(Legendary Giant God Ideon)
A full-scale Sci-Fi drama dealing with the metaphysical theme about mankind's egoism and 'transmigration'. The story of the space war between Earthians and aliens over a legendary unlimited energy called 'Ide'. In the 2300s, the people who had emigrated to the planet Solo from the Earth went into combat with the aliens called 'Baff Clan', and run away into space with the spaceship 'Solo Ship' and a giant robot called 'Ideon', which were the ruins of vanished aliens on the planet Solo. The director of the Gundam series, Yoshiyuki Tomino's another masterpiece. 39 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There is the movie version (last program) too.
Urusei Yatsura(Those Obnoxious Aliens)
Sci-Fi slapstick and romantic comedy based on Rumiko Takahashi's manga (graphic novel). 'Urusei Yatsura' means something like 'Those Troublesome Aliens'. The leading characters are Ataru Moroboshi (a high-school boy and woman chaser) and Lum (an alien girl like 'Oni', the Japanese demon). 218 episodes. The chief directors were Mamoru Oshii (episodes 1-129) and Kazuo Yamazaki (episodes 130-218). The animation production by Studio Pierrot.
Macross(Super Dimensional Fortress Macross)
A Sci-Fi/love story featuring mecha-action and pretty girl characters. The story of Macross, the supergiant space battleship fighting against alien invaders. The starting point of 'Otaku-ish' anime since the 1980s (anime of the anime fans, by the anime fans, for the anime fans). The chief director is Noboru Ishiguro. 36 episodes. See Macross Official Homepage. The design of 'VF-1 Valkyrie' (the Variable Fighter that transforms into a robot) is modeled after the US Navy's F-14 Tomcat. 'Robotech', which was aired on the US TV in 1985, was a composition of Macross and other two robot animes (Mospeada and Southern Cross).
A humorous and extremely delightful robot anime. The story about a revolutionary war against the governing classes in the future world. The characters are so vivid, and the mechanical designs which look like jeeps or machine tools are unique. Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 50 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Minky Momo(1st series)
One of the masterpieces of 'Magical Girl' anime genre. The heroine Momo is a girl who can change into various able women. A fairy-tale slapstick comedy. The theme is "dreaming". The first TV series. The original works by Takeshi Syudo. Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. 63 episodes. Produced by Ashi Production.
Space Adventure Cobra
A Sci-Fi action anime in the American-comic/space opera style. Based on Buichi Terasawa's manga (graphic novel). The leading character Cobra is a one-man space pirate who resists Space Mafia Guild. Directed by Osamu Dezaki and Yoshio Takeuchi. 31 episodes. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. There is the movie version too.
A comedy/gag anime on spy/cloak-and-dagger action and Shounen-ai/boylove (aesthetic homosexuality between males, especially for beautiful boys), which is a popular theme of Japanese girls' manga (graphic novel) since the 1970s. Based on Mineo Maya's popular manga of the same title, which is serialized in the girls' manga magazine 'Hana to Yume' since 1979 for long periods. The leading characters are Patalliro du Marinel VIII (a ten-year-old boy. The king of Marinera, the land of perpetual spring), Major Jack Bancolin (an intelligence officer of MI6, Britain's military intelligence division), Maraich (an assassin-turned boy and Bancolin's lover) and others. 49 episodes. The title is changed to 'Boku Patalliro! (I'm Patalliro!)' after the 21st episode. The chief director is Nobutaka Nishizawa. The animation produced by Toei Animation. There is also the movie version 'Patalliro! Stardust Program' (1983). The TV series 'Patalliro Saiyuki!' (aired in 2005, 26 episodes) is the anime version of the original side story. Patalliro's 'Cock Robin Ondo' (Cock Robin Dance Song), known for its phrase "Who Killed Cock Robin?", is originally a quotation from 'Kotori no Su (Little Bird's Nest)', one of the episodes of Moto Hagio's 'Poe no Ichizoku (The Poe Clan)', which is based on Mother Goose rhymes (English traditional nursery rhymes).
A unique situation comedy/gag anime featuring a boy who looks just like a beautiful girl. Based on the manga by Hisashi Eguchi (serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump in 1981-1983). A high school boy Kousaku Sakamoto came to live with Ibari Oozora, who was an ex-boyfriend of Kousaku's dead mother, but Ibari Oozora is a yakuza (Japanese mafia) boss, and his son Hibari Oozora is a shemale. Kousaku goes to the same school as Hibari, and he found Hibari acts as a girl in school and everybody except the Oozora family don't know Hibari is a boy. A novel work produced as a kind of anti-romantic comedy, which was against the romantic comedy genre blooming in those days. 35 episodes. The original manga was stopped without being completed shortly after the TV broadcast started, so in the latter half, there are several original episodes (not in the manga) and diversions from the stories of other Eguchi works, such as "Susume! Pirates" and "Hinomaru Gekijo". The series director is Takashi Hisaoka. The animation produced by Toei Animation.
Armored Trooper Votoms
A realistic robot anime, like the Gundam series. Votoms are robots operated by soldiers, like tanks. It means "Vertical One-man Tank for Offense & Maneuver". Directed by Ryosuke Takahashi. 52 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Round Vernian Vifam
A Sci-Fi adventure anime like Jules Verne's novel, 'Two Years Holiday' ('Deux Ans de Vacances'). The story of 13 children-Scott Heyward (15 years old), Clare Barbland (14), Roddy Shuffle (14), Barts Lyan (14), Maki Rowell (13), Shalon Publin (11), Fred Shuffle (10), Pench Eliza (10), Katue Pearson (age unknown), Kentz Norton (9), Jimmy Eril (7), Marlo Jr. Bonner (4) and Routinie Pressette (4)-who drift in outer space, taking the training spaceship 'Janous', and fighting against the arien Kuktonian's attack. 'Vifam' is one of the Round Vernians (humanoid mobile weapons) of the Earth Force. Directed by Takeyuki Kanda. The Characters designed by Toyoo Ashida (the character designer of 'Dr. Slump: Arare-chan' and 'Minky Momo'). 46 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There are the OAVs (1984-85) and the new TV series 'Vifam 13' (26 episodes, 1998) too.
Magical Angel Creamy Mami
The 1st of the 'Magical Girl' series by Studio Pierrot, the production company of 'Urusei Yatsura'. The leading character Yuu Morisawa is a fifth-grade elementary school girl (10 years old) of the St. Remy Academy. She had been just a girl next door, but she transforms herself into a 17-year-old idol singer called Creamy Mami, by the power of a Magical World 'Feather Star', and participates actively in the show business. Directed by Osamu Kobayashi. 52 episodes. The are the 4 OAVs too.
Aura Battler Dunbine
A fantastic robot anime. The scene is laid in another world, like fairyland. Dunbine is a biological big robot, like a bug. Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 49 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Cat's Eye(1st series)
An action anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Tsukasa Hojo. The leading characters Rui, Hitomi and Ai Kisugi are 3 sisters and mysterious thieves wearing leotards, who steal art objects (jewels and paintings) that were once their father's collections, in order to find their missing father. The chief director was Yoshio Takeuchi. 36 episodes. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. There are the sequel and live-action movie version too.
The anime version of the manga (serialized in 1980-85) by Hideo Azuma, who is popular with maniacs for his surreal, 'absurd' Sci-Fi/comedy and cute little girl character. The second anime series based on Hideo Azuma's manga, following the previous series 'Koro Koro Pollon' (aired in 1982-83). A nonsensical slapstick comedy featuring a timid girl named Nanako, who had lost her memory, but had got psychic powers and became a 'supergirl'. A self-proclaimed 'scientist of genius', a boy student named Yotsuya tries to use Nanako's powers to make money, administering a handyman company. 39 episodes. Directed Akira Shigino, Tetsuro Amino and others. Produecd by Kokusai Eigasha. The Italian title was 'Nanà Supergirl'. The French title was 'Supernana'.
Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the North Star
The anime version of the martial-arts/violent action manga (graphic novel) by Bronson (story) and Tetsuo Hara (drawing). Set in a war-ravaged, lawless world ruled by violence after a nuclear war. The leading character is a guy named Kenshiro, who is a successor of 'Hokuto-shinken', the school of martial arts for assassination (it destroys the human body from within). 152 episodes. Directed by Toyoo Ashida. Produced by Toei. There are the anime movie version (1986) and Hollywood live-action version (1995) too.
Heavy Metal L-Gaim
A stylish and fashionable robot anime. The character designs and mechanical designs are refined. Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 54 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Panzer World Galient
A fantastic robot anime. The scene is laid in another planet, like the world of the medieval knight. Directed by Ryosuke Takahashi. 25 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Mobile Suit Z Gundam(Zeta Gundam)
The sequel to Mobile Suit Gundam. A complicated story about a three-cornered fight of Titans (the elite of the Earth Federal Forces), A.E.U.G. (Anti-Earth Union Group) and Axis (the remnants of Zeon) in 0087 Universal Century. A 17-year-old boy, Camille Vidan joins A.E.U.G., and as the pilot of Zeta Gundam, fights against Titans, with Quattro Bagina (Char Aznable). Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 50 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
A Sci-Fi action anime based on Haruka Takachiho's novel. The story of Kei and Yuri, a girl duo who work in the WWWA (Worlds Welfare Work Association) as galactic troubleshooters. 26 episodes (the 25th and 26th episodes were not aired on TV). Produced by Sunrise. There are the movie version and OAVs too.
The action adventure anime based on Akira Toriyama's popular manga (graphic novel) 'Dragon Ball', which was serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump in 1984-1995. The story of a martial artist boy Son Goku, who keeps on training himself to be the strongest martial artist, making an adventurous journey with a girl named Bulma in search of 'Dragonballs', magical spheres which can fulfill any wish if all the seven were gathered together. The storyline is basically faithful to the original manga vesion, but there are also lots of the anime original episodes not in the manga vesion. The first TV series 'Dragon Ball' describes the story until Son Goku won the 23rd World Martial-Arts Tournament, beating Piccolo (MaJunior), and got married to a girl named Chichi. 153 episodes. The series directors are Minoru Okazaki and Daisuke Nishio. Produced by Toei Animation. There are also the sequel TV series 'Dragon Ball Z' (aired in 1989-96, 291 episodes) and 'Dragon Ball GT' (aired in 1996-97, 64 episodes).
Based on Rumiko Takahashi's manga (graphic novel). The comic love story set in an apartment house named Ikkoku-kan. The leading characters are the apartment-house manager Kyoko Otonashi (a widow) and the tenant Yusaku Godai (a student). 96 episodes. Produced by Kitty Film. The animation produced by Studio DEEN. In Japan the original manga version is more famous than the anime version.
Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac)
The martial-arts action anime featuring five good-looking boys, Pegasus/Seiya, Dragon/Shiryu, Cygnus/Hyoga, Andromeda/Shun and Phoenix/Ikki, who are the 'Saints', the fighters in armors called 'Clothes'. Based on the manga (graphic novel) by Masami Kurumada. Gained wide popularity among female fans because of the beautiful boy characters with sex appeal. 114 episodes. The series director is Kozo Morishita. The characters designed by Shingo Araki and Michi Himeno. Produced by Toei Animation. There is the completely new OVA series 'Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter-Sanctuary' (13 episodes, released in 2003) too.
Dragon Ball Z
See the paragraph about the first TV series 'Dragon Ball'. The martial-arts action anime series aired in 42 countries in the world. The sequel to the first TV series 'Dragon Ball' based on Akira Toriyama's manga. The leading character is Son Goku, the world's strongest guy. Five years after beating Piccolo at the 23rd World Martial-Arts Tournament, Goku had been married to Chichi, and they had their son, Son Gohan. Goku and his fellows fight overwhelming battles against new enemies, like Saiyan fighter Vegeta, evil emperor Frieza and so on. 291 episodes. The series director is Daisuke Nishio. Produced by Toei Animation. There are lots of the movie versions and the sequel TV series 'Dragon Ball GT' (aired in 1996-97, 64 episodes) too.
Romantic comedy/martial-arts action anime based on Rumiko Takahashi's manga (graphic novel). The story of Ranma Saotome, a 16-year-old boy and martial artist, who turns into a girl whenever he's splashed with cold water. 161 episodes. Directed by Tsutomu Shibayama and others. Produced by Kitty Film. The animation produced by DEEN.
Patlabor(Patlabor The Mobile Police)
See the paragraph about the Patlabor OAV version. Concerning the visual quality, this TV series is a little poorer than the OAVs and movies, but the stories are interesting. Directed by Naoyuki Yoshinaga. 47 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Idol Tenshi Youkoso Yoko(Idol Angel Welcome Yoko)
A musical-style anime with full of the original songs. Starring Yoko Tanaka, a girl who dreams of being a singer at Shibuya in Tokyo. A series of fairy-tale and touching episodes about 'dreaming'. The original works by Takeshi Syudo. In common with his Minky Momo series, this work implies the theme of "dreaming closely related to harsh world of reality". Directed by Tetsuro Amino. 43 episodes. Produced by Big West and Ashi Production.
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
A sea adventure/action story/steampunk Sci-Fi adapted from Jules Verne's novel, '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' ('Vingt mille lieues sous les mers'). In the Paris Expo of 1889, Jean Rocque Raltique, a French boy with a mania for inventions, meets Nadia, an African girl working as a circus acrobat, and they embark upon an adventurous journey for exploring the secret of her wearing gemstone called 'Blue Water'. Directed by Hideaki Anno. 39 episodes. The animation production by GAINAX and others.
Brother, Dear Brother...
A serious campus-life drama set in a private girls' school. Based on the girls' manga by Riyoko Ikeda (serialized in 1974). The original title 'Oniisama E...' means 'To My Older Brother...'. Aired on the NHK (Japan's state-run station) satellite broadcasting. The story of a girl named Nanako Misonoo, who entered the senior high school of Seiran Academy. She was picked to join the 'sorority', a campus social club open only to the students selected, and then she is involved in the intricate relationship with devotion, adoration, jealousy, hidden kinships and so on. 39 episodes. The antique, elegant and aesthetic world of the original manga is finely adapted into an anime with beautiful images and lots of new episodes added. Directed by Osamu Dezaki. The character design and animation direction by Akio Sugino. The animation produced by Tezuka Production.
Minky Momo(2nd series)
The second TV series. The first half seemed to be a remake of the first series, but the latter half revealed it had been the sequel to the first series. The original works by Takeshi Syudo. Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. 62 episodes. Produced by Ashi Production.
Sailor Moon(1st series)
A variant of 'Magical Girl' anime genre. Well-known in the world. Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Naoko Takeuchi. The story of the group of 5 junior high girls (Usagi Tsukino and her fellows) who changes themselves into sailor-suited fighters and fight against the Dark Kingdom, an evil organization plotting to conquer the Earth. The character designs are beautiful. The first of the 5 TV series. 46 episodes. Directed by Junichi Sato. Produced by Toei Animation. The sequels, Sailor Moon R and Sailor Moon S are recommended too.
Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter/Poltergeist Report)
A fighting action anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Yoshihiro Togashi. The leading character is Yusuke Urameshi, a bad boy in the eighth grade, who died in a traffic accident trying to save a child, but came alive again and became a detective of the Spirit World. Yusuke and his party (Kazuma Kuwabara, Kurama and Hiei) fight fierce psychic martial-arts battles against monsters from the Demon World. Directed by Noriyuki Abe. 112 episodes. Produced by Studio Pierrot. There are the two movie versions too.
The anime version of the greatest basketball manga (graphic novel) 'Slam Dunk' by Takehiko Inoue. The original manga version (serialized in 1990-98) was a popular work that have increased drastically guys in Japan who want to join the basketball club, and the translated versions have been published in North America, Europe and Asia. The story of a red-headed tall guy Hanamichi Sakuragi, who was a freshman in the Kanagawa Prefectural Shohoku High School. He joined the basketball club on the suggestion of Haruko Akagi, the girl he fell in love with at first sight. He made rapid progress in basketball through coaching from the captain Takenori Akagi (Haruko's elder brother) and rivalry against a rookie and basketball genius, Kaede Rukawa, and he becomes a leading player of the Shohoku team that plays regional elimination matches for entering the national tournament. 101 episodes. The series director is Nobutaka Nishizawa. The animation produced by Toei Animation. There are the 4 movie versions (1994-95) too.
Mobile Suit V Gundam(Victory Gundam)
One of the Gundam sagas. The story of Usso Ewing, a 13-year-old boy soldier of The League Militaire (a civilian resistance organization), who operates V Gundam and fights against the aggression by the Zanscare Empire (in 0153 Universal Century). The theme is something like "a fight against religious salvation as maternal protection/oppression". Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. 51 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
I Can Hear the Sea/Ocean Waves
A one-shot TV special by the younger staff of Studio Ghibli. A youth film on bittersweet memories about fleeting love and triangular situation in adolescence. Based on the novel by Saeko Himuro. The leading character, Taku Morisaki is a student at an university in Tokyo. He looks back on Rikako Muto, a female classmate in their high school in Kochi Pref (a local city in southern Japan). Back in those days, she had transferred from Tokyo to Kochi because of her parents' divorce. She was a beautiful girl who was excellent in school and sports, and Taku's close friend Yutaka Matsuno fell in love with her. One day she takes a trip with Taku to Tokyo to meet her father. Produced by Young Creators' Group of Studio Ghibli. Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam
One of the Gundam sagas. Unlike the serious 'Universal Century Gundam' directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, a laughable and delightful 'martial arts' robot anime going back to the basics of giant robot anime (once called mockingly as 'Robot Wrestling' in the 1970s). In 60 Future Century, to avoid a full-scale war, space-colony nations have managed a proxy war system called 'Gundam Fight', in which each nation sends its representative fighter with Gundam-type robot to the Earth once every four years and makes them fight each other for political hegemony. On the 13th Gundam Fight, a young martial artist Domon Cush on his 'Shinning Gundam', as the representative of the space colony 'Neo Japan', fights against world Gundam fighters, looking for his elder brother Kyoji who seized the supergiant weapon 'Devil Gundam' and ran away to the Earth. 49 episodes. The supervising director is Yasuhiro Imagawa. Produced by Sunrise.
Akazukin ChaCha(Red Riding Hood ChaCha)
A slapstick comedy based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Min Ayahana. The Japanese word 'Akazukin' means 'a red hood' or 'Little Red Riding Hood'. The heroine Chacha is a little girl going to a Magic School to be a witch. The characters are so cute. Directed by Hatsuki Tsuji. The animation production by Studio Gallop. 74 episodes. There is the OAV version too.
Magic Knight Rayearth
A fantastic giant-robot anime like the Japanese RPG set in medieval world. Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by CLAMP. The story of 3 junior high girls, Hikaru Shido, Umi Ryuuzaki and Fuu Hououji, who were summoned by another world calld Cefiro, and there fight to save the world, as legendary 'Magic Knights' operating 3 giant robots called 'Mashin' (Magic God): Rayearth, Ceres and Windom. 49 episodes. Directed by Toshihiro Hirano. Produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. There are the videogame version (action RPG for Sega Saturn) and OAV series too.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
A Sci-Fi anime that succeeds to the spirit of Yamato and Gundam. In near future 'Tokyo-3', a 14-year-old introverted boy named Shinji Ikari operates Evangelion, the general-purpose humanoid fighting machine (gigantic humanoid robot), and fights against unidentified enemies called 'Angels'. Very high quality drawings/animations. Live-action-style direction. Mysterious plot development. Extremely internal psychological descriptions. Pedantic quotations from The Bible, psychoanalysis, biotechnology... The most important and controversial anime work in the 1990s. A product of self-critical consciousness within anime. Directed by Hideaki Anno. Produced by GAINAX and Tatsunoko Production. 26 episodes. The movie 'The End of Evangelion' was a remake of the last 2 episodes of this TV series.
One of the Gundam sagas. The story of 5 boys (Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner, and Chang Wufei) from the space colonies, who operate 5 Gundams (Wing Gundam, Gundam Deathscythe, Gundam Heavyarms, Gundam Sandrock, and Shenrong Gundam) and fight against the military autocracy of Oz, the secret society of the Earth Allied Forces (in 195 After Colony). Directed by Masashi Ikeda. 49 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There is the OAV series (the sequel) too.
Fushigi Yuugi (The Mysterious Play/Curious Play)
A fantasy love story based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Yuu Watase. The story of a ninth-grade junior high girl named Miaka Yuuki and her best friend Yui Hongo, who wandered off into another world within the book of ancient China. There Miaka became the 'Suzaku no Miko' (a female shaman for Red Chinese Phoenix) to save the Kounan Country with the help of 7 guardian men, and she got into a war with the neighboring Kutou Country, where Yui became the 'Seiryu no Miko' (a shaman for Blue Dragon). Directed by Hajime Kamegaki. 52 episodes. Produced by Studio Pierrot. There are the OAV series (the sequel) too.
A fantasy adventure/slapstick comedy set in the world of sword and magic. The story of a girl sorceress named Lina Inverse, who practices powerful offensive magic. Based on the original story by Hajime Kanzaka and the manga (graphic novel) by Rui Araizumi. Directed by Takashi Watanabe. The animation production by Easy Film. 26 episodes. There are the sequel TV series, OAVs and movies.
Tenchi Muyo!(Tenchi Universe)
See the paragraph about the Tenchi Muyo OAV version. Maybe this TV version is easier to understand than the OAV version and suits the popular taste. Directed by Hiroshi Negishi. 26 episodes. Produced by AIC.
A girl's anime on the lines of Sailor Moon. A romantic love story. The heroine is a junior high school girl named Momoko Hanasaki, a member of the newspaper club in the school, who transforms herself into a 'Love Angel' Wedding Peach and fights against the Devils. 51 episodes. Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. The animation production by KSS. There is the OAV series too.
The Vision of Escaflowne
A fantastic robot anime in a girl's-manga (graphic novel) style. A high-school girl, Hitomi Kanzaki is transferred to Gaea, another world like medieval world. There she meets Van Fanel, the prince of the Fanellia Kingdom, who fights against the invasion by the Zaibach Empire, operating Escaflowne, one of the giant robotic weapons called Guymelefs. Supervised by Shoji Kawamori. Directed by Kazuki Akane. 26 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There is the movie version too.
Martian Successor Nadesico
A Sci-Fi anime, like the Macross series. The story of Nadesico, the space battleship fighting against the invaders from Jupiter. A comprehensive compilation of various anime elements, like Sci-Fi, giant robot, galactic war, pretty girls, love story, drama, comedy, and so on. The anime within the anime 'Gekiganger 3' was a crafted parody of the 1970s gung-ho robot animes. Directed by Tatsuo Sato. 26 episodes. Produced by XEBEC. There is the movie version too.
Revolutionary Girl Utena(La Fillette Révolutionnaire Utena)
A cult anime by the director Kunihiko Ikuhara, one of the directors of Sailor Moon series. An ideal and metaphorical film, like an underground theater. The heroine, Utena Tenjou is a junior-high student at The Ohtori Academy and girl dressed as a man, who is involved in strange sword duels over Anthy Himemiya, a mysterious girl called 'The Rose Bride'. A highly critical work, like Evangelion. 39 episodes. The animation production by J.C.STAFF. There is the movie version too.
You're Under Arrest(1st series)
See the paragraph about the You're Under Arrest OAV version. The 1st TV series based on Kosuke Fujishima's manga (graphic novel). Car/bike action, comedy, love story and so on. 51 episodes (the first 4 episodes were edited versions from the OAV series). Directed by Hiroshi Watanabe and Junji Nishimura. Produced by Studio DEEN. There is the 2nd TV series too.
Magical Girl Pretty Sammy(Magical Project S)
A derivative spin-off from the Tenchi Muyo series. A parody of 'Magical Girl' anime genre. The story of a grade school girl named Sasami Kawai, who changes herself into a magical girl Pretty Sammy and fights against another bad magical girl Pixy Misa. Directed by Katsuhito Akiyama. 26 episodes. Produced by AIC. There is the OAV version too.
Kodomo no Omocha/Kodocha(Child's Toy)
Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Miho Obana. A slapstick comedy at fast tempos, but the story and themes are too serious. The story of Sana Kurata, a 12-year-old girl who is a child actress. Directed by Akitaroh Daichi. The animation production by Studio Gallop. 102 episodes.
A police action/romantic comedy based on the manga (graphic novel) by Mee. Set in the future Tokyo where humans and demons live side by side. The story of a girl named Natsuki Sasahara, who is half-human, half-demon cat and works as a member of a bounty hunter group to hunt criminals. Directed by Takahiro Oomori. The characters designed by Keiji Goto (the character designer/drawing director of 'Nadesico'). 25 episodes. The animation production by Studio Pierrot.
Shin Tenchi Muyo!(Tenchi in Tokyo)
See the paragraph about the Tenchi Muyo OAV version. The 2nd TV version of Tenchi Muyo series. The story of Tenchi Masaki, who starts to live alone in Tokyo, and meets a girl named Sakuya Kumashiro in high school. I think this is inferior to the 1st TV series in quality. Recommended to die-hard Tenchi fans only. Directed by Nobuhiro Takamoto. 26 episodes. Produced by AIC.
GaoGaiGar(GaoGaiGar The King of Braves)
The last and great work of the 'Brave' Series (giant robot animes for boy children in lower grades) by Sunrise. The story of GGG (Gutsy Geoid Guard/three G), the secret defense organization that fights against the invasion by extra-terrestrial intelligent life. A young cyborg named Guy Shishio, as a member of GGG, fuses with machines into the Super Mechanoid 'GaoGaiGar' and fights against the enemy, mechanical life called Zonder. Directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani. 49 episodes. There is the OAV series (the sequel) too.
A faithfully-animated version of the introductory part of 'Berserk', the dark fantasy saga/violent action manga (graphic novel) by Kentaro Miura. The original manga version is a must-read masterpiece. The scene is laid in another world like medieval Europe. The story of a swordman named Guts, who became a member of the 'Hawk Soldiers', a mercenary group led by the charismatic leader Griffith. As a regular army of the Midland Kingdom, the Hawk Soldiers brought to an end the Hundred Years' War against the Tudor Empire, and Griffith got a peerage of the kingdom, but after Guts left, Griffith lost his position, and transmigrated into 'Femto', one of the 'God Hands', by sacrificing the members of the Hawk Soldiers. 25 episodes. Directed by Naohito Takahashi. The animation production by OLM.
A short film by Koji Morimoto (the director of 'Memories/Magnetic Rose', 'Noiseman Sound Insect' and 'The Animatrix/Beyond') and Studio 4°C. The 53 episodes (29 minutes in total) was aired as a series of TV commercial films for NTTPC Communications' Internet-access service "InfoSphere". The story of six men and women, who are complete strangers to each other, but they are given artificial memories and live together as a family in a capsule home, and their daily lives are covered live on TV as a realistic home drama in "Hodgepodge City" in cyber space. An unique work with a whirl of surreal and funky images. The director/character designer/production designer is Koji Morimoto. Produced by Beyond C.
serial experiments lain
A supernatural psycho-horror anime. The theme is loss of actuality or self-identity crisis in computer network. The story of a junior high school girl named Lain Iwakura, who got e-mail from a self-slaughtered schoolmate, and found another herself in cyberspace called 'Wired'. A difficult and mysterious, but thoughtful film considering critically high-tech mysticism (cyberspace as C. G. Jung's Collective Unconsciousness, David Bohm's Implicate Order, or spiritual world). Directed by Ryutaro Nakamura. 13 episodes. Produced by Triangle Staff. There is the videogame version (Playstation) too.
A cool Sci-Fi action/drama set in the solar system of the year 2071. The leading characters are the quartet of bounty hunters and crew of the interplanetary ship Bebop: Spike Spiegel (a master of Jeet Kune Do), Jet Black (an ex-cop), Faye Valentine (a mysterious woman) and Ed (a hacker girl). Recommended to Lupin III fans. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe. 26 episodes. Produced by Sunrise. There is also the movie version.
A Sci-Fi/shoot-'em-up action anime based on the manga (graphic novel) by Yasuhiro Naito. On a future colonized planet, a superhuman gunfighter called Vash the Stampede confronts various accidents as an absolute pacifist who never kills people. The first half was a humane story in Western style. The latter half was a serious story about human life and death, which depicted the fight between Vash and the Gung-Ho-Guns, the gang of murderers controlled by his fatal enemy, Millions Knives. Directed by Satoshi Nishimura. The animation production by Madhouse. 26 episodes.
A Sci-Fi action/adventure anime set in the future of the space age. The story of a young bounty hunter Gene Starwind, who and his boy partner Jim Hawking had run a handyman firm, 'Starwind and Hawking Enterprises'. They take the spaceship Outlaw Star and explore the mysteries of a girl android Melfina and treasure called 'Dragon vein of Galaxy', fighting against space pirates. Directed by Mitsuru Hongo. The manga (graphic novel) version by Takehiko Ito. Produced by Sunrise. 26 episodes (the 16th and 23rd episodes were not aired on TV).
Cyber Team in Akihabara
An occult Sci-Fi/comedy set in an alternative, near-future Akihabara (the electric town in Tokyo). The story of a group of girls (Hibari Hanakoganei and her schoolmates) who got ability to summon 'mechanized goddesses' (immortal fighters) called 'Deva', by the plan of the Rose Cross/Rosen Kreuz, a secret society of alchemical scientists. Directed by Yoshitaka Fujimoto. The visual director was Tsukasa Kotobuki. The animation production by Ashi Production. 26 episodes. There is the movie version too.
Card Captor Sakura
Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by CLAMP. The story of a grade school girl named Sakura Kinomoto, who captures magical cards that cause disaster. Directed by Morio Asaka. The animation production by Madhouse. The 1st part consists of 46 episodes. The 2nd part consists of 24 episodes. There are the 2 movie versions. 'Cardcaptors' aired on the US TV was a drastically edited version from this series.
Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou/KareKano(His and Her Circumstances)
A comic love story set in high school. Based on the girls' manga (graphic novel) by Masami Tsuda. The story of Yukino Miyazawa, a high-school girl, who had cared too much about her appearance and played the honor student at school, but decided to be herself after falling in love with Soichiro Arima, an excellent boy student like her. Directed by Hideaki Anno. 26 episodes. Produced by J.C.STAFF and GAINAX.
A Sci-Fi horror action anime aired at midnight. Created by the staff of GaoGaiGar. The first wide-screen (vista size) anime series on TV. The story about a mysterious mass death phenomenon called Algernon and an enigmatic humanoid existence calld Betterman, who transforms himself into monstrous creatures. Directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani. 26 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Ojamajo Doremi(1st series)
A good-quality anime aimed at girl children, filled with laughter and tears. 'Ojamajo' means something like 'a witch nuisance'. The leading character is a grade school girl named Doremi Harukaze, who is a probationary witch. Based on the original story by Izumi Todo and the manga (graphic novel) by Shizue Takanashi. Directed by Junichi Sato (the first director of Sailor Moon series). Produced by Toei Animation. The 1st TV series. 51 episodes. The sequels are recommended too.
Mugen no Ryvius (Infinite Ryvius)
A Sci-Fi/political drama depicting a group of teenagers who try to survive in an extreme situation. In the 23rd Century, the half of the solar system has been submerged by the sea of high-temperature and high-pressure plasma, called 'Geduld', as a result of abnormal radiation of solar flare. A 16-year-old boy Kouji Aiba and his mates, a total of 487 trainee astronauts drift in outer space, living communally in a giant battleship called 'Ryvius', and fighting against the enemy's attack. Directed by Goro Taniguchi. 26 episodes. Produced by Sunrise.
Turn A Gundam
One of the Gundam sagas. Set in the Earth in the distant future (in CC 2345) when civilization degenerated into the stage of industrial revolution, after the era of space wars called Black History. The Moonrace, the settlers on the Moon, with their Queen Diana Sorel, tried returning to the Earth, and got into a war with the Militia of the Earth. A 17-year-old boy of the Moonrace, Rolan Seak, seeks to follow a path of coexistence between the Earthians and Moonrace, fighting as a member of Militia and the pilot of Turn A Gundam (a relic of 'Black History'). 50 episodes. Directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Produced by Sunrise. The movies 'Turn A Gundam: I. Earth Light/II. Moonlight Butterfly' (2002) were the re-edited versions of this TV series (with new scenes added).
Now and Then, Here and There
A serious action adventure/hard fantasy anime, as if Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece 'Future Boy Conan' was made more realistic and harsh. The story of a 14-year-old Japanese boy named Shuzo Matsutani (nicknamed Shu), who was time-warped to the Earth after 5 billion years, where a dictator named Hamdo had ruled the military state Heliwood and had conducted wars of aggression. In that hellish world, where child soldiers commit massacres, and women are forced to produce soldiers' children, Shu tries helping a mysterious girl named Lala Ru, who was abducted by Heliwood. Directed by Akitaroh Daichi. 13 episodes. The animation production by AIC.
The Big O
A Sci-Fi/giant-robot anime with a classical and stylish taste, influenced by American cartoons ('Batman' and the like), the US TV drama series of the 1960-70s, and Japanese old 'Tokusatsu' (live-action hero series with special photography/effects, like 'Giant Robo' and 'Ultraman' series). Set in the future city that lost the memories (past histories and technologies), called Paradigm City. The leading character is a man named Roger Smith, who works as a negotiator, and solves variety of cases by operating 'the Big O', a type of the giant robots called 'Mega-deus', developed by hypertechnology of the past. The first season had 13 episodes. Because the first season was aired on the US Cartoon Network and inundated with requests for the sequel, the second season (14th-26th episodes) was produced three years after. Directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama. The screenplay by Chiaki Konaka. Produced by Sunrise.
A romantic comedy based on the manga (graphic novel) by Ken Akamatsu. The story of a prep school boy named Keitaro Urashima, who aimed to enter the Tokyo University. He became a manager of a women's dormitory (former Japanese-style hotel) with open-air baths, named 'Hinata-sou', at a hot-spring town, and got emotionally involved with a girl tenant named Naru Narusegawa, who was also a student aiming to get into Tokyo Univ. Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki. The animation production by XEBEC. 25 episodes (the 25th episode was not aired on TV) and 2 TV specials. There is the OAV series too.
A Sci-Fi mecha action/romantic comedy like 'Macross' series and 'Nadesico'. The story of a 16-year-old boy named Hibiki Tokai, a mechanic from the planet Tarak (male-only military state), who came upon a gang of female pirates from the planet Mejale (all-women state), and lives with them in a battleship called Nirvana, fighting against unknown enemies' attack. 'Vandread' is a fighting mecha formed by combination of Tarak's powered suit 'Vanguard' and Mejale's fighter 'Dread'. The mecha action by using 3-D CG is cool. 13 episodes. Directed by Takeshi Mori. Produced by Gonzo. There is also the sequel (the second stage).
NieA_7 (Niea Under Seven)
A Sci-Fi/domestic comedy anime aired on the satellite channel WOWOW in 2000. Set in Japan of the future world where aliens have emigrated to the Earth and live among humans. The leading characters are: a dirt-poor preparatory school girl Mayuko Chigasaki, who rooms at a public bathhouse 'Enohana-Yu' in an old town and goes to prep school in Tokyo, working part-time, and Niea, an alien girl branded as the rank '_7' (the lowest degree of contribution to the Earth), who somehow stays at Mayuko's room and lives off Mayuko. A unique anime with nonsense laughableness and quiet lyricism. The original story by gK (Geronimo Hongo and Kuso Sensei). The original character design by Yoshitoshi Abe (the original character designer of 'serial experiments lain'). The screenplay and direction by Takuya Sato. 13 episodes. The animation produced by Triangle Staff. There is also the manga version by Yoshitoshi Abe and gK.
A Sci-Fi martial-arts action anime by Goro Taniguchi (direction) and Yosuke Kuroda (screenplay), the duo of 'Infinite Ryvius'. In the near future in the early 21st century, a great crustal uplift phenomenon made a part of the Kanagawa Pref. an island isolated from Japan's mainland, called the 'Lost Ground'. Some people born in the Lost Ground developed a special ability (called 'Alter') to deconstruct matter and alter it to different things. Two boys who have Alter abilities, Kazuma (born in an undeveloped area in Lost Ground) and Ryuhou (a member of 'HOLY', special forces against Alter users) are locked in a rivalry, and fight hard each other with their Alter abilities. 26 episodes. The animation produced by Sunrise. There is also the manga version (scenario: Yosuke Kuroda, art: Yasunari Toda).
A hard-boiled shoot-'em-up action and pessimistic criminal movie in the film noir style. The story of a girl duo, Mireille Bouquet (a French from a Corsican mafia) and Kirika Yuumura (a Japanese-named girl who lost her memory), who work as assassins in underworld with the codename 'Noir', and fight against a mysterious secret organization called 'Solda'. The original planning and screenplay by Ryoue Tsukimura. Directed by Koichi Mashita. 26 episodes. The animation production by Bee Train.
Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden
A Sci-Fi/romantic comedy based on the original story by Bunjuro Nakayama and manga (graphic novel) by Bow Ditama. The story of a girl named Mahoro, who was once a combat android fighting against invading weapons by aliens from outer space, but she became a live-in maid and started to live with an eighth-grade junior high boy named Suguru Misato, who had lost his parents and lived alone. Faithful to the original manga version, for good or ill. 12 episodes. The direction and screenplay by Hiroyuki Yamaga. Produced by GAINAX and Shaft. There is the sequel TV series too.
'Beyblade' is a spinning-top toy for kids, developed by Takara, the Japanese toy company, based on the Japanese traditional top toy called 'Bei-goma'. Beyblade is an advanced 'Bei-goma', which is customizable by changing the five parts: bit chip, attack ring, weight disk, spin gear and blade base. The TV anime series is based on the original manga (graphic novel) by Takao Aoki, and produced by the collaboration between South Korea and Japan. The Korean title is 'Topblade'. The story of beyblade players (beybladers), a grade school boy Takao Kinomiya and his rivals, who play exciting 'Bey-battle' games for being the world's strongest beyblader. 51 episodes. The animation production by Madhouse. There are the sequel TV series, movie version and game versions (GameBoy etc) too.
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
A Sci-Fi slapstick comedy by Gainax (the concept and original story). A boy living in Abenobashi shopping arcade in downtown Osaka, Imamiya Satoshi (Sasshi) and his early childhood girlfriend, Arumi Asahina get lost in a variety of the parallel worlds of magical shopping arcade Abenobashi one after another, such as fantasy computer role-playing game, sci-fi, Hong Kong kung-fu, jurassic period, hardboiled, and romantic comedy set in school. Based on the unique setting in which Abe no Seimei's Onmyodo is used to resemble a kind of supernatural science and technology. 13 episodes. Each episode has lots of parodies from anime (1970s robot anime, Mobile Suit Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion and others), manga (Kyojin no Hoshi/Star of the Giants, Doraemon, Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball and others), tokusatsu (Ultraman series and others), game (Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior series, dating games such as To Heart, Sentimental Graffiti and Kanon), and films (2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, The Terminator, The Thing, The Shining, Duel, Indiana Jones, Titanic, Back to the Future and others). The high-quality animations full of popping actions are worth seeing. The original concept and direction by Hiroyuki Yamaga. The series director is Masayuki Kojima. The story composition by Satoru Akahori and Hiroyuki Yamaga. The oroginal character design by Kenji Tsuruta. The character design and animation direction by Tadashi Hiramatsu. The animation produced by Madhouse. There are also the manga versions (Kenji Tsuruta, Ryusei Deguchi) and novel version (Satoru Akahori).
Azumanga-Daioh: The Animation
A laid-back and carefree comedy depicting the daily life of high-school girls with distinctive personalities. Based on the popular four-panel comic strips, 'Azumanga-Daioh' by Kiyohiko Azuma (serialized in 'Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh' in 1999-2002). The main characters are 7 high-school girls: Chiyo Mihama (a girl genius who entered high school at age ten), Ayumu Kasuga (easygoing. Called 'Osaka'), Tomo Takino (vigorous), Koyomi Mizuhara (cool-headed. Called 'Yomi'), Sakaki (large and reticent. An animal lover), Kaorin (feeling love for Sakaki) and Kagura (all-round sportswoman), and teachers: Yukari Tanizaki (an unconventional female teacher of English), Minamo Kurosawa (a female physical education teacher. Called 'Nyamo') and Mr. Kimura (a teacher of classical Japanese. Suspicious man). 26 episodes. Directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori. Produced by GENCO. The animation produced by J.C.STAFF. There is the theatrical short film (5 minutes) released in 2001, before the start of the TV series.
Galaxy Angel (2nd season)
The second season (18 episodes) aired on terrestrial TV, following the first season (26 episodes) of the TV series aired on cable TV in 2001. A Sci-Fi slapstick comedy featuring cute girl characters. The leading characters are the five members (all female) of 'Angel Troop', the special forces of interstellar state Transbalt Kingdom: Milfeulle Sakuraba (17 years old. Cheerful and easygoing. A cooking lover), Ranpha Franboise (18. Aggressive and get-tough. An expert in martial arts), Mint Blancmanche (16. A well-bred girl from a rich family. A cosplay lover), Forte Stollen (22. A big sister. A gun maniac) and Vanilla H (13. A reticent girl with healing power). The planning and original story by Broccoli. Directed by Morio Asaka and Toshimitsu Ohashi. The animation production by Madhouse. There are also the third/forth season of the TV anime series, PC games, video games, manga version and novel version.
A mystical Sci-Fi/Giant Robot anime that looks just like 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. In the year 2027, Tokyo had been occupied by mysterious invaders called 'Mu', and it has formed 'Tokyo Jupiter', a domed space isolated from the outside. A 17-year-old high school boy Ayato Kamina, who had united with a giant humanoid super weapon called 'RahXephon' and escaped from Tokyo Jupiter, fights against Mu's super weapons called 'Dolem', as a member of counter-Mu strategic research institute 'Terra', operating RahXephon. 26 episodes. Directed by Yutaka Izubuchi, who is known as a designer/illustrator (mechanical design in 'Patlabor The Mobile Police' and others). The original works by Bones and Yutaka Izubuchi. The animation produced by Bones. There is the movie version, RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio (Pluralistic Variation) (2003) too.
The TV anime series produced as part of the multimedia project, ".hack" by Bandai Group, which is centered on the worldview of a fictional network game called 'The World'. The story of a girl who plays a boy character named 'Tsukasa' in 'The World', the fantasy RPG-style, virtual online game. One day it got impossible for Tsukasa to log out from the game world. After meetings and interactions with fellows within 'The World', Tsukasa tries going back to the real world. 25 episodes and one extra episode not aired on TV. The original characters designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto ('Neon Genesis Evangelion'). The screenplay by Kazunori Ito ('Patlabor The Mobile Police'). Directed by Koichi Mashita ('Noir'). The animation production by Bee Train. There are also the videogame (RPG) series ".hack" for PlayStation2 with OAVs, the novelized versions, manga (graphic novel) versions, and the second TV anime series ".hack//DUSK - Legend of Twilight's Bracelet" (2003).
Haibane Renmei (Charcoal Feather Federation)
A fantasy drama based on the manga (graphic novel) 'The Haibanes of Old Home', self-published as a noncommercial magazine (issued in 2000/2001) by Yoshitoshi Abe (the character designer of 'serial experiments lain' and 'NieA_7'). The story of the girls who were reborn as mysterious existences called 'Haibane', with aureoles (halos) above their heads and gray wings on their backs, not human and not angel. They had lost their memories of their previous lives, and they are living and working in a town called 'Glie', which is surrounded by walls and isolated from the outside. 13 episodes. The original works and screenplay by Yoshitoshi Abe. Directed by Tomokazu Tokoro. The animation produced by RADIX.
A comedic, surreal and serious fantasy anime with abundant quotations from ballet music and motifs. Set in a mysterious world in which reality is mixed with stories. The story of a girl named Ahiru, who was nothing but a duck in reality, but she studies ballet at the art school Kinkan Academy. She adored a senior boy Mytho, but she learned that he was actually the prince in the story 'The Prince ane the Raven' written by writer Drosselmeyer, and Mytho lost his heart because of the fight against the raven. Ahiru transforms herself into a ballerina 'Princess Tutu' and tries recapturing the fragments of Mytho's lost heart. The original conception, character design and animation supervised by Ikuko Ito, who is known as an animator of 'Sailor Moon' series and others. Directed by Shogo Koumoto. The supervising director is Junichi Sato. The animation produced by Hal Film Maker. 26 episodes. Recommended to those who like ballet and classical music, or 'Revolutionary Girl Utena'.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
The new TV series with a completely original storyline, produced seven years after the movie version 'Ghost in the Shell', based on the manga (graphic novel) by Masamune Shirow. Set in Japan in 2030, near-future with electronic networks running throughout the world and people cyber-brained and cyborged. The members of Public Security Section 9, an independent unit under the direct control of the Department of Interior, called 'Kokaku Kidotai' (special power-suit assault force), a female cyborg Motoko Kusanagi (the Major) and other team members confront various cases, such as cybercrime, political corruption, heinous murder and assassination. Unlike the 'art film' style movie version directed by Mamoru Oshii, highbrow and entertaining works enjoyable as a police action/detective drama. Aired on pay-TV of digital satellite broadcasting. An ultra-quality TV series with high-definition, full-digital images and 5.1 channel surround sound. 26 episodes. The original works and cooperation by Masamune Shirow. Directed by Kenji Kamiyama. Produced by Production I.G. There is also the sequel TV series 'Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG' (2004-2005, directed by Kenji Kamiyama).
Stellvia (Uchuu no Stellvia)
A Sci-Fi/campus-life drama set in the solar system of the future. In the year 2356 A.D., 189 years after the electromagnetic wave and radiation from a supernova explosion caused a catastrophic damage to the earth. A 15-year-old girl Shima Katase (nickname: Shiipon) enters the Space Academy in 'Stellvia', one of the space stations called 'foundations'. As a student of the preparatory course for pilots, she participates in the project 'Great Mission' to protect the solar system from the second catastrophe (shock wave from the supernova). 26 episodes. The original story by XEBEC. Directed and the series organized by Tatsuo Sato (the director of 'Martian Successor Nadesico'). The charecter design by Makoto Uno (the character designer of 'Love Hina'). The animation produced by XEBEC. There are also the manga and game (PlayStation2, GameBoy Advance) versions.
The TV anime series based on the manga by female manga artist Hiromu Arakawa (serialized in the magazine monthly 'Shonen GanGan' since 2001). A fantasy adventure set in another world where alchemy has evolved, and a serious political drama with heavy themes such as life-and-death problem. The story of a boy named Edward Elric (Ed) and his younger brother Alphonse (Al), who try to bring their deceased mother back to life using the forbidden science of human alchemy, but they fail in it, and Ed loses his left leg, and Al loses his whole body. Ed is able to settle Al's soul inside a suit of armor at the cost of his right arm, and he wears mechanical limbs called "Auto Mail" in his right arm and left leg. To regain their lost bodies, the Elric Brothers travel in search of "Philosopher's Stone". The anime version is different in setting and plot from the original manga version. 51 episodes. Directed by Seiji Mizushima. The story editor is Sho Aikawa. The animation produced by Bones. "Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shambala" (released in 2005) is the sequel to the TV series.
R.O.D -The TV-
See the paragraph about the 'R.O.D: Read Or Die' OAV series. The new TV series of 'R.O.D', the media-mix of manga (graphic novel), novel and OAV (Original Animaion Video). An 'academic/literary' spy action anime featuring the three sisters of Michelle Cheung, Maggie Mui and Anita King, who have special abilities to manipulate paper with complete control. The story several years after Yomiko Readman (the leading character of the OAV version) disappeared. The first half is in a sitcom style, in which the trio of Michelle, Maggie and Anita, who had run the 'Three Sisters Detective Agency' in Hong Kong, came to Japan and started living with Nenene Sumiregawa, a female novelist. The latter half is a serious and tragic drama, in which the three sisters and Yomiko fight against the conspiracy of the Great Britain Library. A high-quality TV anime that compares favorably with the OAV version. 26 episodes. The original story and screenplay by Hideyuki Kurata. Directed by Koji Masunari. The animation production by J.C.STAFF.
A realistic Sci-Fi drama set in future (the year 2075), where people live and work on the moon and space stations. Based on Makoto Yukimura's manga (serialized in the magazine weekly 'Morning' since 1999 until 2004). The leading character is a 25-year-old Japanese young man Hachirota Hoshino (called 'Hachimaki', it means Japanese headband), who works as a professional astronaut collecting space junks called 'debris', at the Debris Section of Technora, the space development company located within the International Space Station. He was in charge of training a new female employee assigned to the Debris Section, named Ai Tanabe. At the beginning they had been in a conflict with each other, but they gradually developed a close relationship through a variety of experiences. An excellent human drama dealing with subjects with sense of reality and sociality, such as the life and romance of salaried workers living in the space age, the North-South problem and terrorism caused by space development, and the project to fly a spaceship to Jupiter. The original story by Makoto Yukimura. The screenplay by Ichiro Okouchi. The character design by Yuriko Chiba. Directed by Goro Taniguchi. 26 episodes. The animation produced by Sunrise.
Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin)
The first TV anime series directed by Satoshi Kon, the director of the movies, 'Perfect Blue', 'Millennium Actress' and 'Tokyo Godfathers'. An unique psycho-suspense set in the world as a mixture of reality and delusion. A female character designer, Tsukiko Sagi made a statement to the police that she was assaulted by a boy with a golden baseball bat. A detective, Keiichi Ikari suspected that she faked the case, but after that the people around her are attacked one after another by the unidentified assailant called 'Shounen Bat (A Bat Boy)'... A masterpiece that depicted humorously and critically 'darkness of mind' in modern Japanese society, with the theme of 'delusion as a defense mechanism against trauma'. 13 episodes. The original story and general supervision by Kon Satoshi. The characters designed by Masashi Ando (the animation director of the movies, 'Princess Mononoke' and 'Spirited Away'). The animation produced by Madhouse. The music by Susumu Hirasawa.
Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
The TV anime series based on the manga by Shimoku Kio (serialized in the magazine monthly 'Afternoon' since 2002), which is a comedic drama depicting otaku's real campus life. A freshman in Shiiou University, Kanji Sasahara joined manga/anime/game lovers' club named 'the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture' (called 'Genshiken' for short). His classmate, Makoto Kousaka was a boy with good looks and good fashion sense, so he didn't look like an otaku, but he was actually a diehard otaku, and he also joined Genshiken. Kousaka's childhood girlfriend, Saki Kasukabe (she is not an otaku) wanted Kousaka to stop doing otaku hobbies, and she became to frequent Genshiken's club room, following Kousaka. 12 episodes. Directed by Takashi Ikehata. The animation produced by Palm Studio. Produced by GENCO. Genshiken members' favorite anime 'Kujibiki Unbalance' is a fictitious TV anime series (anime within the anime), but the three episodes (1st, 21st and 25th ones) of the series were really made into films and released on the bonus disc for 'Genshiken' DVD box sets.
Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig
The second TV series produced as a follow-up series to 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex'. The story describes the Public Security Section 9 battling against a political plot with the refugee problem and Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in the background. Six months after the 'Laughing Man Case' (a serial cyberterrorism incident described in the first series), the Section 9 members investigate the case of terrorists who call themselves 'Individual Eleven', and find out the Cabinet Intelligence Agency manipulating the case behind the scenes. The storyline has a more politico-military flavor than the first series. 26 episodes. The original works and cooperation by Masamune Shirow. The story concept by Mamoru Oshii. Directed by Kenji Kamiyama. Produced by Production I.G.
Sgt. Frog/Keroro Gunso (1st season)
The first season of the TV anime series based on the manga 'Keroro Gunso' by Mine Yoshizaki (serialized in the magazine 'Monthly Shonen Ace' since 1999). The original manga is a comendy featuring a platoon of frog-like alien invaders who try to conquer the Earth. The Planet Keron sent Keroro's platoon (the captain Sergeant Keroro, Corporal Giroro, Corporal Zeroro (later Dororo), Sergeant Major Kururu, Private Second Class Tamama) as an advance team to invade the Earth, but they broke up on the Earth. Keroro was captured by the Hinata Family (junior high girl Natsumi Hinata, her younger brother Fuyuki and her mother Aki), and then strangely they came to live with Earthians. A daily life-based Sci-Fi comedy, like Fujio F. Fujiko's 'Doraemon' and Rumiko Takahashi's 'Urusei Yatsura', with lots of parodies and quotes from Fujiko works, Sunrise's 'Gundam' series, 'Neon Genesis Evangelion', and Tokusatsu Hero works such as 'Ultra' series. The first season (51 episodes) is generally faithful to the original manga's story, though it is arranged for children. Directed by Yusuke Yamamoto. The supervising director is Jun'ichi Sato. The animation produced by Sunrise.
A TV anime series based on VisualArt's/Key's love romance (dating-sim) video game for Windows PC/Dreamcast/PlayStation2, "Air". The original game is known for its touching story about family's love. The story of a young man Yukito Kunisaki, who has traveled around, performing a puppet play on the streets. He met a girl named Misuzu Kamio in a seaside town. She is a lonely girl who cannot make friends because of her weird disease (related to a traditional folk tale about a 'Winged Princess'). Yukito makes friends with her, and stays at her home, where she lives with her mother Haruko Kamio (her aunt in reality). There are the 12 episodes, one recap episode and two special episodes "Air in Summer". Aired on TBS's digital satellite TV BS-i. This TV series has been highly appreciated by many anime/original game fans for its extremely superior quality of animation/direction and its story faithful to the original game. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara. The animation produced by Kyoto Animation. There is also the movie version produced by Toei Animation.
Aria The Animation
A healing fantasy based on Kozue Amano's manga 'ARIA' (serialized in 'Monthly Comic Blade' since 2002). Set in a watery city of Neo Venezia, like Venice, Italy, on a terraformed planet 'Aqua'. In Neo Venezia, female gondoliers called 'Undines' act as guides for tourists. The leading character, Akari Mizunashi is an Undine in training who belongs to Aria Company. To be a full-fledged Undine, she practices rowing a gondola and guiding tourists with her friends, Aika and Alice, and senior worker Alicia. A heartwarming story with natural beauties of all four seasons. The first season of the TV series 'Aria The Animation' consists of 13 episodes. The direction and series composition by Jun'ichi Sato. The character designer and chief animation director is Makoto Koga. The animation produced by Hal Film Maker. There is also the second season of the TV series 'Aria The Natural' (26 episodes, aired in 2006).
An original TV anime series produced by the staff of the OAV/TV anime 'R.O.D' (2001-2004); the director Koji Masunari and scriptwriter Hideyuki Kurata. A nostalgic and heartwarming situation comedy/fantasy set in a Japanese country town of the mid-1980s (modeled after Onomichi City, Hiroshima Pref.). The story describes daily lives of an eighth grade junior high girl Yurie Hitotsubashi, who woke up one morning and found she became a goddess, and her friends and family, with the ancient Japanese world-view of 'multitudinous gods' (gods reside in all the things in the universe). There is no dramatic development, but its drawings and presentation are exquisite, and its closely-depicted daily lives have a subtle charm, full of affectionateness and cuteness. 16 episodes (the four episodes are not aired on TV and only released on DVD). The original story by Besame Mucho (producer Tomonori Ochikoshi, Koji Masunari and Hideyuki Kurata). This film won the excellence prize of Cultural Affairs Agency's Media Art Festival in Japan. The animation produced by Brains-Base. There is also the manga version drawn by Hanaharu Naruko.
A straight-ahead Sci-Fi/robot anime which follows the settings and touches of the classics such as 'Mobile Suit Gundam' and 'Neon Genesis Evangelion', and also incorporates new elements like extreme sport and street culture. Basically a classical boy-meets-girl or boy's growing-up story set in wartime. Set in the 'Promised Land', a place mankind immigrated after they were driven from the Earth. A 14-year-old boy Renton Thurston joins an antiestablishment group 'Gekkostate' led by charismatic leader Holland. The military (United Federation Force) tries to destroy the heterologous intelligent life called 'Coralian' for revival of human civilization, but the Gekkostate tries to coexist with Coralian. Renton and a humanoid Coralian girl Eureka operate a LFO (Light Finding Operation. A giant humanoid mobile machine) called 'Nirvash typeZERO' and fight against the military. 50 episodes. The original works by Bones. Directed by Tomoki Kyoda. The series composition by Dai Sato. The character design by Ken'ichi Yoshida. The animation produced by Bones. There are also the manga/novel/video game (PlayStation Portable/PlayStation2) versions.
The TV anime series based on the manga by female manga artist Yuki Urushibara (serialized in the magazine monthly 'Afternoon' since 1999). A nostalgic, magical and Japanese-style fantasy set in Japan in fictional times, like between the Edo and Meiji Periods (around the 19th century). 'Mushi' are the things in the primal form of life, which are not plants nor animals, and different from microorganisms and fungi. The leading character is a man named Ginko, who unlocks the mysteries of strange phenomena result from Mushi, as a Mushi-shi (a specialist in Mushi phenomenon), wandering around in the farming/fishing villages, woods and mountains. 26 episodes. The anime version is quite faithful to the original manga. The animation, background art and sound, everything is good in quality. Many impressive episodes, which are full of the spiritous ambience of Japanese original landscape surrounded by nature, are depicted in the style of folk tales or ghost stories (each episode ends in itself). Very much worth seeing. Directed by Hiroshi Nagahama. The character design and animation direction by Yoshihiko Umakoshi. The animation produced by Art Land. The live-action film version directed by Katsuhiro Otomo will be released in 2007.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society
A one-shot feature-length film (105 minutes) produced by the same staff as the TV series 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex' and 'Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG'. Set in A.D. 2034, two years since Motoko Kusanagi left Section 9 after the Refugee Riot Case described in '2nd GIG'. The new leader Togusa and the new Section 9 investigate a rash of incidents, such as a series of terrorists' suicides, biochemical weapon (micromachine virus) theft and child abduction case, and find that an ultra-wizard hacker 'Kugutsu Mawashi' (means Puppeteer), who actives as the cyberbrain hub of an elderly care system, is behind the scenes. In Japan, this film was premiered on pay-TV of digital satellite broadcasting 'SKY PerfecTV!' in 2006 and then released on DVD. Not released in theaters, but its quality is as good as theatrical films. The original story by Masamune Shirow. Directed by Kenji Kamiyama. Produced by Production I.G.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
A sci-fi/school comedy anime based on the light novel (Japanese novel with anime or manga style illustrations, targeting teens and young adults) 'Haruhi Suzumiya' series (published by Kadokawa Shoten since 2003) written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito. The leading character, Haruhi Suzumiya is a good-looking high school girl who is excellent in schoolwork and sports, but she is also an eccentric girl with self-centered character and overbearing attitude. One day she tries to create a club named 'SOS Brigade', involving a boy nicknamed Kyon in her class, and the purpose of the club is to find and play with aliens, time travelers and espers. 14 episodes. A romantic comedy set in school and a sci-fi about inner space (parallel world) theme. Can be interpreted as a self-parody of Sekai-kei (a vague genre of manga/anime/novel that appeared after the boom of the anime 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. Characterized by its psychology-oriented "first-and-second-person-view" without social relationships), but it is not so clear in theme and self-criticism as 'Evangelion'. The key/in-between animation and direction are excellent in quality. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara. The character designer and chief animation director is Shoko Ikeda. The animation produced by Kyoto Animation.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
A sci-fi robot anime produced by Sunrise. Set in a fictitious, near-future Japan which is occupied by the Holy Empire of Britannia, an absolute monarchy with great military power. A mystery girl C.C. (C-Two) gives an ability to manipulate people, called 'Geass', to Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian high-school boy living in Japan. To revenge the Britannian imperial family who killed his mother and hurt his younger sister, Lelouch organizes an anti-Britannia armed group called the 'Black Knights' with Japanese resistances and leads the rebellion to destroy Britannia, under the name of 'Zero'. Lelouch is a cold strategist, who doesn't hesitate to do anything to attain his purpose, and he moves people like chess pieces. Through the war against Britannia, using humanoid weapons called 'Knightmare Frames', Lelouch becomes to fight against his childhood friend Suzaku Kururugi (he is a Japanese but joins the Britannia Army as a 'Honorary Britannian'), and he proceeds to the path of bloodshed, in which family members and friends kill each other. A serious political drama featuring a picaresque protagonist as an anti-hero. 25 episodes. The series composition by Ichiro Okouchi. The original character design by CLAMP. Directed by Goro Taniguchi. The story is not completed and the sequel series will be produced.
A TV anime series (37 episodes) based on the best-selling manga 'Death Note' (serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump in 2003-2006) by Tsugumi Ohba (story) and Takeshi Obata (art). A psycho-suspense film depicting the battle between a mass murderer and a master detective. One day, a high school boy Light Yagami picks up a strange black notebook. It is a 'Death Note' dropped by a shinigami named Ryuk, and it kills anyone whose name is written in it. Light kills criminals around the world one after another by using the Death Note to create an ideal new world without criminals. Meanwhile, a mysterious detective 'L' begins investigating the case with the help of ICPO (Interpol), and then, a fatal and psychological/intellectual cat-and-mouse battle begins between the two extremely intelligent young men, Light and L. In this TV series, the original manga's storyline was made into anime generally faithfully, but in the second part (after the death of L, Light battles against L's two successors, Near and Mello), lots of scenes and dialogs are cut and the whole is shortened. Directed by Tetsuro Araki. The animation produced by Madhouse. There are also the live-action films, a novel version by Ishin Nishio and game versions (for Nintendo DS).
A Sci-Fi anime aired on NHK Educational TV. The directorial debut by Mitsuo Iso, a key animator known for his works such as "Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket", "Gosenzosama Ban Banzai!", "Ghost in the Shell" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion". Set in the near future Japan. A wearable computer called 'Dennō eyeglass', which is connected to the network at all times and it visualizes cyberspace, became an extremely popular item among children. Two sixth-grade girls transferred to the school in Daikoku-city, Yuko Okonogi (nicknamed Yasako) and Yuko Amasawa (nicknamed Isako) approach the secrets about cyberspace, such as mysterious virtual organism called 'illegals', an urban legend (like a ghost story) about a girl named Michiko, a relationship between Dennō eyeglass and cyber-medical treatment, and a phenomenon called 'Dennō Coil'. An impressive film which is a hard cyber Sci-Fi, and a decent juvenile drama, and also a psychological thriller dealing with the theme of cyberspace as spiritual world, like 'serial experiments lain'. The nostalgic world-view with a mix of oldness and newness is unique. 26 episodes. The original story, screenplay and direction by Mitsuo Iso. The character design by Takeshi Honda. The animation produced by Madhouse. There is also the novel version by Yuko Miyamura (screenwriter).
A TV anime series based on VisualArt's/Key's third dating-sim game, "Clannad". Along with the two previous works, "Kanon" and "Air", produced by Kyoto Animation. The original is a game for all ages and known for its touching stories about the bonds of people, especially family. The TV anime is based on the first part set in a high school, and the story develops around the leading character, a third-year high school boy Tomoya Okazaki and the main heroine Nagisa Furukawa (a shy girl who aims to rebuild the drama club), with other heroines' episodes. Like other Kyoto Animation films, it has high-quality animation, art and rendition. 22 episodes and two extra episodes. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara. There are also the movie version produced by Toei Animation and the sequel TV series "Clannad -After Story-".