Day two of the 30 Day Anime Challenge is an interesting one as it presents a bit of a dilemma. The crux of it is to list your favorite anime you’ve watched so far. Well, I’ve watched more anime than I can remember, and have probably forgotten more shows than many people watch, but there are always those that stick out in your mind that are must-see shows that just completely own you. Having watched anime for so long, it always feels like your favorites are rooted in your past when it was all fresh and new and that certainly seems to stick for a lot of people. So what I’ll do is to adhere to the spirit of the challenge with this day and break things down a bit.
Favorite Movie: Wings of Honneamise
This movie is one of the few that I’ve truly bought as many different editions of it as I can over the years and it has left the greatest mark on me. While I’m a big anime fan, I’m a film fan first and have a sizable collection there and devour movies. I’m a Star Wars kid as that defined movies for me for ages. But Wings of Honneamise is the anime film and film in general that is at the top of my list as my all time favorite movie ever. And even after twenty years from its original release, it still shines heads above most other new movies that are released with its attention to detail, richness and the complexity of the characters and the world they inhabit. It is the film that I never tire of seeing and the soundtrack that has moved my soul.
Favorite OVA: Hellsing Ultimate
The OVA craze has long come and gone though we do get home video only episodes and the occasional standalone ones here and there, but they never capture the magic like they did before. They’re curiosities that are often felt as if they’re testing the waters for something else. One of the exceptions to that rule is my favorite, which is still being released in fact, with Hellsing Ultimate. While I enjoyed the TV series, it diverged from the source a lot and I adored the manga. With the OVA series, it was given carte blanche to do what it needed to in order to appeal to the fans who wanted to see the manga come to life. And it does so, in spades, with gorgeous animation, a fantastic score and tons of intensity.
Favorite Classic TV Series: Kimagure Orange Road
This show just barely edges out Urusei Yatsura for me, but mostly because it was the series (in its OVA form) that showed me there was more to anime than mecha, science fiction and giant robots running around, which is a lot of what we had in the early to mid 90’s in the US. Kimagure Orange Road gave us a romantic comedy with psychic powers thrown into the mix, but it was the characters that truly defined it and made it work. Over the course of the lengthy series, we watched the ups and downs of the main trio and a few of their friends and it culminated in a powerful movie. The series managed to capture the slice of life thing early on in a way that few shows do, mixed it with beautiful music and lyrics and made you smile and fall in love each and every time.
Favorite Modern TV Series: High School of the Dead
While I could go with the lengthy ongoing shows such as One Piece or Naruto, I wanted to go for something shorter, more specific and recent. And since I’d get crucified if I said Chu-Bra, I’ll go for High School of the Dead. This show had winning written all over it when it was announced and for me, it delivered on each and every episode as we followed a small group of students as they struggle to survive over the first couple of days of the world gone crazy with the undead taking over. It’s a show that you can write off easily, but it has such a great blend of fanservice, action, seriousness and emotion that it’s a near constant ride of pleasure. When it settles down it offers a lot of good character material as they start to cope with things. And it got me to read the manga that’s being released as well, something I very rarely really do. This is definitely one of the best simulcast series I’ve seen and one I can’t wait to see in high quality high definition.