As we ring in the near year at the Daily Planet, I wanted to do something a little different for Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 Podcast. I am going to share with you my personal list of my Top 10 favorite anime to watch.
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While I did watch some anime when I as a kid, I did not fully ge into until my freshman year at high school. The anime fever kind of fizzled out and was dormant from my sophomore year until later senior year when started getting into it again and I haven’t looked back since.
So, without further or do, here is my list of top 10 anime:
To start things of, we have “Hellsing” at no. 10. Based on a manga by Kouta Hirano, “Hellsing” is set in London, England and it centers around a vampire name Alucard (Dracula backwards) who fights other vampires and the undead under the employee of Integra Wingates Hellsing, a descendant of his former nemesis Abraham Van Hellsing, the vampire hunter. Integra is the head of the “Hellsing Organization,” which aim is the protect all of England from the supernatural.
As the story progresses, Alucard saves the life of a young human woman name Seras Victoria by making her into a vampire. As they bond, Alucard and Seras also encounter many foes, notably Anderson of the Iscariot Organization, a rival to the Hellsing Organization. Alucard’s other allies are Walter Dornez and French Mercenary Pip Benadotte.
With its interesting dynamic between a fearsome vampire known in literary lore and a descendant of his sworn enemy, “Hellsing” has its share of humor between characters and some deep moments, notably involving Seras. “Hellsing” is also perfect for any of you horror enthusiasts out there.
9: ‘My Hero Academia’
At no.9, we have “My Hero Academia,” which is an superhero anime created by Kohei Horikoshi. This anime is set in an alternate earth where the majority of the population possesses superpowers.
The protagonist Izuku Midoriya aspires to be like his hero, All Might. However, Midoriya does not possess any superpowers. Even worse, he is bullied constantly for it by his former friend Bakugo and gets called “Deku” which means “weakling.”
However, Midoriya’s life changes when he encounters All Might after risking his life to save someone from a fire along with Bakugo. Amazed at Midoriya’s determination to become a hero, All Might trains the young aspirant and gives him his own superpower called “One for all.”
Now with superpowers, Midoriya enrolls at the famous UA High, which instructs high school students to become full-fledged superheroes. As Izuku accilmates to life at UA High, he befriends Ochako Uraraka, Tenga Lida, Shoto Todoroki, and several others and embraces the name “Deku” and sets out to become one of the greatest heroes of all time.
With its storytelling and ensemble of heroes and villains, “My Hero Academia” almost has a similar vibe to Richard Donner’s “Superman” with Christopher Reeve. Just like you’ll believe a man can fly, you’ll believe that you too can be a hero.
8: ‘Outlaw Star’
Making its way at no. 8, is the sci fi anime “Outlaw Star.” If you are were to mis Star Wars, Firefly, and Blad Runner,you’d probably get this amazing anime created by Takehiko Ito. This anime takes place in a galaxy that is home to various planets, alien species, governments, and criminal organizations.
The main character is freelancer Gene Starwind who’s life turns upside down when he and his associate and friend Jim Hawkin are hired to be bodyguards for Racvhel who turns out to be an outlaw name Hilda who is on the run from a criminal organization. From there, we learn that the seemingly confident and suave Gene Starwind has anxiety when it comes to space travel due to witnessing his father’s death while traveling with him in space. After Hilda sacrficifes her self to save Gene and his friends, Gene acquires a state-of-the-art ship he calls the “Outlaw Star” in honor of his friend.
Along the way, Gene becomes more confident as the leader of him crew which consist of his friend Jim, a 10-year old street smart kid , Melfina, a biological android who is also Starwind’s love interest, Asia, a cat-humanoid from the Ktarl Ktarl Empire, and Suzuka, an assassin originally sent to go after an old friend of Gene’s. Their goal”: to travel to the Galactci Leyline and find treasure.
The thing I enjoyed about “Outlaw Star” was that it taught me that there is something worth more that the treasure hidden in the galactic leyline. The message in this anime is that the love and camaraderie between these characters is the real treasure.
7: ‘Kenici: The Mightiest Disciple’
Punching in a no. 7 is “Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple,” a martial arts anime created by Syunn Matsuiena. This anime centers around the titular character Kenichi Shirahoma, a teenager who gets constantly picked up and lacks the confidence to stand up for himself. One day, he befriends a fellow high school student named Miu, who becomes his love interest, and happens to live at a dojo with a flamboyant ensemble of martial artist.
With Miu’s encouragement, Kenhci trains in martial arts and is able to stand up to his bullies and over time improves on his confidence.One interesting things I noticed about Kenichi is that he is non-violent and only fights when he has to and when it is right.
This anime really hit close to home for me in a hood way because when I was younger, I too struggled with being bullied at school. Kenichi is a reminder that you should always stand up for yourself and not let others tear you down.
6: ‘Cowboy Bepop’
At no.5 comes “Cowboy Bepop,” created by Shinchiro Watanabe. One of enjoyable things about this anime is how it fuses music with its storytelling: Jazz and science fiction which gives it a neo-noir vibe.
Enter cowboy, Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter eats bell peppers and beef when the dough is nit low.
In “Cowboy Bepop,” we know very little of Spike’s past but as the episodes progress, it slowly but gradually starts to unfold and we see a man who more human than he lets on as a gunsling bounty hunter.
With an motley crew of characters: Jet Black, a former law enforcement officer, Faye Valentine, a woman out of time due to being suspended animation and also struggling with debt, Ein, a dog, and Radical Edward, a kid who is a computer hacking prodigy.
“Cowboy Bepop” also explores the trauma and tribulations of each of its characters while they go off bounty hunting and trying to get through the day on their space ship “Bepop.”
If you love Pulp Fiction and sci-fi, give “Cowboy Bepop” a watch!
5: ‘Samurai Champloo’
Coming at at no.5 is “Samurai Champloo.” Also created by Shinchiro Watanabe, the genius behind Cowboy Bepop. “Samurai Champloo” js a unique anime that utilizes a whole lot of fusion starting with the title of the anime. According to the blog blatoothdmandm, the word “Champloo” is “is a play at the Okinawan word chanpurü, which translates to ”to mix” in relation to cooking.” And the fusion is also seen in the interaction of characters: Fuu, a giddy teenager who works as a waitress at a restaurant; Jin, a samurai who has become a ronin, and Mugen, a hot-headed criminal with a penchant of getting into fights or into trouble with the law. The three meet after Mugen and Jin agree to put their fight on hold and set off to help Fuu find her father, who is believed to be the samurai who smells of sunflowers. What also makes this anime unique is the use of hiphop music being played while this anime takes place around Japan’s Edo Period, or the Togugawa Era.
Like “Cowboy Bepop,” the episodes in “Samurai Champloo” touch a lot of the trials and tribulations of Fuu, Jin, and Mugen. The episodes also touch on some history as they mention Christianity, the rise of American Imperialism, and the East India Company. One of my favorite episodes involved the episode “Baseball Blues” in which the trio play baseball against the American team.
There is a popular theory amongst anime fans that Mugen might be a descendant of Spike Speigel. It seems to make sense since both Mugen and Spike have afro-ish hair and are both voiced by actor Steve Blum.
The fusion of characters, music, and the historical undertones make this the anime to watch.
4: ‘Rurouni Kenshin’
Slashing its katana at no. 4 is “Rurouni Kenshin,” created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, the anime takes place in Japan’s Meiji Era, which saw the modernization and westernization of the land of the rising sun.
Kenshin Humura, once called Battousai the slasher, is a wandering swordsman who gave up killing others and decided to use his abilities to help those who could not help themselves.
Kenshin also carries a unique weapon called the reverse-edge sword which is a dull-blade that injure’s his opponents instead of killing them.
Kenshin comes across Kaori Kamiya, a kendo instructor of the Kamiya Kashin style, and rescues her from her father’s former pupil who had a bloodlust and vendetta against her family for being expelled from their dojo.
Kenshin’s philosophy, his non-lethal fighting practices, and his compassionate personality has him form friendships with the likes of Sanosuke Sagara, a former revolutionary betryaed by the Meiji government, “Yoshi” Myojin Yahuko, a son of a samurai and an orphan taken in by Kaori to learn the Kamiya Kashin style, Dr, Gensai, an ally and friendly doctor and friend to Karou, and of course Kaoru Kamiya, Kenshin’s ally, love interest, and the main motivator to better himself.
“Ruroni Kenshin” delves into some history of Japan along with religion, culture, and philosophy. The anime also touches on the Togugawa and Meiji Eras while intertwining all of that with action packed sword fighting and romance.
The character of Kenshin Himura is one of my favorite anime characters due to his devotion to learning from his past and helping others. Another thing I admire about Kenshin is his compassion towards other, even his enemies. I might do a podcast episode based on Kenshin Himura one day.
3: ‘Fire Force’
Coming in hot at no. 3 is “Fire Force,” created by Atsushi Ohkubo. The anime takes place in a future where the world was engulfed in a conflagration due to an event called the Great Cataclysm. Due to the event, some people became pyrokinetics, or people who manipulate fire, and those who die, would become infernals.
The Fire Force, an elite group of fire fighters is tasked to combat the infernals and lay their souls to rest.
Shinra Kusakabe is a young man who is pyrokenetic who, at a very young age, witnesses tragedy when his mother becomes an infernal. His mother burns down their home seemingly killing his brother, Sho. However, the neighbors blame Shinra for the fire since he has a face that resembles a devil. Whenever he is nervous, who would smile which would expose his jagged teeth. However, this tragic moment inspires Shinra to become heroic after he is rescued by a member of the Fire Force.
Shinra has the ability to shoot flames from his feet which makes him able to fly. The ability is derived from Spontaneous Human Combustion which grants the pyrokintetic or infernal their abilities.
Along the way, Shinra befriends his high school rival Arhtur Doyle, a young man who claims to be a descendant of King Arthur and often acts like a knight; Akitru Obi, the captain of Fire Force 8 who does not an pyrokneteic but has amazing strength, willpower, and endurance; Takehisa Hinawa, a lieutenant in Fire Force 8 and a pyrokinetic with the ability to manipulate flames while using firearms; Naki Oze, the platoon leader of Fire Force 8 and a pyrokinetic resembles a witch and can manipulate flames by using projectiles and also has pet flames that say “sputter;” Iris, a priestess who prays for the infernal to find peace after it is defeated by the Fire Force team; Tamaki Kotatsy, a fire soldier and pyrokinetic who often gets into awkward situations involving her clothes falling off, Victor Licht, a scientist who once worked for Hajima Industries (the corporation that funds all eight of the Fire Force precincts), and Vulcan Jospeh, an engineer and inventor who is recruited to Fire Force to help with the teams investigation with the ongoing conspiracy surrounding Hijima industries.
“Fire Force” chronicles Shinra’s backstory as well as conspiracies surrounding the other seven Fire Force precincts, Hijima Industries, the White Clad, and the mysterious Evangelist.
Anime fans or viewers who love a good conspiracy story along with great storytelling would love “Fire Force.”
At no. 2, we have “Inuyasha,” created by Rumiko Takahashi.
This anime takes place in Japan’s Sengoku Period which according to the Encyclpedia Britannica, was the “warring states period” in which civil war was brewing during the 16th Century.
Inuyasha is a half-human/half-Yokai or dog-demon, who sets out to find th Shikon Jewel so that he can become a full-fledge demon. However, he comes across a priestess name Kikyo who he falls in love with. But tragedy come in the form of the evil demon Naraku who manipulates Inuyasha and Kikyo into going against each other so that he can get his hands on the Shikon Jewel. Like Inuyasha, Naraku also wants to the jewel to become a full demon but for his own nefarious means. He does this by masquerading as the two so that he can steal the jewel. Amid the confusion, Kikyo seals the real Inuyasha to a tree before being cremated along with the jewel. Inuasha would be sealed to the tree in the next 50 years.
In the next 50 years, Inuyasha is awakened by a teenage girl Kagome Higurashi who happens to be Kikyo’s reincarnation and little does she know, she possess the Shikon Jewel. Kagome, a girl from the future, it transported centuries into the past thanks to a well in her family’s shrine.
After Kagome releases Inuyasha from Kikyo’s spell, the half-demon comes to her aid to fight a deman attacking her. During the battle, the Shikon Jewel comes out of Kagome and shatters.
Now the two have to race against Naraku to find the jewel shards and restore the jewel (and as the late Sir Sean Connery’s Henry Jones said in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” there is no silver medal for second place).
The due come across many characters including Miroku, a wise yet lecherous and deviant monk who’s family was cursed by Naraku with a devastating yet effective ability call the Wind Tunnel (which would suck foes into another dimension but would eventually kill the wielder of the ability); Sango, a denon slayer whose family is killed by Naraku who uses her brother Hoaku as a puooprt to perform the evil act; Shippo, a fox demon and oprhan who loves Kagome as if she were his mother; Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s full brother and Dog Demon who he is a rival and occasional ally; Koga, a wolf-demon who is Inuyasha’s rival for Kagome’s affections, and an undead Kikyo who is in a love triangle with Inuyasha and Kagome.
Inuasha wields a sword call the Tetsiaga which is a powerful weapon and often uses the ability called he Wind Scar. The sword would also have other abilities including the Adamant Barrage and the Red Tatsaiga.
The story of “Inuyasha” would continue in the form of a spin-off series called “Yashime: Feudal Fairy Tale, Princess Half-Demon,” which would center around Inuyasha and Kagome’s daughter having adventures with Sesshomaru’s daughters.
On another personal note, Inuyasha is another character I feel that I can relate to due to being different from everyone else (I’m a theatrical nerd and have high functioning autism) and sometimes being ridiculed for it; Despite his rough exterior, Inuyasha has compassion for people like himself who are half-demons and often comes to their defense. He’s a very well-rounded character which is why I plan of cosplaying as him sometime this year!
1: ‘Demon Slayer’
And at no.1 we have “Demon Slayer,” Created by Koyoharu Gotouge, Demon Slayer centers around a young boy named Taniro Komado who’s humble life in th snowy mountains changes when his family was murdered and his sister Nezuko is turned into a demon by an evil demon named Muzan.
Tanjrip decides to become a Demon Slayer in order to avenge his family against Muzan and work towards transforming Nezuko back into a human. Through determination and sheer willpower, Tanjiro succeeds into ascending as a Demon Slayer and set off into a journey along with Nezuko who does not harm humans, despite being demon. The brother and sister team are also joined by Zenitsu Agatsuma, a demon slayer who is often hyperactive and terrified in addition to lacking confidence but has an inner power that makes him a formidable fighter; Inoskuka Hashibara, a rambunctious and primal Demon Slayer who swings his swords first and asks questions later.
Tanjiro’s compassion towards slain demons makes him another unique character since most Demon Slayers despise demons and want to rid the world of them.
To me, “Demon Slayer,” is about being determined to accomplish your goals despite what life is thrown at you. I feel that we can relate to some of these characters. Personally, I feel I share a little more with Zenitsu due to the need to find my inner strength and determination to achieve my goals and slay the demons that come at me. “Demon Slayer” is a reminder that we all have demons that we face and need to slay in order to grow and mature, just like Tanjro, Nezuko, Zentisu, and Inoskuke.
That does it for my list of Top 10 anime I like to watch. Thank you so much for tuning in. Again, if you are new the “Geek Tallk with Brian of Earht-16 Podcast,” please subscribe to my Youtube channel or to the Podcast on whatever platform you listen to.