This thread is now the Anime Chat Thread to keep in line with it's progression.
for all the people who don't care to read through the whole post and thread:
1) you don't need to. (lucky you!)
2) feel free to discuss (nearly) all kinds of anime in the thread.
3) please clearly mark any possible spoiler in a way that actually allows people to skip it without having it jump right into their face.
4) manga, cartoons and other related things are okay too, as long as the main focus stays on anime. please clearly state that you're talking about manga (for example) though and not about an anime.
5) i dun liek fighting-shounen! you can stop asking me about Naruto and Bleach in my list^^
you're welcome to talk about them with the people in this thread though.
6) that's all. have fun.
the purpose of this thread is mainly to post your recommendations and personal favorites and to discuss about them.
now about my list.
please note that it's exactly this: my list. i know many people might not agree with what i call a "good" anime.
i tried to add some objective thoughts on most of the anime, but in the end they are still just the ones i liked the most. i won't try to make it as objective as possible, since many of my greatest anime moments were bound to feelings and emotions, and those are always difficult to explain without a subjective opinion.
i'm open for constructive discussions about details of said opinions though ;]
soooo.. here's the list of many of the anime i watched (and liked), split into three categories. i also added the openings as links, since i think many of them are great pieces of art and music, and they may give a good example of what to expect in the anime (in terms of style at least).
UPDATE I: added Lucky Star, School Days, Stranger -Mukou Hadan- and a new category (movies) and moved Gekijouban Clannad there (with it's own description).
UPDATE II: added Toradora!, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni and Mononoke Hime and edited some other details.
UPDATE III: split "Kanon, Clannad and Shuffle" into three individual titles with their own descriptions, added some clarifications regarding the thread and.. i like colors.
in no particular order:
it's really not easy to tell what "good" humor is, but those are probably the ones i liked the most.
some drama, ecchi, and even philosophical (can a robot have true emotions?) components, but mostly comedy. the humor isn't really deep and complex, but pretty cute imo.
if you want to watch something funny and relaxing that doesn't need you to pay attention to every detail, you'll like this one. be warned though, it get's rather sad nearing the end.
- Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)
this one is a bit.. special^^ it's one of the very few anime i watched that are actually for girls, but i liked it anyway. it's not meant to be taken seriously, since the best parts are the ones where the anime is actually making fun of itself through overplayed characters, although it does deal with the poor vs rich issue too.
- Samurai Champloo
three very different characters traveling through old japan and experiencing all kinds of strange stuff. the different episodes are only losely connected, but overall pretty funny and creative.
not exactly the one i enjoyed the most because the style didn't really suit me, but still a great anime.
- Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
again partly drama, but has a lot of weird humor and a bit of fantasy mixed into it. it's rather complicated though and intended to not be followed completely - there are like three different possible orders to watch the episodes for example and it get's really confusing at times.
- Full Metal Panic!
robots/mechas/fighting ect^^ but unlike most other anime of that sort, the anime is not made for 13 year old boys and makes fun of itself (and other robot-anime for that matter) quite a few times.
the first and third season (Full Metal Panic! and Full Metal Panic! - The Second Raid) are about one half humor, one half drama and action.
the second season however (Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu!) is one of the most hilarious and funny anime i've seen. the robots aren't a big deal in this season and if you have the patience to watch at least the first and second season, you will probably have quite a few good laughs. i wouldn't recommend to watch only the second one without knowing the first though, as you won't get the jokes without knowing the characters.
- Lucky Star
i have only seen the first few episodes yet, will edit it if my opinion changes after seeing the whole series.
there is no real story other than everyday life of a few high school girls. no drama, action or the like. they just talk a lot about important and far-reaching philosophical issues like "how do you eat a chocolate cornet?", so people who get easily bored by long dialogues will probably not like this anime^^
it's a social satire (especially about the japanese otaku culuture - basically anime/computer geeks) with intelligent humor and a lot of funny references to other popular anime (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Shuffle, Kanon, Full Metal Panic, Code Geass, ect.), so it's best to watch this anime when you've already seen some of those.
the whole anime is kept in "moe" style (exaggerated cute and childlike), both in graphics and character design, and is not meant to be taken seriously in any way.
another one that could also be in the romance/drama section, but it's not as sad as Kanon for example.
average high-school-romance background story but still special since the five leading characters have actually pretty deep, interesting and unusual human and believable personalities. the humor and drama parts are both well made and realistic (relatively spoken of course) and i really, really like how coming-of-age and falling/beeing in love (and the resulting behaviour and perceptions) are shown in this anime.
i've also seen very few anime which manage to connect comedy, romance and drama that perfectly.
there's also a 2nd opening, but i think the 1st one fits better if you don't know the characters story already.
not everyone likes romance (especially not men, god forbid! *gasp*), but there are a few very good ones (imo) and i really enjoyed them. some of them also have a bit of fantasy added (it sounds awfully sappy, i know^^ but it's not that bad) and philosophical issues.
the biggest part of this one is actually comedy, not drama and there are a lot of very funny (and cute) scenes. the story tells about a high school guy who has big problems in his private and school life and hasn't really anything to do other than hang around with his friend. so he decides to help a girl who desperately tries to reestablish the theater club (even if he isn't really interested in joining) and gets to know a lot of weird other girls in the course of it.
every now and then however, the story twists to be about him beeing faced with his own problems and the ones of the girls, about the pain and loss they encounter in their life and how they try to go on regardless - hopefully together.
there's also an alternative ending (Clannad: Tomoyo-Hen), which i actually liked much more than the "normal" one, a second season (Clannad After Story) and also a great movie (see Gekijouban Clannad below).
one of my absolute favorites. it's similar to Clannad (same producer) but has some more drama and fantasy elements, although it still has some of the best comedy scenes i know.
this time the story is about a young man who moves to his cousin's house (and city), where he often spend his vacations when he was a kid, to go to high school there. he comes to know a lot of new people (or course mostly girls!) and tries to settle in his new home.
he slowly realizes however that he can't really remember anything from when he stayed there many years ago and that his past and his lost memories are closely connected to those girls, and tries to get to the bottom of what had happened back then.
i should probably add that there also is an old version of Kanon - i would highly recommend watching the remake Kanon 2006!
similar story pattern to Clannad and Kanon and again a lot of comedy. the leading character in this anime is openly coveted and embattled by a whole bunch of pretty girls and the first half of this one isn't really different from any other typical harem-ecchi anime (although there are lot of fantasy elements).
but the idyllic-world-appearences are deceptive. the characters are deeper than they look at first and they all show some interesting memories, hopes, fears and decisions, making the greatest parts of the second half drama and less trivial romance.
- Ef - a Tale of Memories
not nearly as funny as the first three and rather sad, but great characters and emotions. it's also unique in terms of graphics, since it uses a lot of very arty concepts (like can be seen in the opening) to create the beautiful, sad and, at times, slightly creepy atmosphere. i've yet to see another anime that manages to create such heavy emotions with simple pictures and a voice!
also has some great philosophical moments and questions (like: what is our memory and what makes us the persons we are?).
the second season is called Ef - a Tale of Melodies.
somewhat similar to Kanon and Clannad (same producer) but less humor, more story (and a different one). unless the others i mentioned so far, this one is not necessarily about love (although the two leading characters get pretty close). the story is a bit more complex and it has a really great atmosphere imo, which makes it one of my favorite anime ever.
- Elfenlied (Elven Song)
that one was probably my first drama anime i've seen, so it's difficult to get objective thoughts about it (i thought it was zomfg awesome back then!), but i'll try.
the story probably isn't as "good" as in the other drama anime and there is some wannabe action (and a significant amount of blood and gore) too^^ but it has creepy, very sad and touching moments and it's nice to see how the characters react and change over the course of the story.
- Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts)
not really an interesting story per se, but the characters are more human and realistic than in any other anime i know of. and while it starts rather simple and boring, i've never felt with fictional characters so badly before. the "problem" is, it's intended to get you to feel their pain and their sorrows, to make you feel sad and down. i watched all episodes of this anime in about three days, and i constantly got to think about it, sometimes sat quiet for a few minutes after an episode, thinking "what would i do, if i were him/her?".
i literally buried my face in my hands and cried after watching it until the end. yeah..
so if you like a good drama that will get you emotional: that's exactly the anime for you. but don't expect to sleep well for a few nights (at least if you are emotionally accessible for that kind of things).
- School Days
this one is a bit tricky to describe. it starts rather normal but changes completely nearing the end. there are also two openings and i think the 2nd one actually fits much better, but it may show some spoilers of the first few episodes.
the story starts like a typical romance anime for males: a normal high school guy comes to know a bunch of cute girls, without realizing (at first) that most of them have a crush on him. but, unlike other typical leading characters, he turns out to not be the kind, selfless and devoted guy that everyone expected and starts doing what actually quite a few guys in the real world would probably do: he takes advantage of the girls and their feelings (and desires), more or less ignoring the consequences. i watched nearly the whole anime waiting for the one thing that eventually has to come (right?!) - justice.
so unlike the name suggests, this is not the typical high school romance anime. it can be either seen as unique drama that actually gets you to feel hatred instead of sadness, or as parody on the exaggerated innocent and lovely romance genre.
about the very controversial ending: i expected something different, but it actually fits the rest of the anime quite well, imo.
..and all others that don't really fit in one of the categories
- Death Note
you may already have heard about this one, since it's gotten quite famous, and rightly so.
complex story, very interesting characters, some enthralling action and drama. it's all about beeing engrossed in the plans and counterplans of two sides/characters who believe in a different kind of justice, and how they outsmart each other again and again.
one of the best anime ever, and that's not only my personal opinion.
- Claymore and Berserk
action, horror, fantasy. they both have a very good story and cool characters. they are rather brutal, bloody and dark too, so it may not be the right thing for everyone. i liked both of them though.
if you're interested in manga, i'd highly recommend reading those instead of (or at least in addition to) watching the anime, since both anime only tell about the beginning of the original manga and you will miss the best parts of their complex stories.
very, very weird and somewhat complicated story (the different parts of the story are not in the "right" order of time, for example) but very funny and rather unique narrative style. there is a lot of action and some creepy or emotional moments, but overall it's mostly humorous imo, although that probably depends on the viewer.
- Serial Experiments Lain
another deep and weird story, really hard to fully understand (i know i didn't^^). a young girl starts to be interested in computers and in the "wired" (a network connecting all computers) and experiences a lot of strange and mysterious events in the sequel, the border between reality and virtuality begins to blur. it's quite interesting to mention that the story was made before the internet became that common, as the "wired" and it's weird impact on lain shares a lot with todays internet problems and myths.
i heard it's also meant as modern interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, although that's hard to notice if you don't know it already.
- Wolf's Rain
sci-fi and fantasy. four wolves, disguised as men, travel through the world (that is nearly completely destroyed by all the wars of humankind) to save the "moonflower maiden" and to find paradise.
i can't exactly say why, but i really, really liked this anime. it has a beautiful and rather unique atmosphere imo. some people may get bored by it though, since the "traveling to the end of the world and looking for paradise" story get's long drawn-out at times. but i liked it, it's supposed to be a long and weary journey after all.
- Ergo Proxy
sci-fi with deep and unique story. it deals with some interesting social aspects of different societies and a possible (although mischaracterized and at some points fantastic) future of humanity. sadly, i couldn't watch it until the end yet, since i haven't got all episodes :/
the atmosphere also sometimes reminded me of wolf's rain
- Gunslinger Girl
should probably be in the drama section, but i put it here since it's not a romance and also has some action.
five young girls are trained to be elite killers (together with their sibling-like adult "operators") for a shady organisation. sounds like it's made for 13 year old kids, but actually deals mostly with the relationship between those "siblings" and the psychological aspect of the issue.
- Ookami to Koushinryou (Spice and Wolf)
historical, fantasy. the story is about a smart pedlar and a mysterious wolf girl he meets. both of them think they may benefit from the company of the other, so they make a deal - and later, a promise. some funny scenes, some thrilling ones, some sad ones, a touch of romance, there's everything. also interesting and well presented insights in the functioning of medieval trade(rs) and the related tricks, although some may as well be bored by that. overall pretty relaxing imo, although the trade things get really complicated at times.
there's also second season: Ookami to Kohaku - iro no Yuuutsu (Spice and Wolf - The Wolf and the Amber Melancholy).
- Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (When They Cry)
horror, psychological and, well.. humor. big parts of the anime (especially on the beginning) are relatively normal school-comedy scenes. but that actually only adds to the very creepy and burdensome atmosphere in the end, since the frightending and capricious psyches of the characters (along with some reeaally ugly and painful scenes) are what makes it a horror anime.
it's been quite a while since i've last watched this one and i didn't even finish the 1st season (i will some time though), but everyone who likes intelligent horror and doesn't mind a very complicating and confusing story will love it. if you prefer the "horror" anime with bloody zombiefests, simple story and the like, this probably won't be the one for you though :x
the 2nd season (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai) is important if you want to understand the story, although i heard it's sadly not as good as the 1st one.
not actually an own genre of course, but maybe some people would like to know a good anime that doesn't need countless hours to finish and it's difficult to compare a ~90 minutes story to a ~250/500 one^^
- Jin-Roh (Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade)
no opening, but a trailer instead.
action, drama. deals with the social and political problems in japan after world war two, but the main story is fictional: a girl (who's younger sister worked for a terrorist organization until she died) and a guy (who works for a special task force of the police and is partly responsible for the death of said sister) get to know (and love) each other but come into the dangerous crossfire of both factions. very cold, depressing and sad atmosphere, some action and interesting story twists. both story and graphics are for an adult audience.
it may also be seen as modern (and mature) version of the Little Red Riding Hood tale and contains many references and hints to it.
- Stranger -Mukou Hadan- (Sword of the Stranger)
again no opening, but a trailer.
martial arts action, drama. there's a lot of (at times rather brutal) fighting and action, but at the same time an enthralling and (relatively) complex story: a boy gets persued by a whole army through medieval japan, while a usually calm and peaceful samurai seeks to protect him and to discover the secret behind this hunt.
pretty dark, bloody and slightly mystic atmosphere and storyline.
- Gekijouban Clannad (Clannad - The Movie)
drama, romance and some humor. the movie tells it's own, slightly different, story (comparing to the series, see Clannad above). less humor, more drama and more depressing atmosphere (at least nearing the end). same characters (although not all of the characters from the series take part in this one) and similar topic, but the behaviour of the characters is a bit different and overall slightly more realistic.
the storyline is about two very different high school students (a guy and a girl of course) who come to know and like each other, but are faced with far-reaching problems and (nearing the end) great loss in their social and love life.
- Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
trailer. unlike most anime i like, this one could also be watched by a much younger audience (although there's a lot of violence).
the story is about the struggle and war between human "civilization" and the forces of nature. the hard working citizens of a mining town seek to destroy a great forest to get the natural resources, while the animals and their ancient gods want to protect the forest and hate everything that is human. neither side is really "good" or "bad" though and there are a few others (most importantly the leading characters Ashitaka and Princess Mononoke) who get swept up in the war.
overall good story and characters, although the end was disappointing in my personal opinion.
so, that's it. that is probably about one half, the better one of course, of the anime i've seen (although i didn't watch the 2nd season of clannad, ef and spice and wolf yet).
since i had fun thinking of all the anime again and listening to their openings, i decided to start watching again (thanks to Ant Man), a few days ago (i hadn't watched any for about one year). i hope some of you got interested in watching one of them, too.
i will continue to edit that list, adding new anime titles, OVAs or other details.
as i said, feel free to comment about the list, other anime you liked or general anime discussion