Saturday, April 9, 2011

What Kind of Anime Do You Like?

As my nickname implies, I collect all sorts of anime, but over the years, I’ve found that certain types appeal to me much more than others.  Rather than talk in generalities, I’ll list my favorite anime series.  My top ten, in alphabetical order (ranking them is too hard):

  • Chobits.  I find this particular combination of science fiction, romantic comedy, and slice-of-life irresistible.
  • Cowboy Bebop.  A show I can watch repeatedly.
  • Crest of the Stars (and its sequels, Banner of the Stars I, II, III).  My favorite “space opera.”
  • Genshiken (and its sequels).  This sharp-eyed but good-spirited send-up of the otaku world really tickles my funny bone.
  • Kino no Tabi.  The tone of this series is unique.  I can’t watch it end-to-end, but the individual episodes are compelling.
  • Monster.  A dark psychological drama that held me spellbound through all 74 episodes.
  • Nana.  This slice-of-life shoujo is part soap opera, part romantic comedy, and always interesting, with a terrific musical score.
  • Nodame Cantabile.  My favorite romantic comedy.  The sequels were not as good.
  • Planetes.  Science fiction and slice-of-life beautifully combined.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.  My favorite mecha show; in fact, the only mecha show I’ve ever watched from start to finish.
Actually, about all this list tells you is that I like science fiction anime, and perhaps romantic comedy/slice-of-life.  But I also like some low or ecchi comedies (like Hand Maid May, Usagichan de Cue, Inukami), certain children’s shows (Hanamaru Kindergarten, Chi’s Sweet Home), and shows that are off the beaten track (Kaiba, Gosenzosama, Fireball).  I don’t much care for sports anime, shounen, or mecha, but there are exceptions even to those generalizations (Kekkaishi, Tengen Toppa).  And I’m a sucker for any show with cats.  I’ll even watch or work on a harem show if it has cats (Nyan Koi).

Which Anime Series Have You Liked Working On?

That’s an entirely different question.  I’ll work on almost anything, if I like the team, or if it’s a rescue of an orphaned series.  But some stick out in my memory, so here’s another top ten list, again in alphabetical order:

  • Amatsuki (Ureshii).  I like shows set in historical times, and this was one of the better ones.  Regrettably, the TV raws were very poor, and no DVD version was ever done.  (Attention, resubbers!)
  • Chi’s Sweet Home (Yoroshiku).  A children’s series with an adorable kitten.  What else is there to say?  This show taught me that 104 episodes of anything can become tiring, even if the episodes are less than three minutes long, and that 104 repetitions of a catchy opening song will fry your brain.
  • Dennou Coil (Ureshii).  A good science fiction show about the possibilities, and dangers, of cyperspace.
  • Gosenzosama (Ureshii/Frostii).  Probably the hardest editing job I’ve done.  This show had an utterly unique style of meandering sentences, deadpan dialog, and the occasional mind-boggling joke.  Finding the right tone, and maintaining it consistently, was a challenge.
  • Hand Maid May (Orphan).  A foray into “resubbing.”  I really liked this early sci-fi harem show, and the R1 subs were poorly edited, timed, and typeset.  Redoing the subs taught me a lot about timing (e.g., I don’t like to do it) and typesetting.
  • Kekkaishi (Yoroshiku).  One of the longest shounen show I ever worked on.  It started out as a mix of comedy and action, and then turned into straight action.  I missed the comedy, but the show held my interest.  It had a great opening song.
  • Nana (Ureshii).  A difficult show to edit, because the characters spoke at a breakneck speed.  Compressing the subs to fit the timing of the dialog was hard.
  • Nodame Cantabile (C1).  My favorite romantic comedy, with a wonderful opening song.  Koda’s karaoke was brilliant.
  • Rescue Wings (Ureshii).  A seinen show, about grownups, and thus an almost automatic favorite.  The project went moribund midway through.   Restarting it was one of my few successes in rescuing a stalled series.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (Black-Order).  This over-the-top mecha show was a hoot from start to stopping point.  It got licensed before it could be finished.
Pretty much the same pattern as my favorites list.

Which Anime Series Have You Disliked Working On?

A couple of shows pushed me to the limit with clich├ęs, bad writing, or stupid plots:

  • Angelique 2006 (C1).  I can tolerate neo-romance, just barely, but this one was stultifyingly sweet.  Haruka Naru Toki de Naku de looks like a work of genius in comparison.
  • D.Grayman (Black-Order).  A prime example of why I dislike shounen shows.  The project team abandoned it by mutual agreement after 61 episodes of mostly filler, to my relief.
  • H2O: Footprints in the Sand (Ureshii).  A show that helped give the harem genre a bad name, or at least, a worse one than it had to start.
  • Oishinbo: Japan-America Rice Wars (Yoroshiku).  The most boring anime movie ever, bar none.  90 minutes of policy debate about the pros and cons of liberalizing Japan’s rice import restrictions.  I’d rather go to the dentist.
  • Planzet (Orphan).  Another foray into resubbing.  I committed to hours of retiming, re-editing, typesetting, and QCing to this project, only to realize that the movie was junk.
I did a couple of World Masterpiece Theater series and found them to be overly long and slow-paced, but at least they didn’t make me want to trash my computer or abandon anime altogether.

So there it is: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of my anime experience.  Hopefully, this gives you a sense of my likes and dislikes, so that if you want to ask me about working on a project, I won’t just laugh at you.